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I’ve made the conscious effort to try and make it to the Metal Alliance tour for the past few years that it’s been an ongoing thing. Literally every year the tour has managed to make me want to attend, but life has a habit of getting in the way. This year, however, when it was revealed that Overkill and Crowbar were the main attraction, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. Overkill are a class act in thrash metal, and Crowbar are undeniably an unstoppable force, so add in Havok and Black Fast and you’ve got my attention.  

I’ve spent a lot of time with Hiss Spun, more than I typically give an album. I’ve expressed my, ahem, appreciation for Chelsea Wolfe’s music, but the one thing I knew I was going to have to do with this album was give it the time it demanded. Whereas her previous release, Abyss, was best described as a tasteful anti-metal release, (Containing and falling upon metal elements but never crossing that threshold) Hiss Spun elects to not continue where Abyss left off, yet keep that same anti-style intact. Instead, Chelsea Wolfe and her band have clawed their way out of the abyss. Metaphorically, the previous record was about finding out what’s at the bottom of a well. With Hiss Spun, Wolfe isn’t hiding the monsters... 

Having a legacy is important to an artist’s longevity. More importantly, though, creating that legacy requires classic music and for it to have a live show to back it up, as well. A band can be great in the studio, but once it comes to a live show they can’t mean all that much if they’re just standing there in place for 30 minutes. Obviously stage presence is just the basic of the basics, but it’s a good place to start, and be it wild or stylish ultimately depends on factors being interwoven into it. Danzig himself, along with has band, is currently in the midst of bringing Corrosion of Conformity and Mutoid Man along the east coast, and with it are some high expectations. Everyone knows to expect a big show... 

I’ve had Anathema’s Alternative 4  on my iTunes for as long as I can remember. Seriously, it has been there for an undisclosed amount of time and I have enjoyed that album time and time again over the years. It’s a product of where the band was mentally at the time, a phase in which they’ve evolved from, but there’s a certain quality to the music that makes it feel like the start of something, where it’s perhaps the band entirely leaving their doom metal roots and evolving into the progressive, symphonic, alternative rock outfit they’ve become. Yet nearly 20 years since that album’s debut, however, Anathema have only ascended as musicians, and if their dramatic return to New York City was a testament... 

 Integrity are a bit of an interesting band. While rooted in hardcore and early metalcore, the band has ceased to be pigeonholed to their roots and expanded into darker, sometimes experimental territories. At twelve albums into their career, the band still manages to surprise listeners, even when they claim to be familiar with their sound. So should you expect some curveballs on Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume? Yeah, that’s a safe bet.  

I wrote last year that Death Fortress’ Deathless March of the Unyielding in  very high regard. From diverse songwriting to a nice balance of traditional black metal vocals exchanged tastefully with death growls, Death Fortress had something special with that album, and even though there were other great black metal releases last year, the band stood out among the rest because they didn’t waste a single moment of their time. So what do you do when you’ve got some high expectations to meet? Make another album and disregard everyone else.  

Before I even begin to discuss It Comes at Night, know this right away: it’s being marketed incorrectly and isn’t the horror movie you’re believing it to be. Erase the trailer from your mind, because I can only imagine disappointment if what they’re marketing this film as is what you’re expecting it to be. That or just read on and decide if this is actually a movie you want to see.  

There’s a lot of talk in metal about progression and regression, (Particularly by myself) in which bands are given an ultimatum: progress or die. Many a band lose steam because they fail to do something new, ultimately fading back into irrelevance. Some bands can surely live off the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality for a good while before it gets stale, but often you see a band, once heralded as the new “it” band of the year, fade into the void of the underground scene. But what of regression, though? Is that a thing? Is it acceptable? Why would a band do that in the first place? Vallenfyre did exactly that, and they probably have answers.  

You don’t call Batman or Superman to stop a war. That’s what Wonder Woman is for. Literally in both the film and real life, Wonder Woman is doing precisely that, in which Diana is on a quest to put an end to World War I, but in doing so, her solo outing will be the one that calms the storm for DC fans everywhere. For the first time since possibly The Dark Knight, fans will be able to agree that Wonder Woman is a sure-fire success. While flaws are present in the film, DC have finally gotten it right and have readjusted their cinematic universe. The train left the station with a rocky start, but Wonder Woman seems to have set things right for the time being. Telling her life story, Wonder Woman foregoes the old,... 

We keep hearing the whole argument that “rock is dead” because the industry isn’t selling like it used to. I don’t agree with that statement at all, but what’s obvious is that every rock band today that you come across needs to step up the game a little bit more. Instead of trying to duplicate Nickelback’s success or whatever it is Shinedown is doing, bands should at least be focusing on better songwriting to give the genre a bit of a kickstart. Life of Agony, who are no strangers to both the metal and rock scene, pulled through NJ on the release tour for their new album, A Place Where There’s No More Pain, and with this particular show they managed to bring together bands from across the board for one... 

Clearing the air, know this in advance: The Night Flight Orchestra isn’t a metal band. Hardly one, as a matter of fact. Instead, this robust supergroup, which features the likes of Bjorn “Speed” Strid and David Andersson from Soilwork and Sharlee D’Angelo from Arch Enemy, is a love letter to 70’s and 80’s rock songs, and has been quietly putting albums out since 2012. Amber Galactic is the first major label album, and it’s a wonder as to why this group hadn’t been given this much publicity prior. The Night Flight Orchestra share more in common with bands like ELO and Boston than their melodic death metal counterparts. So, right away, if you can’t enjoy that style of music, it’s best to not even... 

The Alien franchise is a mixed bag, no doubt. While the first two are universally agreed upon as masterworks in horror, sci-fi, and action genres, two of the films are also considered disposable garbage by many sources and a supposed prequel, Prometheus, seems to be divisive and a flawed work of art. To say being an Alien fan is scary business, because unlike in space, everyone can hear you scream in frustration with this franchise. Alien: Covenant was a long time coming, and while there has been some hype for it, knowing that only two of the five canon films are undeniable classics is enough to know that this could go both ways.  

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