Progressive Death Metal

Barren Earth – Curse of the Red River Review

Barren Earth – Curse of the Red River Review

Barren Earth took me completely by surprise. As a rule I do not post reviews of records from labels that do not send me promos of them. I think it’s a disincentive for them to do so and generally bands don’t deserve the promotion. However, sometimes bands come onto the radar that I can’t ignore, as is what happened when I picked up this new Barren Earth record on a total whim. In fact, I didn’t even know that this band had ex-members from Amorphis, the drummer from Moonsorrow, the guitarist from Kreator or the vocalist from Swallow the Sun involved, or that it was mixed by Dan Swano. I guess I should have expected that this would be a great record…

Kobi Farhi Interview

Kobi Farhi Interview

For anyone who has regularly read my site, it is pretty obvious that I am a big Orphaned Land fan. So it is no exaggeration to say I was pretty stoked to do an interview with the band’s vocalist, lyricist and gigantic personality, Kobi Farhi. We had a chance to talk about several different things, ranging from the cultural approach to metal in Orphaned Land to working with Steven Wilson (from Porcupine Tree). For the first time I am going to offer the audio of this interview edited down with some clips from the record, as well as typing out the “transcript” as it were. The transcript, of course, will have the full text and the audio is a bit more edited down so as to cut out the BS.

Ihsahn – After Review

Ihsahn – After Review

Easily one of the most anticipated records of 2010 for me has been Ihsahn’s new offering. While I was a passing Emperor fan, really just a fan of In the Nightside Eclipse and Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk-era, I was taken by Ihsahn’s solo stuff. The Adversary felt fresh, progressive enough, a step away from the later Emperor material of which I wasn’t a fan, and it captured the sonic styles and textures that he was never quite allowed to explore while in Emperor. The record didn’t stick with me as I had hoped, while I listened to it occasionally it didn’t hold a steadfast position in my discography. On the other hand, angL blew me away. Probably the finest record of 2008, angL has maintained a steady place in the rotation and is a record that I’ve showed to dozens of people. Perfectly produced, perfectly composed and smartly written, angL contained everything that I wanted out of a new progressive metal record. So, of course, when I heard that Ihsahn would be releasing a new record in 2010, I became justifiably excited.

Orphaned Land – The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR Review

Orphaned Land – The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR Review

Few bands will ever make their own mark on a genre of music. it’s just a statistical rarity. Someone once told me that there are something like 5 million bands on MySpace, if that gives you an idea of the breadth which exists when one is thinking in terms of how many musicians there are out there. Of those, most of them probably last longer than a year, never produce much of a demo much less get signed to a real label, and how many ever produce a real step forward into a new decade with a statement of great things to come? The chances of becoming a professional musician are basically NIL and then of the number that do, how many ever produce something that will be remembered and affect enough listeners to ever influence any? That number is even smaller. Orphaned Land is one of the few bands that will ever exact change in metal and they are doing so now with their new record The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR.

In Mourning – Monolith Review

In Mourning – Monolith Review

In 2008 the underground was taken by storm by a little-known Swedish progressive death metal band called In Mourning that released a tour de force entitled Shrouded Divine. A powerful combination of melodic death metal, Opeth-y style progressive bits and death metal with just a touch of core (trust me, just a touch), they were ranked highly on many year end lists and, frankly, left a bit of an impression on this Angry Metal Guy. See, there is life past Opeth in Swedish progressive metal, something that I had been coming to doubt. In Mourning managed to put out a record that had all of the great heaviness and thickness that one wants in a death metal record, while still managing to keep the haunting progressive parts fresh and interesting. The question is can they keep it up? Is it possible that they’re able to follow up such a lauded record with something even better?