Originally not big fans of the band, with their last few releases they have converted us thanks to their engaging Power/Progressive Metal with somber undertones and the fantastic voice of Tom Englund. In “Escape of the Phoenix”, the band builds up on the success of their previous album and delivers nearly one full hour of high-octane music with tons of mood changes and soaring vocal melodies.
The release opens strongly with the heavy guitars of “Forever Outsider”, a track that nicely sets a very dynamic mood thanks to the funky keyboards. One of the first heavy hitters is the very melodic and catchy “Where August Mourn” and its dreamy atmospherics paired with Tom’s emotive vocals. This track has some nice Dark Tranquillity vibes to it as well. After the power ballad “Stories”, the album’s best song “Dandelion Cipher” delivers waves of soaring vocal arrangements, heartfelt lyrics and very explosive instrumentation, making it an instant epic.
Making this craptastic 2020 a little more lively, today we have Iron Savior and their superbly epic release “Skycrest”. Featuring nearly an hour of music, this release will excite all Power Metal fans thanks to its epic vocal arrangements and crafty instrumentation. Led by Piet Sielck, this band continues to get better and more refined with time, and this album showcases their best skills.
After the grandiose opening, the album title track sets a very exciting mood with excellent guitar work and very dramatic vocal arrangements. The epicness of the band’s sound is quickly established as tracks like “Our Time Has Come”, “Hellbreaker”, and “Souleater” perfectly balance catchiness, technical proficiency (crazy guitar solos), and a very ‘Heavy Metal’ attitude around a timeless old-school sound with no gimmicks and just power.
Hailing from Sweden, today we have Power Metal outfit Veonity and their exciting fourth full-length release “Sorrows”. Featuring a bare-bones style that flavors traditional elements over the current over-the-top and extremely bombastic stuff, the band delivers over 45 minutes of old-school high-octane music. Recommended for fans of older Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica, this release is superbly crafted and incredibly catchy.
After the traditional instrumental intro, the band quickly sets a very energetic pace with “Graced or Damned”. While there are some atmospheric keyboards, the band’s guitar-drum-bass guitar code is what makes this track standout, with their playful interplay alongside Anders Sköld’s charismatic vocals. Like a blast from the past, “Back in to the Dark”, reminded us of early Stratovarius thanks to the lush guitar leads paired with a hypnotic bass guitar line and dreamy vocal harmonies.
After receiving what seems to be hundreds of Black Metal albums every week, it is quite refreshing we get some solid Progressive Metal from Germany with Assignment. As the band’s fifth full-length release, “Reflections” delivers nearly one hour of polished music filled with soaring vocal melodies and crafty instrumentation. Flying under the radar in North America, this band has some serious musical chops and they should get more exposure with this excellent release.
Following a dramatic instrumental opener, “Merciful Angel” showcases the band firing on all cylinders right off the gate. Pairing intricate drum patterns, powerful guitar riffs and the signature vocals of Diego Valdez, this track crafts a high-octane pace that never slows down as the band pummels through “Obsession” and “Corporate Men”. On the album title track we get a very powerful ballad-esque piece with a superb vocal duet and lush atmospheric enhancements, changing the pace of the album and providing a window into the band’s musical depth.
Delivering a perfect balance of speedy Epic Power/Folk Metal ballads and and folky moody pieces, Ensifeum returns with “Thalassic”. Adding extra depth to their signature sound, the band hedges a bit more into Power Metal territories while keeping their lively and upbeat style for nearly 50 minutes. Perfectly in sync with their earlier releases, this album propels the band’s sound into new territories and pleases fans with intense and engaging songs.
Setting a very epic mood with “Seafarer's Dream”, the band goes full speed with the intense “Rum, Women, Victory”, which features a bit of a Children of Bodom-esque sound mixed in with their traditional blistering melodies and crafty instrumentation. The clean vocals on “Andromeda” really give it a slighter Power Metal edge, greatly elevating this catchy and awesome song to new levels. The same can be said for “The Defense of the Sampo”, which has a certain Stratovarius meets Ensiferum vibe.
