Riley

About Riley

I’m a heavy metal enthusiast originally hailing from Des Moines, Iowa but currently residing in Chicago Illinois. My favorite bands are Slipknot, Slayer, Ministry, Gojira, Mastodon, Lamb of God, and Behemoth. Additionally, I also enjoy movies, video games, comics, and long walks on the beach.

Album Review: WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM – ‘Thrice Woven’ [Album Stream]

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I’m going to be perfectly blunt: American black metal bands aren’t supposed to be this damn good. While black metal is a dark, brooding, and relentless musical style that has cultivated a reverential following in Europe, it’s also a genre that truly lacks a thriving North American music scene that is comparative to bay area thrash metal or Floridian death metal, and great American black metal bands are few and far between.

Thankfully, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM is one of those rare and exceptional black metal bands from the good ole US of A who have attained a level of excellency rivaling that of their European counterparts. After over a decade since releasing their punishing yet atmospheric debut ‘Diadem Of 12 Stars’ in 2006, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM have unveiled their newest record ‘Thrice Woven’: an album that is a masterpiece of thematic musicianship that intellectually moves the listener into a spellbinding trance from start to finish. Sure, it’s not necessarily news to say that WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM have crafted a truly excellent album (again), but even at just five tracks in length, it still needs to be said that vocalist/guitarist Nathan Weaver, vocalist/guitarist Kody Keyworth, and drummer Aaron Weaver have created an album of the highest quality.

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State Of The Art – TERRAFORM

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Greatness often hides in unexpected places. All too often, bands are overlooked by audiences due to how difficult it is to find new and innovative independent music, and this is definitely true for hard hitting thrash metal band TERRAFORM: a band who are today’s topic in our weekly column State Of The Art.

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Album Review: CANNABIS CORPSE – ‘Left Hand Pass’

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Death Metal is brutality in its impurest form. The ferocious guitar riffs, earth breaking bass, deafening drum beats, and guttural growls define one of metal’s most extreme and unforgiving genres, and this abrasive sonic assault perfectly describes the style of weed obsessed death metal band CANNABIS CORPSE.

Despite the fact that the name CANNABIS CORPSE is a parody of gore loving death metal band CANNIBAL CORPSE (just needed to explain for all NONE of you who weren’t already aware), bassist/vocalist Phil Hall, drummer Josh Hall, and guitarist Ray Suhy take their doobie influenced and (admittedly) humorous metal quite seriously, and this can be heard on their most recent record ‘Left Hand Pass’ which is an absolute monster of an album with smashing guitar riffs, unforgiving guttural screams, and a slight hint of melody that hooks the listener from start to finish.

Simply put: it’s crushing.

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MAJORITY RULE Announce Reunion Benefit Tour For U.S. And Europe

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Beloved hardcore band MAJORITY RULE have reunited after being on hiatus for more than a decade and are about to embark on a benefit and charity tour with fellow hardcore act PAGENINETYNINE. The highly regarded punk outfit will be performing at numerous venues across the U.S. and Europe, and the proceeds from the majority of the U.S. shows will be donated to numerous local arts and charity organizations specializing in the human rights of women, immigrants, refugees, and the LGBT community.

If you’re on the east coast or in Europe, consider getting into the humanitarian spirit by attending a riotous MAJORITY RULE show. The US Benefit and European tour dates are listed below.

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WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM Announce Nationwide Tour, Debut New Track Angrboda [Song Stream]

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American black metal juggernaut WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM are gearing up for a supersized nationwide tour this fall to promote their new album ‘Thrice Woven’. Beginning on September 29th in Boise, Idaho, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM will be pummeling American audiences with their brand of extreme yet atmospheric black metal in venues located in Brooklyn, Atlanta, and many more!

Hit the jump for the full list of tour dates and to hear a stream of WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM’S newly released track Angrboda! The song exemplifies everything great about the band’s ferocious sound that splices the utter brutality of black metal with the ambiance of a synthesized John Carpenter-esque soundtrack. Angrboda is a great track for longtime WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM fans and for those dabbling in the band’s high quality discography for the first time. Check it out below.

