heavy metal

Century Media records signed The Devasted based on a two-song demo. That is an incredible roll of the dice by an established music industry veteran, and a gamble that leaves little middle ground – it will either pay off handsomely, or result in the termination of the label’s association with the band.

Pilgrim’s “Misery Wizard” is an album that pays tribute to doom metal by concentrating solely on the singular root of the genre. Where modern doom metal acts like Candlemass, Type O Negative or Crowbar have injected fantasy, blues or visceral attitude to twist the genre to their liking, Pilgrim has added none of those embellishments.

Not so different from the halcyon days of Ozzfest or Lollapalooza, Gigantour has become an annual staple in the music community. At the same time, the tour is among the last of a dying breed. The preponderance of festivals and their emerging popularity has caused a sort of death to the travelling circus of large tours. Those that still exist, such as the Mayhem festival and, for those inclined, the Warp tour, have been corporatized and transformed into musical billboard advertisements.

"Dark Adrenaline" seems to find Lacuna Coil firmly back in old headspace What we see here is a collection of songs that is extremely smooth, slick with the oil of arranged writing and refined production. This would lead cynics to argue that the band has given themselves headlong to their perceived homogenization with radio alternative metal. Not only has that criticism always been largely unfounded, but “Dark Adrenaline” sees Lacuna Coil deviate back toward the idiom that made “Karmacode” a success.

I really thought I would hate this album. Goatwhore had done next to nothing for me along the entirety of their career, aside from occupying the conversational space where I would say to people, "well, if you can get by their name...they're not the worst band ever." Hardly gleaming praise.

French experimental metal. Those words, placed together, likely strike fear into the hearts of music fans everywhere, as visions of maudlin, costumed performers searching for a solution to their self-serving ennui dance through the frontal lobes.

RAM is a band that clings to the belief that heavy metal has been a misguided, wayward genre since the early 1980’s, drifting away from its homeland on unnecessarily blood-soaked tides.

RAM’s third studio album, named simply “Death,” is an album that is very late to heavy metal’s party. It is dressed to the nines in acid wash denim, crunchy guitar hooks, studded jackets and simple, refined beats. To glance at the band’s idiomatic lettering and cover art is to jump into the WABAC machine and gaze at metal’s past come to pulsating life.

There is no discernible reason I should enjoy this album. There's nothing especially revolutionary about it, no novel innovations of musical genius, no genre-bending composition of elements, no inspired, emotive soliloquies to make one pick up an axe and return to the fray.

Yet, there's an inimitable something about Candlelight Red's can-do album that makes me unable to dislike it.

SHEAR’s new album “Breaking the Stillness” is a brazen attempt to blend as many oversized elements as possible into a tiny suitcase, and slam the lid closed before the contents eject chaotically around the room. Somewhere between 80’s synth arena rock, Scandinavian guitar metal and new era Euro power metal, this album is a lot of things to a lot of people and perhaps not everything to anyone. Whether you’re looking for a dense, instrument heavy headbanger or something recognizable and accessible for a road trip, this album can, oddly enough, serve both of your needs.

With the 1991 release of the Black Album, Metallica irrevocably changed both the course and public face of heavy metal. The genre was changing; evolving into a mass-marketed medium that was willing to sacrifice the high-speed tempos and thrash mentality that had carried the genre through much of the 1980's. In place of that idiom stood a sound that attempted to bridge the gap between Judas Priest and Slayer, Black Sabbath and Nuclear Assault. Metallica had established a tenuous beachhead on the precipice of both mainstream accessibility and superstardom.