We all fell in love with the enchanting voice of Anneke Van Giersbergen when she was the vocalist of The Gathering and after that she embarked on a prolific solo career, collaborated with various brilliant artists such as Devin Townsend and Arjen Lucassen and recently returned to metal with her new band Vuur. Anneke’s new release “Symphonized” is a remarkable live album because here you can experience her two career-spanning concerts with orchestral arrangements together with Residentie Orkest The Hague.
The show starts with the lavish orchestrations and graceful vocals of “Feel Alive”, originally released on Anneke’s solo album “Everything Is Changing”.
“Your Glorious Light Will Shine – Helsinki”, originally released by Vuur, is certainly stripped of its bold progressive metal core but in this version it shines for the natural blend of triumphant orchestral vibes and classical dreamy tonalities.
The aria by Henry Purcell “When I Am laid In Earth” feels particularly compelling as it completely deviates from the rock/metal realm with its purely classical elegant harmonies that allow Anneke to show her operatic skills.
On “Travel”, a The Gathering song loved by many fans, Anneke’s vocal performance feels utterly nostalgic while the sumptuous orchestration successfully channels the original inner spacey melancholy.
The unreleased song in Dutch “Zo Lief” stands out for Anneke’s emotionally charged genuine vocals accompanied by charming minimalist piano and strings.
Another The Gathering lovely song “Forgotten” takes us back in time with refined orchestrations and Anneke’s voice will inevitably trigger immense nostalgia.
“Shores Of India” was originally released by The Gentle Storm, an unforgettable collaboration with Arjen Lucassen featuring epic & eclectic prog dynamics that here acquire classical allure and melodic splendor.
Anneke’s fans will be instantly delighted by the marvelous live performance on “Symphonized”, an album that rightfully celebrates her vocal talent accompanied by an extraordinary orchestra.
On the new Ken Mode album “Loved” mastermind brothers Jesse and Shane Matthewson audaciously continue to explore enigmatic tonalities and unexpected noise sonic patterns.
The opening track “Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should” is short and violent as guitar riffs embark on a noisy music journey deliberately abolishing rules yet this is not just random chaos and you can perceive a clear vision behind such bitter grooves.
“The Illusion Of Dignity” sounds super gritty with harsh guitar riffing and odd tempo variations that keep a tumultuous rhythmic section to support the angered disillusioned screams while the saxophone offers a borderline dissonant jazz inspired momentum.
“Learning To Be Too Cold” still offers chaotic noise action yet there are underlying somber guitar nuances flowing through the abrasive rhythmic patterns.
The mood changes on “This Is A Love Test” which features calmer yet absolutely eclectic rhythmic segments allowing the noir saxophone melodies to shine accompanied by spacey textures and bold bass lines but the undiluted anger will return with scattered heavier moments.
“No Gentle Art” becomes more atmospheric and mysterious before giving way to a dissonant darkened sonic realm where a brilliant trippy saxophone naturally collide with massive noise guitar riffs, dizzy rhythmic variations and enraged screams.
Certainly what you’re listening to is the product of absolute creative freedom as on “Loved” Ken Mode is not following any trend and rather deliver a unique sonic vision that tastes like desperation and passion.
Featuring renowned extreme metal veterans guitarist George Emmanuel of Rotting Christ, bassist Stathis Ridis of Nightfall, vocalist Marios Dupont of Karma Violens and drummer Nick Vell of Chaostar, Greek blackened metallers Lucifer’s Child are ready to showcase their darkly majestic creative force with the sophomore album “The Order”
“Viva Morte” is a great way to open the album as the band unleashes loads of ferocious grooves fueled by the speed and wickedness of guitar riffs and drums which seem to emerge from an arcane realm and the whole blackened inspiration is extremely amplified by devilish growls, obscure chants and the intricate magnetic lead guitar work.
The title track foreshadows an inevitable descent into the abyss through immensely blackened rhythmic bursts accompanied by mysterious chants while the powerful guitar soloing channels darkened melodic splendor and contributes to the song’s groovy nature.
