Iron Reagan – Crossover Ministry – Review

March 15, 2017

Like a magic bullet blasting you right back to the heyday of D.R.I. and Sui-cyco-style crossover metal, the aptly titled Crossover Ministry from Iron Reagan has all you want from the forgotten genre.

Wovenwar – Honor Is Dead – Review

November 4, 2016

Wovenwar sounds unshackled here, free to create a melodic metalcore sound that feels natural rather than predictably soft/heavy, good cop/bad cop.

Abbath – Review

February 26, 2016

With decades of genre-defining black metal under his spiked belt as the frontman for Norwegian legends Immortal, one wouldn’t think Abbath had much left to prove when he struck out on his own. But that’s not at all what it sounds like on this eponymous debut record, which roars out of the gate like razor wind through a snow-covered forest.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Arc – Review

February 5, 2016

Gone are the rapid-fire grindcore outbursts, replaced with longer, doomier, mid-paced compositions with multiple parts, tempo changes — the whole nine yards.

Ignite – A War Against You – Review

January 15, 2016

hese OG SoCal punkers have a big, infectious sound that’s equal parts driving, aggressive punk and stadium-ready, anthemic supersongs. It’s hard to think of many bands that would be just as comfortable midday on the Warped Tour as they would be opening for Def Leppard, but it’s a testament to Ignite’s command of their craft and decades of dedication that they can wield such an unlikely sound and make it work.

Killing Joke – Pylon – Review

December 18, 2015

This is a superlative work of industrial music from start to finish – 10 impeccably crafted songs that drag you slack-jawed through the gamut of human experience: Hope, despair, awe, anxiety, and beyond.

Denner-Shermann – Satan’s Tomb – Review

October 9, 2015

Every self-respecting metal fan places Mercyful Fate’s Melissa and Don’t Break The Oath on the pantheon of all-time classic albums. They do so not only to honor King Diamond’s inimitable vocal performances but also, just as importantly, to pay tribute to the mind-bending riffs and solos of guitarists Michael Denner and Hank Shermann.

Fear Factory – Genexus – Review

August 21, 2015

Hollywood couldn’t be bothered to deliver a non-shitty Terminator movie this summer, but that didn’t stop the much more reliable Fear Factory from putting together another kick-ass soundtrack to the near-future robot apocalypse. Genexus, their ninth album, delivers exactly the mix of brutality, melody, foreboding and ambition we always want from them.

Valkyrie – Shadows – Review

July 10, 2015

The power of the riff compels Valkyrie, a Virginia heavy rock group led by guitarists/vocalists Pete (also of Baroness) and Jake Adams. Their third record, Shadows, is heavy on the Sabbath worship, but isn’t afraid to go off the path on some interesting detours.

Paradise Lost – The Plague Within – Review

June 19, 2015

The Plague Within is a surprisingly dark album from Paradise Lost. Yes, I’m keenly aware that these Halifax, England misanthropes have explored death and despair from every possible angle during the past 25 years and 13 albums, and that — to use just one example — one of the band’s more recent videos featured a depressed dude moping around an abandoned building then hanging himself.

Raven – ExtermiNation – Review

May 15, 2015

Every now and then, when your brain has been fried by so many far-out variants, it’s great to have some old-school capital-H-capital-M, Heavy Metal kick you in the head. It busts you out of your funk with, say, the force of a giant mad scientist shoving a glowing neon syringe into the surface of the planet Earth.

Soilwork – Live In The Heart of Helsinki – Review

March 1, 2015

This first-ever live DVD/Blu-Ray from Soilwork, arriving right around the two-year anniversary of the band’s excellent 2013 double album The Living Infinite, is a straightforward but effective time capsule of these melodeath giants circa 2014.

Killer Be Killed – Review

May 16, 2014

It’s refreshing that these metal luminaries – Max Cavalera (Soulfly.), Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan) and drummer Dave Elitch (ex-Mars Volta) – came together not to create some wacky abstract sounds as an escape from their day jobs, but to pool their individual strengths and see what happens if you throw ’em all in a metal blender.

Ihsahn – Das Seelenbreche – Review

April 28, 2014

With last year’s release, there are now more Ihsahn solo records than there were Emperor records, so I think it’s safe to say the former Emperor frontman is committed to this new life of relentless experimentation.

Devin Townsend Project – The Retinal Circus – Review

April 11, 2014

It was only a matter of time before mad scientist Devin Townsend filmed a rock opera. His solo material often soars into operatic territory, then divebombs, roaring vocal hellfire and shrieking metallic death from the skies. He and his merry band of pranksters are as comfortable with gospel choirs as blastbeats, life-affirming, glowing choruses, and deathy bellows of Satan’s worst toothache.

Earthless – From the Ages – Review

April 10, 2014

First rec in six years, and it’s a doozie! This instrumental trio is heavy blues jam, first and foremost, with space, Sabbath, and psychedelia flavors added to the meaty stew. While there are only four songs, two clock in at a wink under 15 minutes, one tops out at 5 minutes, and the closer title track gives itself over 30 minutes of breathing room.

Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies Of The Night – Review

April 9, 2014

Lacuna Coil can definitely get goofy at times, but damn if their brand of female-fronted metal doesn’t seem like a Renaissance painting when compared to some of the silliness that other bands like Leaves’ Eyes get up to.

Legion Of The Damned – Ravenous Plague – Review

April 7, 2014

Head-down, serious thrash from the Netherlands. “Summon All Hate” sounds like a long lost Kreator song title, and even if the meat-and-potatoes thrash of the song itself isn’t distinctive enough to draw sonic comparisons to the German masters, it’s reliably solid nonetheless.

Falling In Reverse – Fashionably Late – Review

April 4, 2014

Ronnie Radke has many skills, but making smart musical choices is not among them. While able to layer his voice beautifully, and write catchy choruses most pop metal and pop punk bands would kill for, he writes some of the worst lyrics you’ll ever try to scrub from memory, and he believes in his statements so earnestly, it’s really embarrassing.

Letlive – The Blackest Beautiful – Review

March 31, 2014

Pop raps (remember 311? No?) and Linkin Park clean vocals offset with screaming and metal groove are a mix bound to sell. While the lyrics sound like high school notebook scribbles, the production and style of “Banshee (Ghost Fame)” is darn addictive.

Sister – Disguised Vultures – Review

February 21, 2014

Disguised Vultures, the second album from Swedish outfit Sister, does deliver some fairly predictable goods, but there are enough curve balls throughout the record to keep it interesting.

Eldritch – Tasting The Tears – Review

February 17, 2014

Intriguing, moody power metal from Italy. Incredibly (for this genre), the singer doesn’t overplay it, so the recitation of the song title doesn’t sound like whining nor like he’s trying to pierce the heavens like the second coming of Tim Owens.

Def-Con-One – II – Review

February 7, 2014

Pure opening-act mediocrity from the UK. Def-Con-One is a throwback to scores of second stage Ozzfest bands from the late ’90s–early ’00s, many of whom were charming in their ability to aggressively move a crowd without any particularly inspiring material.

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