Diviner Announce New Album

Original Article By Giannis Tziligkakis · Forgotten-Scroll.net

Diviner, heavy/power metal band from Greece, will release their new album, Realms of Time, on 7 June via Ulterium Records. The album will be available on CD, LP and digital.

The band’s debut album Fallen Empires was released in November 2015 and received very good reviews and feedback from around the world. After the release of the album, the band played many shows and big festivals in Greece as well as Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland, and became known for being a great and energetic live band gaining a strong following.

Diviner – Fallen Empires (Ulterium)

Diviner entered Devasoundz Studios in Athens last year to record their new album. The final result shows improvements on every level since the band’s debut album and the album won’t leave fans of heavy and power metal disappointed. It’s heavy, melodic and epic and full of energy, power and emotion.

Realms of Time was produced and mixed by Fotis Benardo (ex. Septic Flesh), mastered by Henrik Udd (Powerwolf, Hammerfall, Myrath) and the artwork was created by Jan Yrlund (Battle Beast, Apocalypta, Korpaklaani).

Realms of Time artwork and tracklist:

Diviner - Reals of Time

01. Against The Grain
02. Heaven Falls
03. Set Me Free
04. The Earth, The Moon, The Sun
05. Cast Down In Fire
06. Beyond The Border
07. King Of Masquerade
08. Time
09. The Voice From Within
10. Stargate

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Realms of Time

Originally written for Forgotten-Scroll by Giannis Tziligkakis.
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Top Ten Metal Albums Of March

While last month certainly had more to offer, there were still enough great metal albums to have a lot of competition for the top ten metal albums of March.

Below are albums that range the elements: the fluid, the rock-hard, the furiously hot, and the frigid cold. Brace yourself, because these records don’t fuck around!

10. Iron Savior – Kill or Get Killed

There’s nothing new in Iron Savior’s eleventh installment, Kill or Get Killed. It’s the same old song and dance, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still great. The bass is cranked, the hooks are catchy, and the guitar solos are fucking phenomenal.

At this stage of their career, nobody expects anything new or different, but it’s clear that Iron Savior are veterans of the German power metal scene and they’re damn good at what they do: heavy, loud, and intense power metal.

Iron Savior – Stand Up and Fight (AFM)

9. Battle Beast – No More Hollywood Endings

Battle Beast has all but completely reinvented its sound this time around, abandoning its unique brand of melodic heavy/power metal for a shinier, late 90s/early 00s pop sound. If Bringer of Painwas a step in a new direction, No More Hollywood Endings is a trip to the next city over. If it weren’t for a couple individual tracks and Noora Louhimo’s iconic, raspy vocals, it’d be unrecognizable as a Beast album.

In all honesty, when it lost Anton Kabanen, the Beast lost its bite. No More Hollywood Endings is widely dynamic, but a lot of the songs are very one-dimensional. Although many of the tracks feature epic orchestras and plentiful keyboards, more parts doesn’t always mean better songs.

I have very mixed feelings about this album mainly because of how hit-and-miss the tracks are. That being said, it’s far from being bad, and it’s good enough to make it as number nine!

(Also, the following track is incredible.)

Battle Beast – The Golden Horde (Nuclear Blast)

8. Darkwater – Human

Swedish power proggers Darkwater have created a fluid and intense experience in their comeback record. Human is their third record to date and is their first release in eight years. Fortunately, it was well worth the wait, because this record is one of the best prog albums I’ve heard in a long time.

The musicianship is excellent, but, by prog standards, it’s nothing special. That being said, Darkwater quickly proves that you don’t need to be a legendary musician who shreds with the utmost fucking insanity for minutes on end to make a great progressive album. The whole record feels natural and smooth.

Darkwater – Alive (Pt. II) (Ulterium)

7. Queensrÿche – The Verdict

I was as relieved as everybody else when Queensryche released their self-titled record in 2013 after the long line of bullshit they produced. So, it should come as no surprise that I absolutely love The Verdict, as it’s the third decent album in a row that Queensryche has made since the drama of the late 90s.

The Verdict is a dynamic piece of work, with the bulk of its sound being closer to their older material. There are clear grunge influences in parts and the synth is sprinkled throughout, adding a bit more detail and variety. Vocalist Todd La Torre also does an exceptional job manning the drums in Scott Rockenfield’s absence.

