Jens Bogren

Amorphis – Queen of Time Review

Amorphis – Queen of Time Review

Angry Metal Guy‘s Law of Diminishing Recordings™ will rear its head eventually. Nearly every revered band in the metal scene has seen a glorious upsurge followed by a progressive diminishing over time. It’s been literally thirty years since my favorite album of all time was released, which is the same year that Metallica released …and Justice for All. Neither band fully recovered. In fact, all of my favorite bands from when I was 25 have grown increasingly uninspiring. Except Amorphis.” Fight the law!

Angra – ØMNI Review

Angra – ØMNI Review

Angra‘s Secret Garden was a surprise for me. It captured my heart by being extraordinary in its execution, not its novelty. The record was a solid group of songs that were well-written, well-performed, and fun to listen to. But let’s not kid ourselves, aside from having a spunky new 23 year-old drummer and slightly used 41 year-old singer, Angra wasn’t really doing anything unexpected. The record was graced by Jens Bogren’s Industry Standard Power Metal Production™, a guest appearance by scene matron Doro Pesch, and it was a straight forward affair. Secret Garden‘s directness was charming in its lack of pretense, and I’ve come back to it a lot since then. So, three years later, 2018 starts off with Angra‘s newest record entitled ØMNI. And this time, they’ve gone and written an orchestral, progressive metal concept album about the future. So, how’d that work out for them?” AMG and Angra together again.

Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs Review

Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs Review

Orphaned Land has gone through a lot more change than I think I even realized as they have made the journey from an obscure but promising melodeath band to a major label metal act. Back in 2013, I ended my review of All Is One by urging the band and the label not to “fuck with the formula.” The new record, which I was not impressed by, was being released only three years after the incredible The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR. All Is One lacked the depth and force of any of the band’s previous material, a fact which I attributed to the album not having been given the time it needed to germinate. But I didn’t fully realize that since the release of 2011’s The Road to OR-Shalem, the formula had already been pretty well fucked. The first drop was Matti Svatizky in 2012, he was followed by Yossi Sassi in 2014. Both the guitarists had been in the band since 1992 and Yossi is the one I have always associated with Orphaned Land‘s characteristic “oriental”+prog rock sound. With Yossi’s departure, it was hard to not imagine that decline was inevitable. So I admit that I approached Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs with mixed feelings and a healthy dose of dread.” Fear and the Orphan.

Winterhorde – Maestro Review

Winterhorde – Maestro Review

Winterhorde is why labels want bands to release every two years. Back in September of 2010, I reviewed the band’s album Underwatermoon and really enjoyed their well-composed, interesting melodic black metal. My only complaint was that the lyrical tropes felt a little paint-by-numbers coming from an Israeli band; but the music was incisive and gripping. That was, however, six years ago. In that time Winterhorde got signed by Sweden’s ViciSolum Productions—moving on from being the only good band on their previous label’s roster—turned over four members of their band, have continued to develop their sound. I also managed to forget that they exist in the rush of my everyday life, which is why putting out a new album every six years is probably a bad strategy.

Fleshgod Apocalypse – King Review

Fleshgod Apocalypse – King Review

Fleshgod Apocalypse is well known in these parts for having produced a debut album that I worship and two albums since then that I don’t. Back in aught nine, the band released Oracles, which was a neoclassical death metal record unlike anything I had heard. The songs were intense, with intricate, artful, and beastly guitar work. Unfortunately, while songwriting was excellent, the drum sound on the record was a bit like reading a great Russian novel IN ALL CAPS; high art, ruined by someone’s inability to capitalize properly. 2011’s Agony was a better produced record than its predecessor in some ways, but the band undermined its own sound by moving all the interesting melodies and ‘riffing’ to the orchestras. When they returned to correct this problem on 2013’s Labyrinth, the master was so bad that all attempts to rectify earlier missteps were voided by the static of clipping master.

Parasite Inc – Time Tears Down Review

Parasite Inc – Time Tears Down Review

“Sheesh the Reaper’s working overtime this year! Every which way you turn there’s another corpse stinking up the joint. German melo death band Parasite Inc captured my eye (or maybe it was my ear) a few weeks back with their video for “The Pulse Of The Dead” off their sophomore release Time Tears Down. The video isn’t particularly flashy, there’s no blood and guts and no fancy scene set or story being told. Basically it’s just four musicians against a pretty stark background furiously slaughtering their instruments, catchy melodies challenging heavy grooves, creating no holds barred, modern, melodic death magic.” Melo death seems to be making a comeback in 2013 and Madam X is here to tell you if Parasite Inc. can help the revival.

Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol Review

Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol Review

Well, well, well, if it isn’t Paradise Lost. This band is a reviewer’s wet dream, simply by virtue of all the weird shit they’ve pulled over the years. Starting out as one of the pioneers of death/doom metal in 1990, the band mutated into a sort of gothic hard rock/metal, before suddenly turning into Depeche Mode towards the end of that decade.

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Nami – Fragile Alignments

Things You Might Have Missed 2011: Nami – Fragile Alignments

As we’ve done the last two years, it behooves us to point out all the shit that we’ve missed in the last year. And 2011 has been mighty full of oversights from our side. This has been a pretty crazy year, but let me just say that I apologize and hope we can really make it up to you by throwing out a few awesome or pretty awesome records that we’ve managed to overlook due to time constraints or limited attention spans.

Aspera – Ripples Review

Aspera – Ripples Review

Progressive metal isn’t an easy place to be. Let’s face it, much of the world of progressive metal is a tussle between an old guard of old fans (the Neanderthals of Metal) who really like bands that sound like Dream Theater, Queensryche, and so forth, and then there’s kind of everyone else. It’s disparate, difficult to define and often pretentious as hell with little logic as to what is in fashion with which group. This is the natural outcome of genrefication, in my opinion, and part of that is a question of where a band can actually progress to. You’re either not heavy enough or you’re too heavy and you never please anyone. Few bands ever really manage to fall outside of these well-worn ruts in the road, but there are some fantastic bands in those ruts, Aspera is one of those bands.