March 29, 2010

News Commentary: Should John Bush return to Anthrax?

In a recent interview with MetalSucks, Armored Saint/ex-Anthrax lead singer John Bush said that the possibility exists that he would provide vocals for Anthrax's Worship Music, an album that was supposed to be released in October 2009, but was delayed when then-singer Dan Nelson left the band. Anthrax has played some live shows with Bush since then, and the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. Fans and critics alike have been constantly asking current members of Anthrax if Bush would return, and the response has been one of uncertainty every time. Bush's statement that the possibility still exists will likely fuel a whole new wave of the same questions.

March 28, 2010

Album Review: "Infinity" by Crematory

In the last decade, a common trend seen among some extreme metal bands is a slow migration away from the more "brutal" styles of metal towards a doom-influenced gothic metal sound. Moonspell, Tiamat, Amorphis, and Crematory are some of the classic examples of this trend, and they are also among the few bands to make that change and still retain large portions of their fan base. In Crematory's case, the shift in sound was a constant evolution lasting through much of the 90s, and continuing after the band re-formed following a hiatus from 2001 to 2003. After they returned, the band also started incorporating industrial elements into their sound, making the keyboards and samples more prominent in certain parts of their sound. Their sound has settled down on recent albums, though, and Infinity, the band's eleventh album to date, maintains the current groove of dark, melodic metal.

Album Review: "Psychromatic" by Raintime

The members of Raintime name Dream Theater as their primary influence, but this Italian sextet has a much more diverse sound than the band that inspires them most. Combining elements of progressive metal, power metal, and melodic death metal into their sound, Raintime is a fairly unique band with a strong grasp of their abilities. They have experienced moderate success in Europe, and their 2007 album, Flies & Lies, earned them a slot on the ProgPower USA festival alongside bands like Sonata Arctica, Primal Fear, and Firewind. This performance, combined with the distinctive sound of Flies & Lies, earned Raintime a deal with Bieler Bros. Records in America. Their third album, Psychromatic, is an eclectic offering that displays the full range of the band's influences, but falls short of achieving real excellence.

Album Review: "The Guessing Game" by Cathedral

Cathedral is an excellent example of how to properly combine stoner rock and doom metal to create one intense musical experience. These English veterans have a much wider range of influences than just these two genres, though. Bringing together elements of Corrosion of Conformity, The Beatles, Primus, Soundgarden, and Type O Negative, Cathedral has an inimitable sound that is exclusively theirs. With eight classic albums under their belt and the support of Nuclear Blast Records behind them, Cathedral has become more and more ambitious in recent years. Their latest effort, The Guessing Game, is the pinnacle of this experimentation. This thirteen-song double album is where Cathedral shows their fans exactly what goes into their sound and how they achieve their uniqueness.

March 26, 2010

New & Noteworthy, March 26th - Whole Lotta Touring

Before I start this, I really need to thank my awesome girlfriend Jeanette for giving me the idea to do this bit. You rock, baby!

Anyway, welcome to New & Noteworthy, a new weekly segment here on The Metal Review! This segment will appear on Fridays, and in it, I will give my thoughts and predictions on the new releases scheduled to come out the following week. I will also discuss any new tours that have been announced in the past week.

This week, there aren't a lot of new releases coming out, as the industry pauses briefly before the big pre-summer push of new music. However, there are a plethora of new tours and events that have been announced all over the rock and metal spectrum! So read on, and learn what events you need to mark your calendars for!

March 25, 2010

Album Review: "Sovereign Descent" by Landmine Marathon

Landmine Marathon has come remarkably far in just six years of existence, and all of their accomplishments can be credited to the band's adoption of metal's oldest ethos: if you're going to do anything, do it on your own terms. The band's breakout album, 2008's Rusted Eyes Awake, earned them a huge following, but that wasn't what brought them the most attention. In fact, the album's success was really the icing on the cake of a whirlwind year for Landmine Marathon, which saw them bringing their (literally) in-your-face stage show on the road with death metal heavyweights like Misery Index, Origin and Cattle Decapitation. Their DIY ethic and nonstop touring schedule earned Landmine Marathon a contract with Prosthetic Records, and they took full advantage of the increased support by spending most of 2009 back on tour, including an appearance at the legendary New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. Now, Landmine Marathon is back with their Prosthetic debut, Sovereign Descent, a crushing onslaught of classic death metal.

