Chris C's blog

Album Review: Devilish Impressions - Simulacra

In due time, it's almost a guarantee that every sub-genre of metal will end up blended with every other. Bands like to break new ground, to establish legacies, and being able to claim an entire sub-genre as your progeny is an effective way of doing so. As the combinations are used up, it leaves some interesting amalgamations unexplored. What might at first thought sound like an undesirable experiment, could actually turn out to be a pleasant look into the future.

Album Review: Manowar - The Lord Of Steel

Metal is an absurd theater, when you stop and think about it. Much of the music we love is played with unwavering conviction, as though an amplifier turned up high enough can actually transmit the music to the Gods. It sounds stupid, but it's exactly why we become fans, and why we stay involved with the scene, no matter how many people may point and laugh at the more outlandish escapades of our heroes. Metal has a long history of being cheesy, over-the-top, and utterly ridiculous, and no band has ever been so guilty as Manowar.

Album Review: Mortal Infinity - District Destruction

Nothing has been more of a surprise in recent years than the sustained revival of the thrash scene. Thought dead when the classic 80's bands moved on to more commercial styles of music, nostalgia kicked in a generation later, and we find ourselves in the second coming of thrash. The masters are still out there doing their thing, better than they have for decades in many cases, but the influx of new bands is astounding. Thrash has seen a new wave of bands taking up the mantle, spreading the gospel of speed and heaviness around the world once again.

Album Review: The Flower Kings - Banks Of Eden

Few men in progressive rock have been as prolific as Roine Solt. Over the course of his career, he has appeared on a staggering number of records, and established himself as one of the leading forces of modern progressive music. It's in that spirit that “Banks Of Eden” is an oddity, the first Flower Kings album in five years. With eleven albums in a career spanning few additional years, the extended absence for the band came as a shock, even as Stolt took part in the reformation of the supergroup Transatlantic.

Album Review: Brume d'Automne - Brume d'Automne

Psychology has taught us many things about the human condition, few of which can be applicable to an examination of a black metal album. However, there is one phenomenon that is worth considering. We've learned, through studies, that humans are better able to differentiate between members of their own ethnic/racial group than those of other backgrounds. Likewise, fans of black metal will have no problem identifying Brume D'Automne from every other similar band, and can point to the qualities that make them stand out as a unique entity.

Album Review: Rhapsody - Ascending To Infinity

No great story can be told without drama. Uncomfortable though it may be, conflict is what keeps us engaged in the narrative, what makes us connect with the characters as they soldier on through their journeys. The life of a band is one of those stories, so many of them littered with lineup changes and shifts in direction, always searching for resolution. It is befitting that a band trafficking in epic sounds would have an equally grand story to tell, and such is the case for Rhapsody.

Album Review: Rise To Remain - City Of Vultures

Following in the footsteps of legendary talent is never an easy thing. It's a thankless task, one that ensures the person in question will spend an entire career failing to live up to the standard that was set before them. In that spirit, anyone who still decides to travel down the well-worn road should be commended for their courage, regardless of the end result of their efforts. For every Norah Jones, there are dozens who's careers are only notable for their name.

Album Review: Grand Magus & Electric Wizard Reissues

Having just released the excellent "The Hunt", Grand Magus sees two of their critically-acclaimed previous released reissued for fans who may have missed out on the band as they ascended to the top of the traditional metal ranks. The climb started with "Wolf's Return", the album that started to build a buzz around the band. Mixing elements of doom into a traditional metal framework, the album straddles the line between crushing riffs and the sound that would expand their horizons.

Album Review: Ulver - Childhood's End

I've often wondered how much our experiences color the way we look at the music we love, whether the time in our lives we encounter certain sounds will forever define the impact certain records will have on us. I ponder this because of Ulver's collection of psychedelic covers, “Childhood's End”. Here we have an album of sounds lifted straight from the 60's and 70's scene, where the music served as a soundtrack to acid trips and other forms of mental alteration.

Album Review: Fates Warning - Inside Out [Reissue]

Fates Warning has earned a spot on the Mount Rushmore of progressive metal. Embracing the spirit of progression perhaps more than any other band of their ilk, Fates Warning has continually pushed the boundaries of what progressive metal can be, as well as the boundaries of who they are as a band. Though not as dramatic or publicized as the shifts in sound and style bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden have undergone, the continued evolution of Fates Warning is a hallmark in true progressiveness.

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