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Review: Monte Pittman — The Power of Three

Review: Monte Pittman — The Power of Three

Remember that viral video of Madonna playing a bit of Pantera’s “A New Level”? Well, thanks for that go to ex-Prong member Monte Pittman, who was her guitarist at the time. Here, the metalhead rounds up Metallica trilogy producer Flemming Rasmussen to helm his third solo record, and while the production is great, the songs […]

Review: Throwdown — Intolerance

Review: Throwdown — Intolerance

Once kings of the hardcore mosh pit, SoCal’s Throwdown took a left turn into metal territory with 2007′s Pantera-worshipping Venom & Tears. The band went even farther afield with 2009′s Deathless, which saw frontman Dave Peters crooning clean choruses that suggested he’d been on a Disturbed kick. Long-overdue follow-up Intolerance might as well be named […]

Review: Sister — Disguised Vultures

Review: Sister — Disguised Vultures

The sophomore effort from Swedish punk ‘n’ metal band Sister is a roadmap to their influences; early GN’R and Crüe, Judas Priest, Crashdïet, any number of other glam, blues, and sleaze-rock outfits. Disguised Vultures, the much-improved follow-up to 2011′s Hated is brutal and raw-edged but oddly polished, too, and deadly serious about its hooks, which […]

Review: Culted — Oblique to All Paths

Review: Culted — Oblique to All Paths

With three members in Canada and one in Sweden, Culted have never played music together in the same room. Which might help explain why Oblique to All Paths is grounded in a specific atmosphere rather than a specific genre. Does the band play blackened doom? Death/doom? Power/sludge? Does it matter? From oppressive 19-minute opener “Brooding […]

Review: Alcest — Shelter

Review: Alcest — Shelter

When critics compared the delicate parts of French erstwhile-black-metal band Alcest to English ’90s group Slowdive, main man Neige checked out the shoegazer pioneers and fell hard for their hazy sound. He even recruited Slowdive vocalist Neil Halstead to sing on Alcest’s fourth album, Shelter. The gauzy guitars, gliding violins, and reflective melodies are well-crafted […]

Review: Set to Reflect — Artificial Sun

Review: Set to Reflect — Artificial Sun

The first release of Ohio post-hardcore quintet Set to Reflect, Artificial Sun, is a concise, intense recapitulation of the best of the genre’s recent tropes–soaring clean vocals, catchy melodies, digitally perfected production, and (of course) pummeling breakdowns. At its best, the band crafts songs that blend together different textures in a way that sets it […]

Review: Iced Earth — Plagues of Babylon

Review: Iced Earth — Plagues of Babylon

The good news: Singer Stu Block, the man of many voices, remains super-powerful on the follow-up to 2011′s Dystopia. The Canadian’s choirs of doom on Plagues of Babylon‘s title track are as monumental as Iced Earth’s apocalyptic power-metal message demands. Yet while new drummer Raphael Saini (ex-Chaoswave) contributes inventive and forceful parts on bludgeoning numbers […]

Review: Motörhead — Aftershock

Review: Motörhead — Aftershock

Reviewing a Motörhead album is like reviewing a cheeseburger—unless something truly awful has happened, it will at the very worst be pretty damn good. What makes Motörhead so powerful is that they’ve never deviated too far from the formula of kickass rock and roll with whiskey-soaked swagger and massive sack. Such is Aftershock, an album […]

Review: Skeletonwitch — Serpents Unleashed

Review: Skeletonwitch — Serpents Unleashed

Calling the album a return to form does Skeletonwitch injustice, but the blackened thrashers definately sound rein quintet definitely sounds reinvigorated here. Long gone are the production woes of 2009’s Breathing Fire (thank you, Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, who produced Serpents) leaving the band sounding ever more vicious. Battle hymns like “From A Cloudless Sky,” […]

Review: Monster Magnet — Last Patrol

Review: Monster Magnet — Last Patrol

Taking their customary three years between albums, Monster Magnet rolls a nine-song set that’s well worth the wait. The quartet sounds fresh and full of purpose on these nine songs, which nod back to the roots of the group’s psychedelic brand of stoner garage rock. But that’s a wide sonic umbrella, so Monster Magnet tears […]