Symphonic Metal

  • Fleshgod Apocalypse – Labyrinth (2013)


    Bigger, better, quicker, and more grandiose seems to be the objective of Fleshgod Apocalypse and their monumental release “Labyrinth”. Having blown people away with the combination of dramatic orchestrations and extreme technical abilities in “Agony”, the band is ready to deliver an even more impressive and monumental release with this album.

    The album kicks off with dramatic operatic vocal arrangements and over the top orchestrations on “Kingborn”. This single opening makes the last Dimmu Borgir album sound like a bunch of kids playing with Protools. In this track the band also delivers their signature Technical Death Metal with hyper fast riffs and killer drumming. “Minotaur (The Wrath of Poseidon)” eases into the picture with a more standard approach featuring killer growls mixed into the rich sound of the band. Don’t be fooled since there are also plenty of memorable melodic passages mixed in between all the brutal sections and lush arrangements.

  • Sirenia – Perils of the Deep Blue (2013)


    Morten Veland and company have returned with a very powerful and engaging Sirenia release under the name of “Perils of the Deep Blue”. In this release we see the band going a bit back in time and bringing back some of the elements that made “Nine Destinies and a Downfall” one of their best releases six years ago. Featuring 11 tracks of majestic Symphonic/Gothic Metal, the band is seriously gunning for Epica’s crown in this genre.

    After the lush and dramatic mood-setting opener “Ducere Me In Lucem”, the band really comes alive with the super catchy “Seven Windows Weep”. In this track we get lush choir arrangements to accompany Ailyn’s hypnotic vocals. With over the top orchestrations, this track and “My Destiny Coming To Pass” really set a very dynamic and overpowering atmosphere. The band also focuses on staying heavy, featuring powerful riffs and aggressive growls.

  • Märchenbilder - Flickering Truth (2013)


    Featuring a great ensemble of talented musicians, today we have Märchenbilder and their very impressive debut release “Flickering Truth”. Formed by James Slainmann (guitars and keyboards) and Julie Belanger Roy (violin, vocals, and viola), the band has since recruited drummer Yanic Bercier (Gone in April, ex-Quo Vadis) as permanent members before the release of this excellent debut. Playing a very bombastic and symphonic Gothic Metal, this band is ready to make their mark on this very crowded and highly competitive genre.

    Immediately after a very dramatic prelude, the song “Märchenbilder” unleashes the goods with haunting female vocals surrounded by excellent orchestrations and a very dramatic and classical vibe. The use of the violin greatly adds to the overall atmosphere of the music, reminding us of the work of Pete Johansen of Tristania and The Sins of Thy Beloved fame. The band’s versatility is show in engaging tracks like “Tel'aran'rhiod” and “Awaken”, were the band combines dramatic string instruments with plenty of different vocal styles.

  • Chthonic - Bú-Tik (2013)


    After gaining quite a boost on outside of Taiwan popularity with “Takasago Army”, Chthonic returns with another very intense and equally interesting release. With “Bú-Tik” the band continues with their very thematic lyrical context and their majestic music that mixes Melodic/Symphonic Black/Death Metal elements with lush arrangements and authentic instrumentation. Proving that their last album was not a fluke, “Bú-Tik” continues with their musical intensity, and delivers ten tracks of top-notch quality.

    The album opens with the very dramatic “Arising Armament”, a lush instrumental intro with a very tense vibe. The band’s musical magic continues with the powerful “Supreme Pain for the Tyrant”, a very aggressive yet atmospheric and catchy track. The vocals of Freddy Lim are impressive, and add that extra level of intensity to the music. “Sail into the Sunset’s Fire” keeps things rolling with blistering drumming and excellent riffing, a highly underrated skill from the band if you ask us. Featuring some excellent solos, this track is one of the best of the album.

  • Pellek – Ocean of Opportunity (2013)


    Today we have Norwegian Metal/Rock vocalist Pellek (Per Fredrik Asly) delivering is sophomore album titled “Ocean of Opportunity”. As a highly ambitious self-released album, Pellek and company (he now has band members for this album cycle) deliver more than 45 minutes of expertly crafted Power/Progressive Metal with a nice dosage of symphonic elements. Being a concept album, the nine tracks in this release nicely come together and keep a very steady and engaging flow making the release very solid and interesting.

    Opening with very regal orchestrations on “Elucidation”, we can immediately enjoy the album’s crystal-clear production and PelleK’s talented vocals. This song is quite powerful and enjoyable, but it holds itself from letting the listener know all that is hidden under Pellek’s bag of tricks. Immediately reminding us of Nightwish, “Northern Wayfarer” makes things more dynamic with lush guitar work and very solid solos.

