Iced Earth - Plagues Of Babylon (2014)

Only two years after their Dystopia album, Iced Earth set their 11th studio releases with Plagues Of Babylon, planned to be on the market by 2014. This new album spanned more than 79 minutes long, quite an ambitious one. There is not much changes in formation except the drummer hot seat is done by Raphael Saini. Raphael recorded the drum parts but then later replaced by Iced Earth most current drummer, Jon Dette. Plagues Of Babylon feel exactly like the continuation of Dystopia. But I must admit this later rendition of new Iced Earth music is much feel at home by now. Additional vocals on the jamming song in Highwayman includes Russell Allen and many, while Blind Guardian singer Hansi Kurch is lead vocals in Among The Living Dead.

On the first track, Plagues Of Babylon, we got that catchy  riffs bouncing here and there, the choruses resembling well Dystopia feel. Set in 10 minutes it is a good opener. Democide is also ambitious one, lengthy in the intro of drumming and guitar riffin', you can heard a very Metallica's Justice for All era riffs in the continuation of this song. The crunchy riff still continue in The Culling, heavier voices close to death metal is starting to plagues all over. Hansi Kurch in Among The Living Dead is a good one, we got to hear Hansi performing his unique vocals on more aggressive music, compared to his original 'power and epic' metal band. I can still recommended more tunes such as If I Could See You, which is a sudden ballad in the middle of storm. Also Cthulhu for a rather lengthy song with meaningful lyrics. Peacemaker and Spirit Of The Times for slow tempo intermezzo.

Overall just count the minutes spend, this album is worth it. Of course Iced Earth is in different leagues and Plagues Of Babylon is lift up the expectation. This is an improved material as we already heard in Dystopia. Stu Block more importantly blending even well with the music, sounds like his voices mixed well with Jon Schaffer backing voices. The album also featuring many guest vocalist, you can see from the list below. A great album to start 2014.

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

Iced Earth - Plagues Of Babylon (2014) 
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1. Plagues Of Babylon
2. Democide
3. The Culling
4. Among The Living Dead
5. Resistance
6. The End?
7. If I Could See You
8. Cthulhu
9. Peacemaker
10. Parasite
11. Spirit Of The Times
12. Highwayman
13. Outro

Jon Schaffer - rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, lead guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Highwayman"
Troy Seele - lead guitar
Stu Block - lead vocals, backing vocals
Luke Appleton - bass guitar
Raphael Saini - drums

Michael Poulsen - lead and backing vocals on "Highwayman"
Russell Allen - lead and backing vocals on "Highwayman"
Hansi Kursch - lead vocals on "Among the Living Dead", backing vocals
Thomas Hackmann - backing vocals
Andrew Peters - backing vocals
Matt O'Rourke - backing vocals
Bonna Ross Bernal - backing vocals

Iced Earth Plagues of Babylon album review


Torben Enevoldsen – Above and Beyond (2013)

This is another strong instrumental guitar release for this month. Torben Enevoldsen is guitarist for Fatal Force and also a soloist with many solo albums. I mostly listen to his album Heavy Persuasion which I think a cross styles between American Shrapnel and European taste. Above And Beyond is his 2013 album and looks like another all around heavy-rock guitar album.

For most of the song, they are traditional heavy metal and hard rock in styles. Sonic Confusion can fit into any guitar album in between '80s to 2000s, it is chugging power chord with solid melodic solo over it. Cruisin' gives more power chord riffs in the intro and the rest of the song. Above And Beyond playing in some unusual rhythm meter but everything still solidly in regular ear-friendly scales. Mellow tunes found in In Deep, beautifully performed ballad. Then there is enough suspend in Lost In Space. And to make it a full ten song, it is True Blue to close the album with another sweet melody line in slow tempo.

Above and Beyond is regular shredding album full of beautiful ear scratching solos. This album use almost nothing unusual to catch your attention, it is just plain drum-bass-rhythm and the well composed melody. If you like traditional, strictly non experimental stuffs, this whole album will gives you a good exercise on that.

