09:01 - Apothecary Everything in Enslaved's discog is pretty engaging and high quality if you ask me, they're remarkably consistent. Only one of their full lengths has below an 8 on here, and even then it's a 7.9. That says a lot
08:56 - Stereolab42 The lower-rated Enslaved albums are lower-rated for a reason. Blech. They have crazy-good highs and boring-ass, sleep-inducing lows.
07:27 - Apothecary I might prefer only AOE to Monumension, but I've been listening to the latter a lot over this past weekend, and I'm thinking that may change pretty soon
01. Rebirth 02. Hate The Enemy 03. Sinner 04. Desire 05. Behind The Curtains 06. Back To Life 07. Obsession 08. Tell Me Lies 09. Awake 10. Forgotten 11. My Reality 12. End Of My Story
Rating supplement: Not the best I've heard in the style, but it makes up for it by not being a carbon-copy, so I'd recommend this to fans of female-fronted metal.
Astral Tears are from France and they play, according to their bio, "melodic metal with oriental influences". Given the stereotypical band and album name, I thought I wasn't in for anything remotely good, but Hypnotic is a solid debut. It's not strikingly original, but it has identity; it's not amateurish either. There is room for improvement, but the band won't be ashamed of their first release, no matter where their music takes them in the future.
Now, I'm sure a lot of your fancies are tickled with the promise of "oriental influences". A disappointment for some and reassurance for others, they are mostly restricted to the vocal lines. Mostly. There are some oriental and vaguely "exotic" sounds surfacing on the instrumental "plane" as well, especially on percussion. I'm the first person to admit that (Middle-)Eastern-influenced singing puts me off in metal, but Beyza (the band's vocalist) has got a pleasant voice and is as skillful as one can get, so the vocals didn't put me up for such a bumpy ride as I initially thought they would - by the time my first listen ended, I was enjoying them. However, the music is for the most part vocal-centric, so if you have a particular dislike for such a vocal style, it would be best if you sampled this before you went for the whole deal.
Riffs are generally nu metal-inspired, although there are some that stay out of that pattern. The band also tries to channel some of their more progressive influences, but such moments are rare and far apart - I probably wouldn't have paid a lot of attention to them had I not read they were inspired by bands such as Dream Theater and Periphery beforehand. Astral Tears could easily be compared to the likes of newer Lacuna Coil, but the Frenchies are already a more accomplished band, especially if we take their folk elements (which add some very necessary diversity) into consideration. Why? They're heavier. A real metal band.
But still, not nearly as heavy as they should and could be. Amp up the game! Unleash those solos! Bring forth some more playful riffs - I can't tell you how many times have I played "Tell Me Lies" to have some more of that verse riff. I'm aware that this is - pardon me for my awful generalization - the type of metal that generally doesn't rely on heaviness to draw listeners to it. But it would suit this particular band's sound. Moreover, we need more heavy bands in female fronted metal, if for nothing else, then for the purpose of a certain percentage of our younger generation being introduced to metal by actual metal bands. And for giving the middle finger to anyone that mocks you for listening to "metal for girls".
Then again, not that you need a reason to do that anyway.
Randomly thought I might like this one. Found out that it's one terribly awful album. Normally I don't get this kind of dissatisfaction from something I listen to. I mean, if it's bad you just kind of move on and hope the next thing on the list turns this misfortune around. With this, I kind of actually regretted to have listened to it.