Opeth

Thron – Pilgrim Review

Thron – Pilgrim Review

“Bands like Thron felt much more special to me as a fledgling member of the AMG staff back in early 2017. In those days, I was just happy to be covering something good. Thron‘s debut LP wasn’t just good; it was damn good, and the best record I had covered for this blog at the time I penned my review. Its follow-up, Abysmal, was nothing like its namesake. We unfortunately never received a promo for Abysmal, but it was a successful risk for the band, as they pivoted from pure meloblack to something more diverse and richly textured. As ironically great as Abysmal was, I am somewhat happy I never covered it in retrospect. Its successor, Pilgrim, is on an almost identical playing field.” Thron trend.

Luna’s Call – Void [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Luna’s Call – Void [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“2020 provided plenty of quality metal releases, but only a scant few of those which tickled my fancy fall into the “progressive metal” category. Of those, we missed two that deserve mention. The first is Cellar Vessel‘s immense slab of Xanthrochroided symphonic prog-death, entitled Vein Beneath the Soil. The second—and, obviously, more preferred, since I’m writing about it—is UK quartet Luna’s Call‘s sophomore epic Void.” When the void calls…

Yer Metal Is Olde: King Diamond – The Eye

Yer Metal Is Olde: King Diamond – The Eye

“Then there’re examples like Fast Eddie Clarke walking away from Motörhead and the canning of Ozzy Osbourne by Black Sabbath. Anthrax, Exodus, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest lost their vocalists, who psyched everyone out and returned later anyway. In some cases, end-of-era albums are more like transition pieces—bridging the gap between the band of old and the band of new. Arguably Metallica‘s …And Justice For All fits the bill. It was clear that Justice was different, but it wasn’t until Metallica arrived that everyone saw what Justice really was. King Diamond‘s The Eye is also such an album.” Fading eyesight.

Vulkan – Technatura [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Vulkan – Technatura [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“People hate social media because of all the idiots, lunatics, and imbeciles. I must have the best-curated friend lists on the planet; aside from blocking a few conspiracy theorists, flat-earthers, and all-around rednecks this year, my feeds are pristine. In fact, I’ve gotten a ton of great recommendations from my Twitter pals, and the best of the bunch was Technatura, the third album from the Swedish heavy prog band Vulkan. I’ve never heard of them just like they’ve apparently never heard of PR, because I didn’t know about this album until months after its release. That’s a shame, because this is one of the strongest progressive rock albums of the year.” Secret Spock.

Countless Skies – Glow Review

Countless Skies – Glow Review

“UK melodic death crew Countless Skies impressed on their 2016 debut, New Dawn. Although in hindsight I was perhaps a little too generous with my final evaluation, the album signaled a rising voice worth keeping close track of. Some four years later, Countless Skies return rejuvenated, and with the backing of none other than Willowtip Records, a slightly left field label for the band’s rich, layered melodeath tapestry. The intervening years have treated Countless Skies well, and sophomore platter Glow, sounds like a band more comfortable and confident with their lush blend of gorgeous melody, progressive arrangements, and dynamic shifts into heavier realms.” Glow and steady.

Gargoyl – Gargoyl Review

Gargoyl – Gargoyl Review

“Ever since the early seeds of the Gargoyl project came to public light, I have been anticipating a debut album. Lo and behold, the band, featuring Revocation‘s Dave Davidson (guitars) and Luke Roberts (vocals/guitars) from the underrated Ayahuasca, has arrived with their self-titled LP. Blending dark, brooding, unsettling atmospheres, Gargoyl play off-kilter progressive metal with avant garde tendencies and a strong ’90s grunge vibe, most notably drawing influence from Seattle rock legends Alice in Chains. On paper the combination has a hell of a lot going for it, however, nailing the execution and establishing a strong identity are challenges to overcome.” Super groups, man…