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

Torben Enevoldsen – Above and Beyond (2013)
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01. Sonic Confusion
02. Cruisin’
03. Above And Beyond
04. Horizontal View
05. Dreaming
06. Back On Track
07. In Deep
08. Lost In Space
09. Mysterious Karma
10. True Blue

Torben Enevoldsen Above and Beyond album review

Alex Masi - Danger Zone (2013)

Alex Masi had a long road as a band guitarist and also soloist. Exist since '80s, in his belt is about 15 all instrumental guitar albums. Danger Zone is his latest as per 2013, just three years after his previous Theory of Everything. Alex also had gone a variety of genre in his music, started as heavy metal gone to classical music and others, his latest style seems to switched into more electronic music. As hear in Theory of Everything where a lot of tunes were laid on a machine generated beat, in Danger Zone, it utilized 90% of it. So, do not expected heavy metal riffs in the intro, as many has been replaced by synthesizer and beat machine.

Started from Front Line Theory and Second Door, most of the guitar playing around here are in the style of funk up to hip hop and groovy fusion. In Anti-Aircraft, the usage of real acoustic drum set bring us back closer to the home of rock and roll. Golden Coast brings in AOR feel on Alex Masi composition, this is the only track that quite free from electronic stuff. There's also a track like Sun People where involved of world music is meditative to hear. The last different tunes is in the final cut, Afterglow, in which atmospheric composition without a drum beat.

In this hour of guitar playing, Danger Zone resembling what we familiar in Joe Satriani's Engine of Creation and also remind you to Steve Vai's weirdos, especially in album Ultrazone. The thing is, when listen to electronic music for 60 minutes it's completely pulled out heavy metal. It mean that Danger Zone will more favor to those who more into nu-metal and something like that. In the musical aspect, this album will stand out in this particular 'electronic shred' category. If you enjoy the part of modern music and guitar shred, this album is for you.

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

Alex Masi - Danger Zone (2013)
Buy it Here - Amazon

1 Front Line Theory
2 Second Door
3 Anti-Aircraft
4 Heat Seekin' Device
5 Golden Coast
6 Sun People
7 Viva La Revolucion
8 Beginning of the End
9 Sexual Warfare
10 Danger Zone
11 Holy Fiend
12 Afterglow

Tim Hart : Drums
Tim McCardell : Bass
Alex Masi : Guitar
Kyle Michaels : Vocals

Alex Masi Danger Zone album review


Messenger Starwolf - Pt. 1: The Messengers (2013)

This band from Neunkirchen, Germany, has a strong old school power metal in their blood. The new conceptual album, in space theme as the cover art suggested, is their third. Titled as Starwolf Part 1 : The Messenger, it captured the most you can have in power metal. Just to remind, they covered Dr. Stein (Helloween) back in See You in Hell album, which was actually how I found them.

From track to track in Starwolf, I  found nothing but to enjoy their surprisingly simple melodic song. Starwolf Part 1 make it easy to enjoy power metal because it was so obvious with its verses and choruses. The album started with Raiders Of Galaxy, which is typical fast guitar licks lead into four bars of screaming and then a captivating story telling verses. Enjoy the quality of their vocalist who sing with old school wet husky voices. Almost all of their openers songs delivered in solid metal, especially Salvation which featuring Ralf Scheepers and Port Royal featuring Preacher. The Spectre and Pirates Of Space is what I found in Messenger, simple melody and easy to follows. Same thing to Thousand Suns Of Eternity, basic structure with calm vocal solo in verses and full band to follow up in choruses. Earth, Water And Power gives the power of basic chuggy riffs you can have in power metal.

In short, I am satisfied with the power metal contents in this album. They are solid and achieving its goal to gives that bloody headbanging moments in all songs. Starwolf Pt. 1 may not in favor for those whose originality is their first parameter, because this album may sounds like a combination of many familiar riffs and choruses. The other things to comment is, despite the concept deal with outer space theme, the music offered sounds more suit into middle-earth setting, with all the epic choruses in between. If you looking for a fun all around power album, try this one.

