23.3.15

Magic Kingdom - Savage Requiem (2015)

You ask, couldn't the band's name be more cliche? Magic Kingdom, is indeed sounds like the penultimate of power metal archaic. The band is mainly consisted of Dushan Petrossi and Vasiliy Molchanov.  Both are active in another power metal band, Iron Mask. The vocalist for their latest album, Savage Requiem, is Christian Palin, ex-Adagio. The line up completed with Michael Brush in drumming.

Savage Requiem is simply power metal album with lots of shred, neo-classical licks, and symphonic elements. Compared to theirs last album, Symphony of War, the new album didn't has growling vocal elements anymore, this is also the one with heavier music. Songs are typical but have their own merit in each one. "Guardian Angels" started pretty heavy. Nothing can beat the galloping minor scale power metal riffs and thus the first song built up the mood easily. "Rivals Forever" is in the other way, fast guitar licks backed up with string attacks to make up teeth reeling song. If you followed Iron Mask, this song pretty much resembling some of their song in Black As Death album. "Full Moon Sacrifice" is the one with more mid tempo song. "Ship of Ghosts" is the double melodic guitar solo intro, well as we expected, Magic Kingdom quite recycling every possible gimmicks, including the famous Ode of Joy by Beethoven theme in the solo guitar. "Four Demon Kings of Shadowlands" see some more complicated song structure. The most guitar orientated song to be "With Fire and Sword", which see the band trying Yngwie Malmsteen theme. "Dragon Princess" is their ballad and come with piano version, which I prefer. The album finished with "Battlefield Magic", well quite a Baroque theme combined with neo-classical metal altogether.

All songs in Savage Requiem polished well, whether in the beginning intro, song structure and other parts. In short, the album combined many creative points, something that must be interesting when the band is playing in power metal genre. Dushan Petrossi is no doubt the happiest guy in the band as he storm out thousand of amazing licks in each song. Christian Palin voices is enjoyable, strong and has it authority. Magic Kingdom's Savage Requiem in first class power metal album that going to gallop you with magic and fantasy world in any day.

Favorite tracks: Guardian Angels, Ship of Ghosts, Dragon Princess
Metal Harem class: ********** eight stars out of ten


Buy it Here - Amazon

Magic Kingdom - Savage Requiem (2015)

01. In Umbra Mea 01:08
02. Guardian Angels 07:08
03. Rivals Forever 05:16
04. Full Moon Sacrifice 06:30
05. Ship of Ghosts 04:43
06. Savage Requiem 06:35
07. Four Demon Kings of Shadowlands 07:03
08. With Fire and Sword 05:52
09. Dragon Princess 05:55
10. Battlefield Magic 06:26
11. Dragon Princess (acoustic)

Line Up:
Christian Palin - Vocals (ex-Adagio,)
Dushan Petrossi - Guitars (Arms of War, Iron Mask)
Vasiliy Molchanov - Bass (Iron Mask)
Michael Brush - Drums (Celestial Wish)



Magic Kingdom band artwork

17.3.15

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015)

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015) album review

The wait is over. Four years since Imaginaerum in 2011, and two years since the acquisition of Floor Jansen from the power metal world. Endless Forms Most Beautiful is the Nightwish's new album, marking the new era, well, the third era. Not only Floor Jansen is the obvious attraction here, but the band also swift deeply now into new musical direction. The theme of Endless Forms Most Beautiful itself is  Evolution and Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species". On band formation, drummer Jukka Nevalainen is not in the recording, instead Kai Hato from Wintersun is recording all of the parts. Troy Donockley is official member now, the first and may be the only uileann piper in metal band. The album has massive energy to be unleashed just by facts on paper.

If memory served us well, long ago Nightwish was known by its female operatic voices, who sing under neo-classical power metal genre. When Tarja no longer around, Nightwish altered the style and resulted in heavier, symphonical metal. The vocal style itself, by Annette,  no longer an exclusive signature to Nightwish. In E.F.M.B. where Floor Jansen debut, Nightwish also did not returned to the operatic voice character. Floor Jansen sing in her own style, but mainly "need" to fit into Nightwish newly, ambitious heavy orchestration metal invention.

