Beast In Black – From Hell With Love

Mastermind Anton Kabanen continues his bombastic music endeavor with the band Beast In Black and is ready to deliver a brand new ‘80s melodic power metal galore on the sophomore album “From Hell With Love”.

On “Cry Out For A Hero” there is a lot of positive energy embedded in the anthemic power metal guitar riffs, the nostalgia infused melodies and the enjoyable upbeat rhythm that of course will reach the acme with the rather flamboyant shredding of the guitar solo.

The title track sounds more cheesy pushing on the danceable synth pop arrangements to embellish the main classic power metal core so often the rhythm is a bit slower and extra melodic leading to a triumphantly catchy chorus.  

“Repentless” relies on a full blown symphonic grandeur with loads of solemn keyboards and the warrior metal attitude of the majestic choirs that emphasize the powerful blend of crunchy guitar riffs and polished melodic textures.

The expected mellow ballad “Oceandeep” focuses on folkish elements, profoundly melancholic melodies and subtle atmospheric arrangements creating a mellow dreamy soundscape to support the dramatic vocal delivery.

On “This Is War” there are slightly darkened accents running through the traditional power metal patterns while guitar riffs and drums become noticeably heavier accompanied by a bold vocal performance and the atmospheric breakdown will evoke intense nostalgia.

The spirit of ‘80s heavy metal becomes utterly dominant on “No Surrender” so such familiar winning formula dictates solid rounds of chugging guitar riffs marching through up-tempo rhythmic patterns and the must-have fancy melodic soloing with extra shredding power.

Beast In Black plays it safe and everything on “From Hell With Love” follows a similar ‘80s influenced power metal pathway that was at the center of the composition of the debut album “Berserker” therefore you won’t find any innovative surprises here but a solid collection of catchy songs.  


Overkill – The Wings Of War

With outstanding passion and resiliency iconic New Jersey thrashers Overkill have accomplished so much during their long career and certainly consolidated their legendary status in the metal scene influencing and inspiring musicians worldwide. Now for Overkill it’s time to begin a new exciting chapter with the release of the 19th studio album “The Wings Of War” which once again showcases the band’s unstoppable creative force.

On “Last Man Standing” a suspenseful mood introduces a rather aggressive thrash ensemble where soaring guitars constantly unleash sharp riffs and savage soloing well supported by the infectious rhythmic section and the overall blistering energy is further amplified by Bobby Blitz’s charismatic vocal performance.  

The classic and successful thrash formula is still alive on “Believe In The Fight” and Bobby’s vocals are on fire while the whole instrumentation never really slows down hitting you in the face with relentless guitar riffs and wild rhythmic patterns leading to a necessary headbanging galore.

“Head Of A Pin” is full of entertaining hooks as guitars effortlessly deliver endless rounds of groovy riffs with glorious traditional doom accents and a slightly dramatic yet extra fancy solo while the powerful rhythmic segments maintain a moody crushing core.

Everything slows down in the beginning of “Distortion” as the darkened guitar leads inevitably amplify a nostalgic mood but Overkill is still ready to pack massive old school thrash grooves with consistently heavy riffage and thrilling rhythmic dynamics enhanced by the wrathful vocal delivery.

“Where Few Dare To Walk” starts with a contemplative atmosphere and smooth melancholic guitar melodies that will recur throughout the song but there will always be a massive dosage of abrasive riffs to keep alive the raw energy of the faster anthemic thrash elements.

The frenetic rhythmic blasts of “Hole In My Soul” ensure memorable loud thrash grooves always enhanced by solid rounds of gritty guitar riffs & shredding and a super catchy chorus plus Bobby constantly provides remarkable fierce vocals.

Undoubtedly Overkill is in excellent shape and while the nostalgic vibes of the golden era of thrash metal emerge throughout “The Wings Of War” the songwriting feels absolutely relevant in the current scene and continues to consolidate the band’s influential status.

Aenimus – Dreamcatcher

Progressive extreme metal band Aenimus is ready to share with the world the crushing dynamics and the lavish melodic tapestries of the sophomore album “Dreamcatcher” which is conceptually inspired by horror novels and movies.

“Before The Eons” has its brutal moments channeling sheer technical death metal majesty with super tight riffage and precise drumming yet the song is full of enthralling melodic guitar leads characterized by luminous tonalities and graceful emotions that naturally match the dreamy moments.

“Eternal” offers audacious deathcore twists to the steady ferocious sonic assault featuring the expected progressive technical approach of the guitar riffs & fancy melodic soloing marching confidently through odd tempo variations while growls and clean vocals aim to convey contrasting feelings.  

“The Ritual” begins with a darkened suspenseful atmosphere and will soon continue to deliver frenetic rhythmic patterns where the intense guitar work tends to stand out for the skillful technique and savage riffing that will eventually give way to gloomy melodic solos and a solemn symphonic grand finale.  

Extreme speed and a fierce death metal core are fundamental on “The Dark Triad” yet the band often leaves behind such aggressive approach to craft arcane atmospheric textures that surround another round of brighter and stylish prog oriented guitar soloing .

“The Overlook” immediately unleashes loads of merciless grooves as fiery guitar riffs follow insane rhythmic variations supported by a wicked bass & drums combo until tempo slows down dramatically to put the spotlight on the major guitar shredding.  

