[Music/Metal] Happy 4th of July!

As living in the US, it is for me now part of the tradition to celebrate the 4th of July. Happy 4th of July! Time for me to share my favorite US metal bands that are in my disc library. This is my very personal list, so please don’t comment asking why I have not have a certain band in my list. There are likely two reasons: either they went under my radar or they simply did not click with me in terms of my musical taste. I have been running this redundant post for two years now, so I will spare you the blabla and let you jump to the list :). Here we go, sorted by alphabetical list:
* Aria Flame (ex-Dendura, MI) – Gothic Metal: https://www.facebook.com/ariaflameworld/
* Beyond Forgiveness (CO) – Gothic/Folk Metal. If you are looking for a US minstrels and troubadours having the vibes of medieval folk metal (something like a Blind Guardian or Haggard), this is your inn to stop on your journey: https://www.facebook.com/beyondforgivenessmetal/
* Destiny Beard (MI, PA) – Gothic Metal:https://www.facebook.com/Destinibeardmusic/
* The Ditch & The Delta (UT) – Sludge Metal: https://www.facebook.com/theditchandthedeltaslc/
* Evanescence (AR) – Gothic Rock: https://www.facebook.com/Evanescence/
* Exalt The Throne (TX) – Melodic Death, they are having their final gig on July 29th, I gonna miss them :(. https://www.facebook.com/exaltthethroneofficial/
* Faytree (GA, OH) – Melodic Death: https://www.facebook.com/faytreeband/
* In This Moment (CA) – Metalcore. Check their old stuff (first three albums), that was some promising band that unfortunately lost their vibe for few years now: https://www.facebook.com/officialinthismoment/
* Kamelot (FL) – Power Melodic Metal. Come on, should I introduce Kamelot? https://www.facebook.com/kamelotofficial/
* Mercy Isle (MI) – Gothic Metal. A very interesting US-Dutch collaboration, making them a sort of spinning free electron: https://www.facebook.com/MercyIsle/
* Metallica (CA) – Thrash Metal. Because who does not have a Metallica album in their disc library. 35 years and still running! https://www.facebook.com/Metallica/
* Midnight Eternal (NY) – Power Melodic Metal. What if Dragonforce and Nightwish had a child? Midnight Eternal would be its name: https://www.facebook.com/MidnightEternal/
* Red Beard Wall (TX) Sludge Metal. Ever wondered how doom metal would sound with a flavor of Southern music, with elements of punk and death metal? It has a name: sludge metal and my first exposure was through Red Beard Wall. It came out of nowhere like a meteor and crashed into the local metal scene in Yellow City. If you are living in the High Plains or South Plains, check them out: https://www.facebook.com/redbeardwall/
* Rozamov (MA) Sludge/Doom Metal. That was some of the best surprise this spring, allowing me to discover this sub-genre of doom metal blended with Southern tunes, punk and death metal. https://www.facebook.com/Rozamov/
* Santa Marta (UT) – Gothic Metal. The next project of Mary Zimmer (ex-Ottoman Empire/Luna Mortis, ex-The White Empress). Check it out and keep eye on it. https://www.facebook.com/SantaMartaBand/
* Scarlet Canary (CO) – Metal/Rock: https://www.facebook.com/ScarletCanary/
* Seven Kingdoms (FL) – Melodic Power Metal. There is something running in Florida water but it makes their Melodic Power Metal
* Slayer (CA) – Thrash Metal. Slayer still slaying, not even an ounce of their brutal tempo was left over the years. This is where I had to disagree on Floor Jansen, nothing beats a mosh pit or an album from Slayer as a catharsis vector. If you don’t know what to expect from Slayer, go attend one of their gigs with Lamb of God and Behemoth. Not for the choir singer though: https://www.facebook.com/slayer/
* Thyshade (CO) – Symphonic Metal. One of my discovery last winter and one of the best US soprano vocals: https://www.facebook.com/thyshadeofficial/

 

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[Metal] Therion – Gothic Kabbalah 10th Anniversary

