Arch Enemy

For I Am King – Crown Review

For I Am King – Crown Review

“I can address the Arch Enemy-shaped elephant in the room with For I Am King. A female vocalist, a Gothenburg-inspired guitar attack, just enough metalcore riffage to keep things relatable – Crown has got it all. To be clear, there is nothing cutting edge about it; if it’s riffs you want, ask and you shall receive. Don’t approach Crown expecting to come away with the prototype of the new breed of melodeath or a newfound respect for Arch Enemy.” Arch usurper.

The Privateer – Kingdom of Exiles Review

The Privateer – Kingdom of Exiles Review

“I am generally a defender of themed metal. If Viking metal is considered a valid genre, then so should pirate metal. It’s just a shame that the latter is spearheaded by a band (which shall remain unnamed) that has gone from a mixture of comedy and epic to full meme-lord. It has cost the entire genre in legitimacy, and it now seems as if pirates can be nothing but silly cartoons. The Privateer stages a mutiny on that school of thought, however, aiming for a return to the adventurous and dramatic seafaring tales of yore.” Booty raiding.

Praise the Sun – The Proffer of Light Review

Praise the Sun – The Proffer of Light Review

“I remember the excitement I felt when I discovered In Flames during the late 90s. Albums like Whoracle and Colony were heavy, but they had Maiden-like harmonies and they were drenched with cool melodies that kept me coming back for more. The contrast between the Mack truck riffs and the catchy hooks hit a nerve. Since then, hundreds of melodeath bands have tossed their spear in the ring, but not many have been able to hit the same mark. Praise the Sun recaptures a little bit of that old thrill.” The fire still burns.

Parasite Inc. – Cyan Night Dreams Review

Parasite Inc. – Cyan Night Dreams Review

Parasite Inc. is one of those bands that I want to fall deeply in love with, but I have no idea why anymore. This inexplicable yearning for that special spark with this German quartet no doubt owes its existence partially to the group’s super-fun debut, Time Tears Down. Since then, Parasite Inc. rapidly declined into cheesy, stale melodic metal that made me cringe more often than not. I had hoped that Cyan Night Dreams, the band’s third full length, might be the start of their redemption arc.” Hopes and dreams (and parasites).

Bryan Eckermann – Plague Bringers Review

Bryan Eckermann – Plague Bringers Review

“Bryan Eckermann, of such acts as Scars of the Flesh and Wings of Abaddon, is something of a multi-instrumentalist. In the aforementioned bands, for example, he covers guitars, bass, and drumming, which is already more than a lot of musicians can say for themselves. Since 2014, however, he has also stood at the helm of his own solo project, for which he does, well, everything. Vocals? Eckermann. Keys? Drums? All Eckermann. Mixing? Mastering? Recording? Still Eckermann.” One-man army.

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.