Originally started as a Death/Doom outfit, Hanging Garden has been slowly drifting apart from this category into more Melodic Death/Doom territories like their fellow countrymen Swallow the Sun and Insomnium. After the release of “At Every Door” earlier this year, the band gives us a little taste of what is to come in the future with their EP “I Was a Soldier”. Featuring three tracks (with the digital bonus song), this release continues were their previous full-length left off with a good dose of crushing melancholic music.
Starting on a high note, “Winter to Summer Adverse” delivers punishing riffs, demoralizing vocals and a very cool atmospheric keyboard highlights. While this track sounds a lot like Swallow the Sun, the band does a great job in keeping their style evolving and creating a bleak atmosphere. The clean vocals certainly add an extra layer of awesomeness to this track. The EP’s title track continues the flow with more atmospheric passages and engaging vocals.
Having been a huge fan of Empyrium since their 1996 release “A Wintersunset...”, when we heard that they would be giving their first live concert in the band’s history at the 2011 WGT in Leipzig, Germany, our plane tickets and festival accommodations were booked in an instant. As one of those magical moments were a band that never played live comes together, this show was set to be a very special event. Featuring a ridiculous live line-up with musicians from bands like Alcest, Les Discrets, Neun Welten, Dornenreich, amongst others, the band’s music was surely going to be brought to life in a very accurate manner.
Arriving at the venue almost two hours before the show, we managed to be almost at the beginning of the line. Talking with super excited Empyrium fans just made the experience even more impressive and generated even more expectation amongst all the people gathered there. The live DVD version of this release manages to capture with great precision the magic of this night thanks to the crystal clear recording of the music and the HD video that was used to capture the event.
The ever evolving Deadlock arrives with their latest offering “The Arsonist”. In this album this German outfit delivers 10 tracks and around 40 minutes of their signature passive-aggressive Melodic Metal filled with the sweet vocals of Sabine Scherer. Adding some Groove elements into their already rich sound, the band sounds as catchy and heavy than ever in this release.
Opening strong with “The Great Pretender”, we can instantly hear the new Groove influences in the band’s sound. We also get the first glance of the band’s new male vocalist: John Gahlert, their older bass guitarist. Keeping the mixture of harsh screams and female vocals, the band’s vocal approach is quite diverse and entertaining. The band’s catchiness is as always present on the killer “I’m Gone”, featuring one of the best chorus sections of the whole release.
Arriving from Finland, today we have a very lively EP titled “Howl from Beyond” from the band Children of Madness. In this four song release, this up and coming band showcase their very interesting blend of melodic guitar-driven Metal that features Heavy Metal-like soaring vocals and playful keyboards. For a short release, all the songs will stay in your head for quite a while due to their super catchy nature.
Opening very strongly with “Phoenix Rising”, the band sets a very melodic and epic mood with their excellent riffing and soaring vocals. We like that the vocals are quite natural and don’t sound over the top for the music the band presents. There are some killer solos in this song that greatly enhance the overall experience. As the album title track makes it way, the band steps it up a notch and delivers a hard-hitting catchy tune. The riffing again stands out, and it is nicely complemented by the atmospheric keyboards the band gives a darker vibe to this track.
After gaining quite a boost on outside of Taiwan popularity with “Takasago Army”, Chthonic returns with another very intense and equally interesting release. With “Bú-Tik” the band continues with their very thematic lyrical context and their majestic music that mixes Melodic/Symphonic Black/Death Metal elements with lush arrangements and authentic instrumentation. Proving that their last album was not a fluke, “Bú-Tik” continues with their musical intensity, and delivers ten tracks of top-notch quality.
The album opens with the very dramatic “Arising Armament”, a lush instrumental intro with a very tense vibe. The band’s musical magic continues with the powerful “Supreme Pain for the Tyrant”, a very aggressive yet atmospheric and catchy track. The vocals of Freddy Lim are impressive, and add that extra level of intensity to the music. “Sail into the Sunset’s Fire” keeps things rolling with blistering drumming and excellent riffing, a highly underrated skill from the band if you ask us. Featuring some excellent solos, this track is one of the best of the album.
