Monday, September 26, 2016

Insomnium - Winter's Gate

The masters of melodic death metal (a debatable point, I admit, but you're here for my opinion, so can it!) are back with their seventh studio album, Winter's Gate. While Insomnium have never been shy about experimenting with new sounds to prevent stagnation, Winter's Gate probably marks one of the biggest and strangest leaps their style has taken between albums. Winter's Gate is intended to be listened to as a single 40-minute song. Though the album is split into seven tracks in digital versions, it's pretty much impossible to tell where the transitions take place. As if that wasn't enough, Winter's Gate is also Insomnium's first foray into concept albums. The album is based on a short story written by bassist Niilo Sevänen about a group of Vikings who set out for Ireland as winter draws near.

As Insomnium are probably my single favorite band (with Ne Obliviscaris nipping at their heels), I've been very eagerly anticipating this album, so let's see if it lives up to my hype. The album cover certainly doesn't slow down the hype train. I mean damn, that is a thing of beauty. Though I actually like it better with the colors inverted. Eh, whatever, on to the music!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Delain - Moonbathers

Symphonic metal is a fascinating crossroads of genres where anything from heavy, operatic beauty and the beast compositions to power pop with pointy black guitars feels at home. Plenty of bands end up sounding like some kind of Nightwish, After Forever, or Evanescence clone, but a talented few manage to find their own niche. Delain are a bit too young to have a major influence on the genre, but they've managed to mix elements of Anette era Nightwish and latter-day Within Temptation into a sound that's distinctly theirs. With 2014's The Human Contradiction they built on their usual pop sensibility and showed a heavier, more complex side to their sound.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sabaton - The Last Stand

Sabaton is a band that both of us discovered in college and had us exclaiming a collective "fuck yeah!" at the first bombastic chorus of “Primo Victoria.” We've heard every album of theirs since then and even saw them live together on tour with Amon Amarth. Few brands of finely aged cheese have elicited more collective fists pumped and faces palmed than Sabaton. So here were are, doing a joint review of their seventh album (excluding Fist for Fight and the retroactively released Metalizer) and the second with their new lineup. Like Heroes it's a loose concept album, this time focused on famous and not so famous last stands throughout history. So, how does The Last Stand stack up?