The instrumental title track holds a cinematic approach that tends to leave behind any sign of rage to allow the melodic guitar work to truly shine and deliver loads of tasteful crispy progressions through mysterious atmospheric waves without an exaggerated technical approach.

With the release of “Dreamcatcher” the future of Aenimus definitely looks bright as the band put a lot of effort in the creation of a solid collection of songs that stands out for the technical musicianship and the refined melodic aesthetics.

Avantasia – Moonglow

Back in 1999 mastermind Tobias Sammet created the critically acclaimed all-star rock opera Avantasia that certainly has garnered a great success worldwide and the new ambitious opus entitled “Moonglow” represents another fascinating milestone with conceptual themes inspired by dark romanticism and Victorian tales.  

“Ghost In The Moon” marks a grandiose beginning effortlessly blending accessible melodic moments featuring the sheer elegance and melancholy of classical piano pieces, majestic orchestrations and an inner classic rock attitude that emerges through the polished guitar work. The whole composition and fancy execution here aim to constantly showcase the proper theatrical approach of a rock opera that will truly shine as a live performance.

The upbeat grooves of “Book Of Shallows” combine the bombastic energy of power metal and traditional heavy metal as guitars maintain a dominant role delivering tight & faster riffs as well as tasteful melodic progressions while the whole instrumental ensemble is definitely enriched by the multifaceted vocal performances which this time feature Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian, ex Masterplan Jørn Lande, Ronnie Atkins of Pretty Maids and Mille Petrozza of Kreator.

The dramatic nuances of “The Raven Child” lead to refined orchestrations that allow the poignant vocals of Hansi Kürsch and Jorn Lande to take the center stage. While this lengthy song always maintains an underlying mellow gloom, it features several compelling style variations with particularly opulent arrangements channeling classical & symphonic inspiration and wilder heavy moments with sharp guitar riffage and enthusiastic groovy rhythmic sections.

The unmistakable voice of Geoff Tate is a perfect fit for the nostalgia infused tonalities of “Invincible” which focuses mainly on the expression of passionate feelings with graceful atmospheric arrangements and ballad style soft piano melodies.

On “Alchemy” suspenseful atmospheric textures introduce a compelling blend of soulful melodies and memorable guitar driven grooves while Geoff Tate never disappoints with an incredible vocal performance that naturally enhances the progressive aspects of the elaborate instrumental passages.

On “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” the vocals performed by Ronnie Atkins, Jorn Lande, Eric Martin, Bob Catley and Geoff Tate certainly provide a high degree of diversity within the sophisticated composition where rich multi layered arrangements surround a widely accessible melodic ensemble while keeping a traditional power metal approach with triumphant guitar riffs and flamboyant soloing.

Avantasia confidently deliver another passionate music experience and the majestic detailed composition behind “Moonglow” leads to an intricate work of music that has the ability to take you far away with its compelling melodic splendor and so many charismatic vocal performances.

Soulfly Live in Joliet

Following the release of their latest album “Ritual”, Soulfly set out on a tour of the U.S. in January and made their way to The Forge on February 14th. With the announcement of the tour, frontman Max Cavalera assured fans “we are gonna destroy everything that comes in our path!” Soulfly certainly made good on that promise at The Forge, playing a crushing set full of old classics and new favorites alike.

Soilwork – Verkligheten

Swedish metallers Soilwork are certainly renowned worldwide for their explosive melodeath style and the highly anticipated full length “Verkligheten” proves once more the band’s relevant status in the modern metal scene with a genuine creative force.

No one could doubt the thunderous charisma of “Arrival” as guitars skillfully embrace heavy dynamics crafting furious riffs amplified by fiery growls but the song’s strength relies also on the poignant melodies, later emphasized by the smooth soloing, and the irresistible chorus.

There are so many cold melancholic melodies on “Full Moon Shoals” that naturally evoke an emotional whirlwind enriched by Björn’s dramatic clean vocals yet this track packs some majestic groovy moments with the right dosage of sharp riffage and fancy guitar soloing.

“The Nurturing Glance” conveys contrasting feelings as calm guitar melodies sound utterly nostalgic yet the faster bouncy grooves are full of positive energy that will be further enhanced by the memorable catchy tonalities of the vibrant chorus.

Featuring guest vocalist Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy growling in the background,  “Stålfågel” revolves around a colder & darker sonic vision with somber atmospheric arrangements, gloomy guitar nuances and loads of crispy bittersweet clean vocals.

On “Witan” a heavier momentum generates plenty of inflamed guitar riffs and borderline ferocious rhythmic dynamics yet the chorus offers vivid melancholy infused melodies.

The dramatic nature of “The Ageless Whisper” comes from the refined guitar melodies and solo flowing through dreamy atmospheres that will eventually give way to a blend of anthemic rock vibes and harsher dynamics.

Featuring the intense growls of guest vocalist Tomi Joutsen of Amorphis “Needles And Kin” engage the listeners with stylish Nordic tonalities leading to extremely enraged guitar driven grooves following a faster roaring rhythm while Björn delivers impeccably heartfelt vocal harmonies.

Since the first listening “Verkligheten” will inspire you with its inner catchy mood and move you with the several melodic moments as Soilwork deliberately disregard any current metal trend to confidently deliver a collection of songs that will give you a chance to escape reality.