March 23, 2010

The Official Beginning of The Metal Review

Enjoy the official beginning of my review blog! This video took awhile to produce, but it was worth the wait.

Like this Article? Check us out at Media Slayer!

March 20, 2010

Album Review: "Option Paralysis" by The Dillinger Escape Plan

There are very few bands in metal that are more polarizing than The Dillinger Escape Plan, and fewer still that are more polarizing based solely on their sound. Fans of Dillinger hail them as one of the most innovative bands ever to grace metal, while detractors call them chaotic, reckless noise producers with no direction or focus. There is virtually no middle ground with this band – you either love them or you can't stand them. However, even within the band's own fans, there are rifts emerging. There are those who appreciate the band's reach into more diverse styles, as showcased on 2004's Miss Machine and 2007's Ire Works, and there are those who wish to see the pure, unadulterated mathcore sound of 1999's Calculating Infinity repeated. Dillinger's newest album, Option Paralysis, attempts to placate both groups with a mixture of mind-blowing technicality and avant-garde creativity.

March 18, 2010

Album Review: "Majesty and Decay" by Immolation

Immolation is one of the few New York death metal bands to survive the 1990s more or less intact. Only two of the band's founding members remain, and their new home, Nuclear Blast Records, is the band's fourth label since their inception. However, unlike their more famous counterparts in Suffocation, Immolation has never had a hiatus in their career, and their musical output has maintained its consistency over nearly two decades of existence. 1991's Dawn of Possession remains a classic album in the American death metal scene, and through hard work and perseverance, Immolation has kept the New York death metal scene alive and relevant. The band has expanded their musical territory slightly in recent years, branching out into more technical song structures while incorporating a wider range of lyrical themes. Majesty and Decay, Immolation's eighth studio album, upholds the band's reputation for consistency, while also displaying some evolution in composition.

March 12, 2010

Album Review: "Heat Fetish" by The Bled

Tucson-based post-hardcore act The Bled is very good at two things. One is overcoming obstacles. The other is writing frenetic, technical songs that cross multiple genres and showcase an expansive range of influences. Both of these skills were needed after the release of their critically-acclaimed third album, Silent Treatment. Following that album's release and a stint on Linkin Park's annual Projekt Revolution tour, The Bled took a hiatus due to exhaustion, almost went broke, were dropped by Vagrant Records, and lost three of their members. However, the two remaining members of the band worked hard to earn money so their dream could stay alive, and they found new members to fill the gaps in the lineup. The new lineup of The Bled was then signed to Rise Records, and with all the obstacles in their path cleared, the band focused on creating a new record. The result of all the obstacles and hard work of the past three years is Heat Fetish, an album where The Bled channels some of their peers into a furious assault of complicated metal and hardcore.

March 7, 2010

Album Review: "The Infinite Order" by Living Sacrifice


Living Sacrifice was one of the first Christian bands to play extreme music and gain wide recognition. Prior to them, the only Christian "metal" band with any sort of popularity was Stryper, who played gimmick-filled hair metal and are still not taken very seriously by most. However, Living Sacrifice took the opposite track, playing aggressive thrash and death metal with a pro-religious message, and in doing so, they influenced a whole generation of young Christian bands. To this day, popular Christian metal bands like Demon Hunter, August Burns Red, The Showdown, and Haste the Day count Living Sacrifice among their primary inspirations. Now, after a long hiatus, Living Sacrifice has returned with their seventh album, The Infinite Order. This album sees Living Sacrifice returning to their roots and tightening their music into a potent, well-oiled machine that sounds just as fresh and powerful as it did when the band first formed.