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

Messenger Starwolf - Pt. 1: The Messengers - 2013
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1. Raiders Of Galaxy
2. The Spectre
3. Salvation [Feat. Ralf Scheepers]
4. Pirates Of Space
5. Port Royal [Feat. Preacher]
6. Chosen One
7. Earth, Water And Power
8. Reign Of The Righteous
9. Thousand Suns Of Eternity
10. Star Wolf
11. Blackbone Song \[Feat. Jutta Weinhold Zed Yago Cover]
12. The Path Of Science
13. Born To Face The Wind

Siegfried Schüssler - Vocals
Patrik Deckarm - Rhythm Guitar
Frank Kettenhofen - Lead Guitar
Benny Strauß - Bass
Markus Merl - Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records

Messenger StarWolf Pt 1 album review


Michael Angelo Batio - Intermezzo 2013

When it comes to guitar shred, Michael Angelo Batio is the flagship of the genre. Michael, age 57, is the real hands without shadow of electric guitar when we defined speed. His power in using giga-fast guitar picking, often-ly by both hands, is the main thing comes to mind. He had a numbers of studio albums, but mostly Michael Angelo is more renown as respectable guitar clinician. Touring around the world, MAB preach guitar lessons to created a global shred-mania-fever. His choices of destination included invited to many exotic places, such as Indonesia or Nepal. So when the new album introduced earlier in 2013 as Intermezzo, it's kind of automatically reserved in waiting list.

The album of MAB is good enough, but what about if Michael Angelo Batio invited more than 25 guitarists and bassists to join his shred celebration. The list of old school-er such as George Lynch, Chris Poland, Joe Stump, Guthrie Govan then the later forces of Michael Romeo, Jeff Loomis and Rusty Cooley in one album is simply utopian album for guitar lover. They all performed in the later half of the album, started from 8 Pillars of Steel, proceed to Overload. These are songs that designed to being 'shred' all over the jam track. Do not ever skeptical about the result, because with so many styles put together it is an encyclopedia of licks and techniques. I mostly impressive with songs like 5 Four Ever, which included so twisted guitar solos by shredders whose styles are quite different which is Alex Stornello (a rock-jazz-fusion master) and G. Govan. If you rather enjoy MAB's "solos", with nice composition. Starts from Intermezzo, MAB gives us a strong thematic melody and shred the all the variations along away to give a damn kick ass of opening track. Kaleidoscope Images is heavier with lots of progressive accents, drumming are hardly an easy job as well. I Pray the Lord, as the titled suggested, is gospelic inspiring melodic stuffs with MAB set in mellow mood. One more other track similar in this flow is The Possession - A Tone Poem which is also led by sentimental melody theme to glue us together in the web of speedy licks.

Intermezzo is a champion. It's a bag full of jumping left and right on the guitar necks.  Additional of many guest there is a force to get you make this album as a must have.

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

Michael Angelo Batio - Intermezzo 2013
Buy it Here - Amazon

1. Intermezzo
2. Kaleidoscope Images
3. Oceans of Time
4. I Pray the Lord
5. 8 Pillars of Steel 
(feat. Elliott Dean Rubinson on Bass
guest solos in order by – Dave Reffett, Jeff Loomis, MAB, Rusty Cooley, George Lynch, Andrea Martongelli and Craig Goldy)
6. The Possession – A Tone Poem
7. 5 Four Ever (featuring Alex Stornello (2:34 - 3:07), Guthrie Govan (3:22 - 4:08)
8. Juggernaut
(feat. solos in order by MAB, Chris Poland, Dave Reffett, Annie Grunwald, Guthrie Govan, Mike Lepond and Michael Romeo
9. Overload Intro (featuring Florent Atem)
10. Overload
(feat. solos in order by Tobias Hurwitz, Ken and Darren Burridge, Bill Peck, Peter Ema, Joe Rose, Joe Stump, Florent Atem, Maxxxwell Carlisle and MAB)

