Returning with their tenth full-length album, Norwegian symphonic Gothic act Sirenia continues both the good work and the alliteration of their last couple of studio outings with their latest release Riddles, Ruins & Revelations (Napalm Records). Operatic vocals, a robust rhythm section, pounding riffs and flighty keyboards dominate proceedings, punctuated by some expert lead guitar work and differing vocal styles. Adorned with thunderous breakdowns or quieter, slower sections each cut remains interesting rather than outstaying its welcome.
It’s pretty easy to compare Saber to their fellow Californians in Haunt. In addition to playing a similarly polished Heavy Metal style, the band has released their debut album through Trevor William Church’s record label with Church himself even playing the drums on a sessional basis. Fortunately, Saber is able to set themselves apart by means of over-the-top vocals and faster tempos on songs like ‘Strike Of The Witch’ and the appropriately titled ‘Speed Racer.’ There’s certainly room for further development, especially given that Without Warning is less than a half-hour long, but it’s a fun listen for fans of groups like Cauldron and Riot City.
Konquest is a one-man project from Tuscany whose first full-length album makes no bones about their Iron Maiden worship. The vocals have a more workman quality in comparison, but the guitar harmonies are on point and the bass gets plenty of chances to let out some Steve Harris-style flourishes. The songwriting is also well-executed as songs like the title track and ‘Helding Back The Tears’ (Not a typo?) are packed with catchy Eighties-friendly hooks while ‘Heavy Heart’ and ‘The Vision’ hint at more Epic Metal aspirations. The latter’s musical lifts from ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ are a bit much, but it’s in good fun. I also keep wanting to write their name as Kong Quest, which just makes me want to play through Donkey Kong Country 2 again. Fun stuff.
In a way similar to recent efforts from groups like RAM and Ambush, Midnight Spell’s first album is a grab-bag of Classic Metal tropes. Tracks like ‘Lady Of The Moonlight’ and ‘To The Stars’ seem inspired by the likes of Dokken with their borderline Glam hooks and anthemic pacing while ‘Cemetery Queen’ is the token occult number taking influence from Mercyful Fate and the title track goes for all-out Speed Metal. The rather meat and potatoes presentation risks coming off as too plain, but the musicianship is tight and the fantastic earworms on songs like ‘Midnight Ride’ just can’t be ignored. It’s a bit more polished than your typical Traditional Metal debut, but it manages to be endearing in its own right.
Let’s think of 2021 as the year that will reveal the ultimate artistic expression of all creators out there and, personally I am very excited with what the year promises pertaining to music releases especially in Metal. The year starts with the right foot with this release by Portugal’s Stoner Metal band Miss Lava and their fourth effort Doom Machine (Small Stone). This album explores how psychedelic and experimental sounds mix so well with Stoner Rock/Metal, with passages that go straight from heavy riffs into spacious soundscapes that will transport you somewhere else in the cosmos.
If you were on the lookout for quality thrash metal in the 1980s, your next stop after the USA would most likely have been Germany. With Kreator, Destruction, and Sodom leading the way, the so-called “Teutonic Trio” eventually expanded to include legendary beer bastards Tankard, but the country also produced a host of other quality acts. Bands like Deathrow, Paradox, Assassin, Vendetta, and Living Death all flew the flag with pride along with many other deserving names, one of those being underrated Siegen based act Accu§er.Continue reading →
Taking its title from the 1965 Jean-Luc Goddard movie of the same name, and reverberating with echoes of Fritz Lang‘s 1927 silent classic, Metropolis, everything about Alphaville (Century Media), the latest album from New York trio Imperial Triumphant, is costumed heavily in film noir science fiction. Its unique atmosphere furthered byimpressive cover art from Zbigniew M. Bielak, the Polish artist noted for his work with Swedish act, Ghost.Continue reading →
Long-running Heavy Metal legends Queensrÿche recently released their excellent new albumThe Verdict on Century Media Records. We caught up with founding member Michael “Whip” Wilton at their sold-out show at Irving Plaza in New York City and talked about the new album, the loyalty of their fans, working with Chris “Zeuss” Harris, the bands’ approach to music videos, their tour plans for the rest of 2019, some key upcoming milestone album anniversaries in their career, and much more. Interview by Keefy and videography by Omar Cordy of OJC Photography.Continue reading →
The term Supergroup is often used to describe any band consisting of musicians from other acts and thus disappointing when it ends up lacking household names, or consisting of dream groupings who do not live up to the expectation their legacy suggests.
Fortunately, new entity Vltimas have offered a debut that smashes those notions.
Made up of former Mayhem man Blasphemer, Cryptopsy’s Flo Mounier and David Vincent (formerly of Morbid Angel), Vltimas is a solid who’s who of Extreme Metal royalty. Notably, this is Vincent’s first Metal outing since the polarising Illud Divinum Insanus (Season of Mist), thus potentially leaving him with a point to prove. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for Something Wicked Marches In (Season of Mist) to ease any lingering doubts there.Continue reading →
Alternative Metal is considered by some in the Metal community to be the black sheep of the genre: bands like Breaking Benjamin, Disturbed, Sevendust and many others have seen mainstream success because of the accessible sound and simplistic yet catchy song structures which come with the genre. During the 00s, Alternative Metal exploded and has acted as the gateway for many listeners to discover the vast sonic ground which is under the banner of Metal. The question is: does Colt 48’s new release Negatives (independent release) have any merit now that those heydays are over?Continue reading →
It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly East Of The Wall is and this is a double edged sword in many aspects. Calling them a progressive band would be like calling a spade a spade: the music follows all the staples and notions of the genre, but, as a label, it still does not fit comfortably, especially with their new release NP – Complete (Translation Loss Records).Continue reading →
If there was a genre that’s been done to death in every possible way, it’s Metalcore. Talk about everything and the kitchen sink, the genre has become oversaturated in recent years with the same tired template of songs, sounds and ideas which are rip-offs from the genre’s heyday in the noughties. There are still bands like Architects and Killswitch Engage who continue to grow both their audience and their sound by bringing new ideas to the table even if the genre is no longer the musical hotbed it once was.