Archive for Power Metal

Sorceress of Sin – Mirrored Revenge

Posted in Review with tags , on 13th November 2020 by izaforestspirit

Sorceress of Sin
Mirrored Revenge
Released 27th November 2020
Melodic Power Metal
Self-Released

Mirrored Revenge

‘Mirrored Revenge’ is the the debut album from a new addition to the British melodic power metal scene – Sorceress of Sin. The line-up includes singer, songwriter Lisa Skinner, her husband Paul Skinner on drums, guitarist Constantine Kanakis, bassist Topher O’Meagher (ex-Gehitka) and Tom Maclean (bass orchestrations). Their sound has been compared to the likes of Firewind, Helloween and Iron Maiden.

The main focus of this album appears to be the guitar work and Lisa Skinner’s powerful vocals. She has a good vocal range hitting the high notes with relative ease. So if you are fan of power metal with strong vocals, then this is the album for you. Luckily the vocals are not operatic and music is guitar- rather than keyboard-centric; otherwise this review would be riddled with Nightwish comparisons. There are keyboards but they are mostly in the background. The pace is varied but mostly energetic with the exception of one slower ballad-esque track Echoes of Existance. Speaking of that track, playing this was one of those moments that really reminded me of old Nightwish, mostly due to the vocals.

The rest of the album sounds much more uplifting, energetic and more importantly more like Iron Maiden than Nightwish. The title track, for instance, is packed with aggressive guitar work and dynamic vocals. Watch out, this vixen might have some virtue but she sure can bite! I also liked Aradia, another uplifting track with brisk guitar work and soaring vocals. Then there is fast and aggressive-sounding closing track Empyre of Stones – one of my favorites on here due to the catchy guitar riffs and powerful vocals. What a fun way to end the album on a high note. If you are not headbanging by this point, then you clearly do not like heavy metal.

Overall, ‘Mirrored Revenge’ was a pleasure to review. I didn’t enjoy the ballad but the rest of the album was definitely entertaining. Some power metal has the tendency to become cheesy after a few listens, this is not the case here. I would recommend it to fans of Iron Maiden and Helloween.

8/10

Iza Raittila





 

The Lightbringer of Sweden – Rise of The Beast

Posted in Review with tags , , on 18th August 2020 by izaforestspirit

The Lightbringer of Sweden
Rise of The Beast
Released 15th July 2020
Power Metal
Self-Released

The Lightbringer of Sweden - Rise of the Beast

’Rise of The Beast’ is the debut album from the power metal band The Lightbringer of Sweden. As the band name suggests, the group hail from Sweden and they have been around since 2017. The line-up includes the German vocalist Herbie Langhans (also of Firewind, Beyond The Bridge and Avantasia live).

Now, when it comes to Swedish power metal the first name that always pops into my head is Sabaton. I can honestly say that I would struggle to name any others, except for Civil War which comprises several former Sabaton members. It’s good to know that there is more to the Swedish power metal scene than just these two bands. For starters The Lightbringer of Sweden sound nothing like their Falun-based brethren. There are no keyboards and Langhans’s vocal style reminds me of Andi Deris of Helloween.

I’m not sure what to make of the intro track ‘The Moon’… Church bells, something burning in background and the narrator’s voice informing you that the beast known as The Lightbringer is here to stay. Good to know, moving swiftly on. What follows is some fairly enjoyable melodic power metal complete with crunchy guitar, good drum work and powerful vocals. What’s not to like? The tempo varies from the mid-paced catchy songs such as Fallen Angels to the slower, ballad-esque title track. One of the highlights for me is ‘Skeletor’, probably my favorite track on here despite the somewhat cheesy lyrics. The chorus is super catchy, the raspy vocals are full of emotion and very well executed and the guitar work is top notch. I also enjoyed Into The Night, another catchy power metal tune. I’m not going to do a track-by-track review, I like some tracks more than others but, generally speaking there are not too many filler songs on here.

Overall, I enjoyed ‘Rise of The Beast’. This is one of the better power metal albums I’ve heard this year. As far as the genre goes, The Lightbringer of Sweden aren’t exactly re-inventing the wheel, but they are good at what they do. If they continue along the same path they will have a bright future ahead of them.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Battle Born – Battle Born

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 20th July 2020 by Nico Davidson

Battle Born
Battle Born
Released 26th June 2020
Power Metal/Skyrim Metal
Self-Released

Hailing from Windhelm (Apparently), Battle Born are a new power metal act on the scene. Described as “true Skyrim Metal” by some, I have to admit my curiosity was piqued. The self-titled EP is said to take the listener on an adventure through the rolling mountains of the frozen land of Skyrim.

