KingCrown Announce New Album

The French heavy/power metal band KingCrown (formerly Öblivïon) have announced that a new album will be released this winter. A Perfect World will hit the scene on 1 November via Rock of Angels Records.

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)

As mentioned above, the band changed their name from Öblivïon to KingCrown, having released only one album under their old moniker. This was a smart move, because I can think of at least five other bands named “Oblivion”, and there are probably leagues more.

A Perfect World was recorded in October/November of 2018. Mixing and mastering was taken care of by Roland Grapow in Grapow Studios, Slovakia (Helloween, Masterplan, Serious Black, Lords Of Black) and the artwork was created by Steff Rabilloud.

If you’re anxious to see the first singles of KingCrown’s upcoming record, follow them on Facebook!

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Dawn Of Destiny Release New Single

With their seventh album fast approaching, power metal veterans Dawn of Destiny have released a new single: ‘Already Dead’.

Dawn of Destiny’s new album will be released under Ram It Down Records. Don’t forget to check out The Beast Inside when it arrives on 13 September.

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Top Ten Metal Albums Of August

August regained the momentum of 2019 with tons of contenders for the best of the month! After careful consideration, I managed to pick out the Top Ten:

10. Ivory Tower – Stronger

Ivory Tower is no stranger to the prog scene. While they’ve only put out four albums since the late 90s, their sound has made plenty of changes, from power prog to nu metal. In their fifth album to date, Stronger, the band shows that the eight years since their previous album (which was, in all honesty, a fucking mess) have been dedicated to evolving their sound for the better. It’s full of super sick riffs, exciting songwriting, and vengeful melodies that often carry classic Queensryche vibes.

Full Review

9. Astralium – Land of Eternal Dreams

Astralium aren’t your typical, generic symphonic metal band. Land of Eternal Dreams marks one hell of a debut, and proves that these guys are a step above the rest. They manage to produce a bright, unique sound and, while some of their influences are vividly apparent at times (Nightwish, Amberian Dawn, and even Hans Zimmer), they do a great job at maintaining originality. The orchestrations are broad and epic, but they don’t overbear the guitars or vocals, which is a common mistake in the genre.

Full Review

8. Dialith – Extinction Six

The debut album from American symphonic metal outfit Dialith was an unexpected surprise this month. Extinction Six is a riff-heavy beast of a symphonic metal album, with guitarwork that’s as rich as its lively arrangements. All of this is under a strong female lead that delivers diverse melodies with emotion and precision.

7. Finsterforst – Zerfall

Furious German folkers Finsterforst are back with a fifth backbreaking album, complete with lengthy arrangements, chanted melodies, and intense orchestrations. Zerfall is a very unique take on folk metal, combining keyboards, orchestras, and heavy guitars with elements of death metal and folk melodies. The choruses have a slight ring of Orden Ogan to them that amplifies already-huge atmospheres, so it’s safe to say that you’re in for a pounding, heavy ride with this one.

6. Unprocessed – Artificial Void

German prog newcomers Unprocessed have returned with a bang in their sophomore record. Coming out only a year after their debut, Artificial Void shows that the band’s passion is burning hotter than ever before. The album still retains Unprocessed’s underlying, beefy djent feel, but it’s a farther progression into more experimental modern prog territory. Whether you’re looking for insanely deep riffs or choppy jams, Artificial Void delivers on all fronts.

Full Review

5. Scimitar – Shadows of Man

Canadian pagan metal warriors Scimitar have been around for just over a decade. Early on in their career, they released their debut album, Black Waters, but the band took a bit of a break soon after. Now, nine years later, the band have finally unleashed their sophomore album. Shadows of Man is gritty, furious, and packs way more variety into it than I would have ever expected. With a sound that’s in the realm of Ensiferum and Vanir (although far less refined, production-wise), Scimitar’s combination of death, black, and folk elements will be welcome with any fan of the dark side of folk metal.

Full Review

4. Elvenking – Reader of the Runes – Divination

Elvenking’s 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.

