Album Reviews



REVIEW: Malkavian’s Second Full Length “Annihilating the Shades” [Lyric Video]

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I had a flashback, some deja vu of sorts, when I first saw the name Malkavian come across my screen.  A little synapse in the back of my head lit up, screaming about how familiar that name was.  After some ponderance, my brain finally hit upon the source while listening to the band’s latest release: the Malkavian were a race of vampires in the popular role playing game Vampire: The Masquerade, most notably known for being insane.  Whether or not this is the true source of their name, French thrash metal spiked with technical groove maestros Malkavian certainly play to the chaotic nature that is a key feature of the species.  Originally formed in 2008, Malkavian released their first EP in early 2009.  After hitting the road to make a name for themselves in France’s metal scene, the band worked through 2010, making some tweaks to what would be their finalized lineup around 2011, and eventually got the chance to open for well known deathcore act Suicide Silence come 2012. Their first full length,  “The Worshipping Mass“,  saw its biggest distribution in 2014 under current label Finistrian Dead End.  Ever since, Malkavian has kept busy by working the dual grind of festival and tv appearances, and are ready to drop their 2nd full length on March 31st. 

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Review: WITHIN SHADOWS – ‘Mind = Enemy’ [Album Stream]

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Photo Credit: Jess Lynne

WITHIN SHADOWS was originally a solo project started by Sean Farias (Vocals, Guitar), starting in 2012 . The Canadian band then started to morph from a solo project into more of a band. The project became a two-piece band once drummer Jordan Heffernan joined in 2014. At the end of Summer 2015, they began to collaborate with Jordan’s very good friend Brad Tiessen. Brad and Jordan are lifelong friends, which provided WITHIN SHADOWS with a perfect fit to have him in the band shredding guitar. They recently added latest member, bassist Jacob Bailey nearing the end of Summer 2016. They finished and released their debut EP ‘Release The Disease’ in November 2015. This is where this band sets themselves apart from others in the music industry. The profits made from CD sales went directly to the Harrow Food Bank as a donation from the band. They band also mentions that the donation was made possible by the fans, friends and family who supported the album. The band now has a brand new LP that released December 21, 2016 titled ‘Mind = Enemy’. The band truly prides themselves on creating a variation of different styles within their music. The songs range from easycore, to heavy metal, to hardcore, to light metal, to pop punk to ballad instrumental, to djent and more. After reading that you probably think this album is scatterbrained and all over the place but it’s a truly cohesive album that works.  Continue reading

Review: MEMORIAM – ‘For The Fallen’

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Following the death of drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, old school death metal band Bolt Thrower came to its end in 2016. A few weeks later, Frank Healy’s (Benediction) father passed away. Since then, Bolt Thrower vocalist Karl Willets and Healy have joined forces to create a new project featuring members of Benediction, Life Denied, and Bolt Thrower. Memoriam is in a similar vein to Bolt Thrower boasting their brutal death metal sound and super heavy guitar tone. Their main focuses in their songs are on themes like death, loss, and war. The UK band formed in 2016 and has since released two demos. The first full length album, ‘For the Fallen’ is set to be released via Nuclear Blast Records on March 24th. The album was recorded in about two weeks at Hellfire Studios but took four weeks to get the mix finished exactly as they wanted it done. ‘For the Fallen’ was produced by Ajeet Gill (Hellbastard, Dark Forest, Element) and artwork was created by Dan Seagrave (Benediction, Dismember, Hypocrisy, Suffocation). You can pre-order the album here.    Continue reading

Review: NEO NOIRE – ‘Element’ [Lyric Video Included]

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NEO NOIRE is a brand new band formed by rock and metal masterminds Vocal/Guitarist Frederyk Rotter (Zatokrev, The Leaving, Crown) and Vocalist/Guitarist Thomas Baumgartner (Ex-GurD, Erotic Jesus, Undergod). The lineup of the swiss rock outfit is completed by bassist Franky Kalwies (Ex-Disgroove) and drummer David Burger (Ex-Slag In Cullet). It was in the autumn of 2016 that the band played their first live show and put the finishing touches on their debut album ‘Element’ which is set to release worldwide on May 5th, 2017 via Czar Of Revelations. The album was recorded at MyRoom Studios with Raphael Bovey. ‘Element’ has already drawn mass attention from fans as well as the media. NEO NOIRE mix a variation of styles on their debut outing including alternative, post/psychedelic rock and metal. They don’t only include these styles but they bridge the gap between them. NEO NOIRE want to truly bring back the golden age of music and have been at times compared to Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction without the gaudiness these bands were trapped in. Continue reading

