Category Archives: Album Review

The Trials: July 6

Immortal Release Highly Anticipated  ‘Northern Chaos Gods’ 

The gods of kvlt have risen from their slumber and have thawed out their first record in nine year. Nearly a decade later and Northern Chaos Gods jump out into our mortal world via Nuclear Blast Records. When word first came out regarding this release, the heat was on! And I’m not referring to this unbearable heat wave from the depths of hell! This is the first record without our fun loving black metal shredding panda known Abbath. Could Immortal possibly produce a great Abbath-less album? Would Immortal’s latest become an album we would all pray the sands of time would bury? Will this be an abomination that we would hope our minds would wipe it clean from existence?! Let’s find out shall we.    

Immortal blast open The Wall and presumably charge in with the white walkers in tow with their title track and the appropriately titled “Into Battle Ride” bringing their A-game. Guitarist/frontman Demonaz and drummer Horgh double team in this invasion by sparing no one in these cacophonies of destruction. The duo press forward with “Gates to Blashyrkh” and once you set your metaphorical foot in to this “Gates…” there is no turning back because if that intro didn’t entice you walk deeper in to this fresh album, then the rest of this track will.  

“But J-Ohster, I want something faster and cooler because it’s so damn hot outside! EEEEK! I know what you mean but don’t worry, I got what you need. Have you heard of “Called to Ice” yet? Well now you have! This track is not only brutal AF and as unforgivable as the tundras, but it’ll also cool you down because of the excess sweat on ya from all that moshing therefore cooling down your overheated body. SCIENCE. “Where Mountains Reign” recaptures the old school magick Immortal won us over with, hell you can even feel the arctic winds when you play this track. *Bundles up* Immortal are the kings of the North and certainly silence skeptics and shine brighter than the northern snow at sunrise. Abbath’s departure and their nine year break didn’t make these lads rusty, not one bit. Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here.

6/6, Hails Immortal!

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Hanzel und Gretyl Chill Out With ‘Satanik Germanik’ 

Four years ago we got lost in the Black Forest Metal with the industrial duo and all we got was definitely not a review. Ask and you shall receive! As in a review for Hanzel Und Gretyl’s latest album Satanik Germanik which was released via Metropolis Records. After settling in to this imaginary woodland area, we have gotten in touch with the elements and we’re all sorts of fucked up and spiritual in this one. What do I mean? I’m not sure… but allow me to elaborate.

The collective begin this unholy affair with the atmospheric and instrumental “Golden Dammerung” which is chalk full of traditional monk chanting (sorry if my ignoramus is showing), tribal drums. Its like you know a sacred trial is about to begin, too bad PE was never your subject. Better luck next time! If you’re diggin’ this mix, you have not heard the last of these enchanted chanters. Frontwoman Vas Kallas’s signature stubbly vocals greet listeners in the sly “We Rise As Demons.” “I Am Bad Luck” will put a spell on you once you let that alluring slow tempo and Vas Kallas soft words wrap it’s hands around your neck and you will take it because you want this psycho little track to feel better. *Catches breath* “Hellfire Und Grimmstone” will be stuck in your head long after you play the track not just because of that contagious beat/riff from Kaizer Von Loopy.

Now that Hanzel Und Gretyl have helped you find your center, they will pick up the pace with “Trinken Mit Der Kaizer (Die Bierz From Hell)” because even though we found our zen spot doesn’t mean we ain’t lookin’ for a good time! In “Weisseswald,” Vas Kallas’s bass creeps out into the introduction right before Von Loopy swoops in with his strings, let me have it! The album ends the same way it started, with a tinge of nirvana titled “Kinamreng Kinatas.” This finale has the perfect mixture of chanting, church bells and the steady paced metal elements from the duo.

Don’t be fooled by the Satanik Germanik title, sure the J-Ohster was expecting a brutal and face melting album such as their previous releases BUT that does not mean yours truly was disappointed. This record is an album has the perfect balance of zen and the heavy metal, it’s like the metalhead that found their happy place through metal yoga! Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here and see how you feel about it.  

4/6,  Ist gut!          

Vontrov Guide Us ‘Through A Once Closed Passage’ 

Local one man band and our First Impression alumni, Vontrov, will give us a new and full fix of black metal to calm our shakes. That’s right, no more teasing, no more (epic) EP’s but a whole and full length album titled Through A Once Closed Passage. Even though this independent album will not reign over this heat until July 27, talking about this debut was a must. Will front man/multi instrumentalist Arevera shimmer in this album? Will this Passage be the beginning of an unforgettable journey? Grab your witch, your lion and the Prince Caspian near you because we gon tear through this wardrobe!

Vontrov guides us deep into the darkness with “Wicked in the Eyes of God.” This track begins with a whispery growl that will slowly seep out like the Silent Hill mist and then BAM! Arevera unleashes his intro riffs and a steady but fast paced foundation courtesy of the drum tempo AND this is all before he unloads his signature thick vocals. Not bad, not bad at all. Another track with a great riff to hook you in is “Past The Jaws of Death” which is a predominantly instrumental piece, BUT you just wait till it approaches the end. “Legion” charges towards the horizon with a tactful pace and will surely crush anything or anyone that dares challenge them. “Omniscient Pt.1,” on the other hand, will gallop slowly before going straight to the jugular.  

“Primeval Desolation” may have a tamer tempo, but this beastly track encircles around its listeners. Do you see what’s lurking in the misty shadow? It’s the title track guiding you back to the frosty light at the end of the forest in this relatively tame track. The LP concludes with an amazing cover of “Open the Gates.” Through A Once Closed Passage not only satisfies your craving for adventure, you wonder what kind of hex Arevera will craft next at his behest because he is the best. Shitty rhymes aside, this debut is only the beginning and what an introduction! Black metal fans will eat this up and even have casuals join the dark side. Be sure to listen and buy the album on July 27 on Vontrov’s bandcamp!

5 out 6, OPEN WIDE!  

The Trials of June 8-29 (with Missed Trials)

June 8

Exmortus Have A Fierce Campaign

Exmortus are not laying down their swords in their latest The Sound Of Steel which was released via Prosthetic Records. In this album they are louder, faster and fiercer, and can you feel your blood flowing already? I can and I haven’t even begun! We charge with “Make Haste” which is an excellent way to start this record because who doesn’t like a good jolt of energy!

