Archive for Sonata Arctica

Sonata Arctica – The Ninth Hour

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 14th October 2016 by Mickelrath

Sonata Arctica
The Ninth Hour
Power Metal, Symphonic Metal
Released: 7th October 2016
via Nuclear Blast

The last time I talked about Sonata Arctica on this site I gave them a relatively positive review. I enjoyed “Pariah’s Child”, it was a fun record with a lot of good tunes. It got me into the band and I’ve considered myself a fan ever since. So I snapped up the opportunity to take a listen to the new record, “The Ninth Hour”.

Straight from the first song, “Closer To An Animal”, I knew I was listening to a bolder product with more focus and solid songwriting.  Every element of the album is alive and energized. The synth is just uplifting and makes for a nice atmosphere with its diversity. The songwriting is beautiful and is filled with emotion and passion. From slow and somber songs to the heavy and faced paced straight up metal songs. They just make an impression on every song.

The lyrical content is pretty simple when you think about it. The message of the album is life a good life, be kind to people and stop killing the planet. It sounds simplistic and something you’d sing to your kids. Yet, just because you learned it when you were young it does make these morals false. Sometimes you need simple things just said to you and Sonata Arctica really sell it. Tony Kakko’s voice sounds absolutely amazing on this album. He always seems to manage to match his voice to the emotion of the song and it sounds so sweet every time.

This is an excellent album. In my opinion, Sonata Arctica are the undisputed kings of power metal. If I were to recommend songs from the album, firstly “Life”. This is a belting track with a genuinely inspiring and cheerful chorus that sounds glorious. The other song I’d recommend is “We Are What We Are”, which sound sorrowful and passionate.  It’s a beautiful album that really live up to their reputation as one of the best. I love it

4/5

Mick Birchall

Sonata Arctica, Children of Bodom and Nightwish live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , on 1st August 2015 by izaforestspirit

Sonata Arctica, Children of Bodom, Nightwish
Ratina Stadium, Tampere, Finland
31st July 2015

A cloudy Friday night in central Tampere. The weather might have not been great but there was a sizable crowd of metalheads gathered at the local stadium. Why, you might ask? Three of the country’s biggest metal bands have come here to play a show.

Sonata Arctica were almost half way through their set by the time I arrived at the venue. I like some of their old albums but I’ve never been a massive fan. I’ve also seen them live many times before so I knew what to expect from their show. They play energetic power metal with very fast keyboards and squeaky vocals. I’m not familiar with their recent albums but I’m glad that they played ‘Don’t Say A Word’ towards the end because that is one of the very few songs that I recognized. 3/5

I’ve been a Children of Bodom fan since my early teens and I was really looking forward to see them live again. The last time that I saw them was at Sauna Open Air back in 2013. This time they played more songs from their newer albums which was a bit of shame because I actually prefer the old songs. Luckily their set also featured some of my favourites including ‘Lake Bodom’, ‘Hate Me’, ‘Needled 24/7’ and ‘In Your Face’. 4/5

The last time that I saw the headlining act, Nightwish, was in 2013 just before they announced that Floor Jansen was going to be their full-time singer. I don’t own a copy of their latest album, but I’ve heard some of the songs on the radio such as the single ‘Élan’. I actually danced along to the tune when I heard it. They put on an elaborate performance complete with large backdrop artwork display, pyrotechnics and fireworks. I was really happy to hear some of the old classics, such as ‘Stargazers’, ‘Sleeping Sun’ and my personal favourite ‘She Is My Sin’. These were songs which I never thought that I would get to hear live since their previous singer Anette couldn’t handle the operatic vocals. Luckily her replacement, Floor Jansen is a much more skilled vocalist and a better performer. Not only could she sing all the classic Nightwish songs but also their mid-career stuff such as ‘Amaranth’ (originally written with Anette on vocals) sounded good. All the fancy stage props really helped to build up to the grand finale, the unforgettable opus that is ‘The Greatest Show on Earth. 5/5

