Astralion – Astralion

November 25, 2014 in Reviews by blackwindmetal

Astralion - AstralionAstralion - Astralion (2014)

Reviewed by Daniel Millard

FINALLY.

Just yesterday I was thinking that this fall and winter were lacking a deliciously cheerful cornball power metal release for me to goof around to, and it seems that the Finns in Astralion were listening. Granted, I’ve been watching Astralion for some time, due to Ian Highhill and Krister Lundell’s involvement in fantastic Finn power outfit Olympos Mons, but this full length arrived very quietly and without much to-do at all. I blame Limb’s fairly lackluster PR department, but nothing can dim my excitement for this album, which has quickly proved to be just as delightful as I had hoped for.
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Allen/Lande – The Great Divide

November 25, 2014 in Reviews by Sebastian Kluth

Allen-Lande - The Great DivideAllen/Lande The Great Divide (2014)

Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth

Many fans were worried when they learned that the well-reputed project bearing the names of Russell Allen and Jorn Lande would see an important line-up change four years after the third and last release. Previous songwriter, bassist, guitarist, and keyboard player Magnus Karlsson was, in fact, replaced by none other than Timo Tolkki, one of the most iconic but also most inconsistent musicians of the European power metal scene. Since Timo Tolkki has left Stratovarius, he’s released a whole lot of controversial and (largely) negatively received releases under his own solo banner, during the Revolution Renaissance era, as his short-lived Symfonia project, as mastermind of Timo Tolkki’s Avalon, and recently as bassist in progressive all-star act Ring Of Fire. I have always followed Tolkki’s career with much interest because he wrote not only some of the worst disasterpieces of his genre (Angels Of The Apocalypse and Elements, Part I) but also some of the very best (Dreamspace and Visions). I’m relieved to say that the new Allen/Lande release The Great Divide is what I consider to be one of Timo Tolkki’s very best releases. It beats the solid The Land of New Hope as well as In Paradisum, and may be Tolkki’s best album since Stratovarius’ Infinite. In addition, this release is also a career highlight for both vocalists, especially Jorn Lande, who has largely released exchangeable quantity over convincing quality material over the past few years.

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Starkill – Virus Of The Mind

November 24, 2014 in Reviews by Kevin Hathaway

Starkill - Virus Of The MindStarkillVirus Of The Mind (2014)

Reviewed by Kevin Hathaway

I don’t usually fancy myself a melodeath kind of guy, but Starkill’s debut Fires Of Life grabbed me like few melodeath albums have when it came out early last year. It was brutal and cheesy without either element detracting from the other, and it had more wicked guitar licks than you could shake a stick at. The vocals didn’t make me want to drive the nearest sharp object through my ears either. It was like if Children of Bodom didn’t suck! All right, that was a low blow, but Fires Of Life still holds up pretty well coming from someone who doesn’t really consider himself a fan of melodeath. So I was kind of excited to hear about follow-up Virus Of The Mind. Could they recapture the magic that made Fires Of Life such a rare treat for my musical taste?

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