Archive for Melodic death metal

Havamal – Call Of The North

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 15th August 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Havamal
Call of the North
Released June 2017
Viking Metal/Melodic Death Metal
Self-Released

Hailing from Sweden come Viking-themed death metallers Havamal. It’s kind of fitting that a band that has Viking themes would name themselves after one of the books in the Poetic Edda but now is not the time to be discussing Old Nordic literature. Formed in 2016, in the city of Stockholm, Call of the North is Havamal‘s first release.

The grandoise opening of the track Havamal sets the pace for the EP with its majestic and powerful orchestration coupled up with the spoken word. The other five tracks on the EP have a very Ensiferum-inspired sound, especially in the feral vocals that come screaming out like an enraged berserker. Dread Age stands out immediately with its savage assault of guitars and furious orchestral elements whereas Jotun War follows up with as a standard Viking metal anthem with hints of power metal thrown in for good measure.

Ragnarok is quite the dark composition, with the odd headbanging moment here and there and some Dimmu Borgir-esque moments. Call For Revenge gets the blood pumping with the Ensiferum influenced sound and powerful use of orchestration in the background. Call of the North ends with the memorable track Force of Judgement, which is a melting pot of sounds with catchy riffs and melodic verses.

Havamal show a lot of potential with this first release, though the band have still yet to find their sound. With their guitar driven sound combined with their orchestral moments and bestial vocals, Havamal could easily become a stand out band in the metal community.

4/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Call of the North can be purchased at this location.

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Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 24th March 2017 by izaforestspirit

Ex Deo
The Immortal Wars
Released 27th February 2017
Symphonic Death Metal
Released via Napalm Records

Ex Deo - The Immortal Wars

Ex Deo is a side-project band of Maurizio Iacono from Kataklysm. Since their formation in 2008, the band has released two albums before going on a short hiatus in 2014. They returned again the following year to embark on their third venture – a concept album about the Punic Wars. They were fought between Rome and Carthage and took place between 264 B.C. and 146 B.C. This album is entitled ‘The Immortal Wars’ and include epic tales of two history’s most famous generals, Hannibal and Scipio.

I must admit that I’m not that well versed on ancient Roman history so this album gave me an excuse to do a little background research about the Punic Wars and general Hannibal. Thanks for the history lesson guys! Impressive battle scenes featuring armed war elephants and a clash between two generals renowned for their strategies and tactics of warfare sounds like a pretty good topic doesn’t it? Well let’s find out… Ex Deo are known for their grandiose, symphonic intros and the opener The Rise of Hannibal doesn’t disappoint. It’s a skilfully executed mixture of melodic death metal not too dissimilar to Iacono’s main band Kataklysm only with a certain cinematic atmosphere due to the additional orchestration provided by Clemens Wijers.

Each track tells a story ranging from the faster, more energetic yet still symphonically-enhanced Hispania (Siege Of Saguntum), the aggressive tale of destruction Crossing the Alps to primarily orchestral intermission Suavetaurilia (Intermezzo) all the way through to the end. The aforementioned Crossing the Alps is probably the most brutal-sounding song on here mostly due to Iacono’s growls and war cries which seem all the more ferocious thanks to the powerful guitar riffs and the drums mimicking “sounds of battle”. Speaking of war cries and chanting, that’s one of the things that ‘The Immortal Wars’ has in abundance. The tale of Hannibal’s defeat in Ad Victorian (The Battle of Zama) is a good example of this. You can almost picture the armies marching on to the battlefield and the noise as the battle commences.

Overall, ‘The Immortal Wars’ is without a doubt Ex Deo’s most ambitious and impressive album to date. I honestly couldn’t find any weak tracks on here and as with any good action-adventure movie, this album is best enjoyed as a whole. As long as Ex Deo maintain the balance between melodic death metal and historical themes without overdoing it on the orchestral elements, they have a long and bright future ahead of them.

4.5/5

Iza Raittila

Pitch Black Process – Derin

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , on 18th December 2016 by izaforestspirit

 

Pitch Black Process
Derin
Melodic Death Metal
Released via EMP Label Group
3th December 2016

I’m not too familiar with the Turkish metal scene. This is actually only the second band that I’ve come across which hails from that country. Pitch Black Process has an unusual style that doesn’t make their music any less intriguing. They were originally formed back in 1999 under the name of Affliction and they released two albums before changing the name to Pitch Black Process in 2011. This is their second album under the new name.

I have to be honest in that I was a little hesitant to review this album after steaming a few tracks from their debut ‘Hand of God?’. That album is a bit of an acquired taste as its still firmly rooted in metalcore music with only a few nods leaning towards the more refined melodeath direction. Luckily their latest piece of work marks an improvement in the overall style and quality. It seems that Pitch Black Process have evolved into a melodic death metal band, incorporating elements of the classic “Gothenburg-style” and adding their own unique touches.

This album can essentially be split into two parts; a) standard melodeath (songs number 1-4) and b) Pitch Black Process’s own take on the genre with a national flavor (from ‘Halil Ibrahim Sofrasi’ up until the end of the album). I mean, let’s face it we all know what your typical melodic death metal band sounds like. If I want to hear yet another wannabe In Flames, Catamenia, <insert name of a famous melo-death metal band here>, there’s no shortage of places to look. Pitch Black Process offers you something different. The songs that stand out on here are the ones featuring vocals sang in Turkish. Their metalized cover of Barış Manço’s Halil Ibrahim Sofrasi is my personal favourite. I really like the mixture of a traditional folk instrument with heavy metal guitars and drums as well as the singing in Turkish. It’s a rare case of a song that combines the best of both genres maintaining the delicate balance between melody and aggression. Toy Soldier – Oyuncak Asker also caught my attention thanks to the bilingual vocals, mixing English and Turkish to produce a memorable piece of melodic death metal. Similar things can be said about the slightly more aggressive yet still very catchy-sounding closing track Eskiya Dünyaya Hükümdar Olmaz.

Overall, the songs that really stand out on ‘Derin’ are the ones where the band is singing in their native tongue. It feels like there is a lot more emotion put into the Turkish lyrics than there is in the English ones. This is the main thing that sets Pitch Black Process apart from other melodic death metal bands and I would like to hear more of it.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

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