Today is my birthday (turning 38, Yikes!), including some other celebs such as Rob Zombie. It also turns out this day marks the 10th Anniversary of Therion thirteenth album “Gothic Kabbalah”.
The interesting thing with Therion is their ability to scramble paths and make unexpected moves. You cannot simply expect to hear the same tunes and melodics over and over, ending you discovering the band with every single albums.
This is also the case with “Gothic Kabbalah”, a 2-CD release, with 17 titles and totaling a bit more of 83 minutes.
The album is a clear departure from their previous releases, leaving the symphonic and orchestral tones of “Vovin” and “Secrets of The Rune”, navigating more into a progressive and even incorporating heavy metal tones.
It starts with “Der Mitternachtsloewe” setting the artistic tone and guesting Hannah Holgersson. It is seamlessly followed by “Gothic Kabbalah”, “The Perennial Sophia”, “Wisdom of the Cage”. “Son of The Staves of Time” is one of the official videos from the album, allowing me to share and let you appreciate the tone of the album whereas “Tuna 1603″and “Trul” failed to inspire me.

https://youtu.be/YY-EOYJQMMY?list=PL6582FC6AD17B80E2

The second CD starts with “Wand of Abaris” is really sounding like a gothic metal song and that why this is one of my favorite of the album. “Three Treasure” brings on the operatics that was the trademark of their previous releases. “Path To Arcady” has this heavy-metal tone blending nicely with the tenor and sopranos lead vocals, making another one of my favorite. “TOF – The Trinity” gets more into classical metal, nice but not more. “Chain of Minerva” brings on more a Therion-like track, whereas “The Falling Stone” brings up something faster in its pace, almost inspired by some power metal songs. “Adulruna Rediviva” is another masterpiece, some Therion safe bet. A 13:38 track that makes what Therion is Therion. The two last tracks are live performance of “Seven Secrets of the Sphinx” and “To Mega Therion”.

[Metal] A retrospective look to 2016 through my music library

2016 is wrapping up, with it a lot of moves in the metal scene. The classic cycle of life applied again to the metal scene: some bands were born, some bands artistically died but also some drama with the departure of front singers through a laconic note. What I can say that in my eyes, 2016 was a good year for music, a fair amount of good albums and  also avoided a couple of bad releases. Instead of going through a Top 10, I have decided to sort them by new artists, releases, anniversary albums and finally the albums that I avoided like plague this year.

1) The new kids in the block of 2016:
Arcadia (FRA): A new French FF symphonic metal band from my home region. I have reviewed their EP back in September.
https://youtu.be/PF3GO3DRaFk

Exalt the Throne (USA): That was the biggest surprise of 2016, as they were opening for Epica during their gig in Dallas last February. A great blend of soprano with engaging melodic death melodics. I reviewed their album “Long Live The King” back in June.
https://youtu.be/inQ1wuS5ZEs

Mercy Isle (USA): Who said that the USA was lacking FF metal bands? Mercy Isle dispel this misconception, offering a diverse and engaging first album “Undying Fire”. I reviewed this album back in November.
https://youtu.be/DSbGIf5kY4M

Midnight Eternal (USA): What would happen if symphonic metal and power metal have a offspring, with a drop of “manga” culture in it? Well it gives you Midnight Eternal and a very nice first album named “Midnight Eternal”. I reviewed this album back in November and you can check their sound here.
https://youtu.be/6zFRSctjyks

Rhenium (UK): Bands made by one person are rare, gothic metal bands made by a single person are even more these kind of rare birds. Yet that did not discovered Christina Rhenium to take the plunge and launch her first EP “Rise Above the Sea”. That gives some promising gothic metal ahead.
https://youtu.be/ZRSoN4F4A-Y

Santa Marta (USA): Technically, it is not a new band. But it is a new band formed by Mary Zimmer (ex-Luna Mortis (Ottoman Empire)/ex-White Empress). Mary brings on the primal rage, the nihilism and the sorrow that was her trademark in the previous band. Eager to see the rest coming.
https://youtu.be/YQbngOsvrHo

Thy Shade (USA): Let’s be honest, Symphonic is slowly and surely becoming a saturated genre, raising the bar higher and higher. Thy Shade is unique in her style, by taking a neoclassical approach to their style giving this majestic opera-style with guitar riffs. It got the album of the month in November and you can check the review.
https://youtu.be/3DMim1NLXUo

2) Bands that performed in town:
I have to be honest leaving in the Midwest means driving a good 2 to 5.5 hours for attending a metal concert. This was the case when I attended Epica, Nightwish and Ghost live performances. But sometimes, some small bands stop here and animate Yellow City with some good metal stuff. Two bands that caught my attention during their stop.

