Since I’ve had a busy few months writing books and moving house, there hasn’t been much time to catch up on reviews. But instead of skipping them, I’ve decided to write a quick personal response to 5 of the latest albums, with just 5 minutes to write each review…
Lacuna Coil – Delirium
This is the first Lacuna Coil release in a few years that hasn’t instantly gripped me. Dark Adrenaline and Broken Crown Halo were both instant favourites of mine, but this is more of a slow burn. Much darker and more melancholic than the previous records, it’s a semi-concept album based around an asylum and other topics of hopelessness. It’s heavier, which is nice, but lyrically it’s a stark contrast, preferring to wallow in darkness than to offer a glimmer of hope. For me this album brings nothing truly special, but it’s nice to see a band switch things up once in a while.
Favourite tracks: Delirium, The House of Shame, Blood Tears Dust
Delain – Moonbathers
I was eagerly anticipating this album, and again I feel it’s more of a grower – but each time you uncover a new layer, it feels rewarding. You can tell that Delain have put their heart and soul into this and it’s great to see them able to properly unleash their sound after being reined in by their previous record company for so long. There’s a notable lack of Marco Hietala this time round, but Alissa White-Gluz is a welcome addition. It’s something of a shame that the Lunar Prelude EP tracks are repeated here (making the EP seem even more pointless) but they are at least great songs. My favourite so far is Turn The Lights Out, inspired by one of my favourite characters: Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series.
Favourite tracks: Turn The Lights Out, Danse Macabre, The Hurricane
Tarja – The Shadow Self
I always feel a little mixed on Tarja’s albums. The use of different songwriters means that the song quality can vary drastically, with the records never having a totally cohesive feel. This one is no exception for me. One of the biggest positives, though, is that Tarja is never afraid to experiment. She will throw in an eccentric piano solo, or some seagull sounds, or a Muse cover if she feels like it. The result is an album that is a little odd and eclectic, but does have some moments of brilliance. And this is certainly better than the prequel album.
Favourite tracks: Innocence, Undertaker, Diva
Epica – The Holographic Principle
You can always trust Epica to bring their A game to everything they do, and this album is no exception. Every song feels of the highest quality, with wonderful choirs and orchestrations. It’s a very modern sound that continues the style of The Quantum Enigma, both with its progressive/death metal tinged symphonic metal and its (perhaps not super accurate) science lyrics. If you weren’t a fan of that on TQE, this probably won’t convince you, but otherwise you will quite likely fall in love all over again. I’d like to see a few more personal tracks on the next album, but this is another spectacular hit from the band.
Favourite tracks: Dancing In A Hurricane, A Phantasmic Parade, Once Upon A Nightmare
Amaranthe – Maximalism
This makes me wonder if Amaranthe are trying to break the US market. They seem to have gone for more traditional rock’n’roll lyrics about music and love and partying, and not so many with the sort of sci-fi themes that the band have gone for in the past. That Song is a notable example, the pure rock anthem already drawing lots of criticism from long-time fans. The album overall is hit and miss for me, but at least they haven’t lost the sense of fun and enormous catchiness that the band are known for. I think this will take more listens for me to love it than their previous records have, but it’s definitely a solid effort.
Favourite tracks: Boomerang, Maximize, Supersonic
Author: Sophie ShireRead the full story
So, it’s been awhile since we’ve had a new release from Visions Of Atlantis. The last one being Ethera in 2013, with a different line up. In the meantime the only original member Thomas Caser has formed a new Visions of Atlantis, sort of. He has brought back fellow originals, Michael Koren on bass, Werner Fiedler on guitars and Chris Kamper on keyboards. However the new singers in band are interesting choices. Clémentine Delauney (formally from Serenity) and Siegfried Samer (from Dragony). This change up in dynamic has proven pretty popular as they have toured extensively and have generally received positive acclaim.
- Clémentine Delauney - Vocals
- Seigfried Samer - Vocals
- Werner Fielder - Guitars
- Michael Koren - Bass
- Chris Kamper - Keyboards
- Thomas Caser - Drums
1. Lovebearing Storm
4. Seven Seas
5. Last Shut of Your Eyes
The new EP Old Routes - New Waters symbolises the return for the band and what a way to kick yourselves back into gear. With reworking of old classics. It’s everything that I wanted in a Visions Of Atlantis record. Big, bold, with epic qualities and catchy melodies. The production is nice and it makes everything sound bold and polished. All of the elements of the band shine really well. Gone is the more synthetic tones of Ethera, and in are the more traditional symphonic metal sounds that you’d expect from this music. It all screams of ‘playing it safe’. However I don’t see this a downside, more of a return to form. The themes and imagery of fantasy and adventure are very welcome indeed giving some depth to the songs and again, adds to those epic qualities. Although the EP is only five tracks long Visions Of Atlantis make the most of every single second with clear production and sharp songwriting that has a real punch.
From the riff popping sounds on Lovebearing Storm and Lost to the sweeter ballads like Winternight, the EP is filled to the brim with imagination and content. The softness of the keyboards and synth, both mesh with and counter, the harshness of the guitars beautifully. Making for a genuinely dynamic and fun sound. It feels very familiar but new at the same time. Even though I’ve heard a lot of music like this, Visions Of Atlantis have brought something new to the table brings me back to falling in love with the band all over again.
To be honest, I got very emotional listening to this EP, and this band again. Visions Of Atlantis were one of my Dad’s favourite bands. I remember him getting all of their records and listening to them with glee. Since my Dad passed a few years ago, I have not actually listened to the band at all. Getting the chance to hear the newly reformed band was something I didn’t want to pass up. I think that my dad would have loved this new EP. The songs nearly brought me to tear, particularly Last Shut Of Your Eyes. As I know he would have loved the sound. He always liked the soft gentle sounds crash against the heavy metal. That’s probably the biggest compliment I could pay to the EP. Clémentine and Siegfried share a brilliant chemistry that really sounds great and the band as a whole are well gelled and sound fantastic together. I am loving the new EP and it is well worth checking out, in my opinion at least.
Highlights: Last Shut Of Your Eyes, Winternight
Author: Mick BirchallRead the full story
Rhenium is a one-woman symphonic gothic metal project from Milton Keynes, UK. The project formed in 2014, is led by Italian multi-instrumentalist Cristina Pucci.
- Cristina Pucci – Vocals, all instruments
- Drowning (Intro)
- Nobody Can Hear Me
- More Than Words Could Say
- Watching Over Me
- Once Again
- Rise Above The Sea
Rise Above The Sea is a smashing debut release that incorporates elements of symphonic, gothic and doom metal to create a climatic EP that tickles all my ‘tastebuds’. Opening track Nobody Can Hear Me is a beautiful down tempo piece which draws one in right away with its charming melodies and strong, clear vocals.
More Than Words Could Say continues in a similar vein to the previous track. The chorus of strings, keys and guitars builds a haunting atmosphere which is topped by the emotive lyricism and power of Pucci’s vocals. Pucci’s vocals are showcased in the beautiful piano led ballad Watching Over Me – for many female vocal led projects the ballad is make or break for the album, and Pucci nails it.
With a rich tapestry of gothic, doom and symphonic elements Rhenium creates a beautifully complex and layered approach for her first release that could rival some of the bigger names in the genre. Rise Above The Sea is a beautiful EP and sets the stakes high for Rhenium’s next release, which we hope will come very soon!
Author: Tayla DickinsonRead the full story