Sounds from Apocalypse - Reviews 2017

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Dogma - Reditum (2017) 8/10

Dogma is a Doom Gothic Portuguese band, created in late 1996. They released a demo and two EPs and dismissed in 2003. In 2014, four of the former members decided to revive the band, specially recovering the old demo songs together with some more from that time and the result is Reditum. I'm not a particular doom fan (opposition of my nick, ah ah), but the result is a damned good album. Singing in Portuguese, with excellent male and female vocals and quite good guitar riffs, I would highlight Criacao and Sangue & Frio songs. Doom Gothic used to be quite popular in Portugal those years, it's not strange that some influences from Moonspell and Desire are noticed.
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   Reditum (full album)

Elvenking - Secrets of the Magick Grimoire (2017) 8.5/10

As Elvenking is playing in Portugal in August 2018 (XI Milagre Metaleiro), it's a good opportunity to review this album, released last November. This veteran Italian band plays a catchy Melodic Power mixed with Folk and it's an assurance of live party time. With a full set of guests (Snowy Shaw, Dave Briggs of Waylander, Simone Mularoni of DGM, Alessandro Conti, etc), the sextet released a solid album plenty of good and varied songs, highlighting the opening theme (first album video). The violin, keyboard, whistle and other folk instruments fits quite well in the music enriching the sound. One of the most anticipated shows for this year, together with other excellent bands.
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   ELVENKING - Invoking the Woodland Spirit (2017) // official clip // AFM Records

Tidal Dreams - Previsor (2017) 8/10

New band to me. Tidal Dreams come from Greece and are on the road since 2002, but the first album was out only in 2012. In 2016 they won the Greek Wacken Metal Battle Finals. Previsor is the second album, released recently by Underground Symphony. The music is a good epic Heavy Metal, while not too original, it should be appreciated by most metalheads. Some parts remind me old Omen, Metal Church and Nevermore. Guitars work is quite good, well seconded by drums and bass. Vocalizations are good and powerful, with a wide range, just some falsettos don't result so well. The album closes with an awesome epic folkish instrumental. Definitely another band to follow!
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   TIDAL DREAMS - A Place In The Sun (Lyric Video)

Forja - El Llibre dels Feyts (2017) 8/10

Barcelona, besides being one of my favorite cities with a fabulous architecture, is also the origin of many good Metal bands. Forja started in 2012, released the first demo in 2013, an EP in 2015 and now, December 2017, the first album, the conceptual El Llibre dels Feyts. The first noticed aspect are the covers, all with medieval illustrations, and the one of this album is quite original. Then the main characteristic is the language, all songs are in Catalan. The music is an animated and melodic Folk Metal with traditional roots and plenty of folklore instruments. While being quite homogeneous, I may highlight the fast Aurembiaix (see the video) and the emotive Ales Negres.
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   Forja - Aurembiaix (Lyric Video)

Celtibeerian - Deiwos (2017) 9/10

Here is the expected new album of one of the top Spanish Folk Metal bands. Met these friends last year and I was immediately surrended by their good mood and energetic Folk. Deiwos means God in Latin and the album gets inspiration on celtibeerian and indoeuropean gods and nature, even including small parts in old celtibeerian language. Among the 15 songs, including elucidative intro and outro, there are great instrumentals, epic folk pieces, fast songs, "booze" songs, emotive pieces and even one song in Basque. In addition to the high skills in composition, the excellent vocals of Gus and Patricia, and efficient players, Celtibeerian's sound owes much to David's bagpipes, whistles and harp, and Patricia's violin. An awesome album for Folk fans, the others may be surprised as well. So, play Folk Metal and be happy!
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   CELTIBEERIAN - The Wolf I Am (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Vintersorg - Till Fjälls, del II (2017) 9/10

Vintersorg is the main project of Andreas Hedlund (nick Vintersorg), a man of many talents and also member of Borknagar, Cronian, Otyg and others. Vintersorg started as a one-man project, now being a trio. Till Fjälls, del II is the tenth album and is like a part II of the first album, released in 1998. The music is a mix of Viking, Folk and Progressive with some Black traces. All 13 songs in the two CDs are quite good, with the characteristic clean vocals of Mr. Vintersorg, sung in Swedish, complex structures, epic orchestrations and melodic lines. As references, besides Borknagar (of course), it reminds me Heljareyga, the side project of Heri Joensen (Týr), but better. Another runner for best album of the year.
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   VINTERSORG - Fjällets mäktiga mur (Official Lyric Video) | Napalm Records

