Archive for Melodic death metal

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

Moonshade to release physical format of “Dream | Oblivion”

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 4th June 2014 by Pieni

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Portuguese melodic death metal act Moonshade has recently released on Bandcamp (link here) their second EP “Dream | Oblivion” (the first being “The Path Of Redemption”, from 2010). And even though the date is not certain yet, the band announces now that a physical format will be available “soon”.

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I. A Bleak Sunrise (Intro)
II. Dawn Of A New Era
III. Goddess Eternal
IV. The Depths Of Despair (Interlude)
V. Genesis 3.5
VI. Fall To Oblivion
VII. Into The Abyss (Outro)

Early last month, they’ve also released a lyric video for the first single “Goddess Eternal”:

www.facebook.com/moonshadeofficial

The Antiquity w/Support – Scarborough, UK

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 15th December 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

The Antiquity, Sea Of Giants & More
Vivaz, Scarborough
13th December 2013

Situated on the east coast of North Yorkshire lies Scarborough, a thriving tourist attraction in the summer. And also apparently a town where wide-eyed fourteen year olds offer you a line of coke. But beyond that lies a virtually unknown – and for a while, non-existent – metal and hardcore scene, one that shows potential and promise.

Photo by Nico Davidson

Photo by Nico DavidsonOpening up the show were a new band known as Avalon, a band that were virtually unknown save to a few people who had seen them at their first show (this one was their second show). Described as “girly-fronted metal” by the show’s organiser, it was apparent that most of the crowd were unsure of what to expect. Fronted by the innocent looking Lottie, Avalon kick started their brief but vividly heavy set with a cover of Flyleaf’s I’m So Sick, which eerily sounded almost like the original song.

Following up from the stunning opening track of their, Avalon went onto make a use of some blistering guitar work and a cumbersome bass sound from Emi and James, as well as Jed’s precision drumming. Lottie’s clean vocals proved to be very versatile throughout the set but it was her banshee-like screams that really grabbed the crowd’s attention.

[4/5]

Photo by Nico DavidsonScarboroughian beasts Bharghest were the second band of the night. Lending their name from the old Yorkshire folklore of a demonic black dog that brings death in its wake, the three piece instrumental death metal unit proved to be a powerful force. With no vocalist and a use of programmed drums, their riffs came down faster than the executioner’s blade, leaving no time for escape from the ensuing ferocious carnage. The guitar passages were sharp and cutting, whereas the bass had all the civility of a sledgehammer being swung into a face. Bharghest ended their set with Legion, a piece that was akin to melodic death metal, only with a darker, more bestial nature. Fortunately, there was no death in their wake but there might be some people left deaf after their performance.

[5/5]

Photo by Nico Davidson

The night took a turn from metal and into hardcore punk with local quartet Satanic Malfunctions. The frontman really did open some eyes as he ran around the stage looking like a psychotic murder – minus the axe – whilst unleashing a visceral assault of old school hardcore styled vocals. The music itself was typically aggressive, showing no signs of turning passive or losing the energetic drive, though it was apparently hard for the crowd to get into this as the size of the venue made it hard to whip up an atmosphere. Satanic Malfunctions however did get a rather positive response from the crowd vocally.

[4/5]

Photo by Nico Davidson

The main support of the night was Bridlington’s hardcore behemoths Sea Of Giants who made a strong use of grizzly riffs, harsh vocals and heavy drumming. The use of lights throughout their set helped make their performance more exciting, as the crowd that gathered on the dance floor joined together for some synchronised head banging during in the breakdowns. Guitarist Liam’s clean vocals fit the mood of the music perfectly, opposing Mcgougan’s harsher screams brilliantly and vividly. The guitar passages and bass lines were a highlight of their set, paving a path of brutality for the headlining act of the night: The Antiquity.

[4/5]

Photo by Nico Davidson

No EP launch show would be complete without the band who is releasing the EP headlining the show and in this case, it was Scarborough’s own The Antiquity though Hull’s metal cowboys were originally booked as the headliners but they pulled out a few nights before the show for valid reasons. From the moment The Antiquity launched their colossal live attack, their vocalist Luther started one pit after another in between his devastating vocal assaults while the rest of the band provided the momentum and energy with a series of venomous riffs and drums heavy enough to shattered teeth. Their titanic wall of sound collided with their live performance, creating a carnivorous atmosphere.

[4.5/5]

Photo by Nico Davidson

Scarborough still has a long way to go before its scene is recognised on the national scale but given what this show was like, it will be interesting to see how the scene begins to evolve from here and to see what Scarborough’s bands can bring to the table.

Nico Davidson

 

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