Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Review by Jeff Maki
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Sister Sin had a fairly successful 13-year career, which saw the Swedish hard rockers sell thousands of records and play all over the world, including the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, where we interviewed vocalist Liv Sin (read here), who also stakes claim as one of Revolver’s “Hottest Chicks in Metal.” When Sister Sin unexpectedly called it quits in 2015, Liv Sin—the band—was born. And what a rebirth it is. Follow Me sees Liv transforming into full-on-metal, while channeling the classic sound from the late ’80s and early ’90s.

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Review by Greg Maki
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I became aware of The Wild!, a smokin’ rock band from Canada, last fall when the quartet opened for Airbourne on the Australian rockers’ U.S. tour. As it turns out, that’s a near-perfect way to orient yourself for what to expect on Wild at Heart, The Wild!’s full-length debut release. (The band released an EP, GxDxWxB, in 2015.) But while Airbourne comes across as Brian Johnson-era AC/DC on steroids, The Wild! reaches back further, blasting out anthem after anthem soaked in a bluesy, Bon Scott-like swagger, couched in a punk rock attitude and all pure rock ‘n’ roll. (more…)

Review by Jeff Maki
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When I interviewed vocalist Eddie Hermida in October 2015 (read here), the band was opening for Korn on its self-titled album’s 20th anniversary tour (read review). Produced by Ross Robinson—the producer of the new Suicide Silence album, as well—that album changed the face of metal. Even in the Mitch Lucker-era, the band showed its admiration for Korn, as the band’s 2011 album, The Black Crown had obvious influences. But this new album isn’t strictly influenced by Korn—it takes Robinson’s body of work, combined with Suicide Silence’s vision, and the band undergoes a complete metamorphosis. (more…)

Review by Jeff Maki
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Being the die-hard thrash metal fan you are, you’ve watched The Grinding Wheel album trailers, checked out the lyric videos for both “Mean Green Killing Machine” and “Our Finest Hour,” the music video for “Goddamn Trouble” and, hopefully, read our new interview with frontman Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth. There’s been a hell of a lot of promotion for this album–incredibly, Overkill’s 18th of its career—and we’ve been part of it. With good reason, because this is one of the finest hours of thrash metal in recent years. Blitz said the band “thinks it’s better” than new albums by Anthrax, Megadeth or Testament. You know what? He might be right.  (more…)

In-Flames_The-End-albumReview by Jeff Maki
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There was a turning point in the evolution of In Flames’ sound in the early 2000s. Fans cite either 2002’s Reroute to Remain, (which featured more clean singing, melody and even a borderline country music song) or 2004’s Soundtrack to Your Escape (an industrial metal album, which, at the time, was its most commercial-sounding release to date) as the albums that “abandoned” the band’s signature melodeath sound. Come Clarity (2006), A Sense of Purpose (2008) and Sounds of a Playground Fading (2011) rode the fine line of heaviness and accessibility, and even yielded some new fan favorites along the way. Then came Siren Charms (2014,) and for many of the fans still left, this was the final nail in the coffin. I’ve been a fan of most of In Flames’ post-melodeath era albums, even Siren Charms. The album had a somber mood and explosive parts throughout. But now with In Flames’ 12th studio album, Battles, and yet more drastic changes in sound and personnel, will they be able to retain me as a fan? (more…)

Testament_Brotherhood-coverReview by Jeff Maki
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After The Gathering was released in 1999, Testament went on an extended hiatus, not returning until 2008 with The Formation of Damnation. That album and its successor,  Dark Roots of Earth (2012), weren’t just comeback albums, they also saw Testament honing its strengths: Chuck Billy’s powerful, melodic vocals, Alex Skolnick’s guitar playing, songs with catchy hooks, and lyrics that were intelligent and aware. It’s Testament’s classic thrash metal style, only modernized. After years of chasing after other leading metal bands, whether it was Metallica in the late ’80s and early ’90s, or Fear Factory and Machine Head in the late ’90s, Testament finally came to the conclusion that it is a legendary band in its own right. So does Brotherhood of the Snake stand up to Testament’s recent output? (more…)

