Contrite Metal Guy – Mistakes Were Made

Contrite Metal Guy – Mistakes Were Made

“The life of the unpaid, overworked metal reviewer is not an easy one. Cascading promos, unreasonable deadlines, draconian editors and the unwashed metal mobs – it makes for a swirling maelstrom of music and madness. In all that tumult, errors are bound to happen and sometimes our initial impression of an album may not be completely accurate. With time and distance comes wisdom, and so we’ve decided to pull back the confessional curtain and reveal our biggest blunders, missteps, oversights and ratings face-plants. Consider this our sincere AMGea culpa. Redemption is retroactive, forgiveness is mandatory.” Shame is the mindfiller.

Leila Abdul-Rauf – Phantasiai Review

Leila Abdul-Rauf – Phantasiai Review

“Can you hear that distant noise? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s… a modulated trumpet. Wow. Why did you think that was a bird? To be fair, “modulated trumpet” isn’t exactly a phrase I – or anyone around here, for that matter – use often, so I can see why it wasn’t your first guess. But it’s nevertheless the shining star of Phantasiai, the fourth full-length release of ambient music from California’s Leila Abdul-Rauf. Armed with little more than vocal melodies, a glockenspiel, and the aforementioned trumpet, Abdul-Rauf is primed to create unsettling atmospheres and cryptic journeys. How well does the listener fare in these hazy crossroads?” Modulated expectations.

Dungeon Serpent – World of Sorrows Review

Dungeon Serpent – World of Sorrows Review

“When you read “melodic death metal,” what do you think of? If your answer is “thrashy power metal with more chugging and harsh vocals” you’re not alone. I frequently avoid bands with the melo-death tag because that niche of the subgenre has a shallow well of inspiration and grows old quickly. Too often do I forget that Kataklysm is a melo-death band, and Sorcery is a melo-death record, likewise with At the GatesWith Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness. Both of these are the furthest thing from the cheesy version of melo-death. Thanks to The Nightmare of Being I’ve been on somewhat of a melo-death kick lately, which prompted me to take a chance on Canadian one-man band Dungeon Serpent and their debut record World of Sorrows.” Snakes in the Sorcery room.

Hinsides – Under Betlehems brinnande stjärna Review

Hinsides – Under Betlehems brinnande stjärna Review

Under Betlehems brinnande stjärna is the debut album by Swedish one man raw black metal act Hinsides and it’s full of the influences one might expect. There are heavy doses of first (“Genom döden återfödt,” “Under Betlehems brinnande stjärna”) and second wave black metal (“Skymningsfärd,” “På jordelifwets sorgetåg”), but the compositions feel a touch more contemporary and lone member M. A. plays everything within an inch of its life.” In Hinsides.

Vouna – Atropos Review

Vouna – Atropos Review

Vouna was one of my first reviews here at AMG. While I certainly feel dated by the release of Atropos, it also allows me time to reflect. Sole member Yianna Bekris has undoubtedly honed her craft, and I’d like to think that I have as well, even as the morale-boosting beatings continue and the terrifying ape-in-charge keeps staring at me from the dark corner over there. An associate of Wolves in the Throne Room‘s Weaver brothers, Bekris took me completely off-guard with Vouna‘s self-titled debut in 2018, an effort dubbed “funeral doom” but was anything but the bellowing subterranean lurching we’ve come to know and love. Atropos offers a huge step forward, adding a healthy dose of obscurity and an unrelentingly bleak atmosphere to sink your teeth into.” Bleak houses.

Lower Automation – Lower Automation Review

Lower Automation – Lower Automation Review

“Noise-rock and mathcore haters need not listen to . The rest of you do. Lower Automation play a boisterous screamo-grind like you’d get from SeeYouSpaceCowboy boiling with hyperactive bass lines and pedal-board lust. What they excel at are antics: guitar parts that chirp at the very peak of the fretboard, stick-clicking percussion breaks, and bouts of sardonic wailing. If Daughters had gone through a severe Mr. Bungle binge when writing Canada Songs, Lower Automation would be a much less original record. But as it is, the Chicago three piece’s debut LP is one of the year’s most unpredictable and unique releases.” Full auto.

Bottomless – Bottomless Review

Bottomless – Bottomless Review

“One of the most anticipated releases on my radar this month was a debut from brand new Italian doom metal act Bottomless. Most of said anticipation came from the fact it featured Messa‘s outstanding vocalist Sara Bianchin on bass rather than vocals. That seemed such an odd twist that it made me curious what the Bottomless sound would consist of. As it turns out the band travels in the same circles as vintage Pentagram and Saint Vitus but with a slightly more stoner-esque edge than either of those classic acts possessed.” Love letters to the Doom Lords.

Inhuman Architects – Paradoxus Review

Inhuman Architects – Paradoxus Review

“You know when you’re struggling to write a meaningful introduction? When you can’t generate anything amusing out of a band’s name (Inhuman Architects) or anything insightful from their album title (Paradoxus), or anything significant from their home country which features a few bands of note but isn’t noted for its metal pedigree (Portugal)? When the artwork is the generic pink/purple/blue collage of death metal’s derivative genres? Or even comment on the fact that such album is their debut release, save for a solitary single? And you don’t even feel excited enough to tease (whether misleadingly or… leadingly?) that there’s something unique or exciting to describe? Yeah. I hate when that happens.” Brutalists.

Vandor – On a Moonlit Night Review

Vandor – On a Moonlit Night Review

“Two years ago, I touted Swedish power metal outfit Vandor as one of the most promising new acts in the genre, if for no other reason than the fact that their production aesthetics were orders of magnitude above the standard. To this day, In the Land of Vandor remains one of the best-sounding modern power metal albums I’ve ever heard. The bass shoved itself to the forefront and the vocalist took a central position, only occasionally weaving toward the front when he needed to really gnash his teeth, resulting in a record that sounded legitimately powerful. Uneven songwriting and iffy vocals held it back, but I was fairly confident they could rectify those issues with time. Let’s see how they’ve done!” Open the Vandor and let in some moonlight.

Vomit Ritual – Callous Review

Vomit Ritual – Callous Review

“When I first read the name Vomit Ritual, three thoughts occurred to me. The first was that our tenured professor in all things vomit, Doktor Mark Z, should probably be reviewing this. The second was that Vomit Ritual is a rather funny band name in metal’s typical macabre and absurd sense of humor. What type of ritual involves vomit? Is the vomit procured beforehand, or do the participants need to vomit during the ritual? Who knows? Who cares? The third was reading Vomit Ritual in the phrasing of Death’s “Zombie Ritual,” which is rather amusing. Try it at home, the review will be here when you get back.” Ralph roundtables.