Delain “Moonbathers” 2016 Review

Delain Moonbathers

Delain have been in the music scene for a decade now; Bringing us dark and catchy Symphonic Metal with beautiful Melodic tones.  It is no secret that I am a huge fan of this band and thoroughly enjoy their entire catalogue as well as their fantastic live shows.  I could go on and on about the Symphonic prowess of this band, but the purpose of this review is to focus on the new album “Moonbathers” and its diverse offering of tracks.  Delain is one of those bands who aren’t afraid to build bridges across genres.  They have excellent Gothic Rock tracks, grand Symphonic movements, catchy Pop Rock tracks with excellent hooks, and anthemic Rock beyond your 80’s Arena Rock.  For me, it is impossible to categorize this band in a single genre, because it demeans their ability to successfully play just about any style with any number of instruments.  Every song on every album has eccentricities and vibes much different from each other.  “Moonbathers” is a prime example of their voluminous talent.  

 

After nearly fifty listens on this record, I think this is absolutely the best record thus far of Delain’s existence.  It commands to differ from past Delain albums, but also has its foot firmly planted in Delain’s original sound.  You get reminders from all the past records, but also completely new aspects.  The most noticeable new aspect for me is the different take on the vocals.  I feel like this record utilizes more of lead vocalist Charlotte Wessels’ vocal range, especially on the high end.  The lower range of her voice seems to be absent on this new record, but not in a bad way.  While her lower range is what makes her different and unique, I think this record is the best vocal performance of her career because it is so different.  I feel like the vocals are more natural and organic than on “The Human Contradiction”.  The music overall is more organic and feels truer to each member on this record.  Every part, every track, every new aspect is extremely well executed and feels like this band as a whole put everything they had into it.  It is raw, it is beautiful, it is soft, it is dark, it is passionate, and it is tastefully heavy.  It is also very different than past Delain records in its ability to appeal to a wider audience.  This band is clearly trying to grow, and Moonbathers undoubtedly succeeds.

 

There are so many layers to this record and each track, in both overtones and undertones.  You hear bombastic layers in the orchestral parts and guitar parts, as well as powerful melodic vocals that really emphasize the Symphonic aspect.  Then, there’s the undertones of the album that ebb and flow softly and make it extremely unique.  You’re not going to get every detail in just one listen, yet it will hook you from the intro of Hands of Gold.  The quality of this record is outstanding.  “Moonbathers” to me has a bigger and louder identity than “The Human Contradiction”.  I can easily pinpoint all the strengths and differences in each track, making each song unique to the rest.   Glory and the Scum is heavy and dark, with a hauntingly beautiful melody.  It’s also a song that features Charlotte’s grunts, a new and exclusive feature to Delain’s sound.  This album makes me wonder, “Is there anything she can’t do?”.  Suckerpunch, Scandal, Fire With Fire are the most energetic tracks on the record, bringing back that high energy from past Delain records.  Scandal is a bold choice from Westerholt, but it pays off ten fold in impressing new and old fans.  It is easily one of the best covers I have ever heard.  It keeps true to the original but improves on it and makes it more energetic and definitely heavier.  One of my favorite parts of Scandal and all the other heavy tracks is definitely the guitar work.  

 

Timo Somers has a unique sound that is unmistakable in his heavy hooks and his melodic soloing.  I feel like his guitar work stands out more on this record than past records, and that is definitely a good thing.  The use of seven strings by Somers, and new addition Merel Bechtold, is surprising and unexpected.  The dichotomy of using seven string heavy rhythmic riffs over beautiful melodies couldn’t be more idyllic Symphonic Metal.  The guitars are aggressive and offset the Pop influences expertly.  The electric guitars are truly fantastic, but the bass guitar seems to be utterly absent from this album.  Bassist Otto has made his mark on the past two Delain records and has been one hell of a driving bottom end.  He seems to be unheard on Moonbathers, which is disappointing and takes something unique out of the Delain equation.  I would’ve loved to hear more breakdowns with only vocals and bass in a lot of these tracks.  That aspect is what makes songs like Get the Devil Out of Me so appealing and unique.  I would’ve liked to hear fifty percent more bass guitar on this record.  Putting Otto in the background is one of Moonbathers’ biggest flaws, in my opinion.

