Amorphis Live at The Forge in Joliet

We all fell in love with the new triumphant release “Queen Of Time”, available via Nuclear Blast, therefore the return of Amorphis to North America is what we’ve been waiting for! At their stop at The Forge in Joliet Amorphis owned the stage delighting the fans with a simply unforgettable energetic performance which included the brand new songs “The Bee”, “Wrong Direction”, “Heart Of The Giant” and “Daughter Of Hate” as well as some  beloved older tracks such as “Against Widows”, “The Castaway” and the iconic “Black Winter Day”.

Dimmu Borgir Live in Chicago

To celebrate triumphantly the release of the long awaited album “Eonian”, available via Nuclear Blast, Norwegian symphonic black metal titans Dimmu Borgir performed at The Vic in Chicago. after a long absence in North America, Dimmu Borgir delighted the audience with a fierce setlist that included brand new songs such as “Council Of Wolves And Snakes” and iconic classics such as “Puritania” and “Mourning Palace”.

The Night Flight Orchestra – Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough

After the sensational 2017 album “Amber Galactic” Swedish classic/progressive rock supergroup The Night Flight Orchestra, featuring Soilwork’s Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid and David Andersson, is back for more outer space adventures and ready to deliver the latest effort “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough” directly from an extraterrestrial orbit.

Introduced by a mysterious aura “This Time” will promptly delight you with an overdose of crunchy guitar riffs that follow a flamboyant party mood and when keyboards start to dominate the song’s structure with all kinds of shimmering arrangements and entertaining bluesy piano it’s time to open a bottle of champagne.

Contrary to the title “Paralyzed” will get you moving with irresistible funky & sexy rhythms with smooth polished guitar work and tons of positive energy while Bjorn’s vocals are simply on fire with a glamorous passionate delivery, so once again it’s party time!

The title track relies heavily on easy pop rhythms particularly emphasized by keyboards artistry with strong ‘80s flavors definitely matched by the hard rock tonalities of crispy melodic guitar work that will inevitably reach the acme with the flamboyant solos.

“Lovers In The Rain” has a ballad style approach as a melancholic mood deeply influences the whole instrumentation significantly slowing down the rhythm to embrace softer romantic melodies and atmospheric keyboards while Bjorn vocals channel nostalgic vibes.

“Can’t Be That Bad” is filled with classic rock guitar driven grooves but the polychromatic good vibes of the keyboards arrangements certainly shift the focus on widely accessible melodies and danceable moments.

Just like the rest of the album “Winged And Serpentine” could have been composed decades ago featuring a super catchy round of guitar riffs which are executed in perfect classic rock fashion with authentic ‘80s tonalities leading to an euphoric memorable chorus.

The longest track “The Last Of The Independent Romantics” is a nostalgic trip that begins with an overdose of extra mellow keyboards melodies and spacey atmospheres but soon guitars will gain refreshing energy delivering gritty rocking riffs followed by the raw energy of Bjorn’s intense vocals and the sparkling licks of the blissful lead guitar work.

With “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough” you can tell that The Night Flight Orchestra is on a serious mission to keep ‘80s classic rock alive spiced up by cosmic themes and fueled by an obviously strong passion for such unforgettable music genre.
Sometimes the World Aint Enough

Follow The Cipher – Follow The Cipher

Started by Sabaton’s longtime collaborator Ken Kängström, Swedish power metallers Follow The Cipher are eager to reach a wide audience with the debut self titled album which focuses on a renowned & beloved music formula in the metal scene with additional modern twists.

“Enter The Cipher” invites the listeners to join this young band in this bombastic music endeavor opening the album with solemn atmospheric arrangements that create a suspenseful momentum that will lead to a super catchy combo of keyboards and guitars. There are hints of classic symphonic metal in the background with a strong inner melodic essence structured to enhance the charismatic performance of vocalist Linda Toni Grahn.

“Valkyria” focuses more on the electro elements of the band’s style ensuring a modern approach yet the traditional power metal influence remains quite important in the songwriting with the right dosage of triumphant keyboards & guitars melodies within the harsher rhythmic dynamics.

