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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Review: Magnacult - Infinitum

Five guys from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, together they are Magnacult. They already released two albums, called Synoré and Insua EnVenom, now, since May 12th, their third full-length is unleashed upon the world. Prepare your ears for this album called Infinitum.

Looking at the cover of Infinitum you can see a lot of creepy hands reaching at an unborn baby. It's a cover which, together with the title Infinitum, makes you start thinking about it. A really nice cover which makes you curious about the music Infinitum has for you.

So, about the music. Hit the play button and immediately you will be blown away. No intro, no time to get prepared for the wall of sound coming at you. That wall of sound, which is done in a great way, starts from the first second. This has groove, this is aggressive, this will blow you away, as well as your neighbors. Their songs are very technical written as well as played, with a lot of tempo changes, but it's dosed very well, so it won't be a mess.

The whole band is doing a very great job on Infinitum, but the vocals and the drums stand out the most for me. Those vocals are intense, from deep growling to very intense screaming, sometimes it even sounds a bit inhuman, greatly done. About the drums, what a power, what an energy, this way of drumming sounds like it's very intense and in my opinion it's a perfect way for this album.

Magnacult delivers an immense album with Infinitum, I surely recommend to check it out. Those 46 minutes are definitely worth it. So, get this album, warn your neighbors (or not), turn the volume up and hit play, you won't regret it!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Magnacult Official Website
Magnacult Facebook

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Review: Fading Azalea - Maze Of Melancholy

Fading Azalea… Why on earth you would name your band after a plant? I’m pretty sure many of you, if not most, must have had this very same first thought. However, it’s not that peculiar when you consider the fact the Azalea is symbol for femininity and romance and Fading Azalea has been formed by a single lady. Combine that with the symphonic progressive metal with a dark edge to it that this band produces and the name makes a lot more sense all of a sudden. Of course I am assuming here, the name might have been chosen because of one of its meanings as a girl’s name as well. Not that it’s a big deal, it’s all about the tunes anyway. It might very well be they feel the same, because there’s not that much information available about this Gothenburg, Sweden based band. Formed in 2013 by singer-songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist Olivia, it’s current line-up remains pretty much a mystery. Judging by the line-up used for recording their debut called ‘Maze Of Melancholy’, drummer Kristoff (who replaced Alexander in 2016) and bassist Johan are the current members alongside Olivia, but it never becomes clear if they truly still are. A modest contribution to this release comes from the vocal chords of Rafael Basso from Unlit Face. This release is the band’s first test of competence the world gets to judge. Clocking well over an hour there’s an awful lot to judge, at least time-wise you get plenty bang for your buck. Whether you also get that music-wise of course remains to be seen.

‘Maze Of Melancholy’ opens with ‘Reverie Funeste’ (disastrous daydream) an instrumental intro that is best described as a soothing, atmopheric piece of music. There’s really not that much more to say about it. Pretty much the same can be said about the first minute of the next song, ‘In The Name Of Justice’, although now the atmosphere has subtly darkened, a distinct sign it definitely won’t be all smooth sailing from here. Proof of that isn’t far away, because right after that minute an impressive grunt complemented by an aggressive, slightly unnerving musical frame blasts from my speakers. Not exactly what I expected to hear from a symphonic, progressive metal band, but it turns out this song is the stranger in our midst. The grunt, whoever is responsible for them never become clear, dies along with this song, only to return briefly in ‘Burning To Ashes’, while the unnerving feel fades to an intermittent role far in the background. However small that role may be, every time it’s there it manages to cause a threatening undertone in the music, creating an ominous, oppressing feeling that is almost constantly present in the back of your mind. As if something alarming is about to happen.

The rest of this album is filled with a variety of songs that are more along the lines of symphonic metal with at times a progressive edge. Although there’s plenty of rougher parts in almost every single song, I feel it’s more an atmospheric album than a true metal release. The symphonic side of the music predominates, which is probably a good choice considering Olivia’s voice. She has a great operatic vocal range, where I got the feeling her ‘regular’ clean vocals sounded a bit strained, unnatural at times, as if she’s a bit out of her comfort zone and had to force her voice into submission in those parts. It doesn’t happen a lot, and it certainly isn’t a huge disadvantage if you ask me, but it’s there nevertheless. However, and I’m once again assuming here, both Fading Azalea and Olivia are young, it could very well be Olivia’s vocal performance still has to, can and will grow significantly in time. If anything the potential is there.

