Apr21

Monarch – Future Shock Review

Monarch – Future Shock Review

“Another week, another contest contestant, this time in the form of San Diego thrashers Monarch, winners of the 2019 Wacken Metal Battle USA. That’s better than a Participant ribbon! Led by guitarists Casey Trask and Matt Smith (who also serves as vocalist), Monarch’s style harkens back to the early days of thrash, with plenty of punky attitude and silly subject matter yet loads of technical skill. After 2017’s debut Go Forth…Slaughter, the band played a ton of gigs, honed their songwriting skills, and went into the studio (rather than the debut’s DIY approach) to craft Future Shock, an album they hope is a big step forward.” Born to rule?

Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3 Review

Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3 Review

“Believe it or not, it’s been roughly twenty-two years since the band’s last full-length. I know that LTE isn’t for everyone but it’s hard to deny the impressive instrumentation. Bringing acclaimed bassist Tony Levin on board took a potential this-is-just-DreamTheater-without-James-LaBrie outfit, and made it mostly original. Sure, you can’t take the DT out of John Petrucci but, even then, it’s nice to hear the instruments without LaBrie’s voice.” Do androids dream of Liquid Tension Experiment theater?

Cannibal Corpse  – Violence Unimagined Review

Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined Review

“I said it in 2017 and I’ll say it again: I fucking love Cannibal Corpse. This is a band that almost infamously represents death metal in its purist form. Opaque riffs, furious vocals and a trajectory more certain than cradle to grave. Their discography contains many a predatory précis on a genre they helped define. Yet, all too often, their name is accompanied by inexplicable eye-rolling. It is forever beyond me how any death metal aficionado can turn their nose up at an act as effective as Cannibal Corpse.” Esprit de Corpse.

Fragmentum – Masters of Perplexity Review

Fragmentum – Masters of Perplexity Review

Fragmentum want to be famous so bad. By the beard of Johan Hegg, they want to be famous so bad. On top of their own homepage with the hip and cool .zone domain, the promo package includes a list of no less than 9 social media and related pages, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Bandcamp, Bandsintown, Spotify, Soundcloud and Apple freaking Music. The package also has the very stylish modern (and generic) band logo in 4 different formats and no less than 11 pictures of the 3 man band (5 of the band, 2 of each band member individually. The promo text, which is so masturbatory it may as well have been handwritten in man-brine, speaks of “a well known Belgian diverging metal band,” trying to squeeze the formation into the genesis of a new subgenre, whatever the hell ‘diverging metal’ is supposed to be. So the trio has everything it needs for its break into metal stardom, right?” Vexed and perplexed.

Bushido Code – The Ronin Review

Bushido Code – The Ronin Review

“I’m a sucker for odd combos. Purple and yellow for an action movie poster instead of the boring and overused red-blue scheme? Sign me the fuck up. A crossover that’s actually also a convertible? I think that’s fucking stupid but sign me the fuck up anyway. So when I saw that Pennsylvania/North Carolina quintet Bushido Code‘s debut The Ronin came with the thrash metal tag, artwork that looks like a cross between Overwatch concept art and West Coast style graffiti, and stitched together with Japanese samurai themes which may or may not extend somewhat beyond pure aesthetics, I felt compelled to cover it.” Lone Wolf and club.

Soothsayer – Echoes of the Earth Review

Soothsayer – Echoes of the Earth Review

“When thinking of how to describe Soothsayer‘s primitive sound, I thought if the band were a people, they’d be advanced enough to build a pretty mean henge, but they’d definitely still be eating their enemies to steal their battle ability, and if a farmer brought their shaman a vegetable that grew weird, they’d probably worship it.” Protoculture.

Pathfinders – Ares Vallis Review

Pathfinders – Ares Vallis Review

Pathfinders’ sound is a robotic casing of groove metal which houses a metalcore rover that it uses to explore expansive concepts of the infinite. The metalcore tag can be a poisonous one in these parts, so let’s be clear straight off the bat: Pathfinders is more Killswitch Engage and less Zao. More djent and less prog. This is your high-school chewing-gum metalcore, back when Linkin Park seemed edgy. This will be deal-breaker for some, and if you are one of those folks who can’t stand the sound, I bid you farewell and Godspeed as you take the escape pod on your journey to the next review.” Explore-core.

Syning – Syning Review

Syning – Syning Review

“I’m not entirely sure what’s happening on this cover, but it can’t be good. Making rounds at the office to gather insight on these mummified shenanigans, Cherd suggests the vaccination line at CVS. Felagund shakes his n00by tail-feathers with a bright-eyed look and suggests it’s the DMV waiting room. Still utterly confused, I slapped this down on Steel‘s desk with a big ol’ “the fuck is this” and he chuckles nostalgically and a gleam enters his eye. “The n00b gauntlet,” he mumbles.” Syning in blood.

Motorjesus – Hellbreaker Review

Motorjesus – Hellbreaker Review

“Windshield time also gives me the chance to re-explore my favorite albums. I rarely listen to new promos on the road. This time is dedicated to albums from the Road Gods. Give me something bluesy, something rocking, something upbeat, something I can blare with windows down and my foot inching closer to the floor. Give me something I can scream at the top of my lungs and shift gears to. The simpler, the better. The groovier, the sweeter.” Jesus repossessed your hot rod.