The End Records

Terrorizer – Caustic Attack Review

Terrorizer – Caustic Attack Review

“Whenever a band like Terrorizer drops an album, I always wonder if their material gets by on individual merit or on legacy alone. World Downfall is rightly regarded as one of the first and greatest examples of death/grind and has remained a staple in any worthy metalhead’s collection. Unfortunately, nearly thirty years after that seminal record, the re-formed band’s quality has been spotty at best.” The Founding Fathers of Grind are back with a state of the union.

Cauldron – New Gods Review

Cauldron – New Gods Review

“Bands like Enforcer, Striker, Spellcaster, Skull Fist, and White Wizzard do their damndest to take the baton and run with the same energy and passion of their forefathers. But, no list is complete without Canada’s Cauldron. This heavy-metal threesome embodies this old-school style with heavy bass, smooth vox, chunky guitar licks, and a dark cloak of melody—expressing their love for everything from witches and gloomy haunts to the darker side of life.” Into the kettle with the nonbelievers.

Hinder – The Reign Review

Hinder – The Reign Review

Hinder. Depending on your familiarity with modern rock radio, you’re either asking who the hell they are or why in Jørn’s name we’re reviewing them. For the former, the term “Nickelback-lite” is all you need to know. For the latter, it all started when Madam X presented The Reign as “good hard rock,” inciting a discussion about who was familiar with these Oklahoma natives. With a sideways glance and a quivering lower lip, I stepped forward and sheepishly announced to the group: ‘I… I have known this band.'” Confessions, interventions and hard rock.

Novembers Doom – Hamartia Review

Novembers Doom – Hamartia Review

“2017 is already off to a good start doom-wise, with Pallbearer and Oceanwake dropping huge platter of mope and dope(smoker) on our collective shoulders. Now comes Novembers Doom‘s new opus de emotionale, Hamartia. The word “Hamartia” is defined as a fatal flaw in a hero or heroine which will ultimately lead to their tragic downfall. What better subject matter for another oversized dose of doom/death from Chicago’s finest?” Tis the season.

Cauldron – In Ruin Review

Cauldron – In Ruin Review

“As 2016 draws its very first breaths, it’s clear retro metal is here to stay. With throwback acts like Night Flight Orchestra appearing in various AMG year end lists and the utter debacle of White Wizzard scoring a coveted 5.0, the battle is all but over and we must accept our olde timey overlords’ authoritah.” Submit to your fate and get in the Cauldron.

Novembers Doom – Bled White Review

Novembers Doom – Bled White Review

“Of all the bands skulking around the doom/death catacombs, none manage to trigger more raw emotion in me than Novembers Doom. They aren’t necessarily the best band in the genre, but when they lock everything in, the melancholy pours like rain off a tin roof in Seattle. They’re the authors of one of the most depressing songs of all time (“What Could have Been”) and there’s something unique about their fusion of Paradise Lost and Type O Negative with vaguely Opeth-esque style death metal that really drills deep down into the heart of darkness within.” If you’re staring into the heart of darkness, it must be November!

Helloween – Straight Out of Hell Review

Helloween – Straight Out of Hell Review

Helloween has always been a sticky wicket for yours truly. I worshipped their debut EP and the first two albums, which basically were the Old Testament for how Euro power metal should sound. With Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II came the disturbing trend of incorporating candy-coated, cutesy, tongue-in-cheeks numbers presumably designed to appeal to 12 year old girls and soccer moms. When they titled the follow-up album Pink Bubbles Go Ape, Steel Druhm packed his bags, said his goodbyes to Gorgar and decamped from the Helloween fan club. So how are they faring as a band in 2013, years after I bailed on their cheesy, German melothrash?

Interview with Mirai Kawashima from Sigh

Interview with Mirai Kawashima from Sigh

Enigmatic and uncomfortably cheerful, gregarious and ambitious Happy Metal Guy managed to catch up with Mirai Kawashima from the Japanese avant-garde black metal band Sigh. He bombarded him with positivity, amusing anecdotes and uncomfortable questions about steel phalli until Mr. Kawashima relented; answering the questions and talking about… flowers? This fucking blog gets weirder and weirder every day.

Angrily Unreviewed: November’s Doom – Aphotic

Angrily Unreviewed: November’s Doom – Aphotic

Yep, this one didn’t get by our formidable musical radars, we just didn’t get around to reviewing it due to questionable time management, manpower issues and the whole “having lives” thing. November’s Doom is hardly a band that needs to be brought to people’s attention. They’re a veritable doom metal institution with seven albums of well done, death-tinged doom behind them. Aphotic, their eighth, is more of the same and its good stuff as usual (available via The End Records). In fact, it’s very much in line with what they have been doing their past few albums. Opener “The Dark Host” has that classic mix of urgent death metal and somber, depressive moments and its quite emotional (I love the chorus in this song). Other standouts include the darkness of “Harvest Scythe” and “Buried Old” and the creepy, angry storytelling in “Six Sides” (there’s a lot going on with the lyrics in this one, very dark). There’s even a cool “Planet Caravan” quality to parts of “Shadow Play.” The highlight is the truly beautiful and gut-wrenchingly poignant “What Could Have Been” where Paul Kuhr is joined by Anneke van Giersbergen (formerly of The Gathering). It’s a ballad in the same mold as “Twilight Innocence” off their The Novella Reservoir album and its very touching and melancholy. Anneka’s voice is filled with emotion and frailty and it works damn well.

Nidingr – Wolf Father Review

Nidingr – Wolf Father Review

When I got this disc last year via Jester Records I missed it. I don’t know why it got shuffled off to the side, or what happened exactly, but for some reason it just didn’t get done in time. In any case, I just recently got wind that they’re readying for the US release so I figured I’d break out the Internet-pen and have at a review of this super group’s (Line-up: bass and guitars: Teloch [1349, Gorgoroth, Ov Hell, Orcustus, Umoral, Konsortium]; bass and guitars (again): Blargh [Gravferd, Dødheimsgard]; vocals: Cpt. Estrella Grasa [Kort Prosess]; and drums: Hellhammer [Immortal, Shining, Thorns, Umoral, Mayhem, Winds, Arcturus]) stab at reclaiming Norwegian black metal glory.