Reviews

Record reviews

Havok – Burn Review

Havok – Burn Review

How could Havok be anything but thrash? One doesn’t even have to listen to the band to get an idea of what they sound like when one looks at the coloration and logo of the band’s debut album: Burn. And Havok truly lives up to their predecessors, need I name them? Kill ‘Em All era Metallica, Testament, and so forth.. actually, these guys sound like a re-birth of America’s most famous metal scene of all time: the bay area thrash scene.

Threat Signal – Vigilance

Threat Signal – Vigilance

Three years after their initial release, after being a true Internet success story, Threat Signal is back with a new album called Vigilance. I never got to review the first album, and I must admit that this style is a little bit too sugary sweet for my tastes, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard contained within the borders of Vigilance: a band comfortable in their own shell, producing music that skates the fine line between pop metal, metalcore and thrash. This record is sure to bring delight to those among us who aren’t fans of the more heavy hitting, brutal or technical things that are flooding the market these days.

Guilt Machine – On This Perfect Day

Guilt Machine – On This Perfect Day

The modern hero of the progressive rock concept album (that’d be Arjen Lucassen for those not aware) is back with a new project called Guilt Machine and this time, it doesn’t take place in space! I think he’s making steps forward, frankly, because I’ve had some previous experience with Arjen Lucassen. I was never a fan of Star One or Ayreon, despite the fact that many fans of both seem to have objected to many of my critiques. I’m a fan of concept albums, but I’m also a fan of consistent vocals, good melodies and non-embarrassing lyrics: things that do not describe Mr. Lucassen’s past work, in my opinion. Fortunately for the progressive rock/metal world, he’s made up for this with the highly excellent Guilt Machine.

Hackneyed – Burn After Reaping Review

Hackneyed – Burn After Reaping Review

Hackneyed is a bunch of kids. That, apparently, is the selling point for this band. Do not be fooled, you should not buy an album because it’s 16 year-olds who made that record. That’s retarded and should be avoided. That said, Hackneyed should probably be checked out by you for another reason: while the record starts out slowly, Burn After Reaping turns out to be a very good.

Ravage – The End of Tomorrow Review

Ravage – The End of Tomorrow Review

Certain styles are, and should remain, dead. There was a breed of melodic thrash metal, primarily propagated by Germans (a la Helloween) that should now be left to die. Now, I want to be fair, much of that music has transformed into Europower, which has some great bands in it. The style isn’t entire lost or dead, but one thing should be made clear: the bands that kept it alive are bands that did something new with it, that made it their own and that could be distinguished from the masses. None of these things actually describe Ravage or their new album The End of Tomorrow.

Vader – Necropolis Review

Vader – Necropolis Review

Vader doesn’t have the star power of other Polish bands on their labels (whose CD I just reviewed here), but they definitely have the talent and the drive after all this time. To give the reader a little disclaimer: I haven’t ever been a big Vader fan, in fact, this is only the second full Vader album I’ve heard and I wasn’t terribly impressed with the earlier one–though one never knows how it would sit today. What I remember is thinking that the band lacked a few things that made me wonder why I should even be listening to them at all. Apparently I was having a bad day or something, either that or Vader has had a phoenix-like rebirth from the flames. No matter what happened, Necropolis fucking rules and I’m stoked about it.

Behemoth – Evangelion Review

Behemoth – Evangelion Review

Maybe I’m alone in this, but Behemoth’s tremendous success over the last few years, starting with the record Demigod has long been a great surprise to me. Not that the band isn’t good and doesn’t deserve the success. Frankly, they are great and they do deserve the success, but just the idea that a blackened death metal band from Poland would be causing such a stir wasn’t something that had crept into my mind a few years ago, before they released their first real popular “opus.” Demigod of course was followed up by a weaker The Apostasy which, while good, couldn’t possibly have lived up to the expectations of the earlier material. And, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, it’s probably never bad to be hotly anticipated) for the band, Evangelion is one of the most hotly anticipated records of the year. I’ve been trying to get my hands on it for a while and now that I’ve finally got a promo version of it, I’ve been playing the hell out of it.

Sonata Arctica – The Days of Grays Review

Sonata Arctica – The Days of Grays Review

I’ve been a big Sonata Arctica fan for a long, long time. One of the first records I ever reviewed in my entire reviewing career was Silence, which by many is still considered to be the band’s finest record. I loved it, and I was instantly hooked by the band’s sweet hooks, tightness and particularly the vocal stylings of one Tony Kakko. The music was just technical enough to make me feel superior to all the people who were listening to Nu-Metal, but poppy and feel good were the other traits that I loved about the band. I’ve always described it as “driving music.” You know, hit the open road, go as fast as you think you can get away with and blast Sonata Arctica at top volumes while you barrel down the highway into the amazing summer day. Sound familiar to your experience? I hope so, because that’s the angle I’m starting from.

Beardfish – Destined Solitaire Review

Beardfish – Destined Solitaire Review

“Apparently, someone forgot to inform Beardfish that 1970 has graciously left us behind to suffer without it. If they’re not careful, these guys are going to get lost in a pile of pet rocks, bell bottoms and turtle necks. Still, it’s hard to argue in matters of taste, so I’m going to try to be as fair about this record as I can be. While these guys aren’t really doing something that I enjoy intrinsically, I do appreciate certain things about them and their new album Destined Solitaire.” Angry Metal Guy weighs in on Swedish proggers who will never forget the feeling of ’68.