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Unearthing The Metal Underground: More Of The Symphonic/Melodic Metal Scene

Amidst all the pig squeals and face shredding tech-death, there’s plenty of music to be found in the metal world that borrows from (or even relies on entirely!) a symphonic sound. These acts aren’t afraid to show off their melodic side, creating unique songs that blend heavy guitars and even screams with more traditional stringed instruments and keyboards.

If power metal isn’t your thing but you still want music with more melody than the standard death metal troupe, check out this week’s crop of bands as we unearth more of the metal underground.

Paganland

This Ukraine-based group has existed off and on since the ‘90s, but it wasn’t until last week that it finally dropped a debut full-length album titled “Wind of Freedom” via Svarga Music. If the name didn’t tip you off, the lyrics and themes of the music are based heavily on pagan traditions and are dedicated to the history and folklore of the band’s homeland.

Although Paganland describes itself as a “pagan black metal” band, this is much more on the symphonic and folk side than the black metal side of things, and fans of Tyr will be right at home with much of the new disc. Get a sampling of what the band has to offer through the title track available below, or hear more over at Facebook.

Siebenburgen

Swedish act Siebenburgen had a good run from the late ‘90s into the 2000’s, finally deciding to call it a day and move on to other projects after the final 2008 release “Revelation VI” (reviewed here).

Keyboards and symphonic sounds played a large role in the band’s music, and the Gothic leanings put the group in competition with the likes of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir. The final album then changed things up by working in some thrash leanings, offering a bit of a different take on the style. Although dead and buried now, there’s still six albums to work through for new fans who hadn’t heard Siebenburgen before. To get started, check out a track from “Revelation VI” or the entire “Delictum” album below.

Starofash

The solo project Starofash offers a much different version of the symphonic and melodic sound than the last two bands, using no harsh vocals and focusing far less on the guitar work. Starofash has maintained a presence in the underground metal scene for years now, even if people don’t immediately recognize her name, as she was in the avant-garde act Peccatum and has been involved in the solo work from legendary black metal musician Ihsahn.

Starofash has three full-length releases out now, and the overall sound has changed heavily between them, from the more ambient leaning “The Thread” (reviewed here) to the bombastic and experimental “Lakhesis” (reviewed here), which also included a guest spot from the vocalist of prog metal outfit Leprous. In more recent activity, she collaborated with Andy Winter to provide guest vocals for a track on his new album “Incomprehensible” (reviewed here).

Rather than doing a traditional full-length album release this year, the front woman is instead digitally dropping a projected 12 new tracks (1 per month) throughout the course of the entire year. The first two songs available now again show a change of style, as these tracks are moving towards a more mainstream sound that will appeal to fans of Marina and the Diamonds. If you don’t mind trying something that drops the metal altogether, check out “Silva Magna” and “Walk With Me” over at the StarofAsh website. You can also hear tracks from “The Thread” and “Lakhesis” below.

These are just three of the many bands out there that work symphonic and melodic sounds into metal. Let us know what you thought of these picks below, and feel free to share your favorite symphonic metal groups. Be sure to check back in next Monday as we continue to Unearth the Metal Underground!

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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