The EP charges straight in with the gallant title track, Battle Born. It’s a strong enough opening for the EP, featuring the standard trademarks of European power metal. Bring The Metal Back is a catchy track with memorable riffs and an overall grandiose chorus, though some of the lyrics do sound quite cheesey. Man Of War takes on a more classic metal sound, with a styling that would be closer to early Manowar, or Judas Priest, than modern power metal. The chorus is poignant enough to have you singing it for days. For Our Home is a far gentler song, making use of more emotional keyboard passages and moving vocal lines. The guitars add to the uplifting sound of the track. The EP ends on Sovngarde Awaits, which despite the name, isn’t as mournful as one would assume. Instead, it thunders in with encouraging guitar riffs, exhilarating keyboards, and boisterous vocals. Such an enlivening song makes you want the EP to carry on.

For a Skyrim Metal band, the lack of Thu’um usage and sweetrolls which is disappointing, however the EP shows promise these sons of Skyrim. With an arsenal of fun choruses, and uplifting songs, Battle Born is a mighty release and just the soundtrack you need when taking the fight to the Imperials!

9/10

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Battle Born online:

http://www.facebook.com/battlebornuk

Damnation Angels – Fiber of Our Being

Posted in Review with tags , , on 17th July 2020 by izaforestspirit

Damnation Angels
Fiber of Our Being
Released 31st July 2020
Symphonic Power Metal
Self-Released

Damnation Angels - Fiber of Our Being




So here we were in the heat of the summer… Ok, so there is still a pandemic going on and many of us may not be in a “happy place” at the moment. But it’s still summer and I’m in the mood for some power metal. I’m in need of some escapism. I want to hear some uplifting tunes and to listen tales of epic battles or fantasy adventures. Helloween, Sabaton and Powerwolf are my favorite choices for the genre. This time though, I decided to take a break from those and to check out something new – the new album from the British symphonic power metal act Damnation Angels. These guys have been around since 2006 and their music has been compared to the likes of Avantasia and Blind Guardian. So far all their albums have been well received by the metal community both the fans and the critics alike, including Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. Let’s see how the third full length ‘Fiber of Our Being’ measures up to its predecessors.

Well if it’s uplifting and epic power metal you are after, then you have come to the right place. Railrunner definitely has a positive feel to it thanks to the melodic guitar work, symphonic undertones and Iggy Rodriguez’s powerful vocals. Great chorus too. They managed to achieve the right balance between the the guitars and the orchestrations without overdoing it on the symphonic parts. The title track is by far the catchiest song on here. I’ve listened to the album a few times now and this is one of the tracks that I keep going back. It has the best chorus and the most memorable orchestrations as well as guitar riffs. In fact, come to think of it, there isn’t really anything that I dislike about this track. I also enjoyed Rewrite The Future – another energetic, uplifting and catchy power metal track. The guys probably had lots of fun recording this.

They occasionally slow things down too, as demonstrated in the slower tracks like the closing ballad ‘A Sum of Our Parts’. Here the vocals have a somewhat softer tone and the keyboards are more prominent than the guitars. It’s probably my least favorite track on here but it works well as a closing song, the final chapter of the story.

Overall, there is a lot to like on here and I enjoyed listening to ‘Fiber of Our Being’. I would recommend it to fans of symphonic power metal, particularly if you are into bands like Kamelot and Avantasia.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Battle Born debut EP coming next month

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 5th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Battle Born are a new addition to the British power metal scene. The idea of the band first came about in 2018 after an inspirational trip to Wacken Open Air Festival. Their music influences include Beast in Black, Judas Priest and the action role-playing game Skyrim.

The band’s self titled EP will be available in both physical and digital formats from their Bandcamp page on 26th June 2020. You can stream the first single right now.

For further details visit:

https://battlebornuk.bandcamp.com/album/battle-born

https://www.facebook.com/pg/battlebornuk/

Alexi Laiho’s book now available in English

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2020 by izaforestspirit

So we may have to wait a while for the debut album from Alexi Laiho‘s new band Bodom After Midnight but there is some good news for his fans. The former Children of Bodom front-man’s autobiography ‘Alexi Laiho – Chaos, Control & Guitar’ is now available in English.

The book was ghost written by Petri Silas, a music journalist and personal friend of Mr. Laiho. The original version (in Finnish) came out last year.

Alexi Laiho - Chaos, Control & Guitar, Book - Backstage Rock Shop

The international, English edition is available from the following online stores:
Alexi Laiho – Chaos, Control & Guitar (Book in English)
https://www.recordshopx.com/book/laiho_alexi/kitara_kaaos_kontrolli/

For further information go to:
https://fi-fi.facebook.com/AlexiLaihoOfficial
https://www.facebook.com/bodomaftermidnightofficial/

Meet Alexi Laiho’s new band Bodom After Midnight

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , on 16th March 2020 by izaforestspirit

So it’s official… Children of Bodom is no more. The well renowned Finnish melodic death metal group played their last show in Helsinki, Finland in December last year. With their front-man Alexi Laiho loosing the rights to the name, a decision was made for the band to call it a day.

