Top Ten Metal Albums of April

Between trying to keep up with my metal life and personal life, this month seems to have flown the fuck away from under my feet! It seems like it was only yesterday when I was stumbling my way through March’s top albums, so you can imagine how difficult this list was, considering it nearly caught me by surprise!

This was a great month for power and symphonic metal especially. It was kind of lean in the folk department, but that isn’t to say that folk metal didn’t make its way onto this list!

As usual, most of these albums had reviews done for them, so if you want to see a more in depth analysis, click on the album titles in the headings.

10. Atlas Pain – Tales of a Pathfinder

Dropping the sails at Number Ten are epic power metal adventurers Atlas Pain with their second full-length album, Tales of a Pathfinder. On this worldwide expedition you’ll encounter folk melodies and influences from numerous world cultures, from the Far East to Oceania to the reaches of the West.

While Tales of a Pathfinder doesn’t really blaze any new trails, the use of rough vocals over such sickeningly uplifting arrangements dig out a nice little niche for Atlas Pain. Regardless of how original this album is, its contagious energy will certainly find its way into your heart.

Atlas Pain – The Moving Empire (Scarlet)

9. Valence – Cognitive Dissidents

Shifting gears a little bit, Valence has some groovy instrumental prog to lay down on you. Cognitive Dissidents manages to climb above the mess of chaotic and pretentious prog metal by keeping the whole thing focused and fluid while jazzing around and maintaining a fun atmosphere.

The beefy guitar tones, eclectic melodies, and killer rhythm section are sometimes accompanied by string parts (which are all played by the band, by the way) to change up the feel. If you’re looking for something to nod your head to with the odd grin surfacing from time to time, this album will get the job done for sure.

Valence – Damnit, Lana!

8. Qantice – The Anastoria

Qantice’s The Anastoria is a massive display of symphonic wonder. Easily beating the aforementioned Tales of a Pathfinder in epic positivity, the breakneck speed throughout the entire record will have you so dialed in that you’ll be surprised an hour has gone by since you started listening. The orchestrations (often played by real life people) are incredibly rich and the parts are so numerous that you’ll be sure to find something new with consecutive listens.

This album already does a great job at separating itself from other similar bands, but the violin (courtesy of Alexandra Laya) makes it sound truly unique; she bows away on that fucking thing as furiously as the rest of the band plays. This neverending intensity almost makes it impossible to stop listening once you’ve started.

Qantice – Without a Hero (Pride & Joy)

7. Manegarm – Fornaldarsagor

In their best album in probably a decade, Manegarm have something grand in Fornaldarsagor. While primarily a coarser folk metal work, there’s the usual inclusion of impending black metal elements, as well as some female and clean male vocals. While the formula of Fornaldarsagor is typical of Manegarm, far more care has been taken regarding the songwriting that the past three albums.

Manegarm – Hervors arv (Napalm)

6. Deep Sun – Das Erbe der Welt

This futuristic sophomore album from the Swiss Deep Sun is as dynamic as its melodies are catchy (which is, in case you were wondering, very). Das Erbe der Welt is full of electronic keyboard sounds and a great female lead, but the highlight for me is definitely the rhythm section. Whether its in sharp shots or syncopated grooves, it carries out the job with direct, forceful purpose. There’s also a ton of variety for a band like this, so bonus points there, too.

Deep Sun – Worship the Warship (Massacre)

We’re halfway there, but let me tell you: I had a lot of trouble putting the next five against one another. They’re all clearly in the top five, but it took quite a bit of deliberating (and relistening) to finally get them to where I think they should be.

Anyway, you don’t care about any of that; on to the top five albums of April!

5. Solarus – Darkest Days

Maybe it’s the sharp vocals. Maybe it’s the riffs. Maybe it’s the fucking madman on the drums. Or, maybe, everything simply comes together really, really well.

For a symphonic/power metal album, Darkest Days is a bit, well, dark. Nonetheless, the music retains a certain vigour that allows it to be easily received despite a slight edge.

