Sounds from Apocalypse - Reviews 2020

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A Constant Storm - Lava Empire (2020) 7/10

Four years after its debut, here it is the second album from this one-man project. Daniel Laureano is the guitar player of the portuguese Melodic Death Metal act Moonshade and here he assures lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, drums and keys. Also collaborating are their band members Ricardo Pereira (harsh vocals) and Pedro Quelhas (orchestrations and some keys and drums), and Inês Rento (female vocals). The music is varied, between melodic death, gothic and ethno, with some good riffs and acoustic parts. There are some quite good songs, like Penduum Heart and Pyramid of Sunset, also I do like the acoustic parts. Clean vocals should be stronger (or better mixed), Daniel's adventures on vocals can be improved.
   A Constant Storm Facebook
   A Constant Storm - Pyramid At Sunset (Official Lyric Video)
   A Constant Storm - Hollow Days (My Probation)

Thy Despair - The Song of Desolation (2020) 8.5/10

Despite existing since 2006, with a change of name in 2008 and several hiatus, only in 2020 the debut album of this Ukrainian band saw the light of day. The album includes the 3 songs from their previous 2018 EP The Free Ones, based on the current Ukrainian war. Playing a dark symphonic metal with some progressive, melodic death, gothic, folk and doom, their sound is varied and quite cinematographic. With perfectly conjugated clean female vocals (Elin) and male growls (band founder and leader Nephilim), good riffs and rhythms, subtle yet efficient keyboards, this is a pleasant surprise and another band to follow. Checking further, on Youtube you can find a curious Game of Thrones tribute.
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Alogia - Semendria (2020) 9/10

Alogia is delivering solid Progressive Power Metal for 20 years. Established in Serbia by the brothers Srdjan and Miroslav Brankovic, both guitars, they got Nikola Mijic (Eden’s Curse) as vocalist. This trio is the backbone of the band and responsible for their successful sound. Semendria is their 6th album of originals, a collection of Power Prog anthems, with excellent vocals, good riffs and melodic keys. The addition of flutes gives a touch of delicacy. And some power guests are included: Mark Boals, Fabio Lione and Tim Ripper Owens. The favorite song is Visantia, with Fabio, impossible not to compare to Rhapsody or Angra. Besides this one, also quite good are Semendria, Eternal Fight, Raise Your Fist (For Metal Unity). Another band to see alive!
   Alogia Facebook
   ALOGIA ft MARK BOALS (Malmsteen, Ring of fire) - SEMENDRIA
   ALOGIA ft FABIO LIONE (Rhapsody, Angra) - VISANTIA

Trick or Treat - The Legend of the XII Saints (2020) 9/10

As its name suggests, this band started long time ago (2002) as a Helloween tribute band but soon started to compose their stuff. After the median Re-Animated album, where each song was dedicated to a TV show, this The Legend of the XII Saints is back on the road of good Power. For this 6th album of originals, the theme is the Saint Seya anime, with 12 songs dedicated to knights, one for each zodiac's sign. The music is an excellent melodic power metal, very much like old Helloween or Freedom Call, with some Rhapsody. Alessandro Conti vocals are top (he also did the artwork), the twin guitars are like all Power Metal fan like. As guests, Yannis Papadopoulos (Beast in Black vocals) and Alessio Lucatti (Deathless Legacy and Vision Divine keys).
   Trick or Treat Facebook
   TRICK OR TREAT "CAPRICORN: Excalibur" official video
   TRICK OR TREAT "AQUARIUS: Diamond Dust" official video

Ignea - The Realms of Fire and Death (2020) 7.5/10

The Realms of Fire and Death is the third album of one of the most known Ukrainian Metal bands, that visited us in 2019 for Vagos Metal Fest. Fronted by the flaming Helle Bogdanova (trivia, Ignea means flaming ☺), Ignea's sound is a mix of Melodic Death, Death, Modern, Symphonic and Folk, with some inserts of oriental influences. Being a conceptual album, the nine songs are divided into three stories about fire and death, thus the album's name. Miss Helle's vocals are remarkable, running easilly from angelical to growls. The songs are quite diverse, one in Ukrainian (first time), even those not so melodic should be listened carefully. Highlights to me are Queen Dies, Чорне Полум’я, Jinnslammer and Disenchantment, and the acoustic What For.
   Ignea Facebook
   IGNEA — Disenchantment (Official Music Video)
   IGNEA — Queen Dies (Official Music Video)