Celebrating their 15 years of existence (in 2019) Powerwolf delivers the perfect compendium of their best songs and live renditions. Not settling for the traditional ‘best of’ album, the band made new versions of some of their greatest hits like “Resurrection by Erection” and “We Drink Your Blood”, giving something extra for collectors and fans alike. Never having played (and refused along the way) in the USA, this is one hell of a band with excellent music that no fan of Power/Symphonic Metal should miss out on.
Opening with a new version of our favorite song, “We Drink Your Blood”, we noticed a slightly polished edge and an even more bombastic nature to this epic song. The band’s sound has greatly been refined over the years, making it more explosive and lush, and the new versions of songs like “Werewolves of Armenia”, “Saturday Satan”, and the classic “Resurrection by Erection” , are brilliantly enhanced to give you the chills the band delivers on their live performances.
Unleashing a bombastic and lively Symphonic/Power Metal release, today we have Italy’s Moonlight Haze with “Lunaris”. Delivering almost 56 minutes of high-octane music, this band borrows from the greats to create a very lively and personable sound of their own. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Sirenia, Nightwish, Delain, etc., this release features both intensity, a hard rocking attitude, alongside catchiness and excellent musicianship.
The album kicks off with the soaring vocal arrangements of “Till The End”, the band’s vocalist Chiara Tricarico nicely provides a signature staple to the band’s sound while showing the versatility of changing between classical style to a more playful typical heavy metal style singing. This versatility is what allows tracks like “The Rabbit Of The Moon”, “Lunaris”, and “Under Your Spell” to deliver a wide spectrum of styles, as the band crafts effective power ballads and catchy heavy guitar laden pieces.
With Roy Khan reviving Conception back in 2018, the band took a while to deliver their return full-length “State of Deception”. Delivering around 40 minutes of music, this release has that old Kamelot vibe with a few sprinkles of Evergrey and Queensrÿche. The nine tracks here are catchy and engaging and will surely be loved by Roy Khan fans, as his vocals take front and center to solid songwriting skills and crafty arrangements.
After the mood setting intro, the album kicks off with the hard rocking “Of Raven and Pigs”, a track that starts a bit slow and it takes a while to settle with its lush vocal melodies and crafty guitars. With “Waywardly Broken”, the band goes into that Power/Progressive Metal vibe that we were expecting, thanks to the lively vocal leads and lush atmospheric keyboards. Thankfully, “No Rewind” continues this mood with dynamic guitars and crafty tempo changes, making it one of our favorite songs in this release.
Hailing from Italy, today we have the superbly lively Symphonic/Power Metal release “Multiverse” from the band Aevum. Delivering nearly one hour of high-octane music, this release will certainly brighten your day and infuse neck-pain inducing headbanging onslaughts. Recommended for fans of bands like Sonata Arctica, Avantasia and Rhapsody, this album is both bombastic and well crafted.
The release kicks off with the dynamic opener, “The Pilgrim”, this track showcases most of the band’s tricks as it combines clean female and male vocals, harsh screams and dramatic guitar leads. Not losing the momentum, the band continues with bombastic tracks like “Spark of Life”, “Tair”, “The Time Machine”, which feature excellent arrangements, crafty vocal melodies and superb instrumentation. Showing a darker side, we have one of our favorites “Black Honeymoon”, a mellower and more sinister song than the first ones.
Creating quite a stir in the Metal world since their inception in 2015, Burning Witches are a Heavy/Power Metal band unlike no other. Formed by five lovely women, this band kicks some serious ass thanks to their high-octane no-holds-barred music filled with catchiness and technical proficiency. Easily compared to the likes of Judas Priest, Helloween, Stratovarius, etc., this outfit is here to have you headbanging from the nearly one hour duration of this crushing album.
After the traditional intro piece, “Lucid Nightmare” sets a furious pace with dueling guitars, hyper-crafty drumming, and the soaring vocals of new singer Laura Guldemond. If this intense opener was not enough, the shredding on “Dance with the Devil” creates an epic opening to a superbly melodic track filled with expert craftsmanship and an intense hard-rocking attitude. Sending shivers through the listener’s spines, “Wings of Steel” and its epic chorus section reminds us of bands like Iron Maiden.