AD INFINITUM Chapter I: Monarchy – album review

There is nothing like new music to lift our spirits during these times. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of AD INFINITUM’s upcoming album Chapter I: Monarchy, and I am excited! They already released a couple of bangers singles and absolutely over-the-top videos (in the best way possible) for Marching on Versailles and See You in Hell. However, the first sample of what was to come was I Am The Storm, with a video released in November 2018.

The whole album has a lot of fire and power. It’s bombastic and symphonic, which makes it harder to create a new and specific sound, but they managed it gracefully.

Infected Monarchy is a perfect intro, so dramatic, symphonic, and bombastic, and yet very soft. I love how there is a such a common sound and concept tying the album together.

Marching on Versailles is such a powerful anthem I can only describe it as “!!!!”. I sure am ready to follow Melissa into battle and storm Versailles (eat the rich) This was their first single and it was chosen so well because it defines the album and band and really makes a statement. I loved it. Very curious to see if any new songs will surpass it in my top.

Maleficent is a bit different, starting with a lot more focus on drums, but alternating with very soft parts where clear vocals shine. The drama of it all is still there. And by the end of the song we are treated to some growls as well “Watch me riiiiiise!” – I sure will.

See You in Hell starts so soft like a sad song I just want to wrap myself into. It just gets better and better and then bam SEE YOU IN HELL. A song for my taste. The sound is so good, Melissa absolutely shines and the lyrics are even more powerful. I mean, “Goodbye my love/ May we meet again/ Heaven is closed/ See you in hell!”. Like wow! Chills! Take a moment to take that in. I also have to mention just what a big production the video is! True dedication and investment, bringing a story to life.

I Am The Storm was the first song we heard from Ad Infinitum, with a video released a year ago. It’s a good song and definitely a good first song from a band, but it feels somehow ‘other’ to the most recent songs from the album, as it’s not as over the top with the orchestration.

Fire and Ice is a ballad that is still full of different elements and orchestration but compared to the rest of the album seems more stripped down.

Live Before You Die is back with a kick! It’s the kind of song that makes you wanna move and dance, so I think this one will be a hit live.

Revenge starts with soft keyboard and bells, but I am sure it’s not gonna last. And there it is! the orchestration growing in intensity and dramatism. I love how they know how to mix enough harsh vocals to get just the right effects. The vocals are shining loudly on top of the instrumental. However, for this album I expected more …. hatred …. from a song called Revenge.

Photo Credit: Nat Enemede

Demons is fast-tuned, with slightly less choirs and dramatism than the rest of the album and makes even more use of harsh vocals. We even get a spoken interlude.

Tell Me Why closes the album on a softer touch, mixing “flowy” parts with more powerful ones.

All in all, this is the kind of musical content I want to hear. For a first album, this manages to create not just a specific sound but an identity for Ad Infinitum. It will also skyrocket Melissa as an absolute powerhouse vocalist! This album showcases just how much she can do and how well it all works. She can explore everything she can do, but still knows when to reign it in and not over do it, when to layer tracks and when to use harsh vocals. The instrumental also keeps up with her and helps create a magical and powerful sound.

Fans of symphonic metal will definitely run towards this album. For me,
Marching on Versailles remains the absolute favourite and highlight of the album, with See You In Hell a close second. Within this genre, this will definitely be one of the best albums of the year!

I am sure it will be such a treat to hear it live. So when things calm down and we get the chance to attend concerts again, make sure to buy a ticket and go see them support Serenity, Dynazty, and Victorious!

Apocalypse & Chill (Delain) – Album Review

With such a name and artwork, you know this is going to be a fiery and intense album, but a very fun one. We’ll all go down burning in flames, but at least make it funny. Delain are coming to you on February 7th with a brand new album that is sure gonna make waves and not just out of air (because sound propagates as waves – haha bad joke time over).

The album promises to “leave all stereotypes and preconceived notions in the dust – exploring themes of impending doom and human indifference – making this their boldest, most daring and undeniable offering yet“. Even more so, it’s described as “carefully yet powerfully weaving violent riffs, synth heavy soundscapes and fully orchestrated compositions with vocalist Charlotte Wessels’ unmatched vocal potency, while not straying too far from the band’s established sound “. I am curious to see how that checks out.

