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Shield of Wings - Unfinished (2022)

2022. március 03. - Jurancsik Eszter

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The history of Shield of Wings dates back to 2005. That's when the band was born, but the first EP had to wait until 2011, when "Solarium" was released. Since then, they have found a new lead singer, Lara Mordian.

The Chicago-based band's first album, "Unfinished", was released on 11 February and features ten songs representing symphonic and gothic metal, but also a few songs with power metal influences, such as the album opener Crushing Hail.

The band is interested in historical themes, but history can also be played out in us, not just in the world. Like an inner journey. Besides Lara, there is another lady in the band, Aliyah Daye, who uses the growl to complement Lara's clean vocals. They both did a super job on the album.

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Lara (left) and Aliyah

The music and the vocals are true, unadulterated symphonic metal, and there's no shortage of tunes that remind us of the Middle Ages. The band is American, but the music has a very European sound and frankly, it's a very pleasant surprise. There's no overpowering in the music and Lara can sing operatic, but she still prefers to use her melodic, storytelling voice, which makes the songs pleasant. Listening to the song Come Home made me cry, it's so emotional.

Wetland came first from the album, followed by Mind of Myth. I loved both songs. Third single was Crushing Hail, which also won me over. I should mention here that not only do the two singers bring their best, but the musicians are also incredibly talented.

The whole album is a bit cinematic, but very likeable and catchy. For fans of symphonic metal this album is a must have. Powerful, dynamic songs, great instrumentation, and the voices of the two vocalists are flawless.

9/10

Release date: 11 February, 2022

Tracklist:

1. Crushing Hail

2. Native Colossus

3. Breathing

4. Frozen Harbor

5. Cedar

6. Wetland

7. Mind of Myth

8. Sunfire Shower

9. Come Home

10. The Scarred Clay Reshaping 

Musicians:

Lara Mordian - clean vocals

Aliyah Daye - additional vocals, harsh

James Gregor - guitars

Pat Eulitz - drums

Alex Luke - bass

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Dust In Mind - CTRL (2021)

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On 19 November, French modern metal band Dust In Mind will release their fourth album, "CTRL". I really liked their last album "From Ashes To Flames" (review here in hungarian), so I listened to the new songs with high hopes. Thanks to DarkTunes and Raphael for letting me hear the album before its release!

Last year No Way Out was the first to be released, this year Break, Lost Control, Take Me Away and most recently Synapses.

The album is based on the band's usual modern/industrial style, and the lyrics are as deep as on previous albums. Jennifer Gervais' vocals are equally flawless and powerful, with male vocals playing a significant role.

The band has previously said that the songs are inspired by both world issues and self-awareness, and the album is harder than the first three. There are heavier emotions, and although the guitars are not as deep as on, say, "From Ashes To Flames", the music is really wide-ranging.

Music video for the opener Lost Control is very impressive, an ode to our inner Sun, according to the band. The music video for Synapses shows the band proudly showing off their French roots, with Jennifer singing a verse in French, a cute beret on her head and the Eiffel Tower - not many bands have shot a video there before! I swear, if I were learning French, this band would be my main motivation. Sérieusement!

The lyrics of Empty got to my heart. When you feel empty, at first you think you're lost in the pits of life - but eventually you come out stronger. The song softens up a bit in the middle and then rocks on again.

Jennifer plays with her voice a lot more, for example she lets out some oriental melodies in the song Break - the song was clearly written about the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic. She sings sometimes with a harder, sometimes more little girlish voice, using her talent in a very versatile way.

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Freefall starts off calmly, with melodic guitars and soft vocals, then gets harder and grows into a very likeable song.

Of course, this album also has elements of electronics, which complement the heavy guitars beautifully, creating an absolutely harmonious blend - listen to W.G.A.C.A. for example.

Speak For The Voiceless is perhaps the most dynamic song on the album, a real party song, if the band can get gigging it will be a permanent part for sure. A real headbanging, bouncy song.

No Way Out closes the album. Although the song may seem pessimistic at first, there is hope in the lyrics "Give me faith, something to believe in..." - It shows that we can endure more than we thought we could.

