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Alestorm - No Grave But The Sea (2017) 8/10

The Pirates of Scotland strike again for another alcoholic folk party. Alestorm's fifth album of originals is a sequence of extremelly well produced anthems, with Power rhythms supporting their characteristic Folk Metal. Of course Piracy is again the motif, shown in all songs. Compaired with previous albums, nothing original here, but parties don't need to be different. Among some good songs, Treasure Island is my favorite, there are some that could be avoided like Fucked with an Anchor or Man the Pumps. The Deluxe Edition also includes all songs but for dogs, words replaced by barks; curious but just for one audition.
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   ALESTORM - Mexico (Official Video) | Napalm Records

Imperivm - Rome Burns (2017) 7/10

Probably Italy is the country with the highest percentage of Power Metal bands. Imperivm is around since 2010 and Rome Burns is the second long play. As easily deducted by the band's name and songs, the theme here is the rich ancient Roman history. Besides the interesting lyrics, all related to known Roman episodes, there are some cool songs like Last Breath, Spartacus Never Dies or Fire and Flames. The production could be better, particularly with vocals, too high related to the music.
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   IMPERIVM - Spartacus Never Dies (official audio)

Unleash the Archers - Apex (2017) 9.5/10

Brittney and mates are to be congratulated, this is an excellent Heavy Power Metal album! The Melodic Death rib was taken behind and Apex, the fourth full-length, are 60 minutes of pure Metal with all the things that we love. First, Brittney Slayes, for sure one the best and wider range female vocals in Metal, with the correct equilibrium of power and emotion. Second, a pair of lead guitars delivering permanent riffs well supported by not less efficient drums and bass. And third, a collection of 10 catchy hymns, each one with a special flavour, making difficult to highlight one. A must for any true Metal fan!
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   UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - The Matriarch (Official Lyric Video)

Nokturnal Mortum - Істина (2017) 9/10

It took me some time to write this review and how to put in words the sensations of hearing this. Imagine three different bands, one melodic black, one Ukrainian folk and one symphonic, plus nature sounds, all put together and mixed in perfection. Істина is the seventh full-length, and eight years after the last one we are blessed by another masterpiece that can spin non-stop. Being a homogeneous album, mainly due to synths and vocalization, there are so many layers that add diversity and subtle variations. If you can, get the limited box edition, with digibook, an awesome exclusive TShirt, poster and signed photos.
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   Nokturnal Mortum "Вовчі ягоди"/"Wolfish Berries" official audio

DragonForce - Reaching into Infinity (2017) 9/10

The fastest Power Metal band on Earth is back! 3 years after the release of Maximum Overload, an avoidable contribution to the popish Babymetal and seeing them alive twice (Lisbon and Villena), it was about time to please my ears with a set of new songs. The formula is there, fast melodic songs, two lead guitars that compete and complete, efficient players, excellent and versatile vocals. But besides these fast songs, some surprises as well, like the thrashy War or the long less speedy The Edge of the World. Don't miss this album neither a show near you, satsfaction guaranteed!
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   DragonForce - Ashes of the Dawn

Concordea - Over Wide Spaces (2017) 7.5/10

Concordea is a Prog Power Metal from Russia, that started half a dozen years ago. Full time members are Daria Piankova (guitars and composition) and Alexey Turetskov (keyboards). They released the Before the Sunrise Ep in 2014, and now this first album. With the guest participation of Filippo Tezza, an Italian singer, and Ilya Reyngard (Incarnator) on bass, Over Wide Spaces is a good melodic album, with an adequate balance between guitar and keyboard, over a symphonic base. Not knowing the band, it revealed to be a good surprise.
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   Wings Motion (Bandcamp)

Netherbird - Hymns from Realms Yonder (2017) 8.5/10

For those who don't know Netherbird, this compilation is an excellent introduction to their dark Melodic Black/Death Metal. While not an ancient band, the Swedes already released 5 albums (this one included) and 6 EPs. By the way, the first album, The Ghost Collecter (2008), was re-released the 5th May. The compilation gathers all songs on singles and EPs that are not on albums and includes several immortal covers like Paradise Lost (As I Die), Sentenced (Nepenthe) and Annihilator (Alison Hell), for a total of 78 minutes. Worth to be checked!
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   Netherbird - Pillars of the Sky (Official lyric video)

Sailing To Nowhere - Lost in Time (2017) 7.5/10

Two years and many concerts after the first album, here is the second chapter of this dynamic Italian band. Maintaining the same style, Melodic Power Metal, and the nautic theme, Lost In Time is a good collection of songs, varied and easy to listen. Now, vocalizations are assured by two ladies and Marco Palazzi, thus allowing for more diverse compositions. While being a good short album (less than 40 minutes) I found some parts too simple. Best songs to me: the growing up Apocalypse (with guest Fabio Lione) and the fast Suffering In Silence.
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   SAILING TO NOWHERE - SCREAM OF THE WORLD Official Video

Killsorrow - Little Something For You To Choke (2016) 8/10

The beautiful city of Cracow, Poland, doesn't give only popes, also some nice Metal bands. Killsorrow debuted in 2008 but only by the end of last year this first album was released. Despite the lack of releases, the band played more than 100 gigs. The gained experience reflects in the album, with an efficient and well played Melo Death, nice riffs, good melodic songs. Marcin's male vocals are great but I would like that Agnieszka (female vocals) could sing more. Also I would like to see longer songs, only the first one is 5 minutes, all others around 4 minutes. Favorite songs: the first one Heading Home and Revolution. Looking forward to hear the second chapter!
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   Killsorrow - Revolution (2016)

Legacy of Cynthia - Danse Macabre (2016) 7/10

Legacy of Cynthia is a Portuguese band that plays an original and experimental Prog Metal/Rock with winkles to burlesque, electronic, soul and other genres. They started in 2010, in Sintra (not far from me), and are a regular presence on the portuguese stages all along the country. Danse Macabre is the second full-length, published by Raising Legends in October 2016. While a little bit out of my musical preferences, the album is quite interesting and innovative, all songs are different for each other. What appeals more are the unique, strong and warm Peter's vocalizations, but well supported by all instruments. A last word for the exquisite artwork. Listen to it and be surprised!
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   Legacy of Cynthia - The One Eyed King live @ RCA Club, Lisboa

Craving - By the Storm (2016) 8.5/10

I had few references (anyway, good) about this band before listening to By The Storm, released by the end of last year. An this is an excellent album, varied and full of surprises. Playing Melodic Death/Black Metal with some Folk, epic orchestrations, black and clean vocals, references to Ensiferum or Wintersun are also found, but at the same time maintaining a proper identity. Quite epic and extreme, as the band advertises. All songs are good but the best to me are Penelopes Prayer, Seven Steps to Darkness, One with Darkness. Try to buy the limited box edition, full of goodies, or at least the digipack, with 2 bonus songs (one being a good Game of Thrones cover) and lasting for 78 minutes!
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   Craving - Penelopes Prayer

Kaledon - Carnagus: Emperor Of The Darkness (2017) 8/10

With a career of almost 20 years, Kaledon is one of the most prominent Power Metal acts in Italy and one of my favorite. Three years after the last "Antillius: The King of the Light" (one of the first reviews on this website), here is the ninth chapter on the Legend Of The Forgotten Reign saga and the third about one of the characters. The new album debuts the vocalist Michele Guaitoli (also with Overtures), to me an improvement, and a new drummer. The music is the expected efficient epic symphonic Power Metal well led by Alex Mele, with some darker elements (according to the main character). The album will be released the 15th May.
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   KALEDON - THE TWO BAILOUTS ..::OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO::..

Wormwood - Ghostlands, Wounds From A Bleeding Earth (2017) 9.5/10

The day I found Wormwood was a great day to... listen to some awesome Folk Melodic Black Metal. And 2017 being also an excellent year in Metal. For a recent band, born in 2014, these Swedes know how to compose great songs and lock the listeners from the first notes until the last guitar sighs. Probably this is the most melodic and diverse Black album ever, and for sure one of the year's best. I could't agree more with the band's definition: Atmospheric Blackened Folk'n Roll ☺ But it's better to stop reading me and listen to these 58 minutes (and buy it)!
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   Wormwood - Godless Serenade (OFFICIAL VIDEO 2016)

Lux Perpetua - The Curse Of The Iron King (2017) 8/10

Lux Perpetua is a Power Metal band from Poland, created in 2004 with the name Sentinel. The actual name was adopted in 2009. Despite the 13 year history, until now they only released the Forever We Stand EP in 2014. Finally, all efforts were rewarded with The Curse of the Iron King. And, like good wine, maturation gave an excellent result. The album could easily be side by side with HammerFall or Blind Guardian albums, pompous, melodic and varied Power well played and sung. Artur Rosiński addition to vocals, in the middle of the recording, was a must. And a curiosity, the exquisite cover was created by Meg, the keyboard player.
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   Lux Perpetua - Army of Salvation

Pectora - Redemption (EP 2017) 8/10

A nice surprise that brings us back to the good old days of Heavy without variants. Coming from Denmark, this unsigned band released the Redemption EP in the beginning of the year, four years after the first work, Burgeon of Hate EP. The four sung songs are quite well composed, with memorable choruses, good riffs and solid rhythm sections. The EP includes also a nice short instrumental guitar song that opens to my favorite song, Valley of Dreams (some Metal Church here?). And I'm glad to see they already have been booked to play with Flotsam & Jetsam and Them. Another band to follow by the True Metal fans!
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   Pectora - Son Of The Four (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO)

Bloodbound - War of Dragons (2017) 8.5/10

Here we have another fine example of melodic Power Metal! Bloodbound hails from Sweden and War of the Dragons is the 7th album. Unlike in the past, this album maintains the good Power Metal vibe from the previous album and will please to any Power Metal fan. It's not original, with a cinematographic spoken intro, and get similarities to Sabaton (Tears of a Dragonheart, Stand and Fight, Fallen Heroes), HammerFall (Silver Wings), Rhapsody of Fire (intro + Battle in The Sky), Freedom Call (King of Swords, Dragons are Forever), among others. These references, all instruments well played (particularly lead guitar and drums) and well sung, the speed and melody, make War of Dragons a quite good album.
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   BLOODBOUND - Stand And Fight (2017) // official audio video // AFM

Grimlet - Theia Aesthetics of a Lie (2017) 7/10

Grimlet is a portuguese band, from Coimbra region, with almost 20 years history. They play a Death Metal quite technical, with some progressive and groove. Theia Aesthetics is the third album after an interruption of 7 years in releases. While not being a fan of non-melodic Death, Grimlet's case, this album has some interesting aspects. It comprises 6 songs (less than 36 minutes), beginning with a good instrumental. Also to be noticed the powerful vocals of David Carvalho and some insane guitar work.
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   Grimlet - 2:1:0

