Reviews

Record reviews

Mizmor & Andrew Black – Dialetheia Review

Mizmor & Andrew Black – Dialetheia Review

“Gaze upon that stark, haunting, monochrome cover photo – shot by Emma Ruth Rundle by the way – and ask yourself, how likely is it that this is going to be like the Lewandowski-adorned CairnMizmor‘s last outing? How much difference is it going to make pairing Mizmor mainman A.L.N. with experimental ambient specialist Andrew Black? Will Black soften a few of Mizmor‘s crushing edges, provide a few ambient interludes or should we expect a complete change of direction from this collaboration? These were my thoughts approaching Dialetheia.” Evolution or mutation?

Communic – Hiding from the World Review

Communic – Hiding from the World Review

Communic has become a bit of an enigma  for me over the past 9 years. Though exceptionally talented and creative, this prog-power trio seem to find ways to undercut themselves and guarantee that they remain an underappreciated act. Early albums like Conspiracy in Mind and Waves of Visual Decay were amazing doses of progressive metal in the vein of Nevermore and it looked like they were going to be the next big thing. Since then they’ve been much more irregular, though they’ve yet to release a truly bad album.” Hiding potential.

Tombs – Under Sullen Skies Review

Tombs – Under Sullen Skies Review

“In the early 2010s, powered by bands such as Deafheaven and Liturgy, “hipster metal” became the favorite pejorative for acts that thumbed traditional metal conventions. Embraced by the mainstream, many of these groups, unfortunately, just weren’t very good, which led to metal purists rejecting them. This resulted in said mainstream accusing said purists of being snobby gatekeepers. Cue lots of sulking, posturing and finger wagging. In among the noise, however, were some real gems that were unfairly tainted by the “hipster metal” label. Although less overtly “subversive” (read: “pretentious”) than their  Brooklyn counterparts, Liturgy, Tombs weirdly found themselves in this boat with their excellent debut, 2011’s Paths of Totality.” Trend Tombs.

Skelethal – Unveiling the Threshold Review

Skelethal – Unveiling the Threshold Review

“Though a combative Al Kikuras rightfully panned the group’s debut, this sophomore record introduces a more fleshed-out Skelethal offering something beyond buzzsaw revivalism. After the departure of founding drummer/bassist Jon Whiplash, the band’s other half, Guillaume Zeller, pieced Skelethal back together at twice the size.” Bone collecting.

Soulburn – Noa’s D’ark Review

Soulburn – Noa’s D’ark Review

Originally formed by two members of Asphyx when their band went on hiatus, Soulburn resurfaced under their original moniker in 2014, after a hiatus of their own and a stint carrying the name To The Gallows during which Rogga Johanssen briefly joined the line-up. Nowadays, the cast still includes founding member Eric Daniels, as well as Legion of the Damned guitarist Twan van Geel and Graceless members Remco Kreft and Marc Verhaar. On paper, a team like this should be able to make a pretty killer record.” Death reclamation.

Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron Review

Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron Review

“There are more swords hanging over our heads than usual lately in the Skull Pit of Unsafe Hanging Cutlery. With Megaton Sword fresh in our collective mindsheaths, here comes the might and majesty of Austin, Texas natives Eternal Champion. Ravening Iron is the band’s sophomore opus and it’s an improvement over 2016s entertainingly olde school The Armor of Ire.” Sword hoarders.

Lord Fist – Wilderness of Hearts Review

Lord Fist – Wilderness of Hearts Review

Holdeneye, you’ve been assigned Lord Fist. Nothing personal.” Lord Protector Steel Druhm occasionally likes to try to cover up his warm, gooey, soft, loving center by presenting a hard candy shell. He does this by brandishing one or several of his many weapons, by pretending to enjoy the daily staff beatings morale-building exercises, or by tossing you promos that he thinks you’ll hate. The latter often feels as if a grenade has been dropped into your unsuspecting lap sans pin, but I was elated when I saw that Lord Fist falls under the New Wave of British Heavy Metal genre and that they hail from Finland — much like the band that I covered in my first ever review for AMG. Might Steel have unwittingly lobbed a winner into my hands, or have I just been Lord fisted?” Fist of the North Steel.

Dark Tranquillity – Moment Review

Dark Tranquillity – Moment Review

“I’ve always thought Dark Tranquillity was the band that best represented the Gothenburg sound that took hold of metaldom in the early 90s. It’s indisputable that they’re the act that’s aged the most gracefully in the quarter century since the style took hold, as fellow countrymen In Flames and Arch Enemy wandered off into career oblivion. That’s not to say there haven’t been ups and downs in the Dark Tranquillity catalog. That brings us to Moment, their 12th platter of moody melodeath.” Dark moments.

Wudewuse – Northern Gothic Review

Wudewuse – Northern Gothic Review

“From the forests of Norway emerges Sondre Bergersen Mæland, a man of many talents and of many names. Known largely for his work in Tusmørke and Wudewuse, the multi-instrumentalist of Scandinavian folk and rock circles certainly seems to live an interesting life. According to my liner notes, for example, he wrote most of Northern Gothic, the sophomore full-length from the latter band, “over a period of three years while [he] was living in the forest and worked at a graveyard,” a journey that involved a “cosmic psychosis, following a death trip [he] had while on various substances.” So… that got my attention.” Grave matters.