Ankit Sood

Anthea – “Tales Untold”

 Posted by on November 15, 2022 at 19:53  No Responses »
Nov 152022

What began as a small side project by Diego Valadez in 2015, Anthea, an American Melodic Symphonic metal band, is out with their sophomore album “Tales Untold”. The album was released on the 26th August, 2022; and was produced by Diego Valadez, Mixed & Mastered by Jesse Billson. With influences from bands like Nightwish, Kamelot, and Wintersun, as well as scores from composers such as Hans Zimmer, John Williams, and Danny Elfman, the band creates a unique theatrical sound blending progressive, power, and thrash metal elements, with a grand, cinematic edge.

While playing in Cellador, Valadez began writing some original material in his spare time with more symphonic and progressive metal elements. After enough songs had been completed, Valadez decided to enter the studio to record an EP with the help of some lifelong musician friends including drummer Peter Vasquez (Angel Siniestro). The duo brought on board their old friend, Juan Pina (Harpokrate), on guitar and screams. Pina, in turn, brought along his former band mate Marcos Mejia (Warwind) on lead guitar, giving Anthea a much fuller sound. On October 10th of 2015, Anthea gave their first live performance at the Whiskey a Go-Go in Hollywood, CA. Eric “EJ” Guerrero (E.Ject) on bass stood out among the crowd due to his similar musical influences, and background in multiple genres of heavy music. And thus, the official incarnation of Anthea was born.

The album opens up with “Tales Untold” which is a powerhouse of melody, upbeat rhythms and terrific solos on the guitars and keys. The interlude / chorus adds an element of surprise and jostles the song back to its roots. “Ascendence” sets off with heavy guitar chugs paired off with a symphonic soundscape and electronica but what caught my attention was the jaw dropping catchy chorus that gets one grooving. The interlude brings about a short and emotional guitar solo which is a fitting closure to the magnificence of the overall song.

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Oct 312022

Trinity, a Doom metal band founded in the year 2007 in Czech Republic, are out with their debut album “Memories Of The Ancient Presence ” under the Soundmass Record label. The band draws comparison to Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus and Paramaecium. Trinity best summarizes in its press material when it accurately describes itself as ‘doom and rebirth’ metal.

Bard, a multi-instrumentalist, began collaborating with Judith and Mary, whom he had previously worked with on other musical projects.  The trio started demoing material over the next several years but progress stalled due to their commitment to other bands.  Starting in 2016, however, work resumed on Trinity, with the subsequent four years spent working on production and recording along with improving arrangements and lyrics.

The album opens up with a hymn “Memories Waking” with soft tones, bell chimes, seconds vocalizing and an acoustic guitar that carries the song forward.  “The Ancient Presence” starts off with a downbeat guitar riff on a looming violin swing which is accentuated with crafty drum rolls, and the vocals add a doom overtone to the overall song. “Sanctuary” starts off on a groovy note, and slowly blends into a doom guitar riff, parallels well with the violin and toggling between the voices of Bards and Judith/Mary gives the song an eerie outlook. The interlude with an electrifying guitar solo, and the outro brings about a gothic aura that sustains for a while and gives one a gooseflesh.

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Oct 112022

Eric Wagner, best known for his work with the band Trouble, had had an illustrious musical career. He had been part of multiple bands across the breadth of his musical journey, predominantly in the genre of Doom Metal. I happened to review his last album Blackfinger – “When Colours Fade Away” which got me hooked on to his ingenious style and experimentation with vocal delivery. Some of the other bands that he was part of were The Skull and Lid, and now the posthumously released solo album, “In the Lonely light of Mourning”.

Covid has been tough on the whole world, and the Metal fraternity wasn’t spared either. We lost Eric (at the age of 62) in 2021, to complications arising due to Covid. What’s amazing though is that during his final time, he recorded his solo album giving us something more to remember him by. Eric’s legendary voice has found its place in Doom Metal and will forever remain etched in our minds.

