Dec18

Beaten to Death – Agronomicon Review

Beaten to Death – Agronomicon Review

“The Norwegians’ 2015 masterclass Unplugged earned every bit of praise it received as it ruined thousands of scoliosis patients’ dreams of reaching the top shelf. I’ll say it up front: fourth record Agronomicon doesn’t top it, doesn’t even try. But don’t you dare to call it inferior; if anything, Agronomicon testifies to Beaten to Death‘s staying power as a force in the grind scene.” The list beating goes on and on.

Dødsferd – Diseased Remnants of a Dying World Review

Dødsferd – Diseased Remnants of a Dying World Review

Dødsferd is one strange duck. If there was a band you could sue for false advertising, it would be this one. I still remember the shock of hearing the band’s debut, Desecrating the Spirit of Life. I mean, how did this one get by me? I thought I’d heard every ’90s Norwegian black metal gem out there. After my friend realized I wasn’t joking, he gently corrected me. ‘Dude, these guys are from Greece and this is brand new.'” Contract the disease.

Sulphur Aeon – The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos Review

Sulphur Aeon – The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos Review

“Every reviewer asks the question of why great bands would put out anticipated records right at the end of the year. I’ve done that too, especially because that was my first reaction to the announcement of Sulphur Aeon’s The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos, the follow-up to Gateway to the Antisphere (also known as “the Best Record ov 2015”).” Tentacle Metal II: The Rebirthening.

Venom – Storm the Gates Review

Venom – Storm the Gates Review

“It’s always sad when a band has an internal branding dispute of such magnitude that it gives rise to two separate, but identical, entities. In this case, UK legends Venom are now forced to share a moniker with Venom Inc. and it may not be such a bad thing. Last year I reviewed the corporate crusher’s debut, Avé, where I waxed pompous over its unremarkable, but undeniably decent, content. Now, the black metal originals have returned with no less than their fifteenth studio album Storm the Gates.” Sounds of a poison fading.

Thunder Horse – Thunder Horse Review

Thunder Horse – Thunder Horse Review

“I’m going out with a bang on my last review of the year. Well, maybe more like a cannonball fired into a vat of molasses. This eponymous debut from southern sludge band Thunder Horse packs a wallop, kind of like being struck on the side of the head by, oh, I don’t know, a Crowbar?” A Thunder Horse of course, of course.

Frozen Land – Frozen Land Review

Frozen Land – Frozen Land Review

“Imagine, if you will: I, some nameless n00b, sitting around the house. The doorbell rings—the mailman arrives! I open the door; he is clearly shaken. Through his tremors of disconcertment, I gather that an extremely angry metal man ordered him to deliver a certain package to one Nameless N00b_12. I don’t know how he got my address. I don’t care either. I snatch at the package and stare in awe. Frozen Land? An eponymous debut? An angry Viking on the cover? A band that wants to ‘bring back the 90’s golden age of Finnish power metal?’ A song called ‘Orgy of Enlightenment?’ I tremble with joy, for there is only one plausible explanation—Angry Metal Guy wants to be my friend.” No he doesn’t.

Eternal Dream – Daementia Review

Eternal Dream – Daementia Review

“Nearly every time I prepare to go out for food and/or drink, I tell myself something along the lines of “I’m only going to have a couple” or “I’m not going to eat too much.” This inevitably leads to a moment later in the night where my wife mocks me for bemoaning the fact that I’ve tested the limits of gluttony and intemperance again. “Just accept the fact that you’re going to get hammered and eat too much and choose to enjoy it,” she says. She’s onto something here. While it’s generally best to aim for moderation in life, sometimes you just have to go into something expecting and embracing excess. This is a lesson that Spanish symphonic power metal band Eternal Dream demands that you take to heart.” Gluttony and lust!

Metal Church – Damned if You Do Review

Metal Church – Damned if You Do Review

Metal Church is one of those hard working second-tier metal acts that experienced moments of first-tier greatness over a lengthy career, but never crossed over to the promised land. Their debut is still one of my favorite thrash albums, and Blessing in Disguise probably makes my desert island top 20. I supported them over the decades through numerous line-up changes, but the albums with the late great David Wayne and then Mike Howe on vocals truly captured my Steely heart. When Mr. Howe returned after 20 years in limbo for 2016’s XI opus, I was thrilled. It was an impressive reunion outing too, sounding like the band I loved throughout the 80s and 90s. Now we get Damned if You Do, the all important second post-reunion release.” Brawl at Olde Church.

Methedras – The Ventriloquist Review

Methedras – The Ventriloquist Review

“In my younger years, extreme metal baffled me. My untrained ears were often unable to follow the complex riffs and fast tempos, making it impossible to assess music quality. To me, it was all simply fast, scary, and incomprehensible. I remember scouring metal forums for hours to learn which albums were the “classics,” only to listen to them and question why they were considered as such. If this is a “good” extreme metal album, I would wonder, what does a “bad” one sound like? In this regard, I almost wish The Ventriloquist had existed back then. Because it would have provided the perfect answer to that question.” Bad lip reading.

Juniper Grave – Of Hellions and Harridans Review

Juniper Grave – Of Hellions and Harridans Review

“Listen, by the time December rolls around we don’t want to review new albums. We’re too busy listening to our favorites of the year to bother with new releases. But I’m a sucker for female-fronted blues-rock and occult bands–I love Blues Pills and Sabbath Assembly, and last year I had Pristine’s album high on my list–so when Juniper Grave’s debut landed in our promo pit, I had to grab it.” Hellions, Harridans, Huckster.