ALBUM REVIEW: Tsar – Almanac


Victor Smolski has gained his name in the world of heavy metal over the many years of being a guitarist, producer and composer but now he steps into a brand new realm with his band, ALMANACALMANAC are a new and exciting twist on classical and traditional heavy metal, mixing sweet symphonies with fast paced riffs and powerful belting vocals from not only one talented vocalist but three, Andy B. Franck, David Readman and Jeanette Marchewka.

For a band that was only announced as forming a year ago, you would think that they have been around for at least a decade with the level of passion and power that has gone into their first record, Tsar.

Album-titled intro song just proves that ALMANAC are to be watched out for as one of the new leading bands in symphonic classical metal. There is something chilling throughout each operatic track on the album, each track oozes with something very unique but also it leaves you with a sense of familiarity that you want more of.

Whilst the majority of the album is pure power and at some points, hinted very nicely with the cheese that so many love in genres like this, one particularly stands out – Children of the Future. It begins with something that you would expect from Phantom of the Opera, almost NIGHTWISH like but it is the one song with just the right balance between some really good traditional heavy metal and the cheese that it is famous for, but it doesn’t lack in the heavy music that is needed behind all of the atmosphere.

One of the biggest flaws with the album is that ALMANAC have had use of using three vocalists but those of Jeanette Marchewka have been wasted. She shows that she has a beautiful voice, something that could really empower some of the tracks on Tsar but she has been used in the background a little too much.

 Tsar as an album might not be for everyone, the genre of music is very hit or miss for a lot of fans of heavy metal but it cannot go ignored to the skill that has gone into its creation, not just musically but production also. ALMANAC undoubtedly is filled with some incredibly talented musicians that have been able to craft a genre of music but incorporate so many other genres of heavy metal into the album and make it work absolutely effortlessly.

ALMANAC have created a stunning album, an album that sounds like there are decades behind them as a group as opposed to just individually and the talent and effort that has gone into Tsar just cannot be ignored. It is something for fans of power and classical metal but more than likely a miss for those who like to avoid it.

Rating: 8/10

Almanac - Tsar - Artwork

Tsar is set for release March 18 on Nuclear Blast Records.

Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.