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Review: Bigelf —Into the Maelstrom

Review: Bigelf —Into the Maelstrom

Six long years after the last Bigelf record, Cheat the Gallows, head ‘elf Damon Fox returns with a new lineup (including guitarist Luis Maldonado, longtime bassist Duffy Snowhill, and the inimitable Mike Portnoy on drums) and the best album of his band’s career. A dizzyingly tuneful trip down the prog-rock rabbit hole, Into the Maelstrom […]

Review: Gridlink — Longhena

Review: Gridlink — Longhena

The last time grindcore vocalist Jon Chang said goodbye, it was via Discordance Axis’ 2000 classic The Inalienable Dreamless. But while Chang kept shrieking over inhuman BPMs after that extreme institution retired, he’s saying goodbye to grindcore for good with this third Gridlink album. What a way to go: 21 minutes of blasting that rarely […]

Review: Taking Back Sunday – Happiness Is

Review: Taking Back Sunday – Happiness Is

It’s been over a decade since Taking Back Sunday released their debut, Tell All Friends, but you wouldn’t guess that from listening to their sixth album, Happiness Is. The second release from TBS’ reunited original lineup sees them getting their groove back via everything from upbeat anthems such as “Stood a Chance” to catchy compositions […]

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/ […]