album review

Australia has a long and proud musical history, both in terms of bands who have come from there and bands who have gone there to play.  The people of Australia are clearly in full support of the musical arts, particularly rock and extending into metal.  Still, for all that exposure and support, death metal is rarely thought of as a genre born Down Under.  Set to try and break that stereotype is Hadal Maw, a fast-rising death quintet hailing from Melbourne.

 

If I didn't know any better, by listening to enough heavy music, I would swear that the gods of rock and roll are the same ones worshiped by the Vikings. Rarely have there been songs written about the Greek and Roman gods, not that they didn't have some twisted stories that could make for interesting heavy metal, but something about the Norse has made them to go-to deities for metal bands. Skálmöld takes up their heritage, as many others have, with a bombastic style that pays tribute to those gods, while making us all feel a little bit more like an avenging warrior along the way.

Metal bands are cannibalistic. I don't say that in the sense of a Cannibal Corpse lyric, but in the sense that it's hard to find new metal bands popping up that don't have members of already established bands in them. It seems like practically everyone plays in three or four bands, which is great for fans of those players, but not so much when it means every band begins to sound even more like every other band. The members of Asphyx have been guilty of this, populating their main band, along with Hail Of Bullets and Grand Supreme Blood Court, and now Soulburn.

After years of quiet (and some would argue disquiet,) from the collected musicians that made up KYUSS, there’s been a huge burst of productivity in the last eighteen months.  First, Vista Chino, which is essentially the pioneers of desert rock under another name released their ‘debut’ album “Peace,” to rave reviews.  Earlier this year, vocalist John Garcia released his self-titled record and now Brant Bjork returns with another band and has released a record under the banner of “Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band.”

 

Here's a question... what if, instead of Ian Gillan, Black Sabbath had replaced Ronnie James Dio with a female singer? And not just any female singer. A female singer with power and soul who really knew how to belt out a lyric.

I think we have our found our answer in the form of the band Avatarium.

Avatarium is from the country that never seems to be short on new and interesting metal acts, Sweden. Hailing from Stockholm, they bring with them a sound that's part metal, part blues and a whole lot of intensity from vocalist Jennie-Ann Smith.

Alternative rock, or what passes for it these days, is not something I keep apprised of, so much of the rock music the greater populace knows about are the sorts of bands that have slipped past my radar. Trail Of Dead, as I will shorten the name for the sake of my sanity, are one of those bands that for whatever reason I have never had the opportunity to experience. I have heard the name countless times, and it seems like I have known their music, but I haven't.

Machine Head are one of the few metal bands out there that make an attempt to be larger than life. Their music over the last few album cycles has tilted towards the epic, bringing back the scope and vision of when rock and metal was able to fill arenas. “The Blackening” is hailed as a modern classic, and Machine Head are one of the most talked about bands, even if the reason for it is not always positive.

There’s retro, and then there’s retro.  Spiders, a heady four piece from Sweden is true-blood retro from the cover art on down.  Their new album “Shake Electric” borrows elements from many of the historic corners of rock and roll, beginning with its humble roots and going straight through its seventies heydays and eighties flair.

 

Few names are as immediately recognizable in the world of metal as that of Max Cavalera; founding member and former frontman for metal giants Sepultura, founder of the Brazillian flavored metal group Soulfly and now, after reuniting with his brother, former Sepultura drummer Iggor Cavalera, face of Cavalera Conspiracy. If you're a fan of brutal, in your face, unapologetic metal, Max and Iggor are here to provide it with the latest release from Cavalera Conspiracy, "Pandemonium".

There is no word scarier to most metal fans than 'pop'. The thought of pop music seeping in and destroying the heavy beauty of metal is one of the things that unites the majority of the metal universe, and it's one of the reasons metal has remained in the underground. Metal is not at all about embracing any of the themes or sounds that are popular, which means that when a band dares to do so, they are almost branded heretics by the faithful. Heavy guitars aren't supposed to be able to meld with synthesizers and drum loops, not without recalling the brutal horror of industrial slaughter.