Review: VIBRANT HEELS – ‘Driven’ [Album Stream]

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Photo Credit: Catherine Pelchat

Vibrant Heels hasn’t been around all that long, and you’d never know that from hearing their music. The Alt rock / Metal band hails from Canada and formed in 2015. They claim they are the band that just doesn’t fit in. They blend catch lyrical melodies, heaviness & groove filled rhythms all at the same time. They are like the guys next door really, just normal guys trying to create their own niche in music and they are truly headed in the right direction. The bands latest release ‘Driven’ released on February 10, 2017. The album was recorded at Broil Audio by Raphael Malenfant & Michael Fontaine (Frequance Production) and also mixed by Raphael Malenfant and mastered by François C. Fortin. Vibrant Heels truly blends a variation of sounds, and upon the first listen of the album it may seem a little obscure, but as you continue down the rabbit whole of music they have created it becomes more and more addictive.  Continue reading

CONDEMNED – His Divine Shadow LP Review (+Stream!)

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I’m no expert in brutality, but I do enjoy the occasional brutal death metal album. With that said – when I happen to be in the brutal mood per se, I REALLY enjoy the blast beats and guttural-infested vocals that are such distinguishing staples of the subgenre. So enough about my white belt in all things gore; let’s plunge head first into Unique Leader Records’ latest offering of death in Condemned’s third full length, His Divine Shadow. Founding member, Steve Crow, delivers some of the sickest riffs I’ve heard all year on this wooly mammoth of an album. Plus, His Divine Shadow is Condemned’s first LP to feature newer members – bassist Ryan Tyler, vocalist Sam Townsley, and drummer Tyson Jupin.  Continue reading

Manchester’s COLD FELL Offer Up Full Length Debut [Album Review] [Album Stream]

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Manchester, England, a city that exploded around the turn of the Industrial Revolution, has served as a backdrop and inspiration of metal musicians of all ranges.  No small wonder, either, given the social issues created once the trappings of the industrial exploitation machinations were set into play. Workers were often forced into inhumane working conditions and eventually, periods of civil unrest between the working poor and the bourgeois erupted, leaving behind inauspiciousness in it’s wake. From these circumstances, and similar in cities such as Birmingham, the bubblings of metal sprung forth to unleash upon the world an especially dreadful perspective.  The natives Cold Fell (so named for a mountain in the North Pennines, a spine, if you will, that weaves throughout northwestern English countryside) have finally gotten the opportunity to add their own voice to the offerings, four years after the release of their first EP. Comprised of Laurence Taylor (of Caina) on vox, Karl Sveinsson and Giovanni Infantino on lead and rhythm guitar, Callum Cox pounding on the drums, and Oliver Edward Turner on bass, Cold Fell evidently put the gap time after their initial EP to good use as 2017 has been gifted with one smoking full length debut. 

