Author Archive

Wartorn – Iconic Nightmare

Southern Lord has been making some serious inroads to seedy underbelly of dark, crusty hardcore in the last couple of years. Their roster was originally accented with the likes of Nails, The Secret and Masakari, but has most recently seen the addition of bands like Wolfbrigade and Martyrdod. Now continuing on in that vein, and […]

All Pigs Must Die – Nothing Violates This Nature

For those unfamiliar with All Pigs Must Die, they’re essentially a supergroup comprised of members, both currently and formerly, from acts such as The Hope Conspiracy, Converge, The Red Chord, and Blood Horse. Two surprises come out of this musical juggernaut’s output: firstly their sound is not what you’d expect, and secondly this group is […]

Whiskey Ritual – Narconomicon

Black n roll is a genre that appeals to me greatly despite no one act single-handedly nailing the genre niche. Certainly there are bands that have touched upon it’s appeal in spurts and moments of greatness, but I have yet to encounter a beginning-to-end album that tackles this style and does it well consistently. Enter  […]

Torch Runner – Committed To The Ground

Twelve songs in 22 minutes. And two of the songs are a combined 9 minutes of play time. You do the math and this equals grind. Ferocious, venomous grind. North Carolina’s Torch Runner are devastating, and on their debut album, Committed To The Ground, these guys waste no precious seconds in letting the listener attempt to […]

Nachtmystium – Silencing Machine

Nachtmystium´s progression has been almost Odyssian in nature. Starting as relatively by-the-numbers black metal, the Chicago act, led by vocalist/guitarist Blake Judd, took a fork in the road to explore their own experimental and progressive journey over the course of a few releases while the glut of black metal dabbled in post-metalisms and writing aimless […]

Xibalba – Hasta la Muerte

Xibalba, the 5-piece from southern California, not to be confused with the other half dozen or so bands who share the same name, had already shown potential on their debut, Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias, which we reviewed last year, but their sophomore album, Hasta La Muerta, makes good on their stylistic growth in […]

Alaric/Atriarch – Split

I think I’m about the last person to check out Atriarch’s Forever The End, an album that lit up many year-end lists in 2011… What can I say? There are a lot of records to keep up with. However after sampling their craft via this split album, I’ll be looking for that debut ASAP. But not before […]

Author & Punisher – Ursus Americanus

Mechadoom. Color me jealous I didn’t come up with the term, but damned if Decibel didn’t hit the nail on the head with that genre descriptor when trying to concisely convey the sound of Author & Punisher. Hey, if the shoe fits, wear it, and this shoe sounds just like “mechadoom”. Ursus Americanus is the fourth overall album from the […]

Crooked Necks – Alright Is Exactly What Isn’t

In recent years it’s been increasingly difficult to accurately describe the growing sect of acts that co-opt black metal stylings with a variety of other genres, if only for brevity’s sake. “Umm, they’re kinda like atmospheric, psychedelic black metal with some shoegazey parts, blah blah…” Speaking only for myself, when a description such as “black metal” gets […]

Seas Will Rise – Disease Is Our Refrain

Brevity in musical descriptions goes a long ways in my book. Less IS more. Much like Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory”, it gives credit to the beholder’s imagination to not just fill in the blanks, but to also not have their interpretation of the art limited to someone else’s view. It gives more freedom to the appreciator. […]

Skinny Puppy – hanDover

Skinny Puppy is an institution. Let’s just get that out of the way right out of the gate. Even if you’ve never heard them, you’ve heard of them. What’s tricky about reviewing a new album from the industrial/electronic pioneers is the question: do you cater to the potential new listeners who haven’t taken the plunge, […]

Landmine Marathon – Gallows

Landmine Marathon is a band I’ve always loved on paper. Stylistically, the world needs a band like them. That is to say, a younger band to take on the no-frills metal battery style that Nihilist, Bolt Thrower (and many other early Earache Records bands) helped pioneer close to 20 years ago, balancing groove with grind, […]

