American Metal

Burned in Effigy – Rex Mortem Review

Burned in Effigy – Rex Mortem Review

“Melodic death metal is a strange beast for me. It’s one of those genres that almost always sounds good on first listen, but once the novelty wears off, I rarely find myself enamored enough to hang around. I recently joked that Amon Amarth is the only melodeath band I actually like, and while that may not actually be true, the sentiment illustrates what I need in order to like an album of this particular genre. No thanks to sad-boi, contemplative versions of the style; I need riffs and aggression in my melodeath platters.” Burning in elegance.

Take Over and Destroy – Fade Out [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Take Over and Destroy – Fade Out [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

“Like many of you, my allegiances are with my local scene. With Covid taking over bars and venues, it’s been challenging to keep up with the ever-changing scene as new basement bands emerge, and veterans call it quits. Thankfully, my fellow Phoenicians, Take Over and Destroy, didn’t let the pandemic get them down—quite the opposite, really. Earlier this year, they were a band that’s been quiet for almost five years. Later in the year, they surprised the entire metal community by materializing a new record out of the fucking ether. With a kickass, old-school vinyl cover and a straightforward attitude to doom and sludge, Fade Out is the Covid album we all wanted. Drop the needle, and let’s get mad.” Healthy destruction.

Ashes of Ares – Emperors and Fools Review

Ashes of Ares – Emperors and Fools Review

“Barlow’s time as the classic Iced Earth vocalist solidified him as one of these legendary figures in my personal mythology, and that legend was only strengthened when I learned that he’d left the band to pursue a career as a police officer after the events of 9/11. His return to the mic with Pyramaze was a pleasant surprise, and I really enjoyed the 2013 self-titled debut from Ashes of Ares, the project he formed with former Iced Earth bassist Freddy Vidales. For whatever reason, I missed Ashes of Ares‘ 2018 sophomore platter Well of Souls, but when I saw follow-up Emperors and Fools had found its way into the January promo bin, I threatened violence against any reviewer who might try to take it from me.” War arts!

Druid Lord – Relics of the Dead Review

Druid Lord – Relics of the Dead Review

“Some 12 years after coalescing around ex members of Acheron, Orlando, Florida’s Druid Lord is back with just their third full-length. A hefty eight years passed between debut, Hymns for the Wicked, and its 2018 follow-up, Grotesque Offerings, on which the death-doom quartet “came up short,” according to our own Grymm.” Speaking ill of the dead.

Worm Shepherd – Ritual Hymns Review

Worm Shepherd – Ritual Hymns Review

“In my very limited experience with the deathcore genre, Shadow of Intent is the master, chief. I’ve never before been arsed with Lorna Shore or any of the rank-and-file, nor do I care that Worm Shepherd have made a lot of waves in a relatively short period. Their debut In the Wake ov Sol dropped a touch over a year ago, and already they’re on Unique Leader and working with what I’m told are some big names. I wouldn’t spank Grier‘s ass over any of this. All I want is some good fucking music. Given their name, I’d say Worm Shepherd are obligated to pied piper my ass to the promised land with Ritual Hymns.” Worm wrangling.

Mastodon – Hushed and Grim [Things You Probably Didn’t Miss 2021]

Mastodon – Hushed and Grim [Things You Probably Didn’t Miss 2021]

“Yeah I know, anyone who gives two shits about Atlanta’s veteran modern metal/progressive sludge rock juggernaut Mastodon will likely have formed an opinion on their eighth studio album, and first double LP, Hushed and Grim. And I won’t lie, it is selfish reasons for including the album in this traditional end-of-year segment. We missed promo and the album turned out way better than a loyal but skeptical long-time fan was expecting.” Grim tales.

King Bastard – It Came From the Void Review

King Bastard – It Came From the Void Review

“It’s become a joke in the AMG tea-room that stoner doom, while often quite enjoyable, very rarely stands out. The languid, hazy riffs and easy atmosphere make for music that flirts cheekily with memorability, but rarely commits to it. Part of the reason, I suspect, is that most of this music operates in a slightly blunted emotional frequency, reflecting the effect being stoned has on the listener. Enter New York foursome, King Bastard, with their debut It Came From the Void. Crashing in with all the subtlety of day-old bong water, it’s a trip all right. But it’s one you should consider taking.” Void bastards.

Aethereus – Leiden Review

Aethereus – Leiden Review

“In his mostly positive review of their 2018 debut Absentia, Kronos pointed out that Aethereus treads the middle ground between flashy tech-death and death metal’s more dissonant realms. Not much has changed in this department, but where Absentia had a tendency to feel a bit disjointed because of the band’s stylistic duality, sophomore effort Leiden cashes in on the potential inherent in Aethereus‘ chosen sound palette.” Technical ecstacy.