Ville Valo – Neon Noir

The extensive discography of HIM undoubtedly has left an indelible mark and we all remember the devoted fans in tears during their farewell tour back in 2017 but now Finnish Love Metal pioneer Ville Valo embarks on an exciting & heart wrenching music voyage with the debut solo album “Neon Noir”.
“Run Away From The Sun” soothes your soul with beautiful shimmering melodic waves enriched by a catchy mix of subtle atmospheric tapestries and upbeat rhythmic dynamics that constantly revolve around Ville’s vibrant vocals.
The glowing melodic flow of the title track conveys a bittersweet romance definitely enhanced by Ville’s sophisticated vocal harmonies while the darker vibes of the guitar work lead to an addictive chorus.
“Loveletting” belongs to a dreamland as the graceful acoustic phrases are accompanied by hazy synths arrangements skillfully combining pop & rock elements that perfectly complement the dramatic vocal delivery.
“In Trenodia” is all about heartache but it makes you feel good as Ville’s comforting baritone tone flows gently through lavish multilayered atmospheric textures and delightful melodies.
“Heartful Of Ghosts” warms your heart with poetic melodies and modern synths layers that constantly put the spotlight on Ville’s moody vocals while guitars add hypnotizing darkened motifs.
“Saturnine Saturnalia” is absolutely unforgettable and enthralling as guitars finally embrace a beloved doom essence reminiscent of the glorious “Venus Doom” era and Ville delivers a stunning vocal performance reaching the acme with a seductive chorus.
“Vertigo Eyes” focuses on Ville’s deeply melancholic vocals surrounded by a mellow and often brighter melodic ensemble emphasized by the intricate synths yet guitars create captivating rhythmic twists acquiring a more fuzzy raw sound.
Throughout “Neon Noir” Ville dares to explore diverse musical territories proving a striking creative force but at the same time continues to write mesmerizing Love Metal songs evoking heartbreak and gloom.

Within Temptation – Resist

During their long successful career Within Temptation have achieved a fundamental role in the symphonic metal realm yet in recent years they gradually felt the need to explore new and different music styles, a necessary process to avoid stagnation and lack of inspiration. The return of Within Temptation is inevitably surrounded by high expectations and the new release “Resist” is in fact one of the most anticipated albums of 2019 symbolizing a new musical era and spreading empowering messages because it’s time to break free and fight for freedom.

Featuring guest vocalist Jacoby Shaddix of rockers Papa Roach, the wake up call of “The Reckoning” feels incredibly strong with triumphant accents and somber tones as the enticing instrumental passages fluently unfold through vivid futuristic synths and bouncy guitars while a shimmering melodic aura is always enhanced by the sheer elegance of Sharon’s eclectic vocal delivery.

Undoubtedly “Endless War” is full of vibrant melodic hooks emphasized by a profound melancholia embedded within the mixture of subtle symphonic orchestrations and contrasting modern electro layers that surround Sharon’s spellbinding vocal harmonies.

Guest vocalist Anders Fridén of In Flames provides some bold screams on “Raise Your Banner” and guitars acquire a more prominent role delivering heavier riffs and a crispy melodic solo while understated atmospheric textures constantly channel a darkened mood that will be further intensified by majestic symphonic orchestrations and Sharon’s impeccable operatic vocals glowing through the melodic crescendos.

“Supernova” returns to a futuristic sonic realm with loads of throbbing electronic arrangements that amplify the song’s modern pop approach and the catchy melodies of the memorable chorus while the brief yet intense symphonic style choirs convey solemn vibes.

“In Vain” relies on a profound nostalgia that dictates the lovable mellow rhythm while Sharon’s poignant vocals certainly are destined to steal the spotlight naturally embellishing every melodic progression and emphasizing the song’s inner passionate feelings.

Even if the polished melodic grandeur of “Trophy Hunter” is always evident leading to compelling catchy moments and a lavish chorus, the crunchy tonalities of the guitar riffage ensure a heavy rhythmic core surrounded by dramatic atmospheric layers and scattered majestic symphonic undertones.

It’s evident that Within Temptation went through a major sonic evolution, maybe there are only hints of the style that contributed to their success on the beloved “Mother Earth”, but it must be noted that this has been a rather smooth transition that reaches a natural acme with “Resist”. “Resist” is characterized by modern nuances and even a wide range of techno/pop elements and such accessible melodic approach is the result of a renewed creative force that definitely marks an important milestone for Within Temptation.