Amaranthe_Maximalism

Review by Jeff Maki
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I appreciate the over-the-top pop-metal of Sweden’s Amaranthe. I love its talented, sexy vocalist, Elize Ryd. I even like clean singer Jake E. and appreciate his Chester Bennington singing style. I even like its death metal vocalist—yes, the band has three vocalists—Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson. The band’s previous release, Massive Addictive, was Amaranthe’s breakthrough in the U.S. thanks to the hit single “Drop Dead Cynical.” I liked the band even more when I saw it open for Within Temptation in 2014. Amaranthe’s live show is the best of all of its metal styles (and Elize). When I heard the title of the new album, Maximalism, for the first time, I thought it was perfect. We were going to be getting Amaranthe to the max. (more…)

dimensionsofhorror_900Review by Jeff Maki
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Around the time I wrote this review, I had been browsing eBay, looking to fill in my music collection with some essential metal albums I’m missing from the late ’80s and early ’90s. Albums like Obituary’s Cause of Death, Entombed’s Left Hand Path and Cannibal Corpse’s Tomb of the Mutilated are all on my “watch list.” However, currently topping my list are two of the most influential death metal albums of all time: Death’s Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to wait until I get a better deal on these albums—maybe a “best offer.” But in the meantime, the Death-worshiping supergroup Gruesome is the next best thing. (more…)

discharge_end-of-daysReview by Jeff Maki
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Several months ago, I finally purchased Discharge’s classic album Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing on vinyl. I had been a fan of the U.K. hardcore band for years, but I had never owned the album in physical form. I listened to it over the next few days and thought to myself that my record collection is coming into form as I continue to fill in the punk and metal classics. Then only a few days later, Discharge announced it had signed a record deal with Nuclear Blast and was releasing a new studio album called End of Days. After an advance listen, I won’t be waiting nearly as long to pick this one up. (more…)

avatar-feathers-fleshReview by Jeff Maki
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“Ladies and gentleman, your hero has returned again,” the evil clown proclaims on Feathers & Flesh‘s first single, “The Eagle Has Landed.” Yes, he has made his way out from the circus tent once again, his band crafting a fantastic new concept album, centering on a brave little owl. Vocalist Johannes Eckerström explains: “It’s a fable about an owl who goes to war to stop the sun from rising. It’s a tragic story of someone ultimately being set up to fail. She will learn many lessons and encounter many other creatures with ideas of their own. In the end, however, one must ask if something was learned at all.” (more…)

Abnormality_-_Mechanisms_of_OmniscienceReview by Jeff Maki
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Mechanisms of Omniscience is the sophomore release from Massachusetts death metal band Abnormality. Its technical style is mixed with a backbone of crushing groove, bringing to mind Kataklysm or Cannibal Corpse. After some internal debate, I find it necessary to point out the bellowing death growls and other inhuman sounds you’ll hear on Mechanisms of Omniscience are performed by a woman—Mallika Sundaramurthy. I find this an important aspect of this review and for the band, because until this time, I had never heard a woman with death metal vocals like this. Someone could have told me beforehand that Abnormality was a side project of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher and I would have listened without batting an eye. (more…)

walls-of-jericho_no-one-can-save-you-from-yourselfReview by Jeff Maki
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I remember Walls of Jericho being part of the second or third tier of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal bands in the mid-2000s. The band even got a coveted slot on Ozzfest 2006. Though it is from Detroit, the band’s hardcore/metalcore style had it lumped in with the rest of this pack. Vocalist Candace Kucsulain was on a short list of females fronting hardcore bands and still is to this day.

No One Can Save You from Yourself is the band’s first release since 2008, the members passing their time pursuing other ventures. I had all but forgot about Walls of Jericho. (more…)