heavy metal

Album Review: Oedipus - Vicious Little Smile

Fewer things test the patience of a rock or metal fan more than hearing the word 'pop' used to describe the music they love. Is it a stereotype? Yes, but not without merit. Rock and metal fans love their music for the power and aggression, the aspects that keep their favorite bands from breaking into the mainstream in almost every case. When they hear the word 'pop' come from a reviewer, or a press release, there's fear dripping from their pores. Pop music is for teenagers and people who never had the good taste to discover Led Zeppelin, not for tenured fans of 'real music'.

Album Review: Allegaeon - "Formshifter"

Allegaeon took the internet reviewing world fairly by storm with their heady debut "Fragments of Form and Function" in 2010. Critics saw an aggressive but honest extreme metal band, tap-dancing on the boundary between noise and craft. 2012 sees the band follow up with "Formshifter," an album that takes cues both visual and musical from the latest incarnation of heavy metal stalwarts Fear Factory. While commonly seen as European, extreme metal is mostly a shared invention of countries on both sides of the Pond, with Allegaeon simply carrying the torch for those before.

Album Review: Trioscapes - Separate Realities

What does a progressive metalcore musician do with their down time? For most, the answer is to start another death metal band and continue making and playing their favorite style of music for as long as they can. Band-hopping and side-projects are not a new thing, nor a bad thing, and they aren't going away anytime soon. They don't often hold the kind of interest they should, because they rarely extend beyond being a continuation of the artists' main project.

Concert Review: Overkill, God Forbid

On a rainy, bitter night, Overkill came to town and brought friends. The fans tolerated the chill and the dowsing with quiet fortitude, standing stoically in line awaiting their chance to pay tribute to the thrash legends and the crew they brought with them. This is the type of following and faith engendered by Overkill as they make headway in their fourth decade of writing and performing. Armed with their new album "The Electric Age," the Jersey veterans came to kick ass and chew bubblegum. You can venture a guess what they were all out of.

Album Review: Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name

Recent years have been awkward for power metal and its fans. Guitar Hero opened the door for a renaissance of the genre, with Dragonforce making it cool to play happy, major-key metal. Despite the opportunity being presented, the genre has instead seen countless bands taking a turn away from tradition, injecting large doses of classic metal and hard rock into their sound. Always unappreciated in the eyes of most metal fans, the bands did little to take advantage of their chance in the spotlight, ironically by moving in more commercial directions.

Album Review: Iron Maiden - "En Vivo!"

You remember that classic Chuck Jones cartoon "Hare Way to the Stars," where Marvin the Martian sprouts a bunch of 'instant martians' from tiny pills by dousing them with water, then hastily sends them chasing off on a fool's errand after Bugs Bunny, who has absconded with the 'Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator'? That's kind of what Iron Maiden's new live release "En Vivo!" is like. (Albeit without the slapstick.)

The Voice of a Firefight - Interview with Blackguard's Paul "Ablaze" Zinay

As a band, Blackguard is a lot of things to a lot of people. Symphonic metal. Power metal. Folk metal. Death metal. A band that knows how to raise the rafters, bring down the house and entertain the multitudes. A band that puts on the same show, gives every effort, for forty or four thousand. The public face of this non-stop touring train is Paul "Ablaze" Zinay, lyricist, vocalist, frontman extraordinaire, who beneath all the intense metal carousing is a man with a gregarious personality and an easy smile. He and I sat down just a couple hours before he and Blackguard would take the stage to talk music, his native Canada, the nature of subgenres, where the band has come from and where they're going next.
M. DREW: Begin at the beginning – You’ve had an awful long road to get where you are. The band toiled for a number of years and then you had your first-release in 2007, your first big release in ’08 and now your current release. What’s it been like?

Album Review: Cancer Bats - "Dead Set on Living"

The time-tested axiom holds that a person, by proxy a leopard, cannot change his or her spots. The jaws of this seemingly ironclad tenet have firmly clenched themselves around the world of music, backed up by a fervent fan base who reliably and predictably ridicules a band that attempts to do so.

Album Review: Horisont - Second Assault

The retro revival of recent years is an interesting phenomenon, not just because of the reminds the music provides of a different time, but because the bands looking to the past can't decide what era should be resurrected for a new audience. The European metal scene is stocked with bands calling back to the 80's heyday of hard rock and glam metal, trying to remind people that this kind of music can be fun. Many of them are ridiculed for wanting to return to a time many true metal fans regard as a blight on the good name of heavy metal, leaving the essential point to go unnoticed.

Album Review: Accept - Stalingrad

When a band replaces an iconic singer, it's a no-win situation. No matter the quality of the new voice, it will never be able to counteract the nostalgia we associate with the original incarnation. Accept has come closer than anyone in recent memory to breaking the curse. Reuniting without Udo Dirkschneider was a risk, one that resulted in “Blood Of The Nations”, an album that won critical acclaim and appeared on countless year-end lists. Mark Tornillo was able to step in for the perceived voice of Accept and win over the fans by treading the same ground Udo did, but with superior skill.

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