Rome – The Hyperion Machine

The well of inspiration can only withstand pumping out an album per year for so long. There must surely come a point where there is a stumble and the goal of pushing boundaries is not quite achieved. Jerome Reuter’s music project, Rome, has been able to maintain an annual high quality output for a decade, but here I find, for the first time, with The Hyperion Machine a Rome album that comes off as lackluster. (more…)

Gojira – Magma

Genuine artists often strive for constant change and experimentation. Sometimes these experimentations succeed, while oftentimes they do not. Magma, the sixth full-length from French progressive death metallers, Gojira, is one of these attempts in style-shift. During their over-sixteen-year tenure, Gojira has risen to be among the stalwarts of progressive death metal with a relentless auditory assault that has pushed the boundaries of metal. However, with Magma, we see Gojira, led by vocalist/guitarist Joe Duplantier and drummer Mario Duplantier, seek to simplify their music and attempt to confine it within a shorter, more accessible package. (more…)

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The Foreshadowing – Seven Heads Ten Horns

The end of times has long been a topic of interest for mankind and it is no surprise to see a band with such an ominous name as The Foreshadowing to repeatedly take up such a topic. This is the case for the Italian’s fourth full-length, Seven Heads Ten Horns; this time focused on an envisioned collapse of a unified Europe beset by internal strains and contradictions, and once again an album replete with The Foreshadowing’s brand of medium-paced gothic/doom metal. (more…)

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Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts

There are times when one of your favorite bands simply put out a release that you cannot get into, no matter how many times you listen to it. In my case, that is the situation with Katatonia’s The Fall of Hearts. Katatonia has long been one of my most influential artists as each of their releases has helped define an era of my life. However, their ninth full-length, The Fall of Hearts, does not resonate with me on a personal level at all. Objectively, it is a well-composed and intricate album that demonstrates growth in the band instrumentally, yet it misses that little something that evokes feeling within me. Or, is this sentiment simply a reflection of my current state of mind that, perhaps, is not at present compatible with this album? Maybe it will one day click, as many albums in the past have. (more…)

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Imbaru – El Inherente Sentir en los Árboles

I am not one for conspiracies, but were I a betting man, I would not be surprised were I to find that Chile’s Imbaru consisted of one former member of Uaral. For background, Uaral was a Chilean doom/neo-folk duo that has essentially disappeared after their second and last release in 2007, Lamentos a Poema Muerto. Although I have no concrete evidence to corroborate my hypothesis, I find it safe to say that with the remarkably similar aesthetics, guitar style, and a swarm of posts on a Uaral fan-page that Imbaru is in fact that band’s spiritual successor. Whatever the truth may be, Imbaru is indeed a band that warrants attention in the neo-folk scene and a look into their fifth full-length, El Inherente Sentir en los Árboles. (more…)

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Deafheaven – New Bermuda

Poser black metal! The cry of black metal purists as they scoff at Deafheaven, a band that has quickly grown in popularity, even appealing to, and often playing as the lone metal band at hipster-themed festivals. Some metal elitists may not even consider Deafheaven to be metal, which very much is a reach to argue due to the number of metal elements that form the core of their sound. I, on the other hand, am not a black metal purist, nor do I even consider myself a metalhead, therefore I have no need to confine myself to the perceived rules of a genre. Deafheaven eschews the lyrical themes and tone of black metal, yet incorporate other styles of metal and focus on emotional personal-oriented lyrics to forge their own blend of metal. This continues to be the case for Deafheaven’s third full-length album, New Bermuda. (more…)

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Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith

The outward appearance of black metal, with its emphasis on Satanism, corpse paint, and the attempts to appear evil have made it difficult for me to take the genre seriously without viewing it as a gimmick. However, Inquisition is one black metal band that I have taken exception to. With origins in Colombia, the duo of Inquisition consists of Dagon on vocals/guitars and Incubus on drums. Recent Inquisition albums have had a thematic focus towards a form of cosmic Satanism, which continues to be the case with their newest release, Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith. (more…)

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Kinit Her – The Blooming World

Were a slum to be found just outside the gates of heaven, the disturbed undertones, medieval acoustic guitars, and agonized voices so prevalent in the music of Kinit Her would make an adequate representation of the contrasts presented in that image. After a string of EPs, Wisconsin’s Kinit Her have returned with The Blooming World—to continue with their unique sound, this time conjuring a more heavenly and mystical journey, while still retaining their signature disturbing atmosphere. (more…)

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Dark Filth Fraternity – Revolution Design

Typically I don’t generally listen to Stoner Metal. That genre sounds similar throughout with no real distinction between bands (at least from what I’ve heard). Fireball Ministry is the only band that I listen to in that genre. That is until I heard Dark Filth Fraternity. Dark Filth Fraternity (or DFF) have been around for awhile with Revolution Design being their third full length. With Panu Willman of Before the Dawn fame fronting the band, DFF is a breath of fresh air for the genre. While Revolution Design came out of nowhere for me, it is perhaps their strongest effort to date.

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Dimmu Borgir – Stormblåst

Becoming overly frustrated with the direction some of my favorite bands are heading these days, I decided to go back through my music catalog and listen to some older stuff I never checked out previously. I ran across Dimmu Borgir and decided to head back to their second album Stormblåst which I cannot recall ever hearing. For those who need an explanation, Stormblåst is Dimmu Borgir’s 2nd full length album released originally in 1996. While it was redone in 2006, I have yet to move on from the original release to hear that one so this please take that into account while reading my thoughts.

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