Elliott Dean Rubinson - Bass
Mike Lepond - Bass

Michael Angelo Batio intermezzo album review


Silent Force Rising From Ashes 2013

The band behind this album with excellent graphic cover is Silent Force. They are assembly cast from Germany metal crowd. The frontman is now Michael Bormann, whom supported by co partner and founder guitarist Alex Beyrodt. For information, the previous singer in service was D.C. Cooper. Silent Force assembled somewhere in 2000 era, got about four albums in the past, with Rising From Ashes is just their fifth. The style is Germany melodic power metal, Michael the vocalist got that classic Scorpions plus Axel Rudi Pell voice timbre. With Alesandro Del Vecchio who is also strong in AOR music, overall the album is more AOR feel compared to what the band describe as, power metal.

Caught In Their Wicked Game open the album with a show of guitar blasting riffs. With vocal alike of Johnny Gioeli , I keep thinking this is Axel Rudi Pell in their harder sound. There Ain't No Justice is still with same sentimentil, the chorus with layered backing vocals remind us to Queensryche influenced. Circle Of Trust is strong AOR tempo and dictating drum pattern. Most of the song are collaboration of Alex Beyrodt and Alessandro Del Vecchio in creating interesting passage that memorable immediately. Especially on Before You Run and Turn Me Loose where the keyboard rule is dominant.

I am not sure why Silent Force got power metal category in most of review, but this album is pretty much melodic metal, or AOR metal, if such thing exist. Beside the two melodic controller, the bassist and the drummer create significant backing rhythm for each song, which I enjoy very much. If you like Pink Cream 69, Axel Rudi, Hardline, this album will be serves you enough excitement. At least the artwork album cover is a winning one.

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

Silent Force - Rising From Ashes (2013)
Buy it Here - Amazon

1. Caught In Their Wicked Game
2. There Ain't No Justice
3. Circle Of Trust
4. Living To Die
5. Before You Run
6. You Gotta Kick It
7. Turn Me Loose
8. Born To Be A Fighter
9. Anytime Anywhere
10. Kiss Of Death

Alex Beyrodt – Lead Guitar (Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle, Sinner, etc.)
Michael Bormann - Vocals (PowerWorld, Redrum etc)
Mat Sinner - Bass (Kiske / Somerville, Primal Fear, Sinner, Voodoo Circle)
Alessandro Del Vecchio - Keyboards
(Edge of Forever, Gianluca Ferro, Brunorock, Hardline, Moonstone Project, ex-Eden's Curse)
André Hilgers - Drums
(Lingua Mortis Orchestra, Rage, Sinner, ex-Ninja, ex-Nuclear Blast Allstars, ex-Axxis)

Record Label: AFM Records

Silent Force Rising From Ashes album review


Adrian Galysh - Tone Poet 2013

Adrian Galysh is instrumentalist from L.A, which guitar is his major mastery. I have been listen to him on Venusian Sunrise album, which is an all guitar instrumental album. It was a memorable one, well rounded with interesting composition, grooves and melodies. Tone Poet is his latest album. After almost years of online campaign, this album is well waited by Adrian's fans. It featured world class musicians, such as Mark Boals, Todd Sucherman (STYX), Philip Bynoe of Steve Vai fame and also drum expert Charlie Waymire. This also mean the album is not fully instrumental album, first half of the album is hard rock featuring Mark Boals on vocals.

