German Melodic Metal outfit Equilibrium is poised to take fans by surprise with their latest release “Renegades”. Featuring a very lively and catchy sound, this album delivers over 40 minutes of highly melodic music that is very far from their Epic Folk Metal days, but still commands attention and glory. With more electronic and even Industrial elements thrown into the mix, this album is superb on its own, but it might turn off the band’s earlier fans.
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.
German Thrash Metal juggernauts return with one of their best releases of the last decade with “Born to Perish”. Featuring a hyper aggressive sound and ten superbly catchy tracks, this album shows the band firing on all cylinders and delivering one of the most intense and engaging releases in the genre. Perfectly suited for old and new fans of the band, this release will certainly propel the band back into the spotlight and ready to battle the new, young bands jumping in the genre.
Leading with the title track, the band sets a very fast paced and brutal tone with ravaging riffs, brilliant drumming and crushing guitar solos. As we all know, Schmier’s vocals are one of the staples of the band’s sound as they perfectly fit the aggression and speed of the music. There are some additional melodic elements on tracks like “Inspired by Death”, that keeps things fresh and interesting without overusing the band’s musical formula.
Just when you think Sabaton cannot get any better or more grandiose, they drop an album like “The Great War”. Delivering almost 40 minutes of their signature epic Power Metal music, the band steps it up a notch and crafts eleven superbly catchy tunes that are amongst the best they have ever produced. As one of the most expected albums of 2019, the band surely delivers for all their fans with this exciting new release.
Opening with “The Future of Warfare”, the band sets a very high-octane mood with lush choir arrangements and their signature simple-but-catchy Power Metal core. Joakim Brodén’s vocals lead the band into battle, through tracks like “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” and “82nd All the Way” and are brilliantly complemented by backing vocal arrangements and killer guitar leads. One aspect of this release is that the band’s core elements are more evident and nicely mixed to shine through the extra atmospheric elements.
Continuing their prolific trayectory, UK’s Memoriam unleashes their third full-length release “Requiem for Mankind” this June. Formed by members and ex-members of some of the finest British DM bands like Benediction and Bolt Thrower, this band plays straight up no bullshit old-school Death Metal. Delivering over 45 minutes of crushing music, the band perfectly pays homage to their roots, while crafting some brilliant moshing and headbanging moments.
The album kicks off with the chugging riffs of “Shell Shock”, an old-school track filled with heavy guitars and the characteristic raspy growls of frontman Karl Willetts. With a nice melodic edge to it, this opener nicely leads into the catchiness of songs like “Undefeated”, “Never the Victim” and the pummeling “Austerity Kills”, which brings back memories of our 90’s Death Metal cassette collection and band like Unleashed, Grave and Entombed.
Hailing from Italy, Fleshgod Apocalypse has stormed the Symphonic Metal scene with their highly refined orchestral brutality. Perfectly blending dramatic orchestrations with complex Death Metal elements, this band delivers some of the most extreme melodic music ever written. With “Veleno”, the band further expands on their heavier side with brutal passages, and on their more melodic and theatrical side with very dramatic vocal arrangements and mellow interludes.
Opening with the ravaging brutality of “Fury”, the band makes their skills do the talking since the first song. Perfectly delivering crushing Death Metal riffs and growls in between dramatic choral arrangements, this track is quite a way to start the release. Moving on to “Carnivorous Lamb” and “Sugar”, the band showcases their dramatic orchestral layers and vicious guitar leads in yet another brutal piece. The combination of male harsh vocals, mad male clean vocals, and sweet female clean vocals works quite well and adds extra contrast to these tracks.
Unleashing one of the most lively and engaging Folk Metal releases of 2019, today we have the legendary Eluveitie with “Ategnatos”. With the ‘new’ band members settled, this release delivers a more cohesive and in a certain way exploratory sound that further improves the band’s catchiness with more upbeat and exciting elements. Featuring over 60 minutes of music, this is a release that all fans of the band will love and enjoy.
