Chris C's blog

Album Review: Destinity - Resolve In Crimson

The history of heavy metal has seen bands rise from all corners of the earth, but when the numbers are crunched, the majority of bands who have achieved a degree of notoriety come from a select few regions. It all started in England, then spread to America, Germany, and the countries of Scandinavia. Between them, they have amassed the most numerous and most influential metal bands we have ever seen. There are countries outside of those cornerstones that have made an impact on metal, but each time a band comes from somewhere else, it's almost viewed as an accident.

Album Review: My Dying Bride - A Map Of All Our Failures

There's always a drip of anticipation when putting on a record from a legendary band, even when you have no personal history with them. My Dying Bride had never entered my radar, so even though I knew of their legacy in establishing doom as we know it, my take on the album is with fresh ears. Anytime I put on an album by a band with such a pedigree, there's an understanding in the subconscious of my mind that what I'm hearing is not yet another average record.

Album Review: Seven Kingdoms - The Fire Is Mine

For all the talk of rebellion and freedom that metal music purports to stand for, the reality of the situation is that just like every other aspect of the world, metal music is buried as deeply in clichés as anything else. We don't like to admit it, and we try out best to point out the infinitesimal differences that allow us, in our minds, to think every band is offering something unique to the scene. But the reality is that clichés exist for a reason. There is always some truth that leads us in that direction, whether we want to admit it or not.

Album Review: Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence

I first heard the name Between The Buried And Me around the time “Alaska” was released. A nascent metal fan delving deeper into the waters, I read as many reviews about as many albums as I could. The words that were written about “Alaska” were rhapsodic, a level of reverent praise that demanded I pay attention to the masterpiece the band had unleashed. And so, like anyone intent on experiencing the best music out there, I listened intently. Perhaps the timing was off, or I had yet to develop an appreciation for outside-the-box thinking, but “Alaska” left me feeling cold and empty.

Album Review: Silencer - The Great Bear

It's one of the inherent truisms about metal that when a band needs a shot of attention, or want to prove they are more artistic than merely a group of guys bashing loud instruments, the concept album is the end result. There's something about a story set to music that piques interest in a way a regular collection of songs doesn't. The strength of a concept, hitting at just the right time, is enough to elevate a set of songs and turn them into something we will always remember, no matter what the actual merit of the music.

Album Review: Enslaved - RIITIIR

The downfall of extreme metal is the overemphasis on the word 'extreme'. So often, bands become obsess with making sure their music is extreme, which ends up taking it so far away from the core of songwriting that little is left but a shell of noise. Listening to those kinds of records can be exhilarating, if in the right frame of mind, but for people who don't fall into the category of angry young men, extreme metal comes off as a parody.

Album Review: Holy Knights - Between Daylight And Pain

In what has been a quiet year for traditional power metal, there's a gaping hole waiting for someone to step through and become the next big thing. The mainstay bands are either in between albums, or have moved too far away from the core sound for purists, which sets the stage for someone to claim this as their time. One thing we have learned over the years is that power metal is never going to go away, no matter how much it is looked down upon by the masses.

Album Review: As I Lay Dying - Awakened

The struggle between brutality and melody is something that has come to define much of the modern metal movement. On one hand, there are the bands that don't believe any interplay is necessary, choosing instead to treat their listeners as punching bags, pounding song after song of relentless heaviness until they decide to retire. It's an approach that seems to be gathering more and more followers, one I would contend does nothing to help the cause of metal.

Album Review: Hellwell - Beyond The Boundaries Of Sin

Even with a fractured landscape, there are bands that persevere for ages without gaining the acclaim many believe is deserved. Though hyper-categorized, too many bands fall under each label for all of them to make an impact. It's unfortunate, but reality cannot be denied. Certain artists, no matter how many albums they make, no matter how much influence they wield, will always be legends of the underground.

Album Review: Mothlite - Dark Age

There's so much music written, recorded, and released each year that it's impossible for it to all maintain artistic integrity. Music was, at one point, an expression of thoughts and emotions that swirled inside the head of a creator, but as it became a business that has increasingly catered to the whims of fans, a growing proportion of the music we hear is written with the explicit purpose in mind of appealing to as many people as possible.

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