Apart from this minor point of criticism, if you can call it that to begin with, I can only be deeply impressed with what she is capable of. Apart from the rhythm section and a part in composing she is responsible for just about everything else that is Fading Azalea and their music. She appears equally at ease on lead guitar as well as on rhythm guitar and spicing up the songs with an at times stellar keyboard performance doesn’t seem to be a problem for her either. The songs themselves, though not particularly original style-wise, are very well composed and vary from dark and rough around the edges (‘In The Name Of Justice’) via pumped up metal (‘Flames Of Death’) to a genuine ballad (‘L’ombre Derriere l’ame’, which means the man behind the soul). On top of that they contain just enough variety, style breaks and surprises to keep them interesting throughout the entire album which, considering its length, is a considerable achievement. To finish it all off, last but not least of course, the guys from the rhythm section provide a solid backbone for every song, making it safe to say there’s not much wrong with this album.

Like I said, I heard nothing drastically new, but in my opinion that is not always necessary. You can create great things from what has already been invented simply by cleverly dosing and composing, and that is exactly what Fading Azalea has done with ‘Maze Of Melancholy’, which turns out to be a fitting title. If you’re looking for raging, fierce, more extreme forms of metal this is not what you’re after, but at far as I’m concerned playing this is certainly a well-spent hour of your time. Music to be enjoyed at any given time.

Written by Henric van Essen

Fading Azalea Official Website
Fading Azalea Facebook

Friday, May 19, 2017

Promoting Bands Part 8 (+ an exclusive Dutch premiere!)

Hey metalheads,

Time for another part of Promoting Bands! This time Promoting Bands also features one band's exclusive Dutch single premiere!

As always: Also want to be featured in Promoting Bands? Send us an email, Facebook message or Twitter us.

Check out the earlier parts below:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7


Tim van Velthuysen

1. Anger Machine

This modern thrash metal band from The Netherlands exists since 2012 and began as guitarist Thijmen den Hartigh's project for his exams. In September last year they released their debut called Unbreakable, below you can watch the videoclip for it's first song, called Unbreakable I Am. Be sure to watch it and also check their debut on Bandcamp.

Anger Machine Official Website
Anger Machine Facebook

2. Eyes Wide Open (exclusive Dutch premiere)

On September 1st, Swedish melodic death metallers Eyes Wide Open will release their new album called And So It Begins. Today their first single of And So It Begins is released. It is called Defining Me and DutchMetalManiac is proud to give you the exclusive Dutch premiere of it below! Be sure to check it and mark September 1st in your agenda's.

Eyes Wide Open Official Website
Eyes Wide Open Facebook
Eyes Wide Open Twitter

3. Les Chants Du Hasard

This one-man project from France is something you won't hear very often for sure. It's black metal, but not black metal as you, probably, would expect. Hazard, the project's sole member, makes his black metal without guitar, bass and drums. In fact, by only using orchestral instruments, he perfectly mixes classical music and black metal to the orchestral black metal of Les Chants Du Hasard. Its self-titled debut will be released in June, but below you can already listen to one track of it.

Les Chants Du Hasard Facebook

4. The Fifth Alliance

This atmospheric sludge band coming from The Netherlands manages to combine atmospheric vibes and aggressiveness in a perfect way. They already released two albums, below you can listen to their latest one, called Death Poems. This surely is band to keep an eye (ear) on.

The Fifth Alliance Official Website
The Fifth Alliance Facebook
The Fifth Alliance Twitter

5. Ruptured Birth

Want some brutal as fuck brutal death metal? Well, Ruptured Birth surely is brutal! So when you dig fast, heavy and brutal music and it can't be enough for you, listen to them. You won't regret it, so you can start, if you dare, with their latest album called Transmutant below. You can also read our review of it here.

Ruptured Birth Facebook

6. The 3rd Attempt

In 2014, former Carpathian Forest guitarists Tchort and Bloodpervertor started The 3rd Attempt, Ødemark (on vocals) and Tybalt (on drums) complete the line-up. In 2015 they released their debut called Born In Thorns, in my opinion an great release, but you can decide for yourself below. They recently announced they will be making a new album, so really looking forward to that!

