Thanks to technology, bands like Catalyst Crime can ‘easily’ come together featuring an assortment of musicians around the world. Featuring members of bands like Xandria (drummer Gerit Lamm), Pyramze (keyboardist Jonah Weingarten) alongside Zoë Marie Federoff (ex-Insatia), this outfit delivers a very bombastic and explosive combination of Symphonic/Gothic Metal with cinematic elements, creating a very immersive and highly enjoyable release.
With nearly 50 minutes of explosive music, the band quickly sets a lush and bombastic vibe with the opening intro. The band’s power-ballad game is strong as “Projection Of My Mind” nicely starts with a piano passage and explodes into a superbly catchy piece with killer keyboard solos and guitar solos, distinguishing them from the pack. The album’s first standout piece has to be the memorable “Condemn Me To Chaos”, a track that will sound quite familiar but will take you a bit to realize that it has the same melody as “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak but with some twists and turns.
With the amount of releases we get at Infernal Masquerade, sometimes killer albums fall through the cracks and we end up reviewing them later than anticipated. In this category, today we have Dutch outfit Vetrar Draugurinn and their sophomore full-length release “The Night Sky”. Featuring one of our favorite singers, Marjan Welman of Autumn fame, and ex-Stream of Passion guitarist Eric Hazebroek, this band creates a very unique and dense sounding Gothic/Doom Metal.
Opening with the heavy riffs of “The Observer”, this track nicely combines melancholic passages with some proggy influences, creating a very unique and powerful style that nicely bleeds into “The Night Sky”. For fans of more melancholic and Autumn-like songs, “Lansdown Hill” perfectly uses Marjan’s vocals alongside clean male vocals to create a dark and somber piece.
Portugese legends Moonspell mark their return with a very unique and captivating release titled “Hermitage”. Featuring over 52 minutes of very emotive and dreamy music, the band will surely surprise their fans with this melancholic Gothic/Dark Metal release. With a darker edge to their sound, this release takes a bit to sink in, but once it does, it delivers some of the finest musical moments the band has ever produced.
The release kicks off with the mysterious “The Greater Good” and its crafty drumming alongside enigmatic atmospherics and subtle layered guitars. Fernando Ribeiro’s signature deep vocals give that extra element of mystery to this track as he goes from clean passages to harsh sections. The enigmatic atmosphere continues with the hard rocking opening of “Common Prayers”, a song that slowly introduces additional atmospheric elements and a very epic bass guitar line.
Being one of our favorite bands we might be a bit impartial, but Sirenia keeps getting better and better with time. Unleashing over 50 minutes of superbly bombastic and explosive Symphonic/Gothic Metal, “Riddles, Ruins & Revelations'' is probably our favorite album from the band. All of the eleven tracks in this release are superbly crafted, making them highly memorable and intoxicating.
Opening with the absolutely brilliant “Addition No. 1”, the band instantly delivers waves of lush symphonic arrangements, heavy distorted guitars, and one hell of a brilliant hook, reminding us of the song “Wicked Game”. If the opener was not epic enough, the dramatic introduction of “Towards an early Grave” gives a certain dance/techno vibe mixed with the band’s signature aggressive and yet very melodic riffs.
Delivering one of the early surprises of 2021, today we have Tribulation and their latest release “Where the Gloom Becomes Sound”. While we have never been huge fans of the band, the maturity and darkness of this release is highly addictive. The band’s Gothic/Dark Metal sound of later years has evolved very nicely, unleashing over 48 minutes of intricately crafted music that is both catchy and engaging.
Opening with the sinister “In Remembrance”, the mood instantly turns bleak thanks to Johannes Andersson’s characteristic snarl that perfectly adorns layered guitars and moody tempo changes. The band’s sound is not immediately straightforward as you get a mixture of Doomy Heavy Metal with Gothic undertones, but the band makes it quite accessible and distinct from what others are doing, a testament to this are songs like “Hour of the Wolf” and its crafty intoxicating guitars, the warm and fuzziness of “Leviathans” with some Psychedelic Metal/Rock elements, to the playful darkness of pieces like “Dirge of a Dying Soul”.
Finally, after years of waiting, Vibeke Stenne marks her return to the Metal scene with Veil of Secrets and their melancholic debut release “Dead Poetry”. Alongside Asgeir Mickelson, Vibeke graces us with eight tracks and nearly 50 minutes of highly emotional music, that is both dark and Doomy. While some people might have expected something more similar to old Tristania, this release showcases great maturity and undeniable vocal talents, while carving a different and distinctive sound.
