Barren Earth – A Complex Of Cages

Finnish progressive death metal supergroup Barren Earth, featuring Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis, Sami Yli-Sirniö of Kreator, guitarist Janne Perttilä, vocalist Jón Aldará of Hamferð and young keyboard wizard Antti Myllynen, triumphantly returns with the kaleidoscopic melodies of the newest release “A Complex Of Cages”, a truly eclectic music experience that you simply cannot miss.

“The Living Fortress” begins with dramatic vibes that create a suspenseful introduction for the first fierce wave of guitars riffs which delightfully combine the primordial darkness of melo-death and the modern technical approach of prog metal, a perfect match in this case, while vocals effortlessly shift from magical melancholic cleans to absolutely ravenous growls through fascinating melodic phrases filled of cold Nordic tonalities and additional complex rhythmic variations skillfully crafted by guitars & keyboards.

“Further Down” offers mystical atmospheres that sinuously embrace bursts of thick & groovy guitar riffs and graceful melodies embellished by some folk nuances that will always evoke the comforting wintry mood of melo-death but there is a lot more going on as keyboards continue to create elegant symphonic arrangements with occasional vintage accents and guitars showcase audaciously entertaining prog dynamics.

“Zeal” immediately sets a darkly atmospheric mood with the minimalist beauty of delicate piano passages and poetic vocals soon enriched by dramatic guitar melodies bearing the beloved nuances of Scandinavian melancholy yet such cathartic moments will gradually evolve into a series of majestic & heavier rhythmic patterns filled of eclectic prog inspired variations and deeply obscure death metal elements.

Starting with intriguing keyboards layers “Solitude Pith” will impress the listeners with the stunning intensity of vocals characterized by a particularly charismatic delivery that perfectly matches the primary passionate melodic essence of the entire song which still offers solid heavier blasts but also delivers loads of delicious vintage arrangements and softer, yet rather intricate, harmonious rhythms leading to a flamboyant guitar solo.

Like a shroud of profound melancholy “Withdrawal” closes the album channeling ardent feelings through vibrant emotional soundscapes with soulful arpeggios and undoubtedly flawless dramatic vocals but a refreshing rhythmic crescendo will add dazzling melodic guitar work bearing the influence of ‘70s prog rock as well as modern artsy dynamics.

At the very first listening “A Complex Of Cages” will conquer your heart through stunning melodic fluidity and mesmerizing guitar work as, united by their appreciation for ‘70s progressive rock, the talented musicians behind Barren Earth showcase absolutely spellbinding composition skills and indisputable mature musicianship.

 

Black Salvation – Uncertainty Is Bliss

Featuring Uno Bruniusson formerly of In Solitude and Grave Pleasures and currently of Death Alley, German psychedelic hard rock trio Black Salvation invites the audience to a unique music journey with the enigmatic nuances and trippy soundscapes of the new record “Uncertainty Is Bliss”.

“In A Casket’s Ride” immediately channels spacey atmospheres with surreal distant dissonant accents before fully embracing an acidic rock groove enriched by unconventional melodic elements while an overwhelming psychedelia influences the darkened vocal delivery and the distorted guitar work that often slows down to achieve a melancholic tone.

On “Floating Torpid” there are some accessible soft melodic rock chords yet guitars also hold a rebellious distorted strength that becomes even more palpable in the edgy solos and certainly the whole melodic essence mixed with a gritty rock soul dominates the song’s structure.

“Leair” is filled with the undiluted melancholy of charismatic vocals and simple chords that will eventually develop a taste for psychedelic uniqueness and undoubtedly the dramatic melodies and avant-garde accents of this track still feel very accessible.

The rhythm of “Grey River” channels positive energy and a rebel spirit as catchy guitars pay tribute to the most enigmatic aspects of retro rock and the band doesn’t hold back confidently jamming their way into a hypnotic sonic realm with full blown psychedelic tonalities.

“Getting Slowly Lost” begins with minimalist arpeggios and subdued poetic vocals channeling a sorrowful mood but soon surprises the listeners with a peculiar rhythmic crescendo full of trippy mystical vibes like a dazed desert rock session and proceeds with a borderline dissonant and savagely distorted momentum.

Black Salvation is not a band interested in creating safe radio friendly songs as they rather explore the dazed kaleidoscopic realm of psychedelic rock with an adventurous spirit nevertheless “Uncertainty Is Bliss” does contain catchy melodic vibes running through the primary avant-garde sonic dynamics.

