Archive for February, 2010

Review by Greg Maki
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For years, Black Label Society fans have wanted to hear guitarist Nick Catanese on a studio recording. But why would Zakk Wylde need another player’s fingerprints on his baby? So Nick patiently waited for his opportunity, then seized it, forming Speed X in 2007 with former Queensryche guitarist Mike Stone. Former doubleDrive members Josh Sattler (bass) and Mike Froedge (drums), and singer Jason Fowler, a newcomer out of Atlanta, complete the band’s lineup. (more…)

Review by Greg Maki
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Once upon a time, it was acceptable to be a singer in metal. Bruce Dickinson and a little band called Iron Maiden have done fairly well for themselves. How about Judas Priest? Rob Halford isn’t the “Metal God” for nothing. Even in Metallica’s early days—the only days many so-called Metallica fans will accept—James Hetfield at least tried to sing.

So why in 2010 is a metal band that opts for melody and “clean vocals” that a listener can understand and sing along to rather than the incomprehensible, guttural, vocal-chord-annihilating growling and shrieking immediately dismissed by a large portion of the metal community? Would a young Maiden, Priest or Metallica induce a similar reaction today?

Let’s look at Mutiny Within (not that I am comparing them to those legends) as a test case. (more…)

arsis-starveArsis’ 2008 album, We Are the Nightmare was my first taste of the band, a superb album of technical death metal standing out from the hordes of American metalcore. Arsis is a pure throwback to early ‘80s thrash metal, which just happens to tear its ways through the ribcage of their 2010 release, Starve for the Devil. (more…)

Annotations_Of_An_Autopsy_-_The_Reign_Of_Darkness_artworkIf I really wanted to make this easy on myself, I’d describe The Reign of Darkness, the latest by British death metal band Annotations of an Autopsy, in one word: brutal. And that is most certainly a compliment. (more…)

FF-mechanizeI still remember my introduction to the industrial extreme metal machine Fear Factory. I saw them open for Sepultura at the old Hammerjacks in Baltimore, Md., in 1994 alongside Fudge Tunnel and Clutch. At the time, they were touring in support of their debut album, Soul of a New Machine. I’ve been a big fan ever since.

After disbanding amidst a long feud between vocalist Burton C. Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares—who even started a new band called Divine Heresy and released two albums—Fear Factory’s Mechanize is being promoted as the band’s “big comeback album.” Filling out the revamped 2010 lineup is legendary drummer Gene Hoglan (Dethklok, Death, Strapping Young Lad, Dark Angel) and bassist Byron Stroud (Strapping Young Lad). Disgruntled former members, drummer Raymond Herrera and bassist Christian Olde Wolbers, have formed a new band named Arkae and a band name dispute over Fear Factory has since unfolded. During the hiatus, Bell formed Ascension of the Watchers and released an album called Numinosum on Al Jourgensen’s 13th Planet Records. Bell also toured as a live member of Ministry. (more…)

Review by Greg Maki
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I don’t believe a reason has been given on Geffen Records’ end for allowing Rob Zombie to walk before the release of his fourth solo studio album, the sequel to his 1998 solo debut. If the decision was linked somehow to the quality of the material, someone at Geffen, Zombie’s longtime home dating back to the White Zombie days, has some explaining to do. Hellbilly Deluxe 2 is easily Zombie’s best since his first Hellbilly offering. (more…)