I am a writer and music enthusiast based out of the SF Bay Area, California. I’m always interested in discovering new and different music no matter what the genre so feel free to hit me up anytime if you know about something I should be listening to or if you just wanna talk music in general. Peace!
Austrian post-black metal band Harakiri for the Sky returns with their fourth full-length studio album, ‘Arson,’ set for a release date of February 16, 2018 on AOP Records. In the studio, the band consists primarily of only two members – J.J. on vocals and M.S. handling all of the other instrumentation. This time around though the duo brings in veteran death metal drummer, Kerim Lechner to contribute on drums. It’s quite an impressive feat for three guys alone to create such an expansive and emotive array of melancholic and aggressive soundscapes presented on this record. Continue reading →
The long-anticipated, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons debut album, ‘The Age of Absurdity’ is catchy, golden-era hard rock with a modern-day shine. Nuclear Blast is set to release this collection of eleven songs and one bonus track (“Silver Machine,” a Hawkwind cover) on January 26, 2018. The album was recorded during the summer of 2017 and Phil Campbell had this to say about the process, “I am really excited for the fans to hear our debut record. Every part of the process was done in Wales, from the writing to the recording, and even the artwork!” ‘The Age of Absurdity’ was recorded at Rockfield Studios and Longwave Studios in Wales and produced by Romesh Dodanga (Motörhead, Bullet for my Valentine). Continue reading →
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state*
This month’s State is Nebraska!
Garoted are a death metal band hailing from Lincoln, Nebraska.Their style is brutally heavy and blazingly fast in the spirit of the classic, old-school American Death Metal greats. With the speed and intensity of Deicide; the chaotic guitar melodies of Morbid Angel; the crushing breakdown heaviness of Suffocation; and some Cannibal Corpse technicality and gore thrown in for good measure; what you have is a sound that any fan of true death metal can find enjoyable. Continue reading →
Recently, I had the great opportunity to interview Noor, the lead vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, and co-founding member of LA-based, black metal band, NorthWind Wolves. After reviewing NWW’s latest album, ‘Dark… Cold… Grim…’ and being impressed by their music, I was honored to be able to speak directly to the man himself. He graciously opened up about everything including his own personal musical journey and influences, the origins of the band, and even helped clear up some misconceptions and rumors floating around the internet.
Noor’s story is definitely an enthralling one, and one that really speaks to the drive of a musician’s passion to pursue his art. With a deep look into the mind of a true black metaller, and without any further hesitation, please enjoy this riveting interview with Noor of NorthWind Wolves: Continue reading →
Harm’s Way is a band that some may find difficult to categorize. Originally formed in Chicago, Illinois in 2006 as a casual side project playing fast-paced powerviolence and hardcore punk; the band has since gone through several metamorphoses, and over the years, have slowed down their pace and leaned more toward a down-tuned “metal” sound. We can throw around labels all day such as hardcore, metalcore, death metal, nu-metal, industrial, thrash metal, groove metal, sludge, and the list goes on and on. Certainly, influences of all these genres can be heard in their music. At the end of the day, from what I can tell though, these guys are just simply evolving their style to become the heaviest, most brutal, powerful, in-your-face sounding music they can come up with. There’s no frills or gimmicks; no wank-off guitar solos or whiney ballads; It’s – Just. Plain. Heavy. Whatever you decide to classify them as, Harm’s Way’s latest full-length studio album, ‘Posthuman,’ is the sonic equivalent of a brutally violent ass-beating by a ten-ton sledgehammer. Continue reading →
NorthWind Wolves is a black metal band originating from sunny Los Angeles, California with a sound that feels deceivingly like something conjured from the iciest, deepest regions of Scandinavia. Their aptly-titled, second full-length studio album ‘Dark… Cold… Grim…,’ released on Sweden-based, Black Lion Records in 2017, is precisely as advertised – dark, cold, and grim. What first draws you in to the record is the excellent cover artwork consisting of a mist-engulfed, moonlit, gothic castle which effectively serves to immerse you, as the listener, into this world. The musical style is symphonic or folkish at times, gritty and nasty others, but overall is firmly rooted in an old-school, melodic black metal sound. Continue reading →
Swedish symphonic black metal band, Mist of Misery release their latest EP, ‘Fields of Isolation’ on Black Lion Records as the second chapter of a two-part series to accompany ‘Shackled of Life,’ the first EP or “mini album” in the series, released earlier 2017. Originally formed in 2010, the quartet currently consists of Mortuz-Denatus on lead vocals and keyboards, Phlegathon on guitar, Livsnekraen on drums, and Damian on bass. On ‘Fields of Isolation,’ they attempt to answer the question, “What would happen if a Scandinavian black metal band in corpse paint partied with Beethoven and Bach?” Continue reading →
Swedish power metal champions, Sabaton and German thrash metal titans, Kreator team up for an epic North American co-headlining tour for early 2018. The Nuclear Blast label mates will be kicking off the outing on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at The Van Buren in Phoenix, Arizona and finally wrapping up at the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Along the way, the two metal juggernauts will hit several other US and Canadian cities during the 24-date schedule. Continue reading →
When you think of “angry” music, what comes to mind? I have a few ideas – maybe some of mine are even the same as yours. Regardless of what you might be thinking “angry” music sounds like, this album will undoubtedly force you to rethink your definition. Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals – ‘Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue’ is, unquestionably, some angry fucking music.
