With many Melodic Death Metal bands getting a bit too melancholic for our taste, today we stumbled upon Germany’s Horrizon and their third full-length release “World of Pain”. Unleashing 11 tracks and nearly 50 minutes of old-school Melodic DM reminding us of the early days of Dark Tranquility and Be'lakor. As one of the most recommended releases for catchy riffing enthusiasts, this album has plenty of epic headbanging passages and a few surprises.
The band wastes no time in asserting their dominance with the superbly executed “Once In A While”, a track filled with crushing vocals and super melodic guitars. As the riffing onslaught continues with tracks like “Sentenced to Death”, the band changes up the pace with the more melancholic “Where Am I?”, nicely showcasing more dramatic atmospheric arrangements and guitar leads. However, the mellowness does not take over the release as the album title track and “Haunted By the Past” get back into the furious pace of tight drums, crafty riffs and brilliant tempo changes.
Bringing back that nostalgic feeling of Symphonic Black Metal from the early 2000’s, today we have Belgium’s Lemuria and their full-length release “The Hysterical Hunt”. With over one hour of music, the band takes the listener in a very lively music filled with Folk elements and brilliant melodic passages, reminding us of outfits like Limbonic Art, Stormlord, Bal-Sagoth and early Agathodaimon.
After setting a turbulent and dramatic mood with the instrumental intro, the band gets down to business with the playful “A Plague Upon the Land”. This track features dramatic orchestrations that do not feel overpowering to the other elements, allowing the vocals to direct the show while the guitars and drums add a layer of heaviness to the music. As album title track rolls in, the pace pics up a bit and keep things interesting with cool vocal arrangements and killer melodic headbanging passages.
Hailing from Denmark, today we have the most promising new kids on the Melodic Death Metal block: Killing Gandhi. With a highly refined and effective sound, this band unleashes upon us their sophomore release “Aspirations of Failure”. Mixing everything we love from bands like Dark Tranquility, Children of Bodom, (old) In Flames, Kalmah, Omnium Gatherum, etc. the band delivers nearly 40-minutes of neck breaking music that is definitely one of the best releases of the genre in quite a while.
After the obligatory atmospheric intro, the band quickly gets down to business with the intense “Let Me Tell You”. This track starts off with killer catchy riffs and energetic vocals, and while there are tons of influences there, the band has their own unique signature style. With some futuristic keyboards, “Dark Hours” and “Hollow Paintings” are definitely some of the highlights of this release, blending tight drumming with intricate riffing and a very upbeat tempo.
Continuing the journey of Odysseus started by Imperious sophomore release “Tales of Woe – The Journey of Odysseus, Part I”, today we have the epic continuation. Luckily as Massacre Productions is releasing both part simultaneously, we don’t have to wait a year as the original fans of the bands had to do, since this release was originally unleashed in 2015. Again, mixed and produced by Markus Stock, the grandeur of this album is perfectly capture and delivered.
Instead of opening with a short intro, the band picks up where they left off and deliver a very intricate “Of Casualties (And the further way)” filled with brilliant guitar leads and perfectly layered melodic riffs. The band’s sound is quite dynamic and rich, allowing each song to perfectly flow and deliver the goods, like we can see in “The Isle of the Solar God”.
Unleashing one of the most ambitious and epic Black Metal releases of 2017, today we have Imperious and part one of their double release “Tales of Woe – The Journey of Odysseus”. As epic as the Iliad, this release if full of excellent atmospheric elements to accompany blistering BM tracks that perfectly convey the grandeur of Odysseus journey. Originally self-released by the band in 2015, it is great that Massacre Records is giving this epic album a proper and wide release.
After setting the mood with the mellow “At The Shores of Ilion”, the band launches the first onslaught with “To Abjure Temptation” and its intense riffing. Setting a very hectic and lush tone since the beginning, hooks the listener instantly into the bands style and approach. The Empyrium-esque “At the Cave of Polyphemus” leads way to incisiveness of “The Sharpened Pale” and the dark and sinister vibe of “Insidious Winds” and its 14-minute of devastation.
