The legendary Symphony X has returned with the band’s ninth full-length release titled “Underworld”. Perfectly mixing elements from the band’s extensive musical trajectory, this album further refines their musical pedigree and delivers 63 minutes of catchy and engaging music. Always being crowd pleasers, the fans will certainly not be disappointed by the continuity and level of quality the band’s music presents.
After the traditional warm-up intro/overture, the band gets down to business with the killer “Nevermore”. Featuring a wide variety of exciting guitar leads and an extra catchy chorus section, this song is the prefect mood setting piece for such a diverse and entertaining release. The first truly epic song in this release is the dramatic “Without You”, led by Russell Allen’s charismatic vocals; this is a very memorable epic-feeling track.
As one of the biggest surprises of 2015, today we have the infamous Cradle of Filth and their 12th full-length release “Hammer of the Witches”. Bringing us back to when the band was turning heads left and right with their “Dusk and Her Embrace” and “Cruelty and the Beast” releases, this is by far the best release from them in over 10 years. Delivering 11 punishing tracks of lush Symphonic Black Metal we are sure that most old fans of the band will come flocking back to them.
After the warm-up intro, things are blown wide open with the intense drumming of “Yours Immortally…”, courtesy of Martin Škaroupka coming quite close to the glory days of the band with Nick Barker. The mood is as magical as on “Cruelty and the Beast” with crushing tempo changes and the howling of Dani Filth. The band finally got back to their mojo of crafting songs with tons of tempo changes and perfect combinations of howls, growls and clean male and female vocals as in “Enshrined in Crematoria” and “Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess” (one of our favorites).
Delivering one of the most bombastic and ridiculously epic releases of 2015, today we have Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody with “Prometheus”. Vastly improving over their 2012 “Ascending to Infinity” the band elevates its game to reach new heights in terms of lush cinematic experiences. If you could imagine Therion paired with Blind Guardian and old Stratovarius, that is exactly what this album sounds like.
Building a very dramatic opening with “Il Cigno Nero”, the band’s signature intense tempo and theatrical vibe is felt instantly through Alessandro Conti’s vocals and Luca Turilli’s talented musical composition skills. The extreme usage of orchestrations and choir arrangements greatly pays off on tracks like “Anahata”, the dramatic “One Ring to Rule them All”, and the majestic “Prometheus”. The basic Power Metal core aspect of the band’s sound is kept very tidy through Alex Landenburg’s drumming and Patrice Guers’s bass guitar lines.
As the most expected release from 2015, today we have Nightwish and their eight full-length release: “Endless forms Most Beautiful”. Armed with two new band members, this legendary Symphonic Metal band delivers nearly 80 minutes of music in their most ambitious album to date. The album is naturally filled with fast, catchy and heavy tracks that are perfectly combined with dramatic symphonic arrangements, all nicely tied together with a very powerful message.
Opening with the bombastic “Shudder Before the Beautiful”, the band sets a very active tempo since the beginning. Floor Jansen’s vocals work very well for Nightwish and they greatly shine in this release. It was obvious that the band’s previous singer had considerably less range than Floor, and the band is now back into their lush and explosive musical days from their Tarja-era. The choir arrangements are extremely well delivered and greatly enhance the music. Marco Hietala has a reduced role, in terms of singing, in this release but it makes his moments count like on the epic “Weak Fantasy”.
Constantly evolving and maturing over the last 10 years, Enslaved returns with another mesmerizing release with “In Times”. Further developing their Progressive Black Metal sound, the band delivers 53 minutes of impeccable music that will strengthen the band’s legacy and please all Metal fans. If you think the bar was set too high with “RIITIIR”, it has not been obliterated by this new release.