The 3rd Attempt Official Website
The 3rd Attempt Facebook

7. Into The Arcane

This new band from The Netherlands, formed by (ex) Dead End members, plays atmospheric doom rock. In June they will release their debut EP called Het Verlangen Der Geest, below you can hear some tunes from Into The Arcane to get you in the right mood for when the EP will be out!

Into The Arcane Facebook

8. Stranger Dimensions

Stranger Dimensions hail from Belgium and these guys play experimental metalcore. They exist since 2015 and already released an Demo and an EP. You can listen to their EP, called Heartless, below. These guys know how to do their thing and they do it in a great way. Looking forward to the future of this band!

Stranger Dimensions Official Website
Stranger Dimensions Facebook
Stranger Dimensions Twitter

9. Santa Cruz

Glam metal in the 80's, many have heard of it or experienced it. These Finns from Santa Cruz are probably, just as me, to young to have it experienced, but that doesn't mean they can make some great glam metal. Since 2007, when they formed, they already released two albums and a third one is in the making as we write. Below you can watch their videoclip for Let Them Burn, coming from their second album, and here you can read an live review I did from their show together with Reckless Love.

Santa Cruz Official Website
Santa Cruz Facebook
Santa Cruz Twitter

10. The Autist

The Autist is a band for fans of female vocals, for melody and symphony as well for fans of male vocals, aggressivity and technical playing. The members of The Autist hail from Portugal and Russia and they play their metal in a very nice way, combining all the things mentioned earlier in an perfect way. Recently they released their lyric video for Ethereal, which you can watch below. Be prepared!

The Autist Facebook
The Autist Twitter

Review: Haster - The Current Sea

‘The Current Sea’ has floated gifts to me!

Those wanting to believe I give this amazing rating as a result, it’s true; all of it. Those that think humans don’t respond to incentives, you’re living in a dream world. Had a case of beer been thrown in there with the ultra-cool gift pack I received from these lads, it would have been a 15/10. Thanks for choosing me as winner of your Twitter contest! I must have been special, desperate or overly Canadian to have been selected amongst your 595K followers.

This band from April 2010 has been around and shared stages with the likes of Godsmack (yea!), Seether (yea!!) and Tool (yea!!!) plus 3 other albums and 3 consecutive “Best Band” awards from 2012 to 2014. A heavy social media interaction and good metal vibe, they are doing it right.

This album is pure, deserved talent and hard rocking energy that is very refreshing for me, amazing harmonies and a judicious use of the Gravocals all throughout. Thundering beats and grabbing harsh-assed guitars are prevalent everywhere and the songs flow well, showcasing each of their talents. A Linkin Park feel to it, Korn thrown in, Tool also gives me a nice memory of the 90’s music scene with a refined edge.

‘STAYYY AWAYY FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIAAAAA!’ yea! Love the chants of ‘The Unscene’ but you’re not advertising your digs too well! Ha! It’s alright however; as everyone knows So-Cal is IT! Can’t wait to see and experience that in concert and toss some bodies about.

‘Haunt Me’….does. Very emotional, heart-string tune for me and it deserves a 10 on its own. Enough said.

‘Asfixiate’ has the makings of a current hit and needs not just the lyric video. Amazing tune and I love the gothic, dark and yet hopeful meaning to it. Grinding guitars are the order served up and second’s on that please. A powerful, purposeful song bringing dark and light together, with a side of hard, tight playing that hits your noise centers full force. This will not be a good weekend for the neighbors.

The final track ‘Shoved Aside’, strategically placed at the end and the longest at over 6 minutes, is quite awesome, showcasing great vocals and tight playing. The transitions between vocal ranges are great and make this tune one of my favourites. Some great homage to Three Day’s Grace in here as I hear smidgens of it in the vox’s great range, and a beautiful outro piano piece to close the disc off.

This record is going to stand the test of time I believe and a real pleasure to listen to in this world of ready-made-metal.


Written by Alessandro

Haster Facebook

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: Logic of Denial - Aftermath

Continuing to bring out their sound, Italian brutal death metallers Logic of Denial have given their relentless and unyielding brand of technically-complex brutal death metal further room to breathe with a three-part concept album based on the struggles of grief. With a four-year gap between releases that sees the addition of new guitarist Marco to the group, their third full-length will be released June 9, 2017 on Comatose Music.