Sojourner - Premonitions (2020) 9.5/10

Here it is another one of the best albums of the year, that will spin a lot in these strange times. I'm a huge fan of this international band (New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden and Italy), after two excellent albums and seeing them alive in 2019. Premonitions was quite anticipated, specially after hearing The Deluge. The art cover, excellent, doesn't follow previous albums. The music is still epic atmospheric black with excellent angelical Chloe's and black Emilio's vocals. There is a constant midtempo rhythm with many piano and keys parts, but the tin whistle is almost unnoticeable and the scottish accent has been lost. While prefering 2018's The Shadowed Road, this is an excellent and beautiful album, and The Deluge is one of the most remarkable songs of the year, so far.
   Sojourner Facebook
   SOJOURNER - The Deluge (Official Video) | Napalm Records
   SOJOURNER - Fatal Frame (Official Audio) | Napalm Records

Babylonfall - Collapse (2020) 7/10

An interesting new band coming from the land of the thousand lakes. Formed in 2016 by five skilled musicians, this debut album matured since then and was released in April 2020. The main genre is melodic death but many other flavours are found, like groove, alternative, modern, progressive and thrash. Vocals are deep death, alternating with clean vocals, these reminding Tom Englund (Evergrey). Just hear Celestial, one of the best songs of the album, together with Distant Call of Innocence. All instruments are competent, with some memorable riffs. I may suggest a mix of Soilwork, Gojira and Evergrey. A good varied album but I would prefer less alternative.
   Babylonfall Facebook
   Babylonfall - Murder Of Crows (Official music video)
   Babylonfall - Celestials (Lyric video)

Hyperion - Into the Maelstrom (2020) 8.5/10

There are some bands that get inspiration on classic Metal bands, while adding a modern sound. Hyperion come from Italy and offer a good Heavy, with plenty of riffs and powerful vocals. After a quite good Dangerous Days, the debut album three years ago, this second full-length doesn't disappoint anybody. Starting with the fast title album song, well followed by the excellent Ninja Will Strike (MichelAngelo Carano vocals and riffs at their best). Not all songs have the power of these two, some recurring to easy refrains, but not bad at all. The album ends with another highlight, the fast Bridge of Death. Not too original but a vigorous refreshing piece of good Metal, with some Judas Priest and other NWOBHM influences.
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   HYPERION - Into the Maelstrom (Official Video-clip)
   HYPERION - Driller Killer [2020]

Aeternam - Al Qassam (2020) 9.5/10

Do you like arabian flavoured Metal? And would you want less violent and more melodic than Nile? And stronger than Orphaned Land, Myrath or Sechem? Look no further, Aeternam is the answer! This Canadian quartet just released a masterpiece, but well worth also checking their previous works. Al Qassam is the fourth album and places the band on the top of the Symphonic Death Metal genre. The album grows with each audition, with so much attention to details without loosing the Middle Eastern theme. Among high technical Death Metal and harsh vocals, many delicious Folk pieces and clean singing are included. Orphaned Land's Kobi Farhi sings in Palmira Scriptures, a beautiful acoustic song. One of the best releases of the year, already ordered!
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Nemedian Chronicles - Nemedian Chronicles (EP 2020) 8.5/10

After so many years I still love to find such promising new bands. Nemedian Chronicles comes from the city of Aephanemer, Toulouse, and proposes an epic Power Heavy Metal with lyrics related to Conan The Barbarian and Red Sonja. This EP is like an intro to the first album, coming in 2021, and includes four songs, 25 minutes of quite good Metal. Starting with a beautiful semi acoustic minstrel type song soon they jump into a fast The Thing In The Crypt, their first lyric video, Monsterslayer is a midtempo song quite suitable to live shows and the last The Song of Red Sonja could be in a Blind Guardian album. Nice cover, allusive to the theme. By Crom, looking forward for the album and much more about this band.
   Nemedian Chronicles Facebook
   Nemedian Chronicles - The Thing in the Crypt
   Nemedian Chronicles 4 tracks Demo Teaser

