Tag Archives: Melodic Death Metal

Feradur – Legion

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Feradur - Legion

A bit more than four years have passed since the local band Feradur surprised me with its debut record, and the journey to the follow-up has been a wild one, to say the least. Shortly after the release of the first album, the guys amicably parted ways with their vocalist, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise since the new man on the mic brought a fresh energy and expertise to the ensemble, as well as a third pair of hands that plays a guitar. They were then hit with several bumps during the recording of the new songs, one of which was when a large portion of their gear was stolen, but the wait is finally over and I am excited to give you my thoughts on the mammoth that is Legion!

The quintet essentially stays true to the previously established melodic death metal sound, but the creativity has definitely been ramped up and the influences seem to be coming from a more diverse mix of genres, resulting in a gripping amalgamation of soundscapes. At times you can feel a progressive metal vibe, then at other times it turns semi-symphonic, but the result is always the same: you end up with a hefty metal slap in the face.

It is easily noticeable that Feradur has evolved quite a bit since they put out Epimetheus in 2015, because not only has the musicianship of every single member reached new levels, but the songwriting is also a lot more coherent and, dare I say, memorable. Each of the eleven tracks has a hook that will nest itself into your ear canal, be it in the form of a “catchy” chorus like those of Deus or Of Greater Deeds, or via an unexpected aural shift as during the second half of Fake Creator. One, admittedly stupid, nitpick I have though, is the fact that the majority of the songs ends in the exact same way: abruptly.

Time to get to the major new element: the vocalist! Back when I wrote my first review, I praised the original singer’s performance and I still stand by that statement, because it fit the music the guys were playing at the time perfectly…but I have to give credit where credit is due: the new man behind the mic absolutely kills it! His growls are pure evil packed into sonic form and his screeches will chill you right to the bone, and on top of that he has a fairly precise and clear enunciation, which make it possible to make out most of the lyrics without even having to refer to the booklet.

Earlier, I jokingly mentioned a minor gripe I had with these fifty-one minutes, and I wish I could end this review there, but there is another one I have, which takes Legion from a perfect melodic death metal record, to “just” a very good one. In some portions of the record, the mixing and the mastering are really off, in my opinion, and it results in the fact that at times the guitars just create this wall of sound that make it almost impossible to discern any specifics. Which is a true shame since there are so many excellent riffs and drum patterns hidden all throughout. Now, to be fair, I should add that that I listened to the album on non-high-end in-ear headphones every time, except during the writing of the review where I used my non-high-end speakers and the latter made quite a difference. So, I am cautiously saying that this is just not a headphone-record, which is not necessarily bad. That’s for you to decide.

All in all, Feradur have a true gem on their hands and I can guarantee that they shred the living hell out of the songs if you get to witness them in a live setting. Now, the best way to experience Legion will be on June 22nd, when the band is inviting you all to their release party in Dudelange’s Atelier D, but if you want a pre-listening session, you can also head to Rock Solid this Friday, June 14th, where a DJ will play the entire record for you. Until then, be sure to head to the band’s Facebook page and check out the video below!

Mindpatrol – The Marble Fall

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Imagine this: you start a musical project with your good friend, you write, record, produce and release it all by yourself in complete DIY fashion and it is met with with mixed to negative reviews. What do you do? I’ll tell you what you should do: dust yourself off, recruit some more like-minded individuals, start rehearsing as a band, play live shows and start writing the next record! That is exactly what Mindpatrol did after the release of Downfall Theatre in 2013, which is why I have the great pleasure of writing about their upcoming output, The Marble Fall!

Back when I reviewed their debut album, I praised them for covering a broad spectrum in their music, and I also mentioned the well thought-through songwriting…boy, was I a fool. Because even though they have narrowed their range down to what I would call progressive power-death metal, the songwriting during these twelve tracks is riddled with so many catchy hooks, riffs and melodies that I don’t even want to start counting. It’s clear that the omission of certain elements from the predecessor has greatly improved the sextet’s sound!

At the core of The Marble Fall is an epic story that is, admittedly, very similar to the biblical downfall of man, but with a new twist to it. In order to do this opus, that is recounted in sixty-two minutes, justice, Mindpatrol has incorporated some rather classical instruments such as trumpets, violins and organs, which gives the entirety a much more majestic vibe, without being cheesy though.

