Album Reviews



Review: PALE GREY LORE – ‘Eschatology’ [Album Stream]

According to their promo materials, Columbus Ohio’s Pale Grey Lorecreate 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.

Continue reading

Review: KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – ‘Atonement’ [Song Stream]

 

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. 

 

Review: ENTOMBED A.D. – ‘Bowels of Earth’ [Video Stream]

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 Century Media Records, ‘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) – Entombed A.D. are keeping the spirit of death n’ roll alive and devastating in 2019. Continue reading

Review: SKILLET – ‘Victorious’ [Track Stream]

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

Review: WOLVES AT THE GATE – ‘Eclipse’ [Album Stream]

Cedarville, Ohio is the birthplace of Wolves At The Gate. The five piece post-hardcore band have been known to balance the beauty of melody with the barbaric bite of riffs so heavy they make gravity seems weak.  ‘Eclipse’ is their fourth full length outing and is a thoughtful slice of melodic Metalcore.  I must confess, I had never heard any of their catalogue before ‘Eclipse’, but was pleasantly surprised by quality of musicianship, the strength of the songs and the production.

Vocalist/guitarist Stephen Cobucci says of the album: “We named the record ‘Eclipse’ because of how well it encapsulated the relationship the light and the dark can have. An eclipse tells you that it’s dark,but it takes truth and faith to know that the sun is still shining. All of this revolves around my walk of faith in believing the truths of the gospel message, seeking to help others find hope and peace in the love of God, as well as how to come to grips with various social/political/personal issues.

Alongside Cobucci is Ben Summers(bass), Abishai Collingsworth(drums), Nick Detty(vocals), and the band’s newest member Joey Alarcon(who co-produced with Cobucci).

The album ‘Eclipse’ follows the development path of other metalcore bands, with more clean singing and a studious dedication to melody.  This is none better demonstrated than by final song “Blessings & Curses.”  This pushes toward pop music, but with more power.

The music washes over you in waves of adrenaline and (weirdly) stillness.  It pushes you into a widescreen version of reality, where everything is epic but slowed down.  The sound makes you reflect and there is a sombre mood to the art.  Peaceful waters are moved to areas of sonic perfection, only to be brought back to life by banging songs such as my favorite, “Counterfeit” – there is nothing counterfeit about this band!  They know how to bring emotion to the boil and let it simmer on a flame of pure metal.

Epic songs?  There are more than a few on this banger.  The title track demonstrates this perfectly.  Cobucci sings like some angel and the tune is filled out with keyboards and harmonies.

Kicking songs? “Evil Are The Kings” is a great stomper, with a more old-school metalcore vibe and nice use of growling vocals.

The whole record brims with intent to be tuneful, thoughtful and emotional whilst retaining some brutal riffing.  Check it out.

Review: DRIVETRAIN – ‘Muscles Big’ [Album Stream]

The 70s and 80s were both staple decades in the evolution of rock that most consider as the “classic” era for rock bands. Killer riffs and heavy drums are what made the music, and Portland, Maine’s Drivetrain are continuing those great characteristics that made the 70s and 80s rock. Since forming the group in 2012, Drivetrain has decided to unleash their killer debut album, ‘Muscles Big.’ Taking inspiration on the traditional aspects of loud cars and even louder rock, this debut is one of my favorite first albums from a band. With Kevin Beling handling vocals and rhythm guitar, Alex Fabish beating the hell out of the drums, Butch Fabish tackling lead guitar duties, and Ben Philbrick on the thunderous bass, they have released this mayhem on January 21, 2019. Continue reading

Review: SUM 41 – ‘Order In Decline’ [Official Video]

 

Sum 41 found its way into my musical playground back in 2001. The album was ‘All Killer No Filler’ and the single that got cemented into my head was “Fat Lip.” Although I was deeply entrenched within the metal genre, that song was so catchy that it tattooed itself into my brain and I couldn’t stop listening to it. The band was labeled pop punk and by all accounts, based on that album, it seemed to fit but if you listened closely, and peeked through the cracks, there was more than met the eye. They found their sound on the brilliant ‘Does This Look Infected?’ record in 2002 and its follow up, ‘Chuck’, in 2004. That’s where my passion for this band reached its peak. They found a way to put punk, pop, hard rock, alternative, and metal together to create a sound that was unique. The next decade and a half saw the band losing members and dealing with health issues. They put out three records in that period and although there were some solid songs, none of them could capture that magical formula that made them such a force until now. The band is set to release their seventh studio album called ‘Order In Decline’ via Hopeless Records on July 19thand it burns a path back to those iconic albums. The songs are heavy, angry, emotional, and most of all, catchy, and those ingredients are the blueprint Sum 41 built itself on. Continue reading

Review: CROWN THE EMPIRE – ‘Sudden Sky’ [Official Music Videos]

With only 3 albums and 1 full EP on their name Crown The Empire quickly managed to claim theirselves a spot in the metalcore scene among bands like Memphis May Fire, Of Mice And Men and many more. And now after almost exactly 3 years since the release of ‘Retrograte’ they are ready to blow you away yet again with upcoming record ‘Sudden Sky’!

Continue reading

When WAGE WAR Announces Their Upcoming Album & Tour The Pressure Is On!

Wage War fans couldn’t be happier than right at the moment they realised their favorite core act is back! With their 3th album ‘Pressure’ slowly heading our way and one of the best metalcore tours being announced right after first single ”Who I Am” dropped fans are in for a big treat!

Continue reading

Review: ROADSAW – ‘Tinnitus The Night’ [Album Stream]

The stoner rock trio known as Roadsaw formed in 1995, in my native Boston, Massachusetts. Their style is described as a strange trip through the British electric blues, down into the Southern Rock swamps and West through the heart of California’s psychedelic desert. Roadsaw recently delivered a highly anticipated album after 8 years on an “indefinite hiatus,” ‘Tinnitus The Night,’ was released just last month via Ripple Music. Prior to that the band had released 5 full length albums the most recent of which was their self titled release in 2011. ‘Tinnitus’ was produced by world renowned producer Benny Grotto (Aerosmith, Ben Folds, Dresden Dolls, Weird Al Yankovic) at his co-owned Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts. Continue reading