Victoria K - Essentia (2020) 7.5/10

A new serious case in Symphonic Metal? Victoria K is an australian singer that started to be known by their Youtube channel and several covers (Nightwish, Within Temptation, Iron Maiden, and so on), getting almost 5000 subscribers. Then, after a successful single Lacuna, got the opportunity to open for Eluveitie in Melbourne in May 2019. Thought to be a solo project, the success led to a full band, while maintaining the name. And here it is a strong debut album, where Victoria's skills in singing and songwriting are revealed. The vocalizations are powerfull , versatile and warm, on top of good symphonic Metal, a mix between Within Temptation and Evanescence. Nice the introduction of the hurdy gurdi on Shroud of Solitude by Michalina (Eluveitie). Mandatory to be checked by Symphonic Metal fans.
   Victoria K Facebook
   VICTORIA K - Matrix (Official Music Video - feat. Sheri Vengeance)
   VICTORIA K - The Haunting (Official Music Video)

Volturian - Crimson (2020) 7/10

Volturian is a new Italian parallel project built by Federica Lanna (Sleeping Romance singer) and Federico Mondelli (Frozen Crown guitar). Having such talented references, let's evaluate this Modern Melodic project. The intro was not appealing at all, I don't like electronics and synths. But when hearing the next couple songs, Volturian becomes interesting. The main force are the powerful vocalizations where Federica shows its potential, with all instruments scaled to assist her. There are some other good moments, like the participation of Jade (Frozen Crown) on one song, some catchy riffs and the emotive Between The Sleepers. The songs are all well constructed, many have electro pop parts, suitable to win the European Song Contest, but not to my liking. Interesting album, Federica is awesome, but I still prefer Sleeping Romance. A joke: couldn't this project be called Federica Federico? ☺
   Volturian Facebook
   VOLTURIAN - New Life (Official Visualizer)
   VOLTURIAN - Broken (Official Video)

Angel Vengeance - Angel of Vengeance (2020) 8/10

A band from Thailand? While not being known for Metal, from this nice country we already have the excellent Melodius Deite, so I had great curiosity about them. Angel Vengeance exist since 2017 and this is their first album. All four members have a good experience and collected several local awards as described in their website. The album starts with a classic Toccata, followed by the excellent Open Your Eyes. And the genre played by the band is immediately defined, Power Metal much like Helloween, at Keepers time. The remaining songs follow the same pattern. The album has, as theme, the Apocalypse Day, with the coming of the Angel of Vengeance, and was mixed and mastered by no other than Piet Sielck (Iron Savior). A good debut and a band to look at.
   Angel Vengeance Facebook
   Angel Vengeance - "Open your eyes" lyric video (2nd version)
   Angel Vengeance (THA) - "Blood Of The Brothers" (Lyric video)

Echoes of Agony - Hiraeth (2020) 9/10

Long life Internet! Another new thrilling band, worth to be followed. Echoes of Agony is a Melodic Black Metal band from Berlin whose members are quite young, 17 to 20 years old, with the exception of the drummer (48 yo). Most members are from the beginning, 2016, meaning they started much younger. Kudos to that! Hiraeth is the first album, gathering 7 songs quite melodic and addictive, where black, hypnotic riffs, melancholy, emotive vocals, variations and acoustics are added in the correct proportions. The title song is an epic anthem of 11 minutes and my favorite, but all album is here playing often these days. One of the best newcommers of the year, and still unsigned!
   Echoes of Agony Facebook
   ECHOES OF AGONY - Erlösung im Inferno (Official Lyric Video)
   Echoes of Agony - Hiraeth (FULL ALBUM)

Reverent Tales - Visceral (2020) 8/10

A recent band that is starting to become a confirmation. Reverent Tales is a Portuguese band, created in 2018 with experienced members coming from other bands on the Lisbon region. Fronted by the versatile Raquel Nunes, the music is mainly Progressive Metal but with many other influences like death and groove. This debut album, released by Amazing Records, a recent label by the people of Amazing Events (vagos Metal Fest, etc), is an interesting and creative proposal, worthy of an attentive hearing. Besides the excellent growl/clean/sensual vocalizations, particularly notable is the combination between guitars and keyboards. For sure the band will be on the road, gathering many Metal fans.
   Reverent Tales Facebook
   Reverent Tales - Above Me (official video)
   Blackened Slumber

