Therion

Serpent Noir – Death Clan OD Review

Serpent Noir – Death Clan OD Review

“Hmmm… a Greek black metal band that sounds like Marduk, Gorgoroth, and Ofermod? Yeah, that oughta work. And this year’s Death Clan OD is only their third release. Well, this should be easy enough. *Five minutes into 2012’s Seeing Through the Shadow Consciousness (Open Up the Shells)* What in the hell was that?! *Five seconds into the 2015 follow-up, Erotomysticism* What in the fucking fuck?! So much for an easy, middle-of-the-road black metal release.” Clan wars.

Therion – Beloved Antichrist Review

Therion – Beloved Antichrist Review

“After a 5 year hiatus, the madman Christopher Johnsson and his crew of musical misfits have returned in a big way with Beloved Antichrist, a TRIPLE album metal opera with 46 tracks running over 3 hours in length. Yes, this is essentially Swallow the Soprano, and it’s every bit as artsy fartsy as you feared, with numerous vocalists, endless interludes and more movements than a terminal dysentery ward. It’s yacht metal for the Lincoln Center set and the only album in recent memory to qualify as a lifestyle choice.” Opera-core forevermore.

Dr. A.N. Grier’s Top Ten(ish) of 2017

Dr. A.N. Grier’s Top Ten(ish) of 2017

“Remember that scene in Ghostbusters (the real Ghostbusters…) where Winston tells Ray, ‘If someone asks you if you are a god, you say yes!’ Well, if someone asks you if you want to write a guide for teaching organic chemistry, you say hellafuckingno. I’m serious. Do yourself, and everyone around you, a favor. So, yeah, this year’s been nuts. Thankfully, there’s Angry Metal Guy—a solace for all metalheads to come together and be verbally abused and cat-tailed in the company basement.” Cat’s got yer list.

70000 Tons of Metal: One Man’s Journey

70000 Tons of Metal: One Man’s Journey

“My friends ask me what happened, but my ability to verbally communicate has been reduced to moaning and a weeping noise that sounds something like a baby panda crying for milk. I wonder how I’m going to make it through the final day of this floating festival. I wonder when the aching will subside. I wonder where my life went so wrong. How did I end up here, on the 7th annual 70000 Tons of Metal cruise, weak with exhaustion and feeling like my body has been bludgeoned with a sledgehammer? My mind drifts back…” Tales from a 70000 ton heavy thing.

The Living Fields – Running Out of Daylight Review

The Living Fields – Running Out of Daylight Review

Now this was a tough album to review. I had a devil of a time trying to get through the music and honestly couldn’t even figure out what genre, sub-genre or sub-sub-genre these Chicago progressive metallers belonged in. You see, The Living Fields are so all over the place with their sound on their sophomore release Running Out of Daylight, they utterly defy conventional pigeonholing. At various times during the album’s playtime, they touch on ambient, darkwave, post rock, black metal, death metal, doom metal, folk and power metal. Yes, they cover their bases fully. In some ways these chaps could be called a more linear and rational version of Therion. They have all the same orchestration, pomp and variety and sport multiple vocalists of varying styles. However, they lack Therion’s lunatic charm, off the rails approach and overall entertainment factor. Although far more restrained in their songwriting, their compositions have a cold feeling and lack of cohesion that made it very difficult to get into. While I can’t dispute their creativity and musical ability, this is a strangely distant album that has resisted all my efforts to enjoy it in a meaningful way. It’s also a very challenging album to describe so stick with Steel Druhm and he will do his bestest.

Septic Flesh – The Great Mass Review

Septic Flesh – The Great Mass Review

Yet another highly anticipated 2011 release is upon us! This is the eighth crusade by the Greek masters of blackened death Septic Flesh and they brought a few new tricks with them as they refine their crazed classical music meets brutality approach. 2008’s Communion was hailed as a highly creative accomplishment and The Great Mass is a continuation and enlargement of that sound and concept. Taking their basic blackened death style and merging it with performances from the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and a full choir, Septic Flesh have now become a full blown orchestral/symphonic death metal juggernaut. With a full orchestra involved, this is obviously going to be a bigger, more bombastic album and its hardly easy listening. While they traffic in the same over-the-top, dramatic theatrics as Therion, they manage to keep things much more linear (and therefore much more listenable). While bands like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir have long employed symphonic orchestration to accent their sound, Septic Flesh have now embedded it into their core and made it an integral part of their make up and identity.

Therion – Sitra Ahra Review

Therion – Sitra Ahra Review

All aboard the Trans-Si-Therion Express! Conductor extraordinaire Christofer Johnsson will be along shortly to check your Avant-card to be sure you are worthy of the long, strange and bewildering musical odyssey he carefully prepared for you. And quite a journey it is through Therion’s fourteenth album Sitra Ahra (fourth in the quadrilogy made up of Deggial, Sirius B and Lemuria). Continuing along with his own unique vision of sympho-orchestro-gotho-metal, Johnsson may well have outdone himself here in scope and excess. If forced to describe Sitra Ahra in one word, that word would be bombastic. If granted another word, it would be pretentious. If given but three more, they would be over-the-top. How pretentious and over-the-top is Sitra Ahra you ask? So pretentious that it makes Nightwish and Epica sound like AC/DC. So over-the-top, it could only be equaled by a production of The Vagina Monologues staring both Gwar and Immortal. Now, clearly restraint was never the point here and Johnsson’s motto has always been a “more is more” and that’s great. But when is more TOO much?

Necronomicon – The Return of the Witch Review

Necronomicon – The Return of the Witch Review

There was a time where I loved all death metal and I mean all of it! When the death metal explosion started up in the mid to late 80s, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff whether good, bad or really awful. I just loved those Cookie Monster vocals. Over time however, as more and more bands glommed onto the style, my tastes refined and I steered toward those bands that were trying something different or unique within the genre. Canada’s little known death metal three piece Necronomicon (not to be confused with German thrashers of the same name) was always a band that did things a little differently and always earned my respect. In fact, Necronomicon helped jump start the whole “Egyptian themed death metal” style alongside Nile with their debut album Pharaoh of the Gods in 1999. Happily, their efforts to create unique death metal continue on their third album The Return of the Witch.

Epica – Design Your Universe Review

Epica – Design Your Universe Review

Epica is a symphonic power metal/gothic metal band from the Netherlands that has really taken the scene and the world by storm since their founding in 2002 due to the amazing voice of their mezzo-soprano vocalist (who also happens to be a hotty, there are no coincidences in metal) Simone Simons and the epic *cough* nature of their music. Design Your Universe is the band’s fifth album, and honestly, the first one I’ve ever sat through assuming the band would be like a mix of old Theatre of Tragedy and Nightwish.