Valhalore - Voyage Into Eternity (2017) 9.5/10

After discovering the first EP last year (and bought a signed copy), this was to me one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Valhalore is a recent band from Australia that plays a quite good and epic Folk Viking Metal. Including new versions of the 3 songs presented on the EP, Voyage Into Eternity is a collection of 10 hymns that will please for sure the fans of Wintersun, Ensiferum or Eluveitie. Before writing these lines I heard the album probably more than 10 times, and everything is conjugated in perfection: irresistible chorus, fast songs, midtempo epic songs, acoustic moments, growls, clean vocals, solos, flutes, imponent orchestrations. Very soon this band will be worldwide known, well done my friends!
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   Valhalore - Across the Frozen Ocean (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Wolfheart - Tyhjyys (2017) 9/10

A new album for one of the new exponents of the Finnish Melodic Death Metal scene. When immediatly hearing the first track, "Shores Of The Lake Simpele", I got goosebumps and start imagining this alive, the perfect one to start a show (next 22nd March in Lisbon!). Without rest, it comes the perfect follower, "Boneyard". And until the end we have six more MDM hymns leading us to long winter days. Tuomas vocals and the music, melodic, sometimes fast, sometimes a little doom, match perfectly, over a bed of keys, synths, furious riffs and atmospheric moments. References to Amorphis or Insomnium are inevitable, but without disregard for these excellent bands, yet for sure I prefer Wolfheart!
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   Wolfheart - Boneyard (live)

Felo De Se - Fidelis In Se (EP 2017) 8/10

A recent gem discovered on the net. Felo De Se is Joachim Kinet, a one-man band from Belgium that plays strong guitar oriented melodic death metal. The strange name (hail Wikipedia) is an old legal term meaning a person who commited suicide, but listening to this I can't be farther from that. Along the five songs on the EP, the guitar sound leads the way with everything else supporting efficiently. Also to be noted the good vocals, the last instrumental song and some nice intros and acoustic moments. All I can complain is the short duration and the lack of real drums. Being a bands edition, this EP has a very limited number of only 100 copies, so hurry up!
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   Felo De Se - Fall of Ikaros (Official Lyric Video)

Sinheresy - Domino (2017) 7/10

Another Italian band that has a female and male vocals, in duet? Yes, but with its own signature. Started in 2009 as a Nightwish cover band, soon they got a proper direction. The music is not as powerish as Nightwish, but still symphonic and melodic, more in the line of Within Templation. Domino is the second full-lenght, to be released on April 7th and mastered by the well known Mika Jussila. It's a good and homogeneous album, with interesting songs, and quite good vocalizations, specialy Cecilia Petrini. Prefered song: Believe. Less appreciated: the modern male vocalization of My Only Faith (precisely the first album video).
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   Sinheresy - My Only Faith (Official Video) HD

Fearrage - Resistance (EP 2016) 7/10

Resistance is the first release for this recent Finnish band. And what they play? A mix between midtempo thrash, groove and some metalcore, with aggressive vocals and accented guitars. Among the 6 EP themes and 22 minutes we get all these flavours. Resistance is more thrash while Blood of the Innocents touches metalcore but with an interesting guitar work. More Than Meets the Eye is a melodic groove (and my favorite song), acting as visiting card for the band. The remaining songs maintain the same level and subgenres. Good professional music to headbang but without injuring the neck!
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   Fearrage 3. More than meets the eye

Don't Drop The Sword - Into The Fire (EP 2017) 8/10

Here it is a new unsigned German band with a curious name that plays an energetic and melodic Power Metal. To me, it reminds HammerFall's beginning, so an auspicious career can be expected. Despite the youth, these brothers know how to write epic songs, both music and lyrics. The fast Death Or Glory starts the EP, followed by the title theme, a little slower and tempered with some growls and excellent leads. The Rise Of Neith speeds a little bit, maintaining the melodic touch, and, then, the awesome Memories, a slow that could rival with Glory To The Brave. And the epic song with the band's name ends quite well the EP, appealing to live shows. An excellent start, looking forward for more!
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   Memories

Saor - Guardians (2016) 9/10

I couldn't leave this album, received recently, without my review. Saor is the awesome Andy Marshall mission and Guardians is the third album.The music is quite an atmospheric Celtic Folk with Black Metal roots that immediatly teleport us to the vast isolated Highlands of Scotland. The 5 songs, each around 10-11 minutes, are rich in details and variations, with many layers including subtle keys and bagpipes. All these create an exquisite emotive ambient, few times cut by some black vocals. And suddenly, after 56 minutes, the magic voyage ends and it's time to play it again. Let us be with William Wallace: Scotland is Free!
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   Saor - Hearth ("Guardians" - 2016)

Myrkgrav - Takk og farvel; tida er blitt ei annen (2016) 9/10

Pure Norwegian Folk Metal with no additives. Myrkgrav is a one-man project, Lars Jensen, that recorded all instruments and vocals, with the help of some guests. The inspiration for the music, lyrics and graphics comes from the local folklore. The music is a perfect blend between folk and metal, much more appealing than just adding folk instruments to metal songs. In some parts it reminds me Falkenbach or Windir. Takk og farvel; tida er blitt ei anne (meaning "Thank you and farewell; times have changed") is the second album, 10 years after the first one. Despite the enigmatic title, I do hope not to wait so long for the next album. In the 14 songs, 64 minutes, there are no weak parts, just pleasure for our audition. Currently available as digital, a physical CD will soon be available.
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   Myrkgrav - Takk og farvel; tida er blitt ei annen (full album)

Blame Zeus - Theory Of Perception (2017) 8/10

Just coming the awaited second album from this Heavy Rock Portuguese band. Maintaining the same line of 2014 Identity, this one shows a more mature and evolved band. The heavier side concentrates on the first 3 songs and Miles (the 9th), while the remaining are good rock songs with some interesting variations. As in the previous album, the highlight is Sandra Oliveira's vocals, to me one of the strongest female vocals in Portugal. All instruments follow perfectly also with several remarkable exquisite leads. Nice album, well deserved to have international recognition.
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   Blame Zeus - Miles (official audio)

Sons Ov Omega - Reign (2017) 8/10

Hell, new, good and original stuff. Sons Ov Omega is a new band coming from Sweden and Reign is the first album, released some days ago. The music is an imaginative Melodic Black Metal with some Prog, Gothic and Viking. Having different musical preferences, the five members have succeeded in forming a common ground, from there several directions are defined. Some influences can be traced, like Edge of Sanity or old Opeth, even some Moonspell. All songs are good and with a proper flavour, anyway Pandora and Brainwave Zero got my preferences. An excellent surprise worth to be checked.
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   Sons Ov Omega - Pandora (Official Lyrics Video)

Walk In Darkness - In The Shadows of Things (2017) 8/10

Walk In Darkness is a new italian band/project composed by 5 anonimous members dressed as monks with hidden faces and Nicoletta Rossellini (Kalidia vocalist). The music is a good gothic Metal made at the measure of Nicoletta's excellent vocal skills, far from improvised as stated on the press release. With such an aura of mystery, the sense of melody is permanent, well supported by keys, and frequent in crescendo good guitar work. The songs, as well the meaning for the chosen faceless scenario, reverts to melodrama, human condition and destiny. The perfect song to identify the band and its philosophy is Heavy Wings of Destiny, the album starter and the first video produced, quite good! To be checked, specially by fans of Epica and Within Temptation.
   Walk In Darkness Facebook
   WALK IN DARKNESS - 'Heavy Wings of Destiny' (feat. Emiliano Pasquinelli)

Huldre - Tusmørke (2016) 7/10

Those who are waiting for a typical Folk Metal album, may be surprised, as Huldre is more a Folk band with some Metal elements added here and there. Coming from Denmark and sung in local language, Huldre is a six-piece of competent musicians, including violin, flutes, shawm and hurdy gurdy, suporting a clean female vocalist. Tusmørke is the second album, composed by 9 well constructed and produced songs, that gather influences on local folklore, most on a midtempo registry. Favorite songs: Hindeham and Tæring, but for a Metal guy, I feel the lack of the joy and energy normally present in Folk Metal.
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   Huldre - Tusmørke [Full album]

Cellador - Off the Grid (2017) 8/10

What a good return. For 6 years without hearing from this American Power Speed Metal act and 11 years after the last (and debut) album, Enter Deception, here is a new album, to be released March 10th by Scarlet Records. No intro here, hostilities start immediatly with an excellent Sole Survivors, good guitars, efficient rythm section and competent vocals. With the exception of a couple songs less achieved, all others are quite fast and melodic, reminding me some Dragonforce. Original? No. Good fast Power Metal? Hell yeah!
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   CELLADOR - 'Shadowfold' official lyric video

Atlas Pain - What The Oak Left (2017) 9/10

Finally the epic Folk friends of Atlas Pain, from Italy, are releasing the first album on March 10th by Scarlet Records. I reviewed the first EP some time ago (scroll down to read it) and at that time, I considered this the 2015 band revelation. Besides the inclusion of The Storm and Ironforged from the previous EP and Annwn's Gate from the Demo, there are 7 new songs that maintain the same epic symphonic Melo Death Folk level of excellence. The last song is a long 12 minutes virtuous instrumental that could easily be on the score of a huge adventure movie (Jurassic Park comes to mind). Overall, an excellent, cheerful and exquisite album worth to be checked! And, of course, you have to see the video below ☺
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   ATLAS PAIN - 'The Counter Dance' official lyric video

Ethmebb - La quête du Saint Grind (2017) 9/10

Even after 40 years listening most exclusively to Metal, I keep finding new bands that can surprise me. Ethmebb is such a case. This French quartet released an excellent and quite diverse first album. The music is a prog symphonic death power metal, with epic proportions and a few surprising touches of disco. Ufff, my longest definition for sure. This concept album, mostly sung in French, follows the amusing story of Tathor that lost its bad grindcore and goes on a quest. With songs nominated Orlango Blum, GPS - Gobelin par satellite or Bruce Lee mena l'Amour, the scenery is set for fun. I particulary like the symphonic parts (the intro is great) and guitar leads. With the melody and diversity on these long songs, this is a rare case of an album that I could play everyday!
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   Ethmebb - Lost My Grind (Lyrics Video with No Lyric)

Kreator - Gods of Violence (2017) 9.5/10

We're having good Thrash releases these years but this last Kreator is, by far, the winner. Five years after the excellent Phantom Antichrist, Mille Petrozza rises the level of exigence for Kreator's 14th album and delivers a killer album of unbounded Thrash. The first excellent news is the direct entry for #1 on German charts, that shows Metal is stronger than ever (at least in some countries). After some auditions, what comes is a fast, efficient and melodicThrash, with superb guitar works, super leads and catchy refrains. Here and there, some Power, Melo Death and more mainstream Metal can be traced, which contributes to 11 themes with no flaws. Impossible to highlight tracks, but just check all official videos to have an idea of this original, refreshing and heavy as hell album! [after classification revision, updated to 9.5/10]
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   KREATOR - Gods of violence UNCENSORED (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Wolfchant - Bloodwinter (2017) 9/10

