Continuing with their surprising evolution into a more Gothic Rock-inspired sound, today we have Hanging Garden and their latest release “At Every Door”. On their debut release “Inherit the Eden” the band jumped into the scene with a very melodic Death/Doom Metal and was praised by fans all around. With their second effort “TEOTWAWKI” the band started to mix more Gothic and different elements to make their music more accessible to a broader audience, something that they gracefully continue to do with this release.
Opening with the trippy “Ten Thousand Cranes”, the band delivers electronic elements with clean vocals making them sound like current Paradise Lost and Tiamat. Not all is lost since their original sound is present underneath everything with powerful riffs and excellent growls. Thankfully the new vocalist can do the growls as deep and powerful as their original one. “Ash and Dust” starts a bit more powerful than the first track, and the atmospheric details added by the keyboards work very well with the song.
Delivering their best album to date, today we have France’s Destinity and their 8th studio album “Resolve in Crimson”. Having evolved from Black Metal to Thrash Metal to Melodic Death Metal as of recently, this band turns in nine riff-tastic tracks that will draw them comparisons to bands like Dark Tranquility, Night In Gales, and Nightrage just to name a few.
Opening with the melodic anthem “Black Sun Rising”, the band’s riffing skills make this song shine since the first few seconds. This track delivers a healthy dosage of solid riffs and very well crafted clean vocal sections that make this song very catchy. Not losing track of their heavier side, “Reap my Scars” comes off a bit more aggressive but with equal melodic catchiness, making it another very solid momentum building track.
Making quite an impact since the first song, today we have Poland’s Devilish Impressions latest release titled “Simulacra”. Being properly released through Lifeforce records this July, this is one of those albums that combines so many different elements in a very cohesive and successful way, making it super diverse and extremely exciting.
“Icaros” opens with release with a mixture of Vintersorg meets Dimmu Borgir atmosphere, thanks to the hefty use of synths and the awesome clean vocals. Setting the bar this high, the band also delivers pretty solid melodic Black/Death-ish music that is very direct and well crafted. The atmospheric side of things keeps making this album very appealing in “Legion of Chaos”, but it is the massive drumming and heavy riffing that ultimately makes this song super catchy and effective.
The man with the 20 (or so) different bands Christian Älvestam, delivers yet another excellent release in the Death Metal category. Mixing elements of Technical Death Metal, Melodic Death Metal, and the rawness of pure Death Metal, “Tragedy Has Spoken” is a very brutal release that has many different facets to it, making it quite an enjoyable release to dissect over a few dozen spins (or more).
Ripping through the opener “Stepping Stone Agenda”, we immediately know we are in for a devastating release since the guitars deliver waves of aggressive riffs and the vocals are extremely brutal. Christian’s vocal talents are undeniable, and when it comes to do extreme screaming, there are only a handful of people that can be as aggressive and versatile as he is. The drumming is also pretty well crafted and hyper fast, truly crushing indeed.
As one of the most recent entries in the oversaturated female-fronted Metal market, today we have Finland’s Shear and their debut full-length release “Breaking the Stillness”. Featuring members and ex-members of bands like Imperanon, Amoral, and Omnium Gatherum among others, this band has enough Melodic Metal pedigree to impress anybody (at least on papers).
The band’s front woman, Alexa Leroux, is of course very attractive and her voice is indeed different to what everybody is used to. Her vocal approach is more in the Hard Rock / Power Metal area, and never goes into the very tired female growls or soprano style. When paired with excellent Melodic Metal, this is actually a great strength for Shear since they manage to sound powerful and somewhat different than all the other female-fronted bands these days.
Coming with the label of ‘similar to Parkway Drive’ and ‘one of the best Australian Metalcore bands’, made us have very low expectations for this release. However, having been produced by Fredrik Nordström we started listening to this release with a full-clean slate and no preconceptions about it. Curiously enough, “The Long Way Home” is actually a pretty decent release if you take all the faggy clean vocals sections and breakdowns (the whole Metalcore crap from it). Confession has some talent, but trying to fit into a cookie cutter mold is what ultimately made them unbearable at times to us.
