Sounds from Apocalypse - Reviews 2016

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Sojourner - Empires of Ash (2016) 9/10

Now this is an international project, with members living in New Zealand, Sweden and Italy, also with strong connections to Scotland, and... long life Internet. Sojourner was born in 2015, and just one year after, this album was released. And what a start! The music is an exquisite epic atmospheric black metal with plenty of folk moments, sharing some afinities with Saor or Summoning. The density of riffing guitars and the delicacy of the tin whistle among some keys work well on all songs, some quite long, but never boring. On vocals also we get a quite good "beauty and the beast" combination. It's not normal for me to review older albums, but... surprisingly the band will be gathered and is coming to play in Portugal next August. The 2018 album review will follow soon on these pages.
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   Sojourner - Heritage of the Natural Realm
   Sojourner - Trails of the Earth (2016)

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

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

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)

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]

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!
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   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!
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   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.
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   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!
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   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!
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   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!
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   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!
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   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!
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   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 has 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.
   Algos Facebook
   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.
   Finsterforst Facebook
   FINSTERFORST - Auf Die Zwölf (Official Video) | Napalm Records

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!
   A Constant Storm Facebook
   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!
   Nothgards Facebook
   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.
   Sabaton Facebook
   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)

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.
   Be'lakor Facebook
   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

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

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

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

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!
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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!
   Greedy Black Hole Facebook
   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

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]


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