Album Review – Sinners Moon / Atlantis (2015)

Directly from Slovakia, this young band shows that there is still plenty of room for creative Symphonic Metal in this world.

Rating4

Atlantis_CoverWhat started as a side project in 2010 has become the centre of all attentions of the promising Slovakian guitarist and composer LukeN. Back then, when he had another band in his hometown Sereď, he decided to form Sinners Moon along with his friend Derick to work on Symphonic Metal compositions – the kind of genre which was not easy to find in their country.

In 2011, LukeN started to write new songs while trying to find the best musicians to join them in the band. It was not an easy job: three drummers and two female vocalists had come and gone whether at recording sessions or during their first live concerts. It turns out 2014 was a great year for Sinners Moon as they shaped the line-up with Simona (female vocals), LukeN (guitars), Derick (growls), Jan (drums), Jarthuusen (keyboards) and Viktor (bass), and were finally ready to record their debut album, Atlantis. They could not have chosen a more heavy metal environment to do it: Grapow Studios, owned by the iconic guitarist Roland Grapow (Masterplan, ex-Helloween) was a perfect place to turn into good music all those themes that inspired LukeN and his bandmates such as life, death, dreams, mystery and hope.

In a recent interview, LukeN said how important  Finnish music was as his musical influences and that Atlantis is a personal tribute to Nightwish. So, for those who like Finnish bands like Nightwish and Sonata Arctica, or even Epica from the Netherlands, this album has what it takes to entertain the listener. Speaking of Sonata Arctica, Tony Kakko was a special guest of one of the tracks, My Servant.

With 11 tracks, Atlantis has everything a good Symphonic Metal album must have: charming female vocals in duos with strong guttural vocals, keyboards making amazing orchestrations, virtuous guitar riffs, and bass and drums working in harmony to shape all the rhythm. A good example is the opening track, Inner Demons, which brings together all those elements perfectly to become one of the highlights of the album, with Memento Mori following the same music style. In Buried, the band changes the deep orchestrations to heavy guitars with an aggressive melody that contrasts with the smooth voice of Simona.

sm_band_promoThe next three songs can be seen as perfect tributes to their inspirations: Pray for the Child calms down the tempers and is a nice ballad that, respecting all the differences, reminds of Nightwish’s “Sleeping Sun”, but at the same time with its own personality. The next song, Falls of the Neverland, also resembles some old Epica songs, with the highlight here being the work on guitars making a beautiful melody. As mentioned before, My Servant has the contribution of Sonata Arctica’s frontman Tony Kakko, and this song is completely different from the rest of the album – in a good way. Kakko, Simona and Derick make an awesome vocal trio and the result has the same vibe as some of the Finnish band’s classics like “My Land”, from the 1999 album Ecliptica.

With more than 8 minutes, Fly to the Moon is intense and brings the orchestrations to another level with the addition of other instruments such as flutes. It also has a beautiful solo full of feeling that prepares the listener to what comes next in the song: pure heaviness led by Derick. Dark Episode is another example of a powerful Symphonic Metal song, with choirs, an amazing work on keyboards and Simona showing a lot of drama and mixed deep feelings through her voice. The next song, Sinners Moon, sounds very Folk Metal-ish and also has a stunning work full of rhythm on drums and bass, especially in the beginning when Simona starts to sing. The title-track Atlantis is a complex song with 11 minutes and it could easily be in a Nightwish album – at least it is easy to notice the influence of Tuomas Holopainen’s style in this track full of ups and downs, heavy and smooth moments, layers and more layers of keyboards, choirs and so on. The journey through Atlantis ends with a beautiful piano, violin and voice song, Upon a Star, a simple and perfect way to close such a deep and complex album.

If Symphonic Metal is your kind of music, Atlantis is definitely a must-hear album, and if you like what you see, keep your eyes on Sinners Moon by checking their official websiteFacebook page and YouTube channel, showing your support to them, and of course by purchasing their music at the Inverse Records webstore or at many other available locations. LukeN and Co. are working now to promote Atlantis through Europe and, with this first album produced with such dedication and good quality, we are curious to see what the future will bring to this promising band.