Overall, it’s been a memorable evening. Sonata Arctica’s show was pretty much what I expected it to be. Children of Bodom put on a good show but they were better the previous time that I saw them. Nightwish exceeded my expectations with a fantastic show that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Iza Raittila

Sonata Arctica – Pariah’s Child

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 11th May 2014 by Mickelrath

Sonata Arctica
“Pariah’s Child”
Power metal
Released on 26th March 2014
via Nuclear Blast

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OK, this is a good one… I mean really damn good.  I don’t usually listen to power metal, but when I do, this is the kind of band I like.  Sonata Arctica and their newest release Pariah’s Child gave me exactly what I wanted from this type of album.  This is my first time listening to them, so I can say, if you have never heard of them or have just never got around to listening to them, this album is a great jumping on point. That being said, I do feel the album is a bit of a grower, it took me a couples of straight listens to truly get in to it.

The record starts well with great sounding production, solid riffs, a creative lyrical style all in all the signs of a decently composed record, and this sets a good atmosphere for the album to come.  Track one is the lead in single, The Wolves Die Young, a great intro that keeps to the bare bones of the the genre’s formula, it’s light hearted and has some nice twinkly synth happening in the back of the production.  However, it’s only when you truly think about the lyrics of this song, that you get the general ideas and themes this album is trying to convey; in short, it’s about the regret of an elder generation, and the crimes of today having to live on through our youth.

It definitely took a few listens but the album is littered with this symbolic language, in it’s lyrics and even in the atmosphere and tone of the music itself.  The most blunt example of this type of writing, would be in the song What Did You Do In The War, Dad.  To be honest I just thought this was another typical power metal song.  Well it is about war and conflict, set to fast power chords, and fast bass-drum kicks.  You know… the usual song and dance. However, this verse caught me off guard, “What did you do in the war, dad, tell me, Why can’t you smile when the children sing, Did the wages of war cut your soaring wings, And your soul is now torn, unlike mine, Do you fear yesterday will in someway, Define the life of your child?”  This line goes by so quickly you don’t fully hear it the first time.  It’s subtle and simultaneously powerful.  This line shows a guilt-ridden father struggling to deal with the present, because he feels guilty about the past, and then, putting those mental burdens on his child.  The child then realises, that their dad may never be the same person and as a result, the child must grow with these mental strains as well.  It makes you think about the subject matter but not so much as to ruin the enjoyment of the record, it’s just great writing, nothing more, nothing less.

If I step aside from the lyrics and talk about the music for just a moment.  I would say for the most part it’s very well written, it’s catchy and fun with a lot of great riffs and hooks. There appear to a lot of odes and nods to classic rock and that gives the songs some interesting grooves to hear, check out the songs Half a Marathon Man & X Marks the Spot to see what I mean.  The melodies are well crafted and set an interesting tone for every song.  Especially in the ballads, which this album is not short of…  Nope, you can’t have a power metal album without the slow songs, and usually they’re the weakest part of the genre, but Sonata Arctica find a way to make them sound great and give them sense of sincerity.  Again, this is a sign brilliantly written music.  The song Love could have just been a typical metal ballad, but the band takes their time with it and allows the song to build slowly and naturally, then, the big metal chords come in at the end. It’s just so great to hear in this type of music.

OK, so any songs in particular to check out?  Well, I would say just buy the album, but if you’re looking for a sample to get your interest going, I would recommend the track Cloud Factory.  It has a fun and bouncy beat, creative and poetic language and it’s probably the most interesting song on the album, considering its premise.  Overall though, this is a great record, I don’t think I’ve had as much fun listening to an album in a while. Great tunes, beautiful atmosphere and just enjoyable, check it out.

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

Tuomas Holopainen – The Life and Times of Scrooge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 14th March 2014 by hammersmashedlauren

Tuomas Holopainen
The Life and Times of Scrooge
Released: 11th April, 2014
Folk/Symphonic Rock
Released via Nuclear Blast

Being his first solo record, Tuomas Holopainen did an outstanding job of creating a masterpiece that is very different from anything he has ever done in his primary band, Nightwish. This is a concept album that is based off of the Disney novel, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, and if this book did have a movie, I’m confident that this album would be the soundtrack. There are, of course, keyboards and a symphony which doesn’t branch too far from Nightwish, but there are also elements of folk heard at different times which gave this the light-hearted, childish feel you might get from a Disney movie.