We then dive into the belly of the beast and at full force in to the unholy “Feast of Flesh,” just be sure not to touch Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez’s portion of the spoils lest he unleash his rabid growl. Chase Becker’s ungodly riffs are so damn mesmerizing in “Into The Maw Of Hell” it’s a damn sin! “Tempest” and “A Minor Instrumental” will cater to melody mongers! The flurry of calculated riffs and tempo will guide listeners into an uncharted magical territory. In “Victory or Death,” Gonzalez shows off his high pitched battle cry that is sure to give seasoned metalheads a case of nostalgia.

The Sound of Steel  is battle ready and thirsty for blood, honor and possibly tacos! The quartet are filled with wonder and have brewed a brazen record, they are not afraid to show us their axe.  Exmortus will defend your honor in this life and in the next! Listen to the album or you can just check out their bandcamp and buy it there!

6/6, we raise our swords to thee!

June 15

Madball Deliver An Unforgettable ‘Cause’ 

The hardcore veterans have risen with their ninth studio album titled For The Cause via Nuclear Blast Records. Madball keep the ball rolling in their latest and have no signs of slowing down even after 30+ years! “Smile Now Pay Later” and “Tempest” are both as badass as you think, they are the tough guys that can walk the walk! “Rev Up” and “Es Tu Vida” will indeed start a revolution that will go down in history. Kudos to Madball for keeping their tradition of featuring a Spanish track in their record!

When you’re picking yourself up after a rough day, be sure to prescribe yourself “Freight Train” for that extra motivation you need to kick some more ass! “Lone Wolf” paces back and forth in its cage before striking. “For You” is a touching and empowering homage that will help soothe the loss of a loved one and everything in between, leave it to Madball to comfort us. This album is teeming with prolific artists such as Rancid’s Tim Armstrong who also co-produced the album, and Body Count’s Ice T. Madball concludes their album with the smooth reggae sample “For the Cause,” though it would have been an interesting and new treat if Madball would have made a full reggae track. Come on, don’t tell me you are not intrigued by that?

Madball emerge with another real album that does not shy away from life and all the things that come along with it. For The Cause still is that in your face record Madball is so great at creating but beneath that rough exterior lies an experienced and jaded wise man that will help you and give you what you need to get up and get going in this crazy thing called life. Deep right? Well listen to the album on Spotify and see what I mean! And get your copy here.

6/6, The Only Cause

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June 22

Marduk Unleashes The Vicious ‘Viktoria’

The black metal legends return with their latest titled Viktoria which was released through Century Media Records. Marduk are not letting their fair share of controversies deter them from making more material that is sure to appease die hard fans and casual listeners alike. Don’t be fooled by Viktoria, she is a feisty one and has world domination on her mind through the power of black metal of course. You will feel goosebumps form when you hear the alarm sound bite go off right before Marduk unleash the rabid “Werwolf” on to listeners. This single will make your blood curl especially when you hear that barrage of strings unload on to your ear drums.

Can you still hear it howling? “June 44” and “The Last Fallen” are two tracks that you will not forget, not just because they both grab your attention with a great intro but also because their fierce attitude will strike a sense of admiration and uncontrollable headbanging. Ooops! Of course I meant to include you into this bunch too, “Equestrian Blood” now quit horsin’ around! Get it? Anyway, this brutal stallion will trample your enemies and crush your neck because, you guessed it, more headbanging!

The title track is a vicious mistress! Drummer Fredrik Widigs and guitarist Morgan Håkansson burst in at the same time creating a supernova of brutality. Since we’re in the subject of brutal, “Narva” and will gnaw at you and will be a pit pleaser. The album ends with the slow burning “Silent Night” which will give us an opportunity of admiring the collective’s growls and instrumentals prowess. Viktoria may not be as magnetic as their previous release, which is filled with memorable and brutal tracks, BUT it’s still a great album that will appease fans AND will give you a new bitchin’ album to mosh and workout to. Listen to the album on Spotify a d get your copy here. And see what we thought about them last year!

5 out 6, She is a cruel mistress

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June 29

The Night Flight Orchestra Give Us More Nostalgia

The Night Flight Orchestra are moving away from their 70’s-ish sound from their previous album and strutting in with their stunner shades and Jerry curls in their new album titled Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough via Nuclear Blast Records. This brooding heartthrob of an album is PACKING with nostalgia, so grab your leg warmers and hop in the Delorean, we’re taking a trip down nostalgia lane! …Again but this time we’re going on to the 80’s! Duh!

TNFO make a grand entrance with the rock opera-esque “This Time,” just listen to it, you’ll know what I mean and be sure to grab your space helmet before taking off with this track. If you are dying to have an 80’s training montage, look no further because “Turn To Miami” will be the perfect song, you can’t do it Rock! You can’t take away my training song! Are you still immersed in that 80’s craving? “Moments of Thunder” will be the perfect anthem for your victory lap, champ. We need our dosage our cheesy love song and “Lovers In the Rain” will fit that bill and give you hope.

TNFO revisit their 70’s sound in “Pretty Thing Closing In” and it will win you over with its suave melody. The title track is the perfect anthem that will motivate you and push you to the limit! “Paralyzed” will hit the spot and has the best of all worlds. Aside from it having the catchy beat and synthesizers, David Andersson’s riffs makes a nice cameo in this track. This album was a fun ride that will make you dream of the 80’s whether that was your era or not. Bjorn Strind and the rest of the crew capture the lighthearted spirit of this era, take us back! But before you go listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here! And see what the Klown thought about their album last year.

6/6, Play this in the Delorean!

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**Mini Missed Trials**

May 13

Orphic Eye  Gives Us ‘Enlightenment’ In Their Debut EP

Local grindcore act Orphic Eye have released their debut EP Devastation in the Wake of Enlightenment independently. This album will put the May day in May day! What? That doesn’t make any sense? That’s because you haven’t listened to this EP yet and because I might be excited, inebriated and sleep deprived. Oh come on, baby! I’m writing this on 4th of July, it’s ‘Mericuh’s birthday! But that aside, let’s dive in!