Even if the electro arrangements of “My Soldier” still hold a crucial role the overall atmosphere becomes utterly melancholic with the occasional heartfelt piano melodies and Linda’s emotionally charged vocals which contribute to enhance the song’s melodic power metal ballad aspects.

With a polished wall of sound “The Rising” mixes futuristic vibes and classic power metal riffs to ensure maximum groovy force with a slightly dramatic mood while lead guitars always craft melodic passages amplified in the fancy solo.

“A Mind’s Escape” features loads of soothing melodies which shift from the mellow & catchy vibes of the chorus to a deeper melancholy expressed by soft synths layers and passionate vocals but there are also some epic symphonic moments that will create darker atmospheres.

“Starlight” is meant to be played loud featuring another solid ensemble of powerful guitar riffs, entertaining solo acrobatics and flamboyant keyboards but the whole instrumental formula is certainly spiced up by the fierce growls and a heavier rhythmic section.

This is just the beginning of an exciting journey but Follow The Cipher already have a clear sonic manifesto that will appeal to power metal acolytes as the album mainly relies on melodic hooks and crunchy riffage.
Follow the Cipher

Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods

It’s been almost nine years since Norwegian black metal icons Immortal have released an album and their faithful acolytes have been waiting anxiously to listen to what is now finally within our grasps, the new full length “Northern Chaos Gods” is here to hit you in the face with maximum cold darkness.

The title track shows no mercy as a massive shroud of frost permeates the whole atmosphere and instrumentation generating an unstoppable vicious groove dedicated to lovers of traditional black metal with anthemic super fast guitar riffs & drums amplified by hellish growls and adorned by a slick guitar solo.

As the title suggests there is no escape on “Into Battle Ride” as the band is in fact ready for battle unleashing the signature grim nuances with every cold guitar riffing or drum blasts while there is an intense triumphant mood influencing deeply the guitar work and guiding the listeners through a gloomy wintry soundscape.

“Gates To Blashyrkh” showcases a more melodic approach slowing down the previous hectic rhythm to favor highly dramatic vibes especially expressed by the contemplative darkness of the lavish arpeggio driven momentum.

“Where Mountains Rise” begins with the sheer melancholia of sober guitar melodies and while the expected ferocious speed is momentarily put aside this track is still full of blackened raw energy fueled by steady crushing guitar riffs that often become naturally entwined with soulful harmonies.

The theatrical epic grandeur of “Mighty Ravendark” arises from an impenetrable obscure realm with another darkened yet graceful round of guitar melodies that elegantly recur throughout the song with bitter splendor swiftly followed by classic uncompromising frozen guitar riffs and ravenous growls which will repeatedly embrace the familiar blackened abyssal force of the primary rhythmic core.

Immortal has clearly chosen to explore their infamous & uncompromising roots on “Northern Chaos Gods” and as the icebound gates open you will notice that it’s not a random coincidence that the album title refers to chaos since this ex novo journey through Blashyrkh is designed to fully evoke the abyssal darkness of old school black metal.
Northern Chaos Gods

Kataklysm – Meditations

For over twenty five years Canadian melodic death metal veterans Kataklysm have worked hard to conquer the rightful strong status in the worldwide metal scene and consistently released compelling music leading to the latest monumental effort “Meditations”.

The initial epic mood of “Guillotine” introduces an impossibly heavy blast where the whole instrumentation channels a remarkable raw energy that just seems unstoppable yet among the precise crunchy guitar riffs and drum’s breakneck speed lead guitars arise to craft poignant melodic moments.

“Outsider” doesn’t give you a break ensuring immediate headbanging with insanely ravenous growls and a tight series of infectious guitar riffs impeccably supported by towering drums yet a sense of epic grandeur deeply influences the brief introspective melodies.

“Narcissist” becomes delightfully darker as ominous atmospheres seamlessly evolve into a majestic brutal entity fueled by a particularly punishing bass & drums ensemble while guitars effortlessly forge extra grim melodic textures.

With opulent atmospheric accents “And Then I Saw Blood” acquires a pensive melodic mood that definitely influences the whole instrumental structure and the emotive quality of vocals as tempo considerably slows down to amplify the refined dramatic nature of the guitar work yet there are still plenty of catchy rhythmic dynamics.

