album review

Album Review: King Of Asgard - To North

There's something about the Viking heritage that makes every bit of music that plays off it seem larger than life. No matter the genre, songs about the ancient warriors give songs a grander scope, a larger vision, the kind of epic scale that can sometimes make us forget exactly what we're listening to. I rarely doubt the sincerity of artists, but there are surely bands on the scene that know the effect that can be gleaned from a gimmick like this.

Album Review: Rob Zombie - Mondo Sex Head

We sometimes forget that a song is a larger entity than what we hear when we put on a record or turn on the radio. The things we are familiar with are not songs, they are performances, interpretations of something bigger than can be expressed through sound. Even for the artists who write them, songs exist out of their hands, malleable to the whims and inspirations of other people's creativity. We all know songs that have taken on new meaning and new identities when taken up by someone else, but no matter how much the sounds changes, the song is still the song.

Album Review: Korpiklaani - Manala

Among the dozens of factors that can impact the effect music has on us, geography cannot be ignored. Whether its the pull of a hometown act, or the joy in discovering music you love that comes from a world away, it does matter where the music we listen to comes from. Often, the music is indistinguishable enough that its a trivial factor that gets lost amid the more important details, but there are times when the origin of the music is intrinsic to not only how we hear it, but to what it is at all.

Album Review: 12 Stones - Beneath The Scars

As the 90's drew to a close, the state of rock music was slipping into a state of decay. It was lazy to conflate all modern rock bands, sentencing them to live under the title 'post-grunge', but there was always a grain of truth to be found in the stereotype. After the grunge movement came and went, the color had been sucked from the palate, and rock music became a bland canvas where every painter assembled their art from the same template.

Album Review: Testament - Dark Roots Of Earth

Testament has managed a remarkable feat; they have spent their entire career one step into the shadows. During the 80's, the natural cutoff for establishing the group of thrash bands at the top of the heap left them one step away from immortality, despite their sales success. As bands shifted their sounds in the 90's and found greater audiences, Testament went the other direction by becoming more extreme with each album, doing nothing to ride the wave created by their peers.

Album Review: Crucified Barbara - The Midnight Chase

The world of hard rock and heavy metal is a difficult one for women to exist in. The tougher-than-thou image that overtook the music is dependent on testosterone to survive, and even when women dare enter the fray, they are looked at with a curious eye. The spots reserved for women, for the most part, are either as keyboard players in the background, or as operatic sirens with the looks of a model.

Album Review: Tankard - "A Girl Called Cerveza"

Tankard has always been the bridesmaid of German thrash. Part of the vanguard during Germany’s answer to America’s Big 4, Tankard has seen thirty years go by without a single interruption in productivity or scandalous episode. Yet, they’ve never been escorted down the aisle or asked for their hand in marriage; the tenets of super-popularity elude them.

Album Review: Voodoo Brother - Voodoo Brother [EP]

Stoner metal has always lived in the underground, which is not a surprise, given that fame and acclaim don't mesh with the typical mindset the music carries. The drawn-out compositions, sludgy productions, and emphasis on everything other than making catchy music sentenced stoner metal to live in the shadows, a place not unfamiliar to the people making the music. But in recent years, as many stoner bands have softened their sound, and as the musical landscape has continued to fracture, stoner bands have entered a period in which they can achieve more than previously thought.

Album Review: 3 Pill Morning - Black Tie Love Affair

The internet has been a double-edged sword for bands. On the one hand, it has made it easy for any band to be heard. Even the smallest artists are able to get their music out to be heard by people in the furthest corners of the world. It has been a godsend. On the other hand, the flood of music that washes over listeners each and every day makes it nearly impossible for new bands to make the kind of impact they would have expected years ago, even when they have the industry pushing them forward.

Album Review: Southwicked - Death's Crown

There's a phenomenon in sports where once great athletes, on the verge of the end, return to the teams they made their legends with on one-day contracts, giving themselves a sense of closure as they fade away into the land of archive footage forevermore. Musicians rarely get that kind of self-serving charade. Bands who reunite after years or even decades seldom manage to live up to the standards we remember of them, and members who return to the fold after time in exile often fail to grasp the passage of time that has altered the group they disappeared from.

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