1.5

Lynx – Watcher of Skies Review

Lynx – Watcher of Skies Review

“Boy have we gotten lucky with some sweet traditional metal fare this month. Recent releases from both Black Soul Horde and Tower are sure to worm their way onto a few year-end lists—at least for the olde at heart. Upstart band Lynx aim to join this exalted group with their debut, Watcher of Skies.” Cat scratch fever?

Hex A.D. – Funeral Tango for Gods & Men Review

Hex A.D. – Funeral Tango for Gods & Men Review

“Much like a first love, a first review will always hold a special place in your heart. I popped my AMG cherry on Hex A.D.’s cheeky 2018 offering, Netherworld Triumphant. While dad-metal isn’t usually my thing, the confident and eclectic blend of influences the band served up, ranging from Cathedral to Sabbath, may not have been original, but it sure was a lot of fun. 2020’s follow-up, Astrotongue in the Electric Garden, dialed up the sex references even further, doubled down on the psychedelia, and signposted a band on the cusp of something great. When Funeral Tango for Gods and Men dropped, I took one look at the zany cover and figured this was it: these Norwegians were ready to ascend.” Funerary fuzz.

Siren’s Rain – Rise Forth Review

Siren’s Rain – Rise Forth Review

“Sometimes, the cover of an album is meaningless, you know, just a cliched picture of a skull or zombie or something to adorn the record sleeve. Sometimes, however, the artwork can tell you a lot, both about what to expect from a record and about the band behind it, which presumably signed off—or in a few cases even designed—the artwork in question. In the case of Tacoma, Washington’s Siren’s Rain and their self-released debut album, Rise Forth, the artwork triggered an all too familiar sinking feeling.” Graphic displays.

Cosmic Burial – …to the Past Review

Cosmic Burial – …to the Past Review

“Atmospheric black metal is the gift which keeps on giving. It will not stop giving, even if you beg it to. Since the mid-90s it has grown out of its blackened roots, adopting folksy strings, shimmering guitars and cosmic synths as it has developed and stratified. There are now literally thousands of bands doing very similar things, all attempting to stand out through the delicate fusion of black metal with emotive atmospheres. Germany’s Cosmic Burial is one such group – or rather, one such individual given that this is (not unusually) a one-man affair.” Too much past, not enough present.

Trance of the Undead – Chalice of Disease Review

Trance of the Undead – Chalice of Disease Review

“Sometimes you just need an audio beating, to crank that funky brutal music to 11 and let your ears bleed. The issue with a lot of beatdown music is that there’s simply too much of it and not enough contrast, which is why bands like Isis or Opeth were applauded in their heyday, while Tetragammacide and Deiphago are chastised like a class clown. Having your skull beaten in is fine and dandy, but you need some sophistication. A baseball bat made of maple instead of ash, perhaps, or a titanium crowbar instead of iron. Maybe a fist with some pretty rings or maybe even a bedazzled tire iron? Brazil’s Trance of the Undead utilizes predictable beatdown techniques in its blackened death attack.” Discount diseases.

Never End – The Cold and the Craving Review

Never End – The Cold and the Craving Review

“I know promo sheets are all about hyping up the band. Hyperbole is basically in the job description, and I and my esteemed colleagues are largely immune to the declarations of paradigm shifts and best things since sliced bread. But every now and then, something so ridiculous comes along that I can’t keep it from you all. If I am to believe the sheet for Never End’s The Cold and the Craving, “…they’re brutal, melodic and technical all at once without ever being too much of one thing, which is impressive. The grind remains godhead, obviously, but the entwined emanations flowing from it –thrash, match [sic] rock, prog, hardcore, metal, grunge—never felt more potently distilled, dynamic or organic. [It] weakens the boundaries between Rock, Metal, Grunge, Hardcore, Metalcore, Doom, Stoner.”” All things for all people.

Nothing Noble – Modern Dismay Review

Nothing Noble – Modern Dismay Review

“I’m not sure how everyone got their start with metal, but there had to be a bit of a transition to the more extreme stuff, unless you eat nails for breakfast while listening to Cryptopsy’s None So Vile. Unlike you sausage or oatmeal or vegemite shippers who are descended from the yesteryears of heavy, thrash, or doom, I enjoy my eggs with my bacon: my origins of Christian metalcore a la Demon Hunter, Haste the Day, and Oh Sleeper stick with me. While metalcore has not been the kindest to me thus far in 2021, I’m always rooting for any that may wander across my lap like a feral kitten. Is Nothing Noble available for adoption?” Dismay Day.

Agrypnie – Metamorphosis Review

Agrypnie – Metamorphosis Review

Agrypnie is a German black metal band from Hesse, and no newcomer to the scene, having released five full-lengths, a split, an EP, and a compilation since 2005. Perhaps “avant garde” is a tag given to bands that are just difficult to pinpoint, as these guys employ a kitchen sink of influences and guest vocalists in their aural assault in sixth full-length Metamorphosis.” Kafkanated.

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.

Tommy Concrete – Hexenzirkel Review

Tommy Concrete – Hexenzirkel Review

“My first thought as my eyes fell upon Hexenzirkel in the promo bin was ‘the year of dumb band names has yet another contender. But Tommy Concrete is not just an ill-conceived band name, it’s the artist name for Tomas Pattinson, whose diverse portfolio includes about a dozen and a half different bands, including a year-long stint in The Exploited. Some years ago his eye turned towards epic prog, because under this moniker he’s churned out at least an album a year since 2016 with music that’s drawn comparisons to Devin Townsend, according to the promo sheet.” Hevy lifting.