Signum Regis – “Flag Of Hope” EP

 Posted by on April 14, 2021 at 12:57  No Responses »
Apr 142021
 

Symphonic power metal seems to be an ever growing genre, and certainly its aided by an ever increasing flux of great bands. Formed in 2007 Signum Regis whom are a Slovak power metal band, who main core is melodic metal with a proficiency for shredding guitar bring us their latest release, “Flag Of Hope” EP. It is an album buried in the life line of Signum Regis, as they have developed their sound over the years. The “Flag Of Hope” EP was originally released digitally only in Fall 2020, But by popular demand, this specific EP I am reviewing is now released physically as a CD. In addition to that 2 tracks are now added to the tracklist! Songs “Tune Of War” and “Amorenada” were originally released on the Addendum Primum digital EP (2017), but never on a CD and fans were asking about this physical release too.

“Amorenada” is a beautiful instrumental song by Filip Koluš and “Tune Of War” is a groovy hymnic song, now re-recorded by Jota Fortinho singing lead vocals and Mayo Petranin singing backing vocals So for fans of the band, as well as folk who are been introduced to the sound of Signum Regis this EP offers an ideal landscape of the bands style and strengths over the years.

It was in 2007 that Ronnie König founded the band Signum Regis and together with the vocalist Göran Edman they started working on a self-titled album, which was released the following year through Locomotive Records. Other information important to note is that on September 11, 2018, the band informed on their official Facebook page that the lead singer Mayo Petranin was leaving the band. João “Jota” Fortinho became the new lead singer of Signum Regis in June 2019.

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Dark Sarah – “Grim”

 Posted by on February 27, 2021 at 14:25  No Responses »
Feb 272021
 

Dark Sarah returns with another symphonic/cinematic metal horror fantasy concept album filled with lush orchestral arrangements supported by a metal backing that highlight the beauty of Heidi Parviainen’s vocals.

As is quickly obvious, even to those unfamiliar with Amberian Dawn, Heidi is a classically trained singer with a phenomenal voice and the genre cinematic metal is one that could almost have been created for her. After parting with Amberian Dawn in 2012, Heidi started her solo career and Dark Sarah became the name of the project. In the first of the concept albums, Dark Sarah describes the journey of a young woman left at the altar who goes the edge of a breakdown only to have something inside her wake up and she changes into a darker reflection of herself, Dark Sarah. The album Behind the Black Veil takes you inside the mind of Sarah as she struggles with her two personalities. The album itself was crowdfunded in three parts, and several videos have been produced and released. Following the release of that album, Dark Sarah went on to release The Puzzle in 2016, which continued the story of Dark Sarah from Behind the Black Veil and then in 2018 The Golden Moth, the third part of the Dark Sarah saga was released. In Grim, Dark Sarah as band begins a new story with new characters again in a concept albums setting. This time we hear the story of Luna, who has to journey through a mythical world facing dangers along the way.

Fittingly, the album starts with “My Name is Luna” which introduces us to the hero character in the story. The song starts out with some atmospheric keyboards and sound effects of wolves howling before Heidi’s vocals come in smooth and quietly building in a style not unlike 80s pop songs and that continues into “The Chosen One” until the metal riffs start. Instantly the drums and guitars make their presence felt and while the verses are somewhat quiet and restrained, Thomas Tunkkari’s drums punctuate the silence and carry the song until the guitars come in for the chorus sections where Heidi’s vocals switch to operatic showcasing her vocal range and ability to shift styles completely. Production quality and mixing is understandably great once again, highlighting Heidi’s vocals while not losing the power metal feel in the songs when present. Obviously keyboards do play a large role in the overall sound, but the strength of the drums keeps the metal firmly in the mix until the guitars can come in to emphasize that.

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Brotality – “Worldwide Desolation”

 Posted by on February 24, 2021 at 21:47  No Responses »
Feb 242021
 

You can say what you want about record labels, and boy many of us have varied opinions and thoughts about certain record labels, and there is a huge debate around if there is really a need for record labels in the 21st century. That said there are a handful of labels out there where I genuinely have to complement them on the way the owners manage their label and the quality of the bands that they manage to sign to their little independent label that gives them much creditability within their sphere of influence and the music scene as a whole. One of these labels is a little independent one in the United States of America, called Rottweiler Records owned and run by good guy, Shawn Browning. Both his character and demeanour as a person holds within itself credibility.

His eclectic taste for music is represented through many of the bands that he has released through his label. He certainly has a high bar set when it comes to the signing of bands, and it’s not like its without risk, but as someone looking in I get a picture of a label that has a discography of releases that no matter how you try to unpack it is of a very high calibre. This is where a guy like me gets excited when a new band has signed to the label, because he has already set the bar with the other bands signed to the label, and in some measure you have this confidence in that you are about to experience something of quality. Again as I said there is a lineage of creditability been established by Rottweiler records already. With that all said lets tuck into the debut release from the new kids on the block at Rottweiler Records.

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Motivik – “Death of the Gunman”

 Posted by on February 19, 2021 at 17:17  No Responses »
Feb 192021
 

Motivik take the listener on a musical journey of sorts in their self-described melodic thrash debut Death of the Gunman.

Death of the Gunman certainly takes you on a musical journey. “Inception” starts off the album and brings mostly old-school thrash like you’d hear from bands like Tourniquet or Vengeance Rising, at least for the first three minutes of the song when it inexplicably turns into a melodic instrumental only the abruptly shift back into a thrash-heavy guitar solo sounding like something off Metallica’s Kill Em All. Throw in some vocals that sound like melodic ones from bands like Volbeat and I’m very confused after just one track.

“Away” starts out thrashy enough but vocals completely change everything and I presume this is Courtney Simmons taking over only to have the smoother vocals come in for the chorus section. This works very well as odd as it sounds when you read the description. There are definitely some interesting choices going on with the mix as well as the bass comes through prominently in some parts offsetting the guitar solo. Then things shift again with the string section opening “Lament” and the background sounds giving the feel of this song being something from an American Western. Really not sure how that fits musically but it does with the album cover and title….

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Feb 172021
 

Marco Grou, keyboardist for Derdian sees his power metal vision come to life in his project Magic Opera, releasing their first album The Golden Pentacle, a symphonic power metal concept work filled with strong performances and the epic overall feel one looks for in the genre.

For those not up on Italian power metal, Marco Grau and several members of Magic Opera hail from the Milan band Derdian, who have been around for at least 15 years from what I can tell. Others have said that Magic Opera sounds a bit like older Derdian, which is not surprising given the members involved, and if that is the case, I have yet another band I need to go and check out. The Golden Pentacle was mixed and mastered by Danilo Di Lorenzo at Moonhouse Recording Studio in Milan and while the overall mix is a bit too keyboard heavy for me, overall it is fitting for the genre, very clean with every instrument and layer of music easily heard and there is a lot musically to take in. Interestingly, the melodies take center stage in the mix with the keyboards and then the lead guitars and strings, and a bit in the background are the drums, rhythm guitar and bass which is a bit disappointing to me given the overall high quality musicianship, but this is more of a stylistic choice than anything.

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