Four years after the excellent Embraced by Fire, here we have another masterpiece from these German Pagan Folk Metallers. To me it is the best year's release to date. Among many pagan melodic death folk bands around, Wolfchant is quite unmistakable, due to epic and melodic hymns, some in English while others in German, the two unique vocalists (harsh and operatic but perfectly conjugated) and the harmony between all instruments. While prefering Das Bollwerk (this song defines EPIC), there isn't a weak theme in all the 50 minutes. Well worth the wait, this band is Metal quality assurance!
   Wolfchant Facebook
   Wolfchant - Das Bollwerk (Official Lyric Video)

The Nighstalker - A Journey in Hell (2017) 8/10

Last year I knew and reviewed The Nightstalker and Sercati, both musical sides of Steve Fabry's dark tale about the fallen angel named The Nightstalker. And the story continues. After the death of her love Miss Ombrelle on the last chapter, now our main character goes to rescue her in hell. Besides the catchy lyrics that should be read, the music maintains the good melancholy and melodic Black Metal line, as in previous chapters, with plenty of keys and exquisite guitar solos. Definitively one of the most original Black Metal projects around!
   The Nightstalker Facebook
   The Nightstalker (toys box version)

Pimeä Metsä - No Blood, No Glory (2016) 9/10

I was waiting for this album, after meeting these awesome brothers at Leyendas del Rock 2016. Spain has so many great Metal bands of all types, but for sure Pimeä Metsä is among my favorite. Playing a galloping and energic Viking Folk Metal, No Blood, No Glory, the second full-length, is a collection of eight warrior chant anthems, very headbanging, and two good instrumentals. Besides Thunder God and Nothing Can Stop Our Strike, the first videos, Call to Arms deserved to be highlighted. Looking forward to see the band alive again!
   Pimeä Metsä Facebook
   PIMEÄ METSÄ - "THUNDER GOD" (Official Lyric Video)

Aether - Tale of Fire (EP 2016) 8/10

New band to me, received the contact recently. Aether is a new Polish band, formed in 2015 and the Tale of Fire EP is the first work. The music is a good Melodic Death Metal with a strong keyboard presence and nordic influences. The EP includes, besides an instrumental orchestration intro, only three songs, but quite appealing and well constructed. My favorite is the title theme, containing even a short delicious folk chorus. This young band is on the correct path to be widely recognized. The only complain? Too short! Let's wait for an album!
   Aether Facebook
   AETHER - Tale of Fire (Full Album)

H.O.S.T - Bastard of the Fallen Thrones (EP 2016) 8/10

H.O.S.T is a recent Portuguese band, formed in 2016 and composed by well known members of Head:Stoned and Cycles, with a Dutch vocalist. The music is mainly a dark midtempo Metal, quite well played and sung. After a spoken intro with the EP name, the next two songs define the band's style, with melodic vocal lines over a pair of hoarse guitars and an accomplice rhythm section. The Bastards Call speeds a little bit just before arriving to IMO the best song, Catharsis by Carnage. A good start, let's wait for an album! The dark artwork, as well as the metal box package, are impressive, and only by themselves worth to be in any Metal CD collection.
   H.O.S.T Facebook
   H.O.S.T - Catharsis by Carnage

Surturs Lohe - Seelenheim (2016) 9/10

When I first heard this album, I felt transported to the court of king Ecbert, when received the visit of the vikings leaded by Ragnar Lothbrok (am I a Vikings TV series fan? Sure). Seelenheim is the 4th album of Surturs Lohe, a German band that perfectly mixes Viking Black Metal with Medieval Folk. Sung in German, besides clean and black male vocalizations, there are plenty of soprano female vocals on solo and duets. This together with cared flutes and acoustic moments help to create quite nice atmospheres. A last remark to the awesome limited box edition, with a bonus CD, patch and poster. Definitely a band to see alive!
   Surturs Lohe Facebook
   SURTURS LOHE "Unter der Linden" (Lyric-Video)

Taken - Taken (2016) 9/10

Another new band to me but, well, this first album was released just some weeks ago. Coming from Pamplona, Spain, Taken is composed by seven elements including two keyboard players, and they play fast Power Metal reminding me the best Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, Viper with Andre Matos or Helloween (Keepers age). These brothers know how to compose good music, making an excellent connection between all instruments and David Arredondo's vocals. Among all the catchy fast songs, of which the first video Wormy Brains is a fine example, the long and interesting less speedy Afterlife and The Slaughter Of The Last Cursed are worth to be checked. With this quality, for sure we will hear a lot more about Taken!
   Taken Facebook
   Taken - Wormy Brains [Official Music Video]

Saurom - 20... al mundo de los sueños (2016) 8/10

Fiesta! Fiesta! Fiesta! In the past I had a good feeling about the Spanish band Saurom, but didn't know the them quite well. After attending a huge show at Leyendas del Rock (started at 03h40!), last August, I was quite impressed. The music is high quality and varied Folk Heavy Metal with some celtic influences, well served by excellent musicians and perfectly matched vocals. This special edition live album, on 2 CDs and DVD, is the concert celebrating a successful 20 years career. Among the 27 songs, perfectly captured with faultless sound and including several guests, actors and a permanent chorus, all hits are present. A must buy! Looking forward to see them again, Metal party assured!
   Saurom Facebook
   SAUROM "Fiesta" (Videoclip)

Vanvidd - Vanvidd (2016) 9/10

I found this band while surfing the internet and... hell, this is good stuff! Vanvidd is a non-signed recent band coming from the cold Norway and, as you may deduce from the title, this is the first album. The music is Folk Melodic Black, but with many layers where we can find fast and catchy rhythms that pulls to headbanging, efficient discrete keyboards, constant variations, delicious folk bits, some viking, cinema score approaches and well balanced vocals. While enjoying (a lot) all seven songs, first listeners will be surprised by the funny 4th song "De tre bukkene bruse" (if Equilibrium plays Folk Black it would may sound like this ☺). One of the best newcomers of the year!
   Vanvidd Facebook
   Vanvidd - Gamle Erik

Cavemaster - Negro Culto (2016) 7/10

Portugal has a long tradition on Black Metal (old Moonspell, Decayed, Corpus Christii, Filii Nigrantium Infernalium and many more). And here it is the most recent Portuguese Black Metal project, from my friend Mário Rodrigues (also Karbonsoul and Projekt Noir). Negro Culto is an EP with 4 songs that is already available as digital and a limited edition of 50 cassette tapes will be released on 24 December. The music? Good old school Black Metal with several atmospheric moments, well played and sung. The beginning of Negro Culto is someone digging on a windy night, I imagine on the mystical Sintra's mountain (near where Mário and I live). The lyrics are in Portuguese and relate to anti-humanism, nihilism and anti-religion. Black Metal fans should check this one!
   Cavemaster Facebook
   Cavemaster Lyric video negro Culto

Iron Mask - Diabolica (2016) 8/10

Iron forged in the Heavy Power cauldron of the late 90's, that's the first impression when hearing the new album from Dushan Petrossi's main band. Iron Mask was particularly noticeable in Portugal as the vocalist chosen for the last tour was neither more nor less than Artur Almeida (Attick Demons) that had the task to replace Mark Boals, and for sharing Ramy Ali (drums) with Freedom Call. Diabolica is the sixth full-length from these Belgians and gathers a quite good number of melodic, powerful and catchy songs where Petrossi's neoclassical influences are left for a couple of songs. Diego Valdéz (Helker, ex-Skiltron and almost all Argentinian bands) does a nice job on vocals. Of course that, in 75 minutes, not all songs are at the same level (The First and the Last is a little greasy), but overall it is quite a good album and an excellent buy for those who like True Metal.
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   IRON MASK - I Don't Forget, I Don't Forgive (2016) // official clip

Metallica - Hardwired…To Self-Destruct (2016) 6/10

Much as been written about the last Metallica, helped by an efficient and innovative marketing strategy. Once being a fave band of mine, I stop caring with the Load album. No one can deny their influence in Metal. Even with the last albums, there are some advantages in going mainstream, pushing some people to Metal. After hearing the album several times, what did I retain: generally midtempo boring thrash, few nice riffs and rhythms (Atlas Rise, Moth Into Flame, the new version of Lords of Summer), Lemmy deserved a much better tribute song (but the video is awesome), the "Black Metal" theme is ridiculous and the 3rd CD has some decent covers (but not Iron Maiden's). In conclusion, Hardwired is audible, but far from exceptional or original. There are so many bands playing better Thrash and Metal.
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   Metallica: Murder One (Official Music Video)

Freedom Call - Master of Light (2016) 9/10

2016 is also being an excellent year for Power Metal. Almost as the same time as last HammerFall, here is the 9th album of these nice Germans that defined Happy Metal, a subgenre of Power Metal characterized by the bright side of life (I can't resist to quote Monty Python), fast and extremely melodic songs, powerful choruses and thrilling riffs. Of course Chris Bay's singing, with precise metric verses, helps to make Freedom Call unique. This album couldn't start better than with the powerful hymn "Metal is for Everyone" (I would love to see this played, with the proper sound level, on a nursing home), well followed by the first advance single "Hammer of the Gods". In total, there are 12 songs spreading along 50 minutes of happy power, without weak parts or fill-ins. Last notes to the efficient production and the strange amateur cartoonish cover.
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   FREEDOM CALL - "Metal is for Everyone" (Official Video)

HammerFall - Built to Last (2016) 8/10

Long is the career of one of the European Power Metal exponents. Starting in 1997 with the excellent Glory to the Brave, well followed by Legacy of Kings, soon the band got a place on the True Metal podium. Built to Last is the 10th full-length, the first to Napalm Records, and follows the recovery initiated with the previous (r)Evolution. So, all the factors used for the band's success are here: catchy melodies plenty of chorus, several fast songs, few midtempo songs and a slow, twin guitars and the unmistakable vocals of Joacim Cans. Nothing too original, but still a quite solid album that will praise to all Heavy Power Metal fans, with a handful of songs great to be played on shows. "Heavy Metal running through our veins", hell yeahh!
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   HAMMERFALL - The Sacred Vow (Official Lyric-Video) | Napalm Records

