album review

Album Review: Dark Fortress - Venereal Dawn

In what I would consider a shocking turn of events, black metal is bigger now than it's ever been. Sure, there isn't the same mystique as during the second wave in the 90's, nor do the bands draw as much attention by virtue of demolishing the standards and norms of both music and culture, but it's undeniable that black metal is bigger today than it was in its heyday.

Album Review: Cannibal Corpse - "A Skeletal Domain"

Metal, as a genre, shows a great deal of fealty to the parties responsible for its creation. That fealty, undying in its virility, is often rewarded with a recurring stream of new material from the bands being revered. It is a cycle that is unique to the genre – such loyalty to artists in other contemporary genres tends to lead to great fame and fortune, where in metal it is more prone to cause underground acceptance, increased inspiration and a comfortable, if perhaps not incredibly lucrative, living.

Album Review: Edward O'Connell - Vanishing Act

Of all the things that perplex me about the current state of music, maybe the most difficult to fathom is how power-pop, a genre that is about nothing but making catchy music for you to sing along to, became an underground genre. These purveyors of sunny, feel-good music have become vampires to the mainstream, surviving in the shadows that thrive on message boards in the deep recesses of the internet. There was a time when power-pop was huge, as it should have been, but somewhere along the way music fans have apparently decided they don't want their music to be enjoyable. Go figure.

Album Review: HammerFall - "(R)evolution"

I don't think it will come as any surprise when I say that metal, more than any other musical genre, is a lifestyle as much as it is a style of music. You've got your "heshers" who wear their love of metal on their sleeves. You've got your closet metal fans who look like normal folks by day but are the first to jump in the pit when the nighttime comes. Most of us fall somewhere in between. The lifestyle that stands out for me, and for which I have a deep appreciation for, is the over-the-top, bordering on cliche, metal gods.

Album Review: Crimson Shadows - "Kings Among Men"

Toronto’s Crimson Shadows understands their genre better than most. Melodic metal, even when crossbred with other subgenres, has always faced the criticism that it’s difficult to take seriously – the music isn’t dark enough, the message not bleak enough to accommodate a ‘discerning’ metal fan’s taste.

Album Review: Wolf - Devil Seed

I come into contact with a lot of people who do not share my musical tastes, and I notice certain trends among them that often catch me by surprise. One of those is that fans of mostly extreme metal often have a soft spot in their hearts for traditional metal, despite all the clichés about it that their preferred style of music tried to eradicate. And among those fans who have such a proclivity, Wolf is one of the bands that often gets brandished as an example of what traditional metal should be.

Album Review: Death Penalty - "Death Penalty"

Gaz Jennings is a name well known in the perpetual underground of heavy metal. As the songwriter and guitarist for the now-defunct Cathedral, Jennings helped pen and perform some of the great classics of doom metal, teaming up with Lee Dorian to energize the genre after a particularly fallow period.

Album Review: Machinae Supremacy - Phantom Shadow

It was only natural that once metal music became intertwined with video games that there would be a degree of co-mingling, that bands would start to soak up the sounds and influences of the games that took metal under their wing. It's odd, in a way, that a genre that tries to push boundaries would instead have a faction that aims to introduce regressive sounds, but that is exactly what has happened. The soundtrack of old 8-bit video games has seeped into areas of the metal culture, and has created an odd amalgam of sounds that I could never have predicted.

Album Review: TO HUMANS - "Metacognition"

So, what do you do when you're a drummer and your dad is also a drummer but not just ANY drummer. He's one of the most iconic metal drummers ever. What is a son to do? Join a power trio and put out an album filled with some of the best hard rock this reviewer has heard in a long time. That's what you do.

Album Review: Dragonforce - Maximum Overload

I first heard about Dragonforce before they became popular through the Guitar Hero games. I heard about their first album when it came out, and I was quite puzzled by what I was hearing. It was lightning-speed power metal, played at tempos I could barely register, and topped off with some of the most gloriously cheesy vocals and melodies I had ever heard. On paper, it sounded like a disaster, but they somehow made it work.

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