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Review: Charm City Devils — Battles

Review: Charm City Devils — Battles

These Devils are poised to charm the masses. On “Crucify,” the group sounds just like Bon Jovi, especially when it comes to frontman John Allen’s vocals. A few other songs, including the decadent “Shots,” bear a sleazy similarity to Mötley Crüe, which makes sense considering bassist Nikki Sixx suggested the band’s name. Later, some bluesy […]

Review: Cannibal Corpse — A Skeletal Domain

Review: Cannibal Corpse — A Skeletal Domain

For record No. 13, Cannibal Corpse have switched things up. After three critical successes with producer Erik Rutan, America’s favorite gorehounds have moved to Mark Lewis at Audio Hammer Studios. The resulting album may not have the crispness of 2012’s ‘Torture,’ but possesses the depth and ambiance of Corpse classics like 1996’s ‘Vile.’ Barrett and […]

Review: Iron Reagan — The Tyranny of Will

Review: Iron Reagan — The Tyranny of Will

In just two years of existence, Richmond crossover punks Iron Reagan have cranked out two EPs and two albums for a grand total of over 60 songs. Granted, most of them are only about a minute long, but still, we’d be hard-pressed to name another band so prolific. Given that vocalist Tony Foresta and guitarist […]

Review: Flyleaf — Between the Stars

Review: Flyleaf — Between the Stars

Flyleaf’s founding frontwoman Lacey Sturm was a screamer, but her replacement, former Vedera singer Kristen May, is a belter, and the band’s first full-length since Sturm’s departure plays to its new singer’s strengths. Regime change can be a difficult tightrope walk, but Flyleaf haven’t changed direction under May (a smoother vocalist than the acrobatic Sturm), […]

Review: The Contortionist — Language

Review: The Contortionist — Language

Recalling Opeth in their ability to pivot between choirboy prog and growling metal, The Contortionist bend across an even broader spectrum, moving from dreamy, Tim Buckley–style folk to lithe, chops-conscious fusion to harmony distorting post rock—sometimes all in a single song. There’s lots of technical dazzle, but the instrumental end is kept in check to […]

Review: Texas in July — Bloodwork

Review: Texas in July — Bloodwork

‘Bloodwork’ comes in the wake of some bloodletting for Texas in July, following the recent departures of frontman Alex Good and lead guitarist Christian Royer. Never fear: J.T. Cavey capably fills Good’s spot on the group’s fourth album with his throat-shredding screams and roars, and he even tosses in an unexpected bit of clean singing. […]

Review: Sleepwave — Broken Compass

Review: Sleepwave — Broken Compass

Underoath were one of the biggest names to come out of the post-hardcore explosion of the early 2000s; since the band called it quits last year, the former members have split off into divergent projects, Sleepwave being the newest from vocalist Spencer Chamberlain. The group’s accessible, alternative-influenced tunes (“The Wolf,” “Through the Looking Glass”) should […]

Review: YOB — Clearing the Path to Ascend

Review: YOB — Clearing the Path to Ascend

After originally calling it a day back in 2006, long-running Oregon doom trio YOB has been enjoying an impressive second life. The third full-length since vocalist-guitarist Mike Scheidt reformed the band in 2008 is a typically uncompromising affair: Four tracks, all of them 11 minutes or longer, and all of them featuring unexpected melodic touches […]

Review: Buckcherry — Fuck

Review: Buckcherry — Fuck

Just as Jay-Z rapped “bitch” repeatedly in “99 Problems” without once aiming the word at a woman, Buckcherry has built an entire six-song EP around the F-word without once invoking sex. They harness their profanity to antiestablishment rage (“Somebody Fucked with Me”) and life-sucks resignation (“Fist Fuck”), which lends a punkish, if dated, edge to […]

Review: He Is Legend — Heavy Fruit

Review: He Is Legend — Heavy Fruit

After a five-year hiatus from songwriting, North Carolina sludge-rock quintet He Is Legend craft an unusually satisfying blend of styles on their fourth album, building on their previous records. “No Visitors” starts the album off with a bang, with powerful melodic choruses spliced between groovy southern riffs. This dynamic recurs throughout ‘Heavy Fruit,’ and what […]