International Metal

Philosophobia – Philosophobia Review

Philosophobia – Philosophobia Review

“Philosophobia: fear of the study of knowledge, right or wrong, values—an idea so very counter to the typical academic prog attitude, yet it also plays right into certain stagnant streams of progressive metal. Philosophobia does not question or push the boundaries of the question “what is prog?” Instead, it wholeheartedly embraces older ideas, leaning into the namesake phobia to make the past the present definition. No doubt conceived in earnest, this international crew of talented musicians has finally emerged with their debut outing, long after guitarist Andreas Ballnus (Perzonal War) and drummer Alex Landenburg (Mekong Delta) first conceived these ideas over a decade ago.” Olde progressions.

Ianai – Sunir Review

Ianai – Sunir Review

Ianai is a “single-entity” project shrouded in mystery. Its secretive mastermind Trevenial offers twelve tracks influenced by folk music across the globe, equally evocative and primitive. With ties to England (mastered by Orgone Studios’ owner Jaime Gomez Arellano) and Finland (produced by Jaani Peuhu), and featuring a classical orchestra and world music artists, as well as a vast array of guests, from notable acts like HIM, Sisters of Mercy, Swallow the Sun, and The Rasmus, Sunir is a debut loaded with potential and questions in equal measure.” It takes a global village.

Darkened – The Black Winter Review

Darkened – The Black Winter Review

“Everybody misses Bolt Thrower. Ask any death metal fan what band they’d want to resurrect for one last platter of greatness, and I bet the British bruisers would be near the top of the list, alongside Death itself. There’s just something about Bolt Thrower’s trance-inducing grooves that speaks to the violent beast hidden within each and every one of us, and the band name’s is still sprayed across death metal reviews like so much machine-gun fire whenever a burly tremolo rears its head—and this is nearly two decades after their last album saw the light of day. No one has been able to completely fill the void left in Bolt Thrower’s absence.” Tanks for the memories.

Mirror – The Day The Bastard Leaders Die Review

Mirror – The Day The Bastard Leaders Die Review

Mirror plays a NWoBHM-inspired brand of retro metal. They also reflect a variety of influences from 70s prog to early 80s metal. Their third album, The Day Bastard Leaders Die, offers up a 44-minute tour back to the time when class was stained, and killers were running free. The band is a passion project for Greek bassist, Tasos Danazoglou – most famously known for his short stint in Electric Wizard. Here he’s under the influence again paying tribute to the music he clearly loves.” Faded reflections and bad luck.

Monuments – In Stasis Review

Monuments – In Stasis Review

“To my credit, I was prepared. For those who enter the prog trailer park via that sketchy patch of woods at the back called “djent,” the polyrhythm abusers can be easier to spot. Futuristic-looking album covers, scientific names, and vaguely mathematic monikers like Structures, Tesseract, Volumes, and Intervals greet the eyes – or Monuments, in this case.” Escape from 2003.

Morrow – The Quiet Earth Review

Morrow – The Quiet Earth Review

“When you mention epic storytelling, your brain will zero in on the usual suspects: novels (The Lord of the Rings), movies (Star Wars), and video games (Mass Effect). Music normally doesn’t spring to mind unless you’re aware of the work of Alex CF. The former Fall of Efrafa vocalist crafted an epic tale of post-apocalyptic tribalism that has spanned not only eight releases so far, but across three separate bands: the sludgy futuristic Archivist, the overdriven doom of Anopheli, and today’s band, the downtrodden-yet-defiantly hopeful Morrow.” Unquiet epics.

Friends of Hell – Friends of Hell Review

Friends of Hell – Friends of Hell Review

“80s style doom metal is as rare these days as an honest person in politics. Bands that did it so well back in the day are all but extinct and even promising younger acts like Pallbearer and Khemmis who teased the rebirth of the style sagged under the weight of it all and drifted off to greener pastures. To this dark tableau come Friends of Hell, the classic doom project spearheaded by members of Reverend Bizarre and Electric Wizard.” With friends like this…

Flames of Fire – Flames of Fire Review

Flames of Fire – Flames of Fire Review

“If you’re a fan of Narnia or DivineFire, you’ll get a warm, fuzzy feeling when you listen to Flames of Fire. These guys play power metal with chunky guitars and big choruses showcasing the gritty, yet beautiful Dio-esque vocals of Liljegren, and it’s a sound that I fell head-over-heels for on DivineFire’s 2006 album Into a New Dimension—still one of the heaviest power metal albums I’ve ever heard to this day. But where DivineFire displayed obvious overlap with Stefanović’s extreme metal background, Andersson’s compositions for Flames of Fire stay closer to standard heavy/power metal fare.” Are there other kinds of flames?

Guild of Others – Guild of Others Review

Guild of Others – Guild of Others Review

“Too many bands today make progressive music for the sake of being progressive, prioritizing meandering exploration over songcraft, and this is akin to a chef filling a bowl with flavorful seasonings and serving it as a full meal. Guild of Others seem intent on dishing out hearty meals seasoned with proggy goodness, their promo even going so far as to quote prolific music critic Martin Popoff, who is supposed to have said, “Guild of Others accomplish the near impossible, and that’s make progressive metal that is accessible.” Let’s see if there is any truth to these words, or if they’re merely promospeak.” Guild to last.