Symphonic Metal

  • Delain - Apocalypse & Chill (2020)

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    Consistently pushing their sound and delivering excellent releases, today we have Delain’s fifth full-length release “Apocalypse & Chill”. With a very modern concept and image, the band unleashes 13 hyper catchy songs that are full of lush orchestrations and the signature angelic vocals of Charlotte Wessels. If you are a fan of the band, this release will certainly rank among their best, after a small adaptation period.

    Opening with style, “One Second” sets a very bombastic and explosive mood. The band’s well oiled machinery seemingly effortlessly crafts one intense and lush opener. As the band experiments with some electronic elements on tracks like “We Had Everything”, “To Live is to Die”, and “Chemical Redemption”, we get a slight modern Within Temptation and Amaranthe edge, but of course with Delain’s brilliant balance of melody and crunchy guitars. While the band hasn’t gone full-on mainstream Pop-ish Metal, this release does hedge them a bit more into that space.

  • Serenity - The Last Knight (2020)

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    Unleashing one of the most cinematic and lively releases of 2020, today we have Serenity and “The Last Knight”. Featuring over 47 minutes of high-octane over-the-top Symphonic Power Metal, this album is ready to rock all fans of the band and gain them some more. Slowly over the years the band has been refining their sound and as a well-oiled machine, this release showcases their best attributes delivered through eleven intense songs.

    Setting a very regal mode with the album title track as the opener, we get the band’s lush arrangements leading into the explosive “Invictus”. Georg Neuhauser again delivers commanding lead vocals surrounded by dramatic choirs and killer guitar leads. This type of explosiveness as gained wide recognition to the band, and tracks like “Set the World on Fire” and “Keeper of the Knights” majestically demonstrate the band’s bombasticness.

  • Amberian Dawn - Looking for You (2020)

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    Unleashing their latest bombastic Symphonic/Power Metal opus, today we have Amberian Dawn with “Looking for You”. Featuring a very retro and yet futuristic vibe, the band delivers over 40 minutes of lush music filled with captivating vocals and superbly catchy arrangements. If you are a fan of bands like Avantasia, Sonata Arctica and similar, you will not be disappointed by this release.

    The album opens with the sonically brilliant “United”. Delivering retro synths that give you an 80’s vibe, this track is quite catchy as this majestically pairs with Capri’s signature vocals. With a heavy emphasis on dramatic futuristic (for the 80’s) synths, tracks like “Eternal Fire Burning”, “Looking for You”, and the explosive “Two Blades”, create a very upbeat and playful atmosphere. The dynamic sound of the band nicely keeps the listener engaged thanks to its craftiness.

  • Visions of Atlantis - Wanderers (2019)

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    Opening with “Renegades - A Lost Generation”, we get a Wintersun-esque oriental-influenced opening that transforms into a full on headbanging jam. The band’s style is as catchy as always, but quite different. The dramatic keyboards and catchy riffs are quite engaging and powerful. Mixing in some clean vocals and epic chorus sections, “Tornado” continues with a high-octane vibe and very polished melodic arrangements. With “Himmel Und Feuer” the band keeps up the lively atmosphere with yet another hyper catchy tune that will be stuck in your head for days to come. Just think of a mixture of Laibach, Wintersun and hints of VNV Nation mixed together.

    The album starts very strong with the lush “Release My Symphony”, the longest and most dramatic song in this release. We particularly love the mood changes throughout the song and the very engaging chorus section. Having a certain early Nightwish vibe, the album is designed to highlight the masterful orchestrations and vocals. As tracks like “Heroes of the Dawn” and “A Journey to Remember” make their way, the band nicely plays with the level of intensity of the music, allowing listeners to settle into the journey brought forth in this release.

  • Timo Tolkki’s Avalon - Return to Eden (2019)

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    Being huge fans of Stratovarius, we have always been following what Timo Tolkki is up to since he was one of the main reasons we loved that band. Finally after four years, his Avalon project returns with “Return to Eden”, an album featuring over 50 minutes of brilliant Symphonic Power Metal. Filled with the traditional start-studded guest appearances and engaging compositions, this release continues Timo’s legacy as one of the premier Power Metal composers.

    The album starts with a bang after setting a very epic mood with the intro, in “Promises” we are instantly treated to Timo’s guitar wizardry and poignant Power Metal songwriting skills. The vocal arrangements are masterful as always, perfectly delivered by guest male vocalists Todd Michael Hall, Zak Stevens and Eduard Hovinga. Songs with duets like the album title track featuring Mariangela Demurtas, or the magical “Hear My Call”, featuring none other than Anneke van Giersbergen on vocals, are just the signature style of Avalon and we love it.