Scarlet Canary (CO): A small but nice rock/metal band fronted by Hannah, singing some covers and some of their songs. Bringing the fun in town, with a good dose of shot!
https://youtu.be/BSdQ97cWqqc

Singularity (AZ): They were part of a summer tour named “Make America Shred Again”, that was certainly the best band of the tour, playing some nice technical death metal and having a rad astrophysic tee 🙂


3) Bands that I discovered this year:
These are bands that have been hanging for a while but get introduced to either through some meta-projects or simply by being exposed to their material.

Ahab (GER): 2016 was certainly the year i digged into doom. But not all doom are equal, I am really in stuff that plays on the melodics. Among the band I have discovered, Ahab is just simply impressive. Melancholic and depressive. One of those albums you want to listen when life threw you lemon in a rainy and cold day, just grab them, slice them and squeeze one in your Jaegermeister to bring on the sufferance.
https://youtu.be/eK3ZlrH2ryY

Evig Natt (NOR): Evig Natt has been hanging for a while and I am still wonder how did I miss them. They are simply awesome gothic/doom metal bands that through Kirstin can percolate emotions. Their last album “Evig Natt” is a remarkable album. Want to bet how awesome they are? Listen to “Wildfire”
https://youtu.be/PfqEmgSCJtw

Gojira (FRA): You could not miss Gojira this year with their latest album “Magma”. A very nice and refined progressive death metal album, very nicely crafted that brings some variety in my library. Check them out.
https://youtu.be/iVvXB-Vwnco

Kalidia (ITA):  When I think Italy and metal, I have two bands that comes in my mind: Lacuna Coil and Rhapsody of Fire. This year, I added another band to my list: Kalidia. Fronted by Nicoletta Rossellini, they are delivering with their first album “Lies Device” delivering some nice melodics. Just check them out, you will not regret it.

My Dying Bride (UK):  My Dying Bride is surely known from any gothic metal enthusiasts, especially if you are familiar with Anathema and Paradise Lost. For some reasons that I am trying to understand, I never got proper introduced to this band until this year, although I have been listening to Anathema in their early years. I liked the early years of Anathema but then I dropped the ball as they went into a more alternative rock. In opposite, My Dying Bride maintained their gothic and doom metal influence, giving this nice melodics.
https://youtu.be/4e_c3XAPoUI

Nawather (TUN): Nawather is a Tunisian metal band that really marked my mind earlier this year with the release of their album “Wasted Years” by nicely blending their MENA  origins through the addition of the Qanun (this horizontal type of guitar played with a metallic finger tip) with metal and also by singing in Arabic.

Vivaldi Metal Project (INT): Vivaldi Metal Project was a neoclassical metal project that involved several metal artists in re-creating the Vivaldi “Four Seasons”albums that nicely blended the classical composition with a good kick of metal in it. I reviewed this album earlier this year
https://youtu.be/MRwRPYWK8XU

3) Albums that filled my disc library 

There are been several good albums that came out this year from established bands this year. I will not talk much about since they have been extensively reviewed in my blog and you go through.

