Amberian Dawn – Looking For You Review

Score9.5/10
GenreMelodic Metal (80s Synthpop)
CountryFinland
Runtime42:38
Release Date31 January 2020
Record LabelNapalm

If kicking off the year with a super cheesy 80s metal album becomes a regular occurrence in my life, I would have nothing left to ask for. Last year, February serenaded us with the ferocious Beast in Black’s From Hell with Love, which blasted its way into my Number One Metal Record spot. And now, former symphonic metal troupe Amberian Dawn have also made the shift into 80s synthpop revival with their ninth record, Looking for You. While most of the songs follow a steady bass-snare beat, the album is gloriously addictive.

Drenched in synth and vocal layers, there’s never a dull moment. The band has coined the term ABBA-metal to describe their music, and that couldn’t be more accurate. Every track rings with glowing positivity and spits out some of the catchiest melodies I’ve ever heard. The “metal” aspects of the album are definitely secondary to the synthpop but, hey, it’s fun and it’s still metal enough for me.

One of the album’s high points can be found in the song ‘Symphony Nr. 1 Part 3 – Awakening’ (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?), which is the third part to the Symphony that began in 2015’s album Innuendo. The track features some mad double kicks that are perfectly executed, as well as the vocal talents of the mighty Fabio Lione (ex-Rhapsody, Angra, Turilli/Lione Rhapsody) alongside Amberian Dawn’s Capri. Additionally, there’s a sick solo tucked away in ‘Eternal Fire Burning’ and some beefy basslines in ‘Butterfly’, as well as some great cymbal work scattered throughout.

Amberian Dawn have always been an adaptive outfit. Since their shifts from power metal then symphonic metal, they’ve always been able to create a commercially-available sound while remaining musically interesting. If you’re looking for huge riffs and aggression, you’re in the wrong place. But, if you want some fun shit to nod your head to, spin at the gym, or crank at a party, look no further than Looking for You.

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Melodic Metal: New Single From Temperance

Italian melodic metal outfit Temperance are a bit of a breath of fresh air in their space. Fronted by the talents of three vocalists, the band offers a brand of melodic metal that has a unique melodic delivery over symphonic and electronic elements.

With their fifth album, Viridian, coming out this Friday, the band have released another single, ‘I Am the Fire’.

Vocalist/Guitarist Marco Pastorino, on the new single:
“Our paths have crossed at a lot of places and stories. ‘I Am the Fire’ is about motivation and a trigger that can help us to reach our goals. Through different colors, moods and situations, we can find a light on our journey. As always we blend our three different vocal styles in one of the most melodic tracks from Viridian.

As a side note, we were not particularly thinking of seasonal wildfire or the horrible tragedy that is happening in Australia right now. The word ‘fire’ is recurrently used as an analogy to inner strength, and we believe that we can take it as a call to action for uniting and together, overcoming any obstacles we face individually as well as a society.”

01. Mission Impossible
02. I Am The Fire
03. Start Another Round
04. My Demons Can’t Sleep
05. Viridian
06. Let It Beat
07. Scent of Dye
08. The Cult Of Mystery
09. Nanook
10. Gaia
11. Catch The Dream

Marco Pastorino on Viridian:
“We’re beyond stoked to announce that our new album and first through Napalm Records Viridian is scheduled for worldwide release on January 24th, 2020! Finally, the time has come: Viridian is ready to see the light of the day! We’ve worked hard during the last year to write our best songs ever. This is our heaviest album so far, yet with a lot of melodies, vocal harmonies and epic modern metal hymns! The recording process was super fun and we really enjoyed finding new, different ways to express ourselves with our music. We really can’t wait to spread Viridian all over the world on the next tours – stay tuned for more exciting news!”

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Melodic Metal: Amberian Dawn Drop Titular Track

With Looking For You only two weeks away, Finnish ABBA metal (formerly symphonic metal) troupe Amberian Dawn have released another synth-heavy single. The titular track follows suit with the previous singles to be released for the album: heavy bass and snare, glowing keys, and shameless 80s cheese.

Guitarist/Keyboardist/Founder Tuomas on the new album:
”This is the Crown Jewel of the album. This song is exactly what so-called ABBA-Metal is all about. Haunting and dramatic keyboards, strong melodies and tons of vocal tracks. I worked closely with Finnish synthesizer artist Kebu to achieve this wonderful vintage keyboard sound. I let myself go into world of 80’s synthesizer music and then my band mates helped me to arrange the song into an Amberian Dawn song. “ 

Look for Looking for You on 31 January!

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Power Metal: Powerwolf Announce New Album

Heavy metal priests Powerwolf have are amassing a compilation album of unholy proportions. Best of the Blessed will contain sixteen of the band’s most beloved anthems, as well as fourteen live tracks.