Many musicians helped to create the album, and most of them were not from metal bands. However, Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica played the part of the “storyteller” and one of Nightwish’s newest members, Troy Donockley, played the pipes and whistles. I like that even with the help of metal musicians, it still did not derive away from the over feel of the album. There are some times when songs definitely were a bit more aggressive and heavier, and that subtle influence was enough to remind me that this album was made by a metal musician.

One track in particular, Cold Heart of the Klondike, had an intro that reminded me a lot of something that Nightwish would have written. This is probably because it starts out with primarily the keyboards and then gradually goes into violins paired with dramatic choir vocals, and that’s something I would expect to hear on any kind of symphonic metal album. While I greatly enjoyed these small bits of fast and epic music, it’s primarily what I looked forward while listening to this album. I felt that the tracks were much too long and kind of dragged out after a while. The only tracked I really enjoyed listening to was their single release, A Lifetime of Adventure. To me, it was the most memorable because it had the most vocals and didn’t drag out for too long. While the other songs were done beautifully, they were just entirely too long and repetitive for my liking.

Overall, this album was a great listen. I highly recommend picking it up once it is released next month if you are a fan of symphonic, folk, or power metal. A Lifetime of Adventure has a music video out if you want to preview what the album actually sounds like as well. I was impressed by the musicianship and overall quality of this album, and I hope Tuomas Holopainen continues to make more solo records.

4.5/5

Lauren Gowdy

Lost Society give the low down on the first five tracks from Terror Hungry

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 12th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Lost Society are set to unleash their new album Terror Hungry next month through Nuclear Blast. In anticipation of the new album, the guys have filmed a video giving fans the down low on the album. Lost Society decided to do this while on tour so each track is covered in a different country and/or city, giving fans a chance to see what life on the road with these four Finnish dudes is like. The first clips which covers the first five tracks can be viewed just below:

Part One: Spurgatory

Part Two: Game Over and Attaxic

Part Three: Lethal Pleasure and Terror Hungry

Lost Society online:

http://facebook.com/lostsocietyfinland
http://youtube.com/lostsocietyfinland
https://twitter.com/lostsocietyfi

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Sonata Arctica unveil second single from upcoming studio album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 6th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Sonata Arctica are set to release their eighth studio album, entitled Pariah’s Child, at the end of the month. The album is the follow up to the band’s 2012 release Stones Grow Her Name. The band recently release a single from the new album titled Wolves Die Young and the band have now released the second single from the album. The single, titled Cloud Factory, is available for listening down below. The official video for wolves Die Young can be viewed down below as well.

Pariah’s Child was recorded and produced by the band at Studio 57 in Alaveteli, Finland. The mix was done by the band’s new bass player Kauppinen.

Sonata Arctica online:

http://sonataarctica.info
http://facebook.com/sonataarctica
http://twitter.com/SonataArctica
http://youtube.com/user/SonataArctica

 

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Sonata Arctica reveal artwork for new album, Pariah’s Child

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 9th January 2014 by Nico Davidson

31st March will see the release of a new Sonata Arctica album entitled Pariah’s Child. It is the band’s eight studio album and the follow-up to their successful release Stones Grow Her Name. Today the breathtakingly beautiful cover artwork, as seen above, for Pariah’s Child has been revealed. Vocalist Tony Kakko explains the thoughts behind the album title and the artwork:

As always it’s pretty hard coming up with a name for the new baby. I tried to approach it from many angles; how this is our 8th album and how easy it would be to abuse that fact. All the symbolism of figure eight, eternity and so on. But that just did not feel right as it’s been done so many times. Then I started to think how we’d in ways abandoned our “totem animal”, the wolf and all what comes with the territory. As the music on the album is bowing more towards the “old” Sonata, meaning more power metal style elements and wolves in many of the songs in one form or another, it was clear we need a wolf on the cover. An abandoned wolf. A pariah. Or Pariah’s child, actually. The new generation to bring the old logo back.

