Symphonic Metal

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.

Epica – Omega Review

Epica – Omega Review

“This is a surreal moment for me. The first review I ever read on this site was Diabolus in Muzaka‘s hit piece on Epica‘s The Holographic Principle, an album which I thought was super fun if overlong and oddly organized. I’ve been a die-hard fan of this band for over a decade now, having introduced myself to them with The Divine Conspiracy back in high school. With each successive release thereafter, save for the miscalculation that was Requiem for the IndifferentEpica refined and perfected their sound to the point that they are now unmistakable for any other symphonic metal band.” Omega predator.

In Tormentata Quiete – Krononota Review

In Tormentata Quiete – Krononota Review

“What a profoundly odd band In Tormentata Quiete is. Plenty of Italian bands are grand, pompous, cheesy, and theatrical, but few do it like this one, sporting three vocalists in a range of styles but remaining light on orchestral elements. Their first foray into the halls of AMG was shot down with a 1.0 from Grymm for being unstructured and containing baffling, out-of-place elements like rap breakdowns in the middle of their semi-symphonic avant-garde drama metal. Their second, Finestatico, earned them a 3.5 from yours truly, seemingly fixing everything its predecessor did wrong. Krononota sees another change of the guard in the vocal department, but can they maintain the high standard of before?” Pomp in a weird place.

Everdawn – Cleopatra Review

Everdawn – Cleopatra Review

4.0ldeneye gets all the attention around these parts when it comes to the topic of overrating. I try to be more reasonable with the scores I dish out than my fellow Pacific Northwestern coworker, but I admit I feel I have slipped under the radar with the multitude of high scores I have handed out, particularly to bands hovering in the symphonic metal sphere. My point is, I’ve dished out my fair share of very good and above scores, and this review of Everdawn‘s Cleopatra is yet another example.” A plague of overrating?

Souls of Diotima – Janas Review

Souls of Diotima – Janas Review

“The line that separates symphonic metal from pop metal is — well, it’s not really a line, is it? It’s hard to inject pop into your metal without diving headfirst into symphonic territory. Okay, let me try again. The Venn diagram that distinguishes between symphonic metal and pop metal leaves a lot open to interpretation.” Pop in a orchestra pit.