Self Released

Archangel A.D. – Casus Belli Review

Archangel A.D. – Casus Belli Review

Archangel A.D. play thrash about as retro as it gets. But even retro thrash has its particular flavors, in this case an even split mixture between Metallica and Annihilator. Aside from the opener, which might as well have been called “King of Spades” for as close as it hews to Motörhead’s classic. Nevertheless, there’s a more than satisfying amount of hooky riffs on Casus Belli, as well as a surprising amount of variety.” Belli of the beast.

Planet of the Dead – Pilgrims Review

Planet of the Dead – Pilgrims Review

“A doom/stoner album with songs about classic horror and sci-fi books and movies? Sounds right up my alley. New Zealand’s Planet of the Dead take on all sorts of material, from Dune to Alien to Slaughterhouse 5, and do so with a sludgy simplicity here on their second album, Pilgrims. Their debut album, Fear of a Dead Planet, came out just last year, so this is a pretty quick turnaround by today’s standards. Channeling the usual suspects such as Black Sabbath and Kyuss, and coming off a bit Bull Elephant-adjacent, this quartet hits the sweet spot in album length, with eight songs spread out over less than forty minutes, making for an release that’s easy to get into from start to finish. Do they hit the mark on all eight tracks?” Space sludge.

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?

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!

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.

The Vicious Head Society – Extinction Level Event Review

The Vicious Head Society – Extinction Level Event Review

“I’ve had a few occasions now where I stumbled upon a promo in the never-ending heap and was beset by a vague sense of recognition. I’ll set out on a search through our vast archives, swearing I’ve read a review of this band or that, until I finally find the record in question, only to discover that the author of the review was, in a twist of truly Shyamalanic proportions, myself. This was not the case, however, for The Vicious Head Society, whom I still remember well as one of the most nonsensical names for a band I’ve had to cast judgement upon.” Extinction level head.

Hannes Grossmann – To Where the Light Retreats Review

Hannes Grossmann – To Where the Light Retreats Review

“I have a confession to make. I have a pathological aversion to bands named after people. Unless your name is Ozzy or Dio, I’m probably not going to listen to your album. Ok, I guess I love the solo stuff from Warrel Dane and Michael Romeo, but that’s it! I honestly can’t explain why, but I’ve just always thought that metal is a band’s genre. Anyways, I’ve said all that to immediately contradict myself.” What’s in a name?

Drift into Black – Patterns of Light Review

Drift into Black – Patterns of Light Review

“We here at AMG know all about the grind of productivity. “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves” is, after all, proudly emblazoned on the office wall. But sometimes, the quest for endless productivity results in work that is rushed, uninspired, and recycled. This same trap can befall musicians. While constant new material is great, and creative bursts are welcome for fans, sometimes you wish bands would hone their existing music more rather than vomiting out new material like a food-poisoned student. Which brings us to Patterns of Light, the fourth album from ex-Grey Skies Fallen keyboardist, Craig Rossi. His solo project, Drift into Black, has deviated significantly from the melo-death of Grey Skies Fallen, focusing on mournful doom and weighty themes of grief and loss.” Black and grey.

The Wring – Project Cipher Review

The Wring – Project Cipher Review

“The promo’s promise of “Rush without the synths” is a pretty decent summary of what The Wring are going for here. The key elements are complex, layered, noodly guitar/bass lines and shifting time signatures. Prog’s regular downfall is letting the noodling get in the way of good songs, but The Wring keep things tight and let the songcraft lead.” Loose cipher.