Power Metal: KingCrown Release New Single

French melodic metallers KingCrown have released the ballad ‘Over the Moon’ from their upcoming sophomore album, which will drop this Friday.

The video was filmed, directed, and edited by Mehdi Khadouj.

01. The Flame Of My Soul
02. Qumrân Caves
03. In The Sky Of Athens
04. The Human Tide
05. Over The Moon
06. The End Is Near
07. Golden Knights
08. Sad Song For A Dead Child
09. Soundtrack Of My Existence
10. A Perfect World
11. Over The Moon Acoustic (Bonus Track)

A Perfect World will hit the scene on 1 November via Rock of Angels Records.

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Heavy Metal: HammerFall Announce 2020 North American Tour

With a few dates left in their current North American tour as special guests for Sabaton, heavy metal legends HammerFall have announced a headline tour for North America. The tour will be in September and October, with support coming from Finland’s Beast in Black and California’s Edge of Paradise.

Vocalist Joacim Cans on the tour:
“After the amazing times and reception we have gotten and are still experiencing on tour with Sabaton, we can’t wait to return to North America in 2020. For the past three years we have toured the continent frequently and every time, you showed us that heavy metal is still alive and kicking. So, polish your studs and get ready for the hammer to fall harder than it ever did before.”

Guitarist Oscar Dronjak adds:
“The last three tours have proven to us that North America is ready and willing to once again wield the hammers of Heavy Metal, and it is with great pleasure we announce that we will return to the continent for the fourth time in as many years.”

This will also be Beast in Black’s first tour across North America. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, 26 October!

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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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Power Metal: Amberian Dawn Announce Album For January

Neoclassical symphonic metal outfit Amberian Dawn have announced that their new album, Looking for You, will be released on 31 January 2020. Along with the album announcement, a new single, ‘United’, has been released.

‘United’ follows a more electronic, commercial, 80s feel than Amberian Dawn’s previous releases so it’s probably safe to say that Looking for You will be one of their most unique releases yet!

01. United
02. Eternal Fire Burning
03. Looking for You
04. Two Blades
05. Symphony Nr. 1 Part 3 – Awakening feat Fabio Lione
06. Go for a Ride
07. Butterfly
08. Universe
09. Lay All Your Love on Me (ABBA Cover)
10. Au Revoir
11. Cherish My Memory Re-Mastered (Bonus)

Looking for You marks Amberian Dawn’s ninth album and will be released through Napalm Records.

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Secret Chapter – Chapter One Review

Score8.5/10
GenreHeavy Metal
CountryNorway
Runtime43:15
Release Date18 October 2019
Record LabelCrime

Sit down and strap the fuck in because Secret Chapter are going to take you on a nostalgic ride back to the 80s with their hyper-melodic, solo-rific debut, Chapter One. While the title isn’t all that creative, you can be damn sure that the music will impress. The vocals are high and full of layers, the rhythm section is tight, and the album offers an array of songs from glam to power metal.

While Chapter One treads a similar sound he likes of Skid Row, TNT, Europe, and 80s hair metal in general, it keeps things interesting by maintaining a modern heavy metal undertone. The production, layered instrumentation, and driving riffs combined with undoubtedly 80s choruses allow for the best of both worlds, and there’s no shortage of passion or aggression. A lot of 80s metal bands just sound like refined metal from the era (if that), but Secret Chapter manage to maintain individuality by putting their own musical spin on things.

And don’t even get me started on the solos because guitarist Jon Aarseth and keymaster Magnus Johansen lay down some serious facemelters. ‘Human Centipede’ (weird theme for a song, right?) delivers synth excellence, and notable guitar solos can be found in ‘Baptized in Ecstasy’, ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘One Night Aint Enough’. That being said, there’s not a solo on the album that doesn’t get my blood flowing.

The only thing preventing Chapter One from scoring higher is the fact that there are a couple tracks that seem like filler. ‘Sin City’ and the ballad, ‘Heavy Metal Love Affair’, while still good songs, don’t carry the same charm and flare that the rest of the tracks do. Their foundations are solid, but they’re considerably weaker than the rest.

Seeing as Secret Chapter shove 80s heavy metal in your face as shamelessly hard as possible, it’d be safe to assume that I harbour a deep love them. Not only that, but the sheer skill every bandmate possesses plays a key part in the unique sound they’ve achieved with Chapter One. Hopefully, there will be more chapters to enjoy in the near future.

