Let the music from the sophomore album by this Belgian Symphonic Metal trio embrace you, showcasing a continuous evolution of their sound.
Fans of Beyond the Black, Ad Infinitum, Epica and Within Temptation, among several other big names of the European symphonic and melodic scene, will have an amazing time listening to The Fundamental Paradox, the sophomore effort by a Belgian Symphonic Metal band that goes by the stylish name of Elusion. Currently formed of Evy Verbruggen on vocals, Domingo Smets on the guitars and backing vocals, and Frederik Van Mieghem on drums, the trio showcases a continuous evolution of the Elusion sound in their new installment compared to their debut album Singularity, released back in 2019, living up to the legacy of the genre while also carving their name in the underground Belgian scene by offering our avid ears nine solid songs throughout the album’s 42 minutes of music.
In the opening tune …In Love and War we already face a huge dosage of classic Heavy Metal added to their core Symphonic Metal thanks to the incendiary riffs by Domingo, with Evy kicking ass with both her strident clean vocals and her she-demon gnarls, whereas the sound of the rumbling bass will punch you in the head in the also electrifying Chiaroscuro, with Frederik dictating the song’s pace behind his drums, therefore offering Evy the perfect ambience for her soaring vocals. Acrimonious is even groovier and more metallic than the previous songs, with Domingo and Frederik being in absolute sync with their sonic weapons, once again sounding a lot more modern than classic Symphonic Metal mainly due to its Progressive and Groove Metal nuances. And there’s no sign of slowing down as the trio keeps embellishing the airwaves with their sharp music in Adversity, presenting another awesome performance by Evy on vocals supported by the crushing beats by Frederik and all of the song’s background elements.
The first single of the album, entitled Science|Fiction, brings to our avid ears more of the band’s incendiary Symphonic Metal spearheaded by the razor-edged riffage and solos by Domingo; and the tribalistic vocalizations by Evy ignite the next tune, titled From the Woods to the Water, a solid piece by Elusion despite lacking the same energy of the rest of the album. It’s then time to blast a purely European Symphonic Metal tune named In Balance, where Domingo keeps extracting endless electricity from his axe accompanied by the pounding drums by Frederik; whereas enhancing their epicness and emotion, the trio fires the symphonic extravaganza Isochronism, showcasing classic riffs, hammering drums, stunning orchestrations and the always enfolding vocals by Evy. Lastly, after such charming song the band closes the album on a high note with Deafening Silence, bringing forward another round of the metallic guitars by Domingo and the vicious but intricate beats by Frederik.
If you want to know more about Evy, Domingo and Frederik, listen to more of their their music, and stay up to date about their tour dates and plans for the future, you can find those Belgian metallers on Facebook, on Instagram, on YouTube, and on Spotify, and above all that, you can grab your copy of The Fundamental Paradox from the band’s own BandCamp page. After listening to each and every track from The Fundamental Paradox, we must all agree that Elusion are hands down one of the most interesting names of the Belgian Symphonic and Melodic Metal scene, with their newborn opus representing not only a big step in their career, but it’s also another must-listen album made in Belgium, leaving us eager for more of their refined music in a not-so-distant future.
Best moments of the album:Adversity, Science|Fiction and In Balance.
Worst moments of the album:From the Woods to the Water.
Released in 2023 Independent
Track listing 1. …In Love and War 3:43
2. Chiaroscuro 3:49
3. Acrimonious 4:20
4. Adversity 4:24
5. Science|Fiction 4:05
6. From the Woods to the Water 5:48
7. In Balance 6:23
8. Isochronism 4:29
9. Deafening Silence 5:21
Evy Verbruggen – vocals
Domingo Smets – guitars, backing vocals
Frederik Van Mieghem – drums
Let’s all say farewell to this talented Progressive Metal act from Finland to the sound of their second (and last) full-length album.
Hailing from the Finnish capital of Helsinki, the Progressive Metal outfit known as Fireproven has just unleashed upon us their sophomore effort, entitled Epilogue, which is also their last album as in January 2022 the band announced they would be disbanded, thanking their loyal fans for their support through the years. “Sadly, we have to announce that Fireproven will no longer continue. There are number of reasons that led us to this decision but we’re all still good friends, and will continue to keep it that way. We’re going to release our last album later this spring but all shows will be cancelled. We want to thank you all for your love and support during these years. None of this would have been possible without you guys listening to our tracks and showing us your love,” commented vocalist Sanna Solanterä, guitarist Janne Väätämöinen, bassist Juha Väätämöinen, keyboardist Ilari Hannula and drummer Nuutti Hannula, leaving us with the musical freedom and explorations from Epilogue embraced by a stylish cover art by Petri Lampela.
The whimsical keys by Ilari will captivate your senses in the opening track The Maze, being joined by the slashing riffage by Janne and the blast beats by Nuutti, sounding very modern, progressive and melodic from start to finish. Then blending the Melodic Metal from bands such as Epica and Within Temptation with Progressive and Groove Metal nuances we have The Addict, a pleasant, headbanging tune led by the always striking vocals by Sanna; whereas the metallic, thunderous bass by Juha dictates the pace in King, offering more of the band’s hybrid of Melodic and Progressive Metal with the growls by Juha making a great paradox with Sanna’s vocals. And phantasmagorical keys and pounding drums generate a dense atmosphere in Haunted, sounding very theatrical while Janne extracts pure obscurity from his guitar. Moreover, it’s very different from its predecessors, but still loyal to the band’s core essence.
In Time to Heal, the tick tock on the clock grows in intensity until the music turns into a heavy and aggressive onrush with Juha roaring like a beast alternating with Sanna and her beyond melodic vocals, while sheer adrenaline flows from the breathtaking Dream Catcher, where all band members are in absolute sync spearheaded by the Melodic Death Metal keys by Ilari. After such intense tune, an epic, imposing intro to the slashing riffs by Janne evolves into more of the band’s Progressive Metal in Grace, where Janna once again beautifully declaims the song’s lyrics; and the band offers our ears over six minutes of progressiveness in the form of Waves of Extinction, with a delicate but mesmerizing vocal performance by Sanna as if Dream Theater or Opeth had a female vocalist. Lastly, the keys by Ilari add an extra touch of finesse to the nine-minute aria Unity, where Nuuutti keeps hammering his drums nonstop, providing Sanna with exactly what she needs to shine on vocals while Janne and Juha make an incendiary duo with their stringed weapons.
