Proto-Metal

Mirror – Pyramid of Terror Review

Mirror – Pyramid of Terror Review

“Everything is retro nowadays. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a thing. I’ve heard people say that reviving significant trends from previous decades is the result of a complete lack of originality in the current one. But I think it’s simply a law of human nature. People in any given decade become fascinated with aesthetics from anywhere between 30-to-50 years ago—presumably because they’re just now (re-)discovering themand for a while the cultural landscape morphs into this weird amalgam of modern ideas squeezed through a retrospective filter. Or, sometimes people simply mimic whatever popular thing from whatever decade they have latched on to at the time.” Living in the past.

The Lord Weird Slough Feg – New Organon Review

The Lord Weird Slough Feg – New Organon Review

“Led by frontman Mike Scalzi, Slough Feg have been delivering Celtic-tinged, surprisingly academic trad metal for longer than most of you have been alive. New Organon is the band’s first release since 2014’s Digital Resistance, and perhaps more significantly, marks the return of the Lord Weird prefix to their name after a 15-year absence. This strongly hints at (and the band’s bio confirms) a return to the style of the band’s Twilight of the Idols/Down Among the Deadmen era of the early ’00s—a bold claim, considering both the passage of time and the changes to their lineup since then.” Feg party.

Kaleidobolt – Bitter Review

Kaleidobolt – Bitter Review

“One of the things I love about metal is its endless potential for combining and re-purposing different sounds, styles and textures. Sure, one of the results is banal strings of genre designations, but who cares when you have such an enormous spectrum of influences you can pick from? Choose any mood, any feeling, any level of energy or intensity, there’s a band that delivers. Hell, there’s probably a dozen or more, no matter how outlandish your desires. Finland’s Kaleidobolt grabs bits and pieces of different proto- and heavy metal formations, both genres that have literally been around for almost half a century, and pieces them together in a way that it sets itself apart anyway.” New from olde.

Hot Lunch – Seconds Review

Hot Lunch – Seconds Review

“Proto-metal is a bit of a strange moniker to apply to modern-day bands. The “proto” prefix literally means “first” or “common ancestor,” so linguistically it makes little sense to apply it to any band past 1975. Yet with the popularity of everything retro, plenty of bands try to recreate that pre-metal hard rock sound that laid the foundations of our favorite genre. Hot Lunch are as proto as proto gets, despite first appearing with their self-titled debut in 2013. With the sophomore slab, appropriately titled Seconds, can they function as the time machine they aim to be?” Back to the past and future.

Traveler – Traveler Review

Traveler – Traveler Review

“Another month, another retro band dropping an album on our doorstep. Do we need more retro bands? Actually, we need more of every kind of band, if they’re capable of writing great songs. That will be the key here, as local (to me) boys Traveler aim to blow the lid off the retro/proto scene with eight songs of caffeine-injected, high-energy metallic romps down memory lane. In this case, if that lane had a name, it would be Manilla Road (see what I did there?).” Olde but still getting around.

Deathchant – Deathchant Review

Deathchant – Deathchant Review

“Let’s ease into 2019, shall we? After a climactic December that saw about a million Things You Might have Missed posts, nearly two dozen Top Ten(ish) lists, and a few more outstanding releases, it’s time to let our collective breath out, sit back, and strap in for what we all hope will be a stellar year for metal. And while early January might not be blessing us with any albums that will stick around until list season, there are a few that are worth digging into. Is this shorty (a mere seven songs and 30 minutes) from Los Angeles’ Deathchant one of those? If you’re into psychedelic proto-rock, with all sorts of other spices added in, then this eponymous debut just might kick-start your year.” Death the halls.

Ashbury – Eye of the Stygian Witches

Ashbury – Eye of the Stygian Witches

Ashbury, of Tuscon, Arizona, are olde. Their debut called Endless Skies dates back to 1983 but evidently flew under the mainstream radar, while 2018’s Eye of the Stygian Witches is only their third full-length release in these past 35 years. Olde; Tuscon-dwellers; under-appreciated; unreliable; these are all characteristics of our very own Dr. A. N. Grier. Older than dirt and sky.

Dunbarrow – II Review

Dunbarrow – II Review

“Distortion and metal are so closely connected it’s difficult to see them separated at all. Yes, there are some bands who don’t utilize distortion, primarily in the power metal section of the mall, and yes, there are artists that use distortion without being primarily metal. However, by and large, metal means distorted guitars. There’s a reason many agree that metal was invented when Black Sabbath introduced that evil guitar tone to the world. Dunbarrow, however, see it as a challenge to be heavy like Sabbath without layering on the distortion, and to this end they look toward the forebears of our genre, evident in the luxurious lapping at the puddles of the 70s with their sophomore album, inspirationally titled II.” But this goes to 11.

Death Alley – Superbia Review

Death Alley – Superbia Review

“No joke: the day I found out Death Alley‘s new record was coming out, I was jamming hard to Captain Beyond and Blue Öyster Cult. It was as if my craving for some old-school rock reached across the ocean to the Netherlands. Not only did Death Alley hear my call, they answered it—with Superbia. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t much for religious interventions or anything but, my god, I almost picked up the Bible after that.” It’s bible good!

Mausoleum Gate – Into a Dark Divinity Review

Mausoleum Gate – Into a Dark Divinity Review

“While Death Alley sticks with the upbeat rock ‘n’ roll of Motörhead, Captain Beyond, and Blue Öyster Cult, Finland’s Mausoleum Gate goes for dark, jamming, progressive song structures, with a fuck-ton of organs. Like, Deep Purple levels of organ. And this is where, I suspect, readers will be split. If you aren’t the type to buy an original print of Machine Head (even if it’s fifty cents), Into a Dark Divinity ain’t for you. But, old-timers looking for an interesting combination of BÖC and Purple, with hints of Angel Witch, should read on.” Enjoy of Deep Purple.