  • Crownless – Dark Evolution (2011)


    In the very crowded Symphonic/Gothic Metal scene, it is quite the challenge to pick out the gems from the duds.  However, Crownless makes it very easy since their musical style is quite diverse and perfectly executed, delivering ten tracks of majestic music. For all fans of Epica, Xandria, After Forever, etc., this band crafts super catchy songs with excellent melodic elements and even better vocal arrangements.

    Opening with the very engaging “Lost Inside”, we immediately hear the Epic influences in the catchy guitars and solid orchestrations. Vanessa 'Nane' Ramirez vocals are quite powerful and are the perfect signature elements for the band’s music. Things get more dynamic with the exciting “Dark Embrace” and “Ravens in the Storm”, filled with lush vocal arrangements and some awesome guitar work. The band’s ability to combine many other’s elements into a compact and powerful sound is one of their best assets in the scene.

  • Tristania – Darkest White (2013)


    Finally returning with a full length since “Rubicon”, today we have Tristania and their latest opus “Darkest White”. Being one of the few surviving bands of the original wave of Gothic Metal bands from the late 90’s, Tristania has been evolving with time and adapting their sound to be catchier and diverse. Since the departure of their iconic singer Vibeke back in 2007, this band has slowly been coping for this loss with the addition of Mariangela Demurtas and Kjetil Nordhus vocal talents.

    “Darkest White” delivers the best songs of this latest era of the band, delivering over 50 minutes of lush symphonic elements, excellent vocal arrangements, and quite powerful music in general. Opening with “Number”, we immediately thought we had the wrong album playing since this track starts very heavy and almost Black Metal-esque. As the chorus part comes in, we immediately get the traditional Tristania vibe thanks to its richness and catchiness.

  • Embersland – Sunrise (2013)


    Arriving all the way from Spain, today we have the debut release of Embersland, a very interesting and unique band. In “Sunrise” the band mixes elements of Gothic Rock, Symphonic Metal, and even some growls are thrown into the mix to create a very different and enjoyable sound. Featuring almost 50 minutes of music, this self-released album is quite diverse and will constantly keep you guessing what is coming up next.

    Opening with the epic “Why”, the band starts in very HIM-like manner with the deep male vocals. Growls and diverse backing vocals make this track (and album) quite tricky to pin down, and this is one of its best attributes. The keyboard arrangements are quite lush and the guitars quite powerful making for very engaging and enjoyable music. The band’s ability to switch between moods in a song is quite good, and the best example of this is the progression of the song “In Vain”.

  • Atrocity – Okkult (2013)


    Always known for pushing the boundaries of Metal with their quite unique musical vision and extremely unexpected releases, Atrocity this time delivers a very direct and quite ‘traditional’ release that might puzzle some people. Getting slammed by the press for releases like “Werk 80” and “Calling The Rain”, the band sticks to a more traditional approach on “Okkult”. For 12 tracks, this German outfit delivers enjoyable tracks that will surely get the attention of older Atrocity fans and fans of Melodic/Symphonic Death Metal from the early 2000’s.

    Opening with the Therion/Cradle of Filth-esque “Pandaemonium”, the band seems to be on track for a very direct and powerful release. The choir arrangements are quite chilling and they are greatly countered by Alexander Krull’s powerful growls. “Death By Metal” takes us back to the earlier days of Death Metal with crushing riffs and crazy solos, a great contrast from the first and following tracks, but solid nonetheless. The symphonic arrangements come back on songs like “March Of The Undying” and “Murder Blood Assassination”, both very catchy and effective tracks.

  • Delain – Interlude (2013)


    We at Infernal Masquerade are not huge fans of compilation releases, but when it comes to one of our favorite bands, Delain, we have to make an exception and review “Interlude”. Featuring two brand new songs, three cover songs, two ‘different versions’ of tracks from “We Are The Others”, and a few live songs, this release is mainly for hardcore fans and collectors of the band.

    Keeping their more accessible and even Pop-ish sound on “Breathe On Me”, the band delivers a catchy tune that is quite enjoyable. Charlotte’s vocals are as angelic as ever, and the slow tempo allows them to shine nicely. Martijn Westerholt does a solid job providing lush keyboards that carry the chorus section of the song. “Collars And Suits” keeps the band’s tradition of excellent Symphonic elements offset by killer guitars and the charisma of the band’s vocalist. We have to say that this is the best song of the release, and up to par with the best from “We Are The Others”.


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