heavy metal

Boston’s Mongrel is a band that has toiled for years in the under-the-radar lights of sweaty clubs and foul-smelling basement venues, gritting out one night of punk-infused heavy metal after another, building a reputation in the difficult world of underground metal. All of that fury and hard work has been tempered in the fires of lyrics and music, then pressed into their new release, “Reclamation.”

Brace yourselves. What you are about to read are words that I never, ever, in a lifetime of music reviews, thought I would say about an album. It is Pathology's new record "The Time of Great Purification" which brings me to this astounding, heretofore thought impossible revelation.

You know, this album reminds me a little of the old band Cock and Ball Torture.

In what has been a quiet year for traditional power metal, there's a gaping hole waiting for someone to step through and become the next big thing. The mainstay bands are either in between albums, or have moved too far away from the core sound for purists, which sets the stage for someone to claim this as their time. One thing we have learned over the years is that power metal is never going to go away, no matter how much it is looked down upon by the masses.

Partnering with Bloody Good Horror, Boston area punk-metal crossover mainstay Mongrel has unveiled their new music video (seen above in glorious color!) for the song “Bored to Death” from their upcoming full length album Reclamation, which is set for release on 25 Sept. on THC-X, the digital imprint of THC-Music, home of American Head Charge, Black Light Burns, Attika7, Slaves on Dope, etc.

The struggle between brutality and melody is something that has come to define much of the modern metal movement. On one hand, there are the bands that don't believe any interplay is necessary, choosing instead to treat their listeners as punching bags, pounding song after song of relentless heaviness until they decide to retire. It's an approach that seems to be gathering more and more followers, one I would contend does nothing to help the cause of metal.

Prototype and their album “Catalyst” exist in a curious space, and it’s no accident. The band, over the course of their career, set out to provide material for two very different and heretofore unrelated metal fanbases: the base who wants up-tempo, minute to minute musical gratification, and the base who wants their music to be an aural experience. It’s a unique mix, one that ends up with “Catalyst” akin to John Bush’s later Anthrax records sprinkled with just a little bit of Rush’s wandering spirit.

Even with a fractured landscape, there are bands that persevere for ages without gaining the acclaim many believe is deserved. Though hyper-categorized, too many bands fall under each label for all of them to make an impact. It's unfortunate, but reality cannot be denied. Certain artists, no matter how many albums they make, no matter how much influence they wield, will always be legends of the underground.

For a band that’s been around more than a dozen years, there’s precious little information available about Witchcraft. Allmusic offers only a couple of paragraphs, Wikipedia offers those same paragraphs, the band’s website is more or less an order form and Encyclopedia Metallum barely makes the distinction between two different Swedish bands named Witchcraft. Hell, the band’s digital press release that comes with the album from Nuclear Blast doesn’t even have the band members’ names on it. So who is Witchcraft, and what are we doing here?

Few names in heavy metal resonate the way Chuck Billy's does. He is and has been one of the fathers of metal, a true-to-form vocalist of remarkable consistency and dedication to craft. Chuck has been a point for fans to rally around, either to carry the banner for metal, to not forget the halcyon days, or even to give cancer the finger. Over roughly thirty years, Chuck and his band Testament have been to hell and back again, surviving the changing times and lineup changes, all the while producing the same high caliber of original Bay Area thrash. We were honored to talk to Chuck Billy about his new album (both of them,) the Big 4, microphone stands and whether or not this legend has ever thought of hanging it up.

There are times I wish I had been able to see and experience the development of metal in the 80's firsthand. Being able to follow the genesis and growth of the nascent sound as it started splintering off into the subsets we know today would have been the best of all worlds. To be able to hear everything, but have it still be closely enough rooted to the traditions that started everything is something I admit with sorrow I can never quite understand.