Elvenking – Reader Of The Runes – Divination Review

Score8.5/10
GenreFolk Metal
CountryItaly
Runtime52:25
Release Date30 August 2019
Record LabelAFM

It’s not very often that a band that’s been around for more than five albums maintains a steady level of greatness in every release. I’m not just talking about a solid discography with album or two being considered “passable”, but rather a track record in which every album is, at the very least, great. It’s not unheard of by any means, and it’s ultimately contingent on whom you ask, but there are certainly some bands that are widely-regarded to just be really fucking good.

For us in the metal community, names like Iron Fire, Blind Guardian, Zeppelin, or Queen might make the cut. However, for myself, I would put Elvenking at the top of my no-less-than-great list. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re my favourite band of all time (although, they are close), but it means that I think that they’re a band that is almost incapable of putting out something even close to bad; they haven’t yet.

So, it should come as no surprise that the folk masters’ 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.

Aside from the songwriting and atmosphere, the instrumentation (obviously) is what mainly contributes to the difference in sound that you’ll find here compared to every album prior. There are huge choirs, such as in ‘Reader of the Runes – Book I’, and plentiful vocal tracks that seem to substitute what used to be rampant folk instruments. Additionally, the guitars have stepped up from the background right into the forefront as the driving force of the songs, even more so than the violin, acoustic guitar, string tracks, or drums combined. Speaking of the drums, Lancs‘ style is a lot steadier and heavier than the band’s previous patter-style drummer, Symohn, who parted ways with the band in 2017. This difference was obviously also present in Secrets of the Magick Grimoire, but it’s even more apparent next to the guitar’s new-found presence. Finally, the folk influences are dialed down quite a bit here, too, so the result of all of this is a heavier, more intense, more metal album.

In case you didn’t already assume, Divination has a bit of a variety to offer. Just kidding, it’s all over the fucking map. There are more typical tracks like ‘Heathen Divine’ (which is very Pagan Manifesto) and the laid back ‘Eternal Eleanor’, but there are also songs that stretch the boundaries a bit more, due to all the stuff in that big paragraph above. Most notably, however, we have ‘Malefica Doctrine’, which is drenched in melodeath and stands as the heaviest song in Elvenking’s twenty-plus-year career.

While I wouldn’t call this one Elvenking’s best (because that title would go to Pagan Manifesto), it’s still a killer album. The concept fits, it’s super dynamic, and it has a high headbangability factor. If you were hoping for a very folky album, you won’t get it here. However, I think that old fans will enjoy the hell out of Divination and newcomers will get hooked on it, too.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

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.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Bioplan – Ocular Review

Score9/10
GenreDjent/Synthwave/Progressive Metal (Instrumental)
CountrySweden
Runtime24:55
Release Date19 April 2019
Record LabelIndependent

Ocular is the debut EP of Bioplan: the solo prog project of multi-instrumentalist Andi Kravljača, whom you might know as the vocalist from bands such as Aeon Zen, Seventh Wonder, and Thaurorod. However, his role in Bioplan is basically everything but the vocals since, well, it’s vocalless. Instead, he stands as an axeman/keymaster/bassist combo, and a damn good one at that. Supporting this mostly-one-man effort are guest guitarists Alistair Bell (Aeon Zen) and Emil Pohjalainen (Amberian Dawn) and keyboardists Pekka Laitinen (Nibiru Ordeal) and Andreas Soderin (Seventh Wonder), who all make appearances on the track ‘Invective’.

This is the first album I’ve heard in a long-ass time that actually has a decent intro track. Right out of the gate we’re shown what to expect: sick shreds, heavily syncopated rhythms, and a cyberpunk atmosphere. Rather than just some generic, shitty orchestral number, ‘Astral’ is actually a legitimate mini-song, so bonus points there.

