ALBUM REVIEW: Times of Grace – Songs of Loss and Separation


Nearly fifteen years ago, current Killswitch Engage members Jesse Leach and Adam Dutkiewicz teamed up to birth the collaborative project Times of Grace. This dynamic duo pushed their creative boundaries by conjuring a fresh take on the heavy-yet-melodic sound. They delivered their debut album, The Hymn of a Broken Man (Roadrunner Records) in 2011. The gloom and aggression let loose on that record was ignited by the brutally honest songwriting. The themes of struggle, heartbreak, and hope were potently delivered with a real and plaintive spirit. These two brought forth a discovery of powerful melancholy and now ten years later, they are offering a sequel to that revelation. Their second full-length Songs of Loss and Separation (Wicked Good Records) is carrying on the melodic mournfulness, yet wonderfully wholesome sound that is Times of Grace.

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ALBUM REVIEW – At The Gates – The Nightmare of Being


At The Gates is a household name to every Melodic Death Metal fan out there. Formed over thirty years ago, this group of guys invigorated the scene by gifting the people with their unruly and extreme proclamations. Along with several other eager acts from their hometown, like Dark Tranquility and In Flames, ATG bolstered what is now defined as Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal. The signature sound that they captured still storms the scene today, showing off the band’s Swedish roots with a grim and wistful flourish. They continue on to profess their dark truths on their new seventh full-length record, The Nightmare of Being (Century Media Records).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Royal Blood – Typhoons


From the moment of Royal Blood’s self-titled debut seven years ago, the Bristolian duo’s rise was meteoric. Their music is simple, brutal, and effective – taking inspiration from Queens of the Stone Age and The White Stripes and combining big hooks, tasty riffs, and volume to full effect. This beefed-up take on indie rock can only take you so far though, so on the new album Typhoons (Warner Records), they looked toward Dance and Disco to broaden their sound. Continue reading


REVIEW: Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules


While Black Sabbath fans tend to agree on most things, the argument over singers Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio still rages on. Just who was the better frontman? Most will obviously side with the former but there are still those who insist Dio will always be number one. Ozzy was responsible for six of the finest albums in the annals of heavy metal but Dio rescued that same band (at least temporarily) from total collapse with two hugely important albums of his own.

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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: Sonic Flower – Rides Again


Japan’s Sonic Flower began in the early 2000s as an offshoot of Church of Misery. They released one self-titled album in 2003 and then broke up in 2005 following some aborted recording sessions. Reforming briefly in 2007, only to break up again the same year, Sonic Flower lay dormant for 14 years until they finally reformed again in 2019. A full-length album with a new lineup including a vocalist is scheduled for later in 2021. To whet their fans’ appetite in the meantime, the band are first releasing Rides Again (Heavy Psych Sounds Records), which consists entirely of tracks recorded in 2005 from the aforementioned aborted sessions.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Blue Oyster Cult – The Symbol Remains


After nearly two decades spent exclusively on the live circuit, Blue Oyster Cult returns with their fifteenth full-length album, The Symbol Remains (Frontiers Records Srl). In a way similar to the recent releases by fellow Seventies Rock legend Alice Cooper, the band opts for a kitchen sink songwriting method. The fourteen tracks play out like a career retrospective of sorts, exploring a variety of moods between classic-minded rockers, synth-heavy AOR numbers, and atmospheric occult excursions.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Psychosomatic – The Invisible Prison


 

Sacramento thrashers Psychosomatic pile on the riffs with their sixth full-length studio album The Invisible Prison (Nefarious Industries). Formed in 1988 by bassist/vocalist and sole remaining original member, Jeff Salgado, the current line up is completed by guitarists Daniel Mills and Viktor Hansen, and the returning Toby Swope on drums.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Anthrax – Persistence of Time Reissue


As strange as it may seem, 1988 stands as the only year where each member of the “The Big Four” all released new studio albums. Go on, check if you want. I’ll wait.

With Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, and Metallica having pulled significantly away from the rest of the pack with those 1988 releases, the beginning of the ’90s gave each of them the chance to reaffirm their place at the top of the thrash metal food chain. Along with the likes of Testament, Exodus, and Kreator, 1990 opened the new decade in a blaze of glory while also becoming arguably the last truly great year for the genre.Continue reading


Entombed – Clandestine Live


I can’t think of a more perfect way for reunited/reformed Death Metal legends Entombed to return than a live version of one of their most revered albums. Yeah sure Wolverine Blues and Left Hand Path a classics, but I think Clandestine Live (Threeman Recordings) is even better and serves as a timely reminder of just how influential this band is.Continue reading