Full Review

3. Twilight Force – Dawn of the Dragonstar

Twilight Force’s third album, Dawn of the Dragonstar is full of unlimited, overblown, storybook energy. With the exception of maybe two moments, the album is consistently happy and heroic from the very first seconds of the galloping ‘Dawn of the Dragonstar’ into its final note. This hyper-melodic, smile-demanding work isn’t all sheen and shine, though; there’s an absolutely staggering degree of talent and proficiency to behold in every track.

Full Review

2. HammerFall – Dominion

Since their founding in 1993, heavy metal templars HammerFall have fought to continue the legacy of 80s heavy metal, smithing more than ten full-length records and establishing themselves as Sweden’s and Europe’s premier heavy metal masters. Their latest album, Dominion, is an epic powerhouse that easily contends with their early material in terms of quality and heart.

Full Review

1. NorthTale – Welcome to Paradise

NorthTale was born of vocalist Christian Eriksson (ex-Twilight Force), drummer Patrick Johansson (ex-Yngwie Malmsteem) and guitar maestro Bill Hudson with the dream of bringing back the glory of late 90s/early 00s power metal. Whether you’re in the mood for that golden-age power metal, anthemic stadium metal, or even a vegan happy meal, Welcome to Paradise delivers all that and more, complete with facemelting solos, diverse arrangements, and catchy melodies. This is one of the year’s best power metal albums and is as technically impressive as it is fun.

Full Review

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CyHra Sign Onto Nuclear Blast

After parting ways with Amaranthe in 2017, founder/vocalist Jake E started a new band, CyHra, along with Jesper Stromblad (who left In Flames around the same time).

CyHra released their debut, Letters to Myself, under Spinefarm. Now, the band have signed onto the mighty Nuclear Blast and will release their upcoming album, which has already been recorded, mixed and mastered.

While no news of the new album has been released yet, CyHra have also made public a European tour alongside Battle Beast and Brymir this November.

To hear their new single as soon as it’s out (which the band promises will be soon), go follow them on Facebook!

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Helion Prime Welcomes New Vocalist Through New Demo

Fresh off the Cybernetic Terror Tour, American melodic metal band Helion Prime have announced that the recruitment of YouTube host and metal vocalist, Mary Zimmer (ex-White Empress, ex-Luna Mortis) as their full-time vocalist.

Along with the announcement, the band have released a demo featuring Zimmer on vocals:

Here’s what the band’s songwriter/guitarist, Jason Ashcraft, had to say about the lineup change:
“Anyone who follows current issues with foreign metal bands trying to get into the United States to perform will be no stranger to the struggles it brings. Sadly, Helion Prime has had no exception and this issue falls to single musicians, as well, and not just bands. After several issues with travel and visas, our previous vocalist, Sozos Michael (who currently resides in Cyprus), and the band have agreed the best hope for the future of Helion Prime was to have someone closer to home as the vocalist. We absolutely love Sozos and the album we created together and he will always be part of the Prime family. The Terror album will not be the last you hear from him with us in some manner, we promise that. I will always be proud of the album we created with Sozos. He is a phenomenal singer and musician. It’s unfortunate how difficult things are becoming for bands and artist overseas to come here and perform. We hope things will change soon and people can see situations like ours, prog-power, and many others as reasons for concern. However, this won’t be the end, I know I personally will continue to work with Sozos in some form or another and this isn’t the last of our working or personal relationship. The chemistry with Mary is great. We have known each other for a long time now and I think getting that time to really get to know each other has helped build a strong foundation. Stay tuned for more news on the upcoming album, tours and more.“

Vocalist Mary Zimmer states:
“I am so stoked to join the Helion Prime team. The guys are great to work with and the new music we have been preparing in the background has been exciting. I feel like it is a great fit for my vocals. We make a great team and I hope to live up to Prime’s tradition of great vocalists.“

Helion Prime are halfway finished the recording of their next album, which is expected to be out some time in 2020 and are also busy planning tours to accompany the album’s release.

Follow Helion Prime on Facebook to see what the new lineup will bring!

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Unleash The Archers Announce New EP

Two years after the critically-acclaimed Apex, Canadian melodeathers Unleash the Archers have announced a new EP. Explorers will be released on 11 October 2019 under Napalm Records.

The EP (which is really a single) will consist of two tracks, both of which are covers of Canadian songs.