As the album moves forward, each song rips through numerous intricate and destructive grooves, but they peak in the crazy solo backing part in ‘Permeant’, as well as ‘Inclement’, which is the heaviest of the EP’s six tracks. On top of that, the synths create mesmerizing retro atmospheres amidst the surrounding chaos, and there’s even a full-out synth version of ‘Invective’, which is sounds like Vince DiCola decided to go techno (which, in case you can’t figure it out on your own, would sound like a super cheesy video game soundtrack). All of these ups and downs are stuck together with surprising fluency, which allows each song to have a huge dynamic range.

It’s really tough to pinpoint any highlights in Ocular, because everything works really well together. The lead guitar is ridiculously good at pulling off a fluid melody as well as unleashing some devastating facemelters, but a large part of the impact it delivers comes from the support of the keyboards and rhythm section.

The combination of some of the beefiest fucking djent I’ve ever heard, shredtastic fusion, and glowing synthwave that Ocular so easily pulls off is, in my own humble opinion, masterful. While I typically shy away from one-man projects (although, I’ve heard a few lately, strangely enough), this is easily one of the strongest and most honest products I’ve ever seen from one. Andi Kravljača has excellent vision for both metal and synthwave, and I’m excited to hear a followup of Bioplan’s debut!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Unprocessed – Artificial Void Review

Score9/10
GenreProgressive Metal
CountryGermany
Runtime58:22
Release Date9 August 2019
Record LabelLong Branch

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.

It’s tough to leave this album labelled as “prog metal”, because that could mean a billion different things. With music like this, I like to throw the term “jam metal” out there; I’m not trying to invent a new genre or anything, it’s just to give you an indicator as to what you can expect: grooving, body-moving prog with a touch of fusion elements thrown in. Where a lot of prog bands will be centered around elaborate riffs or erratic changes, Unprocessed live by the wise words of Space Jam: “Come on and slam, if you wanna jam!” The fuel of this slam-jamming usually comes in the form of ridiculously chunky bass and rhythm guitar tones, pattering drums, and fluttering keyboard lines.

Even though a lot of Artificial Void‘s grooves are built around the same foundation (impactful, 16th note staccato runs), Unprocessed is able to explore all sorts of directions with it, so that no song sounds like a rehash of the last. That isn’t to say that all of the songs are built around this foundation, though; the dark and heavy ‘Antler’s Decay’ and the smooth, fluid ‘House of Waters’ are just two examples of the diverse musical selection. Then there are songs like ‘Fear’, where the choppy grooves are separated by long, flowing choruses to avoid becoming monotonous.

Unlike a lot of albums in the modern prog space, the vocals in Artificial Void are woven into the fabric of the music, rather than being a necessary-but-uninspired evil. In ‘Ruins’ and the aforementioned ‘House of Waters’, the mesmerizing vocal delivery supports the atmosphere with the keys rather than joining the guitars in the foreground, but in songs such as ‘The Movements, Their Echoes’ they’re more in-your-face. Additionally, there are also some well-placed rough vocals throughout the album.

While this entire record is full of some seriously funky shit, ‘Abandoned’ takes the place as my favourite track. Its drumming is among my favourite, and the guitar lick in the intro and interludes is fucking juicy. On top of all of that, there’s a mix of rough and clean vocals, plus some really tasteful keyboard work in the background, so there’s a ton of variety to appreciate.

I was already expecting to really like this album after hearing the first singles a few months ago, but Artificial Void kicked my ass into another dimension. For such a young band, Unprocessed’s members have an absolutely insane amount of talent and it’ll be really interesting to see where they decide to go next.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Aeon Zen – Inveritas Review

Review Written by Musicgirl

Score7.5/10
GenreProgressive Metal
CountryUSA
Runtime51:34
Release Date10 May 2019
Record LabelIndependent

I have tended to shy away from some of the biggest progressive metal acts because of the tendency for vocals to be an afterthought and for their syrupy delivery. It’s not a coincidence, then, that some of my favorite progressive metal acts are either instrumental (Angel Vivaldi, Michael Angelo Batio etc.)  or on the thrash end (Voivod, Mekong Delta etc.). Aeon Zen doesn’t totally avoid the aforementioned pitfalls on their new release Inveritas. For this reason, I have a hard time listening to the first and last tracks (‘Rebel Theory’; ‘Inveritas’) even with Vadim Pruzhanov on keys. Still, I find depth and brilliance on this album.   

