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Unsung Heroes
Unsung Heroes
Price: £13.45

3.0 out of 5 stars Took me 2 years to get used to it, but..., 27 Sep 2014
This review is from: Unsung Heroes (Audio CD)
Sorry, Ensiferum! As much as I love you, this is a blip on your illustrious record of records.

The songs Unsung Heroes and Burning Leaves stand out as the best tracks (5 stars), truly worthy of the band's previous endeavours. I found In My Sword I trust to be a cheesy, but nonetheless enjoyable song (4 stars). It's singalong, music video material, so it feels a bit like a mainstream product, not that that stops me from liking it for its merits. Celestial Bond is a beautiful acoustic interlude (4 stars). It paces the album, even if it is time taken out of the disk that could be reserved for face crushing epicness. Retribution Shall Be Mine brings back the energy of the album, hitting hard and fast (for me, 5 stars)

Here, the problem starts in my opinion. Pohjola is a highly operatic track, and it seems to drown out everything else. I like when orchestras subtly harmonise everything and add to the song, and occasionally burst through, but this is too much. Contrast this to how keyboards were used in Iron. Victory Songs was their folkiest album, whereas here they seem to have upped the symphonic elements at the expense of the folk ones. From Afar had a good balance... this doesn't. That's a BIG problem.

Passion Proof Power is my least favourite track. If you compare it to The Longest Journey (1+2), it pales in comparison. Give Finnish metal musicians a 15 minute canvas, I want to be blown out of the water and I'm just not. There are good parts for a couple of minutes, but overall there's too much wankery and it doesn't form a very coherent track (Longest Journey, eck hem!!!). It's too spacey, proggy, wankery-y, and sweet power metally.

Instead, from the album overall, I expected there to be more aggression, more melodic death influences. Ensiferum are still capable of making great music, as demonstrated by the first half of the album, but when I add up the lengths of all the metal tracks I gave 4 or 5 stars, it only comes to about 28 minutes. The rest is acoustic or else not very enjoyable. So, for one half of an excellent album, 3 stars.

P.S. looking forward to the new album - I'm sure it will have gems in it to uncover... perhaps they will even reverse their direction

Elements of the Infiinite
Elements of the Infiinite
Price: £16.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavy, melodic, refreshing!, 30 Aug 2014
Yet again the lads pull a stunner out the bag. To their usual mix of fast-paced technical melodeath, a very light symphonic touch at times to add another dimension, without overpowering the base formula. Ezra's lyrics, futuristic and intelligent provide an interesting theme and line up changes seem to fit right in. After Ryan's ( former guitarist) departure, I was afraid things may change and I wouldn't love this record. But this is still crammed with brutality, fast sweeps and blast beats, the whole disk fits together excellently from start to finish, and clocking in at almost an hour long, there's plenty to enjoy.

Time to Play WHEEL ... OF ... SUBGENRES! :D

Decapitated Faces
Decapitated Faces
Price: £12.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Best horrorcore I've heard!, 21 July 2014
This review is from: Decapitated Faces (Audio CD)
Absolutely love this record. The lyrical content is brutal and the flow and aggression in their delivery is incredible. For a rap record, it is well orchestrated with strong bass, and eerie strings and synths, giving it a real atmosphere. The beats are solid, with nice hi hat work and the songs have well constructed bridges and choruses, which are very catchy.

Overall, great hardcore rap/horrorcore CD, if you're a fan of Loc2dabrain, Brotha Lynch Hung, Smallz one etc... this is a MUST!

Price: £13.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Melodic Black Metal, 11 July 2014
This review is from: Eidolon (Audio CD)
Everything Black Metal requires:
Unrelenting, wrist cramp-inducing tremelo riffage; gargly vocals with plenty of echo; and to be recorded in a forest somewhere.

Added bonuses:
Eerie atmospheric keyboard lines; gratuitous blasting; skilled songwriting and a good attempt at mastering.

This album encompasses both of these groups. A brilliant black metal album.

Price: £15.12

5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly astonishing, 6 July 2014
This review is from: Erdentempel (Audio CD)
Grab a beer and be taken on an epic folk metal journey. The choirs are atmospheric, the brass powerful. The wind leads are super sweet happy. This is music that lifts the soul. With all its majesty, it is still heavy and unrelenting and contains vast energy. There are some clean (though nonetheless throaty) vocals to vary things up a little, which has not appeared on previous works, but their own formula is undeniably present and as potent as ever.

