M. Drew's blog

Album Review: Hatriot - "Dawn of the New Centurion"

The common album cycle these days tends to run two or three years. A band composes a selection of music, rehearses it, perfects it, records it, masters it, markets it, releases it, tours on it. Probably twice. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Album Review: Adrenaline Mob - "Men of Honor"

Thus far in the supergroup’s experimental life, Adrenaline Mob has been a frustrating example of the total being mysteriously less than the sum of its parts. Upon hearing their first record “Omerta,” the idea of prog luminaries Russell Allen and Mike Portnoy being able to make downbeat, two-step rock and roll seemed plausible, but incomplete. Logic dictated that the musicians in question must have the know-how to produce this music, so the up-and-down effort had to be a product of not having enough time to gel, or simply not feeling out the songwriting process.

Album Review: Behemoth - "The Satanist"

In 1991 in Poland, Behemoth was formed. Capitalizing on the momentum and popularity of Venom and learning from the mistakes of Mayhem, Behemoth became the logical extension of Venom’s musical trend – more expressive, more visceral, darker and dirtier. Behemoth also became the answer to an intellectual question about metal – how far down this path can we go? How scary and vulgar can metal be and still attract an audience? For years, Nergal and his compatriots answered that call and laid claim to the throne of extreme metal in Europe.

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.

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