Following the release of Pariah’s Child in March, Sonata Arctica will be touring once again. Keyboardist Henrik “Henkka” Klingenberg commented:

It’s been a while since we last toured Europe, so I’m very happy that we can announce our first tour with our new album. Since the album will be out in March 2014, we don’t want to waste any time but will head out for a full European Tour. Our tour will start in Eindhoven, NL on April 10th, 2014. The whole band is really looking forward to play some new songs for you and introduce our new bass player, Pasi, for all our fans. He’s a monster live, you’ll see. Check below for the tourdates and we’ll see you in a few months!

Tour dates are as follow:

10.04.2014 – NL – Effenaar, Eindhoven
13.04.2014 – NL – Melkweg, Amsterdam
14.04.2014 – DE – Markthalle, Hamburg
16.04.2014 – DE – Meier Music Hall, Braunschweig
17.04.2014 – DE – C-Club, Berlin
18.04.2014 – DE – Hellraiser, Leipzig
19.04.2014 – DE – Matrix, Bochum
21.04.2014 – DE – Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg
22.04.2014 – DE – Garage, Saarbrücken
23.04.2014 – FR – Bataclan, Paris
24.04.2014 – DE – Rockfabrik, Ludwigsburg
26.04.2014 – DE – Hirsch, Nürnberg
27.04.2014 – CH – Z7, Pratteln
28.04.2014 – IT – Live Club, Trezzo
30.04.2014 – HU – Club 202, Budapest
01.05.2014 – CZ – Retro Music Hall, Prague
02.05.2014 – AT – Szene, Vienna
04.05.2014 – FR – Transbordeur, Lyon
05.05.2014 – ES – Bikini, Barcelona
06.05.2014 – ES – Arena, Madrid

Sonata Arctica online:

http://www.sonataarctica.info
http://www.facebook.com/sonataarctica

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Vagos Open Air 2013 – 1st day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 17th August 2013 by Pieni

Lacuna Coil, Sonata Arctica, Evergrey, Moonsorrow, Bizarra Locomotiva, Secret Lie
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
9th August 2013

Photos originally taken for Portuguese webzine Sound(/)Zone.

This year’s edition of Vagos Open Air suffered some changes: new place (Quinta do Ega instead of G.D.Calvão field), new date (second weekend of August instead of the first)… And also for the first time the bill featured a non-metal band. Sure one of the guitar players was wearing a Motörhead tee and the other one is a famous metalhead around here, plus the violinist could fool you into thinking they were some kind of folk metal band. But nope, Secret Lie is a pop rock band. A good one, no doubt, but still pop rock. It was a bold move from Prime Artists to make them open the festival, but in the end it kind of worked out. They brought some of their own fans, who were pretty enthusiastic, and the general metal crowd just went along.
Besides a few songs from their debut and only album, “Behind The Truth”, they also played some Vivaldi stuff and finished the set with a brand new song, “Little Taste Of Fun”, with Tó Pica (the aforementioned famous metalhead) holding a sign from a fan, asking him for a pick, but that his biggest dream was still having a sign from a female fan asking him to get her pregnant.

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As variety is the spice of life, something totally different (and more suitable for the fest) came up afterwards – national industrial titans Bizarra Locomotiva. They haven’t released anything new since 2009 (“Álbum Negro”) but this year they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary, so…
Singer Rui Sidónio could easily be the poster boy for some energy drink, standing still not being an option. On and off stage, as during “A Procissão dos Édipos”, the very first song, he jumped into the audience and danced with the fans for quite a while.
“Anjo Exilado”, a song which features Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell) in its studio version, had a different special guest here – Tó Pica.
A short but awesome show – as always – which finished with “O Escaravelho”.

