I love Finland’s SONATA ARCTICA. There, I’ve said it. Do not expect an unbiased review of their tenth studio album, ‘Talviyö’. However, do expect a mind-blown exercise in foaming at the mouth excitement.
It is always an event when SA release a new record. Their 2016 release (‘The Ninth Hour’) was my favorite album of that year and ‘Talviyö’ is reaching out to me with those neverending harmonies that take the band above the average power metal combo.
Blacktop Mojo are a Texas band with lashings of attitude. The band had some of their roots in country music, but decided to go with a more rock edge. They have a great sense of melody and power, mixing it to outstanding effect on their third album, ‘Under The Sun’.
Downtrend formed in 2004 and has went through a few lineup changes since then. The band retains founding members Josh Crum and Jeremy Chaney. Long time member drummer J.D. Hall takes his seat behind the drum kit adding his style and showmanship to the band. Hall and Chaney were also formerly bandmates in the crushingly heavy group Voices Of Aggression. The chemistry among these three gents is amazing, which can be heard in their music and seen live when they take the stage. Mike Jackson has been the voice of the band for over a decade, after a brief departure from the band he has returned to his home behind the microphone. In the bands 10+ years their sound has changed and progressed but the biggest thing about the band is the heart and passion they have for music. Continue reading →
Finally, the time has arrived. After a 13-year gap since the last album, ‘10,000 Days,’ the almighty Tool have returned with their 5th full-length release entitled ‘Fear Inoculum.’ With all the hype surrounding the record over the last several weeks and months, the pressure to deliver something monumental is in full force. Teasers, clues, and seemingly insurmountable expectations of what the prog metal veterans will unveil have been buzzing across social media and dominating music news as of late. Front man MaynardJamesKeenan has been doing his best to fan the flames of anticipation on his own, particularly via his personal Twitter account where he kept followers updated during key steps of the recording progress as they unfolded, and at one point even helped stir a short-lived beef with Justin Bieber’s wife during some classic, tongue-in-cheek, MJK humor. He also recently made his third appearance on the highly popular Joe Rogan Experience Podcast to officially unveil the ‘Fear Inoculum’ album title and to announce that Tool will finally be entering the digital streaming age by releasing their entire back catalog to all major platforms. Like ravenous wolves, the fan response resulted in record-breaking download numbers, landing all four of the band’s previous albums in the top five of Billboard’s Top Rock Albums simultaneously. Similarly, upon release of the band’s first single and title track, “Fear Inoculum,” Tool became the first artist to have a 10-minute song reach the Billboard Hot 100. To say the new album from Tool is highly-anticipated is a massive understatement. ‘Fear Inoculum’ is unquestionably one of the most anticipated album releases of the past 13 years in rock music. Continue reading →
Wage War is back at it again with an album that is sure to be an absolute banger! The band started it’s life in Ocala, Florida with its founding members Briton Bond, Cody Quistad, Seth Blake, Jordan Pierce, and David Rau. Later on swapping the lineup on drums and bass, Stephen Kluesener and Chris Gaylord were added to the mix. They are best described as melodic metalcore. They have some absolutely bouncy riffs but also have smooth clean chorus lines. In the beginning, the band released an EP titled ‘The Fall of Kings.’ Following this, in 2015 they dropped their debut album via Fearless Records; ‘Blueprints.’ This consisted of singles such as “Twenty One,” “Alive,” and “Youngbloods.” Two years later their second album, ‘Deadweight’ dropped with the fan singles being “Stitch,” “Don’t Let Me Fade Away,” and “Witness.” One notable favorite of mine was “Gravity.” This was my introduction to Wage War and the culprit of many, many repeat listens of the ‘Deadweight’ album. This all lead to the unbearable wait for new content when alas, their first new single “Low” released from their newest upcoming album ‘Pressure.’ This album is set to release August 30th, 2019 on Fearless Records. You see a diamond on the album art and pressure helps create diamonds, and that’s exactly what Wage War has created here. Continue reading →
According to their promo materials, Columbus Ohio’s Pale Grey Lore “create focused, hook-driven heavy rock and roll that loses no edge for its focus on songwriting. Melodic vocals and subtle harmonies echo alongside the molten groove of the guitar, bass and drums, taking a time-tested formula and proving it indeed to be timeless.”
Pale Grey Lore began as a collaboration between brothers Michael (guitar, vocals) and Adam Miller (drums), with Donovan Johnson (bass) joining up in the summer of 2014. Xander Roseberry (guitar, backing vocals) was added to the lineup in the winter of 2016.
