Haliphron, Prey (Listenable 2023)

Dutch symphonic metal project Haliphron is determined to make an impression with their debut album, Prey.

Haliphron is a new band from the Netherlands formed in 2021 by former and active members of Izegrim, God Dethroned, and Bleeding Gods. The musicians have known each other for a long time, touring and playing together for many years. They decided to create Haliphron in order to “create a bombastic and powerful extreme metal sound.” Mission accomplished. The bands is Marloes Voskuil (vocals), Ramon Ploeg (guitar), Jessica Otten (bass), Jeroen Wechgelaer (guitars), David Gutierrez Rojas (keys, choirs), and Frank Schilperoort (drums).

After the theatrical introductory piece, “Let the World Burn,” the first main track takes off: “The Killing Spree.” The cognitive dissonance that gruff croaking and hissing vocals creates against the steady rhythm and symphonic walls is astonishing. The music vividly depicts its images, and you can see them in your mind quite clearly. To me, because of the nature of the music, I see it on stage in a kind of musical theater. This feeling carries through on every track. Different nuances, emotions, and expressions are revealed, of course, as in sinister and wicked “Mother of All Evil.” The essence of this music, however, can translate visually – perhaps even translates best visually.

The band describes the album this way: “Prey is all about being a hunter – or from another perspective – the one that is being hunted. You can either be the prey, or be the one that is on the search for their next victim / prey.” The narrative is harsh, then, and the music fits the story. The title track is a good example, with its gentle piano lead-in that is quickly enhanced with strong, powerful riffs, then elaborate percussion, then a full-force assault. For fans of symphonic metal, this album quite a find. Recommended.

Prey is out on Listenable Records starting Friday, March 31st far and wide. You can pick it up at the links below.

Band photo by Stefan Schipper.


Bandcamp, https://listenable-records.bandcamp.com/album/prey

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/haliphronofficialband

Listenable Records, https://shop-listenable.net/en/

© Wayne Edwards

Haliphron, Prey (Listenable 2023)

Mare Infinitum, Cryosleep (Solitude 2022)

The third album from symphonic metal band Mare Infinitum takes chances and presses forward: Cryosleep.

Mare Infinitum formed in Moscow in 2010. Their first album came out one year later, Sea of Infinity. They followed up in four years with Alien Monolith God, and since then have been quiet on the recording front. Their musical style of high-production symphonic doom is reinforced and expanded upon with their latest record, Cryosleep, which is sure to become a favorite among their fans.

There are five long tracks on the new album. “Your Final Bow” opens with not just a symphonic presentation, but an operatic one. About a minute in, the music settles into a determined doom gate, and the vocals slide into a deep croaking. Not for long, though – clear, beautiful singing comes on in juxtaposition to the mood established by the other instruments. Guitars and other notable performances get the spotlight in the second half. “The Flight of No Return” offers a storm capture to set the mood before pressing on into a clear, piercing voice that slowly sharpens and clarifies further. In a seven-minute crescendo, the music builds and journeys before returning to the gentle patter of the rain.

“Event Horizon” is mournful and drear, and the doom vocals make another appearance. It is tantalizingly dark. The title track takes the baton and moves the music in a sinister direction. Infinitely patient, the unhurried evocation takes us to the very precipice and encourages the listener to look over the edge. To me, it the most fully realized song on the record. The final movement is “Celestial Escapist,” and it takes off at a vibrant pace. Indeed, it turns almost into a rampage before settling into a moderated stride and an elegant finish. If you like symphonic metal, this music takes it to the limit. Recommended.

Cryosleep is out on Friday, December 16th through Solitude Productions. In the US, Bandcamp is the place to go to listen and buy.


Bandcamp, https://mareinfinitum.bandcamp.com/album/cryosleep

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MareInfinitum

Solitude Productions, https://solitude-prod.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Mare Infinitum, Cryosleep (Solitude 2022)

Septicflesh, Modern Primitive (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The new album from Greek symphonic death metal band Septicflesh is Modern Primitive, their eleventh.

Beginning in 1990 with the slightly different name of Septic Flesh, the Greek death metal band released six albums in the next many years. Taking a break in 2003, they returned four years later as Septicflesh, and since then have been back to their founding premise, continuing and expanding the scope of the their dramatic music. Modern Primitive is Septicflesh’s first album in five years, following Codex Omega. The band is Seth Siro Anton (vocals and bass), Christos Antoniou (guitar), Sotiris Anunnaki V (clean vocals and guitar), Psychon (guitar), and Kerim “Krimh” Lechner (drums).

There are nine tracks on the new album. “The Collector” is an ominous beginning for Modern Primitive, with its frightening melody. Even the clean vocals are paired with a crackling dark side. Full, rich compositions, a hallmark of symphonic metal, are on display establishing a theatrical presence and framework, really, for the album. “Hierophant” is a storm rolling across the Adriatic with unstoppable menace. Growls and punishing percussion burn off any remaining illusion, plunging you into “Self-Eater,” a state where you cannot hide from yourself. These songs are tied together in the narrative and, by themselves, create a classical drama.

The album continues with elaborate constructions and emotive metal. Stand-out songs for me are “A Desert Throne” with its stabbing guitar and aggressive footing that the melody is laid over, and “Modern Primitives” because of its pervasive heaviness tag-teaming with royal flourishes. The final track is “A Dreadful Muse.” This song is among the most energetic of the entire bringing a strong finish to an excellent album. Once things got started there was no slowing this metal down. Recommended.

Modern Primitive is out now through Nuclear Blast Records in the usual variety of formats.


Bandcamp, https://septicflesh.bandcamp.com/album/modern-primitive

Website, https://www.septicflesh.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/septicfleshband

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/Septicfleshoffcial

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/item/groups/51000.1.html?article_group_sort_type_handle=rank&custom_keywords=septicflesh

© Wayne Edwards

Septicflesh, Modern Primitive (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Ulthima, Symphony of the Night (Inverse Records 2021)

The first full-length album from Ulthima was ten years in the making and now everyone can hear it.

The band was started in Mexico in 2010 by founders Antonio Valdés (bass) and Ricardo Escobar (guitar). They moved to Finland, the story goes, to pursue music in the environment where so many bands and musicians they admired were from. That is quite a commitment strategy. The originators are joined by Ville Nummisalo (drums), Jon Welti (guitars), Niko Sutinen (keys), and Tuomas Antila (vocals) for the new album.

The music is symphonic metal, really. This arena can contain a large variety of styles ranging from the epic to the operatic. Ulthima makes use of Death Metal ideas and sensibilities and employs keys to create a symphonic surrounding. This has the effect of making the music turn toward the prog side and the technical precision is there as well. Melodic Death Metal is the closest label if we need one for this music, I would say.

The album has nine tracks that have their origins throughout the ten year time span of the band. Listening to them, it is not at all obvious which ones are older and which ones newer as they all have a polished and compositionally mature sound. All the songs are up-tempo and theatrical in a very high-energy sense. I particularly liked “Eternity” and the title track for their creativeness and ingenuity as well as the sharp execution of the score by the band. If you are in a symphonic metal mood, this one is a winner. Recommended.

Symphony of the Night makes its full appearance on Friday, March 19th from Inverse Records. In the US, Bandcamp is the easy way to get the CD or download.


Bandcamp, https://ulthima.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ulthima

Label, https://www.facebook.com/inverserecords

Ulthima, Symphony of the Night (Inverse Records 2021)