Hey! Listen to Angelus Apatrida!

Angelus Apatrida have been one of the most consistently impressive thrash bands of the modern era. They’ve managed to establish a strong cult following, but the Spanish quartet have hardly received the kind of exposure given to American acts like Havok, Warbringer or Municipal Waste. Nevertheless, last May saw the…

Hey! Listen to Extinction A.D.!

Changing style can often be a difficult transition to make. Bands can sometimes get away with it if they get in early enough in their career, before they’ve established their trademark sound (see: Darkthrone, Paradise Lost). Later-day transitions, however, can be much harder for fans to stomach, especially if they…

Stepping Stone: Dio’s Dream Evil

If the purpose of Stepping Stone is to shine a spotlight on the bands and artists which started us on our way to metal, then Ronnie James Dio is one of the biggest stones in our path. Whether just by listening to his music at an early age or being influenced by his vocal style, the number of artists who have owe a debt to Dio is immeasurable. He is one of the largest names in a scene obsessed with the cult of personality, with plenty of drama and lore to back that figure (Ozzy vs. Dio, the “horns” and more). But I’d like to focus on a different story for this Stepping Stone, on mine rather than on the grandiose depiction of grand narratives within our scene and community. I’d like to take you back to the days when I was jut discovering metal and the power it had and what that power meant for the teenage version of Eden.

Dark Hound – Dawning

What goes around, comes around. What’s old is new again. People say this shit all the time because it holds so true. We’ve seen it with just about every style of music, and metal has gotten some real good out of it (see: re-thrash, “occult” metal). While I don’t know exactly what constitutes a genre “revival,” I do know is that if my limited awareness tells me anything about a recent “nu-metal revival,” it’s safe to assume that a “NWOAHM revival” is just around the corner… or emerging. If we are in fact uber-predictable creatures of habit, Nashville’s Dark Hound might be a harbinger of the return of trucker hats, studded belts, and Jagerbombs.

The Metal Explosion: 1985 – 1987

If the story of 1980 to 1984 was how NWOBHM (and more specifically, Iron Maiden) awoke metal from its dormancy to tear the boundaries of popular music, then 1985 – 1987 is about the coronation of thrash metal atop the metal throne, and the subsequent underground rumblings of a closely linked cousin, a blood brother faster, more brutal, and more astonishing — death metal.

Spirit Adrift – Curse of Conception

Curse of Conception is the second full length effort from desert dwelling Spirit Adrift, but one could be forgiven for assuming this is the work of a band with twice that output under their belt. Formerly a hyper-competent but somewhat conventional doom band, Curse clearly demarks a new era for the Phoenix outfit, one that showcases the band evolving from a heavy band into highly a skilled rock ‘n doom songwriting machine. And, to be sure, that’s not to slag off the band’s previous efforts. Their debut, Chained to Oblivion, is fantastic, fuzzy, and shouldn’t be ignored by anybody considering themselves a doom fan. But the band’s split with Khemmis earlier this year makes even more sense in hindsight. To both Spirit Adrift and Khemmis, good songwriting and heaviness isn’t an either/or proposition. And simply playing heavy music mid-tempo doesn’t forever handcuff a band to traditional doom. Just like their Colorado cohorts, Spirit Adrift are too restless, too musically curious and, as it turns out, too talented not to explore beyond their initial doom origins.