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Death in a band is a struggle to overcome.For the UK’s Architects, the loss of guitarist and founding member Tom Searle was a massive blow to the group. Still, this band pushes on. It’s the opening track “Death is Not Defeat” on their eighth studio album, Holy Hell, that really sends the message that this is the start of the next – albeit unexpected – chapter in the band’s history. There’s a veil of anguish that’s hanging over Holy Hell and Architects have pulled out all stops in releasing what might be the most crucial album of their career.  

There’s no introduction necessary. At the Gates are a band that have stood the test of time. Still as relevant as they were in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the resurrection of this band has been nothing short of a phoenix rising from the ashes. The band’s latest two albums, At War With Reality and To Drink from the Night Itself, have been critically acclaimed. Is it appropriate for them to opening for Behemoth? With how they carry themselves live, you’d have sworn it was a co-headliner.  

If there’s one way to describe Daughters, it’s “enigmatic.” The grindcore-turned-noise rock outfit rears its head once again, coming back from the grave in full form. Granted, they reformed in 2013, but still… It’s only now that they’re putting an album out. If they weren’t doing anything then, this is the biggest deal for fans of the band since then. After their appearances with The Dillinger Escape Plan at the end of last year, Daughters went from being an underground act to… an… upper tier underground band? It’s hard to explain, but all of a sudden there were plenty of people who suddenly knew who this band was and were anxious for something new. Having not done anything but record since... 

It literally doesn’t stop. Death metal as far as the eye can see in 2018, and it just doesn’t get any better. I’ve rambled enough this year, but you get the idea that this is a great year for the definitive, extreme metal genre. To the point, here’s a few more of this year’s releases coming your way.  

30 years ago, I wasn’t even a thought to my parents. Having just celebrated my 24th birthday, age is creeping up on me and feeling very much apparent as I’m slowing falling into seniority. To think that for the entirety of my lifetime (and then some) that Paradise Lost has been hustling and exploring the sonic landscape of gothic, doom-laden metal, is astonishing. Yet here I find myself, camera in hand, as the band makes their first New York appearance in six years to celebrate the extensive history of their band.  

I guess I’ll eat my own words this time. I’m a vocal fan of Omnium Gatherum, one of Finland’s more seasoned and refined melodic death metal bands. Last I saw them, they were opening for Sonata Arctica in New Jersey, and flash forward nearly two years later and they’re opening up a hell of a line-up: Other than themselves, they shared a stage with Moonspell, Dark Tranquillity, and Amorphis. They worked perfectly with Sonata Arctica last time, and the likes of Omnium being paired up with Dark Tranquillity isn’t unheard of. But Moonspell and Amorphis? A dream line-up if I’ve ever seen it.  

A horror cinematic universe is not unheard of, but in this day and age of comic book movies it seems like a fresh initiative among all the superhero attempts we’re seeing every few months. With 2013’s The Conjuring, the world shook in fear as the Warrens took down a demon terrorizing a family, but spawning a sequel and two spin-offs under the Annabelle line, Warner Bros. decided to venture out and greenlight more films to expand upon other demons in the universe. Enter Valak, the Nun from The Conjuring 2, in its own spin-off. An antagonizing figure that struck fear into many, no doubt a movie focusing exclusively on the Nun as an antagonist would be a safe bet at the box office.  

2018 is the year of death metal, make no mistake. Be it the bands who stick to tradition or the new up-and-coming bands that are trying something new, this year has been one of the best for the genre in a little while. Take a look at some of the smaller bands that are working to make their name:  

What a year for the genre. With the likes of Tomb Mold and Of Feather & Bone keeping the traditional style alive, you’ve got the more polished and technical side flourishing in a creative boom. The Artisan Era is doing a stellar job of unifying a plethora of skilled and insightful tech death acts that do more than just showcase musicianship, and with 2018 going into its second half, we’re seeing the label continue to drop heavy-hitting albums one after another. Aethereus’ debut album Absentia is just an extra layer in the cake at this point. With the obvious musicianship and slick production, Aethereus manage to keep their work interesting and exciting, rather than let it fall into a cesspool of technical... 

In today’s progressive landscape, it’s rare for spectacle and wonder to take a backseat to the artistic merits of music. Prog was founded in the late 60’s and early 70’s using both of these aspects, but acts like King Crimson exploited the more experimental and art-inspired side of the genre almost immediately out of the womb. Today, the modern math rock/proggy noodling community of internet-famous bands who, in a constantly changing environment, work even harder to get noticed by the general public, is a constant fight to differentiate one’s self. Covet is an interesting one, in that they are artistic by nature, but also rather than bore their listener with wordless displays of their superior musicianship,... 

We’ve come to the point with tech death where it’s diversify or succumb to irrelevancy. When Beyond Creation released Earthborn Evolution back in 2014, it was a big deal seeing a band with 8 string guitars utilizing melodic and digestible passages, married to the unique sound of a fretless bass that was just as complicated as their guitar parts. At the time everyone was trying to ape Meshuggah, and now flashforward and the technical wankery that comes with being a tech-oriented band is practically a joke. Yet bands still manage to diversify, to find unique sound avenues, and come out on top. Mordant Rapture are starting on that path with their debut EP, they’re trying to let everyone out of the gate know what’s... 

It was about one minute and thirty-eight seconds into this Oubliette album that I said “Oh boy.” Not in the condescending tone of “I can’t believe I’m gonna sit through this thing,” but rather “I’m gonna enjoy the hell out of this.” There’s something about the cutaway from melodic black metal to Alcest-like dreamscape guitars that says a lot about a band in the opening moments of their sophomore album, and it’s a hopeful plea that this intro isn’t all flash while the rest of the album is uninspired.  

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