Melodic Metal: New Single From Dynazty

Swedish modern metallers Dynazty have dropped a new single from their upcoming album, The Dark Delight. ‘Presence of Mind’ follows the bands more recent albums, so we can likely expect an album of similar sound.

The Dark Delight will be Dynazty’s seventh album since their beginnings in 2007. While their music has explored a number of different styles, they have settled on modern melodic metal, as their previous three albums have supported.

No further details of The Dark Delight have been released yet, but you can expect to hear it on 4 April 2020!

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Amberian Dawn – Looking For You Review

Score9.5/10
GenreMelodic Metal (80s Synthpop)
CountryFinland
Runtime42:38
Release Date31 January 2020
Record LabelNapalm

If kicking off the year with a super cheesy 80s metal album becomes a regular occurrence in my life, I would have nothing left to ask for. Last year, February serenaded us with the ferocious Beast in Black’s From Hell with Love, which blasted its way into my Number One Metal Record spot. And now, former symphonic metal troupe Amberian Dawn have also made the shift into 80s synthpop revival with their ninth record, Looking for You. While most of the songs follow a steady bass-snare beat, the album is gloriously addictive.

Drenched in synth and vocal layers, there’s never a dull moment. The band has coined the term ABBA-metal to describe their music, and that couldn’t be more accurate. Every track rings with glowing positivity and spits out some of the catchiest melodies I’ve ever heard. The “metal” aspects of the album are definitely secondary to the synthpop but, hey, it’s fun and it’s still metal enough for me.

One of the album’s high points can be found in the song ‘Symphony Nr. 1 Part 3 – Awakening’ (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?), which is the third part to the Symphony that began in 2015’s album Innuendo. The track features some mad double kicks that are perfectly executed, as well as the vocal talents of the mighty Fabio Lione (ex-Rhapsody, Angra, Turilli/Lione Rhapsody) alongside Amberian Dawn’s Capri. Additionally, there’s a sick solo tucked away in ‘Eternal Fire Burning’ and some beefy basslines in ‘Butterfly’, as well as some great cymbal work scattered throughout.

Amberian Dawn have always been an adaptive outfit. Since their shifts from power metal then symphonic metal, they’ve always been able to create a commercially-available sound while remaining musically interesting. If you’re looking for huge riffs and aggression, you’re in the wrong place. But, if you want some fun shit to nod your head to, spin at the gym, or crank at a party, look no further than Looking for You.

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CyHra – No Halos In Hell Review

Score5/10
GenreMelodic Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime47:11
Release Date15 November 2019
Record LabelNuclear Blast

As a longtime fan of Amaranthe, I was actually pretty psyched when its founder and vocalist, Jake E, announced he was leaving to form his own band back in 2016 (or was it 2017?). As Amaranthe continued to venture further and further away from the metal/pop hybrid it began as into an outright pop outfit with metal instruments, this new band, CyHra, held my hopes of bringing Jake E’s songwriting talents back into metal, where they belong. Fortunately, CyHra’s debut, Letters to Myself, was exactly what I expected: a super-electronic, riff-heavy, melodic modern metal album. It had sincerity, it had charisma, and it had the musical chops to stand as a notably-impressive debut.

So, you can imagine my fucking disappointment upon first finishing No Halos in Hell. Despite Letters to Myself being an incredibly synthetic album to begin with, No Halos in Hell basically feels like an artificial ripoff. Furthermore, it’s the type of album Jake E appeared to be avoiding by leaving Amaranthe. Most of the songs sound the same, it’s one-dimensional, and it floats along with limited-to-zero dynamic range and beats the shit out of you with the exact same fucking chorus like fifty times. Usually, I would provide specific examples, but I’ll be honest; even after four full listens, I still can’t tell half the fucking tracks apart, so, unless I were to make an elaborate chart of which-song-reuses-what, a general idea’s all you’re gonna get.

Aside from the painfully uninspired simplicity of the songwriting and melodies, there’s another major contributor to this album’s demise: the choruses. Following the monotony of the verses, there’s always a very blatant attempt at a build in the prechoruses that promises an emotional climax in the chorus. Unfortunately, it almost never comes because the vocals float by, the guitars go nowhere, and the drums are too busy doing absolutely nothing. There’s a constant 16th-note feel throughout the entire album, and it would be so easy to throw in some cool grooves to really make the choruses shine, but no, that’s apparently too much to ask for.