We’ve already had the chance to listen to the first singles, Masters of Destiny, Burning Bridges, and One Second, which already showcased the different direction this album is taking. I will not dwell on them since we all (should) know them, but I have to mention that Masters of Destiny absolutely blew my mind and is right at my personal top of Delain songs.

I, for one, was very excited to hear the new album, so let’s skip right to it, shall we?

We Had Everything begins with a synth-techno beat. Is this Delain, is this Kraftwerk? I know they also have a song called Let’s Dance, but this is also a banger. Not much in terms of symphonic and unlike anything we’ve heard from Delain, but it’s still interesting. Charlotte’s vocals are as clear and on point as ever. The whole vibe is resembling of Apocalypse & Chill, with deep and haunting lyrics, but a beat that is clearly not that :))

Old-school techno pop again with Chemical Redemption, but this time it’s heavier. It’s a mix of so many elements that should not work together, but somehow they are just so Delain that they work together.

Vengeance is a duet with Yannis Papadopoulos of Beast in Black, so it sounds interesting already. I don’t think their voices go together as well as some of their previous duets. The song is a bit more similar in vibe to Masters of Destiny. The chorus is gonna be catchy. The lyrics are a masterclass in …vengeance, anger, and even pettiness, so I will personally say Big Mood!!

To Live Is To Die is basically an expanded version of Carpe Diem. 6 stanzas, 2 of which are the chorus And we are back at techno synth, but this time it was too much for my taste.

Let’s Dance – I can only hear that name in a David Bowie tone and voice. This is one of the songs that saw the day of light in Delain’s previous tour, having a bit heavier riffs and slightly distorted vocals. But funnily enough, this song doesn’t actually make me want to dance. The beat is repetitive and tires me out by the end of the song. Still, I think my opinion is unpopular and we’ll be hearing a lot of this live. Maybe it will grow on me.

Creatures has the hardest intro so far and I am intrigued. Very apocalyptic lyrics delivered impeccably by Charlotte. I love that the song is not too much and I just want to discover more of it. As the song goes on, I am really digging the instrumental. One of the highlights of the album.

Ghost House Heart is finally the piano and strings ballad I was waiting for. We are soon getting a video for this one and it will be amazing. Lyrics are not that complex, but I love the melancholic and flowy sound. I am a sucker for a good orchestral ballad and just picture myself waltzing in an abandoned Victorian manor. Definitely one of my favourites if not my favourite.

Legions of Lost is back with riffs, choir – we even get some Latin thrown in -, and orchestral sound, preparing us for battle. The vocals are more whispered (if Billie Eilish was doing a Delain song, this would be it). Charlotte is doing so much and pushing herself on this one, so it will be interesting to see how this translates live. The lyrics are a strong call to fight and fight for those who cannot fight anymore. Another good one.

The Greatest Escape starts with more soft keys, so I instantly dig it. This is so melancholic! The intro has this very shy glimpse of Scarlet, so fans of that song will be delighted. This is going straight on repeat.

The last track is the instrumental Combustion, which is showcasing Timo’s incredible guitar technique and how well it goes with Joey’s kick-ass drumming. This double solo has been showcased on stage, but it’s even bigger than I remember. What a way to end the album! Impressive musicianship.

Photo by Tim Tronckoe

Woah! This was a lot. Time to recap and give some final thoughts. Apocalypse & Chill is not a fan-service, in the way that it doesn’t cater to what is expected. It’s not stopping for anyone. It sounds nothing like their first albums, so if you’re looking for something in the tune of that, keep looking. However, this is loud and brave and unapologetic.
Take it or leave, but this is here to stay. Apocalypse has never been this much fun!

I feel like the album has a few clusters of style and influence in sound. I don’t know if it’s because it was written and recorded in parts like they used to do, or it just happened. There are some songs that won’t be making it into my playlist and a few ones I really like. In some parts the synth techno got too much for me. I am also not crazy about the “screaming singing” we get more of this album, but that’s just because I am not a fan of that genre myself.

The songs are different but they work together and they show just how much the whole band has grown and evolved. From Charlotte’s growls (and frankly all of her vocals) and Timo stepping up big time and getting a chance to shine, to a whole new sound and everything they are doing with it.

I cannot wait to have the album in my hands and play it many many times on repeat and see how that changes it. I also want to see how the songs go live. It’s always interesting to see which songs take a life of their own.

