Xandria – Theater Of Dimensions

German symphonic metal act Xandria continues to gain worldwide interest and after intense touring is ready to unleash a majestic collection of songs that will definitely satisfy all fans with the brand new album “Theater Of Dimensions”.

“Where The Heart Is Home” focuses on dramatic atmospheres with elegant orchestral layers and operatic choirs while Dianne van Giersbergen delivers classical soprano vocals with extraordinary intensity. Thick guitar riffing offers a solid heavy rhythmic backbone further embellished by a polished melodic guitar solo.

The ballad “Forsaken Love” enhances the impressive emotive qualities of Dianne van Giersbergen’s voice which rightfully becomes the star of the show while melodic guitars and orchestration provide a luminous musical background.

“Call Of Destiny” has a typical catchy power/symphonic groove that certainly reminds of earlier Nightwish’s style. There are plenty of enjoyable orchestral layers with baroque accents to spice up the popular music recipe and crispy guitar leads add a modern compelling touch.

“We Are Murderers (We All)” opens with a mysterious aura followed by the heaviest ensemble of guitar riffs on the album. Operatic choirs never fail to channel an epic tonality and guest vocalist Björn Strid of Soilwork delivers extra heavy vibes. In the chorus Xandria doesn’t forget to add a fair dose of emotional catchiness but the almost thrash chaotic raw groove represents a more memorable moment.

“When The Walls Came Down (Heartache Was Born)” features a somber atmosphere with heavy doom oriented guitar riffs and solemn operatic choirs. The overall decadent melodies are particularly palpable in the lead guitar work and classical orchestrations but also successfully portrayed by Dianne van Giersbergen technical and poignant vocals.

Featuring Ross Thompson of Van Canto as guest vocalist “Ship Of Doom” has an immediate theatrical mood with scattered folk accents but the symphonic theme fairly acquires additional strength with sober orchestrations and vivid choirs.

“A Theater Of Dimensions” is the most daring and diverse track as it feels like a proper metal operetta featuring a multifaceted songwriting that emphasizes a cinematic theatrical style without forgetting all the beloved elements of symphonic metal. Once again Dianne van Giersbergen proves to be the perfect singer for Xandria delivering a stellar vocal performance that smoothly embraces multiples styles while guest vocalist Henning Basse of Firewind provides additional powerful vocals. This song successfully blends dramatic tones, dazzling vocal harmonies reminiscent of “Chance” by legendary Savatage, artsy theatrical narratives and grandiose melodic guitar work in perfect symphonic metal fashion.

“Theater Of Dimensions” is a widely enjoyable album and Xandria takes another step forward managing to stay true to the chosen musical pathway but also showing more inspiring songwriting and impressively mature musicianship




Greywind – Afterthoughts

Irish siblings Greywind dream big and aim to leave a powerful mark as the next alternative rock talent with the debut album “Afterthoughts”.

The title track is all about soothing arpeggios and dreamy themes all focused on Steph’s fragile vocals and while there are some charming arrangements the repetitive pop melodies are always more dominant.

On “Forest Ablaze” simple melodic guitars attempt to lead the game and the instrumental aspect of the song brings an interesting sonic balance while the chorus bears a forced overdose of pop catchiness with Steph’s loud vocals.

“The Lake” shines for a darker atmosphere and the minimalist dreamy arrangements feel more spontaneous and organic while the vocals fail to channel the same somber emotional quality.

On “Car Spin” there is a palpable attempt to sound more alternative with a modern sonic approach and dirtier rock style guitars but the radio friendly chorus seems to overshadow everything else.

“In Autumn” has an uplifting mood with delicate arpeggios, vocals are slightly toned down and the minimalist atmospheric layers take the center stage.

On “Afterthoughts” Greywind is trying really hard to deliver songs that can be played daily on the radio and reach the widest audience possible, nevertheless both songwriting and music style lack the unique creative force and style necessary to stand out in a crowded music scene.

Vermilion Whiskey – Spirit Of Tradition

Hailing from Louisiana Vermilion Whiskey is ready to release the new effort “Spirit Of Tradition” which promises to deliver an entertaining wild mix of stoner and southern rock.

“Road King” stays true to a familiar vintage rock sound that calls for long nights of booze and fun. With a massive dose of dirty rock guitar riffs and raspy rocker style vocals this songs carries the genuine rock roots of a golden era.

