So, let me get this straight. While full time Serenity vocalist Georg Neuhauser was doing his musical business, Phantasma, with Delain’s Charlotte Wessels and Everon’s Oliver Philipps, he also managed to record a new Serenity album! That’s an absolutely wonderful performance, if ‘Codex Atlanticus’ proves to be at least as good as his side project, that is. But with his qualities, combined with those of his fellow band members, I’d reckon it won’t be far from it.
It’s no secret that Italian progressive and symphonic heavy metal bands grow on trees. That’s exactly the reason there are so many of them coming from the Mediterranean country. Kidding aside, for a symphonic heavy band to stand out is fairly difficult. The latest addition of My Refuge and their debut album are no exception. With the likes of Rhapsody (of fire), Angra and many more, lesser known bands, an album like My Refuge’s should be ‘A Matter Of Supremacy’.
Last time we discussed a record, we were talking about Phantasma, a trio of musicians which included a short novel on their album ‘The Deviant Hearts’. Including a book with the album turned out to be a fantastic choice, but also an interesting one. How could a band make a record so very special, that everyone should have to buy the physical copy and not just download one? The Belgian band Skeptical Minds got the idea to include a comic book with their latest effort ‘Omega-Thanatos’.
Quite recently, Vly guitarist Karl Demata gave an interview in which he said that Italian progressive music is quite complex and bombastic. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I can personally tell you that not only the progressive Italians are complex, the symphonic metal musicians from the Mediterranean country are quite exquisite as well. From the city of Turin comes the symphonic metal formation called Energy Of The Elements and recently they released their debut album called ’30:03 DeHuman Rise’.
Quite recently we reviewed the new Melted Space album, which was a grotesque record with no less than seventeen guest musicians and vocalists. It didn’t make that much of a devastating impression, but the music was amazing. And now there’s Phantasma, the product of the soul of only three people. Backed up by an entire 100 page novel by Delain vocalist Charlotte Wessels, here’s ‘The Deviant Hearts’, and it’s a rollercoaster of emotions.
Following the latest example of the American super group, Metal Alliance, is Melted Space. With no less than seventeen different musicians and vocalists their new album is a complete symphonic metal opera, assembled by the French mastermind Pierre La Pape. Together with some of the crème the la crème of the metal world and the entire Prague Philharmonic orchestra, La Pape has manage to create something pretty unique with ‘The Great Lie’.
From the deep, dark, gloomy history comparable to Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and the old Anathema, the Swedish doom formation Draconian has built a foundation on dark and heavy music topped off by two top class vocalists. With this different, fresh approach, the band came to their fifth studio album called ‘Sovran’. We went deep into a gloomy, damp and dark state of mind to enjoy this new doom release.
When I hopped onto this bands wagon last year, the release of Amberian Dawn’s latest addition ‘Magic Forest’ marked the first studio album with vocalist Päivi “Capri” Virkkunen. At that time I was impressed by the high quality of the music, of the vocals and of the production. Most of the music was pretty catchy and the listener could easily be carried away by the beauty of Capri and her voice. Let’s see if ‘Innuendo’ can reach the pretty high standards the band put for itself.
In a time where bands tend to take themselves way too serious, there are always bands that willingly embrace ridiculousness. An example of one of these bands is Alestorm, the pirate metal band. But just like many musicians, Alestorm’s keyboard player and vocalist Christopher Bowes has other fascinations. He, and the rest of Gloryhammer, take us back to the distant future of ‘Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards’ to show off their amazing skills.
When you look at the history of most symphonic, female-fronted metal bands, the vocalist is a very important person, who barely parts ways with a successful band. Most of the time the woman behind the mic is an iconic figure, the eye catcher in front of the band. But that’s not really how the German Xandria works, apparently, because they already made it to their fifth vocalist. To showcase Dianne van Giersbergen’s abilities Xandria releases the EP ‘Fire & Ashes’.