Sonata Arctica have released new album “Talviyö” and video for “Who Failed The Most”

Sonata Arctica are back in force with a new album and video! They have released today their 10th studio album, »Talviyö« (“Winter Night”), and it’s definitely a good one. It is symphonic, atmospheric, and powerful, everything you can wish from from the Finnish band. With both cheerful tunes and their trademark sad ballads, not the mention the usual touch of cheesy lyrics, we could not be happier.

The video for Who Failed The Most was directed by Patric Ullaeus and it is the second from this album, after Cold.

Keyboardist Henrik “Henkka” Klingenberg states, “The wait is finally over, now all of you will hear what we’ve been working on for the past year or so as we present our latest album »Talviyö.« It was quite an experience getting this album ready for you guys and for the first time ever, we had some outside help from our very own Mikko Tegelman who produced the album. We focused on playing live this time and I think the album really captures how SONATA ARCTICA sounds like today. It will be a blast to go out and perform this new music alongside selected cuts from our catalogue. See you soon and meanwhile we hope you enjoy the album as much as we did making it.

»Talviyö« – Track Listing:

  1. Message From The Sun
  2. Whirlwind
  3. Cold
  4. Storm The Armada
  5. The Last Of The Lambs
  6. Who Failed The Most
  7. Ismo’s Got Good Reactors
  8. Demon’s Cage
  9. A Little Less Understanding
  10. The Raven Still Flies
  11. The Garden

Concert Shokran (RU) – Ethereal Tour II – la București

Formația Shokran vine din Rusia și abordează genul progressive metal cu elemente orientale și mult djent. Trupa activează din 2012 și au debutat cu EP-ul „Sixth Sense” în același an, primul album de studio fiind lansat în 2014 cu numele „Supreme Truth”. Noi ne întâlnim cu ei în Quantic Club București pe 12 septembrie, în cadrul Quantic Open Air.

Componența formației:

-Dmitry Demyanenko (chitară)

-Andrew Ivashchenko (voce)

-Rodion Shevchenko (bass)

-Michael Isaev (tobe)

Shokran au susținul concerte în mai multe orașe din Franța, Suedia, Italia, Spania sau Republica Cehă, iar anul acesta se află în line-up-ul festivalului High 5ive Summer Fest din Stockholm, Suedia, alături de formații precum Ghost Iris și Adept (formații care au făcut senzație la Rockstadt Extreme Fest 2019), Humanity’s Last Breath, Imminence, Trash Boat, Aviana și alte nume de gen.

„Ethereal”, cel mai nou album al trupei, a fost lansat pe 11 februarie 2019. Unul dintre cele mai interesante aspecte ale acestei formații este că odată lansat un album, imediat vine și versiunea pur instrumentală, unde puteți savura solo-urile geniale de chitară și ritmurile orientale care-ți fac pielea de găină. Nu ratați concertul lor în premieră din București.

Biletele se pot achiziționa exclusiv de pe la următoarele prețuri:

  • 30 lei – Earlybird (preţ pentru primele 50)
  • 40 lei – Presale (preţ redus până pe 11 septembrie, inclusiv)
  • 50 lei – Acces (preţ în ziua evenimentului, atât online cât și la intrare)

Dirty Shirt despre noul album: „Letchology a luat ce a fost mai bun din Dirtylicious, FolkCore DeTour și Freak Show”

De ceva vreme, pe la ultimele concerte marca Dirty Shirt am avut parte de bucăți din noul material, râdeam când auzeam „asta nu știm cum se numește, dar v-o cântăm că e nouă și faină” și apoi ne rupeam capetele și picioarele în fața scenei. Iată că a venit momentul mult așteptat și am primit noul material cu tot cu numele pieselor care erau nebotezate și incomplete, dar care ne-au plăcut oricum.

Cine ne putea spune mai multe despre „Letchology” dacă nu chiar trupa? Băieții de la Dirty Shirt au fost de treabă și au răspuns la toate întrebările și curiozitățile fanilor, într-un interviu Maximum Rock.

Nu mai batem câmpii, așa că haideți să aflăm care-i treaba cu albumul, turneul și truda care stă la baza succesului unui proiect folkcoreist de amploare.

