Tag Archives: symphonic

Initiation: How Does Death Dealer Union Compare to Lena Scissorhands’ Other Work?

Infected Rain frontwoman Lena Scissorhands has started up a new band, Death Dealer Union. Describing themselves as gothic metal, they explore everything from death metal to symphonic to hard rock. Said band just released its debut album a couple of days go. I’m a pretty big fan of her original band, so have been excited to get in and check this out!

After the brief synth-led intro track, ‘The Vow of Silence’ opens on Lena’s effortlessly fantastic clean vocals before the listener is rocked by an awesome, heavy riff. The sound is massive, the big distorted power chords, great guitar melody and the synth behind it packing out the every part of the sound. It’s not long before her fantastic scream comes in over the top. It adds a layer of heaviness over the lighter, more melodic instrumentation.

The chorus is cleaner, a lot closer to symphonic metal than anything else. It reminds me a lot of Nightwish or Within Temptation. I actually don’t think it fits all that well between the harsher vocals, it kinda comes out of nowhere. Having said that, it’s a great chorus. And it does fit a little better the second time after a clean bridge/pre-chorus. And we get a pretty awesome guitar solo! Overall, it’s a good track and a fantastic introduction to the band’s variety of sounds.

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Most recent single ‘ILL FATED’ is awesome. The main riff running through it is a simple, foot-stomping metal jaunt that will get even the most cynical of heads bobbing and foots tapping. The verses dropping down to a more stripped-back, cleaner sound whenever Lena sings is also a great idea. It’s also an awesome chorus, massively catchy thanks to the doubled vocals and the scream behind it. The heavy parts too, be it the pre or the bridge, are awesome too. It’s a simple yet great track, and easily makes it onto our playlist!

‘Ekphrasis’ opens on another heavy, almost sludgy riff. Lena’s death metal screams fit perfectly over the top. So too does her beautiful, soaring clean vocals, though. The stripped-back verses build perfectly into a huge, power metal chorus. It’s again catchy as anything, and I can hear it easily being played in arenas around the world. We also get an awesome guitar melody over a slower, clean bit in the middle to break up the track, something I wasn’t expecting at all. It wasn’t quite a solo, but definitely acted like one. This was another amazing track, and I’m really starting to get into this album by this point.

Single ‘The Integument’ again bursts straight in with the riff, this taking much more of a NWOBHM/thrash approach. Heck, we even get a very Kirk Hammett solo in the opening. The higher tempo was a refreshing change of pace and Lena’s vocal melodies and harmonies throughout were AMAZING. The screams are reserved for the pres for this track, ensuring that both the verses and choruses are catchy as hell.

I loved it slowing down and dropping back to a beautiful clean bridge too in the middle, leading to a slower, more emotion and feel driven guitar solo. It builds up perfectly too into a more heavy, epic final verse and chorus. I LOVE this track. It wears all of its inspirations on its sleeve, be it Metallica, Judas Priest or even still Nightwish. I’d have been obsessed with this in my youth, being such a big fan of the first two bands. Another that easily makes the playlist!

The sludgy riffing returns with ‘Mythos’. It’s another track that leans more into the symphonic side of the bands sound, to great effect. It’s another catchy as hell metal track with a phenomenal guitar solo tucked in the middle, even featuring some awesome harmonies in it! And the screams for the bridge and outro give it some added fun heaviness.

The same sort of thing could be said about ‘The Big Blue’, ‘Back to Me’, and ‘Anew’. All three are good tracks, but are pretty similar to others on the album. I simply feel that the review would get boring if I repeat the same thing over and over!

‘The Downfall’ is fairly similar to the others, however I love the added emphasis on synth. In the heavier parts it gave off almost Children of Bodom vibes. And it’s full of more catchy melodies and harmonies from the vocals, which always helps! It has some of my favourite harsh vocals on the album too through the verses.

‘Love Me When I’m Ugly’ is the slower, ballad track of the album. The lyrics are packed full of emotion and fit perfectly over the mostly clean guitars. Still, when it does get heavy and distorted, the riffing is sick. And the chorus is again infectiously catchy. It also feels like it gets a tad proggy in the middle with the changes in the bridge and the drop down. It’s a really awesome song and well worth checking out if you like things slower!