Despite already praising the improved songwriting, I can’t help but highlight the fact that the vocals have also further improved. Mainly because the clean vocals, which were the main caveat on DT, have been completely scratched and replaced with shouted singing. Furthermore, I feel like the growls and screams have also gained in strength, and especially the screeches are almost like the cries of the undead. Add to that a much better sense for vocal melodies and you’ve got a very promising vocalist! Hell, even his accent has become much more bareable…still not quite disappeared though.

In closing, I must say that the evolution that Mindpatrol have undergone in two years is quite remarkable…and a little bird tells me that they have not even reached their final form yet. Be sure to check out The Marble Fall when it’s released digitally on October 16th and, if you like what you hear, move your ass to the Schungfabrik in Differdange on October 30th for the release show of the record! In the meantime, watch the band’s music video below and head to their Facebook page to keep up with what else they have planned.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=744OEfNJRfE]

Feradur – Epimetheus

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It feels like forever since I got to write about a local release, and what better way to draw attention to our small country than with a band that says about itself that it plays Luxembourg metal? Feradur is a relatively “new” band, despite being in existence for almost a decade, and quite frankly a group of guys that I’ve never really paid much attention to in the past. A fact that is yet another piece of evidence that I am not omniscient, because their first full length Epimetheus proves that they deserve to be noticed!

While the genre name they gave themselves is not entirely wrong, because it does have that typical Luxembourgish feel to it, I think I have to point out that the quintet plays melodic death metal, with a heavy focus on the viking-inspired kind. All throughout, the majority of the guitar parts are fairly heavy, which in combination with the tank-like powerful drumming, provides a solid backdrop for the songs to unfold. Heaviness is not the main selling point though, because the melodic side does not fall flat either, and delivers a truly diverse listening experience.

One thing that I have noticed though, is that there is a definite build-up that is happening during the nine songs. While the first two songs are a good introduction to the band’s sound, the guys unload all their potential in the middle of the record with their, in my opinion, smash hit Rotten Heart and the surrounding tracks, while ending on a slightly weaker note. In a way, that is also a strong selling point in my opinion, since many records nowadays blow their entire load on the first couple of songs and make you shy away from listening to them in their entirety…definitely not the case here.

I also have to give immense praise for the vocal performance throughout the thirty-eight minutes because, contrary to my expectations, the singer covers a wide range of styles and avoids boredom rather effectively. The multitude of techniques is only further enhanced by the actual skill that is put to show though…and that is in no way lacking! The growls are deep and menacing, the screeches are strong and ear-piercing and the screamed melodies are a pure delight!

Even though technically not quite the correct denomination, Feradur are a newcomer with a lot of potential and have managed to deliver a worthy first entry in their catalog with Epimetheus! While, out of personal preference, I won’t be spinning the record on a daily basis, I can only strongly advise you to give it a good and thorough listen, because I’m willing to bet that you won’t be disappointed. So, make sure to listen to the above-mentioned song below and head over to the band’s Facebook page for more info, especially concerning their release show that is taking place this Friday, May 29th, in Diekirch at Atelier 6!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-2lvixRgjc]

The Agonist – The Eye Of Providence

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The remaining band members of The Agonist seem a bit lost without Alissa White-Gluz. At least that’s what I thought when I heard their new album The Eye Of Providence for the first time. I have to admit, that there are some interesting riffs on the new album, the pounding drums are fine as well and the new singer Vicky Psarakis definitely knows how to cast her magic spell on you with her brilliant voice. But somehow it’s not only the vocals that have changed… It seems as if the whole line up is different on this record.

Let me explain what I mean: As mentioned in the beginning, there are indeed some really cool riffs on The Eye Of Providence (e.g. Gates Of Horn And Ivory, Faceless Messenger, Perpetual Notion, Follow The Crossed Line). However, I do feel quite a lack of innovation throughout the whole album. The riffs are often quite boring, repetitive and even pop-like. And many times, the guitars only sound like some sort of background noise, especially during Vicky’s choruses. Maybe they did that on purpose in order to be able to show off her awesome voice…

Apart from the riffs themselves, the structure of the songs is quite different on the new The Agonist album. Compared to the previous albums, the song structures have been simplified as well. The Agonist have become a bit less progressive and are now sticking a bit more to the typical verse-bridge-chorus structure. Since this is a matter of taste, I’m not going to comment on whether that is a positive or a negative change.

