Travis Green
MMA Special Collaborator · Power & Neo, Goth & Symph, Prog/AG Teams
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2303 reviews/ratings
DYNAZTY - Renatus Power Metal | review permalink
DRAGONFORCE - Maximum Overload Power Metal
ADRANA - The Ancient Realms Power Metal
EVERGREY - The Inner Circle Progressive Metal
BLIND GUARDIAN - Imaginations From the Other Side Power Metal
ANCIENT BARDS - Soulless Child Power Metal
ARMORY - Empyrean Realms Power Metal
FREEDOM CALL - Beyond Power Metal
FREEDOM CALL - Eternity Power Metal
FREEDOM CALL - Stairway to Fairyland Power Metal
CIVIL WAR - Saint Patrick's Day Power Metal
XANDRIA - Neverworld's End Power Metal
DARK MOOR - Ancestral Romance Power Metal
DAWN OF DESTINY - Praying to the World Power Metal
DREAMTALE - Epsilon Power Metal
MINDMAZE - Back from the Edge Power Metal
VANDROYA - One Power Metal
DALRIADA - Jégbontó Power Metal
DALRIADA - Kikelet Folk Metal
DALRIADA - Ígéret Folk Metal

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Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Power Metal 900 4.00
2 Progressive Metal 335 3.89
3 Symphonic Metal 223 3.91
4 Heavy Metal 168 3.55
5 Thrash Metal 96 3.63
6 Gothic Metal 92 3.92
7 Folk Metal 75 4.27
8 Melodic Death Metal 70 3.81
9 US Power Metal 42 3.81
10 Alternative Metal 36 3.42
11 Hard Rock 33 3.64
12 Non-Metal 29 3.48
13 Death Metal 18 4.00
14 Metal Related 16 4.06
15 Melodic Metalcore 15 3.27
16 Groove Metal 14 2.89
17 Symphonic Black Metal 13 4.38
18 Technical Death Metal 12 4.04
19 Metalcore 12 3.83
20 Technical Thrash Metal 10 4.45
21 Speed Metal 10 3.80
22 Trance Metal 10 3.50
23 Heavy Alternative Rock 9 4.67
24 Atmospheric Black Metal 8 4.06
25 Industrial Metal 8 4.50
26 Melodic Black Metal 5 4.00
27 NWoBHM 5 4.50
28 Deathcore 5 3.60
29 Doom Metal 5 4.00
30 Death-Doom Metal 4 3.88
31 Heavy Psych 4 3.75
32 Glam Metal 4 3.88
33 Nu Metal 4 3.75
34 Avant-garde Metal 3 3.67
35 Traditional Doom Metal 3 3.83
36 Viking Metal 1 4.00
37 Black Metal 1 0.50
38 Brutal Death Metal 1 4.50
39 Crossover Thrash 1 3.00
40 Neoclassical metal 1 4.00
41 Stoner Metal 1 4.00
42 Sludge Metal 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2019 · Folk Metal
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There have been a lot of metal bands making an impressive resurgence in recent years, following either long periods of inactivity, or a big lineup change that initially seemed like a major setback. One such band to enter a new era recently is Swiss folk/melodeath band Eluveitie, who had released six great to excellent albums during their first twelve years of existence, before announcing some huge lineup changes in 2016, the biggest of which being the departure of Anna Murphy (Vocals, Hurdy Gurdy) and the addition of Fabienne Erni (Vocals, Mandola, Harp.) One year later, the band would release Evocation II – Pantheon, the long-anticipated sequel to their first ever acoustic folk release. However, while I found that album is enjoyable enough, it left me desperately wanting to hear how their new lineup would sound on a heavier album, so when the band’s eighth full-length release, Ategnatos, was announced, I was excited to hear how it would turn out. Now that it is here, it has not only exceeded my expectations: it has become by far my favorite Eluveitie album to date, and one that represents all aspects of their music perfectly, while also showing small signs of evolution.

Eluveitie essentially has two main aspects to their music: The heavy, melodeath infused sections where frontman Chrigel Glanzmann leads the way with his epic, varied growls, and the softer, more epic and melodic folk passages. The two often intersect on many tracks, and I generally find these tracks to be the band’s best works, with the mix between harsh and clean vocals, along with the heavy guitar work and extensive folk melodies, coming from many different unique instruments, all coming together to create something special. Stylistically, Ategnatos delivers more of what any fan of the band would want, with many straight-forward, hard-hitting melodeath passages, a fair amount of softer passages where Fabienne steals the show with her light, yet very powerful and emotional vocals, and a ton of sections where the two styles come together for something truly amazing. There are also some sections where the guitar work goes a bit into metalcore territory, though this is handled very well, and adds an extra level of intensity, without taking things too far, and there are also a ton of nice softer sections, as well as a couple of more danceable, somewhat pop-ish tracks, where Fabienne really gets to shine. Performances are strong across the board, as always, with Chrigel and all musicians, both old and new, doing a great job, while Fabienne really gets to shine in her first full album (Evocation II was very light on vocals) and proves to be an excellent addition to the band. The production is also top-notch, with all the different elements coming together perfectly, and it all sounds wonderful together.