Undoubtedly a return to form after a slight (slight I emphasize!) drop with Rekreatur. After all, Sagas is a hard act to follow. This was worth the wait, and is exactly what I had been hoping for. 5*!

A New Shape of Desperation
A New Shape of Desperation
Price: £13.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Unremarkable metalcore, 26 Jun 2014
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Post the 2000s metalcore explosion, it's hard to stand out. The album chugs for roughly half an hour, and builds up some ok rhythms and has plentiful breakdowns. Fuzzy guitar tone? Dissonant chords? Some energetic punk-influenced sections? Yes to the above. This has everything a metalcore album needs, but not everything you want.

The uplifting, clean-sung choruses of All That Remains, Still Remains, KSE and AILD? Nope. The agressive melodic guitar riffs of Heaven Shall Burn, IKTPQ, Maroon, Maintain, Caliban and a thousand other bands? Not to be seen here. As groovy as Lamb of God? Certainly not.

This is pretty formulaic, but it does have good points: solid screams, good production and it does have momentum at times. Overall half marks.

Nemesis Within
Nemesis Within
Price: £12.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice progressive metal, 26 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Nemesis Within (Audio CD)
I'm rather new to the Prog metal scene, so I can't draw many comparisons. I've only really listened to Dream Theater, Persefone, Mantric and Age of Silence, so forgive me if my analysis is flawed.

Most of the songs are mid tempo, compared to many of the bands I listen to, though some tunes are faster than others. Keyboard synths and light orchestrations feature, but do not dominate. The lead guitar is what stands out for me - lots of sweeps and solos, which for me make the album. The drumming is tight and suits well and I can sense from proggy time signatures in most of the songs. The vocals vary between a strong, throaty singing voice and and thrashy shouting, with occasional harsh screaming. This might put off some listeners looking for a more polished and clean sound.

Overall, the songs are well-structured, sometimes a bit samey, as most are between 4-5 minutes. However, the quality is high on each of them nevertheless with nicely counterpointed melodies between the synths and guitars. So... 4 stars from me :)

We Are The Void
We Are The Void
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £8.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent album - can't understand the haters, 11 Jun 2014
This review is from: We Are The Void (Audio CD)

Dark Tranquillity have changed their sound, from the quasi-blackened sound of their first EPs to the neoclassical guitar shred of The Gallery, then adding keyboards and electronic elements and blossoming into the piano/choir symphonic-tinged sounds of their newer albums. Out of all the original bands of the Swedish Gothenburg Melodeath scene, DT have consistently balanced change with tradition, without compromising on sheer quality, style and musical flair. (Eck-hem! In Flames)

When I first heard the single from this cd, I was skeptical and thought that this was going to be a boring follow-up, riding on the success of Fiction, which I enjoyed greatly. However, on full listening I discovered that it is a consistent, at-times beautiful, at-times energetic and aggressive record: in short, DT put out another good record.

It has all the necessary elements for a solid melodeath release - the only reason it doesn't have 5 stars is that it doesn't quite explode like some other bands or some other DT records have. Nonetheless, niiiice.

Restless In The Tides
Restless In The Tides
Price: £6.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good metalcore, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Restless In The Tides (Audio CD)
Great melodic riffs, heavy guitar tones and strong vocals that can keep up with the pace and energy of the record. The leads are spectacular - there's more shred than a food processor! The only thing that lets it down a little is the mastering - the mix is too dry for my liking, so there's some punch missing at times. Other than that, a superb melodic death/metalcore album

Coordinate: D1sa5t3r
Coordinate: D1sa5t3r
Price: £12.59

3.0 out of 5 stars In Flames worship, but still listenable, 29 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Coordinate: D1sa5t3r (Audio CD)
This is very much like Sountrack to your Escape-era In Flames, but 2 years afterwards. It's good to listen to, but it doesn't excite me as much as what the pioneers were able to create. If you absolutely love Gothenburg style melodeath, and can't get enough, then this is a cool addition to a collection, but other than that, it doesn't stand out at all for me above the rest of the crowd.

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