Deus Mori - Umbra Mortis (EP 2020) 9/10

I'm not a particular Black Metal fan, actually I can't stand raw Black, I saw several of the biggest names alive and was not impressed. But I saw this British band alive on HRH Vikings 2, in 2019, and was quite impressed, scenery with a barbed wire fence, good vocals and players. Deus Mori is quite recent, just a couple years, released a first EP in late 2018, and Umbra Mostis is the second one. The theme is the well chosen horrors of war and all suffering associated. The EP has spoken intros and outros, contextualizing the theme. The remaining four songs are a dense trench of riffs, black rhythms, some unexpected solos and even some speed. My fave is the awesome fast Ritual Silence. An appreciated genre in Portugal, I believe it's a question of time for this band to be invited to come ☺
   Deus Mori Facebook
   Deus Mori - Under The Sigil Of Death (OFFICIAL TRACK)
   Deus Mori - Uprising (Official Video) (from previous EP)

Dark Passage - The Legacy Of Blood (2020) 8/10

Nice debut! This Italian quartet was formed in 2012, released a good EP in 2015 and, five years later, this first album. The music is pure Heavy Metal with links to classic Iron Maiden, epic parts like good old Omen, and german influences like Grave Digger. The Legacy of Blood is a concept album inspired by the First Scottish Independence War during the XIII century. Each of the main 8 songs is preceded by short songs that work as introductions. Some are actually quite interesting, including acoustics and pipes. On the main songs, while different, all are melodic and with enjoyable riffs, including a good instrumental that gives name to the album. Those who like epic Heavy Metal, may want to check this band.
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Lutharö - Wings of Agony (EP 2020) 9.5/10

Are you ready for 26 minutes of awesome Melodic Death tinted with Thrash? Look no more, here is Lutharö! Hailing from Canada, they released the Incarnadine EP in 2015 (curiosity, Incarnadine was the band's first name, between 2012 and 2014) and the excellent Unleash the Beast EP in 2018. Fronted by Krista Shipperbottom that easily alternates between powerful growls, screams and clean singing, with a pair of guitars delivering memorable riffs and high quality solos, all five songs of this third EP are quite good, perfectly closed by the superb Wings of Agony. The next Arch Enemy? For sure! Someone bring them to play in Portugal or Spain, and, if not asking much, with the country mates Unleash The Archers.
   Lutharö Facebook
   Lutharo - Wings Of Agony (Official Video)
   Lutharo - Barren

Beneath My Sins - I Decide (2020) 9/10

By coincidence, the sixth review in a row for a female fronted band. Or maybe not, this shows that Metal is not a male territory anymore. And enjoyable times for Symphonic Metal fans! Beneath My Sins is a band from Paris, founded in 2015 by the talented Clement Botz (guitars) and Emma Elvaston (singer). After a reasonable debut album in 2017 and many shows, here is I Decide. The album was produced by Fabio D'Amore (Serenity bass player) and had also the collaboration of known musicians like Matteo Sisti (Eluveitie), Melissa Bonny (Ad Infinitum), Michele Guaitoli (Temperance, Visions Of Atlantis) and Fabio Polo (Elvenking), giving special flavours to some of the songs. Epica and Within Temptation fans must check this band. Besides the videos, try to hear the surprising folkish Unpredictable. Another band that I must meet!
   Beneath My Sins Facebook
   Beneath My Sins feat. Niklas Müller - Your Muse (Official Video)
   Beneath My Sins feat. Melissa Bonny - Try (Official Video)

Bendida - First of the Heroes (2020) 9.5/10

When you have a band with 8 elements, including a soprano female vocalist, violin, piano, viola da gamba (kind of cello) and french horn, what to expect? Bendida is a symphonic fantasy metal band from Bulgaria, a country that I love. For this second album, they had theambitious project of creating a Metal Symphony full of orchestrations and pompous songs. The choir Sveta Paraskeva Academic Choir at the National Academy of Art (Sofia), with twelve singers, was included in the equation. Among the majestic orchestrations of Vinnie Atanasov (also all guitars) is the portentous vocals of Kremena Nikolova. Lyrics often include verses in other languages! The whole album is a symphonic masterpiece but I highlight the beautiful duet between Kremena and Janika Gross (Haggard, Molllust), and the epic and premonic History of the World, divided in 6 chapters and ending with a message of hope. Beautiful artwork. A tour with Haggard would be something from the other world!
   Bendida Facebook
   Bendida - Vampires' Ball - feat Janika Groß - lyric video
   Bendida - The Legend of Gilgamesh - lyric video