As great as everything sounds, the most impressive part of the album is how the songwriting manages to be both incredibly varied and extremely consistent, with some of Eluveitie’s most dynamic songwriting to date, as well as some of their catchiest, most satisfying songs in quite some time. The title track (which also serves as the lead single) kicks things off in typical fashion, with a brief narrative section, which introduces the album’s overarching theme of rebirth (a very fitting theme, considering the band’s circumstances) and then there’s an extended sequence of folk instrumentation and choral vocals, before the guitars eventually take over and the band charges ahead with their classic melodeath sound, as Chrigel mixes high and low growls together wonderfully during some fun verses, and Fabienne joins along during a fun, soft chorus. It’s a very nice track and does a great job of alternating between speedy, intense melodeath passages, and more melodic folk sections. It’s an excellent indication of what to expect from the album.

I’ll divide the rest of the album into three categories, starting with the heavier, more melodeath focused tracks. First up, we have “A Cry in the Wilderness”, which starts out with nice folk instrumentation and percussion, before speeding ahead during some intense, fast-paced verses. It has a nice combination of folk instrumentation and heavy guitar work, and is a very heavy and fun track, with Chrigel delivering some epic growls, especially during the chorus. The most intense track, though, is “Mine is the Fury”, a short but absolutely brutal track, which has the most frantic, hardest hitting verses, as well as an intense, somewhat groove infused middle section. It does make use of some great folk melodies, but it’s a very hard hitting track, overall, and quite the fun one as well. A couple of tracks later is “Worship”, a track which has some epic folk melodies as well as some narration and it’s probably the most melodic of the Chrigel dominated tracks, but it’s still fast and very heavy at points, especially during the verses, while the chorus is more melodic, though Chrigel still delivers some very powerful, lower pitched growls, which work great. Lastly, we have “Threefold Death”, which has some beautiful vocals from Fabienne during soft passages at the beginning and near the end, but for the rest of its duration it’s rapid-fire, pulverizing melodeath track, with more very heavy guitar work, and epic growls from Chrigel.

On the softer side, there are three nice interludes throughout the album, which are mostly pure Celtic folk, and transition nicely between full-length songs. The first softer full-length song is “The Raven Hill”, which is one of the purest folk metal tracks on the album, with some nice Celtic folk melodies laying the backdrops for a more relaxing, though still intense track. Chrigel growls during the verses, while Fabienne delivers some nice vocals during the chorus, as well as during the intro, and it’s a very melodic, very beautiful track overall, with some especially great folk instrumentation throughout the track. One particularly unique track is “Ambiramus”, a fun, more pop-ish track with some very danceable melodies, as the folk instruments have a catchy, almost electronic sound to them, that is only really noticeable on this track. it’s a soft track, with slow verses and a very upbeat, extremely catchy chorus where Fabienne delivers some of her most powerful and inspired vocals on the entire album. It was definitely a great choice for a single and is one of the best songs on the album. Near the end of the album, “Breathe”, is another very beautiful track with a heavy focus on folk melodies. It does have some heavy guitar work, especially during the instrumental section in the second half, but it’s a slower paced, very melodic track overall, where Fabienne really gets to showcase her smooth and beautiful, yet very powerful voice. It could end up being one of the less liked tracks on the album, but it’s actually one of my personal favorites, due to how relaxing and catchy it is, as well as how amazing the vocals are throughout. Lastly, the album closes off with Eclipse”, a soft outro type track, which takes the main melody and lyrics from the previous track, “Rebirth”, and allows Fabienne to run with it, resulting in another stunning vocal showcase.

While both the heavier and softer tracks are amazing, the tracks that strike a balance between the two tend to be among my favorites. First up, following the title track and an interlude, is “Deathwalker”, a track which has some very heavy, slightly metalcore infused guitar work during the verses, while still having some beautiful folk melodies, as well as a very fun, upbeat chorus where both vocalists work together wonderfully. Similarly, “Black Water Dawn”, does an excellent job of alternating between heavy and softer passages, especially during the chorus, while the verses move along a decent, but not an overly fast pace, and have some intense growls. The chorus, though, is very melodic and gives Fabienne some room to work with, while the instrumental section in the second half is heavy, intense and really cool. On the softer side, but still having some intense growled sections is “The Slumber”, which has some more excellent folk melodies throughout, and it’s a slower, very calm track overall, with some heavy growled parts during the verses, and some beautiful, soft melodies during the chorus, which is dominated by clean vocals. The last full-length song on the album is “Rebirth”, which is the first song releases from the track, but it came out about a year and a half ago, so it’s hard to really call it a lead single. If anything, it initially served more like a tease at what fans could expect to hear from the band in the future. Either way, it’s an absolute stunner of a track, and probably my favorite on the album, again alternating wonderfully between speedy melodeath sections, with a slight touch of metalcore during some slower, pounding sections, as well as a very melodic chorus, where Fabienne gets to shine. The instrumental section in the second half is absolutely epic and spectacular, while the ending is also perfect and serves as a great lead into the aforementioned closing track, which ends the album wonderfully.

