2019 Albums

Album Review: Hell Yeah – Welcome Home 7 (Groove/Southern)

It was back in 2012 or so that the American super-band HELLYEAH (consisting of such members as Vinnie Paul of Pantera and Damageplan, Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett of Mudvayne and Tom Maxwell of Nothingface) came into my attention with Band of Brothers. Way before that, they had released Alcohaulin’ Ass, a southern-rock-sounding track, which I had heard on some occasions. But it was Blood for Blood (2014) that established them as a groove metal act I would call qualified. Their 2016’s Undeniable, being not on par with its antecedent, tossed the band back to normalcy again, only having a few highlights here and there. But with the founding member Vinnie Paul’s untimely demise in June 2018, the band has had so much to prove whether they are able to pick up where they left off or they are just another run-of-the-meal metal band with a couple of commendable songs and quite a handful of fillers per album. […]

2019 Albums

Album Review: Insomnium – Heart Like A Grave 9.6 (Melo Death)

Insomnium – the band that got me hooked on melodic death metal for life. And here we are with their latest album, Heart Like a Grave. And what a gem of an album it is! The sound of the album and the image it depicts through words and melodies are as bleak and dispirited as the taiga forests and fens of their motherland in winter. It takes the cheery and chirpy soul and renders it depressed and forlorn, casting it into the abyss of desolation. […]

2019 Albums

Album Review: Opeth – In Cauda Venenum 8.5

Very few names in the history of prog metal can shine as dazzlingly as Opeth does, and even fewer bands have had such a repertoire of stunning albums as those of Opeth throughout their career of 30 years. They have established themselves as an undisputable act of Swedish metal and have also been able to garner a huge fan base in addition to instilling imposing respect among fellow musicians and critics alike. Their brand of progressive death metal in their early years and their own take on progressive metal in their midcareer were the main basis for this awe-inspiring stature the band enjoys these days. However, starting maybe with Heritage (2011), the band inclined ever more toward progressive rock, bringing their metal roots with themselves to this rather ‘new’ sphere – of course ‘new’ for the band. Taking this different approach, they proved to prioritize progression and holding this issue above all else. They are a true “progressive” band. […]

2019 Albums

Album Review: Rotting Christ – The Heretics 8.6 (Black Metal)

On the list of countries with an extended history of black metal, Greece would definitely not be among the first options that would come to mind. Yet, their banner-raisers Rotting Christ, hailing from Athens for over three decades, have ever since been a solid name of estimable repute within the community. They recently released their 13th offering, so aptly named The Heretics. As the name suggests and as you might expect, the whole album revolves around the notion of heresy; kind of an accolade to those freethinkers and revolutionaries of enlightenment who have, through their payment in blood or at the cost of their own sanity, laid the foundations of modern free speech. From Nietzsche to Voltaire and everything in between. […]

2019 Albums

Album Review: Hate – Auric Gates of Veles 8.3 (Black Metal)

Despite having formed a year earlier than Behemoth, Hate has always been in the shadow of their more distinguished compatriots. As it is very common within this domain, they have undergone several (read many) personnel changes. But approximately three decades into their career, they have established themselves with stumping iron feet and bellowing screams of triumph. It was in 2017 that they released Tremendum, a paradigm-shift in their long career and a praiseworthy album for certain. 2019 marks a second step toward their new destination; it is Auric Gates of Veles that further emphasizes their trajectory away from the so frequent themes of sacrilege and toward a more deeply pagan sphere, in particular probing and reflecting the Slavic rituals and folktales, at the same time having an eye on lesser known tales of other parts of the world. […]

2019 Albums

Album Review: Swallow The Sun – When A Shadow Is Forced Into Light 9.5 (Doom Metal)

Four years after the release of their magnum opus Songs from the North, a triple album introduced in 2015, and after the tragic demise of Aleah Starbridge (the front man Juha Raivio’s life partner and Trees of Eternity’s lead vocalist) in 2016, the Finnish death-doom giants have returned with an album which leaves no heart untouched. A short while ago, late 2018, a single album was put forward which best depicted the dark depths of their sorrow: Lumina Aurea, a heart- wrenching blend of black and funeral doom with dashes of folk created by Einar Selvik of Wardruna. […]