Reviews Archives - Page 3 of 27 -

I’m rather vocal about how much rock music today is lacking. With a lack of forward momentum and the sound of the genre becoming stagnant, most bands tend to lean towards being a pop act. I did a whole article on this, but in that observation Monster Magnet wasn’t mentioned once. For good reason, Monster Magnet are a rock band from the NJ area that are now boasting twelve albums, ranging from catchy hard rock to 70’s inspired stoner rock. Breaking form the mold and going about the genre in a passionate manner is the most genuine way to write music, and upon seeing the band live, you can easily tell just how much love goes into performing to a room full of fans in front of them. There’s no veil separating... 

It takes a lot to go out on a tour by yourself. But if it’s one thing that Steel Panther has, it’s balls. They won’t let you forget that either, since the band is very quick to tell you that all four of its members have male body parts. Not without making you laugh, of course. To summarize, Steel Panther are excellent musicians who know how to put on a show and celebrate 80’s hair metal, but all the while poking fun of it in the most juvenile, crude, and hilarious way possible.  

Black Panther is the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature a black actor in the titular role, as well as the first to feature a predominantly black cast of characters to it. You probably knew that by now, what with all of the promotion and unfathomable amount of hype this movie has going for it. It’s inescapable, but can you blame yourself? The feel is sleek and stylish, and the sci-fi heavy African setting lends itself to be different kind of superhero film from what we’ve seen before. “Different,” however, is not synonymous with “perfect.” Still, while flaws are apparent,  what the film gets right is enough to make this a noteworthy addition to the MCU as a whole and not just another... 

There was a point on my second listen off Down Below that I realized Tribulation had done the impossible. The quartet of Swedish musicians surfaced to the greater metal community in 2015 with the critically acclaimed The Children of the Night, transitioning from a death metal act to something else entirely. The Children of the Night, as the cover and the appearance of the band members would suggest, was vampiric and wholly original in comparison to the rest of the scene, which is what would make following the album up a daunting task few bands would be capable of.  

Between thrash and death metal, I always get a sinking feeling in my gut when a new album comes my way. It’s no secret, but those two genres are filled to the brim with artists who aren’t doing anything new with the genre and create music that aspires to echo their influences. I’m guilty of this, too, but it’s not a crime if it’s intended to be made for the love of music. Scaphism is that band, in which the Boston death metal act set forth to write good death metal because they obviously love the genre. Yet among all the other death metal-worshiping bands out there, Scaphism get something right about death metal that most bands don’t, and that is what sets them apart from the rest of the pack.  

So very rare is it that I look at a line-up and say to myself “That’s evil.” I like to think we’re past the point in time where we regard metal bands, no matter what genre, as “evil,” but sometimes I end up contradicting myself. Especially in regards to black metal and death metal, using “evil” as a description is so typical, especially when the bands themselves deserve more credit than that. Such is the case when Immolation announced they’d be touring with legendary Norwegian act Mayhem, supporting them on performances of their landmark album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Most extreme tour of the year? Damn right. Growing up in the tri-state area, coming into black metal resulted in myself stumbling... 

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.  

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