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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.

Arkona – Goi, Rode Goi! Review

Arkona – Goi, Rode Goi! Review

Sure, folk metal is Europe’s deathcore, but somehow it’s so much more enjoyable as a genre! It probably has something to do with the accordions. Oh, and the lack of breakdowns. If folk metal is Europe’s deathcore, than I’d have to say that Arkona is the equivalent of The Red Chord or Between the Buried and Me: so much better than the genre-title implies. Many have come to associate folk metal with the silliness of Korpiklaani and written it off as too much for their tastes. Then there are other people who get a little bit nervous about the sort of nationalistic shit that could easily be associated with a band like Arkona in a land where right wing extremists are definitely an issue. But as far as this Angry Metal Guy is concerned: Arkona is not your average folk metal band and Goi, Rode, Goi! is definitely not your average folk metal record.

Cormorant – Metazoa Review

Cormorant – Metazoa Review

Before this last week I’d never heard of Cormorant[1. Cormorant: “a large diving bird with a long neck, long hooked bill, short legs, and mainly dark plumage. It typically breeds on coastal cliffs, and is noted for its voracious appetite.” This voracious appetite has come to be used figuratively implying “an insatiably greedy person or thing.” – Thanks OAED] or of Saturnine Media. Because of this, I was able to be pleasantly surprised by what is one of the best underground albums of the year. But if you’re reading this, you don’t have to be surprised, you can go out and buy it as an informed consumer. You’re welcome.

Sonata Arctica – The Days of Grays Review

Sonata Arctica – The Days of Grays Review

I’ve been a big Sonata Arctica fan for a long, long time. One of the first records I ever reviewed in my entire reviewing career was Silence, which by many is still considered to be the band’s finest record. I loved it, and I was instantly hooked by the band’s sweet hooks, tightness and particularly the vocal stylings of one Tony Kakko. The music was just technical enough to make me feel superior to all the people who were listening to Nu-Metal, but poppy and feel good were the other traits that I loved about the band. I’ve always described it as “driving music.” You know, hit the open road, go as fast as you think you can get away with and blast Sonata Arctica at top volumes while you barrel down the highway into the amazing summer day. Sound familiar to your experience? I hope so, because that’s the angle I’m starting from.

Black Sun Aeon – Darkness Walks Beside Me Review

Black Sun Aeon – Darkness Walks Beside Me Review

I have often commented that Finland is really producing the best metal in the world right now. Of course, when I say that I’m usually associating with bands like Moonsorrow, Finntroll or Amorphis, but apparently I’ve been leaving out a band from that whole list because they’re on a small label: Black Sun Aeon. Right now I’m going to add Black Sun Aeon to the pantheon of excellent metal coming from Finland, but unlike those other bands, they’re not wandering on the folk/viking side of things, but instead they’re doing more old-fashioned mid-paced death, intermingled with a doomy goth element that I haven’t heard done well for a long time.