Queensryche – Man the Machine (Century Media)

6. Warrior Path – Warrior Path

This album is insanely good. Being forged under Greek guitarist/composer Andreas Sinanoglou, it also features vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos (ex Wardrum, Beast In Black) and guitarist/keyboardist Bob Katsionis (Firewind), making for quite the lineup. Now, I’m pretty biased to all things Yannis, so I’ll try to avoid talking too much about how his already-impressive vocal versatility is demonstrated in yet another new way or how he absolutely fucking masters old school heavy metal singing too much.

Well, shit. I tried.

Ok, I didn’t try at all.

Besides the vocals, the songs are very well written (a trait that is often missing from traditional metal bands), the solos and riffs are heavy and the slow parts are beautiful. You’ll come back to this record a few times; I guarantee it.

Warrior Path – Sinnersworld (Symmetric)

5. Bloodbound – Rise of the Dragon Empire

Bloodbound has taken all of the glorious, dragonslaying exuberance from War of Dragons and crammed it all into Rise of the Dragon Empire. Along with more dynamic and variable songwriting, it’s altogether better than its predecessor and, in my opinion, the best Bloodbound record to date. The soaring choruses are thunderous, the guitar solos are grand, and the synth is heavy in this power metal monster.

In all honesty, I didn’t expect it to be nearly as good as it is.

Bloodbound – The Warlock’s Trail (AFM)

4. Stonecast – I Earther

Stonecast rock seriously fucking hard in I Earther. Their strong energy will draw you in and their anthemic hooks will make you stay. This earthy metal is sturdy and its sound is nothing short of mountainous.

The vocal delivery ranges from powerful war cries to low, rough vocals. The guitar solos are awesome and the drums create exciting grooves. However, the highlight for me lies in ‘Cherokee’, which contains a staggering amount of variety in its eight minutes as well as an end section that is unmatched by most of the endings I’ve heard in metal.

Stonecast – Goddess of Rain (Pitch Black)

3. Iron Fire – Beyond the Void

Let it be known that Iron Fire is king in the land of heavy metal. After twenty years in the studio, not a single one of their records has lost any heat, and they’ve perhaps hit the pinnacle of their career in their ninth: Beyond the Void. These heavy metal veterans show absolutely no sign of slowing down, and it’s greatly reassuring to see them continuously produce nothing but excellence.

Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say the songwriting is fantastic. No song sets into one feel, and the molten-hot solo sections, especially in the titular track, have some serious underlying grooves. Honestly, while Kirk Backarach’s soloing is awesome, the rhythm section underneath is just as good.

Iron Fire – Beyond the Void (Cime)

2. Brymir – Wings of Fire

Brymir is extreme metal for the power metal fan and Wings of Fire is no exception. If it weren’t for the rough vocals, it’d be epic symphonic power metal through-and-through. I’m not complaining by any stretch, that’s just the way it is.

No, I shouldn’t say that. It’s way too epic to be just that. It’s the kind of epic that’ll make you believe that you can crush mountains and fly through the sky as the bringer of life or death, sole judge of the universe, with all of the power of the gods in your hands, under your hands, through your hands, about your hands (but not over your hands). It’s that. Fucking. Epic.

Its combination of heavy synth tracks, blasting drums, and facemelting guitars is nothing short of deadly. Don’t listen to this one on an empty stomach because you’ll probably pass out.

Brymir – Wings of Fire (Ranka Kustannus)

1. Frozen Crown – Crowned in Frost

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “That’s a lot of praise to give an album. How can there be an even better one on this list?” Never fear, your question will be answered.

While Frozen Crown’s sophomore album isn’t quite as epic as Wings of Fire, every other aspect lifts it higher and into my top album spot for March. This female fronted (or should I say, “female fueled,” due to vocalist Jade Etro as well as eighteen-year-old southpaw shredder Talia Bellazecca) powerhouse has created an exceptionally refined record that is better in every way than its impressive predecessor. Now, we can’t give all of the credit to the ladies, because the men are just as good. Drummer Alberto Mezzanotte pounds out some excellent grooves and lead guitarist/songwriter/keyboardist Federico Mondelli slams his amazing solos and riffs into the forefront. Filippo Zavattari completes the sound with his big, beefy bass.

