Symphonic Metal

Whyzdom – Of Wonders and Wars Review

Whyzdom – Of Wonders and Wars Review

“The time has come for this young(ish) sponge to return to his roots—bombastic, cheesy symphonic metal helmed by a classically trained soprano. This genre of metal used to be my absolute favorite for many of the same reasons people lambast it today, up to and including the extreme lactose concentration, countless layers of orchestration, and the wall of sound production that so easily overwhelms the neurally frail. I craved the feeling of my entire brain lighting up, desperate to keep up with the immense amount of stimuli bombarding it at once. Now on their fifth full-length album entitled Of Wonders and Wars, France’s Whyzdom attempt to recreate that same firework exhibit inside my nervous system.” Wonder wail.

Arcane Existence – Colossus Review

Arcane Existence – Colossus Review

“What initially drew me to Arcane Existence‘s sophomore release Colossus was, admittedly, the album cover. The rich, concentrated gem tones, spindly castle, misty forest, and swirly, cyclonic clouds hovering underneath a full moon had me hooked. I can handle this, I thought to myself, hoping against hope that none of my greedy coworkers would slap their name on the promo before I could do a little more research prior to fully committing. After learning that Arcane Existence describes their sound as symphonic blackened death, it was game over. Say no more. This promo was mine.” Art and large expectations.

Lost in Grey – Under the Surface Review

Lost in Grey – Under the Surface Review

“It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed female fronted symphonic metal, or to use a common colloquialism, Nightwishcore. This has not been entirely happenstance; though I do blindly grab an album from the bin on occasion, I’ve otherwise avoided all the usual markers wherever possible. But I’ll make an exception for Lost in Grey, the only Nightwishcore I’ve ever granted my wholehearted recommendation for attempting to escape the tightly cinched corset of the genre’s many clichés.” Own the night(wish).

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.

Ghosts of Atlantis – 3.6.2.4 Review

Ghosts of Atlantis – 3.6.2.4 Review

“The best way to get my attention is with an awesome album cover. More than genre tags, credits, stylistic themes, or lyrical themes – more than nearly anything else – an awesome album cover is what I go by when I explore the wonderful world of metal. That’s how the English band known as Ghosts of Atlantis got my attention, although the rest did line up very nicely: they credit themselves as something of a supergroup, boasting experienced musicians from bands across various well-known labels trying out something different, tagged in my promo package as “symphonic progressive extreme metal.”” Ghost in the calculator.

Cryptosis – Bionic Swarm Review

Cryptosis – Bionic Swarm Review

“Wow. Thrash is kind of having a year, folks. There are large swaths of the metal community who feel that the fires that heated the furnace in which all great thrash was forged went out decades ago, while others feel that those flames still sputter and cough and produce a great record every now and again. Well, something about a worldwide shutdown secondary to a pandemic seems to have stoked whatever embers remained within that furnace into a raging inferno, because the first quarter of 2021 is basically littered with quality thrash releases of a variety of styles. Therefore, I didn’t hesitate to pick up Bionic Swarm, the debut record from Dutch thrashers Cryptosis, a band who’d like to throw their hat into the progressive cyber-thrash ring with Paranorm.” 4 Swarm to wengeance.

Hevilan – Symphony of Good and Evil Review

Hevilan – Symphony of Good and Evil Review

“If you are one of the poor souls who’s managed to follow my pedestrian music journalism career, you know that I’m a hopeless Nevermore weenie. There’s just something about the way they combined immense, progressive, down-tuned riffing with powerful, operatic vocals that is incredibly pleasing to my ears. I was therefore absolutely defenseless against the promo blurb that touted Hevilan guitarist Johnny Moraes as having appeared in Warrel Dane’s live band, as well as on the late Nevermore singer’s posthumous solo release, Shadow Work.” Good times, bad times.

Utbyrd – Varskrik Review

Utbyrd – Varskrik Review

“Here at AMG.com we have instituted a firm “no re-release policy” which precludes new reviews of old albums. The typical use case is a physical release by a label of an album previously self-released digitally by a small band. We do this a) for consistency, b) to narrow the almost-unlimited range of music we could review, and c) so that our reviews remain relevant to what’s buzzing in the scene. It’s important we take this step. So anyway, here’s a review of a 2017 re-release.” Protocol havoc.