Another thing that has changed is the sound of the band as a whole. Not only has the percentage of the clean vocals been upped a lot, also the guitars sound a bit more polished. I haven’t checked out the old stuff especially for the purpose of this review, but I think I remember the guitar sound to be a bit more aggressive and tuned down a bit more.

I tip my hat to Vicky though. She truly has an amazing voice and can easily poison your heart with her soulful clean vocals. She also does know how to scream and growl but Vicky’s unclean vocals can’t compare to Alissa’s, which might just be the reason why there’s more clean vocals on this new The Agonist album. This will probably also disappoint one or the other fan.

All in all I can’t say that The Eye Of Providence is a bad album! It can actually get you going at some points. However, the points that I mentioned in the article will probably disappoint old school fans. But maybe they changed with the goal to attract a new audience… It’s clear that this album is definitely more suitable for the masses.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urcLhku0I7Y]

This review was written by our Freelancer David from The Metal Diplomat!

Calypso’s Call – Delirious

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Ever since I started checking out local metal bands, back in the early 2000s, I noticed that Luxembourg was severely lacking quality in one department: male clean vocals. While we do have some phenomenal screams, growlers and shouters as well as talented female vocalists, this hasn’t much changed in the past decade. You can imagine my surprise when I was introduced to Calypso’s Call and discovered that they feature just what I was longing for! However, my happiness was short, since I learned that their debut Delirious is at the same time their farewell album. Doesn’t matter, let’s see what they delivered!

The quintet’s sound is a mixture of traditional elements, in the vain of melodic death metal, and modern sounds, closest to metalcore, which should appeal to a broad spectrum of listeners. The guitars are well played, lay forth enough diversity to keep you interested and even have the one or the other surprise waiting to be heard. The drumming is to the point and mostly mid-tempo, generally keeping in the background during the songs, but exploding in terms of technicality during choruses.

While the main focus of the band’s songwriting is definitely on melody, the heavier parts don’t lack in headbang-potential either, thus creating an overall enjoyable experience. On the other hand, I did have one gripe during the forty-seven minutes: most songs could have been one or even two minutes shorter, because they tend to repeat themselves a bit. A fact that is forgivable though, since there are several elements like keyboards that spice up the whole thing.

Let’s get down to what dragged me in to begin with: the vocals! The singer uses many different techniques, such as growls, screams and screeches, which are overall well-executed, but the fact that there is a fair amount of clean-sung parts, is what makes these eleven tracks stand out from the majority of the local bands. Furthermore, there is another premiere on here, unless I’m forgetting something: female guest vocals, provided by Deborah Marinkovic, give the title track that extra special flavor!

To end this, I’ll just say that even though my pleasure with Calypso’s Call was a short one, I hope that all of these guys find their way into new bands at some point and continue to exploit their talent. Be sure to check out Delirious once it’s available, whet your appetite with the self-shot video below and last but not least follow the band on Facebook in order to keep up with the release date of the album!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5L8B6clzPs]

Eternal Storm – From The Ashes

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I don’t know about you, but I am prone to associating certain genres with certain countries, in that way I’m quite convinced that the best metalcore comes from the States, the best black metal from Scandinavian countries and so forth. It’s certainly a very prejudiced opinion and, luckily, I’ve been proven wrong many times, but in the grand scheme of things, I still stick to it. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Eternal Storm, a Spanish band that plays melodic death metal, as tight as I thought was only possible in the upper north of Europe. Their debut EP From The Ashes is solid proof of that!

Despite being released in 2013, thus not being one hundred percent fresh, I couldn’t pass up on writing a few lines about these energy-laden eight tracks, since the quartet just gets all the elements right. Fast-paced drumming goes hand in hand with intricate riffing that manages to switch between being melodic and heavy effortlessly. The same goes for the almighty groove, because once it sets in there is simply no stopping the Spaniards as they demolish everything that is in their way!

Throughout the thirty-two minutes, the singer delivers a strong performance and switches between growls, screams and screeches in the appropriate moments, but in terms of the mixing of the sound I would say that his voice could have been featured more prominently. Especially since the production of the instruments is fairly well-done, always managing to maintain a very natural feel and still sounding reasonably modern.

All in all, I’d say that you get your money’s worth with From The Ashes…but that would be a lie, since you can download the entire thing for free on Bandcamp! So don’t be shy, click below, give Eternal Storm a listen and head to their Facebook page if you want to keep up with them!

