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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 […]

Review: The German Panzer – Send Them All to Hell

Review: The German Panzer – Send Them All to Hell

The new project from guitarist Herman Frank and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann finds the veteran German musicians in thrashier-than-usual territory—a notable point given that their former main band, Accept, helped to pioneer speed metal with 1982’s “Fast As a Shark.” The German Panzer is an unrepentantly balls-to-the-wall trio, with Destruction’s Schmier providing abrasive vocals and bass […]

Review: Tear Out The Heart – Dead, Everywhere

Review: Tear Out The Heart – Dead, Everywhere

Tear Out the Heart’s sophomore album is a heavy-hitting, darkly anguished and yet an ultimately fun effort. At times, the St. Louis, Missouri quintet’s blend of As I Lay Dying-like metalcore, Marilyn Manson electro- creepiness and Linkin Park nu-metal can sound a bit messy—like Slipknot all knotted up—and the switch from various shades of roaring […]

Review: Napalm Death — Apex Predator – Easy Meat

Review: Napalm Death — Apex Predator – Easy Meat

Five albums in to an unexpected late-career burst of greatness, grindcore pioneers Napalm Death have done it again with this awesomely titled album. “How the Years Condemn” shows how Napalm have gotten better with age: Its urban noise rock/grind simply destroys. “Hierarchies” brings the Swans influence for further sludge crushing, and there are tons of […]

Review: Night Demon – Curse of the Damned

Review: Night Demon – Curse of the Damned

The first full-length from this Ventura, California, power trio (who released a self-titled four-song EP in 2013) proudly wears its New Wave of British Heavy Metal influences on its tattered denim sleeve. Rampaging tracks like “Screams in the Night,” “Full Speed Ahead” and “Livin’ Dangerous” are heavily steeped in Diamond Head, Tygers of Pan Tang […]

Review: Lord Dying — Poisoned Altars

Review: Lord Dying — Poisoned Altars

Fusing Crowbar’s booming guitar tone and gruff vocal delivery with High on Fire’s relentless chug and the occasional Pantera groove, Oregon brain-blasters Lord Dying deliver a severe riff thunderstorm on their second album, the follow-up to 2013’s heralded ‘Summon the Faithless.’ Led by vocalist-guitarist Erik Olson, who saws off head-caving licks like a younger, more […]

Review: Black Sheep Wall — I’m Going to Kill Myself

Review: Black Sheep Wall — I’m Going to Kill Myself

This sludge-metal band, having been through more vocalists than it probably remembers, has settled on its sometime bassist Brandon Gillichbauer to front its new offering. BSW have never, in its stop-start history, made a record that’s as good as it is, but this new four-track EP comes close. It’s sometimes plodding and methodical, sometimes a […]

Review: The Last Ten Seconds of Life – Soulless Hymns

Review: The Last Ten Seconds of Life – Soulless Hymns

“I’ve built up a wall, now I can’t see around it,” growls vocalist Storm Strope at the beginning of “Heavy Headed.” It’s a lyric that aptly illustrates the biggest problem with The Last Seconds of Life’s third full length, ‘Soulless Hymns.’ In their quest to construct an insanely heavy assemblage of lunging downtuned riffs, half-speed […]

Review: Sweet & Lynch — Only to Rise

Review: Sweet & Lynch — Only to Rise

Modernizing the 1980’s pop-metal sound is tricky, and this new project starring two icons from that era is partially successful. Singer Michael Sweet (Stryper), who produced ‘Only to Rise,’ still has the soaring pipes of his Christian hard-rock heyday. The hauntingly layered chorus vocals on “Time Will Tell” evoke classic Europe or Yngwie Malmsteen. And […]

Review: Voices — London

Review: Voices — London

Like the city it’s named after, Voices’ second album is sprawling, ambitious, and coldly beautiful. Ex-Akercocke drummer David Gray regularly drives the band with relentless blast beats, but the album’s best trick has to do with the way the quartet balances that fury against King Crimsonesque balladry. It isn’t just a matter of finger-picked acoustic […]