Tribulation

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!

Ketzer – Cloud Collider Review

Ketzer – Cloud Collider Review

“If any band are poised to make a comeback, it’s Ketzer. Back in 2009 the German quintet burst onto the scene with their Satan’s Boundaries Unchained debut, which essentially sounded like the best album Desaster never wrote. I can hardly even mention Boundaries without wanting to blast it at ear-splitting volumes and to this day it remains one of my favorite blackened thrash albums of all time. Sadly, 2012’s Endzeit Metropolois was altogether weaker, while 2016’s Starless was an Illud Divinum Insanus-level atrocity that showed the group unsuccessfully attempt to rip off the goth rock style of Tribulation‘s The Children of the Night.” Don’t call it a comeback.

Wormwitch – Heaven That Dwells Within Review

Wormwitch – Heaven That Dwells Within Review

“I’m trying to be stricter with my scores so far this year, and in the process I’ve done a lot of thinking about what makes a great record… well, great. I could boil it down to some nebulous combination of songwriting, riffs, and melodic personality, but solid fundamentals aren’t enough. Those qualities alone would only result in an AMG 3.5 without that all important je ne sais quoi; the kind of elusive talent which enables moments that explode with vibrancy, reminding us why we are alive. And Wormwitch? Man alive, they’ve got it.” The early Wormwitch gets the Elitist.

Slægt – The Wheel [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

Slægt – The Wheel [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

“When I was a pimply-faced, mullet-headed teenager-cat, I loved watching bands I followed grow and develop their trademark sounds over time and across albums. I did so with equal parts glee and trepidation. On one hand, it’s cool to see bands take their collective influences and morph them into something completely their own. On the other hand, some morphed themselves into a rather comfortable box to grow complacent inside of, settling into a familiar niche that, while successful, doesn’t allow much wiggle room for progression without alienating their fanbase. Case in point: while Denmark’s Slægt.” Evolution is tricky biness.

Infera Bruo – Cerement Review

Infera Bruo – Cerement Review

“I had barely glanced at the cover art for Cerement, the third LP from American progressive black metal act Infera Bruo, before writing this review. This is only due to my media player failing to automatically import the art from the album’s file folder, but as I began my drafting process and truly examined the art for the first time, I’m honestly stunned at how well it encapsulates the music I’ve been scrutinizing over the past week. The image is at odds with itself; it is at once a perfect representation of the scale and abstract nature of Lovecraft’s cosmic gods, and a restriction of those same ideas within a literal box.” Cosmos in a box.

Record(s) o’ the Month – January 2018

Record(s) o’ the Month – January 2018

Another year, another 12 chances to get the Record(s) o’ the Month in on time. Sure, it’s January, the time for fresh starts. And sure, this is on time. But don’t lose hope, not only will I continue to troll you by having excellent taste as compared to your banal, trendy, and/or pretentious opinions, but I will continue to be arbitrarily late and inconsiderate of groupthink when I choose my Record(s) o’ the Month.