Become a Believer in Autotheism

For fans of Between the Buried and Me, Opeth and Necrophagist

If you’re a fan of The Faceless, you’re probably wondering why I’ve listed Opeth and Between the Buried and Me as similar artists.  “The Faceless is technical death metal, not progressive,” you’re probably saying, while starting arguments in the comments section of a Youtube video.  True, their previous releases were tech metal through and through.  However, Autotheism, which was released on August 14th, is about as progressive as it gets.  Yes, it’s a strange transition.  But it still freaking rocks. Read more of this post

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Incurso Will Devour Your Soul

For fans of Necrophagist, Obscura, The Faceless and Origin

I’m going to start off by saying  HOLY SHIT, LOOK AT THE ALBUM ARTWORK!!!  It’s like H.P. Lovecraft combined his worst nightmares with the darkest and most horrifying secrets of the universe, which subsequently birthed a creature so vile that its very existence is a fundamental contradiction of logic.  Seriously, don’t stare at it too long, you’ll lose your mind. Read more of this post

Periphery II: Back With a Vengeance

Here we are with Periphery II, the second album from melodic djent-metalers (I know they probably hate that term by now) Periphery. I’ve been following Periphery for a while now, through all the different singer changes, and I have to admit that somehow this release had fallen off my radar a bit.

Maybe the lack of enthusiasm stemmed from the last album basically being a bunch of Bulb (guitarist Misha Mansoor’s alter ego) songs being redone. To be honest, I can’t even to begin to count how many times I’ve been let down by new releases by some of my favorite bands. Call it the sophomore slump, or whatever else, but it almost seems pointless to build anticipation for an upcoming album these days.

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Wretched Returns with Son of Perdition

For fans of Between the Buried and Me, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Opeth

I never expected Wretched’s 2010 sophmore release, Beyond the Gate, to be as good as it was. It was leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor, The Exodus of Autonomy, and featured some of the most impressively original songwriting I had heard from an American death-metal band in a very long time. Well, the Northern Carolina metalheads have returned with their follow-up, Son of Perdition, last month, and though it may not be as huge a leap forward as Beyond the Gate was, it’s another strong offering from one of the most underrated emerging bands in death metal.

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The Conceal Pull No Stunts

Image

I’m not going to lie, I’m fighting off a massive hangover today. The only music existing in my media library that can supplement how shitty I feel is the debut release from San Jose natives The Conceal, entitled Endless River | Stunted Prayer, which just hit the internet like a cheap whiskey-infused dirty bomb last Monday. Since then, my ears have been giving it a lot of attention and I am enthusiastically impressed by this new act coming from the South Bay (aka that place where a bunch of bands try to sound like Dredg, Circa Survive, and anything Post-Rock).

The Conceal is a reboot of Flood Peak, headed by Mike McClatchey (ex-Clearing Autumn Skies, Apiary, Early Graves) that features a few down-tuned, slower rehashes of songs from Flood Peak’s EP Filling Flasks along with mostly new material. This being said, anyone expecting The Conceal to be anything like its former incarnation will be in for a big surprise. Endless River | Stunted Prayer is a 45 minute masterpiece of doom, sludge, feedback, and industrial influenced shit-rock that brings a refreshing sense of creativity to heavy music. There is no mimicry or trend-following here, only trendsetting.

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Eclipse Leaves Listeners in the Dark

My first thought upon hearing the first few minutes of Veil of Maya’s new record: “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!” I couldn’t tell if this was some kind of joke. It sounds exactly like the last record. And the last record sounded exactly like the one before that. I’m really at a loss as to how the band could put this record out and not think it sounds too much like their previous albums.

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Get Some ‘R&R’

Mureau play a style of music that’s familiar yet uncommon. They mix what I’ll call “djenty chug-core” along with hard rock choruses. Separately, these genres are extremely common. However, I’m hard pressed to think of many bands that sound like this. The first one that comes to mind is Bad News era Ligeia. For whatever reason, this is a style that hasn’t gained a lot of popularity, but Mureau are quite successful at executing it.

