After a killer debut EP with “Waves” Owler returned in 2016 to unleash “Soil”, a highly melancholic collection of five songs that showcase more maturity and creativity from these Finns. Clocking in at around 30 minutes, this release takes all the elements of their first release and further refines them and integrates them into the band’s own signature style. This music is still highly recommended for fans of bands like Insomnium to The Man Eating Three.
Opening with the soaring vocals of “Storm”, the release kicks off with a very theatrical piece that fully takes advantage of “Juha Simola’s melancholic clean vocals. Things turn a bit darker and doomier with the heavy atmospheric and crushing riffs of “Amend”. We really enjoy how the subtle atmospheric keyboards set the mood for the harsh vocals and slower tempo.
Hailing from Belgium, today we have the always improving Symphonic Black Metal outfit Saille and their fourth full-length release “Gnosis”. Returning with their highly melodic music, the band manages to craft 45 minutes divided in nine tracks that showcase their musical evolution in to a cleaner and leaner outfit since their conception. After releasing 3 albums in a span of 4 years, the band took more than two years to fully prepare and unleash this near perfect gem into the world.
Opening with the melodic riffing of “Benei ha'Elohim”, the band slowly introduces their clean cut musical style that remind us of bands like Apostasy, Old Man's Child, and Emperor. Things get catchier with the Dimmu Borgir-esque “Pandaemonium Gathers”, the perfect contrast between funky keyboards and pummeling drums/guitars make this song quite interesting and engaging. The killer solos and melancholic guitars in “Blôt” brilliantly complement Dennie Grondelaers mixture of growls and shrieks, making this track one of the most complete and diverse pieces in this release.
Hailing from France, today we have Metalcore/Modern Metal new comers Aanod and their blistering release “Yesterday Comes Tomorrow”. Perfectly blending traditional Metalcore elements with more Soilwork/In Flames inspired Melodic Modern Metal elements, the band manages to craft seven solid tracks that showcase their talents. As the lines between Metalcore and other genre’s continue to blur, we are more than impressed with bands like Aanod and their fresh musical ideas.
Opening with the crushing “Gambler”, the band sets a very solid standard with an opener filled with powerful riffs and pummeling vocals. There influences from everything from Melo-death to Death/Metalcore are quickly evident and very well incorporated together. Reminding us a bit of Dark Tranquility and Soilwork, “DNA” and “Resource” are some of the album’s most engaging and gratifying songs.
For fans of highly melancholic and atmospheric music, today we have Hanging Garden’s latest opus “Hereafter”. Perfectly continuing their musical journey into more Atmospheric Rock territories, this Finnish band has come a long way since their crushing Death/Doom Metal days. Featuring 21 minutes divided in five tracks, this release delivers highly melancholic music filled with great guest vocal appearances, perfect for any fans of the band or highly atmospheric music.
Opening with the heavy riffs of “Penumbra”, the band complements the clean vocals of Toni Toivonen with the crushing growls of guest singer Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun). This track is quite melodic and yet delivers some crushing riffs and heavy moments. Continuing with the heaviness, “Sirkle of Onan” keeps things heavy thanks to a firm pace and Victor Wegeborn’s Post-Metal styled vocals.
Coming out of a few very hard years with the death of founding member and drummer Tobias Graf and the departure of Sabine Scherer, the bands charismatic vocalist, Deadlock delivers their 7th full-length release titled “Hybris”. Featuring a more melancholic edge to their music than their previous two releases, this album brings us back to the catchiness of “Bizarro World” combined with the melodic side of “Wolves”.
Opening with the Groovy “Epitaph”, we are very quickly given the first glance of Margi Gerlitz’s vocals, which are actually somewhat similar to Sabine’s, but as the album progresses we notice they also have a wider range, allowing the band’s music to go to different places. This catchy opener is nicely framed with intricate drumming, direct riffs and subtle atmospheric elements. “Carbonman” and “Berserk” nicely step up the intensity level with two very engaging and heavy songs filled with cool guitar leads that ooze melody and provide a nice contrast when paired with Margi’s vocals.
