album reviews

Album Review: Deftones - "Diamond Eyes"

The Deftones are a curious puzzle for me. At the height of their prowess in 1997, they were such a band of the moment. With the wave of grunge receding back to the sea by 1996, there was a considerable void for music listeners who wanted something similar to that vein and yet was an extension of it. “Around the Fur” perfectly fit into that void. Yet, as is sometimes the fate of bands that become over-hyped for the moment, the Deftones were eventually drowned in a sea of contenders for what had been grunge’s throne.

Album Review: Airbourne - "No Guts, No Glory"

After a stream of seemingly never-ending tours, Airbourne somehow found time to record a monster new album. I can't help but feel like a compelling documentary could be made concerning the kind of odyssey that the writing of this album entailed. More than likely, it was written in dark alleys, road hotels, long bus trips, far out bars and after parties, and in varying states of sobriety.

Album Review: Darkthrone - "Circle the Wagons"

Well, this sure is something. This is the first album review I’ve done in a while where that’s all I can come up with. Veteran duo Darkthrone’s new album “Circle the Wagons” is akin to listening to a random mash-up of the Misfits, GWAR and Venom. Although, it’s assembled out of pieces of those three, more than a proper accumulation of their talents.

Album Review: Devil to Pay - "Heavily Ever After"

Devil to Pay is a band who has crafted their sound from one sweat-soaked gig in a dingy, disgusting roadhouse after another. The more the exercise continues, the dirtier the band's sound becomes. Constant exposure to the insatiably hungry dregs of ugly riff-based metal fandom has caused Devil to Pay to embark on an endless quest to find the deepest, nastiest, most infectious and punishing riff ever devised. To that end, they've released their new album, "Heavily Ever After."

Album Review: Fireball Ministry - "Fireball Ministry"

I hate it when this happens. You have a band that's at a creative crossroads. They can take their music in one of two directions, and they pick the wrong one.

And so we see Fireball Ministry, I band I have credited with a forgotten classic on these very pages, headed the wrong way on their new, self-titled album. Confronted with the intersection of edgy rock and roll and country-shaded metal, Fireball Ministry took the path of toward mainstream rock and the possibility of commercial appeal.

Album Review: Jimi Hendrix - "Valleys of Neptune"

Sometimes, you go back to what you know. It doesn’t matter if it’s been five days, five months, five years, or five decades. Sometimes, you just need a visit from an old familiar friend.

Enter Jimi Hendrix and “Valleys of Neptune.”

Album Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan - "Option Paralysis"

It's been a long and twisted road since "Calculating Infinity," hasn't it?

"Option Paralysis," the newly released work from mathcore veterans and acquired taste The Dillinger Escape Plan, is an attempt to get back some of what the band has lost over time.

Album Review: Arsis - "Starve for the Devil"

The idea behind east coast thrash metallers Arsis is a good one. With “Starve for the Devil” the band has attempted to bridge the gap between European style artistic metal and American-born biting, ugly metal. The end result gets caught in the tug of war between the two ideologies and never really bursts through to meld them creatively.

Album Review: Fear Factory - "Mechanize"

You know what my favorite Fear Factory album is? Demanufacture. Do you know why? Because that album is explosive but rhythmic, deadly and passionate while still crafted and artful.

For all their metal bravado and reputation, Fear Factory's strongest asset has always been their secret ability to balance ferocity and fragility. They used to be able to precariously dance on the precipice of "too much," all the while performing a both destructive and inventive form of heavy metal.

Album Review: Barren Earth - "Curse of the Red River"

Born from the combined talents of current and former members of Amorphis, Swallow the Sun and Kreator, Barren Earth is a unification of Finnish metal veterans making an album.

The first thing I noticed is the satisfaction the band has taken in the product they've created. That can be a hard thing to detect in a recorded release, but there's something about Barren Earth's "Curse of the Red River" that screams pride. They believe in every note, every tone, every growled word.

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