Tocmai ați lansat un nou album. Trebuie să recunoaștem că acesta are un nume foarte interesant. De unde denumirea aceasta?

Rini: E foarte simplu. Lecso-ul e mâncarea numită ghiveci. Ne place mult cum sună. În engleză e hotch-potch. Și asta a fost o variantă de nume, dar am insistat pe caracterul zonal al denumirii. Dirty Shirt e un maglavais de stiluri de muzică, oameni de vârste diferite, personalități, meserii, deci ghiveciul e o chestie care ne caracterizează.

Mihai: Cristi a venit cu ideea de a transforma letcho în letchology, adică știința sau arta de a combina elemente foarte diverse.

Am ascultat noul album (un teaser cu piesele incluse a fost disponibil de ceva timp pe net, iar acum ați postat întreg materialul audio) și vedem că trupa nu se îndepărtează de linia precedentului material. Totuși ce aduce nou față de „Dirtylicious”?

Mihai: Din punctul meu de vedere, „Letchology” a luat ce a fost mai bun în „Dirtylicious” / „FolkCore Detour” și „Freak Show”. Pe de o parte am continuat și extins colaborările cu muzicieni veniți din orizonturi muzicale diverse, însă influențele sunt mult mai variate, albumul e mai experimental și mult mai puțin axat pe folclorul românesc. În afară de „Latcho Drom” toate piesele sunt compoziții originale, versurile fiind adaptate din folclor pe „Nem Loptam” si parțial la „Pălinca”.

Rini: „Letchology” e mai vesel, mult mai vesel.

Odată cu „Dirtylicious” am observat că publicul formației s-a lărgit, în sensul că aveți din ce în ce mai mulți fani mai tineri, dar și fani foarte în vârstă. Să fie părțile de orchestră sarea si piperul care atrage noua „pătură” de fani sau…?

Mihai: Într-adevăr, proiectele cu orchestre fac muzica noastră mult mai accesibilă unui public nu neapărat fan de metal, ceea ce nu e rău, zic eu.

Rini: E normal să se lărgească publicul. Trece timpul, cei care au ascultat până acum ascultă și în continuare, dar deja încep și alții mai tineri să audă de tine, să te vadă și să le placă. În plus, deja vedem la concerte că oamenii își aduc și copiii, în cazul unora copiii deja sunt fani Dirty Shirt de mai mulți ani. Le mulțumim celor care au reușit să le transmită și lor gena D.S.

Ați folosit din nou o orchestră la înregistrări. Cât de ușor este să lucrați cu o orchestră pe partea de înregistrări?

Mihai: Majoritatea muzicienilor cu care am colaborat în studio fac parte fie din Ansamblul Transilvania, fie din Transylvanian FolkCore Orchestra. Deja ne cunoaștem bine și am colaborat atât în studio cât și în concert. Oricum de la bun început a fost o plăcere să lucrez cu asemenea muzicieni talentați și deschiși.

Noul album va fi promovat și printr-un turneu prin Europa (unele concerte împreună cu orchestra). Cât de ușor a fost să puneți la punct acest turneu? Cât de ușoară este organizarea unui concert care include și orchestra respectivă?

Mihai: De departe turneul actual este cel mai mare turneu până în prezent din istoria trupei. Doar în prima parte a turneului avem 25 concerte în 7 țări, din care o parte cu orchestra, atât în țară cât și în străinătate. Pentru organizarea turneului suntem reprezentați de mai multe agenții de management & booking în diferite țări (Promusic Events în România, Brainstorm Music Marketing în Germania, Sherep Prod & Replica Promotion în Franța, Digital Rock Media în Cehia și Slovacia), altfel ar fi fost imposibil pentru noi să organizăm un asemenea turneu. Concertele cu orchestra sunt o altă poveste: toată logistica, partea tehnică și bugetele iau alte dimensiuni… E complicat, e stresant, e nevoie de multă muncă, dar cred că merită, spectacolul oferit e de asemenea la alt nivel.

