2015

Lik – Carnage Review

Lik – Carnage Review

“Two and a half years ago I was struck by Stockholm’s latest entrant into the Swedish tomb of death metal, arising from a coffin with the name Lik carved into it. Their debut entitled Mass Funeral Evocation> represents one of the finest old-school releases in the genre from the 2010s; it made my 2015 list and still packs a punch when I crave buzz-sawing guitars and a viscera-drenched aesthetic. Their sophomore release with the word Carnage etched on the front has now dropped and I’m delighted to report that it’s equally as savage and a worthy successor.” Lik the Devil.

Abhorrent – Intransigence [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

Abhorrent – Intransigence [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

“Generally speaking, brutal and slam death are tough pills for me to swallow. It’s not that my ears are hyper sensitive to the trademark extremity of the style, but rather the cartoonish brutality, often amateurish musicianship and lack of song-writing smarts results in many bands dissolving into a forgettable slop of unrefined mediocrity. Inevitably there are exceptions, particularly when the slam grooves and relentless brutality are attached to memorable, catchy songs and top-notch musicianship.” It’s never too late to realize you missed something.

Retro-Review: December Wolves – Completely Dehumanized

Retro-Review: December Wolves – Completely Dehumanized

“1996. Yours truly graduated high school and landed a job at what would end up being GameStop. At the Electronics Boutique I was working at (Rockingham Park, Salem, New Hampshire), I would sometimes be visited by a lanky, long-haired dude wearing various different black metal shirts. One shirt was of a band called December Wolves, and I told him that was an interesting name for a band. He smiled and said, “Thanks, man. I’m the bass player. Check us out sometime.” Yep, that’s my story of how I met Brian Izzi (now best known as the guitarist for crusty grinders Trap Them) and got wind of December Wolves.” Tales of wind and wolves shall trap them all.

Grey Heaven Fall – Black Wisdom [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

Grey Heaven Fall – Black Wisdom [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

“Regret. We all experience it in one way or another. Some feel it after a heavy night of drinking before a working day. Others after indulging amorous emotions with an ex’s mother. Me? The regret I feel is for missing great music the first time around. It was in the process of skimming year end lists to uncover my omissions that I was directed towards Black Wisdom by Grey Heaven Fall.” We also regret that whole White Wizzard thing.

Crescent Lament – Elegy for the Blossoms [Things You Might Have Missed-2015]

Crescent Lament – Elegy for the Blossoms [Things You Might Have Missed-2015]

“Geisha metal could very well be a legitimate label in future, if Elegy for the Blossoms gains more exposure to the international metal community. As the second full-length studio album by indie Taiwanese symphonic gothic metal band Crescent Lament, this record successfully captures the helplessness felt by Taiwanese women of convenience who had little to no choice but to walk the geisha’s path.” Happy Metal Guy lives, for now….

HateSphere – New Hell Review

HateSphere – New Hell Review

“If anything can be said about HateSphere, it’s that they know how to please their fans. Though many of us crave a bit more diversity across a fifteen-year career, the fact that HateSphere drops consistent album after consistent album every couple years is enough to please (almost) anyone. HateSphere‘s consistency is the result of founding guitarist Peter Hansen and his continued navigation along the course set by 2001’s self-titled debut.” And it’s always tough to know if consistency is a virtue or not.

Cult Leader – Lightless Walk [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

Cult Leader – Lightless Walk [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

“Any fan of Gaza knows the drama. In early 2013, vocalist Jon Parkin became the target of a rape allegation that, though eventually settled out of court by both parties, ultimately led to the remainder of the Utah-based hardcore outfit cutting ties with Parkin and starting anew. The result was Cult Leader: essentially the same lineup, with bassist Anthony Lucero dropping the four-string to take over on vocals.” Join the cult or refuse the Kool Aid?

Batushka – Litourgiya [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

Batushka – Litourgiya [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

“Still, even in 2015, when a mysterious black metal band crafts a record that mimics an Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy, it’s bound to raise some eyebrows. Especially when the songs are sung in Russian and the band members are Polish.” If that doesn’t pique the curiosity, you’re a person without curiosity to pique.

VOLA – Inmazes [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

VOLA – Inmazes [Things You Might Have Missed 2015]

VOLA are highly unusual in their approach to modern progressive metal. The most apt description I can define is prog-power by way of djent, offering the catchy melodies of Anubis Gate and Voyager but executed with the staccato, modern heaviness of a post-Meshuggah era.” Some things just sell themselves.