Hailing from Italy, today we have one-man dream machine Neutra and its latest hypnotic opus “Music for an Exhibition”. Delivering five tracks of superb ethereal music, this is one of the most engaging and transforming Ambient releases we have heard in a while. Evoking the delicate precision and ambiance created by Robert Rich, this Italian band manages to captivate for the complete duration of this release.
The album kicks off with the angelic “After The Flood” and its very dramatic piano sections. Having very subtle mood changes, this opener tracks sets a very enigmatic and dreamy stage. Continuing with the playful “Paranthenogenesis”, the mood shifts to a more space-like cinematic vibe. Our personal favorite is the somber “Point of View” and its dramatic progression.
Hailing from the USA, today we have the very unique and promising debut release from Tine. Titled “The Forest Dreams of Black”, this debut album delivers over nine tracks of a very solid blend of Symphonic Black/Death Metal. As a two-person outfit, this band mixes elements from old-school greats like Bal-Sagoth, Limbonic Art and Canada’s Necronomicon. As a very atypical North American release, this album is definitely worth your time.
Opening with the pyscho sexy riffs of “Enter the Black Forest”, the band sets a very intoxicating mood. With Count Murmur handling all the guitars, bass guitar, vocals, and programmed drums, the band still manages to sound like a real band and not some dude in his parents basement. In “Horrors at Antioch”, the solid integration of the musical base-layer and Vanth’s keyboards creates a very eerie atmosphere and reminds us of Limbonic Art and some of the early days of Charmand Grimloch’s Tartaros.
Delivering twelve tracks of brilliant Symphonic Rock/Metal, today we have super group Phantasma and their debut release “The Deviant Hearts”. Featuring Delain’s Charlotte Wessels, Everon’s Oliver Philipps and Georg Neuhauser of Serenity fame, this band is one of the most ambitious outfits in this musical space. The band does not disappoint with brilliant songs and even more impressive guest appearances to round up an excellently crafted release, if you are a fan of symphonic/melodic music, you will not want to miss this one.
Opening with the very solemn “Incomplete”, we are instantly pleased with the excellent duet of Charlotte and Georg. After starting on a dark note, the album quickly picks up with the mellow opening of “The Deviant Hearts”. Featuring Tom Englund in this bombastic song, all fans of either Delain or Evergrey will instantly geek out due to the way both singer’s vocals blend in this track. After a very Delain-ish “Runaway Gray”, the ballad “Try” greatly showcases Chloe Lowery and Dennis Schunke’s vocal talents in a very dramatic and epic way, easily one of the best tracks in this release.
Releasing nearly an album per year since 2008, today we have Amberian Dawn and their latest opus “Innuendo”. These highly productive Fins deliver ten brilliantly crafted Symphonic Power Metal tracks that will appeal both traditional Power Metal and Gothic/Symphonic Metal fans alike. Having quickly moved on from replacing their original iconic vocalist, Päivi Virkkunen vocals are a very interesting mixture of Doro-meets-Timo Kotipelto.
Quickly opening with the intense “Fame & Gloria”, we are taking into a very balanced world of Nightwish-meets-Sonata Arctica, with the solid guitar works and Päivi’s angelic but powerful vocals. Seamlessly integrating lush atmospheric elements into the music, the band delivers songs like “Ladyhawk” and “Innuendo”, both of which will keep you headbanging from start to finish. If you like more Symphonic/Gothic Metal things, tracks like “The Court of Mirror Hall” and the ballad “Aneglique” have less dominant Power Metal vibe, but are still within the band’s comfort zone.
Hailing from Spain, today we have Embersland and their very catchy and well-crafted Symphonic/Gothic Metal with some Power Metal elements thrown into the mix. Featuring nine tracks and around 48 minutes of music, this release is an emotional rollercoaster filled with powerful guitars, tight drumming, and masterfully led by the vocals of Will, May and Xavi. Appealing to a wide spectrum of listeners, “Dark Ages” is one memorable release.
