April 6, 2021

The beginnings of Silent Winter go back to the mid ’90s when they formed in Volos, a coastal city on the Greek mainland, and released a couple of demo tapes (remember them?) and played a number of gigs but the band subsequently folded. Fast forward to 2018 and the band reformed but with an almost totally new line-up, with only Kiriakos Balanos (guitar) and Giorgos Loukakis (bass) remaining from the original inception, which then released a very well received EP which led to their full debut album, The Circles Of Hell, coming out in 2019. The band was expanded for this release by the addition of renowned vocalist Mike Livas (Maidenance, Keepers Of Jericho, Timo Tolkki tour singer), Giannis Antonopoulos (drums), Vaggelis Papadimitriou on guitar and Yiannis Manopoulos (Thelemite) on keyboards. The debut was an explosive and immediate epic fantasy power metal delight and announced yet another superb Greek rock band to the world and this CD should be on everyone’s list to be checked out.

We now come to album number two on which we see Silent Winter build and expand impressively on what has gone before in great style. There has been a slight change in personnel though with one of the original members in Giorgos Loukakis leaving the band to be replaced by new bassist Vangelis Tsekouras. Thankfully, this has not affected the integrity of the band in any way as the group have produced a monster of an album in Empire Of Sins which hits the ground running being full of power, energy and in a mood not to take prisoners. The new rhythm unit of Tsekouras (bass) and Antonopoulos (drums) combine absolutely perfectly with the wonderfully cataclysmic drumming leading the way over which the powerful bass lines set up the guitarists to create metal mayhem. The guitar pairing of Balanos, he plays keyboards too, and Papadimitriou is inspired as they hit you with huge riff after riff and plenty of truly thrilling guitar breaks. Over this Livas plays the rock god with consummate ease as he deliverers soaring vocals with a range that is remarkable and when he lets rip in true Halford form then stand by and prepare for the heavens to be ripped open! Mike Livas is surely a singer with a golden future ahead of him in the metal business!

There are plenty of exceptional Greek power and symphonic metal bands around at the moment with Silent Winter being as good as any of them. They have a sound that is somewhere between Blind Guardian, Kamelot and Helloween and you are definitely going to be bowled over with this quite magnificent band and their all action style on which the highest quality standards and energy levels are maintained throughout. This album shows a band in a fine place and very comfortable with itself, come on, how may rock bands out there could finish with a cover of a Belinda Carlisle song and get away with it? For sure, a metal version of Leave A Light On will most certainly draw your attention and the metal approach they give to the song truly does work wonders.

The Circles Of Hell was good but Empire Of Sins easily eclipses it and shows that this band is going to develop into a true force to be reckoned with.

Empire Of Sins track list

  1. Gates Of Fire (5:07)
  2. Wings Of Destiny (4:13)
  3. Shout (4:33)
  4. Mirror (5:09)
  5. Hunter’s Oath (6:06)
  6. Where The River Flows (6:42)
  7. Dragons Dance (5:27)
  8. Empire Of Sins (7:30)
  9. Leave A Light On (4:07.)