Metal Album Release Calendar – October, November, December 2019

This is a calendar of metal albums for Fall and Winter of 2019. Want to see what came out earlier this year? Check out the full Metal Album Release Calendar for 2019!

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1 October:

High Moonlight – Arcturians (Heavy Metal) [EP]

Asuryan – The Eye of Ra (Folk Metal)

Ente – Eterna (Progressive power Metal) [EP]

Grendel’s Syster – Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz (Heavy Folk Metal) [EP]

High Moonlight – Arcturians (Heavy Metal) [EP]

Narwhale – Heart of the Corpse​-​Whale (Progressive Metal)

2 October:

Sereptah – Acoustic (Progressive Power Metal)

Cover My Sigh – Set the World Aflame (Progressive Metal)

Alicia Out of Wonderland – Entre la muerte y el amor (Heavy Power Metal)

4 October:

Iron Kingdom – On the Hunt (Heavy Metal)

Chur – Four-Faced (Folk Metal)

Crow’s Flight – The Storm (Heavy Metal)

Forgotten North – Kinder des Zorns (Symphonic Folk Metal)

Yurei – Saudade (Progressive Metal)

Dawn of Destiny – The Beast Inside (Power Metal)

Fought Upon Earth – Grave Miscalculation (Progressive Metal)

Knightmare – Space Knights (Heavy Power Metal)

The Fall of Eve – Nevermore (Symphonic Metal) [EP]

6 October:

Midnight Force – Gododdin (Heavy Metal)

Iron Attack! – Japonism (Progressive Power Metal)

9 October:

MistFolk – Королева воронья (Folk Metal)

Orthanc – Carnival (Heavy Metal)

Vinnie Moore – Soul Shifter (Shred)

11 October:

The Ferrymen – A New Evil (Power Metal)

Eclipse – Paradigm (Hard Rock/Heavy Metal)

Ethereal Kingdoms – Hollow Mirror (Symphonic Metal)

Screamer – Highway of Heroes (Heavy Metal)

Silent Call – Windows (Progressive Metal)

Stargate – The Dream (Heavy Power Metal)

Unleash the Archers – Explorers (Power Metal) [EP]

FireForce – The Iron Brigade (Power Metal) [EP]

Vanden Plas – The Ghost Xperiment: Awakening (Progressive Metal)

15 October:

Arcane Tales – Power of the Sky (Symphonic Power Metal)

16 October:

Magistina Saga -Invite in the Story (Symphonic Gothic Metal) [EP]

18 October:

Nifrost – Blykrone (Viking Metal)

Secret Chapter – Chapter One (Heavy Metal)

Valcata – Valcata (Symphonic Metal)

Danger Zone – Dont Count on Heroes (Heavy Power Metal)

Induction – Induction (Power Metal)

Aerodyne – Damnation (Heavy Metal)

Rexoria – Ice Breaker (Heavy Metal)

Tandra – Time and Eternity (Folk Metal)

Armored Dawn – Viking Zombie (Power Metal)

Don’t Drop the Sword – The Wild Hunt (Power Metal) [EP]

23 October:

Galneryus – Into the Purgatory (Power Metal)

25 October:

Edenbridge – Dynamind (Symphonic Metal)

Metalite – Biomechanicals (Melodic Metal)

Moon Chamber – Lore of the Land (Heavy Metal)

Noveria – Aequilibrium (Progressive Power Metal)

Savage Master – Myth, Magic, and Steel (Heavy Metal)

Millennium – A New World (Heavy Metal)

Steve Blower – Back in Hell (Heavy Metal)

Turbokill – Vice World (Heavy Metal)

Hevisaurus – Bändikouluun! (Heavy Power Metal)

Dragonfly – Zeitgeist (Heavy Power Metal)

Cathubodua – Continuum (Symphonic Metal)

Rumahoy – Time II: Party (Folk Metal)

Vision Divine – When All the Heroes Are Dead (Progressive Power Metal)

Velvet Viper – The Pale Man is Holding a Boken Heart (Heavy Power Metal)

28 October:

Ironsword – In the Coils of Set (Heavy Metal) [EP]

Bloody Times – By Metal, We Send You to Hell (Heavy Metal) [EP]

30 October:

Elvarhøi – Dansen låter fra graven åter (Folk Metal)

31 October:

Apotheus – The Far Star (Progressive Metal)

Horizon’s End – Skeleton Keys (Progressive Metal)