Crowned in Frost has a ton of variety and it builds upon their heavier, grittier brand of power metal that was created in The Fallen King. Complete with top-tier musicians, this is my obvious favourite of March and will certainly be a contender at the end of the year!

Frozen Crown – Neverending (Scarlet)

Think I forgot a worthy album on this list? Leave a comment!

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Lightfold – Deathwalkers Review

Score6/10
GenreProgressive Heavy Metal
CountryGreece
Runtime1:03:24
Release Date5 April 2019
Record LabelPitch Black

Lightfold were all but shrouded in darkness until I was sent their single ‘The Collector’ a few weeks ago. Hailing from Greece, their style of heavy metal has a minor but ever-present prog influence, which manages to separate it from your typical heavy metal group. Their second record, Deathwalkers, is an existential concept album that explores the ideas of life, death, and pain. It attempts to paint a vivid picture in the listener’s mind, with support from numerous keyboard and synth tracks as well as from guest vocalists Margarita Papadimitriou, Christina Alexiou, and Sofia Karvouna, who create the female choirs.

Unfortunately, the musical storytelling within is greatly underwhelming. My foremost issue with Deathwalkers is with lead vocalist (and, consequently, the one who’s supposed to be telling the stories) Martin Deathwalker. In a heavy metal band like this, the vocalist can either make or break the band, and in the case of Deathwalker, his delivery constantly falls short. There’s no passion or dynamism to match the pounding beats or to highlight the choruses and, as a result, the focal point of the band is incredibly weak.

Deathwalkers‘ saving grace is twofold, lying in the hands of the kickass drumming and the relentless lead guitar. Axeman Thanasis Labrakis lays out some serious shredding, and every single guitar solo on the record is exceptionally performed. The riffs are also pretty solid, but holy shit are these solos ever great. A couple that stand out for me are the ones in ‘Behind the Veil’ and ‘Beyond the Unknown’. The rhythm section plays some really cool grooves under the solos, which only adds to their quality.

From Left to Right: Harry Polimeneas, Martin Deathwalker, Thanasis Labrakis, Diogenes Vile

There’s a weird mix of tracks on this album. Not because of style choice or anything like that, but because of the blatant difference in quality among some songs (and even within songs). Some tracks, like ‘Demon Upon Me’ and ‘Deathwalkers (Julia)’, are wholly excellent and contain a perfect amount of prog elements. However, songs such as ‘Angel of the Earth’ and ‘Save Me’ are generic, uninspired and come across as filler material. The former isn’t all bad (no song on the record is all bad) thanks to the masterful drumming, but in the case of ‘Save Me’, I not only wouldn’t have opened with it, I would have scrapped it entirely. Yeah, the solo’s fucking awesome, but that isn’t enough to redeem a shitty song.

In the end, the many great components of the album aren’t enough to fully outweigh the negatives. Between a few lazy tracks and mediocre vocals, there’s not enough juice to take Deathwalkers from being good to being great. That being said, it’s definitely good enough to give a listen.

Lightfold – The Collector (Pitch Black)

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Majestica Sign Onto Nuclear Blast

Swedish symphonic power metallers Majestica have signed onto Nuclear Blast Records and have also announced a new record, Above the Sky, set for release in Summer 2019.

Majestica were formed under the former name ReinXeed by current Sabaton guitarist Tommy Johansson in 2000. They went through numerous lineup changes throughout their history, but their current lineup also includes of Alexander Ortiz (Guitar) and Christopher Davidsson (Bass). Tommy mans the guitars as well as the vocals, which he has shown off before in ReinXeed as well as being Twilight Force’s stand-in in Fall 2017.

The band had released six full length albums before Tommy joined Sabaton in 2016, which put ReinXeed on the backburner.

Tommy states:
“It’s been many years since we last released an album, so we decided to ‘start over’ as a new band, Majestica, instead. It’s not only a majestic and epic name for a power metal band from Sweden, it’s also a tribute to the album Majestic that we released with ReinXeed in 2010. We came up with it and it sounded great, it felt perfect for this kind of music and just feels right.”

