Candlelight Records

MMXX – Sacred Cargo Review

MMXX – Sacred Cargo Review

MMXX is a very short name for a band, but it still says a lot about its story. During periods of isolation and lockdown in the titular year, Andrea Chiodetti (ex-The Foreshadowing), Jesse Haff (Daylight Dies), and Egan O’Rourke (Daylight Dies) formed something of a doom metal supergroup, based in the United States and Italy, and began writing music inspired by the events happening around them. From there, the project has grown ambitiously—now signed with Candlelight Records, the band brought on guest musician after guest musician to form something of a dark Avantasia-like project.” Sacred cargo or suspicious package?

Armed for Apocalypse – Ritual Violence Review

Armed for Apocalypse – Ritual Violence Review

“Ah, sludge. The heaviest and slimiest of the fuzzy metals—or so I’ve been told. This actually isn’t a style I venture into at all. So then, why am I reviewing Armed for Apocalypse, described by their own promotional material as an ‘uncompromising sludge juggernaut?’ Boredom, maybe. Curiosity, perhaps? We may never know.” Sludge uphill.

Darkest Era – Wither on the Vine Review

Darkest Era – Wither on the Vine Review

“Talk about making fans wait for a new album. Way, way back in 2014 I was gobsmacked by Severance, the sophomore release by Irish epic doom act Darkest Era. It had a near-perfect blend of doom, black, goth and Viking genres and felt like a heavy-duty emotional journey through dark, trying times. It stitched together the best parts of Primordial, Atlantean Kodex, Ereb Altor, and Iron Maiden to create an album grander than the sum of its parts. There was a brooding, melancholic beauty and power to it that few albums could equal. I was very anxious to get a followup, and nearly 8 long years later, it finally shows up.” Dark days.

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Swagger & Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole Review

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Swagger & Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole Review

“This album is probably my most anticipated release of this year. To me, Diablo Swing Orchestra don’t simply play avant-garde metal—they are avant-garde metal, owing to the fact that they were my gateway into the genre with the incredible Pandora’s Piñata. And yet, Pacifisticuffs never really drew me in. I blamed the production at the time; something about the sound of the album kept me at arm’s length. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Diablo Swing Orchestra octet is a machine of creativity, talent, and ambition. However I may have felt about their previous release, a new album by them is a special occasion.” Rabbit revenge.

TRNA – Istok Review

TRNA – Istok Review

TRNA first came to my attention not long ago, when I volunteered to review Istok, their fourth full-length release, without knowing anything about it. I learned that the band describes their own music as “celestial blackgaze” and thought, what could go wrong? Obviously, that answer to that is “everything,” but I was optimistic. As I read about the band’s story, one that drifts away from their Russian homeland to try and capture the spirit of an altogether dreamier, darker, and more abstract place, I grew increasingly intrigued.” Space gaze.

Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn Review

Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn Review

“Wtf’s occur in everyday life. I’ve broken a thumb of one hand under the hammer held by the other and exclaimed the same betrayed question. Hell, I’m sure my mother pinched me out and exclaimed those same three words to my father. I sure did whisper it when I heard Winterfylleth’s The Hallowing of Heirdom. An acoustic album was not what I expected. I had hoped, instead, for a strong release to balance out the mediocre The Dark Hereafter. Upon the first spin of The Reckoning Dawn, my mouth hung open once more and I exclaimed, ‘what the fuck.’ But what kind of ‘wtf’ is this? The good kind? Or the bad?” You can’t spell Winterfylleth without WTF.

Yer Metal is Olde: Opeth – My Arms, Your Hearse

Yer Metal is Olde: Opeth – My Arms, Your Hearse

“There’s raging debate about which Opeth album sits on the pedestal as their greatest achievement. I’m not here to proclaim My Arms, Your Hearse as their best album, but it holds a special place in my heart and is a fundamental stepping stone towards the band’s momentous career peak. Fittingly it was the first Opeth album I heard around the turn of the millennium, setting me on course for a hell of a ride across the band’s decorated career.” Once were metal.

Sigh – Heir to Despair Review

Sigh – Heir to Despair Review

“Some of the band’s previously bagged waterfowl are among the rarest and colorful to ever take flight, flashing their lavish plumage in iridescent hues and streaming with fanciful feathers. After the modern classic of In Somniphobia and Graveward’s acceptable, if not always exciting, follow-up, the band needed something different to end this quartet with something more powerful than mere exhalation.” Where the Heir is thin.

Ultra-Violence – Operation Misdirection Review

Ultra-Violence – Operation Misdirection Review

“2018 has not been the year of amazing thrash. That’s to be expected though as the years of amazing thrash ended in the 80s. We now live in the age of passable, serviceable and very occasionally, good thrash. Italian speed fiends Ultra-Violence fit someplace in the center of these threadbare thrash end days, better than some, but not as good as the very best.” Ultra-good enough.

Witchsorrow – Hexenhammer Review

Witchsorrow – Hexenhammer Review

Cathedral left such a gaping hole in the doom metal scene when they dissolved back in 2013. Sure, they dabbled in some rather goofy disco moments, and 2010’s The Guessing Game was an exercise in headfuckery, but when they brought the heavy, it was delivered by a fleet of Mack trucks. Calling them a massive influence would be understating the obvious in extremes. So when younger bands such as Hampshire’s Witchsorrow come along with a sound eerily like their forefathers, I tend to get a bit weary. Now on their fourth album, Hexenhammer, the British trio hope to impress the grumpy old man-cat from Blashyrkh, Florida…” Lord Of Hexhammers.