Kilmara – Love Songs and Other Nightmares (Review)

KilmaraThis is the third album from Spanish Heavy Metal band Kilmara.

Kilmara play Melodic Heavy Metal with good songs and good vocals. The band have elements of Classic Metal and a more modern influence at the same time. On paper this juxtaposition sounds doomed to failure but they manage to pull it off smoothly.

The singer has an accomplished voice that is relatively restrained compared to some in this genre, and is all the better for it. He works with the rest of the song and the music and vocals have a synergy that is unforced.

The strength of any album like this lies predominantly in the songs themselves; if these are weak then there’s not much to fall back on like there is with some other genres. Kilmara obviously take pride in their songs and have lavished considerable attention on them it seems. This has paid off as each song is slick and Rockingly good. The only slight misstep is Alpha which sounds out of place with the rest of the album; more like something you’d find on some substandard Euro-Metal cheese band’s release. It’s not an awful song but its standards are lower than the rest.

The performance of the band can’t be faulted and there are plenty of solos and leads to get your teeth into. The top quality sound allows them to do their thing with impunity; a crisp, punchy production shows the band at their best.

This is a very enjoyable album. The honesty of the songs and some quality songwriting combined with a nice, modern crunch results in a meeting of the Old-School and New- in a way that works well rather than falling flat in one of the countless ways that such a clash could do.

If you’re a fan of Traditional Heavy Metal and like a modern sheen to your music then seek out Kilmara, you won’t be disappointed.

Scars Divide – Scars Divide (Review)

Scars DivideScars Divide are from Switzerland and play Melodic Metal/Metalcore with Progressive tendencies.

The riffs are melodic and meaty and don’t get reined in for safety purposes when they get a bit randy; rather they’re unleashed like the proverbial dogs of war and let loose to do what they may.

This is a key difference between Scars Divide and some of their more commercial cousins; Scars Divide are less concerned with opening in front of a big stadium, (although I’m sure they’re like to given half the chance), and more interested in creating modern Metal songs that entice, challenge and bludgeon.

It’s clear the band have an intimate relationship with their instruments and know exactly what they’re capable of. This is state-of-the-art Modern Metal that’s a refreshing change from all of the Djent/Lamb of God/At the Gates clones that seem to have been around forever.

The songs are inventive, interesting and above all Metal. Heavy guitars and a pummelling rhythm section keep things flowing nicely as the band get to work doing what they do best.

The vocals are impassioned and emotive without resorting to cleans or gimmicks, reminding of the Darkane singer on occasion.

Call me cynical, jaded, or whatever, but I am surprised at how good this is; I was expecting more Metalcore-by-numbers and I’m very pleased to be wrong. This is a premier league release that should hopefully see the band earning plenty of positive reviews.

Get in on the action while they’re still small, and help support a talented Metal band. This gets my vote.

Grey Skies Fallen – The Many Sides of Truth (Review)

Grey Skies FallenGrey Skies Fallen are from the US, and this is their fourth album of Progressive Metal.

The band combine a form of Anathema relaxi-prog and a Melodic Death Metal influence with sharp, rasped vocals and heroic cleans. On paper it looks a bit incongruous but in practice it works surprisingly well.

It’s a tribute to the talent of the band that they can combine the soft introspective nature with the heavier Metal parts of the songs and have it sound cohesive and complete.

Elements of Nevermore and Septic Flesh clash with the aforementioned Anathema influence, add to that a bit of Doom and Melodic Prog…basically they have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies and are talented enough to pull it off.

Subtle keyboards accompany the sometimes epic riffs to create a larger than life atmosphere that also manages to stay compact and manageable as the band flex their musical muscles.

The songs are well composed and have a real feeling of grandeur to them. The music is very operatic in scope and ambition, which means it’s a very satisfying listen.

Grey Skies Fallen have produced an album that demands closer inspection. Check them out and hear what they have to offer. You won’t regret it.

InfiNight – The Vision (Review)

InfiNightHere we have a gem of a Power Metal release from Germany – InfiNight have released a Rockingly good EP of solid Metal.

Containing 5 tracks and 3 actual songs, (2 interludes), their brand of Power Metal is based not on histrionic vocals or flashy music, but rather it’s all about creating a good song and a catchy hook.

Hideaway is the first song and it’s a corker! A quality Metal song; it’s melodic and catchy with infections riffs. The singer has a voice that’s on top form and he knows when to hold back and when to let loose.

A Loss of Love has more of a restrained opening than the first song, but not to its detriment. Once again it’s incredibly catchy and very well written. The vocals really lift an already good song into almost chart-topping territory.

Final track The Vision sees the band up the tempo and take on almost a Thrash aspect.

Based on this EP InfiNight should be bigger than they are. Much bigger. This EP is an absolute cracker and is 13 minutes well spent for any Metal fan. 

Sapiency – Tomorrow (Review)

SapiencySapiency play modern melodic Thrash Metal. I don’t listen to a lot of this style of music as there is a huge amount of mediocrity out there – it seems to be that writing okay music in this style is quite easy, but being truly great is rare.

Their style is similar to bands such as Scar Symmetry, In Flames, Soilwork, etc. – the gruff vocals juxtaposed against the clean, huge soaring guitars and keyboards, epic melodies and punchy drums, etc. Although Sapiency don’t hit the heights of the truly great, they are certainly a cut above the mediocre, and dare I say it this is quite an exciting and enjoyable release.

Having more bite to their attack than a lot of the typical In Flames/Soilwork clones, (which they aren’t), certainly works in their favour. The gruff vocals are a bit harsher than the norm, and the clean vocals a bit more powerful. They dwell on the right side of catchy rather than sounding ‘pop’. The guitars are not watered down and actually have some meat to the riffs rather than just being there to accentuate the vocals, which seems to be a usual failing of certain bands in this genre. In fact, Sapiency are less In Flames/Soilwork and more Scar Symmetry/Dark Tranquillity – heavier and less polished, (relatively speaking of course), than their more commercial kin. Some would say ‘more metal’. Here we even have the occasional blastbeat, which is always welcome. Solos too. It’s good that they are not afraid of speed either; it’s too easy for bands in this genre to lose interest across an album as every song has the same mid-paced tempo, speed and feeling.

Albums like this live or die by their songs and Sapiency have these; energy and catchiness, wrapped up and delivered as molten melodic metal. It’s hard not to feel the enthusiasm inherent in these tracks. There is a genuine love of metal on display here and it exhibits itself in every track and imbues them with a vitality that is otherwise missing in so many catchier bands.

I enjoyed Sapiency more than I thought I would; which is a reminder that it’s far to easy to feel jaded and cynical these days and every band should be judged on their individual merits. A class album – if you enjoy melody with your metal then check them out.