Archive for Symphonic Metal

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

Apocalyptica – Cell-0

Posted in Review with tags , , on 22nd January 2020 by izaforestspirit

Apocalytica
Cell-0
Released 10th January 2020
Neoclassical Metal/Symphonic Heavy Metal/Instrumental
Released via Silver Lining Music
Apocalyptica - Cell-0

Apocalyptica don’t need much of an introduction. There are very few bands who have achieved what these guys have – bridging the gap between classical music and heavy metal with their unique mixture of the two styles. I’ve been following their career from the very start, the humble beginnings when the quartet played cello covers of Metallica classics. There has been some line-up changes, a few collaborations with guest rock and metal vocalists… But the real surprise came in 2015 when an American singer called Franky Perez joined the ranks for the album ‘Shadowmaker’. In many ways the ‘Shadowmaker’, however good it might be, seems like the odd one out in Apocalyptica’s discography – like an experiment that worked though it may never be repeated. With the exception of a handful of successful collaborations with guest singers, the band’s best work is predominantly instrumental. This brings me to their latest effort- ‘Cell-0’, an instrumental album with the old line-up sans Franky Perez.

And we’re off to a good start with Ashes of The Modern World, delivering everything that I was hoping hear from the Finnish quartet. It’s a beautiful song with lots of variety in terms of style and pace. It starts off slow with a sombre sounding melody, then picks up the pace half way through the track. As soon as the drums kick in the music takes on a more aggressive, “heavy metal” sound, with the cellos crushing through at full speed. Then they mellow things down again towards the end. I also really liked Fire & Ice. True to its title, it comprises two contrasting styles: the melodic part with mostly cellos and a keyboard at the forefront and the more aggressive part with faster paced cello and drums. So the latter was the fire I guess… Then it’s back to the “icy” sombre cello work at the end. The title track also deserves a mention being the longest and the most complex song on the album. Again, there are lots of changes in pace, mixing the melodic classical cello sounds with a touch of metal. The chorus is easily one of my favorite parts of the whole album.

I’m not going to discuss all the songs in detail but generally speaking I am pleased that Apocalyptica chose to go back to basics with this album. They are sticking to what they do best. No need for singers or guest appearances. It encompasses all the aspects that make this band special. There is not a single track on here that I do not like. Some, such as the title track require a bit of patience to fully appreciate.

Overall, I really like this album. Unlike ‘Shadowmaker’, which took me a few listens to get into, ‘Cell-0’ immediately drew me in and kept me interested throughout. It’s the best album Apocalyptica has made in years.

9/10

Iza Raittila

 

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

Moonlight Haze – De Rerum Natura

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 28th June 2019 by mickbirchy

Moonlight Haze
De Rerum Natura
Power Metal, Symphonic Metal
Released 21st June 2019
via Scarlet Records

It really is funny, if you follow the scene enough you start to see familiar names here there and everywhere. To the point that it will lead you to more music. This is very much my relationship with the Symphonic and Power metal scene in Europe. It’s a scene where everyone knows everyone, or at least it feels that way. Which is what lead me to Moonlight Haze.  I’ve been a fan of the singer Chiara Tricarico for a while, I first heard her singing in the band Temperance. I just find her vocals really enjoyable and pleasant to listen to and I’m a fan of pretty much any project she lends her name to, so when I heard she was starting a new band with Giulio Capone and includes members (and ex-members) of Temperance, Elvenking, Sound Storm, Teodasia and Overtures. You could probably have won a bet, that I would have taken the time to listen to it at some point. 

From my first listen I immediately gravitated to their music. Tonnes of energy, great production with charm and passion, De Rerum Natura makes a great first impression for fans of power metal who like that little more grandiose tone to the sound. The album wastes no time with engaging and commanding rhythm and tight sounding production that keeps you listening, track after track. The band sounds awesome, with great sounding instrumentation which is mixed really well. The guitars and drums, in particular, hit hard and the bass keeps the rhythm nice and tight and the keyboards set a really nice atmosphere that elevates the music to another level. As great power metal usually does. 

As for the vocal performance from Chiara, well, it’s excellent. As usual, she displays such excellent technique and it makes the lyrics just shine with personality. With this excellent vocal performance, it really brings the entire thing together really nicely. I love the mix of style on the record to with powerful and heavy rhythms and slick, well-executed guitar solos, all packaged in a great power metal experience. I quite like some of the more jazzy and groovy parts between the main parts of the songs, that little bit of intricacy really adds to the enjoyment of listening to this album.

I love the way the overall sound feels to listen to. It has this excellent energy and it’s entertaining from start to finish with lots of replay value. I will admit that I have been playing this album a lot since it’s release and plan one listening to it a whole lot more. If you like your power metal blended well with other musical styling, that also packs that little extra punch, then definitely give De Rerum Natura a listen.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Belle Morte – Game On

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 15th January 2019 by izaforestspirit

Belle Morte
Game On
Released 11th April 2018
Gothic Metal / Symphonic Metal
Self-Released

Belle Morte - Game On
‘Game On’ is the first EP from the Belorussian Gothic metal artist Belle Morte. This one-woman project was launched in 2015 and all her music is available for streaming and download from the Bandcamp page.

Female-fronted Gothic metal bands are a dime in a dozen these days. It almost seems that everyone wants to become the next Nightwish. Well, not quite everyone. If you’re looking for another Nightwish clone with over-the-top symphonic, Disney soundtrack -style tunes, operatic vocals under the guise of a metal band you have come to the wrong place… Belle Morte has a very melodic, ethereal voice but is not quite as powerful as that of Tarja Turunen or Floor Jansen. So forget the Nightwish comparisons. Her vocal style is more like that of Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation).

