Celesti Alliance – Hybrid Generation Review

Score8/10
GenreMelodic Heavy Metal
CountryFinland
Runtime43:46
Release Date29 November 2019
Record LabelIndependent

Finland’s latest melodic heavy metal addition comes from the brand new Celesti Alliance. After two EPs, these cultivators of classic steel are finally ready to smash onto the scene with their full-length debut. Pulling from a range of influences from late-80s heavy/power metal (Accept, Judas Priest) and modern heavy metal, Hybrid Generation is a super catchy album that’s generous with the riffs and heavy on the solos.

I think the most accurate way to describe Celesti Alliance’s sound is as a slightly more exciting version of HammerFall. The vocals of Valtteri Heiskanen are pretty similar to Joacim Cans in terms of sound and style, and the songs are built in much the same way (especially ‘Louder Power’). Where things get a bit more colourful, though, is in the prevalent use of keyboards and vocal layers, as well as a dynamism that HammerFall always comes close to achieving but rarely does. As a result, Celesti Alliance end up with an album full of solid bangers while still delivering enough variability to stay exciting.

The only thing holding Hybrid Generation back is the fact that it more-or-less lacks any wowness. There’s some great soloing, with ‘Incomplete’ having my favourite, as well as some memorable riffs, but the album coasts along with the same level of power and proficiency the entire way through. It doesn’t make the album bad, especially when you combine the straight riffage with super beefy mixing, but it does keep the band from reaching their full potential.

But, if you dig the whole neo-80s style, you’ll dig Celesti Alliance. Hybrid Generation lays down enough steady drivers to please more oldschool fans and it explores enough highs and lows to round itself out. You won’t want to miss this killer offering of heavy metal worship.

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Sonus Corona – Time Is Not On Your Side Review

Score7/10
GenreProgressive Metal
CountryFinland
Runtime57:25
Release Date22 November 2019
Record LabelInverse

Along with a healthy dose of jazz influences, Finnish proggers Sonus Corona have resurfaced in their sophomore album, Time Is Not on Your Side. Stylistically, the album’s instrumentals often tread closely to Dream Theater, but the overall sound is more indie prog due to the prevalence of piano and the floating vocal style.

Unfortunately, these vocals are the low point of the album. They’re not poorly done, but they’re generally too soft. On top of that, the melancholic melodies (which are sometimes reminiscent of Muse’s melodies, although out-of-place) are so weak compared to the excitement of the surrounding instrumentation that I spent a most of the album waiting for them to be over so I could focus more on the heavy grooves and jazz breaks.

However, every time these grooves take the stage, everything is right with the world. They’re expressive, technical, and heavy, and, when combined with the piano, they produce a truly unique sound. There’s also a wide array of songs with different musical elements, such as club jazz, swing, pop, and metal, so there’s plenty to keep you engaged.

All in all, Time Is Not on Your Side is worth checking out at least once. While the vocals would be a much better fit in, maybe, an underground alternative rock band than a prog band, they’re still commendable and they’re certainly not enough to render the album unlistenable.

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Power Metal: Numenor Announce Album For 2020

Serbia’s Tolkien-oriented black power metal band Numenor have announced that their fourth album, Draconian Age, will be released in 2020. Other than the artwork, which was done by Bob Zivkovic, no further details have yet been revealed.

To get a feel for Numenor’s style, check out ‘Heart of Steel’ below!

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Symphonic Metal: New Music Video From Pythia

English metallers Pythia released their fourth album, The Solace of Ancient Earth, earlier this year. Fittingly, as the year grows colder and darker, the female-fronted symphonic outfit have released a new music video for one of their heavier songs, ‘Hold of Winter’.

Additionally, Pythia have announced three UK dates to finish off their year.

November 26th – The Joiners – Southampton w/ Mask Of Judas, Phobetor and Elysian Divide

December 8th – Facebar – Reading w/ Sister Shotgun, Novacrow and Synlakross

December 13th – The Macbeth Of Hoxton – London w/ Blackhorse Road and The October Revolution

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Heavy Metal: Rising Steel Sign Record Deal

With a sophomore album set for Spring 2020, French heavy metallers Rising Steel have signed a multi-record deal with Frontiers Music SRL.

Rising Steel on their upcoming album:
“We gave our best to keep our influences in this recording, keeping the true Heavy Metal spirit, but this time we tried our best to strengthen our metal sound with darker influences and go a bit beyond the classic boundaries of this style. This new album is a big step forward for the band, and signing with the Frontiers label is, for us, a true recognition. A dream-come-true story to be continued soon!”

Rising Steel’s style combines the likes of classic heavy metal, thrash metal, and hard rock. If you haven’t heard their stuff before, check out ‘Warlord’ from their 2015 EP.

The band has previously released one independent EP and one full-length album, Return of the Warlord, under Mighty Music in 2016.