Aeon Zen, in their 10+ year career, have been noted for their diversity of styles and defiance of classification as a metal band. While many would surely think this is an asset, to me it raises a red flag.  This is probably because of my position as a music historian and my advanced age for a power/prog metal fan. I am thus highly aware of and biased toward the development of the individual styles contributing to the finished product in a band like Aeon Zen.  Lucky for me, Inveritas is a pretty pure metal release, perhaps more so than some of the band’s prior recordings (I’m not familiar with them); the only issues I have with genre bending on Inveritas are what I feel are divergent vocal textures tacked onto the end of songs, ranging from a Queen impression to R&B to a number of semi-acapella exercises that seem to share a saccharine or overwrought quality. And then ‘Another Piece that Fits’ contains a rather awkward fitting: a jarring musical surprise in the form of a song-within-a-song. In this context, a scratched old-timey jazz record or simulation thereof plays.  

‘Another Piece that Fits’, outside of its odd jazz appendage, is one of the stronger tracks on Inveritas. Its speed sure got my blood circulating! Some unusual vocal styling should be noted; I have rarely seen vocals have such an instrumental quality in the sense that they interweave so well with the guitars as here. Like a few other tracks on the album, ‘Another Piece’ has a slower, more pensive, vocal-dominated section in the middle. Another special touch is the unusual drum work.

Other stand-out tracks on Inveritas are ‘A World without Sky’, ‘Last Alive’, and ‘Disconnected’. ‘A World without Sky’ doesn’t escape the curious terminal vocal add-ons I spoke of earlier, but not before over six minutes of blissful, rhythmic, dark creativity. Highlights include a nice double kick attack and inclusion of vocals in what’s otherwise more of a guitar solo section. This thinking outside the box is very fresh and welcoming. ‘Last Alive’ keeps it somber save for a tease of vocal fluff before the moody spoken word section. From the opening diminished arpeggios to the muddy, darker vocal, the discordant onslaught hardly lets up. ‘Disconnected’ is a study in contrasts. Dreamy guitar leads float over dissonant chunky drop-D rhythm work. The inspired verse vocal melody is alternately bluesy and ominous. Unclean gang vocals in the background provide the perfect extra flourish.

Considering the mentioned inconsistency of the vocals on Inveritas, ‘Treachery of Images’ is sadly the only instrumental. An overabundance of choppy time meter shifts hurt its flow. Redemption comes in the poignant, familiar sounding theme that is possibly based on a classical one. Classical is one of Aeon Zen’s many musical influences. ‘Treachery of Images”s structure is most untypical with the main theme appearing unexpectedly. In closing, I want to emphasize a few different things about Inveritas. Despite some detours, it’s hard to match much of this album for sheer imagination and passion.Finally, I need to applaud the dazzling guitar virtuosity of Alistair Bell.

Review Written by Musicgirl

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Yurei Announce Saudade

Yurei, the solo project of Brazilian Gabriel Castro, has their debut album on the way. Saudade will be a progressive metal/fusion/video game/ambient mashup or melodic grooves and lively arrangements.

The project’s first single, ‘Dark Matter’, was released alongside the album. Here it is in all it’s kickass glory:

Yurei’s debut features support from artists such as Michael Lessard (The Contortionist), Evan Sammons and Chris Corey (Last Chance to Reason), and Scott Carstairs (Fallujah). Make sure to check Saudade out on 4 October!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Top Ten Metal Albums Of July

It’s that time again! As is typical, July was more lean than previous months, but there was still plenty to check out!

10. TraumeR – History

Even though it’s already been out in Japan for just over a year, TraumeR’s third record, History, is finally ready to be heard by the international power metal community. While it doesn’t venture too far from the power metal norm, History will still be a hit for any fan of the genre. Soaring vocal lines, tight rhythm section, fast-paced double kicks; at the end of the day, these are the things that are looked for in a power metal album, and on this front, TraumeR deliver.