Conjuring undiluted darkness “Through Fire We Burn” is also characterized by a profoundly spiritual aura fully expressed by the initial slower dramatic melodic phrases that introduce epic waves of diverse mesmerizing guitar progressions shifting from bold nightmarish riffage to an elegant melodic gloom emphasized by haunting acoustic arpeggios.
Evoking sinister & solemn atmospheric vibes “El Dragón” offers plenty of killer groovy dynamics enhanced by gloomy yet absolutely catchy melodic lead guitar accents in the midst of monumental drumming and relentless riffing clearly inspired by primordial blackened roots.
With its mystical allure “Siste Farvel” is an intoxicating track that will instantly captivate the listeners as the blend of atmospheric grandeur and impeccably darkened melodies comes to life with the monolithic drums, the tormented tonalities of the bewitching guitar work and theatrical esoteric whispers & chants.
Acolytes of blackened grooves and ominous atmospheres will simply become addicted to “The Order” and as expected Lucifer’s Child demonstrate intensely darkened songwriting skills as well as stellar musicianship leading to a memorable obscure sonic ritual.
Swedish death metal vikings Unleashed return with the the new release “The Hunt For White Christ” which follows the storyline of the World of Odalheim and their Midgard warriors, authored by vocalist / bass player Johnny Hedlund.
There are no special effects on “Lead Us Into War” but this fierce album opener hits you in the face with relentless guitar riffs, menacing rhythmic blasts and generous shredding leads channeling a ready for battle mood.
“You Will Fall” features moments of profound melancholy with slower atmospheric phrases but the band is still ready to smash everything with the expected bold guitar riffing leading the way to a series of soaring rhythmic assaults.
The extremely somber Nordic tonalities of “Gram” add sonic depth and solemn atmospheric accents to the main aggressive rhythmic segments and once again the blistering guitar solo will grab your attention.
Beside the massive traditional death metal momentum on “The City Of Jorsala Shall Fall” there are contemplative and ominous vibes, always amplified by the cavernous growls, flowing through the ravenous guitar riffs and wild soloing.
While “By The Western Wall” keeps the vicious death metal vibes alive the compelling guitar solo delivers calmer melodic passages creating a rather somber mood that will be enhanced by the final acoustic phrases.
“Open To All The World” prepares the album grand finale with crushing rhythmic dynamics relying on savage drumming and fiery guitar riffs in classic death metal style followed by enjoyable guitar melodies and utterly epic atmospheres.
As the band approaches the 30th anniversary “The Hunt For White Christ” impeccably stays true to Unleashed signature music style confidently delivering a collection of solid death metal anthems.
Talented Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Sylvaine is finally back with a new kaleidoscopic opus entitled “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” where chaos and serenity spontaneously embrace.
The bittersweet melodies of the title track are inspired by shoegaze and post metal as dreamy guitar phrases surround soft spellbinding vocals flowing through tranquil atmospheres that will naturally evolve into darker and faster instrumental moments with recognizable blackened force.
Infused with daydreaming shoegaze splendor “Mørklagt” offers gorgeous layers of atmospheric arrangements and melodic guitars that evoke an emotive whirlwind combining slower introspective passages with barely whispered vocals in contrast with the audacious rounds of blackened rhythmic blasts amplified by utterly desperate screams.
Stripped of any fancy effects “Worlds Collide” is another mini dreamland that begins with crystalline guitar phrases softly depicting serene lush soundscapes enhanced by precious atmospheric accents and ethereal vocals.
On “L’appel Du Vide” you feel surrounded by a cosmic force where emotions and music entwine through polychromatic hazy atmospheres, fragile like fading memories, and minimalist soulful guitar melodies that fluently express a shoegaze dreamy essence even when they acquire slightly colder harsh tonalities.
Sylvaine demonstrates to be a charismatic composer as the sonic vision of “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” is made of personal struggles, wonders and a lingering emotional quality that renders each song a unique experience.
