Review by Tony Cannella
Hailing from Sweden, the female fronted power metal band Zephyra released their debut demo “Behave” a few years ago. It was pretty average if you ask me. Their debut EP “First Blood” has just been released and it is well above average – in fact, I would say that it is pretty darn good and shows the progress this band has made since their demo.
The opener, “Undone” really gets the ball rolling with some classic style metal riffs. Lead vocalist Asa Netterbranf has two distinctive vocal styles which she shows off throughout the 24-minute EP. Her main style is a clean technique, but she also uses a growling style that is quite effective as well. “Loyalty” is next and comes crashing through before slowing down the tempo a bit and it turns into a moody mid-tempo metal track. “Are You Really Blessed” is another melodic track the type of which Zephyra does very well. Continue reading »
Review by Tony Cannella
2013 could be a big year for the Greek melodic thrash, death metal band Seduce the Heaven. In 2011 the band released a well received 5-song promo CD, now the band has finally released their full-length debut album “Field of Dreams”.
Seduce the Heaven utilizes the duel vocals from Marios Mizo (male growls) and Elina Laivera on clean female vocals. They use these styles as well as – if not better – than most bands. The songs are aggressive, but not so aggressive that they are unlistenable.
Elina is excellent and the chemistry she shares with Marios is one of the main highlights for me. Some highlights include: “Reflection”, “Leave Me Alone” and the wonderfully, non-stop energy of “Field of Dreams”. Those are just some key examples, some other favorites are: “Illusive Light” and “Falling”. From the word go, “Field of Dreams” is a relentless exorcise in aggressive, yet melodic and beautifully crafted songs. I was so impressed by their promo CD and saw a lot of promise in Seduce the Heaven; with “Field of Dreams”, that promise has been fully realized.
Label : Illusionary Records
Review by Davide Torresan
Do you want the truth? When they gave me this album to review and I was sure it would be a “Delusions 2.0″. I expected it to be a real drag, progressive metal with a high rate of technical skills. I noticed the length of each songs and I was sure that I would be bored to death, like after listening to “Delusions”. At first I appreciated it when it came out, but then I realized that it was too long and tedious.
I thought the same thing of this “Exile”, the 3rd To-Mera‘s album. I was wrong about the new work of the British band led by the beautiful and charismatic Julie Kiss. Forgive me Metal God for I have sinned. Compared to “Delusions”, in this album they have lightened the songs, making them more straightforward. You can realize that, listening to the first real song, “The Illusionist”. They continue to use time changes, keyboard inserts, dreamy piano melodies and crazy accelerations. The Jazz parts are a constant, but they are not placed randomly. The production is better and clear compared to previous albums. Julie‘s voice is more powerful than ever before. Indeed, the instruments covered her voice, but now things have changed for the better.
“The Descent” has the craziest keyboard inserts of the whole album. With growl, the real surprise of “Exile”, they will make you a jump out of your chair. The end of the song is in charge of piano and strings. I could tell you of the 70′s prog influences of “Deep Inside”, or the wonderful voice of Julie in “Broken”, but the last three songs are simply fan-ta-stic! Continue reading »
Review by Tony Cannella
From Belgium, the band Azylya formed in 2009 and released their debut EP “Thanatos’ Insanity” in 2011. After solidifying their line-up, the band signed on to the up-and-coming label WormHoleDeath for the release of their debut full-length, “Sweet Cerebral Destruction”. Azylya don’t strictly adhere to one specific genre, instead they incorporate elements of symphonic metal, death metal, doom metal and even cinematic metal. It is quite an eclectic mix, but the one constant running through “Sweet Cerebral Destruction” is the fact that this music is very heavy and quite dark.
The basic story of Azylya was written by female singer Jamie-Lee Smit in 2007 when she was fourteen years old. The story follows the (mis)adventures of a young girl who is abused by her father who – in order to avoid a scandal – abandons her in an insane asylum, where she must do what she can to survive, and that is the story of Azylya’s “Sweet Cerebral Destruction”. Sure, it’s an interesting enough story, but will the material live up to the concept? After the eerie piano intro “At the Beginning” the song “Incest” continues with some more ominous sounding piano as the song progressively picks up in heaviness. Female vocalist Jamie-Lee Smit starts off with her angelic vocalist and is soon joined by the guttural death metal style of Yohann (he also doubles on guitar). More piano adds atmosphere to the opening of the next song “Woodscape”, before the rumbling guitars comes crashing in and the song picks up in heaviness. “Woodscape” also has a strong cinematic vibe and a relentless rhythm. Other highlights include: “Sweet Cerebral Destruction”, “Within My Cell” and “Electroconvulsive”. The material definitely goes hand-in-hand with the concept and even though it is not anything new, the duel vocals were definitely the highlight for me. Jamie is excellent on vocals and Yohann’s death metal growls are the perfect complement to her style and the material contained within.
In the end, I couldn’t help but be impressed with Azylya and their debut “Sweet Cerebral Destruction”. The album works both lyrically and musically and most importantly the material strong and unrelenting. I loved this album. Continue reading »
Maleficium Arungquilta – “Касание Сквозь Стекло” (“Kasaniye Skvoz’ Steklo” – “Touch Through the Glass”) (2011)Independent Release
Review by Vard Aman
I have written before about the potential benefits of searching harder and farther through Femme Metal’s vast underground; there are some real gems out there. And then sharing those gems with others… I run a group on Facebook for Russian and CIS female-fronted metal bands, and one day a user posted a link to a band they had discovered on the group’s wall; a band that I had at the time not even heard of before, but a band that has since then become one of my favorites. That link was to a band called Maleficium Arungquilta.
Maleficium Arungquilta are from Izhevsk in Russia. They formed in 2009 and their name roughly translates to a dark spirit or supernatural force that performs evil sorcery (or evil deeds, if you translate “maleficium” directly). Musically, they live up to their name; lyrically, they are more diverse than that, although it does play a part. The strength of this arungquilta’s musical maleficium centers mainly around two great assets: 1) their ability to create haunting, and very powerful and beautiful melancholic melodies and 2) the quality and ability of the band’s vocalists, particularly the lead vocalist, Lisa Karkina (Lisa Shadrina now… sorry guys). Lisa’s voice must surely be one of the most beautiful female voices around. Her timbre and control are superb, as is the clarity of her voice – you won’t need lyric sheets to follow her (if you understand Russian that is). She also sings with an emotion that lies beneath her exquisite vocal control but is still very much there – a calm outer surface that still gives away just enough to reveal, or allows one to sense the turmoil underneath. It is very effective, especially when the vocal melodies she delivers are such as they are. To add to her normal voice, she also possesses a powerful operatic voice that would put most operatic singers in metal to shame, and thanks to the band’s exceptional songwriting skills, they are used wisely. Lisa is backed up occasionally by the smooth and sonorous clean vocals of Maxim Gankov, and by the blackened shrieks and wailing laments of Alexey Kirsanov (I hope I have them the right way around). Alexey is a potent Black Metal vocalist. Then there is the backing female vocalist, Yana Lindarskaya, who is a similar vocalist to Lisa and whose operatic vocals, when she uses them, are just as powerful. On the song “Чернобог” off “Касание Сквозь Стекло”, where Yana sings the intro, she brings an added folk element to her vocals.
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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