Album Reviews

  • Equilibrium - Renegades (2019)

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    German Melodic Metal outfit Equilibrium is poised to take fans by surprise with their latest release “Renegades”. Featuring a very lively and catchy sound, this album delivers over 40 minutes of highly melodic music that is very far from their Epic Folk Metal days, but still commands attention and glory. With more electronic and even Industrial elements thrown into the mix, this album is superb on its own, but it might turn off the band’s earlier fans.

    Opening with “Renegades - A Lost Generation”, we get a Wintersun-esque oriental-influenced opening that transforms into a full on headbanging jam. The band’s style is as catchy as always, but quite different. The dramatic keyboards and catchy riffs are quite engaging and powerful. Mixing in some clean vocals and epic chorus sections, “Tornado” continues with a high-octane vibe and very polished melodic arrangements. With “Himmel Und Feuer” the band keeps up the lively atmosphere with yet another hyper catchy tune that will be stuck in your head for days to come. Just think of a mixture of Laibach, Wintersun and hints of VNV Nation mixed together.

  • Theatre of Tragedy - Remixed (2019)

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    It has been nearly ten years since Theatre of Tragedy ceased to exist, but they still find themselves in our regular playlist. During their career, the band changed styles multiple times and released seven full-length releases that for the most part were pretty good. In “Remixed” we get a nice selection of the band’s hits, remixed by artists like Das Ich and VNV Nation. While this definitely will not be the cup of tea of fans of the earlier style of the band, it should appeal to fans of their Industrial/Electronic phase.

    The album kicks off with a weird remix of “And When He Falleth” by Das Ich. The tempo is oddly shifted and sounds a bit odd, something that fans of this great song will definitely not like. Das Ich does a bit of a better job in adding some spunk to “Black As The Devil Painteth”, making it somewhat enjoyable. We find Icon Of Coil’s remix of “Lorelei” quite catchy and enjoyable, so we decided to keep listening to the full album.

  • Asagraum - Dawn of Infinite Fire (2019)

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    Unleashing what is probably one of the top three Black Metal albums of 2019, today we have Asagraum and their sophomore release “Dawn of Infinite Fire”. Fronted by multi-instrumentalist Obscura, this compact outfit delivers an imposing sound filled with hate and brutality. For over 46 minutes, the band ravages through nine tracks of sheer intensity and well crafted melodic passages, keeping the listener at the edge of their seats clamoring for more.

    Opening with the dissonant “They Crawl from the Broken Circle”, Asagraum sets a furious standard with pummeling drums, incisive riffs, and a violent bass guitar line. Just like a brick to the face, “The Lightless Inferno” continues the ritual with more brutality and hellish vibes. Delivering a masterful typical melodic BM passage on “Abomination’s Altar”, the band showcases their knack for killer headbanging sections mixed in between their most brutal elements.

  • Ardours - Last Place on Earth (2019)

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    From the minds of Mariangela Demurtas (Tristania) and Kris Laurent, Ardours is a very unique band mixing Gothic Rock, New Wave and 80’s influences in a very mellow and engaging style that will certainly appeal to all fans of bands like The Gathering, Tristania, Theater of Tragedy, etc. Delivering ten tracks and over 40 minutes of superbly catchy music, “Last Place on Earth” is a killer debut release from this very promising outfit.

    The album leads with the lush 80’s/New Wave synths of “What Else is There”, and as the guitar come on, the listener is fully drawn into the band’s unique musical world. Building up on the opener’s momentum, Mariangela’s vocals are a perfect fit for the overall gothic vibe built in songs like “Catabolic” and the extremely catchy album title track. Just imagine a band like Lacrimas Profundere with a bit of Depeche Mode and Solar Flake mixed in.

  • Sertraline - From Both Our Hands (2019)

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    Canadian label Hypnotic Dirge Records certainly has one of the best underground Metal rosters with very unique bands, and now it has partnered with American outfit Sertraline to help them spread their very emotionally charged and powerful music. Delivering three tracks and nearly 20 minutes of lush Atmospheric Post-Metal, this release creates a very powerful atmosphere that is nicely delivered via crushing guitars and crafty percussions.

    Opening with the dramatic “Hours of Avarice”, the band slowly builds up into a trippy Post-Rock/Metal tune with subtle dreamy guitars and hypnotic drumming. While the music is lush and mysterious, the vocals come off a bit weird, not really a shriek, not really a growl, they sound odd when layered on top of the instrumentation. However, they are not too distracting and still allow the band’s melancholic elements to ooze out of their music.

