English Metal

Countless Skies – Glow Review

Countless Skies – Glow Review

“UK melodic death crew Countless Skies impressed on their 2016 debut, New Dawn. Although in hindsight I was perhaps a little too generous with my final evaluation, the album signaled a rising voice worth keeping close track of. Some four years later, Countless Skies return rejuvenated, and with the backing of none other than Willowtip Records, a slightly left field label for the band’s rich, layered melodeath tapestry. The intervening years have treated Countless Skies well, and sophomore platter Glow, sounds like a band more comfortable and confident with their lush blend of gorgeous melody, progressive arrangements, and dynamic shifts into heavier realms.” Glow and steady.

Wytch Hazel – Wytch Hazel III: Pentecost Review

Wytch Hazel – Wytch Hazel III: Pentecost Review

Steel prophecies are to be heeded! Back in the Year of Our Lord 2018 I covered the sophomore release by U.K. retro rockers Wytch Hazel and verily did I proclaim that II: Sojourn sounded like the album that drops right before a band uncorks their truly killer magnum opus. Well kiddies, that .44 magnum is here with Wytch Hazel III: Pentecost.” The third judgment.

Hellripper – The Affair of the Poisons Review

Hellripper – The Affair of the Poisons Review

“Despite enjoying metal my whole life, I used to struggle with thrash beyond the biggest names. I found it bland, chugging and neanderthalic. 2017 was a watershed time for my enjoyment of the thrashing style, and part of that watershed was Coagulating Darkness by Hellripper. Bridging black, speed and thrash, James McBain’s solo project did what so many others (including the ‘classics’) previously had not and opened the doors to the genre. Though I never got round to a write-up, it’s one of the premium speedy albums of the 2010s and Hellripper shot up my list of favorite bands.” Return of the Ripper.

Sound of Origin – The All Seeing Eye Review

Sound of Origin – The All Seeing Eye Review

The All Seeing Eye is a dense, heavy slab of bluesy, stoner doom, mixed with some sludge, which pays clear homage to its influences (Black SabbathKyuss), without being an obvious rip-off. Where it differs from its EP predecessor is the delightfully nasty edge that Bulsara’s vocals provide.” Angry stoners.

Awake by Design – Awake by Design Review

Awake by Design – Awake by Design Review

“Progressive power metal is a challenging genre to really nail. If you go too light, it feels insubstantial and sugary. Go too heavy on the prog and tech aspects and you lose accessibility. U.K.s Awake by Design have been refining and developing their sound since 2009, and on their self-titled third album they treat you to an hour and 17 minutes of melodic prog-power with nods to Kamelot and Pyramaze.” Sleep waking.

Ingested – Where Only Gods May Tread Review

Ingested – Where Only Gods May Tread Review

“You won’t be blown away by their virtuoso performances or brainy lyrics, but your speakers will suffer some such fate if they play an Ingested record at full blast. In fact, most of the love or hate for Ingested comes down to their production; extremely loud drum samples, very polished presentation, and a ton of vocal layering.” Indigestion.

Damnation Angels – Fiber of Our Being Review

Damnation Angels – Fiber of Our Being Review

“Will things ever return to normal? And, if they do, what will ‘normal’ look like? Sometimes it takes every fiber in my body not to lash and scream out at this stupid fucking world. Though the homeless are multiplying outside my bedroom window and even the friendliest people I know look broken down, everything’s fine. So fine. If the apocalypse is truly upon us, it’s fitting that the Damnation Angels will guide us to the flames. So, forward march. Let’s enjoy this new hell with every Fiber of Our Being.” Morale fiber.

Blackballed – Elephant in the Room Review

Blackballed – Elephant in the Room Review

“Standing on my shelf next to other “non-metal” records, like Captain Beyond, Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Waylon Jennings, Blue Öyster Cult, and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, you’ll find albums from B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, Robert Johnson, and John Lee Hooker. Am I trying to say I’m an expert in the field? Heavens, no. But this would explain my odd selection of (typically) straight-forward, go-nowhere blues/hard rock promos for review. And here’s yet another.” Blues balls.