I remember listening to Mare Nostrum, Italian symphonic black metal band Stormlord‘s fourth album, in 2009 and being blown away by how one band could combine such extreme metal with such great melodies and atmospheres.Of course, this type of mixture is something Dimmu Borgir have been brewing up as early as 1994, but there’s just a kind of dramatic aspect that Italian bands are great at portraying, be it black metal, death metal or power metal. Precisely, Stormlord strike a balance between those genres with a focus on atmospheric black metal; not in a Summoning kind of way, but leaning heavy on keyboards and solemn melodies to facilitate the new album’s lyrical contents concerning, as always, ancient Roman myths, but also fictional topics like Conan. Continue reading “Stormlord – Far Review”
Oh, the glory days of pagan metal, remember when Ensiferum released Victory Songs? When Equilibrium let loose their epic masterpiece Sagas? When Turisas were at the height of their songwriting? What would you give to go back to those days? As it turns out, you don’t have to give a lot, all it takes is Atlas Pain‘s new album Tales Of A Pathfinder. Somehow, the freezing winds of the northern sea reached the north of Italy where four men are looking to revive the faltering genre mixture between folk, epic and viking metal with an album that sounds taken straight out of 2008. Conceptually, Atlas Pain do not concern themselves with bloody battle stories but rather tales of times and people in a steampunk cladding. Continue reading “Atlas Pain – Tales Of A Pathfinder Review”
Nerd Power Metal? From Italy? Hell yeah, please. For anyone unsure what nerd power metal sounds like, the nerd part references the band’s lyrics, while the music takes care of the power portion. Some more stuck up stereotyped thinkers would simply pigeon-hole Skeletoon with the usual melodic power metal bands from the ’80s to the ’00s, but that’s half the fun, and as expected from the self-described genre name, fun is what Skeletoon‘s all about. The Italian band is Mr. Tomi Fooler’s brainchild who, as it seems, likes to fuse nerdy, or rather geeky, topics with the speediest European melodic power metal on the block. This particular spawn titled They Never Say Die concerns itself with classic ’80s movie The Goonies. Yeah, no Lord Of The Rings, no Wheel Of Time, Skeletoon prefers it lighthearted. Which obviously suits the classic uptempo power metal the Italians are celebrating with this record. Continue reading “Skeletoon – They Never Say Die Review”
I was pretty hyped about Into The Glorious Battle in 2017, after all it was Cryonic Temple‘s first album after an absence of 9 years, and 12 years after their last good album. The Swedish power metal force has been around for a few years in the early ’00s, putting out three immaculate melodic power metal records back to back, ultimately failing in 2008 with a turn towards a modern sound and a change of vocalists. Into The Glorious Battle made this slip undone, featuring a whole lot of classic power metal tracks and the energy we were used to from classics such as 2005’s In Thy Power. In retrospect, the album surely could have been better in parts, and original vocalist Glen Metal’s voice still is sorely missed, but overall it was a way for Cryonic Temple of getting back on track. Continue reading “Cryonic Temple – Deliverance Review”
Ever since its first steps about a decade ago, the so called modern metal was received with high hopes and expectations: means to help reduce the musical stagnation and attract those listeners, sick of tales of dragon slayers, warriors of the Antichrist and pathological amateurs. Sadly, one cliché was only inherited by another and a couple of years later, the young style was already soaking in commercialism and subdued by labels trying to cache in on its potential.
Temperance is one of the more interesting bands of the mentioned trend, despite their late and not-all-that-original debut. However, their fourth studio album leaves all genre stereotypes behind in favour of a straightforward and purposeful sound. Of Jupiter And Moons has an intriguing Sci-Fi concept, abundant memorable melodies and impressive duets. At the same time, the compositions are also diversified with quasi-progressive elements, increasing the replayability of the record.
The best thing here is the fact that Temperance finally managed to find their own niche instead of being a clone (albeit a good one) of Amaranthe. Without any significant changes compared to its predecessor The Earth Embraces Us All, the new Italian effort has a solid core of melodic sympho-power metal without any disco influences whatsoever, with an electronic side well under control. A big part of the songs’ character is due to the impressive new vocal duo Michele Guaitoli/Alessia Scolletti. While we are well acquainted with Michele’s work in other Italian bands like Overtures and Kaledon, until recently Alessia was shrouded in mystery. Even though her voice is not as dynamic and polished as ex-frontwoman Chiara Tricarico’s, she brings a highly emotional performance to the table, towards which one cannot stay indifferent for long.
“The Last Hope in a World of Hopes” sets the mood with balanced guitars, keys and powerful choruses – a successful combination that lasts until the very end of the album. Additional praise goes to the explosive energy of “Broken Promises”, the title hit track (better yet, a HIT – you won’t find many captivating songs of this caliber, especially in the metal scene) and the overly epic ballad “Empires and Men”. The Hammond organ and some gospel vocals introduced in “The Art of Believing” are both unexpected and pleasantly surprising, while the closure “Daruma’s Eyes” is one of the band’s bravest achievements to date with its enigmatic orchestrations, complex riffs and multilayered arrangements. Such magnificence makes it almost inevitable for one or two tracks to sound more forgettable, but this can hardly ruin the overall impression.
Of Jupiter and Moons may not be a perfect album but it sounds fresh and honest, which cannot be said for most modern releases of late. Temperance can surely be proud of their newest opus and with it, the genre’s future seems a bit brighter.