Epica – The Holographic Principle: If I am correct, the best-rated album of the year. That was a damn good album, with Mark Jansen investing heavily in it making another masterpiece of my Epica library. So many good songs that I will be redundant to review them again. “Universal Death Squad” being one my favorite and you can listen to it below to assess by yourself the epic in Epica.
https://youtu.be/P_Ys_W7ySkM

Lacuna Coil – Delirium: It was certainly the best surprise of this year (with Metallica) as it was a long time since Lacuna Coil impressed me with an album (the last one that I found still enjoyable was Karmacode released…..in 2006). “House of Shame” is certainly the best track of the album, with an insane Andrea and a serendipidic Cristina, giving you this rollercoaster between euphoria and complete depression.
https://youtu.be/1o1MoG-cz9Q

Metallica – Hardwired….to Self-Destruct: 2016 was certainly the big return of Metallica after 8 years of hiatus in the production of their new album. A lot of expectations on this one as the band was split between two choices: renewing with the old fan base (thrash) or keeping on exploring new horizons (alternative metal) more accessible to the lay audience? Metallica with this album a compromise to conciliate the two camps. It was a good album, some great songs, some okay songs. The album is originally split on 2CDs, I felt it was a bit too much and could have fit in 1 CDs if the songs were kept below 5 mins each (you had the feeling that some songs were just stretched to fit over 5 mins). You can check my review on that one. One of my favorite? “Spit Out The Bone”, damn good ol’ thrash Metallica.
https://youtu.be/m46Z0-HXySo

The Agonist –  Five: Second album with Vicky Psarakis, replacing Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy). Good, solid album that reinforce Vicky’s credentials to sing cleans and growls,in the direct continuation of Eye of Providence.

4) Albums that celebrated their anniversary

2016 has been a good year to mark milestones on several bands in my disc library.

10th Anniversary: Delain – Lucidity (the best album in my opinion)

20th Anniversary: Arch Enemy – Black Earth (the first album by Michael Amott following his departure from Carcass); Anathema – Eternity (a pivotal album in their discography); Therion – Theli (the album that threw the framework for Symphonic Metal).

30th Anniversary: Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (the first album that set up the basis for Doom Metal); Metallica – Master of Puppets (the Metallica masterpiece by its transition from thrash into the powerful guitar solo of Kirk Hammett); Slayer – Reign In Blood (pushing the limits of speed metal and also one of the release that shook the suburban moms).

5) The good, the bad and the ugly: albums that were insipid and terrible
2016 have also seen some of the most terrible releases, insipid or completely senseless. Sirenia has certainly make the major mistake to dump Ailyn as a broken doll. Karma is a bitch and honestly “Dim Days of Dolor” sounds terribly bad.
Another disappointing album was from Sonata Arctica. It was been a while since the band produced a decent album and “The Ninth Hour” is certainly not the one that will bring back the former glory. Too bad.

[Symphonic/Progressive Metal] Seyminhol – The Duellist

Looking for some interesting progressive/symphonic male-fronted metal band to discover lately? You should give a try to Seyminhol (France). Their recent release of an official videoclip named “The Duellist”, based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It sounds very promising, bringing on familial tones that I liked with the early days of Kamelot with Roy Khan in the command. It is fast, well-produced and have this epic tones that give this medieval atmosphere to it. Give a try and listen to their title.

Ghost – Popestar (EP)

Ghost released last week their latest EP named “Polestar”. As they have previously mentioned, this EP has followed the same track then their previous EP “If you have Ghost” and consists of covers. Their previous cover was simply serendipitous, putting a big layer of dark and heavy metal into pop songs, giving that nightmarish and horrific picture. For instance “I’m A Marionette” initially a pop-song by ABBA suddenly became a dark, nightmarish and depressing song. Or listen to “Crucified” bartering the baroque of The Army of Lovers into a mysterious and occult song with the voice of Papa Emeritus.
Altough this dark, doom and gloom is not present in the EP, being more into a progressive metal side, this second EP just reinforce one opinion I have about Ghost: these guys are like the King Midas. They transform any cover they touch into some masterpiece gold.
I will not post any track from the EP, except anything officially on Youtube.

The first track is “Square Hammer” that is the only track not being a cover. Using a thematic inspired by Fritz Lang “Metropolis” and “Nosferatu”, the title is very catchy and maybe suggest a transition of the band into a more progressive metal/rock domain but still much more enjoyable.

