album review

Over the years, KISS has done a better job of tearing down their own legacy than any critic ever could. Through their capitalist machinations, and the never-ending torrent of insults directed at everyone who is no longer in the band, KISS has become the traveling freak show that critics in the 70s accused them of being. It's difficult to even talk about KISS with a straight face anymore, since even the band refuses to admit their own importance in the grand scheme of things.

In recent years, there has been a rash of nostalgia, and the first wave of every metal genre has roared back to life with new, and mostly well-received, albums. In the world of death metal, there have been mistakes (Morbid Angel, anyone?), but the majority of the old guard has been producing some of their best albums since the mid 90s. Obituary never really went away, but like all of the bands of their time, they got swallowed up by the waves of new genres that came along in the new millennium.

For a comeback to be truly recognized as complete and thorough, the band attempting it has to produce more than one solid album of material.  The comeback trail isn’t necessarily interested in brevity, but for those willing to put in the effort, redemption and more importantly resumption can be obtained.  It took INC (or Indestructible Noise Command, speaking of those not into brevity,) nearly a quarter century to attempt their comeback, culminating in 2011’s surprisingly excellent “Heaven Sent…Hellbound,” but that momentum needed to be carried forward in order to re-establish the

“There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.”
― Oscar Levant

The album I'm reviewing this week is a great example of what an artist can accomplish with talent, dedication, pushing the boundaries and just a wee bit of crazy. It's the latest offering from the Devin Townsend Project, a two disc set called "Z2".  Devin Townsend's new adventure is metal to be sure but it's oh, so much more. Metal doesn't truly begin to describe what's happening on this record. It's exciting, complex and difficult to describe, but I'll give it a shot.

Twenty-five years is an eternity. It's an entire generation that has come and gone, and that is how long it's been since Sanctuary has released an album. Their two records from the late 80's are underground classics, but the band is best known for what they became; Nevermore. It was that band that was able to break through and become one of the bigger names in metal, and it's that band that would make the bigger splash by returning at this time. Instead, Sanctuary has gone back in time to pick up where they left off, as though the last twenty years had never happened.

Metalcore has always been a bit of a shotgun wedding. There was no reason that screamed verses and cleanly sung choruses were supposed to be put together, not to mention becoming the blueprint for an entire genre of music. Very few of the metalcore bands have ever been able to make a compelling case for why their music isn't the musical equivalent of the TV show “Chopped”, with random ingredients thrown together for the sake of seeing what could be made of them.

Buzz Osborne is nothing if not a music survivalist.  The man is just about the only synonym for The Melvins, the band he has maintained for the better part of thirty years.  For a man and band that came to fame on the consistent recommendation of Kurt Cobain some twenty years ago, King Buzzo has done an excellent job of turning himself into a cottage industry.  He’s worked with the best musician, been part of innumerable projects and produced more material in that time that nearly all of his contemporaries.  The ongoing legacy of The Melvins continues with the band’s new

If we can all agree that Black Sabbath was the first true heavy metal band then heavy metal as a genre has only been around for slightly more than 40 years. And, if we use the traditional definition of a "generation" as being a 20 year period, then we are nearly a quarter of the way through the third generation of heavy metal music.

The story of Exodus is becoming nearly as lengthy and weighty as the biblical book of the same name.  Shoot, with the return of Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza to the ranks, there’s even a New Testament comparison, which is the obvious parallel to the parable of the prodigal son.  However, the more things change the more they stay the same, and Exodus remains forever an integral piece of the fabric of American thrash, existing as both part of its living past and revitalized present.

There is a common association between the macabre themes of violence and isolation and the power and uncommon fury of heavy metal.  Yet, punk and rock share many of those same ideals, occasionally cloaked in subtler themes.  We’ve seen the near-crooning of Glenn Danzig and the leather emotion of the 69 Eyes.  Enter into that mix a new twist on the old theme, Canadian band Nim Vind.