Dexter Ward – III Review

Score8.5/10
GenreHeavy Metal (Traditional)
CountryGreece
Runtime45:58
Release Date13 March 2020
Record LabelNo Remorse

Greek heavy metal force Dexter Ward have returned after four years with a third album of classic anthems and colossal riffage. This epic, gritty onslaught of medieval glory easily stands among the mightiest of axe-wielding metal knights. Within are eight tracks forged of metal worship and mighty tales.

Overall, III treads closely to the root Dexter Ward sound, kind of a combination of bands like Visigoth and Iron Maiden, with a touch of Running Wild. Along the same lines, the sound stays true to classic metal through the use of memorable riffs and a fair deal of facemelting. The vocals, while nothing to scoff at, are more dialed down than the usual belting of modern metal bands, instead taking a more Manowar (or to a lesser extent, Dio) approach to things.

For me, the highlight of III is the guitarwork. I could go into detail or pick songs (maybe ‘The Dragon of the Mist’ is on the upper end?) but I’d just end up saying the same shit over and over so I’ll just leave it and say the guitars are fucking killer, inside and out. The classic-inspired anthems of the choruses also take a stand as a high point, and the drums are far busier than in your usual classic metal band.

But, the real reason III kicks so much ass is its variety. The songs are all dynamic, with sick solo sections in some and chugging grooves in others. Fitting in with the whole sword-and-sorcery theme, a lot of the album is based around up-tempo gallops and 6/8, but there’s a good mix of musical feels, so playing the record front to back is no problem.

Fans of Greek power metal and classics like Iron Maiden and the aforementioned bands should definitely give III a spin (and the rest of Dexter Ward’s stuff). It’s one of the stronger albums in the genre I’ve heard in the past months, and I’m finding it hard to get sick of.

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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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Rhodium – Sea Of The Dead Review

Score9/10
GenreHeavy/Power Metal
CountryGreece
Runtime44:08
Release Date3 December 2019
Record LabelSliptrick

Greek heavy/power warriors Rhodium released their debut just last year, but they’ve already thundered down with a new album. Fueled with all-new members (with the exception of guitarist/founder Loukas Antoniou) and a new record deal with Sliptrick Records, Sea of the Dead unleashes nine energetic, riff-heavy tracks that hide a few progressive surprises.

Sea of the Dead aligns stylistically with other Greek power metal bands such as Firewind and Diviner. It’s grittier, rawer, and more heavy metal-influenced than your usual Euro-power and it packs some seriously ferocious solos. However, one of the forces behind Rhodium’s individuality is the piercing and charismatic vocals of Mike Lee, who can fire everything from relentless power to careful emotion from his mighty pipes (peak performances coming in ‘Sisters of Fate’ and ‘Tapestry of Time’). In fact, the vocals are so versatile that they could be compared to bands like Running Wild and Iron Maiden at times.

As for the album itself, everything is fucking fantastic. It starts with a hard drive and sees its first change of pace in the third song, ‘First Light of Day’. After this, the album continues to diversify, delivering some more badass heavy metal hymns and dark moments, as well as two dynamic tracks that sit above the six-minute mark, and a ballad. However, the most unusual track by far is ‘Sisters of Fate’. It utilizes a lot of female choral vocals, which are unheard of in the rest of the album, and its chorus is like a mid-80s pump up anthem. It’s weird, it’s shrill, and it’s the best god damn song Sea of the Dead has to offer.

As far as favourites go, I covered some of it already. But, aside from the powerful vocals, elite guitarwork, and being blindsided by ‘Sisters of Fate’, I really enjoy the drum groves in ‘Tapestry in Time’, as well as the entirety of ‘Fight Back’, which is a no-bullshit banger with the single best solo on the album.

Front to back, Sea of the Dead is a killer ride. It’s always a gamble to release an album with a lineup that hasn’t made music together before, but Rhodium have defied the odds by releasing a record that’s fun, fresh, and ferociously addicting.

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Constantine – Aftermath Review

Score6/10
GenreVarious/Shred
CountryGreece
Runtime33:18
Release Date31 May 2019
Record LabelRockshots

If ever there was an album that I was full-out wrong about what to expect, it’d be Aftermath. The second solo album from Greek guitarist Constantine Kotzamanis, it initially appeared as though it was going to be another instrumental shred album, due to the first single, ‘Bushido’. Shortly after I heard it, though, I learned that it was actually going to be a feature album with various guest vocalists. That was no issue for me, though, because I knew that Constantine is more than just an excellent guitarist. I figured he’d write a cool, energetic album with tasteful guitar parts and everything would fall into place.

And that’s where I was wrong. Rather than a proggy metal album with sick grooves and powerful melodies at the forefront, we got a borderline alt-metal album that’s, in all honesty, pretty generic and straightforward. Despite working with the likes of ex-Firewind vocalist Apollo Papathanasio, Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear, and Soilworks Bjorn Strid, Aftermath ends up being underwhelming and disappointing.

Aside from the phenomenal opener, ‘Bushido’, the guitars (and rhythm parts, for that matter) are actually quite tame. There are some fantastic solos, like the ones in ‘Hellfire Club’ and ‘Another Day’, and the band’s performances are okay, but there nothing that steals the show. The tracks are simplex and don’t have a whole lot of meat on them, and a couple were actually sappy to the point of annoying me.