Luckily, there is some good news for their fans. Alexi Laiho has recently formed a new band called Bodom After Midnight. He will be joined by former CoB band-mate guitarist Daniel Freyberg, drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost) and bassist Mitja Toivonen (Santa Cruz). The band have yet to find a full time keyboard player, but for now the keyboards will be performed by a session musician called Lauri Salomaa.

Bodom After Midnight are scheduled to play their first show at Tuska Open Air Festival on 27th June 2020 with other festival dates to follow this summer including John Smith Rock Festival and Summer Breeze Festival.

For now check out their new Facebook page for more details:
https://www.facebook.com/bodomaftermidnightofficial/#

 

Prime Creation announce UK Tour in April 2020

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 4th March 2020 by izaforestspirit

The Swedish power metal band Prime Creation will be coming to British shores this spring.

Here is the schedule:

April 9th – Bannermans Bar, Edinburgh, Scotland, The UK
April 10th – Alma Inn, Bolton, The UK
April 11th – Sanctuary Burnley, Burnley, The UK
April 12th – The County Music Bar, Chesterfield, The UK

The tour follows the release of the band’s second album ‘Tears of Rage’, which came out last year.

For more information go to:
https://www.facebook.com/primecreationofficial
https://primecreationband.com/

 

New Nightwish album coming this spring

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , on 17th January 2020 by izaforestspirit

It’s been five years since their last studio album ‘ Endless Forms Most Beautiful’. Now the the world renowned Finnish symphonic power metal band Nightwish have announced that their new opus will be called ‘Hvman. :II: Natvre.’

Here’s the cover art and track-listing:

Nightwish - Hvman. :II: Natvre.

Disc 1
1. Music
2. Noise
3. Shoemaker
4. Harvest
5. Pan
6. How’s the Heart?
7. Procession
8. Tribal
9. Endlessness

Disc 2
1. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Vista
2. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – The Blue
3. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – The Green
4. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Moors
5. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Aurorae
6. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Quiet as the Snow
7. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Anthropocene (incl. “Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal”)
8. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Ad Astra

‘Hvman. :II: Natvre.’  will be out worldwide on 10th April 2020 via Nuclear Blast Records.

For more information go to:
http://nightwish.com/en
https://www.facebook.com/nightwish

Iza’s highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2019 by izaforestspirit

It’s that time of the year again. Time for my annual best of list or “highlights” as I prefer to call them. 2019 was a eventful year for alternative music. There was a lot of new material that caught my attention which made selecting a top 10 much more difficult than last year. After much deliberation I have narrowed it down to the following albums:

1. Eluveitie – Antegnatos
Genre: Folk Metal
Eluveitie - Ategnatos
2. Children of Bodom – Hexed
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/ Power Metal
Children of Bodom - Hexed

3. The 69 Eyes – West End
Genre: Goth n’Roll/ Gothic Rock
The 69 Eyes - West End

4. Mgła – Age of Excuse
Genre: Black Metal
Mgła - Age of Excuse
5. Combichrist – One Fire
Genre: Industrial Metal/Electro-Industrial
Combichrist - One Fire - CD

6. Hocico – Artificial Extiction
Genre: Electro- Industrial/ Aggrotech
Hocico - Artificial Extinction - CD

7. Blutengel – Un:Gott
Genre: Synth-pop/Darkwave

8. Darkthrone – Old Star
Genre: Black Metal/Blackened Heavy Metal/Doom Metal
Darkthrone - Old Star

9. Sabaton – The Great War
Genre: Power Metal
Sabaton - The Great War
10. Ad Inferna – Des Diables et Des Dieux
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Honorable mentions:
Aurelio Voltaire – She’s Glowing
Taken from the album What Are The Oddz?

God Module – Cross My Heart
Taken from the album The Unsound

Scandroid – The Writing’s On The Wall
Taken from the album The Light

The long-awaited new Rammstein album also came out this year. Sadly, despite a having handful of great songs including ‘Deutschland’, it was a little disappointing. I expected more from them after a decade of waiting.

Best live show of 2019
Metallica live in Hämeenlinna

Runners up, honorable mentions go to: Behemoth live in Tampere and Blutengel live at Hellsinki Industrial.