Philip H. Anselmo is a name that might seem familiar – you can remove the “H” if it’s throwing you off. If you’re reading this review, you’re more than likely aware of a band called Down. You may even have heard of another band called Superjoint. You also might know that, in addition to fronting both of these great bands, Anselmo may very well be one of the most prolific names in metal today – as well as the most headlined recently. In between also being one of the most entertaining interviews in the biz, Phil has consistently been working on multiple side project bands including Arson Anthem, Christ Inversion, Southern Isolation, Viking Crown, Eibon, Scour, and En Minor; and running his own label, Housecore Records. On top of all this, his resume includes being the former lead singer of, arguably one of the most influential metal bands of all time – Pantera.
As a pioneer and elder statesman of all things heavy that he clearly is, what can one expect today from what is essentially a Phil Anselmo solo project with a backing band? The answer is tremendously pissed off extreme metal, with influences ranging from hardcore punk and multiple metal subgenres – or as Anselmo himself describes, “This is my contribution to ugly music right this second in a heavy metal vein.”
Following up their 2013 release, ‘Walk Through Exits Only’ the band recorded ‘Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue’ out of Anselmo’s Louisiana home studio between 2015 and 2016. The album is released by Philip’s own Housecore records and produced by Stephen “The Big Fella” Berrigan. The current lineup now consists of Stephen Taylor, transitioning from playing bass in Superjoint to guitar here; Mike DeLeon joining the band on guitar; Walter Howard on bass; and Jose Manuel “Blue” Gonzalez, also of Superjoint, on the drumkit.
Starting off the record is the standout track, “Little Fucking Heroes.” It comes in like a war machine with aggressively fast tremolo riffing and blast beats to set the tone. Phil joins the mix, barking, growling, and spewing out his brash lyrics with the intensity of a demon in a really bad mood. The drumming on this song is satisfyingly violent and relentless as Gonzalez seamlessly alternates between numerous time changes with ferocity and skill. The melodies are dissonant, yet still maintain groove, especially during the slower breakdown sections of the song.
On this record as a whole, the vocals are nothing short of amazing. Throughout the album’s just over forty-six-minute runtime, Anselmo is able to shift between a few different styles and will often switch between them multiple times within each song. His mainstay is his abrasive, raspy, hardcore punk scream; while also incorporating a guttural, death growl for emphasis at times; and a voice that I can best describe as sort of a black metal, Gollum-esque retching that is truly “ugly” yet effective when delivering the brutally honest and abrasive lyrical content presented here.
Next up is “Utopian.” This track begins with a quick, church-like intro before bursting into a chaotic, grindfest. The breakdown comes in the form of a doomy, sludge metal groove with Phil spouting some wickedly sinister lyrics, “Fear… Maligned vengeful obnoxious projections… And believe… The vintage enemy checklist exists…”
Production-wise, this album feels very claustrophobic – perhaps intentionally so – as opposed to a lot of records today going for the big, heavily-compressed, “wall of sound.” By comparison, this sounds much more stripped-down, cold, and raw. The guitars have a muddiness and grit to them, more akin to something like the Melvins. Rather than being clean and polished, there’s a layer of filth and grime that oozes into its sound. It should be noted that none of this takes anything away from the music, however, but rather enjoyably adds to its overall ruthlessness.
“Choosing Mental Illness” is another bludgeoning, heavy tune. It features some excellent grindcore riffage and blast beats, somewhat reminiscent of Napalm Death, while Anselmo goes extra guttural as he brutally growls the warning, “Mark my words…” On “The Ignorant Point,” things shift into frenzied insanity with absurdly dissonant riffing and jarringly chaotic time signatures. Definitely a unique and delightfully unsettling track. “Individual,” one of the longest tracks on the album, clocking in at just under seven minutes, is an all-around badass metal song for several reasons. The crushingly heavy groove/thrash riffs; the chaotic guitar solo from DeLeon; the drumming, featuring some amazing double-bass moments; and the unapologetically blunt lyrics, “Shut the fuck up… And don’t even listen.” It’s unquestionably one of the high points of the album. “Finger Me” is another standout track. It alternates between black metal-style tremolo picking and blast beats, to mid-tempo hardcore riffs, then back again, making for an enjoyably intense listen.
Overall, this record has everything one would want from a Philip H. Anselmo project – testosterone-filled, aggressive, no-nonsense metal with attitude. His decades of experience creating, performing, and recording heavy music is showcased exceptionally here. Over the years, Anselmo has not only consistently surrounded himself with great talent, this project being no exception, but has also thankfully shown no signs of slowing down or going soft. Anselmo himself classifies ‘Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue’ as “Truths, bizarrities, and absurdities.” It’s a fitting description for what may very well be some of the heaviest, most brutal metal he has created to date – something that any fans of extreme music should give a listen to and experience for themselves.
‘Orenda,’ the latest release by Arizona-originated, post-metal band, WITH OUR ARMS TO THE SUN is a spacey, dreamy, melodic metal journey to tranquility. As far as metal goes, this is pretty soothing and mellow stuff. Where a band like SLAYER would make you want to get into the mosh pit and bash skulls in, this is the type of metal, by comparison, that you could read a book to, relax on the couch to after a few healthy bong rips while staring at your black light posters (do those still exist?), or maybe even do a nice yoga session to – hot yoga to keep it more “metal” of course.
Formed in 2012, the Arizona post-metal band has released three full-length studio albums and one EP. Vocalist, Josh Breckenridge originally started the band as a solo project, but then after recruiting his brother Joseph Breckenridge Jr. to play bass, and longtime friend Joseph Leary on guitar, they released their first EP, ‘Delicate Union of Minds’ in 2013.