album review

Album Review: Thränenkind - The Elk

Being the kind of person who dwells on semantics, a band like Thränenkind bothers me even before I've heard a note of their music. Described as 'post-metal', the label leaves me scratching my head. Metal is still alive and flourishing, and it shows no signs of going anywhere, so what does post-metal even mean? In the other arts, post-modernism had a point; it was a deliberate realignment of what art was supposed to be, taking it back from the modernist school, which was both unified and generational. Metal is not like the other arts, however.

Album review: Fueled By Fire - "Trapped in Perdition"

Our friends at wikipedia define thrash metal this way; "Thrash metal generally features fast tempos, low-register, complex guitar riffs, high-register guitar solos and double bass drumming. Vocally, thrash metal can employ anything from melodic singing to shouted vocals. Most thrash guitar solos are played at high speed, as they are usually characterized by shredding". I'd like to add another entry - See: "Fueled By Fire".

Album Review: Watain - The Wild hunt

In the spirit of honesty, I have a confession I must make; there has never been a black metal album I have enjoyed. While I can understand the mental state that leads to its creation, and the ethos is not philosophically unappealing, the actual music that falls under the banner has the same effect on me as fingernails streaking across a chalkboard (a sound that, ironically, does not bother me). I have tried listening to modern black metal, the 'classics', and random recommendations I've picked up in various places, but the end result is always the same.

Album Review: James LaBrie - Impermanent Resonance

James LaBrie's last solo album, “Static Impulse”, answered a question I'm not sure had ever been asked: what would it sound like if LaBrie fronted Soilwork? Far from his progressive metal roots, “Static Impulse” was a modern metal album in every facet, blending melodic choruses to state of the art riffing and juxtaposed screaming vocals. More than a shock to expectations, the album was a surprisingly effective vehicle for LaBrie, and was better than I could have ever imagined such an effort being.

Album Review: Pillbuster: Pillbuster

It's the simple pleasures that help make life worthwhile. For me, there's the anticipation of listening to a new CD and the impossible wait just before the opening track starts playing. Generally, with my hand on the volume knob, I turn it up for maximum effect. When the first few notes begin there are three possible reactions - "Ooh, that's not very good. Let's try track two", "Eh, that's kind of what I expected" or "Hell yeah!".

Album Review: Deadlock - The Arsonist

Metal is not known for its beauty. It can be many things, beautiful included, but if there is one thing metal is known for, it's stringy-haired heaviness. Metal is not the music of the beautiful people, and we wouldn't love it so much if it was. But somewhere in calculations, the balance needed to keep metal from falling off the edge of relevance gets lost. Hearing as many albums a year as I do, which is still but a fraction, there is a titanic chasm of possibility few bands have jumped headlong into.

Album Review: Falling in Reverse - "Fashionably Late"

Falling in Reverse potentially confirms the small epiphany I had while watching Motionless in White live at Mayhem Fest. Scary though it may seem, perhaps this is a glimpse of one possible future of heavy metal. And I hear the rage boiling at me already, that these bands don’t meet the arbitrarily established criteria of metal. Yet, I can’t ignore the fact that this wave isn’t going away, now in its fourth year (at least.) The make-up and costumes and big hair seem to be back in some form, and the kids just love it. In the end, aren’t they the ones who will define metal going forward?

Album Review: Monster Truck - "Furiosity"

Life experience, viewed through a sort of existentialist paradigm, is an extremely persistent animal. There are certain lessons that life seems bound and determined to teach us, no matter how many times we attempt to ignore the moral. Foremost among those teachings and concurrently the one that is seemingly reinforced most often in our lives is “don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s a little shameful to admit, but I’ve spent thirty years on this earth and occasionally still have slips in my understanding of this basic tenet.

Album Review: The Winery Dogs - The Winery Dogs

Why are some musicians vagabonds, jumping from project to project in a constant state of motion? There's a cynical answer about the undying desire to find the band that will break through and bring fame and fortune, but for most it has to do with a need to make music. For a certain group of musicians, music is an addiction, something they have to constantly be involved with or else they go crazy. It's hard to separate these honestly passionate creators from the more shrewd businessmen, but every so often the answer becomes clear.

Album Review: Counterparts - The Difference Between Hell And Home

The role and mindset of a journalist is different depending on who you ask. The traditional definition maintains that journalists are supposed to be objective, meaning they should write without the perception of bias. Doing so, however, is incompatible with human nature, not to mention being just about impossible to pull off. Rather, the definition that is coming more into popularity is one where objectivity means understanding your own bias, and writing with that knowledge in mind, so that readers can understand where you are coming from.

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