Moon Tooth – Crux

Moon Tooth came swinging out of the gate in 2016 with their debut full-length Chromaparagon. It presents the listener with a variety of different musical styles that are as colorful as the album title itself. One moment you’re rocking out to stoner with mild-psych touches, the next you’re headbanging to…

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We Hunt Buffalo – Head Smashed In

It takes all of about .01 seconds to deduce that We Hunt Buffalo are riff purveyors of the big, fat and ugly tonal variety. With a name like that, you can’t go around peddling post-punk or tinny garage rock. It’s basically Stoner Metal 101 that bands named after huge, heavy…

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The Progress Melter – Steel Panther and the Extent of “Comedy”

This should go without saying, but women have always had the ability to excel at playing guitar, and they often have. The rock and metal scene specifically has benefited from the contributions of players like Chelsea Wolfe, Liz Buckingham (Electric Wizard), Simone Dow (Voyager), Nancy Wilson (Heart), Lori Von Linstruth (Ayreon), Sarah Longfield, Laura…

Otherwise – Sleeping Lions

If there’s one album that could launch a band into the stratosphere this year, it’s Sleeping Lions, the third outing from Las Vegas mob Otherwise. Mark my words: this album is prepped and packaged for the radio airwaves, plus almost every track sounds capable of inciting an arena-sized singalong, but that’s not always a bad thing. Their previous album cracked the Billboard 200 at number 50. This could surpass that. If they catch their big break with this record, the general population of rock enthusiasts will find something to appreciate about Otherwise. Generic? Absolutely. But it knows what it is.

Voices of The Void: The Dio Fach

I guess this was inevitable. When I originally conceived of this column, there was a lot of details I wanted to get into. Vocalists who started as screamers and turned into great clean singers. Vocalists who pioneered new styles. Vocalists who simply have unique voices. But before we get into all of that, I feel as though we have to establish some of the basics of metal singing. Back in the 70s, metal singers were simply rock singers with a louder band behind them. There weren’t distinctive styles. However, as metal became more and more separate from hard rock, the playing styles of each instrument involved in making metal developed their own identity and distinct style. In opera and classical singing, teachers and singers refer to voice types as “fachs”. The fach system was developed by the Germans to make casting operas easier. As we talk about the emerging styles of metal singing, I will be using this term. Arguably, the first metal fach was the Dio-fach. So, to establish these metal basics, I will be doing an overview of Ronnie James Dio’s voice, his career, and how he established this fach.

Edguy – Monuments

Edguy’s Monuments does a pretty great job as far as compilations go. Not only does Edguy include an EP’s worth of new material, they also include a DVD of live performances, and a never before released track from their classic days when they weren’t the German hard rock superstars that they are today. Hardcore fans like myself will find many reasons to pick this thing up and new listeners will find this release a great starting place for Edguy. Monuments showcases the power metal/hard rock masters perfectly in currently forms and presents a unique chance to look back at the band’s impressive career.

Stone Sour – Hydrograd

In China, there is a myth that carp swimming upstream try valiantly to swim up a waterfall, a clearly impossible task. Yet, they persist and persevere, straining every muscle as they strive to reach the top, and sure enough, a rare few are able to get there. It is said that any carp which successfully makes the climb is then rewarded for their determination with transformation into a mighty dragon. After swimming upstream for a decade, Stone Sour announced themselves a dragon of rock with their last two LPs, House of Gold and Bones (HoGaB) Parts 1 & 2 respectively. The masterful double album was the epitome of progressive hard rock in the modern era, infused with a thrilling concept, reoccurring musical and lyrical motifs, seamless transitions and excellent riffs. Taylor’s vocals moved effortlessly between unbridled aggression and morose beauty. The songwriting was inspired, each song standing proudly on its own two feet, yet even better when placed alongside its brethren. It was a rare release to draw inspiration from the giants of the 70’s and, when all was said and done, comfortably stand shoulder-to-shoulder beside them. Thus one could be forgiven for feeling optimistic about where Stone Sour went next. Unfortunately, Jim Root’s acrimonious departure in mid-2014 led to doubts over their future sound and direction, doubts which a pair of cover EPs did little to dispel. And so here we are in 2017, four years on from the magic that was HoGaB. Stone Sour is back, with Christian Martucci (Black President, ex-Chelsea Smiles) having replaced Root on guitar. The question though, is can they live up to the hype?

Solstafir – Berdreyminn

Iceland is a popular place these days in many ways and has become somewhat known for surprising people. The nation’s soccer (football) team shocked the sports world in 2016 in reaching the quarterfinals of Euro 2016, defeating England in the process, a plucky team in every sense of the word;…