When Eluveitie announced their major lineup changes a few years ago I was concerned, and wondered whether they would be able to retain their high quality, but now that I’ve heard Ategnatos, I’m very pleased to say the band has stormed back in a wonderful way, producing possibly their best, most dynamic release to date! It strikes a perfect balance between their classic melodeath elements, as well as their epic Celtic folk sound, and it serves as an excellent full debut for new vocalist Fabienne Enri, while still allowing frontman Chrigel Glanzmann to shine as much as ever before. Longtime fans of the band should be pleased with the album, while fans of either folk or melodeath are highly recommended to give it a listen, as it’s likely to be among the best albums from either genre released this year.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2019/04/06/eluveitie-ategnatos-review/

FROZEN CROWN Crowned in Frost

Album · 2019 · Power Metal
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Some bands like to waste very little time in between albums, looking to pump out some great new music at a quick rate, to please existing fans and possibly to gain some more. One such band is Italian power metal band Frozen Crown, who introduced themselves to the world in February of 2018, with their excellent debut, The Fallen King. It was a very fun and exciting album, with a mix of speedy, melodic power metal and some strong melodic death metal elements on a few tracks. Barely over a year later, the band is back with their second full-length release, Crowned in Frost, which sees the band focusing their sound a bit while continuing to deliver more of the same great music as on their debut.

The Fallen King was an impressive debut, both for how great it sounded for a new band, as well as for how strong the songwriting was, with a nice variety of tracks that hinted at a few possible directions the band could take. Crowned in Frost has a similar sound, with the same style of fast-paced, melodic power metal, led by the strong voice of frontwoman Giada “Jade” Etro, as well as the excellent guitar and keyboard playing of Federico Mondelli, who also serves as a second vocalist and the main songwriter. Fans of the debut should know what to expect from the performances, as the keys are as dominant as ever, while occasionally leaning towards more of a symphonic feel, the guitars are very melodic, with some slight Iron Maiden influence, while occasionally getting a bit heavier, and Jade’s lead vocals are as deep and powerful as ever, while occasionally getting a bit lighter and higher pitched. The production quality is about the same as the debut, with the mixing being a bit on the loud and thin side, though everything sounds pretty good, overall.

The biggest difference between the two albums comes from the songwriting. Where the debut had quite a bit of variety, Crowned in Frost feels like a more focused album, where the majority of songs all follow a specific direction, with the only real exceptions being the intro and interlude tracks. The tracklisting is a tad misleading, in that it makes it seem like the album should have one more song than the debut, but in truth, it actually has one less. This is because, out of the 11 tracks, one is an intro and two are instrumental interludes. The intro track is very nice, with a bit of that Maiden-like guitar work setting things up nicely for the true opener, “Neverending”, but the two interludes are a bit less exciting, with “The Wolf and the Maiden” in particular lasting for over three minutes, yet it’s an entirely soft, ambient track, mostly consisting of light keys (as well as a wolf howl, right at the start.) The track is okay, but it feels drawn out, and because it and the other (similar, but much shorter) interlude, “Enthroned”, are the only real changes of pace on the album, as opposed to the wide variety of tracks found on the debut, it ends up feeling a bit disappointing.

With that one negative out of the way, though, all full-length songs here are excellent, starting with opener and lead single “Neverending”, which has a fast-paced, extended instrumental opening, before Jade takes over during the verses, and the song flies along at a rapid pace, leading to a very melodic and catchy choruses, with some excellent vocal hooks. It’s a very speedy, very fun track, with an excellent guitar solo in the second half, and it’s a great indication of the direction the band has taken on this album. Next are two similar tracks, “In the Dark” and “Battles in the Night”, with the former alternating nicely between very fast verses and a slow, but beautiful chorus, with the highlight being a very rare clean vocal section from Federico, whose clean vocals are otherwise largely relegated to serving as vocal harmonies, while the latter stays at a fast pace throughout, and has a nice solo in the second half.

The first of two longer tracks on the album is “Winterfall”. It’s a very epic track, where the keys have a slight symphonic feel to them, while the guitar work is a bit heavier and harder hitting at times, while at other points it switches to some of those epic Maiden style galloping riffs, with the vocal melodies also have a strong Maiden influence. It’s a very epic, fast-paced and melodic track, overall, and it’s one of the two tracks here to feature some of Federico’s intense, powerful harsh vocals. They come in quick bursts throughout the track, with Jade leading the way through most of it, but the harsh vocals are very effective and help make the track even more epic than it otherwise would have been.

