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".
Hooking us instantly into their highly polished Melodic Death Metal sound, today we have Hinayana and their major label debut EP “Death of the Cosmic”. Delivering 23 minutes of pure headbanging greatness, this release is of similar quality to anything that bands like Omnium Gatherum, Insomnium and Dark Tranquility have released. If you are a fan of the genre, it is quite nice that Napalm Records is giving the band the push they need to reach a wider audience with their killer music.
The album title opener creates a very mystical atmosphere with lush keyboards as the crafty guitars make their way. The band’s music is quite refined and this track showcases an exciting combination of melodic riffs, traditional growls, and a very lively vibe. After the brilliant opener, “Cold Conception” takes a bit of a step back and delivers a more stylized approach with intricate drum patterns and crafty guitar solos. While the band’s sound is typical of the genre, their unique and more atmospheric take on it sets them apart from the rest.
Always delivering quite lush and engaging Symphonic/Gothic Metal releases, today we have Dark Sarah and their latest opus “Grim”. With a cinematic vibe and always featuring very interesting fantasy-filled story-lines, this release unleashes 55 minutes of majestic music filled with dream-like atmospheres and the signature vocals of Heidi Parviainen. This release is a must-have for all fans of bands like Visions of Atlantis, Delain, Nightwish, etc.
Setting the stage with the mystical “My Name Is Luna”, the band gets fully warmed up with the bombastic opening of “The Chosen One”. Pairing dramatic lead vocals with heavy guitars and explosive drumming is a formula that works wonders for the band as songs like “Illuminate” and “Melancholia” deliver waves of catchy passages and the perfect balance of heavy and lush that we love from this band. For those looking for the power-ballads, “Iceheart” is a very nice mellow song that changes the pace of this release.
Celebrating their 15 years of existence (in 2019) Powerwolf delivers the perfect compendium of their best songs and live renditions. Not settling for the traditional ‘best of’ album, the band made new versions of some of their greatest hits like “Resurrection by Erection” and “We Drink Your Blood”, giving something extra for collectors and fans alike. Never having played (and refused along the way) in the USA, this is one hell of a band with excellent music that no fan of Power/Symphonic Metal should miss out on.
Opening with a new version of our favorite song, “We Drink Your Blood”, we noticed a slightly polished edge and an even more bombastic nature to this epic song. The band’s sound has greatly been refined over the years, making it more explosive and lush, and the new versions of songs like “Werewolves of Armenia”, “Saturday Satan”, and the classic “Resurrection by Erection” , are brilliantly enhanced to give you the chills the band delivers on their live performances.
Fronted by the talented Jennifer Haben, today we have Germany’s latest Symphonic/Gothic Metal export Beyond the Black and their fourth full-length release “Hørizøns”. Slowly climbing the ranks of a very crowded genre(s), this German outfit is ready for the global spotlight with their dynamic and engaging music that falls more on the Metal side than most similar outfits. If you like catchy and hard rocking female fronted tunes, this is a band to keep on your radar.
The release does not waste any time in delivering soaring vocal arrangements, powerful guitar leads, and dramatic orchestrations on the title track opener. The band’s distinctively heavy sound is quite refreshing as most bands in this genre(r) are usually leaning towards more ‘consumer friendly’ sounds. “Misery” and “Wounded Healer” clearly showcase that the band means business with a high-octane pace and lush instrumentation. Being experts in crafting catchy melodies, tracks like “Some Kind of Monster” and “Golden Pariahs” have a certain (mid-career) Within Temptation meets Delain vibe.
Unleashing an all-out pirate party, today we have Alestorm and their sixth full-length release “Curse of the Crystal Coconut”. Keeping their lively style nearly untouched since their inception, the band continues to deliver their signature playfulness and epic melodies that have captivated the masses for years. Clocking in at 45 minutes, this release gives you more Alestorm in a more bombastic and engaging way than ever before.
Opening with the hilarious “Treasure Chest Party Quest”, Christopher Bowes leads his crew with his signature playful lyrics and his legendary keytar skills. This very lighthearted opener features the band’s staples and a nod to more folky/instrumental elements making the song quite enjoyable. The band’s typical intensity will get you bopping as soon as “Fannybaws” and “Chomp Chomp” deliver their catchy chorus sections and the later unleashes dramatic guitar leads.
Delivering one of the most magical and atmospheric Black/Folk Metal releases of 2020, today we have Sojourner and their third full-length release “Premonitions”. Featuring over 55 minutes of masterfully crafted emotional music, this release explores tons of textures and tempos to create one very cohesive and lush aural journey. If you are into bands like Saor, Winterfylleth, etc. but always wanted a folkier and even Gothic/Doomy vibe infused with them, you are in luck with this release.
The release leads off with the dramatic atmospherics of “The Monolith”, a track that delivers both aggressive guitars and lush atmospheric arrangements, perfectly led by the charming clean vocals of Chloe Bray and contrasted by the harsh screams of Emilio Crespo. The female vocals at points sound like Amy Lee, but they are enchanting in their own right as they perfectly capitulate the very elaborate atmospheric components the band lays down with their mixture of rich keyboards and additional elements like a Tin whistle.