As I Lay Dying

Neaera – Neaera Review

Neaera – Neaera Review

“No matter how hard you try, you can never really escape your past. By day I’m the kvltest of the kvlt, blasting the blakkened fukkin death while wearing a shirt that depicts Jesus getting flogged by a horde of goat demons. But when I curl up at night with my plesiosaurus plush, I know at heart I’m still the same mid-aughts core kid who got his start in the metal world with Killswitch Engage and their ilk. Even today, when the promo teat runs dry, sometimes I find myself returning to where it all began: core.” Damn core kids!

Quiescency – Message for Lamb Review

Quiescency – Message for Lamb Review

“Metalcore. Deathcore. The ever nebulous ‘melodic metal.’ These are tags that discomfit discerning metalheads like myself. In those rare moments where I experience the excitement for a new release in these genres, as I did with Russia’s Quiescency, the worst case is that my anticipation overinflates. Since the band announced Message for Lamb roughly forever ago, my expectations for their debut record swiftly reached an unreasonable altitude. Alas, what goes up must come down.” Lamb stewed.

Countless Goodbyes – Cycles Review

Countless Goodbyes – Cycles Review

“It’s been pretty interesting to watch metalcore’s evolution over the years. I’m talking specifically about the strain of metalcore that cropped up in the early 2000s, the good cop/bad cop style played by the Killswitch Engages and As I Lay Dyings of the world, the type that infused At the Gates riffs with choruses cribbed from the latest alt-rock band. I ate that shit up in high school and stayed for the party when the style started adopting faster and more technical playing (see: August Burns Red and Texas in July). When djent had its heyminute in the early 2010s, bands realized chugs weren’t too different from breakdowns and thus began to add some djentiness to the proceedings (see: This or the Apocalypse‘s Dead Years and Hollow).” The core cycle.

Stormland – Songs of Future Wars Review

Stormland – Songs of Future Wars Review

“The Grymm Grab Bag… Dungeons & Dragons-esque item of mystery and deception. The bag has blessed me with many musical gifts and bitten my sorry ass in equal measure over the years. Like the sorry cat-guy that I am, I should know better than to stick my grubby, unwashed paw into its gaping maw. This week, I have pulled out Songs of Future Wars, the debut album by one-man death metal act Stormland.” Gundam style.

Threat Signal – Disconnect Review

Threat Signal – Disconnect Review

“Five years ago, another metal blog referred to As I Lay Dying’s Awakened as “the world’s first retro-metalcore album.” While that same not-to-be-named blog was also recently guilty of authoring one of the most idiotic self-serving shitposts I’ve ever read, in the case of Awakened they were actually right. With its melodic Gothenburg riffs, gang vocals, soaring clean choruses, and pummeling breakdowns, the record hearkened back to mid-00s metalcore at a time when the rest of the scene was too busy being balls deep in whatever Periphery was doing.” Old core, new core. At this point, what does it matter?

Hollow – Home Is Not Where the Heart Is Review

Hollow – Home Is Not Where the Heart Is Review

“A funny thing happened to metalcore in the last six years or so. After the Killswitch Engages and As I Lay Dyings of the world spent years churning out Gothenburg riffs and tough-guy breakdowns like cheap beers at a frat party, metalcore bands finally listened to Periphery and started latching on to this new thing called ‘djent.'” Metalcore through the ages.

Zao – The Well-Intentioned Virus Review

Zao – The Well-Intentioned Virus Review

“Pennsylvania’s Zao needs no further introduction. One of metalcore’s pioneering bands influenced a huge swath of groups, mainstream and underground, with their chaotic riffing, pummeling rhythms, honest, heart-wrenching lyrics and venomous screaming of Dan Weyandt. And while the band endured quite the past, Zao continue to walk to the beat of their own drum while inviting the fans to come along.” December sucks for new releases, until it doesn’t.

Heaven Shall Burn – Wanderer Review

Heaven Shall Burn – Wanderer Review

“I love seeing bands progress beyond their infant stages, taking their influences and branching out into worlds unknown. Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn are not one of those bands you think of when you picture the word “progress.” They’ve taken their signature sound from 2004’s landmark Antigone, refined their attack, and proceeded to beat us over the head with variations of their trademark brand of metalcore/death metal/whatever it is the cool kids are calling them these days.” AMG: Voice of the cool kids since 2009.