Rapture – Paroxysm of Hatred

For the uninitiated, a paroxysm is defined as “a sudden attack or violent expression of a particular emotion or activity,” and such a word is certainly apt to describe the music of Grecian death/thrash metal band Rapture. As of late, the proto-death metal genre these guys traffic in has been hurting…

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.

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.

Love Letter – Himsa

It’s hard to believe that there was a time before the steady stream of blasé lyric videos, but at the turn of the millennium, music video purveyor MTV had to “bring back” the music video. The artform was essentially replaced by trashy reality television and cartoons by the late 90s, but eventually came MTV2 – a quality sequel (well, for a few years) nobody really deserved. So I guess it only made sense that they also resurrected their metalhead favorite from the 80s and 90s soon thereafter – Headbangers Ball. After all, this era had a ton to offer. The NWOAHM movement was all the rage, metalcore was hitting its stride, and melodeath was pretty much the coolest shit ever. Given that the combo of Kazaa and my dial-up setup wasn’t doing me any good – true story: I waited days (plural) to download Meshuggah’s Chaosphere only to find out that some jerk just relabeled of Neurotica tracks (some truly evil bastards out there), this couldn’t have been better timing for a dude who had recently gotten his license and began to fall in love with hanging out at the record store – the internet, for me, sucked for digging up new tunes.

Voices of The Void: Quorthon

Black metal is one of metal’s most mysterious and plentiful subgenres. It finds new ways to reinvent itself every few years and seems to be sprouting out of every country nowadays. Though the genre seems ubiquitous today, it didn’t start out that way. A handful of bands in the early 80’s started all the tropes that metalheads are so fond of today. While the genre’s Satanic imagery, punk and thrash influence, or ethereal nature can’t be solely credited to a single artist, one aspect can: the vocals. Black metal’s classic screeches were the invention of one Satanic Satanic teenager in 1984.

Apothesary – Accept Loss Forever

As subgenres of metal continue to evolve, their vaguely defined borders become irrevocably blurred to the point where one would either engage in fruitless pseudo-academic ontology or disregard the idea of subgenre classification altogether. The young upcoming four-piece Apothesary is one of dozens of bands that proficiently blend different styles to create their own well-balanced sound. The American quartet from northern California provides an energetic and exciting mix of thrash and death metal influences on their sophomore album Accept Loss Forever which comes six years after its predecessor. The album’s overarching theme of grief and loneliness, as rather crudely expressed by its title, ties the eleven tracks together to provide some coherence to the album as a whole.

The Metal Explosion: 1983 – 1984

Metal, like any current history, is a neverending story — a songbook perpetually revising its denouement in the storm of new releases shattering our ears and expectations by the month. But as exciting as it is to experience the history unfolding before us, that work is already done by listeners and blogs like this one on a daily basis. Vitally important and critically overlooked, I think, is the history of metal — the first chapters yellowing in the forty-odd years since they were bound in black and leather. This post, then, will serve as a continuation of this article detailing the early days of metal, and particularly the incredible importance of Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast to the fledgling genre.

Goatwhore – Vengeful Ascension

Goatwhore might be the most metal band name in existence. I have a hard time imagining anyone hearing that name spoken in conversation and reacting in any other fashion outside of “oh, that must be a metal band. I’m leaving this conversation. What a bunch of nerds.” Sucks to be them, because they’re obviously missing out on some premium content. Straddling the worlds of death, black, and occult-oriented metal, Goatwhore are as difficult to categorize in this subgenre obsessed musical circle as they are to stop listening to. With musical output that is in equal measure intimidating, playful, heavy, and (dare I say it) fun, Goatwhore have carved for themselves a unique and immensely enjoyable niche in the world of metal. Vengeful Ascension does little to dispel this notion, as the band have here released another excellent album to add to an already solid discography.

Hey! Listen to Terrifier!

Terrifier probably won’t surprise you. Mostly because their new album is called Weapons of Thrash Destruction. Just like they promised, it’s thrash metal — and thrash done just the way I like it. It’s not overly macho (well, for the most part. See: “Drunk as Fuck”), and it’s got a refreshing sense of humor (see: the beginning of “Skitzoid Embolism”). But mostly, I like sick riffs and crazy solos. And this album has more than your average thrash record.