Fully exploiting the band’s newfound strengths around singer Dianne van Giersbergen, Xandria delivers one of the best Symphonic/Gothic Metal albums of the last few months with “Theater of Dimensions”. Crafting over 74 minutes of lush and bombastic songs, the band reaches the levels of excellence of bands like Epica, Within Temptation and Nightwish with this killer release filled with epic melodies and mesmerizing arrangements.
Opening with the very dramatic and engaging “Where the Heart is Home”, we instantly get a superbly epic vibe thanks to the vocal arrangements and over the top orchestrations. The band quickly showcases their very diverse musical style while going through excellent songs like “Death to the Holy”, “Forsaken Love” and “Call of Destiny”, all of them showing influences from everything ranging from Power Metal to Folk Metal, but with the distinctive Xandria edge.
As one of the most expected Symphonic/Gothic Metal releases of 2016, today we have Diabulus in Musica and their excellent fourth full-length release “Dirge for the Archons”. Slowly evolving into a beautiful butterfly, this Spanish band’s music has gotten more and more bombastic and explosive over time. Bringing comparisons with Epica, Xandria and After Forever, this release delivers over 60 minutes of captivating music that any fan of the genre will love.
After the traditional warm-up intro, “Earthly Illusions” delivers waves of guitar riffs and orchestral arrangements that are perfectly offset by Zuberoa Aznárez’s signature firm but sweet vocals. As “Marble Embrace” and “Invisible” arrive, we can’t help but notice a very evident similarity to Epica’s music, more than before for the band. This isn’t necessarily bad as there are enough differences in the choir arrangements and song structures to keep them far from being a copycat. And while similar, Gorka and company manage to craft highly memorable songs.
Taking the scene by surprise by changing lead singers, Sirenia manages to come out on top with the brilliant “Dim Days of Dolor”. Delivering over 55 minutes of signature Sirenia Symphonic/Gothic Metal, the band shows no signs of slowing down while unleashing their best release to date. If you are concerned on how Emmanuelle Zoldan fits with the band’s style, you are in for a treat as her vocals perfectly blend with the bombastic nature of the music.
Opening with the explosive “Goddess of the Sea”, the band instantly shows that their sound is still as bombastic as ever and that Emmanuelle’s seductive vocals seamlessly integrate with it. One of the things we love more about Sirenia is the lush and vibrant choir arrangements and this track instantly satisfied our cravings. The catchiest song on this release, and probably the band’s history, comes under the album title and delivers a brilliant chorus section and very digestible and engaging riffs. Once you hear this track, you will not be able to get it out of your head.
Returning with their fifth full-length release, today we have Delain and their impressive and bombastic Symphonic/Gothic Metal sound. With “Moonbathers”, the band takes things one step further delivering lush orchestrations, crushing guitar riffs, and mesmerizing vocal arrangements, allowing their sound to be as explosive and expansive as ever. If you are a fan of the band or the genre, this album has all the right ingredients to become a classic.
Opening with the lively “Hands of Gold”, the band sets a very high bar with such a bombastic song which features a duet with Alissa White-Gluz. The superbly catchy “Suckerpunch” is a very solid third act in this increasingly more intense and bombastic release. Released earlier this year with the “Lunar Prelude”, this song showcases the band’s evolution into a more dynamic and explosive unit, which can be easily compared to bands like Nightwish and Epica.
Coming out of a few very hard years with the death of founding member and drummer Tobias Graf and the departure of Sabine Scherer, the bands charismatic vocalist, Deadlock delivers their 7th full-length release titled “Hybris”. Featuring a more melancholic edge to their music than their previous two releases, this album brings us back to the catchiness of “Bizarro World” combined with the melodic side of “Wolves”.
Opening with the Groovy “Epitaph”, we are very quickly given the first glance of Margi Gerlitz’s vocals, which are actually somewhat similar to Sabine’s, but as the album progresses we notice they also have a wider range, allowing the band’s music to go to different places. This catchy opener is nicely framed with intricate drumming, direct riffs and subtle atmospheric elements. “Carbonman” and “Berserk” nicely step up the intensity level with two very engaging and heavy songs filled with cool guitar leads that ooze melody and provide a nice contrast when paired with Margi’s vocals.
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.
Turning 20 years old, today we have a remastered version of Satyricon’s masterpiece “Nemesis Divina”. Considered one of the most important Black Metal albums of the history of the genre, this album marked a unique contrast between the traditional Trve Norwegian Black Metal and more refined, melodic, and lush interpretations of the genre. Many people hated the band after this ‘soft’ release, but it is as crushing as any other BM at the time. Sounding a bit better than before, Napalm Records brings back tons of memories with the re-release of this album.
As the opener “The Dawn of a New Age” delivers the line ‘This is Armageddon’, chills instantly run over our spines. The music is raw and brutal while still being elegant and better directed than other releases of the time. The novelty of this album was the mixture of slower tempos and more melodic elements as we can hear as the opener winds down and “Forhekset” rolls in. The atmospheric use of synths also adds depth to the music, while causing confusion and anger to fans of the genre’s traditional rawness.
Slowly completing their musical transformation, today we have Nemesea and their catchy Gothic Rock. Completely separated from the sound on their debut release “Mana”, the band delivers 10 tracks of quite diverse rock music. As a the band has moved more into the mainstream eye, the majority of the band’s music has been growing more generic and the nearly 40 minute duration of this release makes this quite evident.
Opening with the bombastic “Hear Me”, the band nicely grabs the listener’s attention with Manda Ophuis charismatic vocals. Some tracks like the explosive “Forever” remind us of their fellow countrymen Delain. Our favorite track in this release is the highly emotional “Let it Burn” and its very dramatic tone perfectly paired with explosive tempo changes.
Sometimes the best way to move forward is to hit the rest button, and this is exactly what Thomas Caser did with his band. Bringing back some of the band’s old members and a couple of new vocalists, Visions of Atlantis returns with a fresh lineup and a new lease on life. The EP “New Waters” features five classic songs from the band’s discography, re-recorded with the new members in order to test the waters.
Opening with the amazing epic “Lovebearing Storm” from the band’s debut 2002 release “Eternal Endless Infinity”, we instantly get a glimpse of the killer chemistry between new vocalists Siegfried Samer and Clémentine Delauney. The song also sounds revitalized more dramatic keyboards and a clear mix.
As Delain continues their world domination with their relentless touring schedule, today we are lucky to have their latest EP titled “Lunar Prelude”. Providing some insights into the band’s future full-length release, this EP gives us two new tracks, one new version of an older song, four live takes and an orchestral piece. As bombastic as any of their previous releases, this album will captivate all fans and entertained until their next release.
Opening with the bombastic “Suckerpunch”, this is the quintessential Delain track with lush keyboards, brilliant solid arrangements and very catchy melodic sections. Charlotte’s vocals have come a long way since the band’s debut “Lucidity” and sound very firm and yet as sweet as ever. After such an explosive opener, “Turn the Lights Out” opens more in a mellow mood that is nicely elevated thanks to super catchy arrangements and strong guitar work. The band recently added Merel Bechtold into their ranks as second guitarist as well as new drummer Ruben Israël further strengthening their musical core.