Reviews

While Heaven Wept – Triumph: Tragedy: Transcendence – Live At the Hammer of Doom Festival (Cruz del Sur Music)

It’s an utter crime to label these guys as doom, ‘cause there so much more to them. Like, so much more. One of the more cult and widely-respected American metal bands of this era, While Heaven Wept Read more […]

Queensryche – Empire 20th Anniversary Edition (Capital Records)

How to follow-up the best metal concept album of all-time…that would be Empire. As Queenryche’s rating exploded in the late 80’s after Operation: Mindcrime, the right move was to streamline the Read more […]

Revolution Renaissance – Trinity (Napalm Records)

If you ever need soap opera drama within the power metal world, look no further than guitarist Timo Tolkki who moved on from Stratovarius onto Revolution Renaissance. Stabbings, bloody female vocal replacements, Read more […]

Symphorce – Unrestricted (AFM Records)

Clearly at the point in their career where they have topped-off, Germany’s Symphorce appear poised to slide down the power metal ladder with the awfully safe Unrestricted. Granted, “safe” and “power Read more […]

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: Live In Europe (Armoury Records)

In what should be the first of many posthumous releases for Ronnie James Dio and Heaven & Hell, Neon Nights: Live In Europe comes across as a hastily-thrown together live set, without any real selling points. Read more […]

Slough Feg – The Animal Spirits (Profound Lore Records)

Must be a lonely spot for Slough Feg considering, you know, they’re practically one of the few earnest, instantly identifiable “true” metal bands going. Heck, even calling them “true metal” Read more […]

Nàttsòl – Stemning (Prophecy Productions/Lupus Lounge)

Anyone with the brains to give nods to early-era Borknagar (read: their self-titled debut and majestically majestic The Olden Domain) is worth investigating. For Norway’s Nàttsòl, working in and around Read more […]

Johnny Lokke – Promises and Lies (Big Riff Records)

Essentially a one-man band playing traditional-beyond-traditional metal, Johnny Lokke won’t make anyone forget the mandatory works of Priest, Maiden, and King Diamond (three bands the man borrows from Read more […]

August Burns Red – Home DVD/CD (Solid State Records)

About as unimaginative as cardboard, and looking as metal as yours truly did when he was in kindergarten, Christian metalcore titans August Burns Red have accumulated a strong following and sales numbers Read more […]

Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again (Napalm Records)

Venerable Grave Digger. They don’t do anything remarkable, nor do they do anything that would make even the most cursory of listeners become annoyed. They’re just Grave Digger, the same band it was Read more […]

Lifelover – Konkurs (Prophecy/Lupus Lounge)

In the realm of what is avant-garde and is truly avant-garde, Sweden’s Lifelover fall easily into the second category. If the litmus test is anything beyond Into the Pandemonium, then Konkurs (which Read more […]

Mean Deviation – Four Decades of Progressive Metal By Jeff Wagner (Bazillion Points)

What a massive undertaking this book by former Metal Maniacs associate editor Jeff Wagner represents. If anyone has the knowledge, passion, skills and class to tackle 40 years of a music movement and Read more […]

Control Denied – The Fragile Art of Existence Reissue (Relapse Records)

On paper, Control Denied seemed like the band that would lead metal into the 00’s. With Chuck Schuldiner at the helm, along with budding singer Tim Aymar (ex-Pyscho Scream, currently of Pharaoh) in Read more […]

The Showdown – Blood In the Gears (Tooth and Nail Records)

For all of the endless pontificating we do about how God-awful Christian metal is, it takes a band like The Showdown (and let’s not forget Believer) to give the niche at least some credibility. Since Read more […]

Iron Fire – Metalmorphosized (Napalm Records)

Usually ganged up on by critics for their blissfully unaware portrayal of cheesy power metal, Denmark’s Iron Fire are far from the worst thing power metal has to offer. Actually, they have popped out Read more […]

Immortal – Live At Wacken 2007: The Seventh Date of Blashyrkh DVD/CD (Nuclear Blast Records)

A good two years prior to the release of their comeback album All Shall Fall, Immortal had the presence of mind to do some live dates to put their pretty faces back in the metal public eye. And like most Read more […]

Forbidden – Omega Wave (Nuclear Blast Records)

They’re all coming back, aren’t they? Guess it was only a matter of time before Forbidden jumped into the act, which is fine – they were one of the few Bay Area thrash bands with the gall to use Read more […]

Withered – Dualitas (Prosthetic Records)

Seriously, how do you knock a band like Withered? They’re everything most North American bands aren’t, which in essence, is forward-thinking, hard-working, and under the aid of an unlimited scope. Read more […]

Grand Magus – Grand Magus Reissue (Metal Blade Records)

Discovering this fine Swedish traditional doom metal trio back on their 2005 Wolf’s Return album, Grand Magus have quietly made their ascent into the hearts of critics and fans with their addictive, Read more […]

All That Remains – For We Are Many (Proshetic/Razor & Tie)

For this scribe, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about All That Remains is the sight of Phil Labonte stage-diving during the band’s opening stint with Shadows Fall in 2004. Given how Read more […]

Monster Magnet – Mastermind (Napalm Records)

‘Ole Dave Wyndorf is back, sans the drugs (apparently), which in some odd, twisted way, has resulted in Monster Magnet popping out their best album in eons. Yeah, eons, which means that could stretch Read more […]

October Falls – A Collapse of Faith (Debemur Morti Productions)

One of the more unheralded bands in all of the underground, October Falls have made a career out of doing what so many are doing, but better. And by better, we’re referring to the highest-caliber Read more […]

Amorphis – Magic and Mayhem – Tales From the Early Years (Nuclear Blast Records)

A stopgap release for the Finns, who are coming off yet another barnburner of an album in the form of Skyforger, Magic and Mayhem – Tales From the Early Years is a 13-song re-working of the band’s Read more […]

Meleschesh – The Epigenesis (Nuclear Blast Records)

If the band Melechesh remains an unknown quantity, than a mighty amount of shame shall be bestowed upon you. They are easily one of the most unique, powerful, and talented bands in existence. In the era Read more […]

Krieg – The Isolationist (Candlelight Records)

Four years after Blue Miasma, crucial USBM one-man band Krieg have returned with The Isolationist. While the Candlelight Records banner may run against the band’s long-standing rep in necro BM circles, The Read more […]

Holy Grail – Crisis In Utopia (Prosthetic Records)

California consistently produces a boatload of musicians hoping to turn the music industry upside-down and carry their songwriting and performance wares to all sides of the globe. Holy Grail from Pasadena Read more […]

Circle II Circle – Consequence of Power (AFM Records)

If pondering the output of Savatage members in the 2000’s, one could argue that Zak Stevens and his group Circle II Circle has been the most productive as well as adhering to his emotional, confident Read more […]

Helloween – 7 Sinners (The End Records/Sony)

This may only matter to anal-retentive scribes like yours truly, but 7 Sinners is a heavily-penned Andi Deris Helloween album, which for those who live and die by the Keeper albums, is a different Read more […]

Mr Death – Death Suits You EP (Agonia Records)

Album cover of the year. Hands down. Like, why can’t more death metal covers be this classy, non-gory, and have such a great play on words? And it’s not that complicated – death metal bands just Read more […]

Dimmu Borgir – Abrahadabra (Nuclear Blast Records)

Much better than the half-assed In Sorte Diaboli, Dimmu, in spite of shedding half its line-up has managed to bring their overly-symphonic sound into the new decade, drawing an instant parallel to its Read more […]