Malevolent Creation – The 13th Beast

We can all agree that Malevolent Creation are an institution in the extreme metal scene and the best way to celebrate the 13th full length aptly entitled “The 13th Beast” is to deliver a massive overdose of traditional death metal that requires instant headbanging to be fully enjoyed.

“End The Torture” opens the album with ominous vibes as guitars gradually build merciless rhythmic dynamics following pummeling drums to ensure a proper death metal sonic assault spiced up by the intense shredding offered by the guitar solos.

On “Mandatory Butchery” you can easily recognize the key brutal elements of classic death metal but also bold thrash accents as guitars deliver steady fierce riffs accompanied by cavernous growls yet the darkened melodic guitar work adds contemplative depth.

If you’re looking for sheer brutality “Agony For The Chosen” got you covered as relentless guitar riffs and savage drumming lead to a hellish sonic realm without any hesitation and only the fancy guitar soloing allows you to catch your breath.

“Born Of Pain” is another cohesive death metal anthem that relies on the borderline chaotic approach of the super fast rhythmic section but at some point the tempo gets slower to emphasize the grave tonalities of the guitars.

“Knife At Hand” continues to unleash furious rhythmic blasts favoring breakneck speed and a full blown aggressive approach surprisingly interrupted by occasional sorrowful atmospheric instrumental passages.

“Release The Soul” begins with a calmer yet immensely darkened approach and while guitars can still sound utterly ravenous they often put aside the violent speed to focus on anguished melodic phrases and obscure doom tinged tonalities.

Undoubtedly Malevolent Creation stay true to their infamous music formula and as expected “The 13th Beast” is characterized by a consistent classic death metal style revolving mainly around fast uncompromising guitar driven grooves.

Hecate Enthroned – Embrace Of The Godless Aeon

Hecate Enthroned are certainly one of the UK underground’s longest-running bands that, despite several line-up changes through the years, have always followed a blackened gothic sonic formula that once again comes to life on the new release “Embrace Of The Godless Aeon”.

The vampyric mood of “Revelations In Autumn Flame” is palpable through the super fast waves of blackened majesty courtesy of an infectious series of tight guitar riffs and hellish vocals constantly surrounded by refined gloomy keyboards arrangements that become essential within such nightmarish sonic vision.

“Temples That Breathe” feels like an arcane ritual as tormented atmospheres enrich the blackened fury of the guitars and drums while the crepuscular melodies are further enhanced by the lush symphonic gothic arrangements.

“Goddess Of Dark Misfits” begins with the profound melancholy of piano melodies that naturally accompany the darkly elegant vocals performed by guest vocalist Sarah Jezebel Deva and the consequent seductive gothic splendor becomes the highlight of the track.

Following a slower dramatic rhythm “Whispers Of The Mountain Ossuary” tends to focus on tenebrous atmospheres and graceful melodic textures with a fashionable gothic style until harsh guitar riffs confidently unleash cold blackened tonalities.

The epic lengthy final track “Erebus And Terror” begins like a funeral march that soon evolves into an opulent ode to darkness focusing mainly on gothic elements such as the immense gloom fully expressed by melodic guitars, dreamy piano, solemn symphonic orchestrations and Sarah’s fascinating operatic vocal harmonies.

The composition of “Embrace Of The Godless Aeon” might not be considered incredibly innovative nevertheless we can all agree that on this album Hecate Enthroned successfully deliver a delightful overdose of sultry gothic nuances that feel like a decadent soundtrack for cold winter nights.

Graveshadow – Ambition’s Price

Fronted by charismatic vocalist Heather Michele California based symphonic/gothic-metal band Graveshadow is ready to release the second full length “Ambition’s Price” which embraces the familiar stylish elements of such beloved metal subgenre.

“Doorway To Heaven” marks a strong beginning as ‘90s atmospheric keyboards are particularly dominant surrounding and shaping a simple catchy rhythmic ensemble where guitars focus on a combo of crunchy riffs and polished melodies while Heather’s vocals effortlessly shift from dramatic cleans to enraged growls.

On “Widow And The Raven” guitars and keyboards craft softly epic melodies but there are occasional fierce rhythmic bursts even if the band chooses to deliver an easy minimalist groove and focus more on atmospheric accents and charming vocals.

The title track becomes more melancholic with somber melodic guitars and subtly grandiose keyboards arrangements certainly emphasizing the symphonic aspects that simply embellish the accessible rhythm while vicious growls and some thicker riffing spice up the soft melodic essence.

“The Unspoken” stays true to power metal style riffage and consequent epic vibes with loads of atmospheric layers plus fiery growls certainly channel the ready to battle mood in contrast with the prominent melodic momentum.

The primary melodic nature of “Return To Me” is immediately evident as the band favors melancholic guitar passages, harmonious keyboards breakdowns and ethereal atmospheric layers while Heather focuses on soothing clean vocals to match the general gloomy mood.

“Liberator” cranks up the volume with more frenetic rhythmic patterns as guitars become more present confidently acquiring heavier tonalities accompanied by intense growls and another dosage of symphonic accents featuring haunting organ melodies.

“Ambition’s Price” certainly offers those symphonic/power metal dynamics that conquered many fans in the last two decades and Graveshadow confidently represents the genre delivering cohesive songwriting and musicianship.

The Absence – A Gift For The Obsessed

Tampa death metal band The Absence finally returns to the scene with the 4th studio album “A Gift For The Obsessed” packing exciting guitar driven grooves mixed with a nice dosage of darkened melo-death moments.