Leading with the album title track, the band quickly starts telling their story and sets a very ‘medieval’ mood with their lush instrumentation, rich vocal arrangements and powerful distorted guitars. The band’s uncanny abilities to perfectly mix their Melodic Metal side with intricate arrangements of folk instruments is top not as we can hear in the multi-faceted “Deathwalker”. For those looking for the folkier side of things, this release does not disappoint with excellent tracks like “Black Water Dawn”, “The Silvern Glow” and “Trinoxtion”.
Moving away from the lively Progressive/Technical Death Metal from their last release, Fallujah returns with the atmospheric “Undying Light”. Having lost long-time vocalist Alex Hofmann and guitarist Brian James since the last release, has made Fallujah turn into uncharted territories with their sound. Featuring 10 tracks and over 44 minutes of music, this release feels a bit too atmospheric and experimental to be digested easily. The sound is crushing and commanding at times, but at other times it just feels lost and unguided.
Opening with “Glass House”, we get that sweet Melodeath riffing from French bands like Hacride, but with extra kick and aggression thanks to new vocalist: Antonio Palermo. Some Deathcore elements are back and they sound ok when mixed in with semi-proggy passages, as in “Last Light”. For those looking for sheer brutality and catchiness, “Ultraviolet” achieves this with superb drum patterns and solid riffs. On the other hand, we have tracks like “Dopamine”, which feel a bit too convoluted with too many things going on at once and not really engaging the listener. The dreamy guitar leads are great, but the vocals kind of ruin the mood on this track.
After their brilliant and lively debut “This is the Sound” back in 2017, Cellar Darling quickly established themselves as one of the most promising up-and-coming Folk Metal/Rock bands in the scene. With “The Spell”, the band builds up on their earlier sound and turns into more Progressive territories with 13 superbly crafted tracks. Featuring a wide variety of folk elements , the super talents of Anna Murphy on vocals, and proven song-writing capabilities, the band delivers one of the best releases of their genre in 2019.
Opening with “Pain”, we notice and instant shift into darker and more progressive territories. The band continues to deliver their signature lush vocal arrangements, but in a more conservative and yet engaging manner. As “Death” and “Love” roll in, the band’s sound feels like a combination of Kari Rueslåtten’s folkier works with Anneke van Giersbergen’s charisma and sense of melody. This is quite a killer combination we have to say, however, of course Cellar Darling imprints their own ideas and style in the mix.
Swiftly recovering from a spell of forgettable releases, CoB continues their return to form with the scorching “Hexed”. Unleashing over 45 minutes of melodic brilliance, the band delivers 11 fast-paced songs that feature their signature style and instrumental wizardry. Incorporating new guitarist Daniel Freyberg, to the fold the band focuses on crafting memorable tunes filled with killer solos and melodic passages.
Wasting no time, the high-octane opener “This Road” unleashes a barrage of pummeling riffs and a very playful tempo. The subtle atmospheric keyboards make sure this is a signature CoB anthem, but the pace is what incites moshing and excitement. The dueling keyboards/guitars are in top form as “Under Grass and Clover” rolls in, we are suckers for musical acrobatics and Janne Warman and Alexi Laiho don’t fail to the deliver in this release, as we can also hear in “Glass Houses”.
Originally a side project of Ed Guy’s mastermind Tobias Sammet, Avantasia has grown to be a full-fledged act which features tons of guest appearances and very engaging and cinematic musical experiences. In the vein of artists like Ayreon and the Trans Siberian Orchestra, this band delivers some of the most lush and intricate releases filled with interesting topics and colorful characters. With “Moonglow”, the band unleashes on hell of a release with over 70 minutes of music.
The experience begins with the lush and dramatic “Ghosts in the Moon”, a track that nicely sets a very grandiose mood. Filled with catchy vocal melodies and superb instrumentation, this track leads way to a very lively and emotional rollercoaster ride. The second track quickly rolls down the red carpet with killer vocal contributions from Ronnie Atkins, Jørn Lande, Hansi Kürsch and Mille Petrozza, making it one the the most bombastic and engaging songs of the release.