Reviews Archives - Page 8 of 28 -

It was roughly two years ago that Saor became a landmark band in the underground scene. Blending atmospheric black metal with a heavy amount of orchestrated folk metal, Saor was the topic of discussion after releasing 2014’s Aura. The studio-only project briefly took a turn to playing live, but has since returned to its original status, allowing founder and composer Andy Marshall to focus heavily on songwriting. Thus, we are given Guardians, the project’s third album that builds off of everything that came before it, and delightfully so as it is shaping up to be a bigger album than its two predecessors.  

Is it just me, or is death metal just stupidly great this year? The underground scene for death metal seems to be in full effect this year, and with it bands are bringing this extra degree of darkness to the mix, creating something really awesome atmospheres, pummeling riffs, and quality albums from start to finish. With plenty of music in the genre being released this year, let’s take note of some of the best the genre has offered in the past ten months.  

It’s not very often, but some weeks there’s just too many albums to come out with and they’re so to-the-point that you need to give blunt, direct commentary on each one. Running with a snake theme, Testament, Crowbar, and the new super-group Serpentine Dominion all released albums, and depending on your flavor you might have something worth picking up! Ranging from ballistic death metal to crushing, doomified sludge metal, this past week had more than enough to appease your varied or particular taste.  

I have something of a love-hate relationship with Avenged Sevenfold. Arguably one of the bands that was present in my transition into more extreme metal bands, (City of Evil and their self-titled circa 2008) I did not find myself a fan of Nightmare or Hail to the King upon their release. I still don’t hold a place in my heart for either albums, but at the very least, it was great to see the band grow bigger with each and every release. When people claim there’s never going to be another Metallica or Iron Maiden, look at Avenged Sevenfold and you’ll be proven wrong. That idea, though, is what makes this surprise-release album, The Stage, so interesting.  

2016 doesn’t know when to stop when it comes to great music. Whether it be Devin Townsend and Between the Buried and Me or Fear Factory and Soilwork, the amount of shows to correlate with the great albums coming out are nothing to scoff at. So is anyone actually surprised to know that another killer toured happened and if you missed it you were actually missing out on something? It’s the truth.  

Sometimes a joke album or concept can have terrible consequences, such as Tommy Lee’s side projects or Vanilla Ice; but sometimes, and these are fairly rare, they can become something beautiful. Such is the project that is Hatebean: featuring members of the Jason Ellis Show off Faction, SiriusXM channel 41 in the mornings, the band has transcended being a joke on the CEO of Faction into a formidable industrial music powerhouse, sounding like a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Ministry.  

Very few bands can get away with everything Darkthrone has done musically. Starting as death metal band and then becoming shortly after one of the many faces of the second wave of black metal bands in Norway, the band has (Excuse the pun) manifested a cult following in their career, with no shortage of albums and releases to keep their fans waiting. Twenty-five years after the release of Soulside Journey, Darkthrone are giving their fans Arctic Thunder, their 16th studio album and one that should resonate with fans of their older material more than their recent output.  

We’re still arguing about this, aren’t we? Death metal Opeth against prog rock Opeth. Fighting aside, Opeth are rooted in prog and that’s always been extremely evident. Getting older and playing death metal can be difficult, and playing it day after day on tour? That’s understandable. Plus, switching to prog rock prolongs the career of the band, with many of the bands from the 70’s still performing today. Opeth made a conscious decision on Heritage to make the genre switch, but Sorceress seems to be where they have it down.  

I remember the hype surrounding the 2014 version of Godzilla, in which everywhere you looked you would see advertisements. Even if you go on Google Maps and look on West 42nd Street in New York City, you can see towards 7th Ave an ad for a Samsung phone with art from the Godzilla film in question. It was literally everywhere and, for the most part, lived up to the fanboyish expectations that I had. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but I had a lot of fun across the four times I coincidentally saw it. Quickly after that, though, Toho themselves announced that they would be returning to the Godzilla franchise, marking the first time in history that two Godzilla franchise would co-exist in the world.  

Let’s get one thing straight: Insomnium is one of the most universally agreed upon melo death bands. Across their discography, Insomnium have blended traditional melo death conventions with melancholic doom metal atmospheres and furious, frostbitten black metal passages, crafting their own sound right from their early demos back in the late 90’s. Everything the band has explored in their discography seems to accumulate with Winter’s Gate, the band’s most ambitious release thus far, and one that already stands out in not just among their best work, but the greater, ever-expanding genre they’re rooted in.  

I was sitting in my internship at a local radio station when this show was announced. A slow and uneventful day quickly turned my entire week around, and I quickly made sure, in every way possible, that I would not be missing this show. Even if I weren’t going to be covering the show for press’ sake, I would have found a way to get myself there to witness both Devin Townsend and Between the Buried and Me on the same bill.  

Reboots, remakes, sequels and what have you, Hollywood is constantly trying to recycle old ideas to make a quick buck at the box office. The Force Awakens and Creed managed to catch lightning in a bottle by hitting the same notes as the original films, and in doing so they made both a lot of money and positive ratings. With no end in sight to these soft reboots, The Blair Witch    Project is up next to bat with Blair Witch, acting as both an entry point into the series, as well as serving as a sequel to the original.  

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