Symphonic Metal

Adrian Benegas – The Revenant Review

Adrian Benegas – The Revenant Review

Adrian Benegas, perhaps best known as the keyboardist and founder of symphonic metal act Tragul, is at the beginning of a familiar story: a talented musician and composer takes a step away from his band to attempt a symphonic power metal solo project, one in which the story, lyrics, and compositions will be done solely by himself. He will write a story and bring it to life in musical form, bringing in guest musicians and vocalists to play various parts of the story. Is this sounding familiar yet?” Avant horizon.

Coronatus – The Eminence of Nature Review

Coronatus – The Eminence of Nature Review

The Eminence of Nature is Coronatus‘ ninth studio album. Before claiming this album as my own for review, I performed my usual quick search on the AMG site to see which one of my coworkers was historically responsible for dishing out either love or distaste in response to Coronatus‘ eight other albums. Had to be either Twelve or TheKenWord given their public and overzealous love of the cheesiest of the symphonic metals. I was pleasantly surprised to see “No results for ‘Coronatus’ Try another search?” pop up on my screen. Eight albums and not one was covered by AMG?!” Bad omens.

Ade – Rise of the Empire Review

Ade – Rise of the Empire Review

“Further line-up changes have occurred in the intervening years, yet even with new members in tow, Ade‘s signature formula remains intact on their fourth LP, entitled Rise of the Empire. Comparisons to the legendary Nile are unavoidable and apt, yet also form a simplified analysis of a sound Ade can call their own. However, amidst more line-up fractures hampering the band, can Ade muster up the inspiration to deliver a knockout blow in the vein of past offerings?” Et tu, Ade?

Crusade of Bards – Tales of Bards and Beasts Review

Crusade of Bards – Tales of Bards and Beasts Review

“Hello, my name is Twelve. I am an addict. I use symphonic metal and Nightwish. I…wait a second. I’m not Twelve! Silly me. But I too enjoy symphonic metal a whole lot, perhaps too much. Even at its cheesiest it makes me unreasonably happy to listen as richly layered orchestrations mesh with distorted guitars and galloping double-bass kits. I especially love it when, like on the incredible Imaginaerum, the band is able to afford recording with a full-blown orchestra and choir—or at least when part of the symphonics come from actual instruments instead of digitally reconstructed simulations. It is this last feature that drew Spanish sextet Crusade of Bards to my attention.” Symphonomania.

Nevaria – Finally Free Review

Nevaria – Finally Free Review

“I’m sure you figured it out from the cover art: yes, it’s me again, and I’m reviewing yet another female-fronted symphonic metal band. Why am I doing this to myself? How did I offend Steel Druhm, and when will he let me off the hook? All excellent questions for another day. For now, let’s focus on Nevaria, a Bavarian group releasing their debut full-length, Finally Free.” Freedom from mimicry.

The Wizards of Winter – The Christmas Dream Review

The Wizards of Winter – The Christmas Dream Review

“If you’re familiar with Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, The Christmas Dream by holidazzle super group The Wizards of Winter is the metal equivalent. I myself am no stranger to these cinematic fruitcakes, as Mrs. Cherd and my jolly old father-in-law take perverse pleasure in subjecting me to them every Yuletide. It’s become such a tradition that we’ve devised a game of Christmas movie trope bingo, and it’s easily adapted to this brand of metal holiday album.” Nice snow globes!

Necronomicon – Unus Review

Necronomicon – Unus Review

Necronomicon are death metal underdogs. Formed in 1988, this Canadian trio have been toiling in the underground for decades yet have never achieved widespread popularity. Admittedly, that’s somewhat understandable given their sound hasn’t always been the most innovative. My first encounter with them was “The Time Is Now” from 2010’s Return of the Witch, which (while a decent song) made the band sound like they were trying to copy Behemoth‘s The Apostasy.” Into the Unus.

Cathubodua – Continuum Review

Cathubodua – Continuum Review

“Fucking fuck you fucking all, you fuck fucking fucks. I absolutely fucking hate everyone right now and I blame each and every one of you miserable shits. I suppose I could blame Steel, him having personally assigned me to the nightmare which I must shortly relive, but I blame you. You, ‘dear’ ‘read’-er, are why we do the over worded and under think-ed things that we do, and to the best of my knowledge I have never hurt any of you enough to owe anyone the undertaking that was Continuum, an album I’ll be dedicating my life and liver to erasing the memory of.” Powers.

Ethereal Kingdoms – Hollow Mirror Review

Ethereal Kingdoms – Hollow Mirror Review

“Every once in a while, I’m put in a position where I have to explain to some wide-eyed innocent how it could possibly be that I don’t care much for Nightwish. The only reason this happens, mind you, is because of the band’s undying popularity and colossal influence in their genre. My problem? I like symphonic in my metal. But I don’t like the band that everyone seems to copy to get there. So why would I pick up Hollow Mirror, the debut full-length from Danish band Ethereal Kingdom?” Wishing for the night.

Singularity – Place of Chains Review

Singularity – Place of Chains Review

“Remember back in March, when I brought up the subject of musical complexity? Well, here we go again with the things and the words and the stuff. But this time, my choice of symphonic technical death metal perfectly exemplifies the opposite side of the coin. Originating from the hot, dry hell that is Arizona, tech-death quartet Singularity specialize in restraint. Rather than inundating their sophomore record, Place of Chains, with layer over layer over layer of rich instrumentation, this newly-signed band chose to strengthen their compositions by dispensing with excess entirely.” Wank-free zone.