Fallen Arise – Enigma Review

Score4/10
GenreGothic Symphonic Metal
CountryGreece
Runtime46:36
Release Date10 April 2020
Record LabelRock of Angels (ROAR!)

Winning the award for the dullest album I’ve heard in 2020 is Fallen Arise in their latest album, Enigma. While it doesn’t quite make the cut as bad (and fans of really boring gothic metal might actually like it), Enigma managed to make me yawn more than 90% of the chick flicks I’ve seen.

Fallen Arise are foremost plagued with an bland frontwoman; the vocals are boring at the best of times, and annoying at the worst. It goes without saying that this is really a crucial aspect in a modern symphonic band, and, well, any band, but generic vocals are what send symphonic metal bands to get shot on the outskirts of town, naked and alone. Not good naked, but, like, gross naked. Anyway, that isn’t to say that the album would be great if the vocals are better, because everything is pretty uninspired, but it would definitely be better.

Enigma‘s greatest downfall is its simplicity. The band has based their music around whiney melodies, clumsy grooves, and repetition, repetition, repetition. Seriously, I fail to see how dragging a shitty chorus out five times makes it any less shitty but, hey, it’s not my album.

There’s really nothing substantial I like in Enigma. As I said before, it isn’t necessarily bad, but it annoys me and I’m glad I don’t have to listen to it a fourth time.

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Metalite – Biomechanicals Review

Score4/10
GenreMelodic Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime48:51
Release Date25 October 2019
Record LabelAFM

Sweden’s up-and-coming female fronted melodic metal troupe Metalite have returned (and with a new vocalist) with their sophomore album, Biomechanicals. As the title alludes to, you can expect a melodic metal sound that’s drenched in electronic elements, layered vocals, and digital synths all over the place. And usually, that shit gets me pumped. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case here, because I have a bit of a bone to pick with this album.

But, to conserve a bit of my sanity, we’ll hit the positives first. The most obvious plus about Biomechanicals is that it outdoes Heroes in Time in every aspect. The production quality, songwriting, diversity, and musicianship is all better. Metalite have also proven once again that they know how to lay down an album full of catchy melodies, and the electronic arrangements are excellent. Additionally, there are some pretty good tracks on the album, namely ‘World on Fire’ and ‘Eye of the Storm’ (which has a sick solo), as well as a handful of other cool sections.

However, despite the good parts, Biomechanicals is outweighed by its negatives. The biggest contributor to these is the fact that Metalite, as they did in their debut, are trying way too hard to become Amaranthe. Seriously, I fully expect to hear three vocalists in their next album. Despite such a strong effort to hijack their sound, Biomechanicals is missing nearly every thing that makes Amaranthe so likable; the vocals are one-dimensional, the rhythms are basic, and there’s none of that metal punch that’s necessary to take the music from being just a pop metal album to a kickass metal album with a pop sound (because there is a huge difference, and it’s a very important difference).

I know you’re probably thinking, “Hey, man, you can’t just knock Metalite for not being as good as Amaranthe; they’re two different bands,” and that’s absolutely right. I usually don’t make that the point of my comparisons. However, this comparison becomes necessary once you hear a track like ‘Breakaway’, which is literally a blatant ripoff of Amaranthe’s ‘Infinity’ from The Nexus (see: the chorus and solo (and everything else)). Metalite have crossed the line from influence into straight-up copy-and-pasting and I think that warrants a bit of collation. So, yeah, maybe I’m being unfair, but are you fucking kidding me?

While it occasionally shines, Metalite’s Biomechanicals is all flash and no flare. Behind the album’s sparkly exterior is a dull foundation that can barely stand under the force of scrutiny. If they focused more on embracing their own path and strengths, Metalite could probably make an album that I’d be all over. But, until then, I’ll just be left with a persistent, metallic taste in my mouth.

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Majesty – Legends Review

Score4/10
GenreHeavy/Power Metal
CountryGermany
Runtime49:14
Release Date28 June 2019
Record LabelNapalm

Yikes.

That’s never a good sign, is it? Beginning a review with “yikes”? I usually wouldn’t begin a criticism of an album with something like that, but this is one of the very few cases that I am actually able to summarize an entire album in one word! So, if you feel like taking my word for it, you can just read that first paragraph and gain all of the knowledge that you need about Majesty’s Legends. Pretty much everything else below is just reinforcing that statement.

All jokes aside, despite being the ninth album of a band that’s been around since 97, Legends sounds like an amateur debut album. It’s painfully repetitive and predictable to the point where I probably zoned out every two minutes and had to relisten to songs way too many fucking times. Seriously, this shit is burned into my head right now. The simplistic song structures, boring melodies, and overall lack of effort are simply embarassing.

