Pantera

Brainstorm – On the Spur of the Moment Review

Brainstorm – On the Spur of the Moment Review

Reliability. That’s an endearing quality in a band. Its great knowing you can buy an album by a beloved band without trepidation because they deliver something of quality time and again. Germany’s traditional metal icons Brainstorm have been generating just that type of trust with fans ever since 2000’s Ambiguity. Since then its been album after album full of classy, powerful meat and potatoes metal, falling somewhere between Judas Priest, Metal Church and Pantera. No small part of their success is the vocal talent and songwriting acumen of front man Andy B. Franke. Whether recording with these guys or his more experimental unit Symphorce, the man has established himself as one of the premier metal vocalists out there today and he’s long exhibited an uncanny knack for writing winning choruses. As with classic albums like Metus Mortis and Soul Temptation, On the Spur of the Moment stays close to their tried-and-true formula of crunching guitars, tough but soaring vocals and hooks galore. while there are few surprises, it’s yet another solid outing by these scene vets and it’s a can’t miss for lovers of traditional heavy metal with grit and attitude.

Anthrax – Worship Music Review

Anthrax – Worship Music Review

Wow, the Thrax is finally back! After endless bullshit, drama and ridiculous delays, the revolving door of vocalists that saw John Bush and Joey Belladonna coming, going and coming again is over (for now). In the peculiar saga that saw John Bush depart so Anthrax could record an entire album with unsung voice Dan Nelson, only to scrap it for planned re-dubs with Bush and then later with original singer Joey Belladonna, we finally get the refinished product. Confused? Yeah, me too. So after an eight year wait, is Worship Music worth the metallic soap opera and histrionics fans had to endure? Well, the hype circus is already in full swing, with the band themselves saying its their best material and some early reviews comparing the quality favorably to genre classics like “Heaven and Hell” and “Stargazer.” Well, allow me to take a step back and simply say, NOT! It’s good and definitely interesting, but Steel Druhm shall not be among the throngs of metal press that hail this as some crowning triumph or the best work of their long career. While it isn’t in the same league as their classics, it’s enjoyable and finds them trying new things without completely ditching the classic Thrax sound. Despite a few excellent songs, Worship Music isn’t the release of the year that many (myself included), hoped it would be.

DC4 – Electric Ministry Review

DC4 – Electric Ministry Review

I didn’t want to review this, didn’t even want to listen to it. Angry Metal Guy said I had to do it. I bitched, moaned, put it off, made excuses and so on. I didn’t like the cover or the song titles. It screamed cheesy cock rock and I had a general feeling of dread. Yesterday I resigned myself to biting the bullet and just getting through it. Although I was pretty much right on the nail about the cock rock, much to my shock, this didn’t suck. In fact, it rocked! It seems even the mighty Steel Druhm can be wrong (like twice on eon). DC4 is a semi-supergroup composed of former members of Armored Saint (Jeff Duncan), Dio (Rowan Robertson) and Odin (Shawn Duncan). They play a metallized hard rock style that can be compared to classic era Van Halen if Dimebag Darrel was the guitarist and songwriter. Yes, I mean that. Electric Ministry is their third full length and it features a collection of straight forward, guitar-driven hard rock anthems with just enough grit and punch to satisfy the average metal monger. They effectively craft songs with big, pumping, meaty riffs and hooks galore. Its essentially panties-on-the-head party metal with a sleazy, “good times” vibe that veers into dark, disturbing areas at times. I’ll be honest here, I actively resisted liking this and it didn’t work. I resent DC4 making me support this release! What is the world coming to.

Steel Druhm’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 50-41

Steel Druhm’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 50-41

Much like Angry Metal Guy, I took issue with Gibson’s Top 50 Metal Songs of All Time. While AMG was primarily offended by the paucity of post-1980s selections and the Anglocentric focus, my biggest gripe was the inclusion of bands that weren’t/aren’t metal (that also pissed me off, I’m just not eloquent when I’m pissed. – AMG). As good as bands like KISS, Van Halen and AC/DC may be, they just aren’t heavy metal bands (Don’t even get me started on Korn). Even when Gibson managed to stick to the correct genre, some of their choices were quite baffling to me. Of course, if you put fifty metal fans in a room and told them to do their own lists, each would be unique and vastly different. That’s the wonderful subjectivity of music, it means something different to each of us and who are we to judge what others like? That being said, Gibson’s list blows moose cock, so here’s mine.

