heavy metal

Album Review: Sonic Pulse - "Lager Than Life"

Take a look at that cover art. Look at it again. One more time. If you are left with any uncertainty whatsoever as to the kind of heavy metal album that Sonic Pulse has released, then you simply are being myopic.

Heavy metal cover art has seen some small evolutions over the years, but these are mainly cosmetic, as the iconography has bent and waved to the whim of culturally pleasing aesthetics in the moment. What remains paramount is that metal cover art must, by genre-dictated norm, conform to one of four principles:

1) Heavy-handed demonic imagery

Album Review: Fullforce - Next Level

One of the things that irritates me about the metal scene is the habit of making everything sound like a bigger deal than it really is. I'm referring mostly to the incessant need to label any project that features people who have been in other bands as a 'supergroup'. The bands that actually deserve to be called that are exceptionally rare, and the cluttering of the scene with dozens who wrongly wear the moniker only serves to make me even more upset when the end result turns out to be lackluster.

Album Review: Diagonal - The Second Mechanism

Progressive music walks a fine line for most of its existence, trying to balance the gratification musicians garner from playing difficult and involved compositions with the gratification listeners need to be able to elicit from those same songs. Finding the right mix of challenge for the player and fun for the audience is a bit of a magic trick, not unlike pulling a rabbit out of the hat. There are a few bands who have been able to marry the popular and the insular, but the numbers who manage to do so are few and far between. It's the nature of the beast.

Album Review: October Rage - "Outrage"

You remember Ron Dayne? For those who don’t, Ron Dayne was a running back from the University of Wisconsin, who won the 1999 Heisman Trophy and became the first round pick of the New York Giants in the April 2000 NFL Draft. For a couple years, he was loaded with promise, even being anointed as part of the Giants “revolutionary” ‘Thunder and Lightning’ backfield alongside Tiki Barber.

Album Review: Motörhead - "The World is Ours, Vol. 2"

If you are a heavy metal fan, Motörhead’s live show is one of those pinnacle “must-haves.” While Lemmy and his cohorts continue to insist that they are nothing more than a rock and roll band, seeing Motörhead live is watching a living oral history of the genesis of heavy metal.

Album Review: Stolen Babies - Naught

It's hard to remember sometimes that music is in fact art, and the songs and albums we listen to are supposed to be artistic expressions of the people who create them. Music has taken many turns over the years, and all but a few of those movements have ended up with a more commercialized product, records that aim more to please fans and bring in profits than they do give life to creative impulses.

Album Review: Daemonicus - Deadwork

Every genre, it seems, has its own sense of nostalgia. As the classic bands of every facet of metal continue to chug along, and in many cases find more success than they've had in decades, a new wave of bands is popping up, using the classics as more than merely an inspiration. While there are the bands making waves with their new takes on familiar tropes, there are even more dedicated to replicating what was great about the past, giving fans who weren't old enough at the time a look back into what the scene was like when innovation was everywhere.

Album Review: Soundgarden - "King Animal"

What to make of a comeback album from a band sixteen years gone?

Following “Down On the Upside,” an album that was met with critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination for single “Pretty Noose,” Soundgarden walked away in the face of flagging sales. It was a disheartening announcement that the band was done; they clearly had the talent and desire, but no longer felt the warm embrace of relevancy in a world that had evolved past the flannelled angst of grunge.

Album Review: Troubled Horse - Step Inside

In what has been a great year for vintage styled rock can roll, we keep adding to the list of releases taking us back in time to the days when rock and roll still had a raw and youthful energy behind it. In the years that have followed, the genre twisted itself into something different, a corporate-sponsored mash-up of music that usually has about as much attitude behind it as the most generic pop song. Rock and roll is as much an image as it is music, mostly conforming to a neat little box everyone is afraid to step outside of, for fear of alienating fans.

Concert Review: The Sword, Gypsyhawk

The Middle East in Cambridge, Massachusetts is a wonderful place to see a show, offering a fill menu of quality items upstairs and then…the basement. Going down those black, diamond plate steps into the din of the restaurant’s basement is enough of a sensation to make the concert patron feel like he or she is a part of something. You become a member of the privileged few, the crowd who is enough in the know to want to know more about the evening’s music to come.

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