Hailing from Denmark, today we have the most promising new kids on the Melodic Death Metal block: Killing Gandhi. With a highly refined and effective sound, this band unleashes upon us their sophomore release “Aspirations of Failure”. Mixing everything we love from bands like Dark Tranquility, Children of Bodom, (old) In Flames, Kalmah, Omnium Gatherum, etc. the band delivers nearly 40-minutes of neck breaking music that is definitely one of the best releases of the genre in quite a while.
After the obligatory atmospheric intro, the band quickly gets down to business with the intense “Let Me Tell You”. This track starts off with killer catchy riffs and energetic vocals, and while there are tons of influences there, the band has their own unique signature style. With some futuristic keyboards, “Dark Hours” and “Hollow Paintings” are definitely some of the highlights of this release, blending tight drumming with intricate riffing and a very upbeat tempo.
With a completely revamped line-up since their last full-length release, today we have Austria’s Visions of Atlantis and their signature high-octane Melodic/Symphonic Power Metal. Unleashing “The Deep & the Dark”, the band’s first full-length release since 2013, fans of band will be completely blow away by the power and intensity behind the ten songs presented in this release.
Fronted by the highly talented Clémentine Delauney, the band sets sails in this very exciting journey with the energetic album titled track. The atmosphere is very well set with the symphonic elements as the musical playfulness kicks in full gear with incisive guitars and superbly catchy female vocals. The male Power Metal vocals are handled perfectly by Siegfried Samer, as he provides an excellent balance in his leads and duets with Clémentine, as we can quickly hear in the magical “Return to Lemuria”. This last track has a certain Sonata Arctica-esque magic that is driven initially by the Chris Kamper’s keyboards.
Hailing from North America, today we have Melodic Progressive/Heavy Metal outfit WildeStarr and their superb full-length release “Beyond the Rain”. Perfectly delivering that old school Heavy/Power Metal vibe through the sultry vocals of London Wilde, this album is perfect for fans of bands like Accept and Doro, but that want a certain Power Metal edge thrown into the mix.
Opening with the melodic riffing of “Metamorphose”, we get the first glance of Dave Starr’s guitar skills and a preview of how well they mesh together with the other instruments to create memorable and epic-sounding songs. Tracks like “Beyond the Rain” and “Pressing the Wires” warm up the listener with catchy riffs and very commanding leading vocals.
Hailing from Japan today we have the mesmerizing debut EP of Anguis Dei, titled “Ad Portas Serpentium”. Delivering four majestic Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal hymns that remind us of the old days of Emperor, Old Man’s Child, Naglfar and Dimmu Borgir, this release is quite a musical experience for fans of the style.
Opening with the dramatic theatrics of “Maythorns Over Uroboros”, this track sets a high-octane pace for this release. The lush keyboards are perfectly contrasted with the hellish vocals and bestial drumming. We particularly love how the band handles tempo changes in order to inflict the most amounts of pain via killer guitar leads or atmospheric passages.
Hailing from Finland, today we have Melodic Death Metal batallion Wakener and their debut demo titled “Rise to Fall”. Featuring over 20 minutes of catchy music, the band showcases a very in your face attitude and a knack for crafting engaging tunes. Reminding us of old-school Kalmah, Amorphis, and Satm1na, this new band is ready to deliver killer neck snapping tunes that will keep you waiting more.
Opening with the demo title track, “Rise to Fall”, we are treated to a hectic track filled with solid riffs and a very groovy vibe. Things turn a bit more sinister and even Thrashier with the crushing riffs of “The Artist”, showcasing the band’s versatility and command of their instruments. Reminding us of a mixture of old Sepultura and Kalmah, “Organized Hate” keeps things rolling with a very direct and full of attitude approach.
Taking almost the same time as Tool to release a new album, today we have Finland’s Wintersun and their epic “The Forest Seasons” release. Aside from all the crowdfunding drama, Wintersun returns with a powerful album that maintains their legendary status and improves on their legacy with a more mature style. If you like Melodic Metal with Symphonic and Folk-ish elements, this is certainly one of the best releases of 2017 for you.
Opening with the 14-minute epic “Awaken from the Dark Slumber”, we get Wintersun at its best delivering a very atmospheric and high-octane piece. This track delivers over the top orchestrations perfectly arranged with a lively pace and a heap of different vocal styles. Reminding us of a mixture of Cradle of Filth with Ensiferum at times, this is a very exciting opener and it showcases the potential of the band’s evolved sound.
With a few central members of the band leaving, we were quite curious to see how Eluveitie would move forward. It is safe to say that with “Evocation II – Pantheon” the band continues its well-defined path with another brilliant release filled with memorable moments and catchy songs. Not losing a step, this release delivers over 50-minutes of intoxicatingly catchy Folk/Melodic Metal music that will appeal to any fan of the band and the genre.
As a continuation of their 2009 release, “Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion”, this album kicks off with “Dvressu” by showcasing the talents of new vocalist: Fabienne Erni. Replacing the talented Anna Murphy seemed like a nearly impossible, but the band has done a great job as we can hear in the very upbeat “Epona”. This track has the band’s signature style of delivering lush arrangements and catchy song foundations.
Getting tons of digital albums a month makes for a hard predicament of which ones to actually review. While some are easily eliminated by the fact that they are terrible, we are always left with a handful that really caught our attention. Self-released EP “As A Season Bloom” from Hitwood is one of those. Featuring 4 tracks of exploratory melodic Metal, this release has a certain vibe that will attract you to it and will keep you listening.
Opening with the Post-Rock-ish “A Spring Glare Where Green Shine the Brightest”, this one-man project sets a very lively and moody atmosphere. Soothing the listener into such a lush and carefully crafted atmosphere is definitely the best way to start a release. The mood then shifts to more of a folky power ballad with “Memories from a Gentle Summer Evening”, featuring relaxing clean/acoustic guitars and a killer last few minutes, this track nicely continues the moody nature of the EP.
After a killer debut EP with “Waves” Owler returned in 2016 to unleash “Soil”, a highly melancholic collection of five songs that showcase more maturity and creativity from these Finns. Clocking in at around 30 minutes, this release takes all the elements of their first release and further refines them and integrates them into the band’s own signature style. This music is still highly recommended for fans of bands like Insomnium to The Man Eating Three.
Opening with the soaring vocals of “Storm”, the release kicks off with a very theatrical piece that fully takes advantage of “Juha Simola’s melancholic clean vocals. Things turn a bit darker and doomier with the heavy atmospheric and crushing riffs of “Amend”. We really enjoy how the subtle atmospheric keyboards set the mood for the harsh vocals and slower tempo.
Hailing from Belgium, today we have the always improving Symphonic Black Metal outfit Saille and their fourth full-length release “Gnosis”. Returning with their highly melodic music, the band manages to craft 45 minutes divided in nine tracks that showcase their musical evolution in to a cleaner and leaner outfit since their conception. After releasing 3 albums in a span of 4 years, the band took more than two years to fully prepare and unleash this near perfect gem into the world.
Opening with the melodic riffing of “Benei ha'Elohim”, the band slowly introduces their clean cut musical style that remind us of bands like Apostasy, Old Man's Child, and Emperor. Things get catchier with the Dimmu Borgir-esque “Pandaemonium Gathers”, the perfect contrast between funky keyboards and pummeling drums/guitars make this song quite interesting and engaging. The killer solos and melancholic guitars in “Blôt” brilliantly complement Dennie Grondelaers mixture of growls and shrieks, making this track one of the most complete and diverse pieces in this release.