Cynic

Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus Review

Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus Review

“While I’ve traditionally identified as a basic black metal bitch, my listening habits of late have hovered firmly above death metal territory. The art of the Big Dumb Riff has held absolute command of my Spotify search bar, and it’s all thanks to the diversity the genre pool has spawned in over three decades of evolution. Just as I finish my most recent round of dick flattening at the hands of something as unflinchingly savage as Black Curse, I know I can hop to the opposite end of the technical axis to enjoy similarly aggressive highs in a fresh context. Cryptic Shift‘s debut is about as far from something like Black Curse as you can imagine on the caveman riff spectrum, but those same thrills are all here.” Up Shift’s creek.

Exist – Egoiista Review

Exist – Egoiista Review

“It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I heard of Exist. However, this Baltimore band has been around for over a decade, with their debut EP coming out back in 2010, and Egoiista is the group’s third full-length release. Most of the material here was conceived at the same time as the band’s last album, 2017’s So True, So Bound, and has been honed and refined over the past few years. Max Phelps is the leader here. He had a brief stint as guitarist in Cynic earlier this decade, and one can definitely hear that influence at times on Egoiista. This is a modern progressive metal album in the sense that it makes use of plenty of instrumental dynamics, and plenty of clean/harsh vocal transitions. Plenty of bands do this; not all succeed. So how about Exist?” Leggo my Ego!

Gomorrah – Gomorrah Review

Gomorrah – Gomorrah Review

“Confession time: I am not the biggest fan of technical death metal. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the classics, such as Death and Atheist, as well as choice cuts from Cynic. But the genre as a whole suffers from either too many scale acrobatics, or way too much chugging on the low string on a 7-, 8-, or even 9-string guitar to even warrant such a overly abused tag such as “technical.” In other words, technical metal bores me to tears most of the time. You know what doesn’t bore me, though? Canada’s Gomorrah.” Smile back at this death.

Contrarian – Their Worm Never Dies Review

Contrarian – Their Worm Never Dies Review

“Dear readers, what are your favorite ’90s progressive or technical death metal albums? Perhaps it’s Cynic‘s legendary Focus, Death‘s Human, Edge of Sanity‘s Crimson, or is it Pestilence and their classic Consuming Impulse opus? Or maybe Atheist‘s brilliant Unquestionable Presence album floats your boat. Or digging deeper, a more left-field choice: Martyr‘s underrated Hopeless Hopes. New York’s Contrarian pay omage to the classic ’90s progressive and technical death scene through their retro and impressively authentic throwback style of spazzed out prog death on their third LP, Their Worm Never Dies.” Undying worms and olde death.

The EP, Demo, and Oddity Post [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

The EP, Demo, and Oddity Post [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

“As a younger man I had no concept of the “EP,” nor the “demo,” nor the “split.” When was the last time Iron Maiden had to curb their excesses by squashing ideas into half an hour? When were Judas Priest not able to afford a professional recording studio and production job? And when’s that Metallica/Megadeth split due again? Such formats are reserved for the underdogs of the metal world, those bubbling beneath the surface of popularity who write music for the sheer creative expression and who will never see monetary reward for their time and effort.” Short is sweet.

Obscura – Diluvium Review

Obscura – Diluvium Review

Obscura‘s 2009 release, Cosmogensis, dropped right when I was getting back into metal in a big way. I, like most people who heard it at the time, hailed it as the spiritual successor to Necrophagist and crowned the band the Kings o’ Noodly Death Metal. They have, in my estimation, never lived up to these expectations. Both Omnivium and Arkóasis fell flat, and both suffered from similar weaknesses; ballooning song and album-lengths, often at the cost of compositional focus and coherence.” If that’s not a cliff-hanger that makes you need to click, nothing is!

Apocrophex – Æternalis Review

Apocrophex – Æternalis Review

“It’s heartening to see musicians still figuring out the formulas and successfully imprinting their own identity on what is unquestionably the world’s greatest form of music. And in that vein, it’s time to unsheathe your wallet and supplicate the hard-earned fiat currency of your worldly region before Apocrophex.” A penny for the prog-death.

Alkaloid – Liquid Anatomy Review

Alkaloid – Liquid Anatomy Review

The Malkuth Grimoire marked an exciting beginning for the star-studded line-up of Alkaloid. Escaping the imposing shadows of the band members other projects in unique and often unconventional ways, the album was very well received by myself and the metal community at large. Despite the chinks in its futuristic armory, such as the excessive bloat and ambitious but not always successful experimentation, Alkaloid emphatically proved they weren’t content to coast by with another typical tech death project. Now Hannes Grossman, Christian Münzner and co return with Liquid Anatomy.” Fluid dynamics.

Pestilence – Hadeon Review

Pestilence – Hadeon Review

“Kill to survive; metal in 2018 is facing a similar conundrum, and has been for years. As the scene gets busier, it bleeds and struggles, much like extreme metal did in the mid-late nineties. Albert Mudrian’s Choosing Death showcases the problem ably: extreme bands simply had nowhere left to go. The glut of boring material is exhausting, and it gives the impression of an enervated scene. Pestilence, releasing their eighth studio record Hadeon this year, seems to feel this climate and have wisely decided to sound like a death metal band who loves making death metal.” A plague of death.