ALBUM REVIEW: The Pretty Reckless-Death By Rock And Roll


 

Motivational speaker John C. Maxwell once said Change is inevitable, growth is optional. In the world of Rock and Roll, an artist must embrace change and allow their music to evolve. Case in point, The Pretty Reckless released their fourth studio album this month, Death By Rock And Roll (Fearless Records) and it is glaringly apparent the band is not just embracing change but giving it a big ole bear hug. The twelve-track album is tinged with the ghosts of the tragic events that the band has experienced since their last studio album, 2016’s Who You Selling for (Razor & Tie). Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Einherjer – North Star


 

Whenever the subject of influential Viking metal rears its head from beneath freezing, storm-ridden waves, Dragons of the North (Napalm Records) by Norwegian act Einherjer usually finds its way into the conversation fairly quickly. Released in 1996, the record still remains a favourite among fans of the excessively hairy subgenre, and twenty-five years later the band are still going strong.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Jakethehawk – Hinterlands


At first, Jakethehawk’s second album closely adheres to the relentless wave of Stoner Doom. But while Hinterlands (Ripple Music) is rife with the heavy riffs and spaced-out psychedelia typical in the genre, it reveals a deep pool of influences that include Prog Rock, Shoegaze, Alternative, Folk, and a bit of Southern Rock among other tastes. The results are similar to the eclectic blend seen on Fostermother’s 2020 debut, though with a dramatic scope more in line with the likes of Howling Giant or Sergeant Thunderhoof.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Demon Head – Viscera


 

With the release of their fourth full-length, Demon Head has gone from a particularly rustic Occult Doom band to full-on Goth Rock with a few sparse Doom elements. Glossy guitars and Robert Smith-esque vocals among other elements became prominent with 2019’s Hellfire Ocean Void and Viscera (Metal Blade Records) pushes them to an even further extent. But while this album should feel like the culmination of a well-realized evolution, the results are those of an unfortunately awkward misstep.

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ALBUM REVIEW: James Durbin – The Beast Awakens


James Durbin may have been the “metal guy” during his season on American Idol, but it’s been an uphill battle for him to get any sort of street cred in the actual scene. His subsequent solo albums seemed noncommittal in terms of style and his brief stint singing for Quiet Riot felt more like an odd novelty than a real step forward. It’s hard to tell how the reception towards The Beast Awakens (Frontiers Records srl) will compare but at the very least, it’s a notable turning point on his path to Heavy Metal legitimacy.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Sacred Reich Reissues


From ‘War Pigs’ to the present day, metal and politics have gone hand in hand and Sacred Reich has never shied away from the subject. As far back as their Draining You of Life demo in 1986, the Arizona thrashers made it abundantly clear that fascism is bullshit, Nazis are the enemy, and that oppression in any form should not be tolerated. This steadfast opposition to dictatorship, corruption, and social injustice has served them well for over thirty years, but recently the band has found themselves in the unbelievable position of actually having to defend those views. Swamping their social media pages with insults and demands to “stop making everything political”, some of their so-called “fans” really seem to have missed the entire fucking point of Sacred Reich.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Todd La Torre – Rejoice In The Suffering


Despite being initially judged as a Xerox frontman when he joined Queensrÿche nearly a decade ago, Todd La Torre has proven to be so much more than a great Geoff Tate impression. Far from being a hired gun, La Torre has been a heavy player in the band’s creative process and even put his talents as a drummer to use on 2018’s The Verdict while also contributing guest vocals to other projects. Considering the recent pandemic-induced schedule opening, it was only inevitable for him to finish up his long-awaited debut as a solo artist.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Angelus Apatrida – Angelus Apatrida


 

Translating roughly to “fallen angels”, the eponymously titled seventh album from Spanish thrashers Angelus Apatrida is another brutal barrage of sweat, riffs and fury. Once again, guitarist/vocalist Guillermo Izquierdo and his bass playing brother José J. Izquierdo are joined by second guitarist David G. Álvarez, and Victor Valera on drums, admirably retaining the same stable line-up now for close to twenty years.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Sirenia – Riddles, Ruins & Revelations


 

Returning with their tenth full-length album, Norwegian symphonic Gothic act Sirenia continues both the good work and the alliteration of their last couple of studio outings with their latest release Riddles, Ruins & Revelations (Napalm Records). Operatic vocals, a robust rhythm section, pounding riffs and flighty keyboards dominate proceedings, punctuated by some expert lead guitar work and differing vocal styles. Adorned with thunderous breakdowns or quieter, slower sections each cut remains interesting rather than outstaying its welcome.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Portrayal of Guilt – We Are Always Alone


Who decided to file Portrayal of Guilt under Screamo? Where should we file them? I don’t know, that’s for folks who spend their time and energy in the endless heavy music genre debates and on websites like Encyclopaedia Metallum to decide. You know, the type of people that will insist that Annihilator isn’t a Thrash band as they really fall under Speed Metal. They are truly doing the Lord’s work. But to slap the screamo tag on Portrayal of Guilt, particularly on We Are Always Alone (Closed Casket Activities) seems a bit simplistic.

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