Having been a fan of Constantine for some time, I feel as though he’s cheated himself in this one; by no means do I think he’s incapable of playing anything other than instrumentals, but I think the route he went with this album doesn’t complement his strengths in the slightest. Aftermath lacks the memorability, technical skill, and passion that Constantine displayed so easily in his debut.

Constantine – Press on Regardless (Rockshots)

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Firewind Sign Onto AFM Records

Greek power metallers Firewind announced today that they’ve signed a worldwide deal with AFM Records. The band’s guitarist and founder, Gus G., released his last solo album Fearless through the album, and the North American release of 2017’s Immortals was under the label.

Along with the signing, Firewind have stated that they plan to begin recording their next album after their summer tour with Queensryche finishes this August.

No further details have been announced for the upcoming album, but follow Firewind on Facebook to be the first to know the news!

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Diviner Announce New Album

Original Article By Giannis Tziligkakis · Forgotten-Scroll.net

Diviner, heavy/power metal band from Greece, will release their new album, Realms of Time, on 7 June via Ulterium Records. The album will be available on CD, LP and digital.

The band’s debut album Fallen Empires was released in November 2015 and received very good reviews and feedback from around the world. After the release of the album, the band played many shows and big festivals in Greece as well as Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland, and became known for being a great and energetic live band gaining a strong following.

Diviner – Fallen Empires (Ulterium)

Diviner entered Devasoundz Studios in Athens last year to record their new album. The final result shows improvements on every level since the band’s debut album and the album won’t leave fans of heavy and power metal disappointed. It’s heavy, melodic and epic and full of energy, power and emotion.

Realms of Time was produced and mixed by Fotis Benardo (ex. Septic Flesh), mastered by Henrik Udd (Powerwolf, Hammerfall, Myrath) and the artwork was created by Jan Yrlund (Battle Beast, Apocalypta, Korpaklaani).

Realms of Time artwork and tracklist:

Diviner - Reals of Time

01. Against The Grain
02. Heaven Falls
03. Set Me Free
04. The Earth, The Moon, The Sun
05. Cast Down In Fire
06. Beyond The Border
07. King Of Masquerade
08. Time
09. The Voice From Within
10. Stargate

Follow Diviner on Facebook!
Preorder
Realms of Time

Originally written for Forgotten-Scroll by Giannis Tziligkakis.
Follow them on Facebook!

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Lightfold – Deathwalkers Review

Score6/10
GenreProgressive Heavy Metal
CountryGreece
Runtime1:03:24
Release Date5 April 2019
Record LabelPitch Black

Lightfold were all but shrouded in darkness until I was sent their single ‘The Collector’ a few weeks ago. Hailing from Greece, their style of heavy metal has a minor but ever-present prog influence, which manages to separate it from your typical heavy metal group. Their second record, Deathwalkers, is an existential concept album that explores the ideas of life, death, and pain. It attempts to paint a vivid picture in the listener’s mind, with support from numerous keyboard and synth tracks as well as from guest vocalists Margarita Papadimitriou, Christina Alexiou, and Sofia Karvouna, who create the female choirs.

Unfortunately, the musical storytelling within is greatly underwhelming. My foremost issue with Deathwalkers is with lead vocalist (and, consequently, the one who’s supposed to be telling the stories) Martin Deathwalker. In a heavy metal band like this, the vocalist can either make or break the band, and in the case of Deathwalker, his delivery constantly falls short. There’s no passion or dynamism to match the pounding beats or to highlight the choruses and, as a result, the focal point of the band is incredibly weak.

Deathwalkers‘ saving grace is twofold, lying in the hands of the kickass drumming and the relentless lead guitar. Axeman Thanasis Labrakis lays out some serious shredding, and every single guitar solo on the record is exceptionally performed. The riffs are also pretty solid, but holy shit are these solos ever great. A couple that stand out for me are the ones in ‘Behind the Veil’ and ‘Beyond the Unknown’. The rhythm section plays some really cool grooves under the solos, which only adds to their quality.

From Left to Right: Harry Polimeneas, Martin Deathwalker, Thanasis Labrakis, Diogenes Vile

There’s a weird mix of tracks on this album. Not because of style choice or anything like that, but because of the blatant difference in quality among some songs (and even within songs). Some tracks, like ‘Demon Upon Me’ and ‘Deathwalkers (Julia)’, are wholly excellent and contain a perfect amount of prog elements. However, songs such as ‘Angel of the Earth’ and ‘Save Me’ are generic, uninspired and come across as filler material. The former isn’t all bad (no song on the record is all bad) thanks to the masterful drumming, but in the case of ‘Save Me’, I not only wouldn’t have opened with it, I would have scrapped it entirely. Yeah, the solo’s fucking awesome, but that isn’t enough to redeem a shitty song.

In the end, the many great components of the album aren’t enough to fully outweigh the negatives. Between a few lazy tracks and mediocre vocals, there’s not enough juice to take Deathwalkers from being good to being great. That being said, it’s definitely good enough to give a listen.

Lightfold – The Collector (Pitch Black)

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