Orphic Eye bite the bullet with the vicious “Tsar Catalyst.” The “Tsar…” will demand your attention and you will gladly oblige once you let that the smooth intro slowly slither into your ears, you will be moshing with yourself. We will become Big Brother for this next track because we won’t be able to take our ears away from “Surveillance” and our eyes will be staring at the screen hitting that replay button. Guitarist Matt Ponder, drummer Jack Owens and bassist Elijah Wells team up to crack open this track with a steady and enticing intro that will lure you into the sharp jaws of “Grassfed.” GUILTY! This feisty green track was one of yours truly’s favorite tracks on this album.

For the grand finale we have “Deranged Martyrdom” which will fool the untrained ear in to believing this EP will end with a tamer track. Fritz trades his deep guttural vocals for a higher pitch and shows off his range by throwing in some of shouting that is typically found in punk. Needless to say that this final track was a great way to end this EP. Orphic Eye are still fresh in the scene and nothing will stop them from grinding our eardrums with their brutal brand of grindcore. Devastation in the Wake Of Enlightenment is a great start in their conquest and will give listeners an earful, if you feel you are tough enough, listen and buy your copy of this EP in their bandcamp! And see what we thought about them in our humble beginnings.

5/6, All eyes on them   

**Correction/Fun fact: When this EP was being recorded back in 2016, Orphic Eye had Dillion Defelice lay down all the drum work, and Mike Grimes took over bass duties while Elijah Wells dropped the bass and picked up the guitar for this one. The band then re-recorded and added the final touches for the guitar last year! Special thanks to Matt Ponder for this info 😉**

May 25

Graveyard Prosper With ‘Peace’

The psychedelic Swedes known as Graveyard have returned with their latest album titled Peace via Nuclear Blast Records. The groovy quartet are back from the mother ship to win us back with this record which feels a little different from the rest. “But how J-Oh’ster? You don’t even know who they are? And you can’t even tell the difference between tomato and tomatoe!” you may ask, but first of all that statement is half right all tomato(e)s are the same and let me tell you why this one’s different.

Graveyard give us all a much needed and super groovy pep talk with their first track “It Ain’t Over Yet.” We will rush to Joakim Nilsson’s side when we hear his pained vocals in “Cold Love,” who hurt you Joakim?!  *Sigh* We warned ya, man. There ain’t nothing good from that “L” word, yeah I know my saltiness is showing.You know your worth! So you’re gonna get over your slump by grabbing your favorite shades, and chanclas and be as confident as “Walk On.” This track is a self-assured mofo will make any listener melt and so will you! ;)**

**Works 60% of the time everytime

Graveyard show their wild side in the ironically titled “A Sign of Peace.” Nilsson and guitarist Jonathan Ramm compliment each other with their respective riffs while drummer Oskar Bergenheim and bassist Truls Mörck create a swift and steady foundation. The quartet tone things down with the nostalgic “See The Day.” This track will be a song that will speak to you after a long day and after you tried to go against fate right before it slapped you silly.

That’s okay, you tried dammit! “Please Don’t” will equip you with the motivation you need to press forward, and hearing the keyboard make an appearance in this track was perfect for this rambunctious track. “Bird of Paradise” soars high because how can one ignore that magnetic riff that will slowly carry you off in to the sunset. What makes this album so different? Graveyard ooze a cool confidence that is very contagious and is sure to win you over and hype you up. Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here! 

6 out of 6, ‘Peace’ Among Worlds

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The Trials of June 1

Malison Turns Heads With Debut

The gentlemen in Malison did it! After inking a sexy little record deal with Combat Records, they have delivered a self titled debut album too! Look at how clever you are! You figured it out all on your own 😉 For those that are not familiar with this local heavy metal jewel, please allow yours truly to give you an idea what you’ve been missing out on.

“Beyond The Sun” has an upbeat and steady rhythm provided by drummer Nick Mafi and a sticky riff that will glue you in courtesy of guitarist Mario Lovio. This track rises to its full potential and is rightfully placed as their first track in this record. If you are still looking for another great hook up, listen to “The Protocol.” The trio weaved together a badass theme song titled, you guessed it, “Malison” who works its way to the summit. This theme song has a nice and smooth start and then BANG! Bassist/vocalist Steven Rondina and Lovio ease their way into our unsuspecting ears.

Malison take a break from telling us all these heroic stories and let loose in their smooth jam sesh titled “The Architect.” “Nightmare Pursuit” is anything but a nightmare, just listen to it carefully and allow the intro Lovio provides for this song to pull you back in. The album ends with the feel good and wide-eyed song titled “Seeker” and yes it will fill you with motivation and make you hungry for adventure…and hungry too. Malison are starving, fierce, and ready to conquer the metal scene. This album is just the beginning and frankly, we can’t wait! Listen to the album and buy it on all major outlets!… Or just click here 😉 And see how we felt about them when we saw them last year here and here!

6 out 6, They’ve only just begun

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Nervosa Preach Our Brutal ‘Downfall’ 

Brazilian thrashers Nervosa forewarn us about our impending doom in their latest installment  Downfall of Mankind released via Napalm Records. The trio are taking no prisoners in this record and aren’t afraid to give you a piece of their mind! Nervosa have produced merciless tracks in their previous albums but they are ready to thrown down in this one. How? Let me tell you how!    

Bassist/vocalist Fernanda Lira begins this brutal soundtrack about our demise with her distinguished battle cry in the adrenaline soaked “Horrordome.” This track is off the fritz with the help of  drummer Luana Dametto and guitarist Prika Amaral as well. Nervosa will give you the urge to rise with the brutal anthems “Kill The Silence” and the anti war anthem titled “Never Forget, Never Repeat.” Amaral plucks her mighty axe for a bitchin’ intro in “…And Justice For Whom?” And you just wait till you hear her solo! HOve you pieced back your face again? Ok, good. Let’s proceed.

“No Mercy” does just that, Lira will rip your face off again in this thrashtastic tornado.The vocalist’s bass slap and her fierce growls will echoe well in to next year! Can you hear it, Mr. Krabs? “Conflict” and “Cultura do Estupro” are heated and were great choices to wrap up this album because these tracks will not fade from your mind anytime soon. BUT if you have the chance to listen to the bonus track, “Selfish Battle” Lira showcases her epic power metal-like howls which are just as contagious as her growls. This album is a manifesto and its flashing its sharp teeth and is ready to start a thrash revolution. Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here!   

5 out 6, To the end!

