Epica – Design Your Universe Review

Epica – Design Your Universe Review

Epica is a symphonic power metal/gothic metal band from the Netherlands that has really taken the scene and the world by storm since their founding in 2002 due to the amazing voice of their mezzo-soprano vocalist (who also happens to be a hotty, there are no coincidences in metal) Simone Simons and the epic *cough* nature of their music. Design Your Universe is the band’s fifth album, and honestly, the first one I’ve ever sat through assuming the band would be like a mix of old Theatre of Tragedy and Nightwish.

Marionette – Enemies Review

Marionette – Enemies Review

Marionette may well be Sweden’s very first deathcore band! Well, I guess there could be others, but i’ve not been exposed to them (and frankly, I’m pretty OK with that). Some trends miss Sweden, like nu-metal did for the most part, but unfortunately this one didn’t. So there are a couple of things that I need to say up front, for people not familiar with the context with which Marionette will be dealt. First, the biggest thing in the Swedish underground right now is Japanese stuff. Kids are running off and learning Japanese; everyone and their dog is listening to bands like Dir En Grey and girls decked out in lolita garb are running around in parks playing with dolls and having picnics with every piece of pink they can gather together. This is a trend, and it is a matter of conforming to specific things that are very specific to individuals in that scene. In fact, people from that scene are, in my experience, highly judgmental, obsessed with outward appearance, cliquey and lame. So something in my brain breaks when I have 5 over-dressed glam kids with too much hairspray and neckties screaming “YOU CONFORM!” at me, while playing music that sounds like a blend of In Flames and good ol’ American deathcore. That is to say: ugh.

Belphegor – Walpurgis Rites Review

Belphegor – Walpurgis Rites Review

Austria’s Belphegor are evil. Really, really evil. They have long been the darlings of the underground for a lot of people and had a reputation for being that old school brand of blackened death metal that was raw and evil as hell. Of course, as big evil pissing contests have never been my thing personally, Belphegor is a band that I have no personal experience with. This is actually the first album I’ve heard from these guys and so I’m coming at this from the perspective a total n00b. That’s right, I used the word n00b in my blog.

Baroness – Blue Record Streaming

Relapse Record’s Baroness have put up their new record Blue Record up for streaming on Myspace.  I’d review it, but I’m a little bitter that these guys let lots of other people review it first and then want me to go to the streaming audio on their site to do the review.  So, we’ll see. […]

RIP Mike Alexander

I had a scheduled interview with Evile in Stockholm, but so sadly the bassist for that band passed away from an acute illness that he contracted in LuleÃ¥, Sweden on the 5th of October.  Mike Alexander died at the age of 32, and just as they were starting a big European tour with metal monsters […]

Thanks!

Thanks!

So, I’m four months into this little project of mine and I’d just like to say “thanks!” to everyone who’s been coming in, and especially to those of you who are subscribing to my RSS feed! The numbers had been growing steadily for a while, and now last month they burst open! It was really great. Now, part of this has to do with the fact that I got onto Blabbermouth with my interview with Henrik from Sonata Arctica, but, actually, after that, my numbers have been way up! So thanks everyone for contributing to this excellent month. This has been amazing and gratifying.

Scar Symmetry – Dark Matter Dimensions Review

Scar Symmetry – Dark Matter Dimensions Review

I remember the first time I heard Scar Symmetry very clearly. I was checking out some stuff on MySpace when I saw that they were going to be playing the House of Metal festival and I was blown away. Not blown away with how good they are, though talented one cannot deny they are, but how sickly sweet their melodic stuff is. I sat their and listened to it with my mouth agape thinking “really? Does this pass for death metal these days? How are these guys not a Top 40 band?” The answer to that is actually quite obvious: instead of dropping the death metal vocals, these guys have blended death metal vocals in with what I think is probably the most pop sensible writing I’ve ever heard in a metal band.