Puppy – The Goat

British trio Puppy could become the next breakthrough band with the ‘90s alt rock flavors and grungy vibes the debut album “The Goat”.  

Probably the appealing nature of “Black Hole” comes from the throwback rock tonalities mixed with the enthusiasm of youth so guitar riffs always aim for a fun groovy sound while the melodic passages are all about dreamy nostalgia.

“Vengeance” has its rebellious rock moments with a fair dosage of gritty guitars that could get a party started while vocals can sound super mellow or just dazed matching the underlying grunge attitude.  

“And So I Burn” showcases a healthy classic rock inspiration and should be played at ‘90s themed parties with the raw energy of the chunky guitar riffs and the consequent uncomplicated grooves.

The mood gets significantly darker on “Entombed” which often reminisces of classic heavy metal song as sharp guitar riffs and hazy nostalgic melodies lead the way to extra catchy rhythmic dynamics.

While “Bathe In Blood” has a gruesome title in reality the sonic realm here remains quite accessible as the alt rock spirit is amplified by the several mellow melodic moments mixed with wilder guitar riffs.

Super distorted guitars on “Handlebars” are busy crafting all kinds of rocking grooves that naturally embrace the daydreaming melodies and laid back vocals with a truly nostalgic approach.

“Demons” should or could sound evil but even if guitars deliberately acquire bold tones and a solid heavy rock attitude the core of the song still relies on a big arena chorus and warm melodies.

Puppy have already gathered fans through their various live performances but the entertaining grooves and easy melodies of “The Goat” will certainly give them a chance to reach a wider audience and pave the way for a bright future.

Shining – Animal

It seems like Shining’s new album “Animal” will surprise the longtime fans as mastermind/frontman Jørgen Munkeby was tired of the same ‘blackjazz’ style and decided to create a party metal carnival.

“Take Me” begins with a mainstream combination of keyboards melodies with a 80s feel and steady hard rock style guitar riffs, then you will find melodic bits embellished by additional modern synths layers.

The title track aims for a catchy approach and seems to follow the same straightforward hard rock direction and you can imagine a full blown party accompanied by uncomplicated guitar riffs, underlying atmospheric synths, lots of vocal effects and super melodic chorus.

“My Church” appears to be more dramatic and heavier as the whole rhythmic section dwells in a limbo between classic rock and metal yet vocals provide a melodic emotive delivery but will eventually turn into loud and quite angered screams.

“When I’m Gone” almost feels like a classic power ballad where keyboards keep a subtle atmospheric mood, vocals aim to express pure passion and guitars tend to lurk in the background maintaining a smooth rhythmic flow.

On “Everything Dies” the promising initial acidic tones will give way to another radio friendly groove with the borderline rebellious screams dictating the mood of the chorus and easy uptempo beats briefly interrupted by a sudden somber atmospheric breakdown.

“End” could have been a dark song but guitars feel too quiet and the almost spooky synths are swiftly followed by a melodic rampage focused on sad ballad style vocals and big mainstream chorus.  

“Animal” is mostly loud and bombastic, yes just like the party metal carnival that was supposed to be, so while Jørgen Munkeby is certainly happy with the final result maybe Shining’s fans will gradually learn to embrace this drastic change.


Kalmah – Palo

Finnish band Kalmah has a lot of history and passion for melodic death metal that mixed with majestic symphonic accents dominates the songwriting style of the latest effort “Palo”.

On “Blood Ran Cold” the major melo-death dynamics are easily recognizable drenched in the beloved Nordic essence that provides the cold heavy tonalities of each instrumental passage as guitars are ready for battle with groovy riffing, fancy soloing and additional melodic splendor surrounded by a fair dosage of graceful orchestrations.

“The Evil Kin” can be rather ferocious when guitars start the song with that irresistible crunchy tone that will influence the primary riffage and symphonic orchestrations offer exquisite darkened & diabolical nuances definitely enhanced by menacing growls yet there is plenty of space dedicated to pleasant melodic crescendos & solos that carry slightly triumphant power metal tonalities.

“Take Me Away” begins with melancholy infused piano melodies and subtle atmospheric layers which will often recur throughout the song’s heavier rhythmic patterns and smoothly introduce a proper Scandinavian melo-death style skillfully built by intense melodic guitars that will reach the rightful acme with polished soothing solos.

