3.0

Epica – Omega Review

Epica – Omega Review

“This is a surreal moment for me. The first review I ever read on this site was Diabolus in Muzaka‘s hit piece on Epica‘s The Holographic Principle, an album which I thought was super fun if overlong and oddly organized. I’ve been a die-hard fan of this band for over a decade now, having introduced myself to them with The Divine Conspiracy back in high school. With each successive release thereafter, save for the miscalculation that was Requiem for the IndifferentEpica refined and perfected their sound to the point that they are now unmistakable for any other symphonic metal band.” Omega predator.

Innersphere – Omfalos Review

Innersphere – Omfalos Review

“So there I am, reading a book of poetry in the filth and muck of the Angry Metal Guy Promo Pit — totally minding my own business — when I overhear some kind of commotio. Raised voices, overblown guitar solos, agonized screaming, the whole nine yards. “Ah,” I think to myself. “Holdeneye did the 4.0 thing again.” I move to refocus on my book when I see something out of the corner of my eye: Innersphere. Omfalos. “Melodic death doom metal.” Pause for effect. Melodic… death… doom… metal. I try to wrap my head around the concept, and decide, with no chance remaining that I’m going to have the peaceful afternoon I’d planned for, to snatch up the album and leave, because, frankly, I need to know what exactly this thing is and how it works, because I’m telling you right now, there’s no way that’s a thing.” Face the thing that could just be.

Evergrey – Escape of the Phoenix Review

Evergrey – Escape of the Phoenix Review

“2021 will see the release of a wealth of albums written and recorded during the COVID pandemic. This phenomenon will likely impact records in a myriad of ways. Some will directly reflect the times in concept, lyrics or atmosphere. Others may benefit from bands having additional time stuck in lockdown together to hone their compositions. In the case of Evergrey‘s 12th album Escape of the Phoenix, the latter appears to be the case.” Firebirds, energy weapons.

Age of Woe – Envenom Review

Age of Woe – Envenom Review

“Five years ago, Swedish doom peddlers Age of Woe threw down their second album, An Ill Wind Blowing, and I will always associate that album with another ill wind that blew through my home: Hurricane Matthew. Just like the latter ill wind battered and bludgeoned its way through the Bahamas, Haiti, and most of Florida, the former Ill Wind battered and bludgeoned my eardrums with some pretty hefty and sludgy doom goodness. Now with Rotten Sound‘s Keijo Niinimaa replacing longtime guitarist Gonzo Incognito, they’ve come back to batter and bludgeon me once more with Envenom.” Woe hammer.

Humanity’s Last Breath – Välde Review

Humanity’s Last Breath – Välde Review

“Just about a year and a half ago, I shocked the world by covering Humanity’s Last Breath‘s sophomore record, Abyssal. Djenty deathcore is not normally in my wheelhouse, but every once in a while, I get a craving for something über heavy. I really liked a lot of what I heard on Abyssal. Humanity’s Last Breath paint horrific scenes using an crushingly bleak sonic palette, and when things clicked on Abyssal, it shook the very ground. But as much as I loved most of what the band did on that record, it felt like it could have used some trimming to sharpen the impact. When I heard that followup Välde was scheduled for a February release, it immediately landed a spot on my most-anticipated albums of 2021 list.” Next to last breath.

Dark Zodiak – Ophiuchus Review

Dark Zodiak – Ophiuchus Review

Dark Zodiak borrow bits of the chunky, militaristic rhythms of Sodom, the scratchy grooves of Kreator and the progressive wanderings of Metallica. The push into heavier death-thrash territory is almost entirely due to a grotesque performance from vocalist Simone Schwarz, who commands the record with guttural roars, dry rasps, sinister narration, and even the occasional pig squeal.” Sign stealing.

Crawl Below – 9 Mile Square Review

Crawl Below – 9 Mile Square Review

“For being a metal review site, an awful lot of barely-metal promos sneak past our guard gorilla and land in the laps of unsuspecting writers. Staff more senior and wily than myself have learned to decipher their signs and avoid them like that guy at the party who wants to tell you about his Battlestar Galactica fan fic. However, because these promos are most often generously tagged as “doom,” yours truly unwittingly walks right into them. Only after I’ve committed do they tear off their fake mustache, throw down their prop cane and gleefully shout, “Ha ha! It is I, unrelated genre!” Thankfully, I’m an open minded metal head, and these things have worked out splendidly in the past. New England’s Crawl Below caught my attention with the “doom” tag, but also because their album 9 Mile Square is a concept piece about the historic and contemporary region of Norwich, Connecticut. This decidedly non-metal theme should have tipped me off, but here we are.” Broken gates and square mileage.

Insect Inside – The First Shining of New Genus Review

Insect Inside – The First Shining of New Genus Review

“Slam is a style I’ve never understood. Often layered with gory shock novelty and the variety of deathcore, bands like Abominable Putridity and Epicardiectomy have only gotten a head-scratch from me with endless “djunz” and br00tal “eeeeees”. Insect Inside is a young Russian trio from Zlatoust, a demo and single released since their 2017 inception. Debut LP The First Shining of New Genus creates the soundtrack of being eaten alive by the swarm in its beatdown of groovy, thick riffs, and hell-scraping gutturals.” Slam beetles.

Swampbeast – Seven Evils Spawned of Seven Heads Review

Swampbeast – Seven Evils Spawned of Seven Heads Review

“Tranquility is having one’s swamp to one’s self. Nothing beats the sultry shimmer of swamp silence. But silence is fleeting. Evil lurks in the hazy depths of the swamp. Upward through ancient mud rises Swampbeast, a mangled, tangled death metal creature. The beast is here to stay. Seven Evils Spawned of Seven Heads, Swampbeast’s debut full-length, drags a listener through a 36-minute mire of grinding putridity.” Running bog wild.

Pestis Cultus – Pestis Cultus Review

Pestis Cultus – Pestis Cultus Review

“Raw black metal is not typically my thing. I like my black atmospheric or symphonic, as a rule. Normally, if you’re after the lo-fi stuff, you’d wanna talk to Messrs of Doom and in Muzaka. But, that said, I rather enjoyed my time with Funeral Fullmoon, so here I am, back in the dark, icy depths of … well, this time, Western Australia.” Lo-fi down under.