Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno

Italian masters of orchestral death metal Fleshgod Apocalypse have worked meticulously to perfect their grandiose music vision which fully comes to life with the merciless yet utterly elegant new album “Veleno”.

Just like the title suggests the strong obscure feelings of “Fury” come from the band’s extreme metal roots that generate tremendous chaotic moments featuring simply relentless guitar riffs, precise drumming and the ruthless growls of Francesco Paoli but such furious momentum will naturally embrace the sublime elegance of the intricate symphonic arrangements & solemn choirs.  

The dramatic guitar melodies and refined orchestral textures in the beginning of “Carnivorous Lamb” give you a chance to breathe before entering a hostile sonic realm filled with untamed drum blasts, super fast guitar riffs and savage growls while Paolo Rossi’s clean vocals enhance the delightful theatrical aspects of the melodic passages.

“Sugar” was rightfully chosen as first single and still represents one of the most intense moments on the album hitting you in the face with frantic technical rhythmic patterns and a memorable yet absolutely ferocious chorus glowing through the complex concoction of abrasive guitars, stylish melodic phrases and majestic orchestrations.

The rhythm slows down on “Monnalisa” to emphasize the opulent symphonic tapestries and the baroque flair paying homage to the many classical Italian virtuosi, the genius of Paganini often comes to mind as inspiration, and certainly such sumptuous melodic essence, well expressed by Veronica Bordacchini’s flawless vocals and by the dazzling guitar melodies, has the necessary charisma to capture your attention.

On “Absinthe” the classical elements shine bright through the magnificent symphonic waves that surround Paolo’s melodramatic vocals and Francesco’s hellish growls creating a darkly poetic contrast that will be further amplified by the neoclassical accents of the guitar work and the primordial impulse of the relentless rhythmic patterns.

Listening to “The Day We’ll Be Gone” feels like a night at the opera as Veronica takes the center stage with a bewitching operatic vocal performance accompanied by the classical finesse of the perfectly melancholic piano melodies, the poignant melodic guitar soloing and the ravishing atmospheric gloom.

“Embrace The Oblivion” will conquer the listeners with its wicked technical death metal approach as the guitar work holds an essential role in the creation of massive monolithic grooves but also with its compelling darkened epic aesthetics as Paolo’s vocals and radiant orchestral layers emphasize the theatrical nature of the song which will naturally fade into the classical allure of the piano piece on the title track that closes the album with profoundly nostalgic nuances.

The spontaneously explosive sonic evolution of Fleshgod Apocalypse today leads to a unique elaborate music style that deserves your utmost attention and appreciation as “Veleno” is the legit incarnation of such ambitious artistic vision and its consequent vivid emotional turmoil that always feels palpable within the exquisite blend of classical splendor and enraged extreme metal force.

Enforcer – Zenith

Swedish heavy metal band Enforcer took longer than usual to create with total freedom the big & loud new album “Zenith” which showcases a proper old school songwriting approach and a pure passion for the glorious era of ‘80s metal and hard rock.

“Die For The Devil” is such a fun track filled with catchy guitar licks that lead to a groovy rhythmic section while at times an inner nostalgia triggers bittersweet melodic moments enhanced by heartfelt vocals.

The mood gets slightly darker and maybe even more serious with “Zenith Of The Black Sun” as the guitar work can successfully deliver somber melodies as well as quite bombastic riffage and glamorous soloing while Olof Wikstrand deserves the spotlight for his charismatic vocals.

“Searching For You” is clearly inspired by old school speed metal as a tight series of crunchy guitar riffs diligently follows galloping rhythmic blasts leading to a full blown flamboyant guitar solo that will grab your attention.

The strong spirit of heavy metal is at the core of “The End Of A Universe” with the addition of  major epic vibes channeling familiar power metal dynamics through steady polished guitar riffs and impressive high pitch vocals.

Blasting another round of entertaining epic grooves “Forever We Worship The Dark” relies on soaring guitar riffs and a vibrant sing along chorus that once again emphasizes Olof’s vocal abilities.

“Ode To Death” marks a majestic conclusion for the album evoking darker feelings through refined guitar melodies that gracefully surround Olof’s fervent vocal delivery and will later evolve into a massive heavy metal ensemble spiced up by another inflamed guitar solo marching through the solemn atmospheric nuances.

“Zenith” is an explosive collection of heavy metal anthems clearly dedicated to fans of such classic style and certainly you will immediately notice that Enforcer pay homage to this timeless genre with pride and devotion.

