Amaranthe, Angela Gossow Partner For New Single, ‘Do Or Die’

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Amaranthe has partnered with former Arch Enemy vocalist Angela Gossow to send a warning to the world about its current state.

The group debuted the video for the song ‘Do or Die‘ Friday.  The video features Gossow and the members of Amaranthe in a post-apocalyptic world that is filled with pollution and garbage, collecting what can only be assumed to be the skeletons of the world’s former inhabitants killed by the impact of climate change.

The song’s musical arrangement features Amaranthe’s familiar melodic, orchestral metal sound alongside Gossow’s equally familiar gutteral vocal delivery.  The song’s lyrical content is meant as a statement about what humans are doing to the planet.

Amaranthe guitarist Olo Morck discussed that lyrical theme in a recent interview.

“While Amaranthe’s music is often uplifting, energetic and positive, sooner or later everyone needs to deal with the obvious fact that the world is literally crumbling around us — and it is crumbling fast, thanks to the short-sighted abuse of our common Mother Earth!,” he said.  “We talked to legendary Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy fame to do an entire package of a video and a song, outside of any normal album cycle, and let our different perspectives on metal collide in a massive explosion; and it resulted in ‘Do Or Die’!”  together with Overbeck Media, who shot the video, we delivered something really quite special, and Angela brings in a fresh strength to the trademark Amaranthe sound that is sure to resound all across the metal world!  Death and Fire!!!”

Gossow offered her own remarks about taking part in the video shoot.

“It was thrilling to join Amaranthe for a more extreme track and shooting a cutting edge video for it!,” she said.  “This is no cozy studio performance, but real ice cold winds, sewages, cadavers and pouring rain — the reality we live in, the devastating legacy we leave to our future generations.  Time to wake up, turn — and bang — some heads!  Watch out for these guys and killer lady.  They are going to crush you this year with a new album and some heavy touring!!!”

‘Do Or Die’ is available to stream and download here.  The song’s debut comes more than a month after the band debuted the video for its cover of Sabaton’s song ‘82nd All The Way.’

Amaranthe is wrapping the latest leg of its tour with Sabaton.  The bands’ current tour winds down Sunday.

The band will take part in a series of festivals this summer across Europe.  Its festival schedule opens June 4 at the Sweden Rock Festival and runs through Aug. 31 at the Rock in the City Festival.

An extensive North American headlining tour is also on tap for Amaranthe this summer, with support from Battle Beast and Seven Spires.  The band’s North American tour is scheduled to launch Aug. 20 in Baltimore, MD and to run through Oct. 2 in Cincinnati, OH.  It features performances in cities, such as Portland, OR; Tempe, AZ and Philadelphia, PA.

Amaranthe’s upcoming live dates are all noted below.  Tickets for the band’s North American dates are available here.

 

 

AMARANTHE EUROPEAN FESTIVAL SHOWS

04.06. S Sölvesborg – Sweden Rock Festival *NEW*
05. – 07.06. D Nürburg – Rock am Ring *NEW*
05. – 07.06. D Nuremberg – Rock im Park *NEW*
05. – 07.06. FIN Tampere – Rockfest *NEW*
13.06. SK Prešov – Dobry Festival
24./25.07. FIN Oulu – Qstock *NEW*
30.07. – 01.08. FIN Kuopio – Kuopiorock *NEW*
31.08. FIN Lappeenranta – Rock In The City *NEW*
05. – 08.08. S Falun – Sabaton Open Air *NEW*

