Jul 192018


(This is as much a testimonial from the heart as it is a review, and it comes from our friend Vonlughlio, recently transplanted from the Dominican Republic to the U.S.)

This time around I’ve been given the opportunity to do a review for Drawn and Quartered’s new opus The One Who Lurks, and forever will be grateful for this opportunity, for this is a band that has been releasing amazing albums for over 20 years and that in my humble opinion should be more recognized for their musical contributions.

I recall the first time I found out about this band as a teenager back in the Dominican Republic, alongside many other greats (Incantation, Immolation, Death, Deicide, and many more). The impact it had is still present and clear today in my late 30’s. So why do I mention this, you might ask? Let alone name the other classic bands? Because, for me, those bands and this one are at the same level, and Drawn and Quartered have been consistently releasing music that has only gotten better in time, while maintaining their signature sound. Continue reading »

Jul 182018


(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Skeletonwitch, which will arrive on Friday of this week via Prosthetic Records.)

By this point, with the album’s release but a few scant days away, you’ll likely have seen and read a number of different reviews and opinion pieces about the new Skeletonwitch, some of it positive, some of it negative, some of it… a little hard to follow.

But if all that confusing, back and forth coverage has got you turned upside down, to the point where you just don’t know what to think, then fear not! I’ve got you covered with what promises to be the definitive take on the album. Continue reading »

Jul 172018


(This is DGR’s review of the comeback album by the Bay Area’s Light This City, which is out now via Creator-Destructor Records.)

We’ve been having a lot of fun with it lately but there seems to be a legitimate concerted effort to resurrect the mid-aughts musically, with a handful of groups that gained prominence during the early metalcore and deathcore explosions coming back after multi-year hiatuses and breakups, deciding that 2018 was going to be the time they all returned. They’re obviously not the only bands to do so this year, but it sure does seem like 2018 has been designated the year of the comeback.

We have to be on something of a ten-year cycle for groups breaking up and re-uniting, because that is one of the few ways I can explain how so many bands who were content to hang it up about seven-to-ten years ago all came back at once. If you’ll allow us to pull the curtains back a bit, it seems like my recent review work slate consists entirely of groups returning from my first few years of community college – – particularly the three-pack of Bleeding Through, The Agony Scene, and Light This City, although Into Eternity coming back and local Sacramento groups Journal and Jack Ketch both also joining the fray are part of the phenomenon, with the last two admittedly a likely the reason I’m pounding away at this theme.

As mentioned, Light This City are one of these groups, calling it quits after the release of their 2008 album Stormchaser and from then on reuniting sporadically only for a small handful of live dates (coincidentally the only times I had seen them up until July 1st of this year) — until this year, which saw the late-May release of the group’s newest album through Creator-Destructor Records, Terminal Bloom. Continue reading »

Jul 162018


The Seattle band Morrow devoted four years of work to their debut album, The Weight of These Feathers, and it sounds like they devoted every waking hour of those four years to this remarkably impressive creation. It’s nothing if not ambitious, revealing a rich array of sounds, movements, and moods across these seven, mostly longer-than-average tracks, which collectively span almost an hour of music, and interweaving a diverse range of styles that includes (but isn’t limited to) black metal, progressive metal, ambient music, and folk.

Morrow will release the album on July 21st, and it’s our pleasure to bring you a full stream of the record today, preceded by a few more thoughts about it by way of introduction. (Okay, more than a few.) Continue reading »

Jul 162018


(Andy Synn prepared this review of the new album by The Agony Scene, which will be released on July 20, digitally and in physical editions via Outerloop Records/Cooking Vinyl.)

So-called “comeback” albums can be a dicey affair. Attempts to recapture past glories can easily sound dated and contrived, while efforts to demonstrate progress and evolution can just as easily alienate the very audience who’ve been waiting so patiently for your band’s return.

It’s a difficult line to walk at the best of times, and I’ve lost count of the number of artists who’ve stumbled and fallen while attempting to navigate this particular musical minefield over the years.

However in this particular case The Agony Scene look to have succeeded where so many other have failed by producing an album which sounds like a natural extension of their earlier work – albeit one informed by a solid decade of growth and experience – as well as an exploration of fertile new pastures.

And I guess it doesn’t hurt that it also just so happens to be the darkest, most visceral album of their career. Continue reading »

Jul 132018


(This is Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Germany’s Centaurus-A, their first after a nine-year absence.)

Is nine years a sufficient break between releases to call Means of Escape a “comeback” album? Answers on a postcard, please.

Whether it is or it isn’t though, it’s still a significant enough gap that I think most fans (myself included) had essentially accepted that Centaurus-A’s impressive debut, Side-Effects Expected, was going to wind up as one of those underappreciated underground classics whose impact and influence was destined to be appreciated solely by a few lucky listeners who just happened to have been in the right place, at the right time.

And yet, almost out of the blue, the Centaurus-A machine suddenly came back online in April of this year with the announcement that news of their demise had been greatly exaggerated, and that a brand new album was set to be released very soon… a new album which eventually dropped on the 13th of June, exactly one month ago today. Continue reading »

Jul 132018


Today, the very lucky 13th of July, is the release date for Gold and Rust, the new EP by the one-man, New Jersey-based death metal project Engulf. It comes adorned with a wonderful cover created by Misanthropic-Art, which by itself should be an irresistible invitation to explore this music even if you weren’t already aware of Engulf‘s capabilities, as first revealed through last year’s Subsumed Atrocities EP (which also featured an eye-grabbing cover by the same artist). And those capabilities continue to be strikingly impressive.

All credit goes to Hal Microutsicos, who again proves himself to be a guitar wizard, but one who uses his sorcerous talents in the service of genuinely ferocious death metal onslaughts that get  pulses racing and skulls fracturing, even as they get eyes popping wide over his technical proficiency. Continue reading »

Jul 122018


(We present Andy Synn’s review of the just-released new EP by Hatalom from Québec City, Québec, Canada.)

So I’ve decided that this week is going to be a Tech-Death focussed one for me, beginning with my review of the new Obscura disc on Monday, and continuing today with this quick run-down of the debut EP by Canadian quartet Hatalom. Continue reading »

Jul 112018


(This is Wil Cifer’s review of the new album by Deafheaven, which will be released on July 13th by Anti Records.)

Like everything after Roads to Judah this new album is going to offend metalheads, especially considering how this time it weighs more heavily on their post-rock side.

The first time I saw these guys they were opening for Alcest and blew them off the stage. The energy seemed very genuine, though it felt more like a hardcore show than a black metal one. I am not going to debate how troo or cvlt they are, but focus on what is actually going with their music as it’s being delivered to us in 2018. Continue reading »

Jul 102018


We have been bred through evolution to desire order, and to develop the skills for imposing it, because for so many millennia we were at the mercy of chaos in the natural world, and that chaos often brought sudden death. Paradoxically, we also seem to have a taste for chaos, and a talent for creating it — and for inflicting it upon ourselves on a scale that’s unrivaled by any other species.

The manifestation of chaos in sound is a large part of what drives many of us to metal. Metal feeds the taste for chaos, which wars with the instinct for order, and fuels the rebellious spirit that pushes back against someone else’s idea of order. The music of Temple Desecration is that kind of manifestation. It captures the terrifying sensations of destructive chaos, but more than that, the music seems to wish for it, to summon it, maybe even to worship it. Continue reading »