After a killer debut EP with “Waves” Owler returned in 2016 to unleash “Soil”, a highly melancholic collection of five songs that showcase more maturity and creativity from these Finns. Clocking in at around 30 minutes, this release takes all the elements of their first release and further refines them and integrates them into the band’s own signature style. This music is still highly recommended for fans of bands like Insomnium to The Man Eating Three.
Opening with the soaring vocals of “Storm”, the release kicks off with a very theatrical piece that fully takes advantage of “Juha Simola’s melancholic clean vocals. Things turn a bit darker and doomier with the heavy atmospheric and crushing riffs of “Amend”. We really enjoy how the subtle atmospheric keyboards set the mood for the harsh vocals and slower tempo.
Melodic Death Metal
Hailing from Finland, today we have a band that perfectly combines elements from Post-Rock/Post-Metal with traditional Finish Melodic Death Metal. Delivering over 25 minutes of melancholic music, this band could be described as a mixture of The Man Eating Three with Before the Dawn.
The EP starts with the lush “Throes”, a track filled with melancholic clean vocals and dreamy guitars. At first glance, the guitars seem a bit heavier than usual for this type of music, but they do an effective job at preparing the listener for what is to come. As “Distance” kicks off we are instantly reminded of Before the Dawn during their “Soundscape of Silence” years. The mixture of growls and clean vocals is very effective and they perfectly contrast the ethereal keyboards and weeping guitars.
Hailing from France, today we have Folk/Death Metal outfit Drakwald and their sophomore full-length release “Riven Earth”. Showing that France also has representatives on the Folk Metal scene, this release delivers 44 minutes of engaging music that will have you headbanging from start to end.
Not wasting much time to showcase their power, “Doomsday Argument” shows the band with full strength sounding like a mixture of Amon Amarth and Eluveitie. As tracks like “Erase by Fire”, “Primal Dawn” and “Rebrith” roll through, we can hear that the comparisons can be skewed more towards Eluveitie as the band’s bagpipes and flutes make them gravitate in to this territory.
Hailing from the mountains of Colorado, today we have American Melodic Death Metal battalion Allegaeon and their latest opus “Proponent for Sentience”. Perfectly blending influences from the modern Technical Melodeath scene with old-school Melodic Death Metal and regular Death Metal elements, this band delivers seventy two brilliant minutes of hyper catchy and very crafty music. For fans of bands ranging from Death to The Black Dahlia Murder, this release will leave you exhausted from too much headbanging.
Wasting no time, the band completely blows the lid of this release with a trippy atmospheric intro that bleeds into a no holds barred riffing barrage on “Proponent for Scentience I – The Conception”. The band pummels through “All Hail Science” and “From Nothing” delivering waves of acrobatic technical passages that put many bands to shave. One of our personal favorites is the mixture of acoustic guitars and different percussions used on “Gray Matter Mechanics – Apassonata Ex Machinea”.
As one of the most expected Melodic Death Metal releases of 2016, today we have Aussies Be’lakor and their Napalm Records debut “Vessels”. Nearly four years in the making, this release showcases a more mature band with a darker and yet more melodic and catchy sound. Delivering over 55 minutes of music, this release continues to separate the band from the rest as their sound continues to be more unique.
The album slowly warms up with the catchy riffing of the short opener “Luma”, which is nicely balanced out by a slow pace and the traditional Be’lakor growls. Instantly following we have the more mysterious and intricate “An Ember’s Arc”, where the band nicely delivers atmospheric and acoustic elements mixed in with the song’s progression. The buildup achieves it sweets stop with the killer catchiness and traditional Be’lakor rhythmical brilliance with “Withering Strands”. This track delivers 11-minutes of pure melodic magic as it is one of the best in this release.
When a band is named after one of the songs of one of your favorite bands, you can’t help it to be quite skeptical about their quality (or lack of thereof). Luckily, Be’lakor’s song “Countless Skies” is also well represented by the killer Melodic Death Metal that the band of the same name plays. Delivering eight tracks of pure melodic brilliance, “New Dawn” is the perfect debut release from this UK outfit.
As soon as “Aubade” gets heavy, we instantly thought we had put an Insomnium/Omnium Gatherum album instead. The band’s guitar wizardry is this good, with James Pratt and Ross King delivering some brilliant melodic guitar passages from start to finish. Fully exploding into melodic brilliance, “Heroes” continues the onslaught with tons of killer leads and very expressive melancholic passages. The growls and drumming style are both quite familiar to the typical Finnish Melo-Death scene, but it is how all things come together that truly showcases the power behind this very proficient.
Four years in the making, today we have In Mourning and their killer “Afterglow” release. Featuring 56 minutes of music divided in seven tracks, the band continues to move into Progressive/Melodic Death Metal territory with this brilliant album. Showcasing influences of bands like Kalmah mixed in with elements of October Tide and other more experimental outfits, this release is definitely one of the band’s best.
Opening with the superb melodies of “Fire and Ocean”, the band starts the release with a heavy headbanging dose. Nicely bleeding into “The Grinning Mist”, the melodic atmosphere is very well crafted and oozes to the traditional In Mourning signature sound with a few progressive elements thrown into the mix, such as the intricate bass guitar line and killer tempo changes.
The superbly consistent October Tide return with their latest effort “Winged Waltz”, and they will surely please all their Melodic Death/Doom Metal fans with this one. Featuring eight tracks and over 50 minutes of music, this release only increases the band’s legendary status in the genre and proves they can release very similarly sounding albums that are still engaging and very entertaining.
Since returning in 2009, Fredrik Norrman and company has managed to record an album every three years. Perfectly continuing the early Katatonia sound into the trademark October Tide style, the band’s musical strengths lie in their uncanny abilities to deliver perfectly paced melodic songs filled with emotions. After opening with the powerful “Swarm”, the band really steps it up with the very melancholic “Sleepless Sun” and its superbly crafted guitar work.
Coming at you like an unsuspecting bag of bricks to the face, today we have Except One and their crushing release “Haunted Humanity”. Featuring an interesting mixture of Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal elements, this release instantly stands out thanks to the sheer brutality of their female singer harsh vocals and the perfect balance of melodic guitars. For fans of bands like Arch Enemy and Soilwork, this French band is a true force to be reckoned.
Opening with the dissonance of “Rise”, we instantly get the Arch Enemy vibe, as the band perfectly managed to negotiate brutality and melody. Fronted by Estelle, the vocals are quite powerful and very fitting for the level of intensity in the band’s music. Filled with brilliant moments for headbanging, tracks like “Lost” and “Schizofriend”, showcase the band’s very talented guitar duo and their killer skills.
After constantly releasing brilliant albums over the years, Amon Amarath returns today with their most mature and melodic work to date: “Jomsviking”. Taking you through an eleven track journey, the band delivers a more refined and developed version of their signature style. Focusing on melody and epicness, the songs in this album are both memorable and intoxicating, allowing the listeners to fully be immersed into the band’s world.
Opening with the first single, “First Kill”, the band lets the listener settle in with a very traditional Amon Amarth-esque piece filled with excellent guitar work and a hefty pace. Smoothly transitioning into “Wanderer”, the music gets more serious and a bit slower, allowing the powerful riffs to lead the way. The band’s session drummer Tobben Gustafsson of Vomitory fame, does a great job in delivering intricate drum patterns and keeping things tight.