From Left to Right: Alex Ortiz, Tommy Johansson, Chris David

Tommy, on the band’s sound:
“People can expect real power metal in the vein of Helloween, Stratovarius, and Gamma Ray, but also great symphonic parts with catchy melodies and choruses with a lot of choral arrangements, guitar solos, beautiful inflections and of course – high pitched vocals like Michael Kiske, Timo Kotipelto and Sebastian Bach.”

While the band is currently a trio, they scored ex-Helloween drummer Uli Kusch to record the drums for their upcoming album.

Tommy on having Kusch’s:
“It was a huge honour and his drums make this album sound more alive than any album I’ve ever recorded with any other band before. Since many songs are inspired by Helloween and Gamma Ray it just felt right to have his drumming and input on the songs.”

With a new name, a new label, and a new record coming, Majestica should be on the radar of every power metal fan.

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Arch / Matheos Announce New Album For 10 May

Prog legends John Arch and Jim Matheos have been around the metal scene for more than thirty years. Both are co-founders of Fates Warning, but Arch left only a few years after its conception, whereas Matheos remains to this day as the band’s only remaining original member.

Along with other Fates Warning members, the duo joined forces in 2010 to form Arch / Matheos and released their debut record Sympathetic Resonance a year after. Now, they’re back with a new single (below) as well as the announcement of a new record, Winter Ethereal, which is set to be released on 10 May via Metal Blade Records.

Arch / Matheos – Straight and Narrow (Metal Blade)

Winter Ethereal is to be more varied and more immersive than their former work. Matheos comments, “This stems from both of us trying to step out of our comfort zones a bit, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes being pushed. Having worked together so many times, it would be easy to fall into the same way of doing things, and I think we were both interested in exploring some new areas.

Arch adds,Each song is notably different from the next, and nothing sounds repetitive. It is not a concept album, but somehow after a full listen from start to finish, there does seem to be continuity between the songs that I can’t describe. At over an hour long, I think the fans will agree that it is a full listening experience.

The writing for the new record was finished in 2017 and was written specifically for Arch / Matheos, rather than being leftovers from a Fates Warning album. Arch and Matheos also emphasize that the album wasn’t rushed but rather came naturally over time and without any deadline, to ensure the record’s sincerity. “The way we work together is no pressure, no deadline, at least until we get close to recording,says Matheos.We allow ourselves a lot of time and flexibility to see if we even have anything to say. That’s first and foremost. We start by writing, and if things start shaping up and we’re excited and inspired, we keep going until we’re confident that we’ll be able to do a whole record.”

To add to the uniqueness of the new album, the duo has enlisted numerous guest musicians rather than only their former rhythm section. The lineup of Winter Ethereal includes Joey Vera, Bobby Jarzombek, Joe Dibiase, and Mark Zonder (all current or former bassists and drummers for Fates Warning) as well as other esteemed musicians like Steve Di Giorgio (Death, Testament, Charred Walls Of The Damned), Sean Malone (Cynic), and legendary drummer Thomas Lang.

Having an eight year gap in between and a slow creation process, the band ensures that their new album will be more sincere, fluid, and emotionally driven than Sympathetic Resonance.

Preorder Winter Ethereal
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Eluveitie – Ategnatos Review

Score9/10
GenreMeloDeath/Folk Metal
CountrySwitzerland
Runtime1:00:19
Release Date5 April 2019
Record LabelNuclear Blast

In more than a decade of making folk metal, Eluveitie have never released a record that I didn’t like. Some are definitely worse than others, with 2017’s Evocation II – Pantheon being on the bottom of my list, but even it is a good album. So, it should come as no surprise that their eighth album, Ategnatos, is pretty fucking solid.

As usual, Eluveitie’s many musicians produce a rich sound that’s full to the brim with different elements. Their mix of clean and harsh vocals, crunchy guitars, traditional instruments, and killer drumming accommodates heavy blast beats as well as vibrant folk melodies. While there’s not a single player that is less than excellent, female vocalist (and harper/mandola-er) Fabienne Erni is the highlight for me. This is her second album with the group after she replaced Anna Murphy (who left to form Cellar Darling) in 2017. While both are great vocalists, I do prefer Erni; she projects a bit more power than Murphy and I think she suits Eluveitie better.

