Whitechapel – The Valley

Within the Deathcore genre Whitechapel are one of the true originators of the sound and in 2016 they released an album called Mark Of The Blade (Metal Blade). To say it was a divisive album would be an understatement, in a story which has been told many times before the band chose to broaden their creative horizons with a cleaner production and clean vocals. In some corners new album The Valley (also Metal Blade) is being touted as a turning point. Continue reading

Devin Townsend – Empath

Many words have been used to describe Devin Townsend over the years. Oddball. Eccentric. Quirky. Canadian. To name but a few. Since exploding into the confused consciousness of metal fans around the world on Steve Vai‘s ‘Down Deep Into the Pain’ video in 1993, Townsend has gone on to create a musical legacy so uniquely unconventional that his career almost defies description. Continue reading

Pantera’s “Far Beyond Driven” Turns 25 Years Old

It’s the mid-nineties and while the economy is flourishing, our president gets cool points for playing the sax on television and we have Super Metroid, we still found the need to complain. And of all the things to moan about during that decade, one of the silliest is to decry the lack of decent metal. Did we all suddenly forget that Pantera dropped possibly the heaviest release to debut atop the Billboard Top 200 in Far Beyond Driven (Eastwest)? Continue reading

Mark Morton – Anesthetic

Solo projects are notoriously difficult. Sometimes they are born of internal conflict within a band leading to splintering factions looking to pave their own way. More often than not it proves that a part is not greater than the sum of the whole: who can honestly say they prefer Serj Tankian’s solo work to the output of System of a Down? They can also be the result of an ego attack, a misplaced sense of superiority with often disastrous results. Lamb Of God’s Mark Morton, however, seems to fall into neither category, so his debut solo release, Anesthetic (WPP/Spinefarm Records) can only be viewed as a long-awaited labour of love. Continue reading

Lamb of God’s “Wrath” Turns Ten Years Old

As the chaotic decade of the aughts was closing down, metal’s upper echelon of bands was never in better hands. Few bands embodied the changing of the guard like Richmond Virginia’s Lamb of God who ushered in the decade with New American Gospel (Prosthetic) after famously changing their name from Burn The Priest and really reset the bar of possibility for modern, popular metal bands. The upper tier of genre greats were struggling to find themselves, so along with other leaders of the era such as Mastodon, Gojira, Amon Amarth, and Machine Head, LoG spearheaded a new generation. The five albums (and one live album/DVD) the band put down in ten years really each marked their own distinct high point for the band. Wrath (Epic/Roadrunner) arrived with fanfare and expectations higher than ever. Three years after the slickly produced Sacrament, the band was craving the rawer, more direct approach of their earlier albums and went with producer Josh Wilbur at the helm. Of course, their musicianship was never higher and lyrically the album would touch on timeless themes of American politics, religion, fear-mongering, desperation, anger at systematic injustice, addiction, and self-analysis. Continue reading

Blood Youth – Starve

I still remember getting that first Blood Youth record Beyond Repair for review and being blown away but at just how hard-hitting and melodic it was. Never did I think though that it would take them to where they currently are. We now find them about to release new record Starve (both Rude Records) and there is a lot of anticipation surrounding it. High profile tours and high energy live shows have only added to what was already a solid foundation. Continue reading

Incite – Built To Destroy

“Actions speak as loud as words!” is the roared hook in ‘Leech’, a combustible, fist-swinging mid-album anthem, as Incite know that, five albums in, there is no resting on their laurels. One of a host of bands caught in a mosh, struggling and jostling for position to tip them from the mid-tier; definitely proficient but without that mainstream or commercial weight to establish them as true heavyweights in their field. Continue reading