Avatar took my live stream “virginity” away in this concert Ages|Madness from their series of Livestream concerts titled Ages, which has been running since January 9th and will end this upcoming weekend on January 30th. The Swedish band demonstrated why they are one of the most popular and entertaining bands in the genre right now by giving a performance that very well is worth the “price of admission” that COVID normalcy has given us for these types of events since we cannot go to live shows for the time being. Avatar was able to set a tone and ambiance like no other with this performance which was concentrated on tracks from the albums Black Waltz (Gain Music Entertainment)and Hail the Apocalypse (eOne Music).
One of the few regrets of my life so far is I never really learned how to handle and invest money. While I squarely blame myself for my misspent youth and years when I made higher salaries and still failed to save, I have to wonder why they don’t teach personal finance in High School, as opposed to say, calculus most of us will never use after that semester is over. Even in my long-run at undergrad and graduate school to earn multiple degrees, no one explained to me how much my student loans would dwarf my expenses and even salary in some years. All the while during this time, I played in middling successful bands with a regional following or ran a series of heavy metal websites for the last 15 years. Do we abandon all hope, ye who goes to the ATM to see a negative balance? Or is there a hero coming out of the dark to demystify the seemingly impossible Mount Doom-style odds against working-class musicians?
The early nineties was an exciting experimental and developmental time for the genre of Folk Metal. The German outfit SuidAkrA took on this evolving style and meshed it up with Black Metal on their debut album, Lupine Essence that was released in 1997. They were able to uniquely harmonize the two genres and create a memorable and meaningful record that is still considered with reverence in the Black/Folk/Celtic Metal scenes. Now the band is re-releasing their early work with original member Arkadius Antonik remastering each track himself. With new artwork, bonus tracks, and its first release on vinyl, these multi-genre metal veterans are getting a chance to properly present their initial material. Continue reading
Over 35 years ago, Fates Warning was one of the main trailblazers and influencers in the Progressive Metal movement. With so much history, there has been a lot of lineup changes throughout the years, but the band has always been known for its exploration and expansion of the scene. Even today this East Coast act is still examining their special sound. Earlier this month FW released their newest full-length album, Long Day Good Night (Metal Blade Records). These boys went big and completed 13 songs to celebrate their 13th full-length release. The group took their time to dig deep into their assorted inclinations to expose the wealth they found there.
Over thirty years ago, England’s own Carcass came to the scene and shared their glorification of grind and gore. The unhinged and manic sound they conjured found an audience and quickly gained popularity, along with their contemporaries Napalm Death and Godflesh. The surge of the extreme had its time in the sun, but after their 10 year hiatus, Carcass came back in a slightly different mood. In 2013, the group took their well-known viciousness and molded it in with more melody on their sixth full-length, Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast). They married Grindcore and Melodic Death Metal on that record which got a lot of attention and reminded everyone why these guys are such an original act. After seven years, the band is back again with their EP, Despicable (Nuclear Blast). In just four songs, Carcass takes their significant union of sounds and exemplifies them with new levels of pandemonium. Continue reading
Devin Townsend is a music extraordinaire who is well-known for his many different and successful projects that he has participated in over the last 25 years or so. Whether it be Strapping Young Lad or Devin Townsend Project the man has always thrown his heart into it.He is a Canadian machine that expertly and consistently generates epic-scale music in many diverse forms. Last year he released his latest solo album, Empath (InsideOut Music). He took his essence to a new level of eccentricity with a masterful embodiment of bonkers meets serene. Many cling to the wilds that is Dev for his honest presentation, whether that be in Jazz, Metal, or whatever genre he chooses to express himself with. His devotees gather in the masses at his shows for a guaranteed excellent and entertaining performance. Last December he brought his uncommon magic to England and much like his actual works, the presentation was a little unconventional. Dev is about to release his new live album, Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1 (InsideOut Music) documenting that European tour. It will be released as a limited deluxe 2CD/Blu-Ray/DVD artbook package, a limited 2CD+DVD digipak, gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box set, and more.
2015 proved to be a productive year for the Russian/Welsh act, Venom Prison when they released not one, but two EPs. Their ambition has continued to grow since then by deftly demonstrating the cunning and extreme of their Modern Death Metal sound. This budding band made noticeable waves in the scene when they released their second full-length, Samsara (Prosthetic Records) last year. Vocalist Larissa Stupar presented this rare rage that she and the whole band developed into a massive, contagious fury. Now, these guys are ready to exhibit how much they’ve grown in the last five years. Primeval (Prosthetic Records) is a compilation of their first two Eps re-recorded and reinvigorated.
Punk music continues to be the most outspoken genre of heavy music in terms of political/social issues. This is no different from the hardcore punk/grindcore outfit known simply as Dropdead. Formed back at the beginning of 1991 and has released many recordings over the years, this is only the third studio album, however, it has come about in perfect timing. Simply titled Dropdead 2020 (Armageddon), is a twenty-four-minute sonic attack on all things evil such as the ever-growing right-wing extremists, animal abuse, and overall human stupidity.
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.
Alice in Chains, when spoken out loud, is understood by all in earshot. Love them or not, every person who says they enjoy rock music in some format knows who they are. One of their finest works was the 1992 classic, Dirt (Columbia Records), which spawned five radio hits, peaked at number six on the Billboard charts, and has sold over five million copies worldwide. Now, twenty-eight years later, the next generation of rock stars have paid tribute to a timeless classic by each taking on a track to cover however they want; thus, was born, Dirt Redux (Magnetic Eye Records).