2022

Fall of Stasis – The Chronophagist Review

Fall of Stasis – The Chronophagist Review

“Extreme music and cheer have an uneasy relationship. Power metal is generally expected to be upbeat and not take itself too seriously, but when the growls and screams enter the building, such attitudes are wont to leap out the window. Death and black metal are serious business, dammit! Except when they’re not, and examples abound of bands that embrace both the dark and the light. At first glance, Fall of Stasis seem to be the serious sort. A faux Old English logo, a grim apocalyptic cover, and a title that literally means ‘the time eater.’ But is it all as dark as it seems?” Goro-core.

Inner Missing – Dead Language Review

Inner Missing – Dead Language Review

“I’ll be honest, my expectations for Dead Language were low. First, wow, that is a terrible name. Second, Inner Missing are a two-person gothic metal band releasing album number nine in twelve years. You have to give them credit for persistence, but nine albums without a breakout isn’t promising. Third, my first impression of the lead single “The Quest” was entirely dominated by the inexplicable near-monotone vastly over-inflected bass vocals. It was not looking good. Expectations and first impressions are funny things, though.” Lost and found in translation.

Slob – Deepwoods Shack of Sodomy Review

Slob – Deepwoods Shack of Sodomy Review

“These here boys ain’t right in the head. UK duo Slob graces the world with a debut that dares to ask the question: “What if the hayseed rapists from Deliverance started a brutal death metal band and wrote a whole bunch of songs about sodomy?” It would be tempting to nickname these gentlemen “Gay Panic: The Band,” except Slob isn’t just interested in the kind of sodomy practiced belowdecks in the Royal Navy. Instead, they present us with an expansive and all-inclusive vision of the act.” Sodomy, sodomyou.

Hath – All that Was Promised Review

Hath – All that Was Promised Review

Hath are a cool band. They fill that Slugdge-shaped hole in my thirsty sponge body quite snugly without being a carbon copy, and you can clearly hear how much the group’s sound and skill grew between debut EP Hive and debut LP Of Rot and Ruin. The same measure of growth in songwriting and style applies between Of Rot and Ruin and their latest opus, All that Was Promised.” Hell Hath more fury.

Venator – Echoes From the Gutter Review

Venator – Echoes From the Gutter Review

Echoes From the Gutter finds Venator expanding upon the classic sound they established on the well-executed and well-received 2020 Paradiser EP, a sound that finds them worshipping with reverent fervor before the alter of the deities of early 80s British and American heavy metal. When I listen to these guys, I hear Defenders-era Judas Priest mixed with Jag Panzer, Angel Witch, and Omen; their songs are undeniably heavy and irresistibly catchy.” Hello from the metal gutter.

Kryptograf – The Eldorado Spell Review

Kryptograf – The Eldorado Spell Review

“With that album cover, you know exactly what you’re getting. You’ve heard it before – a bunch of musicians who smoked one too many joints in high school, and then one too many joints in college, and decided to share their boundless love for early Black Sabbath with the world. Norwegian four-piece Kryptograf is relatively new to the overcrowded stoner rock scene, but they made a splash with their self-titled 2020 debut, which melded vintage doom, hard rock, and psychedelic jams.” Loving the leaf.

Sylvaine – Nova Review

Sylvaine – Nova Review

“I’ve become a jaded man-cat over the last few years or so. I can blame Covid, or humanity’s lack of… well, humanity towards one another, or a myriad of other reasons. The fact of the matter is whenever I turn on the news or see yet another impossibly bad hot-take on Twitter, the anger that begins to well up inside me can power my home city for months. So, what’s a grouchy man-cat to do? Listen to Nova, the fourth full-length by Norwegian/French multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kathrine Shepard, aka Sylvaine, that’s what. Having reviewed not one, but two, albums of hers, I knew what to expect. Or so I thought.” Prime Nova.

X.I.L – Rip & Tear Review

X.I.L – Rip & Tear Review

“Following a pretty damn solid year for the thrash genre in 2021, fans of the legendary, often gateway metal genre will be buzzed for more of the same quality in 2022. A good old blast of feisty thrash is always welcome, especially as we swing into the trials, tribulations and hopefully good times of another uncertain year. Kicking off my thrash promos of 2022 is an unheralded act out of Texas, named X.I.L, dropping their self-released debut LP, Rip & Tear.” Rip ride.

Sin Starlett – Solid Source of Steel Review

Sin Starlett – Solid Source of Steel Review

“Calling something new “NWoBHM” is a tricky proposition. Some bands and labels seem to fall on the description as a lazy synonym for Maiden, but that clearly only captures a slice of the historical scene. Sin Starlett’s tendency to swap out huge sections of the wardrobe between albums only amplifies the confusion in calling them simply “NWoBHM.” 2012’s awfully-named Throat Attack saw Starlett wear through the combined speed and pop sensibilities of Defenders of the Faith-era Judas Priest. 2016’s Digital Overload, meanwhile, saw the Starletts adopt thrashier trappings. The borderline thrash riffs and vocal barks seemed to signal a new direction for follow-up Solid Source of Steel. Wherever steel may roam.