 

Eluveitie – Ategnatos

Swiss folk metal superstars Eluveitie embark on a brand new epic journey with the 8th album “Ategnatos” which seems to have all the necessary elements to satisfy the devoted fans featuring the band’s signature blend of melodic death metal and magical traditional folk tapestries accompanied by a real string quartet.

Without any hesitation the title track manifest the band’s successful folk metal formula focusing on epic cinematic soundscapes meticulously crafted by traditional instruments such as hurdy gurdy and bagpipes that enrich the recurring lavish melodies but the band never forgets to add some darkened heavier dynamics with intense rhythmic crescendos, bold guitar riffs and ominous growls.

The opulent multi-layered folk arrangements of “Black Water Dawn” tend to steal the spotlight leading to a particularly enthralling melodic ensemble emphasized by the lovely vocals by Fabienne Erni while groovy guitar riffs & soloing channel the expected heavier momentum.

“A Cry In The Wilderness” offers elegant atmospheric textures followed by a more substantial melodic death metal approach with the right dosage of crunchy guitar licks and ravenous growls while the melodic spirit naturally comes to life through the intricate folk harmonies.

“The Raven Hill” favors ancient folk vibes that lead to solemn chants and enchanting harmonies as the instrumental passages can sound absolutely melancholic but also playful following an entertaining upbeat rhythm.

Featuring guest vocalist Randy Blythe of Lamb Of God “Worship” incarnates a darker essence through prominent savage growls and a rather fierce guitar driven assault while the harmonious folk nuances also tend to match such sinister mood with mysterious atmospheres and somber melodic phrases.

“Breathe” is a particularly catchy track where a mix of soothing folk melodies and catchy guitar riffs create a sumptuous soundscape around Fabienne’s glowing vocal performance and a memorable widely accessible chorus.

“Rebirth” maintains major epic vibes and dwells in a classic melo-death sonic realm as it can sound utterly vicious with loads of fast energetic rhythmic segments and massive guitar riffage obviously amplified by the intense growls in contrast with the softer spellbinding atmospheric moments.

“Eclipse” closes the album with a minimalist atmospheric approach that allows the listeners to truly appreciate Fabienne’s passionate & haunting vocal performance.

From beginning to end “Ategnatos” is a majestic opus destined to conquer even more fans as despite some major line up changes Eluveitie appear in excellent shape ready to embrace a new bombastic chapter in their successful career.

Death Angel Live in Chicago

While we anxiously wait for the brand new album “Humanicide” set to be released on May 31 via Nuclear Blast, Bay Area thrash metal icons Death Angel are currently touring in North America with legendary Overkill, a dream tour for all devoted thrash metal fans! At the show at House of Blues in Chicago Death Angel delivered a crushing performance, as proved by the constant insane mosh pit, playing the title track “Humanicide” from the upcoming new release and of course some unforgettable favorites including “The Dream Calls For Blood”, “The Ultra-Violence” and “KIll As One” and certainly we all hope to see them playing more songs touring as headliners in the near future. Mark Osegueda’s vocals were absolutely flawless and he took the time to express gratitude to the faithful Chicago fans for their continuous support through all these years.

Overkill Live in Chicago

Legendary thrash metallers Overkill embarked on a massive North American tour that celebrates the release of the explosive 19th album “The Wing Of War” available via Nuclear Blast. The concert at House of Blues in Chicago was packed with loads of longtime faithful fans as well as younger acolytes proving that Overkill’s music legacy is still relevant and loved in the current metal scene. With a charismatic stage presence and the unmistakable signature vocals Bobby Blitz definitely impressed the crowd and classic songs such as “Bastard Nation”, “Ironbound”, “Rotten To The Core” and “Elimination” triggered non stop crowd surfing & mosh pit but it was also great to hear live for the first time the new energetic songs “Last Man Standing”, “Distortion” and “Welcome To The Garden State”.  

 

Forever Still – Breathe In Colours

The modern metal scene is definitely full of emerging bands that try to stand out and young Danish metallers Forever Still worked hard to attract a wider audience with the dystopian themes and passionate approach of the sophomore album “Breathe In Colours”.

On “Rewind” the instrumental framework tends to put the spotlight on the emotional vocal delivery of Maja Shining with a mix of futuristic synths and soothing melodic tapestries that certainly would appeal to a younger crowd.

On “Fight!” guitars acquire crunchy tonalities to build a solid series of heavier grooves around Maja’s harsh vocals yet the song’s somber melodic essence is still very dominant especially in the widely accessible chorus.

