Archive for Melodic death metal

Mindshift – Horizon

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

Mindshift
“Horizon”
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.

4/5

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
Self-release
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.

4.5/5

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

Soilwork to release first live DVD/BlueRay

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 5th February 2015 by Pieni

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After an almost-20-year career and 9 studio albums, Soilwork are about to release their first ever live DVD/BlueRay, with its corresponding audio CDs – “Live In The Heart Of Helsinki”.

23 songs were recorded at Circus Club, on the 21st March last year, two of them including guest appearances by Floor Jansen from Nightwish and Revamp and Nathan J. Biggs from Sonic Syndicate:

01. This Momentary Bliss
02. Like The Average Stalker
03. Overload
04. Weapon Of Vanity
05. Spectrum Of Eternity
06. Follow The Hollow
07. Parasite Blues
08. Distortion Sleep
09. Bastard Chain
10. Let This River Flow (feat. Floor Jansen)
11. Long Live The Misanthrope
12. Tongue
13. Nerve
14. The Chainheart Machine
15. The Living Infinite I
16. Rise Above The Sentiment
17. Late For The Kill, Early For The Slaughter
18. Rejection Role
19. Black Star Deceiver (feat. Nathan J. Biggs)
20. As The Sleeper Awakes
21. Sadistic Lullabye
22. As We Speak
23. Stabbing The Drama

The setlist will be divided in two CDs, while the DVD/BlueRay will also include two documentaries (“Spectrum Of Eternity: A Brief History Of Soilwork” and “Behind The Scenes Of The Living Infinite”) and drumcam videos filmed during the songs “Long Live The Misanthrope”, “Rise Above The Sentiment”, “Spectrum Of Eternity” and “Tongue”.

Frontman Björn ‘Speed’ Strid commented: “There could’ve not been a better time than now, with 10 albums out and a very varied back catalogue to choose from. Our line up now is 50 % original members and 50 % fresh blood, which makes it all more interesting. Especially since the newest members have brought so much to our sound and have continued to inspire us to write new and exciting music and also brought a new found energy on stage. Now is definitely the time to see us. Trust me.”

Set for release on 16th March, via Nuclear Blast, a trailer for the DVD has been pumping on YouTube for a few days now:

Pre-order your copy:
DVD + 2 CD –  http://bit.ly/LITHOHbase
BlurRay + 2 CD –  http://bit.ly/LITHOHblubase

www.soilwork.org

www.facebook.com/soilwork

Despite announce new bass player

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 23rd January 2015 by Pieni

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After enrolling Zoran Panovic last month for the third guitar, prog/melodeath metallers Despite have now announced Anthony Cui as their new bass player, replacing Mathias “Matte D” Dagerhed, who left the band in November due to lack of time and other personal reasons. With the line-up complete, the band from Gothenburg, Sweden, is ready to hit road, while writing the follow-up to their latest EP “Epic”.

Says singer Peter Tuthill: “It feels absolutely killer to have Anthony on board! I had a gut feeling about him right from the get go, and I’m positive he will be a fresh blood injection into the veins of Despite.”

As for the man himself, he claims: Despite is a killer ride and I’m absolutely stoked to be on board. Home is where the gut tells you it is, and thanks to Despite‘s warm welcome I know where I’ll be. The future is NOW!”

“Epic” was released in January 2014 and in November the band brought to light the single “Chaos Trigger”:

http://www.despiteofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DespiteOfficial

Moonshade’s “Dream | Oblivion” release party – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 6th December 2014 by Pieni

Moonshade, Destroyers Of All, Survive The Wasteland
Metalpoint, Porto
29th November 2014

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Moonshade’s EP “Dream | Oblivion” has been available digitally on Bandcamp since May, but now they’ve released it in physical format. So a release party was mandatory. Playing melodic death metal, they invited two bands of different death flavors – straightforward death metal and a more thrash-oriented one – bands that “tore down the stage”, as Moonshade singer Ricardo said later on, adding that it was just what they had expected, hence the invitation.

 photo _DSC0057copy_zps25631991.jpgThe first was Survive The Wasteland, formerly known as Suffochate. Already under the new name, they’ve released a 2-track EP (3-track if you count the intro) last year, “Devour”, “Sculpting The End” suitably wrapping up the show. All the other five songs – including “Stolen Ceremony”, to which the band recorded a “live in studio” video – are still a work-in-progress to a future release. A promising one, by the sound of it! Despite the crowd standing a couple of steps back – singer Cláudio and bassist Miguel taking the clearing for themselves here and there – and the moshers kicking their circle just for the last song, one could tell Survive The Wasteland were making an impression, given the constant headbanging and the growing enthusiasm in the applauses. I believe these kids from Matosinhos have a good thing going on here. (5 / 5)