  • Destruction - Born to Perish (2019)

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    German Thrash Metal juggernauts return with one of their best releases of the last decade with “Born to Perish”. Featuring a hyper aggressive sound and ten superbly catchy tracks, this album shows the band firing on all cylinders and delivering one of the most intense and engaging releases in the genre. Perfectly suited for old and new fans of the band, this release will certainly propel the band back into the spotlight and ready to battle the new, young bands jumping in the genre.

    Leading with the title track, the band sets a very fast paced and brutal tone with ravaging riffs, brilliant drumming and crushing guitar solos. As we all know, Schmier’s vocals are one of the staples of the band’s sound as they perfectly fit the aggression and speed of the music. There are some additional melodic elements on tracks like “Inspired by Death”, that keeps things fresh and interesting without overusing the band’s musical formula.

  • Sabaton - The Great War (2019)

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    Just when you think Sabaton cannot get any better or more grandiose, they drop an album like “The Great War”. Delivering almost 40 minutes of their signature epic Power Metal music, the band steps it up a notch and crafts eleven superbly catchy tunes that are amongst the best they have ever produced. As one of the most expected albums of 2019, the band surely delivers for all their fans with this exciting new release.

    Opening with “The Future of Warfare”, the band sets a very high-octane mood with lush choir arrangements and their signature simple-but-catchy Power Metal core. Joakim Brodén’s vocals lead the band into battle, through tracks like “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” and “82nd All the Way” and are brilliantly complemented by backing vocal arrangements and killer guitar leads. One aspect of this release is that the band’s core elements are more evident and nicely mixed to shine through the extra atmospheric elements.

  • Memoriam - Requiem for Mankind (2019)

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    Continuing their prolific trayectory, UK’s Memoriam unleashes their third full-length release “Requiem for Mankind” this June. Formed by members and ex-members of some of the finest British DM bands like Benediction and Bolt Thrower, this band plays straight up no bullshit old-school Death Metal. Delivering over 45 minutes of crushing music, the band perfectly pays homage to their roots, while crafting some brilliant moshing and headbanging moments.

    The album kicks off with the chugging riffs of “Shell Shock”, an old-school track filled with heavy guitars and the characteristic raspy growls of frontman Karl Willetts. With a nice melodic edge to it, this opener nicely leads into the catchiness of songs like “Undefeated”, “Never the Victim” and the pummeling “Austerity Kills”, which brings back memories of our 90’s Death Metal cassette collection and band like Unleashed, Grave and Entombed.

  • Monarque - Jusqu'à la Mort (2019)

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    The Canadian wave of Black Metal is here to stay and the latest masterful offering comes from the legendary Monarque and their latest EP “Jusqu'à la Mort”. Featuring three songs and over 20 minutes of uncompromising Black Metal, the band instantly reminds us why they are one of the most feared and crushing outfits to ever come out of Canada. Not for the faint of heart, this release is both traditional and yet modern sounding, while keeping their ravaging style intact.

    Opening with the EP title track, the band sets a furious pace with hectic drumming and oppressive riffing. The hellish harsh vocals create a very dissonant and eerie vibe, similar to early 90’s European Black Metal. With a certain melodic edge thanks to the keyboards and tempo, this track is one hell of an opening statement. Things get a lot more catchier with the brilliant “Le Serment Prononcé”, a track that while filled with violent guitar work, it also features a very amenable tempo to headbang non-stop.

  • Glare of the Sun - Theia (2019)

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    The album sets a very somber and yet optimistic mood with the moody opener “Far from Home”. We particularly love how cinematic and otherworldly the atmosphere is crafted as songs like “The Way the World Was” and “In Exchange for a Memory” roll in. The band’s ability to slowly build into cathartic moments is just brilliant, with a crescendo of weeping guitars and crafty percussions.

    The band sets the stage with a very dramatic choral intro as it settles into heavy and punishing Doomy riffs on “II”. This first track at a glance seems a straightforward Doom affair, if it wasn’t for the interesting tempo changes Sludgier undertones and Post-Metal passages. Things get a bit bizarre and yet quite interesting with the weirdness of “III”. While the music seems to follow a typical direction, the vocals sound a bit odd at first. Might be some weird artifact of the mix, but they don’t quite blend with the rest of the music. Unfortunately this is the case for other tracks in the album, so we find it a bit odd.

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