ALBUM REVIEW: Other Half – Soft Action


 

Hailing from Norwich, England, post-hardcore trio Other Half have put out their second album Soft Action (Big Scary Monsters), consolidating their presence in the modern punk scene. It is a record that keeps the adrenaline pumping throughout its fourteen-track run-through and brings solid production to an otherwise disorderly DIY kind of tone. Despite its title, the album is anything but soft.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Our Mirage – Eclipse


 

Metalcore has evolved significantly since the early 2000s, with countless bands finding their own creative strategies to embrace the melodic side of the genre without forgetting about its metal roots. Rising up from Marl, Germany, Our Mirage solidify what makes their brand of metalcore special with their somber yet hard-hitting tone as well as their captivating ways of storytelling. Their sophomore album Eclipse (Arising Empire) takes the heavy rock riffing and balances it with atmospheric touches that bring out a certain delicacy amongst the havoc.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Judicator – The Majesty of Decay


When one thinks about the Power Metal genre, several European bands might come to mind. There are the greats like Blind Guardian, Helloween, and Rhapsody of Fire that have carried this grandiose genre for many years. Yet things are beginning to change. A fresh take on speed, symphony, and big vocals is occurring in North America and Judicator is one of the bands making it happen. They have been around for ten years and are getting ready to release their sixth full-length, The Majesty of Decay (Prosthetic Records). Even with a handful of lineup changes over the past decade, the sound that made people’s ears perk is still there. Known for writing about historical events and people, this new release is a concept album that takes on a much darker theme.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Borders – Bloom Season


 

Any band who knows how to blur the lines between two styles that are normally considered drastically different deserves some praise for that alone, and groups like Lincoln, UK’s Borders continue to push those boundaries. Their sophomore album Bloom Season (Arising Empire) ventures further on their seamless mingling of metalcore and hip-hop, yet there is no shortage of either genre’s core elements. While some tracks may embrace one over the other, the balance is consistent, making for a record easily accessible to a wide range of music fans. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Soen – Atlantis


 

It is hard to believe that the Swedish supergroup, Soen, has only been making music together for ten years. Their first full-length, Cognitive procured high praise for its progressive proficiency and emotional maturity. They have stood out for their Tool-like compelling intensity and wide range of sentiment. They have remarkably managed to expand on these ripened abilities with each album they release. Now this quintet is getting ready to celebrate their tin anniversary by releasing a concert film of their classic numbers and a cover with live orchestral accompaniment.

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ALBUM REVIEW: L.S. Dunes – Past Lives


 

Formed in a search for solace during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, punk colleagues Anthony Green (Circa Survive), Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance), Travis Steever (Coheed and Cambria), and Tucker Rule and Tim Payne (Thursday) pulled themselves out of their isolation funks to make some hard rock lemonade. The sound of L.S. Dunes combines the styles each member is known for bringing to their respective bands while simultaneously creating something different and of its own.

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ALBUM REVIEW: MMXX – Sacred Cargo


 

A new doom metal “supergroup” releasing a COVID-19 lockdown album in late 2022. That sentence, which describes MMXXSacred Cargo (Candlelight) in plain terms, will no doubt inspire a variety of different thoughts and feelings in people with an interest in such things. Some might dismiss the concept (album) out of hand. After all, the band’s name translates as “2020” and, well, not only is it not 2020 anymore, but the mere mention of that year is liable to inspire at least a wearied eye-roll if not a flashback to genuine out-and-out despair.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Devin Townsend – Lightwork


 

It’s been three years since Canadian musical contortionist Devin Townsend confused the hell out of everyone with Empath, an album of such relentless eclecticism and stupefying eccentricity that even now it remains almost beyond comprehension. A kitchen sink album in every respect, our heroic Canuck threw literally everything into the mix. From death metal and jazz to Chad Kroeger and cats, Empath was the mindfuck to end all mindfucks.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Crooked Royals – Quarter Life Daydream


 

There is still a ton left to be done in Metal and Rock music. If you’re one of those people who assumes rock is dead simply because it’s not as mainstream as it once was, I am truly sorry for all the amazing new bands you’re missing out on. Among many others, New Zealand quintet Crooked Royals are opening eyes to the many ways the genre is evolving and raising questions of where else it could go from here.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Black Space Riders – We’ve Been Here Before


 

Black Space Riders’ new album is entitled We’ve Been Here Before (Cargo Records). It’s got what you’ve come to expect from Black Space Riders: multi-layered sounds, a deep and grounded ambiance that gets you into feelings, amazing guitar and bass work, and best of all, it’s a cosmic assault to your senses. The alchemy that went into creating We’ve Been Here Before coalesced and oozed into something that is gob-smacking.

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