Moving into the second half, “Unspoken” is another speedy, but pretty light track, with small traces of that classic heavy metal sound to the guitars, though for the most part, it’s a more modernized, melodic track, which reminds me a bit of some Temperance tracks, particularly with the trance-like keys, and the chorus. It’s a very fun track, overall. Next is the lightest full song on the album, “Lost in Time”, which is a bit slower and more keyboard driven than all the other songs here, though it still moves at a pretty fast pace, and it still has some nice guitar work. It also has some amazing vocals, as Jade sings a bit lighter and at a slightly higher pitch than normal, but she completely nails it, especially during the amazing, super melodic and catchy chorus, which only gets better during the amazing final run. It’s the most accessible track here, as well as one of my favorites.

In between the two previously mentioned interludes is “Forever”, another fast-paced and very melodic track, with some epic backing vocal harmonies from Federico, as well as another excellent chorus, and a great guitar solo in the second half. Closing out the album is the title track, which is another speedy, hard-hitting track, which moves at a blistering pace early on, alternating nicely between clean and harsh vocals, before slowing down for an epic, very beautiful chorus. It’s a track that alternates very nicely between fast and slow passages throughout, as well as making equally great use of Jade’s smooth and powerful clean vocals, and Federico’s intense harsh vocals. It brings back a bit of the melodeath elements from the debut and is definitely one of my favorites here.

Overall, Crowned in Frost is an excellent sophomore release from Frozen Crown, even if I feel it could have been slightly better. It’s clear the band has figured their sound out at this point, and the more focused power metal sound works very well for the band, while allowing Jade to fully take over the leading role, as she deserves, but it also still gives space for Federico to occasionally come in with his own excellent vocals. However, the lack of variety is a bit disappointing, and I’m not too pleased by the fact that 3/11 tracks are purely instrumental, with the intro being the only one that fully works, and doesn’t feel distracting. Overall, though, it’s an excellent release, which should please fans of the debut, and I’d definitely recommend it to any power metal fan looking for a great release, with some excellent, melodic guitar work, some great, epic keys, and some excellent female vocals. I think the band still has room for improvement, but they continue to show promise, and while I slightly prefer The Fallen King, both of their albums so far have been excellent.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2019/03/23/frozen-crown-crowned-in-frost-review/

BLOODBOUND Rise of the Dragon Empire

Album · 2019 · Power Metal
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It’s very common for bands within similar genres to influence one another. In fact, many bands are often influenced by those from within completely different genres. Bands borrowing ideas from another is quite common and can work quite well, as long as the band in question is willing to put their own unique touches on the music, to make it stand out. However, there’s always a tight line one must walk in such a case, so as not to fall into outright impersonation, or worse, plagiarism.

One band who has been clearly wearing their influences on their sleeves in recent years is Swedish power metal band Bloodbound. They initially started out with their own sound, being one of the heavier power metal bands around, but they’ve evolved a lot over the years, with their sixth album, Stormborn, in particular marking the beginning of their current brand of symphonic infused power metal, clearly influenced by Sabaton. Where that album and its successor, War of Dragons, showed clear influences of the aforementioned band on many tracks, however, their upcoming eighth full length release, Rise of the Dragon Empire, comes dangerously close to total impersonation at times, with some tracks feeling unmistakably familiar. However, the band has managed to work their magic, and put in enough of their own unique qualities, as well as continued with their usual excellent songwriting, in order to craft yet another excellent album, even if it does feel like a slight step down from their last couple.

Stylistically, Rise of the Dragon Empire is very similar to War of Dragons, with the band softening their sound even further, giving way to a largely keyboard dominant sound, with a continued emphasis on huge vocal melodies and epic choruses. The biggest change to the sound is the inclusion of some minor folk elements, which appear here and there on some tracks, though they’re most noticeable on “The Warlock’s Trail” and the closing ballad “Reign of Fire”. Aside from the slight issues of musical plagiarism, which I’ll get into in a bit, the songwriting is consistently excellent once again, with a continued focus on fun, catchy and very melodic power metal, with some symphonic influences, just as one would expect from a follow up to the band’s most successful album to date. Performances are strong across the board, with dual guitarists Henrik and Tomas Olsson, keyboardist Fredrik Bergh and vocalist Patrik J. Selleby all being in top form, as always, with the latter occasionally sounding a bit softer than usual, to fit the tone of the music, though he can still carry an epic chorus just as well as ever.

I usually do my song by song breakdowns in order, but for this album I’ll start with the slightly problematic tracks and slowly work my way up to the highlights, to end the review on a more positive note. First up, while the track is excellent in its own right, being a very melodic, somewhat upbeat track with some slight folk influence in the guitars, it doesn’t have the energy or speed one would expect from an opening track by this band. It does have an amazing chorus, though, except that Patrik sounds slightly quieter than normal, and doesn’t seem fully engaged. Two tracks later is “Skyriders and Stormbringers”, where right from the start of my first listen, my plagiarism detector went off, with the opening bars of the chorus being oddly familiar, and then once the opening verse starts, the main drum beat kicks in and it feels so similar to “Carolus Rex” by Sabaton, it’s just really hard to shake it off and fully enjoy the track. However, the chorus itself is absolutely spectacular once it kicks in, and over time, once I was able to get over the obvious impersonation, the song has managed to grow on me a lot, with the highlight being an incredible sped up passage in the middle, and that’s by far the freshest sounding section on the track.

