The Faceless – In Becoming A Ghost

It is folly to try to judge a piece of art independently of the circumstances surrounding its conception. A lack of awareness of those circumstances is excusable, of course, but when it comes to The Faceless, that seems quite unlikely to be the case. The Californian technical/progressive death metal band, which is probably better described as Michael Keene’s project, have been through some troubles. They made one of the most important albums of the genre in 2008 with Planetary Duality, and ever since then listeners have been looking for them to make an album that’s equally impactful. 2012’s Autotheism, regardless of its quality, wasn’t what most people wanted in that sense. After yet another 4+ year gap, and many line-up changes, tour cancellations and other drama, the band, well, Michael Keene is back with his fourth album, In Becoming A Ghost. It’s his most somber and personal album for sure, but is it a good album? Partially.

Sacred Geometry – Mapping Metal’s Connection With the New Age

A month or so ago, I wrote a post titled “The Occult in Modern Day Metal”. In it, underneath countless of apologies for the simplifications I was about to present the readers, I took a brief look at how the occult has lent words, images, ideas and themes to the metal genre. Charting three main movements, I attempted to offer an initial direction for asking questions, a jumping point for something much more extensive. Perhaps where I’d left the most gaps was with the last part; the post was getting long, the hours were getting late and the subject matter was growing more complex. This should come as no surprise to those versed in the source material itself (and my writing/sleeping habits, if we’re being honest). You see, that final part dealt with the New Age and its ties to progressive metal. The thing is, however, that New Age is one of the most loosely defined, scholarly debated and impossible to understand spiritual movements to have ever existed. It’s right up there with Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Swedenborg-ism (I swear that’s a real thing, you can Google it) and other obscure, esoteric belief systems.

Hey! Listen to Wolvserpent!

The idea of an album/EP being one entire song isn’t an entirely new idea in metal (considering it’s been twenty years since Edge of Sanity’s Crimson among other releases), but it’s an idea that’s starting to resurface in a plethora of new and intriguing ways. This year alone we have…

The Accuser: Abigail Williams’ Ken Sorceron Speaks On New Project

Ken Sorceron has never been content with just sitting still. The Phoenix to Olympia transplant is the only remaining founding member of black metal act Abigail Williams, and is prolific in not just the USBM scene, but a prominent figure in underground and extreme music at large in recent years thanks to frequent collaboration with Finnish record label Blood Music as their go-to mastering engineer — with credits on releases from Emperor, Cloudkicker, and Perturbator alike — as well as serving time in acts such as Aborted and Lord Mantis.

Lord Mantis – Nice Teeth Whore

Lord Mantis is a changed beast. After the band released their masterpiece Death Mask, front-man and bassist Charlie Fell was dropped from the roster along with Abigail Williams mastermind Ken Sorceron. There are certain bands who can go through line-up changes and come out on the other side unscathed, but, Fell and Sorceron were key…

PREMIERE: Stream Caricature’s 27-minute Prog Metal Cat Worship, “Stampede”

A Venn Diagram of prog metal nerds and cat lovers is sure to be a near total eclipse. Joseph Spiller of prog metal act Caricature (which features former members of bands such as The Binary Code, System Divide, and Last Chance To Reason) has taken it upon himself to become a prominent figure of this subset of enthusiasts by writing a powerful and epic ode to his beloved feline companion Parmesan.

Hey! Listen to Nonpareil!

While we’re all waiting for the new Norma Jean album to come out (which is apparently soon!) or praying for Big Black to get back together (who knows; who really expected Refused to reunite, anyway?), we need to fill the time with some good, noisy, sort-of-post-hardcore music. In this case, I’d like to highlight Nonpareil and their EP Allergen.

Nonpareil is an Arizona-based supergroup featuring, among others, ex-Abigail Williams singer Connor Woods and ex-The Bled bassist Darren Simoes. The band’s sound is pretty much a combination of the bands referenced above; they take Norma Jean-style songwriting, strip it back a smidgen, and top if off with some production that sounds like it was taken straight out of Steve Albini’s garage.

Abigail Williams – The Accuser

US black metal shapeshifters Abigail Williams have managed to become one of the most unfairly maligned bands in black metal this side of Deafheaven. Somehow, the misconception of the band being a metalcore act still persist, albeit in a vocal minority, despite the band’s quick abandonment of the influence following…