Nervosa – Downfall of Mankind

Some people strongly bemoan the downfall of thrash metal. Once it was the juggernaut of the underground scene, but it quickly rose and fell in terms of its popularity and domination in metal culture. It simply could not keep up with the extreme lengths of its brother, death metal. It…

Mask of Judas – The Mesmerist

If it feels like Mask of Judas’ debut album has been a long time coming, it’s because it has. Active since the start of the decade, appearing at the inaugural Tech Fest in 2012 and releasing the Axis EP in 2013, they established themselves at the heavier end of the…

Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence

The conversation surrounding Trivium is a pretty loaded one. A band that instantly rose to fame at a young age with music defined by talent and broad appeal is bound to attract some ire. Every subsequent album they’ve put out has changed their sound to some extent, and sometimes those changes were controversial among fans and the general audience alike. How does a band react to this? By just doing what they want. Trivium have soldiered on, releasing albums and touring consistently, and they have always found an audience. Yet, since 2008’s masterpiece Shogun, it felt like nothing they did really compared. Enter The Sin and the Sentence. This album isn’t Shogun 2.0, but it’s its own beast, and it signals a new paradigm for the band. After nearly a decade of musical soul searching by the band, it finally feels like they’ve reached a point of equilibrium, a new sound that fully utilizes their diverse sets of talents. Finally, the band’s potential is fully realized again.

Decapitated – Anticult

Anticult’s lead singles are both textbook examples of how late career albums tend to bisect veteran bands’ fan bases. On the more vocal side are evergreen Decapitated fans who tolerate just about anything a band does while aggressively dismissing any dissenting opinions; to quote directly from the comments: “Hate all the people comparing those tracks to the “old” Decap. Fuck, its a new constellation with a switched style, so get over it and enjoy or leave.” Then there are traditional Decapitated fans, at whom these types of comments are directed. In their view, everything since Carnival is Forever has embodied the steady decline of an integral architect of modern tech death, and fans who’ve embraced the band’s last few records are doing so solely because of the name attached to music they’d be otherwise indifferent about.  

Oni – Ironshore

The onslaught of the new wave of progressive metal continues. Enter Oni, a Canadian band who are surfing right along that wave. Their debut, Ironshore is just a solid assault of groovy modern prog (not to be confused with djent) that surprises in a plethora of ways. Occupying a space similar to bands like Textures, Persefone and Alustrium, this album should be a bar for up and coming bands to be measured against.

Soulburn – Earthless Pagan Spirit

Soulburn seem to have finally found their comfort zone – and it makes for quite the uncomfortable listening experience in the best of ways. After returning in 2014 in their current form with the impressive The Suffocating Angels, the Demonic Dutch quartet seem hell bent on bringing forth a new dark age, and may our souls be damned. Their latest effort, Earthless Pagan Spirit, is one majestic, evil beast of an album that makes the prospect of a demonic dark age sound quite appealing.

Starter Kit: Max Cavalera

I’ve previously expressed my opinions, however brief, about Max Cavalera: ex-Sepultura singer, groove metal pioneer and overall Brazilian badass. While I haven’t been the biggest fan of Cavalera’s recent output of music, I nonetheless owe a great debt to this man, as without him I probably wouldn’t be into metal…

ETHS – Ankaa

Once upon a time, there was a band called ETHS. This band did pretty much whatever the fuck they wanted, blending nu-metal with all sorts of influences. Did that mix work? Not really. The band were, somewhat rightfully, written off as another in the wave of post nu-metal hybrids that didn’t really hold water. However, it now appears that ETHS are back and that everything has changed. Nu-metal is no longer their mainstay and in its place, something much darker has seized center stage. Now, their latest album is called Ankaa, and its a brooding, massive piece of deathcore turned every other adjective from the dark spectrum of English. It has electronic breaks, oriental singing in Arabic, French nearly-spoken word, guttural growls, screams and whatever else you bloody well desire. This makes it a veritable monolith, eschewing cohesion for a narrative all of its own.