New discoveries for 2019
Raven Said, Priest and Cygnosic

Most anticipated releases for 2020
a new albums from Helloween and Vader
Mono Inc- The Book of Fire
Celldweller – Satellites

That’s all from me. Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza Raittila

Helloween announce new tour dates for 2020

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 18th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Good news for Helloween fans… The well renowned German power metal band have recently announced that there will  be a new tour next year featuring all three Helloween vocalists performing live on stage once again. The ‘United Alive World Tour Part II’ will start in September 2020.

Here are the dates:

26.09.2020 SK 🇸🇰 Zvolen, Ice Stadium
27.09.2020 AT 🇦🇹 Vienna, Gasometer
29.09.2020 CH 🇨🇭 Zurich, Samsung Hall
30.09.2020 IT 🇮🇹 Milano, Lorenzini District
02.10.2020 DE 🇩🇪 Stuttgart, Schleyer-Halle
04.10.2020 UK 🇬🇧 Manchester, Manchester Academy
05.10.2020 UK 🇬🇧 London, Brixton Academy
07.10.2020 FR 🇫🇷 Paris, Olympia
08.10.2020 LU 🇱🇺 Luxemburg, Rockhal
09.10.2020 FR 🇫🇷 Lyon, Le Transbordeur
11.10.2020 ES 🇪🇸 Barcelona, St. Jordi Club
12.10.2020 ES 🇪🇸 Madrid, WiZink Center
15.10.2020 CZ 🇨🇿 Prague, 02 Arena
16.10.2020 DE 🇩🇪 Bochum, Ruhrcongress
17.10.2020 DE 🇩🇪 Hamburg, Sporthalle
19.10.2020 HU 🇭🇺 Budapest, Papp Laszlo Sportarena
20.10.2020 PL 🇵🇱 Katowice, MCK
23.10.2020 RU 🇷🇺 Moskau, Adrenaline – Stadium
25.10.2020 RU 🇷🇺 St. Petersburg, A2
27.10.2020 EE 🇪🇪 Tallin, Noblessneri Valukoda
29.10.2020 FI 🇫🇮 Helsinki, Black Box
31.10.2020 SE 🇸🇪 Gothenburg, Partille Arena

Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen, Andi Debris and the rest of band are currently busy working on a new album, which is expected to see the light of day in late August/early September 2020.

For more details visit:

https://www.helloween.org/

www.facebook.com/helloweenofficial/

Three founding members leave Children of Bodom

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 3rd November 2019 by izaforestspirit

It’s been over twenty years, thousands of live shows, world wide tours and ten albums. Now it looks as though this might be the final chapter for Children of Bodom. A few days ago Henkka, Janne and Jaska (three of the band’s founding members), made a shocking announcement that they will be leaving the band before the end of the year. Here is an extract from the official statement:

”It is with heavy hearts that we announce that 2019 will be the last for Children Of Bodom with this line-up.

After almost 25 years with Bodom, thousands of shows & 10 albums it is time for Henkka, Janne and Jaska to step back and change direction within their lives. All three will miss the fans and supporters in every city in every country the band ever played.

The last show of this line-up will be on the 15th of December at Helsinki Ice Hall. Tickets still remain for some of the Finnish shows in December.

Alexi and Daniel will have further announcements about their plans to keep creating new music in the future.

Thanks again for everything – Children Of Bodom”

The band’s front-man, Alexi Laiho has yet to comment on what will happen next. The band’s latest album ‘Hexed’ was released earlier this year via Nuclear Blast Records.

Finnish fans can still catch the band live with the current line-up on the following dates:

5.12.2019 Seinäjoki, Rytmikorjaamo
6.12.2019 Oulu, Teatria
7.12.2019 Tornio, Teatria
10.12.2019 Helsinki, Tavastia (Sold Out)
11.12.2019 Tampere, Pakkahuone
12.12.2019 Turku, Logomo
13.12.2019 Jyväskylä, Lutakko (Sold Out)
14.12.2019 Jyväskylä, Lutakko (Sold Out)
15.12.2019 Helsinki, Black Box

Children of Bodom - Photo

For more information visit:

https://www.cobhc.com/

https://www.facebook.com/childrenofbodom/

Prime Creation – Tears of Rage

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 15th September 2019 by izaforestspirit

Prime Creation
Tears of Rage
Released 27th September 2019
Melodic Heavy Metal/Power Metal
Self-Released

Prime Creation - Tears of Rage

’Tears of Rage’ is the second album from the Swedish heavy metal band Prime Creation. The band was formed back in 2015 and it features several former members of Morifade as well as $ilverdollar vocalist Esa Englund.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this based on the description. What exactly do they mean by “melodic heavy metal”? It is one of those vague descriptions that can encompass practically anything from power metal, NWOBHM, melodic thrash metal, classic heavy- and possibly even progressive metal. So where does Prime Creation fit in? Well, after a few listens I would say that they best fit the power metal category. The good news is that it’s not progressive or ultra cheesy and most of the focus is on the vocals and the guitars. So we’re off to a good start…

