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Carcolh – The Life and Works of Death Review

Carcolh – The Life and Works of Death Review

“Doom can be rather dull. We all know it. Even the most ardent doom aficionado will concede the point if pressed hard enough. It takes imagination, guile, and tradecraft to make a slow moving depressive style both interesting and exciting. The best bands skillfully craft riffs and vocal lines that shake the brain stem and excite the neurons regardless of relative speed, and songs must find that elusive balance between pacing and engagement. French baguette doomsters Carcolh worship the genre’s traditional ways and on sophomore album The Life and Works of Death, they attempt that oh so delicate tightrope walk.” Do the walk of life (and death).

Immortal Guardian – Psychosomatic Review

Immortal Guardian – Psychosomatic Review

“Feats of sheer sonic escapism have defined much of my listening habits in the Covid era. The stronger an artist can nail a “larger than life” aesthetic in sound and concept, the better. My polyamorous affair with Bal-Sagoth and Galneryus has never burned brighter, while new favorites like Finsterforst have dominated my playlists. Immortal Guardian‘s debut Age of Revolution fits comfortably into a similarly overblown mold.” Topic blunder.

The Lylat Continuum – Ephemeral Review

The Lylat Continuum – Ephemeral Review

“This review is testament to the power of the pre-release single. I was immediately intrigued by the description “blending proggy death metal with psychedelic ambient breaks” and its atypical approach to death metal fulfilled this description. I specifically sought out the release in the promo swamp, dredging it up from between the smelly stoner doom and fetid black metal ordinarily infesting it. Denver’s The Lylat Continuum have brewed their potion for a number of years before releasing Ephemeral, their debut album, and it’s nothing if not inventive.” Hype and regret.

Shotgun Revolution – IV Review

Shotgun Revolution – IV Review

“I was so confused when I picked up Shotgun Revolution for review a few weeks ago. I thought for sure someone here reviewed them already on this site, but a cursory search returned zero results. Then, I suddenly remembered I was thinking of Shotgun Rodeo, and all was right with the world again. So, I downloaded my totally up-for-grabs promo and smashed that heckin’ play button. Instantly I teleported to 2005, when post-grunge and hard rock saturated every radio station on the East Coast. I thought this kind of thing was pretty much dead in the water, but I guess I was wrong.” Gun up or stand down.

Blue Hour Ghosts – Due Review

Blue Hour Ghosts – Due Review

“NASA once lost a perfectly good spacecraft due to a units error, which led to a miscalculated course and a fiery collision with the destination planet. The navigation team had raised concerns that it was off course before the actual crash, but no action was taken. Managers preferred to assume everything was fine until it was too late. Here on final approach hoping everything is fine is Italy’s Blue Hour Ghosts with their second album, Due.” Brace for impact.

Ablaze My Sorrow – Among Ashes and Monoliths Review

Ablaze My Sorrow – Among Ashes and Monoliths Review

“Melodeath is a tough sub-genre to review because it exists in a constant state of tension. It’s pulled in three directions constantly: death metal at one point, traditional heavy metal at another, and power metal at the third. The ebb and flow between these is what makes it enjoyable, but it’s also what divides fans. Err too much to one end and the music sounds “death metal-lite.” Err towards another and it resembles strained power-metal without any heft. The best melodeath is able to resolve these tensions, creating a palatable middle-ground. The Swedish melodeath scene of the 90s mastered this, and was pivotal to the movement’s popularity. A minor, but not inconsequential, contributor was Falkenberg’s awkwardly titled Ablaze My Sorrow.” Pain in the ash.

Colossus – Degenesis Review

Colossus – Degenesis Review

“The year is in full swing and the flood of metal releases continues to overflow in the AMG promo portal. Of course there’s always an element of risk in blindly plucking albums from the portal. Unless I am feeling in a particularly risky or adventurous mood, I scout for releases that fall into my genre wheelhouse, and death metal tends to attract me like moth to flame. Especially after such a splendid year for the genre in 2020, the hope is for at least a handful of review assignments will throw up something special in 2021. The trio of musicians comprising freshly minted death metal outfit Colossus are equipped with background experience in the metal underground, via acts such as Lividity, Cryptic Fog, and Cereviscera. Despite being a new entity, basically the members are seasoned in the game, unleashing a debut album of brutal, technically proficient death.” The Colossus of Woes.

Terrordome – Straight Outta Smogtown Review

Terrordome – Straight Outta Smogtown Review

“What, I ask myself as I embark on my fifth or sixth listen of Straight Outta Smogtown, is the point of guest vocals. Guest vocals that work best are those that allow a band to deliver something markedly different from what they would otherwise do. Look at the two recent collaborations between Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle, for a recent example, or, going back a quite a long way now, look at Dave Grohl’s Probot. Although Probot was a far from a perfect album, the way the numerous vocalists were used, delivered a very different character for each track. So what have Polish thrashers Terrordome fashioned with a number of additional vocalists who guest on their third full-length, Straight Outta Smogtown?” The smog of war.