While it may be OK to not be OK, as the main refrain of the thumping anthemic opener ‘Enlightenment?’ insists (and while it absolutely is, we still have much work to do as a collective mass to support each other), Sleeps Society (Sleeps Brothers, in assoc. with Search & Destroy, Spinefarm, UNFD, Universal) takes a step and seeks to provide a place, a community packed with a kinship of like-minded souls who will be there with and for each other. It would be easy for the Sleeps Society (a Patreon-based family) to be empty words and hollow platitudes, but there is integrity to the missives that are as important to the overall point of While She Sleeps in 2021 as the songs. Continue reading
If there’s one thing the last twelve months or so have taught people it’s how to adapt, and fans of live music have been no exception. With no shows to attend, the number of people paying to watch their favourite bands – or just any band – performing special quarantine sets has been steadily on the rise.
Of all the bands on the Gothic Rock/Heavy Metal fusion bandwagon, Poltergeist may be the most committed to those Post-Punk aesthetics. The style on their third EP remains closer to Joy Division than Judas Priest with a heavy emphasis on chilling synths, stiff bass-heavy rhythms, and disinterested vampiric baritones. This is especially true on the first two tracks as the opening ‘Electricity’ goes full Synthwave and ‘Through Clouded Eyes’ follows it up in ominously subdued fashion.
Back with another album cover deemed unsuitable for public consumption, it’s nice to see death metal legends Cannibal Corpse still shocking the squeamish and easily offended. Having to replace controversial artwork with something a little more palatable had almost become a tradition at one time but the new record Violence Unimagined(Metal Blade) is the first time the band has actually been deemed worthy of censorship since 2012.
While some were out hunting for Easter eggs, headbangers had a special treat of their own to look forward to in the form of the eOne Heavy Livestream. With five bands and almost four hours of footage, the livestream was a strong showcase of the label’s impressive heavy roster.
This past year, life as we knew it, evaporated in front of our very eyes, leaving most of humankind befuddled and unsure. People whose very life force is music, felt a surge of endless darkness invade their souls as live shows were unceremoniously canceled. The music world wondered if there would ever be a level of normalcy again. Just as It seemed that all hope was lost, like the mythical Phoenix rising from the ashes, Evanescence released the first single off their upcoming album, The Bitter Truth (BMG).The album, the band’s first original LP in ten years, became a beacon of hope for fans and music lovers alike. A total of five singles were released before the album dropped, each single gifted fans with the healing power of music and a glimpse into the musical mastery of the twelve-track album.
At the very heart of the appeal of Metal music, for me, are those moments that cause an involuntary response. A slowly creaking grin; the invoking of horns / hammer / invisi oranges; the Jens Kidman gurn; the penguin neck; the exhalation. The response that, no matter the number of times that you have heard a track, still produces that endorphin rush and natural high. Access All Worlds (Metal Blade) is habitually punctuated and decorated by a series of them, and, the rollercoaster fan in me that welcomes that stomach drop is immensely grateful for that.
The last live show I attended was on February 22nd, 2020 watching Opeth at the Apollo Theater in New York City. It was a magical night, but little did I know that was going to be the last live music I was going to be watching perform in a year. I miss live shows, as I’m sure every single one of you does as well and I was particularly reminded of this since the beginning of last week. Having said that, when The Ocean Collective announced that they were going to play a live stream show of their amazing album Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (Pelagic Records) in its entirety, I immediately jumped to my feet and said: “I NEED to watch that”, I knew it was going to be magical as everything the German band does.
In the five years since their self-titled debut, blackened metallers Wode have established a more than credible reputation, with many eyes turning, Sauron-like, on their next move in the wake of their signing with the reliable folks at 20 Buck Spin for their third offering, Burn In Many Mirrors; an endorsement that could set them up to stride to the next levels of the underground hierarchy.
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – L.W.
As indicated by the title, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard’s seventeenth full-length essentially serves as the second half of 2020’s K.G. and picks up where it left off stylistically. L.W. (Flightless Records) sees the completion of the microtone trilogy that started with 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana, emphasizing a similar mix of Middle Eastern scales, rhythmic percussion, and loosely flowing song structures. ‘Static Electricity’ and ‘See Me’ do the best job of dialing that vibe with their upbeat pacing while the grandiose chugs and life-affirming chants make the closing ‘K.G.L.W.’ one of the band’s most over the top Doom Metal dives to date.Continue reading