These posts are written by: Andrew Hatch

Love Letter – Skid Row’s “I Remember You”

This is a love letter about a love song. The glam metal explosion yielded more than its fair share of sappy power ballads, but one reigns above them all. The Achilles heel of the power ballad is its maddening tendency to mire in cliché — but, paradoxically, “I Remember You” manages to subvert kitsch and bludgeon cliché through its absolute screaming dedication to its own cliché.

Grafvitnir – Keys to the Mysteries Beyond

Grafvitnir exists at the limits of extremity and melody. If one were to plot a simple chart to describe metal, with “Melody” as the X axis, and “Extremity” as the Y, Grafvitnir would be the little dot in the top right corner, with full marks in each category. Yet Grafvitnir doesn’t balance their thirst for convulsing blast beats and throat-shredding vocals and lightning tremolo with their desire for sweet, sweet melodies so much as the two sides battle, warring opposites ripping and clawing and dancing, circling their way around one another, imprisoned in brutal stalemate for the duration of Keys to the Mysteries Beyond. The end result is something that sounds like Storm of the Light’s Bane-era Dissection on amphetamines — and if that sentence sounds appealing, you’d better get listening, bucko.

Chaos Moon – Eschaton Mémoire

Chaos Moon’s fourth full-length, Eschaton Mémoire swarms with a dense black metal cascade, sweeping and overwhelming in the tide of tremolo and crush of percussion surging through it. For all its fury, however, Eschaton Mémoire can also collapse into itself — a victim of its own density when the massive drums play over the music instead of with it. When the formula works, however, Eschaton Mémoire is enveloping, chaotic, and furious — and when it doesn’t, all that sound and fury melds into forgettable background noise, signifying nothing.

Riffs from the Crypt — Potentiam

Potentiam is by far the most recent disinterment inducted into the hallowed halls of Riffs from the Crypt. Potentiam’s tomb gleams proud and new among its brethren decades older on the strength of their 1999 debut, Bálsýn. But like the rest, Potentiam and their eccentric debut have been largely forgotten to time.