Revolting against the mainstream metal scene The Lion’s Daughter knows no music boundaries and bravely follows a personal evolution which leads to the uneasy soundscapes of the latest release “Future Cult”.
A mysterious aura on “Call The Midnight Animal” creates a slightly futuristic suspenseful mood courtesy of loads of synths that constantly surrounds an impactful sonic assault featuring harsh guitar riffs and venomous growls.
On “Die Into Us” electronic segments continue to hold a dominant role embellishing the song’s rhythmic core with intriguing arrangements while guitars often become more melodic yet effortlessly maintain extremely darkened tonalities.
“The Gown” begins with profoundly somber tones as minimalist phrases and creepy atmospheric layers depict a post apocalyptic soundscape where you can perceive distant echoes of angered screams and monolithic guitars.
On “Tragedy” the band continues to experiment with diverse subgenres reaching a balanced blend of melodic despair and electronic twists while offering several heavier sludge oriented grooves in the midst of asphyxiating atmospheres.
A familiar blackened force on “In The Flesh” fuels a plummeting series of faster savage grooves yet majestic synths will always spice up such aggressive rhythm with variegated spooky sounds and unsettling atmospheric textures.
“Future Cult” cannot be categorized as music for the masses but it must be said that with this modern distinctive collection of songs The Lion’s Daughter will manage to reach the right audience.
Swedish sensational band Amaranthe has acquired an unmistakable sonic identity drawing inspiration from diverse and contrasting music leading to a modern vision that never ceases to surprise the audience on the brand new effort “Helix”.
Futuristic & cinematic synths on “The Score” introduce a colossal ensemble of memorable catchy melodies, which benefit from Elize’s impressive vocal range, harsh metal momentum naturally amplified by Henrik’s ravenous growls and vibrant classic metal style guitar solo.
“365” was chosen as first single and definitely represents the mood of the entire album staying true to the band’s polychromatic music formula, in which all three vocalists have a crucial role yet Elize’s impeccable vocals tend to steal the spotlight, so prepare to headbang to the extremely groovy metal momentum courtesy of the charismatic drum blasts and crunchy guitar riffing without forgetting to sing along because that chorus is on fire.
The darker mood of “Inferno” doesn’t sacrifice the song’s catchiness that revolves around variegated electro layers, vivid melodic grandeur and an infectious rhythmic backbone as certainly all these elements are always enhanced by the multifaceted vocal approach.
With mighty positive energy the title track once again diligently follows the band’s signature style as each singer gets a chance to take the center stage and the chorus in unison sounds loud and colorful marching through the energetic grooves and electro arrangements.
On “GG6” Henrik impresses with a fierce vocal performance delivering primordial growling with a contemporary rap influence over plummeting metal grooves spiced up by cool electro sound effects in contrast with the easier catchy harmonies of the chorus.
“My Haven” features another successful round of bouncy grooves surrounded by dancey electro accents that keep alive the album’s futuristic themes while the addictive chorus will instantly grab your attention channeling heartfelt melodic vibes with impeccable vocals.
Yes “Unified” has the mellow tonalities typical of a power ballad nevertheless it still feels exciting and charming with loads of elegant atmospheric arrangements and smooth crispy guitar melodies plus here new vocalist Nils can truly prove his abilities.
While so many continue to desperately attempt to categorize their music style it’s time to leave behind this boring futile analysis because Amaranthe is moving forward, following a bold evolution that leads to a refreshing blend of edgy metal and modern electro beats on the terrific catchy tunes of “Helix”.
Synth-driven funeral doom band Vouna makes the first appearance in the metal scene with the debut self titled album recorded entirely at Wolves In The Throne Room’s studio at the edge of an ancient forest.
“A Place To Rest” opens the album focusing on mystical soft vocals and slowly builds a suspenseful momentum through subtle atmospheric layers and gloomy melodies until it reaches a cascadian acme with fast tremolo picked guitars.
“Last Dream” aptly evokes dreamy soundscapes with loads of ethereal synths and experimental accents leading the way through a cold realm where doom infused dynamics naturally embrace extremely melancholic melodic guitars.
