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Review: At the Gates — At War with Reality

Review: At the Gates — At War with Reality

Nearly 20 years after the release of their melodic death-metal masterpiece, ‘Slaughter of the Soul,’ At the Gates delivered the rip-roaring comeback album they swore they’d never make. Exploding with razor-sharp riffage courtesy of the ever-prolific Björler twins (bassist Jonas is also in The Haunted; guitarist Anders used to be) and featuring an ambitious, multilayered […]

Review: Abysmal Dawn — Obsolescence

Review: Abysmal Dawn — Obsolescence

One can’t expect to be too surprised by an Abysmal Dawn record. On their fourth full-length, the L.A. death metallers chug forward with their traditional mixture of speed, technicality, and twisted melody, reminiscent of Origin, Gojira, and The Black Dahlia Murder. While the album’s opening cuts sometimes sound similar-bordering-on-repetitive, later tracks like “One Percent Incomplete” […]

Review: The Acacia Strain — Coma Witch

Review: The Acacia Strain — Coma Witch

On their seventh full-length album, Massachusetts deathcore pioneers The Acacia Strain continue their ultra-heavy style with aplomb. ‘Coma Witch’ packs extra-downtuned guitars, nihilistic lyrics, and gargantuan breakdowns that possess the slow sinking quality of quicksand. Amid the ten-ton hammering, tracks like “Cauterizer” and “Graveyard Shift” demonstrate that The Acacia Strain can craft clever, catchy riffs […]

Review: The Melvins — Hold It In

Review: The Melvins — Hold It In

Any concerns that Buzz Osborne’s solo acoustic album, ‘This Machine Kills Artists,’ released earlier this year, might see the Melvins going soft are alleviated just seconds into the band’s new record, as the group tears into the grungey groove of “Bride of Crankenstein.” The heavy is here in abundance, but the group’s first album as […]

Review: Slipknot — .5: The Gray Chapter

Review: Slipknot — .5: The Gray Chapter

There’s something almost unreal about listening to the new Slipknot album for the first time. Not so much the music itself (though some of that is indeed quite the mind-fuck, as well), but rather the fact that it even exists in the first place. After Paul Gray’s tragic and untimely passing in 2010, the question […]

Review: Black Crown Initiate — The Wreckage of Stars

Review: Black Crown Initiate — The Wreckage of Stars

On their full-length debut, Pennsylvania progressive death-metal quintet Black Crown Initiate craft an eclectic, if inconsistent, blend of pummeling grind and dark melody. BCI’s heaviest moments are filled with blast beats and chromatic riffs that are pretty unremarkable, and their lighter atmospheric parts seem forced. The band is at its best on standout tracks “Great […]

Review: Decapitated — Blood Mantra

Review: Decapitated — Blood Mantra

Twelve years after Poland’s Decapitated raised the death-metal bar with its mighty sophomore album, ‘Nihility,’ the band’s dynamic arrangements and scalpel-edged musicianship are still a wonder to behold, especially when it blends its stellar death metal with grindcore, black metal, and stoner rock. On “Veins,” new drummer Michal Lysejko’s rhythmic assault fuels a high-octane groove […]

Review: Nonpoint — The Return

Review: Nonpoint — The Return

Nonpoint’s eighth studio album abides by the Florida numetallers’ tried-and true formula and is unlikely to convert new fans. The band’s 17-years experience in crafting catchy choruses is on display on undeniably hooky tracks such as “Widowmaker,” and Robb Rivera’s thunderous drumming helps to make otherwise standard nu-metal songs feel fresh. However, most of the […]

Review: Beak — Let Time Begin

Review: Beak — Let Time Begin

Loud is great, but everything at 11 all the time can get monotonous. Pull back occasionally, as ISIS torchbearers Beak do here, and there’s room for the volume to grow—until each surging climax seems somehow louder than even the heaviest metal thunder. Even better, the shifting dynamics bring a sense of drama, keeping the album’s […]

Review: Finch — Back to Oblivion

Review: Finch — Back to Oblivion

Finch’s angsty and emotive frontman Nate Barcalow isn’t kidding when he announces, “I feel reborn” on the group’s first new album in nine years. The California alt rockers’ third time around is indeed charmed, as ‘Back to Oblivion’ backs up the band’s 2012 reunion with a dozen melodically and dynamically diverse tracks. These explore extremes […]