Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lyriel review!

And here's my review of Lyriel's new album, Leverage.  I loooove it!  I can't stop listening to it!  My review is also featured at The Metal Pit.

I wish I had found German Folk/Symphonic Metal band Lyriel before now.  Their newest album, “Leverage”, gives me serious eargasms.  Lyriel describe themselves as ranging “from dreamy ballads, a pinch of medieval tunes, to heavy rock songs with elements of classical and Celtic folk music.”  This is very accurate, and the mixture of all these elements on “Leverage” is extremely polished and thoroughly enjoyable to listen to.  The album finds a great balance of metal, amazing vocals, folky string instruments, and anthemic choruses.  There’s always something interesting going on here; there’s never a dull moment in the instrumentation or vocals.  Vocalist Jessica Thierjung sings equal parts elf maiden and siren seductress, sometimes a mixture of the two.

That said, fans of really heavy, fast metal may not like Lyriel.  Fans of female-fronted metal, symphonic metal, and folk metal will most likely find a lot to love here.  I’d definitely give it a try regardless, especially on a gloomy day.  The extremely anthemic choruses are sure to pick up your spirits and make you bob your head in glee. 

Songs to listen to:  Leverage, Voices In My Head (heaviest on the album—there’s some harsh vocals!), The Road Not Taken (Yes, the Robert Frost poem.  It’s AMAZING), Aus Der Tiefe (most folk-y of the album).  They’re all good, really.

Rating:  8.5/10

Burning Shadows review!

Tom Regan of Burning Shadows asked me to review their upcoming album months ago, and I finally got around to it!  It's also located at The Metal Pit.  I found a lot to like with their new album, but overall couldn't get over the vocalist sounding like Danzig.  But that's not to say you shouldn't check them out, because you should!  Support local Metal!

 Burning Shadows are a power metal band hailing from Washington, DC.  Their upcoming sophomore album, “Gather, Darkness!” is due for release in June 2012.

The opening instrumental, “Hymn to Sathanas”, takes me back to my Playstation One RPG-playing days, which really sets my expectations for epicness!  And the following track doesn’t disappoint, opening with a classic Schaffer-esque anthemic intro.  The guitar work is awesome, and I can definitely hear some Jon Schaffer influences.  Vocalist Tom Davy reminds me of Glenn Danzig, which may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your tastes.  
Burning Shadows have arranged “Gather, Darkness!” in an interesting way; the album only has three huge songs, but the songs are divided up to make 11 tracks.  This is not so good for those of us who like to listen to our music on shuffle, or if you don’t like hearing the same chorus for 15-or-so minutes.  The storyline of the songs seems pretty epic, though, if you like concept albums that tell a sweeping story.

On their website, Burning Shadows describe themselves as “inspired by American power metal pioneers Iced Earth and Jag Panzer . . . Masterminds Tim Regan and Greg Jones, rhythm and lead guitar, respectively, have been the steel core of the band since its first days. Conservatory-trained drummer David Spencer provides thunderous power from behind the drum kit. Tom Davy joined the band in 2009 on lead vocals, ready to crush the false and slay the weak with a soaring vocal range that simply is not matched in the DC area.”  

I definitely agree with this (especially the guitarists—they’re really great!) up until the vocalist’s alleged range.  He sings pretty much the exact same way for the entire album, and with songs that are 15 minutes-ish long, no variation in vocals makes things drag.  A few times I hear him in the background singing higher, but it’s mixed so far behind the “regular” voice that it doesn’t add enough variation.  But he sounds like he can do it. 

Songs to listen to:  Hymn to Sathanas, A New Dark Age, Man From Myth (probably my favorite on the album), Kingdoms Fall, The Infamous Dawn

Rating:  6.5/10