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Review: The Shrine – Rare Breed

Review: The Shrine – Rare Breed

On their third album, Venice Beach, C.A. skate-punk rippers The Shrine crank out hot-wired road tunes inspired by bad drugs (“Acid Drop,” “Coming Down Quick”), Vietnam (“The Vulture”) and 1970s New York City gang warfare (“Savage Skulls and Nomads”), among other dangerous detritus from the Me Decade. Led by guitarist/vocalist Josh Landau, the trio indulge […]

Review: Lionheart – Love Don't Live Here

Review: Lionheart – Love Don’t Live Here

‘Love Don’t Live Here’ is a sturdy hardcore record as it’s brazen and to the point. Songs like “Pain,” “Rewind” and the title track spit honest, street tough lyrics and are solid to stomp and throw down to. However, the spirit of ingenuity gets a little lost. While it is clear Lionheart are “still proud […]

Review: Exmortus – Ride Forth

Review: Exmortus – Ride Forth

Like the bastard offspring of a sweaty, hairy three-way involving Exodus, Manowar and Yngwie Malmsteen, Exmortus combine streetwise thrash metal with broadsword-toting lyrical visions and precision neoclassical Euro-shred. The California quartet’s fourth album finds them further refining the fierce instrumental attack they nailed on 2014’s ‘Slave to the Sword;’ unfortunately, singer/guitarist Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez sticks […]

Review: Stone Sour – Straight Outta Burbank

Review: Stone Sour – Straight Outta Burbank

The second release in the Iowa alt-metal band’s Burbank trilogy is much like the first–it’s a five-song covers EP that doubles as an ode to their forefathers. April’s ‘Meanwhile in Burbank…’ paid tribute to influences like KISS and Metallica, and the same kind of meat-and- potatoes fare gets served up here. There’s a frill-free and […]

Review: All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker

Review: All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker

Nashville foursome All Them Witches’ third studio full-length is an absolute stunner. Inhabiting a corner of the cosmic crust where the spacy introspection of Pink Floyd meets the down- home groove of the Allman Brothers and the bong-addled whomp of Sleep, ‘Dying Surfer Meets His Maker’ morphs gracefully (and often unexpectedly) from gorgeous acoustic finger- […]

Review: Hatchet – Fear Beyond Lunacy

Review: Hatchet – Fear Beyond Lunacy

No one’s saying California’s Hatchet are the most original thrash band—as the crew still on their third album open up about their love for Forbidden, Exodus, Kreator, and Testament. And even though they’re struggling to come into their own, they’re definitely proving that their strong point is the great thrash riffs, as the very cool […]

Review: Cult Leader – Lightless Walk

Review: Cult Leader – Lightless Walk

After releasing two EPs, the Salt Lake City act Cult Leader (who rose out of the ashes of Gaza) have finally unleashed a full-length that’s teeming with blazing songs like “Sympathetic” that sound like they could implode at any moment as blast beats bleed into guttural vocals and ambient flourishes. The result is an album […]

Review: Saxon – Battering Ram

Review: Saxon – Battering Ram

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal is old school by now, but Saxon holds to its sonic tenants like testaments from the “metal church.” The good news is that ‘Battering Ram’ is as potent as it is prototypical, filled with stomping anthems such as “The Devil’s Footprint,” “Destroyer” and “Stand Your Ground.” Meanwhile, “Queen […]

Review: Gentlemans Pistols – Hustler's Row

Review: Gentlemans Pistols – Hustler’s Row

Boasting hot leads courtesy of Carcass shredder Bill Steer, British rockers Gentlemans Pistols (no apostrophe for some reason) have unleashed their third album of ’70s-inspired grooves. With a deft mix of Thin Lizzy twin-guitar action and Skynyrd’s south- ern swing, the Pistols send shout-outs to the ladies (“Personal Fantasy Wonderland,” “Lady Teaser”) and harmonized solos […]

Review: Shining – International Blackjazz Society

Review: Shining – International Blackjazz Society

Following the short, streamlined songs on 2013’s ‘One One One,’ Shining have returned to the more extreme blend of prog, jazz and industrial music they showcased earlier. ‘International Blackjazz Society’ starts off with a sheer blast of free form John Zorn-flavored dissonance before fragmenting in a dozen directions. Instead of providing a series of heterogeneous […]