“Come Find Me” starts with somber tones that effortlessly gain melodic accents with slower doom attitude in the lead guitar work while tight guitar riffing keeps a catchy rock rhythm alive.

“Monolith” again channels a darkened doom atmosphere with slower and guitar solo harmonies while the traditional southern rock influence stays strong in the heavy rhythmic backbone.

With only six tracks Vermilion Whiskey successfully grabs the listener’s attention and raises curiosity for the band’s next venture as “Spirit Of Tradition” is filled with classic rock guitar riffs that never fail to deliver a healthy groove.

John Garcia – The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues

We all know and love iconic stoner rock vocalist John Garcia who, after successful years with many great bands such as legendary Kyuss and Slo-Burn, has decides to focus on his solo career. The newest effort is an acoustic album entitled “The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues” where John Garcia steps out of the electrified groovy stoner rock realm to embrace a simple authentic musical approach.

“Kylie” is addictive at the very first listening as it holds a refreshing interpretation of the beloved desert rock energy. Charismatic acoustic guitar riffs relentlessly build an assertive groove further enriched by vintage atmospheric keyboards layers and effortlessly amplified by Garcia’s wild rock delivery while a mellow blues oriented breakdown evokes an intricate palette of sincere emotions.

Among the covers of Kyuss’s classic hits included on this album “Green Machine” stands out as the original powerful stoner rock groove is smoothly translated into a chilled acoustic piece that holds great introspective energy and Garcia delivers an impeccably soothing vocal performance.

Another famous Kyuss song “Gardenia” becomes the ideal soundtrack for a campfire in the middle of the desert as it shines for the graceful purity of the acoustic arpeggios, the bluesy attitude and Garcia’s emotional serene vocals.

“Give Me 250ML” is a catchy dynamic ensemble of minimalist acoustic melodies that do not need additional layers or bombastic sound effects to grab the listener’s attention and Garcia steals the scene with his signature stoner rock delivery

“The Hollingsworth Session” features another round of catchy acoustic guitar passages that towards the end of the song even acquire a heavier rhythm while decadent piano harmonies add a deep sense of melancholy.

“Argleben II” is the new acoustic version of the song “Argleben” which was part of John Garcia’s debut solo album back in 2014. This track features a contemplative melancholic atmosphere naturally embodied by Garcia’s inspired vocal performance that genuinely shifts between a soft and a wilder delivery while acoustic guitars keep a strong melodic groove with vintage tones.

Movin’ ‘n’ groovin’ John Garcia is simply creating the music he wants with a sincere ensemble of stripped down acoustic melodies and emotionally charged vocals and “The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues” feels like a relaxing music experience that any listener could truly enjoy.

Empyrean Throne – Chaosborne

American black metal act Empyrean Throne will soon self-release the debut full length “Chaosborne”, meticulously crafted with epic symphonic accents and highly influenced by successful bands such as Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth.
“The Twilight Order” shines for the elegant classical orchestrations with evident gothic accents while the rest of the song effortlessly blends cold traditional black metal fury and solemn symphonic themes.
“Sed Nomini Tuo Da Gloriam” features arcane atmospheres that, bringing to mind ancient rituals in the middle of the woods, offer a solid background orchestration to support the variegated vocal styles and the enraging ensemble of guitar riffs further embellished by a rather melodic baroque guitar solo.
On “Stormrite Ascension” sinister screams create a mysterious aura, ominously triumphant choirs and symphonic orchestrations add dramatic theatrical depth while smooth guitar riffs create an enjoyable groove.
The title track showcases more dramatic and cinematic atmospheres all around with tormented vocals and a brutal chaotic rhythmic backbone while polished guitar leads and theatrical choirs convey gracefully luminous melodies.
“Haereticus Stellarum pt I” stands out for the untainted melancholy portrayed by minimal arpeggios, tragically poetic orchestrations and somber guitar riffs while fierce growls and screams evoke a realm of endless darkness.
“Haereticus Stellarum pt II” unleashes a majestic mixture of savagely raw black metal guitar riffs with the addition of sober symphonic orchestration and solemn chants in the midst of a gloomy gothic atmosphere
“Chaosborne” does feel like a debut album with some rough edges and occasional repetitive songwriting themes but it is certainly a well executed cohesive effort filled with that deliciously decadent darkness we all long for.

