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.
Twenty years have passed since the band’s iconic release “Clouds” first saw the light of day and very little of that band remains today. With “The Scarred People”, Tiamat continues their never ending transformation delivering eleven very catchy tunes that still manage to turn people’s heads. Which each song the band delivers enigmatic catchy melodies that will surely draw the attention of most Gothic Rock/Metal fans.
Opening with a pair of catchy tunes like “The Scarred People” and “Winter Dawn”, the band immediately establishes their very atmospheric approach to this release. Johan Edlund’s vocals are as good as always, and his contributions in the keyboards really make up for 70% of the band’s unique and enigmatic sound. Things really start getting emotional in the brilliant “Radiant Star”, one of our favorite tracks of this release. In this song the tempo is very mellow and the mood is set very melancholic to fully create one of the best Gothic ballads we have heard in quite a while.
Celebrating their 25 years in the Metal music scene, today we received a copy of Atrocity’s epic DVD/CD set “Die Gottlosen Jahre”. Featuring 300 minutes of video content, this two DVD package delivers one of the most in-depth and comprehensive documentaries about Metal music with a particular focus on Atrocity’s revolutionary trajectory since the early days of German Thrash/Death Metal to their latest incursion into the Ethno/Folk of “After The Storm”.
The documentary DVD lasts around 3 hours and features a plethora of interviews with the main players of the Metal scene during the times Atrocity was revolutionizing and breaking boundaries. Starting since the good old days of tape trading when Atrocity first came into the picture, it is quite interesting how they interview people that have been there for the band since the very beginning and have some of the craziest stories about them.
Delivering her second solo release for Napalm Records, today we have Liv Kristine with “Libertine”. Utilizing her ‘gap’ year between Leaves’ Eyes releases, Lik Kristine and company (husband Alex Krull and Thorsten Bauer, both band mates from Leaves’ Eyes), manage to squeeze in eleven tracks of catchy Pop/Alternative Rock music that showcases Liv’s sweet vocals and knack for keeping busy writing songs all year round.
Opening with the very mellow and folk-ish “Interlude”, this release is off to a very solid start, unlike her previous 2010 effort “Skintight”. The power ballad “Silence” is a clear example of why most Metal heads that like female fronted metal love Liv Kristine, her vocals are angelic and with a simple combination of piano/cello/whatever string instrument, they are greatly highlighted and sound like a million dollars. Featuring very powerful and engaging guitarwork, we have to give a nod to the very entertaining but somewhat repetitive “Panic”.
Finally we get a release that is a bit different than almost everybody else that tries to copy somebody. With Chaosweaver’s sophomore release “Enter the Realm of the Doppelganger”, we are treated to nine tracks of excellent Symphonic Metal with Black Metal and Industrial elements. Keeping the atmosphere above all things, the band nicely crafts excellent songs that are quite a musical experience.
The highly dramatic opener “A Read Dawn Rises” is a clear example of a beautifully crafted track that delivers emotions and a great sense of harmony. This is the perfect lead-up for the explosive “Wings of Chaos”. In this track the guitars open up a riffing onslaught while the atmospheric synths fill the atmosphere. Not sounding like Dimmu Borgir, or any other Symphonic Metal band, Chaosweaver has a bigger and more grandiose cinematic feeling. With a very classical feeling “Maelstrom of Black Light” nicely keeps the experience rolling with catchy riffing and an excellent tempo.
Delivering high-intensity old-school Thrash Metal, today we have Canada’s latest export Mortillery and their debut album “Murder Death Kill”. As a full package that includes the typical Thrash Metal outfit, Mortillery is one of those bands that try to keep the past alive with some kickass songs featuring excellent musical abilities.
Reminding us of Kreator with the excellent opener “Murder Death Kill”, this Canadians start their release with a huge bang. It is ridiculous to think that this band formed in 2009 and they are this good already. The track delivers awesome guitar skills paired with very crunchy drums. The girl on bass guitar also does a great job in keeping things bounded together with the pulsating bass line. Filled with catchy riffs and even better solos, “Sacrifice”, “Evil Remains”, and “Fritzls Cellar” further cement the band’s old-school roots and provide great headbanging passages.
After a four year absence, now we get the second release in the same amount of years from Vintersorg. “Orkan” continues the same predictable and highly typical path that Vintersorg has taken, providing just very few flashes of brilliant, and a whole lot more of the same. If you are a die-hard Vintersorg fan this release will be sweet music to your ears, but if you have been annoyed by the lack of creativity of the last release, then you will surely not like this one either.
The traditional Vintersorg vocal melodies nicely adorn the opener “Istid”. Here, the combination of growls and clean vocals are very well layered at first, and then used to near perfection as we are all used to, in bands like Borknagar and everything else that Vintersorg has been involved in. The fancy synth work is very typical and the riffing is as powerful as always. The progressive elements in the music make it quite enjoyable to hear, particularly on tracks like “Polarnatten”, “Myren”, and “Orkan”. The playfulness of “Myren” is something that we had missed from the band in the last release. We have to say that this is our favorite song in this release, and the only one we really liked too.
What do you get when you mix Falkenbach with Moonsorrow and Candlemass? Ereb Altor is the answer. Mixing Viking Metal elements with some Doom, this Swedish band has been constantly releasing albums since 2008 with a few tweaks in-between but nothing really revolutionary. In “Gastrike”, the band delivers seven tracks of catchy guitar-driven tunes that ultimately feel a bit repetitive and quite dull in some points.
Leading with the atmospheric opening section to “The Gathering of Witches”, Ereb Altor nicely transitions into some power riffs and typical Viking Metal elements bordering on the Black Metal side of things. There is a rawness to the band’s sound that is quite nice, but sometimes makes the music feel a bit convoluted. “Dance of Darkness” moves a bit into Doom territory, but the guitars nicely shift back and forth between Black Metal and Doom Metal.