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State Of The Art – RUSSIAN CIRCLES

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Welcome to this week’s state of the art! I’m proud to introduce you to the Chicago, Illinois instrumental metal band RUSSIAN CIRCLES: a metal outfit that isn’t constrained by the conventional rules many other metal bands religiously adhere to. Where most metal musicians try to pummel the listener with heavy riffs and pure aggression, instrumental trio RUSSIAN CIRCLES (which formed in 2004 and consists of guitarist Mike Sullivan, bassist Brian Cooke, and drummer Dave Turncrantz) opt for the more subtle and nuanced approach of creating music that emphasizes atmospherics over pure brutality, and the result is emotionally stirring heavy metal that ferries the listener on a musical journey through spiritual highs and lows.

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Review: SEPTICFLESH – Codex Omega [Song Stream]

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It’s cliche to designate a heavy metal album as “epic.” The raging guitar riffs, thunderous bass, thrashing drums, and high pitch screams all create a sound that’s larger-than-life both sonically and thematically, and this go-big-or-go-home mentality was present at the genre’s inception with Black Sabbath and has continued into modernity with bands like Ghost and Avatar because let’s be honest here, if a metal band isn’t “epic” in some capacity or another then it isn’t worth its salt.

With that said, “epic” is the only proper descriptor that encapsulates my feelings on the wonderfully named symphonic death metal band Septicflesh. Originating from Athens, Greece in the mid 1990s and currently consisting of Seth Siro Anton on bass/vocals, Christos Antonou playing the guitar and writing the orchestrals, Sotiris Anunnaki V providing an additional guitar and clean vocals, and Kerim “Krimh” Lechner on drums, Septicflesh is one of the very few metal bands that can gracefully blend the rough brutality of death metal with the awe-inspiring sound of a sweeping orchestra, and this dark yet beautacious sound is ever-so present on Septicflesh’s 10th and most recent studio album ‘Codex Omega’ which is a more than worthy follow-up to their 2014 LP ‘Titan’ due to it being stunning in its scale and punishing in its ferocity.

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Review: PARADISE LOST – ‘Medusa’

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Paradise Lost are an eclectic bunch. Sure, the metal outfit originating from West Yorkshire, UK has consistently released melancholic and depressive doom metal with a bleak nihilistic worldview that allows the listener to ponder the fruitlessness of their own existence (It’s wonderful!), but Paradise Lost have never been afraid to fuse disparate subgenres such as death metal, goth, symphonic black metal, and even electronic dark pop with their Black Sabbath inspired sound.

Indeed, Paradise Lost’s sonic flexibility has ensured every album in their discography sounds fresh and is easy to differentiate from one another, and this was definitely the case with their previous album ‘The Plague Within’ which was a critically acclaimed beast of an LP that ended up being my favorite album of 2015.

However, despite the rave reviews, Paradise Lost only basked in the praise for a limited amount of time before they embarked on the unenviable task of crafting a dynamic and worthy follow-up. Consisting of vocalist Nick Holmes, guitarists Greg Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy, bassist Steve Edmondsen, and new drummer Finn Walttery Vayrynen, Paradise Lost have created a more than worthy successor in their 15th album ‘Medusa’ which is an LP where the band has decided to strip the symphonic black metal elements that were present in ‘The Plague Within’ in favor of focusing on the doom and sludge sound that made the band so successful in the first place, and with the aid of producer Jaime Gomez Arellano, ‘Medusa’ is a great album with crushing riffs that wallop the listener akin to a strike from a ten ton hammer. Continue reading

Review: DREAM TROLL – ‘The Knight of Rebellion’ [Album Stream]

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How to make what’s old sound new again? This is often the daunting question facing those brave metal bands within the metal sub-genre of the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal (NWOTHM) whose sole desire is to sonically time warp the listener back to the good ole days of 70s and 80s era of heavy metal where wine glass shattering screams, blistering guitar solos, and ridiculously long hair were the norm all while distinguishing themselves as remarkable musicians in their own right.

Inspired and unintimidated by this tough challenge, Dream Troll is an independent band from Leeds, UK who desire to emulate old school metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Rainbow. Consisting of Rob Stringer on vocals, Paul Carter on lead guitar, Matt Baldwinson pulling double duty on rhythm guitar and bass, and Simon Blakelock on drums, Dream Troll has unleashed ‘The Knights of Rebellion’ an incredibly impressive debut album released on May 19th, 2017 that fuses the many disparate elements of classic heavy metal together in order to create a power metal album that is wholly unique in its sound and scope. Continue reading