In Vain – Currents

The five years that have passed since the release of Ænigma (2013) likely mean that the window of opportunity for In Vain and their phenomenal third outing to become anything more than curious blips on the progressive metal radar. Had the band come back in full force following that most…

Against the Grain – Cheated Death

For many who explore the crevasses of extreme music, “rock” is a word that has some not-so-good connotations. Like, “this shit is guaranteed to be boring” connotations. Let’s take a quick look at what’s likely the two biggest offenders to the name of rock. There’s no question that the poor…

Ataraxy – Where All Hope Fades

Death-doom is having a bit of a moment. Developed from the initial undercurrent of the works of Incantation, Asphyx, Decomposed, Katatonia, and diSEMBOWELMENT, the little subgenre that could has produced some of metal’s best and most consistent bands. Hooded Menace and Hamferð have already released two of 2018’s best records,…

Genocide Pact – Order of Torment

Somewhere, right now, the members of Incantation are looking at the rising crop of extreme metal bands and realizing their moment has finally come – Bandcamp referred to them once as death metal’s equivalent of The Velvet Underground & Nico and it’s impossible to disagree in the current moment. Belated appreciation of their…

Novareign – Legends

There’s a special place in heaven reserved for albums who don’t waste their listeners time. Skipping over intro tracks and getting right to the point, these albums want you to know exactly what they’re about, no frills or special announcements necessary. This works especially well for anything extreme, as the sheer shock of an album just exploding into over the top life can be a magnificent feeling. This is very much the case with Novareign’s Legends. These power metal enthusiasts hailing from California waste no time with their debut album, immediately diving into a mass of riffs, powerful vocals and galloping bass. The rest of the album rides on the momentum of these initial notes to create one of the best releases in the traditional metal revival that’s been going on for the past few years (and on which we posted in length not two hours ago).

Fu Manchu – Clone of the Universe

Fu Manchu are one of the most reliable brands in rock’n’roll. Dependable, quality, and always there for all your fuzzed-the-hell-out riffing needs. After eleven albums over nearly 25 years, their staying power is proven and justified. You’ve done something right if you’ve survived this long. Pickier listeners might gripe about…

Visigoth – Conqueror’s Oath

On the surface, there’s not much to say about Visigoth other than “yeah, they’re pretty good.” Formed in 2010, they’re one of the bands at the forefront of the New Wave of Traditional Metal movement (more on that from Eden and myself in a couple days), fitting comfortably into the classics-reviving zeitgeist…

Long Distance Calling – Boundless

When comes the time for experimentation to cease? Should some bands stop mutating their sound at some point and settle in? And if the answer is “yes” to either of these questions, how can they know when it comes? These questions probably don’t have an answer and all we can do is try and look at examples of different choices and timings and glean something from the tale. Long Distance Calling is a fantastic, if somewhat beguiling, example. Through their career, they’ve been known from not being afraid of changing things up. Their latest release, Trips, was an immense departure from their established sound, with influences from brit-rock and pop coming in with the addition of Petter Carlsen on vocals. But now, Carlsen has departed and it seems as if Long Distance Calling, perhaps borne aloft by their insatiable desire for new, have rather gone backwards.

Cabal – Mark Of Rot

At the rate things go in and out of fashion these days, small outcrops of tonally similar artists will always be around either too early or too late for their big moment. Not their fault. Fans will turn on bands and whole genres quicker than a Trump tweet turns into a meme. Cabal aren’t in or out of vogue, but the symphonic, snail pace beatdown sound definitely has it’s moments. The Danes drop tune their strings and slow down their chugs to an almost sadistic tempo, diving in and out of djeathcore tropes and a handful of clichés too. And that’s okay, Mark Of Rot is interesting enough to not turn off after the first of many bass drops.