The one thing that I enjoyed most about this EP was the keyboards, the sombre sounds of the cello and violin sandwiched neatly between the guitars and drumming. It is impressive just how well all this works together. Devilish Deal is the most prominent example of this. The instrumental arrangements are absolutely beautiful as are the vocals.

Overall, the only issue I have with this EP is that it is too short. ‘Game On’ offers four tracks of beautifully arranged and skillfully executed Gothic/symphonic metal. I cannot wait to hear a full album.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Gates Of Paris – Gates Of Paris

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 28th December 2018 by mickbirchy

Gates Of Paris

Gates Of Paris

Symphonic Metal, Progressive Rock

Released: 30th November 2018

 Self Released


I have to say I’m pretty damn impressed by this French symphonic metal act, and their new self-titled record is something to shout about. I have to admit, I don’t go hunting for new symphonic metal acts, but they always seem to find me, one way or another. Gates Of Paris are a metal outfit, funnily enough, from France and they bring everything that is interesting and fun about this genre to the forefront on this record.  Their debut album is quite interesting, mixing a variety of different styles of music to create their own unique blend of what I can only call, evil-metal carnival music. It’s epic and weird all at the same time.

I was hooked from pretty much the first moments. The stylistic atmosphere is excellent and sound beautiful right out of the gate. The sound of the band is great with excellent riffs and wonderful musical progressions. I like all of the musical elements that they include on the record, in particular, the Spanish guitar which makes it on to the record on several occasions. It’s always pleasant and great to hear whenever it comes in. Every level of the production is smooth and well integrated. From the great guitar licks, the powerful bass lines to the commanding drums, it all feels so glorious. I really like the way the album flows together, it almost has a serial or concept nature it and every song flows into the next seamlessly.

The album also has interesting musical cues here and there. All of these moments really shine a light how much fun this band can be. Such as having their own version of circus music in there. There really isn’t a lot here that bugs me or annoys me. Really, the only thing that got under my skin is that I never felt the need to return to the album once I listened to it. The music doesn’t have that “re-playability” factor, at least not for me. If you really like this style of music, then maybe there’s more “re-playability” in this for you, but this is a once in a while record for me.

In summary, I do like this album. Gates Of Paris are seriously impressive, considering that this their first record. The sound is crisp and well put together. The production is excellent and overall it’s really a well put together record. It may not be overly captivating to me but I can definitely hear other people really getting into this style of music. If you like your symphonic rock and progressive grooves this is certainly a record that you sink your teeth into.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Caelestia – Thanatopsis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 4th January 2018 by izaforestspirit

Caelestia
Thanatopsis
Released 8th December 2017
Symphonic Gothic Metal /Melodic Death Metal
Released via EMP Group/SPV Europe

Caelestia - Τhanatopsis

Thanatopsis’ is the second album from the Greek symphonic metal band Caelestia. They have been around since 2012 and they have toured with bands such as The Vision Bleak, Arch Enemy and Draconian. This latest opus was mixed and mastered at Fredman Studio, Gothenburg Sweden by Fredrik Nordström.

My knowledge of the Greek metal scene is limited to just two bands: Astarte and Rotting Christ. I’m particularly fond of the latter…This however doesn’t really sound like either of these. What we have here is an interesting fusion of female-fronted Gothic metal with hints of melodic death metal and symphonic elements. Depending on the song, their music can sound very melodic and pleasant e.g. Dancing With The Demons or harsh and aggressive with elements like death metal growls, abrasive drumming and guitars mid-way through Devil’s Game and the opening of  Travel to Eternity.

If it wasn’t for the melodic death metal elements, I would have probably dismissed this as yet another Nightwish clone. Admittedly their female singer Dimitra Talamamtes Vintsou has a similar voice to that of Tarja Turunen but that’s where the similarities end. Their unusual blend of styles is what makes Caelestia stand out. The mixture of symphonic Gothic metal with melodic death metal maybe a little too much for your average Gothic metal fan. Luckily my taste in metal is more diverse than that. I actually like the contrast between the harsh and the melodic sounds and the dual vocal configuration works surprisingly well. The closest thing I can compare this to would be mid-career Therion; melo-death with symphonic elements but without the choir.

In summary Caelestia’s album turned out to be a lot different from what I expected. Their music doesn’t really fit one specific genre but they do a good job of taking the best elements of various styles to create something memorable. So if you’re bored to listening to Nightwish wannabe Gothic metal or melo-death bands still trying to replicate the “Gothenburg”-sound, then I suggest you give ‘Thanatopsis’ a go.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Headliners announced for Northern Symphony 2018

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 23rd September 2017 by Nico Davidson

Coming up to its fourth year, Northern Symphony – the UK’s premier symphonic metal event – is set to take place on Saturday 21st April at its home The Venue in Selby North Yorkshire. Having featured the likes of Winter In Eden, Alwaid, Old Corpse Road and more on its line-up in the past, Northern Symphony is already looking to have another great line-up following the announcement of French philharmonic metallers Whyzdom as the headliners for the 2018 edition.

Whyzdom was founded by guitarist and orchestrator Vynce Leff in early 2007, already well known in the progressive sphere having produced several successful albums for the British label Cyclops Records. After recruiting the band members, a first EP Daughter Of The Night was recorded less than 6 months from the band’s inception. It got instant acclaim from reviewers and music fans around the world.

Although still a young band, Whyzdom were invited to play in several festivals in France – most of the time as headliner – and won the Metal Female Voices Fest Contest in Belgium in October 2008. They played in the 7th edition of this great Festival and also played as official support to Delain to launch their début album in 2009, released by the British label Ascendance Records.

In June 2010, Telya Melane, lead vocalist left the band. Lisa Middelhauve, former Xandria singer, accepted to be “guest lead vocalist” for performances at the Raismes Festival in 2010 and for their concert in Paris as support for Tarja.