Arch Enemy - Will to Power (2017) 8.5/10

Three years and many singles, compilations and live albums after, here it is the anticipated new album of one of the most popular Melodic Death bands. Will to Power is the second full-length with Alissa White-Gluz as vocals and the first with Jeff Loomis (ex Nevermore). Alissa establishes herself as the center of the band (the limited edition poster says all); while not being so aggressive as Angela Gossow (still the band's manager), her presence is quite remarkable both alive and on record, even has some clean singing on Reason To Believe. Of course all the well known players (Arch Enemy is an all-star band) perform efficiently, with emphasis to the melodies driven by the twin lead guitars (Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis). While not exceptional, it's a good album, IMO superior to War Eternal; it will please to a much wider range of Heavy people, not only Melodic Death fans.
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   ARCH ENEMY - The World Is Yours (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Sleeping Woodland - К Северным Морям (2017) 9/10

Often, internet reveals some exquisite bands, otherwise I would never heard about. Sleeping Woodland is a Russian band, nowadays a two man project and К Северным Морям is their second album. All sung in Russian, the album name means "To The Northern Seas" and the story is the first part of a saga related to a mysterious land called Sleepland. This album defines what it is Epic Viking Metal, with plenty of choirs and orchestrations, also including nature sounds and some nordic type folk. If you like Bathory, Blood On Ice phase, you'll love this album. The Russian vocals fit quite well in the music, thus giving an original flavour. So glad I found it, this album is addictive and being spinned frequently.
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   Sleeping Woodland - К Северным Морям (To The Northern Seas) (album teaser)

Moonspell - 1755 (2017) 8.5/10

What a venturous project that the most important Portuguese Metal band decided to implement, both at musical and scenery levels. First the subject, concerning the tragic event of the 1755 earthquake and tsunami in Lisbon. Second the music, with imponent orchestrations and the songs following the main stages of the catastrophe, with some oriental touches (1755, as in Medusalem from the previous album), with Fado (In Tremor Dei), but always with the perfect mix of vocals and the virtuosity of all players. And third the lyrics, for the first time a complete album in Portuguese (Desastre also in Spanish on the digipack) telling the world a dark page of our history. Ambitious project, achieved in all aspects!
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   MOONSPELL - In Tremor Dei (Official Video) | Napalm Records

All Will Know - Infinitas (2017) 7.5/10

This band, new to me, is a sextet from Germany that plays a mix of Melodic Death and Metalcore. Quoting the band, they don't compromise with styles, just Melodic Metal. The actual members play/played in Agathodaimon, Adorned Blood and Suidakra, thus excellent references. Infinitas is the 3rd album and, while not appreciating Metalcore, it's a good melodic album, full of interesting melodies, with good vocals, both modern clean and death, good riffs and competent bass/drums section. The album ends with a nice small instrumental and there's also a reggaeish unplugged version of the title theme from the previous album.
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   ALL WILL KNOW - Deeper Into Time (from previous album)

Orden Ogan - Gunmen (2017) 9/10

This is my first time reviewing Orden Ogan, and after seeing a fantastic show in Madrid. Gunmen is a concept album about a gun fighter in cowboys land and, hell, this is one of the best Power Metal releases in several years. As with their countrymen Powerwolf, they can only write good songs, without flaws. Due to the melodic structures, the comparison with Blind Guardian is inevitable, but, while maintaining a proper original line, I should state that in recent years Orden Ogan is far superior. Favorite songs? Quite hard, maybe Come With Me To The Other Side, featuring Liv Kristine and an insane lead! But just hear the whole album, damned!
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   ORDEN OGAN - Come With Me To The Other Side (feat. Liv Kristine) // AFM Records

Incursed - Amalur (2017) 9/10

My friends from Bilbao, Spain, are back with another masterpiece. Playing an irresistible Viking Pagan Folk Metal (beware of neck pains) Amalur is an excellent collection of themes, varied and catchy, powerful and emotive. We have quite fast songs, like The Slavic Covenant (with Javi Crosas from the mighty Drakum) or Psalm of the Accursed, emotive epic songs like A Crownless King (Ibone Gómez from Sister Moon, female vocals as guest) or the title theme Amalur, sung in Basque, with the participation of Miguel Laguna (Aiumeen Basoa, another awesome band from the Basque Country). The album ends quite well with a traditional song, also sung in Basque. A band that I must see alive!
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   Incursed - Amalur [Amalur, 2017]

