Quickly returning after the highly emotional 2021 release “Escape of the Phoenix”, Evergrey continues the same path of melancholy with the excellent “A Heartless Portrait: The Orphean Testament”. Featuring over 50 minutes of mellow Progressive/Power Metal, with Tom Englund’s signature vocals, this album just further refines the band’s polished and effective style and delivers exactly what the fans are expecting.
The album opens with the soaring guitars and vocal arrangements of “Save Us”, a very powerful and mood-setting track filled with crafty atmospherics and a hefty dose of catchiness. The band’s mixture of explosiveness with melancholy oozes from pieces like “Midwinter Calls” and “Ominous”, one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to the amazing vocal arrangements and killer guitar leads. For those preferring the band’s Power ‘ballads’, “Call out the Dark” is a fine addition.
Back in the day, Agathodaimon was one of those bands that pushed Black Metal into Symphonic/Gothic territories with some brilliant releases like “Blacken the Angel” and “Higher Art of Rebellion”. Unfortunately the band split up in 2014, leaving behind great promise and a very solid and unique sound. Fast forward to 2022, Sathonys is back with Chris Bonner on vocals and a set of new members with “The Seven”.
Featuring ten tracks and around 45 minutes of music, this release feels a bit exploratory, unleashing some killer tracks alongside some odd elements that take a few listens to fully digest. As “La Haine” rolls in with piercing riffs, hellish harsh screams and a fast pace, time is erased and Agathodaimon is certainly back. There are some superb sinister melodic passages that change the mood of the track and are nicely adorned by lush synths, alongside some not-so-great clean vocals. This approach is mimicked in “Ain't Death Grand” and “Ghosts of Greed”, both fairly solid tracks but with odd and contrasting clean vocal arrangements.
Over four years have passed since Persefone’s last release, and with “Metanoia”, the band shows the wait was more than worth it. Unleashing nearly one hour of high-octane Melodic/Progressive/Technical Death Metal, this Andorran outfit delivers ten expertly crafted songs filled with intricate details and superb catchiness. If you thought their previous releases were awesome, you are in for a treat with this one.
After the title track atmospheric opener, “Katabasis” shows that if you didn’t think the band’s sound could get any better, you are completely wrong as Einar Solberg’s vocals fully elevate it to new dimensions. Apart from the epic guest vocals, the perfect balance of musical wizardry and harshness is front and center on tracks like “Architecture of the I”, the quirky “Aware of Being Watched”, and the album's first single “Merkabah”.
After unleashing one of the weirdest and yet totally awesome unconventional releases of 2020, Nergal and company, Me and that Man, are back to one-up their previous release with an even wilder follow-up. Featuring more over the top guest, more catchiness, and the same occult and kick-ass attitude, “New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol.2” is one hell of a ride that everybody that liked the first one, should not miss out on.
The release opens up with the somber “Black Hearse Cadillac”, an awesome bluessy opener that features Hank Von Hell (RIP) and Anders Odden as guests. Keeping the mood high Tobias Forge guests on the superbly catchy western-like “Under the Spell”. While we could name drop this whole review as tracks like “All Hope Has Gone” feature Metal luminaries like Blaze Bailey and Gary Holt, or pieces like “Losing My Blues” deliver an all-out party mood with people like Olve Abbath Eikemo, Frank The Baptist and Chris Holmes involved, we particularly like the odd songs like “Witches Don't Fall in Love” featuring Garm of Ulver fame.
Unleashing waves of old-school Melodic Black/Death Metal in the vein of Dissection, today we have Thulcandra and their latest opus “A Dying Wish”. Packed with ten tracks and nearly 45 minutes of incisive music, Steffen Kummerer keeps the old-school vibe alive with this excellent release. With a heavy tribute to Jon Nötveidt's style, the band continues to refine their sound and create brilliantly executed pieces that will appeal to old and new Black/Death Metal fans.
The release opens very strongly with the dreamy “Funeral Pyre” and its mixture of melodic passages and furious onslaughts, perfectly balancing brutality and melody while delivering a timeless sound and aural aggression. We are particularly blown away by the fast-paced songs in this release that remind us of early Entombed and Sacramentum, for example songs like “Scarred Grandeur”, “In Vain”, and “Nocturnal Heresy”.
