28 January 2012

Cryptic Age - The Aftermath

Artist: Cryptic Age
Release: The Aftermath [Demo]

Genre: Power Metal/Folk Metal
Label: Self-released
Released: 23rd October 2011

Cryptic Age
are described as a folk metal band that mix dynamic female vocals with Celtic-inspired medleys and heavy riffs. A quick Google search leads to some quite positive reviews of the band, slightly surprising for a young band (by young, I mean formed within the past year, not pre-teen young). Last year saw the release of their debut EP Homeland which received some very good reviews. It was recently I stumbled upon the demo version of a song, entitled The Aftermath that will be featured on their upcoming album. It’s not really a release as such but I thought it should get a review anyway.

The song starts with a very Ensiferum sounding riff, displaying the obvious folk metal influences on the band’s compositions. The vocals come as a big shock. To put in bluntly, they’re what you’d expect to hear on a Nightwish album [any of the albums before Dark Passion Play] but they aren’t as hard on the ears as Tarja’s voice is. The keyboards inject a safe dose of power metal sounds to the song. There’s a small Christopher Lee-styled narrative part half way through that leads into something heavier than what you’d expect from Cryptic Age. It still sounds epic though. The track soon goes back to the aforementioned Ensiferum-influenced riffs before finishing in a powerful manner.

Cryptic Age certainly have a way of mixing power and folk metal together like barmaids mix drinks and The Aftermath is no different to this rule, though it is a bit more on the folk metal side of things but it’s still a good track. Just hopefully, the album won’t be too Ensiferum-sounding.

Arran Wright

Cryptic Age are:

Jenny Green - Vocals, Keyboards
Hallam Smith - Guitars
Tom Keeley - Bass
Alex Brandsen - Drums

24 January 2012

Epica - Storm The Sorrow

Artist: Epica
Release: Storm The Sorrow [Single]

Genre: Symphonic Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Released: 20th January 2012

Since forming in 2002, Epica have become one of the titans of the European metal scene, hailing from the Netherlands which is home to several other great symphonic metal acts. The newest single "Storm The Sorrow" is taken from their next album "Requiem for the Indifferent" which is due for release in early March, later this year.

Epica pull no punches when it comes to powerful sounding symphonic introductions and such is the case with "Storm The Sorrow", bombarding the ears with a beautiful fusion of drums and orchestration before Simone's haunting vocals can be heard echoing over the guitars. The drum patterns are masterfully played keeping the heart of the song beating like some sort of musical pacemaker. The orchestrated sections and piano medleys flow ever so soothingly like a river racing towards the sea. The use of rhythm guitarist Mark's vocals not only adds that raw, heavy edge that is customary in Epica's but they also had a tragic aura to the sound of the song. The guitar riffs are edgy and staunch, upholding the rest of the track like pillars holding a bridge.

Epica are slowly outdoing themselves which each new release and if "Storm The Sorrow" is anything to go by then "Requiem for the Indifferent" will be worth every penny.

Nick Taylor