heavy metal

Meldrum is the brainchild of guitar player Michelle Meldrum, who was the driving force behind what was intended to be a female-fronted band that would take the world by storm. That was until Michelle passed away suddenly in May of 2008, the result of a growth that restricted blood flow to her brain. What had been an up and coming, promising train was suddenly derailed, with no one really knowing is anyone would ever hear the name Meldrum again.

It's one of the inherent truisms about metal that when a band needs a shot of attention, or want to prove they are more artistic than merely a group of guys bashing loud instruments, the concept album is the end result. There's something about a story set to music that piques interest in a way a regular collection of songs doesn't. The strength of a concept, hitting at just the right time, is enough to elevate a set of songs and turn them into something we will always remember, no matter what the actual merit of the music.

The downfall of extreme metal is the overemphasis on the word 'extreme'. So often, bands become obsess with making sure their music is extreme, which ends up taking it so far away from the core of songwriting that little is left but a shell of noise. Listening to those kinds of records can be exhilarating, if in the right frame of mind, but for people who don't fall into the category of angry young men, extreme metal comes off as a parody.

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.