The Sabaton soundalike marathon continues on “Blackwater Bay”, a slow, largely keyboard driven track, which has some very epic choral vocal during the verses, as well as a very fun and catchy chorus, It’s a slower paced track, very much in line with what the aforementioned band has been doing a lot lately, though it does have enough memorable moments to help make it stand out, so it doesn’t suffer as much from the comparison as “Skyriders and Stormbringers”. The last song that feels extremely familiar is “Giants of Heaven”, a speedier track where the opening riff really feels like it could have been taken from the likes of “Solider of 3 Armies”, “Poltava” or “Counterstrike”, among others, though there are some strong, epic symphonic elements to help distinguish it a bit, and the verses are explosive, while the chorus is every bit as epic and catchy as always, so it still ends up being an amazing track. Honestly, all four of these tracks are excellent in their own right, but I felt I had to mention how familiar they feel, as fans of the band in question may be taken a bit off guard, and think they accidentally put on the wrong album, or something.

Moving into more positive territory, “Breaking the Beast” is a fun, hard hitting heavy metal infused track, with some surprisingly heavy riffs during the opening, as well as during the excellent chorus, while the verses are melodic, but keep the momentum going nicely. It’s not quite amazing, like many of the other tracks here, but it’s still a very satisfying track, overall. Closing ballad “Reign of Fire”, is one of two more folk infused tracks here, with folk melodies dominating the music throughout, and it’s a very beautiful track, with calm, slow building verses giving way to an epic chorus, where Patrik goes all out and sounds amazing, especially near the end of the track.

And now, it’s time to mention the true killers, starting with lead single “Slayer of Kings”, a fast paced track, which starts off with a calm, melodic intro section, before the band quickly speeds things up and keeps the momentum going with some blistering riffs, thundering drums and epic vocals during the verses, before giving a way to a slow, but super melodic and unbelievably fun and catchy chorus. This is the kind of track the band excels at, and they really knocked it out of the park on this one. Two tracks later, “Magical Eye” is a more symphonic influenced, but still fast paced track, which is a bit lighter, but still has some great riffs, as well as an incredibly addictive chorus, fun verses, and an excellent guitar solo in the second half.

The most folk infused track here is “The Warlock’s Trail”, a mid paced stomper of a track, which uses its folk melodies very nicely during the chorus, while having some epic, fun verses. The chorus in particular is one of the best here, though, with a very cheery tone, epic vocals and a strong folk influence, to help make it absolutely wonderful, with the last run through being especially amazing. Near the end of the album is “Balerion”, another very speedy, highly symphonic track, with a slight neoclassical feel in the guitar work. It’s one of the fastest tracks here, while still having some great keys, and the chorus is again outstanding, while the verses are fast, furious and a ton of fun, and the guitar solo near the end is very epic and well played. The highlight of the track is an amazing stop/start section right near the end, and the ensuing final run through the chorus is awe inspiring.

My favourite track on the album, though, is “A Blessing in Sorcery”, another very speedy track, which definitely has some of that Sabaton influence in the keys, but unlike the other tracks I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t remind me of any particular tracks, instead using those influences in a more subtle way to craft something even more epic and unbelievably addictive and catchy, with the chorus in particular being one of the best sing along choruses I’ve come across in quite some time, while the rest of the song moves at a great pace, and is very melodic and epic, as well, with the choral section in the middle being particularly unforgettable. It’s simply the band at their absolute best, and is definitely an early 2019 highlight, as well as one of my favourite Bloodbound songs to date.

I was initially a bit disappointed with Rise of the Dragon Empire, due to some of the tracks feeling dangerously familiar, but once I got over that and started digger a bit deeper into those tracks, as well as focusing more on the album’s highlights, it ended up growing on me, and has proven itself to be yet another excellent album from Bloodbound. It doesn’t quite match Stormborn or War of Dragons, but it’s still a highly addictive, very melodic album, with some amazing choruses, as well as being the band’s most varied album in quite a while, continuing with the symphonic elements of its predecessor, while adding in some subtle folk elements. Fans of the band should love it, and fans of the more melodic, keyboard driven side of the genre are highly recommended to check this album out, as Bloodbound continue to be one of the best in the business, even if their influences are starting to become a bit too obvious, at times.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2019/03/16/bloodbound-rise-of-the-dragon-empire-review/

IRON FIRE Beyond the Void

Album · 2019 · Power Metal
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There are some great power metal bands who seem to be going largely unnoticed, despite consistently making great albums, with one of my favorites being Danish band Iron Fire. I’ve been a fan of the band since their 2010 release Metalmorphosized, which marked the beginnings of a more modernized sound for the band after their past releases were all fairly traditional European power metal albums. They especially blew me away with the more progressive, symphonic and just plain epic Voyage of the Damned, though sadly that one wasn’t too well received, and the band took a bit of a break afterward. However, over four years later the band returned in 2016, with Among the dead, a hard-hitting collection of heavy/power metal tracks, that while being more straight-forward compared to its predecessor, was still intense and left me extremely satisfied.