If you read the review on Tone Poet online, you'll find almost all reviewer unisonical put this album on positive high mark, which easily to see the reason. Tone Poet is exactly what the album title suggested, it is a poems collection in a form of musics. The album did not gone into the mainstream guitar orientated hard rock album, with catchy riffs. In the opening, Resurrectis, we welcomed by neo-classical stuffs, but it is more 'complicated' than usual, with elements of exotic scales ala Marty Friedman, then full scale choruses as the accompaniment to Adrian's solos. It's rather theatrical, and something contrast to the next track, Brick By Brick, which is minor feel 'neo-classical-rock' in theme. Mark Boals voices is nevertheless remind us to remark his memorable voices in Yngwie Malmsteen era. In the track-by-track description, Adrian  recalled to have this song influenced by Reb Beach, hmmm.. interesting. Compositional wise this song quickly glued me on top concentration as the song is very interesting to follow, especially the middle break influenced in neo classical stuffs is somehow un-expected. When You Fall is a ballad, which Adrian usage of open tuning guitar resulted. The song has a strong musical effect to its lyric, the storm, the raindrop, you get the idea. Flying is growing more and more into the groove. The acoustic guitar riffs is catchy and we got to hear Mark Boals in different styles, hard rock. Well composed singing and music on this one. On Movie in My Mind the song is always on something un-resolved chord, which is surprisingly able to be converted into a song. Interesting one yet again. Luminae starts the second part of the album which is all instrumental from this point. Unlike what I recall in Venusian Sunrise, the rest of composition was highly in neo classical background. We got layer of choruses, timpani-like percussion, It is a prelude to the next 'movement', La Dolce Vita, which is technically starts to get difficult as described by Adrian in his track-by-track explanation, check the middle flamenco-style acoustic guitar solos. Tone Poet is kind of the climax, which is my favorite track. It is all acoustic, if you like Al Di Meola, Jesse Cook, set in thick Yanni neo classical orchestration, Tone Poet and the rest of the song is your stuff.

Tone Poet is a work of guitar artistic that rare found elsewhere. The styles combined is something un expected, hard rock, neo classical, latin, and new age. The album benefited from its collaborated musicians such as drummer Charlie in vocals tracks and Todd in the instrumental tracks, laying down correct back-up to Adrian odd compositions. As well bassist Phillip Bynoe on his contributed tracks. This is not your usual guitar shred album, it is not highlighting ultra fast shred, but one level higher, its composition is the superior stuffs. If Adrian can consistent in this specific style, he will gain more spaces in the crowd of guitar virtuoso, not just jump into the ocean of 'normal' shredder. Highly recommended.

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

Adrian Galysh - Tone Poet 2013
Buy it Here - Amazon

1. Resurrectis  (2:28)
2. Brick By Brick  (5:42)
3. When You Fall  (5:17)
4. Flying  (5:17)
5. Movie in My Mind  (4:25)
6. Luminae  (3:42)
7. La Dolce Vita  (4:47)
8. Tone Poet  (3:44)
9. Epoch  (3:05)
10. Echoes of El Greco  (3:53)
11. Ur of the Chaldees  (6:12)
12. Spring (The Return)  (5:22)

Adrian Galysh: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, and Programming
Charlie Waymire: Drums on tracks 2, 3, 4, 5
Philip Bynoe: Bass on tracks 4, 5, 8
Todd Sucherman: Drums on tracks 7, 8, 10, 11, 12
Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen, Royal Hunt, Uli Jon Roth)


Jacky Vincent – Star X Speed Story (2013)

Guitarist from Falling in Reverse band, Jacky Vincent is shredding his all instrumental album called Star X Speed Story.  The album also featuring guest shredders such as Michael Angelo Batio, Paul Gilbert and Dario Lorina. You will find this album full of speedy tricks and licks, which is Jacky's strongest styles. This coupled with techno-metal music making this album something unusual to regular metal guitar album. One  particular issue is, so there is not much catchy riffs.

Tracks such as Maybe I Am A Wolf, Venom Love, and Sidescroller is heavily techno-beat in the body. While Star X Speed and Heaven Or Hell, both featuring guests, are more traditional riff-it and shred-it approach. There are also large portion of neo-classical , peak on Neo Concerto (which featured as OST for some Japanese anime), and The Tempest. Two slower tracks on Without You and If You Were Mine, made up all 13 tracks of the album.

