Reviews

Record reviews

Suicide Silence – No Time to Bleed Review

Suicide Silence – No Time to Bleed Rating: 2.5/5.0 – Excellence offset by core Label: Century Media Websites: myspace.com/suicidesilence | suicidesilence.net (last updated 2005) Suicide Silence is a study of opposites—a dichotomy of sorts.  On the one hand, they appear to be a talented band, musically varied, very interesting and capable of building intense grooves.  […]

Death Maze – Prodigy of Death Review

Death Maze – Prodigy of Death Rating: 3.5/5.0 – Very good Label: Unsigned Website: myspace.com/deathmazeswe Few unsigned bands in Sweden have been getting the kind of press that UmeÃ¥’s Death Maze has gotten in the last 6 months or so.  There are probably a few reasons for this, firstly, there are a lot of unsigned […]

Killswitch Engage – Killswitch Engage (II) Review

Killswitch Engage – Killswitch Engage Rating: 2.5/5.0 – Good for a band I thought was a mediocre institution, but not terribly special Label: Roadrunner Records Websites: killswitchengage.com | myspace.com/killswitchengage Killswitch Engage is pretty much the institution of metalcore on this planet, having artistically trimmed the genre into a tightly packaged, perfectly polished formula which appeals […]

Diemertus – To See Skies Fall Review

Diemertus – To See Skies Fall (Demo/EP 2009) Rating: 3.0/5.0 – Good demo, has room for growth and improvement Label: Unsigned Website: myspace.com/diemertus Frankly, I had no idea what to expect when I was given Shorewood, Wisconsin-based Diemertus‘ EP To See Skies Fall to review.  Of the bands from Wisco that I’m familiar with, they […]

Pain of Salvation – The Second Death of Pain of Salvation

Pain of Salvation – The Second Death of Pain of Salvation Rating: 3.0/5.0 – Live records don’t get much better than just Good Label: Inside Out Music Band Websites: painofsalvation.com | myspace.com/painofsalvation Pain of Salvation is definitely the modern darling of the progressive rock/metal scene for a reason.  Their intense musicianship, varied work and extraordinarily […]

Crimfall – As the Path Unfolds…

“For fans of Turisas, Finntroll and Nightwish,” the advertisement read. How could I possibly pass that up? I’m definitely a fan of Turisas and Finntroll, though, Nightwish I’ve pretty much been able to do without—sans diva or not. But reading that tagline, I wondered how any band could actually manage to blend these three bands into one cohesive whole. “No,” I thought to myself, “it’s really not possible to do in a convincing manner.” Apparently, and to my great dissatisfaction, I was wrong.

Stratovarius – Polaris

Stratovarius – Polaris

Stratovarius are serious veterans of good ol’ fashioned Euro Power Metal and despite the never-ending rush of silliness that surrounded this band for roughly the last three years–they have still managed to put out an album of middling quality in time. A record of middling quality, you say? Why yes, says I. All Stratovarius records are of middling quality, some are just more middling than others. Some say that this band is the pinnacle of all Finnish power metal bands–but if one listens to Polaris they’d never know that.

Vienna Teng – Inland Territory

Every Angry Metal Guy has a soft side, right? Not necessarily. I think lots of angry metal guys sort of lack soft sides, at least when it comes to music–which is a shame, because they often miss very musically interesting records that are being put out by other bands and musicians throughout the world. Sure, I agree that the majority of what pop music has to offer is pointless, unentertaining, drivel that hurts me somewhere deep down inside… Regardless of the state of pop music, though, every once in a while you stumble onto an artist that somehow manages to bridge that gap between the angry, stubborn four year-old who just wants to hate things that don’t fit into his very small view of the world and your inner connoisseur who is willing to set aside those judgements to just enjoy excellence when confronted with it.

Fejd – Storm Review

Fejd – Storm Review

Napalm Records has long been one of my favorite labels, putting out a lot of bands that I really dig (especially the Vintersorg/Otyg/Fission stuff), and they’ve recently taken a hard dive into folk metal and other genres more of this type. So I wasn’t surprised, but I was particularly excited, when I read that Sweden’s Fejd (pronounced like the English word “fade”) had been signed to Napalm as I had earlier discovered their demos which had been put up for free at the Free Metal Albums blog. I had discovered the demo “I en tid som var…” and had gotten really excited the band, and was frankly surprised that they hadn’t been picked up by anyone. So as you can suspect from this introduction, I was eagerly anticipating Storm—the band’s newest release.

Amorphis – Skyforger Review

Amorphis – Skyforger Review

Amorphis is easily one of my favorite bands producing metal in the 2000s. Over the last few years I’ve seen a lot of the bands that I really got into when I was a young, impressionable metal guy start to get more and more popular as they got picked up by bigger labels, got put out on the market, and as metal got cool again (who’da thunk it?)–bands like Opeth, Enslaved, Amon Amarth and others. Amorphis, however, had fallen off my radar, and I think a lot of people’s radars, before they got themselves a new vocalist. A man of small stature, and huge personality and voice: Tomi Joutsen. For whatever reason, this breathed life into the venerable, and quite excellent, band taking them out of their temporary lull and pushing them to the forefront with the bands putting out the best modern metal has to offer.