Chris C's blog

Album Review: Blues Pills - Devil Man

The origins of hard rock and heavy metal lay in the blues (Black Sabbath started out as a blues band, after all), yet I have never found much appeal in that particular form of music. Whether talking about the original wave of blues artists, or the later blues revivalists, or the blues-rockers who use it as a way to sell lousy rock records, none of it has ever made an impact with me. I find that funny, since I tend to specialize in all manner of downbeat and depressing art. For whatever reason, the blues has eluded me.

Album Review: Noctum - Final Sacrifice

When I take a step back and try to figure out what's going on in the world of metal these days, two radically divergent things become apparent. There's a schism going on, with a set of bands trying to move us forward into whatever god-forsaken trend is going to take over the world next, while another set is trying to move us backwards to a time when music was simpler. I tend to cast my lot with this latter group, the bands that ache for a time when 'studio magic' meant making people believe a warlock was helping you record, not a computer playing your parts for you.

Album Review: Argus - Beyond The Martyrs

I don't like to do so, but Argus is a band that I will forever think of as connected to another similar band. It's not fair to either of them, but Argus and Sinister Realm came about at roughly the same time, I discovered them concurrently, and they play similar enough music on the same schedule that it's hard for my mind to separate the two. Both of them released debut albums I was quite fond of at the time, at the first heights of the traditional metal resurrection.

Album Review: Running Wild - Resilient

Part of me is sad that I missed out on the speed/pirate metal boom that took place when I was too young to know what heavy metal even was. The 80's were the heyday of cheese, and not much was cheesier than a bunch of guys with long hair dressed up like pirates while they tried to play music to make you think they were aggressive. We saw a brief resurrection of the style a few years ago, but in this day and age, the facade no longer works. The world is too cynical for such slipshod gimmicks, which is why Running Wild was laid to rest not too long ago; it's time had passed.

Album Review: Queen V - The Decade Of Queen V

I'm a sucker for a gravel voiced, hard rocking woman. I don't know if it's because of how rarely I come across one that fits the bill, or if it's chemically wired in my brain that way, but there's something about a raspy voiced woman singing good ol' fashioned hard rock that makes me happy. When one comes along, all is right with the world for a little while, and this crazy world of music we inhabit makes sense.

Album Review: Iron Man - South Of The Earth

One of the things that gets overlooked when talking about music is the difficulty in finding the perfect name for your band. As an artist, you need to come up with something that is evocative, that captures the imagination, but also something that captures the spirit of your band in a few short words. And what you really want to do is avoid picking a name that saddles you as a joke for the duration of your career. No matter how much I may love an album from a band like Spock's Beard, there will always be a part of me that cringes when I have to say the name aloud.

Album Review: Dream Theater - Dream Theater

Dream Theater's new album is one that I can't help but judge with unrealistic expectations. Their previous album, "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", was not just an amazing album, or the best album in the band's storied history, it was so much the perfect encapsulation of what I think progressive metal to be that it has risen to the point where I call it my favorite progressive metal album of all time. It's high praise, to be sure, but every time I listen to that record, I'm amazed by how the band can take such technically demanding material and mix it with some truly glorious vocal melodies.

Album Review: Horisont - Time Warriors

In the grips of the retro rock revival, one of the things that remains lost on us is how staggeringly creative bands of that time were. They didn't just push the boundaries of popular music, and define rock as we know it, they did it at a pace that is unimaginable today. The Beatles' entire career lasted nine years, during which they wrote, tossed out, and re-wrote the rules several times. Life and music were different back then.

Album Review: Carcass - Surgical Steel

Anyone who knows me, or has read enough of my writing, knows that I'm not much of a fan of death metal. Most of it is too sloppy, too noisy, or just too far removed from what I consider the heart of music for me to get a lot of enjoyment from it. I understand why people love it, but I would never be able to throw myself headlong into the genre. In a discussion I had with my colleague Drew a while back, I challenged myself to make a list of my five favorite death metal albums. Smack dab in the middle of that list was Carcass' landmark “Heartwork”.

Album Review: Fates Warning - Darkness In A Different Light

The bedrock of progressive metal as we know it is built upon two bands; Dream Theater and Fates Warning. With apologies to fans of Queensryche, it's the truth. No bands have been more instrumental in the development, propagation, and flourishing of progressive metal than those two standard-bearers. While Dream Theater has been earning accolades, and racking up bigger sales and a higher profile through the years, Fates Warning has faded into the background. After their landmark “A Pleasant Shade Of Grey”, Fates Warning has been the forgotten legend of progressive metal.

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