Solamnia - The Legend Saga (2016) 9/10

Solamnia is the project from Mika Lumijärvi, Enthring drummer until 2012. A couple of years before leaving Enthring, he started to write more personal stuff involving a mix of styles like folk, power, death, black, industrial, all over a symphonic epic base. After a first EP in 2014, here is the first album. Besides all those styles, in perfect proportions, what highlights more is the cinematographic sense of music, with several spoken intros and quite well interpreted by the growls of Ilkka Valkonen and the crystal clear vocals of Veronika Paschenko (also responsible for band's logo and album cover). Only available as digital, this is a great album, 62 minutes of excellent and varied music with many surprising moments.
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   Solamnia – Valhalla

Algos - Amongst Monoliths (2016) 7/10

Maybe a year ago I heard one song from this band and kept a good mind reference. Algos is Jurre Timmer's band, from The Netherlands, where he does everything: vocals, guitars and programming. Jurre is working well, Amongst Monoliths is the second album, following the first album released last year and two 2 EPs released on 2014. The music is a quite good melodic death, with emphasis on guitars and a continuous keyboard track on the background, thus giving a symphonic touch. What I like most: the melodic lines, vocals and guitars, and the Pale Monolith instrumental. What, in my oppinion, could be improved: some songs could be shorten, and drums programming.
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   Algos - Amongst Monoliths (FULL ALBUM)

Finsterforst - #Y0L0 (EP 2016) 9/10

First, two infos: Finsterforst is on my top bands for a long time, and normally I hate covers of non metal songs, specially pop. After an almost perfect Mach Dich Frei in 2015 (also reviewed here) it is time for decompression before a new album. This quite long EP (more than 40 minutes) includes four original songs, also a corageous set of covers including Miley Cyrus, Michael Jackson, and two German bands, one hip hop and the other punk, and ends with a traditional irish drinking song. The four original songs are good, including typical Finsterforst elements but funnier. And, for the first time, two songs in English. With this EP, it's difficult to be indifferent, or you love it, or you hate it. I'm happily on the first group.
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   FINSTERFORST - Auf Die Zwölf (Official Video) | Napalm Records

Drakum - Trollmin (EP 2015) 9/10

The Spanish answer to Finntroll. My friends from Barcelona do like trolls and trolls parties. After the first album, Torches Will Rise Again, here is the most recent EP, released in September 2015. 5 on 6 songs with troll their names does identify the purpose. The music is an irresistible Folk Metal with Death vocals, plenty of chorus and a good coordination of all instruments (including flute, bagpipe, violin, keyboard, two guitars, bass and drums). It's impossible to be in a bad mood when listening to this. Cover and lyrics are quite funny, but the video is awesome with all members going to a troll cauldron ☺. Looking forward to see the band live, again, party assured!
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   Drakum - Troll Recipe (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Skálmöld - Vögguvísur Yggdrasils (2016) 10/10

Almost all bands on my top list released albums this year, and here is another one. And again, a candidate for best album of the year. The music is a unique combination of Viking, Folk, Death, Symphonic, different Icelandic vocals, choruses, exquisite melodies, guitars, keyboards, as only these Icelanders know how to mix it. The result is a superb and varied album, from beginning to end. The band asked the fan club members to record some HEY HEY screams and the amazing result is on the Útgarður song, as well as all names on the booklet. Much respect for that! My other highlights: Niðavellir (well chosen for the first official video) and Drink, the Alestorm cover on the digipack bonus CD.
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   SKÁLMÖLD - Niðavellir (Official Lyric Video) | Napalm Records

Equilibrium - Armageddon (2016) 10/10

2016 is being a fantastic Metal year and here is another masterpiece, the result of a two-year mature composition process by mastermind René Berthiaume. Following the line started by Apocalypse (on Erdentempel, the previous album) and the concern about mankind, this is even a darker album. Instead of maintaining a popular and easier style, René is not afraid to evolve and to explore new sounds (as keys notes on Born to Be Epic). Of course the music is still Epic Melodic Death and quite symphonic. Another improvement, after The Unknown Episode on Erdentempel, is now the inclusion of three songs in English, two being the first album videos, Prey and Born to Be Epic. And don't loose the digipack edition with the instrumental bonus CD. Again, an album that is spinning a lot since its release.
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   EQUILIBRIUM - Eternal Destination (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

A Constant Storm - Storm Alive (2016) 7/10

A Constant Storm is the project of Daniel Laureano, Moonshade guitar player. In this first album, self-released, he composed all songs, most lyrics and plays all instruments (except drums). Moonshade mates Ricardo Pereira helps with vocals and Afonso Aguiar with drums programming, recording, producing and mixing. And the result? Most parts are good, between melodic black and melodic death (Nexus, Crushing Skies), while others are a bit repetitive (Pale March, Flow of Time). Anyway, it's a good first album!
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   A Constant Storm - Pale March (Official Video)

Nothgard - The Sinner's Sake (2016) 8/10

The mastermind behind Nothgard is no other than Dom Crey, also with Equilibrium for a couple of years. One month after the excellent Equilibrium's Armageddon, here is The Sinner's Sake, the third album for our German friends. Quite a productive period for Dom! The music, as the previous Age of Pandora, is a good and varied Melodic Death, the way I like it and coming to mind old Children of Bodom! Interesting that the songs less appreciated by me are the first two (besides intro), but then Iron Sights (with Jeff Loomis, Arch Enemy), Death Unites (with Robse, Equilibrium) and the others raise the bar. Jen Majura (Evanescence and ex-Equilibrium) also joins on two songs. Overall, it is a very headbanging and enjoyable album, that I'm proud to have in my collection!
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   Nothgard - Draining Veins (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

Sabaton - The Last Stand (2016) 8/10

Maintaining the 2-year interval between originals, here is the 8th album of one of the most important Power Metal bands these days. The Last Stand continues the military history theme from previous albums, now related to heroic stands across the centuries (since old Greece to the Soviet Afghan War) and continents. From our friendly Swedes the music is as expected, nothing new here: short 3 to 4 minute fast songs, good dual guitar work and efficient rythm session. I may highlight Blood of Bannockburn and its bagpipes background and Rorke's Drift with a nice guitar intro and leads. Exploring the band's success, there is a variety of editions including one with a 30 cm aluminium Sabaton tank.
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   SABATON - Blood of Bannockburn (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO)

Kambrium - The Elders' Realm (2016) 9/10

The Elders' Realm is the third album for this Power Melodic Death German band and my first contact with them. Not knowing the previous works, this is a good example of my most appreciated Melodic Death Metal type: epic, powerful, symphonic, plenty of solos, excellent combination between both guitars and keyboards, quite good death vocals also mixed with some clean vocals. Gee, have I to highlight songs? Hard task, all are homogeneous in quality and melody, while different in composition, some are more MDM, others are more Power. The two videos, links below, are a fine example of this band's quality. Another album that is going to my mobile and that will play many times!
   Kambrium Facebook
   KAMBRIUM - Shattered Illusions (official lyric video)
   KAMBRIUM - Season Of The Sea Witch (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

Be'lakor - Vessels (2016) 9/10

The aussies did it again. Be'lakor is an Australian band and Vessels their fourth album, the first with the major label Napalm Records. The music is Melodic Death but with tons of Progressive elements, full of surprises, insane variations and leads, harmonics, rythms and chorus, thus defining a very identifiable sound. On top of everything, an excellent sense of melody on all songs. With the exception of the intro and the typical short instrumental, all themes have from 6:50 to 11:00 minutes, but without a minimal boring part. Excellent production. This is an album that could spin all day long and a must to all Melodic Death fans that enjoy Insomnium and other similar acts.
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   BE'LAKOR - The Smoke Of Many Fires (Official Lyric Video)

Aephanemer - Memento Mori (2016) 10/10

After the excellent 2014 instrumental EP Know Thyself (still on my mobile!), where Martin Hamiche, a young guitar master from Toulouse, France, played all instruments, here is the first album with a proper band. I was wondering how Aephanemer's instrumental Melodic Death Metal would be with a female growl vocal and the result is great. Of course we still get the awesome Martin's lead guitar work (early Children of Bodom and other Finnish MDM acts influences) and perfect compositions, but Marion's vocal adds a new dimension. There are no weak songs here, each with its own flavour. My fave is Memento Mori, also with some nice bonus clean vocal (to repeat in the future?). The album ends quite well with the 7:28 instrumental Gilgamesh, like an hommage to their roots. Kudos also for the exquisite original cover. For sure one of the best albums of the year!
   Aephanemer Facebook
   AEPHANEMER - The Call Of The Wild (OFFICIAL TRACK)

Attick Demons - Let's Raise Hell (2016) 10/10

On the twentieth anniversary of the band, the present is for us! Four years after the successful Atlantis, what have we here? For sure a must to all Heavy Metal fans. Due to the excellence of the nine opus, it's quite hard to highlight songs. Besides Ghost (last year's single), for sure the varied title theme, enriched by a set of guests, including Chris Caffery (Savatage, TSO) and Ricardo Pombo (Cruz de Ferro), will be perfect alive. The oriental influenced Dark Angel, with Juan Zagalaz (Alhándal) and Liliwhite Lilith (Inner Blast) as guests, is another highlight. Finally the appealing cover artwork, from Pedro Sena Lordigan, based on Sartor, the Motorhead cousin band's mascott. And proud for Portuguese Metal, not only for sports conquests. The album is out on August 12th, pre-orders available!
   Attick Demons Facebook
   Attick Demons - Ghost (new song) live

Blame Zeus - Identity (2014) 8/10

Blame Zeus is a Heavy Rock band from Portugal, led by Sandra Oliveira, vocals and singing teacher. She had an excellent participation in the last Heavenwood album, which got my attention to his band and its first and unique album until now. Despite being less Metal for my preferences, Identity is a high quality album, with good songs, well played, mixed and produced. Of course Sandra's vocal skills is the highlight of the album. In conclusion, it can appeal to everybody, and suitable also for family reunions or with non Metal fans.
   Blame Zeus' Facebook
   Blame Zeus - Accept (Lyric Video)

Burning - Nightmares (2016) 8/10

Is there a place for more old style Heavy Metal bands? Of course as soon as they play the music we love. Burning is a recent band hailing from The Netherlands and winks to Metal classics such as Sabbath, Priest or Maiden. Nightmares is the first album and includes the 2014 first single and creepy sexy video Something is Lurking in the Dark. Here we listen to some honest Heavy without a fancy production, good songs, good players and efficient vocals. My highlights: the title theme, the three parts of Anthem for the Lost Souls and, of course, the single. Looking forward for next work.
   Burning Facebook
   Burning - Something is Lurking in the Dark (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO) HD

Moros Nyx - Revolution Street (2016) 9/10

Here is a new band playing some good old Speed Metal with european roots. Moros Nyx comes from Chicago, USA, and delivers a solid and quite good first album. Back in the eighties, I was a Speed Metal fan (still one of my favorite Metal subgenres), so this album reminds a lot those epic days. It's a mix between Speed and Power, varied, melodic, fast, great hymns and compulsory headbanging for sure. There's even place for a ballad with a female guest vocal just to avoid neck injuries before the excellent last two tracks. Definitely a good surprise, an album to be checked and a band to follow.
   Moros Nyx Facebook
   Moros Nyx Revolution Street 8 Child of the Dream

