M. Drew's blog

Concert Review: Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival – The Main Stage

Asking Alexandria was technically asked to open the main stage, but in reality, they were ex post facto to Anthrax, and began performing as soon as the veteran band had finished. As such, double A (not Arn Anderson,) was forced to deal with the nearly impossible task of playing to a transitory audience. They had completed “Welcome,” and were through a good portion of “Closure” before the bulk of the crowd moving from one stage to another had even had their tickets checked.

Concert Review: Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival – The Jagermeister Stage.

The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival is an event practically out of its time. A traveling commercial, musical carnival in the era when all merchandise is available online and every conceivable form of entertainment, from live performances to shocking freakery, can be accessed by those with a broadband connection. Beyond that, it is also one of the last of the dying breed of road-bound music festivals, surviving in the post-Ozzfest, re-created Lollapalooza era.

Album Review: Tankard - "A Girl Called Cerveza"

Tankard has always been the bridesmaid of German thrash. Part of the vanguard during Germany’s answer to America’s Big 4, Tankard has seen thirty years go by without a single interruption in productivity or scandalous episode. Yet, they’ve never been escorted down the aisle or asked for their hand in marriage; the tenets of super-popularity elude them.

Album Review: Cryogen - "Psalms of Deceit"

Death metal has, over time, become a uniquely divided sect of the greater heavy metal catalogue. To ask metal fans on each side of the Atlantic what "death metal" should sound like would elicit two wildly different answers. Overseas, death metal is a genre characterized by high-frequency screaming and a veritable avalanche of non-stop guitar. Meanwhile back at the ranch, American death metal is partially infused with the facets of modern hardcore, to produce a sound that shares a relationship with its European cousin, but is marked with guttural growls and heavy-handed distortion.

Album Review: Nile - "At the Gate of Sethu"

I have never been a fan of Nile. I should probably start by saying that.

It seems like I should be. High speed death metal? Check. Ancient Egyptian mythology? Yep. References to H.P Lovecraft? It's got those, too! If Nile could see fit to squeeze in a couple tunes about chocolate cake and the Oakland Raiders, they'd have a bunch of the basic tenets of my personality covered. Yet, it doesn't work for me.

Album Review: Spineshank - "Anger Denial Acceptance"

Six long years. That's how long Spineshank has been away. Nine long years. A near decade has passed since the band's last studio album and subsequent Grammy nomination. On the comeback trail, Spineshank has released "Anger Denial Acceptance," their new record that attempts to encapsulate all the emotions that one experiences after life-altering events.

Album Review: Vampires Everywhere! - "Hellbound and Heartless"

For those who heard “Kiss the Sun Goodbye,” the debut album from Vampires Everywhere!, get that image out of your mind. It is meaningless now, a blip of adolescence that one must stumble through before emerging as a man.

Album Review: Dr. Acula - "Nation"

This is not what I expected. Dr. Acula traditionally has presented listeners with wildly variable, scatter-brained music, embracing frayed edges and the pure nonsense that deathcore makes possible. I expected more of the same from "Nation," and was instead presented with a relatively cohesive, all-systems-go, straight ahead moshfest that not only sounds marginally out of character for the band, but is a solid improvement.

Album Review: Kreator - "Phantom Antichrist"

As Kreator hovers around thirty years in the game, it's tough to have new commentary about their efforts. What can be said about Kreator that hasn't been said before? The corollary question to all of this is "is there anything new that needs to be said?"

Album Review: Whitechapel - "Whitechapel"

This is not your father's heavy metal band. Whitechapel has always been labeled as a deathcore band, but there's more to it than that. They stem from a short-lived but extremely popular splinter of heavy metal that recalls the kind of brassy, grinding sound that dominated the years immediately following the change of millennium. This splinter gave rise to a burst of musicians such as The Red Chord, Nile and Converge, but then sank back into the background.

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