 

Martijn Westerholt described Moonbathers as having extremes; Fast, heavy, aggressive, and loud, then soft, melodic, and subtle.  The softer songs on the record are not what you expect from Delain.  To me, these are some of the best songs they have put out yet.  I love ballads and think they are a great testament to a band’s diversity.  If the whole album was all fast, bombastic, Symphonic tracks, it would become mundane and monotone.  These soft tracks are what set Moonbathers apart from most recent Metal records.  The Hurricane, my personal favorite, is a ballad with expertly crafted drums and guitar and brilliant vocal lines that quickly become entrancing.  Chrysalis: The Last Breath is one of those defining moments in this record, and Delain’s career in general.  This song is also a ballad, but it’s dark and heartbreaking.  This track is simplistic, only containing strings, piano, and vocals.  It is a work you expect to be on epic film soundtrack.  Every song on the album blows me away, but this song is a whole other level of Delain’s talent.  Then there’s Danse Macabre, which I consider one of the slow songs.  This song is gorgeous.  The melodies on this record are so perfectly executed and addictive; Danse Macabre is a great example of a well done melody.  Although a repetitive and a flat song compared to the others, it is still a good track to have on in the car.  

 

Overall, Moonbathers is an absolutely fantastic record.  Is it as good as everyone expected?  Maybe not, but it is still Delain’s best effort so far to make an impact on the music industry.  They’re still growing, and growing exponentially in fan base and as musicians.  No doubt this record will attribute to the longevity of this band (I hope that’s not a jinx.)  There are strengths and really highpoints in this record, and some disappointment.  Is it musically perfect?  No, hardly any records are musically perfect, but Moonbathers is a great attempt and it is perfect in that it accomplishes everything it is made to do.  This record is exploding.  Just two years ago the support for Delain was lackluster and they deserved a lot more credit.  Moonbathers is finally bringing hype and popularity to the band.  As long as they keep going strong and keep true to their identity, Moonbathers is only the beginning.

 

6J8B7333

 

Sirenia Announce EU Tour

Gothic Metallers SIRENIA announce European tour with TYR, UNLEASH THE ARCHERS, XAON and RELICSEED
 


Norwegian Gothic Metallers SIRENIA will embark on a European tour this November with Faeroe Islands favourite exports TYR, Canada’s rising stars on their debut European tour UNLEASH THE ARCHERS, Swiss rising stars XAON, and Latvians RELICSEED.
The tour will be 18-dates long with a few still to be added.
Nov 10 Berlin, Germany @ Postbahnhof
Nov 11 Rostock, Germany @ Alte Zuckerfrabrik
Nov 12 Aalborg, Denmark @ Aalborg Metal Fest
Nov 13 Hamburg, Germany @ Logo
Nov 14 Gdansk, Poland @ B90
Nov 15 Erfurt, Germany @ From Hell
Nov 16 Prague, Czech Republic @ Nova Chmelnice
Nov 17 Wien, Austria @ Viper Room
Nov 18 Zug, Switzerland @ Galvanik
Nov 19 Monthey, Switzerland @ Pont Rouge
Nov 20 Weinheim, Germany @ Cafe Central
Nov 21 Cologne, Germany @ Essigfabrik
Nov 22 Leiden, Netherlands @ Gebr, de Nobel
Nov 23 Amstelveen, Netherlands @ P60
Nov 24 Arnhem, Netherlands @ Willemmen
Nov 25 Roeselare, Belgium @ De Verlichte Geest
Nov 26 TBA
Nov 27 London, United Kingdom @ O2 Academy Islington
You can pick up their latest album Perils of the Deep Blue out now via Nuclear Blast Records. Order at http://bit.ly/sireniapodb
SIRENIA “Once My Light”
TYR “The Lay Of Our Love”
UNLEASH THE ARCHERS “Tonight We Ride”
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Otep Generation Doom Review

Otep Generation Doom

 

 

OTEP Generation Doom Rages to Fame

 

Otep, the hardcore poet from California is back in 2016 with the crazy heavy album “Generation Doom”.  Otep is a mix of industrial rock, rap rock, and Metalcore with a common theme of liberation.  Otep’s message has been consistent throughout every project, but she is a highly diverse artist.  I was not surprised on first listen of “Generation Doom” to find that it is all over the place with the direction of the music.  This album has every combination of styles that modern Metal listeners flock to, but it remains unique and non-mainstream.  It’s not your run of the mill Metal record, as it utilizes Death Metal with rapping and melancholy style vocals with really strong beats.  Whatever you describe this album is, it’s pure uncensored chaos where Otep says whatever the hell she wants and does whatever the hell she wants.  “Generation Doom” breaks all the rules and barriers, especially with songs like Equal Rights, Equal Lefts that explores Otep’s sexuality and the issue of Equality.  However, I think this album has a song for everyone because it is so incredibly diverse.