In short, this album is an example of how not to make a pop metal album. While each individual song is passable, and a couple songs are actually good (‘Out of My Life’, ‘Blood Brothers’), it’s a fucking chore to listen to more than two at a time. CyHra are a talented band that have already proven themselves to be musically capable, but they really jumped the gun by going hyper-commercial in No Halos in Hell.

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Scarleth – Vortex Review

Score9/10
GenreMelodic Metal
CountryUkraine
Runtime46:06
Release Date15 November 2019
Record LabelRockshots

The past weeks haven’t skimped out on great melodic metal one bit and Scarleth have carried this momentum in their latest effort, Vortex. It’s bright, it’s melodic, and it offers a wide variety while still hanging onto a distinct, recognizable sound. Aside from guitarist and founder, Viktor Morozov, the album has an all-new lineup. Fronted by Ekaterina Kapshuk‘s expressive vocals, each riff-heavy track belts a considerable amount of energy and badassery.

Vortex combines elements of heavy, power, symphonic, and gothic metal, synthpop, and even Middle Eastern and folk music. On top of that, the album is full of colourful rhythm section parts and some sick guitar solos. Seriously. They suddenly explode into existence and demand your attention with shredtastic, sweep-picked mystery. The result of this well-balance mixture is a memorable melodic metal album that’s sure to be a favourite among fans of the genre.

One thing worth mentioning is the fact that, though the album is super melodic, I wouldn’t necessarily call most of the choruses catchy. Sure, there are a few, like ‘Feel the Heat’ and ‘Break the Chains’, but the tunes don’t do much to make you want to sing along, like so many pop metal albums do (or try to do, at least). This isn’t a bad quality, as the melodies are still strong, it’s just something that separates it from the norm in the space.

As far as my favourite tracks go, I think ‘Escape from Your Embrace’ wins it. It’s crazy dynamic and features excellent piano parts all the way through, plus it has one of the best facemelters. It also ramps up the whole Middle Eastern thing and unleashes some fucking ferocious growls. Additionally, ‘Ostannya Zorya’, as the folkiest tune on the album, is worth mentioning, as well as ‘Final Curtain’, which, expectedly, has a gothic/circussy feel, similar to Amberian Dawn’s Circus Black.

Despite having a new lineup, Scarleth maintain a tight, experienced sound. From beginning to end, there’s no telling what Vortex will lay down next. The whole album is pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise. Even if you go into this album with high expectations, I bet you’ll still be impressed with this shiny piece of modern metal.

*Also, bonus points for actually having fucking FIRE in the music video.*

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Melodic Metal: Amaranthe Sign Onto Nuclear Blast

Swedish modern metal heavyweights Amaranthe have signed onto Nuclear Blast. The band was formerly with Spinefarm Records, under which they released all five of their previous albums.

Amaranthe’s Olof Mörck:
“It feels amazing to unveil our cooperation with the giants at Nuclear Blast! Ever since we held our shiny new Nuclear Blast CD’s in our teenage hands back in the mid-90’s, they have been at the forefront of bringing the best of the best to the metal scene, and to have them as partners is a dream come true! They are not only massively experienced in the metal scene, but also wonderful people and it has been a pleasure getting to know them. We are already nailing down great plans for the future, and things are looking brighter and stronger for Amaranthe than ever! Keep your eyes open for our next leap forward together in the near future!”

Marcus Hammer, Managing Director of Nuclear Blast:
“We’re more than happy to welcome Amaranthe and Kult Management to the Nuclear Blast family. I’ve already been following the group for a while as they were touring with some of their new label mates. Being both great musicians and humans, that have a clear vision and are supported by an experienced team in the back, it was a no-brainer to try to win this outstanding band for our roster. Now we’re stoked to be the new partner at their side pursuing one goal: adding a successful next chapter to their already shiny career. The future looks bright for both, Amaranthe and Nuclear Blast.”

Amaranthe will release their next album some time in 2020. While no information has been released yet, the band has stated that they’ll begin recording after they finish their next round of tours, which include of a headline tour of Scandinavia followed by a tour with Sabaton and Apocalypta as support.

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