heavy metal

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.

Concert Review: Alice in Chains

The set began tentatively, like it was the band’s very first time on stage all over again. Each note was practiced and perfectly placed, each band member was nervously dreading any mistake that might set the crowd against them.

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.

Slipknot Bassist Paul Gray Found Dead

Paul Gray, bassist for heavy metal band Slipknot, was found dead Monday morning in an Iowa hotel. Foul play has been ruled out, but no cause of death has been determined. Toxicology tests will be done on Tuesday. Paul had just joined the metal revival supergroup Hail!, and his wife Brenna is pregnant with the couple's first child. Gray had done one stint in rehab, and in interviews talked at length about his struggles with drug addiction and abuse.

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.

RIP to a legend...Ronnie James Dio

By now you may or may not have heard. Metal icon and progenitor of the "horns" that we all hold so dear, Ronnie James Dio passed away Sunday morning, May 16th, 2010. His manager and wife of many years, Wendy Dio, released a brief statement, saying:

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."

Heavy Metal News Updates!

-Hey Godsmack fans! In anticipation of the impending release of "The Oracle," Godsmack will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live for a mini outdoor concert on May 5th! It's free on broadcast television, so if you can't get to LA, you can always tune in.

-After much buildup, the BlackDiamondSkye tour has been announced, complete with American tour dates. For those not in the know, it's a triple bill with Alice in Chains, the Deftones and Mastodon.

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.

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