Care for a bit of power metal with your next cookout? Here are a few choice selections.
Hibria are Brazilian and they produce some fine power metal on Silent Revenge. Thankfully they are not yet another Sepultura clone that seem to stream from that country. This is straight-up power metal in the vein of best of the genre. There is also a thick vein of thrashy trad metal on here. Dragonforce comes to mind when listening to this release, though this band does not lay it on as thick as that band. They use clean and more aggressive vocals effectively on the title track. “Lonely Fight” shows the band really going to town, even tossing in a catchy chorus for good measure. It is always good to hear another good band from Brazil making their mark on the worldwide scene.
Circle of Silence are about to drop The Rise of Resistance, which sees the band dropping any pretensions of being power metal. This is straight-up heavy metal with a strong taint of thrash. They have moved away from the fringes of power metal and fully embraced the sound of bands like Megadeth, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Well, that is if they take their fans along with them. Their last album (The Blackened Halo) was not anywhere near this full-blown thrash metal, with songs like “Nothing Shall Remain”. They have very much honed their sound so it sounds very much like ’80s metal. Considering their previous album was steeped in a modern metal sound, this evolution is quite an interesting one. Who knows if they will stick with it for their next release.
Magnus Karlsson has dropped Free Fall, and what a CD this is. Karlsson is a guitarist extraordinaire with quite the CV, who has been in bands such as Last Tribe and the mighty Primal Fear, as well as producing many more. So for his first solo CD he has asked a bunch of mates to come over and lend their pipes to the tunes. Tony Harnell (ex-TNT) does his bit on the huge power ballad “Stronger” and Mark Boals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) lends his pipes to the destined crowd-pleaser “Our Time Has Come”. Despite there being a variety of vocalists on this release it all blends together quite nicely. And more importantly the vocalists on loan sing songs suited to their voices. This is a solid heavy rock release that will please fans of the band both new and old. No self-indulgent bollocks here, just a solid release that will have you coming back repeatedly.
Ivanhoe are back with their latest called Systematrix and it is quite the statement. As you might imagine, the German progressive technical metallers have a produced a concept-like album on the information age. Considering the band’s name is taken from a novel by 19th century author Sir Walter Scott, that is quite amusing. Not wanting to mess around, the first song on the album is the title track and it certainly sets the tone for the entire album.
It is impossible to ignore the Queensryche comparisons and Operation: Mindcrime, as lead singer Mischa Mang is part of that vibe with his occasional vocal Geoff Tate-isms. This is not a criticism by any means and that nostalgia only improves the experience of this CD. This is a great release that improves with each listen.
Scelerata are a power metal band I have never heard of and they have released The Sniper. Yes it is an album, not a video game though it probably would make a great game soundtrack. It can be a bit by-the-numbers on here and that is a shame as the potential is there for all to hear. To lend a bit of cred they have Andi Deris of Helloween and Paul Di’Anno (ex-Iron Maiden) lending their pipes. The song “Breaking the Chains” (not the Dokken song) does have a nice touch to this release with its clever intro. The title track is a fun track in all its over-the-top glory. More of this, please.
As with many such releases, there is talent on here and loads of potential but Scelerata just need a bit more variety and consistency in output. That said, Scelerata are a band to watch.
Venomous Maximus deliver a sort of rather clever doom metal on their latest, Beg Upon the Light. There is far more going than in most of this sort of doom/stoner metal. “Funeral Queen” is quite the catchy tune and one that is far less floor-gazing than you might expect from this brand of metal. “Venomous Maximus” is quite the grandiose tune and delivers on all cylinders. It is just the type of statement you would expect from a band setting out to make a splash. It is followed by acoustic guitar and violin trimmed “Mother Milk”, which is an all-around great track, which evokes a folk metal vibe. This is a solid debut that shows this band deserve their spot at the top table of metal.
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