Manora - Dreamshapes (EP 2017) 8/10

Manora hails from Holland and the Dreamshapes EP is the first published work. And quite an interesting start, the music is melodic symphonic Metal with clean female vocals. As reference I remember their country mates Within Temptation or Epica, but with a proper flavour. The five songs on this EP are all catchy and melodic, predominantly keyboard based, and where guitars and rhythm section have the important role of giving power. Definitively a band to follow!
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   Manora - A Time of Change

Ensiferum - Two Paths (2017) 8.5/10

A new album from one of the most important Folk Metal bands around is always an event. Two years after the good One Man Army, here is Two Paths. Following the same safe path, globally it doesn't disappoint, starting with the usual intro and one of the best songs in the album For Those About To Fight For Metal. Furthermore, we have the band's typical metal structures, plenty of chorus, simple lyrics, some good-for-shows refrains, and the nice Netta Skog vocals on two songs, including the less common and interesting I Will Never Kneel. Also present is a popish song Don't You Say, but... no long epic songs in this. If you can, grab the 2CD or CD+DVD edition, the album complemented with an excellent acoustic show.
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   Ensiferum "For Those About to Fight for Metal" (OFFICIAL)

Persona - Metamorphosis (2017) 8.5/10

After reviewing the first album, Elusive Reflections, I was looking for this one. After a successfully crowdfunding campaign, here is the second opus for this female-fronted symphonic band, that hails from Tunisia. The music is a mix of mainly symphonic and progressive, but incorporating several other elements, always emotive and with a proper sense of melody, where Jelena's superb vocalizations are highlighted by all instruments. My favorite songs are Armour of Thorns and The Seeress of Triumph, but all are quite good. Top quality for this independent release.
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   Persona - The Seeress of Triumph (Official Lyric Video)

Dark Avenger - The Beloved Bones: Hell (2017) 7/10

Now there's a band I followed in the begining with the excellent homonym first album back in 1995, good Brazilian Power Metal. The second album, six years later, was not so good. The Beloved Bones: Hell is the fourth album and the first part of a two chapter saga. Musically speaking, the album is more directed to midtempo Progressive, lacking melody and power. Sure, it's well played and the vocalist Mario Linhares gives a solid performance, following the story. Let's wait for the Divine chapter.
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   DARK AVENGER - The Beloved Bones (Official Lyric Video)

Iberia - Much Higher Than a Hope (2017) 8.5/10

A new album from one of the oldest Heavy Metal / Hard Rock Portuguese bands is always an important event. And what a comeback to releases, six years after Revolution. With a crispy production, the album is a sequence of emotive, sometimes epic, eleven songs where one of the best Portuguese Metal voices, Hugo Soares, is excellently supported by the twin lead/rythm guitars and an effective bass/drum section. And it's hard to nominate best songs, since the heavy Sanctuary of Dreams to the slow How I Miss You. I do hope to see Iberia on Rock Fest Barcelona or another important European Metal Fest, they will fit perfectly in such lineups.
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   IBERIA - RISING INFERNO (Official Audio 2017)

Waterland - Signs of Freedom (2017) 7.5/10

For sure one of the most melodic Metal bands in Portugal, now celebrating 10 years. Created from Oratory, a historic melodic Portuguese act, by Miguel Gomes, guitar, Waterland had frequent lineup changes in the past, but maintaining always a proper identity. The music is always extremely melodic Heavy Power, sometimes a little mellow, very keyboard based and with dual vocals, most of the time harmonic male and female. Signs of Freedom is the fourth album, released by the band. Most songs, along 75 minutes, are quite homogeneous, keyboards and guitars well coordinated and pouring out melody. A good album, I may point The Edge of Time. And there are 15 songs, the last one, Follow Your Heart, is not listed.
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   WATERLAND - Timeline (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO) - 2017

Altair - Descending A Devilish Comedy (2017) 7/10

Altair is an Italian band that started as a typical Italian Power Metal band, judging by their first album in 2013. Four years after, here comes Descending A Devilish Comedy and some direction changes occured. While keeping the keyboard based melody, this album is much more progressive, and with much less power. Vocals and all players are quite good and the production do them justice. Fans of Melodic Progressive Metal in the line of a softer DGM should check this band.
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   ALTAIR - Seed Of Violence ("Descending...A Devilish Comedy"/SLEASZY RIDER)

