album review

One of the things about the thrash renaissance that is most welcome is the remembrance of bands outside the Big Four. While the Bay Area bands, along with the New York scene, did define thrash and contribute countless classic records, the boundaries of the genre weren't compatible with America's. Thrash exploded everywhere, and nowhere more than Germany, which has solidified its legacy as the second home of thrash. In the dark years of heavy metal, when all but the biggest bands seemed forgotten, the German thrash scene was reduced to but a blip on the screen.

I don't know what to make of modern rock music. There was a time when I was in touch with the 'mainstream', and loved the sort of stuff that was aimed at radio play. I grew up on that music, and still consider many of those releases my favorites of all time, but I got lost along the way as modern rock turned into something altogether different. The music became darker, the sounds became darker, and everything I liked about the style was stripped away in the name of angst.

The Modern Rock genre can often be a difficult one to review. There is so much material out there that, eventually, everything starts to sound pretty similar. Sure, some bands are much better at captivating audiences than others, but it takes something truly extraordinary to stand out from the pack.

Avantasia has always existed in a world larger than life. Recruiting scores of heavy hitters to fill the ranks of grandiose concept albums, Avantasia has been the playground for Tobias Sammet's grandest experiments. The two part "Metal Opera" is widely regarded as a modern day classic, even if I seemingly disagree with the whole world on which half is the most vital.

There are concerns for bands that extend beyond the writing and playing of their music. Making an album can be a long, tedious, draining experience, but the job isn't done when the last note is given the final once over. Timing can be just as important as the actual music, the impact made by an album depending on when and in what mindframe the audience gets the chance to absorb the music. When it's written down, it sounds like a ridiculous complaint that an album was released at the wrong time, but we're human, and there's a part of human nature that compartmentalizes our lives by time.

Finnish upstart Snow White’s Poison Bite is being billed as in the same vein as Black Veil Brides, but there’s more going on than that. Where the later band presents themselves in shades of gray with little mirth, SWPB is inherently and undeniably tongue in cheek, cloaking their music in the veil of a horror show.

The album, entitled “Featuring: Dr. Gruesome And The Gruesome Gory Horror Show,” centers around theme not altogether different from the old “Tales From the Crypt,” with the titular Doctor Gruesome in the role of Crypt Keeper.

Getting their start in 1995, Norwegian band Divided Multitude is coming up on twenty years in the music business, but “Feed on Your Misery” represents just their fourth album in that time. With all the pressure surrounding Progressive Metal artists, however, it’s hard to blame them.

Certain things, when you read them, are bounds for concern. When the press release for Bovine's new album called the music "sludge-soaked ghetto [rock]", I must admit that I was not exactly thrilled by what my mind was conjuring up. Sludge all too rarely manages to show the refinement in songwriting I expect from the music I listen to, and I have no idea what ghetto rock is supposed to be, but it sounds unpleasant as well.

It's almost a rite of passage that at some point in their career every metal band will either make a concept album, or will at least write a thematic suite of songs. Something about compositions that extend beyond the usual boundaries of a four minute song is like catnip for artists, the sort of thing they think needs to be done to prove they are indeed artists at heart. What gets lost in translation is how few concept albums actually work as a focused piece of music.

Originally called Dogz, Flotsam and Jetsam are probably best known for being the band Jason Newsted helped start before becoming the bassist for Metallica. After an on again, off again relationship with Metal Blade Records over the years, “Ugly Noise” finds the band, once again, with Metal Blade for their eleventh studio album. What’s more exciting for fans of the band, however, is the return of Kelly Smith on drums and Michael Gilbert on guitar. In other words, Flotsam and Jetsam is once again rocking their “Cuatro” lineup.