1 November:

Angel Witch – Angel of Light (Heavy Metal)

Legendry – The Wizard and the Tower Keep (Heavy Power Metal)

Wilderun – Veil of Imagination (Symphonic Folk Metal)

Voyager – Colours in the Sun (Progressive Metal)

Wotan – The Song of the Nibelungs (Heavy Metal)

Dagor Sorhdeam – Fog of War (Power Metal)

French Maide – The Rat (Power Metal)

KingCrown – A Perfect World (Heavy Power Metal)

5 November:

IronThorn – Legends of the Ancient Rock (Hard Rock/Heavy Metal)

6 November:

Genius – Spread Your Wings (Power Metal) [EP]

8 November:

Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra – Legacy of the Dark Lands (Orchestral Metal)

Dimhav – The Boreal Flame (Progressive Power Metal)

Minotaurus – Victims of the Underworld (Folk Metal)

The Dark Element – Songs the Night Sings (Melodic Metal)

Pretty Maids – Undress Your Madness (Heavy Metal)

Tamás Szekeres – White Shapes of Blue (Neoclassical Metal)

Terminus – A Single Point of Light (Heavy Metal)

Tales of Evening – A New Dawn Awaits (Symphonic Gothic Metal)

9 November:

Alexander Layer – Huginn Muninn (Progressive Power Metal)

Caeli Metallum – Birth of the King (Heavy Metal)

13 November:

Cernunnos – The Svmmoner (Folk Metal)

Atavicus – Di eroica stirpe (Pagan Metal)

14 November:

Great Master – Skull and Bones – Tales from Over the Seas (Power Metal)

15 November:

Conjuring Fate – Curse of the Fallen (Heavy Power Metal)

CyHra – No Halos in Hell (Melodic Metal)

Crusade of Bards – Tales of Bards and Beats (Symphonic Metal)

Nibiru Ordeal – Solar Eclipse (Power Metal)

R.U.S.T.X. – Center of the Universe (Heavy Metal)

Scarleth – Vortex (Symphonic Metal)

Subterfuge – Prometheus (Progressive Metal)

Heaven Shore – Golden Age (Viking Metal)

Phenix – Ignition (Progressive Power Metal)

Dravernue – Proyecto D.A.G.D.A. (Power Metal)

A Persuasive Reason – A Persuasive Reason (Progressive Gothic Metal)

18 November:

Hibernia – Celtic Furor (Folk Metal)

20 November:

Black Sweet – The Lights (Heavy Power Metal)

Illusion Force – Alive (Power Metal)

21 November:

Serpentyne – Angels of the Night (Symphonic Folk Metal)

22 November:

Crystal Viper – Tales of Fire and ice (Heavy Metal)

Eleine – All Shall Burn (Symphonic Metal) [EP]

Magic Kingdom – MetAlmighty (Power Metal)

Redline – Gods and Monsters (Heavy Metal)

Signum Regis – The Seal of a New World (Progressive Power Metal)

Spnus Corona – Time Is Not on Your Side (Progressive Metal)

Thunder and Lightning – Demonicorn (Power Metal)

27 November:

Hizaki – Back to Nature (Symphonic Power Metal) [EP]

29 November:

Coronatus – The Eminence of Nature (Symphonic Folk Metal)

Celesti Alliance – Hybrid Generation (Heavy Power Metal)

Second Brain – The Mind Awakens (Progressive Metal)

Stormwarrior – Norsemen (Speed/Power Metal)

1 December:

Pagan Reign – Art of the Time (Pagan Black Metal)

Energema – A Christmas Night (Power Metal) [EP]

Dawnbreath – Creatures of the Damned (Heavy Metal)

6 December:

Crystal Eyes – Starbourne Traveler (Power Metal)

Human Fortress – Reign of Gold (Power Metal)

Power Theory – Force of Will (Heavy Power Metal)

The Murder of My Sweet – Brave Tin World (Gothic Metal)

Rhodium – Sea of the Dead (Heavy Power Metal)

At Night I Fly – Mirror Maze (Progressive Metal)

Infinitas – Infernum (Heavy Folk Metal)

Bellathrix – No Fear (Heavy Metal)

Steel Witch – In Moss and Fern (Heavy Metal)

Stormburner – Shadow Rising (Heavy Metal)

SL Theory – Cipher (Hard Rock/Heavy Metal)

Of the Cold – The Game (Power Metal) [EP]

