album review

I have always had a curious fascination with Cannibal Corpse, the veteran metal band originally formed in 1988. Unfortunately for the band, my fascination with them is largely due to reasons totally beyond their control, and interests that likely do not coincide with their ideals. First and foremost, Cannibal Corpse has always been represented in my life by the nerdiest of metal fans; kids with big, tangled mops of unkempt hair, glasses with thick lenses and arms that have never done a push-up voluntarily, and certainly not in the new millennium.

A new Angel Witch album? What? This is still happening?

The answer to all of those questions is an unequivocal "yes." Angel Witch is back, still with lead singer and songwriter Kevin Heybourne parlaying his thirst for traditional British heavy metal into an album that introduces the purest form of that genre to a whole new generation. Of course, he's not leaving any of the old faithful (and they are out there,) behind; those who clapped and called along with the memorable chorus "You're, an, angel witch! You're an angel witch!" can feel safe donning their sleeveless denim vest again.

In the quickly multiplying and increasingly competitive world of folk metal, bands are given an early choice between two camps, each representing one of the possible idiomatic sounds of the genre. First, you could truly embrace the roots of the music you are channeling, incorporating an increased number of traditional or esoteric instruments and arrangement. The other path, equally valid in the halls of metal, is to bend more towards the melodic death metal trend, using the folk elements as garnish surrounding the main dish of metal being served.

Somewhere between the rock and roll of the White Stripes, the distorted two-beat fuzz of Nine Inch Nails' last album "The Slip," and the cadences of the Gorillaz lies the "No Sleep" EP from upstart Australian power duo DZ Deathrays.
Now, let's not get carried away too early. While the EP contains elements, that doesn't mean it is equal to the sum of all of them. Rather, the DZ Deathrays pick and choose their moments on this five-cut sampling of their talent

Zeroking touts itself as an all-out rock and roll band, but there's more going on here than just that. Based in West Virginia, the band is heavily influenced by the rock and roll ideal of the West Coast, and uses that as a base to launch their curious and devil-may-care mix of rock, piano and brass (or a close facsimile to them,) and down home country twang.

Re-releases seldom grab my attention, as they are merely regurgitations of past exercises. And yes, I’m aware that I probably make that statement whenever I am about to discuss another re-release.

With that in mind, Metal Blade is distributing for the first time in the United States (take THAT, import fees!) the first album of doom-ish metal band Blood Ceremony, and two other albums from Japanese Black Sabbath idolaters Church of Misery.

Somewhere between dates on the ridiculous, seemingly endless touring schedule of Polkadot Cadaver, three of that band's members joined up with Tom Maxwell (Hellyeah) and Tommy Sickles (ex-Nothingface) to put together an album under the name of "Knives Out." The resulting product, "Black Mass Hysteria," is both an unflinching celebration of metal and a rolling, thunderous ride.

Approximately 11 trillion words have already been written in anticipation of, and response to, Van Halen's new album, "A Different Kind of Truth." Those words have ranged between an instant haranguing under the guise of the album being far too late, and an automatic sterling review as a revival of one of the signature bands of rock and roll's arguably best era.

Hopes Die Last wants to grab your attention and not let go. The first vision of the band most people encounter will be their cover art, which is wonderfully grisly and disturbing and gory all at the same time. The album behind that image is a mixed bag of emotions, tempos and styling, built upon an intentionally rocky foundation to keep the listener engaged in the same manner that a high-speed car chase does. Whatever is around the bend remains a mystery until the album is right directly on top of it.

After fifteen years, German heavy metal heavy hitters Caliban are still going strong and beginning a new album cycle with “I Am Nemesis.” This album sees Caliban mixing more diverse inspirations into their music and experimenting with mixing in more gang vocals and mosh pit mayhem.