MINOTAURUS – Insolubilis
MINOTAURUS have been active since 1994, delivering a unique mixture of Folk, Metal and an unmistakeable dash of originality. Until today, they could look back on eight releases, each of them displaying clear development factors from one to the next, something that has always been recognised by their growing fan base. The development goes a step further with “Insolubilis”, their new album in a new, extended line-up. MINOTAURUS work under the motto “create new and keep the tried and tested”, which, considering the band’s long history, shows wisdom and farsightedness. It is exactly in the realm of Folk Metal, one in which fans orientate themselves explicitly to bands, credibility in an important asset. In the band’s own discography the album, “Insolubilis” is an absolute reference point and is certain to carry the band yet further forwards with giant steps. Like the half man, half bull, mythological creature which gave the band its name, MINOTAURUS is pawing the ground, about to charge.
Their fifth long-player, “Insolubilis” took the band once again to the Empire Studios in Bensheim, with Rolf Munkes. Eleven new songs packed into a varied package, offer an impressive mixture of melodies and subjects. With lots of phantasy and humour the tracks transport the listener along an exciting journey to historical and mythological places, visiting sailors and mermaids, witches and ghosts, heroes, kings, princesses and priests, yes, even the legendary minotaur itself, through graveyards, pirate ships, forests, campfires, army camps, ruins and valleys.
Overall the album is harder and the song-writing is clearly more mature. Besides guitar duels so typical of the band, one hears Celtic harps, tin whistle, Tinwhistle, wooden flutes and even a curtal, the forerunner of the bassoon. The Folk influence has been honed and rounds off the overall impression beautifully. Multivocal song lines as well as several very catchy tracks also belong to the order of the day. With their fifth long player, MINOTAURUS has proved that there is still a lot of potential within them. “Insolubilis” confirms this with no doubt whatsoever.
Total playing time 49:59
- Mature, dynamic, heavy: that is the 2016 MINOTAURUS sound!
- Produced by Rolf Munkes (Empire, Crematory, ex-Majesty, Tour guitarist for Tony Martin etc…) in the Empire Studios.
- Ancient Epic Metal.
- High quality back catalogue with excellent reviews.
SKYLINER – Condition Black
Jacksonville in Florida’s north-east shouldn’t be condemned just because Limp Bizkit hails from there. Jacksonville has more to offer. SKYLINER, for example, who appeared on the metal scene two years ago with their excellent album, “Outsiders” and who immediately made their mark on the genre with their musical brew of Power and Prog Metal elements. The Americans sounded distinctly European, something that did not only make friends in their hometown. But they bit the bullet and carried on, working through local clubs and began writing songs for their follow-up album. “Condition Black” built up on “Outsiders” dipping a toe into new musical spheres and showed a band trying to find its new self without turning its back on its influences. Not an easy task but in the end the lads are to be congratulated on the success of the experiment.
In a musical sense they became more experimental, the songs are different to those on the predecessor, the sound reaches further into the past. “Condition Black” is certainly an album which is not meant to be just music in the background.
The progged influences cannot be overlooked and they have moved somewhat away from the traditional Power Metal elements which stamped the predecessor album. The vocals became rawer and one could almost say that “Condition Black” shows a band built on an entirely new musical base, turning down the sound to its most important elements. What may sound at first as unstructured and inconsistent soon shows its very own appeal.
“As Above, So Below (Those Who From Heaven To Earth Came)” is a fast, straight number definitely in the style of Rage. In contrast to that is “The Morbid Architect”, a track whose growls and blast beats is almost frightening, but which is surprisingly good thanks to the combination with thrashy-fast metal passages. The progged, fast “Too Many Voices” is one of the highlights of the album, as is “Your Hand In Mine”. The listener should not prejudge the album before listening it through, letting him- or herself be carried along, putting memories and opinions of the band to one side and giving the new a chance. SKYLINER certainly don’t make it easy with this new album, but isn’t it the unusual sound and style of a band which give new perspectives? “Condition Black” is exactly one of those rare albums.
Total playing time 60:52
- Second album of the US trio which has now torn down musical barriers and set new accents on its sound.
- The long-awaited follow-up to their superb debut album.
- For musically open-minded fans who appreciate and prefer albums with great variety.
