Mordenial – The Plague (Melodic Death/Trash Metal)

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Formed in early 2000 the band has had quite the shaky start and it wasn’t until 2015 Mordenial released their debut album Where the Angels Fall. Since then the road has been clear though and The Plague is coming out just two years after the debut with the same line-up. The band has strong ties to one of my favorite old school death metal acts Paganizer as two out of three members are also active with them. With that said Mordenial does not play traditional old school death metal but instead they play a more melodic metal side fused with death and trash. Having more in common with In Flames and At the Gates than Paganizer.

The Plague is a riff friendly album. If you’re a fan of catchy solos and riffs you are sure to get your fill here. With lyrics dealing with the concept of a plague and how people justify terrible acts by pretending to be chosen by a God or Gods they touch on a subject that is very real even today. The opener The Plague doesn’t leave me breathless so to say but I get a few nods in here and there, whereas Daylight is Gone is starting to get me more into the album. It’s not until the fifth track No Empathy I really dig this though. With the slower melodic songs Save You All and especially All Has Vanished following up nicely. However the album never manages to grab my full attention. Sure there are some sweet riffs and solos here and there but it’s not enough for me to appreciate the 44 minutes Mordenial offers. Slow start, a better ending but in the end not what I had hoped for.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Mordenial-524164104262270
Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: In Flames and At the Gates
Favorite song: All Has Vanished
Score: 2/5

Karkaos – Children of The Void (Melodic Death Metal)

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Karkaos is a female-fronted melodic death metal band from Canada that has quite some hype surrounding them after their debut album in 2014, Empire, being a great starter for the band. Their epic sound, great riffs and vocals from Veronica Ortiz Rodriguez was a great mix. Since then the band has made some changes, new vocalist, lead guitarist and drummer. Namely Viky Boyer, Samael Pelletier (ex-Aeon’s Fall) and Justine Ethier (Blackguard and ex-Profugus Mortis). So with those changes it’s interesting to see what Karkaos offers in their sophomore release. Fun note is that the band was originally formed in 2003 under the name Sinister Vengeance but it wasn’t until the name change to Karkaos in 2009 the band started releasing albums.

First off, wow Boyer got a great voice and Ethier is a wicked drummer (knew that from his Blackguard times though), with Pelletier doing a superb job as the new lead guitarist. It’s definitely not slowed them down, as a matter of fact I think they sound even better. It’s more epic than ever and the growls joined with clean vocals hit the spot in this melodeath heart. It’s like the lovechild made from Arch Enemy and Epica. What could go wrong with that mix, am I right? Karkaos delivers a lot of headbang worthy tracks with some of my favorites being Kolossos, Let The Curtain Fall and Children of the Void (which sounds like a track that could feature on In Flames Come Clarity album). They took their time to release a sophomore album but it’s worth the wait, Karkaos are better than ever and fans of a more wicked Arch Enemy style with the symphonic elements of Epica would be wise not to miss this one out.

Children of the Void is out now as a self-released album.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/karkaos
For fans of: Arch Enemy and Epica
Favorite song: Let The Curtain Fall

Mors Principium Est – Embers of a Dying World (Melodic Death Metal)

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More melodic death metal from Finland! Now this is a band I think many of you guys have heard by now, Mors Principium Est. Formed in 1999 the band is now considered veterans in the Finnish melodeath scene. During the years the band has had its ups and downs, with numerous lineup changes and their latest release Dawn of the 5th Era was actually a bit weaker than their otherwise really great discography. That said it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t feel as great as their other albums, missing that extra piece which their first three releases had. Hence I’ve been looking forward to listen to this album (granted I am a bit late since it was out two months ago) in order to see if Mors Principium Est are on a decline or can get back in shape.

The intro Genesis is epic, feels like a trailer for a high budget action movie or something. I can see this being played right before the band go on stage and introduces themselves. It then kicks off with Reclaim the Sun, a fast melodic death metal song with orchestral and synth elements just like you remember Mors Principium Est. So here I am already telling myself MPE are back with one of their best albums to date yet it’s only two songs in. Thing is though it doesn’t get worse, instead it gets better. Masquerade’s guitar intro and midtempo plays to keep fitting in great solos here and there is a sweet headbanger. Into the Dark then quickly turn into a personal favorite of mine on the album, the solo three minutes in is top class (thanks Paul Wardingham). Adding the great lyrics with Mors Principium Est’s different classic elements makes it one of the better melodeath songs to come out this year. Death is the Beginning then features another great guest appearance where vocalist Christina Marie helps making this track an emotional melodeath ballad of high quality. This emotional journey doesn’t end there as to follow it up is The Ghost. Another really well written song full of sweet catchy riffs, synths and piano elements that are in beautiful harmony.

