Resonance - Empress - Ewigkeit - Meteora - Lustre
Empress – Fateweaver 9.5/10
From the moment ‘’Legion’’ is unleashed on your senses, this is a rousing symphonic metal that moves, is inspiring, and is wonderfully memorable
Driven by the powerful vocals and personality that is Barbara Blackthorne ‘’ Fateweaver’’ is a very impressive debut offering to the melodic metal gods. The American act brilliantly interweaves the progressive elements along with their incredibly powerful symphonic metal. “Chimera” is a brief acoustic opening before hurling you into their bombastic assault that firmly rocks with its keyboard flourishes and excellent rhythms. “Beyond The Sleep” is tempered by some oriental touches and highlights the Mezza soprano range of Barbara’s vocals, her role as a storyteller is excellent, inviting, and at times warmly intimate, her rich tones as highlighted on ‘’Immortelle” will have you hitting the repeat button. It is lavish beautifully constructed music that is impactful and rousing.
The guitar solos are fluid and finely crafted whilst the rhythm section provides the dynamics, “Black Arcana” is a heavier offering and although at times it might seem familiar there is no denying how good this album is. “Monarch” combines the orchestral with the metal seamlessly as does the excellent ‘’Ëventide’’ a more mid-tempo offering that allows the vocals and the guitars to soar to another level.
An excellent debut album ‘’Fateweaver’’ feels all too brief and the band’s ability to combine all their influences between the symphonic, the heavy, and the orchestral is synched to perfection. It is inviting, warm, heavy, and powerfully emotive. Highly Recommended.
EWIGKEIT – Out of the Woods 8.5/10
Ewigkeit (Eternity) is the project of James Fogarty, and his intention has always been to create original music with an extreme edge from early black metal beginnings to more experimental later works. Ewigkeit existed from 1994 until 2007 and was then reborn in 2012. ‘Out of the Woods’ is part of 12 songs that began during time spent with the act In the Woods from 2015 until 2021. For no particular project, three of these demoed tracks are what make up ‘Out of the Woods’.
Another rebirth? It is a look into further developing an artist’s consciousness. From the opening sounds of the purely heavy “Evergreen” it is a majestic track so gloriously heavy with an element of doom and some excellent soulful clean singing and of course the despairing screams and the extreme flourishes. It is dynamic and rich in texture and emotion. And that riff, that riff!
“The Wolf Returns” is a combination of power metal meets more folklore arrangements. Again, the rich timbre of the clean vocals soars above it all as it moves into a far heavier direction with the experimental instrumental touches. “Namestealer” combines the traditional with melody and the ability to further prove how heavy music can truly be. Rather than a collection of tracks “Out of the Wood” feels complete and cohesive. Haunting, demanding another listen
Dark, rich, and intoxicating ‘Out of the Woods’ is what could have been and hopefully what can still be, it is of things discovered and until the other nine tracks are revealed a prelude of incredible potential.
Meteora – Of Shades and Colours 9/10
Meteora is not just another symphonic metal band. Their roots are in the genre, but their ambition goes much further beyond the typical aspirations of most artists. Of Shades and Colours is their third album from the Hungarian five-piece and is their most creative yet.
Featuring three orchestral instrumentals, the emphasis is on the power that the orchestral component can bring along with not only the trademark gothic touch but also some finely placed death metal as well. Of Shades and Colours is a refreshingly very heavy record that is reflected by the multiple vocal approaches, the superb vocals of Noémi Holló are countered by the harshness of Máté Fülöp and the clean male vocals of keyboardist Atilla Király. It all works beautifully and paints elegant yet gloriously heavy images, add the guest vocals of Chris Harms (Lord of the Lost) on ‘’Danse Macabre’’ and you have a wonderful gothic-infused triumvirate of darkness firmly rooted in classical dynamics.
‘’ Wings Of Rebellion’’ is pure symphonic power whilst ‘’Voices Within” takes the album to a much heavier level, with flourishes of Mediterranean inspiration Noémi’s beautiful classical vocals soar and inspire. “Slave of Creation”’ is another surprising metal offering where all three vocals combine and ‘’Pests” is an Epic musical offering that has a fantastic keyboard and guitar solos with driving rhythms and some very recognizable passages!
Musically demanding and pushing the boundaries of the genre into new soundscapes, ‘’Of Shades and Colours’’ is a major musical accomplishment that will not only excite those who love the genre but those who like their musical journeys heavy and memorable!
Lustre – A Thirst for Summer Rain 8/10
Combining ethereal and melodic keyboards with the barbaric 90s tones and the wickedness of black metal A Thirst for Summer Rain is Lustre (Sweden) eighth album of emotive minimalism
Nachtzeit’s (everything) new release greatly benefits from the use of a professional studio for the first time. The tones are vibrant, warmer, more seductive, and able to capture the intent properly “Faith “with its haunting keyboards and heavy riffs. A Thirst for Summer Rain feels nostalgic and introspective ‘’Thirst’’ with its desire and loss (and dark undertone) is the epitome of minimalistic duality, the juxtapositions of emotions, and the possibilities that lie within them. For every ray of light, there is a shadow cast and the dread within them.
“Quiscence” (dormancy) and ‘’Alleviation” round out the four tracks on offer each one is a lengthy exploration of its topic yet is not self-indulgent in any way, the music creates vivid images that are welcoming yet also cold and brittle. The keyboard-driven music further pushes the boundaries of an artist’s exploration into deeply personal themes and dark thoughts
A Thirst for Summer Rain is rich and hauntingly beautiful. It tells stories and paints wonderful mosaics without uttering a word. It is an album to get lost in and simply enjoy the journey. Its elegant use of restraint and ambiguousness is enticing and alluring.