Certainly, Orphaned Land are now Israel’s biggest heavy metal band. When the five-piece released last album ‘The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR’ in 2010, it seemed like the band were entering an even bigger phase of their careers. If anything, the quintet’s fifth studio album gives us a sense that their popularity could inflate even more in the coming years. Orphaned Land maintain their important message of peace in ‘All Is One’ and convey it with a charismatic multicultural mash-up of beautiful folk instrumentation, concise melodic metal and a grandiose orchestral backing.
When Askival mastermind Andy Marshall announced that the Scottish band was no more in 2009, the news was received with equal bewilderment and sadness amongst fans. The one-man project released first album ‘Eternity’ earlier that year, showing great potential and especially catching the ear of black metal fans who simply prefer an escape into the beautiful wilderness of a dark British woodland space. A promising project ceased to exist…
As far as debut records go, you won’t come across a more ambitious, polished and beautiful piece than Caladan Brood’s ‘Echoes of Battle’. The American two-piece have taken their love for fantasy-inspired black metal and built a truly immersive 71-minute masterpiece, thematically based on the ‘Malazan Book of the Fallen’ – a fictional fantasy series written by Canadian author Steven Erikson. I interview mysterious members Mortal Sword and Shield Anvil for SoundShock Webzine, to find out more on the band’s love of fantasy, Summoning and the recording of their untouchable debut album.
As far as fantasy fiction goes, English author J.R.R Tolkien will always be considered among the true greats. Tolkien’s words have lived on in the hearts of many, inspired a new age of film-making and introduced a fresh generation to the legendary author’s works. But that’s not the only legacy he left.
Ensiferum’s fifth album ‘Unsung Heroes’ is positively ‘Ensiferum’ in every sense. Big choruses chanted with sword in hand, war-hungry lyrical camaraderie and that extra edge of OTT will always exist with the Finnish heathens. But rather than being a squeaky annoyance or itchy inconvenience like far too many folk metallers, the five-piece’s music is only becoming more and more endearing.
Back in 2006, German project Dämmerfarben was the work of just one man. Inspired by the beauty of nature, band founder Nostarion acquired the help of a drummer and a bassist to forge remarkable debut ‘Im Abendrot’ in 2011. The album heard melodic black metal fused with classical influences to summon a dark yet romanticised atmosphere. But in the latest phase of their existence, Dämmerfarben have added yet more members. What does it mean for the now-six-piece? SoundShock finds out…
Let’s face it, when broadly speaking about ‘metal’, ‘avant-garde’ is a term far too easily thrown around. Either self-tagged by bands looking for a hook or lazily prescribed by writers to those with a few (slightly unpredictable) sonic tricks up their sleeve – it’s an exhausted description with a ‘boy who cried wolf’ complex. But when it comes to The Gentlemen’s Club Of A Forest Of Stars, you begin to believe there’s still genuine application for such a prestigious title to be used, especially when experiencing third record ‘A Shadowplay For Yesterdays’.