After taking the scene by surprise with their excellent 2012 release “Spell Eater”, today we have Huntress and their latest monumental Heavy Metal release “Starbound Beast”. While many bands get away with shitty music just by having attitude and image, Huntress delivers the whole package lead by Jill Janus and the band’s very classic and powerful music. For over ten tracks the band greatly improves over their debut full-length and manages to raise the bar a few notches with this album.
Doing a 180 switch on the opener/intro “Enter the Exosphere”, we can hear Jill’s classically trained vocals morph into screams. The first dagger has been delivered and as soon as “Blood Sisters” opens we get to hear the band’s catchy and very timeless Heavy Metal sound. The track’s energy is quite similar to old-school Heavy Metal, attitude and everything. The band produces one of the best chorus sections on “I Want to Fuck You to Death” in the last fear years, and we can totally picture legions of fans chanting that particular section at live shows.
Having been huge fans of the band’s earliest Gothic/Doom work, we have been reluctant to fully enjoy their most recent releases until this one. In “Antiadore” Lacrimas Profundere belts out 12 Gothic Rock anthems that are quite moody and catchy. The band has finally won us over with very catchy tunes, signature deep vocals, and excellent arrangements that make their music very dynamic and enjoyable.
Led by the only remaining original member, Oliver Nikolas Schmid, on guitars, the band opens with “My Release in Pain”, a very catchy and emotional song. The band quickly warms up with tracks like “Antiadore”, “What I’m Not”, and “Dead To Me”, perfectly combining their powerful dual guitar attack with catchy keyboards and the trademark vocals of Rob Vitacca.
Finally, after seven years of waiting, Summoning returns with their seventh full-length record “Old Mornings Dawn”. This legendary two-person operation has been a major inspiration for tons of one or two-man projects that crate Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal music. Being huge fans of the band, we had been waiting for this release for quite a while, but we are a bit disappointed since the band’s sound now feels very outdated by current musical standards.
Since the opener “Evernight”, the band delivers their signature atmospheric brilliance and trademark harsh screams. However, the music feels like it was made using a computer from 10 years ago. Today’s standards have bands using software that can produce high-quality orchestrations in a matter of a few clicks and Summoning still sounds like a MIDI band. This is quite disappointing for us since their creativity is excellent, but seems like technology has surpassed their music making skills.
Finally returning with a full length since “Rubicon”, today we have Tristania and their latest opus “Darkest White”. Being one of the few surviving bands of the original wave of Gothic Metal bands from the late 90’s, Tristania has been evolving with time and adapting their sound to be catchier and diverse. Since the departure of their iconic singer Vibeke back in 2007, this band has slowly been coping for this loss with the addition of Mariangela Demurtas and Kjetil Nordhus vocal talents.
“Darkest White” delivers the best songs of this latest era of the band, delivering over 50 minutes of lush symphonic elements, excellent vocal arrangements, and quite powerful music in general. Opening with “Number”, we immediately thought we had the wrong album playing since this track starts very heavy and almost Black Metal-esque. As the chorus part comes in, we immediately get the traditional Tristania vibe thanks to its richness and catchiness.
Always known for pushing the boundaries of Metal with their quite unique musical vision and extremely unexpected releases, Atrocity this time delivers a very direct and quite ‘traditional’ release that might puzzle some people. Getting slammed by the press for releases like “Werk 80” and “Calling The Rain”, the band sticks to a more traditional approach on “Okkult”. For 12 tracks, this German outfit delivers enjoyable tracks that will surely get the attention of older Atrocity fans and fans of Melodic/Symphonic Death Metal from the early 2000’s.
Opening with the Therion/Cradle of Filth-esque “Pandaemonium”, the band seems to be on track for a very direct and powerful release. The choir arrangements are quite chilling and they are greatly countered by Alexander Krull’s powerful growls. “Death By Metal” takes us back to the earlier days of Death Metal with crushing riffs and crazy solos, a great contrast from the first and following tracks, but solid nonetheless. The symphonic arrangements come back on songs like “March Of The Undying” and “Murder Blood Assassination”, both very catchy and effective tracks.
