Originally not big fans of the band, with their last few releases they have converted us thanks to their engaging Power/Progressive Metal with somber undertones and the fantastic voice of Tom Englund. In “Escape of the Phoenix”, the band builds up on the success of their previous album and delivers nearly one full hour of high-octane music with tons of mood changes and soaring vocal melodies.
The release opens strongly with the heavy guitars of “Forever Outsider”, a track that nicely sets a very dynamic mood thanks to the funky keyboards. One of the first heavy hitters is the very melodic and catchy “Where August Mourn” and its dreamy atmospherics paired with Tom’s emotive vocals. This track has some nice Dark Tranquillity vibes to it as well. After the power ballad “Stories”, the album’s best song “Dandelion Cipher” delivers waves of soaring vocal arrangements, heartfelt lyrics and very explosive instrumentation, making it an instant epic.
Making this craptastic 2020 a little more lively, today we have Iron Savior and their superbly epic release “Skycrest”. Featuring nearly an hour of music, this release will excite all Power Metal fans thanks to its epic vocal arrangements and crafty instrumentation. Led by Piet Sielck, this band continues to get better and more refined with time, and this album showcases their best skills.
After the grandiose opening, the album title track sets a very exciting mood with excellent guitar work and very dramatic vocal arrangements. The epicness of the band’s sound is quickly established as tracks like “Our Time Has Come”, “Hellbreaker”, and “Souleater” perfectly balance catchiness, technical proficiency (crazy guitar solos), and a very ‘Heavy Metal’ attitude around a timeless old-school sound with no gimmicks and just power.
As one of the most senior bands in the scene, Leaves’ Eyes has marked the path for countless others. With “The Last Viking”, the band delivers their signature bombastic music with a few additional surprises and great intensity. Featuring over 60 minutes of lush songs, this release showcases the band having fun while staying true to their lyrical and musical foundations.
Leading with the cinematic opener, “Death of a King”, the band continues with the folkier and Turisas-esque “Chain of the Golden Horn”. This very lively track unleashes masterful choir arrangements and Elina Siirala’s enchanting lead vocals. With a folkier and very dynamic guitars/drums approach, this and other tracks like “War of Kings” have a very epic and powerful sound. Our personal favorite is the dramatic “Black Butterfly” with its lush instrumentation and superbly catchy duet between Elina and Visions of Atlantis Clémentine Delauney.
Lucky number “Seven” is the latest release by Finnish Melodic Death Metal outfit Mors Principium Est. Delivering their signature catchy, crafty, and blistering melodic music, the ‘band’ unleashes over 48 minutes of intense headbanging music. For the fans of Kalmah, Omnium Gatherum, and Finnish Melo DM in general, this release will keep you entertained and fully engaged.
Shifting from a band to a duo since a few years back, Mors Principium Est fully maintains their high-octane approach to the genre, while embedding subtle atmospheric synths and crafty technical details. The opener, “A Day For Redemption”, is a clear example of the band’s perfect balance of aggression, melody, and guitar acrobatics. Permanent guitarist, Andy Gillion, is one of the best in the biz and delivers some killer guitar leads on tracks like “Lost in a Starless Aeon”, which create a very melancholic vibe in this excellent song.
It has been nearly ten years since Theatre of Tragedy ceased to exist, but they still find themselves in our regular playlist. During their career, the band changed styles multiple times and released seven full-length releases that for the most part were pretty good. In “Remixed” we get a nice selection of the band’s hits, remixed by artists like Das Ich and VNV Nation. While this definitely will not be the cup of tea of fans of the earlier style of the band, it should appeal to fans of their Industrial/Electronic phase.
The album kicks off with a weird remix of “And When He Falleth” by Das Ich. The tempo is oddly shifted and sounds a bit odd, something that fans of this great song will definitely not like. Das Ich does a bit of a better job in adding some spunk to “Black As The Devil Painteth”, making it somewhat enjoyable. We find Icon Of Coil’s remix of “Lorelei” quite catchy and enjoyable, so we decided to keep listening to the full album.
Returning from a four year absence, today we have Iron Savior and their outstanding release “The Landing”. In this release the band makes a triumphant return with 11 tracks of pure Power Metal that will have you chanting with every chorus section and headbanging to the catchy guitars. It is highly evident that only bands like Iron Savior know exactly what to do (and how to do it) in order to deliver a timeless sound that everybody will enjoy from beginning to end.
After the epic momentum builder “Descending”, the band fully explodes into Power Metal mode with “The Savior”. In this song the guitars are super catchy and powerful, but the timeless vocals of Piet Sielck take the spotlight away. The vocal melodies are very well crafted thanks to great lead and backing vocals, a staple of the genre, and something that Iron Savior excels at. While sounding like a million bucks, this song (and the whole release) is very down to basics in the sense of instrumentation but by no means sounds limited.
Fronted by Angra’s Edu Falaschi, Almah shows a more versatile side to this excellent singer and with “Motion” the band delivers 10 tracks of very well crafted Melodic Metal. The band’s sound ranges from more commercial bands like White Zombie and Fear Factory to Power Metal greats like Stratovarius and even some Angra hints. Being the band’s third full-length release, “Motion” is very entertaining and guarantees a high-replay value due to its catchiness.
With a nice chugging pace, “Hypnotized” opens with album and delivers very catchy chorus sections and some vocals that sound quite a lot like Burton from FF in said chorus sections. The Power Metal-esque guitar work is more evident in tracks like “Living and Drifting” and “Days of the New” where we are treated some excellent guitar leads and solos. The keyboards also help the music be more accessible and entertaining.
Hailing from Poland today we have a very refreshing band: Made of Hate. This band plays Melodic Death Metal the true way, not the pussy Melo-Death shit that new bands play these days. With influences of older In Flames, CoB, Soilwork, etc, the band has a very guitar driven sound that does not feel like a complete rip-off of their influences, something very rare in this genre.
“Pathogen” contains 8 tracks of very solid guitar driven compositions that will have you head banging in a matter of minutes. Since the opening track “Friend” you can start to notice the riff-athon you are in for. Featuring ‘manly’ vocals the band has a strong sound that has the late 90’s Melodic DM feel all written over it.
With the current Thrash Metal revival we have seen bands like Exodus, Forbidden, etc, release very impressive albums. Onslaught brings their A-game and manages to release a pretty solid effort with “Sounds of Violence”. This album marks their best effort to date, after a long break and return to the scene in 2005.
Getting into “Sounds of Violence”, we are presented with 8 tracks and two filler intro songs. For around 45 minutes the band does a great job in bringing back the old-school Thrash Metal vibe with some more up-to-date production values. This release sounds like a million bucks thanks to the help of Jacob Hansen and allows the band to fully showcase its technical abilities and songwriting chops.
For the super fans of Doro, AFM Record put together a very special ultimate collector’s edition of the metal queen’s “Fear No Evil” release. Here we will talk about the extra goodies presented in this lush collector’s edition boxed set, but if you want the full review of the album you can read it here.
In the first CD we get the full “Fear No Evil” and two new bonus tracks: “All we are (2007)” and “On My Own” as well as new cover art. The second CD has the “Celebrate” EP that includes 3 different versions of the song, the ‘original’ version, the version with Biff Byford (very good in our opinion) and the full Metal female version which includes some of the best female metal vocalists in the scene. This song it-self is what makes the EP worth having for any female-fronted Metal fan in the world. The remaining two songs are “The Night of the Warlock” and “Rescue Me”.