album review

Album Review: Witchcraft Reissues

One of the benefits of discovering a band in its infancy is being able to watch them grow and develop as the years pass. The bands that shift their sound between records, never treading the exact same ground twice, are the ones that make for the most rewarding relationships between band and fan. In the over-saturated metal market, finding bands at the genesis of their sound is not easy, and many escape our vision until it's too late to enjoy the process of maturation.

Album Review: A Hero A Fake - The Future Again

Metal in this millennium has become so fractured that it's impossible to keep all the developments straight. Each genre of metal continues to further subdivide itself, and each of those new scenes spawns its legion of imitator bands, to the point that there are so many bands playing so many forms of metal that assembling them into some form of coherent knowledge of what metal is today feels much like the proverbial story of putting Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Album Review: The Chant - A Healing Place

It is interesting to me to see the renaissance of an old aesthetic, the sounds of yesteryear becoming not only popular once again, but in many ways a trend as well. In the world of progressive rock, there is a conscious shift occurring, bringing back many of the feelings and sounds that made the heyday of the genre the influential force it has been.

Album Review: Monsterworks - Man: Instincts [EP]

Every so often I get the chance to hear something that catches me off-guard. I enjoy those moments, not just because they're rare, but because they usually end up being some of the more memorable experiences I have with music. It's not always the case, and many times it's with records I would rather never hear again, but the old adage about any publicity being good publicity does come to mind. Whether good or bad, the ability to stand out from the throngs of music I've ingested is one of those things that shouldn't be taken for granted.

Album Review: Bury Tomorrow - The Union Of Crowns

There may be no word scarier to the traditional metal fan than 'metalcore'. Merely mentioning the term stirs up feelings of angst and unease, as though the music is a deadly infection that threatens to wipe out earlier strains of heavy metal. Perhaps there was a time for such concern, when it looked as though metalcore was going to grow beyond being the next big thing, and would instead come to dominate the scene at large. Like always, those fears were overblown, and have since been tossed into the pile of absurd predictions that is always fun to dig through for a laugh.

Album Review: Morbid Execution - Vulgar Darkness

When an album comes across my desk with a press release bearing words like 'sodomy', 'filth', and 'vile', a small part of me has already started writing my opinion before I ever hear a note of the music. It's a lousy form of jurisprudence, but it's one I won't pretend to ignore. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but we all know that it happens all the time. There are plenty of reasons why we should know better, why we should try to be more enlightened, but in the end, it's difficult to fight our baser tendencies.

Album Review: Dogbane - Residual Alcatraz

In the long, winding story of heavy metal, one of the most under-appreciated chapters is that of American pioneers Trouble. The Chicago band was responsible not only for the rise and development of American doom metal, but three albums later also the development of groove and stoner metal. Their catalog is littered with classic records, and they boast what may be the least known, yet most deserving guitar tandem to ever turn up an amp. Why am I spending a few sentences on a band whose album I'm not reviewing?

Album Review: Witchsorrow - God Curse Us

Of all the subsets of heavy metal, doom may just be the hardest to do well. While thrash can get by on the adrenaline of speed, prog can get by on intellectual arguments, and death and black metal can get by on sheer aggression, doom has nothing to fall back on. The plodding tempos make doom subject to falling into tepid boredom, repeating the same riffs over and over again until the blur into a mash of heaviness.

Album Review: The Reticent - Le Temps Detruit Tout

Progressive music has been in the midst of a boom in recent years. After a long stretch of time in which being able to play your instrument was deemed unnecessary, and long songs were out of vogue, things have come full circle to an embrace of the reckless creativity that marked the glory age of music. Whether a softer approach as taken by groups like Transatlantic, fully metal statements by the likes of Opeth, or something straddling the fence like Porcupine Tree, more and more bands have accepted the freedom that comes with being progressive.

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.

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