Paragon – Controlled Demolition Review

cover-final_FULL-SIZEaParagon is a tank. This band doesn’t care about its surroundings, what’s going on outside of their window, what other bands are doing or what the trends of the times are; they are simply plowing through the metal scene with their inexorable mixture of heavy, speed and thrash metal which they have been firing at their fans’ ears since 1995 without much change. Be it their debut record World Of Sin or 2019’s Controlled Demolition, you are in for a ride without breaks in this tank of mass destruction called Paragon. Continue reading “Paragon – Controlled Demolition Review”

Sinbreed – IV Review

la07-sinbreed-IV-artwork(1)With 2010’s When Worlds CollideSinbreed made a huge impact on European power metal as one of the progenitors of modern power metal sound we know these days characterized by a focus on prioritizing aggressive drum and guitar sound, along with often lower register power singers as displayed by bands who got famous even beyond the circle of power metal fans like Sabaton. In 2018, Sinbreed continue this path just like they did on their three previous albums, there’s just one major difference: one of the most unique voices of the genre has left the band; Herbie Langhans was replaced by Nick Holleman, probably known best for his job at Vicious Rumors – who his by far not a bad singer, but many will agree that Herbie is on a similar level of distinction as Sabaton‘s Joakim Brodén. How does Sinbreed‘s aggressive power metal fare with another singer? Continue reading “Sinbreed – IV Review”

Elvenstorm – The Conjuring Review

the conjuring artwork 3000Despite their corny generic-power-metal name, Elvenstorm are far from your ordinary Euro power band, and even frontwoman Laura Lombard F by no means places the French band amidst Nightwish clones. Quite the opposite, you won’t find a musically more down-to-earth troupe than Elvenstorm. No keyboards, only riffs and blasting drums for days. Contrary to their Manowar-like artwork and track titles from 2014’s Blood Leads To Glory, this year’s The Conjuring visually and lyrically sets foot in the horror metal genre. Still this does not imply any change to the band’s musical style, which is as established on their third release as it has been since their first record in 2011, Of Rage And War. Continue reading “Elvenstorm – The Conjuring Review”

Circle Of Silence – The Crimson Throne Review

COS_TCT_FrontcoverHow much more thrashy power metal can the world take? While this question might refer to The Crimson Throne, Germany’s Circle Of Silence‘s fifth album, it is the same question that went through my head when I listened to their label debut The Blackened Halo in 2011. As part of preparing this review, I went back (not in time though) and listened to The Blackened Halo again to see if it could convince me today more than it did back then, which was not at all. And by the God-Emperor, just as seven years ago, I still don’t feel in need of the umpteenth band mixing influences of bands like early Blind Guardian and HelloweenRageAcceptExodus and Kreator because there are so many better alternatives available already. The Crimson Throne really needs to be some damn fine composing to shed a good light on Circle Of Silence in my book. Continue reading “Circle Of Silence – The Crimson Throne Review”

Kardinal Sin – Victorious Review

Kardinal_Sin-Victorious_CD 300 dpi 3000x3000Another melodic power metal album? Well, if you actually think about it, the genre isn’t as overcrowded as it was in the early 2000s anymore. Most people still feel the overkill from back then, but actually most bands don’t dare to go bluntly melodic power metal anymore. Instead they feel the need to add some pseudo-sophisticated progressive elements for the sake of it where it makes no musical sense.

Sweden’s Kardinal Sin are a refreshing relief from the forced sounding European power metal releases of late as they make no compromises with their easy-going melodic metal. Their debut album Victorious is anything but, even though merchandised as such. The band actually formed in 2005 as Rough Diamond and went through a name change in 2014, thus Kardinal Sin arose. Moreover, Victorious was released in 2017 already digital-only (and in Sweden), with Massacre Records grabbing the band this year and giving the album a physical treatment as well.

As you may know, I have a soft spot for European power metal and as such Kardinal Sin convinced me quickly with the cheesy opening track “Patria (Fatherland)”. High-speed, double bass driven melodic metal with an immaculate, catchy power chorus? Sign me the fuck up! To be honest, at first glance I rolled my eyes a lot going through the album; each track is cheesy, melodramatic and lofty as we are used to from last decade’s pathos-laden melodic metal. Fortunately after a few more spins the melodies really cling to your memory as you expect from the genre and the eye-rolling is replaced with genuine delight about the catchy melodies and happy-go-lucky attitude.

2014 © Savage Photography - Photo: Tallee Savage

Many would stop reading now, and they would be right to do so. Kardinal Sin is a pleasure exclusive to melodic power metal fans. Anyone who can’t enjoy Rhapsody‘s dragons, can’t forgive Blind Guardian‘s ventures to middle-earth and does not enjoy a jester laughing into their face for an hour straight ought to disregard this release completely. No-holds-barred tacky melodic metal is a very singular interest, and not many will be enlightened by Kardinal Sin‘s debut.

Next to the repetitive, uninventive and generic songwriting Victorious suffers from a terrible production. For some reason, Kardinal Sin thought this album deserved an AOR production. Listening to Victorious, it feels like Journey trying their hand at power metal. The guitars are washed out and lacking any sort of punch, the supposed-to-be epic choir parts are devoid of any impact due to the tender mixing and everything sounds incredibly softened. Guys, this is power metal. Does this album have any guitars at all apart from the obvious guitar leads? Those might as well be keyboards. This is a terrible offense and has me enjoy the album way less than I could. POWER metal. Nope.

As I said, Victorious is an uncompromising recording of the most melodious of metal genres and as such a delight to true afficionados and a nightmare for everyone else. The songwriting is generic and miles away from Gamma RayHelloween or the one obvious role model for Kardinal SinEdguy. Still the melodies and grand choruses manage to captivate the listener start to finish on this easy listening melodic metal album. Don’t expect any masterpieces from this album, but as a devotee you will find yourself at least temporarily entertained. Disregard the tacky ballad “For The Heroes” please, one of the worst I have heard in a long time.

Chris, 04/20/2018

Format reviewed: mp3 320 kBit/s | DR Value: 7
Label: Massacre Records
Links: Facebook | kardinalsin.se
Release date: 04/27/2018