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.

Crippled Black Phoenix – Bronze

International dark rock collective Crippled Black Phoenix comes back with a new full length of rare musical intensity entitled “Bronze”. Besides the fascinating mixture of post rock/ shoegaze melancholic atmosphere, “Bronze” features an intriguing creative force characterized by kaleidoscopic musical influences and experimental sounds.

“Deviant Burials” delivers a mesmerizing ensemble of heavy vintage electric guitar riffing that holds a post apocalyptic energy in the midst of hypnotic atmospheric layers while Daniel Änghede performs inspiring harmonious vocals accompanied by wistful gloomy guitar melodies.

“No Fun” features a dynamic guitar driven groove with background layers of subtle psychedelic accents. Vocals keep a laid back softer delivery while catchy guitars create a solid wall of distorted sound throughout the song.

“Champions Of Disturbance (Pt 1 & 2)” is an impressively complex track that effortlessly combines multiple musical facets ranging from Pink Floyd inspired cinematic trippy atmospheres to retro psychedelic rock vibes. Keeping a general gloomy mood, initially guitar riffs build up a feverish sonic crescendo and then manage to create a healthy catchy groove full of acidic antics.

“Scared And Alone” showcases a tragic theatrical mood delightfully enhanced by Belinda Kordic’s poignant performance and entwined dreamy guitar and piano melodies. Tempo is significantly slowed down and guitars focus on subtle melodies while solemn haunting trumpets add dramatic depth.

“We Are The Darkeners” delivers memorable languid guitar melodies, soothing yet somber vocals and a heavily dark, almost with gothic nuances, atmosphere. The overall slower rhythm is strengthened by solid bass lines and quite catchy guitar riffs that always have an exquisitely retro flavor.

“Bronze” must be fully enjoyed and slowly savored at each listening, rather than over analyzed, because it is an absolutely compelling piece of music that shines for its dark eclectic nature and talented musicianship.

Circle Of Dust – Machines Of Our Disgrace

After almost 20 years hiatus industrial pioneer Circle Of Dust returns with an exciting science fiction themed full length album entitled “Machines Of Our Disgrace” and if you are familiar with artist/producer Klayton and his successful Celldweller project this new album will certainly grab your attention.

The title track is highly influenced by 90s style industrial metal with integrated sampled sound clips, programmed drums and a corrosive array of classic metal guitar riffs that create a seemingly chaotic groove.

“Contagion” has a dominant guitar driven crunchy music core with catchy riffs skillfully embellished by electronic beats in dance floor fashion.

“Embracing Entropy” might showcase familiar electro beats with a danceable synthetic rhythm but the music core mainly relies on simple easy to remember melodies.

“Humanarchy” features a faster heavy industrial metal approach with loads of distorted guitars, dense electronic effects and angry growls/screams while the chorus holds a catchy melodic vibe.

“Alt_Human” has a distinctive cyber approach with the addition of typical industrial elements such as loud guitar riffs that build a modern catchy groove.

“Malacandra” is an enigmatic instrumental track with a dystopian futuristic vibe where electronic effects and clean melodies are smoothly blended to produce introspective ambience harmonies.

A relevant and cohesive industrial electro mix with cool cinematic cyber accents makes “Machines Of Our Disgrace” an entertaining album which reconfirms Klayton’s artistic identity and unstoppable creative force.


Ranger – Speed & Violence

Finnish speed metal band Ranger delivers a new full length entitled “Speed & Violence” that showcases no frills and no special effects traditional 80s music themes as you can tell immediately from the album artwork.

The title track is all about leather and speed, and certainly violence, and it definitely represents the entire album’s mood. So you have the fast upbeat drumming, some classic guitar riffs followed by a fancy guitar solo and loads of high pitch vocals.

“Without Warning” has the same attitude and a similar rhythm as Ranger is not really trying to impress anybody but instead is just staying true to the chosen music pathway. Overall, this is a catchy track with tight guitar riffs and every instrument is characterized by a true classic metal sound.

