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.
Closing with the incisive “Envy The Moon”, we are left quite pleased with “In Splendor Below”. We expected non-stop Swedish Melodic Death/Doom Metal and that is exactly what you get with October Tide. The Norrman brothers have a great signature sound and this release maintains their legendary status since their early Katatonia days. If you like things to be consistent, direct and superbly catchy, look no further as you know exactly what to expect with this fine release.
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”.
As one of the most expected releases of 2018, today we have Kamelot and their latest epic release “The Shadow Theory”. Filled with the traditional Kamelot sound and a few surprises, this release unleashes over 50 minutes of bombastic music that should please all the fans of the band and gain them several more. Sadly, with this album the band sends of Casey Grillo on a high note (with the band), and welcomes new drummer Johan Nunez.
The release starts with the bombastic lushness of “Power Divine (Shadow Empire)” with the first duet between Lauren Hart (Once Human) and Tommy Karevik. This track embodies the Kamelot style to perfection, but delivering killer melodies, tight drumming and very well crafted vocal arrangements. As the band goes through “RavenLight” and the industrial-ish “Amnesiac”, we notice some very interesting new elements thrown into the mix, making the band’s sound more dynamic and engaging for listeners.
Delivering a hefty dose of catchy and energetic Power Metal, today we have Italy’s Frozen Crown and their debut release “The Fallen King”. Featuring over 44 minutes of music divided in ten songs, the band showcases excellent songwriting skills and a great balance between intensity and melody. If you are a fan of bands like Rhapsody, Stratovarius and similar outfits, you don’t want to miss this one.
Formed by multi-instrumentalist (and vocalist) Federico Mondelli, the band quickly sets a very energetic pace with the intricate “Fall No More”. The band’s riffing is quite traditional, and allows the songs to change tempos and showcase other elements quite well. The male vocals are pretty standard for the genre, but the highlight is Giada Etro’s singing. We are familiar with her voice from her work with Ashes you Leave, but here she takes things to a completely different level in tracks like “To Infinity”, “Kings” and the superb “I am the Tyrant”.
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.