Thanks to technology, bands like Catalyst Crime can ‘easily’ come together featuring an assortment of musicians around the world. Featuring members of bands like Xandria (drummer Gerit Lamm), Pyramze (keyboardist Jonah Weingarten) alongside Zoë Marie Federoff (ex-Insatia), this outfit delivers a very bombastic and explosive combination of Symphonic/Gothic Metal with cinematic elements, creating a very immersive and highly enjoyable release.
With nearly 50 minutes of explosive music, the band quickly sets a lush and bombastic vibe with the opening intro. The band’s power-ballad game is strong as “Projection Of My Mind” nicely starts with a piano passage and explodes into a superbly catchy piece with killer keyboard solos and guitar solos, distinguishing them from the pack. The album’s first standout piece has to be the memorable “Condemn Me To Chaos”, a track that will sound quite familiar but will take you a bit to realize that it has the same melody as “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak but with some twists and turns.
As one of the first impressive singers in the early days of Symphonic/Gothic Metal, Helena Iren Michaelsen has always been one of our favorite singers since her days in Trail of Tears. Unleashing a double album with Imperia, we are treated to over 72 minutes of lush Symphonic Metal with “The Last Horizon”. With tons of different elements ranging from rock to folk, this release has certainly something for everybody.
Opening with the lively, “Dream Away” sets a very epic and engaging vibe that is further developed and enhanced with killer songs like “Starlight”, the Doro-esque “To Valhalla I Ride”, and the explosive “Flower and the Sea”. Featuring dramatic arrangements, heavy riffs, and crafty atmospheric elements we are instantly attracted to dynamic songs like “Blindfolded” and “Only A Dream”.
After receiving what seems to be hundreds of Black Metal albums every week, it is quite refreshing we get some solid Progressive Metal from Germany with Assignment. As the band’s fifth full-length release, “Reflections” delivers nearly one hour of polished music filled with soaring vocal melodies and crafty instrumentation. Flying under the radar in North America, this band has some serious musical chops and they should get more exposure with this excellent release.
Following a dramatic instrumental opener, “Merciful Angel” showcases the band firing on all cylinders right off the gate. Pairing intricate drum patterns, powerful guitar riffs and the signature vocals of Diego Valdez, this track crafts a high-octane pace that never slows down as the band pummels through “Obsession” and “Corporate Men”. On the album title track we get a very powerful ballad-esque piece with a superb vocal duet and lush atmospheric enhancements, changing the pace of the album and providing a window into the band’s musical depth.
As one of our favorite bands, and very hated by our friends, Eisregen is one of those bands that plays on their bizarre lyrics and funky music to deliver high-octane intensity filled songs with interesting arrangements and a good dose of melody. The band’s sound is quite an amalgamation of Gothic/Death/Black/Dark Metal, which is the core strength of “Leblos”, a very diverse and powerful double album. If you like weird music, this is certainly going to be of your liking.
Starting with the playful “Ruhet sanft”, the band leads with a Lacrimosa-meets-Bethlehem sound and a very engaging and unique opener. As “Pechschwarz” and “Erstschlag” roll by, we get the harsh intensity of the band with incisive guitars, devilish vocals and overall catchiness that the band has been cranking out for the past 10 years. Losing Dr. Franzenstein from their line-up a few years back has not slowed down the band’s funky synths and keyboards as tracks like “1000 Jahre Nacht”, “Wangenrot”, and the amazing title track heavily deliver on the atmospheric side.
Storied Dutch Death Metal outfit returns with a vengeance on “Deformation of the Holy Realm”. Unleashing nearly 45 minutes of crushing music, the band’s new line-up elevates their level of aggression to new heights. While many older bands keep to their guns and style, Sinister has been incorporating more modern Death Metal elements into their sound, allowing them to keep their signature style and stay relevant to new trends.
Creating a very regal and epic mood, the atmospheric opener “The Funeral March” perfectly leads the listener into the brutality of “Deformation Of The Holy Realm”. The track wastes no time in delivering blistering drumming, pummeling vocals and superbly crunchy riffs. New guitarist Michal Grall perfectly captures the band’s essence and gives it an extra level of brutality as we can hear on songs like “Apostles of the Weak” and the heabanging galore “Unbounded Sacrilege”.
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.