M. Drew's blog

EP Review: Gyre - "Second Circle"

Progressive metal is a splinter genre where you don’t see a lot of DIY, at least not on a noticeable level or on this side of the Pond. New Jersey progressive metallers Gyre are forging into that territory with a four-song EP “Second Circle,” that attempts to fresh take on a long developed idea.

Album Review: Falling in Reverse - "Fashionably Late"

Falling in Reverse potentially confirms the small epiphany I had while watching Motionless in White live at Mayhem Fest. Scary though it may seem, perhaps this is a glimpse of one possible future of heavy metal. And I hear the rage boiling at me already, that these bands don’t meet the arbitrarily established criteria of metal. Yet, I can’t ignore the fact that this wave isn’t going away, now in its fourth year (at least.) The make-up and costumes and big hair seem to be back in some form, and the kids just love it. In the end, aren’t they the ones who will define metal going forward?

Album Review: Monster Truck - "Furiosity"

Life experience, viewed through a sort of existentialist paradigm, is an extremely persistent animal. There are certain lessons that life seems bound and determined to teach us, no matter how many times we attempt to ignore the moral. Foremost among those teachings and concurrently the one that is seemingly reinforced most often in our lives is “don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s a little shameful to admit, but I’ve spent thirty years on this earth and occasionally still have slips in my understanding of this basic tenet.

Album Review: Doyle - "Abominator"

This recent run of popularity for Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein comes a little out of nowhere. Doyle’s place in music history is certainly assured, having been a fixture for the Misfits. Yet, Doyle never seemed to possess the stature (gargantuan physical size notwithstanding) to float an entire project by himself and appeared more likely to forever be typecast as Jerry Only’s monolith of a brother. Yet, Doyle has reunited with Misfits legend Dr. Chud and here we are talking about an album with “Doyle” emblazoned across the top.

Concert Review: Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Part 2

…And so we come to the main stage. Mayhem Fest, in a credit to its organizers, did a much better job this year of spacing the last second stage set (Children of Bodom) and the first main stage set. The crowd was settling in but present when Amon Amarth was revealed. For all that the Swedish band eschews the dramatic musical flair of their contemporaries, they swing a very large hammer when it comes to set design.

Concert Review: Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Part 1

We discussed this last year, but the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival remains the preeminent mobile showcase of alternative music of any type. It has been so successful in six years that it has not only overshadowed the Warp Tour, but has spawned a second, smaller circuit, the Uproar Festival. Mayhem Fest is one of those special times of year when all the major and minor metal labels, from Universal and Atlantic to Century Media, Metal Blade and Nuclear Blast and including Victory and Sumerian, join forces to show off their product and give the fans the best possible experience.

Album Review: Battlecross - "War of Will"

There are two reasons I do this. The first and most important reason is because I love music. The second reason is because every now and again, I am totally and pleasantly surprised. Let me cut to the chase before we get into the minutiae – Battlecross’ new album “War of Will” readily fulfills both of those reasons.

Album Review: SPiT LiKE THiS - "Normalityville Horror"

Nickelback.

That’s an extremely charged word for anyone who has a more-than-casual interest in music of any type. Nickelback has come to symbolize all that is wrong with mainstream radio, the music industry and the lowest common denominator. More to the point, Nickelback also represents the current state of popular rock, encompassing the twin ideas of sleaze and arena rock.

Album Review: Lonewolf - "The Fourth and Final Horseman"

We typically use this space to discuss the comings, goings and debuts of heavy metal, but let’s step back a second and ask a metaphysical question: What makes great music? We can all voice our opinions about why we love music to our very cores, and in a debate rarity, we’re all correct. The point is, no matter what our personal reasons are, they are all permutations of the same umbrella concept; like any non-visual medium, we appreciate that music gives us a mental image, or inspiration or a journey. Simply stated, no matter our stripes, music takes us someplace.

Album Review: Sirenia - "Perils of the Deep Blue"

European metal is a crowded landscape. In a genre choked with also-rans and soundalikes, every band tries to boast their worthiness as a product of their values, their image or their virtuoso guitar talent. Sirenia, the gothic band from Norway, attempts to stand out by placing all their chips singularly on vocal prowess and a sense of the moment. It’s risky roulette to play when the fans expect certain tropes to be part and parcel, but through this lens we are introduced to “Perils of the Deep Blue.”

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