Hailing from France, today we have A.C.O.D and their Melodic-ish Death Metal release “II The Maelstrom”. Delivering thirteen tracks of a very health mix of traditional Death Metal with some more modern and Melodic elements, this band sounds like a bastard child of Grave and Kalmah. We are constantly amazed at the quality of bands that are coming out of France, and this is another one of the good ones.
The band opens with the groovy “Another Path” before settling for a more Thrash-infused Death Metal sound in “Way of Death”, and then jumping into Melo-Death land with “Abuse Me”. This is the narrative in this release as the band slowly weaves back and forth from Melodic, to Thrashy, to old-school Death Metal, actually pulling it off gracefully and very cohesively.
Hailing from Switzerland, today we have a very unique Melodic Modern Metal band named Promethee. Mixing some of the good elements of modern Deathcore with the agility and precision of old-school Melodic Death Metal, “Unrest” delivers twelve solid tracks filled with moshing and headbanging moments. Recommended for fans of Hacride, Dagoba, Hatesphere and such, we are sure that anybody with a knack for melody and pounding riffs will find this appealing.
Opening with the punishing riffs of “Our Common Fall”, the band quickly establishes the rich and devastating sound with very well crafted guitars and tight drums. The vocals are on the raspy side, reminding us of Hacride but the music makes us thing more of Whitechapel or TBDM. What makes Promethee unique is that they can instantly switch from pummeling riffs to blistering fast passages of Melodic brilliance as they constantly deliver on “Unspoken” and “Dark Souls”.
Finally, the Finish Metal music legends Amorphis return with yet another stellar release. Marking their 12th studio album, “Under the Red Cloud” delivers nearly 50 minutes of majestic Melodic Metal music in their unique style. Filled with soaring vocals and killer melodic passages, this is hands down the best release of 2015.
Opening with the lush “Under the Red Cloud”, the band sets a very melodic and folky mood, similar to a mixture of their “Elegy” days with their “Eclipse” era. Tommi Joutsen’s vocals are as amazing as ever and with even more growling sections in this release, this album reaches a whole new level of vocal aggression. This is perfectly contrasted by Santeri Kallio’s lush keyboards. Tracks like “The Four Wise Ones” and “Bad Blood” instantly showcase this heaviness with some crushing moments filled with powerful riffs and excellent percussions.
As one of the most anticipated releases of 2015, today we have Stratovarius and their latest opus “Eternal”. Filled with over 54 minutes of music separated in ten tracks, this release nicely continues the band’s reinvention to a fresher and even more dynamic outfit since their “Polaris” release back in 2009. Featuring tons of epic tracks and led by the vocals of Timo Kotipelto, this a typical Stratovarius release that you do not want to miss.
The band delivers the first punch with the amazing opener “May Eternal Dream”. In this very dynamic song, the band sets a very upbeat tempo and establishes a very fluid relationship between the epic guitar and keyboard solos, warning the listener they are in for a treat in this release. Timo Kotipelto vocals constantly deliver the level of performance that is expected from such a legendary singer, and on tracks like “Shine in the Dark”, “Man in the Mirror” and the ballad “Fire in Your Eyes” they gave us goose bumps since they are terrific and very well crafted into the music.
Riding on the tailwinds of bands like Amaranthe that play catchy pseudo-pop-ish Melodic Metal, today we have The Passion of our Souls from Finland. This Finish duo deliver four tracks of catchy riffs, memorable melodic passages, and solid vocals that are quite engaging and will get stuck in your head.
Opening with “Give Me Your Soul”, the band instantly grabs your attention with some catchy hooks and very pleasing female vocals, courtesy of Julia Mattila. The male harsh vocals are a bit on the ‘too raspy’ side, but they seem to work with the music. While this release is catchy and mellow, it is also quite heavy as the opening of “Everything” will show you. The band is not just a convert to Metal, but rather one that has strong (and heavy) Metal foundations.