Now, the band is set to release their ninth full-length album, Beyond the Void, and it is yet another killer! Fans of Among the Dead should know exactly what to expect, as the lineup remains unchanged, and musically this is a direct continuation of that album, with the same kind of raw, hard-hitting power metal, mixed with some classic heavy metal and some occasional thrashy riffs. While Among the Dead was a concept album revolving around a zombie apocalypse, Beyond the Void deals with many different lyrical themes, but otherwise, it’s pretty much more of the same, to the point where a couple of tracks feel eerily similar to tracks from the previous release, though the songwriting is consistently strong enough for that to not be a big problem.

Performances are as strong as always, with the guitar work being as heavy as before, though there are some more melodic passages compared to the previous album, and these are very well done, drums are mostly fast and furious and well done, and of course Martin Steene’s deep and raspy vocals are as strong as ever, with the faint hints of extreme metal vocals he showed on the previous album continuing to creep in from time to time. Production is also top notch and powerful sounding, as expected. Songwriting is generally fast-paced, intense and plain fun, with the occasional slower track and one ballad to offer up some variety. This is the kind of album, though, where you won’t be surprised very often, but it’ll keep you consistently entertained, with excellent riffs, some great melodies, powerful vocals and just some really fun, highly addictive songs.

Following a brief intro, the title track kicks in and is very similar to the title track of Among the Dead, with everything from the lead riff to the chorus feeling oddly familiar, to the point where I wasn’t enjoying it much at first, but over time it has grown on me. Anyone who hasn’t heard the previous album should be entertained immediately, as it’s a fast paced, hard hitting power metal track, with fun verses, thrashy riffs, and a strong, catchy chorus. On the more interesting side, “Final Warning” is a slower building track, featuring a pummeling main riff, heavy verses which march along at a decent pace, and a light, melodic chorus, which picks up the pace as it goes along. It has great, emotional lyrics about destroying the Earth, and is a very good song overall. My favorite song on the first half, and probably the whole album, is “Cold Chains of the North” a fast, hard-hitting track which has more of those thrashy riffs, as well as a frantic, but very melodic chorus, with some pretty cool gang vocals, and some excellent lead vocals from Martin. It’s a very fun, catchy and highly energetic track, which just gets everything right.

Keeping the momentum going, “Wrong Turn” has some of the thrashiest riffs on the album, along with hard-hitting verses, and a basic, but the very fun chorus. Two more speedy tracks are up next, with “Bones and Gasoline”, which has soft, melodic passages during the intro and verses, which remind me a bit of some classic Metallica songs, while the chorus is speedy and fun, and “Old Habits Die Hard”, a more melodic but very speedy track, where Martin uses some of his harsh vocals throughout, and does a great job, as always. Both songs are straight-forward, and pure fun, just like pretty much every song on the album. The lone ballad of the album is “Judgement Day”, which has some beautiful, melodic guitar work, calm verses where Martin uses some of his softest vocals ever and sounds great, and another powerful, epic chorus. It has a great solo in the second half, but the highlight comes a bit before that, with a more intense, yet still melodic section, with some of the best vocals on the album, along with the line “recreate a world without hate, and bring me back to 1998”, which cracks me up every time I hear it.

Moving into the final sequence of the album, “To Hell and Back” is another frantic, hard-hitting track, with some very heavy and intense verses, as well as one of the more traditional power metal choruses on the album. It’s yet another very energetic, highly addictive track, of the sort the band excels at in this stage of their career. My favorite of the final four tracks is “One More Bullet”, a slower, heavier metal based track, with heavy verses, and an intense, but very melodic and catchy chorus, with more nonsensical, but fun lyrics and the guitar solo near the end is really cool, as well. The track has a classic heavy metal feel to it, in an awesome way and is one of the catchiest and most addictive tracks on the album. The last full speedy track on the album is “The Devil’s Path”, another thrashy power metal track, with a great mix between clean and semi-harsh vocals, as well as more excellent thrashy riffs, and a fun chorus. The track sounds pretty similar to “Tornado of Sickness” from the previous album but still manages to be great in its own way. Closing out the album is “Out of Nowhere”, another classic heavy metal sounding track, with more laid back, but enjoyable verses, and an upbeat, very fun chorus, with some excellent vocal melodies. It speeds up towards the end and gets very epic during the final run through its chorus, before closing out softly and ending the album on a high note.