  • Fleshgod Apocalypse - Veleno (2019)

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    Hailing from Italy, Fleshgod Apocalypse has stormed the Symphonic Metal scene with their highly refined orchestral brutality. Perfectly blending dramatic orchestrations with complex Death Metal elements, this band delivers some of the most extreme melodic music ever written. With “Veleno”, the band further expands on their heavier side with brutal passages, and on their more melodic and theatrical side with very dramatic vocal arrangements and mellow interludes.

    Opening with the ravaging brutality of “Fury”, the band makes their skills do the talking since the first song. Perfectly delivering crushing Death Metal riffs and growls in between dramatic choral arrangements, this track is quite a way to start the release. Moving on to “Carnivorous Lamb” and “Sugar”, the band showcases their dramatic orchestral layers and vicious guitar leads in yet another brutal piece. The combination of male harsh vocals, mad male clean vocals, and sweet female clean vocals works quite well and adds extra contrast to these tracks.

  • Myrath - Shehili (2019)

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    Hailing from Tunisia, Myrath has gained popularity and critical acclaim thanks to their very lively Progressive Metal sound beautifully adorned with Middle Eastern Folk elements. Gradually refining their style and songwriting skills, with “Shehili” the band delivers one of their most complete and fun albums to date. Featuring over 47 minutes of superb music presented in 12 lush tracks, the band creates a very unique and engaging atmosphere that is hard to imitate.

    After setting a very mystical and exotic mood with the intro “Asl”, the band fully shines with the dramatic “Born to Survive”. Providing a cinematic experience, Myrath quickly immerses the listener into their own world. Not used only as a gimmick, the band’s unique Middle Eastern elements are ingrained into the music’s DNA, like on the dramatic percussions and keyboards of “You’ve Lost Yourself”, or the tempo and adornments of “Dance”, and the soaring vocal arrangements of “Wicked Dice”. Similarly to Orphaned Land, the band perfectly brings something from their culture and heritage into their music, creating a very lively and engaging sound.

  • Abyssic - High the Memory (2019)

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    Unleashing a monumental symphonic/atmospheric Doom Metal release, today we have Norway’s Abyssic and their sophomore release “High the Memory”. With some members being quite active in the Norwegian Metal scene, this band crafts a very unique and sinister vibe that is quite eerie and oppressive in nature. If you are looking for a Doom version of Fleshgod Apocalypse or similar symphonic outfits, Abyssic is the closest you will get.

    The album creates a monstrous atmosphere with the opener “Adoration”, a track that features prominent guitar riffs and crushing growls, courtesy of band’s mastermind Memnoch. Things get heavier and even more atmospheric as the album title track rolls in with its 20 minutes of sweeping brutality. This track is expertly adorned with fragile keyboards and dramatic orchestrations, creating a very powerful contrast between the growls and the lush atmospherics.

  • Delain - Hunter’s Moon (2019)

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    Keeping to their tradition of intense and bombastic releases, Delain unleashes “Hunter’s Moon” a very lively EP which features four new tracks and ten live songs. As a small taste of what is to come, this release showcases the band firing on all cylinders as their music continues to mature and evolve. While capturing the band’s live energy, the live songs in this release cover some of the band’s greatest hits with the help of Marco Hietala on vocals.

    The album leads with the first single, “Masters of Destiny”, a track that showcases Charlotte’s characteristic vocals in a very dramatic and fantasy-like setting. We particularly love how the band contrasts dramatic orchestral/choral arrangements with commanding riffs, creating a very epic and immersive sound. Things transition into heavier territories with the album’s title track, featuring harsh vocals and a faster and more dynamic pace. Showing the band’s versatility and perfect balance between heaviness and melody.

  • Within Temptation - Resist (2019)

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    Very far removed from their days of being a Symphonic Metal powerhouse (“Mother Earth” and “The Silent Force”), Within Temptation returns after four years with “Resist”. Attempting a dead cat bounce, the band puts out an extremely overproduced release that while it might appeal to the fans the band has gained since “The Unforgiven”, it will probably completely turn off their older fan base. We rarely write bad reviews these days as we rather save the time and energy for good releases that deserve to be heard, but “Resist” was just asking for it.

    The album kicks off with the first single, “The Reckoning” a song that takes about 20 seconds to realize it will be bad. With Jacoby Shaddix on guest vocals, yup, the dude from Papa Roach, this track starts the trend of overproduced tracks. The song, while trying to be heavy and melancholic falls completely flat due to their lack of imagination and passion. The trend continues with the futuristic “Endless War”, which at least has some old school vocal arrangements… at times, and the vanilla “Raise Your Banner”, which features Anders Fridén on guest vocals.

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