Sercati - In the Shadows of Sidewalks (EP 2015) 9/10

In the Shadows of Sidewalks, as subtitle indicates (Tales of the Fallen Part 3) is the third chapter of a conceptual story about a fallen angel integrated with mankind and fighting against Lucifer. Besides these three chapters and the parallel project The Nightstalker, reviewed next, this story already includes two books, everything from the mind of Steve Fabry. This EP is an awesome piece of melodic and catchy Black Metal. The first two songs prepare the coming of two of the best riff-based Black Metal songs ever heard. To get into the mood, I strongly advise to read the lyrics while listening.Only one defect: the EP lasts for only 17 minutes.
   Sercati Facebook
   Youtube Natural City Channel (Sercati)

The Nightstalker - All for a Promise (2015) 8/10

Following Sercati's story (see previous review), this parallel project concentrates on the perspective of the main character, the fallen angel called The Nightstalker. All For a Promise is the third chapter and concentrates on the reaction of our hero to the death of her friend. Maintaining Sercati's style, melodic symphonic Black Metal with killer riffs, the melancholy is transported from the story to the album, giving a darker feeling. Let's wait for the fourth chapter wondering what will happen.
   The Nightstalker Facebook
   If I had never felt - The Nightstalker

Masters of Disguise - The Fine Art of Aging Gracefully (EP 2016) 9/10

It seems that I came back to the time when US Speed Metal had its splendor. Masters of Disguise is a German band that, in the same style, surpasses most of those old acts. Born from the reformed Savage Grace line-up gathered by Chis Logue (original founder) to play live in 2010, they got the band's name and the infamous police Knutson after the first Savage's album. After two excellent albums in 2013 and 2015, here we have a just hommage to those bands. This EP includes excellent covers from Omen, Heathen, Metal Church, Agent Steel, Savage Grace and Cirith Ungol, performed by high skilled musicians and a superb vocalist. If you ever enjoyed any of the mentioned bands, you must dig Masters of Disguise!
   Masters of Disguise Facebook
   MASTERS OF DISGUISE - BATTALIONS (Metal Church cover)

Misteyes - Creeping Time (2016) 8/10

This is the first album of Misteyes, an Italian band quite strange just by looking to the promo photos. Coming from Turin, they play a Symphonic Death/Gothic Metal, quite theatrical, or, according to the band, Light and Dark Metal. This concept, lightness/darkness, is transported to the music by alternating and overlaping the two vocals, Denise's clean and opera vocals and Edoardo's harsh and screams. The music is also influenced by this concept, mixing fluid keyboards and orchestrations with death guitars and rhythm compositions. The overall result is quite surprising and varied, we get 64 minutes of mult-layered music that must be listen several times to get all details. A band worth to be checked and followed!
   Misteyes Facebook
   MISTEYES - The Prey (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Greedy Black Hole - Self (2016) 8/10

A Melodic Death Metal band from Taiwan?! And quite good, another gem found on the net! Self is the second album and makes quite an impression. The music is Melodic Death tinted with some classical Heavy and some Metalcore. The first reference coming to mind is Arch Enemy, but there's more. The female vocalist, Yvonne, mixes growls and clean singing, all instruments fit perfectly and these guys know how to create great songs. But what I highlight is the permanent guitars work, quite technical and melodic, sometimes unexpected and unusual in a Melo Death band. Another new band to follow!
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   Greedy Black Hole - Dream On Offical Music Video

SuidAkrA - Realms Of Odoric (2016) 10/10

With albums like this, that's why Metal is so much important to me. Being quite active, here it is the twelfth album from SuidAkrA, Arkadius Antonik's band. And what we have here? Melodic Death? Checked! Folk? Checked! Awesome compositions? Checked! Excellent vocals, both male (harsh and clean) and female? Checked! And a solid concept? Checked! All songs are based on characters of the Odorik fantasy comic book "The Wall of Doom" by Kris Verwimp, that also made the album artwork and wrote all letters. This album is in close connection with the artwork project Realms of Odoric, just check their Facebook (link below). Again, it is hard to highlight some songs, the sequence is perfect, but Pictish Pride is irresistible and resumes what SuidAkrA is about!
   SuidAkrA Facebook
   Realm's of Odoric Facebook
   SUIDAKRA - Pictish Pride (2016) // official clip // AFM Records

Panychida - Haereticalia, The Night Battles (2016) 9/10

Another good surprise found on the net and new to me. Panychida comes from the Czech Republic, the name meaning memorial service. Its music is mainly Pagan, but also with some Black, traditional Metal, Folk and acoustic, all served with a melodic and atmospheric base. This album is their fourth and since the first notes, it will hold your attention. While having an homogeneous quality, each song has its moments, and I just love the melody lines of Josafat (The Gathering) and both instrumental songs. A last compliment for the very limited edition, including also the previous album in cassette, a signed postcard with wax seal, a funeral ribbon and a sticker. Definitively a band to follow!
   Panychida Facebook
   Panychida - Josafat (The Gathering) | official lyric video 2016

Dark Oath - When Fire Engulfs the Earth (2016) 9/10

Dark Oath is a new ambicious Portuguese band that plays an epic Melodic Death in the vein of Arch Enemy but also some Wintersun influences can be traced, specially on the long melodic constructions. In this first album we got 10 songs, all lasting between 5 and 10 minutes, all fast and melodic. Sara Leitão effortless death vocals leads the way, well assisted by a duet of guitars and efficient rythm section, and a permanent symphonic background. There are no weak parts, it's 63 minutes of great Melo Death, very well ended with the longest song Brother's Fall.
   Dark Oath Facebook
   DARK OATH - The Tree of Life (OFFICIAL TRACK)

Silent Delusion - In State of Delusion (2016) 7/10

Silent Delusion is a Portuguese band created by Gonçalo Antunes back in 2004, but without records until now. In 2016, some of their original songs were recorded with the collaboration of four female vocalists, all with proper styles: Célia Ramos (Mons Lvnae, Red Rose Motel), Diana Rosa (11th Dimension), Rute Fevereiro (Enchantya) and Sara Freitas (Monolith Moon). In State of Delusion is the interesting result of this project, mainly symphonic gothic metal, but, due to the guest contributions, is quite diverse. The songs explore quite well each vocalist characteristics. My favorites are Come Fly Away With Me and Return of the King, both sung by Rute and where its amazing voice add an extra power dimension.
   Silent Delusion Facebook
   Silent Delusion - Come Fly Away With Me feat. Rute Fevereiro

Cruz de Ferro - Morreremos de Pé (2015) 8/10

Three years after the first EP, the awaited album of the most Epic Heavy Metal Portuguese band is finally available. The album motif (we may add, the band's motif) is the rich Portuguese History; for those who don't know, we are one of the oldest countries in the world. Starting by the excellent Pedro Sena Lordigan cover, the album's name (translation: We Will Die Standing), and all songs themes, we smell history. The unique Ricardo's vocals, always in Portuguese, the epic sound, the catchy refrains, makes this is a great album and a deserved verification for those who don't know. Morreremos de pé e a lutar!
   Cruz de Ferro Facebook
   Cruz de Ferro - O Decepado

Sunless Rise - Unrevealed (2015) 8/10

I was introduced to this band by a friend and here we have another fine example of the Russian Metal Excellence. Originally from Siberia, they are now based in S. Petersburg. Unrevealed is the band's first album, self-produced, available as digital and as limited digipack edition. And it causes quite an impression. The music is a Modern Melodic Death, somehow like a cross between Children of Bodom and Soilwork. The vocals, in English, alternate between Modern Clean and Death, the insane guitar and keyboards layers add so much variation that we need several auditions to learn all details. Definitely a band to follow!
   Sunless Rise Facebook
   Sunless Rise - Reborn

Camaxtli Yoxippa - Uacúsecha (ep 2015) 8/10

Internet allows for these things, to find such unknown yet quite interesting and original bands. Camaxtli Yoxippa comes from Mexico and drinks its inspiration from the Prehispanic culture. The music is a mix between Death and Folk Metal together with a large pack of Mexican folklore, flutes and prehispanic instruments. Interested? You should. This EP, as the previous one, are available through Bandcamp. Among the Ep's five songs (two instrumentals), we get good Death with interesting guitar lines, lots of folk and acoustic instruments, and nature sounds. The only complain? It ends too fast.
   Camaxtli Yoxippa Facebook
   Camaxtli Yoxippa - Canción de Tierra

Lords of Black - II (2016) 9/10

When I heard this for the first time, I thought to myself "Heavy Metal is far from being dead, it's more alive than ever". Lords of Black come from Madrid, and, has suggested by the name, this is their second album. And what a masterpiece! First, the Ronnie Romero vocals: the Chilean that was recently invited to the new Rainbow tour lineup, owner of an impressive and strong voice and perfect English accent, already compared to Dio. Then the experient and efficient colleagues, all well known musicians from other groups. And the 13 songs? Perfect and catchy Heavy Metal, sometimes fast, sometimes midtempo, always melodic and great compositions, ending with an excelent "Lady of the Lake" Rainbow cover. The japanese edition includes also a fantastic Innuendo Queen cover. This band well deserves to be among the best in the Heavy Metal Podium.
   Lords of Black Facebook
   Lords of Black - Merciless (Official / New / Studio Album / 2016)

Amon Amarth - Jomsviking (2016) 10/10

A new AA album? Enough to get me chills, one of my long time fave bands. And the Swedes did it again, 3 years after the acclaimed Deceiver of the Gods. So what have we here? The typical AA Melodic Death sound with strong guitar lines and harmonic solos, solid rhythm section, the unmistakeable Johan Hegg vocals, choruses and several hymns worth to be included on live shows. And there are no weak songs or even song parts. But nothing new here from the vikings, you may ask? Yes there is. This is their first concept album, the story of a man whose fiancee was kidnapped, throwing him to a quest. When he finally finds her, it's too late, she (played by a weak Doro Pesh) doesn't care about him anymore. So a new experience is to read the story while hearing the 11 songs and be transported to an epic time. Hoping to see another amazing live show.
   Amon Amarth Facebook
   Amon Amarth - At Dawn's First Light

Inner Blast - Prophecy (2016) 8/10

Prophecy is the first album from this underground Portuguese Symphonic Gothic Metal band. Quite expected for some time, finally it was released a couple weeks ago. All care put in the song writing, recording, engineering and production is well noticed. Lili's wide range vocals drives the songs, since the strong Insane to the emotive Tears slow, well supported by all the band members. An essential part of Inner Blast's sound is the efficient Monica's keyboards alternating with Aquile's "Quinito" guitars and its elaborated rhythms and solos. While maintaining a proper sound, all Evanescence and Within Temptation fans should check this.
   Inner Blast Facebook
   INNER BLAST "Insane" [Official Lyric Video]