Este primul material discografic care va fi scos atât pe CD cât și pe vinil. O noutate acest vinil pentru trupă…

Rini: Vinilul Letchology este un vis devenit realitate. Personal am început să ascult muzica pe pick-up-ul părinților mei, o sculă rusească care zgâria „plăcile”. Așadar, copil fiind, când cântam în fața oglinzii ascultând Black Sabbath, Judas Priest sau Iron Maiden, îmi imaginam ce fain ar fi dacă într-o zi aș face parte dintr-o formație. Să existe un vinil cu trupa mea – nici nu mi-aș fi putut închipui. Abia când am mai crescut și am început să cânt, atunci când am plătit pe cineva să tragă pe video primul concert sau am tras primul demo pe o casetă, abia atunci am început să visez și la vinil. Dar nu mi-am imaginat vreodată că va veni și ziua asta.

Mihai: De mult ne doream să scoatem și vinil, chiar am cochetat cu ideea la FolkCore DeTour. A fost o surpriză pentru mine ce succes a avut vinilul in România, astfel stocul inițial a fost epuizat doar din precomenzi.

Pe 8 februarie a fost lansat un videoclip animat cu un prim single extras de pe viitorul material. De unde ideea acestui videoclip animat?

Mihai: Clipul a fost realizat de colegul nostru Cristian Balanean (chitară) cu ajutorul lui Székely Szilárd, cunoscut pentru animațiile „Unguru’ Bulan”, dar și chitarist/solist în Ultimu’ Nivel. A fost ideea lui Cristi, noi am ajutat ici, colo cu mici chestii.

Al doilea clip la piesa „Killing Spree” a fost lansat pe 1 martie și se pare că a fost filmat in Franța. Ne poți da mai multe detalii?

Rini: Robi Metalistu’ e cuprins de febra banilor și rupe tot. Asta se întâmplă în general cu cei ce câștigă la loto. Banii mulți deodată le iau mințile. Ca idee, oricum își pierd tot ce au câștigat în 2-4 ani. În cazul nostru, Robi e pe cale să-și piardă prietenii. Noroc că e doar un vis 🙂

Mihai: Clipul a fost produs de Igor Omodei și filmat la Montpellier. A fost o experiență foarte faină și suntem foarte mulțumiți de rezultat.

A ajuns Dirty Shirt să fie o formație rentabilă, din care trupeții să își plătească facturile sau încă se mai lucrează la acest aspect?

Mihai: Proiectul Dirty Shirt este rentabil în sensul că toată activitatea trupei este asigurată, precum și cheltuielile noastre, însă nu se pune încă problema ca noi să ne putem plăti facturile din muzică. Deja în formula standard suntem 9 oameni pe drumuri, cu costuri mari, veniți din diferite orașe din țară, dar și din străinătate. Imaginează-ți care e amploarea bugetelor când suntem cu orchestra. Însă cel mai important e că an de an trupa crește și noi ne simțim extraordinar să facem muzică.

Rini: Dirty Shirt în mod clar e o trupă rentabilă, deoarece nu mai trebuie să aducem bani de acasă. Hahaha. Trebuie păstrat echilibrul. Creștem și reinvestim tot: în albume, în scule, în promovare, în imagine, în turnee. Cred că s-ar putea și mai mult, dar în varianta respectivă am fi nevoiți să renunțăm la joburile noastre și nu putem să ne susținem familiile din muzică. Totuși, e și o parte bună în asta, deoarece așa nu suntem nevoiți să cântăm ce se cere numai ca să ducem o pâine acasă. Așa cântăm ce vrem noi, adică joburile susțin pasiunea noastră.

La 5 ani după performanța voastră la Wacken Metal Battle (locul 2 în 2014) sunteți pe afișul principal al festivalului Wacken Open Air. Ce înseamnă pentru voi acest lucru, cum vă simțiți?

Mihai: Multă lume credea (noi inclusiv) că după ce am luat locul 2 la Battle, gata, trupa are asigurată o intrare pe scena europeană. Chiar dacă Battle-ul ne-a permis să sărim cateva etape, a fost nevoie în continuare de o creștere organică a trupei să ajungem din nou la Wacken. Între timp am scos două albume de studio plus un album live cu orchestra, am avut activitate live susținută, atât în țară cât și în străinătate. Și iată, că suntem pe afișul principal la Wacken. Suntem foarte bucuroși și mândri, trebuie să recunoaștem. Și de asemenea nerăbdători, sigur va fi fenomenal.

