Amaranthe – Helix

Swedish sensational band Amaranthe has acquired an unmistakable sonic identity drawing inspiration from diverse and contrasting music leading to a modern vision that never ceases to surprise the audience on the brand new effort “Helix”.  

Futuristic & cinematic synths on “The Score” introduce a colossal ensemble of memorable catchy melodies, which benefit from Elize’s impressive vocal range, harsh metal momentum naturally amplified by Henrik’s ravenous growls and vibrant classic metal style guitar solo.

“365” was chosen as first single and definitely represents the mood of the entire album staying true to the band’s polychromatic music formula, in which all three vocalists have a crucial role yet Elize’s impeccable vocals tend to steal the spotlight, so prepare to headbang to the extremely groovy metal momentum courtesy of the charismatic drum blasts and crunchy guitar riffing without forgetting to sing along because that chorus is on fire.

The darker mood of “Inferno” doesn’t sacrifice the song’s catchiness that revolves around variegated electro layers, vivid melodic grandeur and an infectious rhythmic backbone as certainly all these elements are always enhanced by the multifaceted vocal approach.

With mighty positive energy the title track once again diligently follows the band’s signature style as each singer gets a chance to take the center stage and the chorus in unison sounds loud and colorful marching through the energetic grooves and electro arrangements.

On “GG6” Henrik impresses with a fierce vocal performance delivering primordial growling with a contemporary rap influence over plummeting metal grooves spiced up by cool electro sound effects in contrast with the easier catchy harmonies of the chorus.

“My Haven” features another successful round of bouncy grooves surrounded by dancey electro accents that keep alive the album’s futuristic themes while the addictive chorus will instantly grab your attention channeling heartfelt melodic vibes with impeccable vocals.

Yes “Unified” has the mellow tonalities typical of a power ballad nevertheless it still feels exciting and charming with loads of elegant atmospheric arrangements and smooth crispy guitar melodies plus here new vocalist Nils can truly prove his abilities.

While so many continue to desperately attempt to categorize their music style it’s time to leave behind this boring futile analysis because Amaranthe is moving forward, following a bold evolution that leads to a refreshing blend of edgy metal and modern electro beats on the terrific catchy tunes of “Helix”.

Atreyu – In Our Wake

With a two decades career California’s gold-selling band Atreyu is back for more and aims to reach higher levels with the new effort “In Our Wake”.

The title track is constructed as an obvious hit song where the band carefully weaves crunchy guitar riffing following an engaging bouncy rhythmic section and the expected accessible melodies that reach the peak in the quasi happy chorus and smooth guitar solo.

The best part of “The Time Is Now” arrives when guitars acquire a darker gritty sound that naturally leads to powerful grooves accompanied by highly somber atmospheres while the chorus aims for a radio friendly delivery.

“Nothing Will Ever Change” features massive guitar driven grooves with an evident modern metal approach and a wildly distorted sound accompanied by a heavy rhythmic core with cool bass lines and a polished melodic guitar solo.

“Terrified” becomes emotionally charged focusing mainly on easy ballad style guitar melodies and crispy clean vocals even if the instrumentation will eventually pick up speed while the various atmospheric layers maintain a more modern style.

Initially “Into The Open” focuses on subtle atmospheres and choirs but swiftly proceeds to follow Atreyu’s winning formula of angry & heavier rhythmic segments and warm melodic chorus.

“Super Hero” is another sad track where the classic ballad spirit feels very much alive through soothing arpeggios and peaceful guitar melodies that this time are further embellished by additional sentimental atmospheric orchestrations.

“In Our Wake” might not sound extremely innovative all the time with the massive amount of super accessible and often repetitive radio friendly tunes but it cannot be denied that Atreyu has definitely mastered a signature modern style that can appeal to a wider audience.

Spiders – Killer Machine

Swedish rockers Spiders are on a mission to keep rock ‘n’ roll alive with the latest effort “Killer Machine” so get ready for a wild ride.

Packed with gritty guitar riffs and a catchy chorus “Shock And Awe” channels the energetic mood that will dominate the entire album and the consequent overdose of vintage dazed rhythms is constantly enhanced by Ann-Sofie Hoyles charismatic & wild vocal performance.

With undiluted rock energy “Dead Or Alive” is a fun track full of groovy upbeats built by the deliciously authentic rock sound of guitars and again there are many melodic hooks culminating with the memorable rebel spirit of the chorus.

“Burning For You” picks up speed as guitars become unrestrained focusing on the creation of wild classic rock riffs & leads while Ann-Sofie’s vocals diligently follow such rebellious instrumental ensemble and add hints of nostalgia.

The title track continues to pay homage to the golden days of rock channeling ‘60s flavors and keeping the focus on a widely accessible combo of melodic moments and acidic guitar riffing to maintain a good vibes attitude and nostalgic echoes are still present.

On “Swan Song” the rebel punk attitude contaminates the primary guitar driven grooves obviously executed in proper classic rock fashion but the rhythm acquires a frenetic mode that will lead to the inflamed guitar solo.

Don’t expect “Heartbreak” to sound like a love song because the rhythm is certainly slower and slightly somber but still packs a punch with steady rocking guitars delivering edgy riffs and warm bluesy melodic solos that scream retro rock while Ann-Sofie delivers another delightful vocal performance.