Just like Imaginaerum, where the orchestration is begin to get large portion of the music, E.F.M.B. is even more ambitious. The first opening is "Shudder Before The Beautiful". After a spoken introductory, we got the very first new Nightwish riff after four years. It is still intact with old 'classic', it's very Dark Chess of Wonders in sibling, so old fans should feel connected. The different is, this opening start with calm singing line, something that indicated the song is only beginning part of the whole E.F.M.B. concept album. Middle solos are awesome, all three melodic player takes turn, the pipers, guitars and keyboardist. The orchestration of course on its different level now, it is real arrangements with real composer in charge. The song first impression is, kind of too generic for Nightwish and general female symphonic metal, though it is really kicking ass.

"Weak Fantasy" is where we need to face with many more orchestration. The song has  more character development of Nightwish and Floor Jansen style. Very strong reply to the first song. "Élan" itself is already known as a single release prior to the album. It is very radio friendly, easy listening one from the band. "Yours Is An Empty Hope" is full orchestrated heavy piece, where we got to listen Floor Jansen in her full metal mode. "Our Decades In The Sun" is the middle break ballad, arrangement of piano and backing orchestration are great. "My Walden" is the movie score like song. Troy's piper come in force in this song.  "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" is the peak of three elements, Nightwish guitar signature riffing, Floor Jansen singing explorations and backing symphonic arrangements. "Edema Ruh" is another easy and simple track with strong folk elements. "Alpenglow" is recollection of some old Nightwish string riff, though I hardly can remember the exact song they are "adapting". "The Eyes Of Sharbat Gula" is the usual Nightwish's instrumental break, choirs and strong string layer in this one. Finally, "The Greatest Show On Earth" is their most serious composition, extended to 24 minutes. Nightwish has finally joined Dream Theater and Rhapsody of Fire in giving the last for the best. I suggested everyone to take time, listened to the hard work of the band on this ambitious piece.

One loophole the album need to avoid is to not to bore the listener with too many repetition. Endless Forms Most Beautiful is very close in getting this trouble, with many orchestration parts, kind of repeated in other forms and songs. Especially with the last lengthy lengthy finale. But, all those problem can be meet by repeated listening and the quality will show up. Floor Jansen is kind of getting her different form of performance. Good maneuver, as she herself already has ReVamp for other creative outlet. In short, we satisfied with creative ideas compiled in this album, certainly the waiting time is worth.

Favorite songs: Weak Fantasy, Shudder Before The Beautiful, Elan, My Walden
Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015)

1. Shudder Before The Beautiful
2. Weak Fantasy
3. Élan
4. Yours Is An Empty Hope
5. Our Decades In The Sun
6. My Walden
7. Endless Forms Most Beautiful
8. Edema Ruh
9. Alpenglow
10. The Eyes Of Sharbat Gula
11. The Greatest Show On Earth

    I. "Four Point Six"
    II. "Life"
    III. "The Toolmaker"
    IV. "The Understanding"
    V. "Sea-Worn Driftwood"


Nightwish
    Floor Jansen - lead vocals
    Marco Hietala - lead vocals, growls, bass guitar
    Emppu Vuorinen - lead guitars
    Tuomas Holopainen – keyboards, piano
    Troy Donockley – uilleann pipes, tin whistle, backing vocals

Additional musicians
    Kai Hahto - drums (Wintersun)
    Richard Dawkins - narration
    Pip Williams - orchestral arrangements
    James Shearman - Conductor
    Metro Voices - choir

Production
    Tuomas Holopainen - production, mixing
    Mikko Karmilla, Tero Kinnunen - mixing
    Mika Jussila - mastering
    Toxic Angel - cover art

13.3.15

Impellitteri - Venom (2015)

Are You Ready? The latest Impellitteri album is here. Venom 2015, is Chris Impellitteri's 10th studio album. Guess what, Rob Rock is on the vocal duty, as always. Well, the last Impellitteri's studio album is  "Wicked Maiden" in 2009, and if the Rob Rock's album counted in, his latest "solo" album dated 2007 in "Garden of Chaos". So, it's been quite a long time for the duo rest their guitar neck and microphone. Beyond this point, we got some of side projects by them, Impellitteri in AniMetal series, and Rob Rock in Driver "Countdown".

