Wintersun

Rauhnåcht – Unterm Gipfelthron Review

Rauhnåcht – Unterm Gipfelthron Review

“Shit, there’re still albums coming out in 2018? Good ones, too? Yet, with my top ten already complete, it’s easy to write off December. But Madam X‘s watchful eye doesn’t sleep. And thank your lucky stars for that. Because we would have walked right past Rauhnåcht‘s newest release, Unterm Gipfelthron.” Nearly missed.

The EP, Demo, and Oddity Post [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

The EP, Demo, and Oddity Post [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

“As a younger man I had no concept of the “EP,” nor the “demo,” nor the “split.” When was the last time Iron Maiden had to curb their excesses by squashing ideas into half an hour? When were Judas Priest not able to afford a professional recording studio and production job? And when’s that Metallica/Megadeth split due again? Such formats are reserved for the underdogs of the metal world, those bubbling beneath the surface of popularity who write music for the sheer creative expression and who will never see monetary reward for their time and effort.” Short is sweet.

Second to Sun – The Walk Review

Second to Sun – The Walk Review

Second to Sun hails from St. Petersburg, Russia and plays slick atmospheric black/death with a touch of thrash tickling the edges. But, before that, they played djent… Though you aren’t allowed to talk about that because the band doesn’t acknowledge Based on a True Story (or their ‘debut’ record, Gal agnostiske drømmer) as being a part of the band’s official discography. Instead, it all began with 2015’s The First Chapter. And though a transition from djent to wicked, unsettlingly melodic black metal (with clear headbangable moments) is odd, the strangest part about The Final Chapter is that it’s an instrumental album… I know what you’re thinking: shit’s getting weird.” Walk on home, boy.

Manam – Rebirth of Consciousness Review

Manam – Rebirth of Consciousness Review

“Metalcore is an important genre. Now that all the metal elitists are lighting torches and gathering pitchforks, let me explain. Most kids these days (sadly) aren’t listening to Master of Puppets, and the gateway bands of the 80’s simply are not converting new people. I would never have discovered this site and thereby many of my now favorite bands like Wilderun, Barren Earth, Æther Realm without first stumbling onto Killswitch Engage. So, my interest was piqued when Lord Druhm visited the n00b dungeon to deliver the promo for Italian band Manam’s debut, Rebirth of Consciousness, promising a blend of melodeath and metalcore.” Gateway thugs.

Malphas – The 39th Spirit Review

Malphas – The 39th Spirit Review

“With a concept album comes even more pressure than a typical release. Not only should the music be good, but it should seamlessly blend with the story. And it’s gotta be convincing. When I listen to King‘s The Puppetmaster, I can feel myself hanging from a hook at a long-forgotten puppet shop in “Living Dead.” I can feel the battle brewing in the barren wasteland of Iced Earth‘s “Desert Rain.” And I can feel the weight hanging on Immortal in Unleash the Archers‘ “Cleanse the Bloodlines.” What’s it feel like to make a pact with a demon to obliterate organized religion?” 39 spirits and a Grier ain’t one.

Sacrificed Alliance – Withdrawn Review

Sacrificed Alliance – Withdrawn Review

“Look past the front pages, beyond the newest Kalmah or Omnium Gatherum, but to the fringes. What do you see? Melodeath, by inch and by foot, grows longer by the year. This lengthwise legacy has nascent foundations as far back as Crimson before acts like Insomnium and Be’lakor (for better) and Wintersun (or worse) exposed that phenomenon to the masses. The most impressive returns rely not on track listings overstuffed with a dozen taut melobangers but long-form songs pushing the boundaries of melodeath’s expectation. Sacrificed Alliance assume this mantle.” Melodeath and the universe are ever expanding.

Hoth – Astral Necromancy Review

Hoth – Astral Necromancy Review

Astral Necromancy, the third release from American metal band Hoth, has caused me to discard far more words than I will publish about it. Very little of these words concerned the Star Wars theme of the band, which seems to interpret that series as a bunch of myths with archetypal themes that can be put into any context. This makes the whole enterprise more appealing, as there are no forced references and the focus remains on the music instead of hunts for little Easter eggs concerning Jar-Jar.” Death to Jar-Jar!

North Hammer – Stormcaller Review

North Hammer – Stormcaller Review

“‘Just so you know I’ll be milking this for a long time.’ These were the first words out of my girlfriend’s mouth after acting willingly (albeit with trepidation) as a last-minute road trip and concert companion to see Watain and Deströyer 666 after the flu struck down two friends who were originally supposed to go. I knew that sitting through myriad episodes of Dr. Phil or Real Housewives of [Pick a Place with Pretentious Snobs Galore] was my price to pay for seeing one of black metal’s most entertaining live acts rampage through the excellent ‘Nuclear Alchemy’ and other great songs, and that was fine. I knew what I signed up for, and honesty is always the best policy.” Our word is our bond, until we break it!

Frozen Crown – The Fallen King Review

Frozen Crown – The Fallen King Review

“This past week I was giving Frozen Crown’s The Fallen King my dozenth or so spin as I was handling a particularly annoying clean-up report at my other office job. Typically, when faced with such an irksome task, I like to listen to fast music of either the aggressive or uplifting variety; either emotional response triggered by the conflicting styles will do the trick to kick my ass into work-mode. This particular go-round with Frozen Crown struck me, as it handily enabled both responses.” Don’t let it go.

Frost Giant – The Harlot Star Review

Frost Giant – The Harlot Star Review

“So begins my first review of 2018. I concluded 2017 with a very poor last couple of months of writing so I resolved to make some random selections from the promo bin to validate that accidental discoveries are indeed more satisfying than cherry-picking from a carefully curated end of year lists. Frost Giant had a badass name and were apparently American folk metal, two positive indicators of my listening pleasure. And yet, over three years of musical writing has taught me harsh lessons about expectations so I hit play with an open but cautious mind.” With great expectations come great disappointment.