Dec21

Age of Athena – Gate to Oblivion Review

Age of Athena – Gate to Oblivion Review

“This is also how I feel about symphonic metal, its glimmering, shiny surface often subject to intense scrutiny from those who say the subgenre has stagnated. Enter Age of Athena, a new band from Canada’s Ontario whose debut, Gate to Oblivion, combines “influences of American metalcore and European symphonic metal.” Symphony of opera destruction?

Lhaäd – Below Review

Lhaäd – Below Review

Below is the debut full-length from one-person ambient black metal project Lhaäd. This description is likely to conjure up worrisome images of self-indulgent hours-long snoozefests that use tepid atmospheres to mask lazy writing. But Belgian multi-instrumentalist Lykormas, Lhaäd’s prolific mastermind, is not so easy to pigeonhole.” Pigeons without homes.

Memory Garden – 1349 Review

Memory Garden – 1349 Review

“Well, this is a yuletide surprise. A new Memory Garden album was not on my bingo card for Covid-ravaged 2021. To set the stage, Memory Garden emerged out of the 90s Swedish power/doom scene that birthed such acts as Tad MoroseMorgana Lefay and Sorcerer. Like these somewhat better-known brethren, their sound was regal, polished, classy, and bedecked in the finery of both doom and heavy power metal. Since their last release was way back in 2013, I’d assumed they were in the garden themselves.” A pox on 2021.

Phrenelith – Chimaera Review

Phrenelith – Chimaera Review

“Just listen to Desolate Endscape instead. That’s the record you want to hear. Chimaera simply doesn’t measure up to Phrenelith’s debut, a cratonic slab of atrocious death metal that crushed listeners with granitic indifference. Chimaera is nothing of the sort: an unfocused, unfinished, and forgettable record that manages at best to echo Endscape, foggily repeating its shapes without conviction.” Desolate tidings of the end.

Doodswens –  Lichtvrees Review

Doodswens – Lichtvrees Review

“Somehow, we’ve made it to December again, which means the time for cold, dark, angry albums is once again upon us—or so I told myself when I discovered Doodswens (“death wish”) in the Promo Pit, a Dutch duo who plays exactly that sort of music. Specifically, they play frigid black metal of the sort that ruins happy days and wraps around you like a blanket on the miserable ones.” Turn loose the dood swans.

Rachel Mother Goose – Synra Basho Review

Rachel Mother Goose – Synra Basho Review

“Yes, Rachel Mother Goose is an odd name and no, I don’t know why they chose to call themselves that. Given that RMG is a Japanese band and given many of the curious lyric choices (all in English), I imagine something was lost in translation. I had never heard of this band before Steel Druhm handed it off, but the mention of Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen as primary influences had me intrigued. How would a band of young Japanese shredders update the bloated neoclassical metal genre? Would it be full “Speed King” ahead with epic Blackmorean riffs? Or a neoclassical wank fest of Rising Forced arpeggios?” Duck, duck, Yngwie!

Malignant Altar – Realms of Exquisite Morbidity Review

Malignant Altar – Realms of Exquisite Morbidity Review

“Like a cesspool creamsicle, Malignant Altar seep out of Texas with their debut full-length, Realms of Exquisite Morbidity. Proud members of the “Morbid Angel coated in shit, sludge and tentacles” mini-genre, they glissade up alongside other poo-encrusted acts like Decrepisy who believe Incantation needed more murk and muck in their formative years. And over the course of 33 minutes, Malignant Altar do their damndest to force-feed you all the medical waste and filth they can as they gleefully cavort through the unspeakably foul gunk of some godforsaken cavern of inequity.” Altars of jaundice.

Clouds – Despărțire Review

Clouds – Despărțire Review

“You could hardly find a more autumnally appropriate band than Clouds. Their name not only describes the most prevalent meteorological phenomenon of the season, their past catalog, and a band roster filled with members from legendary Funeral, Saturnus, and Shape of Despair has established them as a master of atmospheric doom.” Sure, it’s winter. And yes, this record dropped in October. Did you miss it?

Dormant Ordeal – The Grand Scheme of Things Review

Dormant Ordeal – The Grand Scheme of Things Review

Dr. Wvrm highlighted Poland’s Dormant Ordeal’s We Had It Coming as a Thing You Might Have Missed. While Wvrm was overwhelmingly positive, he noted that the band had room and serious potential for more exploration. Often third albums make or break bands, as they either transcend their influences in a burst of self-actualization or recede into the unforgiving metal landscape.” Is this n00b more reasonable in their assessment of the new Dormant Ordeal? Or is it still raining 4s?