Aversions Crown – Xenocide

Australian deathcore metallers Aversions Crown are ready to release their sophomore album entitled “Xenocide” which, even if lately deathcore is not exactly the most popular or appreciated metal subgenre, attempts to offer a cohesive work of music.

“Prismatic Abyss” relies on a particularly heavy ensemble of blasting drums and shattering guitar riffs but despite the dominant brutal groove there is space for loads of exotic guitar melodies.

“The Soulless Acolyte” keeps a similar fast enraged rhythm with loads of intricate guitar riffing but also delivers decadent atmospheric tones with compelling melodic guitar leads.

“Erebus” showcases again a contrast between a heavy rhythmic backbone supported by furiously guttural vocals and an inspired melancholic atmosphere embodied by smooth polished guitar melodies.

“Ophiophagy” has an eerie atmospheric approach followed by stylish groovy riffs while lead guitars and brief gloomy arpeggios add luminous melodies that tend to feel more genuine and interesting.

On “Odium” the band continues to unleash the must have dose of furious guitar riffing but once again the decadent melodies exhibit additional musical depth with a less forced approach.

Aversions Crown have yet to achieve a personal original music style but “Xenocide” manages to deliver an exuberant dose of heavy guitar driven songs and also showcases a somber melodic side that renders everything more intriguing.

Seven Kingdoms – Decennium

Florida power metal act Seven Kingdoms is releasing the successfully crowdfunded new full length “Decennium” which clearly showcases the band’s power metal musical pathway highly influenced by many popular and successful European bands.

With “Stargazer” Seven Kingdoms aims for an epic sound embedded in loads of classic power metal riffs. Melodic female vocals and fancy smooth guitar solos channel many famous power metal bands and render this track widely accessible.

“In The Walls” kicks off with a faster guitar driven rhythm that tries to build a catchy groove but there are no additional surprising elements in the typical power metal themes and structure.

“The Tale Of Deathface Ginny” follows the same predictable music themes but delivers some interesting darkened guitar work that immediately gains the deserved spotlight.

“The Faceless Hero” maintains all the power metal triumphant elements but adds a slight melancholic atmosphere. Throughout the song Seven Kingdoms plays it safe keeping a similar catchy melodic rhythm with no palpable divergence.

“Awakened From Nothing” begins with somber guitar tones and slightly different instrumental dynamics but soon re-acquires the classic power metal “happier” rhythm particularly evident in the chorus.

Overall, “Decennium” is definitely a cohesive effort that would attract fans of the female fronted bands trend but unfortunately it tends to showcase common music patterns and weak creative force.

Pain Of Salvation – In The Passing Light Of Day

Iconic Swedish progressive metal band Pain Of Salvation returns with the long awaited new full length “In The Passing Light Of Day” which, as you will notice at the very first listening, owns a mesmerizing unique strength that makes any comparison to the band’s previous glorious discography rather futile. “In The Passing Light Of Day” feels like a cathartic emotional journey, as its genesis and concept are deeply connected with mastermind Daniel Gildenlöw’s recent illness, and shines for its exceptionally genuine artistic desire to cross any given musical boundaries.

“On A Tuesday” is a complex piece of music that gracefully blends a darker heavy mood and a lighter melodic driven melancholy. Lyrically this song is flooded with pure passion and sincere emotions which are all vividly represented in the heavy guitar driven rhythmic backbone and the gloomy slower melodies embellished by dreamy keyboards arrangements. Throughout the song Gildenlöw proves to be a passionate brave vocalist/musician and Ragnar Zolberg delivers a nostalgically fascinating vocal performance.

“Tongue Of God” begins with highly melancholic piano melodies that effortlessly give way to a groovy ensemble of crunchy guitar riffs and an absolutely addictive chorus. The overall decadent atmosphere evokes feelings of desperation and anger while the catchy rhythmic crescendo is creatively refreshing with modern heavy elements.

It’s easy to fall in love with “Meaningless” as its haunting melancholic moody melodies are absolutely unforgettable. Zolberg and Gildenlöw deliver enchanting kaleidoscopic vocals that properly incarnate a dark inner turmoil further enhanced by vibrant guitar riffs and a chaotic rock groove.

“Reasons” will instantly capture any audience with its irresistible savage syncopated rhythm in impeccable prog fashion. Gildenlöw delivers particularly enraged vocals, amplified by almost dissonant tempo changes and heavy monolithic guitar riffs, but also softer vocal harmonies that convey darkened introvert feelings.