Despise You/Agoraphobic Nosebleed – And On And On…Split

It makes sense that Agoraphobic Nosebleed did a split with Despise You. The band has worn proudly on their sleeve their love for grinding power-violence through the shirts they wear, songs they’ve covered, and singer Jay Randall’s very own free record label, Grindcore Karaoke. But they didn’t just have a flavor-of-the-month powerviolence band to do […]

Xibalba – Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias

Xibalba are five-piece from southern-california who play a slightly throwback inspired take on metallic hardcore. Fortunately that throwback flair is drawing inspiration from some incredibly heavy acts such as Disembodied and Bloodlet. A sound and delivery where the common thread is in their use of down-tuned, simple chugging riffs, with a dark and menacing motif. […]

Inevitable End – The Oculus

Talk about a breath of fresh air. With so much deathcore aping, tech-metal trying to out-tech itself and post-ironic hipster dabbles in the world of heaviness, it’s relief to accidentally come across a record in 2011 that is visceral and extreme without any novelty kitsch. The adventitious record I’m referring to is The Oculus from […]

Acephalix – Interminable Night

Acephalix initially caught my attention in 2010 with their album Aporia, released on Prank Records. That record eventually got an honorary mention on my ‘Best of 2010’ list, in no short part because it had a unique combination of metal and hardcore, and while I realize that sounds like nothing new, they turn this seemingly […]

Anaal Nathrakh – Passion

The differences between the last four records from the UK’s preeminent black metal duo, Anaal Nathrakh, have been subtle and nuanced; so much so that it can really make a reviewer feel like a complete nitpicker. This is where being a fan of the band’s abrasive-yet-dynamic black metal shredding, and perceiving their subtle shifts under […]

Horseback – The Gorgon Tongue: Impale Golden Horn/Forbidden Planet

Horseback is a unique musical entity that challenges the definition and boundaries of the epithet “band”. Of course this notion isn’t entirely new. Many musical outlets exist that seem to morph in and out of “projects” or “collaborations” and so on without being decidedly active or touring regularly. And when the style of musical output […]

Blood Ceremony – Living With The Ancients

It’s great when a press release can succinctly provide the fodder a journalist needs to describe a release without fluff — only descriptions, points of reference and a little background. BOOM. BAM. DONE. However, a simple bio regurgitation from a writer does not a good review make. So let’s elaborate on Canada’s Blood Ceremony and […]

Rotten Sound – Cursed

When Finland’s Rotten Sound release an album, it’s always with a certain level of expectation. Certainly musically and sonically, even aesthetics are key, but what always keeps new releases from them exciting isn’t just the consistency, it’s the small but important augmentations and advances to their blistering grind that always seem to elevate their craft […]

Lifelover – Sjukdom

I first became acquainted with Lifelover about a year ago with their album Konkurs — a promising listen that hinted at unique ideas, cross-genre pollination and other experimentation within the black metal framework. Equal parts Katatonia melancholy and suicidal black metal—the mix had great melodies, buzzing guitars and exasperated vocals that balanced well with subtle […]

Zao – Parade of Chaos

So, like most people, I have been in the dark about Zao the past several months. I’ve heard rumors of members leaving, old ones coming back, a possible break up and whatever else was on the Internet rumor mill. I was holding my breath in anticipation to see what would happen with this seminal metallic […]

Red Chord, The – Fused Together in Revolving Doors

Fused Together In Revolving Doors hit me like an uppercut to the balls, rendering me in pain on the ground only able to lay motionless while the heavy breathing and bristling of this band snarled in my ear. Imagine Converge as a death metal band and that’s approximately the feeling I get from The Red […]

Underoath – The Changing of Times

Although this five-piece from Florida is new to me – apparently they have two other releases out. Not sure if those first two matter or not, but their newest one, on Solid State Records, is definitely a double take of an album if there ever was one. And I’m not just speaking of terms of, […]

Bane – Give Blood

As a music genre, I had always thought of hardcore as the middle ground between punk and metal. The ideologies of punk and with the edge and aggressiveness of metal blended perfectly without teetering one way or the other. Generally these days when someone refers to a ‘hardcore’ band it’s more likely they’re speaking about […]