Serious Black – Mirrorworld (2016) – Review

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RockmusicRaider Review - Serious Black - Mirrorworld - Album CoverHarry Potter is back in his transcendent form of Serious Black – the band. And this only a short year after their astonishingly powerful firstling As Daylight Breaks. I still remember when I hit the play button the first time. It felt like being in a jet fighter taking off. Bang it went, and you just hoped, you got these shock absorbing seats that could take the brunt of the attack. And clearly at first we thought that this bunch of old guys (well, yeah..) were not able to punch this one through. How wrong: All seasoned musicians, the band pulled this off beautifully and got us a really powerful record to enjoy. This first album played often on RockmusicRaider’s music systems and still does today.

Okay, agreed! This first album was a motley selection of tracks kind of thrown helter-skelter at the emerging fan crowd. But their brand of Power Metal powered out of the speakers with gusto and without the friggin’ cheese that we have to suffer through on many others of their ilk. And this juggernaut is what kept things interesting with never a boring moment.  [...]  Got hooked? Raid on...!

Stormtide – Wrath of an Empire (2016) – Review

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RockmusicRaider Review - Stormtide - Wrath of an Empire - Album CoverThe Chinese are loose in the fantasy metal universe. Or are they? And how does this all fit into a viking fighting longship, dragon head and all? Well, it doesn’t. The tune reaches us from down-under: The Aussie band Stormtide are hitting the world with their début full length album Wrath of an Empire.

And it is all about the old question. How can you differentiate yourself from the Symphonic Death Metal and Fantasy Metal crowd out there by adding more spice? Well, first, they sail dangerously close to Amon Amarth and mix this with an almost Amaranthe-esque use of keyboards and synthesizers. Then the powers that be call it Fantasy Metal in view of their magician infused tale. Stir well, add some Chinese sounding keyboard strokes to your metal and growl the hell out of it. To make it complete, put the cherry on the cake by giving some of that stuff a folksy twist and you could about explain the extent of the offering before us.  [...]  Got hooked? Raid on...!

Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts (2015) – Review

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RockmusicRaider Review - Phantasma - The Deviant Hearts - Album CoverTo ease my Death Metal injured ears somewhat, I started listening to some loftier and softer stuff. And stumbled across a band called Phantasma belting out a seemingly Nightwish-esque tune on an album called The Deviant Hearts. The fact that the ever cute Charlotte Wessels (Delain) is the female front on this project really piqued my interest right away. Not because she is cute of course. But because she can sing and is one of the most respected professionals in the genre.

Interestingly, the project actually features three core band members. The remaining two: Georg Neuhauser (Serenity) and Oliver Philipps (Everon) – and they harmonize really well. Which immediately shows in the quality they deliver. Added to that come a felt gazillion of guest singers, rounding this all up some more. But it is the free-wheeling, refreshing spirit of the album itself that finally got to me. A sort of overarching freedom of creation – finally discovered and exploited – that permeates the whole album.  [...]  Got hooked? Raid on...!