Consistently releasing well-crafted and engaging albums, Stratovarius is finally back, after 7 years, with the brilliant “Survive”. Featuring a more bombastic and more dynamic Power Metal style, this release delivers nearly one hour of high-octane signature Stratovarius music with tons of epic vocal arrangements and killer guitar leads paired with intense melodic passages. Well worth the wait, this release will certainly be enjoyed by fans of the band and will gain them some new ones as well.
Opening with the album title track, we are quickly treated to blazing guitars and lush atmospheric arrangements. The band sounds quite fresh and dynamic, around their traditional Power Metal core led by Timo Kotipelto’s gifted vocals. As “Demand”, “Broken”, and “Firefly” roll around, we continue to hear the band’s enveloping sound perfectly balancing virtuosity, in both keyboards and guitars, with catchiness, as these songs are quite epic and engaging.
If 2022 wasn’t already a great year in terms of Symphonic Metal releases, Edenbridge returns with another brilliant album titled “Shangri-La”. Featuring their signature high-octane and cinematic sound, Lanvall and company deliver nearly one hour of extremely well crafted immersive music. With each release being a journey on its own, this album perfectly blends Power Metal with lush symphonic arrangements, crafty story telling, and killer vocal arrangements.
Leading with the explosive “At First Light”, the band sets in motion an elegant musical journey, while paying equal attention to both the Symphonic and Metal side of things. We have always been quite impressed with Lanvall’s engaging compositions, and how they are brought to life by band members: Sabine Edelsbacher on vocals, Dominik Sebastian on guitars, Johannes Jungreithmeier on drums, and Steven Hall. Songs are dynamic, explosive and quite engaging as we can hear from “The Call of Eden”, “Hall of Shame”, and the melodramatic “Savage Land”.
Today we have one-man battalion Daidalos and their extremely dynamic and engaging Atmospheric/Symphonic Dark Metal sound. Creating a very cinematic and over the top aural experience, “The Expedition” is one hell of a debut release with elements from bands like Dimmu Borgir, Therion, and Fleshgod Apocalypse, just to name a few. However, the 52+ minutes of music here take a life of their own as they come to life with very lively arrangements and crafty tempo changes, giving Daidalos a signature extreme music sound.
Slowly building momentum with the dramatic opener “Expedition”, we see the band crafting a very cinematic experience by perfectly layering atmospheric elements with crushing guitar riffs and massive drumming. As the album progresses to pieces like “Icewind” and “Sail into the Stars”, it is quite magical how immersive the music feels. The production is top notch, perfectly highlighting elements that need to shine across the well layered ‘Metal’ foundation.
Led by the talented Caterina Nix, Chaos Magic is a Symphonic Metal band with similar style to outfits like Visions of Atlantis, Epica, Nightwish, etc. With so many similar bands in the genre, “Emerge” distinguishes itself as a release with Power and Progressive Metal elements, keeping things lean and direct. Featuring 50 minutes of music, this release is quite dynamic and keeps the listener engaged due to excellent songwriting and dramatic arrangements.
The release sets a mystical mood with the title track, delivering soaring vocal melodies and crafty electronic elements, all of these wrapped around hefty riffs and tight drumming. We particularly enjoyed that the release slowly builds up, and does not ‘explode’ in the listener’s face too quickly, as tracks like: “Beneath your Sin” and “Impossible”. This allows the listener to nicely warm up the band’s style and Caterina’s excellent vocals.
Finally stabilizing their sound and style around lead vocalist Clémentine Delauney, Visions of Atlantis unleashes their best album of their career with “Pirates”. Featuring nearly one hour of music, this release further elaborates on their pirate-related themes and creates a very dynamic and engaging mood thanks to dramatic atmospherics alongside soaring dueling vocals and killer instrumentation.
Setting a very regal mood thanks to its lush vocal arrangements and lively guitar leads, “Pirates Will Return” perfectly opens this very engaging release. The band showcases its versatility with the moody duets of “Melancholy Angel”, the over the top symphonic arrangements of “Master The Hurricane”, and the playfulness of “Clocks”. All pieces are perfectly brought to life with the masterful vocal duets of Clémentine Delauney and Michele "Meek" Guaitoli, perfectly boosted by excellent drumming and crushing guitar solos.
Constantly evolving, American outfit Our Dying World returns with their latest release “Hymns Of Blinding Darkness”, with an engaging Symphonic/Gothic Metal sound. While not extremely polished and still a bit rough around the edges, this outfit delivers nearly 40 minutes of exciting music showcasing good skill and promising songwriting abilities.
After setting the mood with the opener “Ars Moriendi”, the band unleashes “Everything We Know Is Gone”, a track that has a Dark Lunacy vibe, with additional Power/Symphonic Metal elements in the relentless guitar work and keyboards. This style works very well for the band as they deliver engaging songs like “Under The Hunter's Blade”, “Survivor”, and “Path Of The Nomad”.
Creating a very unique mixture of Black/Death/Gothic Metal, today we have Russia’s Saphath and their debut full-length release “Ascension of the Dark Prophet”. Delivering over 44 minutes of music, the ten tracks in this release nicely blend elements from bands like Behemoth, Moonspell, Epica, Dark Tranquillity, and creates a very bombastic and engaging listening experience with tons of hidden details to discover.
Opening with the lush “Children of the Night”, the band delivers vibrant guitars alongside a mixture of aggressive vocals and crafty tempo changes. The music is heavy, but with enough room to incorporate melodic passages and fierce guitar solos. This more melodic and bombastic nature comes front and center in pieces like “Outcast of Eden”, the gothic “Darkness Unleashed”, and the Moonspell-esque “Broken Mirror”. All tracks blend their influences quite well, and still manage to deliver a certain modern Metal edge as shown in “The Daughter of Ice Pains”.
Fronted by the charismatic Chiara Tricarico, today we have a superbly bombastic release filled with Symphonic/Gothic and Power Metal elements titled “Animus”. As the third full-length release of Moonlight Haze, the band shows maturity and refinement in their style, delivering almost 45 minutes of catchy and engaging music
Opening with “The Nothing”, we instantly get that lush and explosive vibe of bands like Nightwish, Visions of Atlantis, Epica, etc. However, what sets the band apart is Tricarico’s vocals and their own dynamism as shown in the dreamy “It’s Insane”, “Kintsugi” and its lush choral arrangements, and our personal favorite the cinematic “The Thief and the Moon”.
With the barrage of promos we get each month, it is easy to lose track of under the radar releases that are quite interesting. Luckily for us, Nightland’s latest album “The Great Nothing” popped in our queue and hasn’t left after more than a dozen spins. Mixing Progressive elements with a Symphonic Death Metal core, this release unleashes over 47 minutes of highly polished and very engaging music that will appear to fans from bands like Sculptured, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septicflesh, and Arcturus.
The release opens with the crafty “The Conjunction of Benetnash” and its intricate guitar lines paired with dramatic choral arrangements. This opener sets a very intriguing mood as the band’s sound is still yet to fully unravel. With a more mellow approach “For Once My Name” introduces a nice mixture of harsh and clean vocals, having a very epic feeling, a bit like bands like Arcturus, but with a cleaner and more ethereal purpose.
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.