Crowbar – Sever the Wicked Hand Review

Crowbar – Sever the Wicked Hand Review

So I’m super unqualified to review this record because I a) don’t like sludge and b) have never listened to Crowbar before this moment. Sure, I’m sure I should have heard them, but I gotta be honest with you, I’ve been sort of busy. There are plenty of scenes that have developed since the 1990s and the slow, southern rock post-thrash stuff has never been my thing. Name bands from south of the Mason-Dixie line and I probably don’t like them unless they’re Kris Kristofferson. Always hated Down, didn’t think Corrosion of Conformity was terribly special (and this one’ll really burn your ass), I never liked Pantera or its postbellum incarnations. (Oh and I don’t like Black Label Society because they want to be a southern band even though Zakk Wylde is from fucking NEW JERSEY.) Given all of that, then, I was pretty fucking stoked that listening to this record wasn’t torture! In fact, it was really enjoyable. Let me regale you with the tale.

Lazarus A.D. – Black Rivers Flow Review

Lazarus A.D. – Black Rivers Flow Review

There are plenty of myths that sane folks know to be false like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and honest politicians. However, one should never count the sophomore slump among those fairy tales and urban legends, for it is very real and very painful to behold. Exhibit A for 2011 is Lazarus A.D. who had a decent if not remarkable debut with 2009’s The Onslaught. Many seemed to lump them in with the retro-thrash revival and while there was some Exodus aping to be sure, they always sounded more metalcore-ish to my ears. Although I hate metalcore like I hate taxes, there was enough aggression, energy and nods to the old school throughout The Onslaught to make it semi-palatable and I didn’t totally hate it. Well, there is simply no digesting their second platter Black Rivers Flow, as Lazarus A.D. have firmly embraced their inner mall kid and all things Shadow’s Fall and the result is a veritable black river of crappy, overused grooves, tough guy posturing and general mediocrity.

Cataract – Killing the Eternal Review

Cataract – Killing the Eternal Review

What the hell is THIS? A metal-core band I actually like? Impossible! Well, like may be too strong a word here but Killing the Eternal, the sixth album by Swiss metal-core mavens Cataract is much less annoying and cringe inducing than most of the metal-core I’ve been subjected to over time. Perhaps this caught me in a rare moment of good humor, or maybe Cataract have learned over their long existence that their bread is buttered on the death/thrash side of things. One thing is for certain, Cataract manage to avoid many trappings of the classic “core” sound that I find so irritating, and as a result, this is a fairly tolerable, and at times, even enjoyable album.

Angelus Apatrida – Clockwork Review

Angelus Apatrida – Clockwork Review

Angelus Apatrida is a Spanish thrash metal band founded in the early 2000s, that is now putting out it’s third record, but Clockwork is the first for one of metal’s biggest labels: Century Media. So when I got this record, I just kinda went “who?” and went on with my day not thinking much of it. The name, which roughly translates to “fallen angels”, means nothing to me and has been sorta flitting in and out of my brain and while I was surprised to stick this in and hear thrash metal screaming at me (that’ll teach me to not read the bio first), I wasn’t really sure that there was anything here that would stick.

Thunderstone – Dirt Metal Review

Thunderstone – Dirt Metal Review

Whenever an established band parts ways with their original vocalist and brings in a replacement, long time fans rightfully get concerned. How will the new singer impact the band’s sound and style? Will he fit in or change the dynamic too much? That’s the situation facing Finland’s Thunderstone for their fifth album, Dirt Metal. After four pretty solid albums of Euro power metal with original frontman Pasi Rantanen, Dirt Metal starts the era of Rick Altzi on vocals. With this new era also comes the much dreaded and despised shift in sound and approach as well. Are you scared? Are you on edge yet? Read on.