After a trippy intro, “Confused/Hopeless” delivers pounding riffs and powerful vocals; all is good except that after a while the whole thing collapses with some horrible dreamy-ethereal clean vocals. Then the band suddenly goes back into full aggression mode only to come back very faggy after a bit. This is the main problem that we have with many Metalcore bands and that Confession imitates so well. Other tracks like “I Created This Horror” show some great chops at creating groovy sections with massive drums, but some weird elements here and there make you scratch your head (probably added in the mix).
After making us wait for 10 years since their last full-length release, Night in Gales returns in full force with 13 tracks of excellent Melodic Death Metal with a more melodic and dynamic edge tan before. With their traditional Swedish Melodic Death Metal intact, the band incorporates a few surprises here and there in order to update their sound and kick some as.
Opening with the cello instrumental “Epitaph”, the band nicely sets the mood for their aggressive ‘real’ opener “This Neon Grave”. In this track, the impeccable riffing style of Jens and Frank Basten delivers a very catchy and powerful guitar driven track. The vocals of Bjoern Gooses keep up very nicely with the music providing a multi-faceted approach, including some very effective clean vocals. Behind the melodic nature of “Days of the Mute”, the band delivers some sections that are very similar to Eternal Tears of Sorrow’s passages with clean vocals and melodic guitar sections.
Overlooking the fact that Olof Mörck from Amaranthe infamy plays guitar in this band, Nightrage’s fifth full-length album is actually a few steps up from their previous riff-tastic offering “Wearing a Martyr's Crown”. “Insidious” features 15 songs of very well crafted Melodic Death Metal in the Gothenburg style. However, what makes this release better than their previous albums is the guest appearances by Apollo Papathanasio of Firewind, Tomas Lindberg of At The Gates/ Lock Up, Gus G of Ozzy Osbourne/ Firewind, Tom S. Englund of Evergrey, and John K of Biomechanical, each of them providing something different to each of the songs they participate in.
After the traditional intro song, the album opens with solid riffing in the track “Delirium of the Fallen”. Here you can easily notice the similarities with the band’s earliest work, but when Apollo’s vocals kick in, the whole vibe of the song is very nicely changed and a very well crafted solo capitalizes this vocal change. On the album title track, the band goes for a typical drumming/guitar onslaught that made countless Swedish Melodic DM bands popular, but once again Tomas Lindberg’s guest appearance is what saves the day for this song.
Now on Lifeforce Records, Hackneyed is one of the most promising German Death Metal bands in the last few years. “Carnival Cadavre” marks the band’s third release and shows a great deal of maturity when it comes to writing catchy songs that make you want to start headbanging since the first few seconds. We all know that most DM is almost devoid of creativity, but Hackneyed manage to make the predictable and ‘traditional’ very enjoyable.
After the intro section of “Raze the Curtain” the band explodes into full on chugging DM riffs and vicious growls, this section made us start bobbing our heads up and down since literally the first riffs of the album. “Bugging for Mercy” keeps the groove going and delivers powerful guitars, elaborate drumming, and very interesting slowdowns. The catchiness level is very effective and after two songs this album got us hooked.
Deadlock, one of the most polarizing bands in the metal scene returns with yet another very diverse sound release. By polarizing we mean that people have very outrageous opinions about their musical style, some people call it Pop Metal, but we have to say their style is pretty bad ass and it really grows on you after a few listens.
Moving past their hip hop and metal track in “Manifesto”, the band consolidates their efforts in a very dynamic sounding release. Yes, there are some parts that might be considered too mainstream for ‘extreme’ metal, but in general the band has a unique sound that surely gets them noticed everywhere they play and gains them fans from all kinds of musical genres.