Archive for Melodic death metal

In Flames – Battles

Posted in Metal with tags , , , , , on 10th November 2016 by Pieni

In Flames
“Battles”
Melodic death metal
Released: 11th November 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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When “Siren Charms” was released a couple of years ago, I complained about “its lack of ability to embrace my senses and leave a positive remark” (review here). Well I’m happy to say that ability has returned. Not that “Battles” is a masterpiece, but it features some memorable tweaks, in both ear-worm and impressive meanings of the word.

I remember a lot of people complaining when Anders Fridén gave up on growling. I wasn’t one of them not only because I appreciate Fridén’s current tone but also because I don’t think that measures a band’s level of heaviness – listen to all those pop-metal acts with a growler and you’ll know what I mean. Plus, the desperate inflection his voice carries is just as brutal; the opener “Drained” will prove me right.

Still on a vocal analysis, but the teen choir’s in “The End” and the ballad “Here Until Forever”. I’m a sucker for gang backing vocals, but the cheer of this 2.0 version of it has been growing on me; it’s just as catchy and it will have a hell of an effect live, as I doubt anyone will be able not to sing along. That and the march-wise clapping hands in “The Truth”.

There’s a loud guitar work in here as well, but that has never been an issue for In Flames, so it’s really no surprise. Still I’d like to mention “Underneath My Skin” and the 2-minute dark, almost experimental instrumental piece featured in “Wallflower”. Oh, and the seduction of “In My Room” – no sexual pun intended. It just gives away this enthralling vibe.

So again, no, this isn’t In Flames best work, but it definitely has its moments – lots of them.

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Dark Tranquillity – Atoma

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

Dark Tranquillity
“Atoma”
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.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Aktaion – The Parade Of Nature

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 29th August 2016 by Pieni

Aktaion
“The Parade Of Nature”
melodic death metal
Self-released on 29th July 2016

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“The Parade Of Nature”, Aktaion’s sophomore album, is said to be for “fans of Soilwork, Killswitch Engage, Gojira – which I find quite misleading. “Candid Flow Of The Shrapnel Dust” has indeed a whiff of Gojira but it soon vanishes away; it’s mostly the melodic part in “melodic death metal” that’s far too gloomy – almost depressive – that make the aforementioned recommendation unfit. It doesn’t mean fans of those bands won’t like this, of course, but they wouldn’t be the first, or even the second target audience to come to my mind.

I’m having really mixed feelings about this. The technical guitar structure (like in “Gold Coloured Dreams”), with Christopher Amott throwing in some killer solos in a few songs (listen to the title track), all the experiments with the vocals – both clean and rough (“Walrus March”) – plus the occasional almost-prog shifts in tempo and the long duration of the tracks, all these features scream originality, which I always praise. But somehow the final outcome is messy. Maybe that’s Aktaion’s goal, as these songs are meant to reflect “a time with no hope nor a bright future” – and that they surely do.

3/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

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.

https://www.facebook.com/exdeo

Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud

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

Amorphis
“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”.

3/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Soilwork – The Ride Majestic

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

Soilwork
“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.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Kataklysm – Of Ghosts And Gods

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

Kataklysm
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.

2.5/5

Paul Macmillan