Chaostar – The Undivided Light

Fans of Greek titans Septicflesh are certainly familiar with Chaostar, the spellbinding experimental project led by guitarist and composer Christos Antoniou, and the new long awaited release “The Undivided Light” definitely holds a theatrical essence and an adventurous spirit that once again aims to defy standard music genres.

The bewitching elegance of Androniki Skoula’s voice introduces the hypnotizing sonic realm of “Tazama Jua” which delivers a fascinating blend of majestic classical arrangements with baroque symphonic accents and modern ambient layers that seamlessly surround the theatrical vocals throughout the song.

“Blutbad” initially focuses on minimalist melodies and highly dramatic operatic vocals creating a quite enigmatic atmosphere that in the final part will lead to more complex orchestrations channeling exquisitely darkened vibes.

The title track favors mysterious electro/ambient arrangements that smoothly accompany Androniki’s stunning operatic performance through a captivating orchestral crescendo which features classical graceful melodies, epic cinematic composition and slightly dissonant rhythmic variations.

“Ying & Yang” offers a softer approach with luminous arpeggios and otherworldly vocals that flawlessly create intensely emotional melodic cascades in the midst of wistful atmospheres while the mood becomes utterly enthralling as traditional instrumentation crafts delicate melancholic harmonies.

From a Chaostar album you should expect the unexpected as Christos draws inspiration from the pristine beauty of classical music but doesn’t refrain from exploring other music territories such as electronica & rock leading to the dramatic composition of “The Undivided Light” which delivers a truly unique sonic experience.

 

Tax The Heat – Change Your Position

British bluesy rock band Tax The Heat returns with the explosive rhythmic dynamics and refreshing composition skills of the latest release “Change Your Position” which definitely aims to gather a wider fanbase.

“Money In The Bank” marks an exceptional beginning proving the band’s diversified music approach with an attractive somber mood well supported by super crunchy guitar riffs that hit hard building a rough rhythm and gritty leads while vocals shift from emotive delivery to a more powerful rocker style.

The title track is filled with energetic rock segments that favor multiple melodic hooks matched by sensational big choruses and in general guitars tend to focus on a glamorous melodic repertoire but a wicked riffing is still present in the midst of the modern catchy rock galore.

“All That Medicine” is all about intricate yet very accessible rhythms blending some old school rock essence skillfully embedded in the gritty guitar riffs and a more modern rock interpretation that ensures a series of big grooves briefly interrupted by a melodic slightly gloomy breakdown.

The relentless upbeats of “Taking The Hit” easily generate all kinds of catchy rhythms and while the music core definitely draws inspiration from classic hard rock with loads of thick guitar riffs and fancy solo the band continues to experiment to achieve originality.

“Wearing A Disguise” acquires a darker atmospheric mood favoring slower rhythmic patterns and intensely melodic guitars that will dominate the song’s structure providing entertaining variegated textures yet the polished vocals of the chorus certainly maintain a catchy soft rock style.

The rhythmic diversity of “The Symphony Has Begun” is immediately palpable as the whole instrumentation temporarily tones down to offer pure melodic melancholy enhanced by minimalist acoustic phrases and particularly emotional vocals while guitars will often add edgy vibes and slow burning bluesy passages.

“Change Your Position” is an album filled with big choruses and positive energy but also offers scattered contemplative vibes and certainly Tax The Heat have worked hard to conquer the audience’s full attention.

 

Malady – Toinen Toista

Finnish progressive rock quintet Malady invites you to experience the unique ‘70s influenced music journey of the new album “Toinen Toista” which showcases extraordinary musicianship and is conceptually based on the basic questions of being human and the transient nature of things.

The title track has an enigmatic beginning with minimalist chords and surreal atmospheric accents while the vintage vibes embedded in the guitar work will soon acquire highly energetic dynamics and exciting rhythmic variations accompanied by sweet retro organ layers to achieve those ‘70s rock flavors that characterize the whole album.

“Laulu Sisaruksille” is a short magical music piece as atmospheric layers channel a profound melancholy further enhanced by the otherworldly beauty of strings melodies that introduce the vintage sonic realm of “Tiedon Kehtolaulu”.

The epic opus “Nurja Puoli” closes the album with hypnotizing nuances and great music diversity as the band is clearly exploring prog rock territories with a desire to create something original. The result of this adventurous spirit leads to soothing instrumental passages dominated by lovely & talented guitar work that offers meditative breakdowns as well as powerful melodic textures and several enthralling intricate solos.