Finally returning to their days of glory, today we have Children of Bodom and their most cohesive release since “Hate Crew Deathroll”. With “Halo of Blood” the band returns to their playful and skillful entertaining music that is both technically proficient and quite catchy. Having tanked their last 3 releases, it is quite refreshing to hear the band going a bit back to their roots and re-capturing the elements that made them the successful band they are now.
With the opener “Waste of Skin”, the band instantly delivers their signature CoB sound with catchy keyboards and excellent lead guitars. Once the rhythmic guitars come in, the song already hooked you because of its catchiness. Alexi Laiho’s solos are as good as in the past, and the overall musical experience greatly brought us memories of when we first listened to the band in the past.
Delivering one of the most surprisingly awesome albums of 2013, today we have The Black Dahlia Murder and their imposing release “Everblack”. We have long discarded this band as one of the vanilla Deathcore bands since their earlier days, but today we are shocked in the excellent quality and brutality behind their latest release. Mixing elements of Melodic/Technical Death Metal with some Deathcore influences, the band has managed to craft a very powerful and devastating sound of their own over the years.
Exploding with the technical “In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me”, the band immediately showcases their excellent mixture of melodic elements with brutal DM/Deathcore sections. The music is quite intense and makes you immediately want to start headbanging. “Goat of Departure” continues the riffing onslaught with catchy melodic sections and inhuman growls. The band’s sound has surely come a long way since their earlier stuff and they now sound like a million dollars.
Hailing from Austria, today we have two-man band Harakiri for the Sky and their self-titled curshing debut full-length release. Featuring over thirty minutes of music, this release nicely blends aggressive Black Metal with some melodic and Post-Rock elements to produce five high-quality songs. Being quite aggressive and direct, this release nicely stands out from the other bands that abuse dreamy guitars and effects to create atmosphere.
“Lungs Filled With Water” starts this release with commanding riffs and very powerful harsh vocals. The band’s core Black Metal influences are nicely offset by the melodic nature of the music and the overall pace. “AM, Phychosis” starts off a bit more Post-Rock-ish in nature, but it quickly develops into another epic Melodic Black Metal anthem. While a bit repetitive, this track is quite delightful thanks to its very cool melodic passages and excellent tempo changes.
Always known for pushing the boundaries of Metal with their quite unique musical vision and extremely unexpected releases, Atrocity this time delivers a very direct and quite ‘traditional’ release that might puzzle some people. Getting slammed by the press for releases like “Werk 80” and “Calling The Rain”, the band sticks to a more traditional approach on “Okkult”. For 12 tracks, this German outfit delivers enjoyable tracks that will surely get the attention of older Atrocity fans and fans of Melodic/Symphonic Death Metal from the early 2000’s.
Opening with the Therion/Cradle of Filth-esque “Pandaemonium”, the band seems to be on track for a very direct and powerful release. The choir arrangements are quite chilling and they are greatly countered by Alexander Krull’s powerful growls. “Death By Metal” takes us back to the earlier days of Death Metal with crushing riffs and crazy solos, a great contrast from the first and following tracks, but solid nonetheless. The symphonic arrangements come back on songs like “March Of The Undying” and “Murder Blood Assassination”, both very catchy and effective tracks.
Having set the bar ridiculously high with “The Beginning of Times”, Amorphis returns with yet another very impressive release that keeps setting new standards for the band. “Circle” features the band going a bit darker with some heavier songs, but with the every present melodic Amorphis signature style with soaring vocals and lush keyboards. Delivering nine tracks of pure brilliance the band reminds us why they are the kings of Finish Metal, in our opinion.
Unleashing their power immediately with “Shades of Gray”, Tomi J’s growls are as brutal as ever and make a great impact in the opening track. The classic Amorphis transitions from harsh sections to melodic passages are excellent as always thanks to the very efficient riffing. In a darker tone, “Mission” has a very energetic vibe thanks to the vocal arrangements and playful guitar work. One of the first singles of this release is the superbly catchy “The Wanderer”, a song where Tomi J’s vocals drive the track’s melodic elements.