The Old Dead Tree – The End (Gothic Metal) [EP]

Leaves’ Eyes – Black Butterfly (Symphonic Metal) [EP]

Burning Witches – Wings of Steel (Heavy Power Metal) [EP]

Burning Shadows – Beneath the Ruins (Heavy Power Metal) [EP]

Running Wild – Crossing the Blades (Heavy Power Metal) [EP]

10 December:

Flaming Row – The Pure Shine (Progressive Metal)

13 December:

Eregion – Age of Heroes (Power Metal)

18 December:

Gauntlet – Departure for the Frontier (Power Metal) [EP]

25 December:

Octaviagrace – Radiant (Progressive Power Metal)

27 December:

Ash-Slater – Reinception (Progressive Metal)

Master Sword – The Final Door (Power Metal)

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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Majestica – Above The Sky Review

Score9/10
GenrePower Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime55:34
Release Date7 June 2019
Record LabelNuclear Blast

After six years of hiatus, power metal cheeseballs Majestica (formerly ReinXeed) are back with their seventh album, Above the Sky. Aside from a drastic name change, Majestica’s sound has grown more mature, despite their lyrical content becoming more juvenile than ever. Of course, these are perfect qualities to have in a power metal album: bullshit, nonsensical lyrics over technically impressive music.

On the songwriting side of things we have vastly dynamic neoclassical arrangements full of countless keyboard layers. The formatting in many of the songs doesn’t always follow conventional guidelines, so, while the core of each track has the same light, energetic power, there’s plenty to keep the album from being monotonous. The musicianship is phenomenal, with bandleader Tommy Johansson (Sabaton) delivering fantastical performances on both the guitar and vocals.

On the lyrical side of things, there’s no shortage of entertainment; comedy is around every corner. The 80s-themed ‘Night Call Girl’ shines bright in this respect, delivering a graphic (and kind of creepy) ode to, well, a night call girl. However, no track in Above the Sky holds a candle to the ridiculousness that is ‘Father Time’.

What. A. Shitshow. If you only listen to one track on this record, make sure it’s this one. Aside from the Christmas/New Year theme that holds the whole thing together, the song structure is, to say it modestly, super fucking wacky. We have some slow, pulled back portions, rampant power beats, and even the can-can. Yes, you read that right, the fucking can-can. The changes in ‘Father Time’ are so jarring that it easily takes a place as an instant holiday classic. What’s more, the lyrics are so ludicrously out-of-this-world that you won’t even know what to do with yourself. “Father Time with a rifle in his hand,”? Yes please.

Needless to say, Above the Sky scratches every power metal itch I have. Whether it’s the oozing cheese or sickeningly sweet, upbeat feel throughout, there’s not a doubt in my mind that this will be a top album of the year for every power metal fan.

Majestica – Night Call Girl (Nuclear Blast)

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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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Gloryhammer – Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex Review

Score10/10
GenrePower Metal
CountryScotland
Runtime49:33
Release Date31 May 2019
Record LabelNapalm

Returning once more to finish off the greatest threat that the universe has ever known, the mighty cosmic warriors Gloryhammer are back with what could easily be called the best fucking power metal album of all time. Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex has everything that you could desire in a power metal record, and then some. This, in all sincerity, is a work of cosmic proportions.

Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex (that just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?) continues the chronicles of Angus McFife that began with 2013’s Tales from the Kingdom of Fife. As such, you can safely expect some of the cheesiest, bullshit fantasy lyrics you’ve ever heard, complete with fictitious Latin. Furthermore, you can even expect to get invested in the story, and maybe even end up feeling something if, gods forbid, a tragic turn were to happen along the way.

But, a story like this gets nowhere if the surrounding music isn’t as pumped-up and fantastical as its content. Never fear, though, because there’s enough cheese in this album to give you severe indigestion until the next ridiculous power metal gem surfaces (which, in case you didn’t get that, is the perfect amount). Aside from the crispy-clear mixing, powerful melodies, and dynamic songs, the musicianship is flawless.

The synths, while not overblown, are ever-present in the background and also carry some seriously bumpin’ melodies, not the least of which is found in ‘Hootsforce’. There’s crunchy, hard riffage throughout the album’s entirety and the heroic pipes of Angus McFife break the air like a supersonic death beam. The earth-shaking drums and bass bring the whole group together into a formidably fearsome fighting force.

