Archive for November, 2016

Dark Tranquillity – Atoma

Posted in CD with tags , , , , , on 5th November 2016 by Pieni

Dark Tranquillity
Melodic death metal
Released: 4th November 2016
Via Century Media

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I’m all pro-change and moving forward in a different direction, but when a band manages to keep doing the same and still sound awesome, said band gets kudos from me. So congrats, Dark Tranquillity, you’ve just earned a ton of them.

“Atoma” is their 11th album and still features all the traits that Swedish melodeath fans love. So if the title-track and “Our Proof Of Life” both bear some upbeat melodies and can still sound pretty somber, you’ll face straightforward ominous and obscure vibes in songs like “Forward Momentum” or “A Force Of Hand”“Merciless Fate” even borders the goth metal zone.

Or those fast outbursts in “The Pitiless” and “When The World Screams” and then the catchy choruses in “Clearing Skies” and “Neutrality”. And the epic grand finale in the form of “Caves And Embers”.

It’s such a rich combination of vocals, guitars (bass included) and keyboards – so Dark Tranquillity – that the outcome could only be 5/5. In fact, those are the key-words here: Dark Tranquillity style. ‘Nuff said.


Renata “Pieni” Lino


Hammerfall – Built To Last

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 5th November 2016 by mickbirchy

Built To Last
Power Metal, Heavy Metal
Released 4th November 2016
via Napalm Records

Hammerfall return once again with their brand of power metal. Their tenth album Built to Last is a pretty fun romp and is another fantastic piece to their legacy. Their musicianship and chemistry shines through. They really prove why Hammerfall are Built to Last.

The album opens with the old school style tune, Bring It. A fun way to open proceedings. Quickly followed up with the anthemic Hammer High. A song that I feel should become their new anthem. Built To Last really has a immense feel to it. With big choruses and well excited music. The guitar solos are beautiful and the when the music swells for a big chorus it’s a wonderful sound. The production has this flair of old school metal, like Judas Priest or Grim Reaper. The riffs are so defined and the rhythm is so tight when it all comes in together. It makes for one hell of a listening experience. The vocals of Joacim Cans ring beautifully as the intense metal bubbles below. The infectious sound worms it’s way into your ear and definitely keeps you hooked. The soulful ballads are particularly good. As they usually are in power metal. The creativity and imagination paint epic mental pictures in your mind. You don’t want that feeling to end.

You’d think after 10 albums and two decades of writing they might be short of ideas. Well in my opinion, there are very few original ideas anymore. Yet, if a band can to hear something in a new way then it’s much appreciated. Hammerfall deliver the music with a sharp and crisp tone. Nothing sounds muddy or distorted. It’s beautifully clear. Every note and every beat is felt and it’s effective. Not a second is wasted on the album at all. In all honesty I don’t have that much more to say so I’m going to end it there. Otherwise I’d just be covering ground I’d already done. It’s an excellent album and I recommend it.


Mick Birchall

Vader – The Empire

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , on 2nd November 2016 by izaforestspirit

The Empire
Released 4th November 2016
Death Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

‘The Empire’ is the latest album by the Polish death metal titans Vader. The band has been around since the mid-1980s and they are one of the forefathers of the Polish extreme metal scene. This release follows the well renowned ‘Tigi et Igni’ album which was regarded as one of the band’s best works. As a long-time Vader fan I have high hopes for this opus.

Unlike its predecessor ‘Tigi et Igni’ which featured the odd atmospheric intro and more complex song structures, this album marks a return to good old, straightforward death metal with short but aggressive songs packed with pummeling drums and crushing guitar riffs. Oh, and let’s not forget Peter’s characteristic growls. It’s a vicious, brutal assault from start to finish. It’s like an army trying to break through a castle gate with each song marking another attempt to penetrate through the barrier. Eventually the defenses give in and the real battle begins.

Standout songs include: ‘Prayer to the God of War‘; a very guitar-driven track that owes more to old school thrash metal than death metal, the slightly slower-paced and predominantly death metal -style ‘Iron Reign‘ and the ferocious beast that is ‘No Gravity‘ which features some excellent drum work. Then there’s ‘The Army-Geddon‘ with its chugging, machine-gun like guitar riffs and shouts inviting everyone to join the Vader army. The brutal assault continues for the remainder of the album with chords flying at you like a hail of bullets and the artillery barrage of drums spurred to frenzy by Peter’s war cries.

In summary ‘The Empire’ is another case of Vader striking back (sorry, I just had to squeeze in at least one Star Wars analogy) and doing what they do best. Fans of the band will know what to expect from this album. The one thing that I value about this band is that they have always stayed true to their roots, never drifting too far away from the thrash-tinged death metal that they are synonymous with.


Iza Raittila