Dark Tranquillity Live at The Forge in Joliet

Known as one of the most beloved European bands ever Swedish melodic death metal masters Dark Tranquillity always deliver a super energetic show that you cannot miss! Here is all the live action from the show at The Forge in Joliet where Dark Tranquillity performed an impeccable mix of songs from the latest offering “Atoma”, such as “Forward Momentum” and “Clearing Skies”, and iconic tracks such as “Monochromatic Stains”, “The Wonders At Your Feet” and “Therein”!


Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold

Formed in 1996 Finnish melo-death metallers Omnium Gatherum have always been devoted to the Scandinavian blend of melancholy & brutality that will never fail to be relevant and appreciated worldwide, therefore it will be easy to fall in love with the strong emotions behind the new effort “The Burning Cold”.

“Gods Go First” doesn’t waste time and hits you right in the face with rhythmic blasts of traditional death metal yet the band is also ready to delight the fans with intense shredding moments and a series of smooth & dismal guitar melodies which will rightfully take the spotlight throughout the tight rhythmic segments.

On “Refining Fire” there is a demand for speed and bold grooves as the recurring darkened mood is always matched by ferocious growls and galloping guitar riffs but as expected a melodic soulful ensemble will bring hints of positive yet profoundly contemplative vibes.

“Rest In Your Heart” might sound like a ballad since tempo is significantly slowed down and the beloved cold melancholy is extremely emphasized with the addition of atmospheric textures and dominant somber melodies but there is still a fair dosage of crunchy guitar riffs throughout the song’s structure.

The gloominess of “Be The Sky” is immediately evident with soothing melodic splendor and will influence deeply all the nostalgic tonalities and gentle poetic guitar harmonies in the midst of enraged growls and precise rhythmic patterns.  

“Driven By Conflict” can sound rather vicious focusing on sharp guitar riffs and a simply crushing rhythmic section that thrive on accelerated tempo and heavy grooves without compromising the melodic spirit embodied by the lead guitar work.

The closing track “Cold” is full of triumphant melancholy that reminds us why we love melodic death metal so much. Starting with the immense gloom of atmospheric layers and sweet arpeggios the song unfolds seamlessly to reveal that irresistible darkness that inevitably dominates the vibrant melodious guitar progressions and the moody rhythmic dynamics.

Certainly on “The Burning Cold” Omnium Gatherum shows the ability to compose alluring melodies but besides the consequent inner sadness this album repeatedly builds a climatic aggressive momentum fully embracing the classic Nordic melo-death trademark.  
The Burning Cold

Marduk – Viktoria

The blackened legacy of Swedish icons Marduk is renowned worldwide and its blasphemous essence continues to be crucial in the current metal scene therefore it’s not surprising that the newest release “Viktoria” maintains intact the band’s signature style.

“Werwolf” aims for a direct brutal impact as guitars fully embrace the feverish fast dynamics of what is unanimously considered traditional black metal and the delivery is precise and deliberately bold resulting in a perilous mixture of absolutely harsh tonalities, sirens announcing an imminent attack and venomous growls.

On “Tiger I” the rhythm section drastically slows down yet never sacrifices the primordial blackened core that emerges with bold energetic blasts while guitar riffs acquire an ominous melodic temper foreshadowing imminent catastrophe and maintain a steady sense of hopelessness.

“The Last Fallen” belongs to the hellish depths of black metal as extra dark guitars march triumphantly eventually gaining monstrous rhythmic dynamics accompanied by utterly ruthless growls.

There is no escape and no time to breath on the title track as the entire instrumentation deliberately embrace a savage blackened rhythm and the occasional borderline melodic guitars evoke sheer desolation.

Channeling arcane vibes “Silent Night” becomes even darker with enticing malevolent guitar melodies that could not feel heavier despite the quasi contemplative atmosphere and the dramatically slower rhythmic approach.

On “Viktoria” Marduk are not interested in special effects or astonishing innovations as the traditional black metal is the chosen pathway that continues to dictate the sinister tonalities and a no frills ferocious delivery.

Lucifer – Lucifer II

The second coming of rockers Lucifer starts when vocalist Johanna Sadonis finds Nicke Andersson as the perfect songwriting partner and the result of this new collaboration is the long awaited sophomore album “Lucifer II” which naturally conjures a dark sonic realm inspired by heavy rock of the late ‘60s and ‘70s.