After a brilliant 2016 filled with Symphonic/Gothic Metal releases from bands like Epica and Delain, it is quite delightful to hear that 2017 will follow along the same lines, starting with Akoma’s debut full-length “Revangels”. Featuring nine tracks filled with bombastic arrangements, this release perfectly combines soaring vocals and catchy guitars to achieve very dramatic and engaging songs.
The release opens with the very dramatic “Enticing Desire”, a song that reminded us of some of the most recent Within Temptation’s releases. Akoma’s vocalist, Tanya Bell, perfectly balances combining operatic style vocals with more ‘natural’ singing, which in turn allows songs like the opener and “Change of Propensity” to be quite dynamic and engaging. The album’s second track features backing vocals by Liv Kristine, adding an extra dimension to the band’s sound.
As one of the most unexpected returns of 2016, today we have Gothic Metal band Darkwell with their third full-length release “Moloch”. With a separation of 12 years between releases, the band comes back to life with an exciting release in the vein of their debut “Suspiria”. Combining elements from Gothic Metal bands from the late 90’s like Dreams of Sanity and Trail of Tears, this release presents us with eleven tracks filled with heavy riffs and lush atmospheric elements.
Opening with the album title track, the band quickly sets the mood with catchy riffs and tight drums. Alexandra Pittracher returns on vocals and her signature style instantly brings back memories of the band’s debut release and our favorite track in that album “Realm of Darkness”. While the music structure has remained very similar, the keyboards, courtesy of Raphael Lepuschitz, feel more dynamic and edgier with some electronic elements to be found as you can notice on songs like “In Nomine Serpentis”, “Save My Sight” and “Yoshiwara”.
Hailing from Malta, today we have a very pleasant surprise with Weeping Silence’s latest release, “Opus IV Oblivion”. Oozing with old-school Gothic Death/Doom melancholy, this release instantly brought us back to the old days of Silentium, Trail of Tears, Even Song with some Dreams of Sanity sprinkled into the mix. If you like the whole beauty and the beast vocal approach, this is right up your alley.
Opening with some disarmingly powerful riffs, “Oblivion – Darkness in My Heart Anno XV” sets a very temperamental mood. The use of classical string instruments in this track gives it a certain early Lacrimas Profundere vibe, making the track even more powerful and punishing. With Diane Camenzuli and Dario Pace Taliana alternating between sweet female vocals and heavy growls, the band’s vocal duo does a great job in keeping songs fluid and engaging.
Very far from the explosiveness and originality of their 2010 debut release “From the Ashes”, today we have Voices of Destiny and their latest offering “Crisis Cult”. As the first blow to the band, they have lost their signature vocalist Maike Holzmann and their drummer Erik Seitz since their last release, the band delivers a very unimaginative run-of-the-mill Gothic/Symphonic Metal release with this one.
Having been a fan of the band in the past, this new release showcases their weaknesses in composing compelling music and only highlights their abilities to borrow elements from other bands without having a signature staple on top of their music. The band’s new vocalist Ada Flechtner (ex-Coronatus) does a pretty decent job, but the music is ultimately what falls flat in this release. The opener “Wolfpack” has the band continuing their path with dramatic orchestrations, but the sudden tempo change when the vocals appear feels weird and reminds us of the ill-fated band Darkwell. Similar tempo changes and odd combinations of elements make songs like this one and “The Easy Prey”, “21 Heroes” and “Stormcrow” to feel very odd and disconnected.
Having waited five years for this release, we can say that the wait was well worth it. Elysion returns with “Someplace Better”, their sophomore release. With their straight up Gothic Metal sound, they managed to captivate us with their first release and with this album we continue to be under their spell. Delivering 11 tracks of masterfully crafted music, this release is one hell of a rollercoaster ride.
Opening with the explosive “Made of Lies”, we instantly get our dose of Christianna’s angelic vocals and the band’s mellow atmospheric elements. With powerful riffs and catchy chorus sections, songs like “Someplace Better”, “Fairytale”, and “Our Fate” showcase the band’s ability to craft very traditional Gothic Metal song structures that will appeal any fan of the genre. Our favorite songs are more in the ‘power ballad’ category like the haunting “The Promise” and “Transparent”.