Synkvervet‘s new album entitled “Mistborn” showed up in our inbox, out of the blue, and we are really fascinated with this band. For those of you who don’t know, Synkvervet hail from the land of Norway and this should definitely govern your senses for what’s about to happen. Originally started out as a one-man studio project by Ingemar in the fall of 2011 to slowly evolve to the six piece metal ensemble that they are now. The name means illusion and comes from the Old Norse sagas, in case you were wondering.
So far Synkvervet has release two full length albums, one EP and two singles. More specifically their debut “Vår avmakt” (2013), their sophomore album “Trollspeil” (2014), the EP “Forgotten Memories” (2015) and the singles “Ishjerte” and “Aurora” both in 2016 all of which received favorable reviews in general. The band’s new, third full length album, is called “Mistborn” and its set to be released in the end of May (2017).
I have been listening to “Mistborn” for the past 3 hours in repeat and I can only acknowledge that Synkvervet did a terrific job with this album and delivered some of the finest Symphonic Black Metal tunes nowadays. The band is capable of infusing chilling Black Metal euphonies with Symphonic transitions having three different types of vocals; Yes, that’s correct. Christina is handling the female operatic voices, while Truls is liable for all grim/growls in the album and then there’s Niclas, the bass player, with his unforeseen melodic tone giving a melodious emphasis in the musical compositions. Everything sounds genuinely well blended and you can tell Synkvervet put a lot of thought and effort in their arrangements.
“Mistborn” is full of Symphonic harmonies and thrilling Black Metal outbursts all united by Folk mysticism and spiritualism. Lyrically the band cross Nordic pagan pathways along with mythology and folklore in a singular weave of interpretation. All songs are well orchestrated and all instruments well balanced with the operatic vocals sharing the growls and grim chorals in the majority of the album, while the melodic voices primary uplift our senses to memorable themes. I was pleasantly surprised with the language variety in Synkvervet‘s new release, as the band serenades in English and Norwegian (if I am not mistaken). It definitely elevates the whole darkened atmosphere of “Mistborn“.
My personal favorites include “Into Oblivion” which hands out an overture of immense vocal unity, “Lost in the Shadows” in which Truls really stands out with his warbling abilities and range, all under the fiery echo’s of Symphonic Black Metal, “Alone in Eternity” with its grandiose rhythm and obscurity and “Aurora“, which in my opinion, is the highlight of “Mistborn” as it conceptually demonstrates the release as a whole.
Overall “Mistborn” sounds crisp and thoroughly produced with the mix being downright heavy and fitting for Synkvervet‘s character. The band conveys a mature act with wonderful, dramatic arrangements and melodies gifted to gratify the listener from beginning to end. I am certain I will be listening a lot to this album in the upcoming weeks and I recommend it to all supporters of the female fronted Symphonic Black Metal scene. Exceptional work Synkvervet, well done!
“Mistborn” – Tracklist:
02. Anthem to the North
03. Into Oblivion
05. Through the Eyes of a Demon
06. Lost in the Shadows
07. On Raven Wings
08. Alone in Eternity
10. I Den Svarte Solens Rike
Christina – Vocals, Lyrics
Truls – Grim/Growl Vocals & Lyrics
Ingemar – Guitar & Programming
Niclas – Bass, Vocals
Rino – Drums
Espen – Guitar
Illusoria, founded in 2012, is a German melodic power metal band. With no demos or EPs under their belt, they released “Illusory World” their full-length debut album only 3 months ago in March 2013. The record contains 8 songs and was recorded by Uwe Lulis (Grave Digger, Rebellion) at Black Solaris Studios.
When I listened to “Illusory World” for the first time, it made me grasp that I was listening to something very enjoyable. For a self-produced debut it really hits the spot with its bulky wall of sound. A solid proof that the new generation of musicians is alive and kicking! First good impression was the exploding drumming, along with the pure, melodic keyboard work and the crunchy guitar riffing. What a sensation! I embraced their fusion of symphonic/melodic power metal, following the footsteps of bands such as Sonata Arctica, Kamelot and Epica.
Illusoria, although being together for a very short period of time, sound tight and full of good ideas which are capable of transforming into good songs. The band takes advantage of Eve’s melodious voice and blend’s it together with Falko’s and Micha’s growls, creating a nice contrast within the tunes. The songs are well put together and the orchestration is complete and exceptional. Lyric-wise, from what I understood, Illusoria serenade about mystical and fantasy tales but also historical events adopted by their own style and charisma.
So far, so good but… to be perfectly honest Illusoria should have paid more attention to the vocals in the record. While everything else sounds good and polished, Eve’s vocals are missing some care and affection – if I may say. Although she has a very good voice, sometimes there’s trouble hitting these high notes and there are many high notes in the vocal melodies unfortunately. Could it be she is over her range because orchestration demanded it? Not sure, however the point is that there are some really unnecessary high screams and high notes which should have been avoided because Eve sounds out of tune. Then again, when she is going into the more operatic style of signing she sounds great. Which leads me to believe that with a little more attention in the studio, she could have been flawless.