I enjoyed the opener Fingers Crossed, an uplifting song with a good mix of guitar melodies, especially the rhythm guitar. The vocalist reminded me a little of Andi Deris from Helloween. Then there’s Before The Rain with its symphonic intro, good riffs and melodic vocals. There is also a hint of electronics in the guitars. It’s a kind of inorganic guitar chugging with some distortion added. This style is more commonly used by industrial metal bands such as Fear Factory. So, it’s not exactly what I expected to hear but it seems to work. It gives the music a bit more aggressive edge.

Then last and my least favorite is the peaceful, slow-paced closing ballad Endless Lanes. That song feels like it was initially meant to be an a completely different album. It is all about the vocals and piano. It’s very melodic and atmospheric, which is fine, but it feels somewhat disconnected with rest of album.

In summary, ‘Tears of Rage’ is a multifaceted album which warrants a few listens to fully appreciate its intricate nature. I like some songs more than the others but overall impression I got from it was a positive one.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Sabaton – The Great War

Posted in Review with tags , on 26th July 2019 by izaforestspirit

Sabaton
The Great War
Released 19th July 2019
Power Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

Sabaton - The Great War
Swedish power metal brigade are back with yet another historically themed album. As the title suggests it is The First World War, also known as The Great War. According to their official website they have been planning to make an album on this topic for quite some time. I wasn’t too impressed with their previous work but I decided to give this a go. After all it’s Sabaton, even their so-called bad albums have a least a few good tracks on them…

Well, after a few listens I can happily say that this album is a bit better thought-out and structured than their previous effort ‘The Last Stand’. While that album felt more like a collection of various ideas crammed into one full length, the songs on this one all sound like they belong together. Many of the tracks also feature a choir in the chorus making the music sound more dynamic. I quite enjoyed the opening song The Future of Warfare. It reminds me a little of ‘Night Witches’ from the ‘Heroes’ album. As far as the music goes, it’s classic Sabaton, with most of the emphasis being on Mr. Brodén’s powerful vocals and the catchy guitar riffs. Luckily they did not overdo it on the keyboards. Seven Pillars of Wisdom is one of the tracks that stood out the most for me. It’s very guitar-centric and the guitar work is pretty good as are the vocals. Also the lyrics are very well though-out and a serious improvement compared to some of their previous songs. As much as I enjoy Sabaton’s music, some of their lyrics are a little too cheesy for my liking. The title track is easily the best song on the album. Lots of energy, catchy guitar work, good use of a choir and powerful vocals. Nice work there, Sabaton!

If only the rest of the album were as good as those three tracks. Sadly that is not the case. There are several moments on here where I had this odd sense of déjà vu. Many of the songs sound like something that Sabaton has done before, albeit slightly modified and with different lyrics. I’m not going to list which tracks sound similar to older Sabaton songs because that would make this review into an essay. Let’s just say that there are many and if you have been listening to Sabaton for as long as I have, they are pretty hard to miss. There are also two songs that I simply couldn’t get into – the ultra cheesy -sounding The Red Baron and disco-metal of The Attack of The Dead Men. The latter really overdoes it with the keyboards and that chorus is just so irritating… I’m not sure why if find it so annoying, maybe it’s the frequent repetition of “again” and “hundred men”.

Overall, ‘The Great War’ is an improvement compared to Sabaton’s previous album but it’s still a far cry from the best work. It is a good album but not brilliant one. I wasn’t expecting them to make another ‘Carolus Rex’ but this is really the best that they can do?

4/5
Iza Raittila

Alestorm live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bootyard Bandits, Skálmöld, Alestorm
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
3rd March 2019

Alestorm… It’s been a while. Nine years to be exact. The last time I saw these guys live was in 2010 when they supported Sabaton. I was also at their show at Wacken Open Air in 2008. They have always been one of those bands that I enjoy watching live but I have never actually listened to any of their albums in full. I might play the odd song or video but that is all. They are a party band that is fun to watch live while enjoying a nice cold beer. This was their first headlining show in Finland and it was sold out.

