South African Metal

Vulvodynia – Praenuntius Infiniti Review

Vulvodynia – Praenuntius Infiniti Review

“When Vulvodynia put out Psychosadistic Design all the way back in 2016, it served as an intro to slam for a great number of people. It was up there with Ingested’s Surpassing the Boundaries of Human Suffering for entry-level stuff that would eventually lead the listener to bands like Ecchymosis, Gorevent, and Kraanium. It had a modern sheen, plenty of obvious hooks, and an obnoxious sense of humor, but it also had enough in common with slam to draw the listener down the rabbit hole.” Death, where is thy slam?

Sunken State – Solace in Solitude Review

Sunken State – Solace in Solitude Review

“Though childhood friends and siblings surrounded me with the stuff, the only two metalcore releases that stuck were Trivium‘s Shogun and God Forbid‘s IV:  Constitution of Treason. And, depending on the mood, As I Lay Dying. The rest ain’t my bag. The reason I grabbed Sunken State‘s debut record was mainly for the vocal performances. It’s an interesting melding of barks, rasps, and shouts. Solace in Solitude also combines their metalcore sound with melodeath, Lamb of God groove, and subtle hints of death metal. It’s an interesting combination of elements—especially for a band from South Africa.” Core tour.

Ophiuchi – Shibboleth Review

Ophiuchi – Shibboleth Review

“For one, I wouldn’t have guessed that the topics of the band’s doomy black nightmares revolved around Greek mythology. But they do. While the abduction of Persephone inspired Bifurcaria Bifurcata, this year’s Shibboleth is inspired by Homer’s Odyssey. If you’ve heard the music, you know it’s deeper than just a concept album. Like the music, the lyrics are waves on the ocean. Metamorphesizing in color and shape, gathering secrets as they move to shore—patiently waiting their turn to smash you into the rocks. It’s been four years, and I still don’t know Bifurcaria Bifurcata‘s secrets. And Shibboleth proves once again that Ophiuchi is as mysterious to me as it was in 2017.” Mysteries abound.

Aleah – Aleah Review

Aleah – Aleah Review

“Readers of this site, and fans in general, know of Aleah Stanbridge. After doing some work on her own and collaborating with The Mission’s Andy Cousin in That Which Remains, she laid down guest vocals for Swallow the Sun and Amorphis before forming Trees of Eternity with Swallow the Sun guitarist Juha Raivio. Trees of Eternity released Hour of the Nightingale in 2016, months after Aleah tragically passed away from cancer at age 39. Since then, Raivio has been assembling and touching up Aleah’s work, and he’s finally presenting it to us now in the form of a double album.” Music is immortal.

AMG’s Unsigned Band Rodeo: Beeldenstorm – Herkoms

AMG’s Unsigned Band Rodeo: Beeldenstorm – Herkoms

“Back in the primordial days of this here blog, we attempted something called “AMG’s Unsigned Band Rodeo.” The basic idea was to select a bunch of unsigned bands and give them the collective review treatment to find the most worthy buried gems. It was our humble effort to remind folks that the metal underground is still an important part of the world of metal.” We’re baaaack!

All We’ve Known – Dissidence Review

All We’ve Known – Dissidence Review

“Album titles are tricky. Ideally, the name of the album should describe its sound in some way, particularly when coupled with such knowledge as the band name and album art. For example, I’m guessing that no one is going to be surprised, after glancing at the image over there, that Dissidence by All We’ve Known is a metalcore album.” Known quantities.

Vulvodynia – Mob Justice Review

Vulvodynia – Mob Justice Review

Vulvodynia’s 2016 monstrosity Psychosadistic Design joined Ingested’s Surpassing the Boundaries of Human Suffering at the top of the relatively accessible slamming deathcore pile. Upon its release, it sold a boatload of copies due to its mixture of self-aware ridiculousness and a charmingly cavalier attitude towards everything but riffs. Both records were great ‘gateway slam’ records — their production was friendly to ‘core ears and the riffs were unfairly catchy. Structurally, both took the general deathcore idea and replaced breakdowns with slams and both were a lot of fun for it. Both toed the line between excess and parody expertly, which made them easy to like and laugh along with. Three years later, Vulvodynia have returned.” Flash slam.

Ruff Majik – Tårn Review

Ruff Majik – Tårn Review

“Reviewing a band for the first time is a very different affair from reviewing a band whose work has passed my hands before. In the former case, it largely feels like reviewing the band itself, since in my perception I am holding the band’s entire body of work (which is the case with debuts, though not otherwise). In the latter case, it’s more akin to chronicling the way a band is evolving, or in some cases, devolving over the years. And the more reviews I write, the more I run into the latter case.” Ruff evolution.

Zombies Ate My Girlfriend – Shun the Reptile Review

Zombies Ate My Girlfriend – Shun the Reptile Review

“Does anyone still give a shit about zombies? Apparently the creators of the next Resident Evil game are wondering how they’re going to “make zombies scary again,” and that concern is a direct reflection of the cultural over-saturation of zombies that’s occurred in the last decade or so. Thus, when I first saw the name of South African quintet Zombies Ate My Girlfriend, I rolled my eyes so hard I saw my brain. Yet when I actually listened to their 2015 debut Retrocide, I surprisingly didn’t hate it, although their brand of core-informed melodic death metal was still a little rough around the edges. Nonetheless the band’s animated riffing and general craziness made me intrigued and curious to hear what they’d spew out next.” Don’t squeeze the lizard.