As the year comes to a close and the sounds and sights of the Christmas season permeate the air, we melancholically prepare ourselves to bid farewell to a very exciting and creative 2007. A look back at this past year's releases, seems an appropriate way to both celebrate our successes and welcome the New Year!
TRAIL OF TEARS' Existentia combines all the elements that set TRAIL OF TEARS apart from other bands: Serrated, fast, thrashing, and breathless guitars accompanied by the perfect rhythm section supply the foundation for superb classical arrangements, dramatic vocal dueling between the two frontmen, strong female vocals, and a welcomed heaviness. A potent, cliché-free, and complete Dark Gothic Metal masterpiece!
Transcends my weary Rock Critic brain to catapult me into the excess of imagination. — Metal Maniacs, US
BATTLELORE once again led us into the realm of Middle Earth to deliver a Metal soundtrack based on the legendary novel. Epic Fantasy Metal complete with bombastic interludes, mystic soundscapes and heavy riffs envelop the skillful interaction between the Elven-like female vocals and the warlike Uruk-hai cries that summon images of great battles fought by Men, Elves, and Dwarves against the armies of darkness. No mortal soul will be able to resist the enchanting melodies found in BATTLELORE's Evernight (23 Feb).
Battlelore have finally delivered a definitive Tolkien-based metal album with glorious results. — Metal Maniacs, US
The U.K.'s own INTENSE stand for stomping Power Metal in the vein of their American counterparts. Brutal double-bass attacks, heavy guitars, and powerful vocals, as well as excellent songwriting and cliché-free lyrics, distinguish the band from the norm. Anyone with a preference for solid, thrashy riffs, glorious melodies, and genuine Metal will not be dissappointed by As Our Army Grows (30 Mar). Be prepared for neck-breaking, head-banging ecstasy that brings back memories of Iced Earth's glory days.
No trendy sounds, no symphonic overkill - this is only classic IN-YOUR-FACE Heavy Metal. — Metal Observer
SERENITY closed ranks with scene greats Sonata Arctica with their debut Words Untold & Dreams Unlived. The Austrian quintet captivates their fans with a unique brand of Progressive Metal, which perfectly unites technical prowess and a multi-faceted melodic approach with an extraordinary and catchy songwriting style. A pumping rhythm section, outstanding riffs, and powerful choirs support the prominent, strong vocals.
Serenity have all the tools to compete with the big players of the scene, so if you love bands like Dream Theater, Vanden Plas, Stratovarius, Brainstorm, and Symphony X, chances are you will fall in love with "Words Untold & Dreams Unlived". — Sea of Tranquility
VINTERSORG returned to its roots anchored deep within traditional Nordic soundscapes with Solens Rötter (27 Apr), only to strengthen them by masterfully blending in the elements that modern Metal has to offer. The ever-so-present Folk influence merges skillfully with the technical prowess of both drummer and guitarist to create poignant and versatile songs that can only be the work of VINTERSORG. An eloquent symbiosis of hymn-like passages, cold Black Metal, and Nordic music, crowned by Vintersorg's impressive vocals.
"Solens Rotter" is an absorbing album that long-time fans are sure to cherish for years to come. — Blabbermouth
VISIONS OF ATLANTIS, the Austro-American sextet takes Symphonic Metal to a new level, as majestically powerful Metal songs complete with heavy guitars and unrelenting drumming meet emotional ballads and romantic soundscapes. The distinctive epic string arrangements compliment the multi-faceted compositions, superbly crowned by fantastic soprano vocals and the equally strong singing talents of the male counterpart. By masterfully merging classic roots with powerful modern elements, Trinity (25 May) is not only mystic and heavy, but also insightful and bombastic.
An infectious, clean, powerful album that can be embraced by even those who don't normally lend an ear to the symphonic metal genre."- — Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, Canada
IRON FIRE's latest Metal Crusade has begun. The Danish Metal masters' newest epos Blade of Triumph (29 Jun) delivers 100 % genuine Heavy Metal. Heroic Power Metal complete with heavy guitars, majestic melodies, and in-your-face drumming pave the way for the unmistakable and charismatic vocals of frontman Martin Steene. This steam hammer of traditional Metal albums is sure to appease the youth of steel.
Like Conan the Barbarian wielding his mighty sword as he lunges into battle...an intense and lethal offering of power/speed metal that will no doubt leave many bodies by the wayside. — Unrestrained!, Canada
KORPIKLAANI's Tervaskanto (29 June) delivers powerful Folk Metal songs and is available as a limited deluxe digipack edition including a bonus DVD and as a regular jewel case. The traditional instruments, such as the accordion, fiddle, and flute, battle it out with the purest of Metal, spiced with a dash of humppa and large helping of good humor.
"Tervaskanto" manages to make one forget the worst of moods and magically replace it with a smile on the lips. — Rock Hard, Germany
SALTATIO MORTIS followed-up on the successful charted album Des Königs Henker with another release of Medieval Rock perfection! Aus der Asche (31 Aug) combines the best musical elements from the Middle Ages, such as authentic instrumentation (Bagpipe, Shawm) and melodies, with modern Rock and Metal sounds. Once SALTATIO MORTIS begin to play, there is no holding them back. Aus der Asche is both danceable and passionate, as well as fiery and untamed.
Whether in the club or at a show, these hits will make you want to join the dancing frenzy. — Zillo Magazine
...the band's best Rock album to date! — Orkus Magazine
MEHIDA brings together a true all-star ensemble. Alongside vocalist Thomas Vikström (Therion), the remainder of the high-grade crew settles around bandleader and keyboardist Mikko Harkin (ex-Sonata Arctica, ex-Kotilpelto) and guitarist Jani Stefanovic (ex-Am I Blood). MEHIDA manage an extraordinary feat by converging their progressive roots and technical prowess with strong, memorable vocal lines and first-class songwriting to deliver Finnish Progressive Melodic Metal deluxe!
