American Rock

Seven Planets – Explorer Review

Seven Planets – Explorer Review

“Sometimes, vocals — however good they may be — detract, or at least distract, from really listening to the moods the music is conjuring. This is how I feel about, for example, the instrumental records that accompany releases from The Ocean — while I typically listen to the full version, every now and again I will put on the instrumental version and float away. While West Virginia’s Seven Planets are a very different beast from that Berlin-based collective, their brand of instrumental rock, rooted in blues and groove, also aims to carry you away.” Seven paths to Uranus.

Mondo Generator – Fuck It Review

Mondo Generator – Fuck It Review

“It’s hard to say why I grabbed Mondo Generator’s subtly titled Fuck It from the promo bin but, if you’re putting me on the spot, I think excitement probably got the better of me. Not, I should be clear, excitement because I love Mondo Generator – I do not – but simply the excitement of seeing a band I had actually heard of, which had not already been snapped up by one of the nimbler reviewers. The brainchild of Nick Oliveri – and sometimes also known as Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator – of Kyuss, Dwarves and Queens of the Stone Age fame (among others), Mondo Generator has been around for quite a while.” Bad attitude.

Big Scenic Nowhere – Vision Beyond Horizon Review

Big Scenic Nowhere – Vision Beyond Horizon Review

“I don’t think of desert rock as an especially active genre when it comes to innovation. Brant Bjork God knows it can be self referential to a fault, conjuring with each release the same core components of fuzzy, jammy riffs, psychedelic woo woo vibes, earth tones and a gritty dryness worthy of the California landscape that hatched it. The creative peak that launched its best known bands is easily a few decades in the rearview mirror, yet this old conversion van keeps driving the same dusty highways, pot smoke and 70’s rock worship rolling out it’s open windows.” Big empty.

Chelsea Wolfe – Birth of Violence [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Chelsea Wolfe – Birth of Violence [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Chelsea Wolfe‘s respected and increasingly revered status within, and outside, the metal scene has steadily grown in recent years. From humble beginnings of her experimental goth-folk early works, to the enchanting Pain is Beauty, Wolfe really hit her stride on 2015’s eclectic masterwork, Abyss.” Birth is violence.

Buildings – Negative Sound Review

Buildings – Negative Sound Review

It’s late in the year, and list season is upon us. For the past eleven months, trying to keep up with all of the quality extreme metal has felt like trying to drink from a fire hose. The volume of stellar releases has only multiplied in recent weeks, and for every one I manage to catch, three more stack up on my “get to” pile. So with all that metal practically begging for my attention, now seems like the perfect time to take a break from it. I was unfamiliar with Buildings when I chose Negative Sound from the promo pit, but its tag of “noise rock” and distinctly non-metal artwork seemed the ideal pallet cleanser.” A clean pallet is a terrible thing to taste.

Bask – III Review

Bask – III Review

“Asheville, North Carolina. A bizarre cultural potpourri famous for its beer, food, music scene and road construction, Asheville is one of those strange places that is both cripplingly flawed and difficult to resist. It’s a fascinating place, and it has my heart. So it should come as no surprise that I Bask in the glow of III, an Americana-spiked hard rock album that comes direct from my current hometown. We write infrequently about stuff from or within spitting distance of this city, but it seems like every time we do we like what we get—I direct you to Aether Realm and Undrask, for starters—and Bask‘s latest continues the trend.” Sweet home Carolina.

Here Lies Man – No Ground to Walk Upon Review

Here Lies Man – No Ground to Walk Upon Review

“I love imagining new music genres. What if somebody made blackened thrash with cleanly sung choruses? What if somebody made war metal with melodic death metal riffs? What if somebody made music like The Acacia Strain that was actually good? California’s Here Lies Man asked their own version of this question: what if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat?” World music downfall.

Coheed and Cambria – Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

Coheed and Cambria – Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

“What were you expecting, a metal review? Too bad. Coheed time. Back in 2005, the New York boys of Coheed and Cambria were immensely influential in my formative years as a rabid consumer of music. Though only a metal band in the loosest sense of the genre, the band’s emotionally explosive and instrumentally nuanced brand of progressive alt-rock undoubtedly laid the foundation for my formal induction into metal fandom only a year later. For better or for worse, they also ignited my critical spirit; the waning quality of C&C‘s post-Good Apollo Vol. I output forced me to examine music with an unbiased ear, and helped turn me into the cynical shithead you see before you today.” Alien inwasion.

A Perfect Circle – Eat the Elephant Review

A Perfect Circle – Eat the Elephant Review

“When A Perfect Circle dropped debut album Mer De Noms in 2000, the rock supergroup managed to exceed, or at least match, the lofty expectations its high profile membership garnered, led by Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan. The brilliant debut opus remains a staple in my listening rotation nearly 20 years later, and 2003 follow-up Thirteenth Step proved a worthy successor. Before inevitable clashes with the band member’s various main projects resulted in a 14-year recording hiatus, they dropped the ill-advised and overtly political 2004 covers album eMOTIVe. Now A Perfect Circle finally return with their highly anticipated fourth LP, Eat the Elephant.” Sphere today, gone tomorrow,