Mascot Records

Crobot – Motherbrain Review

Crobot – Motherbrain Review

“When you’re coursing through the frightening wastes that constitute the promo bin at AMG, it can be easy to get lost in the sea of variety that exists within. So sometimes it’s nice to cast complexity to the wind and settle for some good old-fashioned “heavy metal.” No subtle keyboard wizardry, no special effects to carry me into another realm, no technical nonsense, just distorted guitars and shouting in tune for forty-four minutes or so. Crobot, you are what I was looking for this day.” Simplicity is the Crobot key.

Michael Romeo – War of the Worlds Review, Pt. 1

Michael Romeo – War of the Worlds Review, Pt. 1

Michael Romeo is one of prog/power’s finest genii and is deservedly renowned for his day job as the guitarist and primary composer in Symphony X. Little known, however, is that Romeo released a solo album called The Dark Chapter in 1995. Only available on YouTube, the album is a mind-blowing display of, on the one hand, Romeo’s virtuoso talent and, on the other hand, just how far recording has come in the 23 years since its release. The Dark Chapter‘s first followup record is entitled War of the Worlds, Part 1 and on the surface, these two albums have little in common.

Ayreon – The Source Review

Ayreon – The Source Review

“Look, I know I’m late with this. I can hardly swing reviews these days and Arjen didn’t pull any punches with The Source. In fact, our Poofy-Haired Dutchman™ didn’t even do me a solid by making The Source a sequel to The Theory of Everything, an album I adored. Rather, he made it a prequel to 2004’s 01011001 (that’s “Y” for those of you who aren’t computers), an album that I’d spent precious little time with. What’s weird about that, is that 01011001 is probably his least popular album aside from Into the Electric Castle. When I went back to listen to it, I have to admit that I agree. So I was perplexed by the choice to write a prequel to it. But Arjen’s mind works in mysterious ways, which is why I have come to love his music so much. So, despite a history of prequels being horrible pieces of shit that not even a mother can love, Arjen gets better with age and I needed to give it a chance.” Chances are, Arjen wears a silly grin.

Black Sites – In Monochrome Review

Black Sites – In Monochrome Review

“Like the Trials album which preceded it, however, In Monochrome is unapologetically modern, but it has two feet firmly planted in the feel(s) of yesteryear. And it is the feeling of being a traditional metal album—without being remotely derivative—which makes In Monochrome an excellent album.” I mean, what more do you want for an endorsement than that!?

Pestilence – Doctrine Review

Pestilence – Doctrine Review

They say you can’t go home again. If the recent track record of Dutch deathsters Pestilence proves anything, it’s that you may get home again, but you can’t stay there long. Pestilence had a few significant contributions to the death genre in the late 80’s and early 90’s, most notably the excellent Consuming Impulse from ’89 (a nasty, vicious slab of ugliness and a top ten all time death album IMHO) and the very solid Testimony of the Ancient release in ’91. Then they radically shifted styles by incorporating copious progressive jazz fusion elements into the Spheres opus and alienated many fans in the process. That essentially closed the book on Pestilence until their 2009 reunion album Resurrection Macabre, which did indeed go home to their early death metal roots and kicked a fair amount of arse too. Now, we get their second post-reformation platter and much to my chagrin, back comes the progressive jazz-fusion elements to muddy the waters (though not to the extent they did on Spheres). This leaves Doctrine a squirming, writhing mutant offspring, half Consuming Impulse, half Spheres and it feels like an album tearing itself apart with inconsistent, incompatible ideas. Needless to say, I’m not very jazzed about this.