 

Overall the musicality is surprisingly good.  The instrumentation isn’t outstanding or virtuoso-esque, but it serves as a heavy delivery service for the prominent lyrics and message.  I am not a fan of political music, but “Generation Doom” is more about liberation and inspiration, so it gets a pass for me.  The dirty vocals and heavy breakdowns are well executed and I think they will be well received by a diverse group of listeners.  It’s an intense album all the way through, regardless if the song is fast and heavy or an Industrial Rap Rock breakdown, Otep is in your face.  Songs like Zero, Lie, and the title track are pretty extreme and hit you in the chest with heaviness.  Otep’s cover of Lorde’s Royals is also one hell of a surprise and I thought their version was comically better than the original.  The spoken word interludes throughout the album are also enchanting and mesmerizing.  It’s an aspect not explored much in Metal music and I love the darkness Otep integrates into it.  It is extremely artistic and allows for a better personal connection to the message she’s trying to convey.  However, the song that stands out to me is the outro track On the Shore.  This track is hauntingly beautiful and Otep’s clean vocals absolutely blow me away on this track.  The more melodic side of Otep leaves me wanting more.  This track also includes more hauntingly half-sung spoken word that will probably give you chills.  “Generation Doom” is one hell of a diverse album and is incredibly hard to sum up in one review.  It’s either an album you jam out to or immerse yourself into completely, so it depends on the listener’s personal connections.  You’re either going to love or hate this album, and I don’t think Otep gives a damn either way.  8/10

“Grey Heavens” Omnium Gatherum Review

grey heavens Omnium Gatherum

 

Omnium Gatherum’s Grey Heavens Smashes Expectations

 

I am a huge fan of Omnium’s entire diverse Melodeth catalogue, but their previous release “Beyond” was a cut above any Melodeth release.  “Beyond” was beautiful and as inspiring as enjoying looking out on Finland’s vast coastline, that can be experienced in a music video from this album.  For me, Omnium foreshadows At The Gates’ last disappointing attempt at a radio friendly album and In Flames’ even more harsh attempt.  Yes, without the Gothenburg Melodeth bands like At The Gates and In Flames there would be no Omnium, Insomnium, Woods of Ypres, and many more.  However, I prefer the Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum style of Melodeth.  The melodic sides of these bands rival anything I’ve ever heard before.  So Omnium set the bar impossibly high with “Beyond” for me, and I was just sure nothing could top it.  Boy, I was wrong.  Finland has a lot of great bands, but I dare say that “Grey Heavens” puts Omnium high above.

 

I have reviewed a lot of albums since I began this blog, some great and some absolutely terrible albums, too.  It is rare that I get to review an album that I truly enjoy every track on, so this album was mind blowing to review.  I have listened to it a dozen times since it came out, because it is worth giving that many in depth listens.  “Grey Heavens” is anything but your typical Metal album.  The growls are perfectly set into a melodic pocket, giving this “beauty and the beast” sound to it.  While the lead guitars are beautiful, the growls are harsh and chest rattling, especially on songs like Skyline and Frontiers.  The guitars are melodic, but not understated.  The guitars wail loudly and the technicality is absolutely astounding.  Every sweep, solo, rhythmic underlay is perfectly executed with the guitars as well as the layered vocals.  The vocals are mostly dirty, but the clean vocals evoke incredible emotion and tone on this record.  You get a taste of cleans in the past two Omnium records, but “Grey Heavens” has superior mixing.  Majesty and Silence has to be my favorite song on this record because of the layering; the acoustic guitars as well as heavy rhythmic guitars mix together expertly as well as the clean and dirty vocals.  The juxtaposition of Melodeth that Omnium achieves on this record makes it an easy candidate for record of the year.  Every song is flawless and will leave you speechless.  I highly recommend it for entry level Death Metal fans and anyone with a good taste in music.  10/10

