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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 […]

Review: Opeth — Pale Communion

Review: Opeth — Pale Communion

Having already veered hard towards the shoals of early ’70s-style progressive rock on 2011’s ‘Heritage,’ Mikael Åkerfeldt practically runs the good ship Opeth aground with a prog-intensive album that often sounds closer to soggy Jethro Tull outtakes than anything in his band’s mighty back catalog. The playing is impeccable as always, and Åkerfeldt has certainly […]

Review: Godsmack — 1000hp

Review: Godsmack — 1000hp

Godsmack have allowed for four-year gaps between albums before, but the last one nearly saw the band members go their separate ways. Fortunately, the Massachusetts metalheads got their act together and came back hitting on all cylinders with this high octane set that mines new territory around the quartet’s Metallica/Sabbath roots. There’s plenty of the […]

Review: Damona Waits — Eschatology

Review: Damona Waits — Eschatology

“Eschatology” may be the theological study of end time beliefs, but don’t come to this album expecting death-metal sturm und drang. Instead, the sound this quartet delivers is more along the lines of Tool’s approach: moody and intricate, full of carefully manicured guitar textures, evocative vocal melodies, and thoughtfully modulated rhythmic shifts. The album occasionally […]

Review: Heartist — Feeding Fiction

Review: Heartist — Feeding Fiction

Heartist is all over the heavy-rock map on its full-length debut: Rousing, chorus-filled anthems combine with chunky metalcore, while electro-synth flourishes mash with a melodic leanings reminiscent of Blink-182 and Linkin Park. It could have been an all-out train wreck, but Heartist manage to turn ‘Feeding Fiction’ into a cohesive and infectious outing as Bryce […]