As has been the case for the band, this one offers up rather frantic and truly blistering styles of technically-challenging material for the duration here. As efforts like “Devouring Seeds of the Apocalypse,” “Gorging on Innocence” and “Violating the Canvas of Forgotten Purity” show, this has a strong predilection for tight, choppy rhythms and challenging start/stop patterns that are truly massive-sounding throughout here as the spurts of blasting energy coming off this approach makes for a rather engaging time. The fact that the material is as tight, frantic and utterly challenging as it is makes these rhythms all the more dynamic, impressive and brutal. Given that this is the vast majority of the album, there are tons of positive elements strewn throughout here for this type of attack as the barbaric speed and blistering rhythms on display give this one a great showcase for those general attributes. The main thing holding this one back is the fact that there’s just not a good reason for this one to include all the different thirty-second introductions to the tracks here separating all the different sections of the music. The fact that they’re all just short snippets, sometimes not even containing any kind of actual music as they feature movie samples or just incessant droning with the occasional blast to signify the change into the next track do nothing for this one but stifle the momentum somewhat, keeping this one to an odd pattern of several great tracks and then a screeching halt with the interstitial effort slowing it down. Otherwise, there’s not much else to dislike here.

Featuring plenty of ravenous and blistering material that has plenty to really enjoy overall here, the minor issues with the stumbling pace due to the interstitial efforts doesn’t hold this one back enough to not be of interest to fans of their past work or challenging brutal death metal in general. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

Logic Of Denial Official Website
Logic Of Denial Facebook
Logic Of Denial Twitter

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Review: Norđ - Alpha

The Danish metal quintet norđ released its first 4-track EP, entitled “Alpha”, on 3rd of March this year via Inverse Records. Let’s give it a spin!

The first track, “Kill The Marshalls”, starts off with a melodic intro, then switches towards a more thrashy sound which reminds of early Metallica, combined with clear singing and growls. The second track, “Roseship Garden”, has a short piano sequence at its beginning, before it becomes heavier and takes more into the death metal direction. Things slow down again about midway through the song, and the sound gets more thrash-like again. Next up is “Restless”, which starts off with some more oriental tunes and gets back to the particular death/thrash blend mentioned before. Last song of the EP is “Omega”, which starts off again very slowly, but then has the by far most death metal-like sounding part of the EP. This soon blends back to the aforementioned Metallica-like thrash style.

In conclusion: “Alpha” is quite a diverse EP, making it hard to pinpoint a particular genre it falls in. NORĐ rather developed their own sound, which can be perceived throughout the entire release. It is definitely worth listening to, so give it a go! 8/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Norđ Official Website
Norđ Facebook
Norđ Twitter

Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: Arch Enemy - As The Stages Burn!

Swedish melodic death metallers Arch Enemy will probably be known in the metal world by most of the people, especially after their critically acclaimed release “War Eternal” from 2014. In 2016, the group got the chance to headline Wacken Open Air, making it the to date biggest show in the bands history. Missed out on it? Don’t be sad, as Arch Enemy taped and released the entire concert in form of their latest live album, entitled “As The Stages Burn!”.

A total of 16 songs are taking us through the bands history, and were chosen by bassist Sharlee D’Angelo. For starters we go back to 2011 and experience “Khaos Overture” and “Yesterday Is Dead And Gone”, the first two tracks from the album “Khaos Legions”. The sound has been remastered, and is now really brilliant for a live album. Next up is the title track from the latest album, and singer Alissa White-Gluz is at her best again! From now on it’s going back and forth between old and very recent material, older ones including “Ravenous”, "Bloodstained Cross” and “Under Black Flags We March”, and new tracks such as “Stolen Life”, “You Will Know My Name” or “As The Pages Burn”, the namesake of this release. The concert / album ends after 16 tracks with the classics “No Gods, No Masters” and “Nemesis”.

All in all, Arch Enemy played a great gig there, which is reflected in a very nice live album. The polishing of the sound just ameliorates the listening experience, and with the awesome choice of songs no fan will be left disappointed. Grab a copy and give it a spin! 10/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Arch Enemy Official Website
Arch Enemy Facebook
Arch Enemy Twitter