While touring in France, Belgium, UK, Switzerland, the band composed their new album BLIND?. Elvyne Lorient joined Whyzdom in February 2012 and recorded all the songs as lead vocalist. The album was released late October, by one of the most important European metal label: Scarlet Records.

The band are now fronted by the talented Marie Rouyer, who joined in 2013, starting with the “Blind?” European tour. Since then, Whyzdom have gone onto play various festivals around Europe including The Dames of Darkness.

Tickets for Northern Symphony 2018 can be found at this location for £15.

Epica – The Solace System

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 4th September 2017 by mickbirchy

Epica
The Solace System
Symphonic Metal, Progressive Metal
Released 1st September 2017
via Nuclear Blast Records

Epica have been on a roll as of late. Last year they came out with one of their most commercially accessible, biggest sounding and most fun album to date. They have followed this up with another little taste of this sound. The Solace System is the new EP that continues the big bombastic sound that they created on The Quantum Enigma and The Holographic Principle. When Epica are truly behind something they put their damnedest into making it sound its best.

They manage to effortlessly weave together beautifully poetic lyrics with brutally harsh and excellently composed and layered musical production. The production is simply phenomenal and every track really hits home. The tight chemistry of the band really shines through on the production, creating some really memorable tunes that feel more complex and interesting. The duel vocal stylings that they are known for sound great once again impress me as they seamlessly dart between the two. Although the EP sounds great, it does come across as a little formulaic.  The more I think about it, the more it feels like they’re treading the same water again. At times it just feels a little too… Expected of them. They really haven’t thrown much into this EP to give it it’s own identity. Maybe if they experimented with a few new ideas but there’s nothing here which isn’t territory they have covered before.

In all honesty, I keep flipping back and forth on this album. As much as it feels passe and ineffective, I’m still enjoying the work. It sounds really pretty. Simone’s vocal work is gorgeous, it sounds really clear and is filled with emotion. That is something that she can always do, she jsut throws herself into her lyrics. The music is tight and well written so I can’t complain. However, I wish they would have tried something a little different rather than give us the scraps of what probably didn’t make the cut on The Quantum Enigma or The Holographic Principle. As most of the songs sound like they could have been ripped straight off of one of them. None of the songs are bad by any stretch of the imagination and maybe these songs are different in theme. So yeah giving their own EP makes sense on that front but they could have used this as a platform to try something new.

I’m trying so hard not to make it sound like I don’t like this EP, I do. I really do. There’s some fantastic tunes and well written songs here. However, I’m one of these people that like artists to at least try something different on every release. Yet, after 15 years maybe they just know their market and know how to make the most out of their audience. As for my final thoughts on this EP… It’s good and let’s face it, if you’re an Epica fan… you’ve already bought it.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

Quinphonic Festival 4 – Birmingham, UK

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2017 by mickbirchy

Quinphonic Festival
Bands: Temperance, Serpentyne, Metaprim, Dead of Night, Fourth Circle
Venue: The Roadhouse, Birmingham, UK
Date: 16-APR-2017

 

Another year, another pilgrimage to Birmingham for Quinphonic Festival. I wasn’t able to attend the third edition of the festival in the October of last year. Yet, I was more than ready for the fourth one. This one had a stacked line-up with too. Including Italian hard-hitters, Temperance. The UK debut of, Fourth Circle. Along with three of the best live bands that the UK have to offer in Dead of Night, Serpentyne and Metaprism. A spectacular day of music lay ahead and I was pumped for the day to come. Quinphoinc Festival is all about quality over quantity. Five band all given a headline sets worth of time to show off what they can do. This allows the bands to breathe on stage and the crowd can experience what they’re actually like.

Before I talk about the actual day itself. Let me take you back to the night before, at the Barge and Barrel is Tipton for the Pre-Festival showcase night. A night that I won’t soon be forgetting. It was a great night of music featuring three fantastic UK up-and-comers. Darkest Obsidian, A Clockwork Opera and The Loved and Lost. All three bands were on top form and delivered a great performance. That really showed off their styles well. As a night it really came together with a great crowd. I really enjoyed all three acts, from the pageantry of A Clockwork Opera. To the soaring choruses of Darkest Obsidian with the finesse and energy of The Loved and Lost. It was a great night had by all and I hope to see more from all these bands sooner rather than later.
Now on to the festival itself. I got to the venue early to soak in the atmosphere. It was going to be a great day. All the bands have their own respective niche so there should have been something for every type of fan. As for myself I was looking forward to hearing something new. The only band I was really aware before going to the venue was, Temperance. So no matter the result of the day. I was going to hear something different and new for certain. Now, onto the review!

Fourth Circle

What a firecracker of an opener. This was exactly what was needed to start the day. The French band, Fourth Circle were debuting in the UK and let me say, what a way to make and entrance. The band were energetic and and fun. Their presence was in your face and and bold. Their live production great with every element of the band working outstandingly well. I have to say I was taken completely off guard by their performance. With pomp and pageantry, their music sounded huge with bombast. The music was filled with excellent hooks sinking into your head and this made their songs easy to remember. The band’s on stage chemistry really made these songs larger than life. They seemed to be having a lot of fun up there and this made it easier to enjoy their set. I only had a couple of problems with their set. Firstly, their set felt a little repetitive and it got a little tedious at times. Although those hooks constantly drew me back in. The only other thing that let their set down a bit was that the crowd started to thin out throughout the set, which ruined the atmosphere a little bit. Overall I had a fantastic time watching them. I would say their UK debut was successful and I for would welcome them back anytime!

