Chris C's blog

Album Review: A Hero A Fake - The Future Again

Metal in this millennium has become so fractured that it's impossible to keep all the developments straight. Each genre of metal continues to further subdivide itself, and each of those new scenes spawns its legion of imitator bands, to the point that there are so many bands playing so many forms of metal that assembling them into some form of coherent knowledge of what metal is today feels much like the proverbial story of putting Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Album Review: The Chant - A Healing Place

It is interesting to me to see the renaissance of an old aesthetic, the sounds of yesteryear becoming not only popular once again, but in many ways a trend as well. In the world of progressive rock, there is a conscious shift occurring, bringing back many of the feelings and sounds that made the heyday of the genre the influential force it has been.

Mid Year Music Review: 2012

The first six months of this year have been an interesting ride in the rock and metal world. We've seen big name bands releasing well-received new records, big name bands releasing records that have been disappointments to large portions of their fan-bases, and new groups coming out of nowhere to win acclaim. After a slow start, releases have been picking up, with plenty of good new albums finding their way to our ears. At the mid-point of the year, it's a good time to take a look back at the music that's made an impact so far, both for better and worse.


The Worst Album So Far:

Album Review: Monsterworks - Man: Instincts [EP]

Every so often I get the chance to hear something that catches me off-guard. I enjoy those moments, not just because they're rare, but because they usually end up being some of the more memorable experiences I have with music. It's not always the case, and many times it's with records I would rather never hear again, but the old adage about any publicity being good publicity does come to mind. Whether good or bad, the ability to stand out from the throngs of music I've ingested is one of those things that shouldn't be taken for granted.

Album Review: Bury Tomorrow - The Union Of Crowns

There may be no word scarier to the traditional metal fan than 'metalcore'. Merely mentioning the term stirs up feelings of angst and unease, as though the music is a deadly infection that threatens to wipe out earlier strains of heavy metal. Perhaps there was a time for such concern, when it looked as though metalcore was going to grow beyond being the next big thing, and would instead come to dominate the scene at large. Like always, those fears were overblown, and have since been tossed into the pile of absurd predictions that is always fun to dig through for a laugh.

Album Review: Morbid Execution - Vulgar Darkness

When an album comes across my desk with a press release bearing words like 'sodomy', 'filth', and 'vile', a small part of me has already started writing my opinion before I ever hear a note of the music. It's a lousy form of jurisprudence, but it's one I won't pretend to ignore. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but we all know that it happens all the time. There are plenty of reasons why we should know better, why we should try to be more enlightened, but in the end, it's difficult to fight our baser tendencies.

Album Review: Dogbane - Residual Alcatraz

In the long, winding story of heavy metal, one of the most under-appreciated chapters is that of American pioneers Trouble. The Chicago band was responsible not only for the rise and development of American doom metal, but three albums later also the development of groove and stoner metal. Their catalog is littered with classic records, and they boast what may be the least known, yet most deserving guitar tandem to ever turn up an amp. Why am I spending a few sentences on a band whose album I'm not reviewing?

Album Review: Witchsorrow - God Curse Us

Of all the subsets of heavy metal, doom may just be the hardest to do well. While thrash can get by on the adrenaline of speed, prog can get by on intellectual arguments, and death and black metal can get by on sheer aggression, doom has nothing to fall back on. The plodding tempos make doom subject to falling into tepid boredom, repeating the same riffs over and over again until the blur into a mash of heaviness.

Album Review: The Reticent - Le Temps Detruit Tout

Progressive music has been in the midst of a boom in recent years. After a long stretch of time in which being able to play your instrument was deemed unnecessary, and long songs were out of vogue, things have come full circle to an embrace of the reckless creativity that marked the glory age of music. Whether a softer approach as taken by groups like Transatlantic, fully metal statements by the likes of Opeth, or something straddling the fence like Porcupine Tree, more and more bands have accepted the freedom that comes with being progressive.

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.

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