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I don’t know if Moonsorrow’s setlist was their usual one, but since it was the first time the Finnish Vikings were playing in Portugal, performing all songs from different albums couldn’t be better. It was like a best-of. Of course that, given the long length of each track and barely an hour to play, they couldn’t visit their whole discography. Still they made a hell of a party with “Unohduksen lapsi”, “Köyliönjärven Jäällä “, “Taistelu Pohjolasta”, “Sankaritarina “ and “Kuolleiden Maa”.

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Their Swedish neighbours from Evergrey had never played in Portugal either. I still think their melodic dark prog works better indoors, but as the sun was setting, it also created the right mood to embrace songs such “As I Lie Here Bleeding”, “Rulers Of The Mind” or the beautiful Dilba cover “I’m Sorry”. “Frozen”, “Monday Morning Apocalypse” and “Blinded” were some of the heaviest tracks of a great gig that closed with a golden key in the form of “A Touch of Blessing”.

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I don’t consider Sonata Arctica a power metal band anymore, especially since their latest “Stones Grow Her Name”, which is heavy rock to my ears. But when it comes to live shows, putting together both the old and the new stuff, the Finns deliver metal – as simple as that. Not even the ballads “Alone in Heaven” and “Tallulah” broke that feeling. And whether it was something classic like “FullMoon” or a newbie like “I Have A Right”, the crowd sang along to every word – screaming louder in the choruses, of course. But it was near the end that Tony Kakko asked for the usual “sing-after-me”, where besides a few variations of “oooohhhhh”, also a “Tony, shut the fuck up” was included – this because the show was about to end with “Don’t Say A Word”. Unless the outro “Vodka” counts as a song for itself.

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Lacuna Coil are indeed a lot heavier and darker now, like the title of their last album, “Dark Adrenaline”, suggests. They played “Swamped” and “Heaven’s A Lie”, but didn’t go further back than that.
Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence” has become a mandatory track, even if they covered R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” more recently. Leaving “Upsidedown”, “Trip the Darkness” and “Spellbound” for the encore, the Italian band promised not to let another ten years pass until they’d return. The crowd was more than happy to hear that.

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Battle Beast announce new album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 8th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

After last year’s brilliant debut album Steel and celebrated European tours with Nightwish and Sonata Arctica, Battle Beast – one of Finland’s best heavy metal acts – return with new lead vocalist Noora Louhimo and their second full-length album. Produced, mixed and mastered by the band in JKB Studios, Helsinki, the new self-titled record is set for release via Nuclear Blast on 20th May 2013.

Watch the album teaser below featuring bassist Eero Sipilä, keyboardist Janne Björkroth and drummer Pyry Vikki reporting from the studio:

Battle Beast are now on Twitter: www.twitter.com/battlebeast

 

Interview with Jan Bünning [Paragon]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 19th November 2012 by izaforestspirit

This year marks the 22nd anniversary since the formation of the German heavy metal powerhouse that is Paragon. Iza caught up with bassist Jan Bünning to discuss their latest album ‘Force of Destruction’ and find out more about the band’s long history.

Iza: Hi there!
Jan: Hello!

Iza. It’s been 22 years since the birth of Paragon. How do you think the band has evolved since the early 90s?
Jan: Before I joined Paragon in 1997 the band almost split up and Martin Christian the founding member hired our singer Buschi and me as new members. About half a year later we already entered the studio and put out two albums in a very short time. To be honest looking back now I consider “Final Command“ and “Chalice Of Steel“ more as demos and would say “Steelbound“ is our debut. “Law Of The Blade” is the album on which we found our style and the next milestone was “Revenge“ where sound and songs are in perfect harmony considering our playing abilities we had at that time. “Forgotten Prophecies“ in my opinion had good songs but they are not arranged very well and the sound is terrible. I didn´t play on “Screenslaves” but the sound is better as on “Forgotten Prophecies”and it had some good songs on it like “Screenslaves” and “Hellgore” but also some average stuff.