 

Nightwish/Sonata Arctica/Delain At the Colorado Springs Auditorium

NIGTHWISH/SONATA ARCTICA/DELAIN CITY AUDITORIUM COLORADO SPRINGS  MARCH 15

 

The City Auditorium isn’t a stranger to great Metal shows in my hometown of Colorado Springs, but it is an unlikely venue for a show of this caliber.  My first time there and I was leary of having seats for a Symphonic Metal show, but my height is definitely suited for seats.  It is an entirely different experience to watch these three bands from seats,but in a very good way.  It was my third time seeing Delain, and second time for both Nightwish and Sonata Arctica.  I was very excited for this show, because I knew they would change the setlists from the tour last year.  I was ecstatic with the addition of Sonata to this tour, I felt like they were a better support than Sabaton for Nightwish.  Although, I bought the tickets before Sonata was added and expected a Delain support set, meaning a longer set than their 30 to 45 minute set.  I am a huge fan of Delain and desperately want a longer set in the states, but they made the best with their 8 song set.

 

Hands down Delain’s set was the best I have ever heard them play live.  The band was just absolutely electric with energy and really left it all on stage.  The crowd was sadly not giving them the energy the deserved, so they really tried to get the Colorado Springs fans to participate.  Delain are an extremely hard working band and I think it paid off as more and more people were getting into it.  “Suckerpunch”, the newest addition to Delain’s catalogue off the Lunar Prelude EP, brought in their set heavy and loud.  Ruben Israel’s drumming shined on this song live greatly, as well as the addition of Merel Bechtold’s guitars.  The band’s sound is more rounded than ever with two new energetic and talented members.  “Get the Devil Out of Me” is one of my favorite songs I have ever seen live, if this song doesn’t get the crowd off their feet then nothing else will.  I noticed the band’s dynamics and synchronicity of play have gotten even better since the last show in Colorado.  “Army of Dolls” is a new addition to the short American setlists and was a massively impressive hit between vocals and one hell of a guitar solo.  I also love the chemistry between Charlotte, Timo, and Merel and it was very evident on this song.  Also, the raw message of this song is very relevant to society right now, and it hits hard for an American girl like me.  Then Delain gave Colorado a very special treat with “Sing To Me” featuring Marco Hietala of Nightwish.  Marco has been a featured guest on Delain records since their origin.  It’s always special to see Charlotte and Marco perform together, two of the most fantastic voices in Metal.  Delain also played the hauntingly beautiful “Turn the Lights Out” off Lunar Prelude, one of the best songs of the night.  They also jammed to “Don’t Let Go” and their classic anthem “We Are the Others” before ending the blazingly fast set with epic ballad “Not Enough”.  Of the three times I’ve seen Delain, this was by far their best set.  Charlotte held notes longer than I’d ever heard before  and the mixing was for once spot on for vocals and the rest of the band.  One of the best performances I’ve ever seen and I cannot wait for a Delain headliner in the USA.

 

Sonata Arctica is a band whose catalogue translates better to a live setting, so seeing them is always a huge honor.  The entire band has an epic live sound with immense energy and emotion.  Songs like the opener “The Wolves Die Young” and “My Land” and “Don’t Say A Word” are insanely fast and dynamic, Tommy Portino on drums gave it his all, stunning the crowd with his speed.  Tony Kakko on vocals is always charming, entertaining, and an unparalleled powerhouse.  I was floored to experience “Last Drop Falls”, getting my hopes up for a rare duet with Tony and Charlotte, but my excitement was to no avail.  The song was moving and a flawless live performance nonetheless.  Keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg shined on “The Cage” with an insane keytar solo, managing to make the keytar a heavy instrument.  Keyboardist Henrik and guitarist Elias also had a killer dual, something I have never experienced before.  Sonata’s set was absolutely fantastic, but seemed extremely short for a support band.  I would’ve loved an extra two songs like “Replica” or “Cloud Factory” or “Letter to Dana”.  A legendary Power Metal band such as Sonata deserves a longer set, especially since Colorado goes nuts for this band.  Nonetheless, Sonata played another mind blowing set for Colorado fans.

