Pitch Black Records

Parallel Minds – Every Hour Wounds… The Last One Kills Review

Parallel Minds – Every Hour Wounds… The Last One Kills Review

A quick glance at my bio will reveal that besides large helpings of bourbon, red meat, and snuggling, the quickest way to the Hol where my heart should reside is groove and thrash infused heavy/power metal. If asked to pack my metal suitcase for an involuntary extended stay upon a remote desert island, I would probably just quickly raid the discographies of Nevermore, Iced Earth, Theocracy, and Symphony X and call it good. So, anytime a band gets compared to any of these genre heavyweights I must take notice. Needless to say, such comparisons mandated that I pick up Every Hour Wounds… The Last One Kills, the sophomore album from French band Parallel Minds.” The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Stonecast – I Earther Review

Stonecast – I Earther Review

“Genre can be a weird thing. Ultimately, it’s just a set of signposts, so on occasion you can end up with an album that fits one genre while drawing influences from another. Usually, this is a sign of a new subgenre forming, at least if others come along to rip off borrow from the album in question. Take France’s Stonecast and their third album, I Earther, for instance. Despite drawing extensively from the power metal scene, and mostly Europower at that, they’ve crafted a solid, no frills heavy metal record. Is it a game-changer? Well, no, but is it worth checking out regardless?” Stones of many sizes.

Niviane – The Druid King Review

Niviane – The Druid King Review

“Preconceptions can go far, regardless of the subject. From only a handful of clues, people extrapolate a picture and form an opinion. Take Niviane with their debut album The Druid King. With only the name, title and album cover to go on, I expected folk-infused power metal, possibly in the vein of Elvenking. As it turns out, my folk expectations weren’t warranted.” Expecting an elf, and you get an orc. A mean one.

Insatia – Phoenix Aflame Review

Insatia – Phoenix Aflame Review

“The promo selection at AMG is a brutal process. If you are late to the game, all the good stuff has been picked by the vultur- I mean, my colleagues, and your choices are reduced to black metal, metalcore or symphonic metal (which nearly always means Nightwishcore.) I was late this time, and Jorn help me, I picked symphonic power metal album Phoenix Aflame completely blind. I recall my last thought before my own private hell was unleashed: “Can’t be worse than Akoma.” The early bird gets the Wormrot.

Ghost Avenue – Impact Review

Ghost Avenue – Impact Review

“It goes without saying that to enjoy music reviewing, you have to also enjoy the discovery and research of an album just as much as writing about it. And that doesn’t mean just the good records from your favorite bands. It means every album you get your hands on. But, even if I could review just the good records and albums from my favorite groups, I’m not sure I would want to. I have to say, while I love reviewing records from my go-to groups, there’s something fun and stress-free about grabbing a record from an unknown band. It’s like watching the World Series between two teams you don’t care about.” Zero drama metal.

Debackliner – Debackliner Review

Debackliner – Debackliner Review

Debackliner is the second French group in a week for me. The first was the excellent Ars Moriendi—a one-man, black metal act focused on the Frenchy weirdness of bands like Spektr and Blut aus Nord. But, Debackliner is something else. It’s not a one-man band, it’s not black metal, and it’s not anything you were expecting.” Is there a French connection?

Sinnery – A Feast of Fools Review

Sinnery – A Feast of Fools Review

“Try as you might, your eyes are inevitably being drawn to the album cover that sits just to the left of these words. As you read, you will involuntarily pause so as to examine in greater detail this genius work of Costin Chioreanu. Depicting what appears to be a bloody tea party between a deer, a wolf, a faceless goat boy, and the crack whores of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the artwork of Sinnery‘s debut album, A Feast of Fools, is about as convoluted and mysterious as the album itself.” Sin Tea is served!

Blynd – Liber Sum Review

Blynd – Liber Sum Review

“At the end of 2014, I had the pleasure of reviewing the debut album by Stormcast, a band hailing from the island of Cyprus. Frame of Mind was filled with a passion I still can’t fully articulate except that this passion appears to be lacking in many bands of similar style. So when shuffling through this month’s promos, I came across Blynd (another Cypritian band) and I couldn’t help but hope for another stunner.” And the winner for Most Names Dropped in a Review for 2015 is….

Dragonheart – The Battle Sanctuary

Dragonheart – The Battle Sanctuary

Dragonheart is paramount in man’s interaction with music. If not for such albums as The Battle Sanctuary, who would remind us of our primitive warmongering? Of gods and kings and swords and shields? Of halcyon times where it was not just socially acceptable, but encouraged, to raid poorly-defended acquaintances and ravage their family?” If thy neighbor’s lawn offends thee, smite it down!