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The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis Review

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis Review

The Dillinger Escape Plan’s fourth record, Option Paralysis, has been one of the most anticipated records of this year so far. And for good reason, people are really taken by this band and their unique style. DEP has released some seriously wacky, sporadic records in the past that are both crazy and challenging and yet so very enticing and addictive, even teaming up with Mike Patton (and others) on an EP called Irony Is a Dead Scene. They’re a very hard band to stick into a genre, bordering on technical metal and hardcore as well as pulling in influences from industrial, jazz, acoustic rock and well, you name it, they can do it. That makes them feel very fresh, but can they maintain that freshness on Option Paralysis.

Heidevolk – Uit Oude Grond Review

Heidevolk – Uit Oude Grond Review

So, apparently Napalm has dibs on every awesome folk metal band in the universe and Dutch metallers Heidevolk are another one of their excellent pagan folk metal bands. These six guys came together for the first album in 2002 and are conceptually fairly unique, focusing on the local culture of Gelderland, what is now a province of the Netherlands located along the border with Germany. Heidevolk sing in their native Dutch, as one would expect, but this never causes any issues with understanding as the record is musically deep and entrancing.

Svartsot – Mulmets Viser Review

Svartsot – Mulmets Viser Review

Given the whole history of medieval Scandinavia and where the vikings actually came from as a rule, it is surprising to me that there are not more bands from Denmark that have jumped onto this whole Viking Metal thing that has been swelling up in metal for the last decade or so. No, instead it was basically introduced by a Swede in the 1980s and has been carried on primarily by Swedes and Norwegians who do the style well. But it was not the Swedes that the Englishmen were so afraid of, but the Danes. There was even a law (and a word for it) where they called the money that was paid in tribute to the Vikings who were threatening to invade a certain area: “Danegeld”. It is true that (what would be modern day) Norwegians were involved in these raids, and so, too, were the Rus, or Swedish Vikings. But the Danes are the Vikings you learn about. “Sure,” you say, “but this point is pedantic and long-winded. You’re Angry Metal Guy not Angry History Nerd.” Good point. But my point is this: very little Danish viking metal exists. The only band I’ve heard of is Svartsot, who has just released their second album of folk influenced, medieval Scandinavian metal songs.

Eternal Silence – The Arsonist Review

Eternal Silence – The Arsonist Review

Eternal Silence is a death metal band that hails from New London, Wisconsin and has been around as long as this Angry Metal Guy has been into death metal. They started out in the late 90s, released a record in 98, an EP again in 2002 and then went silent, though they’ve been playing shows around Wisconsin and Illinois consistently. Like so many bands, they’ve suffered from issues surrounding labels, studios and band members, but somehow the core of this group has managed to stick together and stick it out. Sometimes stubbornness is really the best friend of a musician. Eternal Silence has shown that years of patience and hard work can pay off.

Immolation – Majesty and Decay Review

Immolation – Majesty and Decay Review

Immolation are one of death metal’s best known bands, rooting in the NYDM scene of the 1990s, they have produced some of the most widely worshiped death metal records of all time. Oddly enough, they’re not a band that this Angry Metal Guy was particularly familiar with, as the path to death metal went through more melodic bands. But I have heard rumors of their greatness, technical prowess and their tendency to put out excellent records. Immolation’s 2010 release has seen them living up to this reputation as being one of death metal’s greats with their Nuclear Blast debut Majesty and Decay.

Oskoreien – Illusions Review

Oskoreien – Illusions Review

Oskoreien is another one of those DIY projects that I was directed to which delighted me to check out. There was a time when you, as a metal guy, probably got friended by Oskoreien on MySpace, when the creator was in full-on promo mode. The tracks that I remembered hearing were very much in the Ensiferum / Wintersun kind of vein. Lots of sweep picking and sort of melodic death influences. So when I got my hands on the Illusions EP I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Blaze Bayley – Promise and Terror Review

Blaze Bayley – Promise and Terror Review

I must say that, if you don’t already know this, I have been anticipating this record since I heard of its release. Sure, things have been busy around here, but I even managed to slip in a few listens to the record in spite of the heavy schedule of listening that I’m forced to adhere. Written and recorded in the aftermath of one of the most terrible tragedies in Blaze’s life, and really in the life of a neophyte band trying to break its way into the music scene on the strength of independent promotion and raw, hard work, and non-fashionable music, Promise and Terror has the chance to show the medal of this band and to testify to the absolute spine of one Blaze Bayley. While The Man Who Would Not Die was a record that was written in the face of the adversity from the outside world and sounded, frankly, like a big aural “fuck you” to all uninterested parties, Promise and Terror has a different role to fill.

Overkill – Ironbound Review

Overkill – Ironbound Review

“Overkill is still around?” That was my first thought when I received this promo. See, this band is definitely a part of my childhood, being a huge a fan of the record I Hear Black when I was at the tender age of 11, but they were never a band that I ever followed with any religiosity. No, Overkill never managed to make it into my early thrash pantheon, despite the fact that I remember loving that album. So it was with great interest that I put on this album, not really know what to expect at all given everything. I mean, it’s been a lot of years and bands, in general, do not age well. And, after asking around, I’d heard that Overkill hadn’t aged very well, either.

Dream Evil – In the Night Review

Dream Evil – In the Night Review

Step over, Manowar, the new Kings of Metal are in town. Sure, they’ve been around for a while, and they’re a little more tongue in cheek than Manowar is, but Dream Evil, with the release of their new record In the Night, have risen from the ashes (of a DVD release?) to take the crown for themselves in their mighty, viking fists! These Swedes have put forth a strong offering filled with skull-crushing riffs, ball-grabbing vocals and unabashedly cheesy-as-hell lyrics, that would make Snowy Shaw blush, in order to try to re-gain the glory of their mighty album The Book of Heavy Metal.

Blaze Bayley – The Night That Will Not Die Review

Blaze Bayley – The Night That Will Not Die Review

Blaze Bayley, for those who don’t know (where the hell have you been??) is the solo project of former Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden frontman of the same name. Honestly, this guy’s story is a true underdog story. To hear it told, he was the singer that no one wanted until he got picked up by Wolfsbane and then he was chosen to fill Bruce Dickinson’s shoes in Iron Maiden after Bruce decided he was too cool for the band. There was absolutely no way for him to win in that situation. A man with a baritone register filling Dickinson’s shoes is just ridiculous and everyone should’ve known better: but this reviewer humbly submits that X Factor is a classic record and that Virtual XI, while definitely weaker, was not weak because of Blaze, but instead because of Steve Harris’ writing and the very poor production. In fact, I’m still waiting for those two albums to be remastered.