Vengeur – Par Feu et Par Flammes Review

Vengeur – Par Feu et Par Flammes Review

“There’s electronic metal, and then there’s this Vengeur record. Superficially similar, Herman ‘Vengeur’ Pańkow’s solo project could hardly have less in common with that subgenre. ‘Witch house,’ ‘dissolved genres,’ and ‘avant-garde’ are just some of their Bandcamp tags. The fact that this is on I, Voidhanger should also give fair warning of its idiosyncrasy. Nothing, however, could prepare me for what would come after I pressed play on Par Feu et Par Flammes.” Beat of the electro-heart.

Crypt Rot – An Ancient Summoning Review

Crypt Rot – An Ancient Summoning Review

“Not all bands have lofty goals—such is the case for many in the slam zone. At the very least, though, slam bands attempt to humor their audience with band and album names that snag the eyes and knot the gut in the slow-moving sump of the “bring the riff back but slower” crowd. I myself have gawked at such names like Goresoaked Collection Of Slam Killed Craniums or Indomitable Worldwide Slamdemic (Invirulent) this year hoping to get a hit of that sweet, sweet slam crank. Unfortunately, great names do not always deliver. And even more unfortunately, Crypt Rot has a name generated by two death metal naming dice.” One time, at Slam Camp…

High Command – Eclipse of the Dual Moons Review

High Command – Eclipse of the Dual Moons Review

“For me, 2022 has been chock-full of highly anticipated albums from returning favorites, so it’s only fitting that my last review of the year should be more of the same. Three years ago, I told you not to miss Beyond the Wall of Desolation, the debut full-length from Massachusetts band High Command and late addition to my year-end list. When I first heard that record, I immediately fell in love with the band’s epic, fantasy-themed crossover thrash and was impressed by the way they were able to take a bunch of old-school, typically aggro styles and mash them together into something oozing with grandeur.” Command to highly overrate.

In the Woods… – Diversum Review

In the Woods… – Diversum Review

“The average age of all the cells in an adult human is somewhere between seven and ten years old. We constantly replace parts of ourselves, so that you are mostly a different person every decade or so. That means if you really, like, think about it, no band that lasts longer than ten years has any of its original lineup left. This is how I explain In the Woods… to myself. The outfit is in its fourth decade of shuffling through lineups and genres, with drummer Anders Kobro and the ellipsis in their name the only constants.” Lost among the trees.

Morbikon – Ov Mournful Twilight [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Morbikon – Ov Mournful Twilight [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

“Some supergroups stick close to home. An artist bursts with ideas in their chosen subgenre, and so–like Stephen King using the pseudonym “Richard Bachman” to crank out horror novels–the new entity produces something not so far-flung from the work that made them famous. Then there’s Morbikon. Ov Mournful Twilight sees Phil “Landphil” Hall of party thrashers Municipal Waste and Vrenth from blackened folk institution/oddity Finntroll join forces to birth a slab of frostbitten second-wave worship that comes complete with a deadpan v of trvth in the title.” Municipal Trolling.

MMXX – Sacred Cargo Review

MMXX – Sacred Cargo Review

MMXX is a very short name for a band, but it still says a lot about its story. During periods of isolation and lockdown in the titular year, Andrea Chiodetti (ex-The Foreshadowing), Jesse Haff (Daylight Dies), and Egan O’Rourke (Daylight Dies) formed something of a doom metal supergroup, based in the United States and Italy, and began writing music inspired by the events happening around them. From there, the project has grown ambitiously—now signed with Candlelight Records, the band brought on guest musician after guest musician to form something of a dark Avantasia-like project.” Sacred cargo or suspicious package?

He Is Legend – Endless Hallway Review

He Is Legend – Endless Hallway Review

“In their post-reunion era He Is Legend has displayed plenty of music on the sonically heavy side. Endless Hallway carves new levels of emotional vitriol in their catalog. If you’ve followed any news surrounding this band, particularly surrounding vocalist Schuylar Croom’s health, you know that there’s a reality out there where this record never happened. Particularly in the time surrounding the recording of this album.” The Legend goes on.

Sonja – Loud Arriver [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Sonja – Loud Arriver [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

“Normally these things we missed are because we didn’t get promo and stumbled upon the album post-release. Not so in the case of Loud Arriver,<,b>Sonja’s debut album. This one sat in the promo bin unnoticed for all of September, and it wasn’t until I read some flattering press about the album that I dove in. Thank god I did because this little gem delivers a delicious knockout punch.” Big (loud) entrance.

Judicator – The Majesty of Decay Review

Judicator – The Majesty of Decay Review

“When we last saw Judicator grace these hallowed pages, ‘consistent’ was a word that could have been aptly used to describe the band’s situation. For the second time in as many years, they were releasing a historically themed opus of quality power metal tunes with the exact same lineup, and Let There Be Nothing nearly matched The Last Emperor’s brilliance. It seemed as if Judicator had found a winning formula that placed them at the front of the modern US power metal pack, but little did we know that change was coming.” Revisionist history.

Sword – III Review

Sword – III Review

“For you angry metal toddlers out there who have never heard of them, Sword (not to be confused with Austin doom stoners The Sword) is a Canadian band that swung hard with their 1986 debut, Metalized. The album generated a decent amount of attention and even landed them opening slots for Motorhead, Alice Cooper and Metallica. Their 1989 follow up, Sweet Dreams, was another energized plate of trad metal but the band’s edge never penetrated very far beyond their Canadian homeland. It’s not clear why they broke up in the early 90s but according to their website, they’ve been happily playing in cover bands, raising families and working their 9-5 jobs. III seemingly picks up where the band left off 30 years ago.” Reforging the steel.