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Electric Wizard – Time To Die

electric wizard

When we speak of general phenomena in a certain genre and community, we tend to forget that behind our ideas or trends lie individual bands. All of these have their own contexts and motivations for creating their albums and these often lead them to fall outside of the mean. Even if that doesn’t fit our models or wishes, we should take a good, hard look at them and ask: “what exactly isn’t working here?”. This is the case with Electric Wizard’s newest release, Time to Die. With brilliant releases this year by other doom/stoner bands, like Pallbearer, Yob and Earth, the expectations were set high for this release. However, it sadly doesn’t fit our story of a “Doom Revival”. It falls short of the epic canvases set by these other bands and, indeed, by Electric Wizard themselves.

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Eastwood – Language of Stars


Post-metal often comes across as being rather comfortable in the niche it’s carved out – not particularly screaming for attention or breaking its back trying to be innovative, but rather expanding outwards at its own gradual pace. Similarly, Russian outfit Eastwood know exactly what they’re going for with Language of Stars, with a sense of almost leisurely comfort holding together the album’s five tracks. It’s not at all revolutionary, or something you likely haven’t ever heard before, but it’s not at all bad at what it does either, making for a pleasantly enjoyable listen.

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cannibal corpse

Cannibal Corpse. You know the name, you know the sound. You either love them or hate them. It’s been that way since they released their debut in 1990, 24 years ago. The band has come a long way since then, with various lineup changes, progression, and sometimes even stagnation. The band’s last 2 records were lacking when compared to previous works, especially Kill, which many of us here consider one of their best records, and on this reviewer considers their best since 1996’s Vile. For a band that has done essentially the same thing for the past two decades, how can they possibly get better? How could they possibly do the same thing in a different way and make an album that truly stands out in nearly every way?

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The Pineapple Thief – Magnolia


The sum is larger than its parts. This sentence is often used to describe progressive albums or epics that operate on the album level, setting a concept or a story, interweaving different tracks together via leitmotifs or common themes. This isn’t the case with the new The Pineapple Thief album, Magnolia. On first listens, the album appears to be very song oriented: like the rock from which it draws, each song stands by itself. However, repeated listens will cause something extraordinary to happen. Like its name sake, the album will unfold its petals and a certain sum that is indeed larger will emerge.

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Cloak Of Altering – Plague Beasts


Death. Insanity. Formless horrors that lurk the void between worlds. Cloak of Altering, the new project from Dutch avante-garde madman Mories (Gnaw Their Tongues) conjures ghastly, otherworldly visions of things that flee from the light. Psychotic, washed out hip-hop beats assail the listener, bathed in warbling reverberations of distortion, while manic shrieks and industrial, stutter-stop guitars reduce everything to mulch. Plague Beasts is a difficult, time consuming listen. It is a thick, swirling mass of hatred, pain and other, more esoteric emotions. It doesn’t like you very much. “You should not be here”, it screams, all the while drawing you in. Curiosity killed the cat.

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War of Ages – Supreme Chaos


Simple, straightforward and ever so slightly mind-numbing; behold, if you please, the unabashedly mediocre seventh studio album from Pennsylvania’s War of Ages, Supreme Chaos. The album’s thirty seven minutes run the gamut of repetitiveness without a single shred of awareness as to how terrifyingly mundane it actually is. All fans of metalcore, regardless of their respective experience with this sub-genre, have heard everything on Supreme Chaos before from lots of other bands. From the simplified breakdowns to the downright cyclic song structures and the pathetic vocal screams; it’s all there. None of it ever begins to challenge the listener’s taste or stimulate his thought.

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Earth – Primitive and Deadly


Long since abandoning the standard drone, Dylan Carlson and company have been experimenting since their reunion in 2003. Their new, country-influence sound is something that is markedly different than their earlier works such as Earth 2. However, the band utilized this new sound to craft some absolutely brilliant releases, namely The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull, an album that much of our staff acknowledges as their post-reunion opus, a classic album dripping with creativity in its most refined form. While the music may be simple, there’s more going on than someone would find after only one listen. Since then, the band release two album, but then got quiet. Three years later, Earth are back, and this time they’ve transformed from a drone-country ensemble to a full fledged rock band.

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When Black Crown Initiate came out of nowhere last year with their EP Song of the Crippled Bull, it was quite clear that they were on to something. The EP was short, but it was a great mix of Opeth-styled progressive death metal done heavier with 8 string guitars and blast beats. When they (yet again, out of nowhere) announced that they’re releasing a full length album this year, it was difficult to not get excited. The band’s debut full length album The Wreckage of Stars is what anyone who listened to the EP would expect as a next step in their sound – an album full of great riffs, memorable lines and heaviness contrasted with calm.

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Wolves Like Us – Black Soul Choir


The merging point between different styles is always a good place to hunt for new sounds and distinct acts. However, several of these intersections require a certain ear or taste and some of them are downright antagonizing. Among these spaces is the unique meeting point between hardcore, alternative rock and metal. Spawning such diverse acts as Audioslave, Stolas or This Routine Is Hell, to the outsider this unique place is filled with hard to pin down vocals, deceptively repetitive riffs and a weird shift between anger and melancholy. All these descriptions fit Norwegians Wolves Like Us, as they emanate from a core that is both sad and pissed off at the same time. Blending all the above influences into one dark mix, their sophomore effort is a tightly wound, brimful of energy.

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