“Rest in Place” opens up the album with a rumbling bassline, and as the rugged guitar riffs follow we hear Eric’s melancholic voice (& lyrics) reverberating, building on to heavy Doom formulaic that ends abruptly, mid-way, totally unexpected. Don’t know if I should find some meaning through this. “Maybe Tomorrow” pulls out a crunchy guitar riff loaded with plenty of overdrive, with staccato guitar solo keeping the groove going and all was layered beautifully with Eric’s vocals. The lyrics terrified me a bit given that this came to be a posthumous album, and it felt like Eric knew this could be his last record.

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Jul 282022

Known to me as the Co-founder of Orphaned Land, Yossi Sassi is an internationally acclaimed musician having shared the stage with a plethora of artists from across the world, such as Metallica, Steve Vai, Marty Friedman and Steven Wilson to name a few. Having given a TED talk on ‘The power of music to unite people’, he was awarded 4 peace and friendship awards from cities and governments. That’s not all, he invented the unique Bouzouki-Guitar instrument (Electric guitar combined with acoustic Bouzouki) and is known to play 17 different types of guitars and traditional instruments.

While the music has a blend of eastern and Oriental scales eclectically blended with Progressive rock we do hear a lot of experimentation with tones. The band loves to drive inspiration from different cultures in the world, while listing Joe Satriani, David Gilmour, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, and Opeth as some of their influences. To me that’s a wonderful list of progressive influencers and some of my favourites too. “Hear and Dare”, marks as the 5th Studio album released on the 19th of March 2021, with Production by Amir Rozanes, Concept art by Amir Rozanes, Liza Murashkovsky, Album design by Noa Reshef, Engineered and recorded by Liron Schaffer at Black Rock Studios, Santorini, Greece; Additional recordings at Jaffa Sound Arts; Mixed and Mastered by Liron Schaffer & Jonathan Jacobi.

The album starts off with “Brotherhood” which is an absolute ecstatic Instrumental piece, an amalgamation of different instruments, cultures, seasons, stories and eras. The song arrangement showcases immense maturity and creativity, and Yossi is a master blender. “The Mind Spirit” booms in and takes on a progressive stance, with odd time sequences, a blend of multitude of instruments, where East meets West which sounds as if the melodies are duelling out and eventually culminating into something unique and mellifluous. “Hear and Dare” starts off with crunchy guitar riffs layering on marching drums, and as all the elements mix up, we hear Mats Levén adding a unique blend into the mix with his vocal deliveries. The song carries its momentum and ends the way it starts (only a pitch higher).

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Bloodlines – “Hevel” (ep)

 Posted by on July 14, 2022 at 12:43  No Responses »
Jul 142022

From the Gulf Coast of Texas come Bloodlines, a four-piece modern-core outfit taking cues from bands like For Today, Impending Doom and Convictions. The band’s 2019 debut LP Hostile | Minds, marries classic metal core with a distinctly progressive twist, was hailed as a “dark and violent record,”. Bloodlines’ mission statement is as clear as their sound is brutal. They plainly assert that their vision is very simple and that’s to spread the hope and love of Jesus Christ. The band released their EP “Hevel” on the November 12th of 2021 under the Facedown record label.

The band wrote HEVEL to address seasons of life, with the band taking inspiration from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes. The band quotes, “Ecclesiastes uses the word ‘meaningless’ a lot, which is translated to ‘hevel’ in Hebrew and has a different interpretation. The word ‘hevel’ in the context of the book means vanishing vapor or smoke. So in essence, Ecclesiastes wasn’t necessarily saying that the work and the seasons we go through in life are meaningless, but rather they are just fleeting, ever-changing. Like vapor, here one minute and gone the next.”

The EP opens up with a hard hitting “Lotus” which pounces off with a plethora of crafty breakdowns as the Vocals juggle between a mix of guttural and clean styles. Be it for the chugging guitars, melodious chorus, or the ambient electronic soundscapes, all gels well with the overall song delivery. Next up with “Devil” heavy ambient soundscapes open the track with an eclectic guitar paving way to a djent filled verse. The bass rumbles as the songs move to its breakdowns paired well with screeching and guttural vocals, at the same time adding bits of melodies through the course of the song. A good use of electronica interrupts at the interlude before the song’s final blow.

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