Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Top 10 Dream Theater Tracks For Metalheads

Let me start by acknowledging that this article was born in my mind after reading an Invisible Oranges article that was reflecting on Dream Theater's sophomore album, Images and Words, turning 25 years old. Anyone who knows me personally or has read this blog more than a few times probably knows by now that Dream Theater was a seminal gateway band for me after my initial days of listening to hard rock and mainstream metal on the local radio station. Because of that history, despite how my metal tastes have and will continue to change, I will always consider myself a Dream Theater fan (I can hear your collective sighs.....they fuel me).

So, after reading the aforementioned article, I put my thinking cap on and asked myself, "What Dream Theater tracks could potentially sway metal fans who wouldn't normally consider themselves Dream Theater fans (or even better, actually HATE Dream Theater)?"

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Elder - Reflections of a Floating World

Sometimes it can be hard for me to write reviews, typically for one of two reasons. Sometimes an album will be really bad, in which case I don't want to write about it because I don't like writing negative reviews most of the time.  Other times an album will be really good, and I'll love it, and I'll start writing a review of it, and then after a week of work, I'll read my draft and discover all I've written is "Uh... Falls of Rauros' Vigilance Perennial is really, really good" 10,000 times, like a much more upbeat, sort of less alcoholic, still batshit crazy Jack Torrance.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Exclusive Interview - Jun-His & Ontto (Oranssi Pazuzu)

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jun-His and Ontto of Oranssi Pazuzu at their very first US show at St. Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY 2 days before they hit Maryland Deathfest. We talked about expectations for a US show, making a name for themselves in Finland, Roadburn, and overall fan reception to their style of play. Also joining in on the interview is Nine Circles contributor and fellow Finn, Zyklonius.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Exclusive Interview - David Rodgers (Godhunter)

banner image courtesy of CvltNation
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down via Skype with David Rodgers of Godhunter and Battleground Records to chat about the band's upcoming Codex Narco, out this Friday.  Our conversation touched on the band's different process in writing and recording this album, cover songs, and the merits of releasing music online.  It's one of my all-time favorite interviews that I've done, and I really hope you enjoy it!  And don't forget to check out Codex Narco, which is a pretty fantastic album!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Exclusive Interview - Will Smith (Artificial Brain)

photo credit : Invisible Oranges
 Arriving in Philadelphia for the Decibel Metal and Beer Fest on Saturday afternoon, I sought out Artificial Brain vocalist and all around great guy Will Smith to talk about the band's brand new album, Infrared Horizon, the untimely passing of FDNY firefighter and drummer of Internal Bleeding; Bill Tolley, and the death metal scene as a whole.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Ditch and the Delta - Hives in Decline

As I was perusing the ol' Töp inbox the other day, looking for promos, I came across a band described as an "exploratory sludge/math metal trio."  Suffice it to say my trousers became a smidge tighter at that combination of words, and so I downloaded the debut album from Salt Lake City's The Ditch and the Delta, Hives in Decline.  Was my semi-chub, brought on by musically erotic thoughts of an Eagle Twin/Dillinger Escape Plan sex scene, brought to full mast?  Or would I be left with doomy blue balls?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Godhunter - The Codex Narco

For a band that's only been around for six or so years, Godhunter sure has been busy.  In addition to their stellar debut full-length City of Dust, they've put out six EPs, splits, or collaborations, each of which has seen their brand of sludge pulled and tweaked in different directions.  Their newest album, Codex Narco, continues that pattern, but with another, bigger twist: after a 2015 tour, a few members of the band left amicably, leaving guitarist/vocalist David Rodgers, drummer Andy Kratzenberg, and keyboardist Matthew Davis in the band.  Rather than find new members to flesh out a lineup, the trio invited musicians from other bands to play on Codex Narco.  There's no point in burying the lede; the result is a really cool album that's rooted in Godhunter's traditional sludge sound, while still charging forward.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Dakhma - Suna Kulto

Last year, Oathbreaker landed on many a year end list for blending ambiance with the aggression of hardcore. While it was a release that I thoroughly enjoyed, it seemed to delve too far into tranquility, without striking the necessary balance with the volatile energy that hardcore is known for. I loved the idea of the sound, but ultimately wanted something a little more relentless. "Ask and you shall receive" is what I remember thinking to myself immediately after listening to Suna Kulto, the latest release from Grand Rapids, Michigan three-piece Dakhma. Every year there's bound to be an album or two that I miss out on before I put my year end list together; you can count this one as a huge miss for 2016.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Memoriam - For The Fallen

Few bands have the clout in the death metal community that Bolt Thrower did; their name was synonymous with crushing riffs and war themed death metal. But when the band decided to call it quits after the death of drummer Martin "Kiddie" Kearns, many a tear was shed on the battlefield. Enter Memoriam and their debut For The Fallen, the first new material of a Bolt Thrower collective since 2005's Those Once Loyal. Will For The Fallen be the great tribute to a friend with a classic sound?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

Mastodon is a band that needs no introduction; they are on the shortlist of bands that have influenced and defined the genre thus far in the 21st Century.  Since their crushing debut Remission in 2002, the quartet has released five more albums, including back-to-back-to-back classics in Leviathan, Blood Mountain, and Crack the Skye, before falling back to earth and releasing two intermittently enjoyable, but really only ok to good albums in The Hunter and Once More 'Round the Sun.  Mastodon's rapid ascent to the top of Critical Reception Mountain early in their career has only made their two-album slide all the more questioned: Were they trying to be more accessible and get a radio hit?  Were they burnt out?  Does Brent Hinds really hate playing in a metal band?  Did they really just fluke their way into three All-Time albums?  Fair or not, their seventh album, Emperor of Sand, feels like a make or break album for the band, one that will either return them to metal prominence as a great band, or seal their fate as a good band that had a transcendent six years once.  So, you know, no pressure.