Chris C's blog

Album Review: Sacred Steel - The Bloodshed Summoning

If you spend enough time listening to a narrow band of music, you will eventually hear everything. Not literally, of course, but you will hear so much music that fits into the same small box of cliches that nothing short of a revolution will be able to catch you off-guard anymore. You can't be surprised by what you hear, nor can you be overwhelmed by what might have, at a different time, been music that would have helped you define yourself. And so it is with any record that crosses my desk these days that isn't concerned with the latest trend.

Album Review: Gloria Morti - Lateral Constraint

Melodic death metal is one of those things that, if you listen to a purist, will tell you cannot exist. Death metal, they say, is incompatible with the melodic elements other facets of the metal universe take for granted. The music should be uncompromising, focused on nothing but steamrolling the listener with riff after riff of unrelenting brutality. The bands that dared step outside that box and try to make their assaults into what conventional thinkers might consider songs were heretics, and the music they made was cute, but not really death metal.

Album Review: Focus - X

In many ways, nothing has changed in all the years rock music has been around. Especially in the world of progressive rock, the past is the past, the present, and the future. Several generations of bands have arisen in the wake of the originators, recreating the sounds they grew up loving, all the while many of the first wave of prog rock bands continued to soldier on, making the music that at one time was cutting edge. Focus is one of those bands who have survived, in one form or another, to serve as an elder statesman of prog.

Album Review: Slough Feg Reissues

Cults are bad things, or so we are told. The connotation that comes packaged with the word is one of evil, the occult, and brainwashed minions blindly following their leader. In that last respect, there is a grain of truth to the attachment of that word to certain bands, the ones who inspire a fan-base supremely devoted to their favorite artist. Slough Feg is certainly a cult band, if we put it in those terms.

Album Review: Stone Magnum - Stone Magnum

When entering blindly into an album, the descriptions we use to categorize the music we hear aren't always good enough. Specifically, when we talk about doom metal, we neglect to mention that there are two radically different approaches to doom, a forked road that may take us to the promised land, but may also take us directly to hell. On the one hand, we have the doom bands that treat doom as the icing on the cake, spending most of their time playing a hybrid of traditional and stoner metal, merely a bit slower than usual.

Album Review: Nightfall - Cassiopeia

One of the sad facts about music is that there is simply too much of it. There's too much for us, as fans, to be able to hear even a fraction of what's out there (trust me, I hear more than my fair share, and even that is a mere pittance compared to what is released) in our quest to find the next album that will speak to us on untold levels. The same is true for musicians, for whom there is too much music to compete against for their work to stand much of a chance of reaching the people to whom that music would speak on those levels.

Album Review: Lightning Swords Of Death - Baphometic Chaosium

Last year was a culture shock for a lot of people, as “50 Shades Of Gray” opened eyes to a world they had no idea existed. Luckily for them, words are a soft initiation into a world they won't be comfortable in. It amused me to see people who would never have thought of such things engrossed in a sado-masochistic fantasy. But then I had a thought; it's not much different than something I've encountered. There's a degree of romantic detachment and masochism that comes along with black metal, a scene I have never been able to understand.

Album Review: Riverside - Shrine Of New Generation Slaves

I remember hearing about Riverside when their first album was just coming out. I wasn't yet interested in progressive music, but there was enough buzz about them that they were always in the back of my mind. By the time they got around to finishing their trilogy and releasing “Anno Domini High Definition”, I was ready to see what all the fuss was about.

Album Review: Giant X - I

You can't trust a musician to tell you the truth. It's a simple thing to keep in mind, but we idolize our favorite players so much that it's often difficult to remember proper perspective. Rather than being some almighty vehicle for divine inspiration, they're all too human, subject to the same fits and rages as the rest of us. And most of all, unless they have to, they will never retire.

Album Review: Corsair - Corsair

Over the course of the last year or so, two themes have stood out to me as I take in as much of the music scene as I can; 1) progressive music has come out of the shadows, and 2) vintage sounds have become more than merely a gimmick. And when the two trends come together, you can either end up with the hipster indie-rock equivalent of a metal band, or with something that recalls the olden days in the best of manners. For the sake of my sanity, Corsair is decidedly the latter.

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