Rini: Pentru noi e un lucru foarte mare să ne întoarcem la Wacken. E un lucru însemnat să primești invitație de la Wacken să cânți în cadrul festivalului. Din câte știu, au cântat Negură Bunget în 2008 și Dordeduh chiar în 2014. Ne-am bucurat când i-am văzut acolo. În 2014 pe 1 august, pentru mine a fost cea mai fericită zi. Toate lucrurile bune mi s-au întâmplat acolo. Am fost anunțați că Dirty Shirt a luat locul 2, mi-am luat Judas Priest – „Painkiller” pe vinil, am văzut Russkaya, Skid Row, Motorhead, Slayer și King Diamond. Să fii la Wacken e deasupra tuturor lucrurilor bune care ți se pot întâmpla. Și mai ales să știi că ești pe afiș și cânți în compania tuturor trupelor existente în festival – wow, e ceva la care visăm de 5 ani: să ne întoarcem, dar cântând în recital.

Și pentru că suntem la început de an și muții fac bilanțuri pentru 2018, iar alții încearcă să voteze bugete (vai mama lor 🙂 ), am să te întreb ce nu a realizat trupa Dirty Shirt din planurile pe care le-ați avut pentru 2018 și ce v-ați propus că trebuie să realizați în 2019?

Mihai: Pentru mine nu sunt proiecte nerealizate în 2018. Singura chestie negativă a fost faptul că am avut întârziere cu producția albumului, ceea ce a redus considerabil deadlineurile și a crescut în consecință nivelul de stres. Însă totul este bine când se termină cu bine 🙂

Rini: Oh, da! Nu am mai făcut Dirty Fest pentru că nu am avut timp și pentru că o colaborare cu autoritățile este încă destul de grea. Publicul rock nu e chiar targetul lor, deci nu prea se direcționează fonduri către acest gen de muzică. În general, cam ce ne-am propus am și realizat. Am făcut un pas important în a sparge gheața pe Vest, am cântat în deschiderea trupelor Orphanade Land și Skindred. Acestea au fost experiențe foarte faine, pe care dorim să le multiplicăm. Dorim inclusiv să facem schimburi cu alte trupe din străinătate, astfel încât să cântăm noi la ei și ei la noi.

Acum că știm cu ce se mănâncă, cu ce se bea, cu ce se dansează și cântă noul album, mergeți la următoarele concerte Dirty Shirt de pe plaiurile românești – anunțate pe pagina de facebook -, de pe plaiurile altora și, mai ales, dacă vă țin buzunarele, mergeți să-i susțineți cu tot graiul la Wacken Open Air vara aceasta.

DEVIN TOWNSEND announces new album ‘Empath’

Canadian heavy music artist Devin Townsend has officially announced the release of his forthcoming new album ‘EMPATH’ for the 29th March 2019.

In the lead up to the album’s release, Devin will walk fans through how ‘EMPATH’ came together with a series of documentary episodes recorded as phone conversations during the course of the albums recording. Watch him explain more in this video:

Devin comments: “Hello everybody, this is Devin Townsend and I would like to formally announce that after almost a year and a half of working, I have finished ‘EMPATH’. Now this record has taken me down a lot of very interesting psychological and technical avenues and the process was documented from the very get-go by a series of documentary videos that I have done, that outline everything from the gestation of the idea to the actualisation of it, through all the existential ups and downs that went on. As such this record is different to any record that I have released thus far, and trying to get people on board for what it is versus what it isn’t, I think needs to be dealt with in a different way.
Stay tuned for the making of ‘EMPATH’ – the video series.

Over the past few years, the success that Devin has slowly worked for has fortunately come with the power to control his own creative destiny. The recent successes with the DVD from a sold-out Royal Albert hall, or his 2012 ‘Retinal Circus’, or last year’s ‘Ocean Machine’ live DVD with the Orchestra and Choir of State Opera Plovdiv has put him in a position where with the new album ‘EMPATH’, he will once and for all define himself as a musical force outside of any particular genre classification.

On this album Devin has decided to see what would happen if all the styles that make up his current interests were finally represented in one place. To finally shake the fear of expectation, and just do what it is he was meant to do creatively, ‘EMPATH’, true to the name, is about allowing the audience a feeling for a variety of musical emotions. The musical dynamics represented on this single album are broad, challenging, and immense. To approach this sort of work with a long history of what makes heavy music ‘heavy’, allows this to be done with a type of power rarely heard.

