heavy metal

Bands from all around the world have attempted to blend their cultural identities with that of the standard metal sound, but not all of the efforts have been successful. Many of the Scandinavian bands have found success fusing their dark folk music with metal's bombast and power, while bands like Angra and Sepultura have married tribal rhythms to the pounding beat of metal. These efforts have worked, because the culture they have added to the mix bolstered an element of the metal sound that already existed.

Before we get started, look at this album cover. There's an old saying, "You can't judge a book by it's cover" or, in the case of musical offerings, you can't judge a record by it's sleeve. Some of the best looking albums have absolutely nothing of value inside and, sometimes, the most bizarre record jackets have the greatest music you've ever heard in them. And that brings us to the latest album from Bloody Hammer, "Under Satan's Sun".

Full disclosure – I am a longtime fan of Powerman 5000, beginning waaaaay back in the “True Force” days. That probably makes me more forgiving than some.

Let’s be serious here – if you were told to write down what you thought the combined sound of Soulfly, Mastodon, the Mars Volta and the Dillinger Escape Plan would be, what are the words that come to mind? Irascible, scratchy, virile, pummeling, cacophonous, noisy, and a thousand synonyms.

When last we heard from Sabaton, they were a band in a state of flux. “Carolus Rex” was the last statement of a band that was fracturing, a dividing line that will make clear what constituted the Sabaton sound all these years. The band split apart, with the majority of the instrumentalists forming the lackluster Civil War, and singer Joakim Broden keeping the Sabaton tradition alive. Band politics are often juicy fodder for the tabloid aspect of our world, but they mean nothing to the music, which is the only thing that should matter.

When does a "side project" stop being a side and start being a primary project. Generally, a side project is something you do part time, as an escape or a way to shake things up so you can continue pursuing your main objective. But when your part time job starts to become more important than your full time job then maybe it's time to switch.

Doom metal has always been an underground scene, but even in doom there are levels of complete anonymity. While bands like Pentagram, Saint Vitus, and Candlemass managed to make their names known, even if their audiences were always small, the vast majority of doom bands never make it any further than the devoted fans of the genre. Vestal Claret, to this point, has been one of those doom bands that you would never have heard of unless you were deeply entrenched in the doom scene.

Devotees of Cradle of Filth already know much of this story, but way back in the day, Cradle was working toward releasing an album called “Goetia,” which was completely erased when the record label went out of business. The album was scrapped, never to see the light of day, and was followed by the band’s third demo, “Total Fucking Darkness,” before they ultimately got signed by another label and the popular portion of their career began.

Ok, I'll admit it. Everything I know about Russia I learned from watching "Rocky IV" and that's not very much. That being the case, I knew I was in for a challenge with the latest album from Arkona titled "Yav". To be honest, upon receiving "Yav" in my inbox and reading the description, I became a little nervous when I saw that Arkona is a "Pagan Folk Metal" band. Here's the kicker, though; it turns out I'm a fan of Russian pagan folk metal.

First off, what’s important to underline before telling the Battleroar story is that “Blood of Legends” is not merely an album. The record exists as an exhibition in craft and the ability to tell a tale through a mix of classical narrative and metal elements. The metal part of Battleroar is merely the vehicle through which the story is progressed – if the heavy elements won’t or don’t fit, Battleroar is perfectly comfortable dropping them in favor of more atmospheric accuracy.