M. Drew's blog

Album Review: MaYaN - "Antagonise"

At first blush, MaYaN’s new album “Antagonise” seems like an exercise in formulaic death metal with some melodic tangents, not so different from Soilwork, Susperia, Hypocrisy and a million different also-rans. Do yourself a favor; don’t let the first blush be your only consumption of MaYaN. There’s a lot more going on here than the initial impact alludes to.

Album Review: Hammercult - "Steelcrusher"

Before we get too far down the rabbit hole with Hammercult’s “Steelcrusher,” let’s take a minute to appreciate the art in front of us. Take a look at that album cover. If you click on it, it’ll show full size. Have you ever seen something so masterful? That album cover, which like a certain rug tying the room together is made whole by the prominent middle finger in the middle of the image, is among the greatest iconography in heavy metal. No joke.

Album Review: Iced Earth - "Plagues of Babylon"

For more than twenty-five years now, Iced Earth has represented both the undying spirit of heavy metal and its penchant for rhythmic technical flair. So it is that the metal world pauses for at least a brief moment to bear witness to the birth of a new Iced Earth record, this time called “Plagues of Babylon.”

Album Review: Sacrificial Blood - "SoulS for Sale"

Sacrificial Bloods’s new record “SoulS for Sale” is a deliciously straightforward affair, unapologetic in its directness. I shall try to honor that by being equally direct in the discussion of it.

With all the image and promotion and jockeying for position and gamesmanship and preening that vies for our musical attention, it’s devilishly easy for artists to get drowned out by big voices and flashy showpieces. If you listen carefully, you can hear Sacrificial Blood calling all of that noise what it is; bullshit.

Album Review: Pro-Pain - "The Final Revolution"

If “Jurassic Park” taught us anything (and it most definitely did!) it was that ‘life finds a way.’ As the calendar reached the close of 2013 I noted one odd quirk in that musical year – my year end accolades did not contain any album that impressed me with the sheer volume and ferocity of its power. It was a conspicuous absence, to me at least; always there had been a Cancer Bats or an Indestructible Noise Command to whet my appetite for sonic destruction.

The Eleven Best Metal Albums of 2013

By now, you all know the rules, but here’s a one phrase recap: New studio records only. Also, like a classic Spinal Tap joke, I went to eleven this year. What can I say, I couldn’t narrow it down farther from that. It happens. Let’s get started.

First off, I really don’t have a ‘Little Band That Could’ award to give out this year, though I am coming around on Bronze Honey. I just haven’t had a chance to really dig into it and see what I think. So hold that thought, you may see something more in January.

The Year That Was in Metal - 2013 (Part 2)

M. DREW: Addressing Wizard first, I had never before considered the possibility that glam existed as anything other than meaningless party rock. The revelation that glam was part of a quasi-realist take on the Cold War, an effective 'we're gonna get blown up, so we should have sexy parties now!' changes the entire nature of how I view the genre, and also how grunge could ascend thereafter. It makes entirely too much sense that the hubris of glam would have been a cover for the ever-present fear of nuclear annihilation.

The Year That Was in Metal - 2013 (Part 1)

M. DREW: I'm still not entirely sure what to make of 2013 as it winds down, except to say that I think it was an excellent year for metal overall. Yet, the complication arises in that I can't pinpoint one single facet that was better or worse than the others. As I look back at the albums we covered (and the ones we didn't,) I feel like the metal offering this year was a mile wide and an inch deep. Even as I contemplate my own top ten (-ish) albums of the year, I find that they were produced by at least four or five different splinter genres.

Album Review: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - "Unvarnished"

Joan Jett may well be one of the most important women in the history of rock and roll. While this may romanticize the details, her breaking out after the dissipation of the Runaways to produce the Germs album and start the Blackhearts, experiencing commercial success on her own terms, makes her the Lucille Ball of punk rock and rock in general. Along the way, Jett proved that it was possible to have sex appeal while not being a teased, airbrushed and angel-voiced blonde, and also possible to have male fans who respected her musical ability.

Concert Review - GWAR, Whitechapel

After so many years of constant tours, going to a GWAR show is now like visiting an old friend. There will be some new stories to be sure, but you know when you arrive, it’s going to be a jovial retelling of some of the same old classics.

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