Symphonic Metal

  • Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Ascending to Infinity (2012)


    Our initial impression of the latest ‘Rhapsody’ (Luca Turilli’s incarnation of it) is HOLY SHIT. The man has shown over the years that he is a brilliant musician and with the ridiculously over the top “Ascending to Infinity” he answers to all the skeptics a big: I am Rhapsody. Featuring nine brilliant tracks of Symphonic Metal, this is one of those albums that you need to hear at least 100 times to fully discover all the little details and brilliance behind it.

    After the epic mood –setter “Quantum X”, things blow up with the playful “Ascending to Infinity”. In this track, the guitars are flowing, the orchestral arrangements are very classical sounding, but Alessandro Conti’s vocals steal the show. Coming from the relatively unknown band “Trick or Treat”, this new singer delivers every single line to perfection. The over the top feeling is not saturated as with other overly ambitious bands, and the tempo changes are very well crafted.

  • Devilish Impressions – Simulacra (2012)


    Making quite an impact since the first song, today we have Poland’s Devilish Impressions latest release titled “Simulacra”. Being properly released through Lifeforce records this July, this is one of those albums that combines so many different elements in a very cohesive and successful way, making it super diverse and extremely exciting.

    “Icaros” opens with release with a mixture of Vintersorg meets Dimmu Borgir atmosphere, thanks to the hefty use of synths and the awesome clean vocals. Setting the bar this high, the band also delivers pretty solid melodic Black/Death-ish music that is very direct and well crafted. The atmospheric side of things keeps making this album very appealing in “Legion of Chaos”, but it is the massive drumming and heavy riffing that ultimately makes this song super catchy and effective.

  • Winter Haze – Silent Deception (2011)


    Today we have Italy’s Winter Haze delivering an exciting Symphonic Metal EP release titled “Silent Deception”. Featuring four tracks, this EP showcases a very mature and interesting band that can write and execute superbly melodic songs. The band’s biggest asset besides their musical skills is the sweet and unique voice of Giorgia Marra and its powerful range, making them immediately a force to be reckoned in this very crowded genre.

    Opening with a jazzy sax intro to the track “Cross the Sea”, this release sets the mood very effectively. The guitar work is pretty standard and very catchy, allowing Giorgia’s vocals to shine very nicely. Mixing clean male vocals and grunts with the classically trained female vocals is far from revolutionary, but when done right (like here) it is very effective and powerful. This track also has some nice vocal layering that gives it a very professional and dramatic edge.

  • Malevolence Records – 2012 European Tour Sampler (2012)


    In an action packed sampler, today we have Malevolence Records “2012 European Tour Sampler” featuring 4 different bands and two tracks each, a new one and an older one. With a nice spread of different musical genres (Thrash Metal and Melodic Death/Black Metal) this release is quite entertaining and shows promises for the upcoming releases of bands like KAOS and Septic Christ.

    Tracks one and five belong the American Thrash Metal act KAOS. Their brand of high-octane Thrash Metal was greatly received with their last release titled “Pits of Existence” from which “Let God Sort Them Out” comes from. The new track “Infernal Bleeding” continues where the band left off and delivers super guitar work and excellent drumming. The vocals are pretty standards and aggressive enough to keep fans of ‘more brutal’ genres interested. This track has a nice melodic edge to it and we can only hope their upcoming release “Validated in Blood” is as good as this song.

  • Epica – Requiem for the Indifferent (2012)


    As one of the band’s most elaborate and grandiose albums, today we have Epica’s highly awaited “Requiem for the Indifferent”.  Packing in around 71 minutes of music in 13 tracks, this release is by far the band’s most musically ambitious release to date. While marinating their traditional Gothic/Symphonic Metal approach, Epica manages to incorporate Progressive elements into their already excellent sound, and end up with a release that is as complex as it is long.

    In a similar fashion to MaYaN’s “Quarterpast”, this release requires more than a few spins before it really starts to sink in and you will start to enjoy it. While we think it is great that a band is making an effort in growing as musicians and making their sound a bit more complex, this might also alienate some fans that just like plain bombastic songs they can cheer/headbang to. “Requiem for the Indifferent” is not all very complex, but it feels like much more of an effort has to be put to it to be really enjoyed.