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Rexoria – Ice Breaker Review

Score5.5/10
GenreHeavy Power Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime49:36
Release Date18 October 2019
Record LabelPride & Joy

Sweden’s female-fronted Rexoria have hardly taken a breath since their debut, with their second album, Ice Breaker, coming out just over a year since. Unfortunately, this rush might be the reason behind the album’s lack of quality; it has about as many ups as it has downs, giving it a really inconsistent overall feel. That being said, Ice Breaker does have a coherent, defining sound. It’s your usual melodic heavy metal with power metal tendencies, but with really wonky melodies and vocals.

I always hate when a capable vocalist performs as inconsistently as this. The band’s Frida Ohlin has moments, such as in ‘Var Verkilghet’, the album’s only Swedish song, where she delivers a great performance. One might draw the conclusion that she just can’t sing well in English, but, as heard in ‘Brothers of Asgaard’ and ‘Roaring’, she does that just fine, which begs the question: what the fuck? Why is she awesome and full of attitude one minute and then, well, bad the next? No matter the answer, Rexoria would be much better off with a bit of solidifying.

Another issue I have with Ice Breaker is that a lot of it is really basic. The drums, guitars, and bass all carry on fairly one-dimensionally, rarely offering anything that stands out. A lot of the songs have great intros but they quickly wane off into monotony. And then there are tracks like ‘Fight the Demons’, ‘The Rise of the Phoenix’ (except for the solo, which is great), and ‘Ice Breaker’, which are especially bad.

But that isn’t to say that there aren’t some good songs. The aforementioned ‘Roaring’, Brothers of Asgaard’, and ‘Var Verkilghet’ are pretty solid tracks overall. ‘Velvet Heroes’ also packs a decent punch, except for the vocals, so it’s not like these guys aren’t capable of making good songs. Like so many amateur bands, I think a bit more time and musical growth is what Rexoria need the most, but I’m sure we’ll get a great record from them in the future.

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Aerodyne – Damnation Review

Score9/10
GenreHeavy Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime46:08
Release Date18 October 2019
Record LabelROAR! Rock of Angels

Against my lack of any expectations whatsoever, I was fucking blown away by this album. Smithed by the mighty Aerodyne, Damnation (which is my first taste of this band) is, in short, one hell of a sophomore album. It’s energetic, anthemic, charismatic heavy metal with a blatant Ozzy undertone. Sound kickass? Of course it does! It’s true metal to the core, no doubt about it.

The driving force behind Aerodyne’s success is the phenomenal riffing that ensues as soon as the album lifts off. Between the chugging drive of songs like ‘Murder in the Rye’ and the lower, meaner riffage heard in ‘The Nihilist’, there’s not only a good mix but there’s also a strong sense of sincerity displayed. The soloing is just as sick and the bass is juicy but, at the end of the day, the riffs are what heavy metal is all about, and these guys excel in axemanship.

Now, while the guitars may be what make Damnation as killer as it is, it’s the vocals that make the album truly distinct from so many of the metal bands today. As I mentioned earlier, this album bleeds Ozzy Osbourne (mid- and late-Ozzy, to be more precise). Sure, the overall sound and rhythm guitarwork are partially responsible, but Marcus Heinonen‘s voice is the biggest reason for this relation. This becomes especially apparent in ‘Kill or Be Killed’ and ‘March Davai’ (which seriously belongs on Black Rain), where the similarities are not only in your face but shoved down your throat.

Alongside catchy melodies and dynamic songs, Aerodyne prove themselves as a terrifying metal force. Damnation is a hellbeast of an album that offers all the aggression, power, and headbangability you could want from a heavy metal album. These Swedes have slammed their way onto my radar and I’ll be sitting on the edge of my seat until they unleash another album.

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Eclipse – Paradigm Review

Score6.5/10
GenreHard Rock/Heavy Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime41:34
Release Date11 October 2019
Record LabelFrontiers

Paradigm is the seventh album from Swedish rock outfit Eclipse. While it’s primarily a hard rock album, it crosses the line between rock and metal enough that it can’t definitively be considered one or the other. As such, it’s safe to expect a super catchy album that offers both the weight of heavy metal and the fun-loving lifeblood of hard rock.

