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Confidential – Devil Inside Award winner

Confidential
Devil Inside
by Thomas Kumke at 20 March 2022, 8:02 PM

CONFIDENTIAL were formed in 2020 by vocalist and songwriter Astrid Klara Mjøen and they come from Norway. The symphonic Metal band now release their debut full-length album. The album was produced by Frode Hovd, Astrid Klara Mjøen, and Jacob Hansen (ARCH ENEMY, DESTRUCTION, EPICA) at Frode Hovd’s Aldaria Studios in Norway. It was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen at Danish Hansen Studios. Jonah Weingarten (CATALYST CRIME, PYRAMAZE) was responsible for all orchestrations and the song co-writing. The album has a length of more than 53 minutes and it was released via German label Massacre Records which has a number of Black, Heavy, and Power Metal bands among their roster.

CONFIDENTIAL is a new band and they just release their debut album, but it does not feel like this. There were four single releases prior to the album release date which received a lot of attention from the press and from fans. Moreover, the illustrious selection of guest musicians and last but not least Jacob Hansen as a co-producer surely raise expectations.

The songs on “Devil Inside” have a very personal character and tell stories of founder Astrid Klara Mjøen from her past few years. The album starts with the very bombastic and cinematic intro “Prelude To Resurrection” transitioning into the title song, which is a well-balanced mixture of heavy guitar riffing, powerful drumming, and catchy melodies on one hand, and orchestral arrangements predominantly made of strings and brass on the other hand. The vocals are not the typical soprano-type of vocals, they are more Rock oriented and are around the medium end of the vocal range. A fine keyboard contribution and a contributing lead guitar solo make the title song to a first album highlight.

While “Devil Inside” is the typical mid-tempo song, “Salvation” is a bit slower, in a measured tempo. The melodies of “Salvation” have everything to make it to a fan favorite and one highlight is the vocal contribution of Jake E. (ex-AMARANTHE) who performs an amazing duet with Astrid Klara Mjøen. Another highlight of the track is the extended lead guitar solo. “Forever Angel” is the first ballad on the album. The instrumental contribution is sparse for most of the time with the piano leading the track. The vocals are excellent and Astrid Klara Mjøen shows her talent and versatility in performing those type of songs. For the final minute of the song, the guitars, bass, and drums join in for a grandiose finale.

Release My Symphony” starts with more orchestral bombast and with Power Metal vibes. After a fast start with lots of double-bass drumming, the tempo is changing around mid-tempo, the guitar riffing is powerful and dark and so are the melodies. Altogether, the orchestral arrangements are more dominant in the song, particularly towards the end of the track. “Historia” slows down a little bit with more melancholic elements that are nicely transported by the strings and the vocals. “Queen Of The Dark” and “Brother Of My Soul” have a ballad-esque start with the piano and strings intensifying the beautiful vocals. In “Queen Of The Dark”, after the other instruments join in, the tempo remains measured with epic melodies, and the vocals are the focal point of the track keeping everything perfectly together. “Brother Of My Soul” is slightly different, the middle part is more driven by the guitars and the song is more Metal oriented than “Queen Of The Dark”. However, the song structures of both songs are comparable.

Prophecies” is one of the heaviest songs on the album with the guitars and drums driving the track at mid-tempo. The lead guitar solo is again the highlight of the track. “My Evermore” is the second ballad on the album, starting with a piano part with flute and string support. There is no doubt, the ballads illustrate the vocal strengths of Astrid Klara Mjøen. In both songs “Forever Angel” and “My Evermore”, she understands it perfectly to transport emotions.

My Kiss Of Death” is a very bombastic song with the orchestral arrangements being dominant and at full swing. Morten Gade Sorensen (PYRAMAZE) plays the drums and Rikard Edberg (ELAINE) delivers the spoken words. The album closes with “Black Angel” and this is another album highlight, first and foremost because of the amazing duet of vocalists Astrid Klara Mjøen and Madeleine Liljestam (ELEINE). In addition, Rikard Edberg provides the lead guitar solo. “Black Angel” includes heavy guitar riffing, dark melodies, and a grim atmosphere provided by the strings. The song is one of the official video releases and the YouTube link is given below.

CONFIDENTIAL deliver an excellent debut album. “Devil Inside” has got all ingredients of a successful symphonic Metal album. The balance between orchestral arrangements and Metal sound is perfect. There is a good mix between more orchestral and more guitar driven songs. The mixture of tempi, melodies, and emotions is very good. The songs are not overly catchy and the range of melodies is well thought through. The album is very well produced. CONFIDENTIAL set the bar very high with their debut album and I would not be surprised if “Devil Inside” will get mentions in various Best of 2022 reviews.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Prelude To Resurrection
2. Devil Inside
3. Salvation ft. Jake E.
4. Forever Angel
5. Release My Symphony
6. Historia
7. Queen Of The Dark
8. Brother Of My Soul
9. Prophecies
10. My Evermore
11. My Kiss Of Death
12. Black Angel ft. Madeleine Liljestam
Lineup:
Astrid Klara Mjøen – Vocals
David Hovde – Guitars
Frode Hovd ­ Guitars
Charlotte Stav ­ Keyboards, Vocals
Robert Myrhaug– Drums (Session)
Jacob Hansen – Bass (Session)
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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