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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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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Heavy Metal: Brothers Of Metal Release First Single From Emblas Saga

True metal warriors Brothers of Metal have unleashed the first single from their sophomore album in all its furious glory.

If the anthemic praise of ‘Njord’ gets your blood pumping, you’ll want to mark your calendar for the release of Emblas Saga, which will arrive on 10 January 2020 via AFM Records.

01. Brood of the Trickster
02. Powersnake
03. Hel
04. Chain Breaker
05. Kaunaz Dagaz
06. Theft of the Hammer
07. Weaver of Fate
08. Njord
09. Emblas Saga
10. Brothers Unite
11. One
12. Ride of the Valkyries
13. To the Skies and Beyond

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Brothers Of Metal Delay Album Release Date

Heavy metal warriors Brothers of Metal have had to delay the release of their upcoming album, Emblas Saga, buy about a month.

The album was originally announced for 6 December of this year, but, due to unforeseen circumstances, that date has been pushed back to 10 January of 2020.

On the bright side, the Brothers have released the official tracklist for Emblas Saga:

01 Brood Of The Trickster
02 POWERSNAKE
03 Hel
04 Chain Breaker
05 Kaunaz Dagaz
06 Theft Of The Hammer
07 Weaver Of Fate
08 Njord
09 Emblas Saga
10 Brothers Unite
11 One
12 Ride Of The Valkyries
13 To The Skies And Beyond

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New Single From Crystal Viper

If you’re like me and can hardly wait for Crystal Viper’s new album on 22 November, you’re in luck, because they just released the first single of the album. It’s far more modern and melodic than their former work, but it’s still, in my humble opinion, a fucking banger.

For those of you who don’t know who Crystal Viper are, I’m happy to be the one to introduce you to them. Crystal Viper are a traditional heavy metal band (the finest, if you ask me) out of Poland. Led by the raspy, powerful vocals of Marta Gabriel, (who has a vocal range of four octaves, by the way), the band was founded in 2003 and has since released six albums.

Tales of Fire and Ice will be their seventh, and is set to be released on 22 November under AFM Records.

*Something else I think is worth mentioning is the fact that, due to their fans’ incessant bitching online, Crystal Viper withdrew their old album artwork and swapped it with the one above. Below is a picture of the original artwork, which, as you can immediately see, is quite different. I far prefer the mysterious, painted, unique art of the original to whatever generic gothic garbage that new picture is but, hey, what do I know?

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Human Fortress Announce Album For December

German epic power metal outfit Human Fortress have announced the release date for their fifth album. This will be the band’s third album since their 2013 comeback Raided Land, which was met with mixed reception from critics.

Reign of Gold will be released on 6 December under AFM Records. As of now, the cover, tracklist, and first single have yet to be released.

If you want to see new information as soon as they release it, follow Human Fortress on Facebook!

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Elvenking – Reader Of The Runes – Divination Review

Score8.5/10
GenreFolk Metal
CountryItaly
Runtime52:25
Release Date30 August 2019
Record LabelAFM

It’s not very often that a band that’s been around for more than five albums maintains a steady level of greatness in every release. I’m not just talking about a solid discography with album or two being considered “passable”, but rather a track record in which every album is, at the very least, great. It’s not unheard of by any means, and it’s ultimately contingent on whom you ask, but there are certainly some bands that are widely-regarded to just be really fucking good.

For us in the metal community, names like Iron Fire, Blind Guardian, Zeppelin, or Queen might make the cut. However, for myself, I would put Elvenking at the top of my no-less-than-great list. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re my favourite band of all time (although, they are close), but it means that I think that they’re a band that is almost incapable of putting out something even close to bad; they haven’t yet.

