Wintersun – The Forest Seasons (2017)

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Taking almost the same time as Tool to release a new album, today we have Finland’s Wintersun and their epic “The Forest Seasons” release. Aside from all the crowdfunding drama, Wintersun returns with a powerful album that maintains their legendary status and improves on their legacy with a more mature style. If you like Melodic Metal with Symphonic and Folk-ish elements, this is certainly one of the best releases of 2017 for you.

Opening with the 14-minute epic “Awaken from the Dark Slumber”, we get Wintersun at its best delivering a very atmospheric and high-octane piece. This track delivers over the top orchestrations perfectly arranged with a lively pace and a heap of different vocal styles. Reminding us of a mixture of Cradle of Filth with Ensiferum at times, this is a very exciting opener and it showcases the potential of the band’s evolved sound.

Kval – Kval (2017)

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Making its way to our office from Canada, today we have Finland’s one-man demolition squad Kval and its self-titled debut release. Originally releasing music under the moniker Khaossos, Kval’s sole member crafts some of the most misanthropically punishing Atmospheric Black Metal we have heard in a while. Evoking the raw elements of old-school Burzum and the bleakness of Mortualia, this is one heavy release.

After setting the mood with the chilling “Usva”, the punishing distorted guitars first make an appearance on “Sokeus”. Instantly creating a wall of dissonance, the guitars perfectly blend with a trance-inducing bass guitar line and their demoralizing harsh vocals. These elements are very nicely contrasted with somber instrumental passages. The transition between songs is quite subtle and before you know it, this release is already on its third track, “Harhainen”.

Accept – The Rise of Chaos (2017)

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Delivering the most intense Heavy Metal release of 2017, today we have Germany’s Accept and their latest full-length release “The Rise of Chaos”. Having resuscitated back in 2009, Wolf and Mark Tornillo have led this band to release some of their strongest album in the last decade. Featuring over 45 minutes of music distributed in ten tracks, the band cranks out some of the most anthemic songs of the year, so be prepared to be blown away.

Opening with the relentless “Die By the Sword”, we get signature Accept guitar leads and vocal arrangements that will make you want to drop everything that you are doing and start headbanging from start to end. Other epic songs like “Hole in the Head” and “The Rise of Chaos” showcase the band’s knack for crafting soaring vocal melodies and superbly catchy chorus sections. Wolf’s guitars are on point as always, and deliver some killer leads as showcased on “Koolaid”.

Vin de Mia Trix – Palimpsests (2017)

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Unleashing one of the most monumental Funeral/Epic Doom Metal releases of the last few years, today we have Ukraine’s Vin de Mia Trix and the double LP “Palimpsests”. Featuring over 90 minutes of highly melancholic music, this release is a fourth part aural exploration that traverses through many different styles and influences. Highly recommended for fans of bands ranging from Skepticism, My Dying Bride, to the likes of Candlemass and Ahab.

Opening with the 27-minute beast of a song “Matarisvan”, the band slowly builds up a punishing atmosphere that is perfectly elevated as soon as the My Dying Bride-esque weeping guitars make their mark. The vocals vary from harsh growls to some very solid clean singing that reminds us a bit of Epic Doom Metal outfits, and provides enough diversity to keep things fresh and interesting.

Eluveitie – Evocation II – Pantheon (2017)

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With a few central members of the band leaving, we were quite curious to see how Eluveitie would move forward. It is safe to say that with “Evocation II – Pantheon” the band continues its well-defined path with another brilliant release filled with memorable moments and catchy songs. Not losing a step, this release delivers over 50-minutes of intoxicatingly catchy Folk/Melodic Metal music that will appeal to any fan of the band and the genre.

As a continuation of their 2009 release, “Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion”, this album kicks off with “Dvressu” by showcasing the talents of new vocalist: Fabienne Erni. Replacing the talented Anna Murphy seemed like a nearly impossible, but the band has done a great job as we can hear in the very upbeat “Epona”. This track has the band’s signature style of delivering lush arrangements and catchy song foundations.

Russkaja – Kosmopoliturbo (2017)

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Superbly bizarre Austrian outfit Russkaja is back with yet another totally deranged release with “Kosmopoliturbo”. Adding a few more influences to their already funky Ska-ish sound, the band delivers ten songs that will either make you avoid them like the plague, or find you bizarrely interest in listening to them for extended periods of time. Filled with lush musical arrangements and very catchy songs, this release is one of those love it or hate it kind of albums, so be sure to approach it with an open mind.

