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.
Epic Doom luminaries Candlemass finally return with “The Door to Doom”, their first full-length release in nearly seven years. With the return of Johan Längquist on vocals, the band delivers one of the most quintessential releases in this genre, filled with heavy riffs, and a old-school Doom antics. Delivering over 47 minutes of music in eight tracks, this album will certainly resonate with new and old fans of the band.
Leading with the crushing riffs of “Splendor Demon Majesty”, the band sets a timeless vibe thanks to their methodical approach to the genre. Johan’s vocals perfectly complement the crafty guitar work and the overall heavy and slow mood of the track. One of our favorite things in this release has to be the brilliant guitar leads, showcases on tracks like “Under the Ocean” and with the guest appearance of Tony Iommi on the superb “Astorolus - The Great Octopus”.
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.
As one of the most unique up and coming bands, today we have Ukraine’s Jiner and their latest EP: “Micro”. Mixing up elements of Groove Metal, Progressive Metal, Nu Metal and even some Hardcore/Rapcore elements, this band turns heads with their intense style and charismatic front woman: Tatiana Shmailyuk. Featuring five tracks, this EP should stir up some more momentum for the band as they tour Europe with Amorphis and Soilwork this year.
Wasting no time, “Ape”kicks things off with crafty tempo changes and intricate guitar work to set a vibrant and aggressive move immediately. Things get a bit more melancholic with the groveness of “Dreadful Moments”, which features some Meshuggah-like chops and brilliant hellish hash vocal onslaughts. The riffing power of “Teacher, Teacher!” when contrasted with the rap-like vocals make up for a very odd and yet intoxicating track.
Back in the day when we started listening to Metal music, a loooong time ago, we remember having a tape of the Unleashed debut “Where No Life Dwells” and worshipping their ‘different’ sounding Death Metal music (in comparison to their American counterparts). Fast forward 27 years and the band’s sound is still timeless and equally punishing. With “The Hunt for the White Christ” the band continues to spread that heavy and crunchy old-school Swedish Death metal sound.
Bursting at the listener with “Lead us Into War”, we are instantly enveloped by the band’s sinister old-school sound. The guitars are flowing, the pace is hecting and the timeless vocals of Johnny Hedlund rattle our speakers as tracks like “You Will Fall” and “Stand Your Ground” demolish our eardrums. We particularly enjoy songs like “Gram” were the riffing is vicious and more mellow passages are perfectly introduced to keep the listener guessing and never bored.
Morten Veland and company have been quite busy since their last release and now presents us with another master class of Symphonic/Gothic Metal with “Arcane Astral Aeons”. Featuring nearly one hour of music, this release continues the band’s exploration of highly atmospheric and energetic music through 12 excellent songs.
The band kicks off with the lush “In Styx Embrace” in typical Sirenia style with a heavy hitting super catchy tune filled with dramatic choir arrangements and piercing distorted guitars. Continuing with the hectic pace and dramatic orchestral arrangements, “Into the Night” is perfectly led by Emmanuelle Zoldan’s charismatic vocals. The way that the band’s music envelops the listener in over the top atmospheric elements is brilliant and one of the reasons we love the band’s music.
Consistently over the years Tuomas Saukkonen has written plenty of engaging and gripping Melodic Death Metal songs with his bands/projects like Beyond the Dawn, Black Sun Aeon and Dawn of Solace. Finally focusing 100% in Wolfheart, he has managed to deliver great album since “Winterborn”, with “Constellation of the Black Light”, the band ups the ante with over 40 minutes of haunting music. In the vein of bands like Omnium Gatherum, Insomnium, Dark Tranquility, etc. this release is by far their best… to date.
Opening with the ten minute epic “Everlasting Fall”, we get that moody melodic vibe that develops into a brilliant atmospheric piece of music. Instantly we get a frosty Finnish Melodic Death Metal atmosphere that is perfect for head banging or enjoying while hiking in the woods. Throwing a curveball to the listener “Breakwater” has a brutal start, filled with heavy Death Metal riffs and intense drumming, courtesy of Joonas Kauppinen. Contrasting at first, this track nicely mellows out into lush dual vocal passages and Insomnium esque guitar sections that round up a very unique song.
Delivering a killer female-fronted Symphonic Metal opus, today we have Germany’s Beyond the Black and their third full-length release “Heart of the Hurricane”. Led by the talented and also quite beautiful Jennifer Haben, this band has a great sound that while part of a crowded genre, it easily stands out from the rest. Perfectly designed for those fans of bands like Nightwish, Tarja, Epica, and even the likes of Doro, this release will keep you quite entertained for over 60 minutes.
Things get heated quite quickly with the hard rocking catchiness of “Hysteria”, a very direct and engaging opener that shifts things into 5th gear from the start. The album title song delivers very crafty tempo changes and dramatic riffs that are very well rounded up by the emotional sultry female vocals. This song feels like a unique mixture of the dynamism of Delain and the bombastic nature of Nightwish put together. We love how the band can switch the mood of the release from one song to the next, as it happens one “Million Lightyears” opens with male clean vocals and slowly transitions in a hyper catchy chorus section.
Unleashing one of the most epic releases of 2018, today we have Germany’s Powerwolf and their killer release “The Sacrament of Sin”. While widely known in Europe, and not so very much in the USA, this outfit delivers epic Power Metal in the vein of Sabaton but with themes around werewolves, dark myths and religion with a humorous twist. For the non-converted, this release features the band’s quintessential energy and vibe that will rock your core and make you an instant fan.
Opening with “Fire & Forgive”, the band sets an epic mood thanks to their magical choir arrangements and killer guitar work. Not wasting any time, the band’s vocalist Attila Dorn leads this outfit with very dynamic vocal melodies and a high-octane vibe, as we can hear in the catchy “Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Killers with the Cross”.
Unleashing one of the most ravaging Thrash Metal releases of the last few years, today we have Brazilian Nervosa and their third full-length release “Downfall of Mankind”. With extremely punishing brutality, the band unleashes over 45 minutes of demoralizing music. Rapidly climbing the ranks of the genre, this trio is poised to make a run to the top with the extreme quality and intensity behind this release. If you are a Thrash Metal fan, this is definitely one of the most brutal releases of 2018 that you don’t want to miss.
Opening with “Horrordome”, right after an intro, the band goes for the yugular with intense riffs, bestial drumming and crushing vocal onslaughts by Fernanda Lira and Prika Amaral. As far as violent and intense opening tracks, it can’t get any better than this one. Settling into their crushing intensity and ravaging musicianship, we are treated to demoralizing tracks like “Never Forget, Never Repeat” and “Enslave”. There is a magical clarity into the album’s crystal clear production, which allows you to enjoy every single detail, from the complex drum patterns to the ripping guitar leads from tracks like “Bleeding”, “Vultures” and the chunky “Kill the Silence”.