The final track, ‘Beyond Heaven’, is the longest and most epic of the songs on the album. After a slow piano build of an intro, it heads into a quick, chuggy verse that still feels like it’s building up. It all leads to a massive chorus at around the two minute mark. It’s another arena-filling sound, for sure. We also get another trademark great guitar solo in the middle, adding so much to the track. It’s a fantastic way to close the album and really draws together everything we have heard throughout. Great stuff!

Overall: This grew on me so much throughout the album. While the opening track didn’t quite hook me in, ‘ILL FATED’ did, and by the time I reached ‘The Integument’ I was hooked ’till the end. The whole band are massively talented players and writers and it showed throughout the whole 50+ minutes of this release. I feel like it’d somehow be even better live, too! A really unique album in terms of genre-combinations and sounds, and one I’ll definitely be spinning again!

The Score: 8/10

New Music Mondays: State Champs, Misery Index and More!

A slightly slower week this week, with no absolutely massive releases or a huge amount of albums out. But still, there was some great new music from the rock and metal world released this week, with six new albums out. Let’s check them out!

STATE CHAMPS: Kings of the New Age

New Yorkian pop-punkers State Champs put out their fourth album last Friday. I have to admit I know the name and have probably heard a track or two, but I never really got much into the modern wave of pop-punk.

However, having said that, this is a pretty damn good album. It’s a little heavier than traditional pop punk, but I also thinks it adds a more anthemic feel to it all. It’s arena pop-punk, and I am shocked it’s taken me this long to listen to it. Obviously the singles are all amazing, but there isn’t a bad track on the album really. I need to check out more from this band and genre ASAP, I think! 8/10

Misery Index: Complete Control

The Maryland based death metal band put out a DAMN heavy death metal album last week. And it’s great. Before Overtone I would never have even attempted to listen to this album, but it’s opened my eyes to a lot of fantastic death metal, this included. The riffs are brutal, crushing awesomeness and the gang vocals means that a few of the tracks are even pretty catchy. Just check out ‘Infiltrators’, it perfectly encapsulates the bands sound and attitude in just two short minutes. Great stuff! 8/10

Cage Fight: Self-Titled

The new band seem to go by so many different labels, be it punk, thrash, metalcore. Either the latter or metalic hardcore is probably the closest to their sound. Either way, it’s fucking fantastic. From the first track of the album I was hooked, and I stayed hooked throughout. I love that we are starting to get more and more female screamers these days as they are showing they can do it just as good as the guys. I also have to gush over just as smooth the transitions between the tracks are. At times I didn’t realise a new song had started until like 30 seconds in. It’s the sign of a great album as it flows perfectly. I was going to say the first X amount of tracks were fantastic, but honestly it just kept rolling with great track after great track! This is a ridiculously strong debut album and they have found a new fan in me! Not a bad track on the album and damn, I need to see them live soon! 9/10

Moon Tooth: Phototroph

The Prog Metallers have been around for a decade now, constantly wowing audiences with their talent and songwriting skill. That continues with Phototroph. Their new music may be their best yet. The guitaring in the opener and ‘Deathwish Blues’ is a technical masterclass, combining both lead and rhythm together perfectly. There are times even the vocals somehow sounds both completely separate from the instrumentation but also the perfect accompaniment. ‘O My Isle’ may be my favourite of the bunch, combining light, catchy sounds with a pretty heavy riff. Another band that I need to check out more of! 8.5/10

Visions of Atlantis: Pirates

It’s like if Nightwish and Alestorm had a lovechild. Symphonic metal about pirates is something I never knew I needed until now, and yet also I’m surprised there isn’t more of. All of it is great, but ‘Master the Hurricane’ is on a level of its own. Unquestionably epic from the string-heavy opening to the massive closing riff, it is how you do symphonic/power metal at its very best. A highlight on an album that also includes the likes of ‘Wild Elysium ‘ is an impressive feat and should hopefully set Visions of Atlantis up to be the next big thing in the sub-genre. 7.5/10

Check out our Powerwolf review here.

Morgue Supplier: Inevitability

If anyone was here last week, you know what’s coming here. It’s death metal. What more do you expect. Granted, this had slightly more groove to it than the typical blast beat and ‘AHHHHH’, but it still didn’t do a great deal for me. As such, I don’t feel qualified to give scores to death metal, as I am just not going to like it enough to give it a good rating, no matter how good at the sub-genre the band is. I’mma give it a 4/10 and hope that works!