Wintersun

Finntroll – Vredesvävd Review

Finntroll – Vredesvävd Review

Finntroll‘s role in the development of modern folk metal cannot be understated. Re-visiting classics like Jakens tid and Nattfödd often leads me to wonder how these guys managed to rip off my favorite folk albums before they were written. The unabashed and upfront nature of their folk qualities changed the game. That said, it’s amazing that Finntroll are still relevant. 21 years into the game, the newer blood in the genre reasonably should have surpassed them by now.” Troll down memory lane.

The Projectionist – Under the Cruel Glow of Terror Review

The Projectionist – Under the Cruel Glow of Terror Review

“Every year is the same. I write reviews all summer long, getting into a rhythm in the hopes that I’ll be able to continue these habits into the school year, but every year – nope. I need to take a week, sometimes two, to adjust to kids, staff, and district breathing down my neck before I can hit the ground running with a new batch of fall promos. So with all this going on, a new learning management system, and COVID looming at our doors, I pray to the Metal Gods above that they bless me with something good as I shuffle through perpetual exhaustion for two weeks. Will The Projectionist shed some light into my gloom?” Be cruel to your school (teacher).

Unleash the Archers – Abyss Review

Unleash the Archers – Abyss Review

“Though Unleash the Archers remains the goofy power metal band they’ve always been, Apex was a serious release. Lyrics, story, songwriting—Apex captured the band at their absolute best. Abyss: ‘A deep and seemingly bottomless pit.’ So, a pit, no matter its depth, so scary and hopeless that you wouldn’t follow a hit baseball down it. To follow-up an album called Apex with one called Abyss may be the most condemning thing yet. Is it clever or is the shortest distance between the summit and a hole in the ground straight down?” Highs and lows.

Atavistia – The Winter Way Review

Atavistia – The Winter Way Review

“Do you miss Wintersun? Are you hoping Jari Mäenpää gets his groove back soon? Have an epic melodeath itch that no amount of black metal shenanigans can scratch? Well, Atavistia is here to take your mind off Jari’s attempts to convince you to build a recording studio for him to finish Time II.” Low winter sunblind.

Dzö-nga – Thunder in the Mountains Review

Dzö-nga – Thunder in the Mountains Review

“We all have those times where we look back and say to ourselves ‘what was I thinking?’ That’s kind of how I feel about reviewing Dzö-nga‘s second album, The Sachem’s Tales, back in 2017. Today, a folky atmospheric black metal album with classical influences seems so far out of my wheelhouse that it’s not even in the same hemisphere. Yet, I did enjoy my share of Agalloch and Cascadian black metal back in the day, and as such, I was able to appreciate Tales as an inspired and engrossing piece of woodsy black metal with intriguing Native American themes. Led by vocalist and guitarist Cryvas, this Boston project has now returned with another opus, this time based on H.W. Longfellow’s epic poem ‘The Song of Hiawatha.'” Spirits of nature.

Serious Black – Suite 226 Review

Serious Black – Suite 226 Review

“It’s no secret that Serious Black has fallen out of favor with me since 2016’s Mirrorworld. I mean, how do you fuck up a recipe as simple as As Daylight Breaks? Furthermore, how do you go from a Grier top-ten pick to a disappointment of the year? Well, it happened. Which found me almost missing out on 2017’s Magic and completely missing out on that same year’s acoustic release, First Light. And, when this year’s anticipated new record landed, I almost missed out again. For better or worse, Suite 226 is here with another concept story. This time a deranged lunatic rather than a top-hot magician. All I can say is buckle-up, kiddos. If I have to be here, then so do you.” Why so Serious?

Aether – In Embers [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Aether – In Embers [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Wintersun has long been a favorite of mine. Sure, it’s a band with a whole bunch of frustrations, but Jari Mänepää is a strong composer, and he’s got a cool sound that I can’t help but like. His wild blend of melodeath, power metal, black-tinged folk, and symphonic over-the-top wizardry appeals to me. It’s always a good Time T(w)o listen to well-composed symphonic heavy metal, and this is where the Polish group Aether come in.” Less spa, more metal.

Second to Sun – Legacy Review

Second to Sun – Legacy Review

“The 25th of July was a day of air conditioning, Danish Christmas cookies, and Christmas Vacation. Those days may be gone forever, as the family no longer exists as it once did, but a new tradition exists for old Grier. One that sees a year-end release that has, for two straight years, made my heart race in anticipation. A year later, almost to-the-date, comes another Second to Sun release. Lo and behold, the greatest annual tradition of them all. My present to you: Legacy.” Season’s beatings.