Pantera

Trivium – In the Court of the Dragon Review

Trivium – In the Court of the Dragon Review

“I can already smell the death metal purists, like Ferrous, shitting their pants reading this review. At the same time, I can feel the metalcore chin-strappers cringing, knowing that yours truly is probably gonna shit all over this new album. The worst part is that if I didn’t have even an inkling of respect for Heafy and co., no one would get a review. But, even after I ran the yellowed Silence in the Snow through my snowblower, Roadrunner Records still sent me the In the Court of the Dragon promo personally.” Dragon, why do you cry?

Black Swamp Water – Awakening Review

Black Swamp Water – Awakening Review

“I grabbed this promo from the rattlesnake and scorpion-infested bin at AMG‘s Southwest office because I thought it was thrash. See, I’ve been on a thrash kick lately and I had no qualms grabbing another thrash release to review. The band name didn’t exactly strike me as a band that played thrash. But, who am I to judge? Maybe they’re swampy thrashers from the South, like Pantera and Exhorder. But, this is no thrash band. Everything I know about life is a lie.” Swamp romps.

Moon Reaper – Descent Review

Moon Reaper – Descent Review

“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a genre stickler at heart. I find a lot of comfort knowing where to fit every release that comes across my doorstep, so when acts swoop in to challenge that, I’m simultaneously uneasy and intrigued. There are plenty of folks that fall into this category but perhaps the most intriguing has been the UK act Conjurer. I’ve seen these lads described as everything from Swallow the Sun-esque death/doom, Cult of Luna-worshiping post-metal/sludge, to the blackened doom of Thou. 2018’s Mire is a landmark in its own right, and as we anxiously await its followup, we find newcomers Moon Reaper, definitely fans of Conjurer.” Genre reaping.

Neker – Slower Review

Neker – Slower Review

“Hailing from Italy, Neker is the brainchild of… Wait a second. Neker? That’s… You’re sure that’s what you want to go with? Okay, so if any of you want to recommend this band to any friends or family, say it slowly and enunciate clearly. Maybe over-pronounce the K a little, just for safety’s sake. Neker is the brainchild of vocalist/bassist Nicola Amadori, with help from Daniele Alessi on drums and Alessandro Eusebi on guitars. The rest is all Amadori, and his passions lie with the roots of southern metal and sludge, speaking loftily of such renowned acts as Down, Pantera, Crowbar and Melvins.” Let’s get Neker!

Crawling Manifest – Radical Absolution Review

Crawling Manifest – Radical Absolution Review

“I hate to admit it, but I laughed when I first saw the name Crawling Manifest. I immediately had images of babies presenting documentation of the dangerous cargo held within their diapers as they crawl from one location to another pop into my head, and once I saw those images, they were impossible to unsee. My apologies to the band for this, but the strange mind does what the strange mind will do. Radical Absolution is the sophomore record from these Maryland thrashers, coming by way of self-release.” The Manifest is destiny.

Monarch – Future Shock Review

Monarch – Future Shock Review

“Another week, another contest contestant, this time in the form of San Diego thrashers Monarch, winners of the 2019 Wacken Metal Battle USA. That’s better than a Participant ribbon! Led by guitarists Casey Trask and Matt Smith (who also serves as vocalist), Monarch’s style harkens back to the early days of thrash, with plenty of punky attitude and silly subject matter yet loads of technical skill. After 2017’s debut Go Forth…Slaughter, the band played a ton of gigs, honed their songwriting skills, and went into the studio (rather than the debut’s DIY approach) to craft Future Shock, an album they hope is a big step forward.” Born to rule?

Yer Metal is Olde: DOWN – NOLA

Yer Metal is Olde: DOWN – NOLA

“Supergroups. That exciting moment when you learn that members of two or more bands you love are coming together to create … well, if we’re honest with ourselves, usually disappointment. It’s rare that supergroups come close to fulfilling that promise and that’s probably because they can’t. That’s not their fault – expectations are always sky high as a new group coalesces but different fans want different aspects of their favorites to be front and center in the new entity. A rare example, however, of a supergroup not just living up to the hype but downright crushing – at least for this fan – is DOWN.” OLDEA

Ravened – From the Depths Review

Ravened – From the Depths Review

“Rather curiously, the promo material spends quite of bit of time telling me not about Ravened, but about bands that various bandmembers’ relatives — two fathers and an uncle — were in. Since I don’t understand the relevance of that (my failing, I’m sure), I’m going to focus instead on the record and hope that Ravened can step out of the shadow both of their older male relatives and of the various influences they cite.” Blood deep.

Saints of Death – Ascend to the Throne Review

Saints of Death – Ascend to the Throne Review

“Come on, groove metal. I know you can do it. Elitists tend to treat you as the secondary antagonist of metal’s story, behind only to nu-metal, but between genre founders Pantera and the best bits of Machine Head’s discography, there’s still a lot of potential in this particular sound. Hell, I’ve even enjoyed the occasional DevilDriver when craving musical fast-food, which seems to be considered a heinous crime amongst some.” Groove you wrong.