“California Son” is not your standard rock revival song because Lucifer’s personal identity adds intriguing twists even if the vintage vibes are definitely influencing the wild guitar driven grooves. A subtle darkness flows through the crunchy guitar riffs which spontaneously lead to delightfully entertaining solos with the perfect dosage of gritty & melodic textures while Johanna proves to be a charismatic frontwoman.

As we are feeling a bit lost in the middle of nowhere, most likely an arid landscape or a cemetary, “Dreamer” emerges with sultry harmonies and Johanna’s aptly dreamy vocal delivery while the rhythm slows down significantly to enhance the darkened hues and sheer nostalgia of the melodic guitar work which often will still naturally acquire bursts of explosive energy through groovy crescendos and killer solos.

“Reaper On Your Heels” amplifies classic doom nuances and consequent moody melancholia leading to a lovable melodic ensemble spiced up by many groovy moments where guitars continues to channel glorified rock flavors but also add extra dark momentum.

With a winning groovy rhythmic core “Aton” features loads of catchy melodies reaching the acme with the memorable chorus and while the instrumental passages are utterly entertaining, especially when flamboyant guitar leads take the center stage, there is an underlying emotional turmoil.

The darkly decadent guitar riffs of “Faux Pharaoh” and Johanna’s enchanting vocals will inevitably put a spell on you as this track screams doom from beginning to end offering plenty of delicious gloomy grooves with psychedelic twists and bewitching melodic guitar licks surrounded by particularly sinister atmospheric arrangements.

It would be hard to resist the sultry magic of “Evening Wind” as a laid back and extremely nostalgic mood effortlessly enhance Johanna’s poignant vocal delivery while the soulful guitar melodies and the impressive vibrant leads rightfully hold a rather crucial role throughout the whole song.

The future of Lucifer looks bright as the advent of “Lucifer II” with its inner melodic splendor and gloomy grandeur will definitely attract a wide audience and fully reveal the band’s talent and genuine passion.

At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself

We all remember how Swedish melodic death metal veterans At The Gates made a stunning debut in the scene with the album “The Red In The Sky Is Ours” back in 1992 and now the band returns with full commitment and a clear vision to deliver the menacing energy of the new full length “To Drink From The Night Itself”.  

The title track doesn’t waste time and unleashes immediately a fierce rhythmic section with precise fast drumming and super heavy guitar riffs but will often embrace a rather somber melodic essence when lead guitars provide loads of beloved grim melo-death variations reminiscent of the band’s renowned signature style.

In the beginning “Palace Of Lepers” offers a slower rhythm to favor dramatic and absolutely catchy melodic guitars but there are still moments of sheer brutality scattered through the dramatic textures in order to trigger a moshpit friendly momentum always amplified by Tomas Lindberg’ ferocious vocals.

“Daggers Of Black Haze” begins with orchestral grandeur creating a deliciously dark mood that will continue to influence the masterful primary melodic ensemble featuring impeccably obscure guitar tonalities and a general sense of desolation yet the slower rhythm doesn’t necessarily sacrifice the song’s heavy core.

With a generous round of punishing drumming and thick guitar riffs “The Chasm” moves sinuously through a monumental darkness where vocals feel insanely desperate and lead guitars aim to evoke tragic emotions with the perfect melodic fluidity of the solo.

On “In Nameless Sleep” the rhythmic segments can become quite aggressive with feverish riffage and of course the majestic thunderous drums while the atmosphere feels increasingly hopeless with moments full of morbid melancholic melodies until guest guitarist Andy LaRocque delivers a truly charismatic shredded solo.

“The Mirror Black” closes the album with the exquisite darkened elegance and pure melancholy of the final solemn classical orchestrations while throughout the song the rhythm becomes dramatically slower to enhance the utter anguish of Lindberg’s growls and the profound emotions expressed by the melodic guitar work.  

Undoubtedly “To Drink From The Night Itself” preserves the blend of melodic despair and aggressive dynamics that has characterized At The Gates discography yet the band is eager to express an ex novo creative energy and a genuinely passionate songwriting approach that will be absolutely appreciated by the fans and will reconfirm their influential status in the metal scene.   
To Drink From The Night Itself

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.

Complex Of Cages