New Melodic Death Metal band Darkness Everywhere unites vocalist – guitarist -drummer Ben Murray (Light This City), guitarist Cameron Stucky (Crepuscle), and renowned muscian, producer, and engineer Zack Ohren (Machine Head, All Shall Perish, Pathology) on bass. The band was formed in late 2020 with the goal of writing songs heavily influenced by the classic mid-1990s Swedish Melo-Death sound. The Bay Area-based band will release their new full-length album, The Seventh Circle, will see a digital release on February 25th through Creator-Destructor – the label owned and operated by Murray. There will be a vinyl version to follow shortly after. The digital preorders are live at their Bandcamp. Listen to the first single “Reign of Chaos” right now!
The ninth studio album by Symphony X, titled Underworld (Nuclear Blast), is not a concept album, but thematically deals with the journey into the underworld, specifically as pictured in Dante Alighieri’s ‘Divine Comedy’, which is reflected in titles such as ‘Underworld’, ‘Charon’, and ‘To Hell and Back’.
The album opens very nicely with the instrumental ‘Overture’, which, while not an actual overture, has a nicely bombastic classical feel and flows right into ‘Nevermore’, the first single of the album. It is a very heavy progressive song with fast guitar riffs and a slower cadence to the vocals. In similar vein, ‘Underworld’ features some very heavy vocals and even screams from Russell Allen; this contrast between the primal vocals and a more ethereal, clean voice gives a great deal of depth and energy to this song, though the placing of second single, ‘Without You’, straight after – a much softer song that features acoustic guitars and a Country feeling mixed in with the Symphonic Prog – is rather jarring.
‘Kiss of Fire’ has another killer intro, but the most impressive part of this composition is the choral arrangement, which delivers interesting emphases in the lyrics. This is also one of the songs in which Russell Allen can really show off his vocal range. ‘Charon’, a song about the ferryman of the underworld, is also very interesting, as the muted riffs set a really interesting atmosphere and the vocal melodies have notes of mystery and suspense.
Elsewhere, Symphony X mesh heavy prog, 70s prog, and classic hard rock, and the album finishes strongly with ‘Legend’; fast paced and heavy, yet melodious, exactly what you want from the X.
Nine albums in, and while there are some absolute killer songs on this album, there are a few bits, such as ‘To Hell And Back’ and ‘Swan Song’ with its clichéd lyrics that break the tension and don’t come together so well, yet overall the bands’ class shines through more often than not.
Canto: the division of long poetry, principally used to divide epics. Canto III (Kaotoxin Records) by London based death-doom band Eye of Solitude is the third chapter for the band. Once again returning to open the gates of hell this is not a fun album to listen to, but a serious tome to torment and tragedy. Breaking up the songs by Acts, everything about the surrounding of this album is prelude to a tragedy in sonic form.
Eye of Solitude is not a band that can be hurried, like their previous album Sui Caedere this unfolds slowly, revealing itself over sixty-six agonizing minutes.
Being based on Dante’s Inferno, although not specifically the third canto, it bases its story on Dante’s decent through the circles of hell. There is a real honesty behind the performance though that can be lost in so many concept albums. There is no doubting the artists really identified with this story, the music bleeds pain; every note drips in agony, every scream is audible torment.
The music switches between long slow atmospheric chords with spoken word and aggressive blast beats and tremolo picking. This is an album all about contrast, emptiness punctuated with violent attacks. The biggest change in this record from previous releases is the extended spoken sections. Sections of the album contain readings from Inferno set over drawn out chords from keyboardist Pedro. While vocalist Dan Neagoe is more subdued during spoken sections, guest vocalists Anton Rosa’s monologues are more theatrical and dramatic, and while both are moving performances, Rosa’s screams of agony over the solo in Act VI: The pathway has been lost are particularly breathtaking.
Canto III was made to be listened to as a whole. Like starting a story in the middle it doesn’t make that much sense broken into pieces and consumed separately, every song builds and crafts the continuation of the journey through the album. The path through Canto III can best be described by Dante himself, ‘Abandon hope, all you who enter here.’