Reviews
Into Orbit - Caverns

Hailing from the land down under… no, not the one with Crocodile Dundee and Men At Work. The other one. The one where all sorts of Hollywood types run around LARPing for the cameras. You know, "Lord of Xena Warrior Princess" stuff..

Oh wow. Train of thought derailed. Oh my god the humanity.

So, Into Orbit are from New Zealand, they play post-metal/rock, and Caverns is probably worth your while.

Fortunately for my poor eardrums they play closer to the Explosions In The Sky style. Eloquent and evocative atmospheric notes sparkle while a basic melody is laid. Tracks slowly build into some degree of crescendo. In the case of Into Orbit these parts aren't simply playing the same riffs and stomping on a distortion pedal. No. They vary and have a rather visceral feel. You can imagine the band physically attacking their instruments. Sometimes with hammered dissonance, other times with the occasional psychedelic surf rock backing rhythm.

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Posted: 19.11.2014 by Xnoybis | Comments (2)

Reviews
Jakob - Sines

8 years is a hell of a long time between releases, and New Zealand's instrumental post rock/metal band Jakob have pulled off a miraculous comeback. I don't think the band was ever on the brink of dissipating, but the fact is life altering occurrences left many in doubt. Freak injuries to all the band members' hands, public relation snafus and what seemed an insurmountable layoff put the band and their highly anticipated album Sines in between a rock and a hard place. Alas, post-fans will be excited to know Jakob sound mightier than ever, like the band I discovered while they were touring with Isis in 2008.

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Posted: 18.11.2014 by tea[m]ster | Comments (4)

Reviews
Krokodil - Nachash

Beards. Moustaches. 20 mm gauges. Tattoo sleeves and sleeveless shirts. Total package. But who cares, seriously? I'm not like a certain woman who judges a whole bunch of people based on looks and stereotypes. So far, I've heard a lot about Krokodil because of its line-up, but no one's ever talked about the actual music. Let's fix that right now.

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Posted: 17.11.2014 by Ilham | Comments (13)

Reviews
Harmony - Theatre Of Redemption

Swedish power metallers Harmony invited guest vocalist Daniel Heiman, formerly of such power metal bands as Lost Horizon, Heed, and Crystal Eyes, to bring his formidable talents to Theatre Of Redemption. It's been several years since this voice graced a metal album and his return is no doubt cause for celebration. Such great power metal music can easily be turned to dust by the wrong voice, or conversely, polished to a mirror shine with the right one.

Despite a somewhat fantasy-related theme, Harmony keeps the vibe very serious. Harmonies on a few tracks bring to mind mid-period Kamelot albums: darkly beautiful yet still very power metal. The key ingredient here is the chosen tempos: ballads never drag, instead they move along with a non-cheesy clip, while the up-tempo songs take us for a wild ride without feeling like the musicians are just proving how fast they can play. The astute performances are serving the well-composed music.

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Posted: 17.11.2014 by Susan | Comments (3)

Reviews
Arcana Coelestia - Nomas

Funeral doom has always seemed to me to be split into two distinctly different camps. On the one hand, you have bands that are absolutely dark, desolate, and ominous with their sound, such as Evoken or Wormphlegm. And then, on the other, you have bands that prefer to take more of a relaxed approach, making things a bit brighter and epic in the process. Bands like Arcana Coelestia.

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Posted: 16.11.2014 by Apothecary | Comments (4)

Reviews
Adimiron - Timelapse

As Doc Godin astutely noted in his review of Adimiron's last album, this Italian quintet has a very distinctly Gojira sludgy-crunchy-grind thing going on. While its predecessor bore the unmistakable air of a band simply trying to ride the coattails of their heroes, Adimiron have really hit the ball out of the park with Timelapse.

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Posted: 16.11.2014 by ScreamingSteelUS | Comments (1)

Reviews
Nader Sadek - The Malefic: Chapter III

This mysterious Nader Sadek, artistic director of his eponymous musical enterprise, has assembled a veritable A-Team of metal musicians to breathe life into (or, perhaps more appropriately, beat life out of) his dark tales. I suppose a team of Expendables might be a more seasonable reference, but the members are all under 65, and there are only four of them aside from the boss man. With Rune "Blasphemer" Eriksen (late of Mayhem) and Cryptopsy's Flo Mounier behind guitars and drums, as well as previous guests Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation and Marcin Rygiel of Decapitated returning to the scene of the crime as full-fledged members, Sadek sure knows how to pick his friends.

