Ten Years Later: Theocracy – Mirror of Souls

 

Theocracy - Mirror of Souls - Metal Soliloquy

Theocracy’s second album Mirror of Souls turned 10 years old yesterday. To celebrate the anniversary of this legendary record, I wrote a little article, available now at Indy Metal Vault.

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EP Review: Oh. – Metallia

cover.pngOh. is the musical alter ego of Greek composer, multi-instrumentalist and sound producer Olivia Hadjiioannou. She arrived to the international music world in 2013, releasing her debut EP Sleeping World, which received positive reactions worldwide. In 2015 she released her debut full-length album Synemotion. Now, three years later, Oh. returns to the scene with her second EP, Metallia.

When I received the review request for Metallia, I hadn’t heard anything about Oh. before. Let me put it like this – all the expectations I had about what this record might sound like were shattered when I listened to it for the first time. Oh.’s music truly is something special.

The terms “progressive”, “experimental” and “avantgarde” get thrown around a lot nowadays (not least by myself), but they are rarely really deserved. In this case however, there are hardly any other words one could use to describe the sonic mayhem presented on this EP. Metallia is one 26-minute long composition in six parts, rich in shredding guitars, time-bending tempo shifts, groovy bass lines, deranged, Middle-Eastern influenced rhythms, haunting expressive vocals and creative synth and percussion elements scattered all over the composition.

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At first listen, the EP is one thing more than anything else – overwhelming. The sheer amount of musical elements build into the composition are almost too much to take in, especially since the composition itself is unconventional to such an extent that one almost cannot make out any traditional musical structures. The tempo changes repeatedly, the individual instruments are layered in a way that makes you feel like missing out when you try to focus your attention on only one of them.


The hidden leitmotives and recurring patterns in the compostion reveal themselves only after multiple listens and make this EP a real grower that you will return to over and over again and still be surprised and impressed every time you hear it. 
With Metallia, Olivia Hadjiioannou has proven to be an incredibly gifted and creative composer and technically talented musician. If you are tired of progressive bands repeating the same old stuff over and over again, look no further – Oh. has you covered.


Metallia was released July 27th and can be streamed and purchased at Bandcamp.

Follow Oh.: Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp

Album Review: Chaos Over Cosmos – The Unknown Voyage

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The Unknown Voyage is the debut album of Polish-Spanish power metal band Chaos Over Cosmos. The band members define their music as a mix of heavy and progressive metal with ambient, cosmic elements and name bands such as Iron Maiden and Wintersun as their musical influences. Their lyrics are inspired by cosmic science-fiction and Friedrich Nietzsche (what a promising combination!).

While I don’t listen to a lot of power metal nowadays I still couldn’t resist checking this album out. One of the main reasons for that was the fact that Chaos Over Cosmos is what you could call an internet band. The two members Javier Calderón (vocals, lyrics) and Rafał Bowman (guitars, synth, programming) never met each other “in real life” and only interacted via the Internet to create this album together. What a great example of the opportunities the Internet gives artists to realize their vision.

The outcome of this international collaboration is definitely something the band can be proud of – The Unknown Voyage is a super fun album that contains a lot of great ideas and shows two artists living out their passion for music. The album has a playing time of almost 50 minutes, spanning over five tracks, three of which exceed the ten minute mark.

The album is introduced by “A Hidden Path”, a short ambient and synth driven prelude with a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche’s classic Also sprach Zarathustra. I’m not a fan of the way the words are performed in this track, but that’s a minor complain because almost everything that follows after the intro track is pretty great. “Armour of the Stars (Xenogears)” is the first real song on the album and with a playing time of more than 14 minutes also the longest one. Fast-paced and melodious, it is a very solid song reminiscent of oldschool power and heavy metal, with some progressive and ambient elements. The riffs are fast and melodic, the vocals energetic and engaging. Lyrically, this track is inspired by the classic playstation RPG “Xenogears”.


The next track “They Will Fall” is a slower, doom metal influenced epic with a more serious message and a generally more solemn atmosphere than “Xenogears”. “The Compass” is the most “cosmic” sounding track, with a lot of ambience and synths added to the mix. Calderón’s vocal performance on this track is a little more restrained, which harmonizes perfectly with the soothing soundscape of the guitars and synths. Around the middle of the track we are presented an impressive instrumental section that showcases Bowman’s technical and compositional capabilities. The final track “They Sky Remembered My Name” is definitely my favorite one on the record, a very technical, heavy, yet peaceful sounding instrumental track that contains amazing melodies and grooves.


In conclusion, The Unknown Voyage is a very solid debut album that shows a band with a lot of potential and a musical vision. Combining old school heavy/power metal riffing and vocals with modern, progressive sections, ambient and synth elements, creative songwriting and catchy melodies, The Unknown Voyage is an album no fan of melodic heavy music should miss out on.


The Unknown Voyage was self-released September 7th and can be streamed and purchased at Bandcamp.

Follow Chaos Over Cosmos on Facebook.