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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Reviews: Borealis, Malefice, Machinae Supremacy

Borealis: Fall from Grace (Lion Music)

Seeing the production company and reading some previews and also having not heard their first album. I thought this would be a straight up Power Metal album (Not like that’s a bad thing) However upon listening to the album I have found that it is so much more than that. There are Power Metal influences e.g. Keyboards, melodic solos etc. albeit they are American Power Metal in the vein of Kamelot and Iced Earth. Seeing as Borealis hail from Canada this would be why, however form the first track they try to distance themselves and do something different. Employing screamed vocals backing their singer you get a Gothenburg style opener that has the frantic kick drumming of a band like In Flames or Dark Tranquillity. As the tracks progress the Power Metal element is still there but is diluted by progressive song writing, some orchestral and acoustic passages and a generally modern sound. In some places the band have more in common with Killswitch Engage or Trivium than they do with the aforementioned Power Metallers. The playing is superb throughout, with the drumming being a particular highlight as is singer and guitarist Matt Marinelli who has a strong gritty voice that is similar to both Symphony X's Russell Allen and Iced Earth's Matt Barlow. So despite this being in essence a Power Metal album, don't think that it will be a wizard and goblin fest, this is Power Metal for the modern day, building on a template set by Iced Earth but also by Trivium and kin. An absolutely cracking release. 9/10

Malefice: Awaken the Tides (Metal Blade)

Hitting you like a juggernaut from the opening track Malefice return with their third album. What immediately strikes me about this release is that it sounds much more accomplished than their previous efforts. They have managed to develop their sound into one that shares similarities with genre leaders Lamb of God and Devildriver. Each track is a whirlwind of double kick drumming and precision riffiage with the addition of some great soloing on most of the tracks. Frontman Dale Butler's voice has also developed giving him a powerful shout and a great scream. All of the tracks are well written and ebb and flow very well giving great light and shade, the album as a whole is very well produced making them sound even more professional. However despite similarities between the tracks (as is the case with this type of metal) it is final track The Haunting that gives the feeling of a band trying to broaden their horizons, as it features programmed drums and leads into a melancholic secret track that leaves the listener with room to breathe after the assault of the rest of the album. 8/10

Machinae Supremacy: The Beat of Our Decay (Spinefarm)

A unique band in that they have a classic European melodic metal style that is akin to modern In Flames, the difference is their sound is boosted by the presence of a Sid station from a Commodore 64. This means that the band has blips and effects that you wouldn't associate with a metal band and also ones that you wouldn't associate with an electronica band either. The band all play brilliantly, with frontman Robert "Gaz" Stjärnström's voice sounding similar to Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom. This album is a compilation that was released to coincide with their UK tour with the C.O.B it encompasses tracks from their three albums and a cover of Lady Gaga's Paparazzi thrown in for good measure. This is a great introduction for anyone who has never heard of Machinae Supremacy, they are well worth your time. 8/10  

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