The title track demands attention keeping solid rhythmic bursts full of fancy guitar shredding and several recognizable old school European style death metal elements therefore the whole structure will sound familiar to many and the band never fails to add variegated dynamics, especially with the brilliant lead guitar work, to such winning music formula.

On “Misery Trophies” the band proudly unleashes another round of melo-death grooves keeping tight guitar driven rhythmic blasts that will always lead to sorrowful and often intricately contemplative melodic concoctions that continue to shine for the impressive lead guitars.

Even if the rhythmic patterns might feel less hostile “The Forging” is still filled with many crushing death metal moments with solid guitar riffs and furious growls yet the melodic essence of this track holds a crucial role as guitars focus on darkened & melancholic nuances to craft a series of crispy melodies and full blown shredding solos.

“Septic Testament” amplifies the ferocious aspects of The Absence’s chosen music pathway immediately delivering a savage rhythmic ensemble where thunderous drums and crunchy riffing seem unstoppable but will eventually slow down to offer soothing melodies and spiritual vibes as lead guitars rightfully take the spotlight with creative solos.

Angered guitar riffs take the lead on “Fear Of Existence” fiercely maintaining classic death metal vibes that offer a massive rhythmic backbone to support more complex melodic guitar passages and elegant solos that will further enrich the profoundly dark mood.

On the final track “Idle Thrones” there is never a dull moment as the majestic guitar work ensures great variety shifting from sheer brutality with thick riffs in proper death metal fashion to wildly entertaining guitar solos that will pop up triumphantly multiple times throughout the untamed rhythmic fury always amplified by super intense growls.

After being on hiatus The Absence are now showcasing great band chemistry and while “A Gift For The Obsessed” doesn’t stand out particularly for innovative music style it is definitely a cohesive & highly energetic death metal album.
A Gift For The Obsessed

Novareign – Legends

Southern California’s progressive power metal outfit Novareign is ready to impress the listeners with the untamed energy and over-the-top shredding of the debut album “Legends”.

“Beyond the Cold” certainly gives you an idea of the mature musicianship of this band as the song relies on majestic riffage, fast monumental rhythmic patterns and clean high pitch vocal delivery typical of classic power metal yet dramatic melodies also hold a primary role leading to all kinds of flamboyant shredding in the fancy guitar solos.

“Heavy Heart” is filled of powerful guitar driven grooves executed in proper power metal fashion as polished guitars march confidently throughout the song keeping a heavy approach and will eventually reach a glorious acme with multiple sensational guitar solos which evoke more melodic themes.

With increased complexity “Skyline” stands out for the stellar guitar work featuring elegant neoclassical shredding while triumphant tight riffs and big catchy choruses continue to stay true to a familiar power metal pathway yet everything is rendered more interesting by eclectic tempo variations and additional compelling guitar leads.

Still dwelling in a realm of warriors and myths “Black As The Dead Of Night” gains more speed as massive drums and guitar riffs ensure high impact energy with steady fierce rhythmic patterns yet several enthralling guitar solos bearing prog oriented technical accents tend to steal the spotlight.

The title track holds entertaining variety with odd time signature but thick bass lines and bold drumming continue to maintain power metal oriented grooves while guitars once again aim to impress with technical skills and thrilling intricate solos.

It would be farfetched to define Novareign’s music style highly innovative as renowned bands like Dragonforce and Angra definitely are a great influence nevertheless the epic energetic vibes of “Legends” cannot be ignored and will easily conquer the hearts of power metal acolytes also with its fantasy inspired themes.

White Wizzard – Infernal Overdrive

White Wizzard’s fourth album “Infernal Overdrive” is an important release for the band as it marks the return of classic members, vocalist Wyatt “Screaming Demon” Anderson and guitarist James J. LaRue,  resulting in a clearly renewed chemistry that fuels the enthusiastic creation of the classic rock/metal anthems on this album.

The title track does feel like a blast from the past with empowering guitar driven grooves that will satisfy any vintage metal lover as the band crafts cohesive thundering rhythmic dynamics that give lead guitars plenty of space to deliver flamboyant solos and enthralling melodic progressions.

“Storm The Shores” is an easy crowd pleaser as recognizable NWOBHM elements hold a particularly dominant role in the song’s structure with powerful crunchy guitar riffs & bass lines keeping a straight forward groove enriched by thrilling vocals and vibrant guitar solos.

“Chasing Dragons” has a versatile nature leaning towards nostalgia infused melodies elegantly crafted by traditional yet absolutely kaleidoscopic guitar work that here truly shines, often with fancy shredding, through multiple rhythmic segments while vocals performed in classic rock fashion acquire profound emotional quality.

Starting with soulful acoustic passages “Voyage Of The Wolf Raiders” immediately showcases a melancholic depth that will continue to return within several softer moments yet classic NWOBHM dynamics inevitably take the lead intensely influencing the groovy guitar riffing and solos which feel always quite entertaining being characterized by a fiery creative force.

“The Illusion’s Tears” feels like a fervent nostalgic power ballad as it is filled with stylish heartfelt guitar melodic progressions often displaying luminous polished tonalities as well as wilder prog variations surrounded by a rather somber atmosphere flawlessly matched by a sincerely emotional vocal delivery.

Undoubtedly White Wizzard stay true to a vintage music formula comprised of high pitch vocals and killer guitar work and “Infernal Overdrive” constantly draws inspiration from unforgettable ‘70s-‘80s rock/metal flavors showcasing authentic passion.