Five years in the making, Aussie quintet Be'lakor returns with a vengeance with their highly anticipated fifth full-length release “Coherence”. Delivering over one hour of amazing Melodic Death Metal, the band is ready to make up for lost time and take over the scene with this impressive release. Further refining their high-octane signature style, this release will propel the band to new heights.
The release kicks off with the mysterious “Locus” and its blistering drumming alongside twin guitars creating a superbly melodic and catchy opening piece, nothing less than what we expected from the band. Playfully playing with excellent tempo changes and nice guitar solos, the band masterfully manipulates long tracks into feeling very short, as they are quite exciting and engaging, for example the piercing “Foothold” and its sweeping melodies, or the playful “Valence” and its heavy back and forth.
When a band usually says that their latest album is the heaviest to date, they are usually just playing the marketing game. However, once in a blue moon, this is actually true, and “Wallflowers” from Jinjer is one of those rare exceptions. Featuring an even more explosive and expansive sound than before, this release will certainly propel the band’s status thanks to its incisive and crafty songs.
The band opens with the in-your-face track “Call Me A Symbol” and never looks back, from Tatiana’s mountrous harsh vocals to the throbbing bass guitar and crafty drumming, this track sets a very intense pace. Songs like “Colossus”, “Vortex”, and “Disclosure!” perfectly showcase the band’s versatility and explosivity, going from playful clean vocal passages to crushing guitars and diverse tempo changes.
Unleashing one of the most over the top and yet brilliant Symphonic-whatever-Metal releases, today we have Wizardthrone and their debut full-length release “Hypercube Necrodimensions”. Featuring members from bands like Alestorm, Nekrogoblikon, Gloryhammer, and Æther Realm, this band creates a very explosive and lush Metal sound with tons of wacky influences and over the top orchestrations. Imagine Gloryhammer, Æther Realm, with a dose of Children of Bodom and Obscura, and you can almost approximate what this band sounds like.
The release opens with the ravaging “Black Hole Quantum Thermodynamics”, perfectly blending dramatic orchestrations with heavy melodic guitars and a crafty use of harsh and clean vocals. The mood is set very epic from the start, and it never lets go as we can hear in the immersive “Frozen Winds Of Thyraxia” and the playful “Incantation Of The Red Order”, both tracks filled with killer guitar leads and well crafted tempo changes.
There are two things that are guaranteed in life: death and taxes, one more thing that should be added as a third guarantee: Powerwolf will deliver epic music. With “Call of the Wild”, the band returns with over 40 minutes of high-octane lush Power Metal unlike any other band can deliver... maybe Sabaton, but that is it. Filled with epic songs, soaring choirs and arrangements, alongside the band’s traditional hilarious lyrics, this release is what everybody was expecting.. and then some.
Opening with “Faster Than the Flame”, the band slowly builds ambiance before exploding into lush vocal arrangements, and a very perky overall feeling of epicness. Attila Dorn’s signature lead vocals mark way for expertly crafted Power Metal antics, including blistering guitar solos and superbly crafted drumming as tracks like “Beast of Gévaudan” and “Dancing with the Dead” deliver. The band’s cheeky musical style feels more refined, as the songs feel more grandiose than before.
Hailing from Germany, today we have Dawn of Disease 2.0, under the name of Hiraes. Featuring all members of DoD up until 2019 plus a talented new vocalist in Britta Görtz, the band is ready to continue releasing highly melodic Death Metal that is both technically proficient and extremely catchy. Being huge fans of the genre, “Solitary” provides a very promising introduction from this band as they start their journey, already being compared with bands like Dark Tranquility, Nightrage, etc.
The release opens with the moody “Shadows Break” and its incisive guitar work, perfectly paired with Britta’s powerful growls. Crafted with intricate tempo changes, powerful distorted guitars and a perfect pace for headbanging, “Under Fire” and “Grain of Sand” continue the highly melodic and engaging mood. We particularly enjoy how each song is crafted to deliver a different facet of the band while solidifying their core elements, like the traditional “1000 Lights” and the Amon Amarth/Arch Enemy-esque “Eyes Over Black” and its killer guitar leads.