Heavenwood - The Tarot Of The Bohemians (2016) 9/10

After Moonspell, Heavenwood may be the most known international Portuguese band. With a career started in 1992 (under the name Disgorge), the first album, Diva, came in 1996, and immediately got attention by its intricate and melodic Gothic Metal. "The Tarot of the Bohemians" is their fifth album, and is an awesome work, being globally homogenous and simultaneous heteregenous on each song and details. To the permanent lineup, several known guests added important contributions, like Daniel Cardoso (Anathema) and Franky Constanza (Dagoba) on drums, André Matos on bass (besides engineering) and Sandra Oliveira (Blame Zeus) on vocals. The album is based on the tarot cards of Papus, each song dedicated to a card. My preferences: The Pope and The Wheel of Fortune, with its exquisite guitar solos, and The Hanged Man with Sandra's powerful vocals. Having this tarot 22 cards, we probably will be blessed by another masterpiece.
   Heavenwood Facebook
   Heavenwood - The High Priestess 2016

Bifröst - Mana Ewah (2016) 9/10

Wow, another 2016 excellent album, so far being an awesome year. Bifröst is an Austrian band that plays an irresistible and melodic Pagan/Viking/Folk Metal, on the border of Melo Death. I wonder why aren't they better known, the quality is there. One of the reasons is probably that they sung in German, even all booklet is in the same language. It may be good in the Austrian-German axis, but elsewhere is more difficult. This fourth album, Mana Ewah, follows the same style as the previous ones, inviting everyone to headbang with perfect melodies, chorus and folkish details, cut by some death vocals, and permanent and excellent guitar riffs. All songs fit smoothly, hardly to highlight any, maybe Tobendes Herz. The only complain is the total length: only 40 minutes.
   Bifröst Facebook
   BIFRÖST - Tobendes Herz (Mana Ewah)

Myrath - Legacy (2016) 9/10

Myrath is a Tunisian Progressive band known for adding several folk oriental influences. First a curiosity, the band's name means Legacy in Arabic, and what a better way to commemorate this fourth album. Legacy gets where the previous 2011 Sands of the Times ended, but adding a more carefully production, much more symphonic elements like violins and orchestrations, and still maintaning Myrath's identity and the delicious Arabic influences. Of course the strongest song is Believer, well chosen for the high quality video. Looking forward to see these guys alive, on tour with Symphony X!
   Myrath Facebook
   Myrath - Believer (Official Music Video)

Persona - Elusive Reflections (2016) 9/10

Reviewing two Tunisian bands on the same day?!Wow! Persona is a recent band that just released this first album. The music is an excellent Symphonic Metal, with some Progressive and adorned here and there with interesting oriental touches. Despite being self-produced, the result is quite good. Both guitars and keyboard add a continuous melodic flux, well supported by drums and bass, and on top the beautiful voice of Jelena Dobric, a Serbian young lady. The album starts with the oriental strings of Somebody Else, that immediately situates the band, followed by the awesome melodic hymn that is Blinded (first video). There are no weak songs, each one has its own flavour and surprises., and the album ends perfectly with one of the best ballads heard in years. Sold on Bandcamp, there is a small limited printed edition of only 100 copies, so hurry up!
   Persona Facebook
   PERSONA - Blinded (Official Video) [HD]

Sailing To Nowhere - To the Unknown (2015) 8/10

To The Unknown is the first album of a young and dynamic band from Italy. Since I know the band, several lineup changes have occurred, two since the album release. The music is a soft Power Metal, quite melodic. The two powerful vocals, both male (Marco Palazzi, ex-Kaledon) and female, create interesting duets. The band name, scenario and themes goes around the sea and sailing. Among some powerful songs, like You Won't Dare and Sailing to Nowhere, there are several well balanced ballads. A final note to the good production and great artwork. For sure a band to follow.
   Sailing to Nowhere Facebook
   SAILING TO NOWHERE - 'Sailing To Nowhere' official video

Spartan - The Fall of Olympus (2015) 9/10

Hell Yeah! What an awesome first full-length. Spartan is a Dutch band that plays an energetic Melo Death with some Power influences. The band's main theme is the Greek story and mithology (no? kidding, starting by the band's name). All songs are good, one after another delivering great and varied guitar rhythms and solos, an efficient death vocals and all mixed together with a good rhythmic section. Highlights: Breaking the Chains of Olympus (with Henning Basse as guest), the fabulous Elysium and Eurydice's Son (with guest Hadassa Kosten, TheName's vocal). While maintaining a proper identity, not easy on the Melodic Death field, those who like Amon Amarth will for sure like Spartan.
   Spartan Facebook
   Spartan - Elysium [OFFICIAL VIDEO HD]

Manegarm - Manegarm (2015) 9/10

Here it is the new album of this prominent Viking Folk Swedish band. And what a better way to comemorate 20 years than releasing an hell of an album, to me one of 2015's best. Long are gone the Black Metal influences, with exception to Manljus, curiously the very first Manegarm song, never released. This is pure emotive Viking Folk, full of melodic tones and appealing choruses. The music suggests conquests, sung by glorious warriors seated by the fire on a cold night. By opposition to previous album, on this one most of the songs are sung in Swedish. Nominating the best song is an easy task, the superb cavalry Odin Owns Ye All. Another highlight is the last song, Mother Earth Father Thunder, Bathory's cover, with the beautiful voice of Jennie Tebler, Quorthon's sister.
   Manegarm Facebook
   MANEGARM - Odin Owns Ye All (Official Video) | Napalm Records

Beorn - Time to Dare (2015) 8/10

Russia has many great bands and Beorn belongs to this list. By the band logo we may think of piracy and effectivelly most of the lyrics are related, but the music has so many variations, that is hard to catalog. As suggested on their Facebook page, Modern Symphonic Power Metal may fit most of the time. On this first album, all songs are extremely well played, Greg's clean vocals integrates perfectly and the production is sharp. Starting with one of the three instrumentals on the album, immediatly we navigate to Riders of the Sky, one of the Power Metal hymns. But then the band's versatility comes with a metal disco and a slow, any of them could win a non metal song contest. With so many bands around, it's not easy to be highlighted, but Beorn got it.
   Beorn Facebook
   Beorn - The Chest of Deadman

Marius Danielsen's Legend of Valley Doom - Marius Danielsen's Legend of Valley Doom Part 1 (2015) 9/10

Who's Marius Danielsen? That was my first question when first heard about this project in a conversation with my good friend Artur Almeida (Attick Demons vocal) and one of the guests. Well, this almost unknown Norwegian fellow is the vocal/guitar of Darkest Sins. Again, never heard. Ten years ago, Marius had the vision to create an ambicious Power Metal Opera and started to write the concept album, divided by chapters. The result? Well, this Part 1 is an excellent Symphonic Power Metal album, one of the year's good surprises. The comparison to Avantasia is immediate but the Valley Doom album is for sure better and stronger than the last Avantasia's albums. With a huge guest list, most well known musicians and vocals, all contributions fit together like a nightmare puzzle. Impossible for any Melodic Metal fan to dislike it.
   Marius Danielsen's Legend of Valley Doom Facebook
   MARIUS DANIELSENS - Legend of Valley Doom // Raise Your Shields Feat. Mark Boals // Crime Records

Web - Everything Ends (2015) 8/10

One of the oldest Portuguese Metal bands, created in 1986 by two Tarantula's roadies. Web's style is an uncompromised Thrash Metal tinted here and there with some Doom and Speed. Despite its age and regular concerts agenda, Everything Ends is only its third full-length. The mature lineup, stable for more than 10 years, is well patent in the songs construction and conjugation between Fernando's vocals, rythm section and fine Filipe's and Victor's guitars work. Just check the video below with my fave song on this album and you'll be involved in the Web. Last words for the tuned production and excellent artwork, based on old paintings (Brugel and Bosh).
   Web Facebook
   WEB - Taking The World (Lyric Video)

Rocka Rollas - Pagan Ritual (2015) 9/10

A month ago the world saw the triple attack of the active and multifaceted musician Cederick, with the releases of the new Rocka Rollas, Blazon Stone and Breitenhold records. For now, the Rocka Rollas review, its most known project. Composed by 8 powerful, melodic and fast themes, with lots of choruses and some celtic and folk parts, this last album could be easily placed side by side with the best Helloween or Blind Guardian works. And the work for Rocka Rollas 2016 album already started.
   Rocka Rollas Facebook
   Rocka Rollas - Demigod

Breitenhold - The Inn of Sorrowing Souls (2015) 8/10

Here is another of Ced's veins, this one more speedy and less power. Contrary to Rocka Rollas (review above), for this project Ced sings and plays all instruments. While preferring Breitenhold's first album, this one is still a good work, plenty of fast and melodic songs. Vocal lines could be better, but the music will please any True Metal fan. Favorite songs here: Mirrors of Life (very Blind Guardian), the instrumental Return to the Secret Worlds and A Soulless Tale.
   Rocka Rollas Facebook (includes Breitenhold)
   Breitenhold - The Inn Of Sorrowing Souls

Blazon Stone - No Sign of Glory (2015) 8/10

There are not 2 without 3, so we say in Portugal. And here is the third Ced's vein. As anyone can guess by the project's or the album's names, here it is a Running Wild alternative team. For this album, as usual, Ced played all instruments. For vocals, he got the help of Georgi Penchev (Mosh-Pit Justice) and what a good job he has done, with a similar tone to Rolf Kasparek's. Musically, the album includes the typical fast songs with catchy solos and sung-along choruses, with no weak tracks. Like the previous Return to Port Royal, this one is better than any Running Wild album in the last 20 years.
   Rocka Rollas Facebook (includes Blazon Stones)
   Blazon Stone - A Traitor Among Us (from upcoming new album!!)

