Archive for Melodic death metal

Ex Deo returns with a new album and tour plans

Posted in Metal, News with tags , on 17th September 2015 by izaforestspirit

Brace yourselves… The Roman legions have returned and they are coming to a city near you.

The ancient Rome themed, symphonic death metal band Ex Deo are back after over a year of absence. The band been on a hiatus since February 2014 due to complications and time constraints between the project and  frontman Maurizio Iacono’s main band Kataklysm. Here is a statement from Iacono:

“Yes, it’s true. EX DEO is returning with a new album. But there’s a twist and we will keep it condential for now.”

Ex Deo has began working on a new album, the long awaited follow up to ‘Caligvla’ which was released back in 2012. They are also planning to tour again.

Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 28th August 2015 by Pieni

“Under The Red Cloud”
Melodic metal
Release: 4th September 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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First thing you need to know – in case you’ve missed both singles “Death Of A King” and “Sacrifice” – is that Amorphis are still on the melodic metal path. Touring in celebration of the 20th anniversary of “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” was just that – a celebration of the past. They’re not returning to the death-ish doom of those early days, although the melancholy is still there in full (as it’s always been). Mind that I’m not complaining; personally, I prefer this smoother approach. I just thought I should warn the old school fans who went bananas with the aforementioned tour. I will complain, though, about the somewhat disappointing album that “Under The Red Cloud” turned out to be, regardless its genre.

The opening title-track is quite good, the keys combined with the guitars building that typical Amorphis atmosphere. The riffs and Tomi Joutsen’s growls make a hell of a chorus and the song eventually sticks to your brain. But sadly, that doesn’t happen much more throughout the rest of the album.

“The Four Wise Ones” has some spirit to it, having the faster and heavier rhythm. “Death Of A King” was a brilliant choice for single, as the sound that Amorphis got us used to is played in Arabic variations and the result is positively interesting. As for “Sacrifice”… well, that’s more radio-friendly and probably why it was released as a single. Apart from an elaborate guitar solo, its composition is not very impressive. The folkish “Tree Of Ages”, that features Eluveitie-Chrigel Glanzmann playing flute, is pretty catchy and I guess that “White Night” may stand out for the participation of Aleah Standbridge, although the song itself is a bit dull. And that’s about it. It’s not that “Under The Red Cloud” is a bad album, but there’s something missing to make it a great one. The everyday fan of the band will probably enjoy this, but the most demanding music lovers will sense that “lack of something”.


Renata “Pieni” Lino

Soilwork – The Ride Majestic

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 18th August 2015 by Pieni

“The Ride Majestic”
Melodic death metal
Release: 28th August 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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Soilwork haven’t had the need to prove themselves to me for a long time now. After albums such as “Figure Number Five”, “Stabbing The Drama” or the previous “The Living Infinite”, they’ve achieved a solid rank on my list of bands. But I confess I didn’t think they could impress me more either. Well I’m biting my tongue right now.

The richness in details was taken to the next level and the result is a classy mix of extreme rhythms with vibrant melodies. The first title track (yes, first – there are two, although the second adds “(Aspire Angelic)”, to make the difference) is the bridge between “The Ride Majestic” and “The Living Infinite”, given the similarity in riffs and licks. If you listen to one album after the other, this track makes a smooth, natural transition between them. Because “Alight The Aftermath” will then sound like an outburst of power; way faster, way heavier, way darker.

“Death In General”, on the other hand, is the least heavy track (which doesn’t necessarily mean light). Its composition is too enthralling and seductive, the drums achieving a tribal beat on a couple of occasions, and Mr. Speed showing he can do whatever he wants with his voice.

