Sonata Arctica

Forsaken Eternity – A Kingdom of Ice Review

Forsaken Eternity – A Kingdom of Ice Review

“I like it when black metal is fun. And I know, I know, that’s not “the point” of the genre, except we’re way past the ‘90s and black metal is a whole lot cooler than it used to be. And if you don’t believe me, why not take a gander at that cover art and wilt under the crushing weight of your own doubts? Forsaken Eternity is a symphonic black metal act from the United States, and, despite having been around since 2015, A Kingdom of Ice is their debut full-length album. Here, we see a comparatively young band who plays it fast, plays it cool, and plays it pretty fun.” Forsaken frowny faces.

Gladenfold – Nemesis Review

Gladenfold – Nemesis Review

“I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed some solid Finnish metal. You know what I mean—the kind of metal that’s aggressive, adventurous, inspired by nature or history or something along those lines, with that je ne sais quoi that is the Finnish charm. I didn’t realize at the time that Gladenfold is a Finnish band though—mostly I just liked the album cover on Nemesis, and the promise of some solid melodeath helped too.” Race to the Finnish.

Lastera – From the Ashes Review

Lastera – From the Ashes Review

“If there’s one musical style I could argue “let me down” last year, it was power metal. Nothing really grabbed me, nothing impressed me, nothing stuck. That’s disappointing, mind you, because I generally love power metal in all its cheesy, crazy glory. So when I came upon From the Ashes, the debut full-length from Danish newcomers Lastera, I didn’t need much convincing to check it out.” Ash power.

Nergard – Eternal White Review

Nergard – Eternal White Review

“We throw around the phrase “Nightwish clone” in here a lot (at least it seems like we do; I have no inclination to check my claims), but in this case it feels eerily accurate. With Eternal White, Nergard channel Century Child with some Winterheart’s Guild-era Sonata Arctica thrown in for “spice.” “Spice” is in quotation marks, by the way, because this isn’t a very spicy album – in fact, it’s played very safe, leaning on a formula that has served the Leaves’ Eyes, the Xandrias, and the Sirenias of the world well: symphonic first, metal second.” White is a passive color.

Avaland – Theater of Sorcery Review

Avaland – Theater of Sorcery Review

“The metal opera is, enduringly, one of my favorite concepts of the genre. Avantasia and Ayreon are the two projects that I return to most often, and it seems I’m not the only one. Adrien Gzagg, of Grenoble, France, has been similarly inspired, which is why today I’m introducing you to Avaland and its debut full-length, Theater of Sorcery, a symphonic power metal opera with a fantastical backstory.” Another rainy night at the metal opera.

Helion Prime – Question Everything Review

Helion Prime – Question Everything Review

“Revisiting Helion Prime’s Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster in preparation for their new record was like listening to it for the first time all over again. Though no worse than I remembered, it is every bit as forgettable now as I had scribed in 2018, with the pain of its disappointment in 2020 only dulled by further proximity from the band’s stellar self-titled debut.” Pain, Prime, and power,

Winter’s Verge – The Ballad of James Tig Review

Winter’s Verge – The Ballad of James Tig Review

“It was with slight trepidation that I fished out The Ballad of James Tig from the promo pit some weeks ago. There was just something about the cover that I didn’t trust. Not to mention that a power metal band writing a concept album about a mythical Viking-esque adventure isn’t the most original pitch I’ve ever heard. But there’s something endearing about Winter’s Verge that has me investigating anyway.” Tigonometry.

Almanac – A Discographic Review [Tsar (2016), Kingslayer (2017) and Rush of Death (2020)]

Almanac – A Discographic Review [Tsar (2016), Kingslayer (2017) and Rush of Death (2020)]

“For the last four years, I have been neglecting—and you have been denied my Very Important Opinion™ about—one of the most idiosyncratic voices in metal: Victor Smolski. And so, in a Swallow the Sun-sized act of hubris, I’m writing a discographic review of Victor Smolski’s Almanac.” You can’t spell “Almanac” without MAN!

Veonity – Sorrows Review

Veonity – Sorrows Review

“Not long ago, I began to question why I take power metal assignments from our Promo Pit. Looking back, power metal and I haven’t gotten along too well over my tenure here, and I’ve begun to feel like reviewing the style is simply inviting disappointment. At that point, however, I was already slated to review Sorrows, the fourth full-length from Veonity, a Swedish group I’d previously never heard of who began storming up the scene in 2013.” Hope blooms in the Pit of Despair.

Selenseas – The Outer Limits Review

Selenseas – The Outer Limits Review

“Seeing the almighty “power metal” banner waving boldly above a Pile of Intrigue in the Promo Pit is a fascinating experience, because it never fails to bring out my optimism and cynicism in roughly equal amounts. On the one hand, I love power metal. On the other hand, it’s such a straightforward genre that even established acts occasionally have trouble with a potentially generic sound. As per usual, optimism won out, so today I will tell you about my experience with Selenseas, a Russian group dabbling in symphonic power metal.” Power outage.