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Crawl Into The Harvest Wombs

I don't know what's happening here, but I'm sure it's awesome.

As I’ve mentioned before, Metal is a hit-or-miss genre. It’s rare to find a band that plays incredible music while still being able to experiment with their sound. There are a few names that come to mind when I say that: Opeth, Meshuggah, The Black Dahlia Murder, Obscura, among others. However, when a band comes virtually out of nowhere and puts out a stellar album with all the right skill, sound and experimentation, it’s truly a thing of beauty. The reason I say this is because a band has just recently done exactly that. A band from right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. They’re called Fallujah, and they’ve set a new standard for Technical and Atmospheric Death Metal with their first full length album, The Harvest Wombs. Read more of this post

For The Hundredth Time

For fans of: It Prevails, Counterparts, Saints Never Surrender, Life in Your Way, Shai Hulud

From Myrtle Beach, SC comes Hundredth, a melodic hardcore band whose roots can be firmly traced to the punk/ hardcore genres. Their second full length, Let Go, shows tremendous growth from their previous release. When Will We Surrender was a solid album, but felt fragmented at times. Hundredth have rectified the mistakes of their past, and delivered a very cohesive record. It never feels forced or contrived.

This emphasis on cohesion actually starts from the very beginning. The intro “Let Go” has a similar picking/chord pattern to the beginning of the last song “Hurt” (a cover of Johnny Cash version of the Nine Inch Nails song – DOUBLE COVER!). The album ebbs and flows through a variety of musical and vocal styles. You’ll hear traditional hardcore breakdowns, epic buildups, as well as punky uptempo parts.

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DEAD ON ARRIVAL: Opeth Is No Longer Opeth.

I just want to start off by saying that I have a bit of a bias in this review: Opeth is my all time favorite band. I even have their logo tattooed on my right forearm to prove how much I obsess over them. There has never been a Progressive Metal band with such musicianship and talent like these guys. When people think of Opeth, they think of masterpiece albums like Ghost Reveries and Blackwater Park, which included equal amounts of ear-raping death metal and somber acoustics with beautiful clean vocals. These Swedes have been doing that for over 20 years, and we still can’t get enough of it. In 2008, they released Watershed which was still metal as fuck, but leaned a bit more towards their softer side — but even still, it was goddamn amazing. We couldn’t wait to hear what their new album would bring. After three years of waiting, they finally released Heritage… and it wasn’t exactly what anyone expected.

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Hold up Your Horns for The Hunter

mastodon the hunter

In 2009, Mastodon swept the metal masses off their feet with their comparably slower, melodic epic, Crack the Skye. I’ll admit, before that record, Mastodon and I were only acquaintances in the metal spectrum – we’d hang out every once in a while, I’d always play their songs on Guitar Hero, but they weren’t a band that had earned their spot as one of my favorite bands. Crack the Skye changed everything, it cemented a regular spot in my playlists, and somehow, those proggy bastards found a way to outdo themselves yet again with 2011’s The Hunter.

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Speaking Volumes “Via” Breakdowns

For fans of: Periphery, Meshuggah, After the Burial

From Los Angeles, CA comes a group of young genre-benders called Volumes. Their sound can be described as a mix between chuggy “djent,” and post-rock flavored melody. Upon first listen, I found the album to be rather frustrating: the band’s chugging sections became very monotonous compared to the more melodic sections. My interest would be briefly piqued, but then I’d sit around waiting for the next memorable section.

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Sounds Like My Idols Fading

sounds of a playground fading

So here we are in yet another familiar situation: In Flames has put out a new studio album, and the metal community faces yet another controversial release from the (now) infamous Swedes. In case you aren’t up to speed with In Flames’ discography, every release they’ve put out since 2002’s Reroute to Remain has been met with mixed reactions – that was until 2008’s A Sense of Purpose, which was met with just about universal disappointment. In my opinion (and in many others’), A Sense of Purpose was undoubtedly the group’s weakest offering, and in turn made a whole lot of us dread the release of its follow up.