While every track on this album is simply excellent, I do find a favourite in the final track, ‘The Fires of Ancient Cosmic Destiny’. Following in like fashion with Gloryhammer’s other two albums, this lengthy epic concludes the album with a stellar supernova, delivering despair, hope, victory, and tragedy all within its twelve minutes before finishing off with a mysterious and foreboding transmission.

It should be pretty clear by now that this album kicks all evil space ass. There hasn’t been a true power metal album that has made this much of an impact on me in too long a time and it’s likely it’ll be another while until the genre spits out something like this again. Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex not only satiates my incessant thirst for epic and energetic metal, but asserts itself to fans of the genre as a pure, perfect album.

Gloryhammer – The Siege of Dunkeld (Napalm)

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Power Tale – The Fiery God Of Marrans Review

Score8.5/10
GenreHeavy/Power Metal (Metal Opera)
CountryUkraine
RuntimeSide A – 1:00:38 / Side B – 37:02
Release Date20 May 2019
Record LabelSoundAge Productions

Ukrainian metallers Power Tale are back with a massive double album, and only a year after their last work. Featuring nineteen songs and clocking in at over an hour and a half, The Fiery God of Marrans is pretty long, so you might want to throw this one on while you’re driving or something, just so you don’t get bored trying to get through the whole thing at once. There’s nothing boring about it, but, still, it’s lengthy.

This big, beefy metal opera tells what I’m sure is an exciting story (sorry, I don’t speak Russian all that well). Assisting with this storytelling are almost a dozen vocalists (as well as an assload of session musicians) who are each featured for a song or two, not the least of which are a few female vocalists. There are tons of chanting, anthemic choruses, which, with so many vocalists to pull from, makes it really easy to kick it into overdrive and deliver an epic impact. The vocal performances are all really good, as is the rest of the band, so it’s safe to say that the album’s foundation is very sturdy.

Like many other Eastern European power metal bands, Power Tale’s brand is a bit too heavy and dark to be explicitly considered power metal. We don’t even get a taste of true power metal until the second song of the second disc, ‘Pridyot Chas’. Needless to say, I’d describe it as more of a heavy/power metal in the vein of Arteriya, Stormhammer, and (to a lesser extent) Iron Fire. The guitar tones are just fucking colossal, the bass is all juiced up, and there’s not much in the way of upbeat or uplifting feel-good tracks.

My favourite part of this album is undoubtedly the guitar soloing. If I had to pick favourites, I’d say it’s a toss up between the ones in ‘Мир на весах’ and the thirteen-minute ‘Сталь и кровь’. Aside from the insane shredding and wailing ballad solos, some cool fx are used and there’s sparing use of dual guitars, so, if you’re like me and enjoy solo variety, you’ll love these.

For such a long album, I don’t have too much more to say about it. There’s nothing bad on this album; the solos and drums are excellent and the songwriting is very well done. The Fiery God of Marrans is a solid effort with powerful highs, heartfelt lows, and a massive delivery to match the hefty runtime.

Power Tale – The Anger of the Marrans

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Stormhammer – Seven Seals Review

Score7.5/10
GenreHeavy Power Metal
CountryGermany
Runtime51:56
Release Date24 May 2019
Record LabelMassacre

Stormhammer is here with a reinvented sound and new vocalist in their seventh album: Seven Seals. After six albums, you’d think that maybe it’s all downhill from here, but, as so many metal bands prove time and time again, metal gets even harder with age. Seven Seals is a riff-heavy mixup of different types of metal, which makes for a dynamic experience that has plenty to offer.

Although the musical influences of Seven Seals are vast, the overall sound of the album is harsher, grittier, and harder than your typical power metal album. This is mostly due to the lack of refinement and absence of any keyboards that are both so prevalent in the genre, so we’re left with a raw sound that’s more characteristic of thrash than anything else. Tracks like ‘Under the Spell’ and ‘Seven Seals’ are fairly straightforward power metal songs, but again, lacking those usual power elements, they’ve got a serious edge.

Venturing way out of the way, we get tracks like ‘Your Nemesis’, ‘Deal with the Dead’, and ‘Downfall’, which are nearly crumbling over the weight of their breakdowns and melodic death metal attributes, and, of course, the obligatory ballad of ‘Taken by the Devil’.

