Pyramaze

Manticora – To Kill to Live to Kill Review

Manticora – To Kill to Live to Kill Review

“Of all the hundreds of underground power metal acts that you will never, ever hear of, Manticora is one of only a handful deserving of widespread recognition. For twenty years and over the course of seven records, these good Danish boys have gradually shed their former obsession with Blind Guardian and Iced Earth, growing proggier and thrashier with each passing release to become one of the genre’s most stylistically distinct acts. Even with their evolutionary tendencies in mind, though, I could not have predicted the forward leap that To Kill to Live to Kill represents.” Nature or suture.

Madam X’s Least Disliked Five(ish) of 2017

Madam X’s Least Disliked Five(ish) of 2017

“And with a mighty cold flourish, twenty-seventeen makes her exit! While it’s not been a bad year by any means, it has been a more demanding year than I expected, with fewer opportunity for music listening and writing. Regulars to AMG may have noticed, going back a few months now, that I’ve pretty much been absent from the Reviews section of the site.” Come back or your creepy doll collection meets Mr. Shreddy.

Kobra and the Lotus – Prevail I Review

Kobra and the Lotus – Prevail I Review

Kobra and the Lotus is a Canadian melodic power band that first came onto my radar in 2012 with their self-titled debut. Fronted by the actually-legally-named Kobra Paige, the band’s third LP, Prevail I, is on Napalm Records, after releasing the debut on Spinefarm, and 2014’s High Priestess on Titan Music. Prevail I is, apparently, the first of two albums which will be released in quick succession, and it’s being marketed as produced by the guy who produced Amaranthe‘s records, with a debut single squarely marketed at people who like Delain. Since the band’s debut was a solid power metal album, this strategy raises a question for me: three full-lengths (and three labels) into this whole experiment of being named Kobra, how’s the whole thing going?” That’s a very personal question.

Wind Rose – Stonehymn Review

Wind Rose – Stonehymn Review

“Despite numerous recommendations from plenty of people smarter than I, reading any Tolkien beyond some excerpts has eluded me. I have nothing against the man or fantasy in general, but tend to get caught up reading other things instead. So perhaps it’s inexperience or a biased understanding of the Lord of the Rings universe by playing Shadow of Mordor almost pathologically when that came out, but in Round Two of reviewing Italy’s Wind Rose I noticed something that wasn’t present in their Wardens of the West Wind success: this sounds like what I’d imagine Middle Earth metal would.” Frodo-core.

Voyager – Ghost Mile Review

Voyager – Ghost Mile Review

“In the realm of intelligent prog-metal, Voyager has been one of my favorites since 2009s I Am the Revolution. Their ability to blend traditional metal ideas with extraneous elements from death, power and djent always impressed me, but their ear for catchy, tight writing really made them stand out. Nowhere was this more apparent than on 2011s The Meaning of I, which earned a very rare 5.0 rating from yours truly. I still spin that album regularly and marvel at how diverse and addicting it remains 6 years later. I was somewhat let down by followup V, but it was still a solid album in its own right with some remarkable songs. I hoped the band would rebound and release another classic platter of thoughtfully oddball material.” Miles of creativity.

MindMaze – Resolve Review

MindMaze – Resolve Review

“I’m a big fan of MindMaze’s Back From the Edge. Similar to Pyramaze‘s excellent Disciples of the Sun, it’s a true grower of a progressive power metal album that I’ve really warmed to over the years. It strikes an admirable balance between prog and power styles, carrying plenty of memorable hooks bolstered by proper prog songwriting in its longest tracks.” Power-prog and problems.

Pyramaze – Contingent Review

Pyramaze – Contingent Review

Pyramaze has made a career out of defying expectations and being impossible to anticipate. With constantly shifting styles and revolving door vocalists, each new album promises something totally different. Enigmas that they are, it still seemed they’d found a near-perfect sound and a killer front man on 2015s excellent Disciples of the Sun, and since it was such a compelling, addicting album, I hoped they would tinker sparingly with their approach when it came time for a sequel. Alas, it was clear early on the band wanted to take what they did on Disciples and expand on it ten-fold for Contingent, going for a kind of post-apocalyptic conceptual piece with cinematic soundtrack elements and a greater symphonic presence.” Every contingent has a contingency fee.

Enbound – The Blackened Heart Review

Enbound – The Blackened Heart Review

“A few years back I had the pleasure of seeing Kamelot live at the only venue in my home state that hosts good metal concerts. It was a brilliant show, with the audience belting every lyric while the band granted us an unanticipated level of interactivity, yet one man I met in the crowd remained nonplussed. Forget one of America’s best power metal bands; this guy was excited as all fuck to catch second-rate supporting act Delain.” Taste is a terrible thing to taste.

Corona Skies – Fragments of Reality Review

Corona Skies – Fragments of Reality Review

“Having read plenty of trash masquerading as philosophy and heard plenty of nonsensical music both within and without metal, I figured I was desensitized to weird stuff. Hell, the world seems almost desensitized to weirdness; Jacques Lacan, one of the biggest dolts to ever pretend to think about stuff and write it down, posited that an erection was equal to the square root of -1 and more than zero people took him seriously.” Weird is full of surprises.