Joining Devin on this album is Frank Zappa alumni Mike Keneally as music director, as well as Morgan Ågren (Mats And Morgan, Frank Zappa, Fredrik Thordendal), Anup Sastry (Monuments, Periphery), Samus Paulicelli (Decrepit Birth, Abigail Williams), Nathan NavarroElliot DesagnesSteve VaiChad KroegerAnneke Van GiersbergenChé Aimee DorvalRyan Dhale and the Elektra Women’s Choir.

A bold statement with massive production values and dynamic, uncompromised musicality. This is a statement about not only pursuing creative freedom in a conservative scene, but also trying to show that heavy music is truly a valid musical tool.

‘EMPATH’ will be released on Limited 2 CD Digipak (including an entire disc of bonus material), Standard CD Jewelcase, Gatefold 180G 2LP Vinyl + CD + LP-booklet & as digital album. The full track-listing is as follows:
 1. Castaway
2. Genesis
3. Spirits Will Collide
4. Evermore
5. Sprite
6. Hear Me
7. Why
8. Borderlands
9. Requiem
10. Singularity Part 1 – Adrift
11. Singularity Part 2 – I Am I
12. Singularity Part 3 – There Be Monsters
13. Singularity Part 4 – Curious Gods
14. Singularity Part 5 – Silicon Scientists
15. Singularity Part 6 – Here Comes The Sun
Last year Devin announced a special ‘An Evening With’ tour that would see him performing acoustically, as well as taking part in a fan Q&A at each show.

The full list of dates are as follows, many of which are already sold out:

7th March – The Piano Man Jazz Club, New Delhi, India SOLD OUT
8th March – Levi’s Lounge, Mumbai, India SOLD OUT
29th March – Savoy Theater, Helsinki, Finland SOLD OUT
30th March – Savoy Theater, Helsinki, Finland SOLD OUT
31st March – Sodra Teatern, Stockholm, Sweden SOLD OUT
1st April – Edderkoppen, Oslo, Norway SOLD OUT
2nd April – Bremen Theater, Copenhagen, Denmark
4th April – PassionKirchhe, Berlin, Germany
5th April – Stodola, Warsaw, Poland
6th April – La Fabrica, Prague, Czech Republic SOLD OUT
7th April – Freiheiz, Munich, Germany SOLD OUT
9th April – Kulturkirche, Cologne, Germany SOLD OUT
10th April – Grunspan, Hamburg, Germany
11th April – Bravo Kerk, Haarlem, Netherlands SOLD OUT
13th April – Reading 3, Tel Aviv, Israel
24th April – Bush Hall, London, UK SOLD OUT
25th April – Bush Hall, London, UK SOLD OUT
26th April – St George’s, Bristol, UK SOLD OUT
27th April – City Varieties, Leeds, UK SOLD OUT
29th April – Jam House, Edinburgh, UK SOLD OUT
30th April – Glee Club, Birmingham, UK SOLD OUT

Remaining tickets can be found here:

Devin’s varied back catalogue is also being celebrated with lavish vinyl box-sets under the name of ERAS. Having already released parts 1 and 2 earlier in early 2018, the end of the year saw the release of part 3, which features some of his most recent work with Devin Townsend Project, including the albums ‘Accelerated Evolution’, ‘Epicloud’, ‘Sky Blue’, ‘Transcendence’ & the first ever vinyl release of the second part of the DTP’s now legendary Royal Albert Hall show. Order your copy of this deluxe 10 LP box-set here:


DEVIN TOWNSEND explains more about his upcoming album “EMPATH”

Beyond The Black – “Heart Of The Hurricane” Album Review

Two years have passed since their last release, but time has come once again for German symphonic metal act Beyond The Black to dive straight into the Heart Of The Hurricane! No, not literally, don’t worry. Heart Of The Hurricane is the name of their new album, that will be released very soon on the 31st of August via Napalm Records.

Image result for beyond the black heart of the hurricane

Here is a statement from the band regarding their new material: “Can you feel the thunder? After a turbulent phase in the short history of BtB, we can say that we came out stronger than ever! Witness to that is our first single “Heart of the Hurricane”, which takes you through a sonic thunderstorm to be reckoned with! We absolutely cannot wait to unleash this storm upon old and new fans alike, as we are sure that this new chapter will take us on a beautiful journey through dark and light!”