The bluesy intro of “Enemies In Fidelity”, which underlines some further parts in an otherwise thrash/death composition. The earworm-ish chorus and break of “Petrichor By Sulphur”. The epic, extreme piece that “The Phantom” is through and through (definitely my favorite). The sharpness of “The Ride Majestic (Aspire Angelic)”, in contrast with the gloominess of “Whirl Of Pain”. A gloominess that continues on “All Along Echoing Paths” but at a heavier pace. The mosher-friendly of “Shining Lights”, featuring a massive guitar work. And the deep grand finale of “Father And Son Watching The World Go Down”. Eleven new tracks, all majestic indeed.


Renata “Pieni” Lino

Kataklysm – Of Ghosts And Gods

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 3rd August 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Of Ghosts And Gods
Released July 31st 2015
Melodic Death Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

Kataklysm - Of Ghosts And Gods

Does more or less exactly what you’d expect from the label on the tin, this one; melodic death metal, via In Flames/Arch Enemy territory. Opener, Breaching The Asylum, is particularly thick with the incense of Swedish melodeath. The initial effect is solid, but leaves me feeling somewhat un-gripped.

Things do improve a bit throughout. The pace certainly picks up, and the second half of the album kicks the pants off the first. Carrying Crosses and Shattered feature glimmers of greatness in the axe-work and vocals, but sadly smudge back into tepid watercolour. It’s a bit of a shame, because some of their recent material has been quite promising. 2013’s Waiting For The End To Come was really quite brutal, and Heaven’s Venom in 2010 was brimming with intelligent song-writing snatches. I personally feel they would have benefited from concentrating on progressing with music of this level rather than creating a concept video for each song on the album.

Soul Destroyer stands out by far as the best track within. It’s got smart riffs that differentiate it from the rest of the songs, vocals with rhythmic intelligence, bass heavy outro with swagger; basically everything that’s missing elsewhere. The album as a whole also ends on a high note in The World Is A Dying Insect.

While professionally played, I found this release somewhat uninspiring and a little predictable, which, although not cardinal sins, are amplified by such similar, prevalent artists overcoming those obstacles. This could be just the ticket for life-long devotees of the band, but I personally think they could have achieved more lion-and-shark-surf-and-turf, rather than the standard pub fare offered up herein. Not for me, but with about half a million Facebook likes, I reckon I’m in the minority here.


Paul Macmillan

Mindshift – Horizon

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 23rd July 2015 by Pieni

Melodic death metal
Self-released on 15th May 2015

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If I got this right, “Horizon” is Mindshift’s third album. You’ll only find this and the previous one, “Evilution, In Time” on Spotify, but there’s reference to a certain “No Regrets”, from 2012. Not that it really matters, as I won’t make any comparisons; “Horizon” has a merit of its own, without the need of saying if it’s better, worse, or simply different from what Mindshift has done so far.

There’s melodic death metal all around the world, but we know damn well that the one that comes from Sweden has a certain… “something”. When you hear songs such as “Arise” or “Drowning”, when you hear that dynamic-heaviness-meets-sad-melody, you know exactly what I mean.

The title-track, on the other hand, has a more upbeat vibrancy embedded on an even stronger composition. It’s pretty understandable why the album was named after this one, and why there’s also a promotional video for it, although there are a lot of treats in “Horizon”. Like the menacing “Eye For An Eye”, the hints of prog halfway through “Suffer In Silence”, the groove and gloominess of “A Thousand Scars”, or the acoustic intro in “Reflections”, that yet isn’t as sentimental as the electric solo later on. And then you have Soilwork’s Björn “Speed” Strid adding an extra vocal power to the straightforward “My Revenge”, although, in that same right-on line of sound, I admit I prefer “Decay”.

These 13 songs (plus the intro “Origin” and the spoken interlude “Light”) embody a rich songwriting, full of details prone to become earworms. The old-school and the modern melodeath walk naturally hand-in-hand here, resulting in a very complete album within the genre. Complete and remarkable.


