April 26, 2011

Album Review: "Celestial Completion" by Becoming the Archetype

Christian progressive metal group Becoming the Archetype has consistently released high-quality music since their humble beginnings as Nonexistent Failure in the early part of the decade, and then as The Remnant for a further two years. They've benefited a great deal from the input of excellent producers on each of their three full-length albums following their final name change. With the help of Tue Madsen (Terminate Damnation), Andreas Magnusson (The Physics of Fire), and Devin Townsend (Dichotomy), each Becoming the Archetype album has been better than its predecessor, becoming more progressive and well-balanced in sound each time. It was understandable, therefore, that some people were confused and/or worried when the band announced Matt Goldman as producer for the group's fourth album. Better known for his work with post-hardcore groups such as Underoath, Four Letter Lie, Vanna, and Oceana, Goldman seemed to be an odd choice for the Georgia-based group, and some worried that it might be the first major misstep for Becoming the Archetype.

April 10, 2011

Album Review: "The Discovery" by Born of Osiris

Born of Osiris was one of the first bands to break away from the deathcore craze in favor of technically-infused death metal. The Illinois-based band had an edge over most of their contemporaries in this endeavor, though. As one of the only deathcore bands at the time to use keyboards, Born of Osiris easily transitioned out of their deathcore roots after their 2007 EP, The New Reign. Just in time for their first full-length album, 2009's A Higher Place, the group reconstructed their sound on their own terms and made a huge impact, landing at number 73 on the Billboard 200 charts in its first week. This established Born of Osiris as a heavyweight group in the world of metal, and also paved the way for their second album. The Discovery is a solid record with a number of unexpected twists and turns during its nearly-53 minute run time.

April 7, 2011

Album Review: "Beast" by DevilDriver

When DevilDriver rose from the ashes of Coal Chamber, many people expected the same mainstream performance of heavy music that frontman Dez Fafara had used in his former band. Those expectations were fully eliminated by the time DevilDriver's second album, 2005's The Fury of Our Maker's Hand, stormed onto the scene. It was clear that DevilDriver was a completely separate and undeniably superior band, with their no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners approach to metal. With a decade now under the band's collective belt, DevilDriver has figured out their niche sound and the best methods of execution for their unique style of melded groove, thrash, hardcore, and death metal. Their fifth album, Beast, lives up to its namesake by being the fastest, most intense, and overwhelmingly heaviest record of their career.

Album Review: "The Unforgiving" by Within Temptation

Dutch symphonic metal group Within Temptation never fails to make their music interesting. Their fifteen-year career has been a continuous experiment to stretch their limits and explore every aspect of their sound to its fullest. Each album they have released to this point has focused on a different musical element, allowing that element to grow and evolve, and then carrying that growth over to future releases. Thus, Within Temptation's sound has been an ever-changing spiral of refinement and progress. Now, on their fifth studio album, The Unforgiving, Within Temptation has taken the next big step in audio evolution by re-shaping their entire compositional structure and songwriting approach to include new elements and styles. These bold endeavors have yielded a simply breathtaking album with more substance and intensity than anything the band has written before.