Opening with the extra catchy “Hey Road”, the band instantly showcases the Polka/Ska influences with this very palatable song that reminds us of a mixture of Angizia and the Devil Swing Orchestra. Things get a bit crazier with the throbbing bass guitar line of “Alive” as this track descends into total madness before its completion. Learning new tricks, the band delivers the reggaetón-inspired “Still in Love”, with auto-tune and everything, this track is truly odd and very mainstream sounding, but you can still get the signature Russkaja weirdness in it.

Exit Eden – Rhapsodies in Black (2017)

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As one of the most unique ‘super groups’ to hit the scene, today we have Exit Eden and their debut release “Rhapsodies in Black”. Featuring famed and established Metal vocalists Amanda Somerville, Clémentine Delauney, and up and coming talent Marina La Torraca and Anna Brunner, this outfit is definitely not lacking in vocal talent. This release delivers over 11 tracks with are all cover songs from artists ranging from Depeche Mode to Rihanna. While this might sound a bit odd, this release definitely will appear to fans of Gothic/Symphonic Metal as it has some killer musical arrangements on top of lush vocal harmonies.

Opening with “Question of Time”, the band sets a very lively mood while covering Depeche Mode’s hit. While some of the covers are more interesting than others, tracks like “Impossible” and “Frozen” truly showcase the band’s unique vocal talents while perfectly balancing the unique signing styles of the band’s members. Other songs like their cover of Brian Adams “Heaven”, rely on individual vocal talents and very well-crafted arrangements that totally re-interpret a very well-known song into heavier territories.

Totengott – Doppelgänger (2017)

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Originally started as a Celtic Frost cover band, today we have Spain’s Totengott and their debut full-length release “Doppelgänger”. With a very old-school and raw style, this band combines Doom and Thrash Metal elements into a very decadent sound that is quite engaging and sickening. Just imagine a Doom version of Celtic Cross and you will be closer to what the band actually sounds like.

Starting the release with the 8-minute “Delusion of Negation”, the band creates a very thick atmosphere with punishing riffs and atmospheric arrangements. The drums/tempo have that old-school Black/Thrash vibe with a Punkier edge. Being the shortest track in this release, the band sets a very unforgiving atmosphere for this release.

Our Ceasing Voice – Free Like Tonight (2017)

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We are constantly surprised when a band that we actually quite enjoy reaches out to us via our website to submit their music for review. Today we have Austria’s melancholic/Atmospheric Gothic/Alternative Rock trio Our Ceasing Voice with their latest full-length release “Free Like Tonight”. Delivering eleven moody tracks, this release continues the band’s musical exploration of mellow and bleak territories.

Combining elements from bands like H.I.M, End of Green and Katatonia, the band kicks off with the moody “The Arsonists”. In this very bleak song, Dominik Dörfler’s raspy vocals instantly set a very dark mood that is greatly enhanced by a slow tempo and minimalist atmospheric elements. Things slowly progress with lush tracks like the playful “Gone”, the entertaining album-title track, and the somber “New York in the Rain”, which incidentally feels a whole lot like watching tear drop on a quiet evening.

Dark Sanctuary – Dark Sanctuary (2017)

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Arriving unexpectedly to our inbox this month we have a new release from France’s Dark Sanctuary. Having been on hiatus since 2009 or so, this band was recognized in the Darkwave/Gothic/Atmospheric scene back in the day. In 2017, they surprise us with six ‘Metal’ renditions of older material, crafting a very melancholic and powerful Gothic/Doom vibe. For those of use that yearn for the late 2000’s Gothic/Doom Metal releases, this album will certainly fill that void.

Opening with the lively “Laissez-moi mourir”, we get a very Lacrima Profundere vibe with catchy guitars, subtle keyboards and a very upbeat tempo surrounded by a generally Gothic/Dark vibe. As expected, Dame Pandora’s vocals instantly shine in this very engaging track that reminds us a bit of Edge of Sanity meets Therion. The dark atmosphere created by the heavy riffs and atmospheric keyboards of “Cristal”, make for quite a memorable experience, setting a very enjoyable mood.

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