On the days we are feeling nostalgic about the good old times of Dissection and similar bands that created and innovated with melodic riffs and epic songwriting, we turn to Thulcandra and their first two full-length releases. Unleashing “Ascension Lost” in 2015, the band continues to develop their old-school sound and make it their own, greatly improving on all the previous ‘borrowing’ they did from Dissection.
The album kicks off with the melancholic “The First Rebellion”, a fast-paced piece that is sonically pleasing and very technically proficient. The band’s proficient mixture of melodic riffs and old-school Black Metal is quite solid and songs like “Throne of Will” and “Deliverance in Sin and Death” are a testament to their abilities. Steffen Kummerer and Sebastian Ludwig are a highly skilled guitar duo that carries this release from start to finish with their intensity and creativity.
Being huge fans of Melodic/Epic Black Metal, we got pretty excited when reading the press kit from Noctem Cursis “Noctural Frost” full length. Delivering nine tracks of crushing Black Metal surrounded by epic melodic passages; this is one intense release that while not overly original, it is quite enjoyable for any fan of bands like Stormlord.
After the typical atmospheric intro, the band explodes with the intense “From Space”, a track led by double-kick intensity and low-key atmospheric keyboards. It is quite enjoyable to hear natural old-school keyboards, rather than overproduced orchestrations. Moving to some serious BM riffing territory, “Scars of the Past” keeps things interesting and brutal. Here we get a certain old-school Catamenia vibe from the vocals and tempo the band presents.
Hailing from France, today we have Deficiency, a very promising young band that plays a mean modern sounding Thrash Metal. Presenting us with ten superb tracks, this band showcases that not everybody is just trying to copy what old-school Thrash Metal bands have did in the past. Giving us a certain flair of bands like Mercenary, EverEve (sans the experimental craziness), etc., this is a very entertaining album that will not get dull at any point.
Blasting away instantly with the album title opening track, the band showcases vicious riffing and versatile vocals. Not settling for your typical Thrash style, the band throws some growls into the mix. As “Unleashed” and “A Prospect of Traveling Beyond” unfolds, the band clearly showcases their unique signature into the music with emphasis on epic vocal sections and incisive riffs. For those of us that enjoy dark and melodic songs, “Those Who Behold” is one hell of a track with lush drumming and the perfect tempo to make it quite memorable.
After blowing us away with their debut album “The Blood March” back in 2011, The Approach and the Execution returns with another master class in Melodic Metal with “Kings among Runaways”. Now relocated to California and with a few line-up changes, The Approach makes a very strong comeback with nine tracks filled with awesome melodic passages and some serious guitar wizardry.
Opening with the brilliant “The Warrior’s Psalm”, the band delivers their signature vocal harmonies surrounded with catchy riffing. The band’s ability to switch between singing styles is quite impressive and they are not afraid to use it. Also, their guitarists Andy Fisher and Mike Notte showcase their talents with excellent solos and acrobatic passages. The second track is a familiar one since it is a re-recording of their epic song “The March of The Guillotine”. If you have a song this awesome, I am sure more than a few bands would try to get it on every album they produce. The main noticeable difference here is that the female vocals are gone and seems like some of the guitar work is improved.
Out on Supreme Chaos Records, we have one of the most unique releases of 2013 that for some reason got lost in our review queue and we finally gave it the attention it commands. Featuring a unique blend of Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal with a heavy dosage of Atmospheric synths and Avant-Garde elements, “The Initial Frontier Pt. 1” is a release that will demand your undivided attention since the first minute.
After a short intro, the space journey begins with the intergalactic epic “The Initial Frontier”. Delivering 9 minutes of lush atmospheric elements and imposing guitars, this track created a unique atmosphere that will disconnect you from reality. The Black Metal onslaughts remind us of bands like Shade Empire and early Dimmu Borgir, allowing the band to be quite versatile and engaging.