North American Tour 2020
with BATTLE BEAST and SEVEN SPIRE:
08/20/2020  Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
08/21/2020  The Palladium (MA) – Worcester, MA
08/22/2020  The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
08/23/2020  Theatre Of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA
08/25/2020  Club Soda – Montreal, QC
08/26/2020  Imperial de Quebec – Quebec City, QC
08/27/2020  Mavericks – Ottawa, ON
08/28/2020  MOD Club  – Toronto, ON
08/29/2020  The Eclectic Room –  Angola, IN
08/30/2020  Token Lounge –  Westland, MI
09/01/2020  Concord Music Hall –  Chicago, IL
09/02/2020  Apollo Theater – Belvidere, IL
09/03/2020  Wooly’s – Des Moines, IA
09/04/2020  The Cabooze – Minneapolis, MN
09/05/2020  Park Theatre – Winnipeg, MB
09/06/2020  The Exchange – Regina, SK
09/08/2020  The Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB
09/09/2020  Dickens – Calgary, AB
09/11/2020  The Venue – Vancouver, BC
09/12/2020   El Corazon – Seattle, WA
09/13/2020  Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
09/14/2020  Holy Diver – Sacramento, CA
09/15/2020  Brick by Brick – San Diego, CA
09/16/2020  Whisky a Go Go – West Hollywood, CA
09/18/2020  Club Red – Tempe, AZ
09/19/2020  Backstage Bar and Billiards – Las Vegas, NV
09/20/2020  Liquid Joe’s – Salt Lake City, UT
09/21/2020  Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
09/23/2020  Trees – Dallas, TX
09/24/2020  Come and Take it Live – Austin, TX
09/25/2020. Scout Bar – Houston, TX
09/26/2020  House of Blues – New Orleans, LA
09/27/2020  House of Blues – Lake Buena Vista, FL
09/29/2020  Rt 20 – Racine, WI
09/30/2020  The Crafthouse – Pittsburgh, PA
10/01/2020  The Underground – Charlotte, NC
10/02/2020  Riverfront Live – Cincinnati, OH

 

 

More information on Amaranthe’s upcoming live dates, its new video and more is available online at:

 

Websitehttp://www.amaranthe.se

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/AmarantheBand

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/amaranthemetal

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

 

Amaranthe Debuts Video For Its Cover Of Sabaton’s ’82nd All The Way’

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Amaranthe debuted a new video this week.

The band debuted the video for its cover of Sabaton’s song ‘82nd All The Way‘ Friday.  ’82nd All The Way’ is featured in Sabaton’s latest full-length studio recording The Great War (2019).  Amaranthe’s video takes audiences inside the studio with the band as it performs its take on the song, complete with a new triple-vocal approach.  That new approach sets the song apart from its source material and in turn steps up the song.

Amaranthe guitarist Olof Morck talked about the band’s take of the song in a recent interview.

“People who are familiar with Amaranthe know that we do not frequently do covers, but there was something quite irresistible about interpreting Sabaton’s ’82nd All The Way’!,” he said.  “While being thematically different from most of our songs, musically it made perfect sense, and it was a joy to pick the song apart and put it back together to something classically Amaranthe sounding!  So, this is our small tribute to the mighty Swedish war machine that is Sabaton; ’82nd All The Way’!”

Amaranthe will join Sabaton on the road beginning Jan 17 in Zurich, Switzerland.  Apocalyptica will also take part in the tour.

Amaranthe’s performances are in support of its most recent album Helix (2018).  The album has spawned the singles ‘365,’ ‘Countdown,’ ‘Inferno,’ ‘Dream‘ and ‘Helix.’ Amaranthe’s upcoming dates with Sabaton and Apocalyptica are scheduled to run through Feb. 16 in Oslo, Norway. The full schedule for the band’s European tour is noted below.

AMARANTHE live:
The Great Tour« – Europe 2020
w/ SABATON, APOCALYPTICA
17.01. CH Zurich – Hallenstadion
18.01. D Stuttgart – Schleyer-Halle
19.01. D Munich – Olympiahalle
20.01. A Dornbirn – Conrad Sohm*
21.01. A Vienna – Gasometer
22.01. H Budapest – Arena
24.01. PL Warsaw – Arena COR Torwar
25.01. D Berlin – Max-Schmeling-Halle
26.01. CZ Prague- O2 Arena
27.01. A Linz – Posthof*
28.01. I Milan – Alcatraz
30.01. D Leipzig – Arena
31.01. D Frankfurt – Festhalle
01.02. D Oberhausen – König-Pilsener-ARENA
02.02. B Antwerp – Sportpaleis
03.02. CH Monthey – Pont Rouge*
04.02. E Barcelona – Palau Sant Jordi
05.02. E Madrid – Vistalegre
07.02. F Paris – Zénith
08.02. UK London – Wembley Arena
09.02. NL Amsterdam – AFAS Live
10.02. NL Eindhoven – Effenaar*
11.02. D Hamburg – Sporthalle
12.02. DK Copenhagen – Forum Black Box
13.02. S Karlstad – Nöjesfabriken*
14.02. S Gothenburg – Scandinavium
15.02. S Stockholm – Hovet
16.02. N Oslo – Spektrum
*AMARANTHE only (headline show w/ support)

A handful of festival shows are featured as part of Amaranthe’s European upcoming tour.  Those dates are listed below

