RSSAuthor Archive for David McKenna

Review: Dark Castle – Surrender to All Life Beyond Form

Review: Dark Castle – Surrender to All Life Beyond Form

Surrender to All Life Beyond Form is the second full-length album from Florida co-ed doom-metal duo Dark Castle, and it’s an exercise in gloomy cacophony and failed experimentation. Dark Castle attempt an eerie tone of hopelessness throughout the record by blending droning sludge riffage with noise rock, black metal, and industrial metal, but the mix […]

Review: For the Fallen Dreams – Back Burner

Review: For the Fallen Dreams – Back Burner

Michigan trio For the Fallen Dreams’ third full-length album, Back Burner, doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the table in terms of the now well-worn metalcore formula. But the band does manage to create material that will, at times, engage even the most jaded heavy-music listener. Tracks like “Complicate the Situation” and “The Human Collective” […]

Review: Dredg – Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy

Review: Dredg – Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy

Bay Area experimental rock quartet Dredg, who once could compete with Chevelle for the best Tool-wannabes on the block, explore a dreamier pop sound on album No. 5. Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy sees the group utilizing danceable rhythms, melodic singing, and plenty of studio effects to create music that is much less guitar-centric, and as a […]

Review: Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues

Review: Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues

Between the Buried and Me aren’t a band that will soon be accused of pandering to a scene or playing it safe with their music. On their first EP, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, the North Carolina prog-metal quintet attempt to set their own progressive bar even higher with a 30-minute concept record—and Part 1 in […]

Review: Blackguard – Firefight

Review: Blackguard – Firefight

Montreal quintet Blackguard’s third full-length begins with “Tephra,” an intro track filled with explosions, breaking glass, warrior chants, and foreboding drumming. It’s a fitting opening for a band that aims for an epic, cinematic presence on the rest of this debut release on Victory Records. Blackguard’s blend of symphonic power metal and melodic death metal echoes […]

Review: Straight Line Stitch – The Fight of Our Lives

Review: Straight Line Stitch – The Fight of Our Lives

On their second release, The Fight of Our Lives, Knoxville quintet Straight Line Stitch create a melodic brand of modern metalcore that mixes softer sections with a more aggressive sound. The band cites influences such as DevilDriver and In Flames, but it doesn’t live up to the quality of either of those bands. At their […]

Review: Born of Osiris – The Discovery

Review: Born of Osiris – The Discovery

Breakdown-overloaded metalcore has saturated the heavy-metal market in recent years, and new releases increasingly sound like mundane imitations of other records. To make something memorable in 2011, a band must go beyond the same sound everyone else is producing—or at least do it much better. Illinois tech-deathcore sextet Born of Osiris tries to do both […]

Review: KEN mode – Venerable

Review: KEN mode – Venerable

Canadian trio KEN mode (their name stands for “Kill Everyone Now mode,” a quote from Henry Rollins’ book, Get in the Van) blend a variety of musical elements on this, their sixth album. Jesse Matthewson’s vocals run the gamut from intense screaming to eerie whispering, and his guitar playing is similarly varied. At its best, […]

Review: Rabbits – Lower Forms

Review: Rabbits – Lower Forms

The sludgey, low-end riffs of Portland trio Rabbits aren’t exactly as cute and cuddly as their name implies.  Their debut release on Relapse Records, Lower Forms, packs mammoth distortion, piercing screams, and thunderous rhythms into an aggressive 41 minutes.  The album sounds like a cross between the pounding fury of High on Fire and the […]