ALBUM REVIEW: Black Crown Initiate – Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape – Century Media

After a four year absence (a handful of single releases aside), Pennsylvania-based Black Crown Initiate return with their third full-length release, Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape (Century Media). From black metal to progressive rock via blasts of technical death metal, BCI effortlessly combine a whole range of differing styles resulting in their most captivating and assured record to date.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Kingnomad – Sagan Om Rymden

Kingnomad’s Prog Rock tendencies have been at the forefront from their inception, but these elements are expressed in their purest form on Sagan Om Rymden (Ripple Music). The group has about completely phased out the Stoner Doom tinges that helped shape their first two albums, allowing their third to expand their dynamics without a single hint of fuzz to be found.  While this does make a less heavy album on the surface, a combination of energy and commitment to atmosphere results in what is easily the band’s boldest effort yet.   Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Black Spirit Crown – Gravity

Black Spirit Crown’s first proper album sits right on the line between Doom and Stoner Metal with hints of Prog seeping through. The fuzzy riff work is rooted in Sleep and Electric Wizard tradition, the hustling tempos remind me of Orange Goblin, and the tripped-out atmospherics and vocal filters echo Howling Giant or Mastodon. These traits were already distinct on the Red Sky EP released in 2017 and the Cleveland group takes them to even further extents with Gravity (Self-Released).

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INTERVIEW: Part II with Arjen Lucassen on Ayreon, Rock Operas, Vin Diesel, and Star Trek

Ghost Cult scribe Lorraine Lysen caught up with the great Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon for a wide-ranging interview a few months ago. They chatted about The Electric Castle Live project, the visuals of Ayreon Universe live, working with John de Lancie, rock operas, concept albums, Vin Diesel, Star Trek TNG, upcoming new music, and much more. 
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INTERVIEW: Arjen Lucassen on Ayreon, Past, Present, and Future – Part 1

Ghost Cult scribe Lorraine Lysen caught up with the great Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon for a wide-ranging interview a few months ago. They chatted about The Electric Castle Live project, his entire career, upcoming new music, and much more.  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

Deftones’ Career-Defining Album “White Pony” Turns 20

Success has a way of messing with a good band. First world problems compared to the millions of bands that never make it, sure. However, so often when an emerging band that has fast become a genre leader, big corporate record labels can foul up the flow. This was almost the case of White Pony by Deftones, and the case where the hype was lived up to by pencil pushers, bean counters, and greed almost wrecked the game. White Pony is the band’s pivotal third album, where they built off the stylistic changes that came in with Around The Fur (Maverick) and pushed their sound further than before. In the process, they severed themselves far from the Nu-Metal wave that was exploding at the time and firmly created a new camp of “Deftones Music” as a category. That is, until, the label got in their business later on. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Mike Lepond’s Silent Assassins  – Whore of Babylon

Looking past the rather gaudy artwork, the third album from Mike Lepond’s Silent Assassins sees the group continuing to thrive on an over the top presentation. As with previous albums, Lepond’s bass playing leads the charge with intense flurries accompanied by surging power metal rhythms and Alan Tecchio’s flamboyant wails detailing history and legend. However, Whore of Babylon sets itself as the group’s most eclectic effort so far.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Between the Buried and Me – Between the Buried and Me- Remixed and Remastered

The first time I saw Between the Buried and Me live was at The Gramercy Theatre in New York City, during a tour for their then-newly released Colors (Victory Records) album; it was a pivotal period for the group who had, at that time, seen a series of lineup changes in short order. Five drummers, four guitarists, and three bassists later, the band was shaping their sound to dull the edges from the ever-aggressive Silent Circus (Victory Records) and Alaska (Victory Records) albums to an arguably more technically complex, albeit at times mellower, Jazzy era that would set the tone for the rest of their musical trajectory as we know it today. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Green Carnation – Leaves of Yesteryear

When Green Carnation, the progressive Norwegian sextet that gave birth to avant-Black pioneers In The Woods, split for the second time in 2007, no-one gave it a cat in hell’s chance of reformation. Yet the green (ahem) shots of recovery spawned with 2018’s live album Last Day of Darkness (Prophecy Productions), and here we are with the band’s sixth album Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist), in what is the 30th anniversary of its formation. Continue reading