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Gruesome Offer ‘Twisted Prayers’ In Their Sophomore Release

Death incarnate has risen once again in the form of the super group Gruesome. If you love reading our shitty site, you are aware as to how we felt about them last year… you haven’t?! Well, click here to warm up for the rest of this article. JK! Finish this one first, I love you long time. Anyway, Gruesome have brought us a sacred offering titled Twisted Prayers through Relapse Records and it is quite the spiritual awakening.

Gruesome don’t beat around the bush and gets crackin’ with “Inhuman,” and vocalist/ guitarist Matt Harvey continues to bless us with plenty of Schuldiner worthy riffs and vocals. Harvey kicks off “A Waste Of Life” with a slower melody that will slowly slither and coil itself around its listeners. The overall tempo of this track may be slow by comparison but it doesn’t mean that its your neighborhood “radio friendly” track. This song is a low life mooch that will circle around your stuff just waiting to snatch it! But I guess you will turn a blind eye after you hear Harvey’s amazing solo mid way drip like molasses.     

There isn’t a fantasy more deadlier than “Fatal Illusions,” you just let Schuldiner…oops, I mean Harvey’s growls take you off to the death metal promised land. “At Death’s Door” has an attention grabbing riff to kick off this track that mimics the signature calculated riffs we adore so much and will slowly work their way beneath our feet and catapult us in to the heavens! Twisted Prayers is a great follow up to 2015’s Savage Land, and even though its packing less songs, this ones fierce! Listen to the album in major streaming services and get your copy here!  

6 out 6, Hallelujah!

Ghost Gives Us An Insightful ‘Prequelle’

Ghost continue their crusade in their ghoulish and unholy endeavors in their latest Prequelle released via Loma Vista Recordings. With a new album comes a new head of this cult, so with that being said we now have Cardinal Copia on vocal duties. Does the Cardinal have the same musical chops as the Papa’s before him?! Will you stop being so salty about Ghost and see what I gotta say? Ok, fair enough I respect ya but you have nothing better to do and you know you are a little curious about it.

The nameless ghoul summon its sharp axe by giving “Faith” a grand and killer intro. The track ends with a good ol’ fashioned church choir accompanied by the organ because you cant have one without the other! It’s like pancakes and maple syrup, beer and wings. You get what I mean. “See The Light” is an empowering break up anthem Cardinal Copia belts out which is sure to mend any broken heart. “Miasma” is a nice buffer in between because its an awesome little jam sesh from Ghost where all the ghouls can flex their music muscles and there is A SAXOPHONE GUYS!

“Pro Memoria” has a strong cinematic element that is sure to lure listeners in, Ghost succeeds in weaving another beautiful hymn for the dark prince. “Helevetesfönster” would be a good instrumental song for a Grimm fairytale and lastly, Ghost will makes us long for them forever with “Life Eternal.” *Mega swoons* Love them or hate ‘em the unholy empire of Ghost reigns supreme in Prequelle and provide more memorable tracks in this installment that are borderline sacrilegious. Listen to the whole album on major streaming services and get your copy here!

6 out 6, Trés magnifique!

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Trials of May 25, 2018

Lordi Stumbles in ‘Sexorcism’

Finland’s ruthless monsters known as Lordi have landed and want to perform a Sexorcism on us.Okay, Lordi may not be that ready to take us to that level yet but it is the title of their latest album which was released through AFM Records. The ghouls in Lordi first won us over in the early 2000’s with their contagious rock anthems and ghoulish delights but do they still have it in them?

Do you feel “Your Tongue’s Got The Cat” slowly burrow itself in to your heart? It did for me, well in this hypothetical scenario of course since I don’t have one. If you have a thing for the arena rock synth, you can certainly hear it in this track. Because Lordi is hellbent on seducing you,they bust out another tale of romance called “Romeo Ate Juliet” *swoon* “Slashion Model Girls” and “Polterchrist” conjure up a classic Lordi vibe and has a semi-catchy chorus.“Hell Has No Room” will give you the adrenaline rush Lordi is good at.

The album concludes with “Haunting Season” which dusts off the xylophone which is always a great complimentary sound for these creepy crawly adventures. Lordi seem to be missing that je ne se quoi that we fell in love with a little over a decade ago, hell, even from their previous album. This album tried to seduce me with its infernal long tongue which is always nice but I guess I’m just looking for more. This was just another album in the collection *sigh* BUT just because I love playing hard to get doesn’t mean you have to, listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here or any major platform!

2 out 6, I still love my monsterman but I just don’t understand the beauty of this beast.    

Micawber Burn Brightly in ‘Beyond the Reach Of Flame’

Micawber wowed us last year at the Vader show and now they’re on a mission to wow us with their latest titled Beyond The Reach Of Flame released via Prosthetic Records. They begin their third LP with an amazing ode titled “Full Denim Jacket,” there has never been a brutal homage to our faithful denim jacket such as the one Micawber created. The quartet add some suspense in to the slow burning title track but beware, this titular beast does not stay dormant and will show you what its made of and so will guitarist Derek DeBruin! “Beyond The Reach Of Flame” sets up the stage for the face melting “The Starless Sky” in which Leighton Thompson unleashes his thick and ferocious vocals.

“In Shadow In Light” is a track that will spoil us rotten because in this track the collective have the opportunity to flex their music skills that will certainly kill you with thrills… In other words you will be replying that track and basking in their musical prowess. “Icon of Extinction” bassist Nick Gouin takes the lead before the rest of the ensemble rush in with their instrumentals and carefully craft an erratic but intricate display of instruments, listen to that epic breakdown.There are instances in “King Of Ash” where Thompson’s vocals sort of resembles that of Meshuggah’s Jens Kidman, imagine a duet with these two?

Though this third album is not a rabid record just like their previous releases, Micawber still deliver an album that will please fans and casuals alike. Beyond The Reach Of Flame is tame by comparison but rest assured, it will keep the torch you have for them burning ever so brightly besides, we get to savor the band’s instrumentals and Thompson will still growl so loud in to your ears you will feel it in your rears! Listen to the album on Spotify ad get your copy here.

6 Out 6, It’s lit     

Bleeding Through Will ‘Love’ Fans To Death

Bleeding Through have risen from their deep slumber after six years. The quintet from the OC had called it quits but then the artistic itch was so insatiable, it caused them to reassemble and release their eighth studio album titled Love Will Kill Us All through Sharptone Records. Bitter hearts will rejoice not just because the title is spot on but also because this album might just send them back to a time when they were young, and dumb and angsty.      

