Like many fans worldwide I was quite anxious about how the band would sound without one of their main gears in their machine. It was 2012 when Luca Turilli left the band seeking new challenges for his work, leaving the rest of the band seeking new inspiration and continuing the legend. What seemed like a turning point though ends up into a very interesting approach and right from the first minute, the band is making it's statement loud and clear for everyone. They continue to play the same mixture of Power Metal, with tons of Symphonic elements, the kind of music that made them so famous all those years. All the things the fans loved with their previous works, are here, from the catchy choruses to the Epic elements, and the pompous arrangements, everything is here to assure that this change won't stop the train from running. On the other hand, this time things are a bit more traditional, and a bit more dark to fit the title. While all trademarks are here, this time the atmosphere is a bit more Metal and more harsh than before, giving a very interesting aspect to the music of the band, and maybe a glimpse of what's to come. Musicwise the album is moving on the same quality level, with huge arrangements, parts to sing along, catchy music and performances. To talk about the keyboard melodies of Staropoli or the work of Fabio Lione on vocals would be meaningless, since both musicians need no introduction or proof of their skills, but we have to mention the guitar work that has been done by Roby De Michelli. He is mostly responsible for the shift to a more Metal sound, with his catchy riffs and solos, and being the only guitarist on this album he has done a remarkable job. The arrangements are well worked, with enough diversity to please both new and old fans. Songs that contain all of the trademarks of the band, but also don't afraid to strip down to more natural and Metal forms, this album has more than enough breathtaking moments. For those who still have concerns, give this album some time, and you won't regret.
Benedictum is a band that comes from the other side of the Atlantic, presenting their version of Classic Heavy Metal with this new album, the forth in their career. The band is playing a style that combines all the classic elements of Heavy Metal, but sounds fresh and interesting at the same time, something that makes this album one of those that would stick into your player for a while. With the addition of a new drummer and a new bass player, the band presents their fourth work, and I am sure that they have every reason to be proud of it. Consisting on a female vocalist, Veronica Freeman, who not only has the looks, but has also the skill to sing in various ways, with the same high quality, she manages to color each song with her distinctive vocals. From every aspect, the vocals are a big plus, and one of the strong points of the album. Then there's the guitars of Pete Wells, who is also a gifted musician, something obvious from the first riff to the last complex solo melody. A solid rhythm section, with enough parts that will make your head bang with the groove, and plenty of melodies here and there to make things even more catchy and interesting. Another notable thing here, is that the band is not limited to just a style, but tries to incorporate various influences, not shifting from the traditional path though. This leads to songs that are a bit better than others, but this doesn't spoil the result or diminish the rank. One of the top moments of the album is the Power Ballad "Cry" where there's a duet with Tony Martin, "Evil That We Do" for it's groovy rhythm and the way the refrain sticks into your mind, "Fractured" for the frenzy rhythm, just to mention a few. All in all, the album is fun, although as I said before, some moments might tempt you pressing the skip button on the player. It's groovy and preserves enough of the 80's feeling in music, but it can't be described as retro in any moment. If you liked their previous works, or simply enjoy good Heavy Metal music, check them out.
Having the pleasure to witness the band from their first release some years ago, and being informed about future shows and tiny bits of their next steps, the new album came as no surprise, or so I thought when I started watching their video clip Amyrah, about a month ago. The fact is that the song is just one side of the coin, maybe the most representing side, but still one side. The band is playing a mixture of Power Metal and Progressive, often letting each side dominate the other and this gives a multilayered album, that has always something to give and things to discover. Melody is more important here than style, and the band always searches for the perfect melodies to include into each song, something that I think elevates their music to another level. Not limited to a certain style, they can create songs that are closer to Classic Power Metal, others with more complex Progressive structures, but all with the same quality. It seems that it took them some time to complete the album, but this works in favor of the arrangements and the overall quality. While each band member does a remarkable job, from the guitars of Andreas to the solid rhythm section, I feel the need to mention the work that has been done in the keyboards, and of course the singer. Keyboards are managing to add depth to the music, and some of the melodies and intros are simply breathtaking. The same goes for Jon Soti, who does wonders behind the mic, often with the help of the female vocals of Christina. Guitar riffs are plenty and straight to the point, while the solos are melodic enough, although I would prefer some more complexity in them. It's really hard not to like this album, or find things that are not worked to the last detail. With arrangements that sometimes catch you by surprise, without limit themselves in forms, and with performance that sometimes brings you goosebumps, this is a release you should check out.
Kataklysm is one of the oldest Death Metal bands of Canada, a country that somehow is a trademark when it comes to quality of Metal music. The new release of the Canadians moves a bit closer to the Gothenburg scene, although glimpses of the past also exist, something that gives a multi layered nature to the album. The first thing, as I mentioned before, is that the band has used a lot more melodic elements into their Death Metal, but without making the result less aggressive. The album starts with the usual Kataklysm sound, a sonic blast of full speeds, growls and sheer brutality. But as the album progresses the bands shows no will to rest on their glory, but starts to explore new ground, implementing more melodies without sacrificing the energy and the aggression. The other thing we noticed is the excellent work that has been done by all musicians, from the great vocals of Mauricio Iacono to the huge riffs and melodic guitar parts of Jean Francois Dagenais, although a special mention needs to be done for the drummer, Oli Beaudoin. He is doing a great job, either in the most melodic parts or the super human blastbeats, he performs with the same quality and ease. The songs are very good, although there is a slight repetition in forms and melodies here and there, but they are all in such a top quality level that this might not even be a flaw at all. Balanced between oldschool Death and Melodic Death, and combining the best of both worlds, this album is an absolute hit, showing a band that doesn't afraid to experiment and explore new territories. The turn in their sound might seem strange to some, but it definitely worked for me, left me eager for their next releases. After all, the song they chose to close this album, also works as a promise.