M. Drew's blog

Album Review: It's Casual - "The New Los Angeles II"

Answering a question no one asked can be a dangerous enterprise, because the greatest uncertainty involved is in assuming someone cares about the answer. It’s Casual, the punk-ish band with roots in Los Angeles, is the erstwhile answer to the question “What would a mix of Black Flag and Rush sound like?” While that question seems to land on the spectrum somewhere between ‘untenable’ and ‘impossible,‘ the evident answer lies in the band’s new record “The New Los Angeles II”

Album Review: Warbringer - "Empires Collapse"

Whoa, what is this?

You ever seen the Robert Redford movie “Sneakers?” There’s a scene where the character Whistler (played by one of the all-time great character actors David Strathairn,) figures out that the computer hardware his crew stole is the most powerful decryption tool ever created; that possessing it gave him complete access to every secure network in the United States. Whistler’s reaction, accompanied by a symphonic crescendo, is “Whoa.” That’s how I feel about Warbringer’s new album “Empires Collapse.”

Album Review: Soulfly - "Savages"

Consistency is a difficult thing to deliver, particularly over a long period of time. To churn out a high caliber or product over and over again, particularly in the arts, where one must constantly find new inspiration, is a herculean task, and attaining or failing consistency has been the respective hallmark and demise of countless artists and musicians over the last couple centuries. Soulfly, still the bedrock of Max Cavalera's current musical career, has been extremely successful at continually turning out a product that fans will recognize, embrace, endorse and consume.

Album Review: Monster Magnet - "Last Patrol"

Some things don’t change. It remains difficult to discuss the long career of Monster Magnet without using the word ‘circuitous.’ Born into obscurity in the wilds of New Jersey, Dave Wyndorf’s band toiled for years, eventually landed a major radio hit with “Space Lord,” was on everyone’s lips for twelve minutes, then it faded just as fast as it had come. A period of infighting and lineup shuffling followed, but through it all the name Monster Magnet persisted.

Album Review: GWAR - "Battle Maximus"

As time goes by, it becomes increasingly difficult to do reviews of GWAR albums. The simple fact is, there are only so many ways in common English that you can say “well, it sounds like GWAR.” Amidst all the blood and fluids that GWAR has dispensed over the last thirty years (or thereabouts, which seems unbelievable,) the band has quietly been highly prolific, never waiting more than three years to unleash a new album on their faithful followers.

Album Review: Lullwater - "Lullwater"

With each passing generation of popular music, there are tropes that remain constant despite an ever-shifting landscape. One of the most prominent roles that has been played by many capable actors is the role of pleasantly listenable, broadly appealing and emotionally based rock and roll band. It’s been an important niche coming and going in the different eras of music history, the successor to the genre-defining acts that blazed rock’s trail in the late sixties and early seventies. Any band that can carry a melodic tune easily provides a recognizable touchstone of a given musical era.

EP Review: Endvade - "Ascension"

By now, everyone and their metal brother has an opinion of ‘djent.’ My compatriot Chris has spoken about this phenomenon before, as well as its divisive nature and the splinter’s penchant for drumming up intense debate about how metal ‘should’ sound. I find myself a man without a country in this particular instance. I can’t in good conscience speak against an entire outlying genre when it’s entirely possible that someone out there can make it sound good.

Album Review: Saliva - "In It To Win It"

Confession time, kids. I have long been, since my college days, a closet Saliva fan. I hear the rampant, frothing criticism already – ‘Drew, that’s less metal (and therefore worse,) than your general support for the mainstream Five Finger Death Punch and the cupcake that is Sick Puppies.’ I know. I get it. Bear with me. Just like those other two bands, Saliva has long distinguished themselves by being able to execute a quality formula for pop metal (if I can call it that.) while maintaining a certain credible edge. With that in mind, we venture forth into “In It to Win It.”

Album Review: Vista Chino - "Peace"

By this point, the saga of Kyuss has been fairly well reported. To tell the story fully would require a documentary film of appreciable length, a flowchart with Cliffs Notes and a very long afternoon. What began simply as the band that invented and molded desert metal became a long and drama-ragged tale of music and litigation.

The upshot is this: out of the ashes of short-lived revival Kyuss Lives! comes Vista Chino, spiritual successor to the original Kyuss and composed of that band’s co-founding members Brant Bjork, John Garcia and occasionally the enigmatic Nick Oliveri.

EP Review: Nekrogoblikon - "Power"

Sometimes, all it takes is a moment. With the remarkable success of their freshly released, high-gloss video for “No One Survives,” Nekrogoblikon has made the leap from “totally obscure” to “dark horse” and done so seemingly overnight. The video itself has accrued more than two million views and was a product of chance meetings, creative direction and adult film starlets. Los Angeles truly is a magical place, indeed.

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