February was an incredible month. There were tons of quality album releases, which made my Top Ten List very difficult to narrow down. On top of those, a bunch of new singles came out, along with some announcements for upcoming record dates.
We’ll start off with some bits of news before we get into the singles.
(And, if you missed them, click the ‘News’ tab in the top menu and check out the previous February articles.)
Folk metal masters Elvenking announced that their new album will be released some time in September, so, if you’re into them even half as much as I am, that information is both helpful (in the sense that now we have a date to look forward to) and disasterous (because September can’t come fast enough!). However, Equilibrium’s new album has yet to have a number stuck on it.
Also in the group of bands with pending 2019 albums but no release dates are DragonForce, Sabaton, Blazon Stone, and I’ve heard rumors that POSSIBLY Gloryhammer, Sonata Arctica, Hammerfall, and Triosphere will have new material soon.
Female-fronted power metal outfit Seven Kingdoms has begun recording their next record, and has hopes of an early 2020 release.
And, before we get to the singles, there’s one more thing to add. Sabaton History’s fourth weekly episode covers small-but-legendary WWII soldier Audie Murphey, whose story is touched upon in ‘To Hell and Back’ from the album Heroes.
Singles (And One EP)
Grimgotts – The Last Dragon Warriors
This album just keeps on getting better. ‘The Last Dragon Warriors’ has all of the fantastical, uplifting glory typical of Grimgotts, including stellar guest performances by Hector Clark, Nick Thurtell, and Julia Zelg. The vocals aren’t the only great thing about this track; David Hills’ and Fabio Garau’s the guitar and key solos are just killer. No date has yet been confirmed for the new album.
Manegarm – Sveablotet
‘Sveablotet’ sets the stage for Fornaldsargor (out 26 April) to be as harsh as ever. There isn’t much as far as black metal in this single, which is fine by me, but the viking elements are strong and the chanting chorus gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. There is a fair amount of variety in its five minutes, which is a good indication that the album will be exciting at the very least.
Bloodbound – Rise of the Dragon Empire
Let me first say that ‘Rise of the Dragon Empire’ is way better than Bloodbounds other new single. It’s more pulled back, but the song actually goes somewhere rather than sticking to the same power beat the entire fucking time(there’s even a bridge!). The guitar solo is pretty good and the chorus is catchy, and, all things considered, I am once again very excited for their album on 20 March.
Battle Beast – Eden
I like Battle Beast’s second single far more than ‘No More Hollywood Endings’. The orchestrations are cool and it’s an upbeat song with a decent guitar solo. That being said, though, I think it’s decent at best, which is truly disappointing from a band which we all know can kick serious ass. Even after losing Anton Kabanen they still managed to punch out Bringer of Pain a couple years ago, which was fucking awesome.
No More Hollywood Endings is set to come out 22 March, and you can catch my review here.
Queensryche – Blood Of The Levant
Queensryche’s The Verdict came out yesterday (1 March), but this single came out last week so I’ll throw it in anyway. It’s a pretty average piece of metal, with nothing really standing out. It’s mid-tempo and the melody is pretty lazy, but the drumbeats are tasteful, so there’s that.
Myrath – No Holding Back
Tunisian proggers Myrath are back with a new single containing their usual Middle Eastern strings parts and grooves, which adds a unique and intriguing flavour. Complete with a feel-good chorus and a tasty guitar solo, ‘No Holding Back’ is but an appetizer to what will likely be a fantastic album come 3 May.
Gatekeeper – Grey Maiden EP
Epic heavy metallers hailing from Canada, Gatekeeper, have unleashed another EP after their well recieved debut record last year. The dual guitars are prominent, the vocals are powerful, and the music is (as it should be) epic, but it’s nothing exceptional by any stretch. Nonetheless, if you’re into the old school stuff, especially Iron Maiden, you’ll love these guys.
Singles I Missed
As much as I try to stay as up to date as possible, some things certainly fall under my radar. So, in case you missed them too, here are a couple more singles for upcoming albums!
Haeredium – Merchant of Lies
French folkers Haeredium’s ‘Merchant of Lies’ has a sassy piano line in the intro and under the verses that are simply wonderful. There’s nothing astounding about this track (or Haeredium in general), but it’s catchy, fun, and good enough for me. Ascension is set to release on 15 March.
The Raven Age – The Day The World Stood Still
I’m usually not into groove/borderline-alternative metal, but I really like these guys. Their upcoming album, Conspiracy, is set for release on 8 March. If this single is anything to go by, it’ll be an impressive display of angsty hooks and bittersweet riffs.
Waylander – Autumnal Blaze
I really wish these guys released music more regularly because they’re so fucking good at what they do. The folk instrumentals are rich, the rough vocals are intense, and the rhythm section is seldom boring. Their pagan sound is thoroughly enjoyable and I’m certain that their next album (22 March) will contain as much energy as they can muster.
There were tons of quality album releases this month. Check out the other links at the top for more February metal.
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