“The Taming Of A Beast” offers another excellent catchy rhythm with loads of frantic dark accents amplified by bold heavy guitar riffing and fervent vocals but also shines for the intense moody struggle portrayed by contrasting calmer fragile melodies and rich orchestrations.

On the lengthy title track elegantly minimalist melodies embody an inevitable dramatic emotional storm that demands the listeners’ attention while Gildenlöw literally pours his heart out with painfully passionate vocals. When guitars acquire ex novo energetic dynamics the overall atmosphere still holds a pure sense of distraught melancholy but a delicate feeling of hopefulness seems to appear in the distance with luminous atmospheric keyboards.

With experimental talented musicianship and darkly poetic impetus “In The Passing Light Of Day” will be remembered as a magnificent comeback that, once again, confirms Pain Of Salvation’s seminal status as one of the most enthralling and unpredictable bands in the metal scene.

Sepultura – Machine Messiah

After celebrating the 30th anniversary, legendary Brazilian act Sepultura returns with the 14th studio album entitled “Machine Messiah” where the band simply chooses to carry on an extraordinary artistic journey and create music with sincere passion and no compromises.

The title track opens with decadent graceful guitar melodies and Derrick Green delivers spellbinding emotionally charged vocals. In the midst of a darkened and tragic, almost doomish, atmosphere Andreas Kisser’s charismatic guitar solos will become unforgettable.

“I Am The Enemy” is certainly filled with classic thrash fury featuring a super tight combo of crunchy guitar riffs and blasting drums but it also delivers fast blistering guitar leads embellished with melodic accents.

“Phantom Self” has a solid enjoyable thrash groove with a rather catchy chorus but it will immediately stand out for its mystical/esoteric atmospheres effortlessly embodied by flamboyant classical orchestrations that delightfully surround Kisser’s prog influenced brilliant solos.

“Iceberg Dances” is an exciting instrumental that gives you a chance to truly appreciate Sepultura’s mature and talented musicianship. A fast gritty guitar driven rhythm with tribal drumming accents keeps a healthy groove while Kisser’s dynamic guitar work confidently channels an exquisite variety of music styles such as prog and flamenco.

“Sworn Oath” features a compelling dramatic atmosphere sophisticatedly enhanced by highly inspired melodic guitar work and gloomy symphonic arrangements in theatrical fashion while Green’s strong ominous growls emphasize the heavy rhythmic facet of the song.

“Resistant Parasites” channels an easily recognizable old school Sepultura style with vibrant ravenous guitar riffs and a fascinating tribal rhythm. An irresistible fast groove acquires a mesmerizing melodic depth with Kisser’s elegant solos and darkened symphonic orchestrations.

As Sepultura’s music style continues to evolve, “Machine Messiah” still holds dear some elements of the band’s signature thrash essence but it also showcases an eclectic sonic variety that can be fully appreciated even if you are not a devoted fan.

Grave Digger – Healed By Metal

After 36 years in the metal scene German act Grave Digger fearlessly returns with the latest release triumphantly entitled “Healed By Metal” which is really about that infamous headbanging energy and a glorious metal era that we just can’t forget.

The title track is nothing more than a hymn to the golden age of classic metal. As expected, there are loads of crunchy guitar riffs to keep a solid rhythm going, a lovable melodic guitar solo and a pompous chorus that might just feel a bit redundant.

“When Night Falls” kicks off with the right catchy groove built by a fast paced guitar riffing and the rest of the song manages to keep the headbanging and metal brotherhood themes alive.

“Lawbreaker” features the popular 80s motorcycle & leather combo and, again, there is a generous dose of classic metal riffs leading to a rocking guitar solo executed in proper shredding style.

On “The Ten Commandments Of Metal” Chris Boltendahl screams “stay true” and this summarizes the inner spirit of this fun song, another metal anthem that revolves around traditional super groovy guitar riffs.

“Kill Ritual” has a more somber approach with a heavy combo of bass and drums, crunchy metallic guitar riffs and your must have fancy guitar solo with full blown shreds and killer licks.

Without any stylish surprises or wild musical experiments “Healed By Metal” feels stuck in a nostalgic loop as it stays true to Grave Digger’s classic metal recipe that might please almost exclusively their devoted long standing fans.