With groovy rhythmic textures “Waiting In The Wings” features a frenetic tempo with a particularly strong riffing galore, nevertheless the hellish essence of this song doesn’t sacrifice the more accessible melodic moments that become absolutely entertaining when guitars take the center stage with quite compelling solos and neoclassical accents.

“Erase And Diverge” prepares a heavy sonic assault as thunderous drums and delightfully thick guitar riffing follow an enraging faster tempo showcasing the band’s classic death metal roots accompanied by the expected overdose of massive growls yet despite the primary heavier substance this track still features loads of melodic hooks.

A profound melancholy returns to haunt the melodic essence of “The Stalker” which definitely offers another consistent round of grandiose melodic guitars that will also offer some raw darkened riffing but a slower tempo and a contemplative mood will become a major element with loads of somber arpeggios, soulful guitar acrobatics and refined atmospheric orchestrations.

Despite several line-up changes in their long 26 years career Kalmah returns to the scene with renewed energy and confidence which ultimately leads to the cohesive blend of primordial death metal and symphonic elegance of “Palo”.


36 Crazyfists – Lanterns

Alaskan band 36 Crazyfists has been around since 1994 therefore the mature musicianship and songwriting that characterize the latest full length “Lanterns” is definitely not a surprise and the band has taken the time to focus on particularly sincere lyrics concerning life struggles and depression delivering also a message of hope because there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The fierce album opener “Death Eater” starts with the right distorted punch as aggressive rhythmic passages and raw screams borrow the typical fury of metalcore/hardcore.

“Better To Burn” keeps a steady balance between easy upbeat melodic textures and soaring guitar driven grooves supported by a rather crunchy rhythmic backbone.

“Where Revenge Ends” is not exactly a standard ballad but the acoustic melodic fluidity and the general instrumental warmth definitely amplifies the vocals’ honest pensive approach.

“Sleepsick” will satisfy your moshpit needs as guitars and bass skillfully build a cohesive often enraged rhythm yet the mellower breakdown is ready to favor a more emotive vocal delivery.

With an accessible mid-paced groove and fervent alt-rock nuances “Laying Hands” revolves around catchy melodic guitar riffs and solo.

The highly somber mood of “Dark Corners” certainly matches its title as the band puts aside any metalcore elements to focus on a soothing series of stripped down melodies that channel a profound catharsis enhanced by emotionally charged vocals.

Listening attentively to “Lanterns” you will find that 36 Crazyfists have chosen to emphasize the emotional aspect of music composition yet they also ensure a fair dosage of heavy grooves.

CyHra – Letters To Myself

New band CyHra might be considered a supergroup as it features ex-Amaranthe vocalist Jake E, former In Flames guitarist Jesper Strömblad and bassist Peter Iwers and Alex Landenburg, current drummer of Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. Therefore the bombastic debut album “Letters To Myself” is really the product of well-known talented musicians that share the same music vision and passion.

“Karma” starts with electro pop vibes followed by recognizable melo-death guitars that keep a somber mood even when the radio friendly chorus leans towards a more positive outlook.

On “Heartrage” Jake E delivers impressively passionate vocals that channel a multitude of bittersweet emotions, especially in the fervent chorus and romantic breakdowns, while guitars skillfully offer a series of memorable melodic hooks.

In the beginning “Here To Save You” feels particularly melancholic with understated arpeggios but soon crunchy guitars lead the scene with groovy tonalities and powerful blasts that culminate with a charismatic shredded solo.

The title track becomes loud and distorted as delightful guitar melodies & riffs take the center stage delivering super catchy grooves while Jake E chooses a more luminous emotionally charged vocal delivery.

“Dark Clarity” features a classic melodic metal approach with a borderline ballad style structure embellished by modern electro/ambiance accents and again the whole music formula relies on some killer polished melodic hooks that inevitably get stuck in your head.

“Black Wings” is another catchy tune that acquires dramatic melodic textures with simple dreamy harmonies amplified by a Jake E’s poignant vocals and a winning combo of lovely melancholic guitar phrases & flamboyant solo.

Like a resurrection or a second chance to show the world that these musicians can join forces to create something spontaneously sincere and emotional, CyHra packs “Letters To Myself” with the energetic spirit of rock/metal and loads of addictive widely accessible melodic hooks.