04.06. S Sölvesborg – Sweden Rock Festival *NEW*
05. – 07.06. D Nürburg – Rock am Ring *NEW*
05. – 07.06. D Nuremberg – Rock im Park *NEW*
05. – 07.06. FIN Tampere – Rockfest *NEW*
13.06. SK Prešov – Dobry Festival
24./25.07. FIN Oulu – Qstock *NEW*
30.07. – 01.08. FIN Kuopio – Kuopiorock *NEW*
31.08. FIN Lappeenranta – Rock In The City *NEW*
05. – 08.08. S Falun – Sabaton Open Air *NEW*

 

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The band will tour North America this summer starting Aug. 20 in Baltimore, MD.  That tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 2 in Cincinnati, OH.  Battle Beast and Seven Spire will join Amaranthe for its U.S. run.  The bands’ full North American tour schedule is noted below.

North American Tour 2020
with BATTLE BEAST and SEVEN SPIRE:
08/20/2020  Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
08/21/2020  The Palladium (MA) – Worcester, MA
08/22/2020  The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
08/23/2020  Theatre Of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA
08/25/2020  Club Soda – Montreal, QC
08/26/2020  Imperial de Quebec – Quebec City, QC
08/27/2020  Mavericks – Ottawa, ON
08/28/2020  MOD Club  – Toronto, ON
08/29/2020  The Eclectic Room –  Angola, IN
08/30/2020  Token Lounge –  Westland, MI
09/01/2020  Concord Music Hall –  Chicago, IL
09/02/2020  Apollo Theater – Belvidere, IL
09/03/2020  Wooly’s – Des Moines, IA
09/04/2020  The Cabooze – Minneapolis, MN
09/05/2020  Park Theatre – Winnipeg, MB
09/06/2020  The Exchange – Regina, SK
09/08/2020  The Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB
09/09/2020  Dickens – Calgary, AB
09/11/2020  The Venue – Vancouver, BC
09/12/2020   El Corazon – Seattle, WA
09/13/2020  Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
09/14/2020  Holy Diver – Sacramento, CA
09/15/2020  Brick by Brick – San Diego, CA
09/16/2020  Whisky a Go Go – West Hollywood, CA
09/18/2020  Club Red – Tempe, AZ
09/19/2020  Backstage Bar and Billiards – Las Vegas, NV
09/20/2020  Liquid Joe’s – Salt Lake City, UT
09/21/2020  Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
09/23/2020  Trees – Dallas, TX
09/24/2020  Come and Take it Live – Austin, TX
09/25/2020. Scout Bar – Houston, TX
09/26/2020  House of Blues – New Orleans, LA
09/27/2020  House of Blues – Lake Buena Vista, FL
09/29/2020  Rt 20 – Racine, WI
09/30/2020  The Crafthouse – Pittsburgh, PA
10/01/2020  The Underground – Charlotte, NC
10/02/2020  Riverfront Live – Cincinnati, OH

More information on Amaranthe’s upcoming live dates, its new video and more is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.amaranthe.se

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmarantheBand

Twitter: http://twitter.com/amaranthemetal

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Sonic Syndicate Releases ‘Confessions” Final Single

Courtesy: Despotz Records

Courtesy: Despotz Records

Sonic Syndicate has released more new music.

The band released the single ‘Still Believe (ft. Madyx)’ this week.  The song is the third and final single from the band’s 2016 album Confessions.  Audiences can hear the song online now here.

Front man Nathan J. Biggs called working on the song a special experience, adding working with alt pop singer Madyx (a.k.a. Michelle Blanchard) on the song made it even more special.  Blanchard won UMA’s “Best International Music Video” Award in 2016 for her video for ‘Some Kisses.’  The song is also on British Airways’ “Ones To Watch” playlist on each of its flights.

“Working on the song fulfills my ambition of hearing harmonies and alternate leads performed together with a female voice,” Biggs said. “So to get the chance to do this on Confessions was something not only brand new for us, but a big accomplishment, and to do it with such a sparky, talented girl like Madyx who really connected with the lyrics on a personal level made it even more special.  It turned a good song into a unique song that stands out on the record.”

Biggs said the songs make it so unique because of the topic presented within those words.

“The lyrics are about a long distance relationship, a couple reminiscing about their time together on different continents, how the vibe of each city flavored their love for one another,” Biggs said.  “However, as the song goes along we realize it’s not just heartache due to miles apart, the guy is talking to a girl who has passed away and she is replying from beyond the grave.  It’s beautiful, tragic and haunting.  But I think true love can even survive death.”