BT begin this funeral procession with the dramatic intro “Darkness, A Feeling I Know” before guitarist Brian Lepkke leads the way into the amazing transition into their single “Fade Into The Ash” which will surely twist the knife in your decrepit and shriveled heart. Marta Peterson’s organ keys fuel the atmosphere in this album, Dracula would swoon! If you are craving a song with a predominant presence of the organ, listen to “Dead Eyes.” But don’t worry, Peterson’s keys resonate on most of the album.  

The pain and heartache in “Cold World” will rock your body to the core, just wait till you hear Brandan Schiepatti’s gruff wail echo above and beyond. For rougher songs with no clean vocals their single “Set Me Free,” “Slave” and “Buried” will hit the spot and BT crank up the metal part in metalcore. Love Will Kill Us All is the perfect soundtrack for the funeral of broken hearts. BT convey their forlorn theme and experiment a bit with theatrical elements that suit them very well! Yes, teenage me is very pleased with this album. Listen to the album on any major streaming service and get your copy here.

6 out of 6, Pleasure is Pain!

Firehaven Are Ready To Set The World On Fire

Here to fuel our independent band fetish is Firehaven! The Bay Area based melodic death metallers ignite our interest with their debut self titled demo and man are they ready for blood and fire! Aching for the rough and guttural vocals? Vocalist Samantha Smith has just what you need baby and will swallow you whole and spit you put into the depths of hell…One ticket please!

Guitarist John Clock ushers in “Providence” before Smith swoops in for the kill! Clock continues to provide great hooks with the intro riff in “Interference,” which beautifully compliments Smith’s thick vocals. Another bonus I forgot to mention is that Clock also provides technical death metal- like riffs that will please any metalhead. The quartet also add more grit and attitude to their cover of Light This City’s “The Unwelcome Savior.”

Firehaven are firm believers of quality over quantity by producing four great original tracks in this demo. Though Light This City is their main inspiration, the trio shows a tremendous potential to light the metal scene with their own flame. You can listen to their album and buy it in their Bandcamp.

5 out 6, Burn this mother down!

We Worship the ‘Cult of A Dying Sun’ 

Oregon black metallers Uada return with their follow up to their critically acclaimed debut called Cult Of A Dying Sun via Eisenwald Records. In this cult, there are no deadly kool- aid cocktails or promises of demi gods living among us but there are a chalk full of songs that will elevate you to the great beyond…or deep below, whatever floats your boat.   

The album starts with the lit track “The Purging Fire” which has a little bit of everything that will indulge your black metal needs, I’m not gonna spend too much time on their single “Snakes & Vultures” because you already know how bitchin’ it is. The title track shines brightly in its swan song, Jake Superchi’s growls and howls embodies the agony a cult would feel for the dying red giant, especially after knowing their tanning sessions will end forever! Guitarist James Sloan and Superchi also work great together in creating a great melodic riffs to compliment this song, lest we forget bassist Edward Halpin and drummer Josiah Babcock providing a great and steady foundation.

Uada set the “cult” aspect of this album in their atmospheric instrumental “The Wanderer.” If you think this album is gonna simmer down, think again because Uada is not one to leave things serene. They reign with the ferocious “Sphere (Imprisonment)” which is a great and memorable track to end this album. This Cult was intriguing from beginning to end and will draw fans and casual listeners in like a moth to a flame. Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here. AND don’t forget to catch them at the Brick By Brick on July 5 and see what we thought of them last year!    

6 out of 6, Our new ‘Cult’   

The Trials of May 18, 2018

Honorable Mentions:

Burn The Priest Shine With Their Homage

Who can possibly top Burn The Priest’s 20th birthday celebration? Though this special revival, titled Legion XX released via Epic Records, is not a new album, it is one that shows the tremendous versatility the members of Lamb Of God possess. Randy Blythe keeps on proving over and over that he is a man of many talents and can make any song he desires his own. Ever heard a Melvins song metal-afied? Or Blythe channeling out his inner Al Jourgensen for his version of “ Jesus Built My Hotrod”? How about Bad Brains’s “I Against I?” All in metal?!

I won’t spend too much time gushing about this baby but I will mention that we had the pleasure of seeing their cover of “Inherit The Earth,” originally performed by Seattle thrashers The Accused, on Slayer’s kick off tour on May 10 because I just had to put it out into the universe because the monkey on my back is telling me to tell you we’re working on it and it was awesome live too! *Takes Deep breaths* 20 has never sounded so damn good! Listen to this album on Spotify and get your copy here.

May 18

Lords Of Acid Dazzle In ‘Kink’

Who said the party was over? It has just begun and Lords Of Acid have the right album we need to get things going titled Pretty In Kink which slithered its way out of Metropolis Records. Founder and party extraordinaire Praga Khan and his partners in crime launched this crowdfunded album a little over two years ago and concocted an album that was made for the fans, by the fans and they have weaved a naughty little…well let’s slip under the covers and see what’s beneath the surface.

Lords Of Acid will immediately whip you with a wave of nostalgia as they kick off their album with the heartbreak anthem “Break Me” a la Our Little Secret, but fret not! The Lords are here for a good time and will pick you right up and seduce you with the slow and sensual dance anthem “Before The Night Is Over,” and the sexy “Ma Fille De Joie,” oooh parle français pour moi chérie! Enjoy my incoherent French, gotta stay classy. Ok I guess I’ll stick to what I know best and sing in Spanglish and roll up to the next block party while bumping up “We Are The Freaks.”

I must admit I couldn’t get enough of “Goldfinger” because this dance-alicious and sultry track certainly ain’t like the rest of the tracks. Marieke “Little Bloody Marie” Bresseleers continues to showcase her impressive vocals and belts out a soulful chorus which blends in superbly with the synth, James Bond does not stand a chance and neither could I! WHOO WEE! If a smooth talking fuk boi was a song “What The Fuck!,” and “So Goddamn Good” would be it. “What The Fuck” is infectious and douchey but you want to win its approval whereas “So Goddamn Good” will seduce your pants off assuming you have any on at this point. You will want to win them over because you can change him and oh god get ahold of yourself! I’m ok! I’m Ok! *Breathes heavily*

This album had a little bit of everything and was a sexy melodic buffet. If you are still hot and bothered over Lords Of Acid’s breakthroughs Voodoo-U and Our Little Secret this album will satisfy you and then some. Little Bloody Marie is a titan in this record and is a wonderful addition to this group and they still fresh and ready for round 20! Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here and read all the dirty detail Praga Khan spilled to us here! And to give you an idea how the Lords party, read about our Lucky 13 bash with last year here!