“What Doesn’t Break Doesn’t Heal” continues to amplify the melodic aspects of the album with enticing lead guitar harmonies naturally evoking a darkened aura that will be swiftly followed by a cohesive round of angered rhythmic dynamics and increasingly enraged growls.

On the final track “Achilles Heel” Kataklysm chooses to focus on inspired dramatic nuances as a sheer darkness is fully expressed by the alluring melancholic guitar melodies that will hold a steady fundamental role nevertheless the primary rhythmic core deliberately showcases the roaring aggressive quality of death metal.

While Kataklysm relentlessly ensures the renowned powerful extreme metal approach in the composition of “Meditations” at the same time doesn’t refrain from spreading lyrical wisdom and profound somber emotions through the melodic momentum that has a deserved essential role on the entire album.
Meditations (CD + DVD)

Graveyard – Peace

We were all heartbroken when charismatic Swedish rockers Graveyard announced their breakup back in 2016 so it is a great pleasure to celebrate their return with the raw catchy energy of the new album “Peace”.

The fierce & feverish rhythm of “It Ain’t Over Yet” will get you moving & grooving at the very first listening as the band jams wildly channeling delicious vintage tonalities through moody guitar melodies, steady inflamed riffing and frenetic party vibes that keep on exploding during the flamboyant guitar solo while vocals master the timeless raspy seasoned rocker style.

A somber melodic streak begins to emerge on “Cold Love” as drums and guitar riffs are always ready to deliver undiluted energy but maintain a slightly softer classic rock appeal through grandiose fuzzy waves of sound and Joakim’s voice acquires a bittersweet melancholic delivery.

“Please Don’t” offers a generous dosage of bluesy tonalities as guitars still maintain a dominant role crafting loads of gritty distorted riffs that naturally reach the acme with the sweet psychedelic flavors of the solo and the organ phrases while the whole band effortlessly follow this spontaneous jam.

“Walk On” can certainly feel darker with a desert session style breakdown, a truly contemplative moment full of genuine fuzzy guitar licks, yet throughout the song vibrant guitars never cease to create the right moody groove amplified by the authentic vintage tones of the fancy solo.

“A Sign Of Peace” is the track that will become immediately addictive and must be played loud to fully enjoy its inner true passion for rock as the whole instrumentation confidently & audaciously builds unstoppable groovy crescendos with unrestrained guitar work leading the show and Joakim’s vocal performance is absolutely captivating.

“Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)” is a rather intricate song where darker emotions gradually introduce a wilder rock ride that goes through multiple sonic metamorphosis as the rhythm often becomes chaotic with turbulent beats and acidic guitar driven grooves resulting in a massive psychedelic/multichromatic/hypnotic maze and the comforting allure of Joakim’s voice becomes your only trustworthy guide.

As the retro rock wave keeps on growing stronger in the current rock/metal scene Graveyard still reconfirms to be one of the best acts representing such genre and “Peace” marks an absolutely delightful comeback that deserves your full attention.

Wednesday 13 Live in Chicago

During the North American massive Everybody Still Hates You Tour, Wednesday 13 brings his infamous horror circus show to Bottom Lounge in Chicago. Supporting the latest release “Condolences”, Wednesday 13 performed new songs and classic favorites wearing multiple spooky outfits and entertaining the audience with ghoulish theatrics!

Amorphis – Queen Of Time

A new album by Finnish masters Amorphis is bound to generate curiosity and high expectations as during a successful thirty years career they conquered a seminal status in the metal scene and never really disappointed the fans therefore it is a pleasure to finally listen to the latest work of music “Queen Of Time” which feels even more cinematic and inventive featuring also an orchestra & choir.

Creating a massive sonic impact “The Bee” manages to evoke a profoundly archaic essence while being absolutely relevant in the modern metal scene skillfully mixing darkened extreme roots featuring intense guitar riffs & insanely powerful growls and a majestic catchy melodic ensemble effortlessly enhanced by the elegant creativity of Santeri’s keyboards arrangements shifting from ethereal atmospheres to complex layers that deserve your full attention.  

