heavy metal

Following years of tumult and unrest, with multiple rotating cast members, Arsis has settled into a groove for the release of the upcoming record "Unwelcome." For the first time, band leader James Malone feels like he has a lineup he can count on and an album that he can really use to launch the band into the fray. We sat down with James to talk about his band, his music, and the conventions of genre labels.

With “Earth Rocker” released to the world, it stood to reason that Clutch would blaze a trail across the United States bringing their blend of rock and roll and swamp blues to the masses nationwide. This tour was especially poignant given Clutch’s asserted desire to unequivocally return to their rock roots and re-establish themselves as the preeminent rock band in the U.S. With Neil Fallon’s admission that “Earth Rocker” and “Blast Tyrant” producer Machine was in attendance on this night, expectations were high. Along for this part of the ride were Orange Goblin and Lionize.

Avantasia has always existed in a world larger than life. Recruiting scores of heavy hitters to fill the ranks of grandiose concept albums, Avantasia has been the playground for Tobias Sammet's grandest experiments. The two part "Metal Opera" is widely regarded as a modern day classic, even if I seemingly disagree with the whole world on which half is the most vital.

There are concerns for bands that extend beyond the writing and playing of their music. Making an album can be a long, tedious, draining experience, but the job isn't done when the last note is given the final once over. Timing can be just as important as the actual music, the impact made by an album depending on when and in what mindframe the audience gets the chance to absorb the music. When it's written down, it sounds like a ridiculous complaint that an album was released at the wrong time, but we're human, and there's a part of human nature that compartmentalizes our lives by time.

The word is out. Volbeat is far from a secret. Those not familiar with the Danish rock and metal powerhouse are officially behind in the count now. Playing the Best Buy Theater in the burning neon heart of Times Square, Volbeat had sold out the show weeks in advance. I had it on pretty damn good authority that industry people, journalists and an audience from all over Europe were flying into New York City to witness this show.

The Merciless Book of Metal Lists” proclaims to be the single most opinionated source on heavy metal in history. That statement by authors Howie Abrams and Sacha Jenkins not only sets the tone for the book, but in itself is an argumentative statement. The beauty of this book is that the authors’ gleefully expect you to disagree with them and they’re glad you do! The book tries to capture both the intrinsic debate among learned metal fans and the fraternal brotherhood of metal fandom.

While listening to Moss, it quickly becomes evident that this is one of those bands where the name is not just a title, but an idea. Think about the nature of moss: it grows directionless but persistent, deliberate and patient. Uninhibited, moss will overtake and consume any object nearby. This insight gives just a glimpse of the idea behind Moss’ new record “Horrible Night.”

Devil to Pay has established a long career in the underground, cementing themselves as the go-to for grungy American doom. All this while being based in Indianapolis, perhaps the least likely of hotbeds for heavy metal activity. Parenthetically, the fact that Devil to Pay has experienced success outside their home market is a solid testament to the penetration and efficiency of the accessible digital marketplace.

We all know the names of the legendary and influential bands that laid the groundwork for today's metal universe. Their legacies are undoubted, the influence massive. But for every band that became immortal, there were others that were forgotten, left behind, doomed to spend eternity in the shadows. It's a simple fact that only so many can make it to the top of the mountain, and only a few can be recognized as innovators, but they were never alone. There were always other bands, who didn't make it, who pushed them along on the path toward becoming legends.

It has been thirty years since Suicidal Tendencies’ self-titled debut album hit the shelves. At the time, lead singer Mike Muir was an energized, angst-driven twenty year-old churning out some of the best hardcore punk of the time period. Now, at the age of fifty, he’s back with a new Suicidal Tendencies lineup and a brand new material.