A Whole New Land
June 11th, 2021
The Bulgarian symphonic metal band Metalwings already exists since 2010. The band was founded by the classically trained singer and songwriter Stela Atanasova. She also plays the electric viola and keyboards. Keyboarder Angel Kitanov has also been with the band from the beginning. On all other positions, there have been various line-up changes during the time. So it is hardly surprising that the first single was only released in 2015. The debut album “For All Beyond” followed in 2018, and the successor “A Whole New Land” will be released in June.
The title track “A Whole New Land” is right at the beginning of the album and, with a playing time of more than eight minutes, is also the longest. Consequently, the arrangement is also monumental. The orchestral intro sounds like an increasing run. More and more instruments are added. It almost has the character of an overture, which is seamlessly followed by the rhythm section of the band. But this lasts almost three minutes. During the first bars of Stela Atanasova’s elfin vocals, however, the pressure is somewhat reduced. Only to strike again later with full force. So quiet and metallic parts alternate lively. A worthy title song, which I personally would have put into the race later. The band produced an elaborate video for “Monster In The Mirror”, which is a small cinematic masterpiece in itself. Watch it, listen to it, enjoy it. Whoever thinks that the Bulgarians have already shot their powder after these two songs is mistaken. Fortunately. There is more worth mentioning. Under “Like A Willow Without Tears”, for example, a pinch of folk-rock was mixed. With the title “Silence” I actually expected a ballad, at least a quieter song. Far from it. The Bulgarians mostly rock out here, with a progressive edge. Often the double bass sets the tempo. Alternating with quieter sections. Stela can impress here on her viola, often accompanied by great guitar hooks. Of course, you don’t have to do without a beautifully contemplative ballad. This follows afterwards. On “Still Believe In Us” the singer is accompanied by strings, piano and acoustic guitars. Also ” Killer Of The Angel_s Love” starts ballad-like before picking up speed again. “Wonders Of Life” is a radio-ready Heavy Rock song. “Second Chance” scratches at the mainstream. This rock song has a strong pop attitude in places. And is refined by a filigree guitar solo. At the very end, there is the folk-rock song “Milo Moe Libe” , sung in the band’s national language. A completely new splash of colour on the album that impressively demonstrates the band’s musical variety.
I am aware that Symphonic Metal albums are often very controversial among Metal fans. But singer and mastermind Stela Atanasova has succeeded here in creating a balanced mixture of Symphonic and Metal. Sure, her orchestrations are omnipresent in the songs, but never just a means to an end. Her vocals also fit into the sound. She claims a classically trained soprano as her own. But in contrast to many of her colleagues, she doesn’t constantly try to sing in the highest pitches. She uses the whole range of her vocal abilities. In addition, the other band members constantly prove their great skills on the instruments. “A Whole New Land” is a Symphonic Metal album of the better kind.
Metalwings – Monster in the Mirror: https://youtu.be/bBOaR4L_tQs
Stela Atanasova – Operatic Vocals, Electric Viola, Keyboards
Grigor Kostadinov – Guitars
Vlad Enev – Bass
Angel Kitanov – Keyboards
Nikola “Blackie” Ivanov – Drums
- A Whole New Land
- Monster In The Mirror
- Like A Willow Without Tears
- I See Your Power
- Still Believe In Us
- Killer Of The Angel’s Love
- Wonders Of Life
- Passengers Between The Rails Of Life
- Second Chance
- Milo Moe Libe