2014

Vanden Plas – Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld Parts I and II

Vanden Plas – Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld Parts I and II

Vanden Plas has been a very consistent act in the prog-power scene for over twenty years, releasing album after album of high quality music in the same vein as Anubis Gate, Threshold and early Dream Theater. They always offered plenty of shred, wank and noodle but took pains to keep the music accessible and memorable.” Ready for two albums of big time prog-power? Then ascend to the Netherworld!

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Mantar – Death By Burning

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Mantar – Death By Burning

“Say what you will about the quality of metal in 2014, there was certainly no shortage of impressive debut offerings from hungry up and comers led by killer full-length debuts from Artificial Brain, Black Crown Initiate and Dreamgrave. Another band that released a stellar first effort worthy of your time and cash was Hamburg-based duo Mantar.” We missed this, and it never stops hurting.

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Idylls – Prayer for Terrene

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Idylls – Prayer for Terrene

“I once had a roommate who assured me Converge was “really just noise.” At one point in his life he had played guitar for a metal band, so my naïve young self believed him. My surprise when I finally listened to Jane Doe and was blown away by the sheer emotion inherent in the spastic, ballistic dissonance. Idylls have much the same thing going on – traditional melody is eschewed, and at times, it does sound like four guys trapped in a room trying to make as much commotion as possible.” Bring forth the noise room!

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Sentience – Beyond the Curse of Death Demo

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Sentience – Beyond the Curse of Death Demo

“Long gone are the days of demo releases being the lifeblood of underground metal. With the tape trading days of circulating a raw and rough cut demo to create word of mouth buzz and build street cred a thing of the past, and the digital age having firmly taken over, the format has become a fading relic in the modern metal landscape.” But this putrid gem might just take you back to the rancid demo days of yore.

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Serdce – Timelessness

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Serdce – Timelessness

“Never heard of Serdce? I can’t blame you. The Belarussian prog-death group has been tramping around the metalsphere in undeserved obscurity since 1997 and Timelessness is the fourth(!) LP to spill from their obscenely talented hands and the first to be released by the metal messiahs at Blood Music.” Did you miss this slab of prog-death in 2014? Well, fix that in 2015!

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: White Empress – Rise of the Empress

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: White Empress – Rise of the Empress

Twenty-fourteen was a busy one for me, but that’s no excuse for me not covering White Empress‘s début record Rise of the Empress which came out in September from Peaceville Records. It’s hard to know whether or not to call White Empress a super group, per se, but the heart of the band is Paul Allen and Will Graney—previously of Cradle of Filth. From the Empress’ mouth herself, Allen and Graney put together some demo tracks and started working with Mary Zimmer, formerly vocalist for Luna Mortis. This developed slowly, spawning a Bandcamp site and some pretty wicked imagery The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe imagery before the band finally got picked up by Peaceville. Next thing you know and Rise of the Empress was released and I completely biffed on it. Regardless of my schedule or whether or not White Empress qualifies as a “supergroup,” Rise of the Empress is a strong showing that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Angra – Secret Garden Review

Angra – Secret Garden Review

Angra needs no introduction. The band has been a power metal fixture since the early 1990s and are one of the biggest metal bands to ever breach the borders of their native Brazil. Still, the last decade(ish) has been rocky for these guys, and you might not be blamed for having thought they called it quits. Not only did half the band quit in the early-aughts to go and start Shaman, but they’ve had dust-ups with management and were put on hold—even having been mistakenly reported as split-up entirely. Hell, between 2010’s Aqua and the release of Secret Garden they lost both a singer—who was replaced by Rhapsody [of Fire]‘s Fabio Lione—and got a new 23 year-old drummer to boot. Consistency has been hard to come by for Angra of late.” Mr. The Metal Guy takes on Angra‘s newest record. Does he bite the cheese?

In the Company of Serpents – Merging in Light Review

In the Company of Serpents – Merging in Light Review

“Stoner metal is not known as a particularly inventive genre. Though improvements to equipment and recording techniques have allowed bands to push the boundaries of heaviness, the basic musical template has remained pretty static since its conception. That said, there is little sweeter in the metal world than a stoner doom band totally crushing a hammering riff, however many times you’ve heard it done before.” Looks like we’ll be hearing it again…and again.

Angry Metal Guy’s Top 10(ish) of 2014

Angry Metal Guy’s Top 10(ish) of 2014

“The Year of Our Angry Overlord 2014 has been a crazy ride. One year ago this week I was finishing up one of the most stressful terms of my entire life, and this year has been a rush of teaching prep, reading, researching, and “OMFG.” You have certainly noticed that AngryMetalGuy.com has been pretty short one Angry Metal Guy in 2014, and that’s been tough for everyone involved I’m sure.” In this massive post Angry Metal Guy reflects on 2014, ranks a bunch of records, and is waiting prepared with his flamethrower for when the whine hits the fan.