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You guys ever listen to a band on just a whim of curiosity and they absolutely knock you over like a turtle in the middle of a highway? That was me with Light Dweller, a blackened/techy death metal solo project from Tempe, Arizona. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but as I went through Spotify and one thing led to another, I found myself looking at the cover for the project’s newest album, Hominal. The logo was perfectly symmetrical and the artwork was harrowing and obscure, but I just knew I needed to check this thing out, even if for just the opening track. Light Dweller takes bits from Gorguts and Ulcerate and comes from the same part of the void where those bands draw influence from. The project... 

In a perfect world, Ulcerate is the biggest death metal band on the planet. I can’t fathom why more people haven’t been turned onto this band, but their track record of break-neck speed, cacophonic death metal is one of a kind. Darker than Gorguts yet not as much of an oddity as Imperial Triumphant, the New Zealand trio have long found their own brand of death metal, and on album number six, Stare into Death and Be Still, the band is perfecting their concrete and foolproof formula. In case you haven’t guessed it yet, this is one of the best death metal releases of the year, if not in music as a whole. And it’s only April.  

There’s something stagnant in traditional rock music. You’re definitely not hard-pressed to find artists like Steven Wilson, Kvelertak, or even Volbeat who are doing something off the beaten path from the rest. But in terms of the simpler, less progressive, less blackened, and less rockabilly acts, you’ll find that the style of “post-grunge” has been a mainstay since the early 2000s. Since then there hasn’t been much to change that status quo, and even still we as an audience are seeing some harder rock bands take off in a more pop direction: Shinedown, Theory of a Deadman, and Papa Roach have all dabbled or merged with more pop tendencies to appeal to a wider audience in recent years, and you can’t deny... 

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Funny enough, as I began streaming Fister’s Decade of Depression, I was confused when the band decided to open their album with a cover of “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Not that it’s a bad choice, but rather than I went in blind to this album, hit play, and didn’t look at the tracklisting. Surprise surprise, it’s a cover album, and a good one at that which I was pleasantly taken aback by right away.  

Your average stoner doom metal band has a lot to live up to, mainly because they have to try to overcome the inevitable comparison to Electric Wizard and Cough that they’ll eventually face, as well as a heap of Black Sabbath comparisons. Big riff progressions, unified guitar and bass tones, and reverberated vocals are the name of the game, and to do it well either becomes a monotonous effort to get through or a fun and enjoyable listen. Monolord are now on album four and have had success with their brand of stoner doom. 2017’s Rust was an enjoyable listen, if not a bit long for its own good, but this year’s No Comfort rectifies what problems I had with their previous release. More focused, well paced,... 

In the time Tool’s taken to sort out all their issues and put Fear Inoculum out, I’ve basically grown up. I was 11 when 10,000 Days came out, and now I’m 24. I think the hype for the album died a few years ago for me when I came to the realization that the band were just going to do what they do best and any unrealistic expectations would only lead to an inevitable disappointment. Let’s be honest: it was never going to live up to the standard the meme set. Fear Inoculum is, in all of its monolithic run-time, a tried and true Tool album. You shouldn’t be surprised.  

Death metal is a hard act to sell and I cannot for the life of me pin down what it is that makes the genre such of a wide spectrum of quality. You’d think tremolo picking, growls, wails, blast beats, and gore-centric lyrics would do it, right? Alongside thrash and black metal, there’s probably the most disposable amount of music being thrown into the genre. Boring riffs, derivative writing, and the robotic drumming of some of these musicians drown what might be diamonds in the rough in a sea of mediocrity. That’s why 20 Buck Spin is probably one of the best labels around today: they do the hard mining and find those diamond to make sure they get their time to shine.  

I’m not terribly well-versed in industrial metal, but I get the basics of it. Bands like Ministry, Fear Factory, and especially the early Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson albums are what I’ve been versed in over the years, so there’s some understanding there. Typically I’m not excited by the genre, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t putting this review off. Industrial is just a hit-or-miss thing, and there’s nothing I can really do about that because I love riffs and blast beats. Damned if I do, though, I will admit: 3Teeth are an enigma in this philosophy of mine. You might’ve heard about them, and they’re surely picking up steam in the past few months, and... 

It’s not a matter of if a Baroness album is going to be good, but rather a question of how good it is. TL;DR, Gold & Grey is a rock solid addition to their discography and a fitting conclusion to their cycle of color-coated albums that they’ve been known for. If that tells you what you want to know, fine. Go buy it. Stream it. The hype has been worth it, I can tell you that without a doubt. On a surface level it’s great, but it’s what’s beneath the surface and the machinations of it that make this such a unique and interesting release for a band still experimenting to great effects. Some not so great, as the blemishes do make themselves apparent on this long journey to the finish line. Yet you can’t... 

As I approached the box office for Dance Gavin Dance’s show in New York, I heard from the customer next to me that the show had completely sold out. Look back a few years ago and Dance Gavin Dance were just introducing clean vocalist Tilian Pearson into the band, and now they’re selling out one of the larger venues in NYC. Ain’t that something. Back when the mallcore/Warped Tour band phase was sweeping America circa 2010/11-ish, Dance Gavin Dance were thrown around in that scene quite frequently. There was always something off about the experimental post-hardcore act, but Dance Gavin Dance stood out, if for any reason being their non-compliance with the trend that was going on. They fit in, yeah, but kinda like... 

I believe the ultimate testament to a great live act is the reward you get for seeing the band multiple times. Now, granted, you can go on about production and stage presence and different setlists, but the true factor of success is the euphoria one gets afterwards. With that noted, I really don’t know how Baroness does it. With a – pun intended –  colorful spectrum of sound (Pretty sure that’s been done before) at their disposal and the energy flared at max capacity through a full set, one would be certain that Baroness are a band poised for longevity in today’s music scene. This isn’t just a great metal and rock band anymore: they’re making timeless music and putting on epic shows like it’s... 

It’s been nearly ten years since Periphery’s debut album, and in that time the group has become a formidable force of production innovation, songwriting, and musical chops recognizable across the entirety of the metal spectrum. What started as a bedroom project is now a full-fledged touring outfit and a former solo project has become a self-oscillating music machine that constantly challenges itself. Periphery IV: Hail Stan, unbelievably the band’s sixth album, is the first in which the band has struck independent on their new label, 3Dot Recordings, and with it comes the freedom of complete musical expression. While the band continue to expand their sound outward and innovate on what they’ve founded, they’ve... 

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