2018

White Wizzard – Infernal Overdrive Review

White Wizzard – Infernal Overdrive Review

“2018: A new year bringing new experiences and opportunities. It’s a personal reset and we all get a pristine clean slate…and the same sweaty, unclean man back that plagued us throughout 2017. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Into this dichotomous environ journeys our intrepid Steel Druhm, eyes glistening with the ghosts of AMG’s past as he comes to grips with the site’s Great White Albatross.” Ear today, gone tomorrow.

Yer Metal Is Olde: Zao – Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest

Yer Metal Is Olde: Zao – Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest

“Let’s just say you’re in a hardcore band with a niche-but-loyal audience. You just completed a major festival, embarked on a fairly successful US tour, and you’re about to write your next album when your bandmates decide, ‘Hey, you know what? I’m giving up music for the ministry.’ Folks, that’s what happened in 1997, to Jesse Smith, (now former) drummer for (then-)Virginia’s Christian hardcore outfit, Zao.” Cross-core and more.

Shining – X – Varg utan flock Review

Shining – X – Varg utan flock Review

Shining is remarkably long-lived if one considers mainman Niklas Kvarforth’s admonitions that everyone should commit suicide. Twenty years into Shining’s career, Varg utan flock (Wolf without [a] Pack) marks the band’s 10th full length, and first since 2014. I have been holding out hope that Shining will regain the form of their earliest masterpieces, but since 2011 that field has been fallow. It’s tough to live up to records like Halmstad—one of the best albums of the 2000s—and Född förlorare. Those albums were excellent, memorable, and loaded with great writing and riffs. But starting in 2012, Shining/Kvarforth made a lot of noise about change. This was particularly present on 2012’s Redefining Darkness and even, to an extent, on IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends. The reasons for this are unclear—it could simply be that Kvarforth was bored—but the “redefinition” meant English lyrics in 2012, and a significant lack of intensity in 2015. So, you’ll forgive me if I approached X: Varg utan flock with some hesitancy.” In the darkness, a ray of deeper darkness.

Summoning – With Doom We Come Review

Summoning – With Doom We Come Review

“If I were tasked with appointing one artist as head of a guild of Tolkien-inspired musicians, Summoning would be my number one pick with a bullet. That’s not just because Protector and Silenius have been churning out reliably high quality material for over two decades. As an act that pays tribute to a man who created a fantasy realm so intricately as to craft entirely new languages for it, Summoning has always been similarly ambitious, spawning a musical language as beautiful as it is unique, as if it were forged from cultures that couldn’t possibly exist in our own realm.” Ring in the new year!

Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse Review

Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse Review

“From Rabid Death’s Curse to Lawless Darkness, Sweden’s Satanic three-piece, Watain, have enjoyed one of the best careers the black metal community has ever seen. With each release, the band explored more and expanded farther than the record before. The result is that 2007’s Sworn to the Dark and 2010’s Lawless Darkness are a couple of my favorite albums of all black metal. But, then, a peculiar thing happened. That thing was 2013’s The Wild Hunt.” Hunting season is over.

Sinistro – Sangue Cássia Review

Sinistro – Sangue Cássia Review

“Two years ago, both Grymm and myself were fairly impressed by Portuguese doom outfit Sinistro’s sophomore album, Semente. The band laid down an ambient, unobtrusive foundation for Patricia Andrade’s haunting vocals, creating a mesmerizing, promising soundscape. Now here we are in 2018 and the band has taken a monumental step forward.”