Full Review

9. Mind of Fury – The Fire

If you haven’t already listened to The Fire, then I’ll give you the following advice: start with the third track, and then come back to listen to the first two if you so desire. Seriously. I nearly gave up on this album because the first two songs are pretty rough. However, the other eight songs are really good, so I’m glad I gave the rest a chance.

Mind of Fury is a heavy metal band from the US with a brand of metal that is a solid mixture between catchy hard rock hooks, fast-paced power metal beats, and a classic metal aesthetic that gives the whole thing a gritty, rugged feel. There’s a really good amount of variety among the tracklist, including a phenomenal instrumental, ‘The Champion’. It’s also worth mentioning that there are only single-tracked guitars, so the bass actually has to hold the foundation during solos (which are fucking awesome, by the way), which it does very well.

8. Velesar – Dziwadla

It’d been a while since I’d heard a really good folk metal album, so you can imagine my excitement when I first heard Velesar’s debut a couple weeks ago. Dziwadla incorporate various European folk melodies into its three main leads: throaty vocals, flute, and violin. The backing guitars and drums keep the energy flowing. This is by no means a unique folk metal makeup, but the execution and songwriting keep Velesar fresh and well above other bands in the space.

7. Valis Ablaze – Render

Valis Ablaze’s sophomore record Render is primarily made up of groovy riffs and fluid pop-punk vocals. You’d be hard-pressed to find a passage that isn’t driven by some intricate 16th-note groove, so if you’re a fan of bouncy, djenty prog metal that you can feel in your stomach, this one’s definitely for you.

While Render‘s sound isn’t necessarily unique, Valis Ablaze offer a certain intensity that separates them from the crowd. This is a kickass album that demands the listener to move with it.

6. Mind Key – Mk III – Aliens in Wonderland

After a decade of absence, Mind Key’s comeback album is a prog metal powerhouse. Mk III – Aliens in Wonderland is full of power metal and 80s pop influences, making the album’s music as pleasingly colourful as its album artwork. Mind Key also favour a clear, cohesive sound over too much flare, which allows for a steady balance throughout the album.

Full Review

5. Desert – Fortune Favors the Brave

The third album by war metal warriors Desert is a harsh attack of heavy/power metal. With the highlight of this record being the incredible guitarwork, the rhythm section has nearly as much to offer in terms of ferocity. Fortune Favors the Brave manages to legitimately earn the title of “war metal” through a unique, raw sound that’s driven by a huge guitar sound, clashing riffs, and badass lead vocals that push the music with backbreaking force.

Full Review

4. Turilli / Lione Rhapsody – Zero Gravity (Rebirth and Evolution)

Zero Gravity (Rebirth and Evolution) is the latest brainchild of the aforementioned multi-instrumentalist and composer, Luca Turilli. As such, it’s (as expected) full of cinematic orchestrations, destructive synth lines, huge riffs, and vibrant arrangements. Oh, and we can’t forget about those ridiculous, facemelting, virtuoso guitar solos. Along with Turilli’s magic fingers and Lione’s pipes, Zero Gravity also features other members of the Rhapsody universe: guitarist Dominique Leurqui, drummer Alex Holzwarth, and bassist Patrice Guers. These Rhapsody-ers, with all of their combined might, have created a monster of an album.

Full Review

These next three albums took longer to figure out that the entire rest of the list. So, rather than read them “3, 2, 1”, it’s actually something closer to “1.3, 1.2, 1.1”.

That’s the same thing, you say? Whatever. Just know that they’re all really close in ranking.

3. Control the Storm – Forevermore

Forevermore came way the fuck out of nowhere this month. I was actually in the middle of making this list when I chanced upon it, and I had to bump another album off. But you don’t care about any of that; you just care whether or not it’s worth listening to.

And, let me assure you, this album is incredible: female-fronted power metal at its finest. Behind the versatile lead vocals, orchestrations, keys, and vocal harmonies fill the spaces, alongside a killer rhythm section. The arrangements are dynamic and exceptionally written and, if that isn’t enough for you, the guitar solos are just ridiculous. If you haven’t heard of them before, you need to go listen to Control the Storm’s stuff right now.