Enjoyable offering that quite consistent in styles but able to varied the styles so that it's not too monotonous. In this album, Jacky Vincent showcase that he is also speedy guys while at the same times paid enough attention to the composition. The references for this album are: Michael Angelo's high speed neo-classical stuffs, techno-beats and melodic playing. Three elements that adequate worth listening to.

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

Jacky Vincent – Star X Speed Story (2013)
Buy it Here - Amazon

01. Maybe I Am A Wolf 02:49
02. Venom Love 03:25
03. Star X Speed (Feat. Michael Angelo Batio) 04:19
04. Without You 04:05
05. Heaven Or Hell (Feat. Paul Gilbert) 05:02
06. Neo Concerto 03:44
07. If You Were Mine 04:59
08. Runaway Tryst 03:47
09. The Tempest 01:23
10. Fatal Envy 03:47
11. Burning Tears (Feat. Dario Lorina) 03:59
12. Sidescroller 06:02
13. I Can Never Go Home (Reprise) 06:32

Ryan Seaman - drum
Ron Ficarro - bass
Jacky Vincent - guitars
all member of Falling in Reverse


Bane Of Winterstorm – The Last Sons Of Perylin (2013)

Now this is a band that coming from far under the equator line. As we know, Europe is not the only land with  folklore and war-tales. Bane Of Winterstorm looks like coming from nowhere, but they formed by member of established bands in Australia. They blasting their way through the attention of power metal fans via online marketing with its quite a success. This is their debut album and already being talk of the mouths for months before its final releases. The Last Sons Of Perylin, is their epic Opera metal title. The quintet from Melbourne sure confident enough to pulled off another concept opera, in its glorious theme similar to the Lord of the Ring, with music resembling Avantasia, Blind Guardian, Amon Amarth and Rhapsody of Fire. That's enough ingredients to mixed a new promising opera metal album, and they did.

The Last Sons of Perylin only make up five tracks but in total runs about 50 minutes. The structure of each songs was in opera metal format. Meaning it is dialog in writing with character alike Morthion, Aranon, Haldir, Lothriel, Othorion singing along the accompanying metal song, similar to Avantasia concept. The style is symphonic metal in the style of Rhapsody of Fire, there also heavy harsh vocals around ala Amon Amarth. The Blind Guardian element made up their epic storyline that heavily referred to Tolkien's world. And one may say Wintersun style of lengthy song. Except for the shortest song in The Warlord's Last Ride which sing only by Aranon. The album peak in the last track The Last Sons of Perylin, which very enjoyable in its libretto, meaning this whole package must be listen with its lyric to get the full enjoyment.

This is ambitious project that come quite perfect. The overall album feel is more symphonic than 'power', so the orchestration is doing the lead and less catchy guitar riffs as in traditional power metal. It's a promising start, a sequel is expected (what else the band need to do..?) and I'll willing to continued in their storyline. The album cover itself is a champion, very strong artwork that will bring in power metal as well black metal fans into attention. Bravossimo for this one.

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

Bane Of Winterstorm – The Last Sons Of Perylin (2013)
Buy it Here- Amazon for $ 4.99 only!!

1. The Black Wind of Morthion  10:30
2. The Magic of Mithren’s Ring  9:23
3. The Ancient Ritual of Räkth 8:03
4. The Warlord’s Last Ride  5:04
5. The Last Sons of Perylin  16:08

Bass - Tristan Peterön (Chained Lizard, Son of Aeslepius)
Guitars - Anthony J. Finch (Ark of Silence, Envenomed)
Drums - Alberto diBiase (ex Eidolon, ex-Accursed)
Guitars - Chris Themelco (Orpheus Omega)
Vocals - Riccardo Mecchi (Anarion)
Guest Singerg - Jennifer Borg (Divine Ascension)

The band is joined by some of the most powerful singers in the world including vocalists of Dragonland, Anarion, LORD, Damnation’s Day, Divine Ascension, Desecrator, Orpheus Omega and Vanishing Point to accurately portray the lore of ‘The War of Shadows’

Bane of Winterstorm album review


Týr - Valkyrja (2013)

They are coming from Faroe Island and have every reason to sing the Viking metal songs. Týr is going to stir the wind of power metal in their seventh studio album called Valkyrja. All their previous albums were highly talked about the Nordic mythology so does this one, and it seems we must once again listen to its tales on this highly recommended folk metal album.

