Progressive Metal

Cynic – Ascension Codes Review

Cynic – Ascension Codes Review

“If you aren’t familiar with Cynic… I guess just fuck you? Look at another website, loser. If you are, I can tell you right off the bat that the Seans are dearly missed. I’m not familiar with the role of Malone & Reinert in shaping the band’s ambitions, but Ascension Codes does seem like a case of Masvidal just running with it and trying to make the most Cynic-ass record he could without them.” Rise and get weird.

1000 Bone Cylinder Explosion – Bind Review

1000 Bone Cylinder Explosion – Bind Review

“Solo projects are somewhat fascinating to me. They offer a fresh perspective into what makes an artist tick yet, for whatever reason, are seldom ever as good as the musician’s root project. The obvious takeaway here is that a band is only as good as the sum of its parts, and isolating one of those parts is bound to result in a lesser product. What makes 1000 Bone Cylinder Explosion an interesting case, then, is that the founder is already the primary compositional voice behind his greatest claim to fame. We are already acquainted with Peter Hraur’s vision; we have Lör. So what new wonders, then, can 1000 Bone Cylinder Explosion offer.” Bone collector.

Be’lakor – Coherence Review

Be’lakor – Coherence Review

“In a stunning display of journalistic talent, I actually still agree with the 3.5 I awarded to Be’lakor for their last record all the way back in 2016. Vessels was a solid successor to what distinguished gentlemen regard as one of the best one-two punches of melodic death metal: Stone’s Reach and Of Breath and Bone. It was an accomplished musical development from these records, though not a real development in quality. The 5-year gap since this is an especially long time in a world of 3-year album cycles, so does this indicate another assured step? A return to form?” Form and emptiness.

Cognos – Cognos Review

Cognos – Cognos Review

“Music that sounds like it is all-important and all-encompassing just strikes a chord with me, transporting me beyond the mundane and into a cosmic realm of endless possibilities. Cognos’ self-titled debut taps into such omnipresence, which is why it caught my eye, but are the aforementioned chords struck or is there naught but dissonance ahead?” Cognos ov the cosmos.

Black Sites – Untrue Review

Black Sites – Untrue Review

Black Sites has taken his entire collection of musical influences and presented it to you. What makes it unique is how he absorbs his love for bands like Van Halen, Judas Priest, Trouble, Black Sabbath, and Bay-area thrash (to name a few) and puts himself into them. We love Mark in these parts, but that doesn’t shadow the truth that he’s one of the best songwriters in metal today.”

Franklin Zoo – The Dandelion Child Review

Franklin Zoo – The Dandelion Child Review

“I know we’ve been harping about shitty band names a lot this year, but come on. Franklin Zoo? Why? Is your music about 6-year-olds getting their first biology lesson because two bonobos decided to get exhibitionistic? Do you have a tearful ballad saluting Harambe? Apparently not, since The Dandelion Child addresses the philosophic studies of Soren Kierkegaard.” Animal farming.

Teramaze – And the Beauty They Perceive Review

Teramaze – And the Beauty They Perceive Review

“One country whose output always perks my ears up is Australia. It seems like the Aussies just know how to craft strong albums, whether it’s the catchy hard rock of Butterfly or the avant-garde insanity of Portal, music from Down Under never fails to entertain. Nowhere is this more evident than in the country’s progressive metal scene, which features such bands as Karnivool, Voyager, Dead Letter Circus, and current kings of the mountain Caligula’s Horse. All of these bands craft terrific songs featuring strong musicians, but more importantly stellar vocalists. Let’s go ahead and add Teramaze to this list now.” Hit the Tera button.

Rivers of Nihil – The Work Review

Rivers of Nihil – The Work Review

“Following Kronos’ law of increasing hippietude, Rivers of Nihil have slowly softened their deathcore- and djent- influenced progressive death metal in order to embrace their more sensitive side. Their last record, Where Owls Know My Name, saw this softening succeed, the band now not too far removed from prog metal standbys Between the Buried and Me, sans the hyperactivity. Owls twined the band’s inherited heft and emotional valence into a few very strong songs and a respectable album, proof that the hippiefication process is not all bad. The Work takes it one puff further, balancing every moment of death metal intensity with one or two of chill prog.” Hip and sprawl.