Zao

An Isolated Mind – A Place We Cannot Go Review and Album Premiere

An Isolated Mind – A Place We Cannot Go Review and Album Premiere

“I’ll admit right now that after almost nine years of listening to hundreds of promos for review, there’s a ton of music that may have left an impression during that time, but honestly doesn’t stay with me once the review is submitted. Call it lack of staying power or my own need to move on to the next promo for review, but with a few notable exceptions, many albums that I’ve fallen for on first listen end up drifting to the wayside, destined to be forgotten. An Isolated Mind‘s 2019 debut full-length, I’m Losing Myself, was certainly not one of those albums. An unflinching look at mental illness, I’m Losing Myself tackled a difficult subject with care and grace, and landed my top spot of 2019 in doing so.” Isolated but not lost.

Billy Boy in Poison – Umbra Review

Billy Boy in Poison – Umbra Review

“Over the years, I find it difficult to look into the promo bin and not find myself becoming jaded with the biographical fluffery that accompanies each and every album that we review. For every one (and usually just one) album that nonchalantly flips the entire genre we all love on its head, there are literally thousands of bands that lay claim to boundaries being pushed, subgenres being blended, and new ideas being brought forth in a storm of creative energy when, in reality, it’s just the same damn thing we’ve been fed over and over again. So, when Danish quintet Billy Boy in Poison proclaims that they’ve created “a unique take on death metal with a modern, razor-sharp sound and even some metalcore vibes,” my eyebrows furrow.” Poison, hype, and delusion.

Pathfinders – Ares Vallis Review

Pathfinders – Ares Vallis Review

Pathfinders’ sound is a robotic casing of groove metal which houses a metalcore rover that it uses to explore expansive concepts of the infinite. The metalcore tag can be a poisonous one in these parts, so let’s be clear straight off the bat: Pathfinders is more Killswitch Engage and less Zao. More djent and less prog. This is your high-school chewing-gum metalcore, back when Linkin Park seemed edgy. This will be deal-breaker for some, and if you are one of those folks who can’t stand the sound, I bid you farewell and Godspeed as you take the escape pod on your journey to the next review.” Explore-core.

Yashira – Fail To Be [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Yashira – Fail To Be [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

It’s difficult to bounce back after a massive loss. Jacksonville’s Yashira were riding high on not only an excellent debut album in 2018’s Shrine, but also via fervent word of mouth about their abrasive live shows (including a coveted spot in that year’s Welcome to Rockville), and a split with metalcore legends Zao. However, with the tragic death of drummer Seth Howard later that year, you’d be forgiven if you expected Yashira to call it a day.” Failing upward.

Heron – Time Immemorial Review

Heron – Time Immemorial Review

“The AMG staff room—virtual only at the moment, of course, with even time in skull pit restricted to one scribe at a time—is divided sharply on sludge as a genre. Some of the hacks view it as tedious, talentless and almost beneath contempt. They are, of course, wrong. Those holding the correct view, including Cherd’s magnificent beard and yours truly, have a huge soft spot for its crushingly abrasive doom-laden awesomeness. And it’s just as well for East Vancouver natives, Heron, that it’s me reviewing this, and not one of those haters.” In sludge some trust.