Metalwings are a female fronted symphonic metal band from Bulgaria formed in 2010 by singer Stela Atanasova, releasing their first single ‘Crying Of The Sun’ in 2015. The five song E.P. ‘Fallen Angel In The Hell’ was released in 2016, with their full length debut album ‘For All Beyond’ a 2018 release.
Two years ago when I first heard Metalwings, I was surprised to hear just how much more power metal than symphonic metal the band are. As a not overly keen symphonic metal (or rock) fan, their debut release, ‘Fallen Angel In The Hell’ E.P. was actually quite a good listen. Could the bands debut full length offering provide me the same good listen? Well, let’s spin the disc and see… Broody and haunting, ‘End Of The War’ is an atmospheric slow burner, building towards a crescendo, and I get the impression that ‘End Of The War’ was written specifically as a concert opener, similar to ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC and ‘Satellite 15…The Final Frontier’ by Iron Maiden. Launching the album proper is the punchy power metal stroll ‘Secret Town’ displaying the Celtic influence that is a heavy Metalwings trait. Energetic and lively, ‘Secret Town’ has my attention. From their E.P. ‘Immortal Metal Wings’ makes its presence felt, that stunning buzz style guitar riff that launches the song forth still gives me goose bumps. ‘Immortal Metal Wings’ floats along like a breath of fresh air, delivering equal quantities of power and symphonic metal.
Slowing the pace dramatically, is the vocal led ‘When We Pray’. Removing the power, the energy and all bombast, ‘When We Pray’ is basically a soulful and mellow ballad. ‘A Wish’ delivers a punch, a kick and is a little somewhat aggressive as it opens, before settling into a mid tempo stomp. Heavier sounding guitars than anything else heard so far, a sudden and emphatic injection of speed and ‘A Wish’ sets a blistering pace across the chorus break. The guitars get even heavier as the opening riff to ‘There’s No Time’ delivers a sound similar to the iconic NWOBHM sound that was prevalent during the eighties. ‘There’s No Time’ is a sharp edged, hard rock stride, again incorporating the Celtic influence. The title song ‘For All Beyond’ is emotion fuelled and stacked with dramatic pace changes and climactic crescendos, ‘For All Beyond’ is a mesmeric journey of epicness. I think what stands out for me about Metalwings, is singer Stela, her voice angelic and soaring, but not to the higher pitched, glass shattering screech of many other singers in the symphonic metal genre, which is what turns me off. Metalwings have managed to get the balance just right.
‘Realm Of Dreams’ is one of the best songs on offer, full of power metal traits and pulsates with energy and bombast. ‘Realm Of Dreams’ also features the addition of a more prominent male vocal performance, courtesy of Max Morton, a renowned session vocalist and guitarist, and also owner of Morton Studio. Which incidentally, is where this album was mixed and mastered. Keyboards led and very much standing tall in ballad territory, ‘Tujni Serza’ is a definite lighters in the air moment. Sung in her native Bulgarian language, Stela delivers a sensual performance. The debut album closes with three bonus offerings. There is an orchestral version of the title song, featuring the Sofia Session Orchestra, conducted by Lyubomir Denev. And two versions of ‘Fallen Angel In The Hell’, an instrumental offering and also a version in a new arrangement, that is actually more dramatic and more epic than the original.
Overall, a majestic stroll through power metal and symphonic metal territory, Metalwings manage to offer a measured balance to please fans of both genres.
Written by Iron Mathew