Reviews
Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä

It is happening again, here and now. After sailing on the outer regions of the Kuiper belt, and interacting with several extraterrestrial species who could impart new wisdom to them, Oranssi Pazuzu have arrived back on Terra, eager to apply this fresh knowledge to their music. What did the words of those ice giants from beyond Neptune contribute to their new sound? What about the teachings of the Tsuthians, the 9 foot tall gas ghosts who speak only in hisses? Listen carefully, ye carbon-based life forms, and Värähtelijä shall unveil the answers.

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Posted: 04.02.2016 by Apothecary | Comments (9)

Reviews
Dream Theater - The Astonishing

One of the pioneering bands of progressive metal, the iconic Dream Theater, unleashed their new opus at the end of January. As is the case with all their releases, The Astonishing is going to draw all kinds of comments from "this is the worst thing ever" to "album of the year material". One thing is for certain, with more than 2 hours of music, their latest record is an demanding listen drawing inspiration from many musical and dramatic influences.

The whole thing essentially feels like a symphonic rock-oriented movie sound track. The story is anchored around both science-fiction and fantasy themes, a futuristic and dystopian world with chivalry values if you wish. The band has incorporated various elements to make that obvious, from alien robots buzzing, those could be straight from Devin Townsend's Ziltoid universe, to a full-blown choir, crowd applause and a whole bunch of equally surprising tidbits. I believe that the intention was to create a rock opera in the spirit of Jesus Christ Superstar meets Pink Floyd's The Wall, which jives with the album being presented as act I & act II.

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Posted: 04.02.2016 by Demonic Tutor | Comments (20)

Reviews
Vulturium Memoriae - Nato Per Ragioni Ignote

How does one break boundaries in music, exactly, or in any art form for that matter? Sometimes it seems so complicated that the answer eludes our grasps entirely, but at the end of the day it really just boils down to one simple rule: be unafraid.

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Posted: 03.02.2016 by Apothecary | Comments (13)

Reviews
Sunburst - Fragments Of Creation

When I saw that a new band was opening up their first album with a track called "Out of the World", I figured they needed the chops to back it up. The band Sunburst from Larissa, Greece convinced me within twenty seconds. Their brand of progressive power metal had me on board so fast I can already tell you this is going to be an album of the year contender for 2016. It is that simple. Why?

Imagine the good parts of Dream Theater music meeting Nevermore crushing guitar riffs and solos with a vocalist who could tour with Kamelot. It also reminds me of Symphony X and Evergrey. I mean no disrespect to the actual musicians of Sunburst by using all these comparisons. Their music is so in league with the aforementioned bands in both creativity and execution it is hard to conceive that Fragments of Creation is their debut album.

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Posted: 03.02.2016 by Demonic Tutor | Comments (7)

Reviews
Sunrise - Absolute Clarity

There's not an awful lot to discuss when it comes to Absolute Clarity, the latest release from Ukrainian band Sunrise. This is fast and melodic metal heavily inspired by the likes of Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius. Many bands take influence from two of the biggest acts in the genre, but few manage to do it with this much precision.

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Posted: 29.01.2016 by Belegûr | Comments (4)

Reviews
Signum Regis - Chapter IV: The Reckoning

The European power metal scene is chock-full of average bands. I've reviewed some myself and Signum Regis did seem like another one after I listened to Chapter IV: The Reckoning for the first time. However, after each subsequent listen, I started to appreciate it a lot more. No this isn't top tier power metal and it makes the same mistakes that so many other forgettable acts in the genre make, but it does get a lot right.

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Posted: 28.01.2016 by Belegûr | Comments (3)

Reviews
Wildernessking - Mystical Future

After years of keeping the tension high with promising EPs, Wildernessking finally enlighten our new year with their long awaited second full-length, entitled Mystical Future. The South African gang amazed me back in the year 2012 when I did one of my very first official reviews here and just like me (insert stupidly grinning face here), they stay true to their roots. Because outside my cosmos they are probably not as big as Metallica or Iron Maiden, let it be said that Wildernessking play a modern, progressive style of black metal, atmospheric, yet technically demanding.

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Posted: 26.01.2016 by Windrider | Comments (10)

Reviews
Moonreich - Pillars Of Detest

Pillar Of Detest is the latest Luciferian lunar lullabies from the French black metal outfit Moonreich.