What we got in Venom is the revival of Impellitteri + Rob Rock classics. The melodic metal song + shred guitar that once famously done in Impellitteri's "Eye of the Hurricane" era . The first track, "Venom", is of course venomous in every aspect. The guitar main theme riffs is hot, shredding on a sick neo-classical influence arpeggios, harmoniously unison-ed by the drum roll, is definitely coherent with Rob Rock screaming "Are you ready???". The second track "Empire of Lies" continue the streak of stormy drum beat and shredding guitar licks. The vocal kind of trying to hit any highest pitch available there by Rob Rock. Lots of interesting melodic singing line backed up with thunderous backing vocal. The 3rd song is very Whitesnake in my ear, "We Own the Night" is maybe deliberately a mixing between "Fool for Your Loving" with "Still of the Night" in the spirit of Dave Coverdale. In other word, a classic '80s heavy metalium. The pace is slow down when we reach "Face the Enemy" intro, but don't get fool around, the song developed into mid to fast heavy metal tunes. The song is once again more '80s heavy metal rather than the typical Impellitteri's power metal. Talking about power metal, the one that comes with that is closely done in "Time Machine", typical power metal riffs is preserved well too. Other notes are "Jehovah", and you bet this is one of their religious song as the title (may) suggest. This is answered with "Rise" in the next play list.

You can't asked for more guitar works as in every song, Chris spoiled us with his faster-than-the-speed-of-light solos. The other enjoyable thing is the drumming. The drum is so kicking ass it sounds like machine gun firing with all his cylinders. Well done by Jon Dette, who list of experiences ranging from Killing Machine, Anthrax to Slayer. The bassist on is album is James Amelio Pulli, perfectly escorting the rhythm part and you bet he got an excellent time working with the three other guys. Venom is worth  the six years spend in waiting. Chris Impellitteri definitely refresh his band with this album. Get them fast.

Favorite tracks: Venom, We Own the Night, Time Machine
Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon

Impellitteri - Venom (2015)

1. Venom
2. Empire of Lies
3. We Own the Night
4. Nightmare
5. Face the Enemy
6. Domino Theory
7. Jehovah
8. Rise
9. Time Machine
10. Holding On

Chris Impellitteri - Guitars (ex-Vice, Animetal USA)
Rob Rock - Vocals (Driver, ex-M.A.R.S., ex-Axel Rudi Pell, ex-Joshua Perahia)
James Amelio Pulli - Bass
Jon Dette - Drums (Killing Machine, Anthrax (live), Iced Earth (live), Metal Machine (live), ex-Apocalypse, Animetal USA, ex-Testament, ex-Heathen (live), ex-Slayer (live))


2.3.15

Europe - War of Kings (2015)

Europe is always remembered as one of  the great hard / melodic rock band of the '80s. Not just because of The Final Countdown, but songs such as Cherokee, Seven Doors Hotel, Ninja, Storm Wind, oh how can one forget those glorious days. Slowly, this band reached the new era with their music exactly updated within each year they passed. Each album from Secret Society,  Last Look at Eden, Bag of Bones, they found them self new musical playground to hang in. The same thing happened on War of Kings, which is Europe latest studio release this week, marked their 10th studio album.

War Of Kings , the first song with the same title, is medium pace melodic rock. You got that riffs, that can be modern yet got many vintage sounds inside. The usage of organ sound is reminiscence on '70s Deep Purple. Surely Europe has once again try to create new atmosphere here, as this song's character are to be repeated again thoroughly the album. The second on the list is much more happy-cheerful in mood. Hole In My Pocket is where John Norum happily played his whammy bar to create some Jimi Hendrixian riff. Not the first time we heard, notable song Scream of Anger in the past also got lots of this guitar tricks.  These two are pretty much in the same mood as in California 405, Days of Rock 'N' Roll. The most vintage song they "recreate" is Angels (With Broken Hearts), which kind of '80s Rainbow thing.

