Symphonic Metal

  • Trail of Tears – Oscillation (2013)

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    Delivering their swan song release, today we have Trail of Tears and possibly one of their best albums in their career: “Oscillation”. Surrounded by crazy drama over their facebook page and plastered all over the internet, and internal struggle once more has destroyed this band with Ronny Thorsen finally opting (for now) to put the band to rest. Featuring 13 tracks and over 50 minutes of intense and lush Symphonic/Gothic Metal, this release marks the seventh and final release of a great band.

    Drama aside, “Oscillation” features very emotional tracks that bring the band back to their “Disclosure in Red” style, in terms of melancholy and raw emotions. “Waves of Existence” opens this release with lush symphonic sections and very melancholic vocals from Catherine Paulsen. The atmosphere feels very emotional and quite catchy indeed. Other tracks like “Scream Out Loud” have a more pop-ish feeling similar to bands like Amaranthe and Unsun.

  • Visions of Atlantis – Ethera (2013)

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    After blowing us away with “Delta”, we had high expectations for “Ethera” and the band seemed to drop the ball on a few tracks in this release making it less impressive. However, not all is lost and Visions of Atlantis manages to deliver some good and bombastic songs that make up for the ground lost by some of the inferior tracks.

    With “Delta” achieving an awesome level of explosiveness and bombastic elements, the band tries to start “Ethera” with a similar approach but introducing some futuristic keyboard sounds that don’t really work with the rest of the elements in this release. “The Ark” is a clear example of this, making it sound very disconnected. On “Machinage” near the end there are some truly horrible spoken sections accompanied by some robotic auto-tune like effects that just made us want to pierce our eardrums.

  • Serenity – War Of Ages (2013)

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    After their breakthrough release “Death & Legacy”, Serenity seems to be easing into their own bombastic sound with “War Of Ages”. Incorporating a full-time female vocalist (Clémentine Delauney), the band delivers ten tracks filled with lush orchestrations and very dynamic arrangements. Any fan of Symphonic Metal with some Progressive and Power Metal elements will be eating this one for breakfast… and the rest of the day for countless weeks.

    Starting strong with the super catchy “Wings of Madness”, a track that has a killer chorus section and excellent vocal duets, the band shows that their last release was not a fluke. The combination of Georg Neuhauser and Clémentine’s vocals has great chemistry and they sound great in this track (and release in general). In the very Epica-like “The Art of War” and “Shining Oasis”, the band shows their skills on faster paced and more dynamic songs while keeping their own signature sound.

  • Tales of the Old - The Passageway from Hell to Earth (2012)

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    Presenting three very bombastic Symphonic Metal tracks, today we have Tales of the Old and their EP “The Passageway from Hell to Earth”. With a style combining elements of bands like Therion and older Nightwish, this band excels in creating very dark atmospheres around lush vocals and powerful guitars. For around 12 minutes this band gives you the perfect introduction to their dark and somber world.

    Opening with a very somber piano intro, “Dark Witch” immediately explodes into a full-fledged Symphonic Metal anthem with excellent keyboards and punishing guitars. The clean-male vocals reminded us a bit of Snowy Shawn from Therion, but what pushes this song over the edge for us is the super creepy children’s choir arrangements. The female vocals of Androniki Skoula are very powerful and nicely complement the atmosphere of this track.

  • Silent Wings – Revolution Unfolding (2012)

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    Just as we got our entire facts ready for this review, we found out that the band has parted ways with a member and that this release will probably never see the light of day… commercially that is. That aside, today we have Silent Wings and an extremely awesome Symphonic Metal EP release titled “Revolution Unfolding”. Lead by the beautiful vocals of Rhea Gawlicka, this band shows unlimited potential with eight excellent compositions that are very bombastic and melodic in nature.

