Moonspell

Celestial Season – Mysterium I Review

Celestial Season – Mysterium I Review

“Second acts for bands are always interesting. Sometimes the years away from the tussle and grind of the record release schedule does a band good, allowing passion and creativity to flow anew as it did back in their early days. Sometimes that same passage of time provides maturity and a seasoned confidence that informs the new material. In the case of Dutch goth-doom act, Celestial Season, we saw a bit of both of these progressions on 2020s The Secret Teachings. Coming off a 20-year hiatus, the compositions felt surprisingly creative, confident, and adventurous. They retained enough of the original sound from their heyday but were unafraid to wander into new soundscapes. Two years later we get the follow-up, Mysterium I.” Mystery season is upon us.

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu Review

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu Review

Kuolemanlaakso have been a tricky beast to track over their 10-year existence. Featuring Swallow the Sun‘s Mikko Kotamäki on vocals and several members of Chaoweaver, they started out as a straightforward doom-death act. They evolved into something stranger and more expansive by their sophomore opus Tulijoutsen, blending several genres together into an intriguing and unique sound. Two years later they befuddled everyone by releasing M. Laakso – Vol I: The Gothic Tapes, which had nothing to do with their prior sound, replacing it with a rocked-out, cheesy goth metal. It was such a startling departure that I wrote the band off entirely. Five years of silence followed, and now they return with Kuusumu and yet another shift in sound and style.” Beast of unknown origin.

Bloodspot – The Cannibal Instinct Review

Bloodspot – The Cannibal Instinct Review

Bloodspot would also like you to know that they aren’t afraid to cross genres. That said, they ain’t no atmospheric, avant-garde black metal group. Instead, this German quintet attempts to cross doom with groove and death with thrash. In the end, though, the band’s sound is closest to that of Swede-thrash outfits like At the Gates and The Haunted. But, there’s more to Bloodspot and their new outing, The Cannibal Instinct, than meets the eye. The question is, is it worth exploring?” Food chaining.

Nightfall – At Night We Prey Review

Nightfall – At Night We Prey Review

“Well look who’s back from the dead! Greek act Nightfall originally came into being around the same time as countrymen Rotting Christ and Septicflesh and played a similar style of blackened death metal. Their sound evolved a great deal over the following years, touching on doom, melodeath, Gothic metal and variations thereof. After a dead period between 2004 and 2010, the band released the oddball Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants, which I found quirky and entertaining, and 2013’s riff-driven Cassiopeia which I loved. Then they went silent again. Seven years later Nightfall return with a heavily reformed lineup and a new direction.” Night moves.

Moonspell – Hermitage Review

Moonspell – Hermitage Review

“In these times of isolation, the band has come to the realization that their time is coming to an end. A statement that saddens me to read. But Moonspell feels they still have a little more juice left in them. This retrospection has resulted in a new focus—a focus to buckle down and use their remaining time as a band to pump out the best songs possible. Along with that, they”ve cut the fat off Hermitage. The keys, the sad vocals, the gothic melodicness still intact, it’s the orchestrations that are gone. Like the band’s good ole days. But, stripped to barebones, is the band even capable of recreating their greatest moments?” Waning crescent.

Eleine – Dancing in Hell Review

Eleine – Dancing in Hell Review

“Symphonic and power/symphonic metal are so hit-or-miss. Even when it comes to a couple of my favorites, I can love one release and loathe the next. That’s even when the most astute listener thinks the albums sound the same. It has to be the perfect balance of elements to catch my attention and keep me coming back for repeat listens. And, other times, I have to be in the right headspace. When I first heard Eleine‘s new opus, Dancing in Hell, almost all those elements came together.” Hell is a dance-off.

Tomorrow’s Rain – Hollow Review

Tomorrow’s Rain – Hollow Review

“With all the tech-death, funeral doom, and post-whateverthefuck being hurled our way over the last couple of years, it’s paradoxically refreshing when certain sounds of yesteryear make an unexpected, yet somewhat welcome, return. In today’s case, it’s in the form of mid-90s-flavored gothic metal that would have Century Media doing a violent double-take as to what decade it is.” Blame it on the rain.

Demons & Wizards – III Review

Demons & Wizards – III Review

Blind Guardian has always fed my fantastical appetite through the years—providing me with stories and full concept records at a pace and with a passion that is pure fun. Then, there’s Iced Earth. A band that has given me plenty of headbangable moments and vivid imagery through their own concepts—even crushing my spirit at times with heartbreaking ballads and war/lost-love themes. When I first heard Demons & Wizards, I realized it was no different. In a single band, I could experience the storytelling nature of Blind Guardian and the crushing, yet crippling character of Iced Earth. For two—now three—records, this has been the goal of this power-metal duo. But, fifteen years is a long time to go without your partner-in-crime. Even identical twins can lose a connection after a decade-and-a-half of separation. So, what’s that mean for Kürsch and Schaffer and their precious III?” Two Demons, one Triwizard Cup.

Total Hate – Throne Behind a Black Veil Review

Total Hate – Throne Behind a Black Veil Review

“Metal, punk, alcohol, sex, & Satan. These are the band Interests listed by German metallers Total Hate on their Facebook page. Three of these are featured in the music put out by this Nuremburg five-piece, the other two may, or may not, have been instrumental in its creation. I make no promises.” Essential ingredients.

Moonspell – 1755 Review

Moonspell – 1755 Review

“Remember that first time you listened to Moonspell‘s Wolfheart or Irreligious? If you’re like me—or half of the other writers here at AMG—that was a hella long time ago. And, after over twenty years, those fucking albums still beckon me. Sure, tag me as a seeker of nostalgia, mark me as a purveyor of the past, label me as a connoisseur of memories. But, like it is with many classic records that have taken hold of me, it’s not just the quality of the music that planted the seed. No, it’s also the when, the where, and the what-happened that occurred the first time I listened to these albums.” History, memory, Moonspell.