album reviews

At the risk of sounding like a press release, John Garcia has managed to carve himself out a unique niche in the music world solely by being among the progenitors of his chosen style.

For more than a decade, Otep Shamaya has played several parts in the metalsphere: rebel, lightning rod, provocateur.

Not so long ago on these very pages, I remember thinking that Sister Sin’s “True Sound of the Underground” was far too calculating for its own good, attempting to capitalize on the broad and easy target of teenage angst without really offering a solution or an alternative.

There’s something about German power metal that sets it wide apart from all other manifestations of heavy metal; it is even different than the power metal from other European nations.

As a reviewer and music journalist, sometimes the toughest task is to remain impartial and objective about a new project that slides across your desk.

After the release of the comparatively successful “Root of All Evil,” it became evident from the fans’ clawing that they wanted new material from Arch Enemy, and they wanted it fast. That album’s re-recordings of early AE songs was a fun romp, but only served to whet the crowd’s appetite.

Under normal circumstances, when someone hears the words “Swedish band” and “graveyard” used in conjunction, it generally portends a musical world of spiked bracelets, corpse paint and songs about demons.

Over all the years, projects, lineups, albums and EPs, Chris Reifert has become nothing if not the picture of consistency.

Huh. *shrug*

That’s my reaction to Gallhammer’s new album, “The End.” Cut down from three members to two after the departure of Mika Penetrator, the all-girl Japanese metal band has set out to try and push the boundaries of black and doom metal.

Red Fang’s sophomore effort “Murder the Mountains” is a wonderfully experimental, anything-goes affair that approaches the mores of kick-ass rock and roll with open eyes and robust vitality.