But the genre crossovers don’t quite stop there. To get a better idea of what Paradigm offers, think something along the lines of pop-punk vocals over contemporary riffs, tame rock drumming, poppy mastering and song structure, all with a metal undertone. I know it doesn’t really sound promising when put like that, but it actually allows for a ton of sick hooks and memorable tracks. Sure, there aren’t a whole lot of flashy performances (although, it’d be impossible not to recognize the fantastic performance of vocalist Erik Martensson), but songs like ‘Viva La Victoria’ and ‘Mary Leigh’ make up for it in charisma and energy.

Anyway, since you’re here, chances are you’re at least kind of a metalhead. So, of course, I’d damn-well better get to the most metal parts Paradigm has to offer! The rhythm guitar lines and tone are mostly responsible for the heavy metal undertones throughout the album, but tracks like ‘Delirious’, ’38 or 44′, and ‘The Masquerade’ unleash a melodic metal massacre, trading the rock riffs and overall sound for an aggressive (albeit still poppy) bite that is undoubtedly metal in every way.

The biggest thing setting Paradigm back is the amount of filler tunes. While there are five tunes which I really dig (all of which I’ve mentioned already), a few songs, namely ‘Never Gonna Be Like You’ and ‘United’, fail to strike any impact beyond offering a few minutes of passable music. If more of the songs were similar in quality to its best, I would consider this album excellent but, you know, that’s not the case.

All in all, Eclipse has made another really good album in Paradigm. Unfortunately, as is the case with 95% of hard rock albums, it falls victim to basic, stock-variety songwriting. That being said, this album is still a lot of fun, and its high points make the entire album worth checking out.

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CyHra Release First Single From Upcoming Album

The first single for CyHra’s sophomore album, No Halos in Hell, has been released. ‘Out of My Life’ follows the electronic/melodic metal sound of their debut fairly closely.

CyHra were formed in late 2016 by ex members of In Flames and Jake E of Amaranthe. Their first album, Letters to Myself, was released in 2017 and met generally favourable reception from critics and fans of Jake E’s earlier work.

When they announced the details for their upcoming album, CyHra also announced a new record deal with Nuclear Blast, having been with Spinefarm for Letters to Myself.

1. Out of My Life
2. No Halos in Hell
3. Battle From Within
4. I Am the One
5. Bye Bye Forever
6. Dreams Gone Wrong
7. Lost in Time
8. Kings Tonight
9. I Had Your Back
10. Blood Brothers
11. Hit Me
12. Man of Eternal Rain

No Halos in Hell will be released on 15 November.

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Excalion – Emotions Review

Score9/10
GenrePower Metal
CountryFinland
Runtime52:33
Release Date27 September 2019
Record LabelScarlet

Melodic, expressive, keyboard-driven. It doesn’t take many more words that that to get me excited about an album. These characteristics are hardly unique when it comes to power metal, and more often than not I’m left disappointed upon actually hearing an album described by them, but, what can I say? I’m a hopeful guy. So, you can imagine my relief when Excalion laid this piece of work before me. Emotions is the fifth album of the Finnish outfit, and it checks all those boxes with massive checkmarks.

The keys? As rich and plentiful as Sonata Arctica. The melodies? They’d make any pop star jealous. And the emotion? As dynamic as your girlfriend’s when it’s her time of the month (although, far more pleasant).

Not just anybody can make an album as passionate as Emotions. Its success rides on the backs of some incredible musicians, not the least of which is vocalist Marcus Lang, who masters the raging highs and tranquil lows that the album belts out. Below him (and the many vocal layers that accompany him), the tight rhythm section lays down some great grooves, and the rhythm guitars craft some killer lines, especially in ‘The Goldern Horde’. Between the fast shredding of the album’s darker moments and the energetic riffage that drives the rest of the album, it adds an entirely new dimension to the already-deep music.

Strangely enough, Emotions has no titular track. I really like when artists do this, though, because it gives the album more musical context, rather than coming off as just some name that the band had to come up with for their album. And, in Excalion’s case, this is the perfect name. Most of the song titles will give you an idea as to how they sound and there’s a good mix of moods and atmospheres.

I don’t have any favourite tracks on this record because every one is awesome in its own way. However, for me, the choruses are the highlight of the album. Not only are the melodies catchy and strong, but the keyboards, guitars, bass, and drums bring it all together nicely. Emotions is very much a team effort, and Excalion’s strength is exactly that.

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