While tons of singles came out this week, ninety-five percent of them were absolute bullshit. However, there were plenty of album releases (with a couple that are sure to be contenders in March’s Top Ten) that make it all worthwhile, and even a couple singles which were good enough to be mentioned here.
There wasn’t much in the way of news or announcements, but if I missed anything noteworthy, call me out!
Atlas Pain – Kia Kaha
Epic folk metal group Atlas Pain released ‘Kia Kaha’, from their upcoming record, Tales of a Pathfinder, which will be available on 19 April. The first minute or two are just ambient sounds and samples, but once the light and uplifting instrumentals begin, you’ll be glad you waited. This track contains a fair amount of pirate energy and will be a hit with any fan of the genre.
Voyager – Brightstar
Voyager is a prog band from Australia which I had never even heard of before this week. I’m not really upset about that, though, because it’s pretty indie rock/underground electronic for my taste. It’s not bad, but it lacks any sort of oomph or energy. If you want to hear something different for a change, though, check out ‘Brightstar’.
Iron Savior – Stand Up and Fight
This just might be the most expensive music video made ever in the history of anything.
As Kill or Get Killed draws nearer (next week, in fact), Iron Savior has released another colossal single. ‘Stand Up and Fight’ is my favourite so far, largely because of that nasty fucking guitar solo.
Stonecast – I Earther
Stonecast rocks seriously fucking hard. Their strong energy will draw you in and their anthemic hooks will make you stay. Their third album, I Earther, is no exception. This earthy metal is sturdy and its sound is nothing short of mountainous. It’s got great musicians, excellent songwriting, and has massive replayability. This album is rock-solid and will pound its way into your heart. (These rock puns doing anything for you?)
Catch the full review here!
Queensrÿche – The Verdict
While The Verdict is Queensryche’s worst album in recent years, it’s still pretty good. No new ground has been broken; it’s pretty similar to their 90s material, but many of the songs have a grunge underbelly. In all honesty, though, I’m just glad that all of the legal bullshit and drama has stayed at bay and allowed Queensryche to keep producing records.
Warrior Path – Warrior Path
This album is insanely fucking good. Being forged under Greek guitarist/composer Andreas Sinanoglou, it also features vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos (ex Wardrum, Beast In Black) and guitarist/keyboardist Bob Katsionis (Firewind), making for quite the lineup. Now, I’m pretty biased to all things Yannis, so I’ll try to avoid talking too much about how his already-impressive vocal versatility is demonstrated in yet another new way or how he absolutely fucking masters old school heavy metal singing too much.
Well, shit. I tried.
Ok, I didn’t try at all.
Besides the vocals, the songs are very well written (a trait that is often missing from traditional metal bands), the solos and riffs are heavy, and the slow parts are beautiful. You’ll come back to this record a few times; I guarantee it.
Iron Fire – Beyond the Void
Let it be known that Iron Fire is king in the land of heavy metal. After twenty years in the studio, not a single one of their records has lost any heat, and they’ve perhaps hit the pinnacle of their career in their ninth: Beyond the Void. These heavy metal veterans show absolutely no sign of slowing down, and it’s greatly reassuring to see them continuously produce nothing but excellence.
Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say the songwriting is fantastic. No song sets into one feel, and the molten-hot solo sections, especially in titular track, have some serious underlying grooves. Honestly, while Kirk Backarach’s soloing is awesome, the rhythm section underneath is just as good.
Read more about it here.
Týr – Hel
I’ve never really been a fan or Tyr, largely because the vocal style and effects remind me so much of Volbeat that I can’t even stand it. Volbeat needs to retreat far, far into the shadows and never plague us with its bootlegged ‘metal’ again.
Anyway, I do know that Tyr is hugely popular in both progressive and folk metal, and I also know that these songs are really good (even though I can’t enjoy them). So, check out the track below. If you like it, you’ll love the album. If you can’t stand it, know that you’re not alone.
Darkwater – Human
Darkwater’s Human is very late-Dream-Theatery at its core (but not anything like Distance over Time, which is something entirely different) , but the hooks are catchy and the numerous symphonic, choir, and keyboard tracks that are consistently scattered throughout the album add a lot of depth. The solos and grooves are pretty tame by prog standards but these guys do an excellent job at proving that you don’t need to be shredding like a fucking madman for an entire ten minute song in order to be a successful prog musician.
All things considered, this album is great.
You can read my review here!
The Raven Age – Conspiracy
I usually don’t listen to groove metal, but I find myself enjoying this album very much. It has an almost emo metal sound with a metalcore rhythm section and melodic choruses. It’s nothing new by any stretch, but edgy 13-year-old me definitely approves.
Oh, I almost forgot! Here’s this week’s Sabaton History episode.
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