Musically “Illusory World” is full of great melodies and very catchy choruses which is really what makes a song memorable and defines a good band from a bad band. The songs are technical, fast and full of harmonies that will please fans of the genre. “Ray of Hope” is the first surprise in the album as being the only ballad and Eve is being accompanied by a terrific piano tune. In spite of some pronunciation misfortunes it’s a really lovely song which turns into a full on power ballad towards the end. The second song that caught me by surprise is “Black Sails“! An absolute awesome pirate metal anthem, reminding me of Alestorm! The accordion sound makes all the difference and the vocals are really proficient and spot-on!
Overall “Illusory World” is a wonderful debut album with some exceptional songs and cracking melodies. There are blemishes vocal-wise that I am convinced if the band works on them and get them fixed, Illusoria will have a bright future ahead of them. The guys seem to take this very seriously and I am certain they will deliver many great releases. My personal favorites are “Snow White“, “Icarus – Rise High” and “Black Sails” although I really enjoy listening to the whole record from beginning to end. Totally recommend it.
RATING: 7 / 10
“Illusory World” – Track list:
01. A Clandestine Lovestory
02. White Light
03. 300 — Side By Side
04. Icarus – Rise High
05. Ray Of Hope
06. Illusory World
07. Black Sails
08. Snow White
Eve – Vocals
Falko – Guitars & Vocals
Micha – Keyboards & Vocals
Tobi – Bass
Vincent – Drums
Serenity is known as a good power metal band, however with the permanent addition of vocalist Clémentine Delauney and the release of their fourth studio album; Serenity is no more “just” a good band, but a great symphonic metal band. “War Of Ages” is the turning point for Serenity and to put it in simple words, it’s a “magnum opus”!
Hailing from Austria, Serenity is a symphonic power metal band which is well-known to the fans of power and female fronted metal. Founded in 2004, they have released one demo EP and four studio albums with “War Of Ages” being their latest release via Napalm Records. One can also say, “War Of Ages” being the band’s crown and jewels so far. Unfortunately founding member and keyboard player Mario Hirzinger has decided to part ways with the band and perhaps his timing couldn’t be any worse – if we may say.
Musically, Serenity’s “War Of Ages” is a peerless amalgam of Kamelot, Avantasia and Sonata Arctica rendered to perfection. The bands charisma awards their individuality with opener “Wings Of Madness“, which is a first-class symphonic metal tune. You can tell right away Clémentine’s and Georg’s chemistry is magnificent as the song builds to a melodic chorus with wonderful vocal lines. Clémentine’s theatrical type of voice accompanies Georg softly and creates a mystic atmosphere throughout the entire record.
The up-tempo “The Art Of War” follows next and the dynamics take a turn with double bass drumming before we enter a “Shining Oasis” and listen to an adventurous Georg singing in oriental musical scales. Time to slow down a little bit, with a mournful ballad entitled “For Freedom’s Sake” and in which Clémentine really shines. Some people may say she reminds of Sharon Den Adel but I disagree. if you ask me, her performance is more thespian.
Both “Age Of Glory” and “The Matricide” speed things up reminding us of the band’s power metal heritage, while being slightly more guitar-oriented and balanced. It is safe to say the musicianship is very high and the songs are very well done. Serenity build their brand and character by having wonderful harmonies, memorable melodies and a fair amount of symphonic elements. A good example is “Symphony For The Quiet” which incorporates all of the above. One of the album highlights follows next, “Tannenberg” – my personal favorite. Vocalist Georg Neuhauser really showcases his talent in this one as he delivers perhaps the best performance of his career, so far.
“Legacy Of Tudors” is next on the highlights list with it’s epic a-cappella, choir intro. Thomas Buchberger delivers a crushing guitar solo in this one, my favorite on the record. “Royal Pain” which is the last song on the album could be described as the pure sound of Serenity. Clémentine’s participation is much more prominent and seals the deal for the band.
Overall “War Of Ages” is a remarkably good album with exceptional melodies and an attention to songwriting and details attitude. Also in the positives is the artwork, which is phenomenal and does fair justice to the band’s music. Serenity writes music which is themed on historical facts and personalities with an illusive way, thanks to Georg’s advanced knowledge on the subject. They create musical journeys in time and space and they attain to capture our imagination. “War Of Ages” is a triumph and a bright star in the symphonic metal scene. Definitely their best album so far and highly recommended to all fans.
RATING: 8 / 10
“War Of Ages” – Track list:
01. Wings Of Madness
02. The Art Of War
03. Shining Oasis
04. For Freedom’s Sake
05. Age Of Glory
06. The Matricide
07. Symphony For The Quiet
09. Legacy Of Tudors
10. Royal Pain
11. Fairytales (Bonus track – piano version)
12. Love Of My Life (Bonus track – Queen cover)
Georg Neuhauser – Vocals
Clémentine Delauney – Vocals
Thomas Buchberger – Guitars
Mario Hirzinger – Keyboards
Fabio D’Amore – Bass
Andreas Schipflinger – Drums