Fallujah – Undying Light

Major lineup changes, particularly from the replacement of a member fundamental to the band’s sound like a founding vocalist, can cause a clear divide in not only a band’s fanbase, but the narrative of the band’s discography into distinct eras. Bay Area progressive death metal act Fallujah have just entered their own new era of music following the departure of vocalist and keyboard player Alex Hoffman in 2017.

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Contrarian – Their Worm Never Dies

The past is an odd thing; people expect you to come to terms with it and reference it in your art (in the form of genre norms and adherence to “the greats”) but not too blatantly, lest you be deemed a “rip off”. Once you’ve “touched” the past, it’s also extremely hard to shake it off, as your work will constantly be judged in light of it. Some bands solve these conflicts and nuances by simply diving head first into homage, worship, and clear references, preferring to cut through all the questions by explicitly communicating with their influences.

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HEALTH – VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR

As far as I can remember, I’ve never started out a review with a personal anecdote. But HEALTH holds a special place in my musical journey. Back in 2008, my dad took me to see my first concert: Nine Inch Nails at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.…

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Asthma Castle – Mount Crushmore

Doom metal can sometimes become a catch-all term. Bands just get that label because they don’t clearly fit into something else. If it’s not fast-paced or evil enough, then you can’t give it the death or thrash or black label. But you have to give it something. If it sounds…

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Omicida – Defrauded Reign

Maybe more than any modern thrash album, Omicida’s Defrauded Reign sounds like a lost ‘80s underground classic. The LA-come-UK outfit’s debut full-length is pure Bay Area worship done to the highest degree, and an early standout in a year already jam packed with quality thrash metal. Omicida themselves might be…

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Stone From the Sky – Break a Leg

I still remember the first time I played Fuck the Sun, Stone From the Sky’s previous album (yes, that’s actually what it’s called). What I don’t quite remember is what I was expecting but it wasn’t an expansive, droned out, psychedelic walk through sunlit hills, nature in bloom all around…

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Evi Vine – Give Your Heart to the Hawks

In our romantic conception of music, as some sort of “pure” art form, we’d like to imagine that the external physicality of an album, like cover art or name, don’t matter or matter less than the music at hand. In addition, at first glance, you could argue that the digital…

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Equipoise – Demiurgus

Like Unique Leader before them, The Artisan Era is fast becoming the go-to label for all things prog and tech death, cultivating a roster of “who’s who” among up-and-coming names in the genre such as Warforged and Inanimate Existence while simultaneously attracting longstanding names in the genre by pressing releases for acts like Augury and Spawn of Possession. Chances are, if there’s a new band wearing The Faceless and Necrophagist influences on their sleeves and they’re worth the time and attention, The Artisan Era is backing them, their logo becoming a seal of quality.

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Fen – Stone & Sea

In tomorrow’s Editors’ Picks column (spoiler), I muse about the values of retrospectives and here I am, afforded again with the opportunity to discuss a posture or perspective that seems to inherently contradict our idea of how music is made. We’d like to think that music is this unmediated thing,…

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Black Anvil – Miles

If there was anything to learn from 2017’s As Was, it was that Black Anvil’s refined handle of melody and attention to dark psychedelic atmospheres were honed as sharp as their enlightened take on black metal. The group sounded revitalized and played with purpose in all aspects of their sound,…

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