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Review: Black Crown Initiate — The Wreckage of Stars

Review: Black Crown Initiate — The Wreckage of Stars

On their full-length debut, Pennsylvania progressive death-metal quintet Black Crown Initiate craft an eclectic, if inconsistent, blend of pummeling grind and dark melody. BCI’s heaviest moments are filled with blast beats and chromatic riffs that are pretty unremarkable, and their lighter atmospheric parts seem forced. The band is at its best on standout tracks “Great […]

Review: Decapitated — Blood Mantra

Review: Decapitated — Blood Mantra

Twelve years after Poland’s Decapitated raised the death-metal bar with its mighty sophomore album, ‘Nihility,’ the band’s dynamic arrangements and scalpel-edged musicianship are still a wonder to behold, especially when it blends its stellar death metal with grindcore, black metal, and stoner rock. On “Veins,” new drummer Michal Lysejko’s rhythmic assault fuels a high-octane groove […]

Review: Nonpoint — The Return

Review: Nonpoint — The Return

Nonpoint’s eighth studio album abides by the Florida numetallers’ tried-and true formula and is unlikely to convert new fans. The band’s 17-years experience in crafting catchy choruses is on display on undeniably hooky tracks such as “Widowmaker,” and Robb Rivera’s thunderous drumming helps to make otherwise standard nu-metal songs feel fresh. However, most of the […]

Review: Beak — Let Time Begin

Review: Beak — Let Time Begin

Loud is great, but everything at 11 all the time can get monotonous. Pull back occasionally, as ISIS torchbearers Beak do here, and there’s room for the volume to grow—until each surging climax seems somehow louder than even the heaviest metal thunder. Even better, the shifting dynamics bring a sense of drama, keeping the album’s […]

Review: Finch — Back to Oblivion

Review: Finch — Back to Oblivion

Finch’s angsty and emotive frontman Nate Barcalow isn’t kidding when he announces, “I feel reborn” on the group’s first new album in nine years. The California alt rockers’ third time around is indeed charmed, as ‘Back to Oblivion’ backs up the band’s 2012 reunion with a dozen melodically and dynamically diverse tracks. These explore extremes […]

Review: Electric Wizard — Time to Die

Review: Electric Wizard — Time to Die

U.K. doom legends Electric Wizard have been reliably delivering the Hammer horror–infused doom-metal goods for nearly two decades now. Though their output has never been less than infernally good, ‘Time to Die’ may be their grave-churningest, witchburningest slab since 2000’s ‘Dopethrone.’ As with their best stuff, there’s an almost primal ugliness underlying tracks like “Incense […]

Review: Charm City Devils — Battles

Review: Charm City Devils — Battles

These Devils are poised to charm the masses. On “Crucify,” the group sounds just like Bon Jovi, especially when it comes to frontman John Allen’s vocals. A few other songs, including the decadent “Shots,” bear a sleazy similarity to Mötley Crüe, which makes sense considering bassist Nikki Sixx suggested the band’s name. Later, some bluesy […]

Review: Motionless in White — Reincarnate

Review: Motionless in White — Reincarnate

The Pennsylvanian gothcore quintet’s third LP finds the band exploring novel musical territory while staying true to its established sound. Chris Motionless and cohorts’ patented alchemy of eerie synths, soaring vocal melodies, and mosh breakdowns is infused with fresh elements like blast beats and ambient atmospherics. Old and new coalesce best on “Puppets 3 (The […]

Review: Cannibal Corpse — A Skeletal Domain

Review: Cannibal Corpse — A Skeletal Domain

For record No. 13, Cannibal Corpse have switched things up. After three critical successes with producer Erik Rutan, America’s favorite gorehounds have moved to Mark Lewis at Audio Hammer Studios. The resulting album may not have the crispness of 2012’s ‘Torture,’ but possesses the depth and ambiance of Corpse classics like 1996’s ‘Vile.’ Barrett and […]

Review: Iron Reagan — The Tyranny of Will

Review: Iron Reagan — The Tyranny of Will

In just two years of existence, Richmond crossover punks Iron Reagan have cranked out two EPs and two albums for a grand total of over 60 songs. Granted, most of them are only about a minute long, but still, we’d be hard-pressed to name another band so prolific. Given that vocalist Tony Foresta and guitarist […]