Dead of Night

Next up was British newcomers Dead of Night. This was a really good set. Even if the songs were a little bland in composition, they more than made up for it in their theatrical stage presentation. Their sound was nice and I enjoyed some of the songs. Their stage presence was exciting and their chemistry was excellent. Really giving a complete package of a show. The vocals were clear and frontwoman, Briony Featon was an exciting presence on the stage. With light up black angel wings she truly gave the band that little bit of an edge. Their music had a decent atmosphere to it and the songs felt well put together. Their music had this really slick vibe to it. More of an old school rock ’n’ roll format to the songs rather than your typical symphonic metal or power metal sound. The centrepiece of the set for me was a gorgeous ballad that invited imagination and let the band really breathe. In all honesty they really won the crowd over. I did feel that their songs were just bland on a compositional level and that let them down a bit for me. However, I will concede that they were incredibly likeable and they presented themselves really well. I thought they were pretty good and I hope they evolve and grow in the future.

Metaprism

Now for the best band of the day and no, I do not make that statement lightly. Metaprism burst on to the stage with life and excitement. They were probably the “heaviest” band of the day and I feel they were the band with the best set. Their songs were high energy and filled with awesome riffs and well executed solos. Their presence had a sense of command to them. When they were performing, the audience were definitely paying attention. Their set was really an intense atmosphere upon the venue and the contrasting duel vocals of the band really gave them that little bit of an edge. It’s like they took the European standards of this style of music and added the British elements to it to make this sound. They came across a really likable people, they were very genuine and humble on the stage as they tried to get the crowd involved more and more into the set. Their set built up and got slowly better and I was completely enthralled with their set and I immediately rushed to the merch table right after their set was over. Which I guess was a good sign. Yes, this was definitely my favourite band of the day. Everything about them was excellent, from their songs to their personalities. They were an exciting and dynamic band, and I can say for certain that I became a fan.

Serpentyne

British folk-rockers Serpentyne took to the stage with finesse and and grace. This had to be one the most interesting sets of the day. On a pure technical level they were incredible but I really couldn’t get into it. Maybe it just wasn’t my sort of music but there was just certain aspects to their performance that turned me off. However, I did like parts and ideas used in the set. The musicianship was excellent and every instrument was played to an expert level. I also really enjoyed the dancer that was in the crowd it added to the enticement of the band. The music had these really good rock n roll elements mixed with the fantastical folk music to make something truly inventive. All of the songs were character piece with stories of vikings, medieval society and fantasy characters which were rich and engrossing. This really peaked my interest. However after the energetic, high pace set from Metaprism, this set felt a little deflating. Also I felt the vocals were a bit overdone. The singing could have been toned down a little. The set ended on a over of the Game of Thrones theme tune which was really well done for what it was. I like this band but I didn’t love it. They are all incredible musicians and the performance was well done, it just may have not been my type of music.

Temperance

Now for the main event of the evening and the only band that I came to this show with any familiarity. Temperance, are one of those band that just use everything at their disposal to entertain a crowd. Their songs are catchy and their energy are infectious. Other than some tech issues with the microphone they set went down without a hitch. The band blasted through their set with great songs. Coming hot off their third album “The Earth Embraces Us All” the set was a great mixture of all three albums. The crowd was really into it as was I. I mean I put down my notepad and just watched the show. The live production was really good, although the drums were a little loud at times. Also the backing tracks they were using didn’t come through the best at times. Frontwoman, Chiara Tricarico was an engaging presence on stage as was guitarist, Marco Pastorino. You really couldn’t keep your eyes off of them. Also with the sheer technical ability of them they made an impressive show as the final band of the day. They really were the cherry on top of an excellent day.

Words by Mick Birchall
Photos by David Sarah

Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars

Posted in Uncategorized 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

Forbidden Lore – Forbidden Lore EP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 6th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Forbidden Lore
Forbidden Lore EP
Released 13th October 2016
Symphonic Metal
Self-Released


‘Forbidden Lore’ is the first EP from the Greek symphonic metal band of the same name. Forbidden Lore describe their style since as a mixture of symphonic metal with progressive metal and soundtrack music.

There are only three tracks on here, which is just about enough for the listener to get an idea of what this band is all about. First up is the melodic Endless Run which definitely has that fantasy soundtrack feel to it. Nightwish and Epica comparisons are pretty much inevitable due to the melodic female vocals (please note that “melodic” in this case doesn’t mean “operatic”). Luckily Georgia Mavrantza has a good voice which suits the music. There are some progressive elements audible in the guitars. Shadows on Ice is a much more straightforward piece of symphonic metal with equal emphasis on both the vocals and the orchestration. There is only a small portion of the song that features the progressive guitar parts. Last one is Grace In Our Fall, which really brings out the high notes in the vocal department demonstrating the singer’s impressive range. This is probably the most symphonic, orchestral and the most fantasy soundtrack -esque song on the EP.

In summary, it’s difficult to judge a band based on just three tracks. I now have a better understanding of what Forbidden Lore are trying to be. Their music can be described as being metal in the same vein as the more established bands Epica and Nightwish. So if you like these then there is a very good chance that you will enjoy Forbidden Lore.

3/5

Iza Raittila

Sonata Arctica – The Ninth Hour

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

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

Delain – Moonbathers

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 6th September 2016 by mickbirchy

Delain
“Moonbathers”
Symphonic Metal
Released 26 August 2016
via Napalm Records

Moonbathers, is the fifth offering from Dutch symphonic metallers, Delain. With big bombastic anthems and a more direct heavier sound, they seem to have progressed quite a lot since their début 10 years ago. I won’t lie I found this a slog to get through. I really did. It’s not that the album is bad per say. It just has nothing interesting or unique to offer. On a technical level this album is brilliant and on a production level, it’s excellent. However, I just can’t seem to get into it at all, none of the songs have really stuck with me, not like their older material has to this day.