That brings us to Sounds of a Playground Fading, In Flames’ tenth full-length album, and despite having what’s probably the worst album title in all of meta everl, it’s actually not completely terrible.

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Limp Bizkit’s in the House…But You’ll Stay in the Closet

Limp Bizkit

Before we get started ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make:

I….was a big Limp Bizkit fan and honestly, still enjoy them.

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Green Shows His Colours with a Little Hell

It’s been three years since Alexisonfire singer/guitarist Dallas Green blew us away with Bring Me Your Love, the second solo-album released under Green’s literal alias City and Colour. What began as a well-kept secret only hardcore Alexis fans knew about became a critical and commercial hit, catapulting Green’s career to what some might say is even higher than that of his original band.

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Bring Your Daughters

There’s a lot of music out there. A LOT. Much of it, you’ll probably never find, never hear, or never give a shit about if you do hear it. I spent a good portion of the last decade actually trying to hear a lot of it and coming to the conclusion that a lot of that mustic is terrible. Every once in a while, I’ll find a gem. Daughters was one of those gems for me.

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They Say it Gets Lonely on the Top

YOU CAN'T TRUST THE SYSTEM!

I have so many great memories with the guys from The Lonely Island over the years. I still remember the first time I watched “The Backseatsman,” following each episode of “The ‘Bu” religiously, and trying to explain to my friends how whitening your teeth would bring up the real estate value of your mouth. Naturally, when news got out that a follow-up to 2009’s colossal hit Incredibad was coming out, I was pretty stoked. Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer return with Turtleneck & Chain, released last week, and though this album took a few listens to really grow on me, it’s definitely a solid fake-rap comedy album that you need to have.

Now I’ll be up front with you, it’s a little odd to review a comedy album. Since comedy is so subjective, I can’t really sit here and tell you if this album is truly funny or not, but there are so many great moments on this record that everyone can enjoy. Both old school Lonely Island fans and newcomers alike will find a lot of laughs on this album.

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Dredg Tries to Make You Chuckle

Dredg - Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy

From the moment I heard the title for Dredg’s new album, Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy, I knew it would be a bit different. Little did I imagine that it would not just be a little different, but the type of different where helmets are mandatory and you get to ride the short bus to school.

Dredg has a track record of taking “creative gambles” with their albums. From the Nu-Metal sounds of their Orph EP beginnings to the pop-tastic Catch Without Arms, they have shown a drive to never be contained by one genre. That being said, not ever gamble can pay off. Just like ripping a fart an hour after eating some bomb chinese food, you run the risk of that “oh shit!” moment. The real question is, did Dredg shit their pants on this one?

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DEAD ON ARRIVAL: As Blood Runs Black’s New Album Runs Dry

For fans of watered-down versions of All Shall Perish, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Bury Your Dead, etc.

I’ll give them this: As Blood Runs Black has somehow found a way to make deathcore watered down enough to appeal to a mainstream audience. But what you’ll find in Instinct is an unoriginal, uninspired, and breakdown-dependent excuse for an album, with a laughable Tron-like album cover.

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Fill Your Flask and Get Wrecked to Flood Peak’s New EP

Flood Peak Filling Flasks Cover

There’s something ugly brewing down in San Jose, and it sure as hell isn’t Gordon Biersch. I finally got my hands on Filling Flasks, the debut EP from Flood Peak, featuring Peter Layman, Mike McClatchey, and Jake Wright. I’ve been following Layman and McClatchey’s sonic endeavors very closely over the past 8 years (Clearing Autumn Skies, Something Must Die, Apiary, Early Graves) and they’ve always struck me as musicians who write ahead of the curve in the originality department. Flood Peak is no exception.

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