Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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…)

Review by Greg Maki
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It should come as no surprise that Life Screams, the debut solo release from Lacey Sturm, sounds a lot like Flyleaf, the band she fronted for a decade before leaving in 2012. That’s not a bad thing at all, especially since she leans more on the rougher, heavier side of that sound than the poppier tendencies that crept in over the years.

This is not a case of a former band member trying to cash in on previous success. Sturm isn’t chasing fame and fortune; if she were, she wouldn’t have left Flyleaf when it had been on a steady upward trajectory for several years and she wouldn’t have waited this long to make her return to the music scene. (more…)

Megadeth-Dystopiaby Jeff Maki
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There’s been a huge buildup to Dystopia, the 15th album from the legendary Megadeth. Another Megadeth album means another round of mainman Dave Mustaine in the press, and while I quite enjoy his ramblings and his controversial remarks, he’s a constant target on the Internet. (The latest developments are not crediting Dave Ellefson as being a founding member of the band and, most recently, the possibility of a Mustaine-family reality show.) Fans were ecstatic about the near-reunion of the Rust in Peace-era lineup, only to see it fall apart. (Drummer Nick Menza said it was over financial negotiations.) Of course, Mustaine was to blame. He made amends with fans by adding Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler for the recording of Dystopiaand hiring Angra’s Kiko Loureiro as Megadeth’s new full-time guitarist.

So that brings us to Dystopia. I don’t really agree with the things I’ve read about the album being a “return to form.” When did Megadethlose it’s form? Aside from taking a few “risks” and going a little commercial over the years, Megadeth has been about as rock-solid of a thrash metal band as there ever was. (For the record, I happen to like that album.) Rather, Dystopia is hopefully the beginning of a new era for Mustaine, Dave Ellefson, Loureiro, and Adler or whoever ends up becoming the full-time drummer. (more…)

Review by Greg Maki
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Maybe the biggest compliment I can pay September Mourning’s Volume I actually carries the tone of a criticism–it’s too short!

The six-track EP serves as a thrilling introduction to the world of September Mourning, and I say “world” because this is much more than a band. It’s a multimedia musical, theatrical art project with characters (portrayed by the band members) and a storyline. September herself told us about it in an interview earlier this year: (more…)

danzig-skeletons-coverReview by Jeff Maki
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Skeletons is the long-awaited covers album from the one and only former Misfits/Samhain frontman, Glenn Danzig. Of course, his own band, Danzig, has recorded 10 studio albums, while Danzig himself became one of the most recognizable names and voices in rock and metal since the band formed in 1987. (more…)