Leviathan – Beholden To Nothing, Braver Since Then (Review)

LeviathanLeviathan are a Progressive/Power Metal band from the US; this is their fifth album.

This is an ambitious release; 76 minutes of Metal, broken down into multiple interludes and the actual songs themselves.

Leviathan have a strong, full sound from the outset. The band are skilled musicians and make good use of all of the instruments available to them, while the production ensures that everything sounds clear and crisp.

The singer has a good voice that is not quite full on Power Metal but neither is it unrestrained. He can belt out the powerful notes when he needs to.

The songs are involved and have plenty of instrumentation, which may be slightly ostentatious but not gratuitously so; there’s a lot of technical flashiness but the ultimate aim is always to enhance rather than just for the sake of showing off.

Check out Leviathan and give them a try.

Eclipse Prophecy – Days of Judgement (Review)

Eclipse ProphecyThis is Canadian Power Metal from Eclipse Prophecy and Days of Judgement is their début album.

This is proper Power Metal in the epic, heroic vein in which it is experienced best. Traditionally I think of Europe when I think of this kind of music but Canada seems to be holding their own in this arena these days.

This is not going to be to everyone’s taste, but as an avid fan of Freedom Call I’m a sucker for this kind of fantasy Metal. I particularly enjoy the added keyboards and effects that Eclipse Prophecy use to add extra flavour to what are already flamboyant songs.

Speed, double bass drums, soaring vocals; it’s all there, only with heavier involvement from the aforementioned keys.

I feel compelled to mention once more that it won’t work for everyone, but for me…what can I say? I like this a lot. Sometimes Brutal Death Metal or scathing Black Metal just won’t cut it; sometimes you want something heroic, positive and larger than life! For times like these Eclipse Prophecy hit the nail squarely on the head.

Bang. Great fun.

Starsoup – Bazaar of Wonders (Review)

StarsoupRussian band Starsoup play Progressive/Power Metal.

First off it must be noted that the singer can sing. I mean really sing. He has a brilliant voice; powerful and full of passion. Pretty much any band backing him up would need to be on their A-game to avoid letting the side down. We’re safe though as the rest of the band can play. I mean really play. Together both voice and music create the full package that an album like this promises.

The songs are well-written and catchy, with the band being talented enough to be able to explore many different versions of what this type of music and related-genres have to offer. Sometimes we get some Euro-power Metal; sometimes the songs take more of a progressive edge; sometimes we have a more modern Soilwork-style approach; sometimes a ballad; I could go on. Suffice to say that there is plenty of variety in this album while at the same time nothing sounds out of place.

This is the band’s first album but it doesn’t sound like it; this sounds like a highly confident, professional band who have been honing their music for many years and through many albums.

Bazaar of Wonders is a very musical album; the talent on display here is obvious. Multiple instruments are used to make the most of the atmosphere and feelings for each individual song, and even though there are plenty of solos and classical moments, there is no showing off; just the needs of the song to make everything sound as good as possible.

An unexpected pleasure – if this genre tickles your fancy then there is absolutely nothing to not like here. This band deserve to be much, much bigger and could easily fit into the biggest stadiums in Europe given half a chance. Highly recommended.

Iron Kingdom – Gates of Eternity (Review)

Iron KingdomCanadian Heavy/Power Metal with plenty of ambition and ideas.

A useful starting point would be Iron Maiden/Iced Earth with more Power Metal-style vocals. Epic melody, memorable riffing and considered song-structure are all contained in these songs, as well as plenty of solos and atmosphere.

These guys really do know how to play their Metal! The band are very adept at their trade, whether it is during more atmospheric, classical moments, or going full-on Metal with duelling guitars and galloping drums. Either way they are very confident, talented musicians, and this comes across in the songs.

The singer belts out the tunes as would be expected of the Power Metal style, with the vocals soaring above the music with a high degree of gusto.  The vocals, and the music in general, are well-recorded and sound very organic. The drums and bass in particular have a very warm, live sound that is a pleasure to listen to.

Favourite track? It has to be the penultimate song; the 15-minute epic Egypt (The End Is Near). A triumph.

Like a satisfying Metal meal in a commercial-Metal famine, if you long for traditional Heavy Metal with some tasty Power Metal thrown in – then this is a nine-course meal that is bound to hit the spot.

Cellador – Honor Forth (Review)

CelladorCellador play very lively and speedy Power Metal. The songs are chirpy, upbeat and have good composition. Their version of Power Metal is the hybridised Speed Metal version, with even the odd blastbeat appearing. This may bring up visions of Dragonforce, and although it’s undeniably the same genre they are not overly similar.

Plenty of musical chops and guitar heroics are displayed but an ear for a good tune and good song structure is not forgotten either. Vocals are passionate and well-done, not falling into the trap of being overly theatrical, (which there is nothing inherently wrong with as such, but it takes exceptional skill to pull off correctly to my mind).

Cellador are a very talented band, and very proficient at what they do. Both guitar and keyboard solos are incorporated into this EP increasing its enjoyability by being nicely embedded in the songs rather than sounding out of place.

Overall I liked this release and look forward to what the future holds for the band.

To The Pain – To The Pain (Review)

To The PainNow this is the stuff! Here we have a Thrash/Power Metal band from the US who really know their stuff.

Here we have some classic, 80s/90s-style thrash with a power-feel to some of the vocals. There are seven songs on offer here and each one of them is as enjoyable as the next. No trends, no compromise, just old-school metal played by people with an obvious passion and talent for this style of music.

There are plenty of great riffs, melodies, solos, vocals, etc. being shown off here. Each song is an actual song and stands strongly by itself, with plenty of feeling and quality poured into it and covered liberally in pure molten metal.

As I sit here listening to this album I am transported back to the formative years of my metal youth; listening to the giants of the thrash and heavy metal genres – this album has a similar feel to those, all wrapped up in a modern sound that lends it a freshness that a lot of bands lack these days.

I really, really like this release – I suggest you check them out as soon as you can.