First up was a British band called Bootyard Bandits. These guys clearly like all things Wild West ranging from cowboy hats, country music to banjos. I’m not sure how to describe their style – “comedy country rock?”, hard rock…They were definitely fun to watch. I especially enjoyed the heavy metal banjo solo featuring a cover of AC DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ and other hard rock classics. 4/5

Next up was an Icelandic Viking folk metal band called Skálmöld. Their show was a bit more serious but still good. They sound like a mixture of Týr and Falkenbach. All their songs are in their native Icelandic. Good vocals and some of the songs were catchy but I could have done without the Týr-style progressive guitar parts. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the headliners. When Alestorm took to the stage I found myself on the edge of a mosh-pit. The crowd really went wild during the show. There was everything from the usual head-banging, air guitar to rowing inside the mosh-pit during one of the slow songs. The Scottish pirates played some new material including ‘Mexico’ along with some old hits such as ‘‘Keelhauled’, Captain Morgan’s Revenge’, ‘Drink’ and a cover of ‘Wolves of The Sea’. 5/5

 

In summary I had a great time and I enjoyed all of the performances. Bootyard Bandits were better than I expected. Skálmöld had a few memorable moments. Alestorm were entertaining as always. Pirate metal is fun to watch, just do not take it too seriously.

Iza Raittila

Children of Bodom – Hexed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 27th February 2019 by izaforestspirit

Children of Bodom
Hexed
Released 8th March 2019
Melodic Death Metal/Power Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records


Children of Bodom - Hexed

Mr. Laiho and the Hate Crew are back with a new album. It’s been four years since ‘I Worship Chaos’, an album which I initially liked when it came out but after more listens it got a little repetitive. I still own it of course; I have all their albums, even the not so good ones. I guess that somewhere deep down I’m still that teenage Children of Bodom fan girl who had a crush on Alexi Laiho and dreamed of going to Finland to see them live. I used to listen to ‘Follow The Reaper’ on repeat for days and that album still holds a special place in my heart. If there is one band that has contributed the most to my obsession with all things Finnish and Finland it’s these guys. Not only did I visit Finland, I ended up relocating there and learning the language. I’ve seen Children of Bodom live on numerous occasions and I have even visited the Lake Bodom murder site in Espoo.

This brings me to ‘Hexed’, album number ten in Children of Bodom’s discography and the first to feature their new rhythm guitarist Daniel Freyborg. It’s astonishing just how much difference a second guitarist can make. Alexi Laiho is a great frontman and an exceptionally talented guitar player but there is more to this band than just him. Freyborg has his own unique style and he has definitely left his mark on this album. For example on Under Grass And Clover, the dual guitar harmonies work very well together, creating a smooth-sounding, catchy, melodeath metal song. Want something a little faster? Then skip right over to the next track Glass Houses – a classic COB track, with their signature ultra-fast keyboards and impressive guitar work. Speaking of keyboards, the title track features some of the best keyboard passages I have heard from Mr.Wirman in years.

There are quite a few moments on here that reminded me of their mid-career albums ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’ and ‘Are You Dead Yet?’. It is not all same old Bodom, though. There are parts that display the band trying new things such as the technical guitar work and melodic keyboards on Hecate’s Nightmare. It is not something that I would have expected to hear from these guys but it works surprisingly well.

In summary, ‘Hexed’ shows how much Children of Bodom have evolved over the years. Where some of their previous albums failed to leave a lasting impression, getting stale after a few listens, here the songs stand out. While it lacks the “WOW!” factor of their best work, it is a strong album that will definitely please their fans both old and new.

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

Сандарния – К оружию!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 23rd February 2019 by Mickelrath

Сандарния (Sandarnia)
К оружию! (To Arms!)
Power Metal, Symphonic Metal
Released: 9th December 2018
Self Released


This has been a really interesting album to get into. Mainly because it’s the first album I’ve ever reviewed that is not in English. So, before we start, I just want to say that I don’t speak Russian so somethings will be lost on me. Yet, I still think this is a solid record. I think it’s important to discover as much of the world as possible and music bridges that gap much easier. When I first took a listen to the new album from Sandarnia I was immediately drawn into their passion, presence and their overall tone. This band is the brainchild of Russian musician Alexander Kuznetsov and it contains some incredible performances by a variety of awesome musicians.

To Arms! is an awesome record and it feels massive. The production is so bold on every song. It just flows so well from one track to the next, with heavy guitar, a bold bass tone and terrific drum work. If there’s one thing that this project has, it’s a great sense of tone. Every tune is dramatic and it sounds big. It’s like a heavy metal orchestra. One thing I do like about this record is the variety in vocal performances. Different tunes have different singers and each one brings something brilliant to the table. One performance that I did enjoy was Daria Mikolaevskaya’s on the song “Та, что встретит с тобой смерть”. I found this song to be impressive, with its sweeping melodies and excellent musicianship.

Now, there does lie the potential to alienate a wider audience by not making it in English. I will say that and that can put some people off. Yet, I think it’s something they overcome quite well. The music is largely accessible and if you’re into this sort of this already then, then I would highly recommend giving them a chance. Also, the production, whilst impressive, can be lacking at times, with the guitars and bass sometimes mixed over the top of the vocals and that can be a little distracting at times.

