Spinefarm Records

Within Temptation – Resist Review

Within Temptation – Resist Review

“The times they are a changing. Once not so long ago, Within Temptation was in the vanguard of symphonic metal, powered by the wonderful voice of Sharon den Adel. Early albums like Mother Earth and The Silent Force balanced dark moods with accessible songcraft, and though they were never a super heavy outfit, their overall style fit well enough in the metalverse. Over time their sound became more glossy and pop-centric, drifting closer and closer to alt-rock, culminating in the commercially grasping dumpster fire that was 2014s Hydra. Four long years have gone by without a followup, reinforcing the bad taste that album left behind.” Resistance is brutal.

Amaranthe – Helix Review

Amaranthe – Helix Review

“One part pop, one part -core, and one part power metal, Amaranthe could only have come from Sweden: a country and people so obsessively modern and image-conscious that they created the Eurovision industry, the national Twitter account, and the marketing model for trend-driven consumption from furniture to clothing. Even some of the most iconic metal Sweden has produced had remarkably trend-driven second acts. In Flames‘ fall from melodeath darlings to nü-metal wannabes was followed by bands adopting the Swedecore sound. What’s the most successful metal band that Sweden has produced since Gothenburg? Well, Ghost. But even for Sweden Amaranthe is another level entirely.” Amaranthe is back for more. How’s that working out for them?

Dragonlord – Dominion Review

Dragonlord – Dominion Review

“As a longtime fan of Testament, that I’d somehow missed Dragonlord until now came as a bit of a surprise. Testament guitarist Eric Peterson founded the project as a way to showcase his kvlt kred, and released two albums in the 00’s that can loosely be described as Dimmu Borgir-adjacent. Since then, they’ve slogged through a quagmire of line-up changes, label problems, and scheduling conflicts. That Dominion is here at all is impressive.” New Testament.

Voices – Frightened Review

Voices – Frightened Review

“When Akercocke dissolved in 2012, a few of its members regrouped as Voices, releasing a respectable debut in the form of Voices from the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain, revealing that there was some life left from the ashes of everyone’s favorite hedonistic prog-death merchants. However, absolutely no one was prepared for the relentless headfuck that came out the following year.” Voices carry… expectations.

Kalmah – Palo Review

Kalmah – Palo Review

Kalmah could be a fine case study for some poor grad student’s research into band development. Finland’s favorite sons grew up overnight, discovering their unique and — dare I say — iconic sound as young whipper-snappers. They caught the thicket of mid-period lows underfoot and freed themselves through personal evolution, not brute strength. They retooled into an incredibly consistent act not wholly unalike their early days, but not overtly similar either. It’s been nearly five years since Kalmah last stomped the swamp, and Palo would be more a shock if it wasn’t the beautiful bog beast we all expected.” Muckrakers.

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs Review

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs Review

“Back in ’12—when I was wearing an onion on my belt, as that was the fashion at the time—I encountered Diablo Swing Orchestra for the first time. These Swedish purveyors of the abstract and absurdly catchy had composed an album entitled Pandora’s Piñata that I downright lovedDSO went into hibernation after PP and resurfaced again with the news that their long-time vocalist AnnLouice Lögdlund was leaving the band. Lögdlund’s considerable lung capacity was replaced with Kristen Evegård, but unlike other band breakups when you lose a vocalist, DSO kept most of the rest of the band in place and produced a new album. 2017’s newest record is the wittily entitled Pacifisticuffs, which coming from Swedes is a great way of describing what appears to be the Swedish cultural state of nature.” Conscientious objections.

Toothgrinder – Phantom Amour Review

Toothgrinder – Phantom Amour Review

“Full disclosure: I took this review on fully expecting to hate this album. Readers may remember I already felt lukewarm about Toothgrinder’s 2016 debut Nocturnal Masquerade, whose poppier and less technical take on The Dillinger Escape Plan was bogged down by repetitive ideas and too many generic radio rock choruses. As the New Jersey quintet’s sharp hardcore riffing seemed to be the best thing about Masquerade, I ultimately concluded the band needed to get heavier, slapped it with a 3.0, and went back to eating Chinese food and jerking off.” Too much disclosure.

Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard Review

Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard Review

“The downside to an early magnum opus in your career is that everything you do afterwards will be compared to it. Pearl Jam never lived up to Ten, Guns ‘n Roses have always cowered under the shadow of Appetite for Destruction, Annihilator spent 14 albums getting compared to the first 2, and Electric Wizard could play nothing but Dopethrone for the rest of their lives. When your career consists of fruitlessly building towers of Babel, trying to reach the God you created, it can be disheartening for an artist struggling to move forward. In this case, your best friend is a reviewer who, against all odds, left listening to that unattainable pillar of perfection near the bottom of their bucketlist.” Hello, friend to wizards.

Shade Empire – Poetry of the Ill-minded Review

Shade Empire – Poetry of the Ill-minded Review

“From Judas’ selling out the Son of God for a mere 30 pieces of silver, to Julius Caesar meeting his sticky end at the hands of several disgruntled Roman senators, and his own nephew, Brutus. History is rife with tales of betrayal. The Finns are back in town and Poetry of the Ill-minded is set for release just next week. What connection can the esteemed Shade Empire possibly have with these horrific accounts of betrayal?” Music gets very personal.

Shores of Null – Black Drapes for Tomorrow Review

Shores of Null – Black Drapes for Tomorrow Review

“One of my favorite things about writing for Angry Metal Guy Unlimited, LLC is when I’m blindsided by a new band. Quiescence, the 2014 debut album by Italian doomsters Shores of Null, impressed the hell out of me with their wonderful combination of Daylight Dies riding with Alice in Chains en route to an Amorphis gig, and landed themselves on my Top Ten(ish) list of that year. Here we are three years later, and they return with their eagerly-awaited follow-up, the dreary Black Drapes for Tomorrow.” Comfortably null.