Soulfly – Ritual

Max Cavalera and Soulfly and seemed to hit a bit of a rough patch following the back-to-back release of 2005’s outstanding Dark Ages (2005). None of the records released between then and now were particularly poor. Even the least of them, 2013’s Savages, was perfectly serviceable, and some (i.e. 2012’s Enslaved and 2008’s Conquer) even flirted with the band’s upper echelons. Yet there was a certain feeling that the band had fallen into a bit of a rut. Now, with Killer Be Killed (2014) and his recent return-to-form with Cavalera Conspiracy’s Psychosis (2017) under his belt, Max appears to be experiencing a late-career resurgence, and Ritual—his eleventh full-length release under the Soulfly banner—only continues that upward trajectory.

Into the Pit – A Semi-Defense of Anthrax…Sort Of

Guys, I really tried with Anthrax. I fully intended to write a defense of Anthrax as a Big 4 band. Ask my girlfriend. Ask the editors. Ask anybody who lets me talk about the blog to them. I really wanted to do that. I had a great plan! I intentionally started the Testament column with “ANTHRAX SUX LOL” because I wanted to write, “And whoever that idiot was who said Anthrax sucks can go play in traffic!” It was going to be so great. Self-deprecating humor is disarming, even if total comment thread dopes can’t understand tongue-in-cheek humor via the written word.

I had listened to some Anthrax records before, so I had some idea of what I was in for. “Sure, there might be some stinkers here, but overall I’ll find what I need.” And then I started listening. And I kept listening. Fistful of Metal. Spreading the Disease. Among the Living. State of Euphoria. When I got to Persistence of Time, a thought occurred to me.

I still can’t defend Anthrax. I just can’t do it.

Half-Life – Napalm Death, Pt. 1

There are very few bands in extreme metal that can be rightly considered significant influencers in the formation and development of multiple subgenres. Napalm Death are one of them. From their inception in Birmingham, England in 1981 through their most recent full-length output in 2015, the band have explored the…

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.