album review

Album Review: Morbid Execution - Vulgar Darkness

When an album comes across my desk with a press release bearing words like 'sodomy', 'filth', and 'vile', a small part of me has already started writing my opinion before I ever hear a note of the music. It's a lousy form of jurisprudence, but it's one I won't pretend to ignore. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but we all know that it happens all the time. There are plenty of reasons why we should know better, why we should try to be more enlightened, but in the end, it's difficult to fight our baser tendencies.

Album Review: Dogbane - Residual Alcatraz

In the long, winding story of heavy metal, one of the most under-appreciated chapters is that of American pioneers Trouble. The Chicago band was responsible not only for the rise and development of American doom metal, but three albums later also the development of groove and stoner metal. Their catalog is littered with classic records, and they boast what may be the least known, yet most deserving guitar tandem to ever turn up an amp. Why am I spending a few sentences on a band whose album I'm not reviewing?

Album Review: Witchsorrow - God Curse Us

Of all the subsets of heavy metal, doom may just be the hardest to do well. While thrash can get by on the adrenaline of speed, prog can get by on intellectual arguments, and death and black metal can get by on sheer aggression, doom has nothing to fall back on. The plodding tempos make doom subject to falling into tepid boredom, repeating the same riffs over and over again until the blur into a mash of heaviness.

Album Review: The Reticent - Le Temps Detruit Tout

Progressive music has been in the midst of a boom in recent years. After a long stretch of time in which being able to play your instrument was deemed unnecessary, and long songs were out of vogue, things have come full circle to an embrace of the reckless creativity that marked the glory age of music. Whether a softer approach as taken by groups like Transatlantic, fully metal statements by the likes of Opeth, or something straddling the fence like Porcupine Tree, more and more bands have accepted the freedom that comes with being progressive.

Album Review: Cryogen - "Psalms of Deceit"

Death metal has, over time, become a uniquely divided sect of the greater heavy metal catalogue. To ask metal fans on each side of the Atlantic what "death metal" should sound like would elicit two wildly different answers. Overseas, death metal is a genre characterized by high-frequency screaming and a veritable avalanche of non-stop guitar. Meanwhile back at the ranch, American death metal is partially infused with the facets of modern hardcore, to produce a sound that shares a relationship with its European cousin, but is marked with guttural growls and heavy-handed distortion.

Album Review: Devilish Impressions - Simulacra

In due time, it's almost a guarantee that every sub-genre of metal will end up blended with every other. Bands like to break new ground, to establish legacies, and being able to claim an entire sub-genre as your progeny is an effective way of doing so. As the combinations are used up, it leaves some interesting amalgamations unexplored. What might at first thought sound like an undesirable experiment, could actually turn out to be a pleasant look into the future.

Album Review: Nile - "At the Gate of Sethu"

I have never been a fan of Nile. I should probably start by saying that.

It seems like I should be. High speed death metal? Check. Ancient Egyptian mythology? Yep. References to H.P Lovecraft? It's got those, too! If Nile could see fit to squeeze in a couple tunes about chocolate cake and the Oakland Raiders, they'd have a bunch of the basic tenets of my personality covered. Yet, it doesn't work for me.

Album Review: Manowar - The Lord Of Steel

Metal is an absurd theater, when you stop and think about it. Much of the music we love is played with unwavering conviction, as though an amplifier turned up high enough can actually transmit the music to the Gods. It sounds stupid, but it's exactly why we become fans, and why we stay involved with the scene, no matter how many people may point and laugh at the more outlandish escapades of our heroes. Metal has a long history of being cheesy, over-the-top, and utterly ridiculous, and no band has ever been so guilty as Manowar.

Album Review: Mortal Infinity - District Destruction

Nothing has been more of a surprise in recent years than the sustained revival of the thrash scene. Thought dead when the classic 80's bands moved on to more commercial styles of music, nostalgia kicked in a generation later, and we find ourselves in the second coming of thrash. The masters are still out there doing their thing, better than they have for decades in many cases, but the influx of new bands is astounding. Thrash has seen a new wave of bands taking up the mantle, spreading the gospel of speed and heaviness around the world once again.

Album Review: The Flower Kings - Banks Of Eden

Few men in progressive rock have been as prolific as Roine Solt. Over the course of his career, he has appeared on a staggering number of records, and established himself as one of the leading forces of modern progressive music. It's in that spirit that “Banks Of Eden” is an oddity, the first Flower Kings album in five years. With eleven albums in a career spanning few additional years, the extended absence for the band came as a shock, even as Stolt took part in the reformation of the supergroup Transatlantic.

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