“Toinen Toista” is an excellent progressive rock effort on which Malady skillfully crafts relaxing soundscapes and complex melodic textures that deserve the listeners’ full attention.

Nightwish – Decades

Not many bands can celebrate an exceptional twenty years career and when it comes to Nightwish there is no doubt that the Finnish indisputable masters of symphonic metal have rightfully achieved this milestone with talent and relentless commitment so here comes a massive world tour during which the band will play many favorite ‘oldies’ accompanied by the release of the compilation of re-mastered songs “Decades”.

You all know that three different vocalists have fronted Nightwish and they are all rightfully present on “Decades” so of course there are the newer songs “The Greatest Show On Earth” and “Élan” with current amazing vocalist Floor Jansen but inevitably the majority of songs feature the unforgettable voice of Tarja Turunen since she was in the band for ten years and contributed to the breakthrough success of songs such as “Sleeping Sun”, “Elvenpath”, “Nemo” and “Wish I Had An Angel” and even the original demo for the song Nightwish is included.

Unfortunately there are many marvelous songs that are not included in this greatest hits but listening to Nightwish is always an amusing experience so for all devoted fans “Decades” is a way to re-discover many beautiful songs and join the band in this nostalgic retrospective journey while newer listeners will enjoy the opportunity to learn more about the band’s previous work.

The Golden Grass – Absolutely

New York-based psychedelic retro rock power trio The Golden Grass is ready to jam freely on the latest effort “Absolutely” so here is your chance to embrace this catchy retro rock music journey and simply have fun.

“Show Your Hand” immediately feels like a good nostalgic trip as a slightly funky rhythm and lovable bluesy guitars truly have a genuine retro sound and are busy concocting all kinds of good time rock grooves evoking a summer outdoor festival atmosphere.

With impressive and highly entertaining guitar work “Runaway” continues to craft super groovy moments blending variegated melodic classic rock flavors with uncomplicated fluidity and psychedelic accents aptly leading to dazed & confused vibes all over the song.

“Walk Along” starts with rather nostalgic vibes enhanced by bass & guitars phrases and in general holds a highly melodic soul but also offers some psychedelic almost surreal moments before returning to a proper rock party mood.

“The Spell” offers another healthy round of guitar driven grooves screaming retro rock with that particularly enjoyable vintage sound genuinely deprived of fancy modern special effects resulting in a fun & catchy tune embellished by kaleidoscopic guitar melodies.

“Out On The Road” has a charismatic trippy and slightly heavier approach that will ultimately lead to plenty of groovy dynamics focusing on spontaneous guitar driven jams but also features easy ‘sing-along’ choruses and memorable rocking guitar solos.

Channeling full blown retro rock and positive vibes The Golden Grass are always ready to jam with an authentic vintage spirit & sound and it would not be farfetched to believe that “Absolutely” could have been released in the ‘70s.

Kalmah – Palo

Finnish band Kalmah has a lot of history and passion for melodic death metal that mixed with majestic symphonic accents dominates the songwriting style of the latest effort “Palo”.

On “Blood Ran Cold” the major melo-death dynamics are easily recognizable drenched in the beloved Nordic essence that provides the cold heavy tonalities of each instrumental passage as guitars are ready for battle with groovy riffing, fancy soloing and additional melodic splendor surrounded by a fair dosage of graceful orchestrations.

“The Evil Kin” can be rather ferocious when guitars start the song with that irresistible crunchy tone that will influence the primary riffage and symphonic orchestrations offer exquisite darkened & diabolical nuances definitely enhanced by menacing growls yet there is plenty of space dedicated to pleasant melodic crescendos & solos that carry slightly triumphant power metal tonalities.

“Take Me Away” begins with melancholy infused piano melodies and subtle atmospheric layers which will often recur throughout the song’s heavier rhythmic patterns and smoothly introduce a proper Scandinavian melo-death style skillfully built by intense melodic guitars that will reach the rightful acme with polished soothing solos.

With groovy rhythmic textures “Waiting In The Wings” features a frenetic tempo with a particularly strong riffing galore, nevertheless the hellish essence of this song doesn’t sacrifice the more accessible melodic moments that become absolutely entertaining when guitars take the center stage with quite compelling solos and neoclassical accents.

“Erase And Diverge” prepares a heavy sonic assault as thunderous drums and delightfully thick guitar riffing follow an enraging faster tempo showcasing the band’s classic death metal roots accompanied by the expected overdose of massive growls yet despite the primary heavier substance this track still features loads of melodic hooks.

