Therion – Leviathan II (Review)

Therion - Leviathan IITherion are a Swedish symphonic/operatic metal band and this is their eighteenth album.

2021’s Leviathan was one of my favourite records from that year. How it didn’t end up on my end of year list I’ll never know, and it remains a massive oversight on my part. Suffice to say it’s an absolute killer record, and I love its ostentatious charms. In all honesty I don’t think I’ll have the same long-term reaction to Leviathan II, but that doesn’t stop it from being a damn fine record in its own right. Continue reading “Therion – Leviathan II (Review)”

Dampf – The Arrival (Review)

Dampf - The ArrivalThis is the debut album from Dampf, a metal band from Sweden.

Brought to us by dance artist E-Type, and featuring members of Bathory and Sabaton, The Arrival contains 41 minutes of metallic fun; Dampf are in the business of big guitars, danceable beats, and even bigger choruses. Continue reading “Dampf – The Arrival (Review)”

Battle Symphony – War on Earth (Review)

Battle Symphony - War on EarthThis is the debut album from Greek heavy metal band Battle Symphony.

War on Earth gives us a whopping 69 minutes of music to absorb, (including the bonus track). Described as a conceptual metal opera with a sci-fi theme, it’s the result of one man’s vision, who then brought a plethora of people together to realise it. It combines symphonic, folk, power, and classical styles into a meaty heavy metal feast, and contains contributions from Continue reading “Battle Symphony – War on Earth (Review)”

Zornheym – The Zornheim Sleep Experiment (Review)

Zornheym - The Zornheim Sleep ExperimentThis is the second album from Zornheym, a symphonic extreme metal band from Sweden.

Featuring an ex-member of Dark Funeral, Zornheym present us with a symphonic monster of black/death/heavy/extreme metal. Yes, a lot of genres are thrown into this one, to great effect. The Zornheim Sleep Experiment contains 37 minutes of the stuff, and it’s a damn good listen. Continue reading “Zornheym – The Zornheim Sleep Experiment (Review)”

Therion – Leviathan (Review)

Therion - LeviathanTherion are a Swedish symphonic/operatic metal band and this is their seventeenth album.

Where do you go after a three-hour metal opera marathon such as 2018’s Beloved Antichrist? Well, in Therion’s case, you condense, you prioritise arena-friendly catchiness, and you produce 46 minutes of thoroughly enjoyable material. Continue reading “Therion – Leviathan (Review)”

Horrorgraphy – Season of Grief (Review)

HorrorgraphyHorrorgraphy are a symphonic doom metal band from Greece and this is their debut album.

Here’s a rather unusual release, (for 2018 at least), both in form and consistency; the band is made up of three vocalists and one multi-instrumentalist, while the music is layered old-school doom metal, with a firm symphonic side and rich melodies. Continue reading “Horrorgraphy – Season of Grief (Review)”

Dimmu Borgir – Eonian (Review)

Dimmu BorgirDimmu Borgir are a symphonic black metal band from Norway and this is their ninth album, (unless you count the rerecorded version of Stormblåst).

So, Dimmu Borgir have returned, a band that will likely need little introduction. Is this a case of more of the same, or do they offer something a bit different on their latest album? The truth lies somewhere in between.

Although the classic building Continue reading “Dimmu Borgir – Eonian (Review)”

Therion – Beloved Antichrist (Review)

TherionTherion are a Swedish symphonic/operatic metal band and this is their sixteenth album.

Holy crap. This is a three-CD album, with a total duration of over three hours. Dear me. Where do you even begin with a release like this? And in case you’re wondering; no, I have not listened to this in its entirety in just one sitting! Continue reading “Therion – Beloved Antichrist (Review)”

Sarpentra – Supernova (Review)

SarpentraThis is the début album from Russian Death Metal band Sarpentra.

If you think of bands such as Nile, Behemoth, Melechesh and Septic Flesh you’ll be on the right lines. This is aggressive, atmospheric and dark Death Metal that’s further enhanced by choirs, orchestration and operatic vocals.

The core of the band is fast and brutal, with deep growls and blast beats leading the way. This is tempered by the atmospheric side of the band, which reins in the brutality, (or tries to), so that the band’s grander and more cinematic side can come to the fore.

The technical brutality of the band blurs by as they indulge their atmospheric side and the two taken together merge into something really special. They may not be the first band to play this style but they sound like they’re doing it on steroids. While some Death Metal bands dabble in their Classical components, here they’ve been taken to the nth degree. It’s as if Therion had created reinterpretations of Nile songs and then asked Behemoth to perform them.

These are songs that have real presence to them. It’s undeniable. There are so many stand-out moments on this album that it’s hard to credit. The lightning-speed playing combined with the exotic melodies and the orchestral bombast…it’s a heady mixture and Supernova is nothing if not ambitious.

A lot of hard work has clearly gone into writing and recording these songs and it’s all paid off handsomely. This is an album that feels like a tour of a strange new land, one that’s ripe with danger but worth exploring nonetheless.

Very impressive and very, very good. Make this a high priority listen.

Sigh – Graveward (Review)

SighThis is the tenth Sigh album. If you’ve never encountered them before, they’re from Japan and they play Black Metal. At least, that’s what they started out as and they’ve just kind of evolved from there. Avant-Garde Black Metal/Extreme Metal is probably closest to the mark these days, if you have to label it at all.

Sigh are one of the few bands in existence that come even close to being able to be called unique. They definitely have their own sound and identity, even if this has changed quite a bit through the years.

So on to Graveward. This is dense and complex music that features a lot of different parts to the songs. Clearly a lot of work has gone into these compositions.

The Black Metal base is present and correct, as well as the Avant-Garde tendencies. Add to this is a psychedelic influence, powerful cinematic qualities as well as a strong theatrical component and you have an album that’s born to stand out from the pack.

The theatrical nature of the release belies the horror-themed core of the album, but ultimately serves to reinforce it.

As you might think, each track has a lot going on and it’s a lot to take in on first listen. Subsequent spins reveal all kinds of nuances and little things that you didn’t necessarily consciously pick up on first time around.

Choirs and orchestration rub shoulders with Thrash riffs and Blackened croaks. Psychedelic keyboards and operatic vocals join horns and saxophones in backing the distorted guitars. It’s a true melting pot of influences that probably shouldn’t work but it really, really does.

Befitting music that has a lot of different components to it, Graveward features a wealth of guest appearances from well-known members of bands such as Trivium, Dragonforce, Shining, Rotting Christ and The Meads of Asphodel, among others.

Somewhat of a cross between Emperor, Therion, Arcturus and some form of crazy Progressive Jazz, Sigh can always be relied upon to liven things up with their presence and Graveward is no exception.

This is a truly exceptional release that many will probably find overwhelming with its multicoloured assault on the senses. Those who endure, however, are rewarded tenfold for their perseverance.

Essential listening.