In the midst of an unstoppable retro rock revival from Europe undoubtedly “Killer Machine” preserves the polychromatic nuances of classic rock through loads of melodic hooks that call for good times & party as Spiders express a genuine passion for such timeless music genre.

Black Foxxes – Reiði

Exeter’s trio Black Foxxes is ready to surprise the listeners with the experimental edge and catchy melodies of the second full length Reiði which is the Icelandic word for rage.

The minimalist guitar melodies and the subtle atmospheric accents of “Breathe” evoke bittersweet feelings certainly matched by the highly emotional vocals that contribute to create a very accessible melodic essence spiced up by distorted textures.

“Manic In Me” feels more positive with crispy rock upbeats and a polished melodic ensemble where the band focuses mainly on the creation of a genuine emotional whirlwind with simple chords yet later guitars add a crunchier rock sound.

Initially “Oh, It Had To Be You” has a romantic vibe with soft piano melodies and melancholic vocals but soon elegant atmospheric arrangements and a melodic guitar crescendo craft more complex rhythmic patterns without sacrificing the primary smooth harmonies.

“JOY” amplifies the alternative/experimental approach as charismatic distorted guitars provide energetic grooves seamlessly entwined with softer melodic passages while vocals shift from rebellious screams to soothing delivery.

“Float On” emphasizes a polished melodic essence fully expressed by intensely dramatic vocals naturally floating through subtle atmospheric layers leading to highly contemplative moments and subdued melodic guitars that will eventually become more present with gritty tonalities.

Reiði‘” is not a metal album nevertheless it has the necessary inner energy to invite the audience to an emotional music journey as Black Foxxes don’t really care about following standard music rules and simply follow their heart to deliver a sincere melodic effort.

Toothgrinder – Phantom Amour

New Jersey’s quintet Toothgrinder is ready to entertain and surprise the audience experimenting with multiple music styles ranging from jazz to straightforward metal on the newest record entitled “Phantom Amour”.

With a mix of super crunchy guitar riffs and modern electro layers “HVY” opens the album favoring a heavy approach that will recur throughout the song yet the band proceeds to deliver a more radio friendly melodic blend as the guitar sound acquires polished tonalities enhanced by soothing vocal delivery.

On “The Shadow” the band’s hardcore influences become palpable with a series of fierce guitar riffs and screams yet the smooth breakdown evokes ethereal melodic soundscapes with alt-rock flavors.

“Let It Ride” ensures pure catchiness with the refreshing chorus surrounded by classic rock vibes as well as danceable moments with more modern electro layers bearing hints of radio friendly pop.

The title track sounds definitely catchy with a generous dose of guitar driven grooves that often give way to softer crispy harmonies but don’t refrain from offering more gritty metal rhythmic patterns and furious screams.

“Jubilee” is the must-have romantic ballad stripped down to minimalist acoustic harmonies and mellow vocals but packs a final surprise with the addition of banjo.

“Pietà” drastically changes scenario as hardcore elements take a lead role in the mix with intensely angered screams and massive raw guitar riffs following a faster rhythm that leads to a compelling eclectic guitar solo.

“Vagabond” offers abundant sonic clarity with luminous atmospheric textures but doesn’t refrain from adding a more metal approach with tight guitar riffs, chunky bass lines and venomous screams yet still maintains a catchy melodic core.

With “Phantom Amour” Toothgrinder chooses to take a more melodic route communicating genuine emotions through music & lyrics and also showcases an authentic desire to explore further music territories.

Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard

British doom masters Electric Wizard return with the uncompromising “Wizard Bloody Wizard” fueled by their renowned vintage rock blend and occult theatricals fearlessly deviating from the average modern metal approach to ensure a true raw sound for this collection of ‘hymns to death, drugs, sex and violence’.

The towering guitar riffs of the album opener “See You In Hell” definitely channel creepy retro doom vibes with the right dosage of heaviness and consequently a stomping worth rhythm stripped of unnecessary bombastic effects and instead fueled by monolithic tonalities and fuzzy guitar licks.

With some stoner vibes and a simply obsessive chorus “Necromania” keeps on dragging heavy rhythmic patterns that carry significant occult rock elements as retro fuzzy guitar riffs steadily contribute to evoke an ominous mood and add extra depth with groovy leads.

On “Hear The Sirens Scream” you can literally feel the mythological hypnotizing power of the sirens in the midst of this doom riffing loop that could just go on forever unchanged. It seems like there are no clear signs of enthusiasm or energy yet the intentionally unrefined gritty guitar riffs & solo and the genuine funeral boogie stripped of typical modern studio magic completely spellbind the listeners.

The doom wonderland of “Mourning Of The Magician” definitely showcases the expected overdose of recurring heavy guitar riffs creating a perilous loop that might trigger sudden dizziness as Electric Wizard’s signature music formula acquires a full blown psychedelic rock-esque aura resulting in a trippy sonic alchemy that will hypnotize any audience with massive slow burning rhythmic patterns. It must be noted that the extensive length of this track contributes to the creation of a magical black hole where charismatic guitars indisputably lead the scene crafting detailed melodies and delivering stoner rock feedback/effects to enrich the main heavy grooves.

The all –analogue recording drastically amplifies the exquisitely crushing vintage doom & rock mood that characterizes “Wizard Bloody Wizard” as, coming from a doomed alternative dimension, Electric Wizard deliberately returns to an authentic primal sound.