Jun 232021


(DGR wrote the following extensive review of the new album by the French progressive death metal band Fractal Universe, which will be out on June 25th via Metal Blade.)

There are times when one can feel like some sort of mystic far-seer when it comes to an album release, hovering over whatever magical talisman grants them vision into other realms, timelines, worlds, various 7-11 bathrooms, and so on, and able to see an album like some sort of organic creature, as if it were a living plant, sparked from the seed of an earlier being, and you somehow feel like you can follow that trail all the way back to its genesis, point to it, and say “This, this right here, is what created this exact moment in time”.

Of course, given how music is written and that most musicians are more likely to have an idea come to them in the shower than any concrete expanding upon specific concepts, you’d mostly be dead wrong on that early prediction. Yet in the case of Fractal Universe‘s latest Metal Blade offering – the being known as The Impassable Horizon – it is difficult not to pontificate on what songs bore fruit from the group’s prior release and how it might have led to this one.

In this case, there is one song in particular on the group’s 2019 release Rhizomes of Insanity that seems to have grown into its own fifty-some-odd-minute album, and that song is the angular and prog-worshiping song that arrived near the end of that particular release, “Fundamental Dividing Principal”. Continue reading »

May 012021


It’s been a long time since I resorted to this Overflowing Streams format for spreading the word about new music I’ve enjoyed, but last week seemed more even more insane than usual — just a ton of new tracks were revealed by old gods, new gods, and assorted minor demons. As bloated as the following collection may seem, it’s still far from complete — I’ll include a few more in tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column.

Without further ado, here we go with lots of sights sounds and not many words, though I do encourage you to add your own in the Comments.


Speaking of old gods, I might have included the news about Darkthrone album No. 19 (Eternal Hails), but there’s no music yet, so I’ll wait. You can peep the cover art here. But among the old gods, At the Gates did give us a new song, and I had to lead with it. Continue reading »

Apr 162019


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the French progressive death metal quartet Fractal Universe, scheduled for release by Metal Blade on April 19th.)

I am a HUGE fan of Fractal Universe and what they do.  I find myself, as a result, actually pretty perplexed (from within my small window view) at the extremely mixed opinions on this band across the scene.

It’s progressive death metal with the sort of oddball cross-genre hybridization that I feel we need more of.  The biggest complaint I’ve always heard about this band is that these guys don’t quite have an identity, or that they sound confused in terms of what they want to be. I strongly disagree with this assessment, and honestly wonder if people just don’t “get” it.  I don’t mean that in a pretentious way. I simply mean that I think people don’t get where this band is coming from, or make comparisons that are, in my mind, plainly wrong. Continue reading »

May 112017

(We present another edition of Andy Synn’s three-line reviews.)


That’s right, it’s time for the return of everyone’s favourite irregular (in more ways than one) column, Reviews in Haikus.

This time around it’s an intriguing mix of Icelandic Black Metal, American Doom, and French Prog-Death, so there should be something for (practically) everyone! Continue reading »

Jul 202015

ni art


(In this multi-part post that began last week, Austin Weber brings us his recommendations for some of the best albums released during the first half of the year. Part 1 is at this location and Part 2 is here.)


Ni are a French mathcore band whose madness you have to hear to understand, though to try to explain, they give off a demented Mr. Bungle vibe that’s paired with a hefty jazz influence and more mind-bending polyrhythms than you can possibly keep track of. Their new record, Les insurgés de Romilly, has been blowing my mind for the last week with its funky, headbang-inducing grooves and quirky, disorienting nature.

This record is an interesting exercise in combining highly technical, groove-oriented math-metal with prog and experimental inclinations. If death metal and other subgenres try to batter you with speed, then what ni do would be more akin to giving listeners a hit of acid and putting them in a vast, surreal labyrinth. Continue reading »