heavy metal

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.

Album Review: Black Sabbath - "13"

Deep breath.

This is one of things that you never think you’ll see in your life. Usually the next statement after that is some kind of unbridled joy, but the release of Black Sabbath’s “13” leaves feelings of wary confusion. Questions remain abound – What is this? Why are we here? Was this trip really necessary? This isn’t a cash grab (at least it better not be,) so why does it even exist?

Album Review: Artlantica - Across The Seven Seas

Metal bands these days aren't unlike sets of Legos. Much as kids take the little plastic blocks and use the same pieces to build anything their little minds can think of, metal bands are increasingly composed of the same members, just reconfigured in different combinations. There's a double-edged sword quality about this development, as while it is welcome to have more music being made by many of the best players in the world, there's also the threat that all of these bands will wind up watering down the scene by making everything sound like everything else.

Album Review: Amon Amarth - "Deceiver of the Gods"

Over the past four or so years, no band has risen from underground to head-of-the-class faster than Amon Amarth. Their last album “Surtur Rising” was a breakout party onto the main stage despite being their eighth record, which is testament to the band’s patience and dedication.

Album Review: Scorpion Child – “Scorpion Child”

It seems like every year there’s another Classic Rock revivalist band that attempts to reimagine the sounds of the ‘70s for a new generation of listeners. Bands like The Sword, Wolfmother, The Answer, Graveyard, and many others have all done a fine job incorporating the sounds of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but they have survived their own band’s debut because they managed to blend in enough of their own identity.

Album Review: Potential Threat SF - "Civilization Under Threat"

At the rate these albums have been coming out, I need to either invent a time machine so I can go back to 1983 and learn to love thrash, or stick my head in the sand for another three years until a new trend is established. The number of thrash albums hitting these days is astounding, considering how the genre was all but dead until The Big 4 came out of hibernation. It's great news for adrenaline starved fans, because nothing can pump the blood like good ol' thrash can, but it's slightly less inviting for people like me who have never been filled to the brim with youthful bile.

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