Hard Rock

Green Lung – Black Harvest Review

Green Lung – Black Harvest Review

“Does innovation matter in metal? I often seem to find myself saying something along the lines of: “[insert band name here] isn’t really doing anything new here but perhaps they’re not really trying to.” Is ‘not doing anything new’ inherently a criticism? There’s no point asking London, UK’s Green Lung, as they’ve been too busy to care, absolutely nailing their brand of Black Sabbath worship.” Ancient airs.

Osukaru – Starbound Review

Osukaru – Starbound Review

“Alarm bells tend to ring when, after randomly picked an album for review, that album is one of several for a band you’ve never heard previously. It usually signifies a group toiling in mediocrity, never having sufficiently impressed a critical mass to start developing a reputation. In the case of Sweden’s Osukaru, I suspect it may be a consequence of their style. The target demographic of their sixth release, Starbound, stopped listening to new music in 1992 with the last good Def Leppard record, the stratification of a variety of extreme metal sub-genres and the advent of grunge as the most popular form of rock.” Star daddy.

Duel – In Carne Persona Review

Duel – In Carne Persona Review

“Hailing from Austin, Texas, Duel have spent their relatively short lifespan building a strong body of work in the stoner/doom metal/rock style. In Carne Persona is the band’s fourth full-length album since 2016 and follows in the footsteps of 2019’s strong effort, Valley of Shadows. Take a whiff of Duel‘s sound, and you’ll detect notes of pure doom in the tradition of Sabbath mixed with the melodic sensibilities of Thin Lizzy and the creepy, doomy rock of Danzig.” Flavored stones.

Doctor Smoke – Dreamers and the Dead Review

Doctor Smoke – Dreamers and the Dead Review

Ghost created quite the marketable niche for themselves when they introduced the whole “faceless ghouls and demon Pope paying homage to Blue Oyster Cult and Mercyful Fate” schtick. It shouldn’t have worked as well as it did, but their notoriety speaks for itself. Other bands tried similar recipes with varying degrees of success but none came close to capturing the secret ingredients in Ghost‘s unholy special sauce. Ohio-based Doctor Smoke aren’t trying to ape those nameless ghouls so much as borrow the best parts of their sound to season their own proprietary slurry composed of hair metal, hard rock, NWoBHM, and a vague Foo Fighters appreciation.” Smoky bones and Ghost loans.

Black Swamp Water – Awakening Review

Black Swamp Water – Awakening Review

“I grabbed this promo from the rattlesnake and scorpion-infested bin at AMG‘s Southwest office because I thought it was thrash. See, I’ve been on a thrash kick lately and I had no qualms grabbing another thrash release to review. The band name didn’t exactly strike me as a band that played thrash. But, who am I to judge? Maybe they’re swampy thrashers from the South, like Pantera and Exhorder. But, this is no thrash band. Everything I know about life is a lie.” Swamp romps.

Psychic Hit – Solutio Review

Psychic Hit – Solutio Review

“Summer is generally the time my musical tastes lighten up. It’s just not in my genetic makeup to blast funeral doom while sweating through a heatwave and running through the sprinkler. Summer is for barbeques and the party music that accompanies such (now, finally) socially non-distanced activities. Here that party music is generally throwback stuff, and that’s where Psychic Hit comes in. Their debut album Solutio is firmly rooted in 70s hard rock and metal, and these days even the most jaded of patio guests can get behind that stuff as long as it’s good.” So, so, Solutio.

Demon Incarnate – Leaves of Zaqqum Review

Demon Incarnate – Leaves of Zaqqum Review

“For two weeks in a row, I found promos that claim Candlemass as a major influence, and I simply had to have them. Last week saw me positively handling former Candlemass vocalist Rob Lowe’s new project Grief Collector, so I was hoping to ride that slow, bludgeoning wave into this week as I tackle the groovy doom of Germany’s Demon Incarnate.” Break out the grief blower.

Hellryder – The Devil Is a Gambler Review

Hellryder – The Devil Is a Gambler Review

“There are castles and dragons, maidens and jesters, kings and queens. But genres have mixed. Instead of shiny armor, the knights are clothed in black leather. The queen serves as a groupie to the local tale spinners. And, the womenfolk have hair bigger than the menfolk’s broadswords. This is a place where stories of love are equally as common as those of war and mythology. It’s a strange time. Conformity and individuality struggle daily. Can members of this society compromise? Evolution is inevitable. Can they combine their best traits and push on to build something greater than their two parts? Lo and behold, this world exists—for better or worse. It’s the world of Hellryder, and according to them, The Devil Is a Gambler.” Gamblor will break you.

Bewitcher – Cursed Be Thy Kingdom Review

Bewitcher – Cursed Be Thy Kingdom Review

“I’ve given out a 4.0 or twenty-one in my time, but this is the first time that one of 4.0ldeneye‘s highly 4.0nored 4.0nies returns 4.0me for yet another s4.0t at glory. Just under two years ago, Portland, Oregon’s Bewitcher released Under the Witching Cross, their sinister sophomore platter of blackened speed metal tunes, and I still haven’t been able to locate my socks after the resulting off-blowing. That record was oozing with attitude, and every track was a killer. I was stoked to hear that the band had been picked up by Century Media for follow-up effort Cursed Be Thy Kingdom.” Cursed by great expectations.

Motorjesus – Hellbreaker Review

Motorjesus – Hellbreaker Review

“Windshield time also gives me the chance to re-explore my favorite albums. I rarely listen to new promos on the road. This time is dedicated to albums from the Road Gods. Give me something bluesy, something rocking, something upbeat, something I can blare with windows down and my foot inching closer to the floor. Give me something I can scream at the top of my lungs and shift gears to. The simpler, the better. The groovier, the sweeter.” Jesus repossessed your hot rod.