Jan 202014

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the debut album by First Reign from BC, Canada, and we bring you the premiere of a full-album stream.)

What a beast of an album.

Non-European melodic death metal that’s REALLY good is really hard to come by. It always has been. For every one band from somewhere else, you could name three European bands of at least equal weight. First Reign are a Canadian band who I believe are at the head of the class of what they do. I’ve covered them before, reviewing their debut EP, but with the band’s debut album, Harvest of Shame, they’ve undergone a transformation. They are more technical, more progressive, and with a much darker tonality.

Imagine the ferocity of At the Gates, the guitar acrobatics and power-metal clean interjections of Into Eternity (pre-Stu Block), and a Death-like sense of composition, combined with some traditional death metal carnage, and you have First Reign. Harvest of Shame is a bleak, twisting labyrinth of melodic death metal might. The band’s seamless integration of their various influences and their commitment to producing melodic death metal that is truly their own is astounding. I’d be hard-pressed to name any one band who truly sounds like this one, even though I can rattle off the names of others who have laid the groundwork for their sound. Continue reading »

May 152013

Here are a few new things I came across since our last post from yesterday that got me excited.


The first item is at the top of this post. It’s another creation of the masterful Par Olofsson, the cover for the next album by San Diego’s Pathology. Yesterday the band announced that the album will be entitled Lords of Rephaim and will be released on September 3 by Sevared Records (the band having completed their three-album commitment as the fish out of water at Victory Records). Based on previous reports, this new album will feature the return of singer Matti Way and original guitarist Tim Tiszczenko. I’m ready.


Next, get a load of this new cover art: Continue reading »

Nov 172011

(TheMadIsraeli reviews an EP by a band from the frozen north of Canada who surprised him with their music.)

I did a review a while back for the new release by a Christian progressive tech death band by the name of Deus Invictus (here).  Shortly thereafter, another Christian band contacted Islander, apparently having enjoyed my review of Deus Invictus.  That band was First Reign, a Christian progressive melodeath band that unexpectedly impressed me.

I say “unexpectedly” because I really thought this was going to be generic Christian metalcore or something similarly un-distinctive, an experience I’m pretty familiar with.  When I wrote for my previous gig at now-defunct The Metal Register, it was an all too common experience for Christian bands to hit me up requesting a review after I had expressed the fact that I was a Christian and wished out loud that there were more good Christian metal to go around.  Unfortunately, the music I received always sucked.  ALWAYS SUCKED.

So, when First Reign surfaced, I’ll admit I was making a judgment call before I even gave them a listen.  But I did listen to the band’s debut EP As The Dead Lead The Dead, released in 2007.  It’s all they have out right now until they finish their debut album (which they are currently recording) — which I will definitely be reviewing as well.

First Reign are a band for which you can’t really make valid comparisons without running the risk of giving people the totally wrong impression.  This is indeed melodeath, channeling vibes of The Gallery-era Dark Tranquility, but beyond that lies a Protest The Hero sense of composition, full of jarring tempo changes and odd “hiccups” in the time signatures, as well as an absolutely profound and undeniable Into Eternity influence also contained within both the constantly transitioning song structures and also the vocal department. Continue reading »