heavy metal

Album Review: Noctum - Final Sacrifice

When I take a step back and try to figure out what's going on in the world of metal these days, two radically divergent things become apparent. There's a schism going on, with a set of bands trying to move us forward into whatever god-forsaken trend is going to take over the world next, while another set is trying to move us backwards to a time when music was simpler. I tend to cast my lot with this latter group, the bands that ache for a time when 'studio magic' meant making people believe a warlock was helping you record, not a computer playing your parts for you.

Album Review: Death Angel - "The Dream Calls For Blood"

Those who know me know I am a huge fan of so-called old-school thrash. It was the soundtrack of my adolescence and became the outlet for my teen angst and rebel nature. Among the bands who helped destroy my still developing neck was Death Angel. With that background, you can imagine my excitement when the new release from Death Angel, "The Dream Calls For Blood", came across my desk.

Album Review: Monster Magnet - "Last Patrol"

Some things don’t change. It remains difficult to discuss the long career of Monster Magnet without using the word ‘circuitous.’ Born into obscurity in the wilds of New Jersey, Dave Wyndorf’s band toiled for years, eventually landed a major radio hit with “Space Lord,” was on everyone’s lips for twelve minutes, then it faded just as fast as it had come. A period of infighting and lineup shuffling followed, but through it all the name Monster Magnet persisted.

Album Review: Argus - Beyond The Martyrs

I don't like to do so, but Argus is a band that I will forever think of as connected to another similar band. It's not fair to either of them, but Argus and Sinister Realm came about at roughly the same time, I discovered them concurrently, and they play similar enough music on the same schedule that it's hard for my mind to separate the two. Both of them released debut albums I was quite fond of at the time, at the first heights of the traditional metal resurrection.

Album Review: Running Wild - Resilient

Part of me is sad that I missed out on the speed/pirate metal boom that took place when I was too young to know what heavy metal even was. The 80's were the heyday of cheese, and not much was cheesier than a bunch of guys with long hair dressed up like pirates while they tried to play music to make you think they were aggressive. We saw a brief resurrection of the style a few years ago, but in this day and age, the facade no longer works. The world is too cynical for such slipshod gimmicks, which is why Running Wild was laid to rest not too long ago; it's time had passed.

Album Review: Sasquatch - "IV"

Every once in a while, when lamenting the lack of quality music in today's marketplace, you come across a record that just makes your day. It's like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or eating a Wonka bar and realizing you found the last golden ticket. It's unexpected and it makes you feel like there is some hope in this God-forsaken world. Well, that might be a little over the top but I just found me a new record and I can't get enough.

Album Review: Iron Man - South Of The Earth

One of the things that gets overlooked when talking about music is the difficulty in finding the perfect name for your band. As an artist, you need to come up with something that is evocative, that captures the imagination, but also something that captures the spirit of your band in a few short words. And what you really want to do is avoid picking a name that saddles you as a joke for the duration of your career. No matter how much I may love an album from a band like Spock's Beard, there will always be a part of me that cringes when I have to say the name aloud.

Album Review: The Answer - "New Horizon"

You're going to see your favorite band in concert and there's some group you've never heard of before opening the show. Here's the thing about most opening acts - they're just an inconvenience to get through before the act you came to see takes the stage. The thing for the opening band to remember is when they start, the audience is ready for a show, has high hopes and wants to be impressed. The band has exactly 5.25 seconds to accomplish this. If they're not hooked immediately, the audience could turn ugly.

Album Review: Dream Theater - Dream Theater

Dream Theater's new album is one that I can't help but judge with unrealistic expectations. Their previous album, "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", was not just an amazing album, or the best album in the band's storied history, it was so much the perfect encapsulation of what I think progressive metal to be that it has risen to the point where I call it my favorite progressive metal album of all time. It's high praise, to be sure, but every time I listen to that record, I'm amazed by how the band can take such technically demanding material and mix it with some truly glorious vocal melodies.

Album Review: Conquest - "The War We Rage"

"Thrash /THraSH/ (verb) - to beat violently and repeatedly". This definition fits the band Conquest and their newest album, "The War We Rage", perfectly. Thrash metal as a genre has been around now for more than 30 years. To be defined as a thrash band requires you to stay true to certain compositional elements which were developed "back in the day" and repeated time and time again. These are generally low-register, "chugging" guitars, double bass drumming, high-register guitar solos and screaming vocals. Conquest is truly the definition of thrash.

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