Devin Townsend

Astronoid – Radiant Bloom Review

Astronoid – Radiant Bloom Review

“In the six years that have passed since Astronoid‘s first LP, I have yet to hear a debut record spring from the ether as novel and fully realized as Air. While possessing a youthful vigor and innocence characteristic of an enthusiastic upstart, Air sounded like the product of several albums’ worth of honed identity. As Mark Z so eloquently summarized, however, that once-perfect brew of black metal, post-rock, and shoegaze became unbalanced with Astronoid‘s self-titled follow up. Its songwriting was flat, its energy and atmosphere were tempered, and they took away the fucking blastbeats; an automatic point deduction for any metal record. I’m happy to report, then, that Radiant Bloom is something of a return to form.” Embrace the Noid.

Ou – one Review

Ou – one Review

“Fuck the rules—that’s the rough translation of OU‘s mission statement. Steeped in the streets of the Beijing jazz scene, OU (pronounced “O”) has emerged with a debut that challenges head-on the stagnant energy of the modern prog space. Striking a masterful balance of joviality, tranquility, and ferocity, OU have emerged from the underground to spread their idiosyncratic brand of futureprog.” The future is NOUW, olde man!

Tranzat – Ouh La La Review

Tranzat – Ouh La La Review

Tranzat won me over before I even heard a single note, their pétillant persona piquing all the “must listen” bones in my body. On a scale of swell to swole, these proggy French funnymen are decidedly swell-diddly-umptious. Not only have they provided a boy-band-meets-bowling-league cover art for our supreme enjoyment, but also they have adorned their merch page for Ouh La La with silly posters, silly shirts, and reasonable prices. You can even send them your own shirt (or turtleneck or polo) that they will gladly screen print for you. Perhaps for this third outing, Tranzat has finally coordinated with a highly supportive label.” Prep-core.

Tersivel – To the Orphic Void Review

Tersivel – To the Orphic Void Review

“Few bands in metal have the combination of popularity and totally idiosyncratic sound that Gojira enjoys. The first time I saw the band perform, it was still playing support for Fear Factory; nowadays that’s hard to imagine, and would most likely be the other way around. On top of that, its style is instantly recognizable; mechanistic, multi-stage, palm-muted riffs full of syncopation and odd time signatures combined with complex drum fills and patterns. It’s so readily familiar, in fact, that the band have begun to sound like a flanderized version of itself, and any band taking inspiration from the Frenchies is bound to run into copycat accusations. That didn’t stop Tersivel from trying anyway.” Ape the best, ignore the rest.

An Isolated Mind – A Place We Cannot Go Review and Album Premiere

An Isolated Mind – A Place We Cannot Go Review and Album Premiere

“I’ll admit right now that after almost nine years of listening to hundreds of promos for review, there’s a ton of music that may have left an impression during that time, but honestly doesn’t stay with me once the review is submitted. Call it lack of staying power or my own need to move on to the next promo for review, but with a few notable exceptions, many albums that I’ve fallen for on first listen end up drifting to the wayside, destined to be forgotten. An Isolated Mind‘s 2019 debut full-length, I’m Losing Myself, was certainly not one of those albums. An unflinching look at mental illness, I’m Losing Myself tackled a difficult subject with care and grace, and landed my top spot of 2019 in doing so.” Isolated but not lost.

1000 Bone Cylinder Explosion – Bind Review

1000 Bone Cylinder Explosion – Bind Review

“Solo projects are somewhat fascinating to me. They offer a fresh perspective into what makes an artist tick yet, for whatever reason, are seldom ever as good as the musician’s root project. The obvious takeaway here is that a band is only as good as the sum of its parts, and isolating one of those parts is bound to result in a lesser product. What makes 1000 Bone Cylinder Explosion an interesting case, then, is that the founder is already the primary compositional voice behind his greatest claim to fame. We are already acquainted with Peter Hraur’s vision; we have Lör. So what new wonders, then, can 1000 Bone Cylinder Explosion offer.” Bone collector.

Bloodstock Open Air 2021 Review: Pandemic Festival Pandemonium

Bloodstock Open Air 2021 Review: Pandemic Festival Pandemonium

“In the words of Rob Halford during Judas Priest’s two-hour headline slot: “Britain’s premier heavy metal festival is back.” Yes, cranky Covid’s delta wave dangerously hovered over the pit like clouded sweat but after a few strong ciders and a crunching riff – experienced live for the first time in over 18 months – the external world became a distant memory.” Metal never dies.

Tommy Concrete – Hexenzirkel Review

Tommy Concrete – Hexenzirkel Review

“My first thought as my eyes fell upon Hexenzirkel in the promo bin was ‘the year of dumb band names has yet another contender. But Tommy Concrete is not just an ill-conceived band name, it’s the artist name for Tomas Pattinson, whose diverse portfolio includes about a dozen and a half different bands, including a year-long stint in The Exploited. Some years ago his eye turned towards epic prog, because under this moniker he’s churned out at least an album a year since 2016 with music that’s drawn comparisons to Devin Townsend, according to the promo sheet.” Hevy lifting.

Sectlinefor – Kissing Strangers During an Outbreak

Sectlinefor – Kissing Strangers During an Outbreak

“I’ve always appreciated metal bands willing to include a hefty dose of comedy in their work. In a genre known for taking itself too seriously at times, wedding irreverence with heaviness can be an artistic gamble, and I appreciate that commitment. Melted BodiesEnjoy Yourself was a favorite of 2020, Slugdge‘s amazingly ridiculous Slug God mythos has had me sold ever since The Cosmic Cornucopia, and who can forget modern thrash’s obsession with hard-partying zombies? The fact that such bands employ comedic imagery, satirical lyrics or non-traditional instrumentation while addressing real issues (whether personal or public) make their output all the more impressive. It’s why I was quick to jump at the chance to review Kissing Strangers During an Outbreak, the latest from Sectlinefor, a deranged duo who perform, in their own words, “freshly squeezed cinematic rock music you didn’t order, sir.”” Plague tongue.