Scar Of The Sun: In Flood (Scarlet Records)
In Flood is Scar Of The Sun's second album and as their band name probably tells you they are not the most happy of chaps, their sound is part Paradise Lost, part In Flames with a heaving load of modern metal thrown into a Gothic doom mix, so expect blastbeat drumming, low tuned riffs, melodic leads but also some tasty time signature changes. The doom elements are at their strongest on Among Waters And Giants which is a a brooding opener to the album but from their business as they say picks up with modern death metal style making its impact felt. This Greek band have toured with bands such as Dark Tranquillity, Moonspell, Pain, Rage and Tyr and you can see why their songs are melodic, with some sweeping, technical guitar leads from Alexi and Greg but a gut punching amount of aggressive metal chugging from the rhythm section of Thanos and Panagiotis.
The Dark Tranquility and Tyr tour make the most sense as Scar Of The Sun have some Gothenburg elements on Versus The World, what separates them from In Flames or Dark Tranquility are Terry's booming clean vocals, he doesn't need to rely on the guttural roars many of the bands of this ilk do as his vocals carry a lot of power but also enough resonance to convey the emotion in the tracks, this is also where the Paradise Lost element comes in as on tracks like Walking In My Shoes, Sand and the doom laden final track The Ghost Peril he booms like Nick Holmes. It's not all slow and deliberate far from it in fact Enemies Of Reason could have come off one of the most recent Trivium albums as it perfectly balances modern metal with classic melodic elements.
The melodic elements is due to the understated but expertly applied use of keys and synths provided by Terry along with Firewind/Outloud's Bob Katsionis, Nick Sid formerly of Cyanna and sound designer Van Labrakis, just check out the backing to The Raid to see the importance of synths, keys and samples in this music. Scar Of The Sun's sophomore album In Flood is a real stormer of a modern metal album full of melodic hooks, heavy beatdowns, storming riffs, progressive elements and some strong vocals and all bolstered by Rhys Fulber's production and Terry's engineering. A great follow up to the bands debut and one that should hopefully get them some recognition. 8/10
Synthetic: Here Lies The Truth (Self Released)
Synthetic is a collaboration between two Greek friends at separate ends of Europe, guitarist Simon was in Thessaloniki Greece and vocalist Sterge B was in Cambridge at this records inception. What came from these two men was a musical journey that has led to this debut record and indeed the creation of a new British metal band. Since this albums release Simon and Sterge have recruited an actual band with an idea to tour this record however as far as the album iteslf goes all of the strings are plucked by Simon who handles guitar, bass and keys, while Sterge sings, the tub thumping is left to Scar Symmetry's Dirk Verbeuren on Hollow and the rest of the album it is the realm of the master of electronica art metal Thanasis Lightbridge he not only provides the relentless percussion but also the electronic soundscapes he's made his name with in his Dol Ammad, Dol Theeta, Dol Kruug and
It's the synths that permeate Synthetic's melo-death sound adding texture and atmosphere to the melodic, technical death metal music contained within. The riffs are razor sharp and the solos squeal away with expert proficiency, Sterge's vocals are gruff but clear and he can growl when needed giving the aggressive edge of bands such as Amon Amarth or Soilwork, the use of light and shade is also evident as some songs build from auspicious beginnings into full blown ragers although most just grab you by the throat from the outset with the electronic elements bolstering the sound. Here Lies The Truth has had a lot of work go into it and for what started out as a studio project there is definitely scope for this to translate to the live arena and as an album though it's a strong debut from this talented two piece. 7/10
Angarthal: Uranus And Gaia (Asgardh Music/Bakerteam)
Steve Angarthal is a virtuoso guitarist from Italy and the founder of Neo-Classical metal band Fire Trails with singer Pino Scotto. Angarthal is Steve's debut album of his new solo project and it is a solo project in the truest sense as nearly everything you hear is Steve the guitars, bass, keys and vocals with Luca Saja supplying the drumming. This is classically influenced rock music that also has 70's rock influences running through it, if any of you are familiar with Alcatraz then you'll have an idea of what this record sounds like, lyrically the tracks are a mish mash of different concepts with Greek Uranus And Gaia and Celtic mythology (the Purple-like Morrigan), biblical symbolism Leviathan Rising, along with the obvious neo-classical go to of fantasy literature on Wielders Of Magic which is inspired by the novel The Sword Of Shannara. With the huge influence Ritchie Blackmore on this record it has a tribute to Ronnie James Dio with Unbroken sounding like it could have come from a Dio album, things slow down with Miles In The Desert and the classical acoustic filled Losing My Direction that closes the record beautifully. If you love the early work of Malmsteen and Vai, when they played in bands not solo wankery then you will love Angarthal it's classy hard rock with some expert musical talent behind it. 7/10