If Progressive and Melodic Metal with female vocals is your cup of tea, you should definitely take a listen at Epilogue, which is by the way available in full on Spotify, and although Fireproven have just called it quits you can still give a shout to the band on Facebook and on Instagram (and who knows, maybe that will inspire them to get back in action in the near future, right?), listen to more of their music on YouTube, and purchase Epilogue from Apple Music. Unfortunately, as already mentioned, Epilogue is the last album by Fireproven, which means we won’t probably hear from those talented Finnish metallers again unless they decide to come back from the ashes one day. However, they’re definitely going out with a bang thanks to the amazing job done in their new album, leaving their mark in the underground Finnish scene while also bringing a lot of fun and joy to our ears and hearts, all in line with the name chosen for their farewell album.
Best moments of the album: The Addict, Dream Catcher and Waves of Extinction.
Worst moments of the album:Haunted.
Released in 2022 Independent
Track listing 1. The Maze 4:29
2. The Addict 5:19
3. King 4:11
4. Haunted 5:08
5. Time to Heal 5:08
6. Dream Catcher 4:54
7. Grace 5:40
8. Waves of Extinction 6:29
9. Unity 9:02
Band members Sanna Solanterä – vocals
Janne Väätämöinen – guitar, backing vocals
Juha Väätämöinen – bass, vocals
Ilari Hannula – keyboards
Nuutti Hannula – drums
Dealing to a large extent with questions about the end of humanity as we know it, this Melodic Death Metal from Luxembourg begins a new era in their career with their thrilling and furious sophomore effort.
Hailing from Dippach, a commune and small town in south-western Luxembourg that is part of the canton of Capellen, Melodic Death Metal outfit Sleepers’ Guilt is back in action with their sophomore opus, entitled What Remained, marking the beginning of a new era in the band’s career with the debut of their new frontwoman Sany Faihrmann. Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s guitarist Marc Froehling, What Remained deals to a large extent with questions about the end of humanity as we know it and the challenges we might face in the near or more distant future, all that without being a concept album according to the band itself. In addition to the classical instrumentation and the usual samples, Sany and Marc, together with their bandmates Chris T. Ian also on the guitars, Philip Rio Ries on bass and Ben Thuy on drums, dare to experiment with more exotic instruments, such as bouzoukis, mandolins, didgeridoos, and cellos, among others, to give the arrangements more opulence, while at the same time the music never loses its heaviness and always demands the listener’s attention.
Futuristic sounds ignite the band’s metal machine in the opening track Posthuman, with Philip and Ben dictating the rhythm with their heavy kitchen while Sany roars nonstop like a true she-demon, whereas Chris and Marc continue to extract sheer electricity from their axes in Wrath of Gods, another Melodic Death Metal extravaganza showcasing all the band’s heaviness, talent and passion for extreme music. As the name already says, Eye of the Storm is indeed a metallic storm by the quintet with Sany’s roars leading her bandmates into the eye of “you know what”, with the band’s guitar duo delivering classic riffs and solos for our total delight, therefore keeping the album at a high level of insanity. Let’s keep banging our heads to the pounding drums by Ben in Freedom Undone, a neck-breaking tune where Sany’s screams sound like a devilish version of Overkill’s Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth; and slowing things down a bit it’s time for the somber Ultimate Sin, not as powerful as the rest of the album but still very melodic, with Chris and Marc showcasing a great performance with their riffs and solos.
Train of Thoughts feels like a heavier, more devilish version of the Melodic Metal played by Stratovarius, with Sany delivering a dark and thrilling vocal performance by roaring deeply accompanied by the classy beast by Ben; and get ready for 10 minutes of high-quality Melodic Death Metal made in Luxembourg with Tides of Fate, starting in a serene, melancholic way before morphing into an experimental sonority and exploding into the band’s core sound with an epic touch, with Sany delivering her usual she-wolf growls while her bandmates keep the atmosphere as dense and electrifying as possible, not to mention their soulful, striking guitar solos. Then blackening their core essence considerably it’s time for the almost pure Death Metal onrush titled Pyre, also bringing to our ears elements from Groove Metal thanks to the amazing job done by Philip and Ben with their respective bass punches and venomous beats. Last but not least, Sleepers’ Guilt offer us all the Arch Enemy-inspired tune The Remains, with hints of the music played by Soilwork and In Flames while Chris and Marc are on fire armed with their guitars, providing Sany all she needs to gnarl like a creature form the abyss.
You can start following such promising name of the Luxembourger metal scene on Facebook and on Instagram, staying up to date with all things Sleepers’ Guilt, and also watch their videos and stream all of their creations on YouTube and on Spotify. Furthermore, above all that, don’t forget to show them your utmost support by purchasing the excellent What Remained by clicking HERE. In a dystopian world, humanity is on the brink of extinction and the machines have taken over. But is it really the machines, or rather those who control the machines? And is there life outside the dystopian illusions, in solitude, amid an exhausted, repellent nature? Simply hit play in What Remained and let the band answer those questions to you, while of course you keep banging your head nonstop to their venomous music.
Best moments of the album: Wrath of Gods, Train of Thoughts and Pyre.
Worst moments of the album:Ultimate Sin.
Released in 2022 Independent
Track listing 1. Posthuman 4:23
2. Wrath of Gods 4:19
3. Eye of the Storm 6:39
4. Freedom Undone 5:52
5. Ultimate Sin 4:29
6. Train of Thoughts 6:04
7. Tides of Fate 10:15
8. Pyre 7:17
9. The Remains 9:24
Band members Sany Faihrmann – vocals
Chris T. Ian – guitars
Marc Froehling – guitars
Philip Rio Ries – bass
Ben Thuy – drums
So sin ‘til you win, let your demons out! Lady Lightbringer!