Iron Fire is one of those bands that will probably never get the attention they deserve, but they manage to consistently put out great, hard-hitting power metal albums at least once every few years, and Beyond the Void is no exception. It largely builds on the more modernized, somewhat thrashy sound they started on Among the Dead and offers up the kind of heavy, energetic and highly addictive power metal the band specializes in, while also mixing in a bit of classic heavy metal on some tracks. Fans of the band’s previous album should love this, while fans who prefer their earlier albums may again be disappointed, but anyone unfamiliar band and looking for some hard hitting, fun heavy/power metal with a slightly modern twist, should definitely give this one a shot, as it’s definitely one of Iron Fire’s finest works to date!

originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2019/03/10/iron-fire-beyond-the-void-review/


Album · 2019 · Power Metal
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Some bands are able to consistently deliver excellent albums every time they enter the studio, striking a perfect balance between being familiar enough to keep fans happy, while also adding in new elements and changing just enough to keep things fresh each time. One such band is Faroese power/folk metal band Týr, who are set to release their first album in about five and a half years. I was introduced to them on their fifth full-length album, By the Light of the Northern Star, which served as somewhat of a transitional release for the band, moving away from the progressive folk sound of their early releases and into more of a power/folk direction, with some fairly minor prog elements. The album instantly left me impressed, while the two follow up releases The Lay of Thrym and Valkyrja were both equally amazing, and so the band seemed to be on an unstoppable run. They’ve taken a long time to produce a follow up to Valkyrja, and have gone through some lineup changes, including the departure of longtime second guitarist Terji Skibenæs, who has been replaced by Attila Vörös, but their eighth full-length release, Hel, is finally ready to be unleashed, and unsurprisingly, it’s another fantastic release, with a perfect mix of old and new.

For the most part, Hel continues along the path of its three most recent predecessors, with the speedy power metal elements remaining a major focus, while the folk elements are largely found in the guitar melodies, and the prog elements are still there, but not as prominent as on their first four albums. However, this release is at times a bit more epic and adventurous than the band’s three previous releases, with a couple of lengthier tracks, as well as an increase in instrumental sections, some of which are on the more folk-infused side, while many tracks have a lot of tempo changes and other surprises, so it’s certainly a diverse and complex album, with a lot going on. Performances are strong across the board, with the guitar work being as melodic and epic as ever, while new drummer Tadeusz Rieckmann fits in perfectly, and of course vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter Heri Joensen is the start of the show, as always, being in top form with all of his duties.

Týr has always been great at writing consistently excellent songs, while still having enough variety to keep things fresh from track to track, and so it’s absolutely no surprise that Hel proves to be yet another highly varied album, with no less than amazing tracks. It starts off with the incredible opening track, “Gates of Hel”, which starts off with some nice acoustic folk guitar work, before the rest of the band kicks in and the music becomes heavier. The opening verse provides the first surprise of the album, with some pretty epic death growls, which have a slight folk feel to them, and then Heri switches to his ever smooth, yet epic clean vocals for a speedy, very fun and melodic chorus, which proves to be one of the best on the album. The track is mostly fast-paced, though it does have some slower sections during the verses, and while the vocal sections are the highlight, especially the chorus, the instrumental work is top notch as well, with the solo section in the middle being very melodic and well done. It’s easily my favorite track on the album, though that’s not to say things go downhill afterward.

Next is the more simple, but very fun “All Heroes Fall”, a more typical speedy power metal track, which would have fit perfectly on any of the previous three albums. It alternates between slow and speedy passages during the verses, before going full throttle during an epic chorus, and it has some nice melodic guitar work throughout, including a great guitar solo in the middle. It’s a fairly simple, yet very fun track, overall. Next is “Ragnars kvæði”, one of two songs sung in the band’s native Faroese tongue. Along with the closing track “Álvur longer”, it’s said to be based off of a traditional Faroese folk ballad, and that’s certainly easy to believe, as it’s a very beautiful, very melodic track, with some epic folk melodies and tribal drums during the verses, as well as an absolutely fantastic chorus, where Heri delivers some of his softest vocals. The band clearly put in their own flourishes to spice up the track, with an epic and absolutely incredible speedy passage in the second half being the main highlight, and it’s another stunner of a track, overall. Despite having a strange looking name, “Garmr” is sung fully in English, and is a speedier track, with more epic melodies, and a very fun chorus. It’s another track that would fall perfectly in line the past three albums, moving along nicely during the verses, before fully speeding up and become very epic during the chorus.

One of the early release singles is “Sunset Shore”, a nice ballad, which has had very light and melodic guitar work throughout, as well as some epic, powerful vocals from Heri during the chorus. It’s a calm, beautiful track, with some excellent melodies, and it has a strong folk feel throughout, so it definitely feels more in line with the band’s earlier work, while still being epic and fun in its own way. It has a very cool heavy section near the end, which leads to an excellent, but brief, solo, and a great final run through the chorus. Speeding things up again is “Downhill Drunk”, another fairly straight-forward song, which moves along at more of a gallop during its verses, with some pretty heavy guitar work, before opening up with some great melodies and more speedy tempos during its fun, very catchy chorus. One of the more complex and more eventful tracks on the album is “Empires of the North”, which has many tempo changes throughout, and it manages to pack a lot of memorable moments into just over five minutes. It has some mid-paced passages, a slow, but the epic chorus, some very speedy passages, with a strong folk feel to the guitar work, and it has an absolutely beautiful, and fairly lengthy guitar solo in the middle. It’s definitely one of the more progressive tracks on the album, and it manages to be consistently exciting throughout.

