Reviews

Stratovarius – Under Flaming Winter Skies: Live In Tampere (earMusic/Armoury Records)

The last time Stratovarius recorded a live album was in Greece in 1998, and that was on the heels of their successful touring cycle for Visions. This time around, they have chosen Tampere, Finland to Read more […]

Elvenking – Era (AFM Records)

You look at a band like Italy’s Elvenking and start to think of why they’re not higher in the power metal pecking order. It’s all there, from Helloween-like joyrides, folksy bro-downs, and the necessary Read more […]

Sybreed – God is an Automation (Listenable Records)

Perhaps more functional and interesting than we give them credit for, Switzerland’s Sybreed have long been a step below Mnemic-like acceptance in the cyber metal pantheon. They’re a victim of their own Read more […]

Pagan Altar – The Time Lord (Shadow Kingdom Records)

“Treasure hunting prowess” indeed. Such is the claim Shadow Kingdom Records makes in the bio for Pagan Altar’s The Time Lord and typically, such record company claims has as many holes as Swiss Read more […]

Thy Majestie – ShiHuangDi (Scarlet Records)

According to the internet, Shi Haung Di was the first emperor of China all the way back in 221 BC. Responsible for massive political and economic reform, Huang proved to be ever the ruthless fellow, sparing Read more […]

Manetheren – Time (Debemur Morti Productions)

The abyss is a peculiar place to lose yourself. Time ceases to have meaning and shape ceases to create definition; simply all things as they are known kind of devolve into an imperceptible fog that devours Read more […]

Threshold – March of Progress (Nuclear Blast Records)

It’s taken five long years for Threshold to release their next opus, and it’s been well worth the wait. Their 9th studio effort begins life with new singer Damian Wilson (now a permanent member) at Read more […]

Evocation – Dead Calm Chaos Reissue (Metal Blade Records)

The unbridled reverence for Gothenburg death metal from the 90’s is insatiable, apparently. Once past the first wave of major bands (i.e. At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, and In Flames), there’s an Read more […]

Monuments – Gnosis (Century Media Records)

The dearth of djent–related releases in 2012 is a cause for a celebration of sorts. Around this time last year, the style seemed ready to flush the metal scene with a ho-hum cast of soundalikes and rip-offs, Read more […]

Arkhamin Kirjasto – Torches Ablaze (Ektro Records)

There are peculiar times when a release falls into your lap and as you sit down and soak it up you really have no idea how to process it. It features a number of different and overlapping styles (sometimes Read more […]

Heaven’s Cry – Wheels of Impermanence (Prosthetic Records)

It’s Canadian to do things in an unorthodox fashion. Not like there’s anything wrong with it (there isn’t), and when it comes to metal, all one needs to do is look at the long list of prominent Canadian Read more […]

Serpentine Path – Serpentine Path (Relapse Records)

For reasons that hover around peculiar and head-scratching, there’s still this sort of mystical allure to all things Electric Wizard-related. That’s what you get when plenty of underground minions Read more […]

Reverence – The Asthenic Ascension (Candlelight Records)

Within French metal (particularly black, but noticeable everywhere) there has been a movement over the past decade very similar to one within French cinema: a move toward and the continual redefining of Read more […]

Bury Tomorrow – The Union of Crowns (Nuclear Blast Records)

Author’s note: This review was going to be left in the vaults, never to be posted, until Bury Tomorrow released this video for “Knight Life.” Unbelievable. As a point of comparison, playing Read more […]

Witchcraft – Legend (Nuclear Blast Records)

Probably no better way to get the hipsters out of their weed-infested haze than to hit ’em with a new Witchcraft album. It’s only been five years and remarkably, the band’s name and “legend” (pun intended) Read more […]

Sky of Rage – Sky of Rage (Metalville Records)

What should a musician do when he has more ideas than his main act can handle? In the case of Astral Doors guitarist Joachim Nordllund, you pull together another band that includes a former member of Astral Read more […]

Altar of Oblivion – Grand Gesture of Defiance (Shadow Kingdom Records)

“Hallowed” would be the operative term when discussing vintage Mercyful Fate and Candlemass. Subsequent replications have been received warmly (see: Ghost, In Solitude, etc.), and you can add Denmark’s Read more […]

Krallice – Years Past Matter (Self-Released)

When Krallice emerged from the abyssal murk in 2008 their effects on the metal world (whether specific to black or not) were nothing if not immediate and polarizing. On the one hand the dazzling technical Read more […]

Vision Divine – Destination Set to Nowhere (Armoury Records)

The development of Olaf Thorsen in the power/progressive metal world is quite intriguing, leaving one successful band Labyrinth in 2002 to avoid confusion between the dreaded “project versus real band” Read more […]

Striker – Armed to the Teeth (Napalm Records)

Absolute silliness. Guess that sums it up for Edmonton’s Striker, who fancy prehistoric creatures on their album cover and glowing cod pieces in their promo shots. And that’s fine, as long as the songs Read more […]

All Hail the Yeti – All Hail the Yeti (AFM Records)

In this scribe’s domicile, only a dark metal band from Sweden, a constantly under-performing football team in the AFC North, and a Japanese Chin are immune to criticism. Everything else is fair game, including Read more […]

Prototype – Catalyst (Nightmare Records)

A slow creative process appears to be part and parcel of Prototype’s career. Formed in 1994 by guitarist Kragen Lum and vocalist/guitarist Vince Levalois, the band released their first full length Cloned as Read more […]

The Chariot – One Wing (eOne Music/Good Fight)

The similarities are inescapable…and uncanny: More than likely, The Chariot didn’t mean to copy the album art for Exodus’ long-overlooked Force of Habit album from 1992. It’s probably Read more […]

Posthum – Lights Out (Indie Recordings)

The cold can be an exacting beast to face or synthesize in new forms. Across all manner of mediums chilly images and wintery ideals have long been associated with themes of isolation, misery, and testaments Read more […]

Black September – Into the Darkness, Into the Void (Prosthetic Records)

Cue old man gripe: The problem with black metal nowadays is that it’s next to impossible to define. Certain bands that think they’re black metal, but they’re not, and a segment of bands claim they’re not Read more […]

Khonsu – Anomalia (Season of Mist Records)

Nepotism isn’t very prevalent in metal, given that, well, there’s room for everybody. And even the slightest of associations seem to work (“So-and-so was an ex member of this and that band,” etc.), yet Read more […]

Katatonia – Dead End Kings (Peaceville Records)

Twenty-plus years removed from their outright origin and sonically evolving with every release, Katatonia makes their very welcome return to us with their ninth album Dead End Kings. Unlike most groups Read more […]

Khors – Wisdom of Centuries (Candlelight Records)

Drudkh – in their infinite and snow-covered mountainous glory – aren’t the only black metal band from the Ukraine worth fussing over. Obviously, Khors is the other and if their countrymen weren’t so imposing Read more […]

Cloudscape – New Era (Nightmare Records)

Band names can definitely make or break a band sometimes. For example, Dew-Scented is a strange moniker for a modern thrash band, as is The Lord Weird Slough Feg for a band that plays 70’s-tinged rock. Read more […]

Zonaria – Arrival of the Red Sun (Listenable Records)

A mid-level Swedish death metal band such as Zonaria could probably make a half-decent career out of hiding behind their homeland’s imposing sound connotations. It doesn’t matter what they do, for some Read more […]