One minor thing that I really, really enjoy is the chorus that’s introduced in the beginning of the titular track and then returns in the closers, ‘Rebirth’, and ‘Eclipse’ (although, ‘Eclipse’ is just an atmospheric vocal extension of ‘Rebirth’). It’s a small point, but it’s not very often that a metal album will have a recurring melody, so it’s a nice touch. It’s also catchy as all hell and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for a day and a half.

Eluveitie – Ategnatos (Nuclear Blast)

Ategnatos is incredibly fluid. Each track transitions perfectly into the next, sometimes assisted by a short instrumental track (‘Ancus’, ‘The Silvern Glow’, ‘Trinoxtion’). It’s also very dynamic, with most songs containing everything from furious blast beats, folk instrumentals, and pulled back sections. The only borderline-mediocre track on the album is ‘Breathe’, which is basically a typical alt metal track. Other than that, they all go together quite well.

Ok, I know I literally just said that all of the songs go together, which they do, but there are a couple that are especially distinct from the rest. The first (also my favourite) is ‘Ambiramus’, which is easily the funnest track on the album. The flute melody is uplifting, the beat is bouncy, and the whole thing is just a blast. The second would be the aforementioned ‘Eclipse’. Erni leads this vocal feature with a stunning, mournful beauty and shamelessly shows off her versatile chops. ‘Eclipse’ may only be the same repeated chorus over some wind and distant chords, but she still manages to accomplish so much with it.

Portraying nothing but fantastic folkery, Ategnatos has definitely made it into my top Eluveitie albums. Its pounding highs and foreboding lows create a unique, reflective atmosphere. On the flip side, the lively instrumentals and choruses could easily be danced to. This juxtaposition is typical of Eluveitie, but they’re damn good at it. Make sure to listen to this one next month!

Originally written for metal-observer.com

Eluveitie – Ambiramus (Nuclear Blast)

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Heavy Load Announce Death Or Glory Reissue

Original Article By Giannis Tziligkakis · Forgotten-Scroll.net

Heavy Load are known as the first viking metal band ever, and all their releases are absolute classics of the classic heavy metal genre. Death Or Glory is their second studio album, originally released in 1982, and includes the ultimate metal hymns such as ‘Heavy Metal Angels’ and ‘The Guitar is My Sword’. The No Remorse Records reissue is the first official reissue, and made in full cooperation with the band since the Japanese version released in 1996 – remastered from the original source tapes by the Wahlquist brothers, including bonus tracks and coupled with an amazing booklet.

Heavy Load – Heavy Metal Angels

The album will be available as: a regular CD, deluxe digipak CD, black vinyl LP with bonus CD, limited edition red vinyl LP with bonus CD, and a limited edition box set, that includes: blue vinyl LP with bonus CD, digipak CD, as well as an exclusive t-shirt and a patch. Each CD pre-ordered at www.noremorse.gr comes with a free patch, and each LP comes with a free poster with the album artwork.

More informationwww.noremorse.gr
Visit the bandwww.facebook.com/heavyloadofficial

About Heavy Load

It is generally held that Heavy Load was the band that started the Swedish wave of heavy metal in the middle of the 1970s: their first album was released in 1978. They are also considered to be the first viking metal band in the world. Heavy Load were established in Stockholm during the grim winter of 1974-1975 by the two brothers Ragne Wahlquist (vocals, guitars and keyboards) and Styrbjörn Wahlquist (vocals and drums). The vision and the passion of the Wahlquist brothers was always the kernel of the band’s audacious drive: its drive to venture out on musical journeys and to spread their music to the world. The viking heritage has been an important source of inspiration ever since their childhood. The brothers’ emotional connection to people of a remote past, people with whom they share everlasting human challenges, was destined to find an outlet in their music.  As a consequence, the brothers merged 70s hard rock with viking settings and sentiments, resulting in the band’s distinctive style of music and lyrics: viking metal – a style which came to inspire later bands in Sweden and elsewhere.

The Reissues

Heavy Load released their albums between 1978 and 1983. For about three decades their records had not been officially manufactured, but in constant demand selling in great quantities as bootlegs. Thanks to an epic pact between the band and No Remorse Records, high quality re-releases of their whole back catalogue will be made available again. These first-ever, official reissues of these classic albums are expanded with bonus tracks. Some of these tracks have never been heard by the public before, with demos and songs intended for the albums which had to be dropped due to the limited playing time on LPs. The reissues will be available on both CD and vinyl format, and each reissue will be coupled with a great looking booklet, designed by the Wahlquist brothers themselves. Both the CD and the LP booklets will feature previously unpublished photos, as well as expanded liner notes.