We worked a lot on “Force Of Destruction” e.g. Wolle had riffs for about 25 songs and I then collected the most fitting and arranged them for Buschi to write lyrics and vocal lines. So we had a full pre-production, something we have never done before. We also evolved as players so we were well prepared when we entered the studio and we need less time for the recordings of “FoD” than for other albums. I would say “FoD“ has everything a Paragon album should have and also some new influences from our new guitar players Wolfgang Tewes and Jan Bertram.

I. What have been the biggest highlights of your career to date?
J: There are many highlights like playing the main stage in Wacken 2004 in front of 40000 Metalheads, opening for Gamma Ray on their tour and of course the very good reviews we get for “Force of Destruction“.

I. Where do you see yourselves in the world of power metal? Which bands would you compare yourselves to?
J: I would not say we are Power Metal. When we started with Paragon, Power Metal was something like Overkill – a cross between classic Heavy Metal/Speed & Thrash Metal. Today stuff like Sonata Arctica are called Power Metal and that is something totally different.

I: Your style is an interesting mix of power and speed metal. I can also detect elements of thrash metal in some of your songs. Which of these genres, would you say is the most applicable to Paragon? How would you describe your sound?
J: I would say we play Heavy Metal with some Thrash & Speed Influences. We try not to have the same song over and over on our albums so we have fast stuff like “Iron Will” & “Rising From The Black“, doom songs like “Blood & Iron“, stompers like “Gods Of Thunder” and even ballads like “Demon´s Lair”. So in the end it´s all Heavy Metal only that one song is more Thrash Metal like “Rising From The Black” and the other Song is more Heavy Metal like “Gods Of Thunder“.

I: Have your influences changed since the formation of the band or are they still the same as they were all those years ago?
J: Our Influences are still bands like: Judas Priest, Accept, (old) Iron Maiden, Overkill, Metal Church, Mercyful Fate, Vicious Rumors, Candlemass, Agent Steel and even some Slayer. They have not changed too much and I guess we will even try to get more back to the roots on our next album.

I: If you were to pick one song from the new album ‘Force of Destruction’ to act as a teaser for all those new to Paragon, which one would it be & why?
J: Really hard to say because it´s our first album where I like each and every song. But if I had to chose it would be “Iron Will“. It´s the last song we wrote just before we entered the studio and we did not have time to do a vocal demo with it but when I heard it for the first time I knew it´s already a Paragon classic. When you hear it for the first time you can sing along the chorus when we play it the second time and that how a good song should be. In the lead section you hear first Wolle´s more melodic leads and after that Jan Bertram´s more technical lead guitars.

I: In the past you have paid tribute to other German metal bands such as Tankard and Helloween. Have these bands had any influence on your music?
J: No. the only German band which has influenced us is Accept.

I: Are there any plans to compile a ‘Best of Paragon’ album to celebrate your long career?
J: That would be a question for our old record company Remedy Records because they have the rights for our older stuff. But the only thing I know that they will re-release “Steelbound” very soon with a bonus disc full of all our tribute songs because I made the new layout for the re-release.

I: What are your plans for the future?
J: Getting tighter as a band, writing and recording another killer album and doing a lot of shows.
I: Ok. That’s great. Thanks!
J: Thank you!

 

Symfonia – In Paradisum [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 29th March 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Symfonia
Album: In Paradisum
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Power Metal

Symfonia is a power metal super group formed by Andra Matos (ex-Viper, ex-Angra, ex-Shaaman), Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius, ex-Revolution Renaissance), Jari Kainulainen (ex-Stratovarius, ex-Evergrey), Mikko Härkin (Cain’s Offering, ex-Sonata Arctica, ex-Kotipelto, ex-Solution .45) and Uli Kusch (ex-Holy Moses, ex-Helloween, ex-Gamma Ray, ex-Masterplan). Their debut release “In Paradisum” was released 25th March 2011. Its title, translated into English, means “Into Paradise”.

