4.0

Scardust – Strangers Review

Scardust – Strangers Review

“I have a strange relationship with progressive metal. On one hand, I feel like the vast majority of prog is made up of decent song ideas separated from one another by fancy time signatures, self-indulgent experimentation, and other forms of needless wankery. But on the other hand, I proudly claim progressive titans Symphony X and Nevermore as my two favorite bands of all time. Those bands had a way of making their immensely complex compositions seem deceptively simple — a hallmark of a good prog band in my book. To me, progressiveness is really just the amplification of — or an embellishment upon — what a band already does well. Thus, my view that much of today’s “prog” music is really just embellished nothingness. On that cheerful note, enter Israeli progressive metal band Scardust.” Prog for dummies.

Slow Fall – Beneath the Endless Rains Review

Slow Fall – Beneath the Endless Rains Review

Slow Fall are the newest kids on the Finnish melodeath playground. They’d been skirting the chain link fence, peering in since 2016. Now, finally satisfied with their chosen lineup, the band is coming out swinging, seemingly out of nowhere, with their very first full-length album. On their first try, Slow Fall nail an impressive formula for melodeath.” It’s the slow knife that cuts the deepest.

Wobbler – Dwellers of the Deep Review

Wobbler – Dwellers of the Deep Review

“Those of you who insist we review nothing but the purest and most extreme metal, step away from the computer. The next five paragraphs will upset and irritate you, causing you to lob hit pieces at the Huckster down in the comment section. For there is nothing remotely metal about today’s band of choice, Wobbler. This is music to prance to, not music to bang one’s head to. In fact, one has to be an El Cuervo-like old soul to truly want to dive into this band’s immaculate take on 70’s progressive rock.” Hit pieces go wobbly.

Armored Saint – Punching the Sky Review

Armored Saint – Punching the Sky Review

Armored Saint is like that comfortable pair of jeans you’ve held onto forever, steadfastly ignoring the badly frayed cuffs, rips, and discolorations that accumulate over a lifetime of wear and tear. They’re a familiar and reassuring part of your life and you’ll brook no talk of replacement. These overperforming underdogs have been delivering their hard scrabble, punchy take on heavy metal since their 1983 EP, and through the 37 years since then the only things that have really changed are their hairlines.” Fist of the Saint.

Necrophobic – Dawn of the Damned Review

Necrophobic – Dawn of the Damned Review

“I’m not exactly sure how responsibility for this review survived its fall down the AMG Seniority Ladder™ to find its way to little old me, but I’m certainly glad it did. Necrophobic holds a special place in my heart. Not only did my enjoyment of the band’s previous release Mark of the Necrogram begin my quest to discover and love black metal, but I still remember reading Al Kikuras‘ incredible review of said album. It was the first time that I seriously considered how cool it might be to write reviews for AMG.” Necro 4 eva.

Hellripper – The Affair of the Poisons Review

Hellripper – The Affair of the Poisons Review

“Despite enjoying metal my whole life, I used to struggle with thrash beyond the biggest names. I found it bland, chugging and neanderthalic. 2017 was a watershed time for my enjoyment of the thrashing style, and part of that watershed was Coagulating Darkness by Hellripper. Bridging black, speed and thrash, James McBain’s solo project did what so many others (including the ‘classics’) previously had not and opened the doors to the genre. Though I never got round to a write-up, it’s one of the premium speedy albums of the 2010s and Hellripper shot up my list of favorite bands.” Return of the Ripper.

Arcade Messiah – The Host Review

Arcade Messiah – The Host Review

“But when I revisit the 2016 TYMHM piece, I’m reminded of a certain comment: ‘It must have been a shitload of work for a single person, to write and perform an album full of such dense arrangements and rhythmic irregularities, without losing the overall flow of the music. Hats off! I’m impressed.’ Four years later, I can say nothing less about Bassett’s newest outing, The Host. I can still say it’s ‘simplistic’ and smooth to the ears. But, musically, this new record is anything but simplistic.” Host with the most.

Ascian – Elysion Review

Ascian – Elysion Review

“Self-described as a happy medium between My Dying Bride and AlcestAscian bring on the gloom by way of gargantuan riffs summoned at a glacial pace by guitarists P. and T. There be no fluff whatsoever across the remarkably tight thirty-eight minutes that span this album. The mission statement of Elysion is plain as day: to crush all who venture in this overcast wasteland until nothing remains but a faint wisp of soul dust.” Unhappy mediums.

Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment Review

Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment Review

“Normally, an introductory paragraph would see a reviewer (me, in this case) make a witty or deep observation that somehow, someway pertains to the album in question. That’s not happening today for two reasons. One, trying to come up with something witty or playful during such a shit time in everyone’s lives, week in and week out, becomes draining when I possess about as much joy to throw at you as the creative team at WWE possesses the ability to write captivating, enthralling television. And two, today’s subject isn’t about joy. Or happiness. Or humor. Rather, Anaal Nathrakh‘s eleventh album, Endarkenment encapsulates in roughly 41 minutes just what an absolute clusterfuck this year has been to everyone and everything.” Here’s pig cock in your eye.