ALBUM REVIEW: Daeva – Through Sheer Will and Black Magic


 

Through Sheer Will and Black Magic (20 Buck Spin) is the debut full-length release from Philadephia’s Daeva, a perhaps overdue followup to 2017’s Pulsing Dark Absorptions EP. The new record is a “fiery maelstrom of early demonic black metal and jagged edge thrash convulsions”, according to the press release, and the cover art is undeniably of the Hellish persuasion, depicting as it does in quasi-cartoon form a plethora of dragons, devil-beings and other assorted ghoulish creatures against a dramatic backdrop of moody skies and outlandish cliffs. It’s the type of album cover that could have been plucked straight out of the eighties and that could either be viewed as life-affirmingly nostalgic or snigger-inducingly ludicrous.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Petbrick – Liminal


Petbrick are the brain-melting collaboration between metal legend Iggor Cavalera (Absent In Body / Cavalera Conspiracy / ex-Sepultura) and electronic noise maker Wayne Adams (Big Lad / Wasted Death). The unique collaboration has been perfected over the last few years in Adam’s London-based Bearbiteshorse Studio, so far yielding their debut album I in 2019, and a handful of EPs and split releases.

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Ever Living – Artificial Devices


The contradictions of crafting an album using the very technologies and processes the band had previously railed against are but one small element of the complicated and interesting layers that make up Artificial Devices, the self-released second full-length composition of London duo Andrei Alan (guitars/bass/programming) and Chris Bevan Lee (keys/vocals/programming) collectively known as The Ever Living (I promised myself no Mumm-ra comments, but here I am in the intro… I can’t help it, every time I see the band name…).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Sylvaine – Nova


 

Sylvaine is the pseudonym of Norway’s Kathrine Shepard, a classically trained composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. Since 2014 Shepard has been releasing albums as Sylvaine, of which Nova (Season of Mist) will be the fourth (not counting a 2020 split with Unreqvited).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Eldovar – A Story Of Darkness And Light


Not content to just let the sludgy boi/spooky girl pairings have all the fun with multi-artist collaborations in Doom, A Story Of Darkness And Light (Stickman Records)features the coming together of Elder and Kadavar as Eldovar (I don’t know where that ‘o’ comes from either). The two groups certainly make for interesting bedfellows; while both are arguably rooted in Seventies Rock traditions, Elder has evolved to Heavy Prog splendor while Kadavar largely subsists on off-the-cuff Stoner Blues. However, their shared interest in various genre experiments as well as established track records of high quality material gives plenty of fertile ground for such a union.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Times of Grace – Songs of Loss and Separation


Nearly fifteen years ago, current Killswitch Engage members Jesse Leach and Adam Dutkiewicz teamed up to birth the collaborative project Times of Grace. This dynamic duo pushed their creative boundaries by conjuring a fresh take on the heavy-yet-melodic sound. They delivered their debut album, The Hymn of a Broken Man (Roadrunner Records) in 2011. The gloom and aggression let loose on that record was ignited by the brutally honest songwriting. The themes of struggle, heartbreak, and hope were potently delivered with a real and plaintive spirit. These two brought forth a discovery of powerful melancholy and now ten years later, they are offering a sequel to that revelation. Their second full-length Songs of Loss and Separation (Wicked Good Records) is carrying on the melodic mournfulness, yet wonderfully wholesome sound that is Times of Grace.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Opium Warlords – Nembutal


As much as I enjoy Reverend Bizarre and plenty of Sami Hynninen’s other various projects, I’ve honestly not been as enthused about Opium Warlords. Their experimental brand of Drone Doom tends to be rather hit and miss, producing ideas that can be intriguing but more frequently stretched beyond their limits or constructed haphazardly. Their fifth full-length album, Nembutal (Svart Records), doesn’t promise anything different yet I find its execution to be somehow more palatable than anything else they’ve released.

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REVIEW: Devin Townsend – Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1


Devin Townsend is a music extraordinaire who is well-known for his many different and successful projects that he has participated in over the last 25 years or so. Whether it be Strapping Young Lad or Devin Townsend Project the man has always thrown his heart into it. He is a Canadian machine that expertly and consistently generates epic-scale music in many diverse forms. Last year he released his latest solo album, Empath (InsideOut Music). He took his essence to a new level of eccentricity with a masterful embodiment of bonkers meets serene. Many cling to the wilds that is Dev for his honest presentation, whether that be in Jazz, Metal, or whatever genre he chooses to express himself with. His devotees gather in the masses at his shows for a guaranteed excellent and entertaining performance. Last December he brought his uncommon magic to England and much like his actual works, the presentation was a little unconventional. Dev is about to release his new live album, Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1 (InsideOut Music) documenting that European tour. It will be released as a limited deluxe 2CD/Blu-Ray/DVD artbook package, a limited 2CD+DVD digipak, gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box set, and more.

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