When listening to Forgotten Days (Nuclear Blast), Pallbearer’s fourth full-length, it’s hard to remember a time when they were ever this riff-driven. The title track sets an immediate precedent with its beginning feedback transitioning into pummeling yet catchy verses, a surprisingly hooky chorus, and a softer bridge that manages to keep the momentum going. ‘The Quicksand Of Existing’ and ‘Vengeance Ruination’ serve up even more heaviness in the album’s second half with the former’s straightforward chugs standing out. Considering past jabs I’ve made about Pallbearer being one of the most riff-adverse groups in Doom Metal, it’s a very refreshing change of pace.
Formed in 2004 and based in Tehran, Angband plays a style of Power Metal in the vein of American groups like Iced Earth and Jag Panzer rounded out with elements of Prog and Persian traditional music. Their fourth full-length album, aptly titled IV (Pure Steel Records), is their first to come out since 2012’s Saved From The Truth as well as the first to feature Tim Aymar of Control Denied/Pharaoh fame on lead vocals. The prospects are exciting, but the actual execution ends up being a rather mixed bag.
I want to open this review by saying that the talent and obvious skills of all the musicians involved in this record is undeniable, these are musicians that have been proving over and over again why they are recognized as some of the top artists in their genre and why they have the following they have. Having said that, this solo album by John Petrucci (Dream Theater) was not for me. And though we can argue that this kind of album is for a specific sector in the Progressive Metal realm, I truly cannot digest music that is made to show off the skills that “x” or “y” musician has in their instrument and that is my perception of Terminal Velocity (Sound Mind Music/The Orchard).
Viking Metal started out by combining the epic energy of Black Metal with the mystical grace of Folk music. Enslaved is a band at the pinnacle of this heavy, Nordic sound. Starting out as teenagers, this Norweigian act has successively enhanced the Scandinavian metal scene for nearly thirty years. Their beginnings were more in the realm of the extreme, but over time Enslaved has not been afraid to dip into other genres like Prog Rock and Jazz. It’s encouraging to witness their ability to be undaunted by their explorations while still being true to their Viking roots. Their new fifteenth full-length album, Utgard (Nuclear Blast) verifies their astute ambition of experimentmentation and expression.
Consistency is the best word that can be used to describe a band like The Ocean. After releasing the critically acclaimed album Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (Metal Blade Records/Pelagic Records) in 2018, the Germans come back with can possibly be a solid candidate for album of the year in Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic (Metal Blade Records/Pelagic Records). And it’s just that this band keeps raising the musical and creative bars that are out there. They are not afraid to crush any musical barriers and do love to delve into unknown territories and as a result, they always come out on the winning end of it.
We have been blessed with a lot of great Mastodon news of late, from celebrating their 20th anniversary, their new song on the Bill And Ted Face The Music soundtrack – “Rufus Lives”, to the band hitting the studio to work on full-length number eight. So 2020 seems like a good time for a good old odds and sods release, the cleverly titled Medium Rarities (Reprise).
We chatted recently with music legend Ihsahn over Skype to discuss his upcoming new EP, Pharos, due out on September 11th, via Candlelight Records. Ihsahn contrasted the music from the current EP to his last one, Telemark, the many different sides of his moods and styles, how he chooses cover songs, the evolution of his singing voice, thoughts on performing live, some of his other projects over the years, and next years Emperor full album performance of “In the Nightside Eclipse” at Beyond The Gates Festival in Norway in 2021. Purchase Pharos here and check out our chat! Continue reading
If there was a way to tell how an album would sound just by knowing who the musicians that are playing in it are, it wouldn’t be possible to do so with Mcstine & Minnemann‘s self-titled, debut album (McStine & Minnemann). The duo consists of multi-instrumentalist Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats) and Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance). In all honesty, I had never heard of Mcstine or Lo-Fi Resistance, but I am familiar with Minnemann’s work, particularly of his work with Steven Wilson. If you’re wondering why it could not be possible to guess how this album is going to sound based on the knowledge that these two musicians are working together, well the reason is that Minnemann really is a very versatile musician that can play a lot of genres that do not necessarily fall in the realm of Metal. Continue reading
So, this album is called A Somber Preclusion of Being (Independent), huh? Cool, I’ll give this Vacant Eyes band a try. They’re from Massachusetts too? Great, I like supporting artists from my neck of the woods. What’s the worst that can happen? About seventy-five minutes have gone by and I think I may need a nap. The brain can only take so much. Continue reading
Oceans Of Slumber is still exercising their now-signature Progressive/Gothic Metal style but their fourth album comes with a noticeably different attitude. The music is still eclectic and dynamic though the structural shifts aren’t as abrupt as before. The themes and delivery are still driven by heavy emotions but feel more grounded than the overbearing urgency that came with 2018’s The Banished Heart. This is a decidedly more mature execution, which goes along well with the decision to release this album as a self-titled affair. Continue reading