Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Melodic & symphonic death metal

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Trying to pick out the very best death metal of the year so far was a bitch of a job. Of the many deathy albums we’ve been invited (and sometimes we’ve asked) to review, there are dozens I like. Eventually I decided the fairest approach would be to divide those albums into three groups – melodic and symphonic death; prog and technical death; and assorted death. That still left a pile of death to listen to.

Not that I minded, of course. Listening to and writing about music has become my consuming pastime since I sort of retired when I turned 65. Even so, I shall use one of the M-words to describe the nature of the task in hand. It was… no, not Majestic. Massive, yes. Monumental… yeah, that’s good because it fits so much of the music on my death row.

I’m not listing the genre of each album. In part, that would be repetitive. More importantly, the bands don’t bother much with tags. What all five have in common is a decidedly deathy feel, with or without reaching into black or other metal, and they’re all extremely melodious. If I’d been doing full reviews, every one of them would have received my top rating of 5. On the Metal State scale, that is “Beyond Excellent”. Here’s my pick in alphabetical order by band name.

 

Keep of KalessinKeep of Kalessin – Epistemology

Release date: 16 February 2015
Label: Season Of Mist / Indie Recordings
Tracks: 10
Length: 57 minutes
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Personnel: Obsidian C. (vocals, guitars, compositions), Wizziac (bass, backing vocals), Vyl (drums)
Previous studio albums: Through Times of War (1997), Agnen: A Journey through the Dark (1999), Armada (2006), Kolossus (2008), Reptilian (2010)

I’ve been a fan of Keep of Kalessin since their 2006 “Armada”. Since then I’ve collected all their albums and I love every one of them. That left me with high expectations for “Epistemology”. I didn’t believe the band would drop their standard or make sweeping changes to their style, and they haven’t done so. This one is at least as good as their previous work, and that makes it a total winner in my book. Call it thrash death, black thrash, what you like… the band calls it “epic extreme metal”. It’s epically good, andThe track I’ve chosen has irresistible groove.

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Visit Keep of Kalessin on Facebook.

 

MyridiaMyridia – Mirror of Eden

Release date: 13 April 2015
Label: Self-released
Tracks: 10
Length: 53 minutes
Location: Bournemouth, England
Personnel: Harry Young (vocals), Jordan Wicks (vocals), Glenn Martin (lead guitar), Rob Cavanagh (rhythm guitar), David Gallagher (bass), Mike Braye (drums)
Previous studio albums: This is their debut album

Few experiences are more pleasurable than hearing a new band for the first time and being blown away by their quality and musicality. Myridia knocked the socks off all of my feet. There’s a metalcore feel to a lot of their style of death, with the clean as well as harsh vocals and the solo guitar passages adding tasty layers to the more mainline metal riffs. For the unaccompanied guitar solos they create an almost Iron Maiden sound that yields to explosions of mighty bass and rhythm guitar. I offer huge pats on the back for outstanding compositions and beginning-to-end melodic excellence.

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Visit Myridia on Facebook.

 

NightlandNightland – Obsession

Release date: 10 January 2015
Label: Self-released
Tracks: 10
Length: 45 minutes
Location: Pesaro, Italy
Personnel: Ludovico Cioffi (vocals, guitar), Filippo Scrima (guitar), Brendan Paolini (bass), Filippo Cicoria (drums)
Previous studio albums: Knights of the Dark Empire (EP, 2011), In Solemn Rise (EP, 2012)

When I think of Italy I tend to think of plush orchestration and a high emphasis on melody, whether it’s in metal or prog rock. The extensive use of keys-and-strings backing gives “Obsession” that characteristically epicurial flavour… once again, Italians lead the way in tasty cuisine. The vocals are super and the backing choral voices have an operatic depth. I wish more metal bands would use the piano as much as Nightland do. The track I’ve chosen has a distinctly neo-classical feel.

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Visit Nightland on Facebook.

 

WhorionWhorion – The Reign of the 7th Sector

Release date: 24 April 2015
Label: Inverse Records
Tracks: 8
Length: 36 minutes
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Personnel: Ari Nieminen (vocals), Ep MKN (vocals, guitars), Dorian Logue (bass, backing vocals), Heikki Saari (drums), Antti Lauri (guitars)
Previous studio albums: Fall of Atlas (EP, 2014)

The low register of the harsh vocals and the guitar work inject considerable darkness and brutality into Whorion’s music, with persistent blast beats and kinda spooky synths building a titillating level of tension. The overall impression of this album is one of grim resoluteness mellowed by fine compositions and clever, strategic placement of the keyboard contributions. This is the sort of Finnish metal that Stravinsky might have listened to when he was in a bad mood. By the end of the album he’d be grinning with delight, as I did.

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Visit Whorion on Facebook.

 

Wings of ThanatosWings of Thanatos – Dualism (EP)

Release date: 22 March 2015
Label: Self-released
Tracks: 3
Length: 19 minutes
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Personnel: Sean Donleavy (compositions, vocals, guitars, bass, key programming, drum programming)
Previous studio albums: This is their debut release

What a brilliant debut! I’m a pushover for the combination of gentle female vocals and powerful, harsh male vocals. When the music is this good, I don’t just fall down, I roll out of the door and into the flowers where we relocate the Zululand scorpions that insist on moving in with us. Scorpions would enjoy the bite and sting of Wings of Thanatos. They enrich their metal with resonating, thrum-thrum deathcore riffs, too, which is also stimulating. After this lovely EP I’ll be eagerly awaiting their first full-length. And *ahem* I won’t mind if they continue to feature Nina Redgirl in their videos. She’s been in at least one other. She’s the delicately charming girl in white who wades into the water at the end of the video I’ve selected.

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Visit Wings of Thanatos on Facebook.

More:

Mammal’s most recommended: Assorted genres
Mammal’s most recommended: Art rock, post rock & math rock
Mammal’s most recommended: Black metal
Mammal’s most recommended: Core

 

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About ChristopherMammal

I've made it to Mammal. I still hope to be classified as Human one day. Meanwhile I have evolved enough to recognise different types of music as well as the shrieks of certain vervet monkeys who are known for their scurrilous behaviour in the proximity of unguarded bananas.

Posted on September 2, 2015, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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