Today we have one-man battalion Daidalos and their extremely dynamic and engaging Atmospheric/Symphonic Dark Metal sound. Creating a very cinematic and over the top aural experience, “The Expedition” is one hell of a debut release with elements from bands like Dimmu Borgir, Therion, and Fleshgod Apocalypse, just to name a few. However, the 52+ minutes of music here take a life of their own as they come to life with very lively arrangements and crafty tempo changes, giving Daidalos a signature extreme music sound.
Slowly building momentum with the dramatic opener “Expedition”, we see the band crafting a very cinematic experience by perfectly layering atmospheric elements with crushing guitar riffs and massive drumming. As the album progresses to pieces like “Icewind” and “Sail into the Stars”, it is quite magical how immersive the music feels. The production is top notch, perfectly highlighting elements that need to shine across the well layered ‘Metal’ foundation.
Hailing from Washington D.C., today we have DragonForce-esque outfit Quantum Twilight and their self-released debut album “Hypersonic Demolition”. Originally a solo project from multi-instrumentalist Greg Russell, this outfit has some great potential and killer execution, however, it needs to find its own sound as it still sounds too much like other bands. However, not all is bad as the album features nearly 50 minutes of solid tunes.
Opening with the intense “Never Surrender”, we immediately get that DragonForce vibe with the intricate video game-esque guitar leads and overall playful pace. Newcomer vocalist Jarrad Biron Green is pretty talented and sounds well in the songs, particularly when there are backing tracks like on “Champions”, or he tries to use different ranges like on “Intergalactic Onslaught”.
The mastermind of Brutal Death Metal outfit, Nile, Karl Sanders, is ready to come back with its third solo full-length release “Saurian Apocalypse”. It has been 13 years since his last solo release, and here the listener is treated to ten mostly instrumental pieces that have some of the Middle-eastern vibe of Nile, but in a more exploratory and atmospheric way, and of course without the growls.
Far from the thunderous riffs and intensity of his main band, Karl Sanders shows a very mellow and enjoyable atmospheric side to his craft with pieces like “The Sun Has Set on the Age of Man”, “The Disembodied Yet Slither Among Us”, and “The Evil Inherent in us All”, while still keeping that somber and ritualistic edge of his other band. There is a very relaxing and experimental feeling to the music in this release, showing more range and a variety of moods.
With more and more Melodic Death Metal bands incorporating more modern elements and tons of keyboards to their sound, it is quite refreshing to listen to Decaptacon and their purely-guitar drive old-school Melodic Death Metal release “For Those Who Died”. For fans of old Gardenian, At The Gates, all the way to Centinex and Entombed, this is one crafty release that will bring back some nostalgic moments.
Opening with the sweeping “Buried Alive”, the band very quickly sets a high-octane mode with crafty riffs, superb drumming and dramatic melodic guitar leads. Showing this was not a fluke, “A New Lease of Life”, “Until We Drown”, and “Inner Captivity”keep things rolling with a hearty dose of harsh vocals mixed in some pretty epic headbanging moments and intricate guitar leads.
Led by the talented Mariangela Demurtas of Tristania fame, and multi-instrumentalist/producer Kris Laurent, Ardours is one of those rare unique bands that manages to perfectly blend all kinds of cool elements from Gothic Rock to Metal to 80’s new wave. With “Anatomy of a Moment” they hone in on the strengths of their debut album and unleash nearly 45 minutes of superbly catchy music filled with soaring vocal melodies, lush atmospheric arrangements and a hefty dose of funky beats.
Opening with the magical futuristic atmospherics of “Epitaph For A Spark”, one could immediately think the band turned into another Amaranthe, but as soon as the soothing guitars and Mariangela’s vocals come on, the whole vibe changes into a completely different beast. The band’s ability to create different moods, some darker or more playful than others, is their biggest strength as they deliver songs like “Insomniac”, “Identified”, and “Secret Worlds”, which range in styles but still feature a cohesive core of solid guitar work, crafty drumming and soaring vocal leads.
Led by the talented Caterina Nix, Chaos Magic is a Symphonic Metal band with similar style to outfits like Visions of Atlantis, Epica, Nightwish, etc. With so many similar bands in the genre, “Emerge” distinguishes itself as a release with Power and Progressive Metal elements, keeping things lean and direct. Featuring 50 minutes of music, this release is quite dynamic and keeps the listener engaged due to excellent songwriting and dramatic arrangements.
The release sets a mystical mood with the title track, delivering soaring vocal melodies and crafty electronic elements, all of these wrapped around hefty riffs and tight drumming. We particularly enjoyed that the release slowly builds up, and does not ‘explode’ in the listener’s face too quickly, as tracks like: “Beneath your Sin” and “Impossible”. This allows the listener to nicely warm up the band’s style and Caterina’s excellent vocals.
As one of the many variants of Metal, ‘Pop Metal’ has gained popularity over the last few years with bands like Amaranthe, Battle Beast, etc. Today we have Finnish newcomers Memoremains and their very uninspired titled release “Pop Metal”. Luckily for us, the name is the only uninspired part of this release as the nine tracks presented here are quite catchy and enjoyable.
Opening with “We are One”, the band has a dejavu Amaranthe opening with the first couple of seconds of the track, but then it transitions into their own making with some modern Dark Tranquility-esque keyboards and riffs. The first thing to have to be successful in this genre has to be a charismatic and distinguishable singer, and Johanna Ahonen does a very good job in making tracks like “Sympathy”, “Back Off”, and “Paralyze” her own.
Unleashing a blistering piece of majestic Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal, today we have newcomers Pestilent Hex. Polished in over five years, this album captures the magic of keyboard driven BM of the 90’s, with similarities to Emperor, Tartaros, Limbonic Art, however, the band manages to sound like something completely different. Be prepared for a dramatic and highly engaging 40-minute experience.
The release opens with the album titled chapter I, which sets a very hectic opening with blistering drumming, furious riffing, and powerful harsh vocals. This track nicely morphs into a very dramatic and intense atmospheric affair with piercing synths and lush piano arrangements. Both “Nature of the Spirit” and “Mephistophelean Liaison” perfectly build up on such a killer opener with tons of dynamic arrangements, dramatic tempo changes, and heaps of emotion and melody, making up for a very powerful first part of this release.
Hailing from the swamps of Florida, today we Massacre and their latest EP “Mythos”. As you would expect, the band plays a mean old-school American Death Metal, with elements from all the genre greats plus their own antics. For a band that has been on and off over the years, the band’s sound is quite polished and will have you headbanging from start to end and feeling nostalgic, so definitely a good addition to any DM fan’s collection.
Starting with the chugging riffs of “Behind the Serpent's Curse”, the band sets a pretty gnarly mood with crafty drumming and engaging tempo changes. This track also features guest Anders Odden of Cadaver, giving it an extra killer punch. One of our favorite things about old-school American DM is that songs are usually short, with a heavy kick, and far from linear, as we can hear in “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Mythos That Lovecraft Built”.