SYMPHONITY – King Of Persia
The Czech Republic has until now never been a shining light on the international Heavy Metal scene. Now and again a band would appear but then disappear again shortly afterwards. That, however, does not apply to SYMPHONITY, a union of talented Czech, Slovakian and German musicians who have just recorded their third album, “King Of Persia”. The band can be classified in the classical-symphonic genre, plays at a very high international standard and easily keeps pace with established bands such as Stratovarius, Rhapsody, Dionysus, Thunderstone and Sonata Arctica. Up-tempo hymns with high classical melodies, complex guitar parts played with virtuosity, unmistakeable vocals and memorable melodies are the characteristics of this, the band’s third album. Their previous work, “Voice from the Silence” had already impressed both the press and fans and came highly recommended listening. 2016 is sure to be a successful year for SYMPHONITY.
“King Of Persia” contains all the ingredients that fans of Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Rhapsody and Thunderstone expect from a high quality album: a build-up of broad choruses, voluminous melodies, galloping guitar attacks as well as neo-progged 6-string inserts. Add to that the vocals, which will send shivers down the spine of voice freaks. “In The Name Of God” with its classical guitar tracks will get the headbangers active and the melodies are irresistable and simply force you to sing along with them. The seven minute long “Children Of The Light” changes pace, mood and progressive claims – it’s a fast paced firework display of inspiration and complexity. The title track, around nine minutes long, is the core of the album and shows off the band’s clear talents for writing exciting songs and to put them to music in an equally impressive manner. Whilst “Siren Call” curls through your ears in a ballad-like way, “Live To Tell The Tale” is almost a rock number. “The Choice” will certainly thrill Avantasia fans. You can see, or rather you can hear that SYMPHONITY have managed to expand their musical field without having reduced the level of their basic influences. “King Of Persia” is a “Must Have” album for fans of Melodic Heavy Metal in 2016.
Total playing time 53:28
- For Fans of SONATA ARCTICA, STRATOVARIUS, DIONYSUS, RHAPSODY, THUNDERSTONE.
- With Olaf Hayer (AINA, LUCA TURILLI, CHRYZTYNE, DIONYSUS, TREASURE SEEKER etc.) the band has one of the most expressive German Heavy Metal vocalists.
- Introducing the voice of Herbie Langhans – the new star of the latest AVANTASIA album and world tour.
- Cover artwork by Andreas Marschall (BLIND GUARDIAN, KREATOR, RUNNING WILD, HAMMERFALL, etc.).
- The band has already opened for NIGHTWISH.
- Album mixed by Sascha Paeth and mastered by Miro, Wolfsburg, Germany.
ASTRALION – Outlaw
In the last ten years Finland has risen to become one of the world’s most potent suppliers of Heavy Metal. The number of bands without whom the scene would simply be unimaginable is enormous, and anyone who thinks that the country comprises solely of reindeer, snow and the taiga is definitely missing something. Despite Finland’s huge size, the music scene is closely linked and musicians from a number of different styles continue to get together to form new, interesting bands. ASTRALION is no exception. The band, christened in a pub in southern Finland five years ago, have now advanced so much that they are now releasing their second album, “Outlaw”. ASTRALION plays hard-hitting, melodic Power Metal, marked by needle-sharp guitar parts, huge keyboard melodies, lovely clear vocals and choruses which you can just imagine being sung by masses of fans. The band’s motto says it all: Forget the dragon, forget the sword – here’s true power from the chord!
Bands such as Sonata Arctica, Thunderstone, Hammerfall, Stratovarius, early Blind Guardian and Yngwie Malmsteen are the most noticeable influences of ASTRALION’s sound. That means broad choruses, voluminous melodies, racing guitar attacks as well as subtle neo-progged 6-string interludes. Whilst the album’s opener “Deathphone” is a steeply driven, whiplike hymne, “Black Adder” and “The Outlaw” are pure, melodic Speed Metal hammers to set the adrenalin flowing. “The Great Place Of The Sea” is a 10 minute long opus which reminds the listener somewhat of Alestorm, whilst “Sacrificed & Immortalized” stamps forwards with thrilling Malmsteenic solo parts. With “Wastelands Of Ice” the band recorded a semi-ballad in the style of the album’s predecessor’s track, “At The Edge Of The World” and as a song with a great melody will certainly be recognised as such.
“Outlaw” has all the ingredients to make the discerning heavy metal fan smile with satisfaction.
Total playing time 58:41
Video Album Trailer
- Finnish band oriented in the style of groups such as Sonata Arctica, Thunderstone, Hammerfall, Stratovarius and early Blind Guardian.
- Each musician can look back on many years of experience in bands such as Olympos Mons, The Addication and HumanGod.
- Convincing, excellently produced melodic Power Metal with massive hymnal effects.
- Established band in Finland with huge live experience.