While there are times where I can find something to compare this album to, Solarus manages to keep Darkest Days sounding individual and new without compromising anything. Add to this a crazy solid rhythm section, ripping solos, and a strong female lead, and you get an album that’ll remain on your metal playlist until the sun burns out.

Solarus – Limbo

4. Silverheart – Destination

Silverheart’s Destination is pure power metal to the core. It has the speed, uplifting melodies, and cheesy keys. However, something is missing: horribly overdone lyrical and musical cliches. Is this a bad thing? Fuck no.

Somehow, this Argentinian outfit has put together a power metal album that sounds neither derivative nor repetitive, instead fueling us with a clean, riff-heavy ember that has as many twists and turns as fire itself. There’s no shortage of surprises on this journey, such as the odd techno line, so make sure to set this album as your next destination.

Silverheart – Until the End of Times

3. Age of Artemis – Monomyth

Power prog Brazilians Age of Artemis have gone on their own quest for heroism in their latest album, Monomyth. And, surprise surprise, they’ve achieved it. Coming forth with improved skill, songwriting, and melodic formulas, the band have clearly managed to grow with time. The proggy breakdowns are super lively, and the pump up energy is constant. My favourite part, though, is the kickass drummer Ricardo Linnasi. There’s not a single time when he’s not doing something cool, and he’ll hit you with a sick groove when you least expect it.

In addition to all of the phenomenal musical aspects to the album, I actually think that the concept works. It’s too often that a band tries too hard to bring a concept album to life, but the whole “steps to becoming a hero” thing really works for Monomyth. Both the style and execution are very fitting, so Age of Artemis earn some bonus points for actually producing a clear concept that isn’t pretentious bullshit.

Age of Artemis – The Calling

2. Tillian – Lotus Graveyard

This is pushing the metal boundary a little bit, but Ho. Ly. Fuck. I couldn’t not incude it. This debut album from the female-fronted Tillian is nothing short of spectacular. Lotus Graveyard is a passionate, dramatic, and fluid piece of prog rock/metal, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it’ll amaze you.

While I have a ton to say about this album, I’d only end up regurgitating my review, so check it out if you want.

Regardless, listen to this album. Seriously.

Tillian – Lotus Graveyard

1. Eluveitie – Ategnatos

Eluveitie have hit their peak in their eighth record, Ategnatos. It’s fantastically fluid for such a diverse folk metal album, and, while it retains the trademark Eluveitie sound, it’s a distinct experience from most of their other releases.

To say the least, it’s dynamic. The songs range from huge melodeath blast beats with rough vocals to softer, mournful tracks like ‘Eclipse’. There’s even a bouncy tune in ‘Ambiramus’ that’ll be stuck in your head for weeks (but don’t worry, you’ll welcome it). The broad instrumentation of this Swiss septet includes traditional instruments and shamelessly skilled drums, as well as three different vocal styles, my favourite of which are the versatile pipes of Fabienne Erni. The control she displays is insane and honestly, without her, the album wouldn’t have made it as my top pick.

Eluveitie – The Slumber (Nuclear Blast)

Well, that’s it for this list! Make sure you throw these albums on some time, because they each have plenty to offer!

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Antonello Giliberto – The Strategy Of Chaos Review

Score8/10
GenreNeoclassical Power Metal
CountryItaly
Runtime56:17
Release Date30 April 2019
Record LabelIndependent

If you’re at all like me, you’ve been left with a bit of a void in your soul since seeing the awe-inspiring badassery of Avengers: Endgame. You’ve probably been looking to get your next colossal action fix but have had no luck in doing so. Never fear, however, because the gods (or rather, the Italians) have delivered unto us an instrumental metal soundtrack of epic, Earth-shattering proportions. As the third installment to guitarist/composer Antonello Giliberto’s solo project, The Strategy of Chaos bellows with a massive intensity from the very beginning of the opening track until the until the god damn grand finale that is ‘Odissea Veneziana’.

