Progressive Metal

Epoch of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis

Epoch of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis

“2021 has seen it’s share of terrible band names. Epoch of Chirality does very little to up the ante in this regard. The name is bulky and awkward, and even trying to imagine it with an English accent—seeing as how the one-man instrumental project is based in England—doesn’t improve its sonic aesthetics. But as we’ve also seen quite a few times this year, a bad name a bad album does not make. With an open mind, I dove into this synth heavy dose of instrumental metal.” Is chirlaity dead?

Howl of the Underdogs Movie Review

Howl of the Underdogs Movie Review

“Usually, band documentaries are reserved for two types of Acts. Either, those who made it big and want to have their legacy cemented, which will often be titled something like “The Rise Of Band.” Or, those who made it big and crashed so spectacularly it makes for a good story: “The Rise And Fall Of Band.” What usually doesn’t happen is “The Lack Of Rise Of A Great Band That Somehow Never Made It Big.” But Madder Mortem isn’t really a usual band, with their decades of experience pumping out fantastic albums with stunning emotional depth and a completely unique sound which I’ve not heard replicated or imitated anywhere.” Underdogs have their day.

Stuck in the Filter – June’s Angry Misses

Stuck in the Filter – June’s Angry Misses

“So here’s a segment you all likely are too young to remember/never thought you’d see again. And it comes from the most unlikely source to boot—me! I discovered this feature through one of our monthly staff review calls/execution ceremonies, and I thought it was a shame we don’t use it more often. This comes on the back of a month where many of us were swamped with life events, massive overtime at work, and other such stressors. Naturally, we missed a bunch of releases, both ones we received promo for and ones we didn’t.” No filter!

Alustrium – A Monument to Silence Review

Alustrium – A Monument to Silence Review

“Philadelphia’s progressive tech death architects Alustrium smashed out an album for the ages with their 2015 opus A Tunnel to Eden. The sophomore LP presented a kaleidoscopic, grand in scale masterwork of progressive and technical death metal, featuring serious instrumental and compositional chops, while possessing tons of heart and style. Despite being a little too bloated and ambitious for its own good, the pros far outweighed the miniscule cons to deliver a knockout punch. Punctuated by 2020’s strong Insurmountable EP, it has been a long time between drinks on the full-length recording front. Curiously slipping under the radar, Alustrium‘s third album, A Monument to Silence is now upon us.” Unquiet monuments.

Siderean – Lost on Void’s Horizon Review

Siderean – Lost on Void’s Horizon Review

“For the second time this year, I grabbed what appeared to be a brand new band’s debut record, only to find that the band has already existed for many years in another form and under another name. This may, in fact, be the member’s first full-length release together, but before they changed their name to Siderean in 2020, the band had worked under the name Teleport for ten years, releasing demo after EP after demo as their sound evolved from the Voivod / Vektor-influenced progressive thrash of their beginnings into another beast altogether. On their final release as Teleport, the 2018 demo The Expansion, the band abandoned nearly every trace of their original thrash sound, embracing a proggy death metal that was infused with copious amounts of dissonance. Somewhere along the way, the members decided that their evolution warranted a fresh start and a fresh moniker, and Siderean was born.” Bring me the event horizon.

Pestilence – Exitivm Review

Pestilence – Exitivm Review

“I’ll forever have a soft spot in my wrought iron heart for Dutch death act Pestilence. Their 1989 magnum opus Consuming Impulse blew my mind all over the wall with its gnarly death metal assault and I still play it regularly. I haven’t completely loved any of their second career stage releases however, as their style has parked somewhere between OSDM and prog-death with jazz elements, making things a bit too awkward for my tastes. That said, 2013s Obsideo was good if weird, and 2018s Hadeon was a respectable shift toward more straightforward death metal. Ninth album Exitivm is now set to drop with an almost entirely new lineup from last time, with founding guitarist Patrick Mameli the sole survivor.” Prog infection.

Tommy Concrete – Hexenzirkel Review

Tommy Concrete – Hexenzirkel Review

“My first thought as my eyes fell upon Hexenzirkel in the promo bin was ‘the year of dumb band names has yet another contender. But Tommy Concrete is not just an ill-conceived band name, it’s the artist name for Tomas Pattinson, whose diverse portfolio includes about a dozen and a half different bands, including a year-long stint in The Exploited. Some years ago his eye turned towards epic prog, because under this moniker he’s churned out at least an album a year since 2016 with music that’s drawn comparisons to Devin Townsend, according to the promo sheet.” Hevy lifting.

Varego – Varego Review

Varego – Varego Review

“Talk about an art upgrade! Last time we saw Italian prog-sludgers Varego, their offering came wrapped in a decidedly undercooked wrapper. That turned out to be a bit prophetic, as the album innards were likewise short a few polishing sessions. 2 years have passed since then, and Varego have reverted from their inclusion on Argonauta’s roster to the solitary status of the self-releasing ronin with a self-named record. A mid-career eponymous album always serves as an attention grabber, a statement of identity. Along with the appealing cover, these are all strong indicators that the band is attempting a kind of rebirth, or at least a make-over.” Mastodonian.

King Buffalo – The Burden of Restlessness Review

King Buffalo – The Burden of Restlessness Review

“As a web developer, short release cycles are second nature. We iterate over our code, and ideally, every cycle it comes out a little better, a little more complete. When it comes to albums, on the other hand, short release cycles make me wary. Genius takes time, as the idiom goes, and though there’s certainly been genius albums scratched out in a hurry and turds that baked for decades, it seems to hold up in a general sort of way. Now New York stoner trio King Buffalo has decided to release three albums in the span of a year, while immediate predecessor Dead Star is but a year old. The gorgeous album art for the first of the hat-trick only assuages my fears a small amount. Is The Burden of Restlessness rushed? Does it drag?” Whiiiiplaaaash.

Boss Keloid – Family the Smiling Thrush Review

Boss Keloid – Family the Smiling Thrush Review

“There is no sneaking up on us from the bushes this time around; not after the critical success of Melted on the Inch. No, Wigan’s greatest export, Boss Keloid, are going to have to win us over by producing a pretty mean album with all eyes upon them. Their unique brand of hipster prog-stoner-doom was a clinic in quirky obfuscation several years ago, taking many of us by storm. Heck, Melted… was my Number Five album in 2018. Typically the novelty can wear thin between releases, but it seems as though the anticipation for Family the Smiling Thrush has been steadily growing. Can the lads deliver?” Thrush the Magic Dragon, why do you cry?