“Satanic Panic” sounds fun with all kinds of catchy guitar riffs and drum beats in proper old school fashion. Besides the expected headbangers’ style relentless groove there are also nice guitar solos that spice up the classic music recipe.

“Night Slasher” has a good heavy rhythm but we all heard it before so it makes sense only if you’re feeling nostalgic. As the guitar riffs proceed relentlessly to keep the groove going all those high pitch screams become overwhelming but a well executed guitar solo provides a breathable break.

In the end “Speed & Violence” does not offer innovative or astonishingly creative music elements as it rather feels just like paying homage to old school famous bands, therefore it would be appreciated only by a specific speed metal fanbase.

Baptism – V: The Devil’s Fire

Finnish black metal masters Baptism finally return to the scene with the new blistering full length “V: The Devil’s Fire” which feels like a genuine collection of proper black metal anthems.

Featuring traditional black metal songwriting style “Satananda” has plenty of fury with blackened tight guitar riffs and heavy structured drumming that keep a relentless breathless groove with sparse melodic accents.

“The Sacrament Of Blood & Ash” shines for some enticing darkened melodic moments where Baptism create a gloomy emotional palette with clean vocals elegantly performed by Mikko Kotamäki of Swallow The Sun and dramatic guitar harmonies without sacrificing a traditional heavy rhythm.

“Devil’s Fire” is more straightforward with a dense dark groove filled of icy cold guitar riffs and fast drums, yet a delightful guitar solo adds melodic depth to the fast raw rhythm.

“Malignant Shadows” features a wintry atmosphere with slower heavy guitar riffs in gothic doom fashion but the majority of the song relies on a familiar black metal tormented fast groove.

Overall, “V: The Devil’s Fire” is a pleasantly cohesive work of music even if it doesn’t add particularly creative elements to the beloved iconic black metal style that Baptism faithfully portrays.

Meshuggah-The Violent Sleep of Reason

Meshuggah is back with its 8th album, “The violent sleep of reason”, released last October via Nuclear Blast.
Countercurrent the choice to record the album live in the studio, simultaneously with all members, I have to say it works perfectly.
The opener track “Clockworks” is one of the most violent in the album, with its 7:15 minutes takes the listener through a devastating and powerful journey.
“MonstroCity” has a devastating riff , the central part is very interesting with that injection of melody. The best guitar solo is absolutely in “Ivory Tower”.
The album’s lyrical themes are mostly on terrorism, extremist views on ideals and religious dogma.
On the threshold of the 30-year of career the band, even keeping the same line, has produced an impeccable album which can be easily appreciated by the extreme metal lovers.

Esben And The Witch – Older Terrors

English post-rock trio Esben And The Witch return with a dark spellbinding new album entitled “Older Terrors” which features a surreal soundscape filled of genuine emotional vibes and enigmatic sonic elements.

“Sylvan” is filled with delightful minimalist guitar melodies in a rather calm ethereal setting. Rachel Davies delivers emotionally charged vocals that towards the end of the song feel like long forgotten incantations while distorted shoegaze style guitars keep a deeply darkened mood. Subtle creepy sensations of eternal desolation are always evoked by pale harmonies and louder monochromatic guitar riffs.

“Marking The Heart Of A Serpent” delivers a mystical aura with minimalist slow motion sounds where Davies’s charming voice is the only guide towards a faint light. Even when guitars acquire some degree of distorted energy the dominating music theme relies on hypnotic simplistic melodies while the rhythm section gains the spotlight with a trippy nightmarish rock groove.

“The Wolf’s Sun” still has the same minimalist music theme but adds a more dynamic approach with alluring guitar phrases that hold a dark energy. There is a more cohesive catchy guitar driven groove with a less introvert atmosphere that at times can even convey a rather luminous vibe.

Overall, “Older Terrors” is an elegant mature piece of music that often feels like a cathartic musical experience guiding the listeners somewhere in the middle of enchanted woods where anything can happen if you just close your eyes and listen.