Coming out of a few very hard years with the death of founding member and drummer Tobias Graf and the departure of Sabine Scherer, the bands charismatic vocalist, Deadlock delivers their 7th full-length release titled “Hybris”. Featuring a more melancholic edge to their music than their previous two releases, this album brings us back to the catchiness of “Bizarro World” combined with the melodic side of “Wolves”.
Opening with the Groovy “Epitaph”, we are very quickly given the first glance of Margi Gerlitz’s vocals, which are actually somewhat similar to Sabine’s, but as the album progresses we notice they also have a wider range, allowing the band’s music to go to different places. This catchy opener is nicely framed with intricate drumming, direct riffs and subtle atmospheric elements. “Carbonman” and “Berserk” nicely step up the intensity level with two very engaging and heavy songs filled with cool guitar leads that ooze melody and provide a nice contrast when paired with Margi’s vocals.
As one of the most expected Melodic Death Metal releases of 2016, today we have Aussies Be’lakor and their Napalm Records debut “Vessels”. Nearly four years in the making, this release showcases a more mature band with a darker and yet more melodic and catchy sound. Delivering over 55 minutes of music, this release continues to separate the band from the rest as their sound continues to be more unique.
The album slowly warms up with the catchy riffing of the short opener “Luma”, which is nicely balanced out by a slow pace and the traditional Be’lakor growls. Instantly following we have the more mysterious and intricate “An Ember’s Arc”, where the band nicely delivers atmospheric and acoustic elements mixed in with the song’s progression. The buildup achieves it sweets stop with the killer catchiness and traditional Be’lakor rhythmical brilliance with “Withering Strands”. This track delivers 11-minutes of pure melodic magic as it is one of the best in this release.
Turning 20 years old, today we have a remastered version of Satyricon’s masterpiece “Nemesis Divina”. Considered one of the most important Black Metal albums of the history of the genre, this album marked a unique contrast between the traditional Trve Norwegian Black Metal and more refined, melodic, and lush interpretations of the genre. Many people hated the band after this ‘soft’ release, but it is as crushing as any other BM at the time. Sounding a bit better than before, Napalm Records brings back tons of memories with the re-release of this album.
As the opener “The Dawn of a New Age” delivers the line ‘This is Armageddon’, chills instantly run over our spines. The music is raw and brutal while still being elegant and better directed than other releases of the time. The novelty of this album was the mixture of slower tempos and more melodic elements as we can hear as the opener winds down and “Forhekset” rolls in. The atmospheric use of synths also adds depth to the music, while causing confusion and anger to fans of the genre’s traditional rawness.
Slowly completing their musical transformation, today we have Nemesea and their catchy Gothic Rock. Completely separated from the sound on their debut release “Mana”, the band delivers 10 tracks of quite diverse rock music. As a the band has moved more into the mainstream eye, the majority of the band’s music has been growing more generic and the nearly 40 minute duration of this release makes this quite evident.
Opening with the bombastic “Hear Me”, the band nicely grabs the listener’s attention with Manda Ophuis charismatic vocals. Some tracks like the explosive “Forever” remind us of their fellow countrymen Delain. Our favorite track in this release is the highly emotional “Let it Burn” and its very dramatic tone perfectly paired with explosive tempo changes.
Sometimes the best way to move forward is to hit the rest button, and this is exactly what Thomas Caser did with his band. Bringing back some of the band’s old members and a couple of new vocalists, Visions of Atlantis returns with a fresh lineup and a new lease on life. The EP “New Waters” features five classic songs from the band’s discography, re-recorded with the new members in order to test the waters.
Opening with the amazing epic “Lovebearing Storm” from the band’s debut 2002 release “Eternal Endless Infinity”, we instantly get a glimpse of the killer chemistry between new vocalists Siegfried Samer and Clémentine Delauney. The song also sounds revitalized more dramatic keyboards and a clear mix.
As Delain continues their world domination with their relentless touring schedule, today we are lucky to have their latest EP titled “Lunar Prelude”. Providing some insights into the band’s future full-length release, this EP gives us two new tracks, one new version of an older song, four live takes and an orchestral piece. As bombastic as any of their previous releases, this album will captivate all fans and entertained until their next release.