  • Diabulus In Musica – The Wanderer (2012)


    As one of the very few internationally recognized Gothic Metal bands from Spain, today we have Diabulus In Musica and their Napalm Records debut release “The Wanderer”. Greatly improving on their debut full-length “’Secrets”, the band consolidates their sound and delivers 12 tracks of brilliantly crafted Gothic/Symphonic Metal that will bring comparisons to Epica, Nightwish, etc.

    Revolving around the heavenly vocals of Zuberoa Aznárez (we challenge you to say the name 5 times straight), “The Wanderer” feels a lot more mature than their previous effort in the sense that all tracks are more concise and everything shines at its own pace. After the bombastic intro, “Ex Nihilo” shines with heavy guitars, intricate drumming and very enchanting choir sections. This song indeed sounds a lot like Epica but when Zuberoa’s vocals kick in, it takes a whole new dimension. Very sweet and commanding, her voice is one of the signatures of the band and sounds like none other.

  • Xandria – Neverworld’s End (2012)


    Many people (including us) thought that Xandria was finished when their iconic vocalist Lisa Schaphaus-Middelhauve left the band back in 2009, but with their latest album “Neverworld’s End” the band sounds better than ever and are turning heads and convincing non-believer. Taking on a more bombastic sound, the band fully uses Manuela Kraller soprano vocals to song like a real Gothic/Symphonic Metal band should and blow listeners away with a very rich and diverse sound.

    One thing that came immediately to us after the first few spins of this release is that “Neverworld’s End” actually sounds a lot like early Nightwish when Tarja was in charge of the vocals. Before all haters go and complain about this we must say that while playing similar music, Xandria feels very refreshing since most of the good Gothic/Symphonic bands are not trying to sound pop-ish and commercial friendly. This leaves the field completely open to bands that stick to was good a few years ago and still manage to sound Metal enough.

  • Infinita Symphonia – A Mind’s Chronicle (2011)


    Arriving all the way from Italy to North America through End of Light records, today we have Infinita Symphonia and their debut full-length release “A Mind’s Chronicle”. With their traditional Power/Heavy Metal approach that features some symphonic elements as the album progresses, this Italian band delivers around 55 minutes of excellent music that while not very original, it is very well crafted and perfectly executed.

    Opening with the powerful “Lost in My Own Brain” the band shows their chops in creating catchy and effective songs. The layered vocal sections are top notch and the guitar work is very well crafted, there are even some ‘harsh’ screams to add to the intensity of the track. “Mighty Storm” delivers more waves of crunchy riffs and very potent vocals, but the guitar work around the 3 minute mark is what takes the spotlight in this song. There is nothing overly pretentious and exaggerated about Infinita Symphonia’s music, and this is what makes them so good.

  • Beto Vázquez Infinity – Existence (2011)


    ”Existence” marks the ’bands’ 4th full-length album, and it is clearly their most impressive and ambitious release to date. With a vast array of guest musicians, this release is one of THE Melodic Metal/Rock albums of the year, even though it was released in 2010 elsewhere, we recently received a copy of the North American edition thru End of Light records.

    With this double album, Beto Vázquez has managed to put together a very eclectic mix of musicians and each of the 20 songs combines powerful melodies with outstanding vocals. While the guest musician list is huge, is not as impressive as the ones from bands/projects as Star One, Ayreon and Avantasia. Most of the guests in this album, with the exception of Timo Tolkki, might be considered from the ‘B list’ of Metal, but they are equally talented and are just a bit less known that the ones on the ‘A list’ of Metal. We particularly like this approach since it allows the listener to discover lesser known bands due to the performances of their vocalists.

  • Lapis Lazuli – A Justified Loss (2011)


    Cranking out their second full-length release in 2011, today we have Lapis Lazuli and “A Justified Loss”. In this release the band delivers over 43 minutes of high-octane Symphonic/Gothic Metal graced by the beautiful vocals of Frida Eurenius. If you are a fan of Visions of Atlantis, Epica, Sirenia, and Xandria, you will love this release.

    After the traditional instrumental opener “Facing Demons”, the band comes at us with the bombastic “Leaving Scars”. In this song the keyboards are cranked up to 11 and provide a lush background to Frida’s vocals. While the band’s approach to the genre is very typical and traditional, the songs presented in “A Justified Loss” are very entertaining and demand a high-replay count in order to fully digest them.


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