May19

Bewitcher – Under the Witching Cross Review

Bewitcher – Under the Witching Cross Review

“If you’re a stereotypical stereotyper like myself, Portland, Oregon is a city that brings to mind images of rain-soaked, tattoo-covered hipsters sipping pot-infused craft beer and cold brew coffee while they dodge cavalcades of Subarus, Priuses (Prii?), and bicycles on the march towards the many nearby hiking trails. Having visited the city several times, I can confirm that almost all of these are 100% true, but I’m beginning to think that the whole “Keep Portland Weird” idea is a coverup to distract from Portland’s true identity as a stronghold of — gasp! — SATAN! Hometown speed metallers Bewitcher are here with their second full length to set the record straight, and on Under the Witching Cross they boldly fly the Sign of the Goat above the City of Roses while uttering diabolical incantations in an attempt to transform the grounds below into the “Savage Lands of Satan!” The Devil is in the dark roast.

Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion Review

Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion Review

“Of all the bands I worshiped during my misspent youth in the 80s, Possessed felt like they had the most unfulfilled potential. After helping set the foundation for both death and black metal with their genre busting Seven Churches debut, the band shifted toward a more traditional thrash sound on sophomore outing Beyond the Gates, disappointing most of their fanbase with its underwhelming, often half-baked writing. They released the Eyes of Horror EP a year later showcasing a much slicker, more polished sound, and just like that, they were done and gone.” Repossessed.

Osiah – Kingdom of Lies Review

Osiah – Kingdom of Lies Review

“Summer is fast approaching—for those who have four seasons, anyway. That means all of the deathcore in the whole world is about to flood the markets and beat down the public just as the blazing Southern sun beats down pasty nerds such as I. English quintet Osiah opted to join the front lines of that inevitable invasion of breakdowns and br00tality with their sophomore album, Kingdom of Lies. This will also be their first outing signed onto Unique Leader. Most of you could guess what to expect from that fact alone, but let’s break it down anyway, shall we?” Break like the wind.

Inanimate Existence – Clockwork Review

Inanimate Existence – Clockwork Review

“Five albums in, California’s Inanimate Existence still find themselves in an ironic perpetual animation, racing through phrases song by song while never quite making headway. Since the band ditched the whole Nightwish goes tech moments of Calling from a Dream – a record that I, oddly enough, quite liked – the band have returned to the vivid progressive and technical death metal that they’ve more or less always peddled.” Existence is pain.

Nibiru – Salbrox Review

Nibiru – Salbrox Review

“I’m naturally drawn to tags that promise something slow and heavy, so when I saw “blackened doom” next to the name Nibiru, you’d forgive me if visions of another Indian danced in my head. In reality, Salbrox, the sixth full length by these Italians, would be better described as spoken word noise/drone metal. This curve ball may have knocked some reviewers off balance, but bitch, I went to art school.” School is way out.

Warforged – I, Voice Review

Warforged – I, Voice Review

“The Artisan Era has been on a decent roll lately, releasing good to great albums left and right for just over a year. Warforged seemed like a bit of an odd duck for the label though. The Chicagoan five-piece of progressive blackened death metal don’t really fit the tech-death-heavy mold The Artisan Era have curated for themselves. It was this fact that initially drew me to I, Voice.” War by another name.

Spirit Adrift – Divided by Darkness Review

Spirit Adrift – Divided by Darkness Review

“I’ve always worried whenever a band leaves their roots behind to explore different paths that, depending on who you ask, either betray their humble upbringings (and rabid fanbases) or turn them into creative juggernauts. Case in point: Arizona’s Spirit Adrift, once a one-man doom metal project spearheaded by vocalist/guitarist Nate Garrett, has blossomed into a fully-realized heavy metal machine, and both 2016’s Chained to Oblivion and 2017’s Curse of Conception being radically different from each other in terms of both mood and style, but thankfully not quality.” Ancient Spirit.

Idle Hands – Mana Review

Idle Hands – Mana Review

“Remember Spellcaster? I don’t, but Doc Grier loved their final album: Night Hides the World made his 2016 Top Ten(ish) List. After burning the fuse at both ends, however, the band folded. Now three-fifths of Spellcaster have regrouped as Idle Hands, led by bassist Gabe Franco (who switches to guitars and vocals here). Franco brings with him guitarist Sebastian Silva and drummer Colin Vranizan, and the lineup is rounded out with Brandon Hill on bass. Be warned, though: this is not Spellcaster 2.0. Gone are the almost-thrash, pure metal sounds of that band, as well as the Iron Maiden and Iced Earth influences. Idle Hands aim for something much different, plucking influences from the opposite end of the spectrum and assembling them into a fairly unique sound.” Devil’s Workshop now hiring!

Ruff Majik – Tårn Review

Ruff Majik – Tårn Review

“Reviewing a band for the first time is a very different affair from reviewing a band whose work has passed my hands before. In the former case, it largely feels like reviewing the band itself, since in my perception I am holding the band’s entire body of work (which is the case with debuts, though not otherwise). In the latter case, it’s more akin to chronicling the way a band is evolving, or in some cases, devolving over the years. And the more reviews I write, the more I run into the latter case.” Ruff evolution.