"Blood &Water" is a fiercely intelligent album that all fans of modern prog-power metal must add to their collection! — Metal Crypt
HURTLOCKER returned in 2007 with their second album Embrace the Fall (31 Aug). The Chicago-based extreme thrashers deliver exactly that for which they are known: extreme Thrash Metal garnished with blast beats, brutal death blows and a large helping of aggression. In the midst of such heavy riffs, only one can survive: Vocalist Grant Belcher, who growls like a rabid Pitbull throughout the songs.
A modern thrash metal smack in the mouth; a devastating blow that will leave listeners toothless and whimpering . — Metal Maniacs, USA
WOLFPACK UNLEASHED combines heroic choruses in the style of Bay Area Thrash Metal greats such as Metallica, Megadeth, and Testament with the best of elements found in the Gothenburg sound. The band catapults the classic Bay Area Thrash Metal of old into the new millenium with debut album Anthems of Resistance (28 Sept). Neck-breaking, highspeed riffs, furious solos, brutal precision drummung, and technical prowess perfectly merge together with epic melodies, brawling choruses, and memorable songwriting.
The clean staccato riffs reminds one of the album of the century, "Master of Puppets". — Rock Hard, Germany
These riffs will allow any thrasher to headbang to their heart's content. — Metal Hammer, Germany
ENTHRONED remained true to their genre in 2007 by delivering genuine Black Metal complete with racing blastbeats, serrating guitars, rabid vocals, and an ominously cold atmosphere. The legendary cult band had once again cast pitch-black high-grade steel. Produced by Harris Johns (Sodom), Tetra Karcist (28 Sept) remains yet another display of undisputed power by ENTHRONED: raw, unpolished, aggressive, and destructive.
Like an evil devil's spawn, the band races with maximum speed through the auditory canal. — Rock Hard, Germany
Grandiose! — Legacy, Germany
This album should bring them their long overdue breakthrough. — Zillo, Germany
SINAMORE has always provided a good share of sorrowful melodies, melancholic lyrics, and the somber atmosphere associated with Finnish bands, and as such, have managed to conquer the darkish hearts of Metal and Gothic fans alike, unerringly establishing themselves among scene greats like Sentenced and H.I.M. Yet for all the world weariness imparted in their music, SINAMORE never forgets their rock band status, letting it all hang out on Seven Sins a Second (02 Nov) by combining pleasing melancholy and soft sounds with solid drumming, great hooklines, catchy choruses, and heavy guitars. In other words, Gothic Rock with balls!
...Gloriously dreary, with all the hallmarks of the style wrapped up in a twisted, thorny bow, and as a result, they produce a collection of songs that really work on their own, with grand choruses, melancholic, bittersweet vocals and pumping guitar harmonies, all played at a relatively fast pace and executed beautifully. — Metal Crypt
SYRACH offers heavy and viscid symphonies, which are not only massive and brutal, but also raw and coarse. The hypnotic drumming highlights the raw sounds and vocals, as well as the tuned-down guitars that produce one crushing riff after another, as if forged from the confines of inner conflict. Expect no lovely melodies or kitsch from this Doom Metal machine. Days of Wrath (02 Nov) delivers a violent and hopeless approach to the musical experience.
...the Norwegian quintet presents an immensely gloomy, melancholic album that bursts for consuming tragic and painful characters. Old school Doom Metal traditions come first, also making this album a feast for nostalgic fans of this sub genre. — EMP, Germany
ELIS' Show Me the Way (02 Nov) is both legacy and new beginning for the Gothic Metal flagship band ELIS. On the one hand, the MCD honorably closes the "Griefshire" chapter by offering former Frontlady Sabine Dünser's final, unrealeased works. On the other hand, it supplies fans with a new version of the sweeping Gothic Metal classic "Show Me the Way", courtesy of their fantastic new vocalist, Sandra Schleret. Regardless of destiny's fatal blow, ELIS delivers a worthy memorial for their deceased vocalist, while taking a first step to continue the band with dignity.
...definitely strikes a delicate balance between power drives and orgasmic melodies. — Blabbermouth
SVARTSOT is the next rising star in the Folk Metal heavens, as traditional Scandinavian sounds and instruments meet brutal, yet melodic Death Metal. Crushing mid-tempo tracks and catchy neck-breakers driven by heavy guitar riffs, deep vocals, and whipping drumming are refined with traditional folk melodies. Powerfully produced by Jacob Hansen (Tyr, Hatesphere), Ravnenes Saga (02 Nov) delivers new hymns for Folk Metal's next generation.
When a lively six-piece band from a historically charged Denmark enthusiastically devotes itself to traditional Folk Metal, a great album is the result. — EMP, Germany
VESANIA, the Polish bludgeoning commando, offer racing blast beats, rapid-fire riffs, and symphonic bombastic arrangements that come together with a mongrel mix of Symphonic Black Metal and Death Metal influences. Add the rabid barks of frontman Orion (Behemoth), a crushing production typical of bands such as Dimmu Borgir, soundtrack quality orchestral passages, and a technical prowess surpassing all others. VESANIA are destructive, brutal, and dominant to the extreme. Distractive Killusions (30 Nov) is the perfect soundtrack for the Apocalypse.
Powerful, heavy, extremely complex, and absolutely bombastic... — Legacy
Napalm Releases 2007: