1.5

Insense – Burn in Beautiful Fire Review

Insense – Burn in Beautiful Fire Review

Reviewing albums like this is how I pay my debt for getting the Amon Amarth review. My inbox will become a wasteland of the very worst metalcore, deathcore, screamocore and whatever soulless rubbish Angry Metal Guy can hurl at me in an Oden-like rage (thank God I didn’t ask for the upcoming Amorphis review). As part of my community service, I’m here to enlighten you about Norway’s Insense and their fourth album Burn in Beautiful Fire. If you never heard of them, these guys play third-rate metalcore with all the emo/screamo pap that goes along with that craptastic style. Their bio says Anders Friden of In Flames thinks they’re the next big thing to hit the scene. Well, if this is what Anders thinks is good music, that explains why In Flames has sucked so thoroughly since Colony. All apologies and respect to Mr. Friden but even by metalcore standards this is super shitty and irritating. It’s boring, annoyingly unoriginal and painfully below average in every aspect. I even hate the freaking album cover.

The Haunted – Unseen Review

The Haunted – Unseen Review

I’m sure most know the history of The Haunted and how they formed from the ashes of the legendary At The Gates. Despite my love for At The Gates, I never fully understood the stellar press and support The Haunted received and always felt they were one of the most overrated bands on the planet. Eventually they started to drift toward a more metalcore style and I lost the limited interest I had in them. Now they’re back with album seven Unseen and they’ve left their thrash days in the dust, probably for good. Instead, they deliver a strange, directionless mess of experimentation, emo angst, nu-metal and alt-rock. It’s clear they’re writing only for themselves and could care less what their fans expect or hope for at this point. While that’s admirable from an artistic perspective, when the results are this tedious and uninspiring, it’s both tragic and cringe-inducing. No matter how brave and creative they want to be, at the end of the day they should still be striving to write good music and they seem to have forgotten that here.

Rabbits – Lower Forms Review

Rabbits – Lower Forms Review

OK. So. Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a huge fan of anything Rabbits is defined as. I don’t really like hardcore and haven’t liked it since I was in high school. And even then I only flirted with the genre and never really got into it. Second, I listen to a lot of music. I get new music every day and I hear new shit all the time. I try to be pretty open minded, but sometimes I just don’t like shit. And I really, really, really don’t like Rabbits – Lower Forms. I’m sure these guys are OK with that, though, because that’s the point of being counter cultural.

Lazarus A.D. – Black Rivers Flow Review

Lazarus A.D. – Black Rivers Flow Review

There are plenty of myths that sane folks know to be false like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and honest politicians. However, one should never count the sophomore slump among those fairy tales and urban legends, for it is very real and very painful to behold. Exhibit A for 2011 is Lazarus A.D. who had a decent if not remarkable debut with 2009’s The Onslaught. Many seemed to lump them in with the retro-thrash revival and while there was some Exodus aping to be sure, they always sounded more metalcore-ish to my ears. Although I hate metalcore like I hate taxes, there was enough aggression, energy and nods to the old school throughout The Onslaught to make it semi-palatable and I didn’t totally hate it. Well, there is simply no digesting their second platter Black Rivers Flow, as Lazarus A.D. have firmly embraced their inner mall kid and all things Shadow’s Fall and the result is a veritable black river of crappy, overused grooves, tough guy posturing and general mediocrity.

Shadows’ Grey – Bonjour Tristesse Review

Shadows’ Grey – Bonjour Tristesse Review

You know, if you read this blog all the time you’d probably be getting the impression that I hate female fronted bands who are doing sort of the gothy thing. But that’s not true. It’s actually something I really enjoy when it’s done right! I have no issues with gothic metal, I don’t find the sort of dramatic, over-the-top stuff to be a turn off really. It just needs to be done well, something that it is serially not. And there are varying levels of ‘not done well,’ but let’s say that Shadows’ Grey, the German band formerly known as Scargod who had one EP in 2007, is one degree of the idea.

And Hell Followed With – Proprioception Review

And Hell Followed With – Proprioception Review

Steel Druhm likes NOT this whole “deathcore thing.” There, I said it! Now, all you deathcore teen weenies can pull your collective jaws off the floor and prepare to dismiss the following review as biased, or perhaps, “reviewed in bad faith,” whatever the fuck that means. However, before you do so, kindly consider that the reason for my dislike of Proprioception, the second album by Michigan’s And Hell Followed With is way more because of how bland and average the material is and less because of its regrettable deathcore style. Sadly, this material isn’t good regardless of the genre.

Royal Jester – Night is Young Review

Royal Jester – Night is Young Review

Hate is a very strong word and perhaps it gets thrown around too casually these days. After all, hate is a very ugly, negative emotion and even the angriest of metal guys should strive to avoid it. With that said, I hate Royal Jester’s debut album Night is Young. Maybe that sounds harsh but it’s the sad truth. It isn’t the musical style that brings me to hate it. Royal Jester plays Euro power metal and I really like Euro power metal when it’s done properly. I even like some of what might be called “happy power metal.” In fact, it seems I have become the resident power metal geek around these parts and that’s why this review ended up in my lap. However, after sustained, repeated listens to this album with an open mind, and giving this young band from Sweden every possible benefit of the doubt, there isn’t much good to say about Night is Young.

Anima – Enter the Killzone Review

Anima – Enter the Killzone Review

I am not a trend hater. While the whole world has been hating on Deathcore for its tight pants and swoopy hair, I’ve been defending the fact that bands don’t have to “look like metal dudes” to make good metal. While jackass elitists are purging the genre from Encyclopaedia Metallum because they don’t like the trend, bands like Suicide Silence and Job for a Cowboy have shown that these bands can write killer riffs and produce solid records, even if they’re not stylistically something I’m a big fan of. Anima, unfortunately, is not so easy to defend.

Barn Burner – Bangers Review

Barn Burner – Bangers Review

I don’t know about you, but when I think about classic rock I think about vocalists. Guys like Steve Perry, Steven Tyler, Robert Plant, Geddy Lee. You know, big voices, amazing melodies, and sure while you might not like every single person there, you appreciate what they offered in the sense of their huge influence and their technical skill. Hell, even look at early metal vocalists, guys like Paul Di’Anno, Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson were all very different stylistically, but had gripping melodies, great presence and pushed forward with their sounds. So what fascinates me is that any band with sort of a classic rock influence and approach would ever select a vocalist with a 4 note range.. but I have now encountered it on Barn Burner’s Bangers.