The second track is a cover of “Nocturnal Me” by Echo and the Bunnymen. This is the track that gave me some chills down the spine, by giving a mysterious and oppressing atmosphere that was the hallmark of their previous EP. I could even feel like the influence of Fabio Frizzi in that one. Thats in my opinion one of the best cover of that EP that overpass the original song.

The third track is certainly the most bizarre cover because of his clear deviation of the original song. If King Midas could transform some electro-poop into gold, so does Ghost. Instead of having some electro easy-listening song of the original, Ghost did some remarkable work on this one. With an opening sequence that would reminds the early work of Pink Floyd, replacing the electronic beep sounds with a dry guitar and atmospheric sounds. It gives some interesting ambient atmosphere to the song. If you have to compare to the original video, that would something you would illustrate with some kind of refined and zen environment, almost like an Apple advertisement.

The fourth song is taken from Eurythmics “Missionary Man”, giving a strong 70’s progressive rock blended with a touch of blues. It is also the least favorite one.

Finally, the last one. Maybe the most unknown except maybe by Swedes that grew in the 80’s. It is called “Bible” by Imperiet. Dont be surprised if the number of viewers on the Youtube literally explode. Thats certainly THE COVER of that EP. Ghost transformed that new-wave song into something as powerful as “He Is” from their last album “Meliora”. It is so well arranged and produced that you still have the original feel of the 80’s into that song but with the layer of progressive metal of the band. It is so good you could almost sneak it into your Sunday church and bluff the preacher on that as “He Is” was. This is where I give the genius touch to the band that somehow succeed to humanize the beast with many names.

Ghost has some bad rep among metal elitists but indeed I found the band provides this nice escape pod by nicely blending progressive metal and pop songs, transforming with their magic touch into heavy masterpiece.

[Metal] France National Day: A time to celebrate some French Metal bands

Today is France National Day. We celebrate the breakdown of the Bastille, a famous prison  that incarcerated folks from common misdemeanors to political dissents that dare to question the Royalty decisions. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back and revealed French rebellious nature. Up to today, French are notorious for their demonstrations, strikes and rants on any form of political correctness. Is not what metal is about?

I felt it would a great time to list some of the French metal bands I have encountered and before I introduce you to them, I would like to thanks Geo Theoneandonly (https://geotheoneandonly.wordpress.com) that have doing a great job in promoting small bands from the gothic and symphonic metal genre on his Facebook group.
Some people say that the French metal scene is dead and moribund, if even you consider it exist. If you think about absolute numbers (numbers of metal bands/inhabitants), Scandinavian countries blows up by far. But I would disagree with it and tell that such argument is valid only if you keep on mainstream and do not enters the rabbit’s hole and if you value quantity versus quality. Because deep underground, you have a plethora of very good bands that don’t have access to promotion tools as big players but have social media and crowdfunding tools to have them thrive and soar.
I have decided to include bands from the French-speaking parts of Belgium and Switzerland inside the list, as part of cultural and linguistical similarities in this list.
This being said, let’s start with my favorite lists, all bands have been sorted by alphabetical name.
This is an update of my previous post (back in 2015), I have updated some bands and added new bands too. Also if you like to learn more about French FFM, I would highly recommend to follow Femmes du Metal Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FemmesDuMetal/?fref=ts). The admin is very good at digging such bands.
If I missed anyone, please let me know. Kick me on social media, maybe you will make it for next year.

Adrana (Tours – France):

If I have to say something about Adrana, it is certainly Anne’s voice. Surely the best French female opera voice in the French metal sphere and easilly rivals with other singers more established as Tarja, Simone or Sharon. A professionally trained soprano singer, Anne’s voice litterarly blew my mind the first time I heard. Up to date, they have three albums, with their latest “Foreshadow” released last fall. It is bold, gracious and elegant in the same time. If you are looking for some bold metal with an opera atmosphere and a soprano singer, Adrana is certainly the hidden gem amongst the French metal scene.

