Suncrown

Suncrown is a truly international symphonic/epic metal band formed in 2011 by songwriter and keyboardist Oleg Biblyi (Ukraine) and vocalist Darren Crisp (USA). Then  guitarist Gustavo Bonfá (Brazil) and bassist Ederson Prado (Brazil) joined the group. In July 2011 Suncrown released their first video clip Follow Your Dream. In October Suncrown released a video clip in memory of Ronnie James Dio, Children of the Sea (Black Sabbath cover) with legendary drummer Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell). Female singer Juliana Furlani (Brazil) and drummer Tim Zuidberg (Netherlands) then joined and in February 2012 another video clip, Believe, was recorded with 2 new members: guitarist Kevin Ellerby (USA) and flute player Uğur Kerem Cemiloğlu (Turkey). In June again a video was released: Eyes of the World, which showed the full group for the first time. In November 2012 the debut CD titled Follow Your Dream was released, and the second album You Are Not Alone is announced for a July release so stay tuned. Not only does this band master the difficulties of having members in four different continents, but also do they sound very skilled and very epic.
Members:
Darren Crisp – Vocals
Juliana Furlani – Vocals
Oleg Biblyi – Keyboards
Kevin Ellerby – Guitar
Ederson Prado – Bass guitar
Tim Zuidberg – Drums
Ugur Kerem Cemiloglu – Flute

Past Members:
Gustavo Bonfá – Guitar

Follow Your Dream 2012

1. Believe
2. Make This Life Worth Living
3. Eyes of the World
4. War Spirit
5. Destiny Call
6. Follow Your Dreams
7. Legend of the Forgotten Centuries
8. Beautiful Light
8. When Hearts Want to be Together
9. Lone Ship
10. Children of the Sea (Black Sabbath cover)

http://www.suncrownband.com

Thy Majestie – power metal from Italy

Thy Majestie is a Power metal band from Palermo in Italy that formed in 1998.

Their 6th studio album, ShiHuangDi, released in 2012 was my first encounter with the band and I am still asking myself, why this band is not better known. Reading their Wiki page it seems like they missed out on some important opportunities, like touring with Kamelot in 2002: They were invited by Thomas Youngblood but couldn’t afford the travel expenses and had to fulfill recording duties (for Scarlet Records). Or signing with LIMB music, duties with Scarlet Records again.

The album is a concept album, like some of the earlier releases about Jeanne D’Ark for instance. ShiHuangDi refers to the first Chinese emperor, and this sets the lyrical concept for the album. A few musical references to Eastern music here are overpowered by the unique power metal style. Bands like very early Kamelot come to mind, but not when it comes to vocals that are more high pitched, maybe like Fabio Leone (who actually sings on one track here) or again, someone compared the vocal style to Sonata Arctica. The approach is symphonic and epic, but never cheesy, and slightly progressive. I especially like the drums, hard ‘n’ heavy, like they should be. Lots of keyboards and some nice string arrangements, well fitted and not overdone. This is more metal than Royal Hunt’s latest release (where guitars are too much in the background and keys too much in the front) but otherwise this reference works well too.  Jump down there to listen for yourself ….

ShiHuangDi cover art

ShiHuangDi (2012)
1. Zhongguo
2. Seven Reigns
3. Harbinger Of New Dawn
4. Siblings Of Tian
5. Walls Of Emperor
6. Under The Same Sky
7. Farewell
8. Huanghun
9. Ephemeral
10. End Of The Days (featuring Fabio Lione)
11. Requiem

I’ll surely dive into the back catalogue of this band. Hastings 1066, a concept album (guess about what) seems to have been one of the most celebrated releases in Italy and maybe even whole of Europe, and progressive elements were more marked on some albums I heard.

Their releases:

Perpetual Glory (self released, 1999)
The Lasting Power (2000)
1066 (demo, 2001)
Hastings 1066 ( 2002)
Jeanne d’Arc (2005)
Dawn (2008)
ShiHuangDi  (2012)

thymajestie.com

Orphaned Land- All Is One 2013

ALL IS ONE (2013)All Is One cover art

01. All Is One
02. The Simple Man
03. Brother
04. Let The Truce Be Known
05. Through Fire And Water
06. Fail
07. Freedom
08. Shama’im
09. Ya Benaye
10. Our Own Messiah
11. Children

All Is One is best described with one word: epic. Never has the fusion of metal, folk and oriental music sounded more harmonic than here. The melodic and folk (both Arabic and Yiddish) influences make themseves strongly felt on this album, replacing earlier death tendencies almost completely. The album is almost all clean vocals, there are lots of ethnic instruments and some very beautiful string arrangements. These almost cover the fact that this is a progressive metal band. But there’s also a lot of epic guitarwork and pounding drums and a few  songs, like ‘Faith’ for instance, that show heavier metal influences and some death vocals.

