M. Drew's blog

Album Review: Soundgarden - "King Animal"

What to make of a comeback album from a band sixteen years gone?

Following “Down On the Upside,” an album that was met with critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination for single “Pretty Noose,” Soundgarden walked away in the face of flagging sales. It was a disheartening announcement that the band was done; they clearly had the talent and desire, but no longer felt the warm embrace of relevancy in a world that had evolved past the flannelled angst of grunge.

Concert Review: The Sword, Gypsyhawk

The Middle East in Cambridge, Massachusetts is a wonderful place to see a show, offering a fill menu of quality items upstairs and then…the basement. Going down those black, diamond plate steps into the din of the restaurant’s basement is enough of a sensation to make the concert patron feel like he or she is a part of something. You become a member of the privileged few, the crowd who is enough in the know to want to know more about the evening’s music to come.

Album Review: Munruthel - "CREEDamage"

Every now and again, I’m faced with an album that I don’t quite know how to decipher, or how to react. It is a bittersweet experience to be sure; the joined sensation of exposure to something totally new which also makes you consider how much you’ve ever really known about music.

Album Review: Skeletal Remains - "Beyond the Flesh"

What a surprise out of left field. When you look at Skeletal Remains album “Beyond the Flesh” and consider the name of the band combines with the album cover’s Cannibal Corpse motif, you think you know what you’re getting.

Yet, you would be wrong! Okay, there are the given deathmetal and grindcore standards, including the scowling vocals, nightmarish lyrical themes and generally ghoulish presentation, but the twist comes in the unexpected form of catchy and melodic riffs and purely free-form Van Halen style soloing.

Album Review: Dethklok - "Dethalbum III"

What makes Dethklok unique among gimmick bands (which is not an insult, merely a fact,) is that the “band” plays the role totally straight. Most metal fans’ exposure to the blend of comedy and metal comes through bands like GWAR or Haunted Garage, who make no secret of their over-the-top motives. Even the mighty Spinal Tap played up their persona, skillfully reveling in and mocking the signature characteristics of metal.

Album Review: Horror Vacui - "In Darkness You Will Feel Alright"

Halloween is unique among most holiday celebrations in that it revels in darkness and quirky activity, allowing otherwise normal individuals to act totally out of character, protected by a mask. The holiday has become the rallying flag for macabre media and fascinations of all kinds and just as horror movies are stacked in the Fall, so to are goth records.

Album Review: Cradle of Filth - "The Manticore and Other Horrors"

Cradle of Filth is a band with a history and track record as long and winding as the image of paths through a creepy, haunted forest that they try to capture and imprint on disc. Under the steadfast and dedicated leadership of Dani Filth, Cradle has always tried to stay one step ahead of the heavy metal game.

Album Review: The Sword - "Apocryphon"

It seems almost impossible to think about The Sword’s “Apocryphon” without also thinking of their mammoth concept album “Warp Riders.” That record was nothing short of a modern masterpiece, masterfully blending blues-soaked doom riffs with the fiery grit of heavy metal, the end result a symphony of might and magic and science fiction. Fair or not, “Apocryphon” will be judged against “Warp Riders,” as the latter album was the exclamation point on The Sword’s rise through the ranks of metal.

Album Review: Sister Sin - "Now and Forever"

Not so long ago on these very pages, I remember thinking that Sister Sin’s “True Sound of the Underground” was far too calculating for its own good, attempting to capitalize on the broad and easy target of teenage angst without really offering a solution or an alternative. It was a highly marketable album, but one that failed resonate for anyone of college age or greater.

Concert Review: Blackguard

Dark, cynical roadhouses lke Bogie’s in Albany, New York have been and continue to be the proving grounds or metal. It is here that the crowds deem bands worthy, encouraging their heroes with raised glasses of ale while passing judgment on inferior act with their austere silence. The lights are low, the die-hards are out, the Sword of Damocles dangles precariously over the musician’s necks.

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