It’s time for a true metal opera this February on The Headbanging Moose, courtesy of our multi-talented metal lady of the month. A metal vocalist, poet, vocal coach and musician best known for being the frontwoman and composer for American Symphonic Metal band Seven Spires, among several other amazing metal bands and projects, Adrienne Elizabeth Catli Cowan, who goes by her stage name of Adrienne Cowan, will mesmerize you with her unique vocals, both extreme and classic Heavy Metal clean vocals. In other words, she can sing pretty much any type of metal and non-metal music, from the Symphonic Metal of Seven Spires to Death Metal, Deathcore and Dark Jazz, and I’m sure you’ll have an absolute blast with Adrienne after knowing more about the life and career of such skillful artist.
Born on January 28, 1995 in Houston, the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States, Adrienne is formally trained in classical and most contemporary styles as a graduate of both Berklee College of Music (with a degree in Music Composition) in Boston, Massachusetts and the Academy of Contemporary Music in the UK, although she was also self-taught in both extreme clean vocals for many years before finally finding a perfect vocal coach in Swedish singer David Äkesson. Her connection with music started a lot earlier than that, though, as since she was a child she was already taking part in choirs and taking piano lessons, performing in musicals and then entering music school, and from there starting to compose her music and to expand her knowledge and skills, especially as a singer. For instance, Adrienne had her first performance as a vocalist at the age of three at an event at the church her family attended, beginning her piano lessons after that at the age of six and being mainly into choir and darker popular musicals such as Phantom of the Opera throughout elementary and middle school. Not only that, her parents pulled her out of high school so that she could attend a music school full-time, so through that show of support she already had a good feeling about her potential skills.
When she was still living in England, in 2012, Adrienne was making demos by herself for a dark and theatrical project she had yet to debut, and after moving back to the United States in 2013 she met Jack Kosto in a bookstore in her first week at Berklee and told him about her project and songs. From there Seven Spires were born, with all band members having extensive musical knowledge and studies, therefore drawing on their backgrounds to express themselves musically without limits of genre or technique. Seven Spires released their first album in 2014, the EP The Cabaret of Dreams, with all of its songs representing half of their 2017 full-length opus Solveig, where not only Adrienne was responsible for all vocals, keyboards, lyrics and songwriting, but also for the production and vocal engineering, showcasing all her talent and professionalism. After Solveig, the band released the full-length albums Emerald Seas, in 2020, and Gods of Debauchery, in 2021, and if you want to enjoy all of the band’s epic creations you can find Seven Spires on Spotify and on YouTube, where you can also have a visual orgasm with their official videos for the songs Lightbringer, Succumb, The Unforgotten Name, The Cabaret Of Dreams, Drowner Of Worlds, Bury You, The Paradox, This God Is Dead, Silvery Moon, The Cursed Muse, and Dare To Live, as well as some live footage, making of’s, behind the scenes and other awesome videos by Adrienne and her crew.
Apart from her career with Seven Spires, you can also find Adrienne and her powerful vocals in distinct bands and projects such as International Power Metal band Light & Shade, with whom she recorded the vocals for the 2016 album The Essence of Everything; International Power Metal/Hard Rock band Sascha Paeth’s Masters of Ceremony, with whom she recorded the vocals (and piano for one track) in the 2019 album Signs of Wings; and American Symphonic Deathcore band Winds of Plague, with whom she recorded the keyboards and backing vocals in the 2017 album Blood of My Enemy. In addition, Adrienne was also part of American Melodic Heavy Metal band FirstBourne from 2016 to 2018, having recorded the vocals and keyboards in their 2016 album Riot and in the 2017 acoustic single Home, and of Frontiers All Stars in 2020 and Riot Underground between 2012 and 2013.
You can also find her singing and playing live with German Symphonic Power Metal band Avantasia since 2018, with American Heavy Metal band Mike Kerr from 2015 until 2018, and with American Power/Thrash Metal band Sonic Pulse. Not only that, Adrienne was also a guest musician in an array of bands and projects, those being vocals for the song I Declare War from the 2020 album The Journey, by German Melodic Death Metal band Deliver the Galaxy; vocals for several songs from the 2021 album The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson, by Swedish Symphonic/Melodic/Power Metal band Heart Healer; vocals for the song My Guide My Hunger from the 2018 album As Above So Below, by Italian Melodic Death Metal band Hell’s Guardian; vocals for the song The End of Innocence from the 2017 album Reflections, by American Neoclassical Heavy Metal artist Jimi Mitchell; vocals for the song Mammoth from the 2017 album Pianometal, by American Symphonic/Progressive Metal artist Kyle Morrison; vocals for the song The Truth of the Lion from the 2015 album The Truth of the Lion, by Mike Kerr; harsh and clean vocals for the songs Conjunction of Souls and The Restitution from the 2020 album Pile of Priests, by American Progressive Death Metal band Pile of Priests; vocals for the song Let It Go from the 2018 album Re-Animated, by Italian Power Metal band Trick or Treat; and vocals and lyrics for the 2018 album Lights in the Murk, by Italian Symphonic Black Metal band Yass-Waddah. Do you want more? Because our she-wolf was also responsible for the songwriting for the song Hold Tight from the 2016 EP Dirty Lyxx, by American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Dirty Lyxx, and she also sung vocals in Black Science’s Freedom (Or Die Trying), featured in the outro of one Camp Camp episode, and sang both a duet with Casey Lee Williams in the RWBY Volume 6 credits song Nevermore, and in the song War of Volume 7. Adrienne has also been a part of the Freelance Orchestra in their RTX 2016 (where to her surprise she ended up in the RWBY music panel) and 2018 concerts, plus Anime Boston 2018, and you can always have a great time watching her own videos on her official YouTube channel.
