2.0

Ov Hell – The Underworld Regime Review

Ov Hell – The Underworld Regime Review

The Gorgoroth debacle over the last couple of years has definitely left me very confused. See, I thought it was King (ov Hell) who was doing the majority of the writing on the later Gorgoroth stuff, which was some of the best, most extreme and interesting black metal that was going on over the last few years (that wasn’t deep, deep underground). Since Twilight of the Idols, Gorgoroth had a total monopoly on black metal extremity and just plain fucking evil. When QPAST was released, it was clear that it was not that modern Gorgoroth anymore and so I assumed that God Seed, and then after that fell apart, Ov Hell would be the thing that continued on the path that Gorgoroth had taken. The left hand path, if you will allow me such blatant silliness.

Mnemic – Sons of the System Review

Mnemic – Sons of the System Review

Mnemic has been around in the ether for a while but I’ve never given them a proper listen until now. The band has good promo, they’ve toured Europe twice with metal giants (like ’em or not) Metallica, they look like real metal dudes and they’ve got cred because a couple people I know compared them to Meshuggah back when they first came out. Unfortunately, Sons of the System sounds a lot less like Meshuggah and a lot more like Sonic Syndicate. This record is another convergence point for things that I’m not really keen on in the world of metal and I’ll give you a short run-down.

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.

Evergreen Terrace – Almost Home Review

Evergreen Terrace – Almost Home Review

Almost Home is a record that was influenced by how much everything sucks right now, according to the band. It’s a bit of a dissertation on America in 2009, with a shitty economic situation, how hard it’s been to keep the band going in this kind of situation and so forth. Honestly, I don’t hear it. But that’s what the band says. What I hear is a highly melodic and poppy hardcore band doing the same things that bands of this type have been doing for years. It’s unfortunate, really, because they’ve got an alright sound, but things don’t stick.

Stratovarius – Polaris

Stratovarius – Polaris

Stratovarius are serious veterans of good ol’ fashioned Euro Power Metal and despite the never-ending rush of silliness that surrounded this band for roughly the last three years–they have still managed to put out an album of middling quality in time. A record of middling quality, you say? Why yes, says I. All Stratovarius records are of middling quality, some are just more middling than others. Some say that this band is the pinnacle of all Finnish power metal bands–but if one listens to Polaris they’d never know that.