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.
Peace

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.

Eonian

Tax The Heat – Change Your Position

British bluesy rock band Tax The Heat returns with the explosive rhythmic dynamics and refreshing composition skills of the latest release “Change Your Position” which definitely aims to gather a wider fanbase.

“Money In The Bank” marks an exceptional beginning proving the band’s diversified music approach with an attractive somber mood well supported by super crunchy guitar riffs that hit hard building a rough rhythm and gritty leads while vocals shift from emotive delivery to a more powerful rocker style.

The title track is filled with energetic rock segments that favor multiple melodic hooks matched by sensational big choruses and in general guitars tend to focus on a glamorous melodic repertoire but a wicked riffing is still present in the midst of the modern catchy rock galore.

“All That Medicine” is all about intricate yet very accessible rhythms blending some old school rock essence skillfully embedded in the gritty guitar riffs and a more modern rock interpretation that ensures a series of big grooves briefly interrupted by a melodic slightly gloomy breakdown.

The relentless upbeats of “Taking The Hit” easily generate all kinds of catchy rhythms and while the music core definitely draws inspiration from classic hard rock with loads of thick guitar riffs and fancy solo the band continues to experiment to achieve originality.

“Wearing A Disguise” acquires a darker atmospheric mood favoring slower rhythmic patterns and intensely melodic guitars that will dominate the song’s structure providing entertaining variegated textures yet the polished vocals of the chorus certainly maintain a catchy soft rock style.

The rhythmic diversity of “The Symphony Has Begun” is immediately palpable as the whole instrumentation temporarily tones down to offer pure melodic melancholy enhanced by minimalist acoustic phrases and particularly emotional vocals while guitars will often add edgy vibes and slow burning bluesy passages.

“Change Your Position” is an album filled with big choruses and positive energy but also offers scattered contemplative vibes and certainly Tax The Heat have worked hard to conquer the audience’s full attention.

 

Nightwish – Decades

Not many bands can celebrate an exceptional twenty years career and when it comes to Nightwish there is no doubt that the Finnish indisputable masters of symphonic metal have rightfully achieved this milestone with talent and relentless commitment so here comes a massive world tour during which the band will play many favorite ‘oldies’ accompanied by the release of the compilation of re-mastered songs “Decades”.

You all know that three different vocalists have fronted Nightwish and they are all rightfully present on “Decades” so of course there are the newer songs “The Greatest Show On Earth” and “Élan” with current amazing vocalist Floor Jansen but inevitably the majority of songs feature the unforgettable voice of Tarja Turunen since she was in the band for ten years and contributed to the breakthrough success of songs such as “Sleeping Sun”, “Elvenpath”, “Nemo” and “Wish I Had An Angel” and even the original demo for the song Nightwish is included.

Unfortunately there are many marvelous songs that are not included in this greatest hits but listening to Nightwish is always an amusing experience so for all devoted fans “Decades” is a way to re-discover many beautiful songs and join the band in this nostalgic retrospective journey while newer listeners will enjoy the opportunity to learn more about the band’s previous work.