Symphonic Metal

Xerath – III Review

Xerath – III Review

“Let’s face it: traditional symphonic metal is a playground of melodrama that’s nowhere near brutal enough. That’s why Fleshgod Apocalypse and Septicflesh (get mad about that concretion) are such popular bands – no matter how much we complain about their loud as hell albums here, there’s no denying that symphonic death is the perfect step forward for the maligned fusion genre.” Madam X will not take kindly to this Septicflesh bashing….

Septicflesh – Titan Review

Septicflesh – Titan Review

“My favorite Greek giants of atmospheric, Rotting Christ flavored symphonic death metal are back, and right on schedule with the delivery of their latest force of nature. And to add to my fangirlism, the album’s fittingly titled after the most ancient of all the gods – yes you read right, TITAN! Does it get any bigger, heavier or more metal than that?” Was the kraken a titan? He was pretty freaking big.

Cradle of Filth – Total Fucking Darkness Review

Cradle of Filth – Total Fucking Darkness Review

“Suffolk extreme metallers (and eternal underground whipping martyrs) Cradle of Filth, have given Mordgrimm the official go-ahead to release their infamous third demo, Total Fucking Darkness, to the masses over 20 years after its initial release, remastered with more tracks.” Grymm gets pulled underground into Total Fucking Darkness, will he make it out unscarred?

Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies of the Night Review

Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies of the Night Review

“In 2009 I received a promo for Liv Kristine’s ‘new’ band Leaves’ Eyes and I was curious. The record was called Njord and as a fan of Liv’s voice and epic symphonic metal I figured for sure that I would be in for a treat. I was wrong. I was so very, very wrong. My complaints about the album were many—but a lot of it had to do with the fact that it was so compressed that it never felt heavy and the song-writing was just plain mediocre. Meredead, which followed two years later on schedule, was also a miserable record. The folky stuff was of the “let’s throw in a flute, hooray folk metal!” genre and I simply didn’t even have the patience to finish reviewing it. But because I am a masochist (and I’ve always liked Liv’s voice ffs!), I broke out Symphony of the Night when it arrived in my box.” Always a sucker for a lady with a pretty voice, Angry Metal Guy gave the new Leaves’ Eyes a chance. Is this turning into Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football?

Tarja – Colours in the Dark Review

Tarja – Colours in the Dark Review

When Tarja Turunen took her larger-than-life operatic talents out of Nightwish and off to South Beach, she and her former band-mates engaged in enough back-biting and insults to fill an entire season of a Mexican soap opera (and a few Mexican wrestling matches as well). When all the bickering was done, Nightwish acquired Anette Olzon and soldiered on as Tarja began her solo career in earnest. While Nightwish has fared respectably with a few decent albums under their belt in the post-Tarja era, Tarja’s solo outings have ranged from average to rather bad.” Can this comely Finnish diva reverse course and put out a killer goth-metal platter? Steel Druhm examines all the colours (except blue and green, since he’s a bit colorblind).

Shade Empire – Omega Arcane Review

Shade Empire – Omega Arcane Review

“When you hail from Finland, a country teaming with metal giants (cast your mind along the lines of Finntroll, Amorphis and Ghost Brigade to name but a few), you have two choices: Option 1, you up your game, you mature as a band and you write epic tracks. Option 2, you keep on keeping on, you join the unknown masses and you sink into obscurity. On this their fourth release and a solid five years in the making, Shade Empire went with option 1.” Madam X is big on lists, notations and options, so find out where she ranks the new Shade Empire in her arcane filing system. She’s like Conan the Librarian.

Atrocity – Okkult Review

Atrocity – Okkult Review

“Yes, Atrocity have indeed lived up to their name and not in the way one hopes for in death metal, technical, melodic or otherwise. They’re the band that brought out the very un-metal Werk 80 consisting of ‘metalled up’ covers of 80’s pop songs. Oh and wait for it they didn’t stop there, 11 years down the line they doubled the atrocity with the release of Werk 80 II (a double album offering) – I have to ask why?” Steel Druhm joins Madam X in asking why a death metal band chose to make their name doing novelty covers of 80s pop hits, but hey, who are we to judge? Now they’re doing real death metal again and Madam X kinda digs it.

Rhapsody of Fire – The Frozen Tears of Angels Review

Rhapsody of Fire – The Frozen Tears of Angels Review

It seems forever since Italian power metallers, and just generally over-the-top crafters of Symphonic Hollywood Metal (or as I called it in one of my very earliest reviews “Sword Swinging Elf Metal”) produced an album. And really, in terms of the modern music industry it has been a very long time. Rhapsody of Fire’s last album, Triumph or Agony, was released in 2006 to almost no fanfare. I didn’t see a single advertisement for the album, I never knew that it was being released and I had no idea that they had even been working on a new album at all. One day I just walked into my local record store and saw it on the shelf there. The total lack of build-up foreshadowed how I felt about the album, and frankly the record that had gone before it: it lacked what I was looking for in a Rhapsody of Fire album. The guitar orientation was gone, the songs were not as huge, the guitar not as bombastic and the feel was generally one that I just could never really get into. Both Symphony of Enchanted Lands pt. II and Triumph or Agony, while technically filling the standards set by the band, certainly didn’t live up to what I see as the band’s crowning jewel Power of the Dragonflame.

Epica – Design Your Universe Review

Epica – Design Your Universe Review

Epica is a symphonic power metal/gothic metal band from the Netherlands that has really taken the scene and the world by storm since their founding in 2002 due to the amazing voice of their mezzo-soprano vocalist (who also happens to be a hotty, there are no coincidences in metal) Simone Simons and the epic *cough* nature of their music. Design Your Universe is the band’s fifth album, and honestly, the first one I’ve ever sat through assuming the band would be like a mix of old Theatre of Tragedy and Nightwish.