2021

Album Review: Ape Vermin – “Arctic Noise” 7.5/10 (Doom Metal)

After a full half-century of existence, it’s impressive that doom still seems to go down as well as it often does nowadays. While bands have of course pushed its boundaries over the years (special shout out to Elephant Tree here as surely one of the best examples), for the most part it’s stayed in pretty much the same (slow) lane of Sabbath-inspired riffs, long songs, and a general psychedelia. None of that’s a criticism – if it works, it works, and it clearly works for the North Carolina-based trio Ape Vermin. Their take on the genre definitely sits on the sludgier end of the spectrum, and draws comparisons to the likes of Conan, Slabdragger, YOB and Sleep. They first shared this with the world on 2018’s Sonic Monolith, which is now getting a follow up in the form of their brand new record, Arctic Noise. […]

2021

Album Review: Atrium – “Constant Variables” 7.5/10 (Progressive Metal)

One of the major upsides of a solo project is that a lack of excessive cooks in the kitchen often allows for an especially high level of prolificity. That definitely seems to be the case for Atrium, the one-man project of Utah-based musician Vince Ochoa. According to Ochoa’s bandcamp, he released no less than six EPs in 2020 alone. This year though, he seems to have slowed down a little bit, with Constant Variables, out on May 7th, marking his first release of 2021. […]

2021

Album Review: Next Door To Heaven – “Inside” 6.5/10 (Progressive Metalcore)

You’ve got to admire the ambition of Next Door To Heaven. The St. Petersburg-based four-piece describes the sound of their new EP, entitled Inside, as “a mixture of metalcore, prog metal, alternative metal, melodic metal and rapcore.” All that seems fair, although the very latter may be a bit of a stretch. Realistically, it’s probably best described as progressive metalcore, kind of in the vein of a band like Spiritbox, albeit with the notable absence of harsh vocals. […]

2021

Album Review: The Hyena Kill – “A Disconnect” 8.5/10 (Alt Rock)

It’s hard to know where to start with A Disconnect by The Hyena Kill. Probably one of the best words to sum it up is ‘cathartic’, but that doesn’t really shed much light on what it actually sounds like. The Manchester-based four-piece’s second full-length is difficult to pigeonhole for sure, but chances are if you enjoyed relatively recent offerings from the UK underground like Phoxjaw’s Royal Swan or Black Peaks’ All That Divides, you should get on pretty well with this. It’s also difficult not to hear a heavy dose of the alternative metal of the likes of Tool and Deftones (neither a huge surprise given the band was drawn together by a shared love of both those artists, among others). […]

2021

Album Review: Dreamwell – “Modern Grotesque” 8.5/10 (Post Hardcore)

It seems that screamo, or ‘skramz’, has been in a really good place over the past few years. The list of bands who’ve put out great records that broadly sit within that world is pretty endless at this point, with recent standouts including Frail Body, For Your Health and Frail Hands, to name a few. Seeking to add their name to this list with their second full-length, entitled Modern Grotesque, are the Providence-based ‘emo post skramz’ five-piece, Dreamwell. Off the strength of this record, it feels like they belong there. Modern Grotesque is an album that’s thick with a heartfelt emotion and passion. Often, this manifests as something quite visceral and abrasive, but it can also be extremely melodic and even moving at points. […]

2021

Album Review: Crawl Below – “9 Mile Square” 8/10 (Doomgaze)

It definitely takes a special skill to make music which manages to feel beautiful while maintaining a strong sense of melancholy. Perhaps one of the most obvious examples is The Cure, whose dark and mournful brand of post-punk is often deeply moving at the same time. In the 90s, Type O Negative took that doom and gloom to even further extremes, whilst still allowing soaring and ethereal melodies to poke through. To give a more a recent example, even Pallbearer’s stellar Forgotten Days LP from last year had some genuinely uplifting moments amid the band’s weighty doom and their lyrical meditations on grief. If you like any of those bands, then chances are you’ll enjoy Crawl Below’s 9 Mile Square. […]