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Heavy Metal: New Single From Running Wild

Pirate metal outfit Running Wild have released another single from their upcoming EP! ‘Ride on the Wild Side’ sees a more straightforward metal approach than the previous single, and it will be the closing track of Crossing the Blades.

Crossing the Blades will be released on 6 December via SPV/Steamhammer.

01. Crossing The Blades
02. Stargazed
03. Strutter
04. Ride On The Wild Side

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Power Metal: Victorius Declare ‘Shuriken Showdown’

Beloved, over-the-top power metal powerforce Victorius have dropped the second single for their upcoming album, Space Ninjas from Hell.

Space Ninjas from Hell will be released on 17 January 2020.

01. Tale Of The Sunbladers
02. Ninjas Unite
03. Super Sonic Samurai
04. Evil Wizard WuShu Master
05. Nippon Knights
06. Shuriken Showdown
07. Wasabi Warmachine
08. Wrath Of The Dragongod
09. Astral Assassin Shark Attack
10. Space Ninjas From Hell
11. Cosmic Space Commando Base
12. Shinobi Strike 3000
13. Dark Side Of The Sun (Japan bonus track)

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Power Metal: In Victory Unleash New Single

Taken from their upcoming EP, In Victory have released a new single of relentless power metal glory, entitled ‘Reaching Eternity’.

Ectsasy of the Enlightened was created with the support of Rikard Sundén (Civil War, ex-Sabaton), Biggie Phanrath (Melodius Deite) and Gege Velinov (Arion). The EP will be released on 4 January 2020.

01. Reaching Eternity
02. Magic
03. The Prophecies Will Unfold

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Magic Kingdom – MetAlmighty Review

Score8/10
GenrePower Metal
CountryBelgium
Runtime1:01:20
Release Date22 November 2019
Record LabelAFM

As a rule of thumb, I never make any early judgments about an album until I’m at least two songs in (well, three if we’re counting the typical two-minute-orchestration first track that pollutes power metal). It gives me a chance to get away from any sort of propulsion the band hoped to gain with the first song and into what is usually a more accurate representation of the album as a whole. In the case of Magic Kingdom’s MetAlmighty, this proved to be a good precaution on my part, because, if I took that first track too seriously, I would have lost all interest. It has a strong intro, as well as a few worthwhile moments, but in the grand scheme of the album, it’s disorganized and the chorus is weak.

But, get passed ‘Unleash the Dragon’ and the real dragon appears! Sick riffs, headbangable beats, powerful melodies, and absolutely insane solos await you in a fiery keep. Your journey is led by the famed Michael Vescera (Obsession, ex-Yngwie J. Malmsteen), who is lending his vocals to Magic Kingdom for the first time. Also joining you on this epic quest for mighty metal are axeman/band founder Dushan Petrossi, bassist Vassili Moltchanov (both of Iron Mask), and Ark Ascent drummer Michael Brush. Together, they unleash eleven dynamic tracks that are sure to satiate even the pickier power metalhead.

Now, before we get to the rest of the good stuff, let’s finish off the not-so-good. As I mentioned before, the album starts at a low point. Unfortunately, MetAlmighty finishes on a similar note in ‘King Without a Crown’. It’s a decent track and I especially love the chorus, but it’s an underwhelming farewell to an otherwise hard-hitting album. Additionally, the production quality is. . . iffy at times, but it’s not an issue too often.

Other than that, though, this album kicks all sorts of fantasy ass. It rides forth with cheesy lyrics in a wide variety of dynamic tracks. The overall sound is grittier than a lot of modern power metal, which helps separate Magic Kingdom from the crowd (despite having one of the most unoriginal names in metal history). MetAlmighty may not be the best that Magic Kingdom’s ever put out, but it’s certainly worth giving a spin.

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Power Metal: Niviane Announce New Keyboardist And New Album

Emerging US power metallers Niviane have had a lot of interesting developments. First, the band have announced the immersion of keyboardist Aaron Robitsch into the band’s main lineup. Robitsch played the keyboard parts for Niviane’s 2017 debut, The Druid King, so this was a fairly natural move.

Vocalist Norman L Skinner III on the new addition:
“A lot of thought went into the decision to add another member to the band. The writing chemistry was already there and he got along great with each and every one of us. During the last couple tours, we had noticed a pattern of bands running live keyboard tracks and we were even tinkering with the idea of doing that as well. However, we like to be a bit more organic in our live shows and decided it was a no brainer to have Aaron onboard permanently. Our fans may recognize Aaron Robitsch from his projects Crepuscle & Graveshadow.”

Additionally, Niviane have disclosed the artwork and tracklist for their upcoming album, The Ruthless Divine, which is set to come out in Spring 2020.

01. League of Shadows
02. Crown of Thorns
03. Dreams Crash Down
04. The Ruthless Divine
05. Fires In The Sky
06. Fallen From Elysium
07. Forgotten Centurion
08. Niviane
09. Psychomanteum
10. Sinking Ships
11. Like Lions

The album artwork is the design of freelance illustrator Dusan Markovic.

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