Full Review

2. ShadowStrike – Legends of Human Spirit

Legends of Human Spirit is probably the strongest power metal debut of the entire year. It’s insanelyfast, vibrant, true power metal to the core. It’s really as simple as that. ShadowStrike, hailing from New York, have busted out of the gate with a DragonForce-influenced sound that manages to steer clear of being too derivative, delivering a unique, shredtastic album.

Part of the driving force of this individuality is the band’s tasteful use of symphonic elements (I would never consider this album “symphonic metal”, though) as well as sophisticated song arrangements. With nothing short of excellent on the record, ShadowStrike have quickly become one of my favourite power metal bands, ever.

Full Review

1.Sabaton – The Great War

Amidst the salvo of excellent albums this month, Sabaton’s The Great War stands above the rest. While I did only score this album an 8.5 (mostly because of some reusage of older material that’s typical of Sabaton), for myself, this album is a 10; it’s everything I want in a Sabaton album, plus more. On top of that, compared to any other album on this list, it’s the one I’ll relisten to the most.

With ten pounding, ultra-anthemic heavy metal tracks and a beautiful choral closer, there’s a fair amount of variety (by Sabaton’s standards, anyway) that will especially please the diehard fan. There’s also a hefty dose of epic choirs, as well as some classical details that add some sophistication to the album. Combine this all with the best drumming that’s ever been seen in a Sabaton record and you’ve got yourself a seriously strong album of the month!

Full Review

Let me know if one of your favourites didn’t make the cut. Maybe I missed it!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Týr – Hel Review

Written by Dungeon Shaker
Score7/10
GenreProgressive Folk Metal
CountryFaroe Islands
Runtime1:09:53
Release Date8 March 2019
Record LabelMetal Blade

Tyr is a band I have long held in high regard. The sound Heri Joensen has developed over the last twenty years has been flirting with perfection for a decade now. Valkyrja, released in 2013, has rightfully earned the lauded and elusive title of a masterpiece. Hel has the unfortunate distinction of following up that modern classic. The laborious six-year gap between releases feels almost strategic as Hel has a bit of a dark side: its length. Regardless, the important thing is that there is finally another Tyr record, and that is worth celebrating.  

The Heri Joensen-led act from the far-flung Faroese Islands expertly molds elements of progressive, folk, and traditional metal with viking metal themes. Heri’s approach to composing viking metal is far subtler and tactful than many of his contemporaries. Traditional Faroese folk melodies are adopted as a melodic base, revised, and deeply interwoven into the songs. A welcome and unique coloring of melody. The result is a sound which is extremely distinctive and comfortably familiar. 

Hel’s highlight is the ‘Ragnar Kvæði’ and ‘Garmr’ duplet; each showcases Heri’s brilliant use of melody in two distinct manners. ‘Ragnar Kvæði’s’ beautiful choral opening introduces the track’s dominant musical theme: variations on the vocal arrangement heard in those opening moments. A somewhat somber and epic mood is created as its instrumentation plays around Heri’s layered vocal work, itself a brilliant example of how a relatively standard-structured song can be transcended.

‘Garmr’, on the other hand, is entirely structured around its arrangement; numerous tempo changes allow Heri’s vocal lines to essentially dual with the numerous lead guitar breaks throughout the track. ‘Garmr’ does follow a pretty standard structure but the back and forth tempo changes create a sense of urgency, especially as the recurring lead breaks are all rooted in a similar and often the same melody. A shining example of that lead guitar parts can and should be used to accent thematic elements, without having to rely on virtuosic showmanship.  

‘Ragnar Kvæði’ and ‘Garmr’ are both two of the finest tracks Heri has penned for Tyr, and both are serious contenders for the best song of 2019. Yet Hel, an overall good release, is lacking in great tracks. Apart from the aforementioned, ‘Empire of the North’ and ‘Sunset Shore’ are the only other songs that flirt with greatness. Moments of brilliance are of course littered throughout the album’s massive seventy-minute runtime, namely ‘Fire and Flame’s’ flamboyantly Iron Maiden-inspired solo section. The task of having to labor through numerous good, albeit unmemorable songs can be rather off-putting, especially once the hour mark is reached. 

