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Review: The Midnight Ghost Train – Cold Was the Ground

Review: The Midnight Ghost Train – Cold Was the Ground

The Midnight Ghost Train conjure a warm, intoxicating sound brimming with bite, combining stoner metal groove, southern-rock swagger and Delta- blues heartache with growling, melodic vocals. The Kansas trio’s third album, ‘Cold Was the Ground,’ builds off the boogie and crunch of 2012’s ‘Buffalo,’ but with more diverse arrangements and stronger songs that retain the […]

Review: Falling in Reverse – Just Like You

Review: Falling in Reverse – Just Like You

Falling in Reverse’s controversial 2013 disc, ‘Fashionably Late,’ alienated some fans with its electronica and rap influences. But with their new and third album, ‘Just Like You,’ frontman Ronnie Radke & Co. return to the sound they built their name on, delivering a tour de force effort that is equal parts melody and metallic heaviness. […]

Review: Ensiferum – One Man Army

Review: Ensiferum – One Man Army

Finland’s Ensiferum have long traded in their designation as a “folk metal” group, but on the band’s sixth studio album the metal side of that label is decidedly dominant. And it’s epic metal at that: ‘One Man Army’ blasts forth with symphonic guitar orchestrations, double-time drum gallops, quick-changing dynamics and operatic vocal chorales that would […]

Review: Wolfheart – Winterborn

Review: Wolfheart – Winterborn

Known for his work with Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon, Finnish composer Tuomas Saukkonen disbanded those projects to focus on his new band, Wolfheart. The move has paid off. ‘Winterborn,’ the group’s debut, is fleshed out and focused, as multifaceted as it is melancholy. “The Hunt” begins with folk-metal arpeggios and gradually builds […]

Review: Black Star Riders – The Killer Instinct

Review: Black Star Riders – The Killer Instinct

Pointing out that Black Star Riders sound more than a bit like Thin Lizzy is, well, a compliment – and exactly the band’s intention. Though the quintet, created by former Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham, wisely chose to adopt a different name, Gorham and Damon Johnson still nail the twin lead guitars that were Lizzy’s trademark […]

Review: War on Women – War on Women

Review: War on Women – War on Women

You can call War On Women a lot of things, but subtle isn’t one of them. The debut full-length from this Baltimore based co-ed punk act incorporate elements of everyone from Aus-Rotten to Bikini Kill into a unique musical amalgam that doesn’t protest patriarchy so much as jam the notion of it down the bloated […]

Review: King Woman – Doubt

Review: King Woman – Doubt

San Francisco’s King Woman began life as the folk-inflected side project of Whirr’s Kristina Esfandiari, and along the way morphed into a full-fledged band with a fondness for shoegaze metal. ‘Doubt,’ the group’s first official EP, is swirling, fuzzy and brief, with four songs clocking in at less than 20 minutes. Featuring sludgy meditations on […]

Review: Night Riots – Howl

Review: Night Riots – Howl

California emo-pop startups Night Riots pine and pulsate throughout their six-song ‘Howl’ EP. Eardrum-infesting single “Contagious” conjures a nostalgic new wave atmosphere, while frontman Travis Hawley’s tortured croon impressively integrates the soaring approach of Bono with the vulnerability of the The Cure’s Robert Smith. But there are blemishes poking through the glittery retro sheen: The […]

Review: Visigoth — The Revenant King

Review: Visigoth — The Revenant King

In an age when heavy metal has been nearly subgenred to death, it’s refreshing as hell to hear a young band playing straight-up metal with no narrow- minded qualifiers or categories in earshot. On their full-length debut, Salt Lake City’s Visigoth deliver the real-deal old-school goods with power and swagger to spare, invoking the likes […]

Review: Blind Guardian — Beyond the Red Mirror

Review: Blind Guardian — Beyond the Red Mirror

Not ones to let four years go to waste, symphonic-metal veterans Blind Guardian go all out on this first album since 2010’s At the Edge of Time, enlisting three classical choirs (from Prague, Budapest, and Boston) and two 90-musician orchestras to help harness the story of a young protagonist. Sure, Beyond the Red Mirror could […]