Alkemy (Genève-Switzerland):

Alkemy is a very new band from Romandie (French-speaking Switzerland). The band have been so far touring and singing music cover. The originality of the band is to host two founding female front-singers, Katia and Jess. So if you want to hear them, you will have to see them performing live.
If you want to judge their vocal qualities, look up for their cover of “Ghost Love Score”, my golden standard for comparing singers to Tarja. Very good start for a new band. Lets see now how they can transform into some artistic creativity.

Alwaid (Lille-France):

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Alwaid is a gothic/symphonic metal band from Lille, as we call in French “les chti’s”. They have a full album “Lacus Somnirum” released in 2014 and for a first album, it is very good. The female singer is fairly good and overall this gothic/doom metal atmosphere of the band reminds me the first releases of Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation, when the gothic metal scene was just opening for female-fronted bands. A nice group to discover especially if you are living in Northern France and Belgium (as they tour locally).

 

Azylya (Brussels-Belgium):

Azylya is a gothic/symphonic metal band from Belgium. Altough they have been founded in 2009, they have only one full-release listed: “Sweet Cerebral Destruction” released in 2013. Its style reminds me something very close from Evanescence, with a darker tone. Jamie-Lee Smit (the front singer) is very active on social media and one of the friendliest singer in Geo’s Facebook group. You should definitively try if you are looking for something in the vein of Evanescence a step heavier and darker.

 

Blazing War Machine (Marseille-France):

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Ever wondered how Dimmu Borgir would sound as a  French FFM band? Then you should try Blazing War Machine.  Irina knows to growl, and growl in very low frequency range, things than even Alissa White-Gluz or Angela (the gold standard in terms of female growls) do. Watch out, this is some brutal melodic death metal.

 

Bloody Melody (Tours-France):

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Bloody Melody is one of these new talents with potential. They play in a ground not too much, something more like gothic metal/alternative metal with their first EP “Gates of Mind”, that have this old good sound, something intimate but very engaging. Their EP is available to download on iTunes and have no news of any full-release album.

 

Darkonelly/Erzebeth/Marion-Lamita (Dijon-France)

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Darkonelly was a doom metal band from Dijon fronted by Marion-Lamita Peubey. She concluded Darkonelly and currently started a new project called Erzebeth. What I am still referring to Darkonelly then? For a simple reason. Opera voice with doom metal! Doom metal is always linked to guttural growls but this is first time I ever heard a soprano voice into a doom metal band. And a damn good soprano she is, pitching in very high vocal ranges. Marion one of the highest opera soprano vocal I have ever heard in any band. It is just mesmerizing. She is very talented to attract you to their first EP “Stories from Beyond”, especially if you are like me attracted to high pitch soprano voices. You don’t believe me? Listen to her track “Beneath The Mask”. If you have an auditory cortex that tilt on soprano voice, you will enjoy it. Add on top of it melancolic melodies and lyrics and I would recommend it if you want to “broyer du noir”. You can listen to their first EP via Bandcamp and give them some retribution if you like it. When Marion announced she ended Darkonelly, it was a sad moment but she said she will continue to do some metal as Erzebeth but also as a solo career as “Marion-Lamita” (https://www.facebook.com/marion.lamita.solo.project/?__mref=message_bubble).

 

Dreamslave (Lyon-France):

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Dreamslave is a power symphonic metal from Lyon. At this date, they have one full album “Rest In Phantasy” available. What I can tell? Well some fresh air, something powerful with melodic tones. Something you would expect if you blended Nightwish and Sonata Arctica together. Emma Elegy is doing a great job in giving some dynamism in the band. This brings a fast-paced, loud and enjoyable melodic power metal French band.

 

Ethernity (Brussels-Belgium):

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Ethernity is like Azylya another band from Belgium. Ethernity however is playing in another register and more into the progressive metal genre, just to warn you about it as it may sound different. They have one album released in 2015 named “Obscure Illusions”. The instrumental part is sounding awesome and Julie Collin-Spreutels voice is playing in another domain than symphonic voices I are accustomed to listen. A great alternative from lyrical voices and growls.

