Chris C's blog

Album Review: Halestorm - The Strange Case Of...

It annoys me when rock and metal fans use the word 'pop' as an insult, acerbically spitting the words through snarled lips. It's meant to be an insult, but it misses the mark, and instead of branding the music as heretical to the cause, shows that it's the 'fans' in question who deserve the harsh treatment. I often cite the adage “there's nothing better than a three minute pop song”, and for good reason; it's true. No matter what style of music you're a fan of, there's something comforting and enjoyable about hearing music that wants you to enjoy it.

Album Review: Scelerata - The Sniper

Sometimes all we want is for an album to come along and kick our ass. That is, in essence, what heavy metal has always been about, at least since the bands that were initially spawned from the days of Black Sabbath came to life. You didn't need to have artistic sensibilities to listen, nor did you need any sense of nuance. Metal was the music that was heard and heavy, the soundtrack to a party in Hell.

Therion - Les Fleur Du Mal

There's something to be said for bands taking grand risks. It may be comfortable to pump out album after album of songs that are slight derivations and deviations of the norm, but those can't always satisfy the creative yearning to do something daringly unique, to embrace the spirit of art in a way that popular music doesn't often accept. Not all of these endeavors turn out well, but there's something intriguing about hearing music that's completely unexpected, that turns expectations on end, and delivers an experience no one could have seen coming.

Album Review: Kamelot - Silverthorn

There are times in a band's career when they need a shock to the system. For whatever reason, they get stuck in a rut and lose the spark that made them what they were. Fans can hear it, and when that happens, the critics begin to grow louder. Each album becomes less beloved than the one before it, there's more talk about their prime being over, and anticipation for the future begins to wane. When this happens, there aren't many things that can be done to return a band to their former glory.

Album Review: Doro - Raise Your Fist

When you think of women in rock, the number of names that come to mind is small. When you think of women in metal, that number shrinks further. And when you think of women in metal who have been able to survive for twenty five years, one name comes to mind; Doro. For a quarter century, Doro has been defying stereotypes and putting out old-school metal that never fails to recall the days when the star of heavy metal burned brightest. Time may not have been the kindest to the style of music Doro has always stood for, but it has been kind to her.

Album Review: Flyleaf - New Horizons

Some albums are destined to be bittersweet. No matter the result of the creative work put in, the surrounding events necessitate that the music will never be the full story. Those are albums that will always carry a label with them, the proverbial asterisk that they must wear like a scarlet letter. It's unfair to burden a work with the happenstance it emerged from, but it's something we can't help but do, and it's not something we're liable to change.

Album Review: Graveyard - Lights Out

Both as a fan of music, and someone who dabbles in it, I'm a big fan of the vintage revolution that has taken hold in large swaths of the rock and metal world. There's something about stripped-down, simplified, authentic music that is appealing on a level no amount of modern flash can replicate. As more and more bands find new ways to combine computerized sounds with nearly inhuman displays of fretboard acrobatics, the old-school approach of building a song out of a riff and then playing it as a band holds more and more power.

Album Review: Monsterworks - Man: Intrinsic [EP]

One of the supposed glories about the old days of being a music fan was taking a trip to the local music store, rifling through piles of albums until you found the one you wanted, and then coming home with your new acquisition and letting yourself be encapsulated by the physical experience. Holding an album in your hands is different than clicking a download button, seeing the stacks of records on a shelf isn't the same as looking at a playlist, nor is nostalgia a replacement for the fact that reality has changed.

Album Review: Geoff Tate - Kings & Thieves

Geoff Tate's second solo album arrives at a time that long seemed impossible. The erstwhile leader of Queensrÿche, his voice was more than synonymous with the band's legacy. To think of Queensrÿche without Tate was absurd, because no band could survive losing not only its public face, but also the member most responsible for shaping the trajectory of their career. To lose Tate, it would be assumed, would be to commit career suicide. And yet, as we have seen countless times before, life doesn't follow along with what common sense would dictate.

Album Review: Destinity - Resolve In Crimson

The history of heavy metal has seen bands rise from all corners of the earth, but when the numbers are crunched, the majority of bands who have achieved a degree of notoriety come from a select few regions. It all started in England, then spread to America, Germany, and the countries of Scandinavia. Between them, they have amassed the most numerous and most influential metal bands we have ever seen. There are countries outside of those cornerstones that have made an impact on metal, but each time a band comes from somewhere else, it's almost viewed as an accident.

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