heavy metal

Album Review: Gamma Ray - "Empire of the Undead"

How's this for a heavy metal story - a band works on an album at their own studio for the better part of a year and, just as they near completion, the studio burns and destroys most of the contents. One of the few surviving items are the master tapes of the album. This is what happened to Gamma Ray and the tapes that made it through the fire became their latest offering, "Empire of the Undead". It makes sense, though. Everyone knows metal cannot be destroyed by fire.

Album Review: Anti-Mortem - "New Southern"

Every now and again, we need an album like this. A concise record that isn’t particularly concerned with technicality or image and instead seeks only to slake our thirst for the base impulses of metal as we know it. Anti-Mortem’s “New Southern,” the debut record from the band hailing from Oklahoma, hangs its hat on the idea that metal burns brightest in the furious furnace of the heart more than the unchained imagination of the mind.

Album Review: Triptykon - "Melana Chasmata"

Triptykon’s debut full-length record from 2010 “Eparistera Daimones,” was a confused affair, even though it was greeted with unqualified praise from the reviewing universe. It lacked direction, rambled on in random progressions, and never established a musical purpose beyond trying to cram as much force-fed anguish into the product as possible.

Tonight We Tribute Tonight - "This is Spinal Tap" Final

A tribute project of two people does not a true tribute make. Particularly as it relates to "This is Spinal Tap," the only true measure of the film's success is the critique of its peers. To that end, as with every tribute we do, Chris and I step aside to make room for the opinions of those who make the music we all love. Before we begin, allow me to take a moment to thank all the musicians listed below, and all the promotional and label reps who helped gather these anecdotes. As ever, our tribute project is only a success because of the legwork they do to make it come together.

Tonight We Tribute Tonight - "This is Spinal Tap" Part 2

M. DREW: Let's run with your posit for a moment that metal culture no longer exists in a cohesive sense (which I still dispute, but I can't debate without arguing in circles, which will get us nowhere.) We can at least agree that metal culture is fractured and in some state of disrepair. There's almost certainly a qualifier in front of the word 'disrepair,' but which one and how serious it is, is likely in the beholder's eye.

Tonight We Tribute Tonight - "This is Spinal Tap" Part 1

CHRIS: Metal's history in the movies is not particularly long or illustrious. All of the odd glances and snickering asides that metal gets from music fans of other stripes are magnified when the medium changes, as filmmakers seldom know what to do with a form of music that is the aural equivalent of a Michael Bay movie (take that for what you will). Most of the time, we end up with metal either being portrayed as music for idiots, or are subject to movies that try to deal with the subject matter with respect, but are terrible attempts at film. I'm looking at you, "Rock Of Ages".

Album Review: Edguy - "Space Police - Defenders Of The Crown"

No metal band has meant more to me over the years than Edguy. They were the first heavy band I got into, and have remained a favorite throughout the ensuing years. While many were criticizing their decisions, whether the comedy that crept in on “Rocket Ride”, or the modern darkness of “Tinnitus Sanctus”, I was firmly in their camp. Fans may have been wishing for the band to return to the style they perfected on “Hellfire Club”, but their refusal to stay in place is one of the things I like most about them.

Album Review: Scream Arena - "Scream Arena"

Have you ever had to put yourself out in front of other people to be judged? I think just about everybody has. Whether it was an oral report in school or a project at work, it's never easy to stand up and let people critique something you've worked hard on. It's even more difficult for an artist. Good art comes from the soul. You spend a lot of time working, practicing, honing your skills but, eventually, if you want to take your craft to the next level, you've got to put it out there and let it be judged by the masses. People you don't even know are evaluating your soul.

Album Review: From Hell - "Ascent From Hell"

Paper is a deceptive medium. It always has been. Insidiously, paper sits idly by and lets people scrawl out visions that look like can’t miss propositions until they get into planning and ultimately, execution. Paper never voices an opinion or contrarian voice – it never gives any indication that the information encoded on it might be faulty or without merit. So when From Hell, a band composed of members of Nevermore, Slayer and Death Angel slides across the desk, promising a semi-concept album full of crafted horror stories, it seems like a great idea…on paper.

Concert Review - Texas Hippie Coalition, Anti-Mortem

There was a time when sludgy, fuzzy metal reigned supreme. It doesn’t seem possible, but it was almost fifteen years ago that we were satiated by the overdriven, detuned glory of pinnacle acts like White Zombie, Pantera and Powerman 5000. All of those acts did something a little different, to be certain, but they all subscribed to one basic core principle; that metal needed to be loud, rhythmic and easily accessible above all other qualities.

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