If you’ve not heard of Killswitch Engage by now, number one: you are severely missing out on some of the best music out there, and number two: you definitely live under a rock. Killswitch has been releasing perfect album after album since 1999; they hail from Massachusetts. They are credited as one of the most successful bands from the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement. They have continued to headline international tours and have massive festival appearances. “Atonement” will be their eight LP and the follow-up to the masterpiece, “Incarnate” from 2016. The aforementioned album will be their very first release via Metal Blade Records on August 16. Killswitch Engage is metalcore perfection. If it is not already obvious, KSE is one of my all time favorite bands and I may or may not have shed a tear whilst at their shows.
As it should, “Atonement” begins with a roar- it really does! “Unleashed” is the opening track and the first single the band shared. The first thing that many Killswitch fans will recognize is how flawless singer, Jesse Leach’s vocals sound. Many know that he underwent vocal surgery last spring, and to say he’s made a recovery is an understatement. Perhaps some of his strongest recorded performances yet are found on the new album. “Unleashed” doesn’t particularly stray too far from the tried and true Killswitch Engage formula, but that’s okay because they do it so goddamn well. The song has a verse that sticks and a chorus that ends with a sick breakdown. What more could you need?
The second track is something that many KSE followers have dreamed about for years and it has finally happened. Jesse Leach and the band’s former frontman, Howard Jones (who should need no introduction at all, but it anyone was wondering, he currently fronts Light the Torch) on one song together. This, I believe, will solve all the worlds’ problems. “The Signal Fire” comes in hot, with a deathcore introduction and it’s thrashy in your face feel. The chorus is a total earworm with such conviction. Jesse and Howard together is every girls dream… or maybe it’s just mine? Regardless, these two sound perfect and this is a standout track.
“The Crownless King,” is such a fist pumping pit starter. This one will go over extremely well live. A great mid tempo track with soaring vocals, “As Sure as the Sun Will Rise.” Of course it’s impossible to review “Atonement” without addressing the song with the first video from the record, “I Am Broken Too.” Leach has been very forthcoming with his personal struggles with mental health in past lyrics and this one is no acception. It’s stripped down and a little more simple and incredibly powerful. Killswitch Engage both on record and live, is a great balance. Songs like this one, and older tracks like “Arms of Sorrow” and “Rose of Sharyn” deal with heavy topics and then there are just some straight up bangers. The ever amusing guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz brings the comedic relief to their sets, dawning headbands that read, “TRASH” and spurting out lewd and insane remarks. Killswitch knows when it’s time to be serious and when it’s time to be Adam.
Like every album before and like every album will be, “Atonement” is fantastic. Currently in first place for metalcore album of the year, curated by myself. It’s out August 16 on Metal Blade and currently up for preorder. A European tour is in order for the fall, but if you are in the states you can catch them (along with many others) at the first inaugural Exit 111 Festival in October, taking place in Tennessee. This record will not disappoint and if you haven’t seen Killswitch Engage live, you’re dead to me.
Entombed A.D. – the band who rose from the ashes of Swedish death metal legends, Entombed, in 2014 – return with their third studio album, ‘Bowels of Earth.’ Set to release on August 30th, 2019 via CenturyMediaRecords, ‘Bowels of Earth’ continues the tradition of groove-laden death metal that defined the Swedish scene back in the 90s. With buzzsaw guitars chugging out string tension-defying, ultra-downtuned riffage, and the monstrous growls of vocal veteran LG Petrov – along with Victor Brandt (bass), Nico Elgstrand (guitar), and Olle Dahlstedt (drums) – EntombedA.D. are keeping the spirit of death n’ roll alive and devastating in 2019. Continue reading →
Mammoth Storm was formed in Sweden at the end of 2012 for the sole purpose of “delivering some heavy riffs in the name of doom”. With the release of their 2015 debut ‘Fornjot’ the Swedish Doom Metal band exploded onto the scene! With thick grooves and gargantuan riffs they are by far one of the most exciting bands in the metal scene. On their newest album ‘Alruna’ (which is released via Argonauta Records) the band have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with! Continue reading →
Skillet is a Christian rock band that has been around ever since I can remember. They formed in 1996 in Memphis, Tennessee. For members, the current lineup consists of John Cooper (Frontman and Bassist), Korey Cooper (Rhythm Guitar, Keyboard, and Backing Vocals), Jen Ledger (Drums, Vocals), and Seth Morrison (Lead Guitar). Together, they have a chemistry unmatched by anyone. Continue reading →