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Review: Hark — Crystalline

Review: Hark — Crystalline

Best known for his work with Welsh stoner/sludge merchants Taint, vocalist-guitarist Jimbob Isaac takes a similarly seismic approach with his impressive new trio, which also includes the former Whyteleaf rhythm section of bassist Nikolai Ribnikov and drummer Simon Bonwick. Mixed by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, Crystalline serves up hardcore aggression with a doomy swagger and more […]

Review: Wolves Like Us — Black Soul Choir

Review: Wolves Like Us — Black Soul Choir

With a pedigree of previous bands as strong as you’re likely to find anywhere amidst the fjords, this Norwegian quartet’s brand of heavy rock is meaty and muscular,  whether it’s galloping through the fury of “When Will We Ever Sleep” or ripping through the fierce dynamics of tracks such as the kinetic “Dig with Your […]

Review: Slough Feg — Digital Resistance

Review: Slough Feg — Digital Resistance

Despite the futurism that bubbles through the lyrics here, Slough Feg’s sound is insistently, almost defiantly, old school. There’s no breakneck riffage or crisply picked shred; instead, Slough Feg’s guitars prefer to gallop like Thin Lizzy used to, driven by a loose, sloppy thrum of Ginger Baker-inflected tom-toms. There are even moments, as in the […]

Review: Cynic — Kindly Bent to Free Us

Review: Cynic — Kindly Bent to Free Us

Cynic’s amazing 1993 debut, Focus, blasted menacing death metal through an odd prog-jazz universe, but it also showed a flair for the melodic. On their latest album, Cynic still revel in virtuosic performances, like the weird staccato patterns and fusion interplay on the title track, which sometimes recall King Crimson. But the focus usually isn’t […]

Review: Exmortus — Slave to the Sword

Review: Exmortus — Slave to the Sword

Make no mistake–Exmortus are here to flex nuts. Sporting an impressive blend of thundering melo-death and acrobatic power metal, the Cali quartet have created the kind of album you want to hear pouring from the windows of a van with a Viking fighting a demon in space painted on it. The resulting guitar wheedlies and […]

Review: Living Dead Lights — Black Letters

Review: Living Dead Lights — Black Letters

On the surface, Hollywood glam-metal punks Living Dead Lights look like they have calculated their emo-via-sleeze-metal image right down to each member’s India-ink coiffure and rainbow-ink tattoo sleeves. Musically, it’s not much different, but the group makes up for its posturing with solid hooks, likely divined from the same unholy ground that spawned their ancestors, […]

Review: Indian — From All Purity

Review: Indian — From All Purity

For once, a band’s official bio sums up said group accurately and succinctly: “This is the opposite of easy listening.” As if that weren’t enough, the dudes from Indian titled From All Purity‘s opening track “Rape” just to let you know what’s about to happen to your ears, your face, and your equilibrium. Featuring ex-Nachtmystium/ […]

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 […]