At The Gates – At War With Reality

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Let it go down in the history books, that 2014 marks the year that one of the most-awaited reunions in metal has happened. In case you don’t know it by know: the legendary At The Gates are back with a new record, called At War With Reality! Almost twenty years after they set a huge landmark with Slaughter Of The Soul, the quintet is back with new music and what can I say? It’s as if they never left!

The Swedes are arguably solely responsible for making melodic death metal into what it is today, and that can clearly be heard on this fifth album: every element that defines the genre can be found, executed in utter perfection! Groove-laden drum patterns, that can turn into fast-paced technical explosions, go hand in hand with intricate guitar parts that lack neither in variation, nor in atmosphere.

The fifteen tracks, on the limited edition, are a blast to listen to and always give off a slight feeling of desperation, while still at the same time being brutal when necessary, which is definitely emphasized through the fantastic vocal performance. In my opinion, the screamer’s vocal chords must be completely torn, or he simply has a perfect technique, because the above-mentioned desperation can be felt at any moment that he opens his mouth.

However, there is one negative aspect about these fifty-three minutes…but it only applies to newcomers to the band, I would say. While At War With Reality is a brilliant record, there are very few new elements that have been added and therefore it might come across as “just another melodic death metal” release to younger listeners…but I, for one, love the fact that ATG didn’t try to re-invent themselves in an unnecessary way and just stuck to what they pretty much invented: Gothenburg fucking death metal!

This album has hands-down been on top of many wishlists for just as many years, and I can only say that it did not disappoint, in any way whatsoever. And the best thing about this is: with a new record comes a new tour, so keep your eyes peeled for any dates in your general vicinity and be sure to wait…I’m sorry…At The Gates early enough! So be sure to follow the band on Facebook and listen to the track below!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzjshF0TFm8]

Aphyxion – Earth Entangled

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I must say that there are few things that are more gratifying to me than when a prediction, I made in one of my early reviews, becomes true. The reason I’m mentioning this is because back in 2012 when I wrote about today’s band’s second EP, I said that you should keep a close eye on their future evolution since it should be a promising one…turns out I was right. The Danish guys from Aphyxion are about to release their first full-length album, Earth Entangled, and the progress they’ve made is astonishing!

In case you’ve never heard of the quintet: they play a modern type of melodic death metal that gives away their Scandinavian roots immediately. This unique talent for groove seems to be an omnipresent quality in band’s emerging from up north, and so is the case here as well. The first improvement to its predecessor can be noticed in the production quality: what sounded good before, sounds fucking massive now, both the drums and the guitars hammer you into the ground equally effectively.

The ten songs are generally speaking a lot more technical and the structures more intricate, but still retain a feeling of being from the same ensemble. In a way that is a strong selling point, because at no point is the listening experience disrupted by too much of a change of tone, but on the other hand it sometimes makes it harder to differentiate the individual songs, despite of every song being essentially different. It’s kind of hard to explain, but personally even after more than ten listen-throughs I wasn’t able to say which song I was listening to without peeking at the songlist.

The vocal performance remains nearly flawless and the evil growls fit perfectly into the instrumental backdrop. The vocal rhythmic as well as the lyrical content has, in my opinion, improved quite a bit and add a new layer to the band’s music. Only minor gripe I have, is that the vocal variety seems to have diminished and the screeches I have praised on the EP, have almost completely disappeared. I doesn’t really make the whole less interesting, but I thought they were a nice little addition in the past.

All in all, Aphyxion have managed to deliver a very strong forty-six minute debut album with Earth Entangled, that deserves a spot in every melodic death metal fan’s library. Be sure to head to the band’s Facebook page and give their music video below a click. And last but not least: be sure to catch them on their European tour in support of the record! One of the stops will be at Soul Kitchen in Luxembourg on the September 19th, so be sure to move your asses out there and bang those heads!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCxLhZKCFIU]

Miles To Perdition – Blasphemous Rhapsody

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Before I start reviewing today’s record, I have to admit that I haven’t really been interested in Miles To Perdition in the past. I had seen them in 2010 as the opener for Avenged Sevenfold and I wasn’t too impressed to be honest…at the beginning of this year I saw that they were about to release a new album and I thought to myself that I owed them a second chance…and I’m very glad I did, because what I heard on Blasphemous Rhapsody can’t be compared in any way to what I was subjected to four years ago.