Adrienne got into the world of metal music around the age of 11 when her uncle showed her Metallica and Scorpions, but it wasn’t until she found out about musicians the likes of Alexi Laiho, Janne Wierman and Yngwie Malmsteen that she really started to feel at home listening to Heavy Metal. She mentioned it appealed in some way to her classical background, and watching live Children of Bodom videos was quite inspiring. However, she’s not only into metal, but showcases a wide variety of influences in her life. “I’m not a one-dimensional person – I’m a human – so I’m allowed to like other stuff”, she said in one of her interviews. “I’m not a huge K-pop fan or anything, but I really like good pop writing. From a technical standpoint, as a songwriter, I’m like: damn, good for you guys. And there’s a certain sassy energy – it just speaks to me in a way that a lot of metal doesn’t.” Another influence on our beloved diva as a writer are painters of the Romantic period, with German painter Caspar David Friedrich and Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky being two of her main inspirations. “I’m also a big fan of (the English composer) Edward Elgar – he does this piece called ‘Sospiri Op. 70,’ which is the most beautiful thing, it sounds like the pain of falling in love. It was something I listened to a lot when we were writing this record. And of course, Chopin,” she said, also finding inspiration under night skies and in the darker depths of the human condition to write her lyrics. Adrienne also nurtures an amazing openness with her fans on social media, which she credits to her experience as a My Chemical Romance fan back when she was younger. “This one interview with them came out, and I remember one of the guys in the band saying basically, ‘We say these things in our music, we are a bunch of fucked up guys, and it helps our fans know… you’re not alone.’ That really made me feel less alone when I was a sad teenager, and then when I grew up into a sad adult, I thought, damn, I could be that for somebody else.”
Regarding her singing style, technique and how she maintains her vocal cords in great shape, Adrienne mentioned in one of her interviews that she likes to meditate before shows and uses her instincts to decide what she’ll sing or scream either high or low. “The low death metal style is more present and more grounded and more angry and earthier in a way. The higher black metal screams are more spiritually pitched or spiritually empty — when there’s black metal themes and nihilistic lyrics, of course I’m probably going to scream with that high tone”, said Adrienne. In addition, when she was enrolled at The Academy of Contemporary Music at the age of 16 she joined an after-school club where all metalhead students gathered to jam on a new song every week, opening her eyes to the rest of the metal world and challenging her to vocally try different styles of each subgenre of metal. She also mentioned that she has studied many techniques of singing including theatrical belting, Speech Level Singing, bel canto and even some throat singing, with the hardest part being unlearning things previous teachers had told her in order to properly approach whatever new technique she was learning, and with the very high Power Metal “scream” being one of the styles that took her the longest to develop. In order to maintain her vocal health, she mentioned that she basically has to just mind her sleep and hydration levels, trying to stay out of the direct blast of heaters or air conditioners, and trying not to get sick or allergic. However, at the end of the day, even dehydrated or sick the show must go on, which forced her to develop alternate techniques to sing through sickness.
A huge fan of Lord of the Rings, all forms of art, Gothic style, cheesy Sci-Fi, vampire shows, coffee and fantasy games, Adrienne enjoys mountain hikes, spending time by any shore, and playing JRPG’s (Japanese Role-Playing Games) and games with friends between her musical ventures. “After a long tour, I like to sit at home and sleep in my own bed, play video games, maybe think about going out… If I get to go on a little holiday or something, I love road trips and anywhere remote with alpine forests and quiet waters. Wyoming is great for this, as are many spots on the West Coast. Anything to get me away from people and out of my regular world,” commented Adrienne, who despite being very fond of animals cannot take care of a dog or cat due to her lack of space and time to do so. And when asked which hobbit from Lord of the Rings she would choose to be part of her band for the rest of their days, she provided a curious and fun answer to that. “Either Sam or Pippin, I think. Because I think I’m a Frodo, and I need a support system like Sam. But also I need a Pippin to just make me laugh all the time no matter what, and just help lighten the mood, and tell me to eat my carrots and mushrooms.”
Last but not least, our raven-haired vocalist also had a few interesting words to say about the whole pandemic and how it has been impacting her life on the road with Seven Spires. “All of this resulted in connecting more with our fans online. So although it’s super frustrating to not know exactly when we’re going to be able to play live again, we have found a way to do the online equivalent of hugging people at the merch table and listening to their stories,” said Adrienne, who also mentioned she keeps working hard to entertain and stay in touch with her fanbase, also teaching online, private vocal lessons and running a weekly workshop on everything from orchestration to arranging to songwriting techniques, all of which you can find on Linktree and on Patreon. “Mostly I teach tools for people to be able to express what they have in mind, and I teach from a really emotional standpoint.” And if you want to know more about Adrienne, her likes and dislikes, her inspirations and so on, there are countless interview online with her such as this one to Rock Titan or this one called RichardMetalFan Interviews! Ep. 33: Adrienne Cowan of Seven Spires/Winds of Plague/Avantasia, where she talks about her journey with music from where she started until now. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to let Adrienne reach deep inside your heart and take you on a breathtaking musical voyage to the sound of her stunning vocals?
Hailing from Sweden, Norway and Finland, these fired up musicians will rock your world to the sound of their debut album of old school Heavy Metal.
Formed in the spring of 2021 by vocalist Christian Liljegren (Narnia, The Waymaker, Audiovision) and guitarist and composer Mats-Åke Andersson (Zaragorn), but with its history going back to 1987 when the duo met for the first time in their hometown Jönköping, a city on the shores of Lake Vättern, in southern Sweden, the newborn Heavy Metal entity known as Flames Of Fire is ready to show us all what they got with the release of their self-titled debut album. With multi-instrumentalist Jani Stefanovic (The Waymaker, Solution .45, Miseration), bassist Per Schelander (House of Shakira, Astrakhan, Royal Hunt, Pain of Salvation) and guitarist Stephen Carlson (Brotthogg, Peter Carlsohn’s The Rise, Tales, Viva) completing the line-up, this Sweden/Norway/Finland-based squad is highly recommended for admirers of the music by Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and Dio, among others, delivering the awesomeness of metal music in their new album while also displaying a crystal clear and very professional overall production and sound quality.
The sinister intro New Dawn warms up Flames of Fire to strike us all with their high-octane sound in Gloria, with Jani dictating the pace with his fierce drumming while at the same time he embellishes the airwaves with his classy keys, all of course spiced up by the powerful vocals by Christian in an old school, no shenanigans Heavy and Power Metal hymn by the quintet. Mats-Åke, Jani and Stephen keep slashing their guitars in the battle song that carries the name of the band, Flames Of Fire, supported by the thunderous bass by Per. Needless to say, it will inspire you to keep fighting for heavy music no matter what; whereas Madness brings to our ears classic Melodic Metal with that trademark European harmony, also presenting a pleasant pace with Jani kicking ass with his rhythmic beats. Then in I Am the band drinks from the same mystical fountain as bands like Helloween, Blind Guardian and Iron Maiden, while Christian’s soaring vocals add an extra touch of magic to the musicality accompanied by the galloping bass by Per.