My updated rating system

I'm unsure how many of you have read my reviews from Transcending the Mundane, but if you have, you may notice that I gave a lot of very high marks to the albums I reviewed, rarely giving out scores lower than 9. That's because back then, I was rating things much like grades are given out in school, which is obviously the wrong way to rate items in reviews. So, at the beginning of the year I re-vamped my rating system for my reviews, which now looks like this:

10 - Perfect
9 - Nearly Perfect
8 - Exceptional
7 - Very Good
6 - Good
5 - Mediocre
4 - Forgettable
3 - Poor
2 - Bad
1 - Horrible
0 - Abysmal

This new rating system will be my guide from now on. And for clarification purposes, I'm also going to provide a list of all the albums that I previously reviewed on Transcending the Mundane, and their new, more accurate ratings. Some of the ratings aren't changed because the original rating is accurate, but most are different from my original score. Check out the full list after the jump:

March 5, 2010

Album Review: "Coronary Reconstruction" by Aborted


Aborted have risen in the ranks of technical death metal very quickly, becoming one of the most prolific bands in the genre during the past decade. With the recent additions of drummer Dirk Verbeuren and guitarist Ken Sorceron, Aborted has almost become a supergroup of sorts, and their recent tour with Carcass and Suffocation showcased just how well the band's new lineup works. The recording debut of this new lineup, the Coronary Reconstruction EP, is another testament to the high caliber of this band. It truly captures the mix of technical death metal and goregrind that the band's founder, vocalist Sven de Caluwé, has envisioned since the band's inception.

Album Review: "Hell Chose Me" by Carnifex


As a genre, metal has almost always had a whipping boy, a subgenre that constantly gets criticized as being "false" and destroying metal. In the past, it's been hair metal, nu metal, and metalcore. The newest whipping boy is deathcore, the latest trend of bands delivering the most brutal, pummeling, intense music possible. And while deathcore may not actually be destroying metal, it has definitely lost its originality very quickly. With the number of bands playing that style now, combined with the rather limited range of musical options, it didn't take long for the deathcore sound to become stale and boring. As such, most deathcore bands don't have many individual characteristics, and it's hard to distinguish one from another. Such is the case with Carnifex, a California-based deathcore quintet signed to Victory Records. Their third full-length record, Hell Chose Me, is more of the same from a band already following a very simplistic formula.

March 3, 2010

Album Review: "Love is Gone" by Dommin

Gothic rock has become one of the most oversaturated scenes in music in the past decade. With the advent of bands like Evanescence and Lacuna Coil and their worldwide success, the gothic rock and metal scenes have exploded tenfold what they used to be, especially with female-fronted bands within these genres. Such an inundation of music means that newer bands have less of a chance of being noticed because their sound will seem to lack originality. A new gothic rock band will need to have something remarkable in order to stand out, much more so than ten years ago. Such is the struggle of Dommin, a Los Angeles-based quartet that has existed since the gothic surge of the early decade, but only recently got their official start after signing with Roadrunner Records. On their debut album, Love is Gone, the band tries to show where they stand out from the rest of the scene, with varying degrees of success.

Upcoming Album Review Schedule

Hello, readers. I have a lot on my plate right now, but I'm still writing away! Here are the new releases you can expect me to review in the coming weeks:
  • Love is Gone by Dommin
  • The World is a Thorn by Demon Hunter
  • Time to Burn by Taking Dawn
  • The Infinite Order by Living Sacrifice
  • Heat Fetish by The Bled
  • Aealo by Rotting Christ
  • Majesty and Decay by Immolation
  • Everything Remains As it Never Was by Eluveitie
  • Belus by Burzum
  • Nifelvind by Finntroll
  • Strings to a Web by Rage
  • Snakes for the Divine by High on Fire
  • Skepsis by Through the Eyes of the Dead
  • To the Metal by Gamma Ray
  • Hell Chose Me by Carnifex
  • Scouring the Boneyard by Sons of Azrael
  • Sovereign Descent by Landmine Marathon
  • Eparistera Daimones by Triptykon
This is not a schedule really, because I don't know yet when each review will be published or if they'll be published in this order. But rest assured, all these albums will be reviewed in due time!

If you have any other hard rock/heavy metal albums you'd like reviewed, please let me know! Thanks everyone for reading my stuff!