Reviews

Record reviews

Those Who Lie Beneath – An Awakening Review

Those Who Lie Beneath – An Awakening Review

A wise man once told me that you should never, ever refuse to do something just because someone else has done it before you and done it poorly. I think that this is very good advice. It’s advice that really counts when it comes to breakdowns, for example, which have been considered to be the death knell for deathcore and metalcore since they became irritating and out of fashion in the underground. An Awakening is the debut record from the Portland, Oregon based Those Who Lie Beneath and they have certainly not shied away from the standards of the deathcore scene, something that has been has done very badly before them.

Votum – Metafiction Review

Votum – Metafiction Review

Poland’s progressive rock and metal scene has definitely been strong of late. In the last year I’ve discovered some really great bands, particularly Indukti and Riverside which have just blown me away from the Polish scene. Turns out Poland doesn’t have just black metal and death metal in their veins, but instead there are a good number of proggy dudes who really dig the new wave of prog that has been pushing its way into metal in the last decade. Votum’s second album is another one of these Polish prog rock records that’s definitely influenced by neo-prog bands like Porcupine Tree, Opeth and Anathema. In 2008, Votum released their first album Time Must Have a Stop, which impressed some but left me cold. Metafiction is the next step in the band’s development, but still doesn’t impress.

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis Review

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis Review

The Dillinger Escape Plan’s fourth record, Option Paralysis, has been one of the most anticipated records of this year so far. And for good reason, people are really taken by this band and their unique style. DEP has released some seriously wacky, sporadic records in the past that are both crazy and challenging and yet so very enticing and addictive, even teaming up with Mike Patton (and others) on an EP called Irony Is a Dead Scene. They’re a very hard band to stick into a genre, bordering on technical metal and hardcore as well as pulling in influences from industrial, jazz, acoustic rock and well, you name it, they can do it. That makes them feel very fresh, but can they maintain that freshness on Option Paralysis.

Trident – World Destruction Review

Trident – World Destruction Review

An outgrowth of the ideas of a former Dissection guitarist (Johan Norman) and a couple of members of the band Necrophobic, Trident hits the stores on the 22nd of March throughout Europe and hits a totally virgin audience. These guys pretty much came out of nowhere, having basically played locally in Sweden and apparently they circulated a demo or something that got them picked up by Regain. Formed in 2007, Trident is a blackened death band in the veins of the aforementioned bands and is yet another Swedish assault on Christendom and the senses that will surely inflame passion in some corners.

Poisonblack – Of Rust and Bones Review

Poisonblack – Of Rust and Bones Review

In the wake of Sentenced it’s no surprise that Poisonblack has continued strong, with support from fans of the previous band and has become bigger and bigger in Finland and throughout the world. Many miss the tongue-in-cheek depression that went hand-in-hand with later Sentenced records, at the same time as missing the band that once was. Of Rust and Bones, the new Poisonblack record (the band that features former Sentenced vocalist Ville Laihiala) basically continues on with the Sentenced legacy of mid-paced heavy metal with depressing lyrics, but doesn’t do it with the same kind of conviction or freshness that was embodied by the former band.

Heidevolk – Uit Oude Grond Review

Heidevolk – Uit Oude Grond Review

So, apparently Napalm has dibs on every awesome folk metal band in the universe and Dutch metallers Heidevolk are another one of their excellent pagan folk metal bands. These six guys came together for the first album in 2002 and are conceptually fairly unique, focusing on the local culture of Gelderland, what is now a province of the Netherlands located along the border with Germany. Heidevolk sing in their native Dutch, as one would expect, but this never causes any issues with understanding as the record is musically deep and entrancing.

Svartsot – Mulmets Viser Review

Svartsot – Mulmets Viser Review

Given the whole history of medieval Scandinavia and where the vikings actually came from as a rule, it is surprising to me that there are not more bands from Denmark that have jumped onto this whole Viking Metal thing that has been swelling up in metal for the last decade or so. No, instead it was basically introduced by a Swede in the 1980s and has been carried on primarily by Swedes and Norwegians who do the style well. But it was not the Swedes that the Englishmen were so afraid of, but the Danes. There was even a law (and a word for it) where they called the money that was paid in tribute to the Vikings who were threatening to invade a certain area: “Danegeld”. It is true that (what would be modern day) Norwegians were involved in these raids, and so, too, were the Rus, or Swedish Vikings. But the Danes are the Vikings you learn about. “Sure,” you say, “but this point is pedantic and long-winded. You’re Angry Metal Guy not Angry History Nerd.” Good point. But my point is this: very little Danish viking metal exists. The only band I’ve heard of is Svartsot, who has just released their second album of folk influenced, medieval Scandinavian metal songs.

Eternal Silence – The Arsonist Review

Eternal Silence – The Arsonist Review

Eternal Silence is a death metal band that hails from New London, Wisconsin and has been around as long as this Angry Metal Guy has been into death metal. They started out in the late 90s, released a record in 98, an EP again in 2002 and then went silent, though they’ve been playing shows around Wisconsin and Illinois consistently. Like so many bands, they’ve suffered from issues surrounding labels, studios and band members, but somehow the core of this group has managed to stick together and stick it out. Sometimes stubbornness is really the best friend of a musician. Eternal Silence has shown that years of patience and hard work can pay off.

Kaipa – In the Wake of Evolution Review

Kaipa – In the Wake of Evolution Review

The name Kaipa might or might not strike a bell for you, depending on where you’re from and how old you are. The band technically been around for a very long time, as they were a part of the Swedish prog scene which in some ways really differentiated itself from what non-Swedes think of when they think of prog. While prog from England, the US or Canada was often times very much about technical expertise, drug induced trips of fancy or philosophically complex ideas and theses, Swedish prog was a very lefty, ideologically communist movement. It’s not something that this Angry Metal Guy has been particularly well-informed about, so instead we called Angry Swedish Prog Correspondent to inform us about this whole fascinating phenomenon. There’s a lot one can say about it, but let us formulate it like this: Swedish prog was dirty, lefty hippies giving even the most talentless member of their friends group the right to play, despite them not having any talent at all. Kaipa wasn’t like this, on the other hand. Instead, they were much more akin to Yes, Genesis, Rush and other progressive rock bands. As a consequence, they were never quite accepted as part of the Swedish scene, but became more internationally accepted. However, unlike the communal-living types like National Teatern, Kaipa reformed in the early 2000s and has been producing records since with just one original member, Hans Lundin.

Unleashed – As Yggdrasil Trembles Review

Unleashed – As Yggdrasil Trembles Review

Unleashed is not without their appeal. They’ve been around for a couple decades now, putting out their first record Where No Life Dwells in 1991, and they’ve been pretty consistently well-respected in the scene for being among the first to do the whole Viking Metal thing. But they’re a band that this Angry Metal Guy has never been able to get into on the basis of one thing: Unleashed is the Manowar of death metal. Now, some people are going to say “But Manowar are the Kings of Metal! Should we not be praising Unleashed for translating such kinglyness into the Death Metal genre?” To which there can only be one response: “Absofuckinglutely not.”