Mors Principium Est brings up the speed with the albums heaviest track In Torment, giving you more of that headbang friendly music. Agnus Dei works as an intermission to give the listener a breather for what is to be unleashed on the two last tracks, The Colours of the Cosmos and Apprentice of Death. Two hard hitting songs that’s a great way to end Mors Principium Est’s sixth release Embers of a Dying World. Making it yet another release I had a hard time choosing my favorite song on (I choose between Reclaim the Sun, Into the Dark, In Torment and Apprentice of Death). After listening to the album a few times I am almost ready to say this is their best work yet. Safe to say Mors Principium Est are back in great form and if you haven’t heard their epic melodic death metal with a lot of orchestral touches to it then now is the time. Here is me hoping they can finally be up there with Dark Tranquillity when people mention some of the greatest melodic death metal bands. In my opinion Mors Principium Est has always been a bit overlooked but with this release they show they are heavy hitter going for the knockout. The best melodic death metal album to come out so far this year.

Mors Principium Est’s sixth full-length Embers of a Dying World is out now throughĀ AFM Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MPEofficial
For fans of: Dark Tranquillity and Kalmah
Favorite song: In Torment

Antikythera – Antikythera (Melodic Death Metal)

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I get a lot of promos nowadays. Too many even so sometimes I just have to review an album very late after it’s release (sometimes I skip it all together). Don’t get me wrong, I love getting a lot of promos I just wished I had the time to listen to them all and give all bands the attention they deserve. This is one of those albums that was sadly left behind. Being released late in 2016 Antikythera’s self-titled EP was a release many of you (me included) probably missed due to all the “album of the year” lists starting to come out. The name is after an ancient analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposes.

Antikythera is one of the better debut’s I’ve heard in the melodic death metal filed in a long time. It’s full of wonderful solos (3.30 minutes into the opening track as an example) and the vocals got a lot in common with the legend Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity). That alone puts this EP above the average. It sounds very modern and heavy influenced by the Finnish and Swedish melodeath scene. It’s not just Dark Tranquillity I draw parallels to, it’s also bands such as Insomnium, In Flames, Kalmah and Children of Bodom (especially getting those vibes on the Vagrant Hearts track). None of these are your average metal bands but top tier acts I am more than happy Antikythera draws influence from.

The five tracks you get are good and offers a bit of variation in style. Some more heavy on the synth for example, some got clean vocals and you also got tracks more focusing on the riffs and solos. It might not be perfect but it’s a solid record. Take into the fact that this is a independent digital bandcamp release and a debut then you can guess that these guys can probably pull off a wicked full-length album in the near future. Antikythera’s self-titled album is out now on bandcamp. If you love the more modern Nordic melodic death metal then this is an album you will enjoy.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/antikytheraband
For fans of: Dark Tranquillity and Children of Bodom
Favorite song: Lightkeeper

Freya – Grim (Melodic Death Metal)

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Freya are no newcomers to the metal scene, having formed in 2001 and their latest full-length Grim is the bands fifth release. New for this record is that the band have recruited the well known drummer Dirk Verbeuren (Megadeth, Soilwork, Aborted etc) with Karl Buechner and co are now being more than ready to reach new grounds with Grim since their latest release Paragon Of The Crucible being the bands best one so far.

The name Freya might make you think the band will be playing Amon Amarth or Enslaved kind of music but they are not. Instead they take a more melodic death metal approach sounding more like Soilwork (Dirk influences?) and God Forbid. Even the lyrical theme isn’t within the Norse mythology realm as, like the name of the album says, it features Grimm folktales.

I really enjoy listening to their Grimm folktales and the musicianship of the band shines throughout the album. Adding Dirk has done Freya good and Grim is the bands best release so far.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/freyaband
For fans of: Soilwork and God Forbid
Favorite song: To Pyre with Them All

AmongRuins – No Light (Melodic Death Metal)

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Greek metal outfit AmongRuins second full-length No Light since their debut Bring Out Your Dead in 2012 offers some killer riffs, speed and agressive rhythm brought together with great songwriting. The songwriting especially gets to me as it has a lot to do what everyone goes through in their daily life and it just feels real. Add the great music that comes with it and you got yourself the ingredients of an awesome album.

I am honestly quite shocked that AmongRuins isn’t known to a wider audience than they are. This album is definitely one of the better ones I’ve heard this year and a real surprise. Not often I find melodic death metal that doesn’t feel worn out these days. However AmongRuins surely shows it can still be done with No Light.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmongRuins
For fans of: Wolfheart and Before the Dawn
Favorite song: We Will Fight

Chine – Immanent (Melodic Death Metal)

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Formed close to where I live, Helsingborg, I am surprised I’ve missed Chine before, as this is their third album and they have been going since 2008. However I am glad I did come across their latest album Immanent as eventhough it might be a bit shorter experience that I am used to, clocking in on 36 minutes, it makes up for it with great intense enegeric melodic death metal. I am surprised when I read that Chine is actually an unsigned band but I am sure I will see them with a good record label behind them soon enough with a release like this. Because hey, I need way more than a 36 minute album with these guys to get my fill of some majestic melodic death metal!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Chineofficial
For fans of: Engel and The Haunted
Favorite song: Sky