“Irwell” is both the name that christens their Argento Records release and a river valley nestled in (you guessed it) northwestern England.  Coming in with eight tracks, “Irwell” is a solid monster of a proper debut which bares it’s teeth from the opening, snapping fierce jaws within instrumental passages so you, the listener, do not escape it’s mighty grasp.  The band members here have an excellent chemistry which is evident in the ways in which each track has been composed.  There’s not a superfluous time change, solo or angry vocal howl throughout the album that I could find; these guys were on a mission of craft and on “Irwell” they absolutely bring the pain.  Peppered throughout each of the songs, one can easily see the influence that classic black metal and contemporary bands of the same genre have had on the members, and rather than setting out to exploit those genres or relying on a more avant garde/experimental approach, CF pay homage to those before and current in black metal by efficiently utilizing the core sounds, topped with their own personal flavor. Take, for instance, ‘Folly (Health & the Glory)’  which opens with a nicely fat bass thrum underlying the assault unleashed by the typical frontrunners of guitar and drums.  Densely atmospheric in the right places, the track pummels along, punctuated with howling guitar shrieks that eerily mimic a female’s screams in places, while ‘Bone Ceiling’ bites and snarls in its own right, featuring a nice addition of fist pump worthy chants that will surely be as appreciated during a live performance as it is on record. My overall album pick, though (and it’s surely a close call to make), is narrowly the doom and gloom served up by ‘The Whip (Armed to the Teeth): furious skin work where appropriate with some nicely bitter slower tempo drops, some skillful lead guitar that helps pull the beat back from the mire and cohesive and spot on instrumental passages.  The album closer, ‘Dream of Seppuku’, is a wholly appropriate one that fits like a glove.  Seppuku refers to the Japanese act of suicide by disembowelment, and this track moves in thematically appropriate ways until it fades into a more somber tone sprinkled with some piano keys.  While not necessarily a game changer (and not that it had such ambitions in the first place), “Irwell” delivers a solid album sure to catch the attentions of the black metal scene, and gives just enough to keep us wanting more.

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Review of Virus of Ideals Debut EP, “For All My Earthly Days”

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Virus of Ideals is:

Sean: Vocals/Keys
Jess: Vocals
Dylan: Guitars and Bass
Francisco: Drums

Virus of ideals is a Melodic Death/Symphonic Metal band that hails from Newington, Connecticut that is often compared to Dark Tranquility, Lacuna Coil, Scar Symmetry and Nightwish which should come as no surprise since their admitted influences include the aforementioned bands with the addition of Epica and The Gathering. After releasing their debut single entitled “Bitter Parody” in February of last year, Virus of Ideals pushed themselves to release their four song EP For All My Earthly Days in the Fall of 2016 as a small portion of a larger story to be told when the band drops their first, full-length album at an indeterminate date in the near future. No worries though because there is plenty of meat on this EP that will tide any fan over until the day comes.

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Review: Obituary – ‘Obituary’ [Song Stream]

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Florida based death metal legends Obituary, are coming out with a new album via Relapse Records on March 17th 2017 and will run a 10 song track listing. This will be the bands 10th studio album, spanning a long career started all the way back in 1989 with the bands debut release titled ‘Slowly we Rot’. Obituary has been considered death metal elite ever since, you cannot bring up death metal without hearing the name Obituary. The bands previous release ‘Inked in Blood’, set a very high standard to surpass or even match, with great reviews from critics and fans alike. The year is 2017 and one of the giants of the genre has returned. Continue reading

SARCASM Release Lyric Video Ahead Of 2nd Full Length Album [Lyric Video + Album Review]

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We’ve all heard at least a half dozen or more tropes about preservation, about finishing what we start, and about how anything worth doing is worth doing right, and approximately a thousand variations upon the same and similar themes.  The Swedish death metal band Sarcasm wants you know those important and oh-so-persistent lessons in life did not fall upon their deaf ears.  The core duo of the current quintet, vocalist Heval Vozarslan (also of Third Storm) and Anders Erikson have written and recorded together as Sarcasm since 1994. While an EP appeared in 2000, and along the way a bunch of demos, their material from that time did not see a proper full length release until 2016 on Dark Descent Records.  Yes, you read those last two sentences correctly. Less than a year after their proper debut, Sarcasm rounded out their lineup, bringing back Peter Laitinen on guitar (who previously played with the core in ’94, also of Imperial Domain, The Hidden, ex-Goatworship), and fleshing out the rest with Jonas Soder (Imperial Domain, also ex-Goatworship) thundering along on bass and Matte Modin (Firespawn, The Hidden, and ex-Dark Funeral) taking on the role of beat master.  July of 2016 saw the release of their proper full length release Burial Dimensions’, and, in breakneck speed as if making up for lost time, the sophomore effort Within The Sphere Of Ethereal Minds’ is scheduled to drop on April 28th of this year.   Continue reading