Nuclear Blast

  • Nightwish – Made In Hong Kong (And In Various Other Places) (2009)

    The DVD part of this release, features a documentary about the band on the road during their tour for "Dark Passion Play" and it's a must have for die hard fans of the band since they show an 'inside' look at the band. The documentary features Tuomas point of view for 90% of the time, it would have been nice to have other band members talk more.

  • Samael – Above (2009)

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    After their brutal single “Illumination” this album is even a step up from that. Samael is back and with a vengeance since they sound as heavy as in their beginning, but mixing some of their newer stuff as well. The opening track “Under One Flag” blows you away, and it sets the tone for this album.

    The drumming here is very fast paced and brutal, even for Samael, and it would blow away many black metal bands as well. I can probably compare it to good old Mysticum. But you can see that while it has some ‘real’ drums it’s heavily helped by a drum machine. But in no way this is bad, since it provides the perfect base for the songs of this album.

  • Blackguard – Profugus Mortis (2009)

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    The Canadians of Blackguard used to be called Profugus Mortis until they won a Nuclear Blast contest on myspace and got a record deal with them. I must say that I’m impressed with this band evolution from a symphonic black metal to a more Folk/Black metal band.  While they still maintain they black metal vocals, the music has been greatly revamped with folk influences giving the band a more dynamic sound and removing them from the ‘symphonic black metal’ clone band category.

    The only thing I’m disappointed they removed was the violin that separated them from other symphonic black metal bands. Other that this all their bombastic keyboards layered on top of excellent drum and guitar tracks gives this band an edge over any band from North America that plays this genre, and puts them in a competitive level against European bands that are masters of the trade.

  • Nightwish – Made In Hong Kong (2009)

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    This live CD showcases songs from “Dark Passion Play” performed in live. I was kind of disappointed that they did not include any older songs performed by Anette on this release. While this is not a problem if you have seen the band live, it would have been a nice thing for all the fans that haven’t been luck enough to see them live.

    The CD features seven live tracks and 3 previously available studio tracks. While I think this CD is a must for all Nightwish fans, especially because of the DVD. I don’t think that this adds anything new to casual listeners, since all the songs are previously available and you can see countless youtube videos of the band performing live during their previous tour.

  • Candlemass - Death Magic Doom (2009)

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    While I’ve never been a big fan of this band, I have to admit the legendary status they achieved by influencing many doom metal bands. “Death Magic Doom” is clearly one of their finest releases, musically speaking. One big improvement over the past albums, and the reason I did not liked their music was their old vocalists, Messiah Marcolin, was just annoying. And Robert Lowe has better versatility and his vocals go better with the music. Since they kicked out Messiah from the band in 2006, I’ve started liking their releases.

    This album features the typical Epic Doom metal style that the band excels at, but at some points it even sounds like ‘slow’ heavy metal!!, and Robert Lowe’s vocal range is perfect for this. The production of the album is stellar since you can listen to the album several times and still discover new things within the music.

  • Samael - Illumination (2009)

    After listening to this single, I have to say that Samael is preparing for a strong comeback with something more brutal than their most recent albums. The two tracks included in this single blew me away they showcase the intensity Samael was known for in the past. The music is more guitar driven and the vocals are as good as ever, while they don’t rely much on keyboards they are still present. The intensity of the guitars and the drumming are the focal points of these 2 songs.

  • Hammerfall - No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009)

    While everybody that knows me or my writing, you can clearly see that I’m no fan of power metal. I don’t have anything against it musically however I hate the vocals style in most of the bands.

    This new release of these Swedes starts with a bang with the song “Any Means Necessary” is a traditional power metal anthem, the blazing guitar solos, the (annoying) singing and choirs and the typical head banging melodic part. I have no complaints about this song the choir part even reminded me of Haggard at some point.

  • Deathstars - Night Electric Night (2009)

    Hailing from Sweden, the Deathstars features members from Diseccion and Ophthalamia but their music is nothing even comparable to these bands. Deathstars play industrial / gothic metal, and their look has always been pretty extravagant but fits well with their music.

    Night Electric Night is a very good release in my opinion since the music is very catchy and very well put together. The majestic keyboards and the guitar are what keeps the songs going, but also some catchy beats from the drums make the music very appealing and ‘danceable’.

  • Sirenia - The 13th Floor (2009)

    After making us wait 2 years after their last full length release this Norwegian band comes back in full strength with The 13th Floor.

    Sirenia continues with their unique gothic metal style, and while this album sounds very similar to Nine Destinies and a Downfall, it improves on that album taking the band’s sound to a more mature level.

    The female vocals are top of great quality providing a different sound to other bands in the genre. The male grunts courtesy of Morten Veland are more rare than in previous releases but they are still present and well used.

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