Bars Of Gold – Shelters

Album artwork can really help set the tone for an album. Providing a visual companion and interpretation to the audio within, it gives the listener an idea of what to expect when they delve into the main work of art. At first glance Bars Of Gold’s new album Shelters (Equal Vision) would set an expectation to the listener that this record would be a soothing record consisting of seaside recordings and other ambience. Continue reading

Jordan Rudess – Wired For Madness

What can be most revealing about the cohesive nature of a band is any solo output from its individual members. For some, the music they create individually doesn’t show any markings in the collective band’s material and this can be good for a number of reasons but the primary one being showcasing how multi-faceted a musician that individual can be. Other solo output can bear a striking resemblance to their band discography showing how vital that individual is to the overall sound of the band. This is the case with Jordan Rudess’ newest solo outing Wired for Madness (Mascot Label / Music Theories Recordings). Continue reading

Suldusk – Lunar Falls

Trying to conceptualize a natural world in audio is both a daunting and rewarding experience for the artist and the listener. For those that don’t have the luxury of a forest to walk through, music can ultimately fill that vacuum when it’s done well. It provides another level of escapism for the listener and can be hugely beneficial to the atmosphere and tone of a record.

This is exactly what Suldusk (real name Emily Highfield) does with her newest release Lunar Falls (Northern Silence Productions). Continue reading

Holy Fawn – Death Spells

I think Holy Fawn summed themselves up brilliantly with their band summary: “four creatures making loud, heavy, pretty noises”. Combining ambience, walls of distortion and ethereal vocals, Death Spells (Holy Roar) is the embodiment of these contrasting musical textures. Continue reading

Periphery – Periphery IV: Hail Stan

Periphery has come a long way. From humble origins that saw them credited for the rejuvenation of the Progressive Metal as a genre, to continually pushing creative boundaries with each release, their newest effort Periphery IV: Hail Stan (3DOT) continues the upward musical trajectory of the band. Continue reading

Colt 48 – Negatives

Alternative Metal is considered by some in the Metal community to be the black sheep of the genre: bands like Breaking Benjamin, Disturbed, Sevendust and many others have seen mainstream success because of the accessible sound and simplistic yet catchy song structures which come with the genre. During the 00s, Alternative Metal exploded and has acted as the gateway for many listeners to discover the vast sonic ground which is under the banner of Metal. The question is: does Colt 48’s new release Negatives (independent release) have any merit now that those heydays are over? Continue reading

East Of The Wall – NP – Complete

It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly East Of The Wall is and this is a double edged sword in many aspects. Calling them a progressive band would be like calling a spade a spade: the music follows all the staples and notions of the genre, but, as a label, it still does not fit comfortably, especially with their new release NP – Complete (Translation Loss Records). Continue reading

Lee McKinney – Infinite Mind

Instrumental music is an incredibly niche market, to say the least. For the vast majority of the music-listening population, instrumental music sounds incomplete and lacking that human touch in a way that only the human voice can provide. In the Metal genre in particular, guitar-led instrumental music can often come across as showing off how virtuosic the guitarist is without any care given to musical creation and taste in general. There are a few exceptions to this rule with Steve Vai’s Sex and Religion (Relativity) and Buckethead’s Electric Tears (Metastation) coming to mind. Continue reading

Cellar Darling – The Spell

Metal and Folk go back decades. From the inception of the genre in the 1960s, folk literature and myths became a staple across a variety of Metal genres with their fantastical themes and imaginative escapism. However, the sonic and musical marriage of Folk and Metal is very different from those lyrical thematics both genres now share. Some amongst the Metal community would argue that the inclusion of ancient instruments such as panpipes, fiddles, and flutes makes the music sound corny and cliché and thus diminishes the aggressive nature of the metallic component of Folk Metal. Continue reading

Contrarian – Their Worm Never Dies

Progressive Death Metal is all the rage in Metal at the moment. It seems to have exploded in the past decade with bands like Opeth, Gojira and Between The Buried And Me being the crème de la crème. However, with today’s focus on spotless production and mechanical quantization, some of the primal energy from the genre’s roots in the nineties has been lost in the pursuit of sonic ear candy. Continue reading