6 Out 6, WOOO! Hot and heavy!

Amorphis Slay With ‘Queen Of Time’

Amorphis have descended with their latest titled Queen Of Time via Nuclear Blast Records and is ready to reign over us. The Finnish metallers roll out the red carpet for us to receive this sovereign that is sure to create a buzz in the metal world, quite literally because “The Bee” slowly builds a buzz before rhythm guitarist Tomi Koivusaari unleashes his thunderous roar.

“Message In The Amber” (which won me over) and “Heart Of The Giant” have a nice little appearance from the good ol’ lute, a choir and a very dramatic overtone that can be featured in your next larp gathering. Something that the J-Ohster must mention is that Esa Halopainen knew how to expertly blend his melodious riffs with the lute, and the keyboards, and added extra grandeur to Tomi Joutsen’s clean vocals in “Message…”.Bellisimo! Another song the J-Ohster enjoyed was “Pyres On The Coast,” this track conveys the anguish in this tragic overtone with every chord and vocal note.

Listeners will feel the aching fury and intensity of the “Daughter Of Hate,” also the brief saxophone samples peppered within the track only add to her smoldering presence, needless to say she left quite the impression on me. Get in loser, we’re getting on the magic carpet to be “Amongst Stars” which has the potency to levitate you once you hear Joutsen and guest vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen. “Wrong Direction” will feel just right especially once you hear that bitchin’ intro led by keyboardist Santeri Kallio and is led by Joutsen with Koivusaari’s growls echoing in the background. This album is quite the adventure that will take you on fantastic voyage and is one that will please many especially if you are hungry for adventure. Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here.

6 out of 6, All hail the ‘Queen’

We Lap Up  At The Gates’s Latest

At The Gates have busted open the metaphorical gate of anticipation to bring to us their latest and greatest titled To Drink From The Night Itself which was released via Century Media Records.This particular album will have you lapping up from its special dark potion and here to set the mood is the title track which is just as stark and elusive as the title, Tomas Lindberg’s vocals add an extra drop of dark mystique.

The ”Daggers of Black Haze” shines with a elegant and haunting piano intro before guitarist Jonas Stålhammar and drummer Adrian Erlandsson leads us into this dark tale. “Daggers..” also features a nice guest appearance from the acoustic guitar midway through the song which is complimented with the cello. “Palace of Lepers” is the place you want to go and worship these legendary lads because its dripping with their musical prowess. Praise them!

“The Chasm” marches in with a steady pace, carefully crafting its great buildup that is amplified by Stålhammar. If you have trouble falling asleep, “In Nameless Sleep” would be the soundtrack to your battle of the REM kind because At The Gates mimics this debacle. Just when you thought you’ve got ahold of Morpheus’s tail and think you’re about to FINALLY knock out and disappear into the sweet release of sleep, just like the smooth instrumentals, before Lindberg’s growls embodies your jolt of sudden energy thus keeping you up till 5 AM!

“The Mirror Black” is a great way to close this oddyssey because it conveys a sense of closure with the slower tempo AND you gotta love the brief orchestral piece and brief choir sample that pop in for the grand finale on the final minute of this track. At The Gates delivers a record that has a great balance between poise and grit and is an album fans and casual listeners will devour. You can listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here!

6 out of 6, Drink it in!

The Trials of May 11, 2018

Orgy Continues to Tease with New EP

So… it seems that the age of nostalgia continues to be in full force. None is more prevalent than that of Orgy. The Klown remembers these guys for being the biggest thing back 1999 during the Klown’s middle school years. Everyone who lived in that era remembers it, will always know the quintet for their cover of the New Order’s “Blue Monday.” The Klown confesses that he still fancies that song. Now… let’s flash forward to 2018, it seems that frontman Jay Gordon’s industrial project has emerged and released a single EP titled Army To Your Party via Pacific Rising Entertainment.

As the Klown mentioned already it is a single EP, as in one song, “Army To Your Party.” Six versions of it to be exact. Half of which happens to be a dynamic version of the previous three… whatever the hell that means! All of which have also feature rapper Crichy Crich lending his voice to the song in a stand-alone chorus line. If you dunno who that is, just know that he’s relevant in the word EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and for tattooing Tara Reid’s name on himself. The Klown will confess that the song was catchy. Especially if you’re looking to find a song to dance to. Even the instrumentals version was good enough.

Then the A-Capella version of the song pops up and makes you wonder why?… at least that’s what the Klown thought. Of course, you’re treated to the exact same three style but in Dynamic version. Before the Klown signs off on this EP, the Klown shall say that he kept in mind that this is in anticipation of their new upcoming album which has been titled #newmusic. The Klown shall also comment that if you were at the Whiskey A-Go-Go on May 11, you had the opportunity to get the physical copy of this EP. However, if you wanna know what the hubbub is all about, you can mainly get this EP digitally either through Google Play, Apple Music, etc.

Doesn’t Even Register on Rating Scale… Bring Back Blue Monday!

Old Man Wizard Unveil Their Debut

Old Man Wizard… The Klown has spoken of these gents before. They made their Ugh Metal appearance about two years ago and this time these locals return to Ugh Metal with their debut album tilted Blame It All On Sorcery independently. Y’know they did it all by themselves.

The album begins with the appropriately titled “Beginnings and Happenstance.” It starts with frontman Francis Roberts’ soft guitar strums which is then joined by Kris Calabio’s bass pedals. Bassist Andre Beller and Calabio’s backing vocals soon join this circle and pick up the pace by the fourth minute of the song. The song is then followed by “The Blind Prince” and “Innocent Hands” which are best described as songs you can expect to hear from a Ghost or Visigoth album. Especially with Roberts’ fast but mellow guitar play. In “Never Leave” Beller’s bass shined the brightest in the beginning and really solidifies itself as the rhythmic foundation of the song.

“Cosmo”  and “The Long-Nosed Wiseman” sees the band picking up the pace and would essentially be among the few other songs in the album that have a lot of vigor.  Although this isn’t the Klown flask of bourbon, he still enjoyed the album. The Klown has mention comparisons but if you didn’t catch them, the Klown recommends this album for fans of Opeth, Visigoth, Ghost and Khemmis. Check this album out in your streaming service of choice or in the Wizards’ Bandcamp to really get enchanted.