Now, before we get to the not-so-good aspects, let me just take a second to say how much better Matthias Kupka‘s vocal performance is than Stormhammer’s former voices. Each growl and rough-vocalled verse is fucking colossal and he commands an impressive amount of versatility with his voice. He carries the catchy melodies with authority and the vocal harmonies are done really well. There’s really no contest when comparing him to the numerous prior vocalists of Stormhammer.

But, as it usually goes, there are some setbacks that prevent Seven Seals from breaking into a score of eight. A few of the tracks, namely ‘Downfall’, ‘Keep Me Safe’, and ‘Old Coals’, are very straightforward and don’t really add anything to the album. Likewise, while most of the songs are really good, there’s only one which I’d call exceptional (which, by the way, is the aforementioned ‘Your Nemesis’).

This is a really cool album. The melodies are strong and the beefy riffs are many. Nothing jumps out as amazing here, but the musicianship is great and most of the songs offer something different. For a band called “Stormhammer”, this pretty much sounds exactly how you’d expect it to.

Stormhammer – Under the Spell (Massacre)

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Amulet – The Inevitable War Review

Score9.5/10
GenreTraditional Heavy Metal
CountryBritain
Runtime40:19
Release Date17 May 2019
Record LabelDissonance

If anybody tells you that heavy metal is dead, smack them in their god damn face and tell them to actually take a look at the scene. Not even counting the phenomenal albums we had earlier this year from the likes of Twisted Tower Dire, Stonecast, and Warrior Path (and so many others), this month alone is producing some of the best classic metal albums I’ve heard all year. And, taking its place at the top of this list is The Inevitable War: Amulet’s second album to date. This riff-heavy honcho simply demands headbanging from its rambling opening drum fills to the final soaring solo in the closer.

This is Amulet’s first album with their new lineup, and it was written with the intent to prove just how refined their metal is. It’d be an understatement to say that they deliver, because they fucking deliver. The mixing couldn’t be better, so we can hear every juicy bassline, but the whole thing is still mastered like a traditional album, which allows them to retain their raw edge while still keeping the band tight and coordinated. Each anthemic chorus hits with a similar impact as classic Manowar, and the galloping rhythm section chugs away with the likeness of Iron Maiden.

The entire lineup is excellent but the guitarwork stands slightly higher than the rest. There’s not a single riff that isn’t awesome (no, I can’t pick any favourites) and the solos are true old-school facemelters (I can pick a few favourites: ‘The Satanist’ and ‘Gateway to Hell’). Marek “Heathen” Steven and Nippy “Nip” Blackford immediately make it known that they’re worthy to fight among the mightiest of axemen as they ride upon the backs of their bodacious bandmates into battle.

Now, I bet you’re thinking that all these guys can do is play heavy. And don’t worry; so did I. But, you’ll quickly find that that’s a load of bullshit because the tasty acoustic interlude ‘La Noche de las Graviotas’ gives them a minute to say, “Hey, look, we can be gentle, too!” They also take it easier on the final epic, ‘Roundhead’, which puts a little less emphasis on impact and a little more emphasis on emotion.

Now, despite all of the praise I have for this album, there is one issue. There are a couple lazy melodies, like the ones in ‘Siege Machine’ and ‘Poison Chalice’. This a pretty minor shortcoming when everything else blasting from those songs is fucking sweet, but it’s a shortcoming nonetheless.

Yeah, some issue, right? As if every heavy metal band doesn’t reuse melodies. What a deal breaker. Fuck it. This album is near-perfect. Don’t miss it.

Amulet – Burning Hammer (Dissonance)

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Arch / Matheos – Winter Ethereal Review

Score9/10
GenreProgressive Metal
CountryUSA
Runtime1:07:59
Release Date10 May 2019
Record LabelMetal Blade

After nearly eight years since their first record under the Arch / Matheos banner, vocalist John Arch and guitarist Jim Matheos have completed Winter Ethereal. Compared to its predecessor, it packs a bigger punch and delivers an altogether more refined sound.

Both Matheos and Arch have been involved in the long-running prog outfit Fates Warning, with the former being their only remaining original member and the latter parting ways with the band in the early 90s. The two are held in high esteem by both old and new prog fans alike, so it’s needless to say just how talented they are. Behind this dynamic duo are other present and former Fates Warning members, such as Bobby Jarzombek and Mark Zonder on drums and bassists Joey Vera and Joe Dibiase, as well as other guest musicians.

