Tag Archives: gothic metal

New Music Mondays: Polaris, Phil Campbell and More!

A less busy week of new music this week, but still plenty of high quality music. Join us in checking it out!

Polaris: Fatalism

This is the best metalcore album of the year so far. Heck, I’d say it’s honestly one of the best modern metalcore albums. I’d put it up there with the likes of I Prevail, Wage War and Ice Nine Kills’ latest releases. Honestly, the genre currently is in a bit of a resurgence, and is looking massively strong and hopeful which is amazing. The 3rd wave of Metalcore(tm) I’m dubbing it. So, for Polaris’ third album to stand among the others is fucking awesome. Especially given the rocky year they’ve had.

The opener, ‘Harbinger’ is not only the perfect slow-buildup track, but (as the name suggests) is the perfect indicator of what to expect from this album. From the slower, melodic clean first half surrounded by modern synth sounds, to the crushingly brutal ending filled with screams and huge riffs. It tells a story on its own, never mind how it sets up the rest of the album.

Speaking of which, the album is filled with highlights and awesomeness. Tracks like ‘Nightmare’, ‘Parasites’ and ‘Inhumane’ are standouts to me, but honestly the whole album is banger after banger. These guys are going to be huge in the next couple of years, and a lot of it thanks to this album! 9/10

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons: Kings of the Asylum

We’ve already covered this awesome album! Check it out here!

Larry Fleet: Earned It

Owen: Traditional sounds coming out of Tennessee, Larry Fleet’s latest release Earned It is a strong selection of straight-cut country tracks. Some might listen and say this album hits a lot of stereotypical notes for the genre, but there’s something more to these songs. Fleet sings about family, Jesus, hard work, and beer, no surprises so far. As he says in the fourth track 25-8 “Jesus, Mama, Football, that’s bout all we know around here”. But for all the pitfalls of these themes being overused in modern country, Fleet somehow pulls it off well. For it to become cliché there must be
certain amount of truth and clearly this is how Fleet was raised so write what you know I guess?

Despite some repetitive themes 21 tracks made it onto this album and it did feel a few too many. Some songs blend together and fall into the background when listening to the album in full. A late day stand out for me was ‘Devil Music’ where Fleet talks about a rebellious stage of childhood exploring rock and metal music. A country anthem referencing AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and The
Rolling Stones, where the chorus thanks God for the Devil’s music, what’s not to like? A few good songs hiding amongst a majority of filler country-radio, inoffensive in the background
on a long drive. 6/10

The Paper Kites: At the Roadhouse

Charlotte: Indie-folk band Paper Kites haven’t released new music since 2013 with their album ‘Woodland’, so the release of ‘At the Roadhouse’ is a long time coming for their fans. With storytelling at the heart, it’s easy to get lost in their romantic, easy-listening style. Offering 16 new tracks, ‘At the Roadhouse’ elevates the traditional folk sound with a warm, wholesome sound that transports you like a day-dream. 8/10

Primal Fear: Code Red

Joe: The German power metallers are back with their 14th studio album. Forming in the booming European scene in the 90s, I’m shocked this is the first I am hearing of them aside on the odd Wacken poster. Honestly, they’re pretty decent! The opener is great and followed up perfectly by ‘Bring that Noise’, which is a definite album highlight! I see now why frontman Ralf Scheepers tried to replace Rob Halford, this is very Judas Priest!

I have to admit though, as good as this album is, I feel like modern power metal has overtaken it in recent times. I don’t know if it’d the general consensus, but I personally prefer stuff like Powerwolf or Angus McSix to this. However, it is very Painkiller, which will definitely keep me coming back for more than just the one listen. Other highlights include ‘Deep in the Night’ and the epic, Maiden-esque ‘Their Gods have Failed’. 8/10, this was fun and definitely grows with more listens!