5.5 out of 6 Move Over Harry Potter, there are New Wizards in Town

Strung Out Black Out their Hiatus with EP

Strung Out should be a familiar name especially for the punkers out there. The quintet from Simi Valley has even made several appearances in the Vans Warped Tour. Even metalheads are somewhat familiarized with them since they’ve experimented with metal sounds in the past even if it’s mostly been in the Prog category. Now, the collective has returned with a brand new EP titled Black Out the Sky which was released through Fat Wreck Chords.

The album begins with “The Architect” which starts out really mellow with some acoustic guitar. It is then followed by some electric guitar and Jason Cruz’s clean vocals which are backed by the guitarists Rob Ramos and Jake Kiley and bassist Chris Aiken’s. Truth be told, the album remains soft and easy to listen to. It was borderline indie rock.

“Unkoil,” although it starts like “The Architect” with some acoustic guitar sounds, it slowly picks up and unravels itself from the previous albums. How? Well, remember how the Klown brought up the group’s experimentation with Prog? This song would be a key example of that. Unlike most Prog rock or metal, this song was shorter than most peeps would encounter. The Klown can sorta say the same about “Requiem” except for it being mostly in the alternative rock category than prog.

Need a song that would mock your depression or get you upbeat despite relatable, albeit sad lyrical content? “Duke of Sorrow” is the song you want to listen to. The album ends just the way it began with “Presidio” more melodic, tender, more of Cruz’s clean vocals and tambourines. The album felt really mature, unlike yours truly, and was a pretty good album. If you haven’t heard of Strung Out before, the Klown recommends this for fans of Jimmy Eat World, 7 Seconds and Elway. Want to lean towards the Klown’s words but need to hear it? Check out their Bandcamp for more certainty.

6 out of 6 The Skies Aren’t that Black After All

Child Bite Have Returned with Some New Offerings

Hey guys, remember the time we talked about Child Bite? Y’know the one that featured the San Diego Metal Swap Meet’s after party with Superjoint? No? Dudes… and dudettes check that out when you can and our superb Metal Swap Meet misadventure with our temp intern on our Youtube. Now that that shameless self-advert is over, let’s talk about Child Bite’s latest release Burnt Offerings which was released through Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records. Unlike previous releases, this one serves, as frontman Shawn Knight puts it, a “mass grave for all of (their) musical children.”

If you didn’t catch on, they’re songs that were scrapped in the span between 2010 and 2017 by the collective and eventually unearthed for us to enjoy. So with that in mind, “The Will to Disappear” begins this anthology and  opens the way Child Bite knows how with Jeremy Waun’s impulsive guitar play which is then accompanied by Knight unmistakable vocals. The song also features some brief shouting backup vocals which give the album a bit of oomph. The “Sick and Subhuman” features some punk influences and the erratic style the band is known for and will keep you awake and pumped.

“Prowl” uses old school video game soundbites and their style of noise rock. The song also features a wide range of guitar play and Knight playing around with his vocals by switching to auto tune in between. One of the Klown’s favorite tracks would have to be “Abstract Interior Putrefaction” because of the way the guitars don a personality of their own and compliment Knight’s vocals. Shaun Clancy’s bass also serves as the tone setter in the brief vocal solo. Another of the favorites is “Corrosive Devotion” mainly because the band mixes punk and noise which also features a variety of guitar play from drowning, to fading, distorted, etc.

Disc one finishes with the humorously titled “Jerk Off Your Life,” The Klown can best describe as an irregular rockabilly song and felt like a great closer for this mass grave. Disc two is mostly cover songs that the band decided to do like Black Flag’s “My War,” Minor Threat’s “Guilty of Being White/It Follows” just to name some. The real attraction of the second disc is Phil Anselmo taking over on vocal duties to perform Anal Cunt’s Morbid Hits EP like “Morrisey,” “Chump Change” and “Radio Hit” just to name a few. These albums were great and may leave your head scratching and banging at the thought of the songs being left out of their previous albums.

Not bashing on the first disc, the second disc really sold it to the Klown. The Klown especially enjoyed Anselmo’s renditions of the Anal Cunt songs and it also seemed appropriate given the history Anselmo and the late Seth Putnam had. If you’re still not sold check it out on your streaming service of choice. Want to cut the foreplay but try before you buy? Bandcamp’s got you!

6 out of 6 It Didn’t Just Bite, It Kicked Too

 

The Trials of May 4, 2018

Fire Next Time Bring Out their Fifth

Did you ever wonder what Social Distortion would sound like with the Dropkick Murphys’ Al Barr or Ken Casey at the helm? Wonder no more. The mystical land of the Canádas has got you covered with their punk collective called Fire Next Time and for those thinking that it’s the British punk band from the eighties, the Klown sends his condolences. Fire Next Time has released Knives through Stomp Records.

The album opens with some drumming from Garrett and some guitars on “Wanderlust.” The song also contained some banjo from Kevin which enhanced and made the song melodic. “Party Foul” brought some Dropkick Murphys style of punk rock into the mix. “Old Scratch” was one of the Klown’s favorite songs in the album and for some, it will make you feel the feels. “Birch Wood” is one of the songs in the album that sounded like Social D.

“Bethlehem” picks up the pace and has some pretty morbid and deep lyrics. The song also featured some keyboards from Kevin to add some tempo and somewhat downplayed the dark content, either way, the Klown approves. “A Jameson Fracture” was another favorite because it was fast but tame, and had a nice blend of acoustic mixed with an electric guitar. “Hurry Up and Wait” definitely felt like a punk anthem for the true punks and skins who have seen and experienced the political and social climates of today.

The album ended with “Critical Fail” which was very melodic and upbeat and felt like the perfect ending to the album. Knives was great and feels like a breakthrough to the Klown, the Klown highly recommends this album especially for fans of Social Distortion, Bad Religion, 7 Seconds and Rancid. Didn’t care for the Klown’s recommendations and want to check it out anyway check it out on your streaming service of choice or Bandcamp.

6 out of 6 It’s Been Fired!