Opening with the 9 minute playful piece “Sunrise (Part II)”, the band instantly showcases their evolution since their 2013 release. With more focused songwriting and more mature skills, this track features majestic vocal melodies and emotional keyboards. The band nicely keeps up the initial track’s momentum with solid songs like “Closer”, “Hope”, and the superbly catchy “WTF…Fuck Off!”, which has a killer chorus section. It is quite evident that the band is nicely maturing as their sound is very cohesive with all their elements coming together quite nicely.
Continuing with the momentum of the band’s latest masterpiece “Sacrificium”, today we have Xandria and their bombastic EP “Fire & Ashes”. Featuring 35 minutes of music that span a few new songs, some re-recorded tracks and two covers, this is enough material to hold off any fan of the band and the genre until the band’s new record is ready.
Opening with a bombastic explosion, “Voyage of the Fallen”, delivers a very Epica-esque track that features very dynamic choir arrangements and a very dramatic musical progression. The band’s explosive sound is in full swing with this very apt opener, with Dianne van Giersbergen’s vocals shining from start to end. Changing the pace into a more melodic and head banging mode, the lush melodic passages of “Unembraced” make them perfect to start head banging. Both of these tracks are completely new and recorded especially for this release.
Delivering one of the most bombastic and ridiculously epic releases of 2015, today we have Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody with “Prometheus”. Vastly improving over their 2012 “Ascending to Infinity” the band elevates its game to reach new heights in terms of lush cinematic experiences. If you could imagine Therion paired with Blind Guardian and old Stratovarius, that is exactly what this album sounds like.
Building a very dramatic opening with “Il Cigno Nero”, the band’s signature intense tempo and theatrical vibe is felt instantly through Alessandro Conti’s vocals and Luca Turilli’s talented musical composition skills. The extreme usage of orchestrations and choir arrangements greatly pays off on tracks like “Anahata”, the dramatic “One Ring to Rule them All”, and the majestic “Prometheus”. The basic Power Metal core aspect of the band’s sound is kept very tidy through Alex Landenburg’s drumming and Patrice Guers’s bass guitar lines.
Arriving from France this week we have Evolvent and their sophomore release “Whatever Happens”. Catering to fans of Visions of Atlantis, Trail of Tears and Voices of Destiny, this band delivers ten excellent tracks that are quite enjoyable thanks to their commanding female vocals and creative song structures.
Immediately after the intro we have the superbly catchy “Win or Die”, a song that showcases Emma Elvaston’s talents and the band’s knack for atmospheric compositions. As things progress to catchier and craftier songs like “Hurricane” and “Love Doesn’t Love Me”, the band shows their versatility with solid riffs and very precise drumming, with some growls thrown into the mix.
From the creative mind of Heidi Parviainen (ex-Amberian Dawn), today we have a very diverse and refreshing Symphonic/Gothic Metal album titled “Behind the Black Veil”. With more of a cinematic/theatrical approach than your traditional Symphonic/Gothic Metal band, Dark Sarah delivers a very engaging release filled with guest appearances and expertly crafted melodies.
Telling the story of Sarah, this release sets the backdrop of the story with the opening tracks “Save Me”, “Poison Aple” and “Hide and Seek”, all of which feature a more passive and theater-like approach to them. The music is quite well crafted and Heidi’s vocals instantly charm the listener into continuing their journeys. Things move into more familiar territories with “Memories Fall”, a song that features a guest appearance from Manuela Kraller. While more of your typical song for the genre, it nicely keeps the album and story progression going with a more bombastic and explosive piece.
Featuring all the right ingredients to make a great Symphonic Metal band, today we have Enemy of Reality and their bombastic debut release “Rejected Gods”. Filled with catchy vocal melodies and excellent atmospheric passages, these newcomers from Greece deliver the WOW factor with 45 minutes of brilliant music.
After the typical warm-up intro, the band starts things with the super catchy “My Own Master”, a track that features Mike LePond handling the bass guitar duties. In this song we are gladly impressed by the very mellow and yet powerful vocal performances, allowing Iliana Tsakiraki to instantly standout. The band’s music is much like your Serenity / Sirenia type of Symphonic Metal with Gothic elements, and they greatly interate their guest vocals into the band’s unique groove as we can hear in “Needle Bites” which incidentally features Ailyn from Sirenia.