album review

Album Review: Sabaton - Carolus Rex

Power metal has always been the red-headed step-child of the metal world, largely because of its reputation for being anything but heavy. The major-key riffs, high vocals, and songwriting that isn't obsessed with death gave rise to a slew of critics who think 'flower metal' is too embarrassing to be classified as metal. What they miss, aside from the very spirit of inclusion and open-mindedness metal is supposed to be about, is a wave of power metal that doesn't play by the old blueprint. Many bands use big melodies and bigger choruses to wrap up messages that are as heavy as any other.

Album Review: Tesseract - Perspective [EP]

Perhaps no subset of metal has exploded from creation as quickly as djent. The style born from the embers of Meshuggah's techincal percussive onslaught is the sound of the moment. While there are still more bands playing the more established colors of the metal rainbow, djent is where the attention of younger metal fans is focused. Every generation needs a sound of their own; for those currently coming of metal age, this will be theirs.

Album Review: The Bunny the Bear - "The Stomach For It"

The Bunny the Bear is a post-hardcore band that some have said incorporates dance elements into their music to flesh out their sound. More than that, the band is equal parts musical and theatrical experiment, attempting to push both the envelope of the hardcore sound and the envelope of presentation. This is one of those situations where fans will stand by and argue that detractors simply don't understand the fusion and exploration that's going on, and that might be true; but it also makes the bold assumption that the fusion and exploration is worth getting.

Album Review: SIVA Addiction - "Bad Decisions"

SIVA Addiction pounds out heavy metal in that uniquely blue-collar American way that is totally untouched by other countries, influences or genres. There is a sliver of the genre that remains impossibly true to the original form of heavy metal; a logical, blown-out extension of rock and roll from the middle seventies that revels in all the pomp and dirt that the legacy of that era entails. That sliver thrived in the U.S.

Album Review: Affector - Harmagedon

One thing that can be said about progressive rock and metal musicians is that there's no short supply of ambition in their work. Whether talking about concept albums, hour-long songs, or star-studded lineups, there is no such thing as 'too big' for their thinking. In large part, it's this kind of boundless creative energy that makes progressive rock and metal such an interesting landscape. So many sounds, feelings, and approaches can fit under the banner and be accepted that there's always a bit of a mystery when you first hear a new band, no matter the pedigree of the musicians involved.

Album Review: Six Feet Under - Undead

One of the questions that has long puzzled me as a music fan is to what degree an artist's standing as an innovator and genre-definer should be incorporated into their legacy. While being the first to travel down a certain path does necessitate a historical remembrance of that person's efforts, it doesn't mean that the work done to blaze that trail is worth remembering.

Album Review: DZ Deathrays - "Bloodstreams"

An awful lot of noise. That’s the first gut reaction to “Bloodstreams,” the new full-length album from Australian do-it-all duo DZ Deathrays. For just two people, this is a full-bore effort, ripped from the core of punk’s heart and rock and roll’s soul.

Album Review: Brendon Small's "Galaktikon"

Brendon Small’s “Galaktikon” is as much a story about finishing what you started as it is the divorce of the galaxy’s most popular superhero. Halfway invested prior to the recording of “Dethalbum II,” Small shelved this ad-hoc unfinished project until such a time as he could return to it and complete it. From that end, “Galaktikon” is anything but a typical vanity project, and shows not only Small’s dedication to his artistic exploration, but also his loyalty to Gene Hoglan and the musicians who helped him create it. He doesn’t want their work to be for nothing.

Album Review: Otherwise - True Love Never Dies

Mainstream rock has been a forgotten son of the metal family for almost as long as I have been aware of the music. Ever since the grunge explosion (the merits of grunge even being a definable sub-genre not withstanding), the singles that populate rock radio have had immeasurable influence from the bands that came out of Seattle. The post-grunge movement, as it became known, is known most of all for two things; bands that prefer angst to any other expression of emotion, and a wave of productions that made the bands indistinguishable from one another.

Album Review: Cattle Decapitation - "Monolith of Inhumanity"

What seems like a lifetime ago in 2003, I remember doing a music news report for my college radio station detailing how Cattle Decapitation had announced that their upcoming album, to be released in 2004, was to be called "Humanure." Little did I know that nine years later, Cattle Decapitation would not only evolve into a real thing, but would still be making music for a prominent label.

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