 

ETHS (Marseille-France):

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ETHS is one of the few female fronted death metal band that sing in French. More recently, the band were under the spotlight with Rachel Aspe’s performance in the French version of “America Got Talent” by bringing the growls on prime time. Surely it shook to see that girls know to growl too. The band just released their latest album “Ankaa”.

 

Heonia (Lille-France):

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If folks of Northern France know about (les Chtimis as we call them), they know about to rock. They were the bedrock of the whole coal industry during the 19th and 20th century and know what it means to experience the hardness and blackness of life. This need of rage and anger surely percolated into Heonia, giving a loud and tense metal band with the melodic voice of Marieke. Their latest album “Portraits” is available online and in physical copies.

 

Inhepsie (Paris-France):

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Inhepsie is another French gothic metal band singing in the “language de Moliere”, a very nice metal band with symphonic and atmospheric elements. This is some of the gems that you would never see in any French TV or even hear in the French FM station. This is lame, because there are bands like this that are very nice flagship of the French metal scene.

 

Lethian Dreams (?-France):

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If you ask me what I would recommend to listen when you want to just get into a spleen and dark mood, I would answer doom metal. Doom metal has this cathartic ability to raise my darkest side of me, filled with sorrow, melancholy and broken heart. Sometimes I feel to cry on my lost loves, on my lost friends. It reminds us how mortal we are and that we will one day all die. Doom metal was something big in the 1990s but receded during the last decade.
I discovered that band through Geo on his webpage and it was love at the first listening. It is minimalist, but hell it is dark and depressing. Add on top the soft voice of Carline, it gives this atmospheric doom metal that you need to drown your sorrow in a rainy day. The band has three full-albums, all of them with very high standard. This is certainly a band I would not recommend to those with depressive and suicidal thoughts but in the age of “emos/screemos/schmeemos”, this is a good reminder what doom metal is and nothing beats doom metal if you want to drop a tear on your lost loves.

 

Midnight Sorrow (Strasbourg-France):

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Midnight Sorrow is a symphonic metal band that I particularly follow as they are from Strasbourg, my hometown. So it is always grateful to be able to support local band, especially for such a band showing already some high-caliber. Surely, they don’t have yet a full album, just an EP “At first”, but you can already feel the quality of it. It is taking straight roots from Nightwish, Within Temptation and Epica by crafting the symphonic elements very nicely. Mauween has a very nice voice and we have some very good “Beauty and the Beast” duet here. Their first Indiegogo campaign to finance their first full-album “Pick A Tale” was a success and after some delay should be released by fall.

 

Oxy Hart  (?-France):

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Oxy Hart is what I call a free electron as she has mostly a solo career interacting with different metal bands such as Seadem, Nimrod and Experiment No Q. The caveat of it is there is at this point not a full-release or EP I can share but a video she guest vocalized for Seadem in their track “Cathedrale”.

 

Pray Manticore (Toulouse-France):

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If you are looking for something more brutal, like death metal with female growls, you should give a try to Pray Manticore. Still a band in their infancy, with an EP and a full-release album yet to be named and scheduled for delivery. Who said that French girls cannot growl?

 

 

Pyrah (Strasbourg-France):

Pyrah is another band from Strasbourg, so again very honored to support a band that has some potential. Very good starter with their first album “Where am I?”. The band is still not defining in a particular genre, but for me sounds more in the progressive metal genre. Give a try and see if you like it. If yes, go and support them through Bandcamp.

 

Seyminhol (Metz-France):

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If there is some genre and equivalent we are maybe missing in the French metal scene, it is maybe on the melodic progressive metal, something similar to Kamelot. I guess this is where Seyminhol is maybe building this niche. It feels a lot like Kamelot and if you like Kamelot you should give a try to this band.

 

Veil of Mist (Reims-France): 

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As I have previously mentioned, my list is fairly biased because I have listed bands I have been exposed on social media and clicked in their music. But it also mean I have a lot of them that went under the radar. If you are not visible on social media, you are not visible at all and you are missing an opportunity to be shared.

