Nov20

Avandra – Skylighting Review

Avandra – Skylighting Review

“After two full years, almost to the day, I finally received my first return customer. Puerto Rican prog collective Avandra come back to me with their third full-length record Skylighting. A year and a half feels like forever ago, and I guess thanks to the pandemic that time span probably allowed Avandra the same opportunity to write and record a new album properly as they would have within three years of normal band operation. Therefore, the only consideration left is whether or not they put out something worth my time.” Sky or sell?

Omnivortex – Diagrams of Consciousness Review

Omnivortex – Diagrams of Consciousness Review

“Whenever life becomes too bullshit to mention, I can always turn to Finnish death metal. It looms large from the grave, wraps me in arms of bone and bile and makes everything better. That cold kiss, that horrendous hug is what I’ve come to expect from the scene. However, Omnivortex arrived with absolutely no warning.” Diagrams of dementia and density.

White Magician – Dealers of Divinity Review

White Magician – Dealers of Divinity Review

“In the unhallowed halls of Angry Metal Guy World Headquarters, some of the thralls writers wax on about what a great year it has been for death metal. I would put forward that it’s also been pretty decent for traditional/epic/classic metal – or whatever you want to call it. Enter White Magician, a quartet of like-minded classic metal aficionados from Detroit, and their debut release, Dealers of Divinity. These guys hope to take their brand of classic rock and metal all the way to the top. Professing to be a blend of Mercyful Fate and Blue Öyster Cult, could the odds be stacked in their favor?” Mages wild.

Mizmor & Andrew Black – Dialetheia Review

Mizmor & Andrew Black – Dialetheia Review

“Gaze upon that stark, haunting, monochrome cover photo – shot by Emma Ruth Rundle by the way – and ask yourself, how likely is it that this is going to be like the Lewandowski-adorned CairnMizmor‘s last outing? How much difference is it going to make pairing Mizmor mainman A.L.N. with experimental ambient specialist Andrew Black? Will Black soften a few of Mizmor‘s crushing edges, provide a few ambient interludes or should we expect a complete change of direction from this collaboration? These were my thoughts approaching Dialetheia.” Evolution or mutation?

Communic – Hiding from the World Review

Communic – Hiding from the World Review

Communic has become a bit of an enigma  for me over the past 9 years. Though exceptionally talented and creative, this prog-power trio seem to find ways to undercut themselves and guarantee that they remain an underappreciated act. Early albums like Conspiracy in Mind and Waves of Visual Decay were amazing doses of progressive metal in the vein of Nevermore and it looked like they were going to be the next big thing. Since then they’ve been much more irregular, though they’ve yet to release a truly bad album.” Hiding potential.

Tombs – Under Sullen Skies Review

Tombs – Under Sullen Skies Review

“In the early 2010s, powered by bands such as Deafheaven and Liturgy, “hipster metal” became the favorite pejorative for acts that thumbed traditional metal conventions. Embraced by the mainstream, many of these groups, unfortunately, just weren’t very good, which led to metal purists rejecting them. This resulted in said mainstream accusing said purists of being snobby gatekeepers. Cue lots of sulking, posturing and finger wagging. In among the noise, however, were some real gems that were unfairly tainted by the “hipster metal” label. Although less overtly “subversive” (read: “pretentious”) than their  Brooklyn counterparts, Liturgy, Tombs weirdly found themselves in this boat with their excellent debut, 2011’s Paths of Totality.” Trend Tombs.

Skelethal – Unveiling the Threshold Review

Skelethal – Unveiling the Threshold Review

“Though a combative Al Kikuras rightfully panned the group’s debut, this sophomore record introduces a more fleshed-out Skelethal offering something beyond buzzsaw revivalism. After the departure of founding drummer/bassist Jon Whiplash, the band’s other half, Guillaume Zeller, pieced Skelethal back together at twice the size.” Bone collecting.

Soulburn – Noa’s D’ark Review

Soulburn – Noa’s D’ark Review

Originally formed by two members of Asphyx when their band went on hiatus, Soulburn resurfaced under their original moniker in 2014, after a hiatus of their own and a stint carrying the name To The Gallows during which Rogga Johanssen briefly joined the line-up. Nowadays, the cast still includes founding member Eric Daniels, as well as Legion of the Damned guitarist Twan van Geel and Graceless members Remco Kreft and Marc Verhaar. On paper, a team like this should be able to make a pretty killer record.” Death reclamation.