On “Message In The Amber” the sheer beauty of the solemn choir contributes to create huge epic vibes amplifying the Finnish folklore elements that are, as always, a crucial element of the band’s signature style and here become extremely dominant in the rich melodic guitar work and the charismatic keyboards layers but you will also find harsher monumental rhythmic sections.

“Daughter Of Hate” will immediately stand out for the darkly melancholic nuances amplified by the graceful melodic guitar work as the rhythmic patterns temporarily slow down to focus on authentic emotions before fully embracing heavier guitar driven grooves accompanied by hellish growls while the saxophone piece is a deliciously unexpected addition and the ancient folk spirit will become more palpable when lyricist Kainulainen delivers a soulful narrative piece.

“Heart Of The Giant” begins with charming gloomy guitar phrases soon joined by the impeccable grandiose sound of the whole instrumentation to deliver sumptuous melodies and a shimmering rhythmic crescendo that will lead to the choir’s dramatic nuances and a spellbinding series of keyboards & guitar acrobatics.

“Amongst Stars” takes you to an ancient forest with magical folk flavors crafted by stunning uplifting melodic guitars, flute harmonies and dazzling keyboards but certainly the enchanting  voice and the genuine passion of Anneke van Giersbergen will often steal the spotlight.

While keeping similar majestic tonalities “Pyres On The Coast” acquires a renewed sense of darkness as Tomi’s impeccably diabolical growls seem to emerge from a forgotten abyss and guitar melodies deliberately evoke gloomy feelings while the vibrant splendor of guitar & keyboards soloing cannot be missed.

Being a prolific band Amorphis has always delivered compelling albums and as a result of a natural evolution, forward thinking  and meticulous attention for details “Queen Of Time” feels particularly mature keeping alive the quintessential Nordic nature of the band mixed with a sublime intricacy and an ex novo creative force that at this point truly feels unstoppable.

Queen Of Time

Dimmu Borgir – Eonian

It’s been so long since successful extreme metal masters Dimmu Borgir released an album therefore fans are very curious to hear what the band has been concocting on the new effort “Eonian” which definitely amplifies the symphonic elements without sacrificing the arcane black metal roots.

The grandiose atmospheres of “The Unveiling” simply cannot go unnoticed as the elegantly sinister orchestrations surround the splendor of the operatic voices of the Schola Cantorum Choir. Such majestic introductory tonalities will be continuously amplified by the additional keyboards acrobatics and the massive dosage of enthralling symphonic arrangements but there are also intensely blackened moments diligently crafted by obscure guitar riffs and monolithic drum work.

The blackened groovy essence of “Ætheric” is immediately evident as guitars deliver loads of strong darkened riffs that will embrace the opulent symphonic orchestrations which create elaborate sumptuous melodic tapestries naturally leading to multiple esoteric & epic soundscapes.

“Council Of Wolves And Snakes” is immediately drenched in darkness with howls and atmospheric layers. While the primary rhythmic dynamics are not always particularly concerned about breakneck speed or traditional black metal elements the occasional blackened momentum featuring Shagrath’s signature diabolical vocals emerges through the decadent beauty of the orchestrations, the gothic tinged melodic guitars and the absolutely spellbinding choirs which definitely enhance the solemn & mystical tones of this track.

“Lightbringer” draws major inspiration from the band’s old school black metal roots as venomous guitar riffs and thunderous drums march fiercely in the midst of luciferian atmospheres and abyssal darkness with precise faster grooves while orchestrations & choir focus on symphonic opulence.

On “Archaic Correspondence” there are some blistering blackened guitar riffs and menacing drum blasts leading the way with growing fervor and wicked tonalities further enhanced by hellish theatrical vocals while symphonic accents and refined keyboards harmonies evoke darkly compelling melodies.

Sulphurous atmospheres surrounds the guitar driven blackened mood of “Alpha Aeon Omega” as once again a symphonic ensemble of magnificent orchestrations, gloomy melodic keyboards and opulent choirs embellish the inner hellish & heavier rhythmic dynamics.

In the end, “Eonian” might not delight the entire fanbase but, celebrating a twenty five years career, Dimmu Borgir confidently creates a darkly majestic album that naturally follows the band’s artistic evolution.