Arch Enemy

Arcane Existence – Colossus Review

Arcane Existence – Colossus Review

“What initially drew me to Arcane Existence‘s sophomore release Colossus was, admittedly, the album cover. The rich, concentrated gem tones, spindly castle, misty forest, and swirly, cyclonic clouds hovering underneath a full moon had me hooked. I can handle this, I thought to myself, hoping against hope that none of my greedy coworkers would slap their name on the promo before I could do a little more research prior to fully committing. After learning that Arcane Existence describes their sound as symphonic blackened death, it was game over. Say no more. This promo was mine.” Art and large expectations.

Akiavel – Væ Victis Review

Akiavel – Væ Victis Review

If you’re about my age, you probably remember being a teenager and being rather surprised by Arch Enemy’s “Nemesis” video. For those unfamiliar, a speedy melo-death riff kicks the song off and we see a girl dressed like a Hot Topic version of Britney Spears in the “Oops, I Did it Again” video. She lets out a scream, and everyone watching goes “whoa, I can’t believe a girl can make those sounds!” The novelty wore off quickly despite my efforts to like the band because I liked Michael Amott’s work in Carcass. The Angela Gossow version Arch Enemy was inoffensively boring, and the band has since deteriorated into being offensively boring in the current Alissa White-Gluz iteration. The takeaway here is that Arch Enemy at their most popular is bland and uninspiring, and I’m lost as to who would take musical inspiration from that sound. Enter French death metal band Akiavel.” Archetypes.

Wolfchant – Omega : Bestia Review

Wolfchant – Omega : Bestia Review

“I love when the genre is accidentally and maliciously mislabeled by an album’s promo package. It always leads to delightfully gruesome surprises and oh so satisfying pleas and groveling by shocked and dismayed reviewers once the true nature of the promo revels itself. It’s especially amusing since the sadistic AMG management rarely lets reviewers back out once a promo is drawn from the murk and claimed. Karma is a bitch though, and what goes around comes around, and this time it was your friendly neighborhood Steel who got hoisted by his own petard ov judgment when selecting Wolfchant.” Beastly besties.

Evil Drive – Demons Within Review

Evil Drive – Demons Within Review

“Well, the female-front beast that is Evil Drive is back. Like I’ve stated in previous reviews, Arch Enemy probably comes to mind the most. That said, the band has tried to incorporate more than meets the ears. I’m not gonna say this Finnish Five-some has solved the problem and released something special. Not quite, but at least there’s a little more variety on this new release. Or, maybe it’s that it seems like the band has finally started taking their music seriously.” By demons be driven.

Tomorrow’s Rain – Hollow Review

Tomorrow’s Rain – Hollow Review

“With all the tech-death, funeral doom, and post-whateverthefuck being hurled our way over the last couple of years, it’s paradoxically refreshing when certain sounds of yesteryear make an unexpected, yet somewhat welcome, return. In today’s case, it’s in the form of mid-90s-flavored gothic metal that would have Century Media doing a violent double-take as to what decade it is.” Blame it on the rain.

Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“Manned by the dark mind of Ken Sorceron, Abigail Williams has come a long way in the last decade. Surviving lineup changes, relocations, and changes in musical directions—as well as fandom—Sorceron pushes on, refusing to settle on a path created for him by others’ expectations. Up ahead is another bend in this path. So, take my hand and let’s Walk Beyond the Dark together.” Abby normal

5Rand – Dark Mother Review

5Rand – Dark Mother Review

“Regardless what the band name means, I bet those who dabble in guessing a band’s genre by their name can guess this one. With simple melodeath riffs set atop typical metalcore ones, 5Rand‘s unique trait is the alternating rasps, growls, cleans by vocalist Julia Elenior. Toss in headbanging licks of Shogun-era Trivium and some rather impressive drum work, and you’ve got the band’s second full-length release, Dark Mother.” Mother knows beast.

Carnifex – World War X Review

Carnifex – World War X Review

Carnifex released their best record to date in 2016’s Slow Death. What happened? Mick Kenney of Anaal Nathrakh was credited with production, programming, and writing. This was an interesting development: deathcore had been creeping into Anaal Nathrakh’s sound over the years, and now Kenney was directly influencing the genre which influenced his main project. Kenney is credited for vocal recording on World War X but is not credited as a writer. Nonetheless, Carnifex continues wisely down the path of deathcore influenced by the Anaal Nathrakh material influenced by deathcore.” Positive influences.

Psychotool – Rotten Paradise Review

Psychotool – Rotten Paradise Review

“Coming off a short hiatus from this fetid cesspit exalted hall, I find myself digging through the promo bin for something familiar, something to kickstart the ol’ critical faculties. Black metal? Nah, wrong weather. Doom? Certainly rainy enough to fit, but nah. Melodeath it is then!” Something is rotten in…paradise??

Parasite Inc. – Dead and Alive Review

Parasite Inc. – Dead and Alive Review

“Bands like Hypocrisy and Dark Tranquillity were like gateway drugs for me. I remember getting heavy into the style about a decade ago and then it seemed to run its course. And, as most of my favorite bands carry on with run-of-the-mill material, while others—like Soilwork, Arch Enemy, and In Flames—continue to bore me to fucking death, it’s become even more clear that I’ve fallen away from the genre. So, in hopes of rekindling some of those flames, I grabbed Parasite Inc.‘s Dead and Alive. What the hell was I thinking?” The Doc has worms.