 

Nightwish is either a band you love or hate, or just love or hate the singer, but either way Nightwish is an incredible live band.  On North American tours it is a blessing to see them in smaller venues as opposed to large festivals and stadiums.  A more intimate setting like the auditorium is a very fitting setting for Nightwish, even though they’re used to bigger crowds.  Songs like “Yours is An Empty Hope” and “Shudder Before the Beautiful” off their latest record are absolutely incredible live.  The dynamics of this band are extremely unique, sometimes having lulls in their set and then massive uprisings.  Seeing Nightwish live is an emotional roller coaster with songs like “My Walden”, “While Your Lips Are Still Red”, and massive ballad “Ghost Love Score”, the songs mediate between heavy and flowing beautiful piano parts from visionary Tuomas Holopainen. Although the songs had some long waits in between them, the set was high quality and exciting.  The song of the night was their mega hit, “Nemo”, getting everyone on their feet and experiencing occasional tears.  “Nemo” is one of Floor Jansen’s best live songs, as well as “Stargazers”.  She is an unbelievably powerful vocalist and should be recognized as one of the greatest of all time.  Her vocal stamina and power are indescribable live, especially in an indoor venue with fantastic acoustics from all areas.  Having Troy Donockley as a full time member is definitely a blessing as well.  His performance on the pipes and also guitar was mesmerising, he has some of the best stage presence in the band, I really enjoyed his vibe on stage.  Nightwish overall has good stage presence, but lacked fan interaction at the Colorado Springs show.  I heard of better fan interactions at other shows on the tour, so I think Colorado is not the best state for Nightwish.  However, they soldiered on and had an impressive reaction to their final song “Greatest Show on Earth”.  I was approached by a diehard Nightwish fan after the show and was insulted because I was wearing a Delain shirt.  He said, “That set was so much better than Delain’s” in so many words.  I told him the truth, I come for all three bands but always show extra support for my favorite.  Comparing bands live is pointless, but it shows that Nightwish will always have diehard fans wherever they go.

Elise’s Halestorm Experience

Elise VonBergen wanted to share her experience seeing Halestorm in 2013!  Excellent write up and a testament to how this band brings people closer together.

 

Well, wow. I can’t even put into words how amazing last night was. Holy shit. Okay I won’t post like all the details because a lot of stuff happened but it was AMAZING. Started out the day with making friend with the bus driver, then met Detroit and we talked with the stage guys until the bus got there. Then I met Lzzy and Joe and Josh when they came to the back. Lzzy recognized me I think and they offered to take pictures! She gave me a hug and then we parted ways. Throughout the day I ran into her and Joe 3 more times. Once I started laughing and I was like, “Oh god I’m sorry I’m so awkward.” and she said “Oh no it’s totally fine, don’t be.” and smiled at me and yeah. Then the next time I saw them I gave them the letters! She really loved the gloves, turns out she didn’t have any for this tour so she’s gonna use them! Mom and I went shopping (boring wink emoticon XD) and then I got to watch sound check. I just quietly sat in a corner and watched and wow it was amazing. They saw me a couple times and smiled at me! grin emoticon Then we had the M&G, got stuff signed, and Morgy showed up! We chilled out until the show started. The opener acts were AWESOME, and the second one got encored. Then, the magical moment when the lights go down at the rock show, Halestorm came. We started chanting “HALESTORM! HALESTORM!” and it was awesome. I got a ton of cool pictures and recorded “Break In” and “In Your Room”. The live show is so much cooler in the front row, it was awesome. Lzzy smiled at me and Joe threw me his pick. Arejay did a huge drum solo, during which he pointed at me with his drum stick and stuck his tongue out. Josh smiled at me again as well. Then it ended, but not quite. We chanted and screamed for 2-3 minutes so they did the encore. I cried the whole time. I’ve never been so emotional. Lzzy did “Hate It When You See Me Cry” by herself. Just her and a Les Paul, and she told the story of how the song came to be. It was so beautiful, and take it from Morgan, I could NOT stop crying. Lzzy saw, and she blew me a kiss and smiled at me a lot during the encore songs. Morgan and I made hearts with our hands, and she made one back! It was so sweet. Then during Here’s To Us she handed me a Monster. Like seriously just leaned down and handed it to me. And it finally ended. The sole to one of my boots fell off. Morgan and I bugged Detroit and two random guys for like an hour, and drank a bottle of Mountain Dew. By now it was at least 11:30 at night. We went outside (first taking a final pic with Detroit) and went to the car. Lzzy was outside the bus talking and signing stuff for people. We went and said bye one more time. It was so sweet, she said she read my letters. She thanked me like 5 times and gave me the biggest hug ever. I could see the sincerity and genuineness in her eyes, it was so touching. SHE thanked ME. And then we went home, got some Taco Bell and passed out.