Sometimes the best way to move forward is to hit the rest button, and this is exactly what Thomas Caser did with his band. Bringing back some of the band’s old members and a couple of new vocalists, Visions of Atlantis returns with a fresh lineup and a new lease on life. The EP “New Waters” features five classic songs from the band’s discography, re-recorded with the new members in order to test the waters.
Opening with the amazing epic “Lovebearing Storm” from the band’s debut 2002 release “Eternal Endless Infinity”, we instantly get a glimpse of the killer chemistry between new vocalists Siegfried Samer and Clémentine Delauney. The song also sounds revitalized more dramatic keyboards and a clear mix.
Hailing from Sweden today we have Hyperion’s brilliant debut full-length release “Seraphical Euphony”. Feeling like it was trapped on a time capsule for over 10 years, this highly melodic and catchy release features a melodic Death/Black Metal sound from the 90’s. Perfectly packaged with all the technological advances of our current time, this album is one very unique sounding release in a sea of clones and bands trying too hard to sound ‘vintage’.
After the acoustic building up “Remnants of the Fallen”, “Novus Ordo Seclorum” is a brilliant guitar-led piece that instantly reminded us of Dissection and their legendary “Storm of the Light's Bane”. With a timeless guitar sound, tracks like “Flacellum Dei”, “Seraphical Euphony” and the dramatic “Moral Evasion” really hit that old-school spot, but at the same time combine more atmospheric elements of period bands like Dismal Euphony. We particularly enjoy how this last track evolves after an atmospheric opening and leads into balls to the wall headbanging passages.
As Delain continues their world domination with their relentless touring schedule, today we are lucky to have their latest EP titled “Lunar Prelude”. Providing some insights into the band’s future full-length release, this EP gives us two new tracks, one new version of an older song, four live takes and an orchestral piece. As bombastic as any of their previous releases, this album will captivate all fans and entertained until their next release.
Opening with the bombastic “Suckerpunch”, this is the quintessential Delain track with lush keyboards, brilliant solid arrangements and very catchy melodic sections. Charlotte’s vocals have come a long way since the band’s debut “Lucidity” and sound very firm and yet as sweet as ever. After such an explosive opener, “Turn the Lights Out” opens more in a mellow mood that is nicely elevated thanks to super catchy arrangements and strong guitar work. The band recently added Merel Bechtold into their ranks as second guitarist as well as new drummer Ruben Israël further strengthening their musical core.
Continuing ‘their’ experimental journey, one-man behemoth Spectral Lore returns with a hefty Middle Eastern inspired release titled “Gnosis”. Labeled as an EP, but clocking in at nearly 50 minutes, this release moves away from the extremely experimental nature of “Voyager” and moves into territories of bands like Melechesh, Myrath, and Orphaned Land.
Opening with the ravaging “Dualism”, we are instantly directed to a journey of guitar driven Melodic Black Metal with some very subtle hints of Middle Eastern inspired elements. The vocals are not traditionally delivered and only spawn some shrieks and whispers, adding extra mysticism to this release. As the album slowly progresses into the melodic brilliance of “Gnosis’ Journey Through the Ages”, we are greatly enjoying the ethereal atmospheric elements that further enhance the engaging riffing and intricate bass guitar line.
Always excited to receive promo materials from new and upcoming bands, today we find ourselves quite entertained with Forte Ruin’s self-titled EP. Mixing Melodic Death Metal elements with some Power Metal influences, this release sounds like Children of Bodom, Tracedawn and Shade Empire had a genetically engineered baby.
Opening with the lively Children of Bodom-esque “Alienated Humanity”, the band instantly makes an impression with well-crafted guitars and playful keyboards. The harsh vocals are very typical for the genre, but the clean vocals nicely catch the listener off-guard and have a certain Proggy vibe to them. After setting the bar high with the opener, the band continues with lush keyboards and excellent tight drumming in “45 Days”. Being quite catchy and melodic, this reminded us a bit more of Tracedawn and Kalmah, brilliantly smashed together.