It’s really hard to explain why it’s not working for me. I think it starts with the overall tone of the album. The heaviness is a problem for me. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this sound on The Human Contradiction. I find Delain are at their best when they’re making energetic rock anthems, like on We Are The Others or April Rain not these heavy songs that have a really serious atmosphere. Which “Moonbathers” is packed with. I mean, it will have a break from this like with “Suckerpunch” or “Fire with Fire”. Though, Moonbathers is bogged down and never reaches that level of energy that their older material, We Are The Others in particular, had.

Like I said on a technical level this is a really well made album. The production is gold with every member sounding as good as they can. Charlotte belts out her lyrics and this album has the band the tightest they’ve ever sounded. So I give credit where the credit is due. Merel has settled into her new post as full time guitarist really nicely, playing some super sharp riffs. Martin highlights the album with some superb synth and key work. It all sounds beautiful.

So the album is average. I like parts of it. However for me it lacks the fire and energy of the past albums. I’m quite conflicted about it, I think it’s good but I just want more from Delain and I hope they don’t become complacent. So yeah, it’s good, not great, but good.

2.5/5

Mick Birchall

Interview with Wildpath

Posted in Interview with tags , , on 14th May 2016 by mickbirchy

Our writer, Mick Birchall had a chat with the members of French progressive-symphonic metal band Wildpath, who played Quinphonic Festival in March. This interview goes into the band’s unique style, their experiences in the music industry and their first time playing to a UK crowd.

Mick: Coming off of this year’s Quinphonic Festival, how did you enjoy your first show in the UK?

Wildpath: It was a great experience! We met the British audience for the first time. They were curious about our music, attentive listeners and very open-minded. The RoadHouse team gave us a warm welcome, and all the organisation of the Quinphonic Festival was perfect! We left with only one thought in mind : We’re coming back as soon as possible!

Mick: You have such a creative sound, mixing a lot of different styles of music together. What influenced you as a band on the whole?

Wildpath: We all listen to different styles of music, and it probably influences our own music. For us, Wildpath should always be able to evolve. We want to have the same pleasure playing our music, and to do so, we think that renewing, experimenting, mixing styles is a good way to never grow tired. Our next album might be pure symphonic metal, as much as an orchestral or electro album.

Mick: Could you tell us a bit about your creative process from musical and lyrical standpoint?

Wildpath: We always like to work around a concept: One story through all the songs, connected with the same atmosphere, dynamics and narration. It helps us to find the ideas and to know how to lead them. However, we don’t want to impose that concept to our listeners, so each song is made as a stand alone, and takes its place in the common thread.

Mick: When it comes to songwriting, can it be difficult when making new songs not to tread the same water as the past?

Wildpath: We always try to break new grounds. For each album we have a new pace to work at. Nyx Secret was made quite like a “Best of” of a very large number of compositions. Non Omnis Moriar was written as a concept album that could be read in many different ways. Our last album, Disclosure was created especially for live shows, and then arranged and orchestrated for its final studio form. We like to work in that way: It’s really rewarding and exciting to take risks at any time in the creative process.

Mick: When it comes to translating playing in the studio to playing live, do you treat the songs any differently?

Wildpath: Yes we do. For our two first albums, we wanted to share different versions on albums and live shows. Live shows demand a specific energy and clarity, while albums must be listenable tirelessly, with many nuances to reward each additional listening. Since Underneath, we tried to combine both as best as possible, so now there is much more of a resemblance. The audience gave us a really good feedback so we kept this mindset for Disclosure.

Mick: Typically speaking of the genre of symphonic metal. I’m a big fan of this type of music and I’m seeing the genre grow all the time. Have you noticed the increase in interest for this music?

Wildpath: It’s a very dynamic style these days and it’s a pleasant thing to see. We are thrilled to hear bands working on new approaches. Since the emergence of the major names of the genre in the nineties, symphonic metal has known a great evolution, mixed with many other genres, which probably explains why it keeps growing and maturing over time.

Mick: So, Wildpath has been around since 2001 and you have 4 studio albums. What would say you have learned from those experiences?

Wildpath: We have learned to do as many things as possible by ourselves. We have quite precised ideas of what we want, so we work as much as possible independently. It’s hard sometimes, but always rewarding. We learn more each time, doing our videoclips, organizing most of our shows, managing all our artistic direction, our communication and our merchandising. It’s a real involvement in time and energy but we’re really happy with these choices, and we thank all of our fans. This is all the more moving to see that our community grows each time we give it out all on every aspect of the project.

Mick: Following that, what advice would you give to newer bands on the scene?

Wildpath: Musicians are becoming more and more independent thanks to less expensive and more versatile home studios, online distribution and community platforms. Although it demands more work because you have to deal with many aspects of the production. It’s a lot of dedication, time, discipline, learning and investments, but music is a job for passionate people, and as long as the passion is here, it’s one of the most beautiful jobs in the world.

Mick: So, what does the future hold for Wildpath right now, any upcoming plans?

Wildpath: We’re planning to keep promoting Disclosure in France, and if we have the opportunity, in Europe. In 2016, we recorded Still: Acoustic Live Experience. With this album, we want to be able to play our music in any place, not necessarily in a concert hall. Several acoustic shows are already planned. We also try to keep Wildpath active on internet, with music on free streaming, and with videos and various bonuses for our community… We’ve just started thinking about the next album by the way!

Mick: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

Wildpath: Disclosure, our last album, was really risk-taking. The style was different compared to our previous albums. We knew the public would have mixed opinions, but even when you’re prepared to that, it’s always a difficult step. We wanted this change and we had confidence in this new direction. We’re happy to see that we’ve touched new people, and that some of them didn’t even listen to symphonic metal before, and also, we kept a large majority of our fans.

Mick: Thank you for taking the time to chat with Valkyrian Music.

