heavy metal

Walking into the venue for Kreator and Accept, there was a feeling that washed over the entire experience. To quote Henry Rollins, it felt like “another Saturday night in old Deutschland.” There was everything one would expect from a tour trumpeting two of Germany’s most prominent and standard-bearing thrash bands; high-speed metal revival, fans who haven’t had a haircut since the Berlin Wall came down, and very few women. Fewer than normal at a metal show, and that’s saying something.

Some musical reinventions are necessary, while some of them seem to come out of nowhere. Musicians, for all the time we spend thinking about them in abstract terms, are artists, and they by definition cannot recreate what has already been done. Approximations can be made, but there will always be a different creative spark inciting the next work. No amount of careful copying can perfectly replicate what we've already seen or heard. That means at some point every musician has to accommodate change, whether it be a shift in taste, or simply the process of aging and gaining experience.

Rogga Johansson is the closest thing we have to a death metal machine. Even in a world where bands swap members at random, and everyone has multiple projects, the amount of projects he has put his name to is staggering. You would think that after enough time has passed, there would come a point where the need and the inspiration to continue making mountains of old-school death metal would wane. The amazing part is that we have yet to reach that point, and we may never will.

Monsterworks is the kind of band you want to root for, a group of underdogs bursting with creativity. Their music blends countless sounds and influences into music that is utterly unique. No one else sounds like Monsterworks, which is a statement fewer bands can make with each passing year. Their latest work, the EP "Man: Instincts", contains three masterful tracks culled from their upcoming "Album Of Man". Singer/Guitarist Jon took time recently to talk about the band, their music, and how it all comes together.

There’s nothing spectacular about Hammer Fight’s new CD “Hammer Fight.” But, there’s nothing wrong with it, either. Their album blows through town in a hurry, able to be listened to twice in the time it takes to listen to most albums once.

Just Like Vinyl’s “Black Mass” can’t quite decide what it wants to be. The album is caught in the void between acid-wash screamo punk and jagged-edged alternative metal. The record aims for the middle, shooting for a cut-with-scissors feel in the vein of At The Drive-In. While “Black Mass: successfully replicates the feel of those too-long-gone college radio classics, that’s all it does; replicate.

Whatever happened to rock and roll? There was a time when rock bands ruled the world, selling out stadiums and lighting the imaginations of music fans everywhere. Rock music was about having a good time, celebrating life, and enjoying the hell out of the moment. But somewhere along the way, we all decided we were too cool for that anymore, and we needed to move on to more artistic endeavors. Merely playing music and having fun with it wasn't good enough, everything had to push boundaries and break new ground.

Throughout human history, whenever a cultural force rises to prominence, there is inevitably a counter-movement that rises to meet it. The Roman Empire had the numerous Gothic tribes, Persia was met by the Mongols, the British Empire squared off with various revolutionaries over the centuries, and the New England Patriots are seemingly opposed (and thankfully stymied,) by the New York Giants. Such is the irresistible yin and yang of the universe, the powerful but delicate balancing act of nature.

Bay Area super team-up Dublin Death Patrol, that singular commiseration of well-known thrash superstars, has produced a second album to follow up their debut “DDP 4 Life.” Beginning with Testament vocalist Chuck Billy and former Exodus lead singer Steve Souza, this heady collaboration has presented the world with “Death Sentence.”

Originally founded in 2007 under the verbose name “Dragonslayer Project,” Austrian metallers Dragony shortened their title, tightened up their operation and released their debut album “Legends.” It promises the pitch-perfect escapism we’ve all come to expect from symphonic power metal, complete with the standard tankard-swinging anthems and finely tuned lore.