Metal Blade Records

Rivers of Nihil – The Work Review

Rivers of Nihil – The Work Review

“Following Kronos’ law of increasing hippietude, Rivers of Nihil have slowly softened their deathcore- and djent- influenced progressive death metal in order to embrace their more sensitive side. Their last record, Where Owls Know My Name, saw this softening succeed, the band now not too far removed from prog metal standbys Between the Buried and Me, sans the hyperactivity. Owls twined the band’s inherited heft and emotional valence into a few very strong songs and a respectable album, proof that the hippiefication process is not all bad. The Work takes it one puff further, balancing every moment of death metal intensity with one or two of chill prog.” Hip and sprawl.

Criminal – Sacrificio Review

Criminal – Sacrificio Review

“What do you do when you’re determined to review a death metal album but the only one floating in the festering AMG promo pile is from an established band with eight prior albums? Why, you throw caution to the wind of course. You make a boastful promise to no one in particular that you’ll listen to each previous release before taking the latest for a spin. At least, that’s the road less traveled that I chose when I encountered Sacrificio, the upcoming LP from Chilean thrash/death group Criminal.” Criminal punishment.

Portrait – At One with None Review

Portrait – At One with None Review

“When I was a diesel mechanic, I was regularly married to certain trucks. If you did a PM on it, you were now the expert on the truck. If the jackass driver filled it with gasoline instead of diesel, and you were the one that dropped the tanks and flushed the system, it was yours forever. If the Jakes and cruise control stop working and you spend eight hours ripping the entire dash apart to rewire everything that fried, you were definitely married to that truck. And, when that truck rolled back into the yard, everyone went quiet. They all knew you’d be dropping everything and your day would be in or under that piece of shit. They were quiet because you hate that fucking truck and you threw your favorite wrench set across the shop to show how much you hate it. And, as I was married to Kenworth Karen, I’m married to anything related to King Diamond and Mercyful Fate here at AMG.” Portrait of Fate.

Artillery – X Review

Artillery – X Review

“Denmark’s Artillery weren’t the first thrash band to cross my stereo in the 80s, as they were beaten to the punch by most of the “Big Four” and two-thirds of the big names in Germanic thrash. Still, their Fear of Tomorrow debut hit like a thunderbolt from Thor himself when it arrived in 1985. It was heavy and fast, but also had major hooks and choruses that drilled deep into your skull. The band had a very good run with follow ups Terror Squad and By Inheritance and then inexplicably called it a day in 1990. They resurfaced briefly in 1999, then promptly returned to limbo until 2009. Since then they’ve managed to be productive, releasing an album every two or three years, maintaining enough of their classic sound to keep folks like me interested. Sadly, guitarist Morten Stützer, who along with his brother Michael founded the band and created its distinctive riffing style, passed away in 2019 at the young age of 57. Artillery soldiered on in the aftermath, recruiting a new guitarist and returning with their tenth full-length, X.” The cannons will not be silenced.

Cannibal Corpse  – Violence Unimagined Review

Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined Review

“I said it in 2017 and I’ll say it again: I fucking love Cannibal Corpse. This is a band that almost infamously represents death metal in its purist form. Opaque riffs, furious vocals and a trajectory more certain than cradle to grave. Their discography contains many a predatory précis on a genre they helped define. Yet, all too often, their name is accompanied by inexplicable eye-rolling. It is forever beyond me how any death metal aficionado can turn their nose up at an act as effective as Cannibal Corpse.” Esprit de Corpse.

The Crown – Royal Destroyer Review

The Crown – Royal Destroyer Review

“It brings me no joy to write that, to my ears, Royal Destroyer does not meet the high bar set by Cobra Speed Venom, one of The Crown’s finest efforts and 2018’s best record. With that bit of unpleasantry dealt with, I can thankfully write that Royal Destroyer is still a good record, and nowhere near the misstep Death is Not Dead was.” Crown Royal?

Dvne – Etemen Ænka Review

Dvne – Etemen Ænka Review

“If you ask me, Dvne is one of the greater discoveries of the last 5 years. After sampling them, based on a random recommendation from a random review, I’ve found myself increasingly absorbed by the Scottish band. They are still my favorite out of all the TYMHM reviews I wrote, and they landed a high spot in my end of year list in 2017. Needless to say, my anticipation for this weirdly named sophomore offering of sci-fi prog sludge was sky high.” The riffs must flow!

Iotunn – Access All Worlds Review

Iotunn – Access All Worlds Review

“If any of you are fellow Dungeons & Dragons nerds, which of course you are because you listen to metal, you should be familiar with the concept of a natural 20. Well, lately I’ve been experimenting with literally randomizing what promos to pick, using a single line of code to spit out a number corresponding with a place in a list. This time, the code landed on an unassuming sounding debut by a band called Iotunn, marked as space rock. Imagine my surprise when fellow prog lover Huck N Roll informed me that instead I’d landed on a very promising chunk of Metal Blade backed cosmic progressive death metal with none other than Jón Aldará (Barren Earth, Hamferð) on vocals.” Significant access.

Dread Sovereign – Alchemical Warfare Review

Dread Sovereign – Alchemical Warfare Review

“I enter this review with a certain amount of trepidation. Two writers whom I thought would be interested in Alchemical Warfare, Dread Sovereign’s third album, were not. Akerblogger reviewed their last effort, and when I offered this to him he said, ‘all yours.’ When I mentioned this new album to Grymm, who like myself is a big fan of Primordial, he said ‘they don’t do anything at all for me.’ Well, not exactly ringing endorsements, but I was still willing to take a chance and hope for the best.” Dread or gold?