Half my make-up was gone or running. I was sweat drenched, and reeking of alcohol and I didn’t even drink. My hair was tangled. My eyes stung from crying. My neck ached from headbanging. My arms also hurt from pounding my fists over half the damn time. My feet were KILLING ME. I jumped in those boots (worth it). I lost my sole. I was a fucking WRECK, and I’ve never smiled more in my entire life ever. So, last night was pretty amazing. I love this band. Thank you Halestorm, for always being there for me. And thank you Lzzy, for Breaking In”

 

Elise with Halestorm

Elise with Halestorm

“We Are Become Death”? Ravenous Album Review

 

Southampton Thrash Metal band, Ravenous, is bringing a classic sound back to 2015 with their new album “We Are Become Death”.  If you like down and dirty Thrash with obscene lyrics and well mixed sound, this album is right up your alley.  This 2008 old school Garage Thrash band mixes meaningful composition with classic style, clearly heard on this new album.  While the album title sounds like a terrible translation, the band got the title from a quote of Oppenheimer about the Atom Bomb.  I have never been the biggest Thrash Metal fan, but I can appreciate Ravenous’ influences and ambition.  Their ambition for more meaningful composition sets them apart for me, because the old teen angst is an old tired out lyrical theme.  While I am not a fan of Thrash, Ravenous and their new album have a lot of potential to bring something new to the genre.

 

Ravenous is greatly inspired by Metallica, Machine Head, Pantera, and Lamb of God.  Clearly American Thrash has dominated for the past 20 years ( there are elitists that cannot get over it and reject any evolution of Metal or its subgenres).  Ravenous is English, but god they really sound American.  You can clearly hear the Groove influences throughout each guitar, especially on Reverse.  I swear James Hetfield does a duet on Easter Island with Rob Flynn, but it is one vocalist.  The influences are so well pronounced on “We Are Become Death”.  This band has found an identity and will stick with it indefinitely.  If you love Thrash Metal and are looking for throwback sound, this album is definitely for you.  However, if you like something more unique, this album is not for you.  While it’s good Thrash Metal with substance and excellent sound engineering, it is nothing more.  The guitars and drums are solid and well composed, yes, and the vocals are everything you want in Thrash.  But, like most Thrash, every song is pretty much the same.  The only track that truly sticks out to me is, Alone, for its melodic qualities.

 

Ravenous is everything you may want in a throwback Thrash band, but they bring little to the table.  There is nothing that has not been done on “We Are Become Death”.  It almost sounds like a cover/tribute album.  Some people may really enjoy this album and think it is great.  I like it considering it’s Thrash, but I personally would not buy this album.  Ravenous is good and may become a big deal some day, but they have not progressed as far as Thrash goes.  This lack of progression is why I have given “We Are Become Death” such a low rating.  Also, I dislike the confusing, cheesy, and unintelligible album title.  If they want fans to connect with their supposed “meaningful composition”, they should have picked a more direct album title.

 

Album title Suggestions as followed: Abhor.  We Are All Dead.  Deathstiny.  We Become Dead.  We All Die. Death Wish.. etc.

