Inception – The True Face Behind the Smile (2016)

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Author: Dave

Band: Inception

Album: The True Face Behind the Smile

Genre: Heavy metal

Label: Independent

Inception are a new heavy metal band from Costa Rica who have recently released this little gem of an old school album. The album begins with one of those slow and melancholy orchestral introductions accompanied by a lead guitar, which may lead you to believe that this is some new power metal band ready to cover you in a tonne of cheese. But it’s actually the opposite of that. This is just a nice and moving way of opening their short but sweet collection of fast riffs and catchy hooks. I should point out before going on that this intro is actually a well done composition, and not just some low-effort synth effects.  Continue reading

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Altar – Un Lugar Sin Nombre (2015)

Band: Altar

Album: Un Lugar Sin Nombre

Label: Independent

Reviewer: Dave

Altar is a power metal band hailing from Costa Rica whose career spans many years but with relatively little output. Un Lugar Sin Nombre (English: “A Place without a Name”) is their sophomore full-length album coming six years after their debut. As far as power metal goes, Altar have a wider range than most bands in that some tracks are more aggressive and raw than most, where the sound more closely aligns with the USPM scene from the eighties than it does with any of the European bands that have come and gone aping the Nightfall-era Blind Guardian. Then you have songs with the more typical European sound, complete with the heavy emphasis on synthesizers and keyboards. And then you have a couple slow ballads on top of that, along with a couple longer progressive Dream Theater-like compositions. So reviewing this album is more like reviewing a collection of songs as opposed to reviewing an album as a whole. Continue reading