Best moments of the album: Inner Demons, Buried and My Servant.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Inner Demons 5:21
2. Memento Mori 4:01
3. Buried 4:38
4. Pray for the Child 4:26
5. Falls of the Neverland 5:22
6. My Servant (feat. Tony Kakko) 3:55
7. Fly to the Moon 8:15
8. Dark Episode 6:19
9. Sinners Moon 5:08
10. Atlantis 11:04
11. Upon a Star 2:49

Band members
Simona – vocals
Derick – growls
LukeN – guitars
Viktor – bass
Jarthuusen – keyboards
Jan – drums

Guest musician
Tony Kakko – vocals on “My Servant”

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Album Review – Sonata Arctica / Pariah’s Child (2014)

What in the name of Ukko is this garbage?

Rating10

pariahs_childAccording to the Merrian-Webster Online Dictionary,  the definition of the word shame can be “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety”, “a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute”, or “something that brings censure or reproach; something to be regretted”. However, there should be a new item added to this list: the new album from Finnish Power Metal band Sonata Arctica, the horrible Pariah’s Child.

Honestly, I don’t even know where to start, or even if I should start talking about what was supposed to be called “music” in Pariah’s Child. It’s not Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Hard Rock, or even basic Rock N’ Roll, it’s just pure garbage that will make your ears bleed of annoyance if you don’t stay away from what is a serious contender for “worst album of the year”. There’s some blah blah blah that Pariah’s Child marks the return of wolf-themed songs, that “wolf” is a metaphor for fear, that it’s “old” Sonata, but nothing really works in this shameful disgrace. Instead of keeping drinking some good old Koskenkorva Viina, it seems Tony Kakko had a really bad trip with counterfeit LSD.

You might be deceived by The Wolves Die Young, which not a terrible way to start (even with that irritating sound from the keyboards), and think I’m exaggerating when I say the whole album sucks, but after listening to the “happy garbage” Running Lights, the most generic thing you can find in the world of heavy music (especially the totally forgettable guitar solos), and the even worse Take One Breath, you’ll start asking yourself “what the fuck is this shit?”, or even screaming out loud “please, make them stop!”

Still not convinced? Well, even if you have ears of steel like the Superman, the “kryptonite” song Cloud Factory will take care of it and make them explode, so stupid and boring this thing (which some people dare to call a song) is. Or maybe after listening to the more than awful Blood you might considering burning all your Heavy Metal albums and become a monk in Tibet, where the only thing you’ll hear is beautiful SILENCE.

sonata_arcticaBut believe me, as incredible as it may sound, the last part of Pariah’s Child gets A LOT worse than that. What Did You Do in the War, Dad? with its cheesy lyrics is so bad, but so bad, that I have no words to describe it; Half a Marathon Man is a totally failed Hard Rock attempt (it’s NOT a beautiful day!); and X Marks the Spot is pure nonsense and, more important than that, a warning to stop listening to the album before things get even more nightmarish.

If you love Sonata Arctica more than your life and didn’t get the warning from the previous song, then it’s your fault you’ll have to listen to the mellow torture called Love. I think even Ukko, the High God of the sky, weather, harvest and thunder in Finnish mythology, would cut his wrists and blood would rain over Finland after listening to this trash! And finally comes Larger Than Life, a 10-minute torment that in the hands of a supreme tyrant like Kim Jong-un could be used as the most powerful torture device ever seen in the history of mankind.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Finnish Metal and was really expecting with an open heart another good album from this decent band from the land of ice and snow, but in this case it’s impossible not to hate every single minute of this shit. I’m just giving Pariah’s Child a 0.5 for some respect I have for Sonata Arctica’s old stuff and for the band members being nice guys, because it actually deserved a HUGE FUCKIN’ ZERO. Not even the well-done album art showing a lonely wolf (or a pariah) saves it. Unfortunately that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but a very sad and shameful truth.

Best moments of the album: A few parts of The Wolves Die Young are somewhat acceptable.

Worst moments of the album: Everything else. Pariah’s Child is a total nightmare.

Released in 2014 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. The Wolves Die Young 4:13
2. Running Lights 4:26
3. Take One Breath 4:19
4. Cloud Factory 4:17
5. Blood 5:54
6. What Did You Do in the War, Dad? 5:13
7. Half a Marathon Man 5:43
8. X Marks the Spot 5:20
9. Love 3:50
10. Larger Than Life 9:57

Band members
Tony Kakko – vocals
Elias Viljanen – guitar
Pasi Kauppinen – bass guitar
Henrik Klingenberg – keyboards
Tommy Portimo – drums