Chris C's blog

Album Review: Sinister Realm - World Of Evil

I've wanted to love Sinister Realm from the first moment I knew of their existence. Somewhere along my travels around the metal universe, I was put on to their debut album, which immediately put me in the middle of my love/hate relationship with the band. Sinister Realm, more than any other of the old-school metal bands who have popped up on the scene over the last few years, has the ability to write great songs.

Album Review: Powerwolf - Preachers Of The Night

Unless you're one of the small number of people who are devout fans of power metal, the term tends to lead you towards the ludicrous. Power metal is an exercise in excess, the kind of metal that doesn't ask why it's so over the top, but rather asks why the top is so low. While there are heavier strains of the music, the common denominator is that it's the kind of stuff 'true' metalheads are loathe to admit they have a soft spot for. To be fair, the reputation for being ridiculous is well-deserved, and Powerwolf wears that like a badge of honor.

Album Review: GrandExit - The Dead Justifies The Means

Certain things just don't seem to go together. So when I see a band describing themselves as a mixture of death metal and progressive rock, I wonder how those two things can possibly coexist. Death metal, even in its progressive form, is all about relentless aggression, while progressive rock is focused on nuance and development. Combining the two isn't exactly a recipe for smashing success. Yet, GrandExit claims to do such a thing, and if it is indeed possible, it would be a welcome relief from the never-ending flow of boiler-plate death metal I see.

Album Review: Trouble - The Distortion Field

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a more influential band that got none of the attention they deserved than the one and only Trouble. In the American scene, Trouble is as much a part of the foundation of heavy metal as any other band. Their first two albums laid the blueprint for doom on this side of the pond, while their self-titled reinvention not only served as a cornerstone for all the groove and stoner metal that followed, but it stands as one of the truly great heavy metal albums ever made. No band has ever made guitars sound heavier than Trouble.

Album Review: Erimha - Reign Through Immortality

At some point, we lost our collective minds. Obsessed with classifying everything, the amateur Linnaeus in us all has created a staggering matrix of labels we apply to the metal we listen to, to the point where describing a song can sometimes take longer than the actual track (and I wish I were making that up). By splitting the music into ever smaller pieces of understanding, we are able to better predict the likelihood of enjoying something before ever hearing a note, but we also reduce our exposure to new things, because we know exactly what we're getting.

Album Review: Autopsy - The Headless Ritual

I like to think of myself as being somewhat well-versed on metal and its history. But there are limits to anyone's capacity for knowledge, and when it comes to metal, mine is a mile wide and an inch deep. Only getting into heavy music after the glory days of the first wave bands was long over, my knowledge of the seminal roots of metal will never be as complete as someone who lived through those times, nor have I put in the effort to come closer.

Album Review: Civil War - The Killer Angels

Every band lives the constant struggle to balance the reality of a band structure with the perception an audience has of the band. What that usually means is a degree of displeasure from the instrumentalists, while the singer gets the lion's share of the attention. It isn't fair, but because of how the personalities captured in voices draw the sharpest distinction between bands, it's the reality we all have to live with. Sometimes, however, the status quo isn't tenable, and things need to change.

Album Review: Dilana - Beautiful Monster

The human voice is an instrument capable of a connection more personal than any other. Some voices are able to cut through us and reveal parts of ourselves we didn't know existed. That kind of relationship between a singer and a listener is rare, but it's the one I have with Dilana. From the first time I heard her sing on the ill-fated show “Rockstar: Supernova”, I could feel there was something in her voice that spoke to me. The road to now has not been easy, but most of the best things in life rarely are.

Album Review: Queensrÿche - Queensrÿche

If anything has become clear from the drama surrounding Queensrÿche, it's that both versions of the band are better off this way. Geoff Tate is no longer constrained by a fan-base that blames him for not continuing to make music that sounds exactly like their classic records, while the remaining core of the band can play that kind of music without feeling creatively stagnant. The fans win as well, because they can follow either, neither, or both versions of Queensrÿche to get whatever they want out of their devotion.

Album Review: Death Valley High - Positive Euth

As crazes come and go, I can usually figure out the mass-market appeal that drives people to love whatever the latest and greatest thing is. That doesn't mean I'm going to care in the slightest for any of them, but I can at least understand why everyone else trips over themselves chasing the latest fad. The one that I have yet to come to grips with is the zombie craze. The undead have become the biggest thing going, from the slower than paint drying “The Walking Dead”, to movie after movie after movie featuring the lumbering corpses rotted back to life.

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