Unleashing one of the most cinematic and lively releases of 2020, today we have Serenity and “The Last Knight”. Featuring over 47 minutes of high-octane over-the-top Symphonic Power Metal, this album is ready to rock all fans of the band and gain them some more. Slowly over the years the band has been refining their sound and as a well-oiled machine, this release showcases their best attributes delivered through eleven intense songs.
Setting a very regal mode with the album title track as the opener, we get the band’s lush arrangements leading into the explosive “Invictus”. Georg Neuhauser again delivers commanding lead vocals surrounded by dramatic choirs and killer guitar leads. This type of explosiveness as gained wide recognition to the band, and tracks like “Set the World on Fire” and “Keeper of the Knights” majestically demonstrate the band’s bombasticness.
Unleashing their latest bombastic Symphonic/Power Metal opus, today we have Amberian Dawn with “Looking for You”. Featuring a very retro and yet futuristic vibe, the band delivers over 40 minutes of lush music filled with captivating vocals and superbly catchy arrangements. If you are a fan of bands like Avantasia, Sonata Arctica and similar, you will not be disappointed by this release.
The album opens with the sonically brilliant “United”. Delivering retro synths that give you an 80’s vibe, this track is quite catchy as this majestically pairs with Capri’s signature vocals. With a heavy emphasis on dramatic futuristic (for the 80’s) synths, tracks like “Eternal Fire Burning”, “Looking for You”, and the explosive “Two Blades”, create a very upbeat and playful atmosphere. The dynamic sound of the band nicely keeps the listener engaged thanks to its craftiness.
Marking the return of the most exciting Power Metal to ever come out of the UK, today we have DragonForce and their latest opus “Extreme Power Metal”. Featuring a leaner sound and a leaner line-up, the band delivers ten solid tracks that showcase their signature style paired with superbly catchy songs and a very playful vibe. Delivering over 52 minutes of high-octane music, the band never disappoints when it comes to expertly crafted guitar acrobatics and catchy music.
The lush “Highway to Oblivion” track opens with a certain 80’s vibe that seems to be the concept around this release. Immediately Herman Li and Sam Totman take over with their playful guitar interactions as Marc Hudson’s vocals settle the listener into the band’s elaborate songs. The album still features Frédéric Leclercq on bass and backing vocals, as one can hear from his bass guitar lines on tracks like “Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred Machine” and the playful “The Last Dragonborn”.
Unleashing their latest lively effort, today we have Sonata Arctica and their 10th full-length release “Talviyö”. The band’s characteristic Power Metal sound gets a certain Pop/Rock edge in this very entertaining release. Feature eleven tracks and nearly one hour of music, these Finns keep things interesting with a wide variety of moods, allowing listeners to be fully challenged and rewarded by their music.
Leading with the dreamy “Message from the Sun”, the angelic choirs and subtle keyboards nicely lead into a catchy Power Metal onslaught. As always, Tony Kakko’s vocals nicely harmonize the very ethereal music in this release. With a certain funky Psych Rock influences in the opening of “Whirlwind”, the band unleashes their characteristic catchiness in this lovely piece. “Cold” is one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to its darker and more dramatic edge, contrasting with the throbbing bass guitar line and powerful guitars.
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.
Being huge fans of Stratovarius, we have always been following what Timo Tolkki is up to since he was one of the main reasons we loved that band. Finally after four years, his Avalon project returns with “Return to Eden”, an album featuring over 50 minutes of brilliant Symphonic Power Metal. Filled with the traditional start-studded guest appearances and engaging compositions, this release continues Timo’s legacy as one of the premier Power Metal composers.
The album starts with a bang after setting a very epic mood with the intro, in “Promises” we are instantly treated to Timo’s guitar wizardry and poignant Power Metal songwriting skills. The vocal arrangements are masterful as always, perfectly delivered by guest male vocalists Todd Michael Hall, Zak Stevens and Eduard Hovinga. Songs with duets like the album title track featuring Mariangela Demurtas, or the magical “Hear My Call”, featuring none other than Anneke van Giersbergen on vocals, are just the signature style of Avalon and we love it.
Hailing from Tunisia, Myrath has gained popularity and critical acclaim thanks to their very lively Progressive Metal sound beautifully adorned with Middle Eastern Folk elements. Gradually refining their style and songwriting skills, with “Shehili” the band delivers one of their most complete and fun albums to date. Featuring over 47 minutes of superb music presented in 12 lush tracks, the band creates a very unique and engaging atmosphere that is hard to imitate.
After setting a very mystical and exotic mood with the intro “Asl”, the band fully shines with the dramatic “Born to Survive”. Providing a cinematic experience, Myrath quickly immerses the listener into their own world. Not used only as a gimmick, the band’s unique Middle Eastern elements are ingrained into the music’s DNA, like on the dramatic percussions and keyboards of “You’ve Lost Yourself”, or the tempo and adornments of “Dance”, and the soaring vocal arrangements of “Wicked Dice”. Similarly to Orphaned Land, the band perfectly brings something from their culture and heritage into their music, creating a very lively and engaging sound.
Serving as an intermission between full-length releases, today we have Stratovarius with “Enigma: Intermission II”. Not settling for a typical EP, the band features three brand new songs, four orchestral tracks, and nine bonus tracks that have either been unreleased in Europe or are considered rare. If you are a fan of the band, this is definitely one unique opportunity to have all these rare tracks and new material in one single package.
The new tracks are spread out through this release and we will talk about them first. With “Enigma” the band picks up when they left with their last album, “Eternal”, and deliver a very engaging and dynamic piece filled with their signature soaring vocals and intricate guitar melodies. On “Burning Ground” we get lively tempo changes and a superbly catchy chorus section that is as typical Stratovarious as you can get. The futuristic “Oblivion” nicely movies into atmospheric territories with lush keyboards and a pulsating bass guitar line. This track is on the Power Metal-ballad side of things, allowing the listener to fully embrace the band’s musicality and creativity.
Unleashing over 55 minutes of superbly catchy hard rocking music, today we have Germany’s The Unity and their sophomore release “Rise”. Featuring members of Gamma Ray and Love.Might.Kill, this release delivers a very interesting mixture of traditional Hard Rock with Power Metal elements, allowing for the band to delivering brilliant technically proficient passages, while maintaining a lively mood and a high level of catchiness. If you like bands like Stratovarius, Warlock, Helloween, etc., but also like something more easy to digest and to sing along, then definitely check out this release.
After a dramatic atmospheric opener, “Last Betrayal” instantly cranks up the intensity and the catchiness up to 11. This track kicks off with dramatic vocals by Jan Manenti and a very hectic pace. The chorus sections are just brilliant, allowing this track to be stuck in your head for a while after the first listen. The first standout track is the intoxicating “You Got Me Wrong”, which is definitely one of the most engaging and memorable songs we have heard in quite a while.
Unleashing one of the most epic releases of 2018, today we have Germany’s Powerwolf and their killer release “The Sacrament of Sin”. While widely known in Europe, and not so very much in the USA, this outfit delivers epic Power Metal in the vein of Sabaton but with themes around werewolves, dark myths and religion with a humorous twist. For the non-converted, this release features the band’s quintessential energy and vibe that will rock your core and make you an instant fan.
Opening with “Fire & Forgive”, the band sets an epic mood thanks to their magical choir arrangements and killer guitar work. Not wasting any time, the band’s vocalist Attila Dorn leads this outfit with very dynamic vocal melodies and a high-octane vibe, as we can hear in the catchy “Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Killers with the Cross”.