 

Rating 6/10

 

https://www.facebook.com/Ravenousband

 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvAfOS6CLU8wk2K5ajpv2XrECqpJMwgZD

 

http://www.apple.com/uk/itunes/affiliates/download/

 

“Sovran” Draconian 2015 Review

 

Sweden is one of my favorite countries to produce Metal, and Scandinavia has a good reputation for Doom Metal in particular.  My theory is those dreary, dark, and long hellacious winters inspire fantastically dark music.  The guitars become sludgy yet melodic, the drums slow and careless, the bass emanating to your chest, and the vocals chest rattling or painfully clean.  It’s beautiful and haunting depressive music.  It is unlike anything I’ve heard.  Bands like Pentagram, Candlemass, and Count Raven have epicly captured Doom Metal and passed it onto future generations.  However, there is one band in particular I find highly underrated in this sub genre.  Draconian began in 1994, mixing growling vocals with high quality female clean vocals.  There is something so wonderful and otherworldly.  While I love a lot of Doom Metal, Draconian stands out for me more than almost any band (Agalloch being the exception).  They are extremely hard to describe, in a good way.  I feel like any Draconian album is difficult to review, but “Sovran” of 2015 deserves a highlight.

 

“Sovran” is a highly anticipated release for any Doom and Death Metal nerd, but does it deliver?  Is “Sovran” as good as past albums?  A vocalist change in 2010 might have been a surprise, but newcomer Heike stands up to the task of delivering haunting vocals.  Lisa was incredible, but Heike brings this modern clean touch.  Her voice is very reminiscent of the great Sharon Den Adel and the budding operatic Soprano Dianne Van Giersbergen.  This type of voice will bring new Draconian fans in with an approachable clean tone, mixing with the guttural growls from Anders Jacobsson.  “Sovran” is every bit as heavy, dark, haunting, and effortlessly orchestrated as past albums.  Here Lies the Crown reminds me of Behemoth tracks; Slow, dark, mystical, and beautifully Gothic.  The Wretched Tide is all about Doom and Gloom, a little heavier than other tracks.  Every song is at least six minutes long, creating epic after epic.  One of my favorite songs off of “Sovran” is Pale Tortured Blue.  This song is the catchiest off the album and perfectly balanced.  To sum this album up, it is everything you expect from Draconian, but nothing more.  It does not stand up to previous albums

 

“Sovran” is an album that achieves Nihilistic Doom and depressive sounds, while being beautiful.  Stellar Tombs captures these vibes perfectly and is a good beginner track for those new to such great music.  I think that this album lacks some emotion in some tracks, but it is Doom Metal so I will give it a pass.  It is a great album, but doesn’t quite stick in my head.  My problem with most Doom Metal bands is that every track on an album runs together and is pretty much the same over and over.  I would compare this album to that of Ghost Brigade’s “IV: One With the Storm”, because of the Funeral type feel.  However, that release strives above because the dynamics.  Not every track is the same formula.  While Draconian’s formula for “Sovran” and all releases is great and world renown, I think they need a drastic change to keep listeners entertained.  I like this album and a lot of tracks, but altogether it does not evoke the emotion or the power I expected.  It has no groove, no drone, no interesting instrumental parts.  It is kind of flat and boring.  If you don’t turn this album up loud, you wouldn’t really notice it in the background.  I really do love Draconian, but they need more creativity and diversity to keep people’s’ interest.  It’s true to everything Draconian is, but brings nothing new to the table besides a new vocalist that is slightly different

 

Traditional Doom Metal fans and Draconian fans alike will enjoy this album, but I desperately want to hear something more dynamic.

 

Rating:6 out of 10

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“The Ride Majestic” Soilwork 2015 Review

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After a long hiatus due to head crushingly bad writer’s block, I am back on Metal Valkyrie and back to writing about Metal.  Writer’s block is the most frustrating thing I have to deal with at the moment.  Blocks usually last a couple weeks for me. I thought this three month long lack of creativity was permanent.  I thought I would never get another finished project out again.  I thought this blog was pointless and no one cared about it because I don’t share TMZ news and aim to start arguments.  I write this blog to share my thoughts  for Euro Metal and love for the Euro bands.  I will never have as many fans as Revolver or Loudwire of Metal Underground, but that’s fine with me.  I just want to promote these incredible European bands in America and eliminate the overseas wall between America and Europe.  I also want to connect with fans like me.  I don’t want to be famous, popular, or have any credit, I just want to start a discussion.  So maybe if I keep writing, maybe I can make an impact on someone’s life and create friendships.  Now onto the point, Soilwork.