Atlas Pain - Behind the Front Page (EP 2015) 9/10

This amazing new band hails from Milan, Italy, and plays Epic Folk Metal with some Melo Death and Symphonic. Noticeable are also influences from epic movies scores. For those who like Equilibrium or Wintersun, Atlas Pain is definitively a band to check and you won't regret. The intro invites us to be served by a fest of galloping guitars (also some Dragonforce here and there), harsh vocals, great melody lines, beautiful folk moments, cinematographic orchestrations, the only problem being that it ends too soon. I can't highlight a song, maybe the "The Storm" the closest to Equilibrium. I wonder why they haven't been approached by a record company; to me this band is the best newcomer of the year!
   Atlas Pain Facebook
   ATLAS PAIN - Each Uisge - OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO

Neoplasmah - Auguring the Dust of a New Era (2014) 8/10

After being knocked down by a recent live show, here is the review of their last album. The Portuguese band Neoplasmah plays an excellent technical death metal, supporting a cosmic and human kind powerful message. Fronted by the angelical Sofia Silva, when she sings is like the doors of hell open wide. Angela Gossow (former Arch Enemy vocals) who?! But this extreme vocal fits perfectly in a very strong and obsessive rhythm section and a great twin guitar work. Looking forward for new shows and the next album!
   Neoplasmah Facebook
   Neoplasmah - Stargate to Infinity (lyric video)

See You Leather - Back To Aleph (EP 2015) 7/10

This young band (great name!) was formed three years ago in Catania, Italy, and this is the first recorded work! Back To Aleph is not easy to categorize. Since the first song, more technical thrash, to the last song, more doom death, included are many interesting details and an efficient mix of all instruments, with particular emphasis to the guitars work. For a first work, not bad at all, maybe too doom to my taste and some punky vocal lines could be avoided.
   See You Leather Facebook
   See You Leather - I Am The Beast (Live @ We Rock Fest 2013)

Energy of the Elements - 03:30 Dehuman Rise (2015) 7/10

Energy of the Elements is an Italian band, founded in 2008, but only now here comes its first full-length, under the Underground Symphony label. Playing an "Italianized" Power Metal, the first reference coming to mind is Rhapsody of Fire, due to the fast and melodic games between the two guitars and keyboards, highlighted by choruses, in most songs. But there are also some progressive experiences as in Follow Me or Gloria Anima Mundi, or a touch of melo death and thrash, in Hiding Behind Shadows. The album includes several guests from other Italian bands. Resuming, it's quite an interesting first album, maybe my main remark is some flaws on vocals.
   Energy of the Elements Facebook
   Hiding Behind Shadows - Lyric Video

Intrinsic - Nails (2015) 8/10

Intrinsic is a Metal band from California, that recently recovered and remixed this album, originally recorded in 1992 and that never saw the light of day. In America those days were not easy due to grunge rise. To name a style is a hard task, the principal may be american power / speed but hard rock, thrash, pure heavy, stoner, progressive are also present. With this in mind, we are pleased by 72 minutes of good and varied Heavy Metal, dot. Hearing the first songs, Jag Panzer comes to mind, but then Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, Anthrax, even Iron Maiden, are invited to the party. All we have to pray the Gods of Metal for not letting this rust in the void.
   Intrinsic Facebook
   INTRINSIC - On Gossamer Wings (OFFICIAL)

W.A.S.P. - Golgotha (2015) 7/10

Six years after the last album, Golgotha is the new full-length of this charismatic american hard rock band, marking the beginning of collaboration with the Austrian label Napalm Records. And this is a good album, for sure W.A.S.P. fans (where I'm not included) will love it. Crispy production, Blackie's vocals better than ever, good solo guitars and a mix of hard rock hymns with metal sentimental slows. But I miss some power, I find the album too soft and too american radio. My favorite song? The title theme.
   W.A.S.P. Facebook
   W.A.S.P. - Scream (Official Lyric Video)

Machinergy - Sounds Evolution (2014) 8/10

Machinergy (great name) is a Portuguese Thrash Metal band hanging around since 2006. After the first album, Rhythmotion, in 2010, here it is the second chapter. Having a much better sound than the previous one (it can be found on YouTube), we are presented with a fast Thrash, aggressive vocals and good guitar lines completed by a dense rhythm section, sometimes nearly Death. Among the 43 minutes and the headbanging 10 songs, we also get some nice surprises like one song and several refrains in Portuguese, female choruses and a quite good instrumental.
   Machinergy Facebook
   MACHINERGY "Sounds Evolution" 2014 FULL ALBUM in video

Virgin Steele - Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation (2015) 6/10

Five years after the last full length, here it is the new work of Mr. David DeFeis, Edward Pursino and mates. As a curiosity, this album has three different covers for normal CD, special edition 2CD and vinyl (appealing to collectors?). And, boy, this album is long, around 79 minutes (and the bonus CD 73 minutes). The problem is that many of these minutes are just fill-in boring sequences and experiences, far from the Marriage or Invictus albums. Of course we have good typical Virgin Steele tunes, namely the first four. I enjoy a lot David's melodic vocals when he doesn't abuse the squeals, but these appear too often, as well as several unnecessary vocal effects. Edward's Pursino guitar is as good as always.
   Virgin Steele Facebook
   VIRGIN STEELE "Lucifer´s Hammer" (Official Lyric Video)

Powerwolf - Blessed & Possessed (2015) 10/10

Metal is Religion. This is the motto of one of the currently most charismatic Power Metal bands. Blessed & Possessed is the sixth full length and maintains the same formula of the successfull Preachers of the Night (2013). With an immaculate production, along the 11 tracks, all around 4 minutes length, we are blessed by the characteristic powerful Attila Dorn vocals, constant choruses, and the very own integration between guitars, keyboard and drums, that make the Powerwolf sound so unique. Besides these 45 minutes of awesome songs to sing and headbang, don't miss the Metallum Nostrum CD (special editions), with great unique (and raw) interpretations of 10 Metal Anthems. Glad to be blessed and possessed by Powerwolf.
   Powerwolf Facebook
   POWERWOLF - Army Of The Night (Official Video)

Torchia - Ending Beginning (2015) 7/10

Do you like fast guitar-based death/melodeath Metal? Torchia is definitivelly a new band to check and follow. Hailing from Children of Bodom's country, the music goes beyond the melodeath scene and incorporates thrash, speed and interesting compositions. Just measuring from the three songs included in this self release demo, an interesting career is previewed. My favorite is the title song, a quite catchy fast thrash-death song.
   Torchia Facebook
   Torchia - Nameless Story (from oNe demo)

Tengger Cavalry - Blood Sacrifice Shaman (2015) 8/10

Here it is one of the most original and exquisite Folk Metal bands in the world. Tengger Cavalry comes from China and are led by Nature Ganganbaigal, at the moment studying in New York. After two awesome albums, The Expedition (my first contact with TC) and Ancient Call, this album is the reedition of their first album, published in 2010. Not as accessible as the last two, it's an album that gains interest each time it spins. Included are virtuous guitar lines perfectly mixed with traditional mongolian musical instruments, horse tools and mongolian chants. Really unique!
   Tengger Cavalry Facebook
   Blood Sacrifice Shaman (2015), by Tengger Cavalry (Bandcamp)

Projekt Noir - Sky (EP 2015) 7/10

What? Joao Speedy is reviewing a non metal CD? Hell, yes but... Metal boundaries are far from being defined and this EP could be defined as Post Atmospheric Black Metal. This is the interesting project of a friend, Mario Rodrigues, taking care of all strings and keys. Whispering vocals and lyris, in Icelandic, are assured by Johann Orn from the Atmospheric Black Metal band Dynfari. In these only 17 minutes, a quite dark environment is set up, transporting us to cold, dark and windy lands. This could be played anywhere without annoying anyone. Looking forward to the album, later this year.
   Projekt Noir Facebook
   Projekt NÖIR Sjálfsmynd dauðleikans (official)

Munarheim - Stolzes Wesen Mensch (2015) 9/10

Munarheim is a Symphonic Folk Metal from Bavaria, Germany. Only this year I knew them for the first time and, holy shit, this is the best Symphonic Metal I have heard for many years. Of course I ordered both albums (2014 Nacht und Stürme werden Licht is also awesome), in very limited and awesome editions. This 500 limited edition, book format, includes 3CDs with normal, orchestral and instrumental versions, signed post-cards for each of the 8 members and a patch. And the music? Pompous symphonic, flute and other several folk details, lots of melody, continuous variations, black and clean vocals. Some parts reminded me Bal-Sagoth and Equilibrium. In conclusion, a must to check!
   Munarheim Facebook
   Munarheim - Stolzes Wesen Mensch (Lyric Video)

Horrizon - Dwelling Within (2015) 8/10

Another good surprise for current year, and another band that I didn't know. Dwelling Within is the second album for this Melodic Death Viking Metal German band. Though there are so many Melodeath band, Horrizon succeeds to find a proper place and sound. Balancing between harsher songs, like From the Abyss of Hell, and the slower Whispering My Name, it manages to have a proper sound, pleasing to both Amarth and Dark Tranquillity fans.
   Horrizon Facebook
   Horrizon - Last Masquerade

Speedemon - First Blood EP (2015) 7/10

Here it is the premiere of Speedemon, a thrash speed metal Portuguese band. Started in 2011, as usual with new underground metal acts suffered several member changes. Finally, persistence is rewarded with this First Blood. With less than 15 minutes, along the four songs speed is the word. Drinking influences mainly from thrash and speed, but also including some power guitars and death vocals, this is quite interesting and a promising premiere. White smoke, he have band!
   Speedemon Facebook
   SPEEDEMON Road to Madness

II Dawn - II Dawn EP (2015) 6/10

In 2013, Padova (Italy, where the medieval saint Anthony of Lisbon, or Anthony of Padova, is buried) saw the birth of a new symphonic band. II Dawn (II is 2 in roman numbers) is formed by two guitars, drums and the interesting doll face Sara on vocals. Bass and keyboard are assured by guests. Alter Ego initiates well the Ep, fast and melodic. Remaining songs are less catchy, though well constructed and maintaining the good vocals performance. While being an EP, I miss longer and more varied songs.
   II Dawn Facebook
   II Dawn EP - Teaser

Melodius Deite - Episode II, Voyage through the World of Fantasy (2014) 9/10

Probably the first band that I know from Thailand, a country that I love but unsuspected for Metal. When heard this for the first time I knew had to join this to my collection, and bought this and the previous CD (also quite good), signed, directy from the band. And this Episode II is an awesome album, pure Progressive Power Metal well adorned with an excellent neo-classical guitar work and efficient vocals. For references I may nominate Angra or Kamelot, but it's much more, almost 75 minutes of great songs (and some are really long like the 16 min Civilization or the 13 min Sailing Around the World). Besides many surprise bits along the songs I have to highlight the fabulous Land of Fantasy. Anxiously waiting for Episode III.
   Melodius Deite Facebook
   Melodius Deite - Land of Fantasy (Official Music Video)

Within Silence - Gallery of Life (2015) 8/10

Within Silence is a new Melodic Power Metal band coming from Slovakia. If you like Sonata Arctica or Stratovarius, this is definitively a band to look at. Gallery of Life is the first album and what a debut. After a short Intro, speed and melody fills the air starting with one of the strongest songs and official video Silent Desire. There are no weak songs in the album. While not maintaining the same speed, all songs are melodic, with excellent vocals, choruses and efficient players. Congratulations Brothers!
   Within Silence Facebook
   Within Silence - Silent Desire [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Helloween - My God Given Right (2015) 7/10