So, it should come as no surprise that the folk masters’ tenth album, Reader of the Runes – Divination, kicks all sort of ass, pagan-style. Fans will be pleased that Divination still retains the core Elvenking sound: a primarily-pop/punk vocal style, folk melodies, proggy song structure, and a power metal energy. Conversely, though, the album is as much a breath of fresh air as it is an Elvenking album, as it takes the band in two directions that they haven’t really explored in depth before; the road of Divination is generally darker and heavier than their previous material, and it also brings a whole concept that tells of a journey into a mystical world of runes and magic.

Aside from the songwriting and atmosphere, the instrumentation (obviously) is what mainly contributes to the difference in sound that you’ll find here compared to every album prior. There are huge choirs, such as in ‘Reader of the Runes – Book I’, and plentiful vocal tracks that seem to substitute what used to be rampant folk instruments. Additionally, the guitars have stepped up from the background right into the forefront as the driving force of the songs, even more so than the violin, acoustic guitar, string tracks, or drums combined. Speaking of the drums, Lancs‘ style is a lot steadier and heavier than the band’s previous patter-style drummer, Symohn, who parted ways with the band in 2017. This difference was obviously also present in Secrets of the Magick Grimoire, but it’s even more apparent next to the guitar’s new-found presence. Finally, the folk influences are dialed down quite a bit here, too, so the result of all of this is a heavier, more intense, more metal album.

In case you didn’t already assume, Divination has a bit of a variety to offer. Just kidding, it’s all over the fucking map. There are more typical tracks like ‘Heathen Divine’ (which is very Pagan Manifesto) and the laid back ‘Eternal Eleanor’, but there are also songs that stretch the boundaries a bit more, due to all the stuff in that big paragraph above. Most notably, however, we have ‘Malefica Doctrine’, which is drenched in melodeath and stands as the heaviest song in Elvenking’s twenty-plus-year career.

While I wouldn’t call this one Elvenking’s best (because that title would go to Pagan Manifesto), it’s still a killer album. The concept fits, it’s super dynamic, and it has a high headbangability factor. If you were hoping for a very folky album, you won’t get it here. However, I think that old fans will enjoy the hell out of Divination and newcomers will get hooked on it, too.

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Album Announcement From Brothers Of Metal

Brothers of Metal have been one of the best-known metal newcomers since their debut, Prophecy of Ragnarok, in 2017, when they entered the scene in a storm of rain and thunder. Their bass-cranked brand of true metal is contagious and they’ve quickly gained a substantial fan following through their eccentric performances and viking image.

Finally, as fans like me have been waiting eagerly, the band have announced their sophomore album. Emblas Saga will feature their latest battle hymns when it arrives this winter on 6 December via AFM Records.

Here’s what the band had to say on their Facebook post:
Memories will fade from man.
The snow of death will fall upon the children of Wodan.
Distant echoes, whispering of how it all began for the children of Wodan.

Warriors! Together we await the epic tales of the gods, the memories of the earth and the birth of man! 
It shall be called

Emblas saga

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Elvenking Release Third Single Of New Album

Elvenking’s Reader of the Runes: Divination is less than a month away. Fortunately, we’ve received the third single of the album. ‘Divination’ displays a bit more of the traditional Elvenking sound than their previous two singles.

Make sure to pick up Reader of the Runes: Divination when it comes out on 30 August!

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New Singles From NorthTale, Elvenking, Korpiklaani

It’s been a big Friday! Check out these new singles from three big bands.

NorthTale – Shape Your Reality

NorthTale is a power metal project featuring former Twilight Force frontman Christian Eriksson and other prominent power metal musicians. ‘Shape Your Reality’ is taken from their upcoming album, Welcome to Paradise, which will be released on 2 August via Nuclear Blast.

Elvenking – Silverseal

The second single from the upcoming album of folk metal veterans Elvenking is ‘Silverseal’, which takes the band into slightly new territory. Reader of the Runes: Divination is set for release on 30 August under AFM.

Korpiklaani – Pivo Pivo

Folk metallers Korpiklaani have released a new version of the song ‘Beer Beer’ in Polish, from the Beer Beer CD of their latest album, Kulkija.

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