Words and Interview by Mick Birchall

Dakesis Confirmed As First Co-Headliner at Northern Symphony

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 8th May 2016 by Nico Davidson

Birmingham’s premier power metal quartet Dakesis have been announced as one of two co-headliners at Northern Symphony 2017, the UK’s premier festival for all things symphonic metal. With the release of A New Dawn and their recent tours last month in both Finland and the UK, Dakesis are set to reach new heights.

Dakesis are a four piece Progressive Power Metal band from Birmingham, UK. Formed in 2008, with the release of a limited edition four track E.P they soon followed on with their debut album Trial By Fire in 2011 to much critical acclaim. Following on from their success of this album and extensive touring and festival appearances throughout the UK, the band went on to record their second full length album The New Dawn which was released in March 2016.

Their latest release was recorded at Carbon Studios in Birmingham and mixed by Nino Laurenne at Sonic Pump Studios based in Finland (Ensiferum, Wintersun, Stratovarious and Firewind) and sees a marked change in the direction of the band. With more progressive influences and the addition of powerfully epic orchestral backing alongside new session keyboard player Jacob Underwood, Dakesis have sculpted a vast instrumental soundscape alongside the heavier metal influences.

The band have toured the UK extensively and have enjoyed prestigious support and festival slots including playing with Edguy, Thunderstone, Blaze Bayley and Pagan’s Mind and performing at Glastonbudget, Bloodstock Open Air 2012, Valkyrian Festival and headlining the Cackblabbath Stage at Wildfire Festival in 2015.

Northern Symphony will take place at The Venue in Selby on Saturday 15th April 2017. Early bird tickets are set at the low price of £4 and are available from either Northern Wynter Music’s BigCartel store or Skiddle.com.

More bands are set to be announced in the coming months.

Dakesis online:
http://dakesis.com
http://facebook.com/dakesis

Quinphonic Festival 2016

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , on 11th April 2016 by mickbirchy

Wildpath, La-Ventura, Alwaid, Beneath My Sins
The Roadhouse Birmingham, Birmingham (UK)
27th March 2016
Promoted by BIP Medusa

Quinphonic Festival is one of those days that I just love.  The mere concept is great, five exceptional acts each to perform a full headline set.  It’s just great.  I attended the first one last year and had a ball of a time.  With all of the acts bringing their A game to the stage.  So imagine my surprise when I find out that the second edition of festival would take place on my birthday.  All I had was glee.  Getting to some of my favourite acts, such as Wildpath, was one hell of a way to celebrate. Leading up to the festival two acts sadly dropped out, Evenoire and Hydra were replaced with French bands Beneath My Sins and Alwaid.  Then upon arriving to the festival I find out the Dakesis sadly had to pull out as well. Leaving only four bands for the day, with extended setlists.  Luckily there were no more drop-outs or difficulties so the day began.

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Beneath My Sins, previously known as Evolvent, hit the stage. As the first band of the day they have the easiest and the hardest job. Easy, as there are no expectations to live up to yet but it’s a hard job as you are the pace setters for the day. They absolutely nailed it. Even though the live production wasn’t the best as not everything came through clear, I still feel they did a really good job.  Vocalist, Emma Elvaston really grabbed my attention and trust me she had it to the bitter end of their set.  Her vocals were pure and beautiful and there was so much power behind her it was really great to hear.  The band behind her, consisting of Clément Botz and Jonathan Connell on guitars and Boris Devon on the drums, put on a great performance as well. The melodies flowed from them and the the technical work was awesome to watch. They just gelled so well together and made the set feel massive.  The crowd warmed to them almost instantaneously and gave them a great atmosphere to work with.  Always clapping to the beat and giving them heartfelt and well deserved cheers.  The only problem I had with their set was that their live production was a little muddy and unclear here and there and that really was a black spot on what was an otherwise fantastic set. This was a great introduction to them and I look forward to hearing more from them.

https://www.facebook.com/Beneath-My-Sins-132380570453385/
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Clearly one of the big names of the day and with an upcoming UK tour it only made sense for Alwaid to get such a huge reaction.  I first discovered them at Valkyrian Festival in 2014 and I knew I was going to see them again one way or another and I knew they were going to blow minds, and they did.  The crowd was already anticipating the set, I think most of them already knew what was coming.  However no one could’ve predicted such a storm of a set. Alwaid walked on stage like they owned the place and burst into one hell of a set, despite the fact the band had been traveling from France overnight.  Playing massive tunes off of their album Lacus Somniorum such as ‘Hei! Aa-Shanta Nygh!’ and ‘In The Darkness of Daylight’.  The whole set had that it factor that just put them over the top. Every instrument and the vocals came through as clear as crystal and sounded great.  I was too busy rocking out to notice the actual stage performance but from the glimpses I caught, Marie and Max were very much the centre of the show whilst the rest of the band played around them. All of their songs got massive responses, the band had nearly finished when the crowd insisted on one more song, when in fact we got two more. Again showing their popularity. This was one hell of a set and for many the height of the day.

https://www.facebook.com/Alwaid.music/
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After what felt like a long interval, the fourth band of the day La-Ventura hit the stage.  Once again they were absolutely brilliant and their set was quite refreshing.  As they do not play your standard symphonic style metal but rather a more nu-metal/alt rock type sound. This was most welcome to my ears as the bass relentlessly pounded and the guitars roared away.  Singer, Carla Van Huizen descended from the stairs above the stage and performed a corker of a show. The whole thing felt much more casual than the previous two.  As La-Ventura’s sound doesn’t go for that epic flair that the previous sets have done. Instead their songs are much more grounded and hard hitting, just some good old fashioned rocking out was going on.  Again the crowd was into it but clearly burned out by this point it, the cheers were still coming though. However I felt like something was missing from the set, it was almost like there was no real atmosphere which was a bit of a shame.  The band marched on with the set including big songs like ‘White Crow’, ‘Falling Down’ and the big single ‘Song for an Idiot’, this got the crowd going and by the end of the set, the crowd was hooked and so was I. The crowd screamed breathing that missing life into the final songs of the set.  Which relieved me, because I really wanted them to do well. Their performance was great.  They had a great stage presence and brilliant personalities.  They just looked like they were having fun and that’s the most important thing.  I liked this but not as much as the previous two. Still well worth the watch and hope to see them back on UK shores soon.

