International Metal

Meridian Dawn – The Fever Syndrome Review

Meridian Dawn – The Fever Syndrome Review

“In the late 90s and early 00s, yours truly bombarded himself with an unhealthy amount of melodic death metal. Basically, anything and everything that came from Gothenburg, Sweden was feverishly devoured at an alarming rate. All blame goes to At The Gates, of course, but quite a few great albums came from there. Sadly, so did some absolute dreck. But there’s no denying that the groundwork that they, Dark Tranquillity, and In Flames laid for bands to come, because no matter what, it just keeps coming, much to our joy and/or dismay.” Fever and syndrome.

The Committee – Utopian Deception Review

The Committee – Utopian Deception Review

“Now that mega-corporations have paved the internet highways with the asphalt of targeted ads and misinformation, the digital utopia has become a divisive dystopia where that same creativity grows mainly in the cracks between the concrete. But its connective power still remains unabated, and The Committee is testament to that. It was certainly possible for a band whose members live scattered across Europe to exist, but it would surely be more difficult, possibly insurmountably so.” Join the meeting.

Azath – Through a Warren of Shadow Review

Azath – Through a Warren of Shadow Review

“I’ve been riding a wave of very good death metal promos recently, and since it would be sheer madness to walk away from the table when you’re beating the house, I’m doubling down. How could I not grab Through a Warren of Shadow, the debut record from Azath, when it has a sweet image of a stately mountain-perched dragon on the cover?” With logic like that, what could go wrong?

Calligram – The Eye Is The First Circle Review

Calligram – The Eye Is The First Circle Review

“How can music communicate the feeling of dread? While all styles are able, metal’s inherent darkness fits like a glove. While it’s easy to provide aural bludgeoning or emphasize excess, the discipline of restraint takes time and effort. From the post-metal dirges of Neurosis, the avant-garde buildups of Eryn Non Dae., the spiraling doom of Swallowed, the blackened payoffs of Cultes des Ghoules, and the death metal environs of Desolate Shrine, it revels in darkness, plays with menace, but most notably, waits patiently.” Waiting in the darkness.

Azusa – Loop of Yesterdays Review

Azusa – Loop of Yesterdays Review

Loop of Yesterdays enters with a burly thrash riff that gives way in seconds to a lull of shady jazz chords. Two minutes later, Azusa are playing both at once. The record’s dichotomous approach spawns many such treasures, oddities that are hardly surprising considering the source. An Extol/The Dillinger Escape Plan supergroup could hardly produce a pedestrian sound.” The future is fleeting.

Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum – Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine Review

Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum – Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine Review

“I am not a particularly patient individual. In fact, it seems that the “older” I get the less patient I become. With this in mind, I asked myself, “Why. The fuck. Did you decide to pick up the two-hour split between Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum as your next promo?” It’s atmospheric black metal for heaven’s sake! For two hours! Little did the voice inside my head know that this epic love letter to the planets (and planetoid) of our solar system would be so compelling.” Put a ring on Saturn.

Last Call at Nightowls – Ask the Dust Review

Last Call at Nightowls – Ask the Dust Review

“There is something special about music created by artists who must collaborate with each other from afar rather than together in person. Take the short-lived yet beloved synth-pop duo, The Postal Service. Two artists, electronic musician and DJ Jimmy Tamborello of Los Angeles and Ben Gibbard, singer of the indie band Death Cab for Cutie, of Seattle decided to collaborate with each other undeterred by the distance between them. Jimmy and Ben overcame said distance by sending recordings back and forth via, no joke, the United States Postal Service. I find this mode of collaboration endearing, and I still hold The Postal Service‘s one album Give Up near and dear to my heart. Dark ambient doom-jazz band Last Call at Nightowls followed the same formula The Postal Service employed to create their debut album Ask the Dust.” Suspicious package.

Beast of Revelation – The Ancient Ritual of Death Review

Beast of Revelation – The Ancient Ritual of Death Review

Beast of Revelation involves Bob Bagchus, one of my favorite metal drummers and a foundational member of Asphyx. Bagchus knows what he likes, and conveniently I tend to like that stuff too. Also included are AJ van Drenth who handles guitar and bass, and Incantation’s John McEntee on vocals. Unsurprisingly, I’m reminded of Asphyx and its related side project Grand Supreme Blood Court, mixed with Incantation’s “comeback” era.” Death in the family.