The quartet opened with a song titled Blood of Heroes (not to be confused with Megadeth's...). Epic riffs that match the title of the song. We then introduced to Tyr version of folk metal. Singing are a bit slow and low to baritone territory making the Gothic feeling in the mist. There's element of Power Metal, Sabaton and Paradise Lost to mixed in. The Lay of Our Love is featuring Liv Kristine of Leaves' Eyes, beautiful ballad duet. The next nice catchy is Nation. The combination between metal and Viking style choruses are well connected here. Fast song are in Another Fallen Brother and Lady of the Slain. For thick folk metal tracks are in Fnar Burtur Brandalj and Valkyrja, the native language title making it compulsory to use folk instruments. One last interesting point is in Grindavsan where the use of power Viking style choir will make something memorable for the whole album.

Valkyrja is specific in style. The band is success in placing the different folk + power metal sounds that less found in other similar band, such as Ensiferum or Sabaton. They did not overly use folk instrumental to catch the attention. It is the vocals and song writing that defined their music. The backing music itself also did not over extended into virtuosity but served properly to what the music needed for. Two covers in the end are very well performed. Iron Maiden's Where Eagles Dare are rarely covered, and very welcomed one from Iron Maiden fans. Cemetery Gates from Pantera is rather fun because the band must swim into the style that not their own. I think the addition of these two covers is valuable bonus to rise this album into highly recommended status.

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

Týr - Valkyrja (2013)
Buy It Here - Amazon

01. Blood of Heroes (3:42)
02. Mare of My Night (3:55)
03. Hel Hath No Fury (3:27)
04. The Lay of Our Love (3:48)
05. Nation (4:05)
06. Another Fallen Brother (4:05)
07. Grindavsan (4:11)
08. Into the Sky (2:56)
09. Fnar Burtur Brandalj (3:38)
10. Lady of the Slain (4:33)
11. Valkyrja (7:31)
12. Where Eagles Dare (Iron Maiden cover) (6:26)
13. Cemetery Gates (Pantera cover) (7:25)

Heri Joensen – Vocals / Guitar
Terji Skibenæs – Guitar
Gunnar Thomsen – Bass
George Kollias – Drums

Tyr - Valkyrja album review


Nightwish - Showtime, Storytime (2013)

Here it is! The new Nightwish album with Floor Jansen. The dramatic turn of events between Nightwish and their singer saw them departed with singer Anette Olzon and replaced by Floor Jansen. This prove to be on the right track by now, because Floor Jansen kind of renew the world interesting once again to Nightwish. Their decision to release live album with Jansen, instead of new studio album, is sending few messages from the band. First its kind of testing the water before launching new music with her. Secondly, their need to keep the momentum high with this emotionally fans who just wanted to hear a new singer, and perhaps don't have enough time to compiled new works. Either way, their new Live DVD and CD, Showtime, Storytime is the best option for now, and the fans are happy.

This was recorded from Wacken Live 2013 on August, trivially, this mean Floor Jansen was still a 'hired' gun status in the band because she was only made 'official' in October 2013. The first number runs smoothly, it is Dark Chest of Wonders from Once album. Originally sung by Tarja, it's performed quite original. But the later songs are mostly re-new with Floor Jansen interpretation, as we can immediately feel in Wish I Had an Angel. Anette Olzon's number mostly from her Imaginaerum album. None from Dark Passion Play, (except the instrumental Last of the Wilds) is sending message to what I also believe. That Floor Jansen is very strong in Tarja's stuffs but when comes to Anette's the song, it will changed a bit. Tarja singing is heavily operatic,  F.J turn down the operatic element while increasing the metal 'sound'. For most of Anette's songs, they are specific written in Anette's style, more lending into clean Gothic Metal style.  In Ghost River and Storytime, we lost a bit of Anette's "wild" clean voice, replaced with heavier metal voice. So, it's comeback to your taste to decide which is likable for you.

