Self Release

Bloodgate – Solace in Mourning Review

Bloodgate – Solace in Mourning Review

Blood. Gate. BLOOD. GATE. BLOOD! GATE! If that isn’t a band name perfectly tuned for chanting at live shows, I don’t know what is. Yet in the online world, Cincinnati, Ohio’s Bloodgate, now two LPs into their career, is a virtually non-hyped entity. Perhaps a reformulation of their blackened thrash approach will help in that respect. While 2018’s Ambush and Destroy was a tantalizingly melodic slab of Skeletonwitch worship, Solace in Mourning, despite its more contemplative title, adds a heap of death metal to the mix and feels decidedly more aggressive and unhinged for it.” Open the gates!

Nightfell – Never Comes the Storm Review

Nightfell – Never Comes the Storm Review

“In a recent review, I described the death/doom sound of Grand Harvest using a variety of band comparisons. One of our lovely readers soon brought up one I meant to include but somehow left out: Portland’s Nightfell. Mere days later, Nightfell‘s Instagram account became active after an extended hiatus, teasing some artwork and the date “4.1.22.” Then lo and behold, they sneakily self-released their fourth full-length album on that very date. Nightfell‘s Bolt Thrower-gone-atmospheric sound crushed me on 2019’s A Sanity Deranged, and if I’d known a follow-up was coming, it would have been one of my most-anticipated releases of this year. Alas, the dudes in Nightfell robbed me of that sweet, sweet anticipation with their surprise album. Well, two can play that game. Behold! Here’s my surprise review!” Owning the night.

Lords of the Trident – The Offering Review

Lords of the Trident – The Offering Review

“I’ve said this in other reviews, but damn, it is really cool to see the US power metal scene thriving. Not that it matters much for someone like me, who lives in the middle of an un-tourable flyover state. Even so, it’s heartwarming to see people like me, who grew up asking “why doesn’t power metal have a scene in America?,” growing up to actually do something about it. The number of great USPM bands is so large now that it takes something special to stand out, and thus it took four LPs for Lords of the Trident to finally catch my attention in 2018 with Shadows From the Past.” A three-pronged attack.

Pillaging Villagers – Pillaging Villagers Review

Pillaging Villagers – Pillaging Villagers Review

“The metal scene has, for the last decade or so, been relatively stagnant in its progression. Though the genre thrives, large scale innovation has stalled. Deafheaven‘s Sunbather and the rise of djent and argent metal have made a sizable impact, but otherwise the genre looks much the same now as it did a decade ago. But evolution doesn’t need to result in revolution; it can be a small scale experiment that thrives on novelty, executed with a bold, focused vision. Something like, I dunno, the death-y and melodic thrash metal of Necropanther mashed up with the drunken joy of Dropkick Murphys. And that’s exactly what Pillaging Villagers is.” It takes a pillage…

Heavy Meta – Mana Regmata Review

Heavy Meta – Mana Regmata Review

“Don’t get your hopes up, ye of heavy metal’s golden years. Heavy Meta is nearly everything you hate about today’s extreme music. Mathcore, black metal, noise rock, and prog all have a hand in this monstrosity, and if there is an inkling of distaste for any of these styles, Mana Regmata might need to come with a side of aspirin. Featuring a tongue-in-cheek moniker that you could proudly proclaim at any party, it’s a group that only jokingly defines itself as “blackened progressive cowboy nintendocore.”” Meta health.

Gunjack – The Third Impact Review

Gunjack – The Third Impact Review

“You’ve heard of rock ‘n’ roll. You’ve heard of black ‘n’ roll. You’ve heard of death ‘n’ roll. But, have you ever heard of drunk ‘n’ roll? Sure you have. If you’ve heard Motörhead, then you know exactly what to expect from a band that says they play drunk ‘n’ roll. It’s the kind of music every party deserves. The kind of music to whip your cock out to and blackout on hobowine filled with shards of broken swords. That’s the kind of “roll” Gunjack plays.” Ride the drunk train to the hobo yard.

Burned in Effigy – Rex Mortem Review

Burned in Effigy – Rex Mortem Review

“Melodic death metal is a strange beast for me. It’s one of those genres that almost always sounds good on first listen, but once the novelty wears off, I rarely find myself enamored enough to hang around. I recently joked that Amon Amarth is the only melodeath band I actually like, and while that may not actually be true, the sentiment illustrates what I need in order to like an album of this particular genre. No thanks to sad-boi, contemplative versions of the style; I need riffs and aggression in my melodeath platters.” Burning in elegance.

King Bastard – It Came From the Void Review

King Bastard – It Came From the Void Review

“It’s become a joke in the AMG tea-room that stoner doom, while often quite enjoyable, very rarely stands out. The languid, hazy riffs and easy atmosphere make for music that flirts cheekily with memorability, but rarely commits to it. Part of the reason, I suspect, is that most of this music operates in a slightly blunted emotional frequency, reflecting the effect being stoned has on the listener. Enter New York foursome, King Bastard, with their debut It Came From the Void. Crashing in with all the subtlety of day-old bong water, it’s a trip all right. But it’s one you should consider taking.” Void bastards.

Cara Neir – Phase Out [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Cara Neir – Phase Out [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

“Oftimes, “experimental” is just a nicer way of saying “incomprehensible” or “long-winded”, “avant-garde” a tidier “sucked up its own ass.” Metal is at its best when it’s truly different, not just strange. Cara Neir received high praise their last time out, but I didn’t hear it. Until now, very little from the Texans intrigued me, nothing I couldn’t swap for some Warheads at the lunch table. Until now.” 8-bits a biting.