Conclusion:

I can't write anything bad about the album, I can say without partiality that the band has given their fans the best album ever. The songs are both hard and melodic, with life-saving lyrics and Jennifer's amazing voice. A passionate and powerful album. It's an album that gives you strength, lets you see hope in the darkest of days and lets you know that you are not alone. Great work, as always. Thank you, Dust In Mind.

10/10

Release date: 19 November, 2021

Label: DarkTunes

Musicians:

Jennifer Gervais - vocals

Damien Dausch - vocals (harsh), guitars

Xavier Guiot - bass

Thomas Marasi - drums

Philippe Miralles - guitars

Website

Youtube

Facebook

Instagram

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Catalyst Crime - Catalyst Crime (2021)

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Gerit Lamm, drummer of German band Xandria, met American singer Zoe Marie Federoff in 2017 with the aim of creating a cinematic metal band. They were later joined by Jonah Weingarten, keyboardist for Danish death metallers Pyramaze, Matt Federoff, Zoe's father who previously played bass for Sage Meridien and Allisan, and Kaelen Sarakinis (guitars) and Chena Roxx (guitars).

Their music combines free-spirited progressive metal, death and symphonic elements, and their first album, out on 22 October 2021, will bear the band's name. The album will be produced by Alexander Krull who is best known for Atrocity and Leaves' Eyes

As an introduction, they chose the song Condemn Me To Chaos, which immediately burned into my brain with its melodic chorus. I looked up the band and I'm grateful to Massacre Records for letting me listen to the album. Thank you!

The symphonic roots of the songs are similar to those of other bands in this genre, but something is different. Zoe's voice has a lovely, pleasant soprano range, she uses her voice brilliantly, and she's also a student of Nightwish frontwoman Floor Jansen, but Zoe is now a singing teacher. She was previously a member of Insatia.

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You can hear the thunder in the songs, which is a must in the music of a band with this line-up. Zoe is only 29 years old, yet she has a very mature, strong voice. In the second song, Cognitive Dissonance, for which a music video has been produced, the guest is none other than Swedish singer Jake E, known from Amaranthe, who left the band in 2016.

There's a very strong cinematic line in the group's music, really, like watching a film or a musical. If that was the band's goal, they were very clever in the way they created the songs. Of course the harder line is not missing from the album, for example the song Mother Dearest is a typical party song that will be a permanent feature at the concerts, I'm sure. We also get a less hard, almost slow song, but a very likeable one is Chasing The Ghost, which is almost only towards the end, with guitars and drums. 

Break Even is a highlight of the album. It's hard, it rips your face off and the chorus is epic and cathartic. The chorus of Nowhere Near Death Yet is a bit reminiscent of the early years of Within Temptation, but that doesn't make it bad, in fact it's a great piece of music.

To sum up:

There are innumerable symphonic metal bands with female vocals, but Catalyst Crime is a bright spot in that palette. Somehow different from most bands that can be identified with similar music. I don't know what it is about the band that makes them stand out from the genre, but I can say that the album is surprisingly versatile, colourful and immersive. It takes you out of the grey everyday and Zoe is an extremely talented and likeable young girl who will go far with this group. With such a serious musicians, I didn't expect a bad album with the help of Australian guitarist Christopher Zoupa (Seventh Dan Counterforce, Teramaze). I also have to compliment the producer of the album, Alexander Krull, who did a great job.

9,5/10

Release date: 22 October 2021

Musicians (album line-up):

Zoë Marie Federoff - Vocals
Christopher Zoupa - Guitars
Kaelen Sarakinis - Guitars
Matt Federoff - Bass
Jonah Weingarten - Keyboard
Gerit Lamm - Drums

Tracklist:

1. With Only The Sun As My Witness (Intro)
2. Projection Of My Mind
3. Condemn Me To Chaos
4. Mother Dearest
5. Twice Upon A Time
6. Cognitive Dissonance (Feat. Jake E)
7. Break Even
8. Chasing The Ghost
9. Nowhere Near Dead Yet
10. Without Anesthesia
11. Not Even Once
12. One And Counting (Outro)

Label: Massacre Records

 

 

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