“Drowning City” is inspired by traditional folk melodies featuring soothing flute harmonies while guitars convey classic doom tonalities leading to a profoundly mournful mood particularly amplified by grave keyboards.
The cinematic vision of “You Took Me” is fully expressed by the sorrowful atmospheric arrangements floating through an absolutely bleak sonic realm that is soon shaken by funereal distorted melodies and adorned by poetic vocals and additional grim melodic synths.
Yianna Bekris composed all the music and performed all instruments on this magical debut release and we can certainly perceive her spiritual energy and passionate songwriting approach behind Vouna.
Canadian metallers Cauldron are carrying the torch for old school heavy metal therefore it’s not surprising to hear loads of 70s-80s inspired tunes on the newest effort “New Gods”.
Guitar riffs are marching freely on “Prisoner Of The Past” creating a healthy catchy rhythm stripped of fancy special effects or studio magic resulting in a genuine raw mixture of distortions and melodies.
“Letting Go” is even more melodic at times as guitars also acquire melancholic tonalities, always matched by the emotive vocal harmonies, through calmer and still absolutely catchy rhythmic waves.
“Save The Truth – Syracuse” has its darker moments, for example all those enigmatic sounds at the very end, but certainly never sacrifices the traditional groovy fluidity revolving on riffing rampages and soothing melodies which are emphasized during the guitar soloing.
The bittersweet darkened melodies of “Drown” will return throughout the song carrying hints of doom and despair but even if the rhythm doesn’t get super fast more energetic guitar riffs and wilder leads will take the spotlight.
The entertaining closing track “Last Request” offers another solid round of no frills heavy metal grooves where guitars dominate the structure with relentless riffs that diligently follow the faster vibrant rhythmic sections.
Listening to “New Gods” you will immediately understand that Cauldron is truly devoted to classic heavy metal and this album naturally symbolizes the trio’s passion for such timeless genre.
In the last few years we got to know and appreciate the talent of Icelandic musician Ragnar Zolberg during his time with prog metal icons Pain Of Salvation and certainly his vocal duet with Daniel Gildenlow on the song “Meaningless”, from the band’s latest acclaimed release “In The Passing Light Of Day”, is quite unforgettable. But now the time has come for Ragnar to start a completely new chapter in his music career with the solo album “Sonr Ravns”.
The title track depicts a realm of contrasting emotions fueled by minimalist yet intensely darkened piano melodies that later evolve into ambient atmospheres that effortlessly surrounds Ragnar’s charismatic and profoundly melancholic vocal performance.
The darkened mood of “Rise Above” is simply addictive blending seasoned rocker vibes and modern electro beats as the song becomes a unique entity made of wistful melodies and obscure atmospheres, all amplified by mesmerizing vocals shifting from dramatic to harsh tonalities.
There are ancient folk elements and wintry nostalgic tones on “Volcanic Fields” which starts with slow moody melodies and solemn arrangements that will lead to a tremendous rhythmic crescendo full of distorted anger and gloomy vibes.
Darkness descends on “Krunk” which showcases dark metal inspiration and feels like an arcane ritual in a forgotten cold forest as a primordial force creates an ominous aura with tribal dynamics, otherworldly screams and wicked guitars.
On “My Symbol Sól” enigmatic synths and traditional folk hold a dominant role yet loads of shimmering dreamy atmospheres and bittersweet vocals craft introspective melodies in contrast with the massive darkened grooves.
“Vetur” is full of pure nostalgia constantly enhanced by refined classical piano melodies and lavish, at times epic, atmospheric layers that render everything darkly romantic & dramatic while Ragnar’s diverse vocal approach conveys cathartic feelings through graceful harmonies and raspy screams.
Behind the composition of “Sonr Ravns” there are tumultuous personal feelings and multifaceted music influences as Ragnar draws inspiration from his Nordic heritage combined with a genuine passion for music leading to a darkly eclectic, yet widely accessible, collection of songs.