Jan19

Malist – In the Catacombs of Time Review

Malist – In the Catacombs of Time Review

Malist‘s In the Catacombs of Time – the album in question, for the contextually challenged – is about as joyful as an AIDS diagnosis. One-man blackened army Ovfrost leads a 10 track charge against cheer, skulking through an expansive spectrum ov sombre and sullen sounds along the way.” Bleak, blackened and miserable is no way to go through life, yo.

Secret Rule – The 7 Endless Review

Secret Rule – The 7 Endless Review

“There’s a category of music you don’t see much outside certain nerd circles, that of the “filk song,” or fan-fiction-as-music, even in a genre of music as intrinsically nerdy as metal. Oh, sure, you can rattle off a number of prominent examples, even excluding edge cases like Symphony X’s Paradise Lost. Hell, a sizable chunk of Blind Guardian‘s output falls firmly in this camp. But overall, it’s not as big a thing as you might expect, especially on the poppier side of the genre. So imagine my surprise when, slogging through the wasteland of the promo bin, I discover an album by a band billing themselves under “melodic metal,” written around Neil Gaiman’s classic The Sandman.” Nerds unite.

Astronoid – Astronoid Review

Astronoid – Astronoid Review

“You wake up and everything seems better. The air is fresher, the sun is brighter, and you feel a sense of hope you haven’t felt in years. That’s what it was like listening to Astronoid‘s 2016 debut Air for the first time. From out of nowhere, the Massachusetts quartet burst onto the scene with a style that hit the perfect sweet spot between fresh and familiar. Combining Deafheaven-esque music with airy, poppy singing, the band built off their experience in Vattnet Viskar to create something truly original, something that soared through a world of timeless innocence right onto my Album o’ the Decade shortlist.” Following a dream.

My Diligence – Sun Rose Review

My Diligence – Sun Rose Review

“One of these days, I’m going to have to visit Belgium. You see, not only did this fine little country spawn my favorite album last year, but it is spitting out a couple more interesting bands in 2019, starting with the horribly-named My Diligence. Honestly: I don’t mean to start a review on such a negative note, especially when the music far surpasses the name, but it’s just not a great moniker. That aside, what My Diligence bring to the table is an intriguing progressive stoner mix influenced by a few solid bands. Think of the harmonious stoner-pop sensibilities of Torche, the progressive leanings of Elder, and a dash of Queens of the Stone Age’s quirkiness, and you’ve got an idea of what this band’s second album, Sun Rose, is all about.” Stone the Sun.

Hollow – Between Eternities of Darkness Review

Hollow – Between Eternities of Darkness Review

“I first encountered Sweden’s Hollow when I found their 1997 debut Modern Cathedral in a local record store and bought it solely because of the cool artwork. It featured an interesting blend of traditional and power metal with a slightly proggy sheen, and though it wasn’t exactly a blockbuster release, it had a few songs that really stuck with me. Fast forward to 1999 and the still very unheralded act returned to drop a truly stunning followup on an unsuspecting world with their sophomore release, Architect of Mind.” Back from the void.

Hecate Enthroned – Embrace of the Godless Aeon Review

Hecate Enthroned – Embrace of the Godless Aeon Review

“January has been… slow for quality metal releases. Can Hecate Enthroned buck the trend and save us all? Embrace of the Godless Aeon is the sixth album from these Brits as they push past the twentieth year in their recording career. Coming off a five year release gap and sporting a new vocalist, is there any hellfire left in their demonic well of blackened death metal?” Embrace the orchestration.

Phlebotomized – Deformation of Humanity Review

Phlebotomized – Deformation of Humanity Review

“Following the spate of fantastic death metal records released in the twilight months of 2018, my new year’s resolution was thusly engraved: listen to more death metal. Admittedly, last year was absolutely bananas when it came down to average release quality across all varieties of death metal, rendering wishes for the streak to continue borderline pointless. I can at least continue to expand my horizons in a genre that I have always somewhat neglected, and what better way to start than with—Jesus fuck, what is that?” Ugly to be bone.

Lions’den – Songbird Review

Lions’den – Songbird Review

“Songbird has a lot to answer for even before it begins, what with claimed influences as diverse as Animals as Leaders, Franz Lizst, and… Skrillex. Now before you take to the comments section crying for me to be CALLED TO ICE for even mentioning such a thing here, keep in mind that (1) you could produce a similarly worrying lizst group of artists to circumscribe Igorr, and (2) Madam X told me to review this so if anyone’s getting CALLED TO ICE, it should be my editors.” Angry Bird.

Lugnet – Nightwalker Review

Lugnet – Nightwalker Review

“You know that crazy uncle? The one who apparently fronts some sort of sketchy 70s band? Yeah, that one. You see him at the family barbecues, usually a bit more belligerent than a man of his age should be, kind of embarrassing himself on occasion. You think, “There’s no way this dude is in a band.” Then you find yourself, against your best judgement, at one of his gigs, and you realize that whoa, he’s actually a decent singer, and he’s playing in a decent band. It goes against all instincts, but it’s true, and even though you don’t want to, you find yourself drawn to them. Well, that uncle may be none other than Johan Fahlberg, and the band may be none other than Lugnet.” Uncle Lugnet!

Vandor – In the Land of Vandor Review

Vandor – In the Land of Vandor Review

“When I was a teenager, one of my favorite albums was DragonForce’s Inhuman Rampage. Cheesy and criminally overproduced as it was, I thought it was too cool for school. But since that point in my life, I’ve acquired a more stringent set of standards for my power metal sweet tooth. Vandor—a five-piece founded by brothers two in Gothenberg, Sweden—here put forth their bid for a spot on my power metal rotation with their self-released debut In the Land of Vandor. Does it live up to my increasingly strict parameters?” Power moderation.