3.5

Noctem – Exilium Review

Noctem – Exilium Review

“I’ve been listening to a LOT of Blackened Death Metal lately and I have to say the whole “symphonic black/death” style is really sinking its teeth into the genre. I’m not condemning it, but sometimes these symphonic elements can easily be overdone. Septicflesh is a good example of the sort of over-the-top delivery to be had with their dark, symphonic landscapes. Though I’ve become quite a fan of theirs, their shit is literally dripping with orchestration. As expected, a clear line was been drawn between those that dig these metal movie soundtracks and those that don’t.” Is Noctem the new Septicflesh? Is Septicflesh the new black? All things will be revealed after you listen to your free U2 album.

Exorcism – I Am God Review

Exorcism – I Am God Review

“Super-groups are an odd breed of duck. They either end up a bunch of egos, ball-busting for attention (a fight nobody wins) or they end up something along the lines of Down‘s NOLA – chilled out, soaked in beer, raw and dirty and probably totally fucking stoned. This little collective I happened upon most recently via Rock n Growl Promotion, hail from a range of countries including, unsurprisingly, the USA and more surprisingly Spain, Italy and France.” An international doom rock supergroup starring the likes of Joe Stump? Intriguing!

Monster Magnet – Last Patrol Review

Monster Magnet – Last Patrol Review

“That sketchy van is back in town. You know, the one with New Jersey plates, mushrooms and wizards painted on the side and the “Free Candy” bumper sticker. And as usual, there’s more smoke pouring from the tinted windows than from the tailpipe. That can only mean Monster Magnet is back to drop more of their spaced-out, stoner-themed hard rock to conjures the era of bongos, free love and lava lamps. Coming off 2010s masterful Mastermind release, Dave Wyndorf and company had some big sandals to fill.” So how do you fill a sandal exactly? Monster Magnet fills it with rowdy, stripper club friendly rock and that can’t be a bad thing, can it?

End of Green – The Painstream Review

End of Green – The Painstream Review

End of Green have a shit-kickingly bad band name. I’ve always hated it, but it hasn’t stopped me from following these guys since their 2002 Songs for a Dying World release. They started life as a gothic, doomy metal act that stole most of their inspiration from Type O Negative, but over the course of their career they’ve drifted toward a more direct gloom-rock style not very far from Entwine, Lacrimas Profundere, late period Sentenced and Katatonia. Their early albums were terribly inconsistent and suffered from some bigtime filler demons, yet their talent was always apparent on a few standout tracks.” We haven’t reviewed a gothy, doom-rock album in a while since we’re usually so obsessed with death metal. To balance the ledgers, here’s a review of something gothy and doom-rocky.

Frosttide – Awakening Review

Frosttide – Awakening Review

“Last year NoiseArt Records graced my greedy hands with Survival of the Fittest, the debut release by Italian band Krampus. With two well received EPs already floating about, I had some excitement in hearing their brand of modern folk metal. By the end of the year the album had worn a considerable groove in my playlist, so much so it eventually ended up on Madam X’s Top 10(ish) of 2012. Until now, 2013 has felt a little lean in terms of folk metal, outside of Månegarm‘s (Legions of the North) blackened folk offering, nothing’s jumped out at me – Finnish melodic folk metallers Frosttide are doing their damnedest to change that.” We don’t let Madam X review much folk metal because she’s too dark for such things. We made an exception with the new Frosttide and since nobody got hurt, The Providers are pleased.

Hibria – Silent Revenge Review

Hibria – Silent Revenge Review

“There are a lot of good bands down there in South America and they always seem to pop up out of nowhere and surprise you. Brazil’s Hibria did just that with their 2004 Defying the Rules debut, which rocked a type of heavy power metal quite similar to Riot‘s Thundersteel mixed with classic Euro-power like old Helloween. It was surprisingly mature and polished for a debut and had a number of great songs that earned permanent playlist rotation. Their Skull Collectors follow-up was solid enough, but I didn’t think much of the Blind Ride platter released in 2011. I feared they were in the classic Dimishing Returns Death Spiral and hoped they could find a way back to the glory of that awesome debut.” Nothing is worse than a promising band caught in a creative death spiral! Can Hibria avoid disaster and guide the ship back to the promised land of power metal? Steel Druhm is on scene and it was clearly the wrong week for him to quit sniffing glue.

Newsted – Heavy Metal Music Review

Newsted – Heavy Metal Music Review

“By now most of you are familiar with the dysfunctional soap opera that led Jason Newsted to jump ship from Metallica prior to their execrable St. Anger album. Anyone who watched the shockumentary Some Kind of Monster can see why he bailed and most probably wonder why he didn’t beat copious amounts of Danish ass and kick over the Hetfield Table™ on his way out the door. Since his exodus, Jason has shown himself to be a productive and versatile musician’s musician, recording with Voivod, playing with Ozzy Osbourne, keeping his Echobrain project running and finding time to launch his eponymous solo project Newsted.” Jason Newsted has this solo thing going on and finally released the debut album. Steel Druhm gives you the lowdown as Lars and James download it illegally out of spite.

Obsidian Tongue – A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time Review

Obsidian Tongue – A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time Review

“Say what you like about the U.S. black metal scene, they know how to make so much out of so little. The number of American bands taking black metal in its arguably most minimalistic form and taking it in much more ambitious directions with long and winding song structures is quite staggering. But when you consider the roots of the black metal scene in the US, and the opus that made arguably the biggest impact on it, it doesn’t seem so surprising that so many bands follow almost directly in the footsteps of Weakling‘s widely acclaimed album, Dead as Dreams. Noctus traces the family tree of USBM and gives a little insight on how it influences the new opus from Obsidian Tongue. BTW, that name sounds like a fruity tropical drink that comes with a tiny umbrella.

Mammoth Grinder – Underworlds Review

Mammoth Grinder – Underworlds Review

“You may have noticed a tendency of the AMG staff to carp, whine and bitch about albums being too long and including too much filler. It’s a sad truism that because CDs are capable of holding 75 minutes of tuneage, way too many bands think they have 75 minutes worth of quality music when usually…they don’t. Mammoth Grinder are the exception to that rule and their Underworlds album clocks in at a lean, mean twenty-eight minutes and it feels as refreshing as a bath in a mountain lake.” Pressed for time? Need your ass kicked quickly and fully. Hire a Mammoth!

Sinister Realm – World of Evil Review

Sinister Realm – World of Evil Review

“If there’s one type of retro metal I never tire of, it’s the kind that goes for the old school, traditional, “trve metal” sound from the early 80s like Cirith Ungol and Manilla Road. Of the few bands out there using this style as a main influence, my favorite is Sinister Realm (though Argus comes really close). I really enjoyed their debut, but they raised their game bigtime for 2011s The Crystal Eye opus and it ended up one of my favorite albums of the year. Utilizing a stripped down, zero-bullshit approach with a slight epic feel and incorporating doom, NWoBHM and early America metal influences, they found a winning formula and crafted some really memorable tunes.” Steel Druhm is old so it should come as no surprise he likes stuff that sounds old. Sinister Realm is old school, cvlt, trve and any other V instead of U word. So is this a match worthy of eHarmony?