Pound – ••

As a music critic, I’ve always strived to go beyond curation by attempting to contextualize the artists and albums I review. Of course, finding and recommending noteworthy new music is still an important part of the job, especially in today’s saturated music market. But the opportunity for deeper analysis has…

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Judiciary – Surface Noise

Ah, the warm embrace of cold political hardcore punk-influenced thrash. Very few things in the world are as musically aggressive as that. It taps into your primal nature  and inflames that aggression you feel toward the system in general. Shouted vocals, overly crunchy guitars, and the unrelenting machine gun repetition…

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Heavy Rewind // Slipknot – Slipknot

Originally, this post started out as a Stepping Stone, after I bought a cheap used copy of Slipknot at a local record store and proceeded to tumble down the nostalgia rabbit hole. But given that this year marks the album’s 20th anniversary, I felt like it deserved the proper Heavy…

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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…