It’s time to bang our heads to the electrifying fusion of Melodic and Power Metal found in Time To Live, showcasing traditional guitar riffs and solos, a breathtaking pace and the always visceral vocals by Christian, not to mention Per’s stunning bass lines. Are you ready for 10 minutes of epicness and a deep passion for metal music? That’s what the band has to offer us all in Solution, a heavy-as-hell aria by Flames of Fire where Christian darkly declaims the song’s wicked words. Moreover, it has a strong Black Sabbath vibe from their Dio-era, resulting in almost a metal opera with the massive drums by Jani making your head tremble mercilessly. The band has one final metal onrush for us all in the form of Soldiers Of The King, tailored for diehard fans of the genre, with their guitar triumvirate Mats-Åke, Jani and Stephen being on absolute sync until the very last second, flowing into the outro End Theme, which puts an atmospheric ending to the album.
After carefully listening to Flames of Fire, you’ll easily notice how professional and focused those Scandinavian metallers are, which explains why the album sounds so thrilling from start to finish. Hence, in order to show them your support and admiration, you can start following the band on Facebook for news, tour dates (if they will do that one day, of course), plans for the future and other nice-to-know details about them, and purchase your copy of the album from the Melodic Passion Records’ webstore or by clicking HERE. Having said all that, are you ready to rock and bang your head in the name of Heavy Metal together with the guys from Flames of Fire? You won’t get disappointed at all, showing you once and for all that Scandinavia is and will always be a fantastic source of heavy music for your metallic heart.
Best moments of the album: Flames Of Fire, Time To Live and Solution.
Worst moments of the album:Madness.
Released in 2022 Melodic Passion Records
Track listing 1. New Dawn 1:25
2. Gloria 4:15
3. Flames Of Fire 3:16
4. Madness 3:55
5. I Am 4:31
6. Time To Live 4:07
7. Solution 9:58
8. Soldiers Of The King 5:05
9. End Theme 1:32
Band members Christian Liljegren – vocals
Mats-Åke Andersson – guitars
Jani Stefanovic – guitars, keyboards, drums, backing vocals
Stephen Carlson – guitars
Per Schelander – bass
Inspired by the works of Guillermo Del Toro, this Canadian entity is unleashing upon us all their second EP of the year, delving even further into their horror inspired roots.
After the releases of their debut self-titled album in 2015, the EP Ritualis Aeterna in 2016, the full-length opus Restless Dreams in 2018, and the EP Crawling Chaos earlier this year, Oakville, Canada-based metal band Malacoda continues to deliver their fusion of Gothic, Power, Symphonic, Melodic and Progressive Metal for our total delight with their second EP of the year, entitled The Strain. Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own founder, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lucas Di Mascio at Old Haunt Recording Studio, and displaying a goth artwork by Yeganeh Ghasemi featuring model Goddess Ov Death, The Strain is inspired by the works of the one and only Guillermo Del Toro, delving even further into the band’s horror inspired roots and bringing forward all the talent of the aforementioned Lucas together with guitarist Wes MacDonald and bassist Zak Stulla, not to mention an array of guest musicians to make the EP even more compelling.
The title-track The Strain already begins in full force to the symphonic and epic keys by Lucas while guest drummer Andrew Suarez (Bangin Productions, Fatality) showcases all his dexterity behind his drum set, adding an extra touch of heaviness to the music, and also presenting elements from Doom and classic Heavy Metal with Lucas delivering his Ghost/Candlemass/Mercyful Fate-inspired vocals. Then featuring additional vocals by Beth Wilson and with Lucas taking care of the drumming duties, Crimson Peak is a slower but heavy-as-hell and obscure creation where Wes extracts sheer darkness from his riffage and solo, accompanied by the melodic, rumbling bass by Zak; whereas investing into a more progressive sonority were treated to Where Shadows Play, another solid tune by the band to also feature additional vocals by Beth Wilson, with Lucas and Beth making a great vocal duo while guest drummer Victor Boechat smashes his drums mercilessly from start to finish. And lastly, a very melodic and introspective intro morphs into the Gothic Rock and Metal feast entitled Mind Flayer, featuring drummer Ryan Claxton (This Is Death Valley) and additional vocals by Wes, while Lucas presents both his powerful clean vocals and his demonic gnarls from start to finish.
You can stream the full EP on Spotify, show your support to Malacoda by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and click HERE for all social media, links to buy their music and merch, videos and so on. “There really is a balance of dark aggression and beauty in these songs,” stated Lucas about the band’s new EP, complementing by saying that “that’s been the consistent tone with these four tracks – keeping it dark but letting some tender spots poke through.” And let’s say Lucas nailed it, with his words precisely describing the music found in The Strain and, consequently, inviting us all to join him and his henchmen in the dark realm ruled by Malacoda, and proving Malacoda are following a healthy and strong musical path, evolving as a band and providing us all fans high-quality metal music made in Canada with each one of their releases.
Best moments of the album: The Strain and Where Shadows Play.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2021 Independent
1. The Strain 7:49
2. Crimson Peak 3:51
3. Where Shadows Play 3:51
4. Mind Flayer 5:11
Band members Lucas Di Mascio – vocals, keys, drums on “Crimson Peak”
Wes MacDonald – guitar, additional background vocals on “Mind Flayer”
Zak Stulla – bass
Guest musicians Andrew Suarez – drums on “The Strain”
Victor Boechat – drums on “Where Shadows Play”
Ryan Claxton – drums on “Mind Flayer”
Beth Wilson – background vocals on “Crimson Peak” and “Where Shadows Play”
One of the best Romanian bands of all time returns like a Phoenix with the breathtaking last part of “The Book of Scarlet” trilogy, offering us all more of their flawless fusion of Heavy and Power Metal.