    Similar to Within Temptation, After Forever, etc., this band is not claiming to be revolutionary or anything, they just play one mean Symphonic Metal that can compete with any of the previously mentioned bands. After a very epic intro, “Nobody’s Savior” reminds us a bit of Serenity (sans the male vocals) and its very epic and melancholic atmosphere. Marta’s vocals are just outstanding since they are firm and very beautiful, making her one of the best female vocalists for this kind of music. Further evidence of this is can be found in the very dramatic “Into the Void”, one of our favorite tracks in this release, the same can be said about the powerful ballad “Out of Hell”.

  • Kerion – Cloudriders Part 1 (2012)

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    Delivering a 63-minute Symphonic Power Metal epic, today we have France’s Kerion and their super bombastic release “Cloudriders – Part 1”. Borrowing from epic bands like Raphsody of Fire, this release is as lush and well-crafted as they come showing heaps of creativity and technical skills.

    Opening with the epic “Riders Theme”, the band immediately makes their orchestrations be felt as well as their killer guitar work. The whole fantasy vibe is perfectly delivered in “The Map”, another excellent track with very dynamic vocal arrangements. In songs like “Bounty Hunter” and “Never More” the band really shows their Power Metal foundations with excellent musicianship and very solid male and female vocal sections.

  • Kamelot – Silverthorn (2012)

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    Bouncing back from losing their signature vocalist Roy Khan, today we have Kamelot and their tenth full-length release “Silverthorn”. In this album, the band shakes off the loss with twelve epic tracks of very Symphonic Progressive Power Metal fronted by their new vocalist Tommy Karevik and a wide varied of guest vocalists (female) as well as some killer choir arrangements. The band’s sound seems bit more dark and gothic in this release, but the change of vocalist has really been minimized by Karevik’s excellent singing abilities and the band’s music writing skills.

    With keyboards and orchestrations in charge of Oliver Palotai, the band opens with a the very symphonic “Manus Dei”. In this intro track, the band indeed sounds more like Epica or Therion than Kamelot. Thomas Youngblood’s riffing is finally felt on the opening of “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)”, a track that actually sounds a bit like Within Temptation in their “Mother Earth” era. This changes once Karevik’s vocals come into play, but interestingly enough the band goes into some choir sections very quick, leaving his vocal appearances in this track to be less than the choir parts.

  • Therion - Les Fleurs du Mal (2012)

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    Celebrating their 25th year anniversary, today we have Therion and their latest opus “Les Fleurs du Mal”. In this very unique release, we have Therion doing what Atrocity did with their “Werk 80” release, but with French songs from the 60’s and 70’s, going for an even more retro approach. In the last release we thought that Therion was winding down since the album was “more of the same” and not much to write home about, but they have managed to revive themselves with this very interesting and engaging track that will have you falling in love with the band once again.

    Cranking out fifteen tracks in 45 minutes, the band delivers quite a different spectrum when it comes to styles used in the covers of songs. Songs like the opener “Poupée de cire, poupée de son” have the signature Therion sound, but other like “Une fleur dans le cœur” show a completely different side of the band. We are most impressed with how Christofer Johnsson and company managed to transform these original French songs a bit into the Therion sound, and some of them even have a certain Victorian flair to them (like “Soer Angelique”). This makes this release quite a delight to discover how each of the songs presented in this release (if you know them from before) will sound with the sonic overhaul.

  • Upon Wings – The Dream (2012) Single

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    In the age where marketing is everything for young and upcoming bands, it is quite a joy to be reached by one of those ‘upcoming projects’ and have the chance of reviewing ‘their’ first single titled “The Dream”. Upon Wings is a female-fronted, one person band (for what we can find), that mixes very beautiful operatic style vocals (courtesy of mezzo-soprano Anne Erickson) with a hypnotic atmospheric vibe.

    The band’s debut single “The Dream” is a 3 minute long track that also has a very interesting video to accompany it. We can’t really hear any guitars, drums or any Metal or Rock elements, but we do get some haunting vocal arrangements and a very ethereal atmosphere. The vocal layering is quite interesting and we can’t wait to hear what else this band can come up with in the future. This first single track shows promise and only time will tell if Upon Wings can deliver in terms of a full-length release, until then go and checkout their video here

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

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    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.

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