Saturday, December 20, 2008

KAMELOT - The Black Halo

Kamelot - The Black Halo

The Black Halo
SPV Records

With the band's eighth release, Kamelot displays a refined, highly melodic brand of power metal that is poignantly compelling throughout the entire listen. With The Black Halo, the band melds the power metal genre with Queensryche- influenced songwriting, incorporating smatterings of tasteful electronic elements, giving these tracks a modern edge that seperates the group from the traditional power metal pack.

Punctuated by an excellent job of production courtesy of Sascha Paeth and Miro that is crystal clear, yet punchy and powerful, the sounds of Kamelot burst through your speakers with an assertiveness many groups of this kind simply cannot maintain. The Black Halo is commercially accessible, and it is easy to imagine several of these songs breaking big on rock radio.

Overall, this album has a much darker feel than the band's previous offerings, although the masterful vocal work of singer Khan is strictly focused on creating strong harmonies with an emphasis on melodic overtones. This is an album that imparts a truly epic presence. The songs are larger than life and the best comparison that could be made is that this is Kamelot's "Operation:Mindcrime".

Each song gives way to the next with fluidity, with many surprises along the way, and the amazing vocals of Khan putting an exclamation point on the quality musicianship of the group. Thomas Youngblood shows that he is both a proficient composer as well as a top notch six string wizard, offering up richly dynamic textures on the axe. He places just the right amount of emphasis needed for each song part in order to achieve maximum artistic impact.

Standout tracks include "March Of Mephisto", "Abandoned" and "Moonlight," but each track is an excellent marriage of metal and melody that will give fans of power metal, progressive music, and just plain awesome music in general something to be very excited about in March 2005!

Written by: Powerlord

Monday, October 20, 2008

NIGHTMARE - The Dominion Gate

The Dominion Gate
Candlelight USA

Nightmare has been producing metal for over two decades now and it can be said that the French group has found a niche over the years. Progressive and power metal-minded metalheads often sing praises of the band’s previous works, but “The Dominion Gate” is doubtlessly the group’s best sounding production to date. The band has stepped up their songwriting since “Silent Room”, which was released by Napalm Records in 2003. Musically, the songs which grace “The Dominion Gate” are ultimately much more articulate and well thought out than Nightmare’s older works. Additionally, the record enjoys the benefit of quality production, the knob turning here being light years beyond the band’s former releases. Each of these aspects add up to an impressive foray into sonic fear, highlighted by a sometimes-disturbing, dark psychology.

Joe Amore’s pipes sound greatly improved as well, possessing a newfound strength that was noticeably absent on the last album. All though the singer’s performance still sounds distinctly European, he is much more convincing, especially on tracks like “ A Taste Of Armageddon” and in particularly on the eerie cut “The Dressmaker.” It is this song that best illustrates the band’s ability for creating textured, dramatic sequences and by all rights, this should be considered to be one of the definite highlights of the record. New guitarist Franck Milleliri makes his mark upon the band’s sound as well, his contributions providing the band’s music with a thicker tone than we’ve heard in the past. The bottom line is that his addition can be pointed to as one of a positive improvement.

An album that is easily the heaviest, most well put together output of the band’s career, “The Dominion Gate” finds Nightmare to be at long last, moving their way up through the power metal pack.

Written By: Digital VonNerdly

Sunday, October 19, 2008

LEATHERWOLF - World Asylum

World Asylum
Massacre Records

On World Asylum, Leatherwolf manages enough potent hooks backed with solid, heavy-as-hell rhythms to appeal to the sort of metal fan that admires the heavier side of Motley Crue, while showing enough instrumental prowess to lure in the Power Metal crowd as well. That’s a most impressive feat in a day and age where this sort of Metal has become a lost art of sorts.

Considering that the band has had an extended break away from the Metal scene, you can definitely deem this album to be a convincing comeback. Even if Leatherwolf has undergone quite a facelift in terms of personnel, it’s for the betterment, without question. Old farts will recognize the group as being one that just missed out on making an impact in the late eighties faction. Trust me though, in no way is World Asylum a dated-sounding record. In fact, this burly yet melodic take on Metal sounds beats the hell out of the “Maniac Dance” tripe spewed forth by Stratovarius last year, no shit.

Standout tracks include the soaring “King Of The Ward” and the hugely dramatic cut “The Grail,” where the band places a distinct emphasis on harmony, which pays off quite nicely. “Behind The Gun” is one part Dokken and another Edguy, driving yet tuneful. In the meantime, “Disconnect” takes aim with a classic vibe underscored by an underlying thrash metal ethic that’s instantly enjoyable.

Old school metalheads would do well to check this one out, be it for the ripping solos or the ballsy vocalizations of frontman Wade Black, who many of you may recognize from his time spent in Crimson Glory and Seven Witches. His performance here as perhaps the best it has been in a good long while, his voice being both powerful and authoritative. Consider the addition of Black the most important change in this revamped Leatherwolf lineup.

All in all, World Asylum is a satisfying surprise that will score big with fans of the style, an effort establishing this classic outfit as a band that’s still highly relevant. A great example of an older act that has made moves to reestablish a foothold in the metal world, Leatherwolf proves that they still have what it takes to make heads bang with a vengeance.

Written By: Harvester Crowlee

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