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Posted: 16.11.2014 by ScreamingSteelUS | Comments (3)

Reviews
Liv Kristine - Vervain

A Liv Kristine album that doesn't suck outright. The way things have been degrading year after year, an album after an album, there has been, frankly, little to no expectations on my part regarding the release of Liv's recent works, be it her solo or with Leaves' Eyes. Given that, all that Vervain had to be to impress me, was to be a notch above decent to make its mark. Thus, for the past weeks I've been trying to figure out if it amounts to anything more than that.

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Posted: 15.11.2014 by Ivor | Comments (2)

Reviews
Isole - The Calm Hunter

The Calm Hunter meanders as it seeks out more melodious terrain for Isole's doom metal. This decision brings with it an inconsistency in the catalogue of the Swedes, who have maintained a style of their own under the Isole name ever since their debut in 2005.

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Posted: 15.11.2014 by R'Vannith | Comments (6)

Reviews
Idol Of Fear - All Sights Affixed, Ablaze

Avoiding any genre classifications, Idol Of Fear presents us dark metal as cold as their Canadian dwellings. I guess at times I'd call this black metal with flair but at other times that feels completely wrong. There is much melody to be had, and enticing guitarwork, but the gruesome vocals and tightly suspended atmosphere bring to mind harsher metal offerings. It's like Idol Of Fear didn't fit in with the cool kids at black metal school so he started hanging out with the other rejects and got really into the occult and rebelled by playing melodic music. Or something.

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Posted: 14.11.2014 by Susan | Comments (0)

Reviews
Obituary - Inked In Blood

One could be forgiven for ignoring Obituary's new album Inked In Blood. After all, how different can one expect it to be, given that the band effectively stalled their sound in 1990 and seldom bothered adding anything new? In some ways they would be right, but Inked In Blood somewhat rejuvenates the Obituary sound.

On the surface this is the Obituary we all know. However, there are some differences that make this a far more interesting release then the last spate of Obituary comeback albums.

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Posted: 13.11.2014 by deadone | Comments (4)

Reviews
Lyria - Catharsis

This is the kind of album that is impossible for me to resist. Self-released, with a huge help from a crowdfunding campaign, and one that rewards the listener with endless enthusiasm, warmth, and easily one of my favorite songs of the year. Lyria's Catharsis is at once symphonic, heavily dosed in alternative, and melodic at every turn.

My first exposure to the album was with the video track, "Jester," a song that does not waste time with experimenting or trying too hard to be anything but what it aims to be: a superbly catchy melodic track with some stellar vocals by founder Aline Happ. The main guitar riff, played here by session guitarist and producer Celo Oliveira, is developed throughout the song fluidly with classic arrangements, from lengthy chords to front and center heaviness. Eliezer Andre's drumming delivers the backdrop that keeps the focus uptempo without overshadowing the melody, and some well-placed programming gives the song the extra touch of atmosphere.

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Posted: 12.11.2014 by dismaleuphony | Comments (9)

Reviews
Narrow House - Thanathonaut

I've wrestled with this review for quite some time now, sort of dreading typing it up. The biggest reason for this is Narrow House is another of those more "extreme" doom bands that has migrated into far less harsh territory. In and of itself, that isn't a bad thing. See also - Ahab, Process Of Guilt.

However the band was coming off the really fantastic A Key To Panngrieb - an album that cracked my top 10 of a 2012 that was chock full o' awesome albums. Coming from an album simultaneously harsh and extremely interesting, the first several spins of Thanathonaut just seemed relatively straightforward and lacking in some of the wildcard factor that made A Key intriguing.

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Posted: 11.11.2014 by Xnoybis | Comments (2)

Reviews
Corrupt Moral Altar - Mechanical Tides

Guys, guys, do you remember this? No matter how far you'd get those fingers up your ears, you couldn't just enjoy the first few minutes of your movie because you got your eardrums punctured? Yeah, well, Mechanical Tides starts exactly like that: with a loud bang that you will only associate with good memories in the future.

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Posted: 10.11.2014 by Ilham | Comments (5)

Reviews
SSS - Limp.Gasp.Collapse.

Limp. Gasp. Collapse. is SSS's most modern-sounding album so far. Not that crossover hasn't been going through a more popular resurgence and isn't, on it's own, "modern-sounding" now, it's just that this thing seems to borrow more from metal-styles and production-styles championed after the mid to late 80s.

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Posted: 10.11.2014 by wormdrink414 | Comments (2)

Reviews
At The Gates - At War With Reality

Full disclosure: At The Gates is one of my favourite bands. And when I say that, I don't mean in my top 50. They are in the running for #1. It's been almost 20 years since the release of Slaughter Of The Soul, an album considered by many (myself included) to be one of the finest melodic death metal recordings ever. At last, they are back with a new album - At War With Reality.

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Posted: 10.11.2014 by Mattybu | Comments (7)

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