https://www.facebook.com/La-Ventura-official-bandpage-465553533488503/
 photo IMG_9467 copy_zpsjwkbfmgz.jpg

Well, this was the set it was all building up to for me and for many of the day’s patrons. Wildpath are a music lover’s dream. They fun, they have wild and imaginative songs and they can’t be pinned to one genre. You want to know what else? They’re bloody fantastic live as well.  They’re energetic and their set flows so well. Mixing and matching all of their songs to form one glorious super playlist of metal, jazz, funk, rock and overall good music. All encapsulated in the symphonic metal sound. The band just sound and look like they’re having so much fun and I’ve said it before, if the band is having fun then the crowd is more likely to have fun with them. My eyes were glued to the stage for the whole show, there was so much to watch, from the technical skill to the dancing and jumping to the comedy of the band just being themselves on stage. Marjolaine Bernard is a fantastic front woman. Making sure the crowd is involved and happy and singing to absolute perfection. Also, she wished me a happy birthday on stage which totally made my day.  What else can i say but was a fantastic end to an awesome day.

https://www.facebook.com/Wildpath.metal.band/

In summary this was an amazing day with some exceptional performances.  The symphonic metal fans here in the UK are loyal and fun to be around.  You know it’s always going to be a good day.  With Quinphonic Festival 3 around the corner in October of this year I’m sure that will be another day to remember.

Text by Mick Birchall
Photos by Laura “Lorath” Piggford (more pics here)

Two New Additions For Northern Symphony 2016

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20th January 2016 by Nico Davidson

Two more bands have been announced to join the likes of Theatres des Vampires, Old Corpse Road and Alwaid at the second edition of the UK’s leading symphonic metal festival: Northern Symphony.

Scottish suited-and-booted black metal corporation Maelstrom, who have supported the likes of Alestorm and Tyr in the past, have been announced to headline the Infernal Orchestra stage on 16th April this year. The band’s keyboardist Jaime Cross comments:

It’s a massive honour to have been picked to headline the Infernal Orchestra stage. We’re all excited about the festival and we always enjoy our shows in England. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Joining Maelstrom on the Infernal Orchestra stage are Ward XVI, who describe themselves as theatrical avant-garde rock. Mixing haunting melodies and female vocals with heavy guitar passages and the occasional segment of accordions, Ward XVI are an interesting addition to the festival.

Northern Symphony Festival will take place on Saturday 16th April at The Venue in Selby. In total, there will be 14 bands across 2 stages. The Midnight Waltz stage will be headlined by Italy’s legendary vampire-themed metal band THEATRES DES VAMPIRES.

Advance tickets are available for £15 from the festival’s BigCartel store.Further information is available at the festival’s official Facebook page.

Liv Kristine: “I’d love to further cooperate with Simone”

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 9th January 2016 by Nico Davidson

Nico interviewed Liv Kristine, the charismatic and Valkyrie-like frontwoman of Leaves’ Eyes in Sheffield on their UK tour, in support of the new album King of Kings.

Nico: Hi Liv, how are you?

Liv: Very good, how are you?

N: I’m great, thanks.

L: Good to see you again.

N: Good to see you too. How has the tour gone so far?

L: Really really well. We’re on the UK leg of the tour now and we have one third of the tour still to play. That’s going to be for the UK only. The first leg was for the rest of Europe which was really nice too. Paris: awesome, Belgium: awesome. But the UK is always something special, we have a very big and strong fan base here. We have fans and friends who follow us for every gig and that’s a privilege. I see that the market for our kind of music is growing here, and that’s maybe not the case in Germany. So it’s very good to be back, we’ve already played three gigs and it has been absolutely fantastic.

N: You’ve released a new album recently: King of Kings – which you’ve based on Harald Fairhair. Obviously Scandinavian history, old Norse history in general, is full of fascinating characters like Eirik Bloodaxe.

L: That’s one of Harald’s sons. You’ll find him in the first or second bonus track, it’s called Trail of Blood. That’s a song about him. So who knows what the next Leaves’ Eyes album is going to be about. We know that Harald had many sons and daughters.

N: There are so many other characters like Erik the Red or Leif Erikson. What is it about Harald Fairhair that stood out from the rest of all these great characters and infamous villains? What made you want to do an album based on his life and his legacy?

L: Because I grew up with the legacy of Harald Fairhair. The decisive battle that made him become the king of Norway took place in a fjord called Hafrsfjord, which is my birthplace. So Harald Fairhair has always been there. I’ve always been interested in history and it happened exactly two years ago, over a morning cup of coffee that Alex came up with this idea: what about king of kings? I started digging through all my books and I contacted my mother in Norway to collect stuff at museums and libraries. So it has been amazing to study Harald Fairhair’s life and to divide it into twelve chapters. Parallel to my studies, Alex and Thorsten composed songs at the studio. We’ve been very busy, it has been a very intense process but highly creative. We had so much fun and it means a lot to me to have this album released. It’s definitely a milestone in the career of Leaves’ Eyes. And as I said, it happened at my birthplace so.

N: I highly praised the album for Valkyrian Music..

L: Thank you very much! I read it, of course.