We at Infernal Masquerade are not huge fans of compilation releases, but when it comes to one of our favorite bands, Delain, we have to make an exception and review “Interlude”. Featuring two brand new songs, three cover songs, two ‘different versions’ of tracks from “We Are The Others”, and a few live songs, this release is mainly for hardcore fans and collectors of the band.
Keeping their more accessible and even Pop-ish sound on “Breathe On Me”, the band delivers a catchy tune that is quite enjoyable. Charlotte’s vocals are as angelic as ever, and the slow tempo allows them to shine nicely. Martijn Westerholt does a solid job providing lush keyboards that carry the chorus section of the song. “Collars And Suits” keeps the band’s tradition of excellent Symphonic elements offset by killer guitars and the charisma of the band’s vocalist. We have to say that this is the best song of the release, and up to par with the best from “We Are The Others”.
In the same vein of truly unique and completely bizarre bands like Diablo Swing Orchestra and the Leningrad Cowboys, today we have Austria’s Russkaja and their latest release “Energia!”. Featuring 12 tracks of ‘Russian Turbo Polka’ music as the band describes it, any fan of truly experimental and very unique music will be creaming their pants with this bizarre musical output. Combining Polka, Metal, Ska, Rock, Jazz, and Funk, this release is anything but standard and predictable.
Open the release wide open we have the catchy “Energia!” a track so engaging that we are sure some people will immediately start dancing. The band’s sound resembles some of the Ska we have listened to in the past, but with a higher intensity and heavier guitars. “Barada” sounds like old Russian Rock songs that we had the misfortune of listening to on the net, but the band adds the wind instruments to keep it interesting and very catchy.
Lead by the whacky Christopher Bowes, GloryHammer arrives to us with an impressive dose of killer fantasy-inspired Power Metal. Showcasing his awesome songwriting skills and knack for epic orchestrations, Mr. Bowes does a great job in this new band bringing to life his alternative concept of Scotland’s medieval history. For over ten tracks the band crafts epic battle hymns and highly effective songs that will have any fan of the genre throwing away all their Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, etc. merch and CD’s to get some new GloryHammer stuff.
After an epic intro track, “The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee” marches forward with a superbly epic chorus section and a furious pace. While the song title and probably the lyrics are as absurd as anything that Alestrom has ever recorded, the band produces killer music that sounds as good as any veteran fantasy Power Metal band. The vocal arrangements are superb and give that epic vibe that we crave in these kinds of albums.
After blowing us away with “Delta”, we had high expectations for “Ethera” and the band seemed to drop the ball on a few tracks in this release making it less impressive. However, not all is lost and Visions of Atlantis manages to deliver some good and bombastic songs that make up for the ground lost by some of the inferior tracks.
With “Delta” achieving an awesome level of explosiveness and bombastic elements, the band tries to start “Ethera” with a similar approach but introducing some futuristic keyboard sounds that don’t really work with the rest of the elements in this release. “The Ark” is a clear example of this, making it sound very disconnected. On “Machinage” near the end there are some truly horrible spoken sections accompanied by some robotic auto-tune like effects that just made us want to pierce our eardrums.
After their breakthrough release “Death & Legacy”, Serenity seems to be easing into their own bombastic sound with “War Of Ages”. Incorporating a full-time female vocalist (Clémentine Delauney), the band delivers ten tracks filled with lush orchestrations and very dynamic arrangements. Any fan of Symphonic Metal with some Progressive and Power Metal elements will be eating this one for breakfast… and the rest of the day for countless weeks.
Starting strong with the super catchy “Wings of Madness”, a track that has a killer chorus section and excellent vocal duets, the band shows that their last release was not a fluke. The combination of Georg Neuhauser and Clémentine’s vocals has great chemistry and they sound great in this track (and release in general). In the very Epica-like “The Art of War” and “Shining Oasis”, the band shows their skills on faster paced and more dynamic songs while keeping their own signature sound.