Some of the songs are truly in modern rock, fusion of alternative, grunge, hard rock, such as Praise You, kind of classic Seattle rock. Nothin' To Ya, with that drum roll, Red Hot Chilli Paper in mind. In the last part, the straightforward Light It Up is enjoyable finishing song, before the bluesy instrumental Vasastan.

War of Kings is one rich hard rock album from Europe. Surely you can't find any trace of Final Countdown  any longer (they are long time disappeared actually). On the other notes, John Norum is still leading the interest with his guitar playing. Joey Tempest also the other character that let the song come alive with his voices. Compare to previous Bag of Bones, this one is not much different, although there are seem to be more vintage than before. Quite hard to give more comment on this album, it is simply new set of songs where continued their many creative ideas. On the last interesting thing is the album cover. The chess illustration is a nice thing to have in rock album cover. It will make a great graphic for the running European Individual Chess Championship, which is happened in this very same week in Jerusalem.

Metal Harem class: ********** eight stars out of ten


Buy it Here - Amazon

Europe - War of Kings  (2015)

01. War Of Kings
02. Hole In My Pocket
03. The Second Day
04. Praise You
05. Nothin' To Ya
06. California 405
07. Days Of Rock 'N' Roll
08. Children Of The Mind
09. Rainbow Bridge
10. Angels (With Broken Hearts)
11. Light It Up
12. Vasastan (Instrumental) (Bonus Track)

Line Up:
Joey Tempest - Vocals & Guitars
John Norum - Guitars & Backing Vocals (ex-Dokken)
John Leven - Bass & Backing Vocals (ex-Glenn Hughes)
Mic Michaeli - Keyboards & Backing Vocals (Brazzen Abbot, ex-Glenn Hughes)
Ian Haugland - Drums (Brazzen Abbot, ex-Glenn Hughes)



15.2.15

Whyzdom - Symphony For A Hopeless God (2015)

Whyzdom is a female fronted symphonic metal from France. Their power house is Marie Rouyer. The band is doing full scale power metal with orchestration in a style of good ol' days of Nightwish. A thick layer of guitar riffs is what put this band more in line with Epica instead. Symphony For A Hopeless God is their 3rd studio album, where the previous two already reserved some promising position in the heart of symphonic metal fans.

All songs are polished with catchy orchestrations, brasses and strings are swirling freely to accompanying the main attacking voices, the guitar distortion. In the background the double pedal drums continuously put heavy beats into the storms. The songs are no different to standard bombastic power metal. The first tune we got is "While The Witches Burn", lengthy Latin inspired choruses and cathedral bell is our first impressions. Catchy guitar riffs blends in, and we got the symphonic metal in its full seriousness. Marie Rouyer implemented a soft 'gothic' style singing in duet with the male vocals. But indeed, this is not their main style. The majority of the song incorporated straight forward, standard heavy metal style of singing, as heard in "Let's Play With Fire" , one of their very melodic song that I found very strong. "Asylum Of Eden" is having trace of Nightwish's latest Imaginaerum influences. The song composition itself have many serious highlight, such as just when the album exhausting into the end, we got "Theory Of Life" that really brings the album into the climaxing end. This left the last song "Pandora's Tears" acted as the closing credit, very similar to the last movie score in the end of its show.

This album have more bombastic power metal orchestration than what you may think. Almost endless of brass attack in every song. The highlight is Marie as the center of attention. Her voices ranged from soft gothic style to heavy operatic voices. Musically, the power metal elevated a lot from the guitar distortion, which trying to have more room when surrounded by the strings and brasses. Symphony For A Hopeless God is heavy, also melodic. Expected lots of high time listening to this. Whyzdom is the new force to listen, ready to sneak in between the other 'veterans' alike of Within Tempation, Epica, and Nightwish.

