Eurocore

Amaranthe – Helix Review

Amaranthe – Helix Review

“One part pop, one part -core, and one part power metal, Amaranthe could only have come from Sweden: a country and people so obsessively modern and image-conscious that they created the Eurovision industry, the national Twitter account, and the marketing model for trend-driven consumption from furniture to clothing. Even some of the most iconic metal Sweden has produced had remarkably trend-driven second acts. In Flames‘ fall from melodeath darlings to nü-metal wannabes was followed by bands adopting the Swedecore sound. What’s the most successful metal band that Sweden has produced since Gothenburg? Well, Ghost. But even for Sweden Amaranthe is another level entirely.” Amaranthe is back for more. How’s that working out for them?

Epica – The Holographic Principle Review

Epica – The Holographic Principle Review

“The cultish devotion to contemplating endless variations of Descartes’s “evil demon” question mixed with Hume’s ridiculous skepticism has led some philosophers to seriously contemplate if saying “I have hands” is a valid assertion because we can’t definitively prove that we’re not just brains in vats (BIVs) imagining the whole world, our hands included. Somehow this line of thought is still taken seriously, and it’s given us plenty. It’s given us proof positive that if your philosophy abandons Aristotle and Aquinas, it’s going to be terrible. It gave us The Matrix; a good action flick. It’s also given us a record based around wondering whether our world is actually just an elaborate VR simulation in the form of Epica’s The Holographic Principle.” To glee or not to glee.

Delain – Moonbathers Review

Delain – Moonbathers Review

“Metal bands sure like to take baths in a wide variety of places, be it in the sun, in blood, in ghosts, in wombs, in entrails, or in whatever “slaughtb” is. Me, I’m more of a shower guy. A nice cold shower helps you think, and tons of great ideas come to be in there, but sometimes you get this introductory bit. It seems that the Dutchmen and Dutchwomen in Delain have suggested a new place for our metallic hygienic niche to take place on their fifth album: the moon.” Delain got a tongue lashing from AMG for being normcore back in 2012. Will DiM be nicer than he was?

We Butter the Bread with Butter – Goldkinder Review

We Butter the Bread with Butter – Goldkinder Review

“They may butter the bread with butter, but Nutella-ing the bread with Nutella gives it a sweeter and richer (albeit more sinful) taste. It’s more fattening too, which is what these skinny German kids seem to be in need of.” HMG explains why We Stupid the Stupid with Stupid is the band that signals the electronicapolypse. Gird your loins, metal elitists, the shitstorm is coming!

Scar Symmetry – The Unseen Empire Review

Scar Symmetry – The Unseen Empire Review

A couple years ago I reviewed Scar Symmetry’s Dark Matter Dimensions and to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed it. While I gave it a very good score at the time (4.5/5.0), I made the comment that the band was a little formulaic. It seemed to me that the Scar Symmetry could have worked harder to break out of the mold that they seemed to be trying (very hard) to fit into. That mold, otherwise known as “tech-meets-Soilwork” is basically techy death metal with big, catchy choruses. And, while I admit that Scar Symmetry is an much better band than Soilwork as far as writing catchy melodies, there are times when the music feels like it’s just built around this structure. I suggested that the band try to break out of that mold and build on the techy side.

The Bridal Procession – Astronomical Dimensions Review

The Bridal Procession – Astronomical Dimensions Review

The Bridal Procession are a death metal band with orchestral stylings from Paris, France. If you go to their Last.fm page, the first thing you see on there is someone writing “Behemoth 2.0.” What’s funny about this was exactly my response when I heard the introduction of this album, which has an Egyptian sounding orchestral introduction followed up with a vocal introduction that was ripped straight off from “Slaves Shall Serve” (a track from Behemoth’s Demigod, if you’re not familiar). This did not raise my expectations very high, to be totally honest. And, because of that I never had time to get disappointed by the mediocrity, and more frankly, unoriginality that followed.

Artas – Riotology Review

Artas – Riotology Review

Well, I’m not sure what I did to end up on the Angry Metal Guy’s Official Shit List. However, his assigning me both the new Lazarus A.D. and Artas albums proves I’m on it bigtime. I can just picture AMG up there on his throne all high and mighty, laughing as he contemptuously sneers, “let him eat metalcore.” Steel Druhm does not like being on the Shit List and Steel Druhm will have his wengeance! Anyway, Riotology is the second album by Austrian metalcore/quasi-thrash bandwagon jumpers Artas. Up until now their claim to fame was a wildly ill-conceived cover of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” which ended up being funnier than Weird Al Yankovic’s “Amish Paradise.” Now, with Riotology they can truthfully claim recording two average metalcore albums. Hey, congrats guys! As soon as I saw the album cover which looks like a screen shot from the Assassin’s Creed video games I should have known where this was heading. The second clue I was in trouble was the band’s prominently displayed claim that they play “modern metal.” Apparently that’s record industry speak for tired metalcore by bands that yearn to be At the Gates and In Flames with poppier, radio-friendly choruses. Because I’m merciful, I will now implore you all to leave this review and save yourselves. I can’t go with you however, for I must write it.

Against the Flood – Against the Flood Review

Against the Flood – Against the Flood Review

So apparently the UK has a lively metalcore and deathcore scene that is being picked up and flown around the world right now. Against the Flood is one of those bands that sits right on the border between the two genres (which are basically just one genre if you look at their girl jeans and stupid hair cuts) and who have taken from me nearly 60 minutes of my life that I will never, ever, ever, ever get back. As a punishment, I will pee on them publicly, from my blog (and wait for their stupid oaf fans, and buddies, to come here and insult me).

The Ocean – Anthropocentric Review

The Ocean – Anthropocentric Review

gotta say up front that I am not a big fan of sludge, I mean, you should be forewarned of this. So when I first heard The Ocean’s controversial (and apparently much hated) opus Heliocentric I was really happy about it. It was way more shoegaze or post-hardcore than it was sludge or anything really coming near to it. Short on the hardcore and tall on the clean vocals, I was impressed. I gave it a 4.5/5.0 and I stand by that (in spite of the incessant whining of jilted fans). So I was pretty interested to take a listen to the follow-up Anthropocentric. And my worst fears were confirmed: they pulled an Opeth. Soft record. Heavy record. Blech. Anyone else ever notice that this never works?

Soilwork – The Panic Broadcast Review

Soilwork – The Panic Broadcast Review

Wow. So, it’s been like 10 years since I’ve listened to Soilwork and it turns out that they don’t sound at all even remotely the same. Sometimes a band falls off your radar and you don’t even think about them at all and honestly, Soilwork is one such band. Now, it’s probably not a surprise to anyone else but I was in utter shock when I turned on The Panic Broadcast to discover that the Gothenburg sound had totally been replaced by eurocore! See, now you’re laughing at my ignorance, but I’m a bit surprised. See, in Angry Metal World, the last record that Soilwork released was actually The Chainheart Machine in 2000. And back then, these guys were playing a not-entirely-novel, but very, very good version of the Gothenburg sound. Turns out in the much lamer real world Soilwork has had a bunch of records and gotten a new vocal style, a new sound and hyper-produced.