4/6/18 Reviews: Kamelot, Bleed From Within, Caliban, Kalmah, Crisix
"The Shadow Theory" By Kamelot
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
Power metal is usually a hit and miss genre with me. But Kamelot have always been an exception with their catchy anthems and guitar riffs that are heavier than normal for a power metal band. It gives the band an enjoyable balance of metal aggression and symphonic theatricality. The band's twelfth album The Shadow Theory continues these traits with highlights in the tracks "Phantom Divine", "RavenLight", and "Amnesiac". There's also quality guest spots from Once Human's Lauren Hart who provides her sung and growled vocals on "Mindfall Remedy" and "Phantom Divine" as well as Beyond The Black's Jennifer Haben who sings on the ballad "In Twilight Hours". The Shadow Theory is another quality record in Kamelot's strong discography.
"Era" By Bleed From Within
Genre: Metalcore/Groove Metal
In the crowded world of modern metalcore Glasgow's Bleed From Within stand out due to a more diverse array of influences than just copycatting other metalcore bands. Besides the usual genre trappings of chuggy riffs and breakdowns the band infuses some Lamb Of God-esque thrashy grooves and anthemic choruses delivered with frontman Scott Kennedy's sandy grit. Era contains many moshworthy hits like "Bed Of Snakes", "Clarity", and "Alive" that could win over some snooty metal elitists that scoff at anything with a "-core" suffix.
"Against The Odds" By Crisix
Genre: Thrash Metal
Spain's Crisix are a through and through thrash metal band. No more. No less. Emulating the high speed riffage of the genre's forefathers they blast through songs that often include geek culture references on tracks like "Prince Of Saiyans", "Xenomorph Blood", and "The North Remembers". They perform the genre with plenty enough competence and the cool thing with thrash is that if it's performed competently it's at the least circle pitting fun. If that's all your looking for, then Crisix are a band worth checking out.
"Palo" By Kalmah
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
The diverse blend of styles that Finland's Kalmah employ is as entertaining as ever on Palo. From their melodeath base they work in elements of symphonic metal, black metal, and even the heroic sounds of power metal. Utilizing influences and sounds this diverse can put an album at risk for a lack of cohesion but it's all pulled off with such high quality precision that the diversity keeps the album a fun ride front to back. From the catchy chugs of "Evil Kin", to the blistering speed of "Waiting In The Wings", to the mid-tempo headbanger in closer "The Stalker", Palo runs the gamut of European-centric metal styles making for a record that keeps your attention without lull.
"Elements" By Caliban
Caliban is a band looking to push boundaries. While their latest record Elements is definitely still in the realm of metalcore, it doesn't stay confined to the genre's usual conventions. There isn't an overt focus on breakdowns and the production can have a symphonic, wall of sound vibe to it at times. Biggest of all is the anthemic nature of the songwriting which the band is able to provide in spades. "Carry On", "Masquerade", "Sleepers Awake" and more are sure to go over well in the live setting and this anthem quality give the tracks a lot of power. While this style is executed well there is a degree of sameness to the tracks which can make it a little easy to confuse one song for another. But the overall quality keeps the record strong front to back.