Now, before I begin to tear this album to shreds, I’ll get the positives out there. The biggest thing I like in Legends are the guitar solos. They’re actually really good and, if they were surrounded by good songs or background parts, they’d make for some memorable moments. The solos are what prevent this album from being unsalvageable. The mixing is also really balanced, so bonus points there. That’s about the extent of it, though. The bandmembers all play well enough but the vocals could use a bit of work in the passion department. Some of the songs begin promising, but end up succumbing to their overt pop influence, wearing out the introductions’ short welcomes.

To clarify, a heavy pop influence isn’t enough in itself turn me off of an album. Just recently, Chaos Magic released their sophomore album, Furyborn, and that was super poppy. But, it was also a quality fucking metal album. Hell, even my favourite bands like Sabaton and Battle Beast are chorus-driven and commercially accessible and, when compared to other metal bands, fairly poppy. But, they’re charismatic, talented, and manage to build a musical fortress around a often-simplistic foundation.

The problem with Legends is mainly the execution. The melodies aren’t catchy; they’re way too repetitive and end up irritating me rather than making me want to sing along. The songs are also structured so plainly and fail to deliver an impact of any sort.

And these things don’t even hold a candle to the unholy auto-tuned nightmare that is ‘Words of Silence’. Seriously, what in the fuck even is this? Is it 2009? Because this song makes me feel like I’m about to get rejected at my middle school Halloween dance by the most popular girl on the volleyball team. And, that weird pseudo-rap that comes out of absolutely nowhere around the two minute mark surprised me in the worst of ways. I could have lived my life happily without ever knowing this song existed. But now I’ve heard it. And now I’m sad.

I really tried to like this album. But instead of delivering a cheesy, melodic, and anthemic metal record with sick guitar solos, Majesty have missed the mark entirely in this pop metal letdown.

Majesty – We Are Legends (Napalm)

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Solos are pretty good.
Predictable, repetitive.

‘Words of Silence’ what in the holy fuck is this autotuned ballad? Is this 2009? Because I feel like I’m about to get rejected by a girl at the Halloween dance. 2:00 what even is that pseudo rap?

Last track

Imperia – Flames of Eternity Review

Score4/10
GenreGothic Symphonic/Power Metal
CountryInternational
Runtime58:51
Release Date22 Feb 2019
Record LabelMassacre

This album starts off with a fucking bang. The orchestrations are juicy, the rhythm parts pound away, and Helena Michaelsen’s voice leads your ear like a lighthouse in a storm. It’s dynamic, expressive, and easily takes its place even as one of Imperia’s best tracks ever. A flame is ignited in your heart as you anticipate what’s to come.

But then, it happens. You’re left wondering where the ‘The Scarred Soul”s promises of grandeur and hard-hitting symphonic metal have gone, as they’re replaced only by the disorienting flurry of conflicting instrumentals and a whirlwind of shattered dreams and betrayal until you’re left musically starved and stranded on the desert island that is uninspiration.

Ok, it’s not that bad, but it’s not great, either. I definitely expected way more from this record, especially from that first song, but it’s a really mediocre product from a band that has otherwise seemed to know what they were doing with their previous four albums. Each track continues the downward spiral of quality, with bits and pieces here and there that tease better things that never come to fruition. The progressions and melodies are extremely predictable, and the orchestrations and songwriting are sloppy at best.

Honestly, there’s not a whole lot that I like about this album. The production quality is clean, but the symphonic elements are mixed way too loudly. Most of what keeps the album afloat are the guitar solos, which are pretty good and easily overshadow everything else, except maybe Helena’s beautiful vocals.

There’s no shortage of variety in Flames of Eternity as far as feel goes, but the underlying tone doesn’t vary much. There are some slow (albeit not super great) songs, such as ‘Book of Love’ and ‘Beauty Within’, as well as some fiery features like ‘Blinded’ (which, quite honestly, made me cringe a bit from Helena’s operatic vocals). However, variety is meaningless if the music lacks substance and quality.

Needless to say, this album lacks any sort of fire whatsoever. It’s not crap, but it’s not good, either. Grap? Crood, maybe? Anyway, I think a huge part of the problem is that Imperia is trying way to fucking hard with this one, especially considering the fact that the four core members have been together for fifteen years. It feels neither sincere nor heartfelt, which is especially crucial in a gothic symphonic band. Go ahead and check it out if you think I’m full of shit, though. Maybe the entire thing went over my head.

Imperia – Fear Is An Illusion (Massacre)

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