Bigger, better, quicker, and more grandiose seems to be the objective of Fleshgod Apocalypse and their monumental release “Labyrinth”. Having blown people away with the combination of dramatic orchestrations and extreme technical abilities in “Agony”, the band is ready to deliver an even more impressive and monumental release with this album.
The album kicks off with dramatic operatic vocal arrangements and over the top orchestrations on “Kingborn”. This single opening makes the last Dimmu Borgir album sound like a bunch of kids playing with Protools. In this track the band also delivers their signature Technical Death Metal with hyper fast riffs and killer drumming. “Minotaur (The Wrath of Poseidon)” eases into the picture with a more standard approach featuring killer growls mixed into the rich sound of the band. Don’t be fooled since there are also plenty of memorable melodic passages mixed in between all the brutal sections and lush arrangements.
Morten Veland and company have returned with a very powerful and engaging Sirenia release under the name of “Perils of the Deep Blue”. In this release we see the band going a bit back in time and bringing back some of the elements that made “Nine Destinies and a Downfall” one of their best releases six years ago. Featuring 11 tracks of majestic Symphonic/Gothic Metal, the band is seriously gunning for Epica’s crown in this genre.
After the lush and dramatic mood-setting opener “Ducere Me In Lucem”, the band really comes alive with the super catchy “Seven Windows Weep”. In this track we get lush choir arrangements to accompany Ailyn’s hypnotic vocals. With over the top orchestrations, this track and “My Destiny Coming To Pass” really set a very dynamic and overpowering atmosphere. The band also focuses on staying heavy, featuring powerful riffs and aggressive growls.
Finally returning to their days of glory, today we have Children of Bodom and their most cohesive release since “Hate Crew Deathroll”. With “Halo of Blood” the band returns to their playful and skillful entertaining music that is both technically proficient and quite catchy. Having tanked their last 3 releases, it is quite refreshing to hear the band going a bit back to their roots and re-capturing the elements that made them the successful band they are now.
With the opener “Waste of Skin”, the band instantly delivers their signature CoB sound with catchy keyboards and excellent lead guitars. Once the rhythmic guitars come in, the song already hooked you because of its catchiness. Alexi Laiho’s solos are as good as in the past, and the overall musical experience greatly brought us memories of when we first listened to the band in the past.
Germany’s latest export Kadavar is finally making their latest release, “Abra Kadavar”, available to the people of North America through Nuclear Blast this May 14th, 2013. If you have been living under a rock for the last few years, Psychedelic Rock is making a big comeback and Kadavar is one of the most authentic and enthusiastic bands leading the charge. Featuring nine rocking anthems, this release is filled with energy and groovy tunes.
Opening with the super catchy “Come Back To Life”, the band has that natural feeling to their music of the old-school bands from the 70’s. With a very basic set-up this band focuses more on creating fun and hard-rocking tunes than on any technical aspects of the production and fancy layering of things. “Doomsday Machine”, “Black Snake”, and “Dust” are clear examples of how the band delivers catchiness effortless while having a very organic and raw sound.
Keeping their tradition of brutal and merciless releases, Immolation delivers “Kingdom Of Conspiracy”. Featuring 10 tracks covering 40 minutes of soul crushing music, the band shows that they can deliver powerful songs and stay fresh at the same time. Being the band’s 9th full-length release, this album showcases their maturity and evolution over the years and brings down the pain for all fans of the band.
Opening with the crushing “Kingdom Of Conspiracy”, the album feels like you just got greeted by a bag of bricks. The band’s sound is as brutal as ever and all the elements work perfectly together creating a powerful yet refined sound. The band’s combination of catchiness and brutality can easily be heard on songs like “Bound To Order” and “Keep The Silence” thanks to massive drums and cheeky riffs.
Having set the bar ridiculously high with “The Beginning of Times”, Amorphis returns with yet another very impressive release that keeps setting new standards for the band. “Circle” features the band going a bit darker with some heavier songs, but with the every present melodic Amorphis signature style with soaring vocals and lush keyboards. Delivering nine tracks of pure brilliance the band reminds us why they are the kings of Finish Metal, in our opinion.
Unleashing their power immediately with “Shades of Gray”, Tomi J’s growls are as brutal as ever and make a great impact in the opening track. The classic Amorphis transitions from harsh sections to melodic passages are excellent as always thanks to the very efficient riffing. In a darker tone, “Mission” has a very energetic vibe thanks to the vocal arrangements and playful guitar work. One of the first singles of this release is the superbly catchy “The Wanderer”, a song where Tomi J’s vocals drive the track’s melodic elements.
Four years have passed since the crushing “A Taste of Extreme Divinity” and Hypocrisy finally returns with a release that brings them back to their more melodic and epic sound of albums like “The Fourth Dimension” and “The Final Chapter”. Bringing back the demonic aliens on the album cover, this release is both powerful and melodic with epic riffs and haunting atmospheres, a must have for any fan of the band’s earlier work.
Opening with the atmospheric epic “End of Disclosure” we are immediately transported to the band’s classics like “Roswell 1947” and similar tracks from those years. The band really changed things up from their last album to this one, and we particularly like this more melodic approach they have. The riffing as you can expect is amazing and on “Tales of Thy Spineless” they bust out some crushing Thrash Metal-style passages that will make you headbang instantly.
Suffering by the exit (for the second time) of their long-time guitarist and main songwriter, Peter Wichers, Soilwork manages to regroup and produce one of the best efforts to dates in the double album “The Living Infinite”. With all the band participating in the songwriting process, their latest release is actually very dynamic and diverse, exploring all facets of Soilwork’ sound from the last years.
Keeping on their Metalcore / Melodic Metal path, the band immediately opens the first CD of this release with the crushing “Spectrum of Eternity”, a track that perfectly mixes intense passages with melodic sections. Björn Strid’s vocals are once again perfect in blending harsh elements with soaring clean vocals giving the music a versatile sound that many bands fails miserably at.
Bringing forth a relentless guitar driver aural assault, today we have Enforcer’s “Death By Fire”. Lead by Olof Wikstrand, this Swedish band packs a lot of punch in their nine-track 36-minute NWOBHM infused Metal. Combining a crystal clear production and that intensity of the hay day of the genre, this release is one hell of a nostalgic trip.
Immediately after the typical intro, “Death Rides This Night” blasts away with super catchy guitar riffs and very the very sharp vocals of Olof. The whole vibe of this song is very 80’s with memories of Saxon and Motörhead immediately coming to mind. The party keeps going with the hyper fast “Run For Your Life” and epic “Take Me Out Of This Nightmare”. This last track is probably our favorite one of this release thanks to its very traditional structure filled with catchy passages and awesome guitar leads.
With the current Thrash Metal revival, it is quite sad to hear bands going on their last hurrah with very mediocre releases. This is 100% the case for Schmier and company with a very uninspired “Spiritual Genocide”. Bands like Accept, Kreator, and Death Angel have managed to evolve over time and incorporate some more ‘modern’ elements into their sound, Destruction on the other hand has managed to stay exactly the same for the last 10 years.
Opening with the insipid “Exordium” this album instantly feels like the last few of the band. Tracks like “Cyanide” and “Spiritual Genocide” are typical Thrash Metal songs that sound like they arrived 10 years too late. The riffing is predictable and the vocals are so-so, there is a lack of viciousness and aggression here, and bands like Kreator and Death Angel are now clearly superior to this band that peaked years ago.