Fronted Female Metal of Europe nicely replied to my post and asked why Veil of Mist was not in my list. The simple answer is “if I don’t hear or see you, I don’t know you exist”.
Veil of Mist is a dark/progressive metal band of France that has some gothic and doom metal inspiration, reminding me a lot of the early days of Lacuna Coil and the Gathering. They have released early May their first full-album “Disenchantement” and based on their official video, it seems some good stuff I will put my hands on for further listening.

 

Whyzdom (Paris-France):

Finally, “la piece de resistance” as we call it in France. One of the best symphonic metal album this year “Tears of a Hopeless God”. Whyzdom is certainly a veteran among all other bands listed as it was formed in 2007 and have three full album releases. The band is from Paris and have witnessed three different front singers, one for each album (Clementine Delaunay, Elvyne and Marie McLeod) but Whyzdom is the French Symphonic Metal to what French wine is: it just getting better as it getting older. “Tears of a Hopeless God” naturally explored the symphonic approach by Vynce Leff earlier in “Blind” and brought this very nice piece of “baroque” that make themselves different from other Symphonic metal. The fluff and the puff that made Versailles so French!
Marie voice is just getting better and better and have less the “French accent” that Elvyne had in “Blind” and I believe Vynce found the winning formula for the band. For 2015, this album remains the highest rated of all the album I have reviewed on my blog, so it tells you something.

[Metal] Canada “Metal” Day

Oh Canada! Today is Canada Day. This trivial fact I learnt it last year when I visited Vancouver for a scientific conference. What I can tell, by visiting Montreal and Vancouver. I fell in love with Canada. Because today is Canada Day, I thought it would be great to list some of the Canadian bands I have on my playlists.
Also I highly recommend to subscribe to Sam’s Dunn “BangerTV” (I guess he is from Toronto area). He has produced the documentary “Metal Evolution” and honestly did a terrific job in trying to bring some taxonomy in the metal genre and continuously update his walls with the different sub-genres and the band that set that sub-genre.

The Agonist (Montreal-QC)

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The Agonist. Tabernacle! This is the freshman band in which Alissa White-Gluz fronted before joining Arch Enemy (Sweden-Melodic Death Metal) and currently fronted by Vicky Psarakis. Lets be honest it is far from the classic stereotype that Americans have over Canadian: it is loud, it is fast and it is brutal.
Alissa has been doing a great job over their three first albums and with their latest release “Eyes of Providence”, Vicky showed she can also growl.
For your pleasure, I put two videoclips from Alissa and from Vicky. Enjoy and I let you bicker which ones growls better with the band.

 

Kataclysm (Montreal-QC):

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Ostie! Another band from Montreal. This one is heavy, into death metal band. I do not a fond of death metal bands in general because for me lyrics matters. A lot. I like growls too. But sometimes, it is hard to understand the lyrics of death metal bands, not even mentioning grindcore bands.
This is what I like about Kataklysm. I discovered the band last year during an unexpected stop in Yellow City. I came, I saw and was vindicated. I ended up leaving with their last album “Of Gods and Men” and a tee from their march booth. They have the brutal of many US death metal band but still keep on the courtesy of Canadian by having clear growls that makes you understand their lyrics.

 

Kobra and the Lotus (Calgary-AB):

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With Kobra Paige and her band Kobra and the Lotus, we are scaling down in the heaviness, but not too much too. A very nice heavy metal band and a enjoyable discovery last year as Kobra Paige was the guest vocal of Camelot in several gigs in France last year.

Unleash the Archers (Vancouver-BC):

Finally, I will conclude with some metal from the land of the Canucks. Unleash the Archers, a power metal band from Vancouver. I got into the band when someone shared their videoclip “Tonight We Ride”, right in the chords of the post nuke.  If raiders of the Wasteland has some guitars to shred, that would be something similar to that one.

 

Unexpect (Montreal-QC):

Certainly one of the most bizarre band I have ever hard, because you cannot really fit them in any genre. It is a hodge-podge of different style, going from Symphonic to extreme metal. That results in a sort of cacophonic and schizophrenic style. The band was active from 2009 to 2015 and finally ended their career to pursue their own artistic direction.