Jethro Tull

Yer Metal is Olde: Edge of Sanity – Crimson

Yer Metal is Olde: Edge of Sanity – Crimson

“Dan Swanö. The name won’t mean much to the public at large. “Sounds Swedish,” some might say. “Is he an IKEA designer?” You facepalm, shake your head and move on. But sometimes, every now and then, you find yourself opposite another discerning metal listener. You drop the name, and a knowing smile spreads on their face. Because they know. They know that Dan is The Man.” When The Man comes around.

Hexvessel – When We Are Death Review

Hexvessel – When We Are Death Review

Hexvessel came into my life in 2012 and filled a void in my soul I didn’t even know existed. You see, I didn’t have any Finnish psychedelic forest folk in what passed for my miserable existence, and only when I tasted of its rich goodness did I realize how much I always subconsciously hungered for it.” And the fire still burns.

Nad Sylvan – Courting the Widow Review

Nad Sylvan – Courting the Widow Review

“First things first: it’s no coincidence that the eponymous frontman of Nad Sylvan sounds remarkably similar to Peter Gabriel. Fresh from performing on Genesis Revisited II and subsequently touring with Genesis as principle vocalist, Nad Sylvan now exercises his musical talents on his own album. Some (read: me) have described him as the Ripper Owens of prog rock, but fortunately for Sylvan, he isn’t saddled with the subtitle “rank amateur.”” Some names don’t translate well to other countries. Nad Sylvan is such a name, but this doesn’t mean the music is lost in translation.

Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase. Review

Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase. Review

“Unlike many of my friends and colleagues, I’ve rarely been moved by Steven Wilson’s music. With notable exceptions, Porcupine Tree‘s studio work put me to sleep. Nor, I must admit, was I a fan of Insurgentes or Grace for Drowning at release. Despite having long been harangued for being an Opeth fanboy, I could not get into Storm Corrosion. In fact, if you’d asked me 5 years ago, I would have said that Steven Wilson’s genius is the ways in which he makes other bands sound incredible. That changed for me, however, with The Raven Who Refused to Sing from 2012. So when I heard that Wilson had a new record coming, I was intrigued: would it keep up the momentum and style of The Raven?” Well, can it?

Plain Ride – Skeleton Kites Review

Plain Ride – Skeleton Kites Review

Plain Ride,’s latest album, Skeleton Kites, is billed as “a blues album created with a mindset of a West African proto-doom band, made in Finland.” If you’re wondering what the fuck that means, that makes two of us. More importantly, who is Plain Ride? Well, they’re a 5-piece band from Finland who have been around for about a decade. They’re led by vocalist/guitarist Janne Westerlund, who is apparently a big deal as a solo artist (never heard of him). Their website describes their style as “Folk, Country, Blues, hypno-psychedelic Krautrock.” In layman’s terms, that means that Plain Ride is either pretentious as fuck, or they have a very imaginative PR person.” I’m putting money on the latter.

Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Avatarium – Avatarium

Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Avatarium – Avatarium

“Some of these things “we miss” during the year are understandably obscure and I don’t lose much sleep worrying about the overall health of my Metal Detector. Sometimes however, we whiff on a biggie and are left wondering if our collective ear to the metal underground needs a hearing aid (of steel). This is one of those whiffs. That’s because Avatarium is the new project of none other than Leif Fucking Edling (Candlemass, Krux, Abstract Algebra, etc.) and since the man is one of the modern-day Lords of Doom, we clearly should have seen this coming sooner.” Oops is all we can say on this one. The classy thing to do is forgive and move on.

Ayreon – The Theory of Everything Review

Ayreon – The Theory of Everything Review

“Of all of Arjen Lucassen’s projects, Ayreon is his best known and my least favorite. Having previously given both The Human Equation and 01011001 a shot, Ayreon really was a nut I couldn’t crack. Partially this is because I think the rock opera genre of power/prog metal bands à la Avantasia or Timo Tolkki’s Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Avalon tend to lack vision; but the writers also lack the kind of talent necessary that make undertakings like Jesus Christ Superstar or Little Shop of Horrors fun and interesting.” One does not simply write a 600 word review for a 90 minute concept record from Arjen Lucassen. Click to see the epic of The Theory of Everything.

Hexvessel – Iron Marsh Review

Hexvessel – Iron Marsh Review

“Things seem to come on threes, be they good, bad or some combination thereof. As proof of this cosmic law, this week has graced me with three examples of stoner/doom/retro music: Ghost, Spiritual Beggars and now Hexvessel. I hadn’t heard of this oddball, psychedelic group of Finns until their No Holier Temple album last year, and I found myself quite taken with their folksy, trippy and hypnotic take on 60s and 70s rock.” And now they’re back with an EP that tells the rest of the story! Are you ready for more Finnish forest folk? You better be!

Magister Templi – Lucifer Leviathan Logos Review

Magister Templi – Lucifer Leviathan Logos Review

“There aren’t a lot of bands out there that come close to duplicating King and co’s brand of malevolence. From his piercing falsetto and his operatic shrieks to his mid-range torturous screams and evil growls, King Diamond owns! Norwegian based, NWOBHM-inspired Magister Templi combine occult, doom flavored lyrics reminiscent of Venom and Mercyful Fate with upbeat, power chord infused melody along the lines of Mercyful Fate and Pagan Altar to arrive at a groovy platter of satanic malarkey.” Nobody likes malarkey, or hokum for that matter, but that doesn’t stop Madam X from hailing the King and reporting how Magister Templi robs the musical grave of the immortal Mercyful Fate (if they’re immortal, why do they even have a grave??). That’s like a desecration of souls!!