Every single year there is a recurring problem. We get a truckload of promo’s and press releases in our mailbox and together with those we don’t get anything on but are still worthwhile, we can’t give all of them the attention they deserve. So this time around we’re doing something new in which we take a look still at some of the releases we missed out on covering earlier and would hope you don’t miss out either.
Firewind – ‘Firewind’
(15/5/2020 – AFM Records)
With this self-titled album, the Greek power metal band Firewind released the first album with new vocalist Herbie Langhans. Which felt to the band’s mastermind Gus G. as if they were doing a relaunch of the original Firewind cast. While it has its calm moments, it definitely delivers on what the band is known for with rough and epic, high velocity power metal. Musically it is a very strong album with varied rhythms and the guys are obviously tuned in to each other. As to be expected, every single track features an epic guitar solo in Firewind style. Herbie is also very impressive with clear control of his voice, his slightly rough voice having a wide range that fits perfectly in every song he sings. Halfway the album Firewind gives us a break of the metal storm with ‘Longing To Know You’, a calmer song which I personally recommend besides my other favorite ‘All My Life’. A power metal album that is definitely worth listening to because these guys really are very talented musicians.
Serious Black – ‘Suite 226’
(31/1/2020 – AFM Records)
Melodic metal band Serious Black proudly presented their fourth studio album ‘Suite 226’ and it was about time. I’ve been waiting for the album since their show in our beloved Asgaard in 2017. Serious Black loves to tell stories with their albums, and this time we find a mentally confused man, captivated in a dismal, cold padded cell with number 226, who is torn between his own dreamworld, reality and the evil. After three albums and a live show I’m still amazed by hearing Urban’s voice. He has a very wide vocal range, hitting the high notes perfectly and clean while he can go low and raw as well. With ‘Suite 226’ Serious Black gives us a varied album with mysterious and epic songs, with a theatrical spark. Dominic Sebastian treats us on some nice guitar solos and the synthesizer creates the right atmosphere in every song. There are even Arab influences in the songs ‘Castiel’ and ‘Suite 226’. You might also hear soft voices in your head afterwards, don’t say nobody warned you! My advice for you, at least if you dare, have a seat, listen to the album and let your imagination do its work. My personal favourite: ‘Fate Of All Humanity’.
Unleash The Archers – Abyss
(21/8/2020 – Napalm Records)
How could we have a list like this and not include the brand new release of Unleash The Archers? These Canadians have been featured in many “react” videos due to their impressive musical and vocal talents and are truly one of the front runners that will keep the future of metal strong, alive and kicking! With ‘Abyss‘ they continue to impress everyone (including me, who is not into power metal at all on a regular basis) with a concept album filled with complex sounding melodic and catchy metal tracks like title track ‘Abyss‘ and the absolutely fun ‘Faster Than Light‘, balanced out by atmospheric and moody power ballads like the single ‘Legacy‘. Every single member of this band gets the room and time to shine, and shine they do! With every new release they seem to go even beyond what they accomplished before and continue to rise to the occasion. Unleash The Archers is simply a massive band that will continue to climb the ladders of the metal scene right to the top in a damn epic way. If you don’t believe it, just give it a try yourself!
Helion Prime – Question Everything
(05/10/2020 – Saibot Reigns)
Helion Prime draws inspiration from scientific fact and science fiction (e.g. their name is derived from a planet featured in The Chronicles of Riddick). Their third album focuses on prominent scientific figures who dared to question the status quo and who were at times persecuted for it. People such as Alan Turing, Socrates or even Dr. Cornelius from Planet of the Apes. Despite having gone through several vocalists over the years, the band is still in their prime (pun intended). Boasting several addictive tracks such as ‘The Forbidden Zone‘, ‘Madame Mercury‘ and ‘Photo 51‘, this album has plenty to offer headbangers who like their power metal with a pinch of cerebral content.
Primal Fear – Metal Commando
(24/7/2020 – Nuclear Blast)
The German power metal outfit Primal Fear has been around since 1997 and released their 13th album ‘Metal Commando’ last year. And you get what you can expect from Primal Fear: 11 solid power metal tracks with songs like ‘I Am Alive’, ‘Along Came The Devil’, ‘Halo’,… they kicked some serious ass again. And then ‘My Name Is Fear’ is a song with an even more brutal punch. No album of Primal Fear without a power metal ballad, this time in the form of ‘I Will Be Gone’. Ralf Scheepers, 55 years old but he still has the voice of “an angel”. And like on most of their recent albums there always is an metal anthem for their fans and crowds to shout along to at shows. This time around they hit it hard with ‘Raise Your Fists’. Something we can imagine happening quite a bit once they’re allowed again to gather a large crowd in front of them! And if that wasn’t enough yet, they finish up the album with the epic ‘Infinity‘, a 13 minute track that is simply impressive.