album review

Album Review: Korpiklaani - Manala

Among the dozens of factors that can impact the effect music has on us, geography cannot be ignored. Whether its the pull of a hometown act, or the joy in discovering music you love that comes from a world away, it does matter where the music we listen to comes from. Often, the music is indistinguishable enough that its a trivial factor that gets lost amid the more important details, but there are times when the origin of the music is intrinsic to not only how we hear it, but to what it is at all.

Album Review: 12 Stones - Beneath The Scars

As the 90's drew to a close, the state of rock music was slipping into a state of decay. It was lazy to conflate all modern rock bands, sentencing them to live under the title 'post-grunge', but there was always a grain of truth to be found in the stereotype. After the grunge movement came and went, the color had been sucked from the palate, and rock music became a bland canvas where every painter assembled their art from the same template.

Album Review: Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth

Testament has managed a remarkable feat; they have spent their entire career one step into the shadows. During the 80's, the natural cutoff for establishing the group of thrash bands at the top of the heap left them one step away from immortality, despite their sales success. As bands shifted their sounds in the 90's and found greater audiences, Testament went the other direction by becoming more extreme with each album, doing nothing to ride the wave created by their peers.

Album Review: Crucified Barbara - The Midnight Chase

The world of hard rock and heavy metal is a difficult one for women to exist in. The tougher-than-thou image that overtook the music is dependent on testosterone to survive, and even when women dare enter the fray, they are looked at with a curious eye. The spots reserved for women, for the most part, are either as keyboard players in the background, or as operatic sirens with the looks of a model.

Album Review: Tankard - "A Girl Called Cerveza"

Tankard has always been the bridesmaid of German thrash. Part of the vanguard during Germany’s answer to America’s Big 4, Tankard has seen thirty years go by without a single interruption in productivity or scandalous episode. Yet, they’ve never been escorted down the aisle or asked for their hand in marriage; the tenets of super-popularity elude them.

Album Review: Voodoo Brother - Voodoo Brother [EP]

Stoner metal has always lived in the underground, which is not a surprise, given that fame and acclaim don't mesh with the typical mindset the music carries. The drawn-out compositions, sludgy productions, and emphasis on everything other than making catchy music sentenced stoner metal to live in the shadows, a place not unfamiliar to the people making the music. But in recent years, as many stoner bands have softened their sound, and as the musical landscape has continued to fracture, stoner bands have entered a period in which they can achieve more than previously thought.

Album Review: 3 Pill Morning - Black Tie Love Affair

The internet has been a double-edged sword for bands. On the one hand, it has made it easy for any band to be heard. Even the smallest artists are able to get their music out to be heard by people in the furthest corners of the world. It has been a godsend. On the other hand, the flood of music that washes over listeners each and every day makes it nearly impossible for new bands to make the kind of impact they would have expected years ago, even when they have the industry pushing them forward.

Album Review: Southwicked - Death's Crown

There's a phenomenon in sports where once great athletes, on the verge of the end, return to the teams they made their legends with on one-day contracts, giving themselves a sense of closure as they fade away into the land of archive footage forevermore. Musicians rarely get that kind of self-serving charade. Bands who reunite after years or even decades seldom manage to live up to the standards we remember of them, and members who return to the fold after time in exile often fail to grasp the passage of time that has altered the group they disappeared from.

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.

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