Metal Harem class : ********* eight stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon

Whyzdom - Symphony For A Hopeless God (2015) 

1. While The Witches Burn
2. Tears Of A Hopeless God
3. Let's Play With Fire
4. Eve's Last Daughter
5. Don't Try To Blind Me
6. The Mask
7. Asylum Of Eden
8. Waking Up The Titans
9. Theory Of Life
10. Where Are The Angels
11. Pandora's Tears

Marie Rouyer - Vocals
Vynce Leff - Guitar, Orchestrations
Nico Chaumeaux - Drums
Regis Morin - Guitar
Xavier Corrrientes - Bass
Marc Ruhlmann - Keyboard
Record Label: Scarlet Records

27.1.15

Veonity - Gladiator's Tale (2015)

Coming out from the jungle of Swedish power metal is Veonity with their debut album Gladiator's Tale. The album contained every power metal needed, fierce guitar riffs and most of all, excellent baritone  power vocals backed by power harmonies. Check their song such as the "Into Eternity", "Slaves in a Holy War", "Phoenix Arise" which all demanded to be put in the same leagues as Sabaton and friends. Especially in Into Eternity where the chorus brings back nuances from the old Helloween's Keeper of Seven Keys era. "Gladiator's Tale", is their single, yup another tight power song but watch out the awesome melodic solos in the middle done by their guitarist.

Gladiator's Tale is one and foremost classic power metal, excellently done without the help of its cousin the "symphonic" elements. Their music done simply by the two guitars attack and stormy double pedal drum. Bombastic album that will lead you headbanging all the way through.

Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon

Veonity - Gladiator's Tale (2015)

01. Into Eternity
02. Phoenix Arise
03. Unity
04. Let Me Die
05. Slaves in a Holy War
06. Chains of Blood
07. For the Glory
08. Gladiator's Tale
09. Warrior of Steel
10. Born out of Despair
11. King of the Sky
12. Farewell


Kristoffer Lidre - Bass
Joel Kollberg - Drums
Samuel Lundström - Guitars (lead)
Anders Sköld - Vocals (lead), Guitars

21.1.15

Blind Guardian - Beyond The Red Mirror (2015)

From the guardian of power metal, here comes the tenth studio "Beyond The Red Mirror". Behold all followers and worshipers, Blind Guardian is back. With so many good years passing by, and so many young generations that made Blind Guardian as their inspiration, could Hansi Kursch and friends still on top of their game? To make sure of it, the band has to go all out, putting lengthy chorus intro in "The Ninth Wave" which is their first song. In a quick listening, it seems Blind Guardian now adopt even more symphonic elements on their music. The choice of implemented less-double-or-galloping-pedal drumming on their first song is strong indication the band wanted to go something else by now. Nevertheless in nine minutes it is possible to put lots of interesting elements in, rich song structure and some killer guitar duo solos. Heat up is hot riffs for "Twilight Of The Gods" and now we are back to Blind Guardian classic. Much trivial is a song "At The Edge Of Time", as we know is also the title of their previous album. A song that received help of intricate orchestral string attack. "Ashes Of Eternity" is their straight forward heavy tracks.    Also interesting is "The Throne", a song that has interesting operatic singing in it. The only full ballad song is "Miracle Machine", but no folk instrument a la Bard Song because it is indeed done with piano accompaniment.

Still "Beyond The Red Mirror" has many melodies to enjoy. Just that the album is now more symphonic than ever, in the cost of lessened the folk elements. Compared to "At The Edge Of Time" this is also slightly decreased in heaviness. "Beyond The Red Mirror" supported by full backing voices, Hansi Kürsch offered the same singing level as any their previous albums. In the same time, as with any Blind Guardian albums, the sound mixing is signature where it is kind of muddy and mid frequency only. It is a concept album, sequel to one of their previous album, done in a premise of "...when the world of science-fiction and fantasy become worse, the red mirror is the gate left..." It is the first album without long time Oliver Holzwarth in bass. And the story ends.....

Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon

Blind Guardian - Beyond The Red Mirror (2015)

1. The Ninth Wave
2. Twilight Of The Gods
3. Prophecies
4. At The Edge Of Time
5. Ashes Of Eternity
6. The Holy Grail
7. The Throne
8. Sacred Mind
9. Miracle Machine
10. Grand Parade

Hansi Kürsch – lead and backing vocals
André Olbrich – lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars
Marcus Siepen – rhythm guitar
Frederik Ehmke – drums, percussion

Charlie Bauerfeind - production
Barend Courbois - bass guitar