Many of the studio tracks will be revamped versions, which means you can expect the best sound from old Powerwolf material.

CD 1 – Best Of The Blessed Tracklisting:
1. We Drink Your Blood (New Version 2020)
2. Army of the Night
3. Demons Are a Girl‘s Best Friend
4. Werewolves of Armenia (New Version 2020)
5. Saturday Satan (New Version 2020)
6. Amen & Attack
7. Where the Wild Wolves Have Gone
8. Resurrection by Erection (New Version 2020)
9. Sanctified with Dynamite (New Version 2020)
10. Kreuzfeuer
11. Armata Strigoi
12. Kiss of the Cobra King (New Version 2019)
13. Killers with the Cross 
14. Sacred & Wild
15. In Blood We Trust (New Version 2020)
16. Let There Be Night

CD 2 – The Live Sacrament (Wolfsnächte 2018):
1. Fire & Forgive
2. Incense & Iron
3. Amen & Attack
4. Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend
5. Killers with the Cross
6. Armata Strigoi
7. Blessed & Possessed
8. Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone
9. Resurrection by Erection
10. Stossgebet
11. All We Need Is Blood
12. We Drink Your Blood
13. Werewolves of Armenia
14. Lupus Die

Earbook & LP Box ( The Live Bonus Sacrament ):
1. Sanctified with Dynamite
2. Army Of The Night
3. Coleus Sanctus
4. Let There Be Night

The first redone track from the album, ‘Kiss of the Cobra King’, has already been released!

Best of the Blessed will be released on 5 June 2020 via Napalm Records!

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Progressive Metal: Scardust Release Track From Upcoming Album

Israeli symphonic proggers Scardust have released a live video for the first single, ‘Tantibus II’, of their upcoming album. While there are no further details of the album, it is set to come out this Fall.

Scardust is a ferocious female-fronted prog outfit that was founded in 2015. The band released their debut album, Sands of Time, in 2017.

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Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga Review

Score10/10
GenrePower Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime55:06
Release Date10 January 2020
Record LabelAFM Records

Brothers of Metal are one of power metal’s most promising up-and-comers. The charismatic Norsemen achieved instant fame with their 2017 debut, Prophecy of Ragnarok, which was a catchy, epic, bass-cranked extravaganza. It was true warrior music for the true warrior (or, you know, us wannabe warriors). Obviously, this album was easily one of my favourites of the year, and while most of its songs follow a fairly simple structure, the band more than made up for it with their relentless viking energy, beefy riffage, and unique vocal approach.

So, it should come as no surprise that their sophomore album, Emblas Saga, is my first perfect score of 2020. It takes everything that Prophecy of Ragnarok did well, crams it into more dynamic, advanced arrangements, and injects obscene amounts of steroids into the mix. There’re also more orchestral elements thrown in for good measure. If Prophecy of Ragnarok got your blood flowing, Emblas Saga will make your veins burst.

Its biggest difference from its predecessor is that the folk influences are way more prominent here. Enough so that I would personally call it folk power metal, like I would call Elvenking or Wind Rose, but the band doesn’t, so whatever. Anyway, the instrumentation and melodies delve further into folk influence, enriching a sound that was already full.

The album begins with a short introductory track before the real album commences in ‘Powersnake’, kicking the album off with a fucking banger. Immediately after, the atmosphere quickly gets dark as it enters ‘Hel’, and the feel consistently changes throughout the entire rest of the album. Within Emblas Saga‘s hour-long runtime there are a happy songs, epic songs, dark songs, colossal songs, and a couple ballads, so you can be sure you’ll be satisfied by the time it ends.

Among the anthemic choruses and thundering guitars, I have a few favourites to pick. First and foremost, the contrast of the throaty warcries and soft female vocals have an incredible effect. They both play different roles and add an extra dimension to every song. As far as songs go, ‘Theft of the Hammer’ tops it for me; there aren’t a lot of songs that deliver this kind of sheer, pump-up intensity, and that shit is right up my alley. The epic, ‘Emblas Saga’, is a close second, and packs a hell of a lot into its seven minutes. It’s expressive, jarring, and is also an excellent way of remembering some of your Norse mythology genealogy.

2020 has just started and it’s already off with a fucking bang. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Emblas Saga is still my favourite album of the year by December because it’s going to take an impossibly-great album to dethrone this one. Brothers of Metal have fought their way to the top, and I don’t think they’re going anywhere any time soon.

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Power Metal: Alestorm Begin Recording New Album

Comedy pirates Alestorm have announced that they have begun the recording of their sixth album, which will be recorded in Krabi Road Studios in Thailand.

The album will be titled Curse of the Crystal Coconut and is set for an early summer release under Napalm Records.

Follow Alestorm on Facebook for the first album details!

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