Wintersun

Sigir – Rainmaker Review

Sigir – Rainmaker Review

“Us metalheads have an above-average reverence for classic bands, I feel, but the genre is doomed to die without ample young blood. Finland, officially the most metal country in the world, is fertile ground for such saplings to sprout, and Sigir is among its freshest crop. After a previous project named Ritual of Terror never made it off the runway, three of its members found a new guitar player and plowed on. Rainmaker is their debut, the first full-length any of the foursome ever released, promising a fresh take on black-infused melodic death metal. A bold claim from a troupe of greenhorns; can they live up to it?” Making it rain (blood).

Shade Empire – Sunholy Review

Shade Empire – Sunholy Review

“Listening to Shade Empire’s discography is as perplexing as it is enlightening. The early albums demonstrated a band finding its feet and establishing an epic, symphonic black metal sound that charmed as much as it impressed. Although ostensibly a black metal band, Shade Empire’s sound has changed so radically from its earlier days that it’s now more symphonic prog.” Empire in the shade.

Atavistia – Cosmic Warfare Review

Atavistia – Cosmic Warfare Review

“It’s no secret that I was a little harsh on Canadian black metal outfit, Atavistia’s last album, 2020’s The Winter Way. Call it COVID-19 induced burn-out, call it black-metal fatigue, or simply call it being right, but that album grated this reviewer’s proverbial carrot. Far too long, bloated like a corpse in the sun, with a focus on sheer epic-ness at the expense of all else, I dropped the hammer on it and moved on. But a swell of opposition arose declaring that I had been too hasty; that I should take it back for one last dance. So when the follow-up, Cosmic Warfare, arrived, I changed our status from “Splitsville, Population: Atavistia” to “It’s Complicated,” and dived in. Was I being too kind or have these canucks found the key to my withered heart?” Dating in the darkness.

Neverus – Burdens of the Earth Review

Neverus – Burdens of the Earth Review

“To any germinating young metal bands reading this, please heed my advice: Don’t attempt what Neverus has done here with your first record. Without so much as a public demo under their belt, this young Dutch act simultaneously revealed themselves and began releasing singles in 2022, culminating in this debut LP, Burdens of the Earth. But it’s not just that Neverus started releasing music with no pent-up hype or a label to back them; it’s that they did so while swinging for the damn fences, sprinting before anyone knew they could even crawl.” The burden of potential.

Keep of Kalessin – Katharsis Review

Keep of Kalessin – Katharsis Review

“Despite the positive review we gave to Epistemology, Norway’s Keep of Kalessin polarizes the rowdy AMG staff. For reasons I can’t fathom, despite the band’s 30-year history and commercial success, nearly none of my peers has heard of them except Grier, who hates their guts. I enjoyed Epistemology when it came out. Keep of Kalessin’s over-the-top brand of symphonic black metal lacked consistency, but the best parts of the album steamrolled me with a vigor that I still feel eight years later.” Keeping the faith.

Frozen Crown – Call of the North Review

Frozen Crown – Call of the North Review

“In the early days of Frozen Crown, I was unsure exactly what they wanted to be. Hell, I’m not sure they knew the answer themselves. I described their formula as “awkward” in my review of The Fallen King back in 2018, and as much as I love that debut, its mashing together of Sonata Arctica, Wintersun, and Nightwish feels as charmingly disjointed today as it did five years ago.” The Crown and the bling.

Daidalos – The Expedition Review

Daidalos – The Expedition Review

The Expedition is a concept album that tells the story of the doomed 1845 voyage of Captain John Franklin and his crew of 129 men and their frost-filled journey through undiscovered portions of the northwest passage. Grizzled sea captains? Ice pirates? Adventure? Excitement? A Jedi may not crave such things, but I sure do. Daidalos have certainly plucked a worthy story from the annals of history on which to base their album. And as is their right, the band has chosen the soothing sounds of symphonic, epic black metal to tale this tale.” Voyage of the damned.

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.