In evaluating a record, there are various questions to be considered; how important is singularity to an album’s quality, how important is fulfilling expectations, or, on the opposite, going against expectations? Is self-development necessary, irrelevant, disappointing or welcome? Sonata Arctica have been exhausting the possible answers to these questions at least since their 2007 record Unia by coming out with complex, demanding and undoubtedly diverse albums, each of which split their fanbase in two distinct factions: those who love for the Fins to experiment, and those who miss the old days of straight-forward Stratovarius style melodic power metal. This year’s record Talviyö is not going to unite the two camps in celebration as it may be the most experimental – as in far from the power metal roots – album Sonata Arctica have released in their career. Continue reading “Sonata Arctica – Talviyö Review”
Expectations rarely have been as high for a debut record as for De Rerum Natura, Italy’s Moonlight Haze‘s first album after forming in 2018. The cause of that are the names of those involved with members and ex-members of high-class Italian metal bands such as Temperance, Elvenking and Sound Storm. The most exciting inclusion among Moonlight Haze‘s ranks is probably Chiara Tricarico who left Temperance in 2017 and recorded a bunch of great melodic metal records with the band thanks to her voice suitable for international competition. Continue reading “Moonlight Haze – De Rerum Natura Review”
Thanks for making me type out that album title at least once for this review, guys. Gloryhammer, Alestorm‘s Christopher Bowes’ brainchild, make no secret of the fact that nothing changed regarding the band’s style or music. Just like the previous two records and just like its title, Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex is a crazy, over-the-top power metal nerd out extravaganza without concern for what is too much heroics. Of course the whole effort is even less than half-serious, but Gloryhammer established quite a reputation among power metal fans with their flawless execution of the more symphonic-laden, dramatic fantasy metal established in the late ’90s by European, especially Italian bands; as such Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex at least fueled expectations as a serious contender for one of this year’s significant power metal albums. Continue reading “Gloryhammer – Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex Review”
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Yes, Grimgotts is a power metal band, yes, this album is as cheesy as the cover artwork makes you believe and yes, if you don’t like keyboards, you should avoid this record. Alright, now that the garage sound black metal elitists are gone, the European power metal enthusiasts can savour this English band’s second full-length record which they offer us to tickle our palate. That’s right, there’s not too many class power metal acts left to sweep the lands from the UK’s shores; Power Quest would be the one closest to Grimgotts melodic sound off the top of my head. But, to be honest, the lads named after Harry Potter lore sound much more Scandinavian anyway, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the band’s members happened to be the Twilight Force guys’ cousins. Continue reading “Grimgotts – Dragons Of The Ages Review”
Sneakily, but steadily Ancient Bards have grown on me from just another Rhapsody “cover” band – from Italy even – to a serious contender to be the legitimate successors to the genre-establishing warriors who are a bare shadow of their former glory these days, at least the contemporary of Fire incarnation with only one birthing member left. I don’t mean to run down symphonic power metal masterpieces like AB‘s first record, The Alliance Of The Kings, but the borrowing of Rhapsody style was a bit too blatant to lift the album and its sequels beyond the cliche of “just another (albeit great) power metal record”. Continue reading “Ancient Bards – Origine: The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2 Review”
I am anticipating this review to exceed the average number of mentions of “power metal”, but Norwegian singer, songwriter, guitarist and overall composing mastermind Marius Danielsen makes it hard to avoid that thanks to his metal opera featuring just about anyone famous in the genre. “Metal opera” is a positively tainted phrase coined by Mr. Tobias Sammet and his ground breaking two as such titled records from the early 2000s, which he since left behind and sometimes seems to wish to ignore. Good, good, then someone else can take up the flag where he left it. On paper, it looks like Marius Danielsen’s project is fit for the task; an epic fantasy story and about a billion guest singers and musicians, the prerequisites needed, are present in Legend Of Valley Doom Part 2. Continue reading “Marius Danielsen – Legend Of Valley Doom Part 2 Review”
There are few genuine classic melodic power metal bands left in the business, with most ancient champions either retiring or “evolving” into something no one asked for. Austria’s Dragony have been supplying the old power metal crowd with finest European forged steel since their inception around 2011, when their first album Legends released independently, a time where I’d known them for a while already and had come to revel in the ’90s symphonic power goodness long before the band was signed by Limb Music in 2012, who released Legends again. Smart move, after all, Legends was the most explosive piece of the genre I’d heard in a long time. Continue reading “Dragony – Masters Of The Multiverse 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.