Mar22

As I May – Karu Review

As I May – Karu Review

“In my 2019 review of As I May’s sophomore album called My Own Creation, I opened with the band’s one-sheet and their description as “modern metal.” I commented that this descriptor usually signifies metalcore, while deliberately avoiding the word “metalcore.” I was right, and apparently, As I May took this as a challenge. 2022’s Karu is instead described as “melodic metal,” an equally infuriating and vague combination of words. More than just ‘core, this sometimes demarcates a sojourn into hard rock and AOR. What’s the truth of the matter this time?” Modern may I?

Véhémence – Ordalies Review

Véhémence – Ordalies Review

“When last Véhémence appeared around these parts, they were an unexpected discovery I made—with some much-appreciated help—at the end of 2019. Par le sang versé was a gem of a release, with all the right black metal bits, just enough folk bits, and an awesome medieval vibe that set it apart from its contemporaries. So you can imagine my thrill when I learned that the French group had actually read that article and that I’d get to review their third full-length release, Ordalies.” Getting medieval on your arse.

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu Review

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu Review

Kuolemanlaakso have been a tricky beast to track over their 10-year existence. Featuring Swallow the Sun‘s Mikko Kotamäki on vocals and several members of Chaoweaver, they started out as a straightforward doom-death act. They evolved into something stranger and more expansive by their sophomore opus Tulijoutsen, blending several genres together into an intriguing and unique sound. Two years later they befuddled everyone by releasing M. Laakso – Vol I: The Gothic Tapes, which had nothing to do with their prior sound, replacing it with a rocked-out, cheesy goth metal. It was such a startling departure that I wrote the band off entirely. Five years of silence followed, and now they return with Kuusumu and yet another shift in sound and style.” Beast of unknown origin.

Crowbar – Zero and Below Review

Crowbar – Zero and Below Review

“For over 30 years, Louisiana’s own Crowbar have been an institution, with guitarist/vocalist/main man Kirk Windstein helping redefine how downtrodden doom can be, and creating a pathway for future sludge worshippers to follow in his sizeable footsteps. During those years and eleven albums, Windstein and his crew of (forlorn) merry men provided a wealth of classics, with the likes of “All I Had (I Gave),” “Time Heals Nothing,” and “Planets Collide” (among a slew of others) laying the groundwork for many purges and cathartic sludgery. That said, with the exception of an occasional curveball, you pretty much know what to expect from Crowbar at this point.” Welcome to the Iron Bar.

Non Est Deus – Impious Review

Non Est Deus – Impious Review

“It’s fair to say that excitement was running high when I got the promo for Non Est Deus‘ third full-length, Impious. Not, I admit, because I was actually familiar with the first two LPs—this has since been rectified—but because of the German man behind Non Est Deus known as Noise. Why? Well, Noise is also the man behind Kanonenfieber, which produced my 2021 AOTY in Menschenmühle.” Unholy Noise.

Slob – Deepwoods Shack of Sodomy Review

Slob – Deepwoods Shack of Sodomy Review

“These here boys ain’t right in the head. UK duo Slob graces the world with a debut that dares to ask the question: “What if the hayseed rapists from Deliverance started a brutal death metal band and wrote a whole bunch of songs about sodomy?” It would be tempting to nickname these gentlemen “Gay Panic: The Band,” except Slob isn’t just interested in the kind of sodomy practiced belowdecks in the Royal Navy. Instead, they present us with an expansive and all-inclusive vision of the act.” Sodomy, sodomyou.

Hath – All that Was Promised Review

Hath – All that Was Promised Review

Hath are a cool band. They fill that Slugdge-shaped hole in my thirsty sponge body quite snugly without being a carbon copy, and you can clearly hear how much the group’s sound and skill grew between debut EP Hive and debut LP Of Rot and Ruin. The same measure of growth in songwriting and style applies between Of Rot and Ruin and their latest opus, All that Was Promised.” Hell Hath more fury.

Sylvaine – Nova Review

Sylvaine – Nova Review

“I’ve become a jaded man-cat over the last few years or so. I can blame Covid, or humanity’s lack of… well, humanity towards one another, or a myriad of other reasons. The fact of the matter is whenever I turn on the news or see yet another impossibly bad hot-take on Twitter, the anger that begins to well up inside me can power my home city for months. So, what’s a grouchy man-cat to do? Listen to Nova, the fourth full-length by Norwegian/French multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kathrine Shepard, aka Sylvaine, that’s what. Having reviewed not one, but two, albums of hers, I knew what to expect. Or so I thought.” Prime Nova.