01: Northwest Passage
02: Heartless World

Here’s what the band has to say about the first track, ‘Northwest Passage’:
“This song means a lot to us as a band, we like to put it on during those long drives on tour and it always brings us right back home. We originally recorded it to be a bonus track for our last full length album Apex, but we loved the track so much we knew it needed special treatment. We held on to it for a bit and eventually decided to release it as its own 7″ vinyl EP with another Canadian cover song as the B side. The song ‘Northwest Passage’ is all about touring through Canada, which Stan Rogers did a lot, and how it equates to being an explorer looking for the passage all those years ago. It really hits home with us, we’ve toured through Canada too many times to count, so we know just how Stan was feeling. That’s where the name of the EP came from too; every time we hit the road on tour it’s like we too become Explorers, with the great big unknown stretching out before us.”

Along with the EP announcement, the band have also announced their participation in Full Metal Cruise 2020, which starts in Kiel, Germany, on 23rd September 2020, alongside Sonata Arctica and label colleagues Legion Of The Damned.

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Ivory Tower – Stronger Review

Score8/10
GenreMelodic Progressive Metal
CountryGermany
Runtime1:16:10
Release Date23 August 2019
Record LabelMassacre

Ivory Tower is no stranger to the prog scene. While they’ve only put out four albums since the late 90s, their sound has made plenty of changes, from power prog to nu metal. In their fifth album to date, Stronger, the band shows that the eight years since their previous album (which was, in all honesty, a fucking mess) have been dedicated to evolving their sound for the better. It’s full of super sick riffs, exciting songwriting, and vengeful melodies that often carry classic Queensryche vibes.

The choruses are one of the stronger aspects of the album; they’re emotive, memorable, and actually really creative. Like the album itself, they’re intense and aggressive, not often making it to upbeat or hopeful, unless it’s with a bittersweet overtone.

Driving the melodies is Dirk Meyer, who is offering his vocals to an Ivory Tower album for the first time. He’s not the only newcomer, though; Frank Fasold is the band’s new keyboardist, and there’s also returning drummer Thorsten Thrunke, who was absent from the previous two albums. This revitalized lineup delivers a strong performance and is probably mostly (if not entirely) the reason for how fresh Stronger sounds.

The weakest point of the album is ‘In Me’. The melodies whiny and uninspired, and the track almost seems like a leftover from IV. The solo is fucking awesome, though, so it isn’t entirely irredeemable. Fortunately, ‘In Me’ is far enough into the album that it doesn’t do much to damage any expectations but far enough from the end that, if it did give you a really bad taste in your mouth, there’s a lot to make up for it. Aside from that, the closer could be better, but it isn’t necessarily bad, and there are a couple other points in the album that carry on for just too long.

On the flip side, though, there are plenty of things to enjoy. As I mentioned before, there are the choruses and riffs. There’s also a ton of variety, with the heavy metal/hard rock banger ‘Life Will Fade’, which is one of my favourites on the record, the deeply-aggressive ‘Loser’, and even an acoustic interlude track that all help to make the album rounded and dynamic. Ivory Tower’s varying use of synths is damn-near perfect, and the expressive drumming never fails to impress. Needless to say, the guitar solos are equally as impressive.

Personally, next to ‘Life Will Fade’, ‘Slave’ and ‘The Wolves You’ve Let In’ stand as my favourite tracks. The former is driven by heavy synths and has a floating chorus. The latter is a seven-minute ballad with an absolutely killer climax and solo. I think it would have been a great end to the album, too, but I digress.

Stronger isn’t without its flaws, but everything else is so good that they don’t matter much in the grand scheme of the album. Clocking in at more than seventy-five minutes, it’s also a pretty long run, but there are enough gems within that it’s more than worth at least one listen. When all is considered, Ivory Tower’s latest effort is a damn-good comeback.