On the title track the mood gets pleasantly darker enhanced by moody atmospheric layers,  bittersweet vocals and soft whispers but even if there are loads of melancholic melodies the rhythmic section can pack heavier elements.

“Survive” amplifies a modern heavy approach with galloping guitar riffs and consequent groovy dynamics that once again revolve around the winning blend of harsh screams and emotionally charged vocals.

“Rising Over You” continues to represent the contrasting feeling that characterize the whole album mixing comforting melodic phrases always emphasized by Maja’s harmonious vocals and heavier rhythmic crescendos.

“Embrace The Tide” closes the album amplifying the dystopian aspects through intriguing synths arrangements and darkened guitar melodies in contrast with the glowing vocals and dreamy melodies.

As it becomes harder to conquer a solid spot within the current music scene Forever Still aim to impress the listeners with an engaging modern sonic formula that generates the accessible combo of grooves & melodies of “Breathe In Colours”.

 

Grand Magus – Wolf God

Swedish heavy metal riff masters Grand Magus return with the new album “Wolf God” and this time they decided to jam and record mainly on the first take in order to maintain a genuine approach as close as possible to a live performance.

The title track goes straight to build majestic rhythmic patterns with the band’s signature heavy riffage that gets you ready for battle but the inner somber feelings cannot be ignored and tend to become evident through the mighty passionate vocals.

With a mood shifting from major epic vibes to absolute melancholia “A Hall Clad In Gold” unleashes anthemic guitar riffs, fierce rhythmic blasts and a skillful guitar solo certainly inspired by decades of classic heavy metal while the tasteful melodic passages add a dramatic touch.

“Brother Of The Storm” will please the fans with loads of faster guitar driven grooves that require steady headbanging naturally channeling catchy & triumphant vibes matched by the particularly fervent vocal delivery.

You can perceive the immense passion for epic metal behind “To Live And Die In Solitude” which offers another enjoyable blend of galloping bold guitar riffs and memorable melodic phrases enhanced by the vibrant tonalities of the guitar solo.

“Glory To The Brave” begins with enigmatic borderline trippy bass lines that will hold a dominant role through the intense grooves enriched by the expected epic flavors of the soaring guitar riffs and monumental vocals leading to a memorable chorus that feels like a true battle hymn.

On “Untamed” the whole instrumentation aims to match the title with a series of intense grooves courtesy of thunderous rhythmic segments and glorious guitar riffage that benefit from the extra power provided by the solemn vocals and the flamboyant melodic accents of the guitar solo.

There’s no need for trendy special effects here in fact the fiery strength of “Wolf God” definitely comes from the spontaneous songwriting approach and the excellent musicianship as Grand Magus once again prove to be sincerely devoted to classic heavy metal.

Fallujah – Undying Light

The new sonic journey of Bay Area progressive death metallers Fallujah begins with the 4th full-length album “Undying Light” which features new vocalist Antonio Palermo.

“Glass House” starts with luminous atmospheric nuances that will return throughout the song emphasizing melodic undertones but soon ensures a quite heavy rhythmic approach as guitars confidently unleash a ravenous series of riffs with edgy technical accents.  

“Last Light” still holds similar ferocious rhythmic blasts amplified by the massive angered growls as tempo often gets faster inevitably generating loads of harsh grooves until everything slows down drastically and melodic guitars have a chance to craft dreamy polished melodies.

On “Dopamine” guitars shift from detailed melodic passages to evidently aggressive grooves so the song’s structure relies mainly on such contrasting feelings matched by the melancholic vocal delivery versus the chaotic screams and an extra twist is represented by the warmth of the atmospheric finale.  

“Hollow” still offers menacing rhythmic progressions through wild riffage and drumming but the melodic guitar phrases certainly stand out through the delicate atmospheric waves channeling spacey vibes and somber emotions.

“Distant And Cold” almost puts aside completely the previous enraged rhythmic rampage to focus on intricate atmospheric arrangements with evident ambiance textures and lavish guitar melodies leading to a full blown daydreaming mood.

To close the album “Departure” fiercely returns to embrace an extreme metal structure with absolutely merciless drums and frenetic riffs while the prog influenced guitar leads craft some tasteful melodies.

While all the tracks on “Undying Light” tend to rely on fierce extreme metal dynamics Fallujah are always ready to spice up such music formula with the right dosage of technical musicianship and cinematic elements.