Chaos on Earth, uncertainty in life, plagues, disasters and once again the feeling that there is no one there to save the world. But from a distance there is always someone or something that watches humankind. Scarlet, partly Devil, partly Angel and most important, partly Phoenix, is there together with its sidekicks to set rights and wrongs. That’s what you’ll get in Genesis of Time, the third and last part of “The Book of Scarlet” trilogy by Romanian Heavy/Power Metal outfit Scarlet Aura, following up on their critically acclaimed albums Hot’n’Heavy, released in 2018, and Stormbreaker, from 2020. Mixed, mastered and produced by the band’s own guitarist Mihai “Myke D” Dănciulescu at Silver City Studio, and displaying a stylish artwork by renowned Brazilian artist Gustavo Sazes, Genesis of Time does not shy away from taking risks and introducing unexpected turns, new musical atmospheres and landscapes, bringing the perfect and balanced ending to the trilogy with its over one hour of undisputed music carefully brought forth by frontwoman Aura Dănciulescu, guitarist Mihai “Myke D” Danciulescu, bassist Rene Nistor and drummer Matthias Klaus.
The futuristic and epic instrumental The Book of Scarlet will instantly transport you to the magical world of Scarlet Aura, with Mihai taking the lead with his stylish and sharp riffs and solos accompanied by Rene and Matthias with their heavy kitchen, flowing into the Power Metal extravaganza titled Raw Power, a song that will put you to bang your head nonstop to the classic beast by Matthias while Aura mesmerizes us all with her soaring, metallic and absolutely melodic vocals until the very last second. Then a a cinematic intro morphs into more of their classic fusion of Heavy and Power Metal in Dark Lightning, where Mihai once again steals the spotlight with his razor-edged riffs and striking solos while Rene doesn’t stop smashing his bass; and Aura and the boys masterfully bring forward the Stratovarius-inspired tune Utopia, another powerful composition that lives up to the legacy of Melodic Metal without showing a single second of boredom. Quite the contrary, it’s utterly electrifying from start to finish, and there’s no time to breathe as the quartet keeps delivering fast and melodic metal music for our vulgar delectation in Frostbite, with Matthias taking the lead with his kick-ass drums, whereas in The Black Roses the band slows things down a bit but keeping the heaviness of their core essence intact, with Aura declaiming the song’s lyrics with tons of passion and energy.
And the rumbling bass by Rene ignites their metal machine once again in Right Place, Wrong Time, also showcasing interesting background keys, and all of course spiced up by another sharp vocal performance by Aura, while in Human Obsolete they get back to a more metallic and thunderous sonority, with Mihai and Rene being in total sync with their respective riffage and bass jabs. It’s time for another Scandinavian Melodic Metal-like feast entitled In The Line of Fire, where Aura’s vocals are beyond impactful, supported by the old school sound crafted by her bandmates, whereas adding hints of the Doom Metal played by renowned acts like Candlemass and Black Sabbath to their trademark Power Metal they offer us all the heavy and sinister tune Saints Need Sinners, with over six minutes of groovy bass jabs, slashing guitars, pounding drums and dark vocals. Are you ready to fly high in the sky together with Aura and her henchmen? That’s exactly what Scarlet Aura deliver in the epic Wings of Light, a straight-to-the-point, in-your-face Power Metal tune showcasing all of the band’s heavy artillery, followed by the title-track Genesis Of Time, the most epic of all songs bringing forward nine minutes of sheer power and electricity, or in other words, a dense and imposing aria by the band that will please all fans of classic Power Metal, also presenting elements from Progressive Metal to give it an extra kick. Needless to say, the trilogy couldn’t have ended in a more climatic manner.
All good things must come to an end, which is the case with Scarlet Aura’s “The Book of Scarlet” trilogy with the release of the excellent Genesis of Time, and it’s impressive how the band managed to bring into being an even better opus than Stormbreaker, displaying a more mature, melodic and intricate sound that will undoubtedly be appreciated by metalheads from all over the world. Hence, if you want to know more about one of the best bands (if not the best) in the history of Romanian metal, you can follow the band on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their distinguished music and videos, stream all of their awesome creations on Spotify, and of course show your true support to the band by purchasing Genesis of Time from their own webstore or from other retailers such as Apple Music and Amazon sooner than you can say “scarlet”. Now that the trilogy is finally concluded, let’s see what Scarlet Aura will have for us fans with their upcoming releases. And despite the fact I doubt they can unleash upon us something better than Genesis of Time, I must also say that no one should ever doubt Aura and the boys, as just like a metallic Phoenix they keep coming back from the underworld spreading their fiery music to all four corners of the earth with each of their first-class albums.
Best moments of the album: Dark Lightning, Utopia, In The Line of Fire and Wings of Light.
Worst moments of the album:The Black Roses.
Released in 2021 Universal Music Romania/Silver City Records
1. The Book of Scarlet 6:31
2. Raw Power 4:49
3. Dark Lightning 5:14
4. Utopia 5:02
5. Frostbite 5:46
6. The Black Roses 6:13
7. Right Place, Wrong Time 5:46
8. Human Obsolete 5:28
9. In The Line of Fire 5:46
10. Saints Need Sinners 6:20
11. Wings of Light 4:27
12. Genesis Of Time 9:06
Band members Aura Dănciulescu – lead vocals
Mihai “Myke D” Dănciulescu – guitars, vocals
Rene Nistor – bass, vocals
Matthias Klaus – drums
A massive metal attack made in Italy offering us all 11 tracks that speak of ancient alien civilizations, European pyramids, legends and historical facts of Friuli.
Mystai Keltoy, an enigmatic name that alludes to the Elusian Mysteries, is also the name of the brand new album by an Italian Melodic Power/Thrash Metal entity formed in 2010 that goes by the epic name of Celtic Hills, offering us fans of heavy music 11 tracks that speak of ancient alien civilizations, European pyramids, legends and historical facts of Friuli. Recorded and produced at The Groove Factory in Udine, Italy by Michele Guaitoli, and displaying a classy artwork representing the myth of the ancient visitors hand painted by artist Sheila Franco, Mystai Keltoy is a journey through several metal styles from early Thrash Metal to modern-day Power Metal, showcasing all the talent of the band comprised of Jonathan Vanderbilt on vocals and guitar, Jacopo Novello on bass, and Simone Cescutti on drums.