In January 2018, the album Stronger than Evil (1983) was re-released with additional unreleased bonus tracks. All the band’s other albums will follow and take the listeners back to the birth of Swedish heavy metal.  Now, at last, the next re-release will be made available. Death or Glory (1982) will be out with bonus tracks and extensive booklet in May 17. The bonus tracks include, among others, an extended re-arranged version of the song ‘The Guitar is My Sword’ with a recently recorded guitar-solo, as well as one song that has never been released on record before, ‘Dying is Losing’. ‘Dying is Losing’ was composed as early as 1978. Despite its numerous demo recordings, it was not placed on any of the albums due to the limited playing time of vinyl LPs. At last, with recently recorded vocals and guitar solo added to a demo recording from 1982 it will find its way to the audience. In order to guarantee the best sound quality, the reissues have been re-mastered – by the Wahlquist brothers themselves – directly from the original analogue tapes, at the Atlantis Studio in Stockholm, which is one of the few studios that still have the capacity to handle recordings the old analogue way.

THE 2018 COMEBACK AFTER 33-YEARS

The passion of their fans rekindled the passion of the Wahlquist brothers. They had tried to stay away from music for decades, but finally the brothers could not resist any more.  During the spring of 2018, Heavy Load returned to the stage after 33 years of absence. For the fans of classic heavy metal, it had been a long time coming to finally see this legendary band: a comeback no one thought ever would happen. For the band, it was amazing to meet both their old and new fans. The band was astounded by the fact that most of their new fans were not even born when they did their last tour in 1985.  In addition, it was the 40th anniversary of the release of their first album. Heavy Load headlined the Keep It True festival in Germany, as well as Up the Hammers festival in Greece. At the Sweden Rock Festival, they had the most prominent slot of the evening, second only to that of Ozzy Osbourne; that day the festival had 35 000 visitors. The passionate love and joy that greeted the band ignited their flame even further and currently they are composing and recording a new album which will be the first in 35 years.

No Remorse Records

Heavy Load

Originally written for Forgotten-Scroll by Giannis Tziligkakis.
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News This Week (March Week 3)

With last week being fairly slow in the world of power metal (and others), it was nice to have plenty to look forward to this week. There were only a couple notable singles but that’s just fine with me because I was very busy on the album front. Tons of records came out that I didn’t include on this list, either because they were crap or I just couldn’t find much to say about them, but you can hit the ‘Upcoming Albums’ tab up top if you want to see what else there was!

Singles

Let me start this list by saying that yes, I know a new Motley Crue single came out on Thursday and no, I will not post the link here because it’s really fucking bad.

Carrying on.

Eluveitie – Ambiramus

Folk masters Eluveitie unleashed another music video for their upcoming Ategnatos, out 5 April. Now, I’ve already heard the album a few times (review coming soon!), so I know what to expect, but this is one of my favourite tracks. It’s fun, catchy, powerful: everything I want from Eluveitie.

Eluveitie – Ambiramus (Nuclear Blast)

Trick or Treat – Aries: Stardust Revolution

Helloween-tribute-band-turned-real-deal Trick or Treat have unleashed their second single since their last full-length record, Re-Animated. It’s also the first single for their coming concept album, The Legend of the XII Saints, which will be released month by month based on the zodiac signs.

Their happy, uplifting power metal is of the likeness of Dragonland, Galderia, and Skeletoon, so if power metal cheese ain’t your thing (which it is, otherwise why would you be on this site?), you’ll want to give this one a wide berth.

Trick or Treat – Aries: Stardust Revolution (Frontiers)

Albums

Bloodbound – Rise of the Dragon Empire

Bloodbound has taken all of the glorious, dragonslaying exuberance from War of Dragons and crammed it all into Rise of the Dragon Empire. Along with more dynamic variable songwriting, it’s altogether better than its predecessor and, in my opinion, the best Bloodbound record to date. The soaring choruses are thunderous, the guitar solos are grand, and the synth is heavy in this power metal monster.

