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Review: Black Stone Cherry — Magic Mountain

Review: Black Stone Cherry — Magic Mountain

Kentucky hellraisers Black Stone Cherry soar a mile high with this fourth full-length. Raucous and honest, this album rocks with their trademark down-home stoner swagger. Unapologetically heavy swamp anthems “Bad Luck & Hard Love” and “Fiesta del Fuego” sound destined for radio play, while vocalist and lead guitarist Chris Robertson shines on the stripped-down “Sometimes” […]

Review: The Graviators — Motherload

Review: The Graviators — Motherload

After years spent toiling in Swedish obscurity, The Graviators put themselves on the international stoner/doom map with their 2012 single “Häxagram,” the infectious stomp-rocker centerpiece of their second album, Evil Deeds. Stuffed with bong-rattling grooves, heavy ’70s guitar action, and vintage organ riffs, Motherload doesn’t deliver anything quite as catchy as “Häxagram,” but it’s still […]

Review: Pyrrhon — The Mother of Virtues

Review: Pyrrhon — The Mother of Virtues

Forget brutality–Pyrrhon deal in ugliness. On their second album, the Brooklyn quartet bioengineers a hybrid of death metal, grindcore, and noise that channels The Dillinger Escape Plan, Cobalt, and even early God Forbid. Seasick guitar leads dance dizzingly around patches of crushing, steady riffage, accompanied by frenetic drumming and vomited vocals that range from malevolent […]

Review: Sonata Arctica — Pariah’s Child

Review: Sonata Arctica — Pariah’s Child

On Sonata Arctica’s eighth studio full-length, the veteran Finnish quintet returns to the polished and emotional melodic metal that originally forged its reputation. Frontman Tony Kakko is at his Freddie Mercury-like best with grand harmony vocals on “Take One Breath,” and channels Styx crashing an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical on “Blood.” New bass player Pasi […]

Review: Combichrist —We Love You

Review: Combichrist —We Love You

Combichrist’s love comes with a caveat: “Our only hope to save you is to terminate you.” And so these Norwegians rage forth with snarling synths and squealing feedback, yelling about death and destruction, and, um, unicorns? OK, “Fuck Unicorns” doesn’t actually say the “U” word, but you get the point–these guys are serious badasses and […]

Reviews: Cage the Gods — Badlands

Reviews: Cage the Gods — Badlands

These Brits have carved their debut full-length out of the bones of bands from the ’70s (Thin Lizzy), bands from the ’80s (The Black Crowes), and bands that think they were from the ’80s (Buckcherry). An utterly uncontemporary mix of blues rock and Sunset Strip sleaze metal, Badlands‘ songs are entirely decent and thoroughly unremarkable–all […]

Review: Twilight — III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb

Review: Twilight — III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb

If this is indeed Twilight’s last album, as the band claims, it’s not going quietly. The six tracks on III offer a characteristically robust black-metal assault from the shape-shifting all-star group, which has included everyone from Isis’ Aaron Turner to Nachtmystium main man Blake Judd among it’s ranks, and recently welcomed Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore […]

Review: Ringworm — Hammer of the Witch

Review: Ringworm — Hammer of the Witch

Twenty-plus years into their careers, Cleveland metallic-hardcore heavyweights Ringworm have delivered what should stand as their finest entry in their catalogue. Frontman Human Furnace and cohorts sound darker and more evil than ever–for proof, crank tracks like “Psychic Vampire” and “Bleed,” which reek of piss and vinegar. But with that said, some things are better […]

Review: Menace — Impact Velocity

Review: Menace — Impact Velocity

Napalm Death guitarist Mitch Harris originally intended to record the debut from this side project with Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor and Soufly/ex-Sepultura main man Max Cavelera. When scheduling conflicts arose, Harris enlisted DragonForce bassist Frédéric Leclercq, former Hate Eternal drummer Derek Roddy, and fellow Napalm commando Shane Embury, who help him realize a space-age sonic […]

Review: The Shrine — Bless Off

Review: The Shrine — Bless Off

The second full-length offering from The Shine finds the Chuck Dukowski–approved Los Angeles skater/stoner-rock trio more or less picking up where their last album, 2012′s Primitive Blast, left off–which, if you dig Marshall pedals through Marshall stacks, rampaging boogie grooves, and plenty of raised-middle-finger attitude, is welcome news, indeed. The head-whipping likes of “Tripping Corpse,” […]