ALBUM REVIEW: Vreid – Wild North West


Black metal connoisseurs rejoice!

The latest Vreid record is an homage to the classic black metal sound the members helped create way back in the days of Windir while simultaneously experimenting with bold new soundscapes and storytelling. Wild North West (Season of Mist) is a pounding cataclysm of power and fury, yet it does so with a style and panache in a way that only these Norwegian black metal stalwarts could deliver. They offer a fresh take on the traditional black metal tropes while cutting the growls and blast beats with a melody that keeps your head banging and your mind racing, like on the hypnotic “Dazed and Reduced” and the ominous tone-setting title track.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Orden Ogan – Final Days


 

It’s been all change in the Orden Ogan camp recently, and while obviously playing it’s part, not all of it due to the current Coronavirus situation. Firstly, because of a hand injury sustained in 2018, frontman Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann was forced to perform a series of summer dates minus his guitar, fronting the band as vocalist only. Realising he actually prefers performing this way, Levermann has chosen to step back from six-string duties, recruiting guitarist Patrick Sperling to take over in his stead.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Melvins 1983 – Working with God


Working With God (Ipecac Records/Liberator Music) is the 24th release by the Melvins and features their 1983 lineup of Buzz Osbourne, Dale Crover on bass, and original drummer Mike Dillard (although they have been doing a ton of regular Melvins lineup activities with Steven Shane McDonald of Redd Kross). The record encapsulates the Hardcore and Sludge style Melvins have delivered since their genesis. The result is a fresh album that is thrilling and cathartic.

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REVIEW: Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules


While Black Sabbath fans tend to agree on most things, the argument over singers Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio still rages on. Just who was the better frontman? Most will obviously side with the former but there are still those who insist Dio will always be number one. Ozzy was responsible for six of the finest albums in the annals of heavy metal but Dio rescued that same band (at least temporarily) from total collapse with two hugely important albums of his own.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Sonic Flower – Rides Again


Japan’s Sonic Flower began in the early 2000s as an offshoot of Church of Misery. They released one self-titled album in 2003 and then broke up in 2005 following some aborted recording sessions. Reforming briefly in 2007, only to break up again the same year, Sonic Flower lay dormant for 14 years until they finally reformed again in 2019. A full-length album with a new lineup including a vocalist is scheduled for later in 2021. To whet their fans’ appetite in the meantime, the band are first releasing Rides Again (Heavy Psych Sounds Records), which consists entirely of tracks recorded in 2005 from the aforementioned aborted sessions.

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LIVESTREAM REVIEW: En Minor Live at the Orpheum


En Minor is a project that had been rattling around in Philip H. Anselmo“s head since he was a child; they are an unexpectedly emotional and deeply serious sound that freefalls out of the genres most of the band members are associated with, including Anselmo himself, and into uncharted territory. Unconventional and, in many ways, experimental, their 2020 release, When the Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out (Housecore Records) is steeped in reverence to the Jazz tradition in New Orleans, and maybe more markedly serves as a morose interpretation of a Jazz Funeral March with hints of Vaudeville; an unironic gothic twist on Tom Waits that Anselmo has since self-described as Depression Core.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Suidakra – Lupine Essence


The early nineties was an exciting experimental and developmental time for the genre of Folk Metal. The German outfit SuidAkrA took on this evolving style and meshed it up with Black Metal on their debut album, Lupine Essence that was released in 1997. They were able to uniquely harmonize the two genres and create a memorable and meaningful record that is still considered with reverence in the Black/Folk/Celtic Metal scenes. Now the band is re-releasing their early work with original member Arkadius Antonik remastering each track himself. With new artwork, bonus tracks, and its first release on vinyl, these multi-genre metal veterans are getting a chance to properly present their initial material. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Dark Tranquillity – Moment


Melodic Death Metal pioneers, Dark Tranquillity, release their twelfth studio album Moment (Century Media Records). The twelve-song album began recording shortly after founding member Niklas Sundin announced his departure from the band (Editor’s note: although he is still involved with the band behind the scenes) on their social media platforms, after touring members, Christopher Amott (ex-Arch Enemy) and Johan Reinholdz (Andromeda) formally joined Mikael Stanne, Anders Jivarp, Martin Brändström, and Anders Iwers as part of the official dT lineup.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Fates Warning – Long Day Good Night


 

Over 35 years ago, Fates Warning was one of the main trailblazers and influencers in the Progressive Metal movement. With so much history, there has been a lot of lineup changes throughout the years, but the band has always been known for its exploration and expansion of the scene. Even today this East Coast act is still examining their special sound. Earlier this month FW released their newest full-length album, Long Day Good Night (Metal Blade Records). These boys went big and completed 13 songs to celebrate their 13th full-length release. The group took their time to dig deep into their assorted inclinations to expose the wealth they found there.

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