heavy metal

Album Review: Erimha - Reign Through Immortality

At some point, we lost our collective minds. Obsessed with classifying everything, the amateur Linnaeus in us all has created a staggering matrix of labels we apply to the metal we listen to, to the point where describing a song can sometimes take longer than the actual track (and I wish I were making that up). By splitting the music into ever smaller pieces of understanding, we are able to better predict the likelihood of enjoying something before ever hearing a note, but we also reduce our exposure to new things, because we know exactly what we're getting.

Album Review: SPiT LiKE THiS - "Normalityville Horror"

Nickelback.

That’s an extremely charged word for anyone who has a more-than-casual interest in music of any type. Nickelback has come to symbolize all that is wrong with mainstream radio, the music industry and the lowest common denominator. More to the point, Nickelback also represents the current state of popular rock, encompassing the twin ideas of sleaze and arena rock.

Album Review: Autopsy - The Headless Ritual

I like to think of myself as being somewhat well-versed on metal and its history. But there are limits to anyone's capacity for knowledge, and when it comes to metal, mine is a mile wide and an inch deep. Only getting into heavy music after the glory days of the first wave bands was long over, my knowledge of the seminal roots of metal will never be as complete as someone who lived through those times, nor have I put in the effort to come closer.

Album Review: Lonewolf - "The Fourth and Final Horseman"

We typically use this space to discuss the comings, goings and debuts of heavy metal, but let’s step back a second and ask a metaphysical question: What makes great music? We can all voice our opinions about why we love music to our very cores, and in a debate rarity, we’re all correct. The point is, no matter what our personal reasons are, they are all permutations of the same umbrella concept; like any non-visual medium, we appreciate that music gives us a mental image, or inspiration or a journey. Simply stated, no matter our stripes, music takes us someplace.

Album Review: Sirenia - "Perils of the Deep Blue"

European metal is a crowded landscape. In a genre choked with also-rans and soundalikes, every band tries to boast their worthiness as a product of their values, their image or their virtuoso guitar talent. Sirenia, the gothic band from Norway, attempts to stand out by placing all their chips singularly on vocal prowess and a sense of the moment. It’s risky roulette to play when the fans expect certain tropes to be part and parcel, but through this lens we are introduced to “Perils of the Deep Blue.”

Album Review: Havok - "Unnatural Selection"

In recent years, we’ve witness a real revival of thrash as we once knew it. Bullet belts, gallop riff and west coast snarling are back in fashion. The more shows I go to, the more I’m seeing the return of denim, patch covered jackets and other paraphernalia ‘rescued’ from the early ‘80s that was such a part of thrash’s iconic birth. The pages of this very site have become littered with the exploits of a thrash resurgence, the genre reborn through a new generation and new eyes.

Album Review: Queensrÿche - Queensrÿche

If anything has become clear from the drama surrounding Queensrÿche, it's that both versions of the band are better off this way. Geoff Tate is no longer constrained by a fan-base that blames him for not continuing to make music that sounds exactly like their classic records, while the remaining core of the band can play that kind of music without feeling creatively stagnant. The fans win as well, because they can follow either, neither, or both versions of Queensrÿche to get whatever they want out of their devotion.

Album Review: Orphaned Land - "All Is One"

Orphaned Land is a band totally consumed by their message. Normally in metal, that message has a good chance of being insipid or sophomoric. We’ve seen messages that range from “CHAOS!” to “Drink until you can’t feel feelings anymore” and let’s not forget the tried and true “all organized societal institutions are crap.” As fans, it falls on us to either embrace or, more commonly, overlook any petulance and merely attempt to absorb and judge the music.

Album Review: Death Valley High - Positive Euth

As crazes come and go, I can usually figure out the mass-market appeal that drives people to love whatever the latest and greatest thing is. That doesn't mean I'm going to care in the slightest for any of them, but I can at least understand why everyone else trips over themselves chasing the latest fad. The one that I have yet to come to grips with is the zombie craze. The undead have become the biggest thing going, from the slower than paint drying “The Walking Dead”, to movie after movie after movie featuring the lumbering corpses rotted back to life.

Album Review: Huntress - Starbound Beast

Female fronted metal bands are, sadly, lumped into two categories; those who treat their singer as a gimmick, and those who provide operatic qualities men can't manage on their own. It's a gross over-simplification, but a large swath of the bands do fall into those categories. What is most disappointing is how little room there is in the current scene for a band to play classic heavy metal with a female voice. There are a few bands doing it, but none muster a fraction of the attention even second-rate male dominated bands lay claim to.

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