Fallujah – Dreamless (2016)

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Fallujah

Album: Dreamless

Genre: Progressive/Technical Death Metal/Deathcore

Label: Nuclear Blast America

 

 

In December 2014 I named Fallujah’s The Flesh Prevails as my album of the year. I then proceeded to not listen to it since. I loved the album for combining many subtle differences in the multitude of metal styles into a singular, cohesive sound which sounded ultra-modern without straying from a familiar sound. To borrow a phrase, it seemed to me “as forward thinking as a Ronin sculpture on a freight train.” However, my own personal tastes shifted somewhat from the style, and with few other comparable bands I enjoyed, they became much neglected.  Continue reading

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Fleshgod Apocalypse – King (2016)

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Fleshgod Apocalypse

Album: King

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

 

There’s a longstanding criticism prevalent amongst metal journalism that metal fans are by and large a conservative bunch of people who hate change and have narrow tastes. Upon first hearing this viewpoint I was largely offended and perplexed, as I typically view metal as being a particularly broad genre, ranging widely in speed, intensity, emotions, technicality and external influences. However, I was eventually forced to concede that my mindset on metal music is in the minority. The metal fans I typically associate with and the bands which I follow are but the tip of the iceberg in what I refer to as “investigative music interest”, seeking out new sounds, whilst the great lumbering mass beneath the surface of my attention are people who are typically restricted to liking their own concepts of “classics” and new albums which venerate and immitate them. Continue reading

Orchid – Sign of the Witch (2015)

Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: Orchid

Album: Sign of the Witch

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Orchid doesn’t make their goals a secret. They aim to be nothing less than a perfect continuation of the best of Ozzy-era Black Sabbath, a version of the band from a parallel universe in which Iommi and company decided that the formula of the first five albums was where it was at and just kept rolling with it in perpetuity. Orchid‘s getting better at it, too. Their two full length albums, along with their three other EPs, sounded like a band that sounds like Black Sabbath. Sign of the Witch, at times, sounds like Black Sabbath. Continue reading

Graveyard – Innocence & Decadence (2015)

Author: Jan Jakobsen

Band: Graveyard

Album: Innocence & Decadence

Label: Nuclear Blast

Swedish old-school blues rockers Graveyard are back with their fourth effort. Starting up in 2006, they have built themselves a steady following with their psychedelic brand of stoner/blues rock. Originally starting up as Norrsken, the members split up and then formed two of Sweden’s most prominent rock acts of the 21th century with Witchcraft and Graveyard. Now, for Innocence & Decadence, the band have undergone a small lineup change with co-founder and bass player Rikard Edlund leaving the band. Now, founding member Truls Mörck is back in business. Continue reading

Amorphis – Under the Red Cloud (2015)

Author: Crono

Artist: Amorphis

Album: Under the Red Cloud

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Amorphis! The Finnish band with so much history and diversity in their back catalogue, you need to be extremely intimate with everything they’ve put out to fully appreciate Amorphis as an entity. Not that I am that person, but we work with what we’ve got. Under the Red Cloud is the twelfth (!) album they’ve released in their nearly 25 years of being a band. The current incarnation of Amorphis has been around since 2006 with their Eclipse album, although in my mind they really nailed down this sound with their amazing Skyforger album in 2009. Under the Red Cloud definitely carries on the sound we’ve heard from the past few albums, but I think I hear much more folk instrumentation in this album than on previous releases.

Continue reading

Lamb of God – VII: Strum und Drang

Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: Lamb of God

Album: VII: Sturm und Drang

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Sometimes there are obvious reasons why an album doesn’t work. Severe flaws in the production, a change in style that just doesn’t pan out, or just bad musical ideas. Sometimes, as has been the case with Lamb of God‘s last few albums, it’s a little more difficult to pin down. They certainly weren’t overtly doing anything wrong on Sacrament, Wrath, and Resolution, but something was lacking. Not that any of those are bad albums, and the first and last of those three at least had a few memorable songs each, but there never seemed to be any reason for me to listen to them when I could always just put on As the Palaces Burn or Ashes of the Wake and get killer, inspired songs from beginning to end (and the former with Devin Townsend’s idiosyncratic but very effective production, which I keep hoping will make a return appearance). Continue reading

Nile – What Should not be Unearthed (2015)

Author: Jan Jakobsen

Artist: Nile

Album: What Should not be Unearthed

Label: Nuclear Blast Recrods

Nile will forever hold a special place in my heart. As strange as it may sound, Nile was the first extreme metal band that really captured me. I still remember the first time I stumbled onto In Their Darkened Shrines on YouTube and an entire world of death metal opened up to me. After I got my hands on Annihilation of the Wicked my mind was set, death metal was the genre for me. I played those two albums to death, nearly every day for god knows how long, and I owe Nile and their Egyptian themed technical death metal a lot in terms of ‘finding’ myself when it comes to musical preference. I fell off the Nile bandwagon after the release of Ithyphallic though, not only because I had moved on musically, but also because Nile had abandoned some of that raw brutality in favor of a much more technical and atmospheric approach which I felt other bands simply outshone them in doing. The production on the last three albums has been weak as well, lacking that thick guitar tone that especially Annihilation of the Wicked had. Continue reading