• Imperial Conquest – Omnipotence (2010)


    Today we have a self-released Melodic Black Metal album that shows a very promising band under the hood but due to a sub-par production this EP undersells Imperial Conquest. While most Black Metal bands in the USA are trying to out-evil each other, the few good Melodic/Symphonic BM bands are making progress in the scene. Bands like Abigail Williams, Blood Stained Dusk, etc, are getting recognized for their musical aspects and it’s time to have another band take the spotlight, and such band might me Imperial Conquest, if they manage to properly record something.

    Immediately after the nice intro, in the track “Where the Portals Intertwined”, the band goes on a full-on assault of blistering blast-beats, deranged vocals (in a good way), powerful riffing and nice keyboard atmospheres. However, immediately you can hear the wobbly drumming and a flat mix that greatly cripples the effect of the song. While this problem persists through the EP, you still get some very enjoyable parts.

  • Invasion – Orchestrated Kill Maneuver (2010)


    Quality can usually be considered a matter of perspective, and when it comes to Invasion’s “Orchestrated Kill Manuever” perspective immediately comes in to play. If you compared them to old-school European bands that play (and have played) the whole war-inspired Thrash/Death Metal band, then they are just one more in the bunch. However, if you consider what US bands have done for the genre, then we have to agree that Invasion is not that bad.

    With chuggy distortion and catchy riffs, Invasion comes at us with a brutal attack of straight-forward in-your-face Thrash/Death Metal that will make it hard for anybody to deny their effectiveness. That being said, they don’t have much to offer when it comes to originality or diversity.

  • Star One – Victims of the Modern Age (2010)


    As one of the most anticipated releases of 2010, today we have Star One’s second full-length album “Victims of the Modern Age”. After seven years of waiting, Arjen Lucassen brings us a brilliant Progressive Metal/Rock space journey with “Victims of the Modern Age”.

    As you can always expect with any project where Arjen Lucassen is involved, the listener is treated to a wide variety of haunting songs featuring some of the best vocal arrangements and brilliant instrumentation on any album released in 2010. While the similarity to the last few Ayreon albums is very high, Arjen manages to craft songs that  capture the listeners attention and transports them to a different world.

  • Melechesh – The Epigenesis (2010)


    Continuing in the same vein as “Sphynx” and “Emissaries”, Melechesh unleashes upon us a high caliber Middle Eastern influenced Black/Death Metal assault with “The Epigenesis”. For those of us that like a little more substance in your music, Melechesh manages to fuse Middle Eastern folk elements with heart-pounding Metal elements creating an elaborated, yet accessible album that blends through genres like sugar in water.

    Expanding their sound with more traditional elements, the band greatly refines their sound when compared to their older releases. The crushing riffing, blasting drumming, and pounding bass guitar lines are as good as always, but not you can hear different patterns in the riffing, giving you a more elaborate sound that fans of the bands will greatly appreciate. The overall result is a very ritualistic experience that masterfully adorns the mystical and mythological backdrop of the album’s lyrics.

  • Death Angel – Relentless Retribution (2010)


    The year 2010 has been a year in terms of Thrash Metal releases; we had Exodus, Forbidden and Death Angel drop some very impressive records this year. “Relentless Retribution” showcases Death Angle mixing some of their older elements with more groove-oriented hints, creating a very powerful sounding album, probably their heaviest material to date.

    Led by Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar’s guitar work, the band never runs out of catchy riffs, powerful rhythmical section, and intense solos, all the elements of a traditional Thrash Metal release. Most songs have a very traditional approach to them having the Death Angel signature in every riff and melodic passage, without losing the occasional tempo increase, perfect for headbanging all night long.