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Scimitar – Shadows Of Man Review

Score8/10
GenrePagan Metal
CountryCanada
Runtime48:57
Release Date23 August 2019
Record LabelIndependent

Canadian pagan metal warriors Scimitar have been around for just over a decade. Early on in their career, they released their debut album, Black Waters, but the band took a bit of a break soon after. Now, nine years later, the band have finally unleashed their sophomore album. Shadows of Man is gritty, furious, and packs way more variety into it than I would have ever expected. With a sound that’s in the realm of Ensiferum and Vanir (although far less refined, production-wise), Scimitar’s combination of death, black, and folk elements will be welcome with any fan of the dark side of folk metal.

Scimitar’s strength lies in their ability to craft a massive sound as a whole. The band mostly moves together in one direction at a time, which allows for a lot of power to be propelled at once. Additionally, melody is far down on the list of priorities, and what melody there is is driven only by the lead guitar, which is responsible for most of the emotion that comes out of whatever atmosphere the rest of the band is holding.

Shadows of Man begins with a dynamic instrumental (which, by the way, is an actual song, and not just minute-long bullshittery) before changing pace with ‘Knights Collapse’, which is pretty laid back. The growled vocals are almost rapped, which is cool, and the overall feel in this one is distinctly different from everything else the album offers. As the album progresses there are plenty of changes but its raw, rhythmic, aggressive energy remains fully consistent.

One thing you’ll notice about Shadows of Man is that it gets heavier as it goes on. While the earlier tracks are lighter and more melodic in comparison, the album ramps the intensity way the fuck up upon entering ‘Shadows of Man II: Cataclysm’: a melodic death metal landscape where dissonant chords and harshness take dominance.

There isn’t much that I don’t like about this album, but there are a few favourites for me. The solos are great, with the solo section in ‘Imperium’ being my favourite. Also, while the whole album is very dynamic, this reaches a peak in ‘Where Ancient Spectres Lie’, where we’re bombarded with time changes and feel changes, from its immensely depressive intro to the brighter end section. My favourite aspect about Shadows of Man, however, is the bass; you can hear it well and the lines are awesome. That probably seems like a weird favourite to pick in a record like this, but, fuck it. I love it.

In a departure from their original sound, Shadows of Man elevates Scimitar to a higher, more mature level. Back with their first effort (and a solid effort it is!) in years, Scimitar have sliced their way back onto the scene.

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Steignyr – Myths Through The Shadows Of Freedom Review

Score7/10
GenreFolk Metal
CountrySpain
Runtime01:04:46
Release Date14 June 2019
Record LabelArt Gates

The Celtic folk/death outfit Steignyr are back with their fourth album to date: Myths Through the Shadows of Freedom. Like their former works, Shadows of Freedom hits hard with rough riffs, vicious vocals, and a bone-raw epic sound that’ll have you eager to ride into battle.

At times, such as in parts of ‘You’ll Never Be Forgotten’ and ‘Frost Wolf’, there seems to be too much going on, which can be detrimental in a more lo-fi album such as this. This issue usually only arises when the keys and orchestrations are too numerous, but there are times when the vocals suffer from over-saturation, too.

That being said, Shadows of Freedom‘s songs are, for the most part, really good. There’s a pleasing amount of variety due to the folk-to-death ratio constantly being played with, allowing for various degrees of heaviness and melody. The song lengths also vary quite a bit and there’s even a cool instrumental, ‘Moonlight Forest’, in the middle of the album. However, there is one song specifically that is just plain bad; ‘Black Rain’ seems to drag on for an eternity (which is weird, considering it’s one of the shortest songs on the album) and the chorus is, honestly, super painful.

Stepping back onto the positive side of things, my favourite tracks on the album, the titular track and ‘Those Who Lie’, kick all sorts of ass. The former doesn’t arrive until the album nears its end, but this dynamic eight-minuter traverses many musical landscapes and, while there are numerous clashing parts, it all comes together without sounding muddy. The latter is just plain fun and is probably the best song to kick the album off.

Although it’s far from revolutionary (as there are countless bands that are strikingly similar), Myths Through the Shadows of Freedom will be a sure hit with fans of the gritty side of folk metal. Steignyr definitely have the recipe for greatness in their grasp, but a bit of refinement is needed to take them to the next level. That being said, this is far from a bad album, and if you aren’t pumped up by it’s bold, rugged manliness, that’s on you.

Steignyr – Whisper Calling (Art Gates)

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