Wicked Disciple - Salvation Or Decline (2017) 8.5/10

Wicked Disciple is a project from Ted Hetfield, Black Messiah's guitar, and his friend Micha Neugebauer (The Atrium). Some years ago, they started to explore new ideas and sounds and here is the result: refreshing and unconventional 10 pieces of good Heavy Metal with several influences, including thrash and progressive, even grunge. There are no similar songs, so expect to be often surprised when hearing Salvation Or Decline. I do like all songs, but my fave is the long 13 minutes epic instrumental song dedicated to Mars and their moons.So glad I was contacted to review this album, otherwise I may have never knew this one!
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   Wicked Disciple - Phobos Deimos & Mars (Demo 2016)

Wintersun - The Forest Seasons (2017) 8.5/10

Wintersun is one of my top bands, so I contributed on the first day for the most successful Metal crowdfunding ever, quite amusing and entertaining. And some days ago the result was released, five years after Time 1. As Jari Mäenpää warned, this is not the long awaited Time 2, so don't expect those pompous, melodic and epic orchestrations. The Forest Seasons is composed of four long songs (12 to 15 minutes), each dedicated to a season in the forest. It's a good and dense album, that must be listened several times to get most subtle details. The first two songs (Spring and Summer) are quite good, more Wintersun style. Next is the Autumn song, with some Black Metal influences that turns boring. The last song, midtempo, transmits well the cold of Winter but IMO it is too long. I was expecting more, let's hope we will not wait another five years for Time 2.
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   Wintersun - Awaken From The Dark Slumber (Spring) Official Lyric Video

Black Messiah - Walls of Vanaheim (2017) 9.5/10

2017 is also revealing to be an excellent year for Metal. Another almost perfect album, that could spin non stop, now from the Symphonic Black Folk Viking Metallers of Black Messiah. Walls of Vanaheim is their 7th album, and these Germans matured quite well, four years after Heimweh. Several narrated tracks introduces us to the Norse mythology episode of Odin and MImir's head, while the songs flow perfectly, incorporating symphonic and folk elements, sometimes classic, into a fast and melodic Pagan Metal. Along 70 minutes we are also surprised by beautiful moments like some unusual violin leading the music instead of filling in it (as in Satisfaction and Revenge) or the the epic instrumental Epilogue: Farewell. I was expecting a good album, but it far exceeded my expectations.
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   BLACK MESSIAH - DIE BÜRDE DES NJÖRD (OFFICIAL AUDIO CLIP)

Iced Earth - Incorruptible (2017) 8/10

This is one of the most consistent American Power Metal bands and an assurance of quality shows and albums. While prefering the European Power scene, a new Iced Earth album is always an emotion. Incorruptible is the 13rd testimony of a long career of almost 30 years and, overall, is quite a good album, superior to the last Plagues of Babylon. With a warm start, then the hostilities begin with the excellent Black Flag and the midtempo Raven Wing, showing the typical Iced Earth sound. The production highlights the emotive vocals and balances perfecly all instruments. I also notice the interesting Ghost Dance instrumental (some disco). Not my Iced Earth fave album, but still a good solid one!
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   ICED EARTH - Raven Wing (Lyric Video)

Odraedir - Legends Of The Dark Times (2017) 9/10

That's what I like more on the net, to discover such awesome new bands. Well, not properly new, Odraedir from the Czech Republic started in 2009. Anyway, Legends Of The Dark Times is their first album, recently released by the band itself (only 200 digis). And what a musical blast! Playing a fast and melodic Pagan Folk Metal, with some symphonic, power and acoustic moments, this band will put your head spinning and headbanging non stop. All songs are great, but my favorite moments are the beautiful Intro and Outro, The Dawn of Odin's Horde and Choir of Swords. One of the most played albums these days!
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   Odraedir - Choir of Swords [official lyric video]

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

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!
   Valhalore Facebook
   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!
   Wolfheart Facebook
   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!
   Felo De Se Facebook
   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

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

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 Rosellini (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.
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   WALK IN DARKNESS - 'Heavy Wings of Destiny' (feat. Emiliano Pasquinelli)

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!
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   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!
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   The Nightstalker (toys box version)

	
    

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