The Iron Maiden-like riffs by Jonathan and the crushing drums by Simone kick off the band’s metal extravaganza in The Light, blending the magic of traditional Heavy Metal with the acidity of the Speed Metal played by Megadeth. And let’s keep banging our heads to the smashing drums by Simone in Blood is not Water, accompanied by the thunderous bass by Jacopo, reminding me of some classic compositions by Overkill, Exodus and Metal Church, whereas powerful backing vocals add an extra touch of epicness to the imposing The Tomorrow of Our Sons, supporting Jonathan and his old school vocal lines. Putting the pedal to the metal, the trio fires the absolutely pulverizing battle hymn The 7-Headed Dragon of Osoppo, where all three musicians are in total sync with their incendiary riffs, bass punches and pounding drums, resulting in a lesson in Italian Heavy and Thrash Metal. There’s no time to breathe as those Italian metallers deliver another kick-ass tune entitled The Landing of the Gods, with Jonathan slashing his stringed axe nonstop.
Already Lost is epic and bold form the very first second, with the trio being on fire throughout the entire song which “forgets” their previous Speed Metal and invests into a pure Melodic Metal sonority. Then a futuristic atmosphere walks hand in hand with the metal demolition spearheaded by Simone’s drums in Falling Star, where it’s impressive how only three musicians can generate such dense sound; followed by Battle Of Frigidium, once again drinking from the same fountain as renowned acts the likes of Manowar, Iron Maiden and Iced Earth, with Jonathan’s vocals getting darker and more enraged as the music progresses. Featuring guest vocals by Italian singer Germana Noage (Aetherna, ƝOΔGE), Celtic Hills offer us fans a more melodic side of their music à la Nightwish, After Forever and Lacuna Coil in Eden, while Temple of Love never really takes off albeit sounding similar to the previous song, and never showing the same amount of adrenaline form the rest of the album. Finally, closing the album it’s time for a Melodic Power Metal tune entirely sung in Italian entitled Allitteratio, with Jacopo and Simone kicking some ass with their groovy and heavy kitchen.
If you’re curious to see how the fusion of heavy music and legends of ancient civilizations sounds, you can enjoy Mystai Keltoy in its entirety on Spotify, but if I were you I would certainly purchase a copy of the album by clicking HERE. And, of course, you can start following Celtic Hills on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know information about the band. Inspired by the history of the populations that inhabited the area of present-day Carnia and Friuli, as aforementioned, but seen with a different perspective, Mystai Keltoy will blow your mind so heavy and detailed it sounds, leaving you eager for more as soon as it’s over and, therefore, keeping the fires of Italian metal burning bright thanks to the amazing job done by the unstoppable Celtic Hills.
Best moments of the album: The 7-Headed Dragon of Osoppo, The Landing of the Gods and Eden.
Worst moments of the album:Temple of Love.
Released in 2021 Elevate Records
1. The Light 3:16
2. Blood is not Water 4:05
3. The Tomorrow of Our Sons 3:29
4. The 7-Headed Dragon of Osoppo 4:02
5. The Landing of the Gods 3:27
6. Already Lost 3:51
7. Falling Star 3:58
8. Battle Of Frigidium 4:59
9. Eden 3:54
10. Temple of Love 3:10
11. Allitteratio 3:20
Band members Jonathan Vanderbilt – vocals, guitar
Jacopo Novello – bass
Simone Cescutti – drums
Harare, Zimbabwe-based Melodic and Industrial Death Metal one-man army is back in action sharper than ever with his most powerful and detailed album to date.
After the success of his 2020 EP Stormscapes, Harare, Zimbabwe-based Melodic/Industrial Death Metal one-man army Nuclear Winter is set to unleash the project’s third full-length opus, entitled Greystone, where the band’s mastermind, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gary Stautmeister recorded, wrote and produced everything by himself, giving the whole album a very personal touch. “I’m very happy to have completed this new album titled Greystone. I was aiming to produce something heavy but also more electronic than my previous EP. It was quite challenging mix-wise because each song uses a slightly different sound on the drums/bass/guitars, but I feel the overall production is an improvement from my previous work, and the songs are now hopefully more distinct from each other. I especially like Corridor of Shells – which is about a battle in which the surrendering army brings shame to their country,” proudly commented Gary about his new “baby”.
And Gary doesn’t waste a single second and begins shredding his guitar mercilessly in the opening tune The Wastelands, all boosted by the song’s futuristic background elements, therefore reminding me of some creations by the iconic Fear Factory. More of his fusion of Industrial and Death Metal comes in the form of the visceral and somber Stygian Awakening, with Gary growling like a demonic entity while at the same time generating an interesting paradox with his own clean vocals, resulting in a headbanging, epic and progressive creation by this Zimbabwean lone wolf; whereas Gary’s metallic bass jabs will hit you hard in the head in The Harvest Moon, another whimsical, multi-layered creation that travels through the realms of Progressive, Death and Melodic Metal flawlessly. It’s quite impressive how his music is so dense and detailed taking into account he’s only one single musician, and in Orwellian Future his undeniable talent becomes even clearer as he’s capable of bringing some welcome hints of electronic music to the song’s overall heaviness.
Time for Gary to invest in a more rockin’ sound in Corridor of Shells, where our one-man band kicks some serious ass with his riffs and solos while crushing his drums with tons of intricacy, sounding very atmospheric and therefore living up to the legacy of modern-day Industrial Metal. The Wavering Shadows beings in full force showcasing strident riffs, epic keyboards and hammering drums, keeping the album at a high level of obscurity and insanity, with Gary firing truly demonic, Black Metal-inspired gnarls, while he will put you to dance under the moonlight in Hidden Shrine, showcasing elements from 80’s electronic bands the likes of Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and New Order added to the project’s core essence. The second to last explosion of Industrial Death Metal by Gary, entitled Graveyard Sculpture, continues his path of devastation and insanity, with the machine-like drums walking hand in hand with all futuristic keys; and The Failing Dawn, the closing tune of the album, might not be as impactful as its predecessors, but it still showcases Gary’s own “darkness versus light” vocal duel and his always visceral riffage.