Between 1985 and 1989, Helloween was my top band, but after Kay Hansen's departure, it never was the same. With Andi Deris, the happy Power Metal was somehow recovered, but still without the first years shine. And what about this 16th album? More of the same, some good expected songs, like Heroes or Battle's Won, some slows, some pop, some groove, the characteristic Andi's voice, but nothing new or far from last albums.
   Helloween Facebook
   HELLOWEEN - Battle's Won (OFFICIAL TRACK AND LYRIC VIDEO)

Eldertale - Land of Old (ep 2014) 8/10

Good Melodic Folk Metal hailing from Ukraine. Despite existing since 2005, with some hibernations inbetween, only last year this first EP was released, in digital format. First notice is the small size even for an EP, only 17 minutes spread by three songs. The first one is a good fast folk melodeath song; the second, title-theme, has a long sympho intro (maybe too long, almost half the song) but continued in perfection; and the last song is more experimental, interesting but not so catchy. The band is currently finishing the first album, looking forward to hear it.
   Eldertale Facebook
   Eldertale - Land of Old (full EP)

Finsterforst - Mach Dich Frei (2015) 10/10

I'm a big Finsterforst fan since the first album, back in 2007. So I have always great expectations when a new album is coming. And this is a masterpiece, epic, powerfull and unique Folk Metal, or Black Forest Metal, as called by the band. And we, lucky listeners, are presented with a mix of quite different size songs, the longest (23 minutes) curiously with the band's name. On the first listening time we never know what surprise comes next, but always with all instruments layers mixed perfectly. Vocally speaking, in German as usuall, there is a balanced mix between growls and clean vocals. My highlight is, of course, the powerful Mach Dich Frei (Set Yourself Free), raising perfection and with a strong message well illustrated by a superb video. Finally, I do advise to see these guys alive, it's an unforgettable experience.
   Finsterforst Facebook
   FINSTERFORST - Mach Dich Frei (Official Video)

Ironsword - None but the Brave (2015) 8/10

For a long time that we haven't new albums from this epic Heavy Metal trio, for sure one of the most representative Portuguese bands, headed by João "Tann" Fonseca. The impressive cover, figuring "Conan the Cimmerian" immediately warns us what we can expect from the band's fourth album. Drinking from classic old school Heavy, like Manilla Road and Omen, None But the Brave aligns 12 can't-be-more-epic songs that will make you headbang and sing along. Looking forward to see these Brothers alive!
   Ironsword Facebook
   IRONSWORD - Calm Before the Storm

Aethyr - Towards The Realm Of Nothingness (2015) 9/10

One excellent surprise! Aethyr is a new band hailing from Valencia, Spain, and not to be confused with a Doom Russian band or a Black Greek band with the same name. Despite the blackish logo, they play an epic Folk Melodic Metal and the first similar band coming to my mind is Frosttide but some bits here and there remind Wintersun. This first album, self produced and only digital by now, chains 8 themes quite well constructed, without missing an instrumental and long varied songs. Highlighting songs is difficult, maybe The Chosen One, Wanderer and Realm of Nothingless. The only defect? Some repetition on the ohh ohh choruses.
   Aethyr Facebook
   Album on Bandcamp

Ensiferum - One Man Army (2015) 8/10

Received recently the awesome tin can Deluxe Editon and was with some expectation that I put this to spin. After the somehow decepting 2012 Unsung Heroes and last year's Suomi Warmetal covers compilation, a positive inversion is needed. And the Finns are back to melodic and pompous albums. With a typical intro, immediately two powerful songs and the album title follows and will stay in everybody's ears. A small acoustic piece introduces one of the album highlights: Warrior Without a War.Time for more three typical Ensiferum songs and, as in the last three albums, a long epic theme. In conclusion, not as good as the melodic death folk standards defined on the first two albums, but better than the last ones.
   Ensiferum Facebook
   Ensiferum "One Man Army" (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Nox Aeterna - The Desperation Deal (2015) 7/10

Nox Aeterna is an unsigned melodic death metal band from The Netherlands. The Desperation Deal, recorded and produced by the band and released in March 2015, is a concept album telling the story of two brothers, Einarr and Jorund, and the demonic Ranaah. This new album starts quite well with a magnificent Restless Vigilance, honoured by the first video for the album. Following are more 48 minutes of fast and solid melodic death as I like: no exaggerated harsh vocals, a good pair of guitars, catchy riffs and efficient rhythm section. Questionless, a band to check and follow.
   Nox Aeterna Facebook
   Nox Aeterna - Restless Vigilance )

Moonspell - Extinct (2015) 8/10

Before reviewing this last Moonspell's work I must declare two things: I'm not a gothic music fan, normally I don't pay attention to gothic bands; and Wolfheart is still on my top ten albums ever, at that time, 1995, it opened to me new horizons in terms of Metal vocals, before that I only listened to bands with clean vocals. And now the review of this album, that went number one in portuguese sales on its first week! Moonspell doesn't cease to surprise in each album and this is a hell of an album, quite melodic and with a superb production. All instruments, played with perfection, and Fernando's unique vocals, mix in a way that transport us to exquisite atmospheres. The album starts strongly with the two first video songs (love that Extinct solo), then turns to orient with Medusalem (with arabian strings) being this one of my favorites. Next songs are irreprehensible gothic typical Moonspell songs and the album ends with a small acoustic french song. The mediabook edition includes different mixes of four album songs as bonus, and a revealing 84 min Road to Extinction documentary. One last word to praise the fantastic artwork.
   Moonspell Facebook
   MOONSPELL - Extinct (Official Video)

Frosttide - Blood Oath (2015) 9/10

After the awesome Awakenig in 2013 (I head this album for sure more than 100 times, it's still im my mobile), expectations were quite high for these Finnish. And they got to surpass! Blood Oath is still Melodic Death Folk Metal, but all songs fit perfectly like a puzzle and even two small introductory instrumental pieces were in place. After an epic Prologue we get the fast title theme and the long and varied Gates of the Asylum, followed by the powerfull Fate Redefined, the first Official video. And delight doesn't stop with four more songs, including the epic 11 min New Reign. Looking forward to see Frosttide alive!
   Frosttide Facebook
   FROSTTIDE - FATE REDEFINED (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO)

Skálmöld - Med Vaettum (2014) 9/10

Iceland has only a population of less than 330000, but from time to time, a viking horde floods the World with Metal. Last Skalmold's opus, Med Vaettum, is a very fine example of excellent Viking Folk Metal. As always, it is sung in Icelandic, includes a powerful rhythm section, 3 guitars and keyboard that fit perfectly. All six members sing, giving many combinations and choruses. The theme for this album is the Four Seasons, each with two songs. And the music flows nicely, ending with two themes from the awesome concert with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (in the digipack edition). A superb album from a superb band.
   Skálmöld Facebook
   Skálmöld - Gleipnir (Official Video)

Lyria - Catharsis (2014) 7/10

Lyria is a recent metal band from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Fronted by Aline Happ, one of the happiest smiles I've ever seen, they succeeded to get the $8000 USD on a crowdfunding for releasing the first album without a record company. And what is the result? Midtempo symphonic metal, some gothic, where the main focus is Aline's beautiful voice. Some influences from Evanescence and Within Temptation can be traced here and, as these bands, can attract many fans outside Metal. Catharsis is quite homogeneous, it's hard to highlight some songs. Anyway, my favorites are Jester (that turned the official video) and What do you want from me. Promising band!
   Lyria Facebook
   Lyria - Jester Official Music Video

Kaledon - Antillius: The King of the Light (2014) 8/10

Sometimes Heavy Metal is not only music neither individual stories. An album can tell a story taking us to other worlds, thus acting like a score for a movie. And there's no other country like Italy for these concept albums, being Rhapsody its greatest reference. Kaledon is another major reference. After the Legend of the Forgotten Reign on 6 CDs and the story of Altor, here we have another chapter from the kingdom of Kaledon. And like the previous albums, this one is filled with powerful, melodic and emotive songs, maintaining Kaledon as one of the top Italian bands. So sit, enjoy the album while reading the story and the lyrics, and dream with fantasy lands.
   Kaledon Facebook
   KALEDON - 'The Calm Before The Storm' official video

Obscurity - Vintar (2014) 9/10

My big fault not knowing this band until 2 months ago, and what I was missing! Obscurity is a quintet coming from Germany and plays a powerful and melodic Pagan Viking Metal. Vintar, their last opus is one of those CDs that can be heard several times in a row. Since the midtempo Naglfar or Vintar to the Dominium hymn (Amon Amarth be threatened!) or the fast Alte Zeichen, every song was a must, making this album almost perfect.
   Obscurity Facebook
   OBSCURITY - NAGLFAR (video)

Kalidia - Lies' Device (2014) 8/10

Italy is an awesome country when it concerns to Melodic Power Metal. And here we have a fine example. Kalidia started in 2010 and Lies' Device is its first album, printed and commercialized by the band. The music is a Heavy Metal quite melodic with some Power Metal here and there. The full range of Melodic Metal is covered, always with Nicoletta Rosellini's crystal voice, since the Shadow Will be Gone slow to the fast and powerful Lies' Device, my favorite and the first official band video. Great start, looking forward for the next album!
   Kalidia Facebook
   KALIDIA - Lies' Device (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

The Storyteller - Sacred Fire (2015) 9/10

Knowing The Storyteller since the demos period and making its first interview for the "Sounds from Apocalypse" webzine, I always knew that we are facing a very special band. The style of these Swedes doesn't lie: high quality Power Metal with Folk bits.
After some year's hiatus, 2013 marked the comeback with Dark Legacy, also great but somehow a little darker than the previous albums.
And in late 2014 we have Sacred Fire, to be officialy distributed only in 2015. This masterpiece has everything to please all Metal lovers: powerful melodies, catchy chorus, slower emotive songs and faster themes. Produced by the band, the care in all aspects is well noticed, the aim being to create a perfect work. And they got it. It's hard to highlight some themes, starting with the speedy As I Die, the powerful hymn Sacred Fire, the fast Serpent Eyes (influences of old german speed metal) well followed by another speedy Sons of the North. Then another hymn, In Search for Treasure, ready to sing along in concerts. Coming Home, next, should be one of the best slow Metal songs in years. And back to speed with The Army of Southerfell and Course of the Seven Seas. Before ending this album we still are presented with two more powerful songs.
In conclusion, a perfect Power Metal mix, without weak themes, and all perfect for great live shows. This album will lead The Storyteller to the Power Metal podium and should be one the the best albums of the year. Sacred Fire is burning very well!
   The Storyteller Facebook
   The Storyteller - One Last Stand (Official music video)

 





	
    
    
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