Secret Rule - Against (2020) 7/10

Secret Rule is the project of Angela Di Vincenzo, created in 2014 and quite workaholic. My first contact with the band was with Machinergy, the second album released in 2016. Against is the fifth album and is a mix of symphonic metal with some gothic, modern and industrial. Of course the highlight is the warm and powerful vocals of Angela, well explored on all the 12 songs. The band doesn't include a permanent keyboard/synths player, yet the sound is heavily based on this. Anyway there are songs that will please all symphonic fans (like Deep Solitude), others to more modern industrial fans, gathering influences from Amaranthe and Within Temptation. I have much curiosity to see the band alive, hopefully the tour with the brazilian Semblant, postponed due to the Covid19 crisis, will occur this year.
   Secret Rule Facebook
   Secret Rule - Shades Of Humanity (Official Video 4K)
   SECRET RULE – Purgatory (Official Video)

Living Tales - Mirror (2020) 8/10

Here it is a good surprise, the second album from this portuguese Progressive Metal band. New to me, Living Tales was founded in 2007 at Porto region and released a first album in 2012. Since then, all lineup changed with the exception of Luis Oliveira, guitars. First notice for this new album is the excellent cover by Augusto Peixoto. The band, now fronted by the italian Silvia Bellora (nice italian spoken intro and outro on The Curse), delivers a reasonable melodic Prog Metal with good compositions and adequate variations. As guests, Miguel Inglês (Equaleft) and Fernando Martins (Web) add some vocalizations in 3 songs. Besides the videos below, I particularly like Thirst of Justice and the instrumental Delusional Mind.
   Living Tales Facebook
   Mirror Cage - Lyrics Video
   The Curse

Torchia - The Coven (2020) 8/10

Five years ago, by direct contact of a new Finnish band I reviewed their second demo (here). My prevision of success was confirmed. Since then, Torchia got a deserved recognition, with a good debut album in 2017, considered by Inferno Magazine the 7th best Finnish album of the year, many shows and tours around Europe and Taiwan. The Coven is another example of their proper mix of Melodic Death with Thrash and Speed, with plenty of guitars and solos, and aggressive vocals. Added to this cocktail are some dark elements. All songs flow without rest or calm parts. As references I may think of a faster At the Gates with some Children of Bodom.
   Torchia Facebook
   TORCHIA - Plague Peasant (Official Music Video)
   TORCHIA - Memoirs (Official Audio Track)

Wishing Well - Do Or Die (2020) 9/10

A fresh revival of good Hard Rock Heavy Metal, with a modern sound, is what proposes this Finnish melodic band. Normally I hear heavier stuff, but this is being quite addictive. Wishing Well (good name for the current worldwide crisis) is a bit underrated (not even in Metal Encyclopedia) for a band that is releasing their third album. Starting with the fast Do Or Die and with anthems as We Shall Never Surrender or Sermon On The Mount (my favorite), or the ballad Cosmic Ocean, these could be aligned with the best Dio or Rainbow songs. The Chilean vocalist Rafael Castillo is excellent, also to be noticed the quite good riffs and the old-school organ. Excellent band, deserved to be much better known!
   Wishing Well Facebook
   Wishing Well - Do Or Die
   Wishing Well - We Shall Never Surrender

XIV Dark Centuries - Waldvolk (2020) 10/10

Finally, a new album from these Pagan, or by their definition, Heathen Thuringian Metal, masters! When I heard their previous Gizit dar Faida, nine years ago, I was immediately hooked on it. So it was with great expectations, but almost a safe bet, when I started to hear Waldvolk. And all ingredients are there: epic songs, battle riffs, many folk and acoustic parts, melodic keyboards, clean and harsh vocalizations, complex arrangements, instrumentals (intro and outro). All songs are awesome, including the re-recorded Julenzeit and Bragarful, from the 2005 Jul EP, and Runibergun, from the 2006 Skithingi album. One of my favorite albums of the year, very looking forward to receive the limited wooden box edition (only 150).
   XIV Dark Centuries Facebook
   XIV Dark Centuries "Atme den Wald" (Official Video)
   XIV Dark Centuries "Skogafulka" (Official Video)

VËLLA - Coma (2020) 7.5/10

VËLLA is a new unconventional Portuguese band composed by experienced musicians. Each of the five members brought their influences to the group and the result is a quite varied album with melody, riffs, alternative, groove, gothic, electronics, death, industrial, metalcore, fado. Considering the diversity of influences, the album is surprisingly homogeneous, much due to Pedro Lopes vocalizations. As guests, Miguel Inglês (Equaleft) on Promise, Ana Marques and Ariana Pereira (violin) on Tormento (quite interesting song, half sung in Portuguese), and André Ferreira on I'll Be the End. While not being my beach, it's a good album that will please beyond metalheads.
   VËLLA Facebook