Bloodbound – The Warlock’s Tail (AFM)

Meridian – Margin of Error

In a world where mediocre and experimental metal outfits stir up a storm of over-saturation, Danish outfit Meridian’s third record, Margin Of Error, offers a journey that rarely strays from its course. Complete with incredible guitar solos and expressive vocals, its style is true heavy metal and, although there is a limited amount of variety in the song selection, the album is nonetheless enjoyable.

Click here to navigate to the review.

Meridian – The Devil Inside Us All (Mighty Music)

Frozen Crown – Crowned in Frost

Frozen Crown arrived on the power metal scene in a blizzard with last year’s debut, The Fallen King. Their mix of melodeath and power metal combined with a strong female lead and insanely good musicianship made them a formidable force right out of the gate. And to prove their legitimacy further, Frozen Crown have hardly stopped long enough to catch their breath. They’ve wasted no time or effort in the making of their second record, Crowned in Frost, and have produced yet another exceptional slab of metal.

The guitar work is nothing short of exceptional; with every riff or solo comes a flurry of ass-kicking axemanship. However, there’s far more to see here than just the guitars, so make sure you give this one a serious listen!

Catch the review here.

Frozen Crown – Neverending (Scarlet)

Joe Stump – Symphonic Onslaught

Joe Stump is an exceptional soloist, but that’s about where his skillset stops. Symphonic Onslaught falls into the classic guitar feature trap of one-man-showmanship. The rhythm section is fairly lazy (whether that’s due to the writing or the players, I don’t know) and only ever sits on the beat rather than filling the background out with any sort of detail.

Another issue I find is to do with Stump’s playing style. I do think he’s an incredible soloist, but his melodies are pretty weak, which is a bit of an issue when you’re listening to an album’s worth of music. He can play all sorts of fast, but he fails to show restraint or attention to the finer things outside of speed, so after a couple songs, you really won’t find anything new in the rest. This may seem like a small issue, but this is what separates guys like Stump from the true masters.

Also, it’s beyond me why the fuck this record has ‘Symphonic’ in its title. Anyway, if you like sick guitar shredding and have no care for anything else, check this record out, because Joe Stump is really good at it.

Joe Stump – On with the Action (Lion Music)

Battle Beast – No More Hollywood Endings

Battle Beast has all but completely reinvented its sound this time around, abandoning its unique brand of melodic heavy/power metal for a shinier, late 90s/early 00s pop sound. If Bringer of Painwas a step in a new direction, No More Hollywood Endings is a trip to the next city over. If it weren’t for a couple individual tracks and Noora Louhimo’s iconic, raspy vocals, it’d be unrecognizable as a Beast album.

In all honesty, when it lost Anton Kabanen, the Beast lost its bite. No More Hollywood Endings is widely dynamic, but a lot of the songs are very one-dimensional. Although many of the tracks feature epic orchestras and plentiful keyboards, more parts doesn’t always mean better parts.

I have very mixed feelings about this album mainly because of how hit-and-miss the tracks are. That being said, the reviews for this one are all over the place, so decide for yourself how good it is!

Check out my review here.

Battle Beast – Endless Summer (Nuclear Blast)

Sabaton History

Sabaton History 007 – Shiroyama

Bonus!

I just stumbled upon these guys while tracking down the music videos for this article and, I swear to God, I haven’t laughed so hard in a couple weeks. Not from a joke or a punchline, but from the blatant fucking pretension I felt the entire time I was watching it. Was it the generic, “gothic” vocals? Or maybe that line of text about genetics underneath the presolo? Or was it the weird attempt at throwing a sexy secretary in for no reason?

I’m probably alone here, but I think this video is hilarious.

Emerald Mind – Genetic Paradise

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Frozen Crown – Crowned In Frost Review

Score8.5/10
GenrePower Metal
CountryItaly
Runtime47:46
Release Date22 Mar 2019
Record LabelScarlet

Frozen Crown arrived on the power metal scene in a blizzard with last year’s debut, The Fallen King. Their mix of melodeath and power metal combined with a strong female lead and insanely good musicianship made them a formidable force right out of the gate. And to prove their legitimacy further, Frozen Crown have hardly stopped long enough to catch their breath. They’ve wasted no time or effort in the making of their second record, Crowned in Frost, and have produced yet another exceptional slab of metal.