Moving into the second half, “Far From the Worries of the World” is pure fun, very upbeat track, as its name would imply. It moves at a slightly slower pace during its verses, with strong folk melodies, before speeding up with a very fun, epic chorus, which certainly lives up to its name by being incredibly happy and serving as a great escape from any frustrations the world may bring. It’s a fun track, overall, with an epic, long instrumental section in the second half, and it’s definitely one of my favorites here. Next is “King of Time”, a rather slow building track, which starts off soft, with some very folk-infused guitar work early on. It stays slow for a while, with some epic melodies, before speeding up and delivering an incredibly epic, melodic and super catchy chorus around two minutes in, and from there it remains a fun, highly engaging track, with some excellent guitar work. Of course, the first single released from the album is “Fire and Flame”, a highly energetic, fast-paced track, with slow, heavy verses, and a very fun, catchy chorus, It’s another track that would have in great on any of the previous three albums, though it has an epic guitar solo in the middle, with an equal amount influence from folk and classic heavy metal. It’s a very fun track, overall, so it serves as a great single.

Nearing the end of the album, “Against the Gods”, is another track that starts off a bit slowly, with a more subdued opening verse, with some powerful vocals, as well as a very melodic and epic chorus, before speeding up during the second verse, and not letting up from that point on. It proves to be a hard-hitting, intense and very energetic track once it gets going, with one of the best choruses on the album, as well as some excellent drum beats. Another one of my favorites is “Songs of War”, which starts off with really epic neoclassical shredding, which leads into a fast-paced, slightly folk-infused opening verse, and then into a slower, even more, folk-infused chorus.

It’s another track which alternates nicely between slow and speedy passages, with an equal amount of power metal folk, and it has more great melodies and guitar work, though those shredding parts are easily the highlights, with the solo section being particularly amazing. Closing out the album is “Álvur kongur”, the second of two tracks sung in Faroese. Its origins as a folk ballad are much less obvious compared to “Ragnars kvæði”, despite some nice acoustic work early on, and a soft opening section, as it speeds up considerably once it gets going, and actually stays fast paced for most of its duration. I’ve never heard the original, but suffice to say, the band obviously must have changed it a lot, as it’s a fun, upbeat track, with a very epic, catchy chorus, though it still has a very distinct Faroese folk feel to it, and it does have some softer passages, here and there. It’s a very epic track, overall, with some amazing guitar work, and it’s certainly a great way to close out the album!

Týr is one of those bands that just always seems to deliver, and they’re currently on a long winning streak, with Hel being equally as impressive as any of the band’s previous releases, largely sticking to the more power metal focused sound that began on By the Light of the Northern Star, while still retaining a ton of the bands traditional Faroese folk elements, as well as having some more progressive arrangements and more extensive instrumental sections compared to their past three albums. This has resulted in an epic, highly diverse album, which is sure to please longtime fans of the band, while anyone looking for some great power/folk metal, is also highly recommended to give the album a listen, as the band’s ever-distinctive sound is on full display here, and works just effectively as ever. It may have taken a long time to come out than previous releases, but it was certainly worth the wait!

originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2019/03/03/tyr-hel-review/

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 4 days ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
    Much better on a third listen, though I'm still not sure about the USPM tag or not. Around half of the songs do sound like power metal to me, but a couple of those are more modernized than most USPM, I think. It definitely doesn't sound much like their last album at all, so fans may be disappointed. I like it, though, because I prefer slightly modernized power metal, anyway, and I greatly prefer the Mystic Prophecy vocalist over their normal vocalist, so I'm happy with the change. DippoMagoo2019-04-15 16:59:48
  • Posted 4 days ago in What TV shows are you watching right now?
    [QUOTE=adg211288]Yeah it was all preamble. A far cry from the 'movie length episodes' we were promised for the final season.[/QUOTE]It's the last four episodes that are all supposed to be around 80 minutes.  Looks like next week is more setup, and then episode 3 should finally be the big epic battle they've been hyping up forever: It's listed as 82 minutes, and has the same director as the episodes "Hardhome" and "Battle of the Bastards", so that's a pretty good sign we'll finally see the true battle for the north, then. DippoMagoo2019-04-15 13:37:54
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    Game of Thrones is (finally) back, though tonight's episode was kinda meh, and mostly just setup. Even for a premiere, it lacked excitement, imo, aside from a couple good scenes. It better pick up big soon, considering there's only five episodes left.


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