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www.facebook.com/survivethewasteland

Next came Destroyers Of All. Warmed up… no, heated up by Survive The Wasteland,  photo _DSC0314acopy_zpsaa3eebf6.jpgthe crowd started moshing earlier. The fact that they had a bunch of hardcore fans there also helped, screaming along the lyrics and everything. After all, if you make it to the finals of Wacken Metal Battle (losing to a more veteran act, Revolution Within), you must be good enough to earn followers along the way and get a lively crowd every time you go on stage. “Into The Fire” it’s the only recording so far, an EP with four shredding tracks (plus intro & outro) and its title track seems to be the most popular. Among those songs they played also a new one, “Death Healer”, and a couple of covers, Death’s “The Philosopher” and Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell”. Singer João introduced the first one as a song from a band that “you might have heard of before”, and the trick to make the crowd scream louder came from drummer Filipe, who said “what, am I the only one who knows them?”. And yup, the trick worked. “Astral Projection” finished another great set. (5 / 5)

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www.facebook.com/DestroyersofAll

 photo _DSC0703copy_zpsb82f2878.jpgDespite their more melodic approach, Moonshade weren’t less intense. They even had a guest keyboard player, Nuno Barbosa, to produce that authentic sound that samplers never achieve.
“Dream | Oblivion” is already their second EP, the first released four years ago with the title “The Path Of Redemption”, so this gig was a mix of them both – quality melodeath made in Portugal. And while the rest of the band keeps a bit to themselves, frontman Ricardo is otherwise very expressive. And amusing. For instance, when introducing “Genesis 3.5”, he warned us they would bore us with those almost eight minutes of a song. Or, close to the end, when a fan picked him up and carried him through the front rows, holding him between his legs, Ricardo would thank him, claiming it had been real fun, although he probably wouldn’t be able to have kids in the future.
When the show was over, the crowd wanted more, but the singer said they didn’t have more songs. Someone asked for them to repeat one song (he was specific about the song, but I honestly can’t remember, sorry) but Ricardo replied they didn’t have any more songs of their own but there were “the songs of others”. And the night ended with a brilliant cover of Amon Amarth’s “Guardians Of Asgaard”. (5 / 5)

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www.facebook.com/moonshadeofficial

Metalpoint celebrated its 7th anniversary the following day and these three bands put up quite a pre-party.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

In Flames – Siren Charms

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 4th September 2014 by Pieni

In Flames
“Siren Charms”
Melodic Metal
To be released on 5th September 2014
Via Epic Records

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A smile lit up on my face when I heard that In Flames would release a new album. That smile still glowed when the first single “Rusted Nail” was available. Not a spectacular track but good enough – the guitar licks in the intro flow pretty easily through your ears; Fridén’s vocal tone – mainly clean but harsher here and there and backed by occasional screams – sounds quite pleasant; an exquisite bridge preceding the first chorus, and the catchy melody of the latter…  There’s something standard in the riffing, though, hence the “not a spectacular track”.

Then the aforementioned smile got wider with the release of “Through Oblivion”, a melancholic song, almost depressive, that stirred something in the darkest side of me.

But then I listened to the whole album and the smile faded, almost completely. We already knew the “melodic” was growing stronger and the “death” was dimming, so it isn’t a big surprise that “Everything’s Gone” is the only true heavy song in “Siren Charms”. What disappoints me is that it’s not a very good song. The heaviness of “When The World Explodes” is better, but the softer parts are weak, not because they’re, well, soft and slow, but because they don’t seem to have any spirit in them. This one features soprano Emilia Feldt, who has a beautiful voice but doesn’t help this track at all. Weren’t sirens supposed to have an enthralling vivid chant? Feldt uses a very languid tone here.

Also “Paralyzed” and “Dead Eyes” make justice to their titles, being quite dull tracks. “With Eyes Wide Open” is a nice ballad, though, and “Filtered Truth” has a rock-ish vibe, a lively sound that’s refreshing to hear in the end.

The production is amazing, but something’s missing in “the whole musical picture”. And it’s not the more melodic approach that bothers me. It’s its lack of ability to embrace my senses and leave a positive remark.

3 / 5

By Renata “Pieni” Lino

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