And indeed I can totally agree that it has been a journey through darkness and light, as they said. This album is very energetic, even though it possesses a gloomy atmosphere that resounds through the lyrics, contrasting with the overall heavy sound of the songs, that will just not let you stay still.

From my point of view, I would divide the album in two parts: the first part would be represented by some more catchy tracks with fresh elements added to the sounds that we were accustomed to and the second part is the one that stays true to what we have heard on previous albums. Is this bad? Is this good? Nonsense. I believe this is the right recipe for a varied, dynamic album that will surely please both old and new fans of the band.

Hysteria opens the album with a burst of energy, setting the course for what will follow next and that is Heart Of The Hurricane, the first single released for this album. Somehow this one gives me the feeling of a run towards a dangerous adventure, from where one will get out as a different, stronger person. Wisely chosen as a first single, it has the catchyness that I was mentioning early.

Through The Mirror has a more mellow start, gentle piano notes accompanied by Jennifer’s low vocals, creating an empowering contrast that will surely give you goosebumps. I noticed that the Mirror seems to represent a theme for this album, as we will see in the video for the next song and maybe even towards the end of the album. I don’t know, it might be just a coincidence, but it fits perfectly, metaphorically speaking.

Million Lightyears is next and it made me extremely happy to hear the lovely, clean voice of Chris Hermsdörfer on this one, since he is not only a very talented guitarist, but the man can also sing wonderfully! I just love how their voices entwine.

Song For The Godless has such a kick-ass, mighty sounding, somewhat medieval intro and it immediately made me think of In The Shadows. You will be listening to a madly awesome guitar solo on this one. I just need to say that the whole atmosphere of this track is simply uplifting. The first slow track makes an appearance, Escape From The Earth, featuring a very gentle Jennifer, in an emotional scenery, that reveals a burdensome transition from the previous tune. What will follow, is a return to the roots for sure! I was actually curious if/when this will happen during my listening session. Beneath A Blackened Sky has some serious symphonic vibes mixed with majestic choirs. Headbanging incoming during the chorus, be warned. The mentioned vibes continue in the next one, Fairytale Of Doom, a track that made me think of Amberian Dawn. It’s a powerful song for the broken-hearted, with a well-chosen name and a favorite of mine. Much potential in this one I see! Nerd alert. Moving on, Chris makes a vocal appearance again on My God Is Dead, but with some cool growls this time, sending shivers down the spine. I feel that Jennifer’s voice could shatter one’s heart during the chorus, being so expressive, pouring all of her being into the song. Dear Death and Freedom are two pieces with fast riffs and beats, making one feel like on a rollercoaster. As far as concerning Scream For Me, I do believe this one would be a favourite for the public, if performed live: slow start followed by a bombastic chorus. And it’s time for the ballad, Breeze, piano and choir driven, lead by the gentle, but powerful Jennifer, who is simply amazing when it comes to ballads, managing to reach straight into your soul with her singing style. I declare Echo From The Past another favorite of mine. I find it hard to explain, but it’s just one of those songs that sticks to you and you love it from start to end, with no questions asked. It clicked with me probably because it has all the ingredients needed for an awesome tune: impact, balance, a lovely, subtle orchestration in the background, sustaining all the instruments together with the vocals in a neat equilibrium. The album ends with Parade, a fit conclusion after the journey made through the spectrum of feelings that were pinpointed by the previous tracks, encouraging one to be true to his/her self, no matter what.

Do listen to this album with an open mind and I guarantee you will fall in love with it. It clearly shows that teamwork, precision in the details, a lot of passion and perseverence will set you on the right course. Beyond The Black managed to deliver an album showing a great deal of variety, worthy of one’s collection.


  1. Hysteria
  2. Heart Of The Hurricane
  3. Through The Mirror
  4. Million Lightyears
  5. Song For The Godless
  6. Escape From The Earth
  7. Beneath A Blackened Sky
  8. Fairytale Of Doom
  9. My God Is Dead
  10. Dear Death
  11. Scream For Me
  12. Freedom
  13. Breeze
  14. Echo From The Past
  15. Parade


More info about the band:


Pre-order Heart Of The Hurricane:


Review by Cristina Țurlea