Opening with the incisive guitars of “The Last Attempt”, the band instantly gives off a vibe similar to the short-lived Proggy/Doomy Alas from Erik Rutan and Martina Hornbacher. The atmosphere in this release is quite dark and very cohesive, crafted with only a few elements such as solemn violins from Sareeta and the occasional growl from Erling Malm. This allows Vibeke’s vocals to truly shine alongside weeping guitars, making tracks like “Sear The Fallen”, “Remorseful Heart”, and “The Lie Of Her Prosperity” quite effective and direct.
Always delivering quite lush and engaging Symphonic/Gothic Metal releases, today we have Dark Sarah and their latest opus “Grim”. With a cinematic vibe and always featuring very interesting fantasy-filled story-lines, this release unleashes 55 minutes of majestic music filled with dream-like atmospheres and the signature vocals of Heidi Parviainen. This release is a must-have for all fans of bands like Visions of Atlantis, Delain, Nightwish, etc.
Setting the stage with the mystical “My Name Is Luna”, the band gets fully warmed up with the bombastic opening of “The Chosen One”. Pairing dramatic lead vocals with heavy guitars and explosive drumming is a formula that works wonders for the band as songs like “Illuminate” and “Melancholia” deliver waves of catchy passages and the perfect balance of heavy and lush that we love from this band. For those looking for the power-ballads, “Iceheart” is a very nice mellow song that changes the pace of this release.
Unleashing a big glob of darkness, Alternative/Gothic/Post-Punk one-man unit Deeper Graves delivers their debut release “Open Roads”. From the mind of Jeff Wilson (Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium), this release features nearly 40 minutes of superbly atmospheric and depressive music. While not really ‘traditional’ Metal, this album is still heavy in atmosphere and very enigmatic. For fans of Katatonia, Nick Cave, Sisters of Mercy, and Kayo Dot.
The release slowly unravels with the bleak “Final Divide” and its haunting clean vocals paired with sublime string instruments and an eerie tempo. This sinister aural exploration continues with the dreamy guitars of “Leave This World”, the Post-Punk/Gothic Rock vibe of “Ode to War”, and the enigmatic percussions of “Open Arms” and its shoegazy approach. As you can read, every track is a unique experience that perfectly blends genres while creating a very dense and emotional atmosphere, unique to Deeper Graves.
Fronted by the talented Jennifer Haben, today we have Germany’s latest Symphonic/Gothic Metal export Beyond the Black and their fourth full-length release “Hørizøns”. Slowly climbing the ranks of a very crowded genre(s), this German outfit is ready for the global spotlight with their dynamic and engaging music that falls more on the Metal side than most similar outfits. If you like catchy and hard rocking female fronted tunes, this is a band to keep on your radar.
The release does not waste any time in delivering soaring vocal arrangements, powerful guitar leads, and dramatic orchestrations on the title track opener. The band’s distinctively heavy sound is quite refreshing as most bands in this genre(r) are usually leaning towards more ‘consumer friendly’ sounds. “Misery” and “Wounded Healer” clearly showcase that the band means business with a high-octane pace and lush instrumentation. Being experts in crafting catchy melodies, tracks like “Some Kind of Monster” and “Golden Pariahs” have a certain (mid-career) Within Temptation meets Delain vibe.
As one of our favorite bands, and very hated by our friends, Eisregen is one of those bands that plays on their bizarre lyrics and funky music to deliver high-octane intensity filled songs with interesting arrangements and a good dose of melody. The band’s sound is quite an amalgamation of Gothic/Death/Black/Dark Metal, which is the core strength of “Leblos”, a very diverse and powerful double album. If you like weird music, this is certainly going to be of your liking.
Starting with the playful “Ruhet sanft”, the band leads with a Lacrimosa-meets-Bethlehem sound and a very engaging and unique opener. As “Pechschwarz” and “Erstschlag” roll by, we get the harsh intensity of the band with incisive guitars, devilish vocals and overall catchiness that the band has been cranking out for the past 10 years. Losing Dr. Franzenstein from their line-up a few years back has not slowed down the band’s funky synths and keyboards as tracks like “1000 Jahre Nacht”, “Wangenrot”, and the amazing title track heavily deliver on the atmospheric side.