‘Still Believe’ can be downloaded now via iTunes and streamed online now via Spotify.  Sonic Syndicate will hit the road in March with Amaranthe to support ConfessionsConfessions can be ordered online now direct via Despotz Records’ webstore.  More information on Confessions is available online now along with all of Sonic Syndicate’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.sonicsyndicate.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pg.SonicSyndicateBand

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SoSyOfficial

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Set It Off Shows Telling “Stories” Can Be A Good Thing

December is nearly halfway through. That means that 2015 is inching ever closer to its final days. As those days become fewer and fewer, it means more certainty for the critics’ year-enders. This critic has held off as long as possible. But now the lists are final. And there are a lot of them, too. Beginning today, Phil’s Picks will feature one new “Best Of” list each day right up to New Year’s Eve. Each list presents not only the ten best new releases in each given category but five extras that get special recognition for a total of fifteen titles. So let’s get things going. Without any further ado, here is the first of those lists, 2015’s Best New EPs. So few people give EPs the credit that they so rightly deserve. But the reality is that for many acts EPs are just as important as LPS. For many acts, the EP is the very first taste of what may or may not be to come for a band. For others it’s more or less a contractually obligated space filler. Regardless of the situation, the fact of the matter is that the EP is just as important as the LP. That being the case, this critic has compiled once again a list of the year’s best new EPs. And this year, that list is topped by Set It off and its new EP Duality: Stories Unplugged. Independent rock act Lawless Hearts make the list, too with its new EP Creatures of Habit as well as Amaranthe with its acoustic EP Breaking Point: B-Sides 2011 2015. These are just a handful of the names to make the list this year. The complete list of this year’s best new EPs as presented by Phil’s Picks is noted below.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 BEST NEW EPs

  1. Set It Off — Duality: Stories Unplugged
  2. Adrenaline Mob — Dearly Departed
  3. Zebrahead/Man on a Mission – Out of Control
  4. Patent Pending – Armageddon
  5. NoMara — …And So It Begins
  6. Lawless Hearts – Creatures of Habit
  7. Amaranthe – Breaking Point: B-Sides 2011 2015
  8. Nation Beat – Carnival Caravan
  9. De’Anza – Despertar
  10. The Devil Wears Prada – Space
  11. Galley Beggar – Silence and Tears
  12. Broadcasters – Spin
  13. Infidel – Infidel
  14. Collie Buddz – Blue Dreamz
  15. Straight Line Stitch – Transparency

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Amaranthe Announces New EP, Video On the Way; Fall Tour Still On

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Amaranthe will release a special treat for its fans later this month just in time for Halloween.

The members of Amaranthe announced recently that the band will release a new compilation record for its fans later this month. The record, Breaking Point: B-Sides 2011 – 2015, will be released on Friday, October 30th. While it is a great treat for fans, there is a little trick involved here, too. The eight-track collection will be available online only. It will contain six acoustic renderings of songs featured in previous Amaranthe albums and two fully electric compositions, ‘Breaking Point’ and ‘Splinter in My Soul.’ In regards to the collection’s upcoming release guitarist Olof noted the difficulty in finding the band’s bonus tracks and b-sides. So the band decided to put together a record that would serve as what its members felt would be a good representation of those songs. “As some of you know, AMARANTHE has recorded quite a few b-sides and bonus tracks throughout the years,” he said. “We’ve always tried to keep the quality high, as something extra for our fans, but until now a lot of these tracks have been hard-to-find rarities, and quite spread out. We are now very excited to release a collection of some of the best b-sides and bonuses: Breaking Point: B-sides 2011-2015. It focuses on some of the best acoustic renditions of fan favorites as well as a couple of originals from the early days! Enjoy this rare and different side of AMARANTHE!” The full track listing for the band’s upcoming compilation is noted below.

TRACK LISTING:

1. “Hunger” (Acoustic)
2. “Afterlife” (Acoustic)
3. “Amaranthine” (Acoustic)
4. “Burn With Me” (Acoustic)
5. “Trinity” (Acoustic )
6. “True” (Acoustic)
7. “Breaking Point”
8. “Splinter In My Soul”

Along with the announcement of its upcoming EP, the band also announced that it will premiere its latest video soon. The video will accompany the song ‘True,’ which was included in the band’s 2014 album Massive Addictive. The band will return to the U.S. later this month just ahead of the debut of its upcoming EP for its Massive Collision Tour, which kicks off on October 29th in Atlanta, Georgia. The tour includes a pair of dates early on in North Carolina on October 30th and November 1st in Jacksonville and Charlotte respectively. The full schedule of dates for the band’s upcoming tour is listed below.

