album reviews

Album Review: Texas Hippie Coalition - "Rollin'"

One of the things I love most about Southern-style heavy metal is that there's very little guesswork, and almost no head scratching. Nothing that comes detuned from Texas is a complicated affair. Musical creativity is, for better or worse, sacrificed in the name of high energy, beer-swilling, head-banging mayhem.

Album Review: Godsmack - "The Oracle"

On their previous best day, Godsmack's best efforts sounded akin to James Hetfield singing for Alice in Chains. With the dawning of "The Oracle," we may have a new best day to talk about.

Album Review: Sevendust - "Cold Day Memory"

On this new album, we see Sevendust, but not quite the Sevendust we remember. They've matured as a band and grown into their sound. The band has learned over the years how to skillfully temper their anger and emotion into a more balanced and tangible whole.

Album Review: Heaven Shall Burn - "Invictus"

Sometimes, the only recourse as a metal band is to throw absolutely everything into a pot and see how much of it coalesces. At least, that seems to be the driving idea behind Heaven Shall Burn’s “Invictus.” In its base roots, the album seems like it has a metal skeleton not altogether different from any number of anonymous metal albums. Yet, the album both benefits and suffers from the disease of more. More guitar, more distortion, more percussion, more sheer noise.

EP Review: Katatonia - "The Longest Year"

While “Night is the New Day,” has barely cooled from the forge, Katatonia is capitalizing on the moment and released a companion EP, “The Longest Year.” Almost as if to say “Wait, we’re not done, there’s a piece we’d like to add!” Katatonia pushed two new tracks and two new mixes down the pipe, with a couple companion videos to go with it.

Album Review: Lair of the Minotaur - "Evil Power"

At some point, heavy metal is subject to the very same rules as quality hot sauce. You can't just burn people out with extreme heat; you have to actually give them some flavor. Lair of the Minotaur brings it hot and heavy; the beats are punishing, the guitars a distorted, rhythmic quagmire and the vocals are brutal and challenging. Still, there's only a fleeting glimpse of actual flavor.

Album Review: Scorpions - "Sting In The Tail"

Sigh. I had high hopes that "Sting in the Tail" would prove an edgy, fitting coda for the decades-spanning career of the once-mighty Scorpions. Instead, the album is a mediocre exercise in Scorpions-by-numbers, with far too many sections that are reminiscent of acts long gone by.

I am glad to report that the Scorpions have retreated from the edge of the cliff they were headed toward during the "Crazy World" era. Still, "Sting in the Tail" hardly comes back to the heady days of "the Zoo."

Album Review: Iggy and the Stooges - "Raw Power Deluxe Edition"

I'm extremely happy to see "Raw Power" digitally enhanced and preserved for future generations. Not only is the album one of the Stooges' preeminent efforts, but it is such a remarkable time capsule of its time. "Raw Power" is a glimpse into a very specific period of music and American culture.

Album Review: It's Alive - "Human Resources"

I admit I may have been fooled. Or foolishly optimistic. Either way, the album “Human Resources” from up-and-comer It’s Alive is not what I suspected it would be. Hearing the band’s name, I hoped that I was in store for a monster-themed fun-loving alternative metal romp. Rather, I was faced with yet another album that wallows in quasi-emotional distress, complete with gravelly vocals meant to engender sympathy.

Album Review: Saving Abel - "Miss America"

Sometimes as a music reviewer, you are privileged enough to hear an album that is ahead of its time. Occasionally, you’ll know right away that whatever you’re listening to is the harbinger of trends to come. Most of the time, it takes a couple of years to truly recognize that what you heard all that time ago would be the advent of something more.

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