In a nutshell, as aforementioned, it’s truly impressive how Gary manages to sound like a full-bodied band even doing all by himself, and in Greystone we must all admit he outdid himself in terms of creativity, punch and heaviness, offering us fans of heavy music what’s perhaps the best metal album that has ever been recorded in Zimbabwe, and even if Zimbabwe might not be considered a true metal country that still means a lot. Hence, don’t forget to show Gary your support and admiration by following him and his Nuclear Winter on Facebook and on Twitter, by streaming all of his wicked compositions on Spotify, and above all that, by purchasing your copy of Greystone from the MDD Records’ BandCamp page (or click HERE for all locations where you can stream or buy the full album). As he keeps evolving as a musician (and as a producer), let’s wait and see what’s next in the career of Mr. Gary Stautmeister, and until then we can keep enjoying all tracks from the excellent Greystone in the name of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll.
Best moments of the album: Stygian Awakening, Corridor of Shells and The Wavering Shadows.
Worst moments of the album: The Failing Dawn.
Released in 2021 MDD Records
Track listing 1. The Wastelands 4:00
2. Stygian Awakening 4:12
3. The Harvest Moon 3:58
4. Orwellian Future 3:43
5. Corridor of Shells 4:20
6. The Wavering Shadows 4:07
7. Hidden Shrine 4:40
8. Graveyard Sculpture 3:13
9. The Failing Dawn 4:08
Band members Gary Stautmeister – vocals, all instruments
It’s time to bang your heads to the three theological virtues and the seven deadly sins in the form of first-class Melodic Metal made in Italy.
Formed in the spring of 2003 in Mortara, a town and comune located in the Province of Pavia, in the region of Lombardy, Italy, Melodic Metal band Marble is finally back in full force after over a decade with their sophomore installment, entitled S.A.V.E, the follow-up to their highly acclaimed 2008 album A.t.G.o.d. Mixed and Mastered by Giulio Capone (Moonlight Haze) and displaying a stunning artwork by renowned Finnish artist Jan “Örkki” Yrlund of Darkgrove Design, S.A.V.E presents an irrepressible mix of heavy guitar riffs, powerful aggressiveness, amazing guitar solos, surprising keyboard harmonies and original technical rhythms by Paul Beretta and Omar Gornati on the guitars, Jacopo Marchesi on keyboards, Daniel Fleba on bass and Norman Ceriotti on drums, blended with frontwoman Eleonora Travaglino’s breathtaking, catchy melodies and epic choruses, while at the same time dealing with human behavior and entwined with the three theological virtues and the seven deadly sins in a gloomy and decadent mood, being therefore recommended for fans of both melodic and extreme music.
The smooth keys by Jacopo set the tone in the opening track Mine, based on the sin of greed, before exploding into violent and melodic Heavy Metal with Paul and Omar kicking ass with their classic riffs, whereas investing in a more Progressive Metal vein thanks to the intricate beats by Norman we have Heartless Disease, where Eleonora declaims the song’s words about the sin of luxury (“Outline of a moral / You will never fall into / You try to blame me for what? Blame your creed / This life is not an heartless disease”), followed by 30 Silver Coins, a song about hope, featuring guest vocals by Maurizio Caverzan (Ghostheart Nebula, Verlaine) who makes an interesting duo with Eleanora, leaning towards Melodic Death Metal at times. And it’s time to talk about vanity in My Mask Collection, where instead of being progressive like they wanted the music sounds a little confused or mixed, fortunately getting better after a while thanks to the good job done by Norman on drums. And inspired by the music by Nightwish, Lacuna Coil and Epica, the quintet fires the headbanging tune What Leads Us To, with Eleonora taking the lead with her captivating vocals singing about the sin of envy, accompanied by the crisp guitars by Paul and Omar.
Then Daniel and Norman smash their thunderous weapons in a song about gluttony entitled To Feed The Worms, inviting us all to dance and raise our horns together with the band in a solid display of Progressive and Melodic Metal, not to mention another awesome vocal performance by Eleonora; and a gripping vibe sets the tone in the ballad A Darker Shade Of Me, dealing with the sin of wrath, where Eleonora declaims the song’s poetic lyrics accompanied by acoustic guitars. Following such introspective tune, the band gets back to a more electrifying sonority firing the epic and imposing Where Is The Light, a song about faith led by the Black Sabbath-inspired beats by Norman and the sharp riffage by Paul and Omar. The rumbling, low-tuned bass by Daniel kick off the also melodic Timelines, revolving around the sin of sloth, evolving into a Gothic Metal ballad by Marble that will please all fans of this more delicate side of metal music, with Eleonora stealing the show with her smooth vocals, whereas putting the pedal to the metal it’s time for a classic Heavy Metal feast about charity by Marble entitled Daymare Town, where Jacopo is on absolute fire with his whimsical keys, living up to the legacy of renowned acts the likes of Nightwish and Epica, before soulful riffs and dark bass lines are offered to us all in the instrumental outro Sins And Virtues Ending, closing the album in a somber and melancholic manner.
If you want to have a better taste of how the seven deadly sins and the three theological virtues taste and feel in S.A.V.E, you can stream the full album on Spotify, but of course in order to show your utmost support to those Italian metallers you should start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their great music, and above all that, purchase your favorite copy of S.A.V.E by clicking HERE, as well as from Dead Pulse or Apple Music. As we’re all sinners in the end, why not succumb to our deepest sins and desires to the sound of the Melodic Metal played by Marble? I’m sure the band would love to be part of the soundtrack to your most wicked and immoral moments.
Best moments of the album: What Leads Us To, To Feed The Worms and Daymare Town.
Worst moments of the album:My Mask Collection.
Released in 2021 Sliptrick Records
Track listing 1. Mine 4:38
2. Heartless Disease 3:50
3. 30 Silver Coins 4:41
4. My Mask Collection 4:46
5. What Leads Us To 5:49
6. To Feed The Worms 4:36
7. A Darker Shade Of Me 2:38
8. Where Is The Light 4:17
9. Timelines 3:55
10.Daymare Town 4:05
11. Sins And Virtues Ending 1:57
Band members Eleonora Travaglino – vocals
Paul Beretta – guitar
Omar Gornati – guitar
Jacopo Marchesi – keyboards
Daniel Fleba – bass
Norman Ceriotti – drums