Dark Wings of Steel is the tenth full-length studio album by the Italian symphonic power metal band Rhapsody of Fire. Following the various line-up changes since the previous album From Chaos to Eternity in 2011, Dark Wings of Steel is the first album of the band to not feature guitarist and founding member Luca Turilli, and the first with guitarist Roberto De Micheli and bass guitarist Oliver Holzwarth.
Sonic Syndicate is a six-piece metalcore band from Falkenberg, Sweden who have strong influences from Swedish bands such as In Flames and Soilwork. Originally formed in 2002 under the name Fallen Angels, by Richard, Roger and Robin Sjunnesson they recorded three demos, Fall from Heaven, Black Lotus and Extinction. In 2005 they changed their name to Sonic Syndicate, signed with Pivotal Rockordings, and recorded their debut studio album, Eden Fire. Following tours with Avatar, Himsa, and Amon Amarth, the band entered a contest held by Nuclear Blast Records along with nearly 1500 other entrants. Sonic Syndicate was one of the three winners and was offered a recording contract with Nuclear Blast. After working at Black Lounge Studios with producer Jonas Kjellgren (also guitarist for Scar Symmetry), Sonic Syndicate released Only Inhuman on May 18, 2007. A video for the single “Denied” soon followed, directed by Patric Ullaeus. Due to their success under Nuclear Blast, vocalists Richard and Roland also managed to earn a song on the Nuclear Blast Allstar album titled Out of the Dark, accompanied by vocalists such as Anders Friden of In Flames, Bjorn Strid of Soilwork, and many others. Sonic Syndicate played at the Wacken Open Air Festival 2007 and several other European festivals. In the winter of 2007, accompanied Amon Amarth as they toured th US. The band participated in the “Darkness over X-Mas Tour” with Caliban and Heaven Shall Burn, and toured extensively across Europe with Dark Tranquillity and Soilwork. In May 2008 they returned to America supporting Nightwish.
As phenomenally popular as Earth, Wind & Fire was from the mid-'70s to the early '80s, it's easy to forget that the band was hardly an overnight success. With Head to the Sky – EWF's fourth album overall, second with Philip Bailey, and second for Columbia – Maurice White's very spiritual and ambitious brand of soul and funk was starting to pay off commercially. The Latin-influenced "Evil" became the soulsters' biggest hit up to that point, and material ranging from the hauntingly pretty title song (which boasts one of Bailey's finest performances ever) to the jazz fusion gem "Zanzibar" is just as rewarding. The lineup White unveiled with Last Days and Time was working out beautifully; Bailey was clearly proving to be a major asset. Also worth noting is the presence of singer Jessica Cleaves, who left after this album and, several years later, resurfaced in George Clinton's eccentric female group the Brides of Funkenstein.
Sometimes it's best not to predict. If the idea of expanding Fire!'s core trio of saxophonist/electric pianist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Johan Berthling and drummer Andreas Werlin into Fire! Orchestra's massive, 28-piece behemoth was based on the trio's extant discography— You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago (Rune Grammofon, 2009), Unreleased (Rune Grammofon, 2011), and In the Mouth of a Hand Rune Grammofon, 2012)—then a relentless album of high energy and high volume density would be expected. Which makes Exit! a complete and utter surprise, and in the best possible way.