N:Good! Obviously it’s brilliant to see that you guys got back to how you originally started with tales of Viking warriors, going forth into battle, exploring lands and so on. How would you say that King of Kings compares to the rest of the Leaves’ Eyes discography?

L: I’d say King of Kings has a connection to The Vinland Saga, which was thematically about Leif Erikson and his discovery of America. So if there is a link to any other album, I’d say The Vinland Saga. You already mentioned the folky instruments and the folky touch and the orchestra and everything so it has been there all the time but every album has been different. Now King of Kings happened, it was great to see how everything came together. We worked on every song as if it were one individual piece of music. We added any instrument from London Voices to White Russian Orchestra, cello, flutes…everything. We worked on every song until all three of us, Thorsten, Alex and I being perfectionists, said okay let’s go for the mix, its fine.

N: On this album you added Simone Simons from Epica and Lindy-Fay Hella from Wardruna. What was it like working with those two women on the two tracks that they featured on?

L: Absolutely amazing. Of course I know of the series Vikings and I just thought the music is amazing, the soundtrack is amazing! Who is that girl singing? I found out she’s from Bergen! Through a common friend of mine and of Wardruna, I got Lindy-Fay‘s contacts. I contacted her and she said “of course, I know you and I would really like to work with you”. So I sent her Blazing Waters and we were blown away. A couple of weeks later I flew to Bergen and met Lindy-Fay. I presented her Blazing Waters and she loved it, it was definitely golden. She’s a lovely girl and a great musician.

Simone lives one hour away from us so it was about time to invite her to come to our studio. She’s been at our place before but it has been quite a while. She’s a mother now so she’s busy, but she came by and she listened to the song and…I’d say we are a perfect match. Lovely, lovely to work with her.

N: Obviously Epica and Leaves’ Eyes, despite falling into the symphonic metal genre, have got two completely distinct styles. Do you think there will be any sort of crossover between from the recent collaboration between you and Simone?

L: I don’t know. I have no clue, we’ll see. I love Simone and her work, she’s a lovely girl and we are both mothers… We live one hour away from each other so who knows. I’d love to further cooperate with Simone. It would be great.

N: Going back to Harald Fairhair. You obviously studied his saga, his life story quite extensively for the album. What would you say is the most fascinating aspect about the man?

L: We got a few facts about Harald through Snorri, but Snorri came about a couple of hundred years later. Next to that we got the sagas and the tales of the Norwegian kings, where you can find a lot of interesting written words about them to honor them. I think it is absolutely amazing to read the different approaches to his person, because he must have been exactly as unruly, wild like his son Eirik Bloodaxe. He must have been exactly like that himself. In many of the tales or poems about Harald it is told that he was beautiful and that he could have had any woman: he was very glorious. It’s fascinating to read other stories like the battle of Hafrsfjord; about blood being everywhere and the fjord burning or different sceneries, a different Harald.

N: He certainly sounds like an interesting figure. As a fan of both Vikings and Game of Thrones, which one do you prefer?

L: Vikings. Last time it would have been Game of Thrones but it’s Vikings now because of the music. Of course because of my friend Lindy-Fay who’s in there. Although it’s made in Hollywood, I think it’s very nice. It’s very nice to watch those great actors. I love it. And also because I’m Norwegian.

N: That’s very good. Thank you for your time. Have a lovely show tonight.

L: You’re welcome, thank you very much and thanks for coming.

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de 

Graveshadow – Nocturnal Resurrection

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 1st December 2015 by izaforestspirit

Graveshadow
Nocturnal Resurrection
Released 15th November 2015
Symphonic Metal with Death Metal elements
Released via Mausoleum Records

‘Nocturnal Resurrection’ is the debut album from the American symphonic metal band Graveshadow. The band was originally formed in 2012 by rhythm guitarist William Walker. This album has been mixed and mastered by Emil “Nightmare” Nodtveit (Deathstars) and it features Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, Blackwelder) as a guest vocalist on one of the tracks.

Symphonic metal is a genre that I don’t tend to listen to a lot these days. There was a time when I really liked it; the good old days back when Nightwish was at the high-point of their career. Since then there has been the occasional discovery of a hidden gem such as Angtoria’s debut album and Tarja Turunen’s solo work, but generally speaking I no longer find the genre as exciting or memorable as I used to. Let’s see if Graveshadow can change my mind…

After the harmonious keyboard intro, the guitars enter the frame and singer Heather’s powerful vocals ensure that you will not be forgetting Namesake any time soon. Unlike many other female metal vocalists, she doesn’t stick to just one style but prefers to show off an impressive vocal range with both the operatic (read Nightwish, After Forever -style) and death metal growls on offer. Yes, that’s right – death metal growling… the type that Angela Gossow used to do with Arch Enemy. This second style adds a touch of aggression to the beautifully composed symphonic melodies and the catchy guitar tunes.

Speaking of catchy, that’s probably the best way to describe Lycan Lust. This track is less about the keyboards and the emphasis shifts towards the thunderous pace of the thrash metal style, guitar riffs and drums and of course the compelling vocals of Miss Heather Michele. Don’t let the gentle, sweet melodies fool you, for beneath this innocent-looking mask lies a demon that bites. If you want to hear the more tamed, gentle side of Graveshadow then Winter’s Come to Call and Fading are the tracks for you. The Doctor Who -inspired track  Blink starts off as another fantasy themed, symphonic metal song but then develops more of the aggressive feel due to the predominance of the guitars and the harsh vocals.

Overall, this album is bound to attract a lot of attention. That’s not to say that every symphonic or gothic metal fan will like it. It’s not for everyone and if you’re looking for something akin to Within Temptation or current Nightwish, then I’d advise you to steer clear of this. If however, you’re like me – bored with the current state of symphonic metal scene and you’re looking for something experimental and unique then you should give Graveshadow a try.

4/5

Iza Raittila