Evergrey – “Escape of the Phoenix”

 Posted by on February 10, 2021 at 21:21  No Responses »
Feb 102021

Evergrey take advantage of the time available with tours being canceled to focus on the recording of their 12th album, Escape of the Phoenix, which adds to their already impressive collection of progressive metal.

Since the release of The Dark Discovery in 1998, the Swedish band Evergrey has been putting their mark on progressive metal. Being a productive band, now in their 26th year, the band has released 12 albums including a live double cd with the Gothenburg Symphonic Orchestra, all the while enduring lineup changes and touring the globe, and dealing with recording during a global pandemic. With the release of The Glorius Collision in 2011 guitarist Marcus Jidell and drummer Hannes van Dahl departed the band and were replaced by Henrik Danhage (guitar) and Jonas Ekdahl (drums). This lineup has remained constant and produced Hymns for the Broken (2014) and The Storm Within (2016). Early 2019 saw the release of The Atlantic, which was one of my top albums in 2019 and thought by many to be the third album in a trilogy from this lineup. Enter Covid-19 and 2020 and the band’s tours canceled, giving them the opportunity to record Escape of the Phoenix with Grammy-nominated producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe) and without the usual distractions.

After the epic nature of The Atlantic, which made so many Top 10 album lists, my hopes were impossibly high for I. Following a quick, short drum burst, the lead track “Forever Outsider” basically picks up where The Atlantic ended. Interesting drum work, heavy main riff, great guitar solo, and Tom Englund’s heavy, dark, and smooth vocal delivery matched with a strong sense of melody make the opening track a great listen and raise the expectations for the rest of the album.

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Metalite – “A Virtual World”

 Posted by on January 26, 2021 at 12:32  No Responses »
Jan 262021

Swedish band Metalite have found their niche in the metal world with their blend of Swedish pop and power metal in the follow up to Biomechanicals.

Having reviewed previous albums from Metalite, I had a feeling for what I was about to hear. Going all the way back to Heroes in Time (2017) and original vocalist Emma Bensing, Metalite has had an unmistakeable Swedish pop influence in their songwriting and overall sound.

For a bit of history, the band dates back to 2015 when Emma Bensing met guitarist Edwin Prmber and the two began a collaboration with producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Evergrey, Amaranthe). In the next year, the rest of the band was added and the band signed to Inner Wound Records, leading to Heroes in Time with Emma Bensing on vocals and then Biomechanicals, which saw the band has pick up Erica Ohlsson to handle the vocal duties while keeping everything else the same including producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe) and recording at Hansen Studios. This time around, things remain the same and the band seems to have settled into their sound.

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Jan 152021

All systems activated… – “A Virtual World” is paving it’s way into our world. Dedicated and sophisticated guitars team up with the keyboard’s vibrating sequences and pulsating beats of the drums – only outmatched by the powerful and angelic voice of Erica Ohlsson. This is the new title track of the album “A Virtual World” which is coming out 26th March, 2021 on AFM Records.

Modern Melodic Metal at it’s best – uptempo synth-stomper ‘Peacekeepers’ is the first stunning single after the succesfully released album “Biomechanicals”Erica Ohlsson‘s distinguished voice and the powerful compositions will catch and carry you into a feeling made of hope for a better world!

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Iron Savior – “Skycrest”

 Posted by on December 15, 2020 at 21:18  No Responses »
Dec 152020

As if to convince us that 2020 was not all bad, Iron Savior have released their latest album, Skycrest, which shows the band in the same peak form that we’ve all come to expect…. Power metal filled with blazing guitars, epic vocals and great hooks.

Now on their 14 th album, the band formed in 1996 by Piet Sielck and other ex-Helloween members, Iron Savior has rightfully been placed among the legends of metal. While the lineup around Piet has changed over the years, the quality of the musicianship has not wavered and the band’s sound which to my ears combines the NWOBHM with other metal greats remains a constant. Once again, for Skycrest, the overall sound was polished to a metal perfection by Piet at his Powerhouse Studios. I do feel I have to note that this review is happening after the release of the album and more than a week ago, there were over 500,000 streams of it already on Spotify, demonstrating both the dedication of Iron Savior fans as well as being a testament to the quality of the album. This time around, the band does stray a bit from the science fiction themes that dominate some of their other releases, as the challenges around the pandemic including bassist Jan being very ill, made this more of a personal album. That being said, the band made an album filled with positive energy, serving as an antidote to the overall darkness of the year.

“The Guardian” opens up Skycrest with the Rush-sounding keyboards (think Subdivisions) and then some harmonized guitar parts come in for the rest of the short instrumental, which in some ways serves as a prelude to what can be found later in the album.

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Nov 302020

Evergrey has unveiled the artwork for their 12th studio album, “Escape Of The Phoenix,” set for release on February 26, 2021 via AFM Records. Pre-orders can be placed now at this location. More shops and worldwide pre-order links to follow soon.

“Escape Of The Phoenix” will be available in various formats – from regular CD digipak to limited vinyls (picture, marbled, coloured), also available as an Artbook (limited to 1000 units, 36 pages, 28cm x 28cm including CD version of the album with bonus tracks, 7” picture vinyl single with exclusive bonus track ‘The Darkness In You’, exclusive and extensive photographic footage, and introduction written by frontman Tom S. Englund). On top of that, AFM offers a special and exclusive t-shirt print and various shirt bundles in the AFM online shop.

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