album reviews

AFI has matured considerably since we last saw them. The adolescent simple punk themes have been replaced with more ominous overtones and a more mature sense of self. Not to say that the pubescent themes have completely grown up.

As a music critic, I feel that it's my duty to be at least informed in all manners of my chosen genre. So, I find myself led to Skillet, and their chart-topping new studio album "Awake." I can hear you already: Christian metal? Is that even possible?

In the history of heavy metal, there have been many hotbeds of activity. New Jersey, New York, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, the entire nation of Germany, and most of the Scandinavian states. In all that time and distance, no one has ever mentioned the town of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the released video of "Cruise Ship Terror" from the band Swashbuckle, and proclaimed it one of my favorite videos in the past couple years.

Maybe just because it's been long enough and maybe because it's overdue, the American thrash spirit seems to be undergoing a rejuvenation. Enter Havok, who is trying to shoehorn their way into a scene that has gone from being bare to suddenly being overcrowded.

When Audioslave released their first album, comparisons to Rage Against the Machine were inevitable. Unfortunately, they were also unfair. Audioslave had a whole different feel than Rage could have ever conceived, and musically was branching off in a totally different and new direction.

Hey, you remember “Repo! The Genetic Opera”?

DevilDriver's "Pray for Villains" is a remote control with just one button. And that one button gets mashed over and over again from the word "go." It is brash, loud and substantive, but totally lacking in imagination or variety.

Normally, when I hear the words “progressive” and “atmospheric” in front of the word “metal,” I run screaming from the room. So fearful am I of the genre’s technically proficient but terribly brooding boredom that I would rather stick a fork in my own ear.

Coming from the least likely of all heavy metal havens, Scissorfight hails from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, home of....well, I don't really know. Wikipedia suggests that Portsmouth was once the home of naval hero John Paul Jones, lawyer Daniel Webster, and Betty Hill of the Hill UFO Abduction.