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Avandra – Skylighting Review

Avandra – Skylighting Review

“After two full years, almost to the day, I finally received my first return customer. Puerto Rican prog collective Avandra come back to me with their third full-length record Skylighting. A year and a half feels like forever ago, and I guess thanks to the pandemic that time span probably allowed Avandra the same opportunity to write and record a new album properly as they would have within three years of normal band operation. Therefore, the only consideration left is whether or not they put out something worth my time.” Sky or sell?

Mizmor & Andrew Black – Dialetheia Review

Mizmor & Andrew Black – Dialetheia Review

“Gaze upon that stark, haunting, monochrome cover photo – shot by Emma Ruth Rundle by the way – and ask yourself, how likely is it that this is going to be like the Lewandowski-adorned CairnMizmor‘s last outing? How much difference is it going to make pairing Mizmor mainman A.L.N. with experimental ambient specialist Andrew Black? Will Black soften a few of Mizmor‘s crushing edges, provide a few ambient interludes or should we expect a complete change of direction from this collaboration? These were my thoughts approaching Dialetheia.” Evolution or mutation?

Strydegor – Isolacracy Review

Strydegor – Isolacracy Review

“As 2020 drags itself towards the finish line, dry-heaving and wheezing like the miserable fuck of a year it was, there are going to be bands trying to shine some light onto what’s been a horrific time in everyone’s lives. Few genres can inject much needed life into a shambling corpse quite like melodic death metal, and today, we’ve got the fourth full-length from German quartet, Strydegor.” Isolation nation.

Ecclesia – De Ecclesiæ Universalis Review

Ecclesia – De Ecclesiæ Universalis Review

“The good old Inquisition was not humanity’s finest hour. I guess it’s all well and good to take religion seriously, if that’s one’s thing but it’s a bit presumptuous, I would suggest – perhaps with the benefit of hindsight – to go about torturing and burning thousands of people at the stake for either being insufficiently religious, not the right kind of religious or, in many cases, simply a woman. Still, putting the very real horrors of this extended folly to one side, the Inquisition does make for bloody good source material for a metal concept album. And so say French six-piece Ecclesia.” No one expects the Doom Inquisition.

Déluge – Ægo Templo Review

Déluge – Ægo Templo Review

Déluge is a French black metal/post-hardcore quintet, a demo and debut full-length Æther under their belt since their 2013 formation. Perhaps most similar to acts Downfall of Gaia or Celeste, Déluge‘s sophomore effort Ægo Templo is content channeling the worship of hyper-melodic post-rock-influenced post-hardcore or screamo acts like Envy, So Hideous, or Suffocate for Fuck Sake.” After France comes the flood.

Mörk Gryning – Hinsides Vrede Review

Mörk Gryning – Hinsides Vrede Review

“Ah, youth. A time Steel and Huck no longer remember. When all beer is good, all kisses sweet, and anything is possible. For Goth Gorgon and Draakh Kimera, two teenagers in Sweden, this meant donning corpse paint, forming a band, and releasing an album before they were old enough to legally buy the champagne to celebrate. That album, Tusen År har Gått, was a fun combination of old-school, second wave black metal, with a definite slant towards the melodic. Think early Sacramentum, or, more recently, Wormwood. Tusen År har Gått would go on to be extremely well-regarded in metal circles, spawning a few, less interesting follow-ups.” Gryning pains.

Defecto – Duality Review

Defecto – Duality Review

“I’ve seen the question time and time again on any review below a 2.5. “Why even review this?” Well, there’s a bunch of reasons. An important one is, as soon as we pick a promo, we’re honor bound to review it regardless of quality. Oftentimes we don’t even know what we’re getting into, signing the contract over only the band name, album title and genre. A writer may start up a promising promo and have his head in his hands before the first minute is out, knowing he’s on the hook. That wasn’t the case with Defecto; I’ve reviewed the Danes before, to unspectacular result, and fully intended not to subject myself this time. But the band was brought up during our monthly meeting and the Emperor commanded me to pick up where I left off. Drat.” Double broken.

Leaves’ Eyes – The Last Viking Review

Leaves’ Eyes – The Last Viking Review

Leaves’ Eyes is a band I hear about plenty, but whose music I seldom actually hear. A few samples here and there, a sliver of news-worthy drama over there, a conversation once in a while — that’s it. So it’s a bit odd that I wound up with the responsibility of reviewing their latest output, The Last Viking, but then, sometimes not knowing about band-land drama is good for the weary reviewer.” Eyes Fatigue.

Calyces – Impulse to Soar Review

Calyces – Impulse to Soar Review

Calyces’ mastermind is singer/multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/producer Manthos Stergiou, late of Tardive Dyskinesia. This time around, Stergiou and his bandmates are going for a sound that is heavily influenced by Mastodon, Baroness, and Tool. This has been done to death, so the key to making it work is writing great songs and establishing your own original take on those bands’ sounds.” Impulse to ape.