Fear Of Domination Show No Fear in Latest

The Finnish Industrial group known as Fear Of Domination have ended the wait and have now come back with a new album. So y’all can stop salivating over the last couple of singles that they have released the last couple of months. The latest album is titled Metanoia and it was released through Ranka Kustannus.

The album opens with “Dance with the Devil” which begins with Johannes Niemu’s guitar feedback combined with Vesa Ahiroth’s intermittent drums which are then joined by the rest of the band instruments, and a  guitar solo from Niemu. “Obsession” also has a solo from Niemu but also contains more electronic influence and features keyboardist Sara Strömmer at the helm and has vocalist Saku Solin backing her up vocally.

Want to dance but still want to be metal? “Sick and Beautiful” is definitely the song you want to get a hold of! The Klown can say the same about “We Dominate” with the difference being that it is faster than “Sick and Beautiful.” The synths, rhythm and samples blend together so great and will have you shaking that bootay like the Klown did many years ago. “Shame” has Solis taking control of the vocals, and trades off with Strömmer for a bit and sounded like something that came out of Pain.

The album finishes with a one-two punch combo with “Mindshifter” and “Ruin.” While “Mindshifter” was an upbeat industrial metal song, the song immediately pretends to malfunction at the end and transitions to “Ruin.” “Ruin,” on the other hand, was slow and dark which was rather appropriate since the song sounded like a dark ballad. This album was great and featured a little bit of everything for everyone who enjoys and dabbles with industrial. The Klown highly recommends this album for fans of Sonic Syndicate, Pain, Kontrust and Megaherz. If you wanna hear for yourself check it out on your streaming service of choice or get it here.

6 out of 6 Have No Fear Industrial Is Here!

Wolvhammer Release their Fourth on the Fourth

If that wasn’t appropriate, then the Klown doesn’t know what is. Seriously, it’s not often that a band releases their fourth album on the fourth day of a month. The name Wolvhammer should also be familiar to you all. After all, frontman of the group, Adam Clemans, is also the current front man to Skeletonwitch. Now Clemans is back with his baby, Wolvhammer and released The Monuments of Ash and Bone through Blood Music.

The album opens this darkened masterpiece with some distorted bass from Andrew Gerrity which are then joined by some guitars for “Eternal Rotting Misery.” The thing that got the Klown double taking was how the song along with Clemans vocals sounded a lot like a Satyricon’s which was awesome. “Call Me Death” not only truly emphasized the representation of blackened sludge metal but also presented how Goatwhore would sound like if they slowed down and were to have a bitchin’ solo. The same could be said about “Law of the Rope” except there is an opening bass and guitar session before the song went in to full force which would also feature an awesome solo.

“Bathed in Moonlight and Wolflight” and “Dead Rat, Rotting Raven” really bring on some fast-paced sludge metal and manage to keep it on the blackened side. “The Failure King” starts rather fast but then tones down ans maintains a steady pace. The album caps off with “Solace Eclipsed” which really bring out some true sludge into the mix but with some harsh screaming vocals from Clemans and was a perfect closer to the album. The record was a great surprise by the collective and the Klown recommends this album for Goatwhore, Enslaved, Satyricon and Abigail Williams fans. If you’re still a skeptic of the Klown give it a listen to in their Bandcamp.

6 out of 6 Hammered on Darkness!

 *Here’s Jenny Oh and her 2 cents**

 We Waited Eons For Dimmu Borgir’s Latest… 

It has been nearly an eons since we had heard anything from Dimmu Borgir. We spent countless days and nights paying close attention until we heard the wind howl which for once was not our farts. No, this was different, this was the northern wind bringing in the familiar symphonic black metal melodies from… Dimmu Borgir? What an offering on Cinco de drink-o eve! The wait was over and the highly anticipated Eonian came in like a jack hammer through Nuclear Blast Records.   

“The Unveiling” has a grand entrance and will flash its edgy elegance to those that are willing to look at it in the eye. “Interdimensional Summit” and “Council of Wolves And Snakes,” as you all know by now, will give us a bit of a throwback because it has the right balance between theatrical and riffs with its ever present choir, OK maybe the “balance” is still thrown off but they’re still cool songs. “Aetheric” will take you to a whole new different realm especially with that epic and orchestral breakdown. I know you probably want something that will make your blood boil and not just because of the “softness” of this album, you want something that will make you fuck shit up! “Archaic Correspondence” might do something for you, you adrenaline junky. GAHH! *ducks and avoids being killed by a rotten tomato*

Okay! Settle down! Look, if you are looking for seething black metal roughness you won’t find it here, however, you will find an album that will potentially help you unclog the annals of your brain and will help you focus on that book you couldn’t get in to or help you power through that 12 page essay that’s due tomorrow morning (yikes!). This album is not nearly as atrocious it was portrayed. Sure not much stood out to me, excluding the singles, but we must keep in mind that Dimmu Borgir is just in its fancy wizard phase, k? I’m sure they will grow out of it. Listen to the whole album on Spotify and if you want to feel the northern air tonight, get your copy here.

3 out of 6, It’s just a phase.

Àmr  Will Take You To Infinity And Beyond

Living legend and music extraordinaire Ihsahn continues to flex his musical prowess to fans and casuals alike in his seventh solo album titled Àmr released via Candlelight Records. I recommend you put your space helmets on because you will be seeing stars after this album is over.  

The theatrical “Lend Me The Eyes Of The Millenia” pours some synthy goodness onto our ears that will set the mood in to this quest of time and space before Ihsahn opens the floodgates and releases the roughness. What a start! Y’all know “Arcana Imperii” yes it’s still awesome and who doesn’t appreciate the rough proggines in this and Ihsahn’s clean vocals? What can’t this man do? “In Rites Of Passage” has more of that erratic prog elements with more synth and cyber sounds! Can we just have Ihsahn score the music for the next Space Odyssey movie?

Because Ihsahn wants to seal the deal with us, he gives us the slow and deep “Where You Are Lost And I Belong” and “Samr” and shows off more of his melodic vocals. “Marble Soul” has a nice and  ritualistic feel to it, a ritual you will slowly feel simmer onto your soul till Ihsahn’s soft vocals cushions this transcendence. I can gladly talk about every single song in this nine track album, which I basically did, BUT enough! I’m sure you don’t need the top psychiatrists or a hieroglyphics translator to decipher how I feel about this baby. Check it out on Spotify and get your copy here.

6 out of 6, Sublime