Opening with a blistering onslaught in the first minute of “Thurisaz Dreaming”, the band masterfully turns the tides around and delivers an elegant piece that perfectly blends aggressive passages with the band’s signature proggy/jazzy melodic passages. Arve Isdal and Ivar Bjørnson do a great job in combining different guitar styles to create intricate song structures for the tracks in this release. With almost everybody pitching in on vocals (Grutle, Ivar, and Herbrand Larsen), the mood majestically changes without always needing elaborate tempo changes like on “Building With Fire”.
Nearly five years since the band’s last effort “At the Edge of Time”, Germany’s Blind Guardian return with another epic release with “Beyond the Red Mirror”. Featuring their signature soaring Power Metal filled with musical virtuosity and engaging chorus sections, this album delivers 64 minutes of warm hearted music that will bring back all the memories of the band’s highly praised discography.
Opening the release with great style, “The Ninth Wave” starts with album with 9 minutes of epic arrangements and soaring vocals. As the opener bleeds into “Twilights of The Gods”, the first mega-epic masterpiece of this release is revealed with an uber catchy chorus section. With “Prophecies” the band keeps a similar level of amazingness with Hansi Kürsch’s signature vocals and the excellent guitar work of André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen. The band’s sound is expertly crafted and perfectly balanced to deliver truly memorable songs.
Helping us ring the New Year, Josh Middleton and Sylosis return with their very interesting blend of Melodic Death Metal with Thrash elements on “Dormant Heart”. Featuring 12 songs that have a darker edge than the band’s previous works, this UK outfit delivers one of their finest releases to date.
Opening with the melodic “Where the wolves Come to Die”, the band really steps its game with the crushing “Victims and Pawn”. Both initial tracks are filled with the traditional Sylosis-styled barrage of riffs and harsh vocals. The band’s signature sound is further developed with a mellower tempo and a certain darker vibe in tracks like the imposing “Dormant Heart” and the breakout single “Leech”.
With the latest Thrash revival still in full swing, and all the legendary bands releasing crushing albums, Exodus does not fall behind and they are releasing “Blood In, Blood Out”. Marking their first release without Rob Dukes in almost 10 years, the band fully takes advantage of the return of Steve Souza and crafts 11 tracks of solid Thrash Metal filled with all those awesome riffs that make you feel warm inside.
Quickly getting on the scoreboard, the band unleashes “Black 13”, a powerful track filled with Gary Holt and Lee Altus signature riffing and the typical Thrash Metal tempo we all enjoy. Steve’s vocals while not the favorite of many, they do a solid job in conveying the band’s lyrics in tracks like “Blood In, Blood Out”, charged with aggression. The band stays current and shows sings of incorporating more Groovy/Modern elements in songs like “Collateral Damage”, a thing they perfectly blend into their already established sound.
Continuing to go down a completely different path, today we have Decapitated and another entry to the band’s ‘second period’ of average Death/Groove Metal music. With two new members (that is half the band) since the last release, this band seems to be wondering what kind of music they should be playing. Featuring eight tracks, this release has some moments, but they continue to fall flat compared to their early legacy.
After the uninspired opener “Exiled in Flesh”, we are treated to a brutal track filled of intense drumming and some Djent-esque elements thrown into the mix. This makes “The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation” one of the oddest named tracks, and one of the better ones in this release. Both “Veins” and “Blood Mantra” have some cool Death Metal moments here and there, but fail to grab our attention.
Greatly improving over their 2011 release “Infected”, today we have Hammerfall and their signature Heavy Metal with “(r)Evolution”. In this release, the band continues to push forward with their quest of the perfect Heavy Metal album and they get a bit closer thanks to their refined sound. Nearly 50 minutes of high-octane music make this release one of the best of 2014 so far.
Leading with the catchy chorus section of “Hector’s Hymn”, the band gives this release a very epic spin since the opening song. The band’s Heavy Metal pedigree is instantly audible in this intense track. As Joacim Cans vocals lead another epic onslaught with the album title track, we are quickly taken by surprise on how quickly this album grows on you. The majestic guitar leads of Oscar Dronjak greatly elevate this song to the next level.