Accompanying Antonello on this perilous journey are bassist Dino Fiorenza, who has played with the likes of Zakk Wilde, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteem, and Paul Gilbert, with Salvo Grasso (who’s a fucking musical monster, by the way) on the drums. Both are bandmates in the Christian power/prog outfit Metatrone. Delivering support for keyboard solos and piano is Gabriele Crisafulli, who lends his hand in ‘Threat and Redemption’, ‘Wrath of the Northmen’, and ‘The Depths of My Soul’. Beside these exceptional musicians are loads of booming orchestrations and chanting choirs.

Within this epic shell are many layers of variety. There are numerous intense dark songs and some more typically uplifting power metal bangers, but there are also many beautiful and mournful moments, such as the ones in ‘Forgotten Mists’, the ballad ‘Beata Beatrix the Beautiful Vision’, and ‘Alone in the Empty Space’ (in which there is some truly tasteful Spanish guitar lines). The violin takes the stage in many of these softer sections, which adds a deeper and sadder effect.

There’s not a whole lot wrong with this album considering how tricky it is to make a decent instrumental album, nonetheless one that has a central theme of such tremendous grandeur. At times, the orchestrations are too plentiful and drown out some of the other instruments, but this is rare. Additionally, some of the transitions are weak (especially between ‘Iron Shadows in the Moon’ and ‘Forgotten Mists’) and the orchestral arpeggiations are pretty predictable, but in the grand scope of the album, they don’t take away too much from the music.

If this album (and project) were previously unknown to you, do yourself a favour and check out what Antonello Giliberto is capable of. Not only can he shred like a madman, but he can fashion lively, memorable guitar melodies, as well as an incredible record. The sick drum beats, virtuoso guitar and key solos, and rich background parts create a soundtrack that is practically alive. This is a must-listen for fans of Yngwie Malmsteen, Galneryus, the soundtrack scores of Two Steps from Hell, and epic fantasy movies.

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Sabaton Announce North American Tour

The time has finally come for Sabaton to announce their North American tour for the upcoming The Great War. It has been confirmed that Hammerfall will join them for support and they’ll be hitting major cities from coast to coast in both Canada and the USA.

For the dates and locations, check out the picture below! Ticket sales will go live on 3 May, along with the first single of the new album.

Not only will the tour feature brand new music from Sabaton, but Hammerfall have also confirmed that a new single will be here on Friday (and an album announcement is likely to follow).

Don’t miss the chance to see this epic Swedish invasion in person! And be sure to check out The Great War when it surfaces on 19 July!

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Burning Point Announce New Vocalist

It’s been a rough few months for Finland’s heavy metal act Burning Point; drummer Jussi Ontero, bassist Sami Nyman, and vocalist Nitte Valo all parted ways with the band, leaving them shortmanned, to say the least.

However, their fire is far from being extinguished. With a new album confirmed to be in the works, the band recently announced that their new drummer is Toumas Jaatinen, who also plays in Dark Flood. According to Burning Point’s Facebook page, the drums tracks have all been recorded for the upcoming album, so we can likely expect a release date in the coming months.

Luca Sturniolo

On top of these announcements, the band have also finally unveiled their new vocalist: Luca Sturniolo. Hailing from Italy, he has played for various bands on numerous instruments, such as bass and vocals. He has also released one album, entitled The Dawn, under his own solo project.

Luca Sturniolo – Dreams

This new lineup might be exactly what the band needed to revitalize both themselves and their fans. There’s no shortage of diverse skills to work with, so I’m hopeful that the coming album will be more their most kickass record yet.

With so many new developments coming from Burning Point, go follow their Facebook page to be the first to see what’s up!