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Posted: 26.01.2016 by BitterCOld | Comments (1)

Reviews
Cloak Of Altering - Manifestation

I must apologize, fellow Metal Stormers, for there is still one Maurice de Jong output from 2015 that I failed to sufficiently bring to your attention. You had your tongue gnawed while you were dragged into sunlight. It only got worse as you were thrown, mesmerized, into the abyss of longing throats, while hell followed shortly thereafter in the Pyriphlegethon. But did you forget to wear your cloak of altering for protection while all of this was occurring? You can't forget about the cloak, you guys. Never forget about the cloak.

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Posted: 24.01.2016 by Apothecary | Comments (5)

Reviews
Manimal - Trapped In The Shadows

Manimal. When I first heard this name, I realised it was one of the worst band names I'd ever heard. There was a TV show in the 80's called 'Manimal' about a shape-shifter who would help the police solve crimes and it was as bad as it sounds. I'll give them some credit though; at least their name doesn't involve hammers or dragons. What Manimal gives us is another band who absolutely worship Rob Halford and Judas Priest in general.

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Posted: 23.01.2016 by Belegûr | Comments (3)

Reviews
Borknagar - Winter Thrice

Borknagar have spent the last two decades - pardon the cliché - doing their own thing. Never much concerned with publicity or reception of their work, as it appeared, they put out a number of solid releases, played a show or a small tour here and there, and otherwise elegantly avoided the big stage. Various lineup changes entailed a broad stylistic variance throughout their discography, ranging from fierce black metal tunes to warm symphonic harmonies with a slight avant-garde twitch while several recurring themes act as modest leitmotifs in their sound today. For their 20th anniversary, Borknagar return with a special release: one assembling all four singers the band had over the years on a single album: Winter Thrice.

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Posted: 23.01.2016 by obi wan corrupt | Comments (15)

Reviews
Lindemann - Skills In Pills

Skills In Pills can be very off-putting at first. Given the lyrical content, it isn't difficult to see why, but it requires a certain period of adjustment before it can sink its fangs into you. At the end of the rainbow waits an inexplicably endearing work of cybernetic craftsmanship.

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Posted: 21.01.2016 by ScreamingSteelUS | Comments (9)

Reviews
Brainstorm - Scary Creatures

Brainstorm, a band I hadn't actively listend to since 2005's Liquid Monster. It seems they have been consistently working since then and Scary Creatures is now the band's 11th studio effort. Their style hasn't changed much; a heavier brand of power metal in the style of fellow German band's Majesty, Metalium and Primal Fear. Brainstorm focus on big heavy guitar riffs and hooks over falsettos and keyboard solos. This album is no different and "Twisted Ways" is probably as close as you will get to a modern melodic power metal sound. Great for those looking for some traditional metal music.

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Posted: 19.01.2016 by Belegûr | Comments (5)

Reviews
Rhapsody Of Fire - Into The Legend

After the confusing mess that was Prometheus, Symphonia Ignus Divinus, Luca Turilli's Rhapsody return…wait, this is the other one. After the travesty that was Dark Wings Of Steel, Rhapsody Of Fire return with Into The Legend. Have things improved? It certainly wouldn't be hard to improve on their last effort, but I am glad to say that this is far more impressive. The energy and strength of the performances have returned. However, this improvement comes at the price of some originality.

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Posted: 15.01.2016 by Belegûr | Comments (37)

Reviews
Primal Fear - Rulebreaker

And there I thought Primal Fear couldn't top themselves after their 2014 release Delivering The Black; boy was I wrong. But were 'rules broken' with their newest effort? And do they really have to be? What's wrong with what Primal Fear produced all those years? Nothing - absolutely nothing!

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Posted: 13.01.2016 by D.T. Metal | Comments (12)

Reviews
Dissona - Paleopneumatic

One of the most agonising things is uncovering a gem of an album only to come to the cynical realisation that it's probably going to be several long years before you get treated to another taste, and that's if the band continues. Certainly, you can always replay the album, but albums that resonate with me have always engendered a distinctive craving which is only momentarily satiated by new material. Over the years this tends to subside, but I'm hardly exaggerating when I say that I've been eagerly waiting for this moment for nearly four years.

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Posted: 13.01.2016 by LeKiwi | Comments (10)

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