ALBUM REVIEW: Dark Sarah – Grim

With the world lurching from one crisis to another on an almost hourly basis, it’s a relief to know that music can still offer some form of escapism. If you’re exhausted by politics or worried about global pandemics, then you could do a lot worse than embarking on a magical quest with symphonic metal act Dark Sarah. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Thomas V. Jäger – A Solitary Plan – RidingEasy Records

As cool as it’s been to see some of doom’s most iconic figures go acoustic lately, sometimes it’s even more exciting when fresher faces try their hands at the style. Thomas V. Jäger is one such example, stepping beyond his duties as Monolord’s vocalist/guitarist to release a full-length solo album. It’s an especially interesting transition when you consider that band’s heightened melodicism on 2019’s No Comfort, and this album pushes the idea to even more introspective ends. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Ensiferum – Thalassic – Metal Blade Records

Concentrating on a specific thematic concept for the first time, Thalassic (Metal Blade), the eighth full-length release by Finnish folk metallers Ensiferum, finds the band obsessing over – as the Greek translation suggests – the subject of things related to the sea. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Stygian Crown – Stygian Crown

Stygian Crown’s full-length debut sits comfortably within the Epic Doom Metal niche, but their particular style comes from a more aggressive mindset than many of their peers. This is especially apparent with the guitar work, which exhibits a grainy tone and bulldozing riff patterns that are chunkier than the Classic Metal-derived fare of more conventional outfits. It never goes full-on Death/Doom but the band’s declaration of a Candlemass meets Bolt Thrower sound certainly makes sense when viewed through this lens.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Bury Tomorrow – Cannibal

Is it weird to have “should’ve leaned more into brutality” as your first thought upon completing a Metalcore album? Asking for a friend. That’s not to say that there is a total absence of the heavier and grimier stuff on Bury Tomorrow’s Cannibal (Music for Nations/Sony), but I wouldn’t have been heartbroken if they would’ve squeezed some more juice out of the amps.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Powerwolf – Best Of The Blessed

When the wolfsbane blooms, and the moon is full, the time will come for Powerwolf to release a compilation album. Yes, after the hugely successful The Sacrament of Sin (Napalm Records), the German lycanthropes bridge the gap until their next studio release with Best of the Blessed (Napalm), a “Best Of…” with a difference. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Hail Spirit Noir – Eden in Reverse

When Greek innovators Hail Spirit Noir spewed forth in recorded anger eight years ago it was with tones of the Aegean gracing a strange brew of Blackened Prog Metal. Fourth long-player Eden in Reverse (Agonia Records) sees the completion of a gradual metamorphosis into total Prog, with the absorption of the band’s live musicians transforming the unit into a sextet. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Constellatia – The Language of Limbs – Season of Mist

South African post-Black outfit Constellatia arrived just two short years ago, and already last year’s debut album The Language of Limbs (Season of Mist) has earned a power-label reissue. A blast of atmospheric harshness and aching melody with a touch of doomed romance, its four tracks are a paean to the outer edges of Emotion. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Greyhawk – Keepers Of The Flame

The first full-length album from Seattle’s Greyhawk is a particularly interesting iteration of the NWOTHM scene. A focus on hooky songwriting with an epic tone makes for easy comparisons to such contemporaries as Visigoth and Traveler as the production carries a polished sheen similar to the likes of Haunt or Idle Hands. While these factors would initially suggest that the band is just another notch in a long line of derivatives, they find a lot of ways to set themselves apart on Keepers Of The Flame (Fighter Records).

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