As one of the premiere Power Metal bands in the world, Finland’s Sonata Arctica needs no introduction. Arriving early October 2016, the band unleashes their ninth full-length release appropriately titled “The Ninth Hour”. Filed with eleven tracks and around 60 minutes of high-octane music, the band is at the top of their game and delivers the levels of epicness that fans expect from them.
Opening with the dynamic “Closer to an Animal”, the band starts in typical Sonata Arctica fashion with playful guitars and keyboards and the signature Tony Kakko voice. The album continues with excellent over the top tracks like “Life”, the brilliant “Fairytale”, and the mellow “We Are What We Are”, which adds medieval/folk music influences into the mix.
The legendary Opeth returns with another exploration further down the rabbit hole or Progressive/Psychedelic rock with “Sorceress”. Constantly evolving and experimenting with their sound, the band offers 11 brilliant tracks that feature tons of unique ideas and excellent craftsmanship. If you have been a fan of the band’s last three releases, this album will certainly be one of the ‘must have’ releases of 2016.
Opening with the solemn acoustic guitars of “Persephone”, the band quickly ups the ante with the trippy and Proggy “Sorceress”. This track instantly showcases the album’s very fuzzy and warm sound, particularly on the guitars, giving it a certain vintage vibe that perfectly fits songs like “The Wilde Flowers”. The band nicely showcases their diverse musical repertoire in more direct songs like “Will O The Wisp” and its lush progressions.
With a gap of sixteen years between their last release and this new one, today we have the legendary Brujeria and their extremely long awaited “Pocho Aztlan” release. Captivating and amusing audiences since 1989, this band has been touring since their last release leaving all album recording activities pending until recently. Featuring thirteen tracks, this release is exactly everything we could have expected from Brujeria, as the band takes on topics from immigration to the drug war, all with their unique view and spin.
Opening with a ritual as an intro, “Pocho Aztlan” instantly erases all the time without new music from the band and delivers a typical Brujeria anthem. Keeping their catchy and funny style intact the band talks in this song about how people born in the USA from Mexican parents are widely viewed by both Americans and Mexicans. Things move into catchy headbanging chorus sections with the powerful “No Aceptan Imitaciones” and its pummeling riffs. The band’s Satanic side is always present in this release, more evidently on tracks like “Profecia del Anticristo” and “Satongo”.
Just when you think that Epica cannot get any better, they drop another masterpiece like “The Holographic Principle”. More bombastic, more explosive and more dynamic, this release further cements the band’s legacy as one of the premiere female-fronted symphonic Metal bands in the world. Featuring over 72 minutes of music spread in twelve brilliant tracks, the band completely blows away any expectations the fans might have from them.
After the traditional intro, the album kicks off in full gear with the dynamic “Edge of the Blade”, a track filled with powerful riffs and soaring vocal arrangements. The choir arrangements in this track instantly set the stage to the most bombastic Epica release ever, and tracks like “A Phantasmic Parade” and “Universal Death Squad” are a testament to that. The album’s instrumentation is top notch and perfectly delivers a unique aural experience.
Musical genius Peter Tägtgren presents us today with the latest opus “Coming Home” from his side project Pain. As the first release in five years, Peter delivers 10 catchy and totally whacky tracks that perfectly continue the madness spread by this band. Mixing a very catchy Industrial vibe with heavy riffs, this release will have you fully engaged from start to finish.
Instantly enveloping the listener within the band’s madness, “Designed to Piss You Off” delivers the first catchy and funky piece of this release. Relying on playful lyrics and catchy percussions, this track has a certain Southern Rock charm to it. Featuring vocals from Joakim Brodén of Sabaton, “Call Me” is definitely one of the most engaging and dynamic songs in this release. The two vocalists provide a nice contrast to this song, making it superbly addictive.
Returning with their amazing War-inspired Power Metal, today we have Sabaton and their latest opus “The Last Stand”. Produced, mixed and engineered by Peter Tägtgren, this release builds up on the band’s epic legacy and delivers 11 brilliant anthems that will have you feeling all pumped after listening to them. Sticking to their successful formula, this album is exactly what all Sabaton fans are waiting for.
Opening with the dramatic keyboards of “Sparta”, the band launches to battle with soaring choral arrangements and the unmistakable voice of Joakim Brodén. This track serves as the perfect warm-up for the epic tracks that are to follow. The band pummels through tracks like “Last Dying Breath” and the crafty and quite unique “Blood of Bannockburn” making it sound easy to make anthemic songs that will stick in your head for days.
Originally labeled as a mysterious Chinese outfit, Ghost Bath has taken the Depressive Black Metal/Post-Black Metal scene by surprise since their debut release “Funeral”. The band plays very raw and emotional Black Metal that instantly transmits feelings of despair and unease, unlike any other band in the world. Fast-forward 2 years since the release of their debut album, the band turned out to be from North Dakota and their sophomore release (which is even better than the fest) is currently being re-released through Nuclear Blast in June 2016.
Having played over a thousand times “Moonlover” when it first came out in 2015, it is quite impressive to see that this release still has the same effect on us after more than a year. Opening with the mysterious atmospheric elements of “The Sleeping Fields”, the album comes wide open until the blistering “Golden Number”. In this track, we can instantly hear the band’s raw emotions explode with the harsh vocals as they perfectly contrast the intense drumming and the punishing riffs. The track nicely morphs into a very unique kind of beast when the guitar leads change the tempo and the drumming because more intricate. Comparisons to the likes of Deafheaven, Bosse-de-Nage are instantly warranted, but Ghost Bath is its own unique monster.
Continue their evolution into more Progressive and atmospheric territories, today we have Fallujah and their third full-length release “Dreamless”. While the band explores more melodic ideas, their Deathcore nucleus is still intact and will kick your ass in a minute. Searching for the perfect balance between sheer brutality and musical acrobatics, the band delivers twelve solid tracks that show how much they have matured since their 2011 debut release.
Opening with the brutal “Face of Death”, the band commands their attention with perfectly balanced Deathcore-esque growls and ethereal atmospheric elements. Bleeding into the more Progressive and melodic “Adrenaline”, the band nicely transition between styles while showcasing their musical creativity. Our personal favorite is the dreamy “The Void Alone”, which features a superb combination of clean female vocals, intricate drum patterns and pummeling guitar riffs.
Keeping up with times and the ever expanding musical scene, Nuclear Blast has managed to snag one of the best up and coming Hard/Modern Rock acts names Tax the Heat. Unleashing their debut full-length “Fed to the Lions” on April 8th, this band is ready to take center stage and blow people away with their upbeat super catchy tunes full of raw energy.
Opening with the commanding “Highway Home”, the band sets a very catchy vibe while making blending in some Aerosmith-esque influences in this very solid piece. With some certain Rolling Stones energy on the follow up “Animals”, the band instantly shows their knack for mixing old-school influences with their own modern energy and craft a very enjoyable hard rock atmosphere.
The most epic band in the world returns with a very good live album that gives the listener a small glimpse into their live performance magic. Having seen Sabaton live multiple times, the band always delivers a brilliant live set and this is excellently captured in this 2DVD/CD release. With the audio part of this release featuring 16 tracks, the listener is fully immersed into the band’s live production quality and antics.
After setting the mood with “The March to War”, the band delivers a brutal hit with an epic combo of “Ghost Division”, “To Hell and Back” and the brilliant “Carolus Rex”. The band’s live sound has always been amazing and this is perfectly captured as they deliver “No Bullets Fly” and “Resist and Bite”. While we are only treated to an audio experience on the CD, we can totally imagine Joakim running around and goofing off with his band mates as the songs are played.