The quintet from Luxembourg has evolved into a melodic death metal band that understands how to make heads bang and bodies move. While there are a handful of breakdowns, their playing style is a very straight-forward barrage of brutality with little room to gain one’s breath…just how it’s supposed to be.

The string section is a very organic mix of chugging rhythm and technical lead guitar riffs, with occasional solos that serve the purpose of adding a melodic touch. The drums are a never-ending chain of blast beats and double bass madness, interjected by groove-laden rhythms that are guaranteed to make your head bounce up and down. The nine songs are, as mentioned before, on the faster side of the musical spectrum and due to their nearly flawless production, every little detail can be made out without having to strain your ears.

The heretic element of Miles, however, stems from the absolutely crushing vocal performance of their vocalist. Pretty much every form of screams is covered during the thirty seven minutes, be it deep growls or higher screams, but the main attraction is the fusion of both during certain parts where the guy sounds completely possessed…thumbs up for that. Lyrically, as you might have guessed from the album title, it’s mostly a huge middle finger to organized religion, which is a bit over-done in metal but I can’t hold it against the guys, since it is still a rather annoying reality these days.

All in all, Blasphemous Rhapsody is an album that I would strongly recommend to fans of bands like The Black Dahlia Murder and the like…and to the general public: give it a go; it might not be your cup of tea but it’s definitely not a waste of time and yet another strong entry in our national musical catalog. For more information, be sure to head to the band’s Facebook page and listen to the song below. If you like what you hear, be sure to head to Kulturfabrik this Saturday, May 24th, where the guys are playing their release show!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Dr6uub4tt4]

Wintersun – Time I

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It’s about time…or 10 steps to “overhype” a record. This could be the title for Wintersun‘s latest (sounds a little excessive if you take a closer look at their discography) record, if it was a book. But the fact that I don’t read books shows us…well nothing.

Back to the facts: I totally love Wintersuns self-titled masterpiece from Anno 2004. It was epic, majestic, a perfect fusion of Symphony and Destruction. If you are a faithful reader of the yearly calendar, created by our Lord Jesus Christ, you will have noticed that Wintersun (the record) is now 8 years old and maybe you ask yourself: what happened? Well dear reader, in 90% of the cases I would tell you now that there were lots of lineup changes or the singer got pregnant or died because of Babushkaphobia…but no: the lineup is still the same, men can’t get pregnant and everything is fine with dear little grand ma. The stumbling stone was technology: Jari Mäenpää’s personal computer was simply too weak to handle the sheer epicness of the arrangements, choirs, riffs and other stuff you need to create a Wintersun-thing.

So after gathering some money for a new PC by playing gigs (true story bro), a massive but tiresome hypestorm on Facebook, and…oh yeah: 8 years, Wintersun had raised my expectations in Time I on “over9000”…and fail. The record goes hand in hand with Diablo 3, Chinese Democracy and Duke Nukem Forever. Usually I would admit now, that it’s my proper mistake cause I had too high expectations in Time I, but it was Jari himself who put the bar onto a height he could never reach, by posting dozens of outtakes from reviews written by euphoric journalists, which had the luck to pre-listen the record before release date.

All right, to be fair, until now, this review is more like a speech against overdone self-advertising, so let’s try to write some objective criticism. First of all, the length of the tracks is the worst choice the band could make. There are just too few climaxes and highlights on Land of Snow and Sorrow and Time (the song) to justify a length of about 10 Minutes. None of those two songs really finds a way to entertain me over the whole time.

So what about the other 3 Songs? Yes, Sons of Winter and Stars kicks asses; it is interesting and ambitious songwriting at its best, but it also ensures that I don’t give a fart about the rest of the record. At last, When Time fades away and Darkness and Frost are two instrumental interludes which try to hide the sobering fact that Time I only has 3 real songs, and two of them are too weak in comparison with the amazing predecessor-record. Sorry Jari, but I didn’t wait 8 years to get only 35 minutes of metal…

Funny Fact 1: The production (arrangements, sound-mix…) is so complex, that most of the listener will never hear all the details, Jari invested to create this audible heavyweight.

Funny Fact 2: Yes I know there will be a Time II in early 2013…but why? It just makes no sense to me…Only time can tell.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alo7A0NLmxU]

This review was written by our freelancer Sven.