Wintersun

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.

Ethereal Kingdoms – Hollow Mirror Review

Ethereal Kingdoms – Hollow Mirror Review

“Every once in a while, I’m put in a position where I have to explain to some wide-eyed innocent how it could possibly be that I don’t care much for Nightwish. The only reason this happens, mind you, is because of the band’s undying popularity and colossal influence in their genre. My problem? I like symphonic in my metal. But I don’t like the band that everyone seems to copy to get there. So why would I pick up Hollow Mirror, the debut full-length from Danish band Ethereal Kingdom?” Wishing for the night.

Moonlight Haze – De Rerum Natura Review

Moonlight Haze – De Rerum Natura Review

“I guess I brought this on myself. All that trash I’ve been talking at the office about power metal has finally come full circle, and here I am laying out the carpet for a power metal band. The debate rages on: does power metal belong among the ranks of true metal or is it too melodic? I suppose, since the beginning, one of metal music’s core tenets has always been a focus on excess. Whether it be slamming death metal’s absurdly violent lyrics or black metal’s corpsepaint, power metal’s dramatic focus on the operatic and epic certainly fits.” Abuse of power.

Frozen Crown – Crowned in Frost Review

Frozen Crown – Crowned in Frost Review

“I can’t recall another band in recent memory that has exploded as quickly as Frozen Crown. These Italian rising stars formed in 2017, and now, less than two years later, I’m stunned to have in my hands their second full length record. Not that I’m complaining; their self-titled effort from last year is one of the better power metal debuts I’ve heard, a varied, exciting blending of power metal and melodeath, both molded in the Finnish tradition. Yet my anticipation was weighed down by a hint of trepidation.” Fear is the Crown killer.

Wolfhorde – Hounds of Perdition Review

Wolfhorde – Hounds of Perdition Review

“Taking the leap from trolling in the comments section to writing serious reviews made me realize how little I really know about an increasingly complex metal genre. Perhaps this is endemic of an ever more experimental metal scene where genre-spanning efforts are becoming more common and reviewers throw out increasingly long lists of sub-sub-categorizations. Perhaps I’m young and lack the knowledge base of my elders. Perhaps there is just more music around these days. Whatever the case, Wolfhorde have let the dogs out with the genre hopping Hounds of Perdition, but is this sophomore effort about to get Old Yellered by yours truly?” Blackened dogs.