Renata “Pieni” Lino

Exile The Traitor – Winter Eternal

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 3rd May 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Exile The Traitor
“Winter Eternal” [EP]
Melodic Death Metal
On 15th May 2015

Exile The Traitor - Winter Eternal

Kicking off Winter Eternal, Exile The Traitor make sure that listeners know they mean business from the beginning. Laments Of A Flesh Peddler opens up with an imperial and confident overtone, belying the band’s short existence. Switching between modern grooves, blasts, and d-beats, the drums – which can be a background feature in extreme music – are instantly noticeable, as is the intelligent use of alternating death and black metal vocals. Actually, every member seems to get their breathing space, which is something I’ve always enjoyed in extreme music.

The following numbers are no disappointment, either. This is the same ETT who grabbed the Scottish metal scene by the neck when they unleashed Necrology in 2012, but they are testing the waters of maturity already, and taking some chances in an environment which can be quite unforgiving. The original brutality is still consistent throughout, but there are fresh twists and turns brought into play here. Organic tremolo riffing, akin to that of Gojira in its memorability, stands shoulder to shoulder with the Swedish influenced death metal for which they are already known.

The shadow of At The Gates has long been one to haunt many, many bands who have sprung into existence in the last decade, and in a lot of cases (quite often justifiably) it has been drawn up as a negative. ETT are no carbon copy, though, pulling on numerous other wells to deliver a professional, bruising, original musical identity. That said, the reference is strong, and if you’re fully against that sort of thing, this probably won’t be for you, but I would suggest clearing the mind and giving it a shot, anyway.

The sum total of Winter Eternal far surpasses what one might expect of a band who are only at the stage of putting out their second EP (or demo, as we used to call them), and it’s terrifying to consider what Exile The Traitor could become with the right support behind them. There’s still some growing room in there, but if this is the direction they continue to spread their wings, it’ll be no bad thing.


by Paul Macmillan

Frantic Amber – Burning Insight

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 2nd April 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Frantic Amber
Burning Insight
Melodic death metal
Released 15th April 2015
Via FA Sweden/Bertus

Frantic Amber - Burning Insight

Before I even start with this one, let’s be clear about one thing – I am not a fan of the term ‘female fronted metal’. It doesn’t really mean anything to me. It’s like calling a My Dying Bride ‘violin metal’. I’m not saying I don’t like bands with female vocalists. Or that I’m going to be bought over by a band if they DO have a female vocalist. I’ll take each band as I find them, regardless of age, race or gender, based on how they sound. Anyway, now that I’ve blown Frantic Amber’s cover as A BAND WITH A FEMALE VOCALIST, on with the review.

If that first paragraph has set you up expecting to hear about the operatic meanderings of a velvet clad princess, you’re facing in completely the wrong direction. You’d be better off turning your eyes to the north in search of predictive indicators: being from Sweden has long shown itself to be a hard background for metal bands to shake, and FA are no exception.

There’s a healthy dose of the likes of Soilwork and In Flames coming to mind on first take, but there are myriad other musical ghosts swirling in the background. The vocals, for starters, make both singers of the aforementioned bands sound a bit wet. Some of the guitar work shares the stratospheric emotional highs of late 1990s releases from The Gathering.

It seems that they have attempted to escape this geographical pigeonhole, though, and there is something more rough and ready at the back of this polished article. It could be early Iron Maiden (who isn’t influenced by that?), or, lest we forget, the other metal heritage of their home country, passed down from those like Bathory, Shining, and Infernal. Either way it is a pleasant, but almost intangible nuance.

Swaying from epic choruses to blast beats, Burning Insight drags in elements of black metal, prog, death metal, and few others to create a very interesting melange with a uniting overtone, somewhat similar at times to Arch Enemy’s Wages Of Sin, but somehow more organic.

In terms of extreme(?) metal, this is a very accessible debut, and it’s hard to imagine this being a band we won’t hear from again, and a lot. If they didn’t at least make it part way up to rubbing shoulders with the big boys, it would be more than a little surprising, but it also seems like there is further maturity to be reached in the material which could bring out an even more unique character.

4/5 – Paul Macmillan


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