I heard that some people adjust their musical preferences to the weather, so they would listen to darker music in the winter and happy and optimistic music in the summer. Well, I am not one of those people. Two years ago, I used to blast Swallow The Sun all summer long (which is, if you aren’t familiar with the band, a death doom metal band).
This Friday, as the sun is shining, I will be discussing two very different records that only have one single thing in common: both are dark in their own way. But apart from that, these releases are from quite different genres. There is one very well-known and loved band and one up and coming artist, so there’s pretty much something for everyone here today. Look at me, being efficient AND expanding my horizons on music! My non-metal friends will surely be proud.
In case you missed the last Release Friday, you can find it here.

A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon Amalie Bruun’s hauntingly beautiful and exciting project Myrkur and remained entranced, or rather obsessed, ever since. Then, I heard about this new death-gospel artist called Louise Lemón who is often compared to Chelsea Wolfe – a name I read on the track “Funeral” by Myrkur. Long story short, I listened to Louise Lemón, then to Chelsea Wolfe, then again to Louise Lemón, and concluded that her debut “Purge” was definitely worth a mention here.
The three aforementioned artists have a lot in common: all three are some kind of singer-songwriters and they also play similar music. With Myrkur being the folk black metal queen of the three and Chelsea Wolfe playing a blend of atmospheric gothic rock and neofolk, Louise Lemón sounds like Chelsea Wolfe’s soulful and more optimistic twin sister. She even worked with producer Randall Dunn, who also happens to have produced Myrkur and Chelsea Wolfe albums. Her interpretation of death gospel is very intriguing and dark in such a different way than rock or metal. Louise Lemón created an unbelievably expressive record that is gloomy, ethereal and lyrical at the same time – truly to die for. Favorite tracks: “Thirst”, which is such a perfect blend of gospel and gloomy atmospheric music; the folky and tense track called “Shipwreck”  and the dreamy “Only Meet Me At Night”.

I was all aflutter when I read that the all-mighty Kamelot will play in my adoptive home Mannheim for the first time ever, mind you the metal scene here is pretty much non-existent. I knew that I will be going to their show in October regardless of how much or how little I like the new album “The Shadow Theory“. To be honest, the first two singles off the new album didn’t sound very promising to me. “Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire)” sounded very much like run-of-the-mine Kamelot material, and “RavenLight” lacks a natural flow of any sort. Now, I must say that those tracks do make sense when listening to “The Shadow Theory” from beginning to end. So based on these two songs, I thought that the new record would sound just like any other Kamelot album (even though one can surely identify some recurring themes in music and lyrics), but I was surprised to hear some new elements: the children’s choir and the usage of uilleann pipes (strong Nightwish vibes!) on the track “Burns To Embrace” as well as some more progressive parts as heard in “The Proud And The Broken”. The only thing that didn’t change after listening to the record was my opinion about the choice of guest singers this time around. I will say it, I am downright annoyed by Jennifer Haben of Beyond The Black, and I’m not a huge fan of Once Human, even though their frontwoman Lauren Hart seems to be pretty badass. Then again, you can’t have Elize Ryd on every record, I get that.
Without going too much into detail here, as that usually tends to ruin any record for me, I can conclude that “The Shadow Theory” is worth your time and attention if you are into cinematic melodic power metal. You will definitely find some enjoyable moments here. And go see Kamelot live if you can – I certainly will.

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