‘Arctic Gales’ begins the record with climbing dual guitar lines and actually does a decent job at setting the mood for what’s to come (it always surprises the shit out of me when the intro tracks in metal albums are actually good, so bonus points here). As we venture further into the album, we encounter countless strong melodies, heavy riffs, and layers of different vocals. They’re primarily driven by the powerful Jade Etro, but there are many male harmonies, as well as a touch of rough vocals, as in ‘Winterfall’ and ‘Crowned in Frost’.

While the vocals are superb and Alberto Mezzanotte does a phenomenal job pounding the shit out of every single beat that he lays down, special attention simply must be paid to the guitar work. The riffs created between lead guitarist and songwriter Federico Mondelli (who also does the keys) and Talia Bellazecca (who’s only 18) are definitely the highlight of the album. Their synergistic shredding hits harder than an iceberg and, by the gods, are Mondelli‘s solos fantastic.

Another thing I enjoy in this album is the mixing and mastering. It’s mixed more like a heavy metal album than a power metal album, which gives it more of an edge, and it really works for this grittier style of power metal. The balance is also great and I can actually hear the fucking bass guitar (courtesy of Filippo Zavattari), which is more than I can say for ninety percent of the metal that I come across. The bass is often lost in the midst of an overbearing kick, especially in newer bands, so this professional touch goes a long way for me.

As mentioned before, there’s a staggering amount of variety in this record, with influences ranging from numerous different genres. ‘Battles in the Night’ is an old school, steady banger, whereas tunes like ‘In the Dark’ and ‘Forever’ pound away with a similar positive energy as Gamma Ray and more conventional power metal. And then there’s the meaner, harsher tracks like ‘Unspoken’, which is just fucking colossal.

Crowned in Frost already sets itself apart from its predecessor. There’s a larger bulk of heavy metal influence this time around, and it’s clear that Frozen Crown has grown more frigid with age. With two albums of increasing quality already under their belt, I think it’s safe to say that the next album will be at least as impressive as this one.

Frozen Crown – Neverending (Scarlet)

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Haeredium – Ascension Review

Score7.5/10
GenrePower/Folk Metal
CountryFrance
Runtime54:36
Release Date15 Mar 2019
Record LabelArt Gates

I’ll be honest: upon first hearing the single ‘Merchant of Lies’, I wasn’t quite sold on Haeredium. Yeah, it’s a quirky little tune, but it’s not really anything special. However, these French folkers have made a bit of an impression on me with Ascension. Their creativity is boundless and their easy, uniquely uplifting brand of metal is quite a pleasant change from so many folk bands who default to the Equilibrium-esque melodeath route.

Haeredium’s strength lies largely in their ability to produce music that is new and interesting. The instrumentals are lively and fun and feature a wide array of different styles; in songs such as ‘Images I Recall’ and ‘Fall, they’re driven more by traditional folk instruments, whereas songs like ‘Merchant of Lies’ and ‘Joyride’ are more reliant on the piano to bring a bouncier, funner feel.

Where they fall short, though, is in the vocal department. Let me just say that Sébastien Durand isn’t a bad vocalist, especially for a band like this. The music is already fairly laid back and smooth, so his low-key voice suits the music well. The problem is that his voice often falls to the wayside and takes on more characteristics as a background instrument rather than a focal point. This is mainly due to him almost exclusively remaining in a single register rather than venturing out of his comfort zone a bit. In my own humble opinion, a bit more authority and deliberation on the vocal front would take Haeredium to another level.

This is Haeredium’s second album to date, and their first to feature their new bassist, Rémi. While the entire band shows solid skill, none of the players make an exceptional performance. The guitar solos, drums, folk instruments, and piano are all really good, but Ascension is very much a team effort. That being said, the album is all the better for it, because the synergy of the band is what makes it great.

With influences ranging from jazz, bluegrass, celtic folk, and power metal, Ascension manages to stand out in an immensely over-saturated genre of music. Included in its dynamic musical fibres are heavy, more typical power/folk tracks like ‘Alpha Ursae Minoris’, experimental instrumental tracks, and even a handful of hefty eight minuters (‘From Silence’ and ‘Storyteller’) which are packed with different exciting elements. Despite its flaws, this album is great and should be on every folk fan’s radar.

Haeredium – Breathe (Art Gates)

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