Over 40 musicians were used to flesh out the sound of All Is One, including 25 choir singers and eight classical violin, viola and cello players from Turkey. Mira Awad guests on female vocals. If  I am informed right, she is very popular in Israel.

In August Orphaned Land are playing some Festivals and on Sept. 20th they kick off their European tour.

Three years have passed since the release of The Never Ending Way Of ORWarriOR, a time for touring, says the band, and a time for the band’s fans: They started an online petition in 2012 to nominate Orphaned Land for the coveted Nobel Prize. Well deserved, that music unites all, across differecies of religion and cultural background, has  been the message and purpose of this Israeli band all along, ever since they started out 20 years ago. I’d like to cite metalholic: ‘there just aren’t enough superlatives in the English language to express how significantly this album touches the heart and soul of the listener’

All Is One was mixed by Jens Bogren (Kreator, Amon Amarth, James LaBrie, Devin Townsend Project, Opeth) and was recorded in three different countries: Israel, Turkey and Sweden. Ironically, countries that are Jewish, Muslim and Christian respectively, which strengthens the Orphaned Land message of unity through music.

Read more on http://www.orphaned-land.com

Damnation Angels

Damnation Angels are a symphonic powermetal band from the UK formed in 2006.

They kicked off doing quite well and playing gigs with bands such as Sabaton.

In 2009 they started recording the EP Shadow Symphony with producer Scott Atkins (Sylosis, Cradle Of Filth). The CD was praised rather high, comparing the band to  Avantasia and Blind Guardian, maybe also because the UK is not too famous for this style of metal.

The band then signed with Radtone Music (Japan) and released their debut album in Japan on March 7th 2012 with the rest of the world to follow. The album was entitled Bringer Of Light with artwork from Jan Yrlund and production from Scott Atkins.

After selling well in Japan the band signed a multi album deal with Massacre Records (Germany) and Bringer Of Light was  released worldwide in February 2013. They’re also scheduled to make their debut appearance in USA at ProgPower September 6th 2013.

You might also check out their singer PelleK’s solo album, Bag Of Tricks, that was produced by Tommy of ReinXeed and released in 2012, featuring a flog of guest vocalists (Amanda Sommerville of Soulspell, Tommy Karevik of Seventh Wonder and Kamelot, Oliver Hartmann of At Vance and Avantasia).

As you may know PelleK was “discovered” through the Norwegian version of American Idol

Bringer Of Light  2012,  2013

Damnation Angels Bringer Of Light cover art

1. Ad Finem
2. The Longest Day of My Life
3. Reborn
4. I Hope
5. Acerbus Inceptum (Pt. I)
6. Someone Else (Pt. II)
7. Bringer of Light (Pt. III)
8. Shadow Symphony (Pt. IV)
9. No Leaf Clover (Metallica cover)
10. Pride (The Warrior’s Way)

Damnation Angels are

Will Graney – Guitars, orchestration, backing vocals
PelleK – Vocals
Stephen Averill – Bass
John Graney – Drums
Dawn Trigg – Keyboards

http://www.damnationangels.com/

Secret Sphere

SECRET SPHERE is an Italian power metal band founded in summer 1997, by the talented guitar shredder Aldo Lonobile.

Their music is symphonic, very melodic and catchy and combines majestic arrangements and a multitude of musical influences from hard rock to progressive metal. They released six albums , and played with or supported bands like King Diamond, Gamma Ray, Edguy  and many more.

There’s not a lot of info about this band, and they kept their line up rather well through the years, changing a drummer from time to time but not much more than that. Secret Sphere can surely be considered as one of the great bands out of  Italy together with Labyrinth, Vision Divine and Rhapsody.

Their first singer Roberto “Ramon” Messina, also known for his work with Alkemyst, Avatar, Highlord and Hemisphere was replaced by Michele Luppi – formerly of Vision Divine and Thaurorod.

Dicography:
Between Story and Legend Demo – 1998
Mistress of the Shadowlight – 1999
A Time Never Come – 2001
Scent of Human Desire – 2003
Heart & Anger – 2005
Sweet Blood Theory – 2008
Archetype – 2010

“Portrait Of A Dying Heart” the new album already featuring Michele Luppi has been acclaimed all over the world as one the best melodic metal releases of the year

Portrait of a Dying Heart – 2012

Cover Art
Secret Sphere Portrait Of A Dying Heart

1. Portrait of a Dying Heart
2. X
3. Wish & Steadiness
4. Union 04:12
5. The Fall
6. Healing
7. Lie to Me
8. Secrets Fear
9. The Rising of Love
10. Eternity
11. Legend (Japan edition bonus track)

Current Line Up:
Michele Luppi – Vocals
Aldo Lonobile – All guitars
Andrea Buratto – Bass
Marco Pastorino – Rhythm guitars
Gabriele Ciaccia – Keyboards and piano
Federico Pennazzato – Drums
http://www.secretsphere.org/site/