  • Jumalhämärä – Resignaatio (2010)


    Hailing from Finland, today we get one of the weirdest yet thought provoking releases of 2010. Jumalhämärä and their first full-length release in 14 years “Resignaatio”, come baring gifts with their highly deranged and experimental approach to Black Metal. The band combines elements of post-rock/metal, progressive metal, jazz, and Black Metal in a fashion that is not been achieved up until today. This band makes Solefald and such bands look rather straight forward and dull in their approach to music in comparison to what we find in “Resignaatio”.

    As an underground band for 14 years, Jumalhämärä is ready to take the stage and what better introductory card than “Resignaatio”. Opening the album with “Ecstasy in Blood – A Ballad”, for the first few minutes you might think that you are in for another raw mind-fucking BM release, but once you start noticing the different distortion, you will hear that there is something weird here… little do you know that after 5 minutes this song will explode into a full-on Post-Rock/Metal piece that will make your head hurt.

  • Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again (2010)


    Celebrating 30 years of the band’s existence, Grave Digger comes at us with one of their most impressive releases in their career. With “The Clans Will Rise Again”, the band goes somewhat back into their “Tunes of War” era and continues to sing about Scotland. Since the first song with the bagpipes, you get the feeling this album will be nothing short from epic.

    Chris Boltendahl vocals are as characteristic as always and greatly keep the Grave Digger sound alive. As the only remaining original member, he brings to the table all the experience of kicking ass and taking names over the span of 30 years. The rest of the band does a great job in capturing the old-school vibe of the genre and keeping it fresh with interesting keyboard sections and brilliant guitar riffs/solos.

  • Jaldaboath – Rise of the Heraldic Beasts (2010)


    Everything that has to do with the Templar Knights has been of great interest for us in the past, so when we heard of this band playing ‘Templar-inspired Metal’ we quickly jumped in and started listening to “Rise of the Heraldic Beasts”. To our disappointment, Jaldaboath is a terrible band, we can’t really pinpoint if it’s the stupid lyrics (like on “Axe Wielding Nuns” for example) or the terrible simplistic music and vocals (i.e. “Hark the Herald”).

    Just imagine a bad mix of Alestorm and Nekrogoblikon, with a lot less inspiration and a lot more repetition. Half the songs on “Rise of the Heraldic Beasts” are very repetitive and get to be very annoying after a few songs. The terrible vocals of songs like “Hark the Herald” and “Axe Wielding Nuns” really kill the mood created by a few nice keyboard arrangements and catchy rhythmical sections.

  • Katra – Out of the Ashes (2010)


    The lovely Katra is finally back with a 100% new release (the last album “Beast Within” was mostly songs from her debut album but translated from Finish to English). Katra is now also a full-fledged band not only a female solo artist with hired ‘monkeys’ to play the rest of the instruments like on her last album. With this ‘permanent’ band, Katra’s sound is more Metal and even more cohesive than before, making “Out of the Ashes” and excellent release that will surely be in our top 10 Symphonic/Gothic Metal albums of 2010.

    Featuring ex-members of Nocturn, October Falls, and many other Finish bands, Katra’s new band is actually very proficient musically and greatly incorporates Metal elements with more straightforward Rock elements. This will surely make “Out of the Ashes” accessible to both Metal and non-Metal fans alike, since it’s smooth and flows very nicely, never being too aggressive or weak.

  • Unsun – Clinic for Dolls (2010)


    With a world-wide release of October 11th, today we get Unsun’s second Gothic Metal/Rock album “Clinic for Dolls”. Hailing from Poland, this band features on the country’s most renowned Metal guitarist Maurycy Stefanowicz (Mauser) from Vader, Christ Agony and Dies Irae fame. Rounding up the two-person permanent lineup from the band, we have Mauser’s wife Aya. In the album liner notes we have that ex-member’s Heinrich (bass guitar) and Vaaver (drums) still contributed to this album.

    Unsun, plays a very straight forward Gothic Metal that is easily identified by the powerful guitar riffs and sweet vocals from Aya. The band’s sound is nothing revolutionary and at some points gets a bit monotone, but by the standards of the genre, “Clinic for Dolls” is a very solid album.


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