Deathless Legacy - Saturnalia (2020) 9/10

Wow, what an excellent and ambitious project from these Italian friends. The band took the idea from the Saturnalia ancient Rome celebration, with a slave called Lucius betrayed by his master and being possessed by a Roman soldier, also a victim from the bad guy. To get the full experience, it is advised to see the excellent mute video, with a black and white photography and no dialogs. On the video, almost all band participates (as in the previous videos), Frater Orion (the drummer) is the main character, as well as the director, Steva is a hot Laverna goddess and even the couple's dog has a brief appearance. The 24 minutes song follows the story perfectly, altemating symphonic and gothic Metal with more extreme parts. See the video to the end for uncovering an explanatory video. Saturnalia brought to a live show would be awesome!
   Deathless Legacy Facebook
   DEATHLESS LEGACY - Saturnalia - (OFFICIAL VIDEO) - Shortfilm

Drakum - Zombie Dragons from Outer Space (2020) 10/10

Another quite antecipated album. Drakum come from Barcelona and play an irresistible Happy Folk Melodic Death Metal. I'm following the sextet almost since the beginning and had the luck of seeing them alive twice (in Zaragoza). Six years after the first album Torches Will Rise Again and five after the fun Trollmin EP (one of the best animated clips ever), here is Zombie Dragons from Outer Space. The album title, followed by the intro U're Fucked Obviously, says all about the humor of the band. These Brothers know how to compose great Folk Melodic Death songs, with Marc and Feni guitars in perfect harmony and where Javi's violin (also with Northland) add extra layers of melody. All eleven songs are great but I love the oriental touch of Urashima, as well as the short instrumental Tambors de Libertat. In my oppinion the album of the year so far! And it's about time for a huge international recognition, including Portugal.
   Drakum Facebook
   Drakum - Urashima [Official Video]
   Drakum - We Are Alive [Lyric Video]

Immorgon - As Shadows Fall (2020) 9/10

Oh Odin, I was waiting for this! Immorgon is a Melodic Death Metal with viking theme from Barcelona, Spain. After the quite good And Thus We Raid debut, released in 2015, I had the opportunity to meet and see the band alive in Zaragoza 2016, and the catalan quartet for sure won a place in Valhalla. While maintaining the same spirit, with As Shadows Fall we see a more matured band, songs a little more elaborated. Two of them have lyrics in catalan, adapted from poems of local authors. Musically speaking, all songs are epic and headbanging, I may have a slight preference for Pale Beams of Light, The Raven and The Fall. Fans of Amon Amarth should check this band, Horns Up and Skall \m/
   Immorgon Facebook
   Immorgon - The Raven (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
   Immorgon - Pale Beams of Light (Official Video Lyric)

Dead End Finland - Inter Vivos (2020) 8/10

Dead End Finland is a quartet that plays a mix of melodic death and symphonic, plus lots of electronics, some gothic and melancholy. Their previous album, Slaves To The Greed, was an interesting album, according to my records. For this fourth album, the band gave all attention to the minimal details, but with omnipresent keyboards driving the songs. Vocals alternate between clean and growls, accenting a dark feeling. This an album that grows with each audition, quite cared and well played and sung. The cumplicity between members, all within the band since their fundation in 2010, can be felt. A minor problem, but because of my tastes, it has too much synths and electronics.
   Dead End Finland Facebook
   Dead End Finland - Lifelong Tragedy (Official music video)
   Dead End Finland - Deathbed

Verikalpa - Tuoppitanssi (2020) 9/10

Here it is an exciting new Finnish addition to the pantheon of Folk Metal. The band officially started in 2015 and three years after they released an interesting first album. Tuoppitanssi (meaning Pint Dance, as on the brilliant cover) is the second album and actually is a quite good mix of Folk (mainly) with some Black and Death. As references we may find Turisas, Korpiklaani, Finntroll, Ensiferum and Trollfest. Lyrics, in Finnish, are based on traditions, pagan beliefs and... much beer. All songs are excellent, I may prefer Peikon Kieli and the fast Karhunkaataja. Another must to see alive. Not on the Big 5 Finnish Folk Metal but immediately after!
   Verikalpa Facebook
   VERIKALPA - Talonväen Teuraat (Official Video)
   VERIKALPA - Naulattujen Vaellus (Official Lyric Video)

