May17

Valborg – Zentrum Review

Valborg – Zentrum Review

“Tension. It’s a difficult thing to create. Take one of the most tension-filled scenes in movie history: the chest-burster sequence in Alien. Know why it works so well? Sure, the effects, acting and directing are all superb, but it’s the pacing. Specifically, the dining hall scene that precedes it. To create real tension, you need two things: periods of calm to allow the audience to breathe, and a sense of hope; that maybe, just maybe, things will be all right. Once the crew of the Nostromo pull the face-hugger from William Hurt’s face, you sense he’s done-for. But the fact that he looks healthy and is pictured having a meal with his pals allows you to breathe and lower your guard. You begin to experience a glimmer of hope that maybe he’ll be fine. So when the alien bursts through his chest a short while later, it is absolutely horrifying. But the dining scene is what makes it. Valborg is a German death-doom band that also deals in tension.” The birth and death of tension.

Kobra and the Lotus – Prevail I Review

Kobra and the Lotus – Prevail I Review

Kobra and the Lotus is a Canadian melodic power band that first came onto my radar in 2012 with their self-titled debut. Fronted by the actually-legally-named Kobra Paige, the band’s third LP, Prevail I, is on Napalm Records, after releasing the debut on Spinefarm, and 2014’s High Priestess on Titan Music. Prevail I is, apparently, the first of two albums which will be released in quick succession, and it’s being marketed as produced by the guy who produced Amaranthe‘s records, with a debut single squarely marketed at people who like Delain. Since the band’s debut was a solid power metal album, this strategy raises a question for me: three full-lengths (and three labels) into this whole experiment of being named Kobra, how’s the whole thing going?” That’s a very personal question.

Wode – Servants of the Countercosmos Review

Wode – Servants of the Countercosmos Review

“2016 saw the release of the debut, self-titled, full-length album by Manchester’s Wode. While I never got round to a Thing You Might Have Missed, I was impressed by their vitriol and riffcraft. The arrival of the sequel scarcely a year later afforded me the opportunity to make amends for my prior laziness, so I booted up, strapped in and prepared myself for an auditory annihilation.” Wode to spheres.

Wind Rose – Stonehymn Review

Wind Rose – Stonehymn Review

“Despite numerous recommendations from plenty of people smarter than I, reading any Tolkien beyond some excerpts has eluded me. I have nothing against the man or fantasy in general, but tend to get caught up reading other things instead. So perhaps it’s inexperience or a biased understanding of the Lord of the Rings universe by playing Shadow of Mordor almost pathologically when that came out, but in Round Two of reviewing Italy’s Wind Rose I noticed something that wasn’t present in their Wardens of the West Wind success: this sounds like what I’d imagine Middle Earth metal would.” Frodo-core.

Plague Throat – The Human Paradox Review

Plague Throat – The Human Paradox Review

“There’s something to be said about truth in advertising, a mythical beast that promises the end-product bears some resemblance to the picture on the box. From Death to Obituary to Autopsy, few genres carry the torch with such ardent fervour than death metal, a genus devoted to announcing with a bullhorn its intentions to all and sundry. With a name like Plague Throat — other body part-related titles workshopped but rejected were “Funny Bone” and “Tennis Elbow” — this Indian trio is signaling loud and clear the type of music one can expect to find on their debut, The Human Paradox.” Perturbed Toenail could have worked too.

Rapheumets Well – Enders Door Review

Rapheumets Well – Enders Door Review

“Despite hailing from an English-speaking part of the world, Rapheumets Well and their third full-length, Enders Door, immediately triggered me with their flagrant disregard for apostrophes. It was this distress which drew my eye to these North Carolinians as I cursorily browsed the promo bin. Alarm bells immediately rang but this is much better than the ambivalence I usually enjoy while surveying upcoming releases. I had something to think about which at least gave them a foot in my active consideration.” Punctuation as predictor.

Mahakala – The Second Fall Review

Mahakala – The Second Fall Review

“There’s hardly anything that excites me more when discovering music than stumbling upon an unlikely and successful fusion of genres. I’m (mostly) not picky in regards to my taste for metal sub-genres, and when two or more of my favorites are effectively spliced together, I’m likely to remember the band in question for years to come. Yet as much as I’d love to hear an album that can pull off a mixture of doom, power, and traditional metal, with a side of thrash and accents of death and black metal without feeling overstuffed, I acknowledge that this desire is little more than a pipe dream. Except, oh wait, that exact album practically fell into my lap, and it’s actually really goddamned good.” The Last Genre Bender.

Ofermod – Sol Nox Review

Ofermod – Sol Nox Review

“Twenty-twelve’s Thaumiel got a hell of a lot of praise from Madam X and Angry Metal Guy. And, though, that was only a four-year wait following their debut, we’ve had to endure another five years for Sol Nox. Tiamtü was a great debut, but Thaumiel topped it. And now the question remains: will Sol Nox top Thaumiel?” It’s Black Metal History Month!