3.5

Reverend Hound – Deal in Steel Review

Reverend Hound – Deal in Steel Review

“Sometimes a promo cover or title compels me to take a chance and grab it though I know nothing about the band. Such was the case when I spotted Reverend Hound bobbing about in the sump. With a name like that, art like that, and a title like Deal in Steel, how could I move on without fully investigating the pedigree of this altered beasty? These little-known German mongrels play a style of metal that owes a great debt to Accept, Grave Digger, and Primal Fear, and on their third album, they aim for a slick, ear-cropping blend of classic Germanic metal, NWoBHM, and aggressive speed.” Adopt or die.

Kati Rán – Sála Review

Kati Rán – Sála Review

“Neofolk is a special style of art. It encompasses the achingly simple to portray stunning complexity. Everything is done with earnest emotion, and often the onus is on the artist not to simply entertain, but to transport the listener, through time, through places, and through very states of being. When I first learned of Kati Rán and her debut full-length release Sála, I was heartened by a single line in its promo copy: “Recorded in a barn in Húsafell, Iceland”—and I didn’t read further.” Barn razing.

Red Rot – Borders of Mania Review

Red Rot – Borders of Mania Review

“Depression comes in waves. If you—or anyone you know and love—have ever witnessed or experienced its grip, you know that it’s a battle. Davide Tiso, the slippery Italian guitarist responsible for the jazzy hardcore machinations of Ephel Duath, and the jangling progressive excursions of Howling Sycamore, seems to know this fight all too well. Two years ago Tiso unearthed Red Rot as a heart-on-sleeve death metal journey that both reunited him with his old friend and vocalist Luciano George Lorusso (ex-Ephel Duath) and explored the darkest corners of his psyche with crashing riffs and scathing, hypnotic melodies. Here in 2024, I’m not too sure that Tiso is any better, but his axe remains sharp and thrilling as ever.” Shredding despair.

Arka’n Asrafokor – Dzikkuh Review

Arka’n Asrafokor – Dzikkuh Review

“Despite comprising 20% of Earth’s land mass, Africa is sorely underrepresented in metal and worldwide music. Though subject to centuries of oppression and colonization, the influence can be felt internationally, but its unique cultural voices are sorely lacking. While Egypt is stalwart in its evocative depictions of ancient civilization (Scarab, Lycopolis), you’d be hard-pressed to find the music of Togo without some serious digging. Based in the capital city of Lomé, what seems to be the only Togolese metal band, Arka’n Asrafokor offers its sophomore effort Dzikkuh.” A Tussle in Togo.

Cardiac Arrest – The Stench of Eternity Review

Cardiac Arrest – The Stench of Eternity Review

“You can’t listen to everything out there and we all have gaps in our metal detection system through which plenty of quality product sluices out. Still, I’m left wondering why I never spent time with Chicago’s death metal maniacs Cardiac Arrest until last week. Active since 2004 and with 7 full-lengths under their belt, this is a Windy City death institution that I completely slept on despite AMG having reviewed their 2018 opus A Parallel Dimension of Despair. On eighth album The Stench of Eternity, these scuzzmongers deliver a nasty sound mixing classic Floridian death with the uglier side of grind and crust and occasional flirtations with meatheaded slam.” Chest pains are the best pains.

Dødsferd – Wrath Review

Dødsferd – Wrath Review

“I didn’t really get into black metal until I started writing for AMG. This was primarily caused by a misconception of what these genres entailed, a sort of genre discrimination based in ignorance (isn’t that always the root cause?). In the case of black metal, I thought the definition of the style equated to lo-fi second wave black metal, or the sonic equivalent of hoovering up a marble with a cyclone vacuum. I still avoid that particular sound, generally speaking, but since I have come to love black metal over the years, I must on occasion make my return to the blackest corner of the kingdom. Enter Dødsferd, a long-running project by a Greek who goes by the name Wrath, and his new album… Wrath.” The wrath less chosen.

Elvellon – Ascending in Synergy Review

Elvellon – Ascending in Synergy Review

“As I’ve mentioned a few times during my tenure, fem-fronted symphonic power metal was my gateway into the metalverse. Bands like Nightwish, Epica, pre-Hydra Within Temptation, and Neverworld’s End-era Xandria, among many others, were my favorite things in the world for many years. Even today, the style still holds a crucial place in my rotation. Unfortunately, very few breakout acts in the last decade made a mark in the scene. Two names in particular who buck that trend come to mind: Connecticut-based Dialith and the subject of today’s piece, German five-banger Elvellon.” SYNERGY SYSTEM.

Unleash the Archers – Phantoma Review

Unleash the Archers – Phantoma Review

“After a two-part series where we saw Immortal converge through trials and tribulations, this year’s Phantoma tosses us into the future (12089, specifically) where AI rules supreme. Presumably inspired by the new wave of AI technologies out there, Unleash the Archers taps into those influences to create a hypersonic sci-fi soundtrack filled with a smattering of synthesized guitar leads and heavy keyboard action to deliver the power metal version of Skynet.” Archers in the machine.

Wheel – Charismatic Leaders Review

Wheel – Charismatic Leaders Review

“Never one to shy away from political themes, Wheel has taken to a theme rather than a full-blown concept with Charismatic Leaders, decrying populism and the cult of personality across 6 tracks and an interlude. In the band’s own words, this is intended as their metal album, the heavier, angrier version of the predecessors.” The Wheel of idealogy.