Chris C's blog

Album Review: Fozzy - Do You Wanna Start A War

I've had a love/hate relationship with Fozzy, ever since they ditched the cover band gimmick and started writing their own material. With each passing album, I've seen a band that knows how to write some solid melodic rock/metal, but can't keep their focus all the way through. “All The Remains” had some great tracks, but ventured off into unnecessary rap metal. They then ventured off into unnecessary prog, and more beat-driven music, all of which brought down the solid songs that made up the majority of the records.

Album Review: Blues Pills - Blues Pills

When I reviewed Blues Pills' “Devil Man” EP last year, I came away from it thinking that they were a rock band that needed to rock less. That sounds odd, but it was their softer songs that floored me, that made me take notice that they were a band with massive potential. There was something special in that sound, something that wasn't captured by their heavier numbers. I feared that they were going to insist on proving their rock credentials, thereby holding themselves back from greatness. For once in my life, I'm happy to say I was wrong.

Album Review: Monuments - The Amenuensis

Recently, I was embroiled in a debate over the nature of progressive metal. What was at the heart of the discussion was the old schism between prog and Prog, a distinction that has never been fully sorted out. When spoken, and without the capitalization made apparent, we could be talking about music that either attempts to circumvent traditional structures by exploring musical boundaries, or music that is fully dedicated to playing technically challenging material. Both claim the mantle of progressive, but my mind can only legitimately give the title to one of them.

Album Review: Vintersorg - Naturbal

What makes folk metal interesting is how it is the unlikely union of two things that should not go together. Metal is hard, brash, and abrasive, while folk music is soft, acoustic, and introspective. Folk would be at the bottom of the list of other genres I would expect metal to ever be paired with, given the fundamental differences between them, and yet there is a healthy and thriving scene of folk metal bands that have managed to forge a connection between the two styles.

Album Review: Incura - Incura

One of the more unfortunate realities of being a music fan is that the more you seek out great music, the less you will find. There are only a certain number of albums out there that will resonate with you passionately, and expanding your search and listening to more and more records is futile. What will happen is that you will wind up hearing massive amounts of music that are either bland or offensive to your senses, to the point where you begin to doubt if you still love music the way you once did.

Album Review: Jason Rubenstein - New Metal From Old Boxes

Movies are not as powerful without their scores, and music is the soundtrack to our lives, which makes it curious that so little of the music we tend to listen to fits the mold. If life were a movie, the vast majority of the music I listen to would be fitting solely for a cheesy montage, not any of the day to day drama that propels us forward. Music is, in a way, a holding pattern meant to take us out of the moment, to normalize ourselves when there is nothing tethering us to reality. There are some bands who try to bridge the gap, but they fail because such an endeavor is fruitless.

Album Review: Equilibrium - Erdentempel

On an esoteric level, I can appreciate what black metal means to the music world. There is certainly a place for music that seeks to convey the darkest aspects of the human condition, although I have never been able to understand the particular way in which it has been manifested. Whether through pure black metal, or other sounds that have pervasive black metal influence, the appeal of such music is entirely lost on me. The monotony of the frosty guitars, and especially the shrieked vocals, leave me cold, if you pardon the pun.

Looking Back: Twenty Years Of "Bat Out Of Hell II"

Twenty years is an eternity. Looking back that far, the world is a completely different place than where we left it, evolution taking us in directions we couldn't have imagined. Cosmically, it is an insignificant amount of time, but for us it is a gaping chasm between who we were and who we are. That amount of time is enough for us to have rewired ourselves, to have become people so different from who we once were as to be rendered unrecognizable, even to ourselves.

Album Review: Brother Firetribe - Diamond In The Fire Pit

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of being a fan of metal in this day and age is seeing how 'fun' has become a dirty word. When reading through the lists of bands that are popular with both the people and the critics, they tend to have one thing in common; they're miserable. Metal today is a drab, colorless world in which everything has to be dark, ugly, and consumed with the depths of suffering. There is no place in the mainstream for rock or metal music that remembers that music isn't life and death, that we're allowed to have fun, and listen to songs that make us want to sing along.

Album Review: Darkest Era - Severance

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.

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