Overall, I would say that this was a rather impressive listening experience. The songs are epic and the band just have the charisma of megastars. If you like your power metal bands then, Sandarnia is well worth your time. To Arms! Is an amazing epic of a record that ends on a couple of excellent covers with “Warcraft 2 Theme – Tides of Darkness” and the “Game of Thrones Theme”. If you want some good power metal in your life that you may have never considered before, this is the band for you.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Iza’s Highlights of 2018

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2018 by izaforestspirit

It’s that time of the year again! Time for my annual best of list or “highlights” as I prefer to call them. This year I have decided to do just one list rather than two separate ones for metal and non-metal. The main reason for this is that there have not been too many industrial/EBM releases that caught my attention this year. So without further ado, here are my top ten albums of 2018:

1. Powerwolf – The Sacrament of Sin
Genre: Power Metal
Powerwolf - The Sacrament of Sin

The German power metal wolves are back with a new album. And what an album it is!! I honestly cannot get enough of it. It may not be very profound as far as the themes go but it is hell of a lot of fun. Stand-out tracks are ‘Fire & Forgive’, ‘Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ and ‘Nightside of Siberia’.

2. Lord of The Lost – Thornstar
Genre: Dark Rock/Gothic Industrial Metal
Image result for lord of the lost thornstar
I absolutely adore this band. They combine the best of dark rock with Gothic metal and Deathstars-like industrial metal. ‘Thornstar’ has to be their greatest and most complex album to date. In order to fully understand the concept, I would recommend that you download the 21 paged ‘Thornstar backstory’ from the band’s website. It’s a fascinating read that offers some insight into Pangaean history and culture. Alternatively you can simply enjoy music. Stand-out tracks are ‘On This Rock I Will Build My Church’, ‘Haythor’ and ‘Black Halo’.

3. Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

Behemoth are back with their long-awaited new album. As I mentioned in my review, this is not ‘The Satanist part 2’ but rather a mixture of both old and new Behemoth styles. It takes a few listens but once you get into it your patience will be rewarded. Stand-out tracks are ‘Wolves ov Siberia’ and ‘Bartzabel’.

4. Chthonic – Battlefields of Asura
Genre: Melodic Black Metal/Oriental Metal
閃靈 - 政治 / Battlefields of Asura
My favourite oriental metal band are back. Their latest album might not be a memorable as ‘Bú Tik’ but it has its moments. Music-wise it offers more of Chthonic’s unique blend of melodic black metal, death metal and oriental folk music with the addition of some choirs and guest vocals from the Cantopop singer Denise Ho. Stand-out tracks are ‘A Crimson Sky’s Command’ and ‘Millennia’s Faith Undone’.

5. MONO Inc. – Welcome to Hell
Genre: Gothic Rock/Dark Rock
Image result for MONO INC WELCOME TO HELL cover
More Gothic rock…’ Welcome to Hell’ is my favourite MONO Inc. album to date. Their music is essentially melodic hard rock but it also has this wonderful, eerie Gothic feel. Stand-out tracks are ‘Long Live Death’, A Vagabond’s Life’ and Reign of Rats’.

6. Grimner – Vanadrottning
Genre: Folk Metal/Viking Metal
Grimner - Vanadrottning

I had the pleasure of reviewing this album earlier this year. It’s been a long while since I’ve heard any folk metal that was this good. I would recommend this to fans of Finntroll, Ensiferum and Månegarm. Stand-out tracks are ‘Vanadrottning’ and ‘En Fallen Jätte’.

7. Monstrosity – The Passage Of Existence
Genre – Death Metal
Monstrosity - The Passage of Existence
My kind of death metal and my favourite death metal album of 2018. It is hard to pick out a stand-out track since in all honestly I like them all but ‘Kingdom of Fire’ and ‘Maelstrom’ are the ones that stuck in my head the most.

8. Hanzel und Gretyl – Satanik Germanik
Genre: Industrial Metal/Groove Metal/Extreme Metal
Hanzel und Gretyl - Satanik Germanik
‘Satanik Germanik’ is Hanzel und Gretyl’s heaviest and most metal album. As mentioned in my review it is darker and more serious than the material from the “Fukken Über’ era, much like its predecessor ‘Black Forest Metal’. Luckily that does not make it any less fun. Stand-out tracks are ‘I Am Bad Luck’ and the party song ‘Trinken Mit Der Kaizer (Die Bierz From Hell)’

9. Scandroid – The Darkness
Genre: Synthwave
Image result for scandroid the darkness
One of the few electronic releases that made it to my top 10. ‘The Darkness’ is the third album from Klayton (Celldweller/Circle of Dust)’s synthwave project Scandroid. Delightful retro synthesizer tunes, a little guitar and melodic vocals all with a futuristic feel. Stand-out tracks ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Red Planet’.