AMARANTHE FALL 2015 TOUR DATES:

10/29: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
10/30: Jacksonville, NC @ Hooligans
11/1: Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend
11/4: New York, @ Webster Hall (Marlin Room)
11/5: Stafford Springs, CT @ Palace Theater
11/6: Manchester, NH @ Jewel Nightclub
11/7: Montreal, QC @ Theatre Fairmount
11/8: Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
11/10: Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
11/11: Cleveland, OH @ The Odeon
11/13: Flint, MI @ Machine Shop
11/14: Green Bay, WI @ The Sandlot Entertainment Complex
11/15: Arlington Heights, IL @ HOME Bar
11/17: Sauget, IL @ Pop’s
11/18: Little Rock, AR @ Juanita’s
11/19: Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
11/20: McAllen, TX @ Cine El Rey
11/21: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
11/24: Santa Ana, CA @ The Yost Theater
11/27: Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
11/28: Reno, NV @ Knitting Factory
11/29: San Jose, CA @ Rockbar Theater

More information on Amaranthe’s upcoming EP and tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.amaranthe.se

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmarantheBand

Twitter: http://twitter.com/amaranthemetal

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Amaranthe, Lullwater, Butcher Babies Team Up For “Massive Collision Tour”

Courtesy:  Artist Group International/Spinefarm Records/Century Media Records

Courtesy: Artist Group International/Spinefarm Records/Century Media Records

Amaranthe is returning to the U.S. this fall.

The Swedish hard rock band recently announced that it will return to the U.S. for what it has dubbed the “Massive Collision Tour” beginning Thursday, October 29th in Atlanta, Georgia. The new tour, presented by Artist Group International, marks the second time this year that the band has made its way across the U.S. and Canada. The new dates are in support of the band’s most recent full-length studio recording Massive Addictive, which was released on October 21st, 2014. The band will be joined on its upcoming dates by opening act LullWater and special guest Butcher Babies. The current schedule for the “Massive Collision Tour” is listed below. It includes a pair of performances early on in Jacksonville, NC and Charlotte, NC.

TOUR DATES:

10/29: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade

10/30: Jacksonville, NC @ Hooligans

11/1: Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend

11/4: New York, @ Webster Hall (Marlin Room)

11/5: Stafford Springs, CT @ Palace Theater

11/6: Manchester, NH @ Jewel Nightclub

11/7: Montreal, QC @ Theatre Fairmount

11/8: Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

11/10: Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar

11/11: Cleveland, OH @ The Odeon

11/13: Flint, MI @ Machine Shop

11/14: Green Bay, WI @ The Sandlot Entertainment Complex

11/15: Arlington Heights, IL @ HOME Bar

11/17: Sauget, IL @ Pop’s

11/18: Little Rock, AR @ Juanita’s

11/19: Houston, TX @ Scout Bar

11/20: McAllen, TX @ Cine El Rey

11/21: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill

11/24: Santa Ana, CA @ The Yost Theater

11/27: Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades

11/28: Reno, NV @ Knitting Factory

11/29: San Jose, CA @ Rockbar Theater

 

Tickets for the “Massive Collision Tour” are available now.  More information on ticketing, show times, and more is available online now along with all of the latest news from Amaranthe at:

 

Website: http://www.amranthe.se

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmarantheBand

 

More information on Lullwater is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.lullwatermusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lullwatermusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lullwatermusic

 

More information on Butcher Babies is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://wwww.butcherbabies.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ButcherBabiesMusic

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Ragnarok Juletide Not Just Another Cookie Cutter Christmas Album

Courtesy:  Spinefarm Records/Carolina Records/Universal Music Group

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records/Caroline Records/Universal Music Group

