No lie — this album might have been my highest anticipated album for 2017. Avatarium’s prior album, The Girl With the Raven Mask caught me by surprise, and I fell completely in love with this band. For anyone not familiar with Avatarium, I’ve often described them as Jefferson Starship passed through a Candlemass filter and fronted by Dreamboat Annie-era Ann Wilson.
Despite what you may be thinking about the hentai-esque cover, Norway’s From Below aren’t a generic pornogrind band. Rather, they are a unique mix of melodic death and groove metal, with shades of hardcore thrown in for good measure, and Undying shows the band is in strong form.
At the risk of ruining any "metal cred" I have with you readers, one of my guilty pleasures is female-fronted Japanese power metal. I’ve covered more than a few of these in the past, but one band I keep coming back to is Aldious. Seventeen months after their last album, the quintet is back with Unlimited Diffusion.
It seems like I’ve been covering various takes on doom metal all year, so how about some good, old-fashioned California thrash for a change of pace? Trio Blessed Curse just dropped their second album, an EP entitled Beware of the Night, and we definitely pick up the pace with this one.
Given there’s a new throwback stoner doom band seemingly releasing an album every day, it seems what was once old is new again. Instead of treading down that old familiar path, the English quartet Lucifer’s Chalice embarked on a different path. Their trek takes them through the glory days of Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, and other metal stalwarts from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s. Throw in some Candlemass-style extended track lengths, and you’ve got their debut album, The Pact.
I’ve made no secret about my love for female-fronted metal bands. My affinity for doom metal/occult rock has been established as well. So when you combine the two, it definitely grabs my interest. I reviewed Psychedelic Witchcraft’s first album, The Vision over on The Sons of Metal Podcast. The band is back not even a year later with a new release, Magick Rites and Spells, which features some songs cut from The Vision, the entirety of their debut EP, Black Magic Man, and two cover songs. Are these equally choice cuts, or merely leftover scraps destined for a doggie bag?
Concept albums can be tricky beasts, and single-song concept albums even more so. The symphonic doom metal duo comprising Cyclocosmia seek to invoke images of live-buried vestal virgins with their new EP, Immured.
What’s that they say about good intentions? In a spectacular display of poor time management, I’d meant to have this review out around Halloween, and it’s less than two weeks before Christmas. Where did November go? Although this isn’t as seasonal as I’d intended, Uncoffined’s second album, Ceremonies of Morbidity, is a great slice of death/doom.
As we approach the solstice, the days are getting shorter, and my free time appears to be following suit. Here are some brief thoughts on some newer releases.
Delain has one of the more interesting band origins. When keyboardist Martijn Westerholt left Within Temptation due to health reasons, he continued writing music, and when he was healthy again, formed Delain, which was supposed to be a musical project with a rotating line-up, but the success of their initial album Lucidity caused Westerholt to rethink his plans, and the band stayed together This brings us to 2016, and their fifth album, Moonbathers.