10. Auger – The Awakening
Genre: Darkwave
Image result for auger the awakening
A new discovery for me. I really enjoyed Auger’s show at Lumous Gothic Festival 2018. This British dark wave duo combine the best of darkwave and Gothic rock. I would recommend their debut album to fans of Blutengel, Gothminister and The Vision Bleak. Stand-out tracks are ‘Monster’ and ‘My Guardian’.

Honourable mentions:

Xentrifuge – Desensitized Parallels, Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods, Psyclon Nine – Icon of The Adversary. All good albums but with only a few outstanding tracks they missed out on a space in my top ten list.
IAMX’s latest album ‘Alive in The New Light’ also came out of the start of this year. While it didn’t make my top ten I did enjoy it, especially the track ‘Mile Deep Hollow’.
Check out the video here:

Best live show of 2018: Helloween live at South Park Festival in Tampere.
Biggest New Discovery: Auger
Most anticipated albums in 2019:
Blutengel – Un:Gott
Blue Stahli – Obsidian
Also hopefully new albums by Helloween and Rammstein.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza Raittila

Guardians of Time – Tearing Up The World

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 22nd December 2018 by izaforestspirit

Guardians of Time
Tearing Up The World
Released 19th October 2018
Power Metal
Released via ROAR! Rock of Angels Records

Guardians of Time - Tearing Up the World

‘Tearing Up The World’ is the new album from the Norwegian power metal band Guardians of Time. The band has been around since the late 1990s and their line-up includes the current vocalist of Suspiria as well as guitarist Paul Olsen (ex-Trail of Tears). This release features guest performances from Abbath and Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Judas Priest/ ex-Iced Earth).

Power metal is one of those genres that I prefer enjoy in small doses. There are a few notable exceptions; power metal bands that I happily tune into all year around including Sabaton, Powerwolf and Helloween. Generally speaking though, this is the type of music that sounds best on a sunny, summer day at a festival when enjoying a cold beer. I have the beverage part sorted but it does not change the fact that I am listening to this on a cold, snowy, December night in Finland with maximum of 5 hours of daylight in this season… What does fit this setting though are Abbath’s backing vocals in the title track. After all, Abbath is best known for his work with the black metal band Immortal who are all about the grim and the frostbitten. Then there are the references to snow, ice and Norse mythology in Valhalla Awaits. Now that’s more like it…

Yet there is no getting away from the predominant style of slightly cheesy but ultimately very traditional power metal. Luckily there are no overblown keyboard tunes and the vocals are not overly squeaky and the guitar work is pretty good. I could list a whole bunch of power metal bands that sound similar but I honestly do not see the point. Even for those who are not familiar with the band, the band name and the album cover should be a big clue of what kind of music you can expect to hear. Oh yes, what we have here are twelve tracks of energetic, fast and catchy power metal with the focus being principally on the guitars. It is full steam ahead from start to finish with not a single slow track or ballad in sight. Take the aforementioned Valhalla Awaits for example – it is probably the fastest track on the album, with guitar riffs galore and powerful vocals, all of which combined make the song just perfect for headbanging. So what if the lyrics are a little cheesy… As I Burn also deserves a mention with Tim “Ripper” Owens doing guest vocals. His vocal style is a touch more aggressive than Mr. Fjellestad’s and the dual vocals work well with the crunchy guitars and the pounding drums to create a powerful song.

In summary, the season might be wrong but I’ve had lots of fun reviewing ‘Tearing Up The World’ and it definitely put me in a good mood. If power metal is your thing then there is a lot to like on here especially if you are a fan of bands such as Three Inches of Blood and Helloween.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Children of Bodom reveal new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , , on 30th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

Children of Bodom have recently announced that their new album, the follow up to ‘I Worship Chaos’, will be called ‘Hexed’.

Check out the track-listing and cover art below:

1. The Road
2. Under Grass and Clover
3. Glass Houses
4. Hecate’s Nightmare
5. Kick in the Spleen
6. Platitudes and Barren Words
7. Hexed
8. Relapse (The Nature of My Crime)
9. Say Never Look Back
10. Soon Departed
11. Knuckleduster
12. I Worship Chaos (live)
13. Morrigan (live)
14. Knuckleduster (remix)

Children of Bodom - Hexed

‘Hexed’ is scheduled to hit the shops worldwide on 8th March 2019 via Nuclear Blast Records. This will be the band’s first album with their new rhythm guitarist Daniel Freyberg who joined the band in 2016 replacing Roope Latvala.

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/childrenofbodom

http://www.cobhc.com/site/