Trivium

Spellcaster – Night Hides the World Review

Spellcaster – Night Hides the World Review

“I have many friends that share my exquisite taste in music. If this were not the case, I would not have stumbled across Spellcaster and their newest release, Night Hides the World. Suggested to me by a member of War Curse, Spellcaster is a purveyor of the simple and the accessible. Fusing six-string details with strong vocals, these Portlanders combine Iron Maiden-esque hooks with Ghost-ish melody.” Metal friends beat Super Friends any day.

Sektemtum – Panacea Review

Sektemtum – Panacea Review

“I’ll be honest: as a reviewer, I often don’t care how original a band is. Give me a thousand groups like Nails, who take a well-tread style and play it damn well, over any wacky group that artificially cobbles together disparate influences in vain pursuit of originality. To me innovation is something that should result from a band playing the music they love and want to hear, not an end goal in itself. And that’s exactly why I find Sektemtum’s sophomore LP Panacea so refreshing – not because it isn’t original, but because it seems to achieve originality without really trying that hard.” There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.

Best and Worst Sounding Records of 2015 [Angry Metal-Fi]

Best and Worst Sounding Records of 2015 [Angry Metal-Fi]

“It’s that time again where we extol those releases that exemplify high caliber production and condemn those which exact tyranny on all of our collective volume knobs. 2015 was a break out year for production in metal if you ask me. Not because the percentage of releases had higher DR scores mind you. Quite the opposite actually. But because you guys have made production a real talking point across the web.”

Trivium – Silence in the Snow Review

Trivium – Silence in the Snow Review

“Well, kids, let this be a lesson to you all. Dropping clickbait jokes and fucking too much with the AMG HR department results in the dropping of various hammers. In my case, punishments manifested themselves in the form of name-calling (Steel called me a “Master Baiter”) and a metalcore promo for review.” The core will flow until you praise our new logo.

Unearth – Watchers of Rule Review

Unearth – Watchers of Rule Review

Unearth are among the last of their kind. The New Wave of American Heavy Metal – if there ever was such a thing – has crashed, receded, and carried away a flotsam of recycled Gothenburg riffs, open string drop-D breakdowns, and post-Pantera toughguy groove. Bands not dissolved in the fizz of waning popularity and ill-conceived murder-for-hire plots have either distilled themselves into Top 40 radio rock (Avenged Sevenfold) or continue struggling to recreate the glory of their heyday (Killswitch Engage). Unearth stand alone….” So much for progress and evolution.

Death Angel – The Dream Calls for Blood Review

Death Angel – The Dream Calls for Blood Review

“Okay, let’s be totally honest. Death Angel will never top their mind-blowing debut The Ultra-Violence. It’s just not going to happen. Some bands have that albatross hanging around their necks throughout their entire career, but that doesn’t mean they can’t turn out quality music. Death Angel has had a rather uneven run, with some good albums and some that were quite crappy. Act III and to a lesser extent The Art of Dying were good examples of old school thrash moving into the modern era. However, Frolic Through the Park was a perplexing shit show (and one of the most disappointing follow-ups in metal history) and their 2010 Relentless Retribution opus had some cool ideas and a few good tunes, but felt disjointed and confused, as if they couldn’t decide what direction to take. Naturally, as someone who grew up worshipping their debut, I wanted the band to get their legs under them again on The Dream Calls for Blood…” Another member of the First Wave of Thrash is still knocking around, trying to remain relevant in a harsh new world. Can they pull it off? Our resident thrash historian opines.

Darkane – The Sinister Supremacy Review

Darkane – The Sinister Supremacy Review

Darkane is a band is that has been somewhat overlooked over their fifteen plus year career despite some solid output. Born in the second wave of Swedish melodic death metal, they were strongly influenced by the likes of At the Gates, Dark Tranquility and Soilwork. They made their bones crafting, thrashy, technically impressive death with plenty of melody and references to the “Gothenburg sound” and albums like Rusted Angel, Expanding Senses and Layers of Lies were enjoyably intense assaults on the listener full of vicious riffs and harsh vocals, all sugar-coated with slick, technical prowess. Unfortunately for the band, their birth more or less coincided with the explosion of metalcore bands equally influenced by the Swedish melo-death sound and Darkane quickly got lost amid a sea of crappy core.” Can these melo-death mongrels re-establish themselves after a five year hiatus or is it too little too late in a genre that has began to dry up?

Artas – Riotology Review

Artas – Riotology Review

Well, I’m not sure what I did to end up on the Angry Metal Guy’s Official Shit List. However, his assigning me both the new Lazarus A.D. and Artas albums proves I’m on it bigtime. I can just picture AMG up there on his throne all high and mighty, laughing as he contemptuously sneers, “let him eat metalcore.” Steel Druhm does not like being on the Shit List and Steel Druhm will have his wengeance! Anyway, Riotology is the second album by Austrian metalcore/quasi-thrash bandwagon jumpers Artas. Up until now their claim to fame was a wildly ill-conceived cover of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” which ended up being funnier than Weird Al Yankovic’s “Amish Paradise.” Now, with Riotology they can truthfully claim recording two average metalcore albums. Hey, congrats guys! As soon as I saw the album cover which looks like a screen shot from the Assassin’s Creed video games I should have known where this was heading. The second clue I was in trouble was the band’s prominently displayed claim that they play “modern metal.” Apparently that’s record industry speak for tired metalcore by bands that yearn to be At the Gates and In Flames with poppier, radio-friendly choruses. Because I’m merciful, I will now implore you all to leave this review and save yourselves. I can’t go with you however, for I must write it.

Lazarus A.D. – Black Rivers Flow Review

Lazarus A.D. – Black Rivers Flow Review

There are plenty of myths that sane folks know to be false like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and honest politicians. However, one should never count the sophomore slump among those fairy tales and urban legends, for it is very real and very painful to behold. Exhibit A for 2011 is Lazarus A.D. who had a decent if not remarkable debut with 2009’s The Onslaught. Many seemed to lump them in with the retro-thrash revival and while there was some Exodus aping to be sure, they always sounded more metalcore-ish to my ears. Although I hate metalcore like I hate taxes, there was enough aggression, energy and nods to the old school throughout The Onslaught to make it semi-palatable and I didn’t totally hate it. Well, there is simply no digesting their second platter Black Rivers Flow, as Lazarus A.D. have firmly embraced their inner mall kid and all things Shadow’s Fall and the result is a veritable black river of crappy, overused grooves, tough guy posturing and general mediocrity.

Death Angel – Relentless Retribution Review

Death Angel – Relentless Retribution Review

When California sons Death Angel came from nowhere and dropped their classic debut The Ultra-Violence on the metal world in 1987, yours truly was blown away in a pretty major way. That album, along with a handful of others, defined my metal youth and I still listen to it regularly to this day. Sadly, the minds behind that classic release could never record its equal and the albums that followed were always somewhat of a mixed bag. Nowhere has this trend been more evident than on release number six, Relentless Retribution.