Melodic Metal

  • Symfonia – In Paradisum (2011)


    With the jaw-dropping line up of Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius), vocalist Andre Matos (ex-Angra), drummer Uli Kusch (ex-Helloween), bassist Jari Kainulainen (ex-Stratovarius) and keyboardist Mikko Harkin (ex-Sonata Artica), Symfonia is ready to awe people with their impressive debut full-length “In Paradisum”.

    After having an orgasm just by reading the line-up of this band now it’s time for us to talk about what really matters: the music. With Mr. Tolkki on the lead, you know that all your Power Metal needs will be met and even exceeded if you are not too picky. After the premature demise of Revolution Renaissance we counted the days until the next Timo Tolkki project surfaced.

  • Power Quest – Blood Alliance (2011)


    After a three year break between albums, band’s mastermind Steve Williams returns with a completely different line-up since the band’s last release “Master of Illusion”. With “Blood Alliance” the band will surely make a statement and show they are ready to kick ass with catchy songs and brilliant instrumentation.

    Featuring 10 tracks and 60 minutes of very well crafted songs, “Blood Alliance” features all the traditional Power Metal elements that fans of the genre love. This release is packed with catchy guitar melodies, blistering guitar solos, powerful vocals and overall excellent song writing. Steve Williams is back in full swing and with this new line-up, Power Quest sounds better than ever.

  • Pictures of Pain – The Reckoning (2010)


    Today we have a very interesting (and little known) band from Norway with the name of Pictures of Pain. The band plays a very strange mix of Melodic Metal with Heavy and Death/Black Metal influences, yes, we know it sounds confusing, but they do an average job in creating a very diverse and original sound.

    “The Reckoning” marks the band’s first full-length release and they managed to fill up this CD almost entirely with 67 minutes of music. Most of the band members have ‘other band’ experience, but the only name that rings any bells is Rune Fredriksen from Thundra and session for Evig Natt, needless to say, all musicians do a great job in this release.

  • Imperial Conquest – Omnipotence (2010)


    Today we have a self-released Melodic Black Metal album that shows a very promising band under the hood but due to a sub-par production this EP undersells Imperial Conquest. While most Black Metal bands in the USA are trying to out-evil each other, the few good Melodic/Symphonic BM bands are making progress in the scene. Bands like Abigail Williams, Blood Stained Dusk, etc, are getting recognized for their musical aspects and it’s time to have another band take the spotlight, and such band might me Imperial Conquest, if they manage to properly record something.

    Immediately after the nice intro, in the track “Where the Portals Intertwined”, the band goes on a full-on assault of blistering blast-beats, deranged vocals (in a good way), powerful riffing and nice keyboard atmospheres. However, immediately you can hear the wobbly drumming and a flat mix that greatly cripples the effect of the song. While this problem persists through the EP, you still get some very enjoyable parts.

  • Amorphis - Magic & Mayhem - Tales from the Early Years (2010)


    If you’ve been following Infernal Masquerade for a while, you should know that we are one of the biggest Amorphis fans ever. When this release was announced we had big smiles in our heads since after seeing the band perform this classic songs with the ‘latest’ line-up and completely blowing us away, we wanted to have them on studio-quality recording and blast them all day long, since 7 out of the 13 songs in this album are some of our favorites of all time.

    “Magic & Mayhem - Tales from the Early Years” features 12 songs (plus one bonus track) that have been re-recorded and somewhat re-arranged to fit the band’s current dynamic sound. These songs are taken from “The Karelian Isthmus”, “Tales from the Thousand Lakes”, and “Elegy” albums.

  • Nightfall - Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants (2010)


    When we where thinking where the hell have we heard of this band before, it immediately hit us that the band had a song (“Black Leather Cult”) in the epic “The Holy Bible” compilation album of Holy Records back in 1996. Fast-forward almost 14 years and, several releases and a brief break up and we have Nighfall back with only one of the original members: Efthimis Karadimas, now only on vocals.

    “Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants” marks a very impressive release of this Greek band on Metal Blade Records. Since you start listening to this album, you immediately know that it will surely be an interesting experience. With a very interesting Melodic Black/Death Metal sound, the band quickly brings back of some of their older releases on Holy Records, because of the odd combination of powerful riffs, different vocals (clean and growls), and the elevated us of keyboards.

  • Amorphis – Forging the land of a Thousand Lakes (2010)


    Celebrating the band’s 20 year anniversary we finally get a live DVD from Amorphis, one of the best Metal bands to come out of Finland. And not only do we get one show, we get two full shows in a lush DVD/CD package (in the Deluxe edition). The shows presented on this DVD are a 2009 show from Oulu, and their Summer Breeze 09 performance, clocking over 150 minutes of pure unadulterated Amorphis.

    If you never seen Amorphis live, you will be quickly hooked on the amazing energy and chemistry they present on stage. Tomi Joutsen helped the band come back from the dead (for some fans) with their 2006 masterpiece Eclipse, after a lackluster “Far From the Sun” and their terrible previous singer Pasi Koskinen.

  • Chaos in Paradise – Demo (2010)


    All the way from Portugal today we get Chaos in Paradise a very young band that is releasing their first demo. This demo features four very interesting songs that showcase the band’s talents, but it also shows the areas where they need work. Since it’s a short demo we will use the dreaded ‘song-by-song’ approach to this review.

    The band opens their demo with “Dawn” a very well structured song that features what this band is all about in less than 4 minutes. With powerful riffing, you quickly get the impression this might be a Melodic Death Metal release, but soon Sara’s angelic vocals follow and your whole impression of this album is changed. The band does a very solid job in crafting a powerful chorus section with solid riffing and a catchy vocal melody. However, the small use of male vocals could have easily been avoided and this would have kept the song more consistent.

  • Sicarus – Strength of All (2010)


    Today we find ourselves listening to yet another band mixing Metalcore influences with something else. While this would usually mean that we start laughing from the beginning till the end of the band’s release, we actually find ourselves quite impressed with the solid effort put by Sicarus on their debut EP “Strength of All”.

    Sicarus main strength lies behind the guitar acrobatics that Mad Scotsman and Jon provide the band with. We can make some comparisons with Into Eternity, Echoes of Eternity, Mutiny Within, etc. in this department, but the band does a great job at crafting a sound that does not rely on them too much (unlike the previously mentioned bands).

  • Dark Age – Acedia (2010)


    Apparently we had this little gem of an album sitting on our ‘to review’ folder for quite some time and it just recently got its deserved play time. We really regret not having enjoyed this fine release when it was released since it features a very interesting combination of Melodic Death Metal with what you can call ‘pop metal’ influences.

    This German band has been known for releasing ‘average’ Melodic Death Metal bands, but until this release they will either standout more or be hated by their previous fans. Fusing electronic elements and clean vocals we get a bit of a ‘pop metal’ feeling to this album, and while this prevails through most of the album, the underlying foundations of the music are very much like their earlier stuff: melodic riffs and catchy song structures.


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