album review

Album Review: Tyr - Valkyrja

I'm often confused by the things that become popular. My mind and my aesthetic aren't compatible with common wisdom, so I'm often at a loss when it comes to understanding how certain elements become wildly popular, while others that may have more obvious merit are left by the wayside. Tyr brings this to mind, here presenting us a concept album about the voyage of a Viking warrior riding off into battle to impress the Gods. Viking mythology is certainly interesting, but it baffles me how Viking -themed metal has become such a large part of what we hear every year.

Album Review: Lullwater - "Lullwater"

With each passing generation of popular music, there are tropes that remain constant despite an ever-shifting landscape. One of the most prominent roles that has been played by many capable actors is the role of pleasantly listenable, broadly appealing and emotionally based rock and roll band. It’s been an important niche coming and going in the different eras of music history, the successor to the genre-defining acts that blazed rock’s trail in the late sixties and early seventies. Any band that can carry a melodic tune easily provides a recognizable touchstone of a given musical era.

Album Review: Bl'ast - Blood!

Both as a journalist, and as someone with an interest in heavy guitar music, it's difficult for me to admit the staggering gaps in my knowledge. I wish I could say I know more than I do about every aspect of the music we cover here, but I came to the party late, and with a musical basis predetermined that makes it difficult for me to appreciate certain types of heavy music in anything but an intellectual way. One of those gaps in my knowledge is punk/hardcore.

Album Review: Saliva - "In It To Win It"

Confession time, kids. I have long been, since my college days, a closet Saliva fan. I hear the rampant, frothing criticism already – ‘Drew, that’s less metal (and therefore worse,) than your general support for the mainstream Five Finger Death Punch and the cupcake that is Sick Puppies.’ I know. I get it. Bear with me. Just like those other two bands, Saliva has long distinguished themselves by being able to execute a quality formula for pop metal (if I can call it that.) while maintaining a certain credible edge. With that in mind, we venture forth into “In It to Win It.”

Album Review: Ashes Of Ares - Ashes Of Ares

We metal fans are not above snobbery. We love our pedigrees as much as any blue-blood. When a new band comes along, we tend to look and see who the members may have played with in the past, hoping for an indicator of quality before we ever hear a note. Seeing a familiar old name attached to a project makes us feel better about getting involved with yet another new band, even if it does tip the scales before our brains are ready to make an informed decision.

Album Review: Vista Chino - "Peace"

By this point, the saga of Kyuss has been fairly well reported. To tell the story fully would require a documentary film of appreciable length, a flowchart with Cliffs Notes and a very long afternoon. What began simply as the band that invented and molded desert metal became a long and drama-ragged tale of music and litigation.

The upshot is this: out of the ashes of short-lived revival Kyuss Lives! comes Vista Chino, spiritual successor to the original Kyuss and composed of that band’s co-founding members Brant Bjork, John Garcia and occasionally the enigmatic Nick Oliveri.

Album Review: ReVamp - "Wild Card"

I had the good fortune to come of age during the "golden era" of metal. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) was in full swing, "Ride the Lightning" had just come out, "Reign in Blood", "Peace Sells" and "Among the Living" would soon follow along with countless bands who would disappear into obscurity.

Album Review: Monsterworks - Earth

My top ten list last year was incomplete, because Monsterworks' “Album Of Man” straddled the new year and now exists in it's own little world, unattached to any year in particular. It's a shame, since that album was a schizophrenic joyride through some of the wildest and most daring metal I've come across in a long time. It was, and still is, a bit of a confusing puzzle, but the pieces were so tantalizing that not seeing the big picture isn't really a problem.

Album Review: Witherscape - The Inheritance

Dan Swano is as much an extreme metal legend as you can get. From his work with the seminal Edge Of Sanity, to his years spent behind the desk making every band he worked with sound better than they ever had before, he is one of the key figures in the history of European extreme metal. And all of that is before even mentioning “Moontower”, his solo triumph. That album, in my eyes, is the single greatest death metal record ever made, and a towering achievement that single-handedly proves the merit of growled vocals.

Album Review: Devildriver: "Winter Kills"

What can I say about "Winter Kills", the latest release from "Devildriver", except "holy crap!". These guys are really pissed off. "Winter Kills" is heavy handed, aggressive and at times, dare I say, even melodic. I listened to this album while attempting to do some household chores and damn near put a lamp through the window and kicked over the couch.

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