Brothers of Metal - Emblas Saga (2020) 8.5/10

With 2017's Prophecy of Ragnarök, Brothers of Metal were widely noticed. With a viking visual, we would expect a Melodic Death Folk music, but no, it's pure Heavy Power Metal. With this second album, the eight Swedes are confirmed as an exciting band and a must to see alive. As on the first one, Emblas Saga is all about the viking mythology, quite interesting is the booklet with liner notes about the songs that comes with the limited edition. With 3 guitars and 3 vocalists, the music is quite melodic and epic, sometimes cinematograpic, plenty of choruses, as a mix of Sabaton and Orden Ogan, with little bits of Judas Priest and Abba. My highlight goes to the shieldmaiden Ylva Eriksson, an excellent vocalist. Another band that I have to see alive!
   Brothers of Metal Facebook
   BROTHERS OF METAL - One (2019) // Official Music Video // AFM Records
   BROTHERS OF METAL - Njord (2019) // Official Music Video // AFM Records

Arbrynth - A Place of Buried Light (2020) 8.5/10

Here it is a quite interesting, yet obscured, independent project from Melbourne, Australia. Arbrynth plays a quite atmospheric Progressive Post Metal but also incorporating Folk, Melodic Death Metal and Doom elements. A Place of Buried Light it's their second album, almost a decade after their debut, and it's 50 minutes of music to hear carefully, plenty of acoustic moments, good riffs and dual vocals (clean and death). Besides comparisons with Alcest, Amorphis and Opeth, sometimes it feels like a Post Metal version of Wormwood, one of my top bands. A recommended album!
   Arbrynth Facebook
   Arbrynth-The Dark Between The Stars
   Arbrynth - Beautiful in Death

Aereum - Tempest of Time (2020) 9/10

What a big surprise for starting the Metal year. Aereum is a new German band, Tempest of Time is the debut album and what a killer album it is! The genre is an efficient mix of Melodic Death and Folk. The song structures are typically Folk with the addition of Death vocals (most of the time, but also some clean) and almost permanent melodic riffs. All compositions are well constructed, without exaggerations, with the correct mix of guitars with accordion, bass and drums. Highlithing songs is almost impossible, maybe Master of Light and Modular Cowboys, but listen to all, on the link below. A last remark for the art graphics on the booklet, quite interesting. This band deserves a widespread recognition and support!
   Aereum Facebook
   Aereum - Tempest of Time [Full Album]
   AEREUM (Germany) - Master Of Light(HD)

Darktribe - Voici L'Homme (2020) 8.5/10

Voici L'Homme is the 3rd album of Darktribe, four years after a good The Modern Age (my first contact with the band). This French act, created in 2004, plays a good and solid Progressive Power Metal, with an excellent vocalist and efficient musicians. The album name may induce that it's sung in french, but it's only the refrain on the album name song, by the way an excellent one and my fave. Also quite good are Prism of Memory and the emotive The Hunger Theory. And... surprise! They are coming to Portugal to play at Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2020, 23 to 25 July, not to be missed.
   Darktribe Facebook
   DARKTRIBE - Voici l'Homme (Official Video)
   DARKTRIBE - Prism Of Memory (Lyric Video)

Rage - Wings of Rage (2020) 9.5/10

Rage is a Metal institution and quite present on my Metal in more than 2 decades. Debuting as Avenger in 1984, changed the name in 1986, and, as Rage, just released their 24th full-length. Awesome! As far as I remember, Rage is always a safe bet in terms of high quality Heavy Speed Power. The charismatic Peter "Peavy" Wagner, after the departure of Victor Smolski and André Hilgers in 2015, got a stable lineup becoming more efficient with each release. Wings of Rage is a great piece of Metal where the emotive and unique Peavy's vocals are supported by an excellent set of songs, all of them with a story (read the booklet). Curiously my fave songs are not the videos: Tomorrow, Wings of Rage (inspired on "fridays for future" movement) and the new superb Higher Than The Sky upgrade. It's forbidden to loose their show in Portugal the 21st August at XIII Milagre Metaleiro Open Air.
   Rage Facebook
   RAGE "Chasing The Twilight Zone" (Official Lyric Video)
   RAGE "Let Them Rest In Peace" (Official Video)


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