Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Coffinworm - IV.I.VIII

It's rapidly approaching springtime here in Chicago, with baseball, barbecues, and other summer goodness finally near at hand. It's been a hell of a winter here, with lots of snow and even more cold, so I'm definitely stoked to be able to put on a pair of shorts, grab an ice cold beer, and commence my acquisition of some good ol' melanoma. Yet there's a part of me that's going to miss winter. Maybe it's just Stockholm Syndrome, but as the days warm and the fair maidens of Chicago find less and less reason to cover up, I just find myself yearning for frigid temperatures, longing for a sense of cold bleakness that seems endless. I'm sure I'm not alone; spring is great for being outside, but it's pretty shitty for contemplating the futility of life, which is necessary thought process for a Monday morning. Luckily for myself and everyone else looking for a bit of misanthropy to accompany their sunshine, Indianapolis' Coffinworm has returned with IV.I.VII, an album that will make the next Polar Vortex feel like a balmy 70 degrees.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Exclusive Interview - Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) #2

It was with great pleasure that Durf and myself were able to sit down and chat this past Saturday with Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess. In what was certainly the fanciest place we've ever conducted an interview, we ended up talking about the intricacies of what has gone into Dream Theater's current tour, thoughts on their latest album, and Jordan's best interpretation of the term "progressive music."

Check out the full interview after the break!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Animals As Leaders - The Joy of Motion

Whether you love or hate the whole djent movement, at least you have the instrumental trio in Animals As Leaders to thank for the good things that developed out of it all. On previous releases like their 2009 self-titled debut and 2011’s Weightless, the group has developed expectations for what forthcoming releases should sound like. For instance, such expectations might include Meshuggah-esque grooves and electronic soundscapes, melded with other-worldly technical abilities from lead guitarist Tosin Abasi; the outcome being something that’s usually both heavy and varied. In other words, the bar was set high for their latest release, The Joy of Motion…..but perhaps a little too high. Ultimately, The Joy of Motion fails to captivate as much as its predecessors had. With the majority of the songs sounding more like warm-up exercises than they do actual songs, it makes you question whether or not this album should’ve actually been called The Joy of Going Through the Motions.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Trenchrot - Necronomic Warfare

2014 has been a year that has been slow to materialize with great metal. Thankfully Unspeakable Axe Records have unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses a debut from a death metal band that isn't afraid to be traditional as well as adding other not so common elements to their sound. They thrash and bash their way through this album with what seems like a relentless assault from the early '90s, but it is when you subscribe to this notion that they surprise you... with melody. Enter Trenchrot and their debut Necronomic Warfare.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Godhunter - City of Dust

"We live now in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, government destroys freedom, press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy."  This is the soundbite that opens City of Dust, the second full-length album from Arizona's Godhunter.  Before the band plays a single note, they let you know this is going to be a heavy album topically; when the distorted, fuzzed-out riff kicks in immediately after the audio sample, they show you it's going to be a heavy album period.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sunn O))) & Ulver - Terrestrials

Full-on band collaborations seem to be a rarity in extreme music these days.  Splits don't count, as typically those aren't collaborations but merely each band releasing their material on one side of an album.  Sometimes you'll see lone musicians combine talents, like Steven Wilson and Mikael Akerfeldt's Storm Corrosion, or a vocalist will embark upon a different project with other musicians, like Chino Moreno of Deftones joining Isis (R.I.P.) for Palms, but rarely do you see the full creative process of two bands working together to create something unique.  So it was definitely exciting when late last year I caught word of a long-gestating project between mysterious drone titans Sunn O))) and chameleonic metal band Ulver.  Sunn O))) has long been a favorite of mine for their intense, suffocatingly oppresive ambience, and while I'm not as familiar with Ulver, I knew that they were a band that began with a black metal album before moving through genres and mixing things up, never content to stagnate.  Two bands that place full emphasis on creating music that appeals to them, with seemingly little to no regard for commercial or critical success, working together... why yes please, I WOULD like to listen to that!  Terrestrials, the album that resulted from the bands' collaboration, is a breathtakingly dense album that is content to move glacially for most of it's thirty-five minute runtime, but when it opens up, it rewards the listeners who traversed the audio fog.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Behemoth - The Satanist

I've been trying to complete this review for the better part of a week, and it's really not going so hot.  I keep trying to figure out and rationalize why that is, whether it's been my work schedule, the Super Bowl, whatever number Polar Vortex this is, sheer laziness... nothing is off the table.  Well, that's not quite true.  The one thing I haven't considered is that maybe I'm just not into this record, and I really try hard to only review records about which I have something to say.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Murmur - Murmur

Murmur is a band from Brutalitopia's hometown of Chicago, IL.  They've been around for just about three years, releasing their debut album, Mainlining the Lugubrious, in 2010 and following that up with a split with Nachtmystium the next year.  They're still a fairly new band, and this month sees the band release their self-titled second album through Season of Mist.  I hadn't heard of the band until I saw the artwork over at Cvlt Nation; when that site started streaming Murmur, I decided to give it a listen and see what these local boys had going.  Turns out it was one of my better decisions.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Exclusive Interview - Ryan Wenzel (Tempel)

Yesterday, Durf and I sat down for a little skype chat with Ryan Wenzel, guitarist for instrumental duo Tempel. Durf wrote a review for their debut self released album, "On the Steps of the Temple," in September, but this black metal oriented act has enjoyed some well deserved recognition as of late. After the break, take a listen to our interview with Ryan where we dig into everything you'd possibly want to know about Tempel and more.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Alcest - Shelter

While it’s an unsurprising move to make, French “blackgaze” act Alcest takes out the “black” and focuses more on the “gaze” on their fourth full length release, Shelter, it still leaves a little something to be desired. Let me clarify what I mean when I say “taking out the black.” There is a complete, total, all-encompassing lack of metal influences on Shelter, which perhaps is where the concept of “shelter” comes in, but we’ll cover that in a bit. Alcest dishes out nothing but soft easy listening this time around, and while slightly disappointing it’s not necessarily detrimental to the album’s footprint.