Hel is a very good album, but it is hampered by its excessive run time. The die-hard Tyr fan will find much to dissect and enjoy. I’ve lived with it for almost six months now and I am still unpacking it. Hel is simply a record with too many ideas spread across too many songs. Still, if you listen to only two new songs this year, make sure those are ‘Ragnar Kvæði’ and ‘Garmr’. 

Skál!

Dungeon Shaker has been an avid fan of the metal for almost two decades now. A simple journey that began with a cassette of The Black Album, has blossomed into a lifelong obsession. A lover of all genres of metal, collector of vintage (metal) vinyl, and a soon to be historian by trade. Dungeon Shaker runs his own personal blog, thunderousvoices.com, itself a menagerie of heavy metal writing.
St. Paul, Minnesota
Favorite Bands: Blue Oyster Cult, Iron Maiden, King Diamond, Tyr, Running Wild, Moonsorrow

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Moonlight Prophecy – Heat Lightning Review

Score8/10
GenreProgressive Metal/Shred
CountryUSA
Runtime17:56
Release Date19 July 2019
Record LabelIndependent

I’m usually not a huge fan of one-man show albums (like Devin Townsend, for example). They always seem to have something missing from them. One of the most important elements of a successful band is the heart that each different member brings that, even through studio recordings, makes its way into the music so that you can sense a real connection and cohesion from the band. And more often than not, one-man projects lack this heart.

That being said, Moonlight Prophecy’s latest EP, Heat Lightning, is a damn fine piece of instrumental shred. It isn’t entirely a one-man show (as there is a bassist), but everything else is covered by multi-instrumentalist Lawrence Wallace. Its arrangements are lively, the drums are killer, and the shredding is, well, as shredded as Shreddies that have been in the bowl for too long. While there isn’t a whole lot of variety covered within its four tracks, but there’s enough variability to make it a really fun listen.

If there’s one area that Moonlight Prophecy suffers, it’s in the melody department. A lot of the space between solos is filled by repeated arpeggiations and the lead guitar doesn’t show a lot of restraint or tastefulness (which are he marks of an excellent shred album), except for the last half of ‘The Magic Carpet’, which shows both of these things very well.

And don’t even get me started on that fucking album artwork. God damn. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen worse; it looks like something an edgy 14-year-old would make on Microsoft Paint to promote his shitty YouTube channel. It’s so bad that it actually pains and amuses me all at once, so, while it has absolutely no bearing on the score, it should actually garner some bonus points, if anything.

Anyway, if you’re into five minutes of straight facemelting (or seventeen, if you tackle it all at once), this album kicks all sorts of ass. There are some really sick licks about a minute into ‘Oddities’ and ‘Heat Lightning’ carries some marks of late-2000s John 5. And ‘The Magic Carpet’ is just fucking insanity in its first half. Additionally, as I mentioned before, the drumming is right on par with the fury of the guitars, so there’s plenty to enjoy upon consecutive listens.

Any fan of guitar feature albums, and especially of Steve Vai and John 5, should give Heat Lightning a spin. Actually, make sure to check out some of Moonlight Prophecy’s older material, too, because this EP isn’t even the best.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Ariel Perchuk’s Odyssey Announces New EP

Argentinian progressive power outfit Ariel Perchuk’s Odyssey have announced that a new EP will surface soon. Aside from the title, Storm, and the album artwork, no further details have yet been revealed.

Ariel Perchuk’s Odyssey was founded in 2016 by (you guessed it) keyboardist and composer Ariel Perchuk. The group’s debut, Eastern Symphony, was released in January and mixes Middle Eastern folk music with neoclassical power metal compositions. So, if there’s one thing we can expect from the upcoming Storm, it’s sick keyboarding and a unique metal flavour.

Go follow the band on Facebook!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/