Melodic Metal

  • Threat Signal – Threat Signal (2011)


    Two years have passed after releasing the excellent “Vigilance” and one of Canada’s finest returns with their new release “Threat Signal”. We are extremely divided when it comes to this release since the music is excellent, but some of the vocals are just WTF. So we kind of liked the album in the sense that Threat Signal has very nicely matured musically and all songs are just excellent, but when the Linkin Park style singing kicks in we just want to jump of the balcony.

    Opening very powerfully with “Uncensored”, the band delivers well crafted guitar riffs and tight drums, courtesy of two of the band’s newest members: Chris Feener and Alex Rudinger respectively. However, the band things really start showing when the clean ‘modern Metal/nu Metal’ clean vocals make their appearance. There are of course harsh screams to kind of balance things out but it is not enough to eliminate the bad taste. We can also listen to an edge of Gojira and Fear Factory in the sound of this release, and when paired with excellent solos, the music alone is truly entertaining and very good.

  • ICS Vortex – Storm Seeker (2011)


    After the ‘departure’ from Dimmu Borgir, acclaimed singer ICS Vortex decided to not go down easily and has finally delivered a very solid ‘solo’ release that capitalizes on his biggest asset: his vocals. However, the music is also top notch since it mixes a wide variety of styles that might catch some people off guard, but with high promise and top notch quality.

    Playing all instruments in the album except the drums (courtesy of none other than Asgeir Mickelson), this release is packed with soaring vocals and epic melodic sections. Capturing some of the elements of Borknagar and adding some more psychedelic and progressive brushes, “Storm Seeker” is one of the most diverse albums of 2011.

  • Chthonic – Takasago Army (2011)


    The Taiwanese Melodic/Symphonic Black Metaliers of Chthonic have been around for over 15 years and with every new album they have been improving their music by huge leaps. “Takasago Army” marks the band’s latest release and it’s probably their strongest one to date. Having released their last two albums on Spinefarm records, the band has been taking advantage of better production values to deliver their crushing music to the masses.

    While there are heaps of Symphonic Black Metal bands, there are only very few that can rock out the Erhu (traditional two-stringed instrument, similar to a violin) and deliver punishing tunes with it. The similarities to bands like Cradle of Filth (vocals and symphonic elements) are evident, but this extra traditional element adds that extra originality that bands need these days to be distinguished from the rest.

  • REVIEW: Lapis Lazuli – A Loss Made Forever (2011)


    Arriving all the way from Sweden, today out of our stack of band-submitted promos, we have Lapis Lazuli and their second full-length album “A Loss Made Forever”. Our first impression was that there was no way this band was not signed. For over 30 minutes, these Swedes treat us to seven very professional songs of emotionally charged Symphonic/Gothic Metal.

    Opening with the traditional introduction “Ascension”, we get some glimpses of the powerful keyboards behind this band as soon as the song starts. With the super catchy “A Loss Made Forever” we finally get to hear the band’s enchanting female vocals, courtesy of Frida Eurenius. While there are hundreds of female vocals emerging every day, Frida’s pipes are very unique in the sense that they mix sweetness with power in a very balanced way. The song also features very nice keyboard arrangements crafting a very emotive atmosphere nicely contrasted by powerful guitars.

  • Euphoreon – Euphoreon (2011)


    After their very impressive demo “Before the Blackened Sky”, Euphoreon returns with their crushing self-released and self-titled debut album. All fans of (old) Children of Bodom, Moonsorrow, Turisas, and similar should be keeping an eye out for this very well produced album.

    Featuring re-vamped versions of the three songs presented in the demo, this new release adds five more tracks of brilliant musicianship and excellent combination of elements that have made the previously mentioned bands very successful. The song “Before the Blackened Sky” shows the wide palette of influences the band has and it also gives a very nice intro of what is to come in this release.

  • Amorphis – The Beginning of Times (2011)


    Having set the standard very high with “Skyforger”, Amorphis returns with an even better album with “The Beginning of Times”. Featuring 12 tracks of majestic Melodic Metal/Rock, the band is definitely at the top of their game and is set on a path of global domination with this near-perfect release.

    Featuring their characteristic Melodic approach to Metal, Amorphis does not compromise or goes mainstream and has put together a very impressive release that is both aggressive and beautifully crafted. Lead by the charismatic and versatile vocals of Tomi Joutsen, “The Beginning of Times” is an early candidate of album of the year.

  • The Approach & the Execution – The Blood March (2011)


    With all the new ‘modern’ Metal coming out these days, it is really hard to find bands that are actually doing something to improve things rather than copy everybody else. The Approach & the Execution (TA&TE from now on) does a great job in mixing a bit of everything and somewhat creating a familiar sound that will appeal fans from all areas of Metal and can be commercialized in the current ‘trendy’ Metal markets and maybe in some underground ones as well.  

    With a very diverse approach to Metal the band combines fast paced guitar work and melodic sections of Melodic Death Metal. They also mix several styles of vocals ranging from female clean vocals, growls, semi-shrieks and clean male vocals creating very interesting vocal sections. If this wasn’t enough, there are some clear indications of traditional Heavy Metal elements in the supper catchy and powerful chorus sections in the last songs of the album. All of these elements sound like the perfect recipe for disaster, but the band somehow manages to pulls it off graciously.

  • Beto Vázquez Infinity – Existence (2011)


    ”Existence” marks the ’bands’ 4th full-length album, and it is clearly their most impressive and ambitious release to date. With a vast array of guest musicians, this release is one of THE Melodic Metal/Rock albums of the year, even though it was released in 2010 elsewhere, we pick the North American dates for our top 10 lists.

    With this double album, Beto Vázquez has managed to put together a very eclectic mix of musicians and each of the 20 songs combines powerful melodies with outstanding vocals. While the guest musician list is huge, is not as impressive as the ones from bands/projects as Star One, Ayreon and Avantasia. Most of the guests in this album, with the exception of Timo Tolkki, might be considered from the ‘B list’ of Metal, but they are equally talented and are just a bit less known that the ones on the ‘A list’ of Metal. We particularly like this approach since it allows the listener to discover lesser known bands due to the performances of their vocalists.

  • Within Temptation – The Unforgiving (2011)


    After all the selling out the band has done over the years and Sharon doing songs with Armin Van Buuren, I personally wanted to listen to this album to see how the band would keep their Metal fans, but still pushed forward with a more ‘commercially friendly’ sound.

    With the first single, “Faster”, the band was on way to a completely disastrous album in my opinion since this song is another ‘dance’ anthem with catchy electronic elements and chorus sections. The rest of the album however, is a very different story. While there are obviously ‘pop-ish’ elements in this release, there are also many more elements of “Mother Earth” and “The Silent Force”, than in the band’s last shit-sandwich “The Heart of Everything” release.

  • Augury – Concealed (2011)


    Today via Sonic Unyon we have the re-release of one of the best Progressive Death Metal releases to ever come from Canada. Augury’s “Concealed” debut album was highly acclaimed by critics and fans alike back in 2004 and with this re-release we get to enjoy this masterpiece with even better sound than before.

    Augury is known for their very impressive Progressive Death Metal sound that easily rivals any big-name European band of the genre. In this re-release we have the original 10 tracks featured on the 2004 edition alongside with 2 tracks from their 2006 demo that landed them a deal with Nuclear Blast Records.


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