Venues – Aspire (Review)

VenuesVenues are a post-hardcore/metalcore band from Germany and this is their debut album.

This is an enjoyable 47 minutes of modern heaviness, with a style that fits somewhere between post-hardcore and metalcore. Continue reading

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Tantal – Ruin (Review)

TantalTantal are a Russian metal band and this is their third album.

Mixing elements of modern, progressive, melodic, and Gothic metal into 49 minutes of music, Ruin is the follow up to 2014’s Expectancy, which was a good starter for getting to know Tantal’s sound. Ruin sees the band Continue reading

Vetrar Draugurinn – I (Review)

Vetrar DraugurinnThis is the debut EP from Gothic metallers Vetrar Draugurinn, who are from the Netherlands.

Featuring current and ex-members of bands such as Stream of Passion, The Saturnine, and Autumn, this new band brings a wealth of experience to the table, showing a maturity and professionalism that you’d expect from such accomplished artists. Continue reading

Tantal – Expectancy (Review)

TantalTantal are from Russia and this is their second album. They play Progressive Melodic Death Metal.

This is upbeat and Melodic Death Metal in the vein of Arch Enemy, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Nightrage, etc. Tantal differentiate themselves though by having more of a Progressive edge to their sound.

The vocals consist of harsh male screaming and clean female vocals pairing off against each other. Both sets of vocals are performed admirably and the clean melodies in particular are quite enjoyable and remind of classic Lacuna Coil back when they were still a rising power to contend with.

The band’s progressive influences mean this is a relatively lengthy album and the songs have some good meat on them due to this. Everything is played well and the songs make an impression.

This has a strong European flavour to it, (despite originating in Russia), and takes me back to a time when European Metal still sounded quite exotic and had a unique flavour to it. Although this is still quite true in many respects, it no longer feels new to me any more, having heard it for decades now; Tantal remind me of a time when it all was still new and exciting, so that alone endears me to them even before you take into account the fact that they actually write good songs too!

If you like the more modern, melodic style of Heavy Metal yet eschew the more commercial tendencies of a lot of bands that play in this genre and want something a bit meatier to sink your teeth into, you could do a lot worse than check out Tantal.

A recommended listen.

Fractured Spine – Memoirs of a Shattered Mind (Review)

Fractured SpineThis is the second album from Finland’s Fractured Spine.

Fractured Spine play Blackened Gothic Doom/Death Metal. Which is to say that they take the Doom/Style, add Gothic touches to the music and then layer a Black Metal fuzziness, melody and feel over everything. Early 90’s Gothic Black Metal mixed with Doom/Death.

They are also a bit more experimental than a lot of bands who play the Doom/Death style, which again gives them more of a Black Metal theme to my eyes.

Vocally the band eschew the normal purely Doom/Death deep vocals for a more varied approach involving a mix of deep growls, high screams and Gothic cleans.

Some songs have more of a Black Metal feel, others more of a Gothic Doom feel and occasionally even an early Lacuna Coil or …In The Woods style makes an appearance.

The keyboards and Gothic effects are prevalent throughout the album and it’s a refreshingly different take on the Doom/Death sub-genre.

A surprisingly varied album that experiments with its sound to create a mixture of related styles under one album.

Check them out and see what you think.

Ann My Guard – Innocence Descent (Review)

Ann My GuardAnn My Guard are from Hungary and play Melodic Rock/Metal. This is their début album.

Mixing the extravagance of bands like Evanescence and Lacuna Coil with the Earthy grit of bands like Hole, Ann My Guard have produced a very impressive début.

The singer has a very powerful voice that’s versatile and strong. The vocals seems to seep from every pore of the music, however they don’t overpower it as the band has a core of Rock/Metal that refuses to be subdued.

This is richly melodic and falls on the more commercial side of the Modern Metal spectrum, although that certainly doesn’t intrinsically mean anything is wrong with it. Quite the reverse in fact, as the songs are strongly written and well-produced.

Although the vocals are undoubtedly the central focus, the music doesn’t slack. The instruments are well played and have a good sound to them. The fact that the guitars are not completely watered down like some bands of a similar style to this should tell you all you need to know. Rather than a vehicle for a singer this is a real band, as the coherence of the album attests to.

The band create very lush and textured soundscapes, with plenty of piano and subtle sounds to accompany the traditional drums/bass/guitar triad. This is an album of memorable tunes and good songs.

Although a lot lighter and considerably less extreme than a lot of the stuff that makes its way onto this site, this is nonetheless a worthy acquisition for when you want something a bit less intense and a lot more floating-ly melodic.

Check them out and have a listen.