Opening with the bombastic “Suckerpunch”, this is the quintessential Delain track with lush keyboards, brilliant solid arrangements and very catchy melodic sections. Charlotte’s vocals have come a long way since the band’s debut “Lucidity” and sound very firm and yet as sweet as ever. After such an explosive opener, “Turn the Lights Out” opens more in a mellow mood that is nicely elevated thanks to super catchy arrangements and strong guitar work. The band recently added Merel Bechtold into their ranks as second guitarist as well as new drummer Ruben Israël further strengthening their musical core.
After the epic “War of Ages” we waited a bit over 2 years for this Austrian outfit to deliver a new release. With “Codex Atlanticus” the band continues the Symphonic Metal musical journey with a few line-up changes and their same bombastic approach to music. Delivering ten tracks of solid Symphonic/Power Metal, the band envelops us in an aural and historical journey, within the context of Leonardo da Vinci, for over 50 minutes of music.
With the explosive opener intro track, we are eased into the superbly catchy melodic nature of “Follow Me”. This track sounds very similar to Sonata Arctica with some extra orchestrations on top. The multiple vocal onslaughts return with the hectic “Sprouts of Terror”, for this album Clémentine Delauney seems to be missing and you can hear the difference in the tracks that use female vocals.
Delivering twelve tracks of brilliant Symphonic Rock/Metal, today we have super group Phantasma and their debut release “The Deviant Hearts”. Featuring Delain’s Charlotte Wessels, Everon’s Oliver Philipps and Georg Neuhauser of Serenity fame, this band is one of the most ambitious outfits in this musical space. The band does not disappoint with brilliant songs and even more impressive guest appearances to round up an excellently crafted release, if you are a fan of symphonic/melodic music, you will not want to miss this one.
Opening with the very solemn “Incomplete”, we are instantly pleased with the excellent duet of Charlotte and Georg. After starting on a dark note, the album quickly picks up with the mellow opening of “The Deviant Hearts”. Featuring Tom Englund in this bombastic song, all fans of either Delain or Evergrey will instantly geek out due to the way both singer’s vocals blend in this track. After a very Delain-ish “Runaway Gray”, the ballad “Try” greatly showcases Chloe Lowery and Dennis Schunke’s vocal talents in a very dramatic and epic way, easily one of the best tracks in this release.
Releasing nearly an album per year since 2008, today we have Amberian Dawn and their latest opus “Innuendo”. These highly productive Fins deliver ten brilliantly crafted Symphonic Power Metal tracks that will appeal both traditional Power Metal and Gothic/Symphonic Metal fans alike. Having quickly moved on from replacing their original iconic vocalist, Päivi Virkkunen vocals are a very interesting mixture of Doro-meets-Timo Kotipelto.
Quickly opening with the intense “Fame & Gloria”, we are taking into a very balanced world of Nightwish-meets-Sonata Arctica, with the solid guitar works and Päivi’s angelic but powerful vocals. Seamlessly integrating lush atmospheric elements into the music, the band delivers songs like “Ladyhawk” and “Innuendo”, both of which will keep you headbanging from start to finish. If you like more Symphonic/Gothic Metal things, tracks like “The Court of Mirror Hall” and the ballad “Aneglique” have less dominant Power Metal vibe, but are still within the band’s comfort zone.
Perfectly in time for a very gloomy October, Draconian is set to unleash “Sovran”. Four years in the making and after the departure of Lisa Johansson, the band returns with a superbly strong and very melancholic release that will become another Draconian classic. The band’s melancholic sound is greatly complemented by their new singer Heike Langhans, making this release a perfect step in the band’s musical trajectory.
Opening with bleak first minutes of “Heavy Lies the Crown” we have some crushing Doom riffs and a very oppressive atmosphere that is beautifully craved out of piano sections and solemn female vocals. As the band settles more into their classic sound, “The Wretched Tide” is filled with great vocal duels between Andres superb harsh vocals and Heike’s emotionally charged voice that nicely contrast the harshness of the music.