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Review: Apocalyptica – Shadowmaker

Review: Apocalyptica – Shadowmaker

Apocalyptica is best known for its cello-driven Metallica covers, but the outfit, while still exceling with instrumentals, has also diversified its sound since debuting in 1993. On their eighth studio full-length, producer Nick Raskulinecz (Mastodon, Ghost B.C.) showcases their current blend of classical riffs, modern rock melancholy and manic rhythms. The pulsating “Cold Blood” lets […]

Review: Annisokay – Enigmatic Smile

Review: Annisokay – Enigmatic Smile

Annisokay’s sophomore effort finds the German quintet honing their straight- forward metalcore sound. Helmed by producer extraordinaire Joey Sturgis, the record blends dark, deathcore influenced riffs with melodic singing and atmospherics. Standouts like the rhythmic, thrashing “Snowblind” show off the wide vocal range of clean singer and guitarist Christoph Wieczorek, though overall the band isn’t […]

Review: Gallows – Desolation Sounds

Review: Gallows – Desolation Sounds

By nature, hardcore isn’t generally very progressive. But Gallows’ fourth full-length finds the band exploring what lurks beyond the darkest corners of the genre. The requisite vitriol is there, but so are moody, mid-tempo songs like “Chains” and the goth-rocker “93/93.” Not every experiment on ‘Desolation Sounds’ works—and the atmospheric ballad “Cease to Exist” feels […]

Review: Full Devil Jacket – Valley of Bones

Review: Full Devil Jacket – Valley of Bones

Fifteen years is a long time between albums, especially if it’s from a debut to a sophomore release. But Full Devil Jacket make the wait (mostly) worthwhile. Where the sound on their debut tended toward grinding Alice in Chains-style malevolence, the new tunes offer more energy, lending the album an air of urbane aggression that, […]

Review: One-Eyed Doll – Witches

Review: One-Eyed Doll – Witches

Criminally under-heard Austin duo OED—fronted by Kimberly Freeman, one of this magazine’s Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock perennials—has always done exactly as they please, remaining steadfastly D.I.Y. and focusing on smart, not-necessarily-commercial releases. Their latest is a concept album about the Salem witch trials that toggles between Ren Faire folk, ’90s alt pop and thorny […]

Review: Minsk – The Crash and the Draw

Review: Minsk – The Crash and the Draw

On its first full-length album in six years, this Illinois band still specializes in sprawling post-metal that ebbs, flows and pummels in a Neurosis and Pelican sort of way. Not surprisingly, Minsk goes long on opener “To the Initiate,” a crushing number fueled by Timothy Mead’s spellbinding keyboards. Later, the quintet knocks one out of […]

Review: Three Days Grace – Human

Review: Three Days Grace – Human

The alt-metal band’s longtime frontman Adam Gontier left the band suddenly in 2013 and was replaced by Matt Walst of My Darkest Days. And now their first disc under new leadership actually feels more like a continuation than a reboot. Walst and Gontier are stylistically similar—both specialize in growly/smooth vocals and have a finely-tuned sense […]

Review: Liturgy – The Ark Work

Review: Liturgy – The Ark Work

With 2011’s ‘Aesthetica’—and vocalist-guitarist Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s accompanying manifesto—Brooklyn black metal experimentalists Liturgy instantly became the most polarizing band in the genre. While the kvlt diehards dismissed Liturgy as pretentious poseurs, the indie crowd embraced them as artistic whiz kids. ‘The Ark Work’ will do absolutely nothing to change the situation. It’s considerably more difficult to […]

Review: Acid King – Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere

Review: Acid King – Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere

With just four full-lengths in 20 years, Acid King won’t be winning “the most prolific doom-metal band” award. But the San Francisco trio, led by singer-guitarist Lori S., has spewed consistently exceptional Sleep and Sabbath-inspired sludge, and this first outing in 10 years is no exception. The group had written much of what’s here during […]

Review: Alkaloid – The Malkuth Grimoire

Review: Alkaloid – The Malkuth Grimoire

Given the combined musical backgrounds of its five members—Necrophagist, Obscura, Noneuclid, and Aborted among others—it’s not surprising that Alkaloid’s approach to death metal is a little unorthodox. But while often bizarre and circuitous, the band’s experimental tendencies generally maintain enough grit and momentum to keep tracks like “Orgonism” and the epic “Funeral for a Continent” […]