Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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…)

ragnarok_psychoReview by Jeff Maki
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Have you ever listened to so much extreme metal that everything starts to sound like Morbid Angel? They really were the forefathers of extreme metal, weren’t they? “Dominance & Submission,” the opening track of Norwegian black metal band Ragnarok’s eighth album, Psychopathology, instantly brought the legends to mind. Then there was the oncoming apocalypse that is Ragnarok. (more…)

allempires_1500Review by Jeff Maki
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Tombs’ 2011 album, Path of Totality, topped the year-end lists of many well-known metal publications and its follow-up, 2014’s Savage Gold, wasn’t far behind. Now the Brooklyn-based experimental band is back with a revamped lineup and a new EP called All Empires Fall, one of the more anticipated metal releases of 2016. (more…)

Necronomicon_AHG_2000x2000_Rev_02

Review by Jeff Maki
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Spawned in the early ’90s from somewhere in Northern Canada called the “Fjord of Saguenay,” Necronomicon is the western world’s answer to Dimmu Borgir. Advent of the Human God is the band’s fifth LP, its last coming in 2013. Let’s get this out of the way: It’s virtually impossible to listen to or say the name “Necronomicon” without thinking of the Evil Dead trilogy, specifically Army of Darkness. And if you hadn’t thought that already, then good luck with the rest of this. (more…)

entombedaddeaddawn

Review by Jeff Maki
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I was a huge fan of Entombed in the early ’90s. And if you were a death metal fan during that era, I’m sure you were, too. With Left Hand Path and Clandestine, Entombed pioneered the Swedish metal scene, influencing legions of bands to come. Then with the less death metal and more accessible Wolverine Blues, it invented “death ‘n’ roll.” Numerous lineup changes ensued, though five more albums were released during this time. The last one I remember hearing was 2007’s Serpent Saints—The Ten Amendments. The band then disappeared but returned in 2014 with Back to the Front, except only vocalist L-G Petrov remained and the dreaded “A.D.” was now succeeding its name. The only thing worse is if you’re in a band and a country in parentheses follows your name.  (more…)

toothgrinder-nocturnal

Review by Jeff Maki
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Toothgrinder vocalist Justin Matthews describes the band’s full-length debut, Nocturnal Masquerade, as a “dark, eerie charade through the night.” One of the hardest things to do as a musician is to describe your own band’s music, but I couldn’t have said it better myself. (more…)

Review by Greg Maki
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It’s not much of an exaggeration to say Anthrax shocked the metal world in 2011 with Worship Music, its first studio album in eight years and its first with vocalist Joey Belladonna since 1990.

A few years earlier, the band reunited its “classic” lineup (Belladonna, rhythm guitarist Scott Ian, lead guitarist Dan Spitz, bassist Frank Bello and drummer Charlie Benante). But after a few tours, that experiment fizzled out with only a live album to show for it. Metal fans know the story that followed–the unsuccessful enlistment of a new singer and the back-and-forth flirting with John Bush, who was sent to the sidelines during the reunion, before Belladonna came back full time.

Though the songs on Worship Music were written long before Joey’s return, he was the star of that album, seemingly giving the performance of his life. He clearly took care of himself during his time away from Anthrax, and his voice was stronger and more powerful than it ever was during the band’s 1980s heyday. Combine that with the ever-maturing songwriting of Ian, Benante and Bello, and Worship Music was an instant classic.

How then could Anthrax possibly hope to follow that? (more…)

Review by Greg Maki
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The chorus of “Bad Reputation” the lead single from Adelitas Way’s fourth album, Getaway, serves as a manifesto for the band and, specifically, frontman Rick DeJesus:

“Don’t tell me what I should do or say
“’Cause I want to do it my own way
“I don’t give a fuck what you think, what you say
“I got a bad reputation”

The band has backed up that declaration through its actions, parting ways with Virgin Records, its home for its first three albums, in favor taking of the independent route and using PledgeMusic to fund Getaway. No more compromises with people in suits who don’t believe in rock music anymore. This is a rock band that puts on some of the best live shows in the business with complete creative control, finally capturing on record the raw power and energy it brings to the stage. (more…)

Review by Greg Maki
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Drowning Pool has taken a long and winding road to 2016 and its sixth studio album, Hellelujah. Singers have come and gone. Since the massive success of its debut, Sinner (2001), the only one to feature its original frontman, the late Dave Williams, the band’s prominence in the hard rock/metal world has varied from album to album.

The title of its fifth album, Resilience (2013), wasn’t empty posturing. Guitarist C.J. Pierce, bassist Stevie Benton and drummer Mike Luce have endured more than their fair share of adversity over the past decade and a half, and they’re not merely still standing–Hellellujah is easily their best since Sinner. (more…)