Tribulation

Netherbird – Arete Review

Netherbird – Arete Review

“If you look up the phrase “almost great” online, you’re likely to see a picture of Swedish band, Netherbird. These guys having been kicking around since 2004, and have released several quality albums without ever quite reaching the level of “Oh yeah, I know those guys!” in the metal world. If Netherbird were a person, they’d be that fun dude at the party you enjoy hanging out with, but don’t really remember until the next time you see him again. And then you have to ask the host to remind you of his name.” Birds of a nether.

Thron – Pilgrim Review

Thron – Pilgrim Review

“Bands like Thron felt much more special to me as a fledgling member of the AMG staff back in early 2017. In those days, I was just happy to be covering something good. Thron‘s debut LP wasn’t just good; it was damn good, and the best record I had covered for this blog at the time I penned my review. Its follow-up, Abysmal, was nothing like its namesake. We unfortunately never received a promo for Abysmal, but it was a successful risk for the band, as they pivoted from pure meloblack to something more diverse and richly textured. As ironically great as Abysmal was, I am somewhat happy I never covered it in retrospect. Its successor, Pilgrim, is on an almost identical playing field.” Thron trend.

Tribulation – Where the Gloom Becomes Sound Review

Tribulation – Where the Gloom Becomes Sound Review

“I’ve loved Tribulation backwards. After Dr. Fisting‘s review introduced me to Down Below, I paid it forward to my fiancée, whose reaction was initially lukewarm. But after we witnessed the band play at the Dynamo Metalfest festival, she became an even bigger fan than I was, and she started spinning their material relentlessly. This obsession exposed me to much of the band’s back catalog, from the recent gothic-oriented material to the early Entombed-style death metal, and even branching off to guitarist Jonathan Hultén’s excellent dark folk solo album Chants From Another Place last year.” Gloom for rent.

Malakhim – Theion Review

Malakhim – Theion Review

“Black metal is my mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s something I can consume at pretty much any time. First thing in the morning? Delicious! A quick lunch at work? Get that puppy in the microwave! When I’m hungry and don’t know what to have for dinner? There’s always mac ‘n’ cheese! Best of all? It goes with pretty much anything. Even ice cream. Trust me on this. The downside is that I don’t remember most of my mac meals; one has to be pretty special to stand out. 2021 has brought me my first go-to meal, courtesy of Theion, the debut album of Malakhim, a Swedish black metal quintet formed in 2017.” A gooey fate.

Crippled Black Phoenix – Ellengæst Review

Crippled Black Phoenix – Ellengæst Review

“I’ll open this review with the sentence I used to close my last Crippled Black Phoenix review: Crippled Black Phoenix are a band I want to like more, but the material continues to fall short of their potential. And with that thought the band’s latest album, Ellengæst, was bestowed upon me, giving me several weeks to think about how I’d be going in with high expectations and coming out feeling like I’d only eaten half a meal. A quick scan of the promo material did raise an eyebrow: the size of the band has been cut in half (CBP have always been immersed in drama), and there are a number of interesting guest vocalists as a result.” Crippled but dangerous.

Transcendence – Towards Obscurities Beyond Review

Transcendence – Towards Obscurities Beyond Review

“Riffs are really fucking important. It’s my job around here to write an additional seven hundred-ish words on top of “riffs good” or “riffs bad,” but when it comes to metal music, riffcraft is always my priority. It’s only when the riffs fail to stand out that first impressions require a deeper dig; if the “what” of the music fails to satisfy, perhaps the “why” can provide some solace. And that’s where California’s Transcendence vexes me.” Vex Arcana.

Begrafven – Dödsriket Review

Begrafven – Dödsriket Review

Dödsriket is Begrafven’s debut LP following a demo in 2013. Consisting of Ursus (guitars and vocals) and Maturz (bass and drums), Begrafven plays a fairly traditional blend of old-school Scandinavian second-wave black metal and melodic, less intense black ‘n roll. While the approach is by no means original, there has been a lot of demanding, atypical black metal recently, and if you’re like me, you sometimes just want some good ole fashioned, meat and ‘taters fare.” Black n’ tater.

Vampire – Rex Review

Vampire – Rex Review

“When we last heard from Swedish vampires, err… Vampire, they impressed me in 2017 with their Castlevania II/80’s inspired With Primeval Force, and although it didn’t crack my Top Ten(ish) that year, it still worms its way into my listening sessions on a continual basis around these parts. I was beginning to worry that the merry (undead) quintet would lay dormant, so imagine my surprise when the higher-ups threw Rex at my lap and told me to get on that shit, pronto.” Rex the necks.

Cloak – The Burning Dawn Review

Cloak – The Burning Dawn Review

“If you listened to Cloak‘s debut back in 2017, you know exactly what to expect from The Burning Dawn. If you don’t already know of Cloak, they play an accessible brand of black metal that feels like it was written in a scenic wasteland, evocative of dust and dusk, the scent of clean air and the sight of bloodred sun (cue Adam Burke).” Controlled burn.

Idle Hands – Mana Review

Idle Hands – Mana Review

“Remember Spellcaster? I don’t, but Doc Grier loved their final album: Night Hides the World made his 2016 Top Ten(ish) List. After burning the fuse at both ends, however, the band folded. Now three-fifths of Spellcaster have regrouped as Idle Hands, led by bassist Gabe Franco (who switches to guitars and vocals here). Franco brings with him guitarist Sebastian Silva and drummer Colin Vranizan, and the lineup is rounded out with Brandon Hill on bass. Be warned, though: this is not Spellcaster 2.0. Gone are the almost-thrash, pure metal sounds of that band, as well as the Iron Maiden and Iced Earth influences. Idle Hands aim for something much different, plucking influences from the opposite end of the spectrum and assembling them into a fairly unique sound.” Devil’s Workshop now hiring!