A profound melancholy returns to haunt the melodic essence of “The Stalker” which definitely offers another consistent round of grandiose melodic guitars that will also offer some raw darkened riffing but a slower tempo and a contemplative mood will become a major element with loads of somber arpeggios, soulful guitar acrobatics and refined atmospheric orchestrations.

Despite several line-up changes in their long 26 years career Kalmah returns to the scene with renewed energy and confidence which ultimately leads to the cohesive blend of primordial death metal and symphonic elegance of “Palo”.

 

Black Moth -Anatomical Venus

With renewed creative energy and higher confidence British rockers Black Moth aim to deliver a raw collection of wild rock tunes drenched in darkness on the third full length “Anatomical Venus”.

Starting with understated melodic elegance “Istra” gradually gains verve when guitar riffs acquire steady retro flavors and a pretty raw sound to craft solid grooves yet subtle melodies continue to emerge throughout the song with subdued contemplative vibes. Of course the band is always flirting audaciously with the hypnotizing realm of psychedelic stoner rock in order to deliver compelling vintage grooves and Harriet Hyde’s sultry vocals clearly match such moody textures.

“Moonbow” goes straight to raw rock dynamics building a nice flow of guitar driven grooves spiced up by Harriet’s charming vocals shifting from soothing delivery to seasoned rocker attitude through layers of fiery fuzzy distortion and a rocking guitar solo.

On “Sisters Of The Stone” the doom heritage is greatly amplified as guitar riffs become heavier yet maintain a retro rock urgency naturally leading to powerful groovy blasts and additional stoner rhythmic variations while Harriet’s voice provide extra witchy vibes

On “Severed Grace” the ‘70s doom/rock nuances are again quite prominent in the midst of rumbling guitar riffs holding subtle sinister vibes which will lead to a particularly addictive chorus relying on memorable chords & seductive vocals followed by a slower almost mystical breakdown that builds suspense to introduce a wilder essence with an entertaining gritty guitar solo.

“A Lovers Hate” picks up speed with sweaty rocking guitars that enthusiastically mix easy melodies and fuzzy loving riffs as the whole instrumentation works together to ensure impactful grooves channeling classic stoner textures and hyper energetic garage rock spontaneity.

“Tourmaline” feels more hypnotizing and surreal focusing on dreamy fluid melodies and softer vocals to create a bewitching soundscape that will eventually offer spacey lead guitar variations and vibrant rhythms without sacrificing the intriguing hazy rock mood.

As “Anatomical Venus” showcases a fair dosage of darkened energy Black Moth are definitely following the right pathway to conquer more acolytes and to establish a charismatic musical identity.

Memoriam – The Silent Vigil

If you paid attention last year you should have not missed the debut album of Memoriam, the new project featuring ex-Bolt Thrower veterans Karl Willets and Andy Whale. One year later, the band is ready to offer another massive round of old school death metal anthems on the new release “The Silent Vigil”.

“Soulless Parasite” truly holds the raw feelings of death metal unleashing traditional thick guitar riffs & bass lines perfectly supported by massive drumming and Karl’s signature vocal style as the whole instrumentation appears to be very focused on the chosen music pathway fully reminiscing the glorious days of death metal in the midst of a doom tinged atmosphere.

“Nothing Remains” further amplifies the band’s death metal roots as guitars acquire a faster punishing attitude matched by a monolithic rhythmic section that confidently ensures high impact and headbanging friendly dynamics but doesn’t refrain from adding diversity with groovy variations.

“As Bridges Burn” immediately channels doom nuances and feelings of desperation through a series of untamed guitar riffing always supported by an intense rhythmic ensemble that draws strength & inspiration from the mournful depths of death metal especially when the whole instrumentation gains extra speed and consequent menacing quality.

“The New Dark Ages” becomes aptly darker with a monochromatic sonic assault meticulously built by hellish guitar riffing and majestic drums but again there are plenty of almost accessible grooves that occasionally slow down the rhythmic ferocity with some melodic accents but certainly maintain a true death metal essence.

“Weaponised Fear” features heavy doom nuances and darkened atmospheres that enrich the classic raw textures of death metal with the addition of haunting guitar melodies and slightly complex rhythmic variations but once again the band stays true to the expected familiar instrumental dynamics.

Conceptually based on themes of loss and dissolution “The Silent Vigil” reveals a somber contemplative side yet Memoriam is committed to deliver absolutely traditional death metal also using a raw underground style production.