Crystal Viper-The Cult   ©2021 Listenable Records
​Another new band to my listening experience. Crystal Viper is a female fronted band that features a sound similar to the NWOBHM movement of the early 80's. You will hear these elements early on in the listen. Vocally, Marta Gabriel has more of a power sound to her singing than other female fronted acts that go for a more operatic style or more finesse. Basically, she just belts it out and it enhances the band's sound perfectly. The music is definitely consistent. As a bit of a background, the band is from Katowice, Poland and has been together since around 2003. That is actually a fairly lengthy run so far. This new album is the band's 8th to date. For those not familiar, I would encourage you to go to YouTube and check out the band's video offerings as you'll get a good taste of the new album as well as some catalog stuff. Very cool album from a solid band!
Release Date:  February 12, 2021
Orden Ogan-Final Days    ©2021 AFM Records 
​The more I hear Orden Ogan, the more I like them. They can jump from theme to theme and do it all equally well. The band have a full rich sound and a great power metal intensity without ever losing the infectious melody that they have displayed from album to album. An interesting thing for me with this album is that I picked up on little things with a headphone listen that I missed with just regular speakers. It enhanced the listen even more for me. The band do have some fun videos that are accessible via YouTube. You will not only get a feel for the sound of the record, but will also get to see the concept of this album or at least parts of it. I believe this band is really positioning themselves to be one of the frontrunners of the power metal genre. The music is typically superb and is just as enjoyable upon subsequent listens. Easy recommend as usual!
Release Date:  March 12, 2021
Simulacrum-Genesis  ©2021 Frontiers Records
​Finnish progressive metallers Simulacrum have just released their third album. Although progressive, this isn't your typical album. Yes, there are tempo changes and all of the things the listener expects from a progressive album. I think some of the difference that makes Simulacrum stand out is that there is a bit of a modern edge to it. A fairly thick guitar sound among other things. You do get the musicianship that the genre is known for. There are some flashy parts here and there, but overall it feels balanced without any part taking over another part. The album contains 9 tracks and clocks in around 61 minutes in length. The final four tracks tracks are a part of the same overall track 'Genesis'. It's a good musical journey through this album especially that final 4 track song. Although a bit sophisticated, it's a good listen especially for fans of modern progressive metal.
Release Date:  February 12, 2021
Lake Of Tears-Ominous   ©2021 AFM Records
​Been quite some time since I listened to this band. Probably since the early 2000's. After making my way through this album a couple of times a few things came to mind. First, the title is appropriate. This album has an ominous sound to it. Not in a death metal type of way. More in a progressive dark sort of way. At times I was thinking Pink Floyd, but darker. The band utilizes a lot of atmosphere in their music and quite a bit of depth. The album contains 9 tracks of which one is listed as a bonus track titled 'In Gloom'. If you have read my reviews in the past you will probably know what I mean by a grower. That is what this album is. Due to the depth it may take a few listens to fully digest, but if you stick with it you will get the reward. I believe fans of more modern oriented rock and metal will dig this one the most. A very interesting listen for sure!
Release Date:  February 19, 2021
Holy Mother-Face This Burn   ©2021 Massacre Records
​This is another band that has been around for some time that I somehow missed. Definitely my loss until now as I really dig their  sound. The band has a cool edge with plenty of flash, cool rhythm work, etc. They are just different enough in their sound that it draws me in. The album is a reunion of vocalist Mike Tirelli and Jim Harris. It had been quite a few years since the band's previous release from 2003 'Agoraphobia'. You would probably classify these guys into the power metal genre.  With all that was going on musically with this album, it was interesting to hear a cover track 'Superstar' close the album out. This is the Delaney Bramlett penned song made famous by The Carpenters in the 70's. It just shows that this band is confident to pull anything off and they definitely do with the entirety of this album. I will be keeping my eyes on these guys in the future!
Release Date: February 12, 2021