Written by: Blackie Skulless
My first impression just looking at this artwork had me thinking a death metal painting had collided with a traditional metal logo. Would the music reflect that? Not at all. The Swiss outfit Megaton Sword veer on the epic side of the traditional metal flavors, which has been a slow development since their first EP. While not changing much in style from before, Might & Power is the band’s most concise and compelling work to date. Don’t take that lightly, because both the prior full-length and the EP hold a pretty hot flame.
As with many bands that take this approach, part of the magic lies in letting the epic coats sit nicely atop several different songwriting approaches. Here there’s a pretty even blend between upbeat, hopeful attitudes, choppy crunches, and full-on catchy vocals. Better are the numbers that push all of that into one song. “Iron Plains” is almost obvious with its aim for being one of the standout numbers, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t incredible. Cool emotion in the chorus, the speedier gallops, a slow melting center, and stellar buildup into blast beats seal this banger’s fate as the perfect epic metal tune.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
2018 saw Canada’s Gatekeeper indulge in the epic leanings of the traditional metal style on East Of Sun. Being a tougher approach to sell me on as is, I wasn’t overly impressed. Switching to the other side of the compass, From Western Shores would quickly change this, as the band not only sounds refreshed after five years, but also has matured and cemented their narrative in a more compelling manner. Coming in at almost fifty minutes, these eight songs pack loads of ingredients in nice and snug, without trailing off.
Naturally, a step forward in songwriting quality is realized, particularly in the album’s varying ideas. Moreover, stepping away from the Europower glazings from time to time helps, although its presence is still important for much of the runtime. Strong chorus melodies that insert themselves between beefy riffs and emotional solos become a vital part of the foundation. It pairs well with the tendency to progressively intertwine the different angles within the same song, showing Gatekeeper’s ability to transition smoothly.
Written by: The Administrator
A good symphonic metal album appeals, by default, to fans of symphonic metal, but often has a hard time reaching beyond a fandom predisposed to enjoy the grandiose flair and bombast inherent to genre convention. Luckily, the demographic of people who can kick back and enjoy the likes of Epica or Nightwish is a sizable contingent...albeit not particularly well represented here at the Sleeping Village, both in terms of scriberly inhabitants and our noble readership. In any case, if you drink deep of epic and/or symphonic waters, you'll likely find something worth celebrating in Unfinished.
At risk of showing my cards too early, I'm of the mind that the long-awaited debut from Chicago's Shield of Wings is an impressive feat indeed. Moreover, it serves as a very strong foot forward for a band with clear potential to rope in a sizable fanbase. Let's dive in.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.