The set was one hour and half time, the cinematographic is enjoyable. This is on pair with their End of Era live CD. Last comments, Floor Jansen is established singer with his ReVamp band and for many others. She has significant followers to merge with Nightwish fans. So the fans support is good and they got paid by the band in this enjoyable live release. Showtime, Storytime is not only prove the band manage to get the best singer fit to them, but also a promising start that lead to positive speculation on their next studio album.

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

Nightwish - Showtime, Storytime (2013)
Buy it Here - Amazon

01. Dark Chest of Wonders
02. Wish I Had an Angel
03. She is my Sin
04. Ghost River
05. Ever Dream
06. Storytime
07. I Want My Tears Back
08. Nemo
09. Last Of The Wilds
10. Bless the Child
11. Romanticide
12. Amaranth
13. Ghost Love Score
14. Song Of Myself
15. Last Ride of the Day
16. Imaginaerum

Floor Jansen - Vocals
Tuomas Holopainen - Keyboards
Marco Hietala - Bass & Vocals
Jukka Nevalainen - Drums
Emppu Vuorinen - Guitars
Troy Donockley - Pipes, flutes & whistles

Nightwish Showtime, Storytime


PelleK - Christmas With PelleK (2013)

It is in my believe that every Christmas carol is screaming waiting to get them self metal-ized. That's what a lot of metal musician doing. Song such as Joy To the World or The First Noel can be done with distortion guitar and double kick drum, and still sounds natural. No it isn't? Well forget about that, here comes the first interesting Christmas tribute album for 2013, by vocalist Pellek. Now, Per Fredrik Pellek Asly is unique singer. He sings in Damnation Angels, power metal band from UK. His voices is unorthodox from what we usually imagine from a power metal singer. He got lots of rebellion inside that he seems like to mix a lot of style into metal. And he got a Youtube channel that shown a lot of cover song. This Christmas album is his solo takes. The main style is heavy metal but it's also comes with large portion of interesting popular style with orchestration and jazzy arrangement. In all songs Pellek's humorous vocal keep the album in easy-listening mood.

Twelve Days of Christmas is interesting choices to open a Christmas album. It's real bring in the holiday season mood. It's a popular carol now made into catchy march-type metal arrangement. Enjoyable. O Christmas Tree is bit of jazzy in the intro, a natural choice that the song very likely prefer to in that way. Then we switch to orchestration and the metal part kicks in. Very good arrangement. Deck the Halls is another song that can be re-arranged into millions of style. PelleK gives a good version on it here. It is a simply fast metal arrangement. Beautiful Savior is the song that Pellek gives the more serious devotional feel into it. Jingle Bells is enjoyable version in a 'popular' groove for the first verses then gone metal in the next. Then if you are a vocalist, O Holy Night is compulsory number. Faithful to its original tempo but still received it's metal drumming complete with chorus backing. Come All Ye Faithfull is even original from the beginning. A works of vocals in the intro is more likely fit in church setting but then yet again it's show how galloping drumming is always fit Christmas carols. Silent Night is the last song and get ready to your Christmas folks!

Metal Harem class: Special Holiday Album

PelleK - Christmas With PelleK (2013)
Buy it Here - Amazon

01. Twelve Days of Christmas
02. O Christmas Tree
03. Deck the Halls
04. Beautiful Savior
05. Jingle Bells
06. O Holy Night
07. Come All Ye Faithfull
08. Silent Night

Per Fredrik Pellek Åsly (Lead Vocals - Damnation Angels)
Patrick Fallang (Guitars)
Stian Warlow Braathen (Drums)
Ingemar Bru (Bass)

PelleK Christmas with, album review
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