With such a beefed up lineup, Winter Ethereal has more than enough fuel to burn furiously (which it does, by the way). The huge riffs and soaring vocals are awesome, but the detail in the drumming is often what elevates the music (like in ‘Wrath of the Universe’ where the drumming is seriously out of hand). Furthermore, the band allowed themselves a long, relaxed writing process for this album and it’s all the better for it. The entire record is sincere, with ‘Tethered”s light, steady emotion being the most apparent example of this, and there are no jumbled ideas that so often drag prog albums to the depths of the musical abyss.

Despite the ease with which this album flows, it explores a ton of different places. The album opens with a relatively dark feel in ‘Vermilion Moons’, but later shoots into the upbeat fury of ‘Straight and Narrow’. There’s no shortage of heavy tunes and every song is very dynamic (which they should be, because they average at eight minutes apiece).

There are only two real issues in Winter Ethereal, and the biggest of the two doesn’t even have anything to do with the music. The first problem is the bass mix. Underneath the huge riffs and sharp vocals, the bass already has its work cut out for it, but this effort is mostly wasted because it’s all but absent in the mix. However, this shortcoming doesn’t hold a candle to the album artwork. It’s atrocious, dreary, and way too simple for an album that overflows with complexity and life.

I’m definitely not finished with this album and, chances are, I won’t be for a while. It has more than enough variety and the musicianship is, to say it modestly, fucking superb. Arch / Matheos have once again produced an exceptional album that manages to stay away from being a Fates Warning 2.0. Clocking in at over an hour, Winter Ethereal will have you satisfied by the time it ends.

Arch / Matheos – Wanderlust (Metal Blade)

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Grimgotts – Dragons of the Ages Review

Score7.5/10
GenreSymphonic Power Metal
CountryBritain
Runtime48:42
Release Date17 May 2019
Record LabelIndependent

It’s time once again to set sail with the mighty Grimgotts into the world of Vale to witness the war between the creatures of the seas. And, what better way to go on such a quest than to have the cheesiest, feel-good nautical metal by your side!

Honestly, I can’t say which aspect of Dragons of the Ages is more over-the-top. Is it the unified chanting in the choruses? Is it the relentless beating of the rhythm section? Or is it, perhaps, that the synths and fanfares sound like they were recorded from a thirty dollar Casio keyboard? One thing is for sure: these goofs are self-aware to the max and I fucking love it.

I mean, seriously. What the hell is this picture? It looks like one of those Windows 97 screensavers for fuck’s sake. I’m not complaining, I just wanted to point that out.

That isn’t to say there’s no substance to the album, because there definitely is. It’s light-spirited and undoubtedly uplifting with solid musicianship. They even took enough care to bring in guest vocalists for backing parts in a couple of the songs, which adds a bit more depth than if they had just recorded a bunch of backing tracks solely from the band’s Andy Barton. With regard to balancing honest music and a carefree attitude, Grimgotts stikes a perfect balance.

That being said, there is one thing that Dragons of the Ages severely lacks: variety. There isn’t a great deal of difference between the tracks, with the differences typically being limited to a slight lean toward pirate metal or power metal. There are two tracks that stick out, though, with the most obvious being the nine-minute closer: ‘Here Be Dragonlords’. The first section (just after the string intro) is easily the darkest part of the album, before it carries on to another familiar high and pulls back into a quiet piano run to finish it off. ‘War at Dawn’ is another unique track. The combination of a more somber chorus and a bit of rough vocals are enough to separate this one from the rest. There are highs and lows in other tracks, but these parts don’t do enough to deliver much of an impact.

My favourite part of the record has to be the drums. The super thick synth solos are a close second, but Mo Abdelgadir does a phenomenal job at pounding Dragons of the Ages through the skies and across the seas with the power of a dragon’s furiously-beating wings. Aside from laying down plenty of sick grooves (with ‘Turning the Tide’ having the best drum performance on the album), he drops blast beats in a few choruses where you’d least expect it, helping them hit even harder. The vocals and guitars are excellent, but the drumming here is something else.

Grimgott’s second album to date, Dragons of the Ages is by no means a genre-shattering album. Its sound is often similar to the recent Atlas Pain record, Tales of a Pathfinder (although I enjoyed this one much more), and it follows most of the power metal tropes fairly closely. However, Grimgotts have managed to make something original, super fun, and immensely uplifting. Fans of Power Quest, Twilight Force, Alestorm, and Galderia will love this album.

Grimgotts – Ancient Waters

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Stay Metal \m/