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.
Slowly growing into an International powerhouse of Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal, today we have Sojourner and their majestic EP “Perennial”. Having released one of our favorite Atmospheric BM albums of 2020, the band returns with two new songs featuring their new female vocalist, Lucia Amelia Emmanueli, and guitarist, Tom O'Dell. In these two new songs, the band continues to merge epicly melancholic passages with lively and aggressive traditional Atmospheric BM elements, creating a very regal and unique style that any fan of Gothic/Symphonic-infused Metal might greatly enjoy.
The EP opens with the title track, a very lush and engaging magical piece that creates a very solemn and yet highly emotional atmosphere that is tastefully adorned by Lucia Amelia’s very sweet and nicely fitting vocal style. We get a mixture of old Trail of Tears, Sirenia, and even Dismal Euphony vibes from this tour-de-force song filled with dramatic piano passages and emotive tempo changes.
After the shock disbandment of Children of Bodom late in 2019, Bodom After Midnight was set to be the ‘continuation’ of the band with Alexi Laiho and Daniel Freyberg, alongside drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost), bassist Mitja Toivonen (ex-Santa Cruz). Unfortunately, we all know that Alexi is no longer with us and this EP, “Pain the Sky with Blood” serves as a nice posthumous release showcasing what could have been with this band.
Blasting away with the EP title track, we are suddenly brought back into the past, to the first three CoB albums. Alexi and company deliver one of the most engaging and signature songs they have released in a few years, with fierce vocals and insanely good guitar leads. This nostalgia filled piece serves as a stark reminder of Alexi’s musical brilliance.
Unleashing crushing melancholy and gloom, today we have Finland’s Marianas Rest and their third full-length release “Fata Morgana”. For being huge fans of Melodic Death/Doom Metal we are quite shocked that we never heard of this band before, but we are glad that this has since been corrected. Featuring Aapo Koivisto of Omnium Gatherum fame, this band delivers some of the most impressive and demoralizing melancholic music we have ever heard.
Creating an unsettling mysterious atmosphere in “Sacrificial”, the band starts building up the pummeling momentum of this release with solid atmospherics, diverse guitar styles and subtle piano passages. Jaakko Mäntymaa vocals perfectly fit the overall mood of the band’s sound, as their versatility (shrieks to growls to clean) allows the band to not sound like any of their other Finnish counterparts. “Glow from the Edge” keeps the misery rolling with bleak guitars, and haunting female vocals courtesy of guest Lindsay Schoolcraft, further elevating the band’s atmospheric brilliance.
Portugese legends Moonspell mark their return with a very unique and captivating release titled “Hermitage”. Featuring over 52 minutes of very emotive and dreamy music, the band will surely surprise their fans with this melancholic Gothic/Dark Metal release. With a darker edge to their sound, this release takes a bit to sink in, but once it does, it delivers some of the finest musical moments the band has ever produced.
The release kicks off with the mysterious “The Greater Good” and its crafty drumming alongside enigmatic atmospherics and subtle layered guitars. Fernando Ribeiro’s signature deep vocals give that extra element of mystery to this track as he goes from clean passages to harsh sections. The enigmatic atmosphere continues with the hard rocking opening of “Common Prayers”, a song that slowly introduces additional atmospheric elements and a very epic bass guitar line.
Being one of our favorite bands we might be a bit impartial, but Sirenia keeps getting better and better with time. Unleashing over 50 minutes of superbly bombastic and explosive Symphonic/Gothic Metal, “Riddles, Ruins & Revelations'' is probably our favorite album from the band. All of the eleven tracks in this release are superbly crafted, making them highly memorable and intoxicating.
Opening with the absolutely brilliant “Addition No. 1”, the band instantly delivers waves of lush symphonic arrangements, heavy distorted guitars, and one hell of a brilliant hook, reminding us of the song “Wicked Game”. If the opener was not epic enough, the dramatic introduction of “Towards an early Grave” gives a certain dance/techno vibe mixed with the band’s signature aggressive and yet very melodic riffs.
Oozing an incredible amount of melancholy and misery, today we have Draconian and their latest opus “Under A Godless Veil”. In what is one of the band’s strongest releases to date, over 62 minutes of music create a lush and apocalyptic atmosphere filled with punishing growls, weeping guitars and the enchanting and at times demoralizing vocals of Heike Langhans. If you like the punishing atmosphere of bands like Shape of Despair and the harrowing vocal dynamics of My Dying Bride, this is the perfect release for you.
The band wastes no time in setting a very depressive mood with the haunting “Sorrow Of Sophia”, a track that beautifully combines fragile female vocals and dreamy guitars that even take a certain Post-Rock-ish vibe. Anders Jacobsson growls continue to be some of the best in the game, as they perfectly create those ‘beauty and the beast’ duets on songs like "The Sacrificial Lame" or the masterful "Sleepwalkers".