ALBUM REVIEW: Opponent – Sentinel


 

Openly born from adverse circumstances, Seattle’s Opponent is the brainchild of guitarist and vocalist Andy Maier. Following the news of Maier’s father’s cancer diagnosis, Maier set the precedent to make Opponent a full-time endeavour and set work on their sophomore full-length Sentinel (Solid State Records), a title which knowing the circumstances offers arguably two contrasting meanings. Whichever is meant, the album itself is one that is meant to deliver a positive, uplifting message.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: coldrain – Nonnegative


 

Fifteen years, and now seven albums into a successful career that has seen them move into both chart success status in their native Japan and mainstream culture by providing the opening theme for Netflix original anime series Bastard, Nagoya five-piece metalcore outfit coldrain are back following the longest gap between releases, with new offering Nonnegative (Warner Japan).

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REVIEWS ROUND-UP: Oni – Petrol Girls – Profiler – We Struck Gold – Limbs


 

ONI – Loathing Light (Ironshore Records)

The development and progression from Jake Oni’s 2016 debut, the tech metal minded Ironshore to second offering Loathing Light is something quite notable. Always technically proficient, Oni has made the most of his exposure to a host of successful musical others (for one, he worked with Mark Morton on the latter’s solo record), and their class has rubbed off. That isn’t to say that ONI is reliant on the guest interventions and mentorship and guidance of others, more to say that the eponymous mastermind has become the proverbial sponge, moving on his ability to write engaging, memorable metal tunes, with the emphasis on energy, and setting a series of barbed aural traps to ensnare both the willing victims and the unwitting.

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PODCAST: Episode #172: Jacob Charlton of Thornhill – The Ghost Cult Interview


Ghost Cult caught up with Jacob Charlton of Thornhill for a new interview on the podcast! Jacob discussed their new album Heroine, out now on UNFD. Jacob discussed avoiding the sophomore jinx as a band, signing to UNFD and the company they keep with other bands, and much more!

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ALBUM REVIEW: Horizon Ignited – Towards The Dying Lands


It’s been three years since melodic death metal act Horizon Ignited announced themselves with their independently released 2019 debut After the Storm. Now, with the ink barely dry on a record deal signed in March, the Finnish sextet return with a fully-fledged follow-up Towards the Dying Lands (Nuclear Blast).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Vatican – Ultra


While Georgian five-piece Vatican may name-check Meshuggah and Dillinger Escape Plan, their roots are firmly planted in (the original type of) metalcore, owing as much to Earth Crisis and Vision of Disorder (et al) as the latter-day spearheads of discordant “popular” heavy music. Ultra (UNFD) may be the band’s second full-length overall, however with a focus on the sound and style, and with the smooth integration of new vocalist Mike Sugars, it feels like a milestone moment in the definition of what Vatican is as a band, and who they are as an artist.

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REVIEWS ROUND-UP: EP’s ft. Creature – Terminal Nation and Kruelty – Asylum City Zoo – Lydia’s Castle – orphantwin


 

Creature Haunt (self-released)

Like the slow walk around the empty, dark house at the start of A.N.Other horror film (it’ll be in Gary Alcock’s collection x666) the brooding, bruising opening minute of ‘All’ is an ominous introduction that lulls into a false sense of security, peeling things back before the swinging axe of a looping guitar-crush lands to decapitate.

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REVIEWS ROUND-UP: ft. Dragged Under – Moodring – Hollow Front – Future Palace


 

Dragged Under – Upright Animals (Mascot Label Group)

Having turned heads with their opening salvo, 2020’s The World Is In Your Way, Seattle melodic punk troupe Dragged Under are snapping them the full 360 with the follow-up, the infectious, energetic Upright Animals, a vigorous mix of punk and rock, with hints of metalcore roughing up the edges.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Killswitch Engage – Live At The Palladium


An interesting release from Killswitch Engage, metalcore royalty who at the beginning of 2020 had just commenced touring their latest album Atonement. But found themselves heading home as the pandemic struck, licking their wounds and unable to take one of their strongest records out on the road, for shows that included support from former vocalist Howard Jones’s band Light The Torch; Atonement featuring the crushing track (‘The Signal Fire’) which saw Jones trading vocals with current (and original) singer Jesse Leach, and the tour providing the perfect opportunity for both frontmen to hit the stage together. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Bleed From Within – Shrine


 

I think I’ve made my point regarding redundant subgenres within metal quite obvious in past reviews. If you haven’t read those, then what are you waiting for? Go arm yourselves with knowledge. I only bring this up because after a few listens of Bleed From Within’s Shrine (Nuclear Blast) I have no idea exactly where to file them in the grand metal rolodex. And that is actually a good thing. Continue reading