album review

For as much flack as I got about my interest in heavy metal as a youth, it has done more to expand my intellectual horizons than any teacher I've ever had. Were it not for Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" I would probably not have discovered the work of Ernest Hemmingway. Chances are I would not have sought out the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" if not for the Iron Maiden song of the same name. Art and literature have often been part and parcel with heavy metal music.

Blues Traveler's career has been one that can easily be divided into two halves. Starting out, they were a through-and-through rock band that managed to score critical and chart success. They did what they did, and scored a multi-platinum album and hit singles. After that, their career took a turn, and they fell back into the underground, despite trying to recapture that chart success. It's a bit ironic, but the Blues Traveler that didn't care about being popular scored massive success, and the Blues Traveler that tried to write hits fell off the radar.

I am by no means a movie buff, but one of the things I recognize about movies, especially those in the horror genre, is that the music plays a bigger role in setting the mood than most casual viewers will ever notice. There are the glaring examples like “Psycho” that everyone can see, but the feeling of terror that great horror movies evoke can't come from disemboweled corpses alone. The music connect the images to the emotional center of our brain, and it is the music that makes the obviously fake scenes we watch feel like something far more real.

Anytime someone from the West is engaging Japanese media, there’s an intrinsic sense that anything and everything could happen.  Music from Japan in particular tends to not bend to the conventions of Western genre labels, so that implies that a single band can be a lot of things to a lot of people (see: The Mad Capsule Markets, or those teen girls who sang death metal in that one viral video.)  What we have here with Vamps is a Japanese alt-rock supergroup formed by members of the two of the island nation’s more popular bands – L’Arc~en~Ciel (that’s rainbow in French!  Not li

The word of the day is "eclectic" and the band that brings this word to mind is Von Hertzen Brothers. Regular readers of the Bloody Good Horror metal reviews know that my fellow reviewers and I delight in bringing you, the reader, the very best new metal bands from around the world. While the Von Hertzen brothers hail from Finland the music they play is not what the average listener would immediately think of as metal.

I've noticed a trend in power metal recently, where the genre is getting fractured in a way that does no one any favors.  On the one hand, there is a group of bands that are taking power metal in a darker, heavier, more modern direction.  While I like some of these bands, they largely suck the fun out of the music, which is one of the things that makes power metal special when done well.  On the other hand, there is another group of bands that has taken the term 'flower metal' to heart, and sucked all of the heaviness out of the music, which only serves to make it sound weak

One of the most elusive of finds as a music journalist is Something Different.  Now, that’s similar to Something Unique, but they’re not the same thing.  Something Unique is still rare, but you encounter it every so often – somebody has a novel guitar tone or a specific vocal magnetism or some completely bananas subject matter.  Something Different is…well, different.  Readers might recall that last year’s Album of the Year runner up, Destrage’s “Are You Kidding Me?

This week we have another band that is not new but is new to me. It's California's own experimental-alternative-progressive metal band Chrysalis. An internet search will lead you to no fewer than four bands named Chrysalis, two from Germany, the oldest, dating back to the 60's, from Ithaca, NY and the one I'm listening to now from Southern California.

This SoCal incarnation of Chrysalis is a five member group comprised of vocalist Yessi Burton, guitarists Gabe Gallego  and Gabe Julian, Jared Sturgis on bass and drummer Billy Norris.

We’ve had this discussion several times over the years, but it bears repeating in this instance – metal will always provide a home for a band that indulges in the dingiest, sludgy depths of overdriven distortion and no holds-marred mayhem making.  For clarity’s sake, we’re not talking about the depravity of early Scandinavian black metal, but rather the destructive tendency of blues-based metal in the greater Black Sabbath family tree.  Kansas’ Midnight Ghost Train is such a band.


It has always struck me as a bit insulting that when you consider the roles of women in guitar-driven bands, they are either treated as curiosities, or they are the eye-candy representatives of something other than what you're listening to. The majority of female singers in this kind of music get broken down into two camps; the pop stars who never found their big break, or the classical singers who are used to make metal seem more dignified.