4.0

Tower – Shock to the System Review

Tower – Shock to the System Review

“The retro metal movement continues unabated, dragging modern metal back to the past (read as: the 70s). New York City’s Tower want their piece of that retro/proto-metal pie, and on sophomore platter Shock to the System, they’re ready to do whatever it takes to get it. Their stock in trade is high-octane, gritty, ballsy metal influenced by 70s rock, 80s traditional metal, and early speed, and folks, these cats are out for blood and treasure.” System upgrade.

The Temple – The Temple Review

The Temple – The Temple Review

“I’d be willing to put down money that The Temple is or contains a piece of Ulcerate. This New Zealand duo consists of P.K. on guitar, bass, and vocals (Paul Kelland? Sure sounds like him) and J.W. on drums (former Ulcerate vocalist James Wallace?), and to make matters worse, the self-titled debut was mixed and produced by J. Saint Merat. But this feeling of limbo, that maybe it is or maybe it isn’t, is what The Temple dwells in.” Crouching temples, hidden tech-death.

Obscura – A Valediction Review

Obscura – A Valediction Review

“In my review of Diluvium, I argued that the core of the band’s sound had become a super-tech melodeath band. And, as it turns out, my analysis was right on the money. Despite a (second) mass exodus that led to guitarist Christian Münzner and bassist JP Thesseling rejoining the band, A Valediction doesn’t present a more abstract and progressive Obscura. In fact, it’s the opposite.” So, is that a good thing?

Black Soul Horde – Horrors from the Void Review

Black Soul Horde – Horrors from the Void Review

“So you just endured a long, soul-killing week of nonstop 4.0s at the AMG Forced Labor Emporium and need to get away from a certain cadre of overrating hack reviewers. You get home, kick off the war boots, seize a large tankard of ale, a larger goblet of hobo wine, and sit down for a relaxed sampling of Black Soul Horde‘s latest platter of epic/trve sword-worship, Horrors from the Void. And what happens? You get unexpectedly tentacle smacked across the face, chest, and ham hocks by slimy Lovecraftian horrors from beyond space and time.” Tendril innsmouth disease.

Outre-Tombe –  Abysse Mortifère Review

Outre-Tombe – Abysse Mortifère Review

“With plenty of death metal nowadays being extremely technical and polished for the sake of technicality and polish – or perhaps for YouTube playthroughs people can show their friends to “prove” that metal is “serious music” – it’s nice to have bands like Quebec’s Outre-Tombe around to push in the opposite direction. No, the consistently killer French-Canadian crew haven’t devolved into Hellhammer levels of un-technicality – awesome as that would probably be – but they have been getting filthier with each release.” Tomb caper.

Churchburn – Genocidal Rite Review

Churchburn – Genocidal Rite Review

“So many outside motivators have this way of impacting everything you do in life. You set a plan down, put it into motion, get all your t’s crossed, your i’s dotted, and you always remember to carry the one over to the next column on the left whenever you’re adding…and then, you’re blindsided by a person, situation, or some other thing that topples your best-laid intentions like a house of cards. For Churchburn‘s Dave Suzuki, it was the loss of a family member last year.” Time burns us all.

Mystras – Empires Vanquished and Dismantled Review

Mystras – Empires Vanquished and Dismantled Review

“When Mystras‘ first outing, Castles Conquered and Reclaimed, dropped last year I expressed some surprise that Ayloss had the capacity to write and release another record, alongside the epic Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum split, never mind something of the scope of Mystras. Castles paired raw, harsh black metal with traditional medieval folk to offer a scathing and emotive assessment of the poverty, oppression and injustice suffered by medieval European peasants and the sacrifices made to fight back. Scroll forward a year and Mystras is back with their sophomore effort.” Unfathomable productivity.