 

In my Metal journey, I have searched far and wide to find a band that mixes Progressive, Melodic Death Metal, Thrash, and Blues influences.  These four influences create some of the best music in history on their own, but together they could create a new power genre.  In 2013, I finally found a band that perfectly melts these four ores into one new element of Metal.  Soilwork’s “The Living Infinite” changed everything for me and showed me that any sound you’d ever want to hear exists.  That album was powerful, soulful, aggressive, and hard hitting.  It got your blood pumping and your mind drifting in such a unique way.  Soilwork is certainly not your typical one trick pony Metal band and isn’t a band you’d ever hear on atrocious mainstream radio.  But like popular bands, they aren’t afraid to bridge river gaps between genres and let it flow.  This creates a brilliant and unique sound I have not found anywhere else.  

 

“The Ride Majestic” is bombastic and  It flows seamlessly through each track.  The album is a mix between “The Living Infinite” and previous heavier works.  It’s chaotic.  Melody and Thrash/Power riffs, are heard on the opening title track, but the melody eventually dies out.  Heavier tracks like Enemies in Fidelity and The Phantom provide a Groove Metal feel that is fairly new.  Some tracks also have a Prog feel to them.  The final track Father and Son, Watching the World Go Down, is definitely shadowed with Prog influences.  I enjoy the use of different influences in the last track and wish there was more throughout the record.  Soilwork raised the Thrash bar higher with this record, but the interesting intricacies seem to be lacking.  Not every track stands out on this album, but it still remains pretty solid with wicked good instrumentation.  There’s a lot of dynamics and power throughout each track, but I feel like any concept or theme is hard to decipher.  It’s fantastic, but it fails to impress me as much as “The Living Infinite”.

 

TRM’S big upside is Speed’s vocals tend to raise a high standard on this record, more than previous records.  It feels like a vocal performance record, a solo record you could say.  I feel like the vocals change dynamics more than the instrumentation.  The instrumentation is at 100% almost constantly, where the vocals change periodically.  If the music had breakdowns and some more slow melodic parts, it would be more interesting.  They stuck with a huge sound, the same formula as usual.  I expected a lot more dynamics in this record and a theme that stuck out.  “The Ride Majestic” is a misleading title, suggesting something grand and elite.  There is nothing grand about this record, not even in the vocals.  It is a down right dirty Thrashy, Groovy, Power Metal jam.  So, don’t let the title fool you.  However, if you’re a huge fan of Bjorn “Speed” Strid, you are probably going to enjoy it.

 

MV Rating: 7/10

 

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Review of “Time Stands Still” by Unleash the Archers 2015

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Time Stands Still Out June 26th

 

I have no idea why, but of all the new bands coming out lately, Unleash the Archers has stuck with me the most. Their past releases have also vastly impressed me. There is a very refined and powerful quality to this band, exhibiting the same qualities I admire in Hammerfall, Blind Guardian, and Battle Beast. Unleash the Archers is 100% Traditional Heavy Metal. No effects, no vague message, no overkill of production; Just Metal. I admire that simplicity in 2015, as many bands has taken a liking to overproduction or underproduction. Unleash the Archers is easily becoming one of my favorites because of this simplicity. “Time Stands Still” is their bombastic and fiery new album, pulsing with melody and vast speed. The melodic tones on this album are similar to Iron Maiden’s style of melody, with Hammerfall like speed. Comparisons aside, this album is a fantastic take on Traditional Heavy Metal and unlike anything I’ve heard. Songs like Tonight We Ride, Test Your Metal, and Going Down Fighting rage with technicality and enough emotion to blow your head off. I was so surprised and impressed by the quality of every track on this album. If you liked Unleash the Archers’ previous records, then get ready for a massive upgrade in sound. The vocals are higher and pushed to the limit. The guitars chug and scream above the melody. The drums stay tight and act as a constant rhythm, much like machine gun fire. This album thrives in older sounds, but keeps it modern. I could go on and foam over this album for the next five pages (Sorry about the Nightwish review… that was ranty) but I want to keep this review to the theme of the album. While Unleash the Archers could’ve gone into a more complicated writing technique, they succeeded in a simple but mind blowing album. They could have made more songs like General of the Dark Army, which would have pleased me, but they did something completely new. From what I hear, the band has truly found their sound and nearly perfected it. Rating; 9/10

 

Time Stands Still

 

Links:

http://www.unleashthearchers.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/UnleashTheArchers

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