The first track of the album is “Fields of Avalon” which begins with a rough, thrash-sounding intro. The drums soon accompany the riff, followed by the vocals. In the chorus, the vocals sound strained, almost struggling to sound powerful. The use of keyboards is little, but when used, works fairly well in between guitar riffs. The guitar solo sounds somewhat incomplete and choppy in parts. “Fields of Avalon” clearly wasn’t the ideal choice track to begin the album with.

Next is “Come By The Hills”, beginning with a harpsichord intro, which soon begins working alongside the guitars and drums, adding for an epic sound. There is a use of acoustic guitar which brings a certain gentleness to the track. The vocals, to begin with, sound feminine. During in other sections, the vocals sound strained again. The use of keyboards throughout the rest of the track leads of a mediocre sound at best. The guitar solo is an improvement compared to the one on the previous track, as it sounds as if the notes all flow together rather than being randomly put together.

Beginning with a rough sounding intro is the third track “Santiago”, which turns heavier with the introduction of drums to the track. The vocals sound stronger on this track to begin with, though they soon lose their power. There is a little use of keyboards during in the chorus which does little to improve the track. The slow guitar section which leads into a solo about halfway through adds for a welcome change in the track and improves the track slightly as it sounds well composed to begin with but soon turns choppy. “Alayna” is next, beginning with a keyboard-and-acoustic guitar intro. The vocals soon make themselves heard, ruining the track completely. The track keeps a slow pace, even when the electric guitars and drums are introduced. It is the lightest track on the album. When the vocals attempt to go more powerful, the track turns slightly heavier.

“Forevermore” comes next, bringing heaviness back to the album with it’s “System of a Down” styled intro. The track takes a lighter turn sometime after the introduction of drums to the track. The vocals, again, sound strained. The keyboards don’t do much on this track, except add a faint chorus effect and a slight harpsichord which can be barely heard only the strained vocals and pounding drums. The guitar solo is enough to make ears bleed with its lack of decent composition. Following after is “Pilgrim Road” which has a medieval-pirate sounding  guitar and keyboard intro, which is soon replaced by strained vocals and synths. The guitars and drums soon make a re-appareance, followed by a harpsichord effect. The chorus is as bad as a Justin Bieber tracker. The guitar solo is choppy and lacks energy.

The title track “In Paradisum” is next. It’s intro is composed of harmonic choir-like vocals, guitars, drums and orchestration, making for a brilliant introduction to a track. The vocals sound more strained than they have been on the previous tracks, working not so well with the acoustic guitars. The choir-like vocals make a reappearance when the track turns heavy again. There is also a use of female sounding choir-like vocals, adding a certain Gothicism to the track.  The guitar solo is probably the worse part of the track, whilst the drums sound as if they’ve been half-heartedly played. There is some narration by children, speaking of depressing subjects. The major problem with this track though is the fact that it’s over nine minutes long and one can only endure the sound of strained vocals for so long.

“Rhapsody of Black” is next, starting with a hard rock styled intro riff combined with pounding drums. The track turns lighter with the introduction of the vocals, which sound weak but less strained. When the track turns heavy, the vocals begin to sound strained again. The solo is poorly composed, with areas that need vast improvement. The overall track seems to lack energy and decent musicianship. Next is “I Walk In Neon”, with a harpsichord intro alongside a slight use of drums, just before the guitars and bass make themselves heard. The track turns light, with just the use of vocals, synths, drums and acoustic guitar. The vocals seem to keep switching between weak, strained and out of key.  The guitar solo sounds above average for the most part, but still needs some work. The track finishes soon after. The last track is “Don’t Let Me Go”, which begins with a cello and acoustic guitar intro, soon accompanied by the vocals, which sound slightly stronger. There is a little use of drums, though they can be barely heard due to the effects used on them. Oddly enough, this is probably the best track on the album, as the vocals sound half-decent.

For a debut album by musicians who all have experience in the metal scene, this is a poor excuse for a release. The vocals at best are weak and strained, whilst the instrumentation is fairly decent on half of the tracks. The guitar solos need a lot of work. The sound quality and production of the album is absolutely brilliant though. Perhaps Symfonia’s next release will have better composition and vocals.

2/5

Nico Davidson