American Rock

Chat Pile – God’s Country Review

Chat Pile – God’s Country Review

“Hopelessness is both a universal and local phenomenon. It’s always the same handful of pressures that cause it; resource inaccessibility, environmental/health factors, power held by the unscrupulous, etc, but every place has its own particular aesthetic of hopelessness. Despondency in, say, Guangzhou, China will look, sound and feel different than it does in the American Midwest. Sludge/Noise band Chat Pile call their debut album God’s Country “Oklahoma’s specific brand of misery,” and indeed their name itself comes from the piles of toxic waste, left over from an unregulated lead and zinc extraction industry, poisoning towns in the Sooner State.” American nightmares.

Wailin Storms – The Silver Snake Unfolds Review

Wailin Storms – The Silver Snake Unfolds Review

“I liked a lot about Wailin Storms’ 2020 album Rattle. Reading back over my review, I mention doom metal, post-hardcore, the High Lonesome Sound, haunted hollers and swamps and David Eugene Edwards. I called it “fire-and-brimstone snake-handling speaking in tongues nightmare music,” and friends, that’s practically my erogenous zone. The major issue with Rattle was a dearth of compositional ideas. Still, they’re one of the few gothic Americana acts out there with a metal heart, so I had high hopes for any potential follow up.” No steppy on snake.

Birth – Born Review

Birth – Born Review

“As I listened to Born by Birth, it became clear I was witnessing another throwback progressive rock band being, well…born; one which harkens back to a bygone era of English prog majesty; less identified by the harder-edged, complex compositions of early Rush and more by the extended jams and intricate, less metallic instrumentation of King Crimson, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Genesis. These were the bands I’d fallen in love with during my earlier sojourns, and it’s clear the Birth boys feel similarly.” Born too late.

Moon Tooth – Phototroph Review

Moon Tooth – Phototroph Review

“I wrote a gushing review of New York rockers Moon Tooth’s supercharged 2019 sophomore album Crux, copping some flak amongst the readership in the process. Moon Tooth scratch the modern hard rock meets prog metal itch nicely, and third LP, Phototroph, comes with plenty of anticipation. The heavier rock stylings of their earlier material is smoothed over, squarely placing Moon Tooth in metal adjacent hard rock territory. And listeners not enamored with their previous work, especially Crux, will find nothing here to change their minds. I imagine the Moon Tooth fanbase will continue to swell and their profile rise, however, this will be a divisive effort amongst the AMG community.” Moon bite.

Into the Obscure: Masters of Reality – Deep in the Hole

Into the Obscure: Masters of Reality – Deep in the Hole

“We all have our dirty metal secrets that we selfishly keep to ourselves, only sharing with a select few close to us. Or alternatively, we incessantly talk up underground gems and spread the gospel to anyone that will listen, as we cherish our slice of underground cred. Into the Obscure aims to right the wrongs and unearth the artists/albums that for whatever unjust reason didn’t get the exposure, appreciation or credit they sorely deserved the first time round.” Master! Master!

Paul Gilbert – ‘Twas Review

Paul Gilbert – ‘Twas Review

“As official Lore Keeper of the First Age of Metal, Steel is well acquainted with Paul Gilbert and his classic heavy metal band Racer X. Unfamiliar with either name, I was surprised to find I know his work from my junior high days of listening to Mr. Big cassettes. As a guitarist, Gilbert is a throwback to that heady era of hard rock when wheedly-wheedly was king, and few could wank a guitar to completion quite like him. ‘Twas is his holiday gift to an indifferent unsuspecting world.” Christmas cannon.

Kadabra – Ultra Review

Kadabra – Ultra Review

“I used to listen to, and enjoy, heavy psych a lot. I’m beginning to wonder, however, whether the onset of mid-life (not yet a mid-life crisis, please note —emphasis on yet) may have biologically hindered my ability to enjoy the genre. I keep picking it up for review, perhaps in the hope of recapturing some younger version of myself, and steadily continue to dole out 2.0s or 2.5s. And while a low score a day, keeps the Angry Boss Ape away, it’s not very good for the soul, you know? So, I approached Spokane, Washington’s Kabadra more in hope, than expectation, of finding something for me.” Olde world problems.

Gloop – Crayon Sun Review

Gloop – Crayon Sun Review

Gloop is a trio from West Virginia but currently based in Baltimore, having released two full-lengths since 2017. A truly disconcerting brew of noise rock by way of no-wave with a healthy dose of bluesy rock and upbeat punk, Crayon Sun takes Gloop to darker depths with in-your-face dissonance, angular riffs, and a defiant punk attitude. A shapeshifting beast both apathetic, frenetic, and abrasive.” The Glooper.

Yer Metal Is OIde: Alice In Chains – Alice In Chains

Yer Metal Is OIde: Alice In Chains – Alice In Chains

“Seattle rock legends Alice In Chains may not strictly qualify as metal, but they are widely regarded within the metal community, especially compared to the other big name bands of the famed grunge era, which tend to polarize metalheads. Perhaps it’s the blanket of sorrow and darkness enveloping their sound, coupled with the sludge and doom influences, that compliment their hard rock core and melancholic acoustic forays. Although Alice In Chains are still chugging along admirably to the present day, it was the band’s ’90s heyday and era with doomed frontman Layne Staley that remains the classic and defining era of the band.” Alice lives.