album review

There is no word scarier to most metal fans than 'pop'. The thought of pop music seeping in and destroying the heavy beauty of metal is one of the things that unites the majority of the metal universe, and it's one of the reasons metal has remained in the underground. Metal is not at all about embracing any of the themes or sounds that are popular, which means that when a band dares to do so, they are almost branded heretics by the faithful. Heavy guitars aren't supposed to be able to meld with synthesizers and drum loops, not without recalling the brutal horror of industrial slaughter.

Despite being pulled on by the powerfully irresistible artistic forces of both coasts, the heartland of America remains staunchly attached to the values which built the foundation of American popular music.  Not given to wild swings of fancy, the Midwest maintains a strong connection to the blues roots which have shouldered the careers of rock and roll, metal, grunge, rap, country and damn near everything else.  From within that established legacy comes Seasons After, a Wichita-based alternative metal band that experiments openly with some farther out ideas, but remains smartly en

I've been thinking that this year might mark the official death of melodic modern rock in the mainstream. Rock music hasn't had a true hit single in years, and most of the recent ones have been by either Nickelback or the Foo Fighters. Both of those bands have new singles on the airwaves, and their new contributions to rock and roll are both notable for their complete lack of melody.

Many years ago, I was in New York City for a convention and found myself walking through midtown during some down time.  It was raining moderately, and as I walked I came upon a smallish gentleman standing at the intersection.  He had a slouched demeanor, but one that suggested he wasn’t to be trifled with, a feeling that was confirmed when he started yelling loudly as tourists for jaywalking and littering.  In one bony hand he clutched a half-burned cigarette, and a second one was perched behind his ear.  His voice rang was an accented broken violin, invectives issuing

How many metal shows have you been to where the opening act was solid but not inspiring? I've found myself in this situation more times than I care to remember. I am a supporter of music in all it's forms and I give due credit to any band that has made it far enough to have an album released and go on tour. It's their chance to show the audience what they can do. When the opening act comes on, I'm rooting for them. I WANT them  to inspire me. I WANT them to succeed.

Over the years, KISS has done a better job of tearing down their own legacy than any critic ever could. Through their capitalist machinations, and the never-ending torrent of insults directed at everyone who is no longer in the band, KISS has become the traveling freak show that critics in the 70s accused them of being. It's difficult to even talk about KISS with a straight face anymore, since even the band refuses to admit their own importance in the grand scheme of things.

In recent years, there has been a rash of nostalgia, and the first wave of every metal genre has roared back to life with new, and mostly well-received, albums. In the world of death metal, there have been mistakes (Morbid Angel, anyone?), but the majority of the old guard has been producing some of their best albums since the mid 90s. Obituary never really went away, but like all of the bands of their time, they got swallowed up by the waves of new genres that came along in the new millennium.

For a comeback to be truly recognized as complete and thorough, the band attempting it has to produce more than one solid album of material.  The comeback trail isn’t necessarily interested in brevity, but for those willing to put in the effort, redemption and more importantly resumption can be obtained.  It took INC (or Indestructible Noise Command, speaking of those not into brevity,) nearly a quarter century to attempt their comeback, culminating in 2011’s surprisingly excellent “Heaven Sent…Hellbound,” but that momentum needed to be carried forward in order to re-establish the

“There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.”
― Oscar Levant

The album I'm reviewing this week is a great example of what an artist can accomplish with talent, dedication, pushing the boundaries and just a wee bit of crazy. It's the latest offering from the Devin Townsend Project, a two disc set called "Z2".  Devin Townsend's new adventure is metal to be sure but it's oh, so much more. Metal doesn't truly begin to describe what's happening on this record. It's exciting, complex and difficult to describe, but I'll give it a shot.

Twenty-five years is an eternity. It's an entire generation that has come and gone, and that is how long it's been since Sanctuary has released an album. Their two records from the late 80's are underground classics, but the band is best known for what they became; Nevermore. It was that band that was able to break through and become one of the bigger names in metal, and it's that band that would make the bigger splash by returning at this time. Instead, Sanctuary has gone back in time to pick up where they left off, as though the last twenty years had never happened.