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Deep Sun – Das Erbe der Welt Review

Score8/10
GenreSymphonic Metal [Electronic]
CountrySwitzerland
Runtime01:03:37
Release Date26 Apr 2019
Record LabelMassacre

Breaking out of the indie pool after signing onto Massacre Records, Deep Sun have unveiled their sophomore album. Das Erbe der Welt manages to not fall entirely into the typical female-fronted melodic/symphonic sound that you’d find in bands like Delain, Within Temptation, and most other gothic bands by keeping the degree of power metal high enough that the music isn’t overtaken by the operatic vocals. The clean, balanced mixing allows every bandmate to be heard and the use of electronic sounds, while plentiful, are done very well and only add to the depth and technological theme of the album.

To further complement Das Erbe der Welt‘s futuristic concept, the songs vary greatly and advance in different directions all the time. The fifteen-minute track ‘The Raven’ begins with a dark, foreboding atmosphere, and expands into serious aggression and even jazzy grooves. And then there are tracks like ‘Super New World’ and ‘Abandon Cyberspace’ that have an epic, driving feel. Even the obligatory ballad ‘Das Erbe der Welt’ is a dramatic journey. There’s really no shortage of variety here so the entire album is very exciting to listen to.

As usual in bands like this, the rhythm section is fucking awesome. It hits hard and never fails to bring the best it possibly can to the music, whether it’s with heavy shots or solid grooves. Additionally, the balance with the keys is at a perfect point, allowing every part to ring through without interruption. Unfortunately, the guitar solos are fairly underwhelming, but they’re still decent. Finally, since we just covered the rest of the instruments, I’d damn well better mention Debora Lavagnolo’s vocal performance. She’s got quite the pipes, even for a genre that excels in strong female singers. She hits soft lows, powerful highs (especially in that last belt before the solo section in ‘Abandon Cyberspace’ (and also the soaring yells in the album’s closing)), and she carries the melodies with grace.

This is a bit of a step away from their debut album, but Deep Sun has something special in Das Erbe der Welt. They command a persistent energy throughout the entire album and you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not listening to it.

Deep Sun – Worship the Warship (Massacre)

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Myrath – Shehili Review

Score9/10
GenreProgressive Metal (Eastern Folk)
CountryTunisia
Runtime47:33
Release Date3 May 2019
Record LabelearMUSIC

Venture, weary traveler, to the musical oasis of Myrath. Let its winds blow over you and move you. Let its dynamic and life-giving compositions induce in you feelings of hope and joy. Let every note fill you with wonderful amazement.

Ok, enough of that fantastical bullshit.

Let me first start by saying that this album kicks more ass than the Sahara on a bad day. This should really come as no surprise, though, because Myrath’s albums routinely contain nothing but quality, emotion, and a tasty Arabic spice. Huge melodies continuously take the stage and are supported by a dangerously tight rhythm section. The strings and orchestrations carry epic and mysterious melodies and combine seamlessly with the coarser metal elements, which makes each song ring with a rich brilliance. Plus, to add to the richness, the mixing is done flawlessly and allows each of the many parts to be appreciated.

There’s not a huge amount of variety in the album for a band that labels itself as prog but, under the banner of power or folk metal, there’s definitely enough. Fortunately, no track in Shehili sounds too much like another and the entire record is very exciting to listen to, so variety is a nonissue anyway. The overall tone of the album is hopeful, positive, and mystical. There are a couple tracks that carry a darker shadow with them, such as ‘Wicked Dice’ and ‘Monster in my Closet’, but other than some more intense riffage and aggressive delivery, they’re not dark songs. Despite any differences, there is one constant in every single song (unless, of course, you’re soulless), and that is the incessant drive it gives you to get up and dance.

Now, all this means almost nothing without a great group to deliver it. Luckily, and obviously, this is a truly gifted set of musicians, so there’s not the least bit of concern in that department. Malek Ben Arbia‘s guitar skills, from his Dream Theatery riffs in ‘Darkness Arise’ to his ripping solo in ‘Dance’, are those of a master. Frontman Zaher Zorgati has a ludicrous amount of vocal proficiency, especially with his soaring ululation, and can deliver a powerful belt whenever he damn well pleases. Additionally, as mentioned above, the keyboards (courtesy of Elyes Bouchoucha) cover everything from driving melodies to fat chords to complete the outfit with an overflowing sound.

