Chris C's blog

Album Review: Huntress - Starbound Beast

Female fronted metal bands are, sadly, lumped into two categories; those who treat their singer as a gimmick, and those who provide operatic qualities men can't manage on their own. It's a gross over-simplification, but a large swath of the bands do fall into those categories. What is most disappointing is how little room there is in the current scene for a band to play classic heavy metal with a female voice. There are a few bands doing it, but none muster a fraction of the attention even second-rate male dominated bands lay claim to.

Album Review: Artlantica - Across The Seven Seas

Metal bands these days aren't unlike sets of Legos. Much as kids take the little plastic blocks and use the same pieces to build anything their little minds can think of, metal bands are increasingly composed of the same members, just reconfigured in different combinations. There's a double-edged sword quality about this development, as while it is welcome to have more music being made by many of the best players in the world, there's also the threat that all of these bands will wind up watering down the scene by making everything sound like everything else.

Album Review: Potential Threat SF - "Civilization Under Threat"

At the rate these albums have been coming out, I need to either invent a time machine so I can go back to 1983 and learn to love thrash, or stick my head in the sand for another three years until a new trend is established. The number of thrash albums hitting these days is astounding, considering how the genre was all but dead until The Big 4 came out of hibernation. It's great news for adrenaline starved fans, because nothing can pump the blood like good ol' thrash can, but it's slightly less inviting for people like me who have never been filled to the brim with youthful bile.

Album Review: Megadeth - Super Collider

In the annuls of heavy metal, I don't know if there has been anyone more frustrating to be a fan of than Dave Mustaine. Megadeth's run of early albums established him as one of the mainstays of American metal, but the last twenty years have been a see-saw of highs and lows, continually baffling anyone who tries to get a handle on what Megadeth is, and what they're about to be. Mustaine's injury that led to the disbanding of Megadeth came at a perfect time, as the band had hit rock bottom. The well had run dry, and the fans were ready to give up on the melodic rock Megadeth had become.

Album Review: The Devil's Blood - III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars

I have a lot of respect for bands that know when the time is right to walk away. Far too often we see bands that cling onto life, churning out albums and tours for no other reason than because they know no other life. It's an understandable temptation, but it's one of the reasons being a fan is sometimes difficult. We invest our time and our energy in the music, only to find that the bands aren't doing the same. The Devil's Blood has taken the other route, choosing to walk away before the release of this, their third and final album.

Album Review: Kylesa - Ultraviolet

There are a lot of aspects of the current rock and metal scenes that I just don't understand. Unless a band fashions themselves as a throwback to the past, there is a gravitational pull to include ever increasing amounts of extreme elements into what used to be normal rock. Today, bands like Mastodon and Baroness are considered mainstream, when my ears tell me there's nothing inviting about the majority of the sounds they conjure up. The need to scour the songs, to remove any trace of shine from them, is a train of thought I have never been able to board.

Album Review: Queensrÿche - Frequency Unknown

It would have been hard to imagine, not too long ago, that Queensrÿche would once again be one of the biggest stories in the world of metal. Their glory days were well behind them, and they settled comfortably into their place as a band that made new records to satisfy their creative itch, while spending most of their time on the road as a greatest hits package. It's a fate that befalls almost all bands who survive long enough, and even the forward thinking, progressive mindset the band possessed couldn't stop the audience from no longer wanting to hear new music.

Album Review: Leprous - Coal

Leprous is one of those bands I should be more familiar with than I am. Their last album, “Bilateral”, won massive acclaim from all around the metal world, but for reasons I'm not sure of, I never got around to listening to it. There was something about the blend of technical progressive metal with more modern influences that didn't sink in with me when I heard a clip or two, at least not in the way a band like Seventh Wonder is able to, so I come into “Coal” with a clean slate and an open mind.

Album Review: Orchid - The Mouths Of Madness

For all the talk of the evolution of heavy metal over the years, we often get caught up in a misconception. Not all evolution is good, and sometimes we don't want things to change. There was never anything wrong with four people walking into a studio, playing a few big riffs, and putting out a record that was never supposed to be anything more than a bit of fun. Metal loses its charm when it becomes too serious, which is why the continued renaissance of vintage-inspired bands are so welcome.

Album Review: Satan - Life Sentence

We've all heard the old saying, “you can't go home again.” While we all may be aware of it, bands seem not to have taken the message to heart. There seems to be a never-ending stream of bands from the 80's and 90's taking up their instruments once again, trying to capture their glory days one more time before it's too late. Some of these outings are successful in rekindling a legacy, like Hell was able to achieve, while others fall apart because of the time spent away from music, and some beg the question of whether enough people would still care to even attempt such a feat.

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