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Review: Various Artists — Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6

Review: Various Artists — Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6

The sixth iteration of Fearless Records’ popular ‘Punk Goes Pop’ series finds some of the usual suspects and a few new acts covering Billboard topping songs. As on previous releases from this series, the standout tracks tend to dramatically reimagine hit songs whereas less memorable covers merely mimic a radio song we’ve already gotten so […]

Review: Machine Head — Bloodstone & Diamonds

Review: Machine Head — Bloodstone & Diamonds

Oakland metal band Machine Head’s last album, 2011’s ‘Unto the Locust,’ was one of those masterworks that’s only supposed to happen once in a career. But Robb Flynn & Co.’s latest record—and first after the messy departure of founding bassist Adam Duce—isn’t just better, it’s bigger. There’s more melodrama, more tightly-wound hooks, more groove-oriented thrash. […]

Review: Black Veil Brides — Black Veil Brides

Review: Black Veil Brides — Black Veil Brides

When news broke that glamcore rebels Black Veil Brides had aligned themselves with producer Bob Rock—he of the “Black Album” and ‘Dr. Feelgood’—for Album No. 4, most fans likely figured that the results would fall closer to Crüe than Metallica. But to the contrary, this self-titled album is a surprisingly, and satisfyingly, heavy affair that […]

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: Godflesh — A World Lit Only by Fire

Review: Godflesh — A World Lit Only by Fire

Unlike many comeback records, Godflesh’s 2014 album—the industrial-metal pioneers’ first new full-length since 2001—manages to both satisfy the hunger for the band’s signature sound and take that sound to a new level of confidence and power. In particular, the production of ‘A World Lit Only by Fire’ thankfully does away with the chalky, tinny tonality […]

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 […]