Unleashing one of the most expected and full of hype (in some circles) releases of 2018, In the Woods… delivers one of their most direct and engaging albums. Filled with over 53 minutes of music, the band leaves no stone unturned with their highly diverse and creative musical repertoire. If you thought “Pure” was a one-off release after their return from a 14-year hiatus, this album will set the record straight that they are fully back and ready to rock.
Opening with the mystical “Empty Streets”, the band invokes similarities to old school outfits like Yearning, but with their own Progressive influences. James Fogarty had been instrumental for the band’s return and with his performance in this album (and the live shows) he cements his legacy in the storied history of this band. Going from soaring clean vocal passages to frenetic harsh sections, his vocals work wonders with the band’s unique music. As tracks like “Substance Vortex” and the epic “Respect My Solitude” establish the album’s mood, we are instantly brought back to the band’s revolutionary beginnings with a plethora of influences and genres mixed in together in perfect unison.
It is rare for us to find a release that is just so catchy that we drop everything else we have to review and focus 100% on it. Luckily for us, The Moor’s latest album “Jupiter’s Immigrants” falls in this very elusive category. Delivering nine brilliant and super melodic tracks, this Italian band managed to capture our undivided attention for hours on end. Mixing Progressive Metal and Rock elements, this album will captivate you since the first few seconds until the last note.
Opening with the highly melodic riffing of “Lead the Difference”, the band’s vocal melodies are what hooks you right in. Reminding us a bit of Edu Falaschi’s Almah, this band does a super job in oozing melody and catchines as we can hear in the album’s titled track. Packed with hefty dose of heavy riffs, subtle atmospheric keyboards and the guest appearance of Mikael Stanne, this title track is hands down one of the best songs of 2018.
Like a bag of bricks to the face, today we have Switzerland's Promethee unleashing their latest opus “Convalescence”. Featuring nine tracks and over 35 minutes of music, this release is both very direct and yet crafty enough to showcase some cool Melodic/Progressive passages that sets them apart from the rest. Aggressive and yet well refined releases are hard to come by, and with this one, the band continues their musical journey with a more refined and very in-your-face style.
The heavy riffing of the album-titled opener allows the mood to instantly escalate to very hectic and punishing. However, the craftiness of the song structure makes it quite intriguing and melodic at times, in the same vein as the follow up track “While you Stood Still”. One of our favorite tracks is the funky “Endless”, which features a light mood crafted by trippy drumming and playful guitar melodies. It is quite pleasing to hear how the band’s Hardcore/Post-Metal influences brilliantly align with the unique song structures.
Delicately balancing between Progressive and Extreme Metal, today we have the legendary Ihsahn and his seventh full-length release “Àmr”. For over 43 minutes, the master deliver some very unique and forward thinking music that stills retains the hunger and incisiveness of Ihsahn’s earlier work with Emperor while exploring newer and more complex musical directions.
Unleashing an incisive array of keyboards and harsh screams, the album perfectly kicks off with the hectic “Lend Me the Eyes of the Millennia”. This track follows more of Ihsahn’s early work structures, but with a modern and cutthroat edge that no other band has in Extreme Metal. The album’s first single, “Arcana Imperii” with a perfect blend of funky tempo changes and playful drumming that leads to dramatic vocal arrangements and crafty instrumentation. We highly enjoyed the moody clean vocals that give the song a more accessible (to non-extreme metal fans) side while enjoying Ihsahn’s brilliant song writing skills.
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.
With a keen eye for unique and boundary pushing release, today we have the latest Hypnotic Dirge Records release with Odradek Room’s sophomore album “A Man of Silt”. Unleashing over 50 minutes of superbly crafted Progressive Death/Doom Metal, this band merges influences from bands like Anathema and Opeth with lush instrumentations and a very somber mood. If you like complex music with high replay value, this is certainly one of the best releases in 2017 for that.
The intro “Arising in the Void” provides a very dark and somber opening into the band’s unique musical voyage adorned with an Armenian duduk. The release continues to blossom with the transition into heavy guitars and growls in “Selfness”, a 7-minute piece that sets the experimental proggy tone for this album. Hailing from Ukraine, the band crafts very unique songs filled with highly atmospheric passages that are quite intricate and yet lush and filled with emotion, as delivered in “Texture of Reality”.
Unleashing over 55 minutes of brilliant Psychedelic/Progressive Metal, today we have Switzerland’s Echolot and their sophomore release “Volva”. Channeling their inner Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath influences, this three-piece outfit release for very intricate and engaging songs that will keep you engaged from start to end. With tons of bands flocking to these genres, it is quite refreshing to hear new ideas in this release.
The album opens with the groovy proggy guitars of “II”, a track that brilliantly introduces the band’s musical skills and vibe. The warm and fuzzy distortion is quite inviting and eases the listener into Echolot’s sonic world. Slowly building up, “III” continues the album’s progression with Doomy riffs and very moody vocals, greatly enhancing the atmosphere in this release and keeping it diverse and fresh sounding.
Overflowing with creativity and musicianship, today we have Enslaved’s latest opus “E”. Delivering over 45 minutes superbly catchy Progressive Black/Viking Metal, the band continues to refine their explosive sound with a few new tweaks and a whole lot of energy. Just when you think the band can’t get any better, they manage to push the envelope and perfectly balance their old-school elements within the confines of their more modern endeavors.
The album opens with a very light and to a point Post-Rockish vibe on “Storm Son”. This slowly evolves into more Progressive and Enslaved-like territories with dual vocal arrangements, catchy riffs and tight drum patterns. This opener is quite effective as it nicely bridges the band’s last release “In Times”, with what is coming in “E”. The headbanging continues with the extreme catchiness of “The River’s Mouth”, a piece that is quite interesting as the clean vocals remind us a bit of Fear Factory and create a unique contrast.
Hailing from Iran, today we have Progressive Metal outfit Heterochrome and their debut release “Melancholia”. Filled with intricate soundscapes and angelic female vocals, this release is quite engaging and entertaining as it reminds us a bit of outfits like Alas and Echoes of Eternity. Delivering over 30 minutes of music divided in six tracks, this release showcases the many talents of the band and will surely put them in your radar for the future.
Opening with the playful percussions of “Cage”, the band sets a very moody and ethereal opening that hooks the listener but does not reveal the band’s surprises yet. As “Hang” starts we get some brilliant proggy guitars paired with tight drumming as Mida’s vocals effortlessly take center stage. Her vocal range is quite unique and fits perfectly the tempo changes of this song.
Only a few bands manage to write a follow-up to a legendary album and succeed at it. Today we have Vintersorg blowing people away with their follow-up of the seminal “Till fjälls”. In this double release, the band unleashes over 75 minutes of classic Vintersorg music that will never leave your record player for the remainder of the year (possibly a few years). Going back to the basics, this is one release you can’t miss.
The album sets the tone with the intense opener “Jökelväktaren”, filled with soaring vocal arrangements and uber catchy guitar work, this perfectly sets the mood for what is to come. For any fan of Vintersorg, the brilliant combination of epic clean vocals and harsh vocals is one of the best features of their releases, particularly in epic tracks like “En väldig isvidds karga dräkt” and the crushing “Fjällets mäktiga mur”.