Soen: Memorial

Joe: The prog metal Swedes are back with their sixth album. I have an odd relationship with this band. The first time I’d checked them out was when we covered their ATLANTIS album last year (check that here). I didn’t realise until we were checking them out ahead of Graspop this year that it wasn’t a full release, instead being a semi-live album backed by an 8-piece orchestra. Heck, the fact that it was recorded without a crowd made it so I didn’t even realise it was live and old tracks! So, unfortunately I wasn’t a big fan of their actual studio stuff when I checked it out.

However, I fucking loved this album! While the opener didn’t hook me immediately, I found myself ‘liking’ almost every track after that on Spotify. I usually use it to know which to put on the playlist, so you’ll have to check it out here to find out which of them actually made the cut! However, the almost Gojira-like riffing in ‘Violence’ was amazing, as is the beautiful duet ‘Hollowed’. Also, ‘Incendiary’ is one of my favourite tracks of the year from any act!

I love the depth of the music throughout. They seem to have taken what worked with ATLANTIS and used it in the studio, creating a really interesting, massive sound throughout the album. If this is how they’re going to sound live in front of a crowd, I have to see them soon. 9/10, damn this was good!

Lord of Shadows: Echos of Yore

Joe: A shorter release than most, the gothic doom band put out just seven tracks for their latest release. It is still 42+ minutes though, as there are some longish songs here. And it’s one hell of an interesting listen. It’s definitely epic, and rolls between beautiful, quiet gothic rock and extreme doom metal pretty seamlessly. Plus, the fact that each track has so many amazingly talented guests on it is a massive plus, as it gives the whole album a diversity to it, despite it all being a similar sound.

Those who are regulars here at Overtone know that I have a very up and down relationship with extreme/black metal stuff, and somehow I have that same relationship throughout the whole album. I prefer the cleaner stuff, but some of the heavy stuff is good too. Some of it isn’t really my thing. However, the general feel of the album, especially with the more poetry-based narrative, is amazing. Those who are into the ambient black metal side of stuff, this is definitely worth checking out, just to see if you like it. I feel like it’s very much Marmite music! 6/10, it’s worth checking out!

Escape the Fate: Out of the Shadows

Joe: This band have been releasing music for nearly two decades now. Man do I feel old. Though I admit I was never much of a fan of the band growing up, nowhere near as much as some of my friends and peers anyway, they dud have a few good songs here and there. However, I always find myself preferring the current and former members of the band’s other projects more. Whether it’s Blessthefall, Beyond Unbroken or the awesome Falling in Reverse, every other band just seems to grab my attention more.

This album is the perfect example of why this is. It’s fine. As an early 2000s metalcore/post-hardore band putting out an album in 2023, it’s exactly what you’d imagine. But that’s my issue: nothing stood out. It’s like they heard out good Motionless in White’s album was last year and went ‘let’s do that!’ but then in the process lost what made that album special. When these days we have awesome modern albums in the genre from the likes of MIW, Ice Nine Kills, and Crown the Empire, this just kinda falls as almost radio static.

If you’re a fan of the band you’ll probably still enjoy this. However I struggled to find stand out tracks, it was all pretty much on the same level. 4.5/10

Speedy Ortiz:

Charlotte: Speedy Ortiz welcomes her touring bandmates with fourth studio album ‘Rabbit Rabbit’. This album nostalgically transports you to a 90s/00s indie-rock soundtrack with bright vocals, catchy riffs, and upbeat-dance beats. I recommend this album to anyone looking for an indie-rock change of pace, youthful energy and that overall optimism occasionally missing from the indie-rock genre. 8.5/10

How to Shroud Yourself with Night: Are Lacrimas Profundere the Next Rise of Gothic Music?

Boy, am I excited for this one. Now that reactions are becoming more of a part of Overtone, I ended up reacting to the most recent single Lacrimas Profundere put out on our YouTube channel. People ended up liking it and asked me to react to the previous singles from the album, which came out last week. I have just finished doing so and I gotta tell you, they’re amazing. So this review is going to be pretty positive, just to warn you. And while I take the time to edit down that video, check out what I thought of the other tracks on the album!