It’s that time of year again, everybody.  The turkey’s been devoured.  The leftovers have been turned into every possible concoction possible.  The in-laws are (hopefully) gone.  The Christmas tree and decorations are set up.  The annual deluge of Christmas movies is running across the networks.  And the overwhelming surge of cookie cutter Christmas albums is in every store shelf and on every store radio.  The movies are bearable.  The decorations and tree are no problem.  The problem is the cookie cutter Christmas albums.  Save for Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, every other Christmas album from every major artist and band sounds the same.  And making it worse, it’s the same albums on shelves and radios every year.  Thankfully this year, Spinefarm Records and Caroline Records have given audiences quite a welcome breath of fresh air from all of those albums with the new “Christmas Metal” album Ragnarok Juletide.  The latest release from the ever-evolving metal super group, it was recorded this year by members of Amaranthe, Nightwish, and Sonata Arctica.  For those that don’t know, Raskasta Joulua translates to “Christmas Love.”  And heavy is just what audiences get in this mixed collection of holiday standards and original Finnish holiday material.  Raskasta Joulua celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.  While it obviously hasn’t been around nearly as long as Mannheim Steamroller or Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Raskasta Joulua’s new album will entertain the metal legions and lovers of Christmas music alike from start to finish.  From the very TSO-esque take on ‘The First Noel’ to the James Bond-style sound of ‘The Elf’ to the absolutely stunning closer that is ‘Ave Maria,’ Ragnarok Juletide offers audiences so much to like.  That includes the songs not noted here, too.  Collectively, the songs included on this record make it a holiday record that every lover of Christmas music should hear at least once this holiday season.

It goes without saying after hearing Ragnarok Juletide that this compilation is one that every lover of Christmas music should hear at least once this holiday season.  It is a breath of fresh air from all of the cookie cutter Christmas albums churned out year after year by all of the mainstream acts out there.  One example of what makes this album so enjoyable for audiences is the band’s take on the holiday standard ‘The First Noel.’  While it does boast a sound similar to that of TSO, it still maintains its own identity.  It isn’t just ‘The First Noel.’  It mixes that song together with elements of ‘Carol of the Bells’ and ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ to make a song that will have every headbanger putting their horns high this holiday season.  Even more interesting to note are the guitar solos.  Audiences will hear in the guitar solos elements of not only TSO but of Dream Theater, and certain well-known 80s hair metal bands.  Throughout it all, the performers tapped for this performance exhibit great talent and respect for the original songs on which the song is based.  Needless to say it is one of the highest of points on this record although not the album’s only high point.

Raskasta Joulua offers plenty of high points from start to finish throughout the course of the dozen total tracks that make up the body of Ragnarok Juletide.  The group’s take on ‘The First Noel’ is one example of just how much this album has to offer audiences.  American audiences likely aren’t so familiar with ‘The Elf.’  But the group’s take on this song will entertain listeners in its own way.  The song follows a little elf that is hard at work at night.  The song sounds foreboding.  But it really isn’t that dark of a song.  The use of the James Bond style guitar riff adds to the song’s impact, enhancing the visual imagery of the elf working in secret.  And the vocalist’s deep, baritone makes for even more impact.  It is the polar opposite of ‘The First Noel.’  But it is still such a great addition to this compilation.  It is just one more example of what makes Ragnarok Juletide such a great listen for any lover of Christmas music and any metal head around the world this holiday season.

Ragnarok Juletide has so much to offer audiences on its latest full-length release as has been noted here already. The metal legions around the world will appreciate the album’s heavier side exemplified by the likes of the album’s opener ‘We Celebrate at Christmas’ and its take on ‘The First Noel.’ There is also the lesser known ‘The Elf’ that will impress those looking for something a little less heavy but still with a certain edge. On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, there is the absolutely stunning rendition of ‘Ave Maria’ that closes out the compilation. This song is the single most powerful and moving piece on the entire record. So it makes sense that it would be saved for last. Whether for its solo vocal parts, the ever-so-subtle dual harmony in the song’s closing moments, or its gentle fade out at the end, there is so much to admire about this piece. Anyone not moved at least to some point in listening to this song is either not listening closely enough or simply is not human. It is a wonderful, final moment and one that along with those other songs noted here (and those not noted) makes this record a memorable anniversary celebration for Raskasta Joulua. It makes it just as memorable for anyone looking to escape from the cookie cutter holiday albums that populate most store shelves and radio systems.

Ten years in, Raskasta Joulua has shown yet again that even while it may not have the popularity of Trans-Siberian Orchestra or Mannheim Steamroller, it still impresses just as much today as in its earliest days. From the group’s renditions of more well-known and beloved holiday classics to those that might be more familiar to only certain audiences, Ragnarok Juletide, this record proves in the end to be the best new holiday record of 2014, hands down. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from the Raskasta Joulua website at http://www.raskastajoulua.com. More information on this and other releases from Raskasta Joulua is available online at:

Websitehttp://www.raskastajoulua.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/raskastajoulua

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