When all is said and done, Myrath achieves exactly what it sets out to do with Shehili, which is, in Zaher’s words, “. . .to induce happiness and joy, to pay tribute to those who refuse to fall or to stop hoping, even in a world filled with hatred and uncertainty.” And, they do so with wonderfully detailed songs and a vibrant execution. The rhythm section is on the ball all the time, the vocals are awe-inspiring, and every other perfectly-mixed piece adds a unique and necessary flavour to make Shehili an exceptional work of music.

(Bonus points for the snake explosion and super triangular keyboard of fucking destruction)

Myrath – No Holding Back (earMUSIC)

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Grimgotts Confirm New Album Release Date

Epic power metallers Grimgotts have been busy for quite a while now while working on their upcoming album, Dragons of the Ages. They’ve unveiled a couple of singles to satiate their fans, but the time to set sail grows ever closer!

The adventurous concept album has been confirmed to be released on 17 May. It will feature a new lineup, guest vocalists, and the cheesy, hook-heavy magnificence that Grimgotts never fails to radiate.

Grimgotts – Ancient Waters

If you want to stay current with any new developments, go follow Grimgotts on Facebook!

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Hammerfall Leave Cryptic Message For Fans

Swedish power warriors Hammerfall are no strangers to metal. They’re also no strangers to building suspense on social media; on the 23rd, they changed their profile pictures to a lifeless black. Then, this morning, we were greeted with this:

“All Hail the Sons of the Northen Light! 04:00:00:00”

What could these developments point to? Well, it’s been almost three years since their last record, so we’re probably looking at an album announcement (and in four days, at that).

Could it be something else? Maybe it’s a new line of skincare products, or the countdown to the marriage of Joacim and Oscar. Whatever the case, I’m excited. If you want to stay as up to date as possible, go ahead and give Hammerfall a like on Facebook (as if you haven’t already).

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Turilli / Lione Rhapsody Confirm New Album Date

Luca Turilli and Fabio Lione have confirmed the date, tracklist, and title for their upcoming (and highly anticipated) Rhapsody project. The album will be called Zero Gravity (Rebirth and Evolution) and will feature ten superb symphonic metal songs, along with an eleventh bonus track for those who grab a special edition.

Turilli / Lione Rhapsody Zero Gravity Trailer (Nuclear Blast)

Zero Gravity will feature numerous guest musicians, including Amaranthe’s Elize Ryd, Avantasia’s Sascha Paeth, and Mark Basile of DGM, among others. It’s set to release on 28 June under Nuclear Blast.

01. Phoenix Rising
02. D.N.A. (Demon And Angel) [feat. Elize Ryd]
03. Zero Gravity
04. Fast Radio Burst
05. Decoding the Multiverse
06. Origins
07. Multidimensional
08. Amata Immortale
09. I Am [feat. Mark Basile]
10. Arcanum (Da Vinci’s Enigma)
11. Oceano [feat. Sascha Paeth & Arne Wiegand] BONUS TRACK

To stay ahead of the curve, follow Turilli / Lione Rhapsody on Facebook and stay up to date!

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Manegarm Release New Single For Upcoming Album, Out This Friday

As we approach 26 April, we get closer to a ton of great releases, one of which is Manegarm’s ninth album, Fornaldarsagor. These viking veterans still know their way around super heavy folk metal, as we’ve seen in their prior singles, so it’s a nice change of pace to hear what their new single, ‘Ett Sista Farväl’, has to offer.

It’s far lighter and, well, folky than the other tastes we’ve had of the new album, with a steady chant that carries on throughout its entirety.

Manegarm – Ett Sista Farval (Napalm)

Don’t forget to listen to Fornaldarsagor when it comes out on 26 April!

Go follow Manegarm on Facebook!

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