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.
Those who deserted Pisa-based riff kings, Mr. Bison, after their 2012 debut album We’ll Be Brief (Dracma Records) will recognise neither the physical nor the sonic entity that exists today. Only guitarist/vocalist Matteo Barsacchi remains from that initial incarnation, now replenished by two more Matteos – vocalist/guitarist Sciocchetto and drummer D’Ignazi – and the dry, ZZTop-influenced sound of that first effort has been gradually replaced by an oft euphoric leaning towards a form of Desert Psychedelia as progressive as it is retrospective. Their fourth album Seaward (Subsound Records / Ripple Music) is the band’s biggest step forward yet, displaying a level of invention and confidence that is both profound and joyous. Continue reading
When Reign in Blood (Def Jam) catapulted Californian thrashers Slayer into the big leagues, the 1986 (or 1987 if you lived in the UK) seminal release also created a problem for the band. How exactly do you follow perfection?
2015 proved to be a productive year for the Russian/Welsh act, Venom Prison when they released not one, but two EPs. Their ambition has continued to grow since then by deftly demonstrating the cunning and extreme of their Modern Death Metal sound. This budding band made noticeable waves in the scene when they released their second full-length, Samsara (Prosthetic Records) last year. Vocalist Larissa Stupar presented this rare rage that she and the whole band developed into a massive, contagious fury. Now, these guys are ready to exhibit how much they’ve grown in the last five years. Primeval (Prosthetic Records) is a compilation of their first two Eps re-recorded and reinvigorated.
As of this writing, the music world continues to be in a state of suspended animation as the Coronavirus outbreak – particularly in North America – dashes any hopes of returning to music venues anytime soon. We’ve bungled the pandemic so poorly here in the states that our moron President and many of his colleagues have been diagnosed with the disease due to failure to follow social distancing measures. Having fans in attendance is starting to seem like a thing of the past, so more and more artists will start turning to live-streamed performances.
I want to open this review by saying that the talent and obvious skills of all the musicians involved in this record is undeniable, these are musicians that have been proving over and over again why they are recognized as some of the top artists in their genre and why they have the following they have. Having said that, this solo album by John Petrucci (Dream Theater) was not for me. And though we can argue that this kind of album is for a specific sector in the Progressive Metal realm, I truly cannot digest music that is made to show off the skills that “x” or “y” musician has in their instrument and that is my perception of Terminal Velocity (Sound Mind Music/The Orchard).
Idles have come on in leaps and bounds since their last album Joy As An Act of Resistance (Partisan Records). It’s not even been 5 years since they were playing 100 capacity venues, yet here they are today having sold out giant venues like Alexandra Palace in under a day. With two giant albums under their belt, the big question was how the Bristol band were going to not only top it, but maintain the astronomical growth they’ve been on for the past 3 years.
Punk music continues to be the most outspoken genre of heavy music in terms of political/social issues. This is no different from the hardcore punk/grindcore outfit known simply as Dropdead. Formed back at the beginning of 1991 and has released many recordings over the years, this is only the third studio album, however, it has come about in perfect timing. Simply titled Dropdead 2020 (Armageddon), is a twenty-four-minute sonic attack on all things evil such as the ever-growing right-wing extremists, animal abuse, and overall human stupidity.
Viking Metal started out by combining the epic energy of Black Metal with the mystical grace of Folk music. Enslaved is a band at the pinnacle of this heavy, Nordic sound. Starting out as teenagers, this Norweigian act has successively enhanced the Scandinavian metal scene for nearly thirty years. Their beginnings were more in the realm of the extreme, but over time Enslaved has not been afraid to dip into other genres like Prog Rock and Jazz. It’s encouraging to witness their ability to be undaunted by their explorations while still being true to their Viking roots. Their new fifteenth full-length album, Utgard (Nuclear Blast) verifies their astute ambition of experimentmentation and expression.
The first part of a double release (the second half due next year), the latest offering from prolific Californian melodic death metallers DevilDriver finds the band in cathartic form, as each song on the band’s ninth album, Dealing With Demons I (Napalm Records) focuses on a different type of obstacle or demon to be faced and overcome.