EarMusic

DragonForce – Reaching into Infinity Review

DragonForce – Reaching into Infinity Review

“There was a period back in my early high school days where I listened to DragonForce almost exclusively. I learned guitar so I could (badly) play “Through the Fire and Flames,” I wore one of the most atrocious band tees I’ve ever seen with pride, and I even made an unbelievably embarrassing PowerPoint presentation on the band’s history for a class assignment. I’m pretty sure my obsession with them stemmed from misdirected teenage hormones, which, with me being a DragonForce fan, definitely weren’t being aimed where human biology intended.” Dragonfetish.

Circle II Circle – Reign of Darkness Review

Circle II Circle – Reign of Darkness Review

Circle II Circle keeps chugging along, tirelessly offering a stripped-down, threadbare reminder of what Zak Stevens era Savatage sounded like – just in case those albums get raptured away or something. This is their seventh album of mid-tempo metal with hard rock and AOR influences, and though the blueprint delivered some good moments (Watching in Silence, Burden of Truth), the past few outings felt increasingly watered down and bereft of inspiration, culminating in the dissipated lethargy of 2013s Seasons Will Fall.” With two spheres in the title, how can you go wrong?

Stratovarius – Eternal Review

Stratovarius – Eternal Review

“Euro-power is in a bit of rut lately, with very few releases really grabbing my jaded ears with the proper blend of bombast, cheese whizardry and over-the-top exuberance. Stratovarius was once a no brainer when I needed such sonic excesses, but the past few albums have been hit or miss affairs, especially 2013s Nemesis where the band explored a more commercialized, and dare I say it, poppy style.” Can the former Lords of Euro-power regain the Cheddar-Coated Throne of Power?

Angra – Secret Garden Review

Angra – Secret Garden Review

Angra needs no introduction. The band has been a power metal fixture since the early 1990s and are one of the biggest metal bands to ever breach the borders of their native Brazil. Still, the last decade(ish) has been rocky for these guys, and you might not be blamed for having thought they called it quits. Not only did half the band quit in the early-aughts to go and start Shaman, but they’ve had dust-ups with management and were put on hold—even having been mistakenly reported as split-up entirely. Hell, between 2010’s Aqua and the release of Secret Garden they lost both a singer—who was replaced by Rhapsody [of Fire]‘s Fabio Lione—and got a new 23 year-old drummer to boot. Consistency has been hard to come by for Angra of late.” Mr. The Metal Guy takes on Angra‘s newest record. Does he bite the cheese?

Vision Divine – Destination Set to Nowhere Review

Vision Divine – Destination Set to Nowhere Review

When I was an Angry Metal Lad I discovered what was then the burgeoning europower scene in the late 90s early aughts. Deeply influenced by the likes of RageHelloween, and Stratovarius I began to be taken in by any band that had a lot of double bass, virtuoso keyboard and guitar solos and a dude who sang moderately operatically but wasn’t too annoying. This held me over for a long time, discovering bands that still stick with me to today as some of my favorites including [Luca Turilli’s] Rhapsody [of Fire]Blind Guardian, Sonata Arctica and myriads of others (as well as their aforementioned influences). But like any scene, this one had its boundaries and excesses and after a while I started to get bored. In that process, I missed Vision Divine – an Italian power metal band that includes Rhapsody‘s vocalist Fabio Lione who released their first record in 1999.