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Category: Reviews

The Gentle Storm – The Diary

the gentle storm

One of the hardest things about reviewing albums is coming across one by an idol. This is the case here, as Arjen Anthony Lucassen is one of the biggest names in many of our childhoods, spearheading the progressive metal movement of the early to mid 00’s. The Human Equation is still one of the best albums ever made and alongside his other brilliant albums, it’s hard to lash out at him for getting dim in the heart as his career continues. Sadly enough, this is exactly the case and The Gentle Storm‘s first album, The Diary, fully owes its failure to the “Ayreon Signature” being forced upon it.

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Barren Earth – On Lonely Towers


Supergroups in the metal world have one thing in common and that is hype. If there is one thing a new supergroup can generate in spades weeks and even months before the music sees the light. its hype. The online machinery of publicity can plant the seed of expectation and keep on watering it until the fruit is ready. The gamble here though is that no one knows if the fruit will be fresh or rotten. High expectations can be a double edged sword and if an album doesn’t match up to the build-up, the collapse will most likely be inevitable and irreversible. Finland’s Barren Earth is one of the most exciting supergroups on the metal scene right now and they have successfully lived up to the billing by delivering consistently solid efforts; their third album On Lonely Towers being their latest installment.

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Liturgy – The Ark Work


Much to the chagrin of black metal purists, 2015 will (probably) contain releases from the genre’s two greatest “antagonists.” Yet, unless Deafheaven’s slated third offering is absolutely abysmal, The Ark Work will effortlessly restore Liturgy as the most reviled act in…well, whatever genre the band is nestled within at this point. For saying that The Ark Work is “not truly black metal” is more so factual than accusative, something that front man – and pretension connoisseur – Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has acknowledged. Currently, the essential question concerning Liturgy is whether they are misguidedly earnest in their message or attempting to troll “transcending” music intellectuals and seething metal purists alike. But quite frankly, whether the answer is the former or the latter, The Ark Work is too shoddy for it to matter either way.

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CHON – Grow


Progressive genres of music are widely known for their lengthy songs and heavy/complicated subject matter. In these ways, prog has always been incredibly indulgent, but what happens when you take this indulgence in the opposite direction and run with it? In this case, CHON‘s Grow happened. The songs on this album are not lengthy journeys through desolate valleys and frostbitten evenings, but rather short detours through sunshine soaked forests and warm afternoons. Rather than attempting to be a three course meal that will leave you full, CHON are more than happy to be a smoothie on a sweltering summer day that satisfies with sweetness until the very last drop.
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What is the strata that connects the wide network of genres we handle here on the blog? It’s obviously not “heavyness”, since a lot of our favorite bands wouldn’t be considered heavy at all. We do have a tendency to lean towards the progressive and the doom but we also cover plenty of bands who are more modern or primal. At the end of the day, it probably varies between staff members and their tastes. For this writer, it’s emotions. As such, Dorthia Cottrell‘s first solo album has been holding a prominent place in the musical horizon. Once it had arrived, it dug deep and connected to that core of cores: emotions.

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Atten Ash – The Hourglass


When people try to classify ‘doom metal’, it used to be easy. Things like early Anathema and Disembowelment pioneered the doom movement, which was slow, loud, and grim. However, as time went on, the genre seemed to gain more diverse influences. Katatonia added melody and cleans to the genre, and bands like In Mourning and Be’Lakor added elements of post-metal and melodic death metal to give it a new, modern feel. With so many facets of the genre, it’s not hard to figure that Atten Ash belong within it. However, finding where exactly they belong within a genre with so many great bands is the real test that their music brings upon us. View Full Article »


Where visual art can announce itself as everything from an explosion of different shapes, dimensions and hues or restrict itself to the most minimalist, one-dimensional, single-colour blocks, music can do much the same. This particular beard-toting Kansas trio find themselves at the latter end, pumping out an unfaltering combination of muffled fuzz bass and sludgy, rhythmic chugging. Essentially, they have taken what bands like Orange Goblin, Red Fang and Clutch have done before and refined it to something a little less expansive and a darn sight more punishing.

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Ghost Bath – Moonlover


Blackgaze is one of the most subtle genres of music. There’s an incredible amount of written talent that goes by-and-large unnoticed. In a genre that is mainly built on repetition and longer, more progressive suite-like songs, it is far too easy for an album to become mired in its own sound. The sound of blackgaze is a double-edged sword — its greatest strength is also its greatest downfall. Bands avoid these pitfalls in various ways: some bands, like Agalloch, bring in more varied instrumentation, others, such as An Autumn For Crippled Children, use their inventiveness to obscure and break genre boundaries. Ghost Bath dance elegantly around the inherent obstacles of blackgaze with the help of a different tool- their formidable grasp of atmosphere. View Full Article »

Alkaloid – The Malkuth Grimoire

Alkaloid - The Malkuth Grimoire

When you take two names like Hannes Grossmann (ex-Obscura) and Christian Muenzner (ex-Obscura/Necrophagist) and put them in a band together, great things are expected. More than that, specific great things are expected: unrelenting technicality, brutality and an overall “old school” quality. To be sure, all of these things can be found on Alkaloid‘s debut, The Malkuth Grimoire. However, the true genius of this album is its ability to transcend these expectations, and indeed all expectations, and declare with full audacity: I am my own creation.

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Norilsk – The Idea of North


You are trudging through the cold snow, blinding light beating onto your brow from the white crystalline expanse stretching out around you forever. There are small icicles hanging from your clothes. Every breath taken brings the agony of a cold so strong, so omnipresent, that it shreds your lungs. You sigh, a small cloud forming from your exhalation, and continue to walk. Whenever you take a step, you hear the muffled crunch of snow underfoot. All the while, the first album from Canadian doom metal outfit Norilsk, The Idea of North, is playing in the background.

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