The album opens on one of said singles, ‘Wall of Gloom’. However, since I’m not very clear in my reactions, babbling on like a nervous schoolchild, I’ll quickly reiterate here. This is a great track. The plodding pace sets the dark mood for the entire album perfectly. And, of course, it gives vocalist Julian Larre plenty of chance to show off his impressive range. However, this isn’t my favourite single from the album, and it feels like an odd choice to open the album with. It’s a great track but I don’t think it quite hits that high gear that the following track does. However, when listening through as a full album, it almost feels like an extended intro track for the following track…

‘A Cloak Woven of Stars’ is one of my favourite tracks of the year. Period. I gushed over this track a bunch in the reaction, but I feel like I must do it here too. It somehow blends a commercial, radio-friendly sound in with their already dark, heavy one, and it works seamlessly. It combines together so many different sounds seemingly effortlessly, and the result is phenomenal. From the low, clean verses to the harmonised, harsher but massively catchy choruses to even a breakdown riff, this song is incredible. It blew my mind when I listened to it for the first time and made me an even bigger fan of the band. Playlisted!

Next we reach the first one I haven’t heard yet and the first ballad track of the album, ‘Nebula’. The clean guitars sound great, as does Julian as he sings low over the top. It again builds to a huge, harsher chorus, but it feels epic and very earnt. Also, the harmonies between the high clean and lower screams that have been present on the last two tracks are incredible and maybe my favourite part of the album. It’s another great track that once again shows off the band’s staggeringly impressive range.

As if reading that last sentence, ‘In a Lengthening Shadow’ opens on an almost uplifting folk/punk guitar riff. The track stays pretty high-energy throughout, almost giving off power metal vibes than anything else. Gothic power metal is something I definitely need more of! It’s a straight-forward, under 4-minute rock track and I loved it. Another that makes the playlist.

Another single, ‘The Curtain of White Silence’, is up next. I LOVE Julian’s desperate, emotion-filled harsh vocals in the verses. It honestly gives me goosebumps listening back. It reminds me a little of In This Moments’ ‘Whore’, it channels a similar energy. Also, how is it that this band build up to heavier choruses but it’s super catchy and still feels anthemic? It’s damn impressive. The quicker half of the chorus is great but when the drums slow to half-time it’s incredible. More harmonised vocals which again fit so well. A fantastic track and playlisted. I have nothing more to say other than awesome.

Check out more heavy music here.

‘Unseen’ and ‘The Vastness of Infinity’ are both good tracks but both feel a little similar to ‘Shadows’, power metal-esque. That is in no way a bad thing, I love both tracks. It simply means that there isn’t a massive amount for me to say that I haven’t already about a previous track.

Then we reach my introduction track to the band, ‘To Disappear in You’. It’s a fantastic track and one hell of an introduction to the band and album. It has a little bit of everything the band are showing off throughout these tracks and does it so well. It’s heavy, catchy and fun to listen to while still being dark, which is a hard task. I have barely stopped listening to it since the reaction, it’s a great track.

Our reaction of the track!

The synth to open up ‘An Invisible Beginning’ was a nice touch, setting the tone perfectly as a massively catchy riff runs through most of the track. It gave the song a poppier edge that continued throughout. It reminded me of Ghost, or at least what Ghost should have been with their image. It’s goth as anything, also feeling a little Billy Idol at times. Also, the chorus is the catchiest on the album, and I love it. Playlisted, this was awesome.

The final track of the album opens with an evil riff. Like, I’m talking ‘Black Sabbath’ evil. Unfortunately it doesn’t last too long but the rest of the band come in over the top, with Julian doing his harsh talking again like in ‘…White Silence’. There’s another catchy chorus, this one clean while the verses and pres are the heavier, screamed parts. It’s a heavy track to close the album (which I love) and there’s some GREAT riffs in here. It’s one of the best album closers I’ve heard this year, another great track.

Overall: This was phenomenal. I feel awful that I haven’t heard of the band before now and will definitely be checking out more of their back catalogue after this. This is easily one of the best albums I’ve heard and reviewed this year, every track was top notch. Hopefully they come to the UK to tour now as I HAVE to hear some of this live!

The Score: 9/10

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