Jan 262023

Marco Garau’s Magic Opera return with another concept album filled with all the technical and theatrical elements symphonic power metal has to offer.

Two years ago in 2021, Marco Garau reached out to The Metal Resource and asked if we’d be willing to review the debut album from Marco Garau’s Magic Opera, The Golden Pentacle. I was the one lucky enough to get the album and definitely was impressed. When the time came this time around, I knew what to expect. For those not in the know, Marco hails from the Milan-based power metal band Derdian, who have been around for nearly two decades at this point. The only changes to the band I noticed was the addition of Luca Selitto on lead guitar and Ollie Bernstein coming in for bass work which shifts Enrico Pistolese to guitars. As one would expect, production and mixing are very clean and polished and possibly a bit too much for my liking but certainly not out of place in the genre. As for the story with this concept album, it essentially picks up where The Golden Pentacle left off and is the second installment of the “Amtork Saga” written by Garau. In the fantasy storyline, you have the classic good vs evil storyline with dragons and wizards and castles, all expected in an epic storyline.

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Jan 242023

Mysterious goth metal band Walk in Darkness return with their fourth album, Leaves Rolling in Time, featuring Nicoletta Rosellini (Kalidia) on vocals.

Walk in Darkness is one of those interesting bands who prefer to let the music speak for them. Promo pictures are all of hooded figures, faces obscured except for the female vocalist Nicoletta Rosseline (Kalidia). The band originates from Italy, but other than that, information is scarce. The band has videos on YouTube that have been viewed over 12 million times, so they definitely have created a fan base. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Virus Recording Studio with sound engineering by Alessandro Guaconi. For Leaves Rolling in Time, the band brought in a couple extra vocalists, with Emiliano Pasquinelli (ex-Thuchulca) handling the dark growled vocals and Elisabetta Bettini (Two of Spades) contributing some lines on the song “My Restless Wings”.

Once again, here is another band I knew nothing about prior to getting this album to review and now I have a few more albums to go back and listen to. From the very first listen without looking up any information on the band, I was pretty sure there was more than one vocalist for the female vocals, but as it turns out there is just one, Nicoletta Rosselini (Kalidia) and that should tell you quite a bit about here range and talent, very strong lower register and powerfully beautiful upper register.

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Jan 232023

Simon Bibby, the One-man show behind Thy Listless Heart has come out with his debut album “Pilgrims on the Path of No Return”, which was released under the Hammerheart Records on the 18th of November 2022. Simon played guitars for the British Christian metal band Seventh Angel (formed in 1987 by Ian Arkley). Although with Seventh Angel the sound was a combination of Doom and Thrash metal, the Listless Heart offers Grand Doom with death metal growls hinting a different sound. Having loved his work with Seventh Angel, I can’t wait to spin this album.

The album opens up with “As the Light Fades” bringing forth much melody with a guitar solo right at intro, a hypnotic vocal delivery, and pauses for a mellow interlude before delving in with all the instruments that sort of sets the tone for the album.  The song grips you with hard hitting lyrics and melodies that stays till the end of the song as it ends on an ambient note. “The Precipice” starts off with dark, gloomy and poetic lyrics which build up beautifully on grand piano, leveraging a rumbling bass and marching drums with rattling of the snares. An eclectic guitar solo pierces through the demonic growls that presents itself throughout the chorus requires a special mention as it adds tone and colour to the song.

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Dec 152022

The “classic” Becoming the Archetype lineup of Jason Wisdom, Seth Hecox, and Brent “Duck” Duckett return after more than 10 years apart to deliver a heavy progressive death metal album filled not only with everything one would expect but also a few surprises.

Ever since their debut album, Terminate Damnation, in 2005, Becoming the Archetype have maintained and expanded their base of followers who have appreciate their unique blend of technical, progressive, and death metal. The Physics of Fire followed in 2007 and Dichotomy in 2008 where Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad) produced and guested as well as Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter. Over the years, the band toured with the likes of Parkway Drive, August Burns Red, Zao, the Chariot and others solidifying their audience. In 2011, the band partnered with producer Matt Goldman (Underoath, The Chariot) for the experimental Celestial Completion which even featured a ska –like trombone part in one track. That album saw the departure of founding members Brent “Duck” Duckett and Jason Wisdom until a reunion in 2020 when the band began writing Children of the Great Extinction which eventually was produced by Nate Washburn (My Epic) and saw guest appearances by former guitarists Daniel Gailey (Phineas, Fit for a King) and Alex Kenis (Alethian) providing solos on “The Lost Colony” and “The Calling”, respectively.

The album opens up with “The Dead World” and has multiple guitars layered into a central riff that builds and eventually ends with Jason Wisdom’s shouted vocals coming in and the verse section taking off. Drummer Brent “Duck” Duckett gets a bit of a speed workout for much of the song alternating with the slower chorus sections and combined with Seth Hecox guitar, keyboard elements and clean vocals, the song itself fits well within the BTA catalog. I especially like the ending with the somewhat strangled guitar in the outro.

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Dec 142022

Confessions of a Traitor bring emotion and authenticity to their first release on Facedown Records, delivering a punishing metalcore album that works in so many ways.

Confessions of a Traitor are one of the most recent signings to Facedown Records and definitely fit the the sound of what many of have come to expect from Facedown since the early 2000s, namely metalcore with faith-influenced lyrics. C.O.A.T are London based and have released two eps, Seasons in 2014, and Illuminate in 2016 and a full length titled Guided  in October 2019. The band describes their sound as a “blend of melodic elements with crushing grooves” that “evoke emotion and energy.” The band strives to create an atmosphere that gives hope and provides “an escape for people, even if just for a moment.”

“Aggressive music for positive people” features prominently in the C.O.A.T. bio and the album certainly fits that description. Right from the opening track there is no question this is a metalcore album in the Facedown Records tradition. “Punishing Myself Before God Does” has good pounding drums, heavy down-tuned guitars, and some great vocals both in the shouted verses and in the clean almost soaring chorus/group parts. Overall the track has a bit of a catchy groove feel to it and nevertheless is heavy. Taking a higher level view, there is a bit of familiarity to the track and many on the album as they employ many of the expected sonic elements found in metalcore songs.

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