2021

Album Review: Param-Nesia – “Aspect of Creation” 6.9/10 (Melo Death)

There’s something in the water in Vancouver. It’s produced some phenomenal bands, especially of the metal variety in the last couple decades. Top names to come out of the city include Archspire, Unleash the Archers, Strapping Young Lad/Devin Townshend, and 3 Inches of Blood. Something about the city and its music scene makes it an ideal forge for talented and iconic metal bands. Param-Nesia, the subject of today’s review, is no exception. Let’s take a look at their sophomore effort, Aspect of Creation. […]

John Angel Reviews

The Z-List Vol 3: Anna Pest, Atvm, Chimera Cult, Optical Delusion

Hello to all the wonderful, underground theydies and djentlethems! Today I’m bringing you the third installment of The Z-List, a column dedicated to bringing some much deserved attention to the underground of underground music and celebrating the people that make up our small community. We’re after the smallest, most obscure bands and projects that lack institutional support. No label? That’s Z-List. One person band? Z-Lister band. Mainstream music journalists say liking this band is elitist?? Oh baby, that’s the most Z-List of all! Our third entry in the Z-List column features a fantastic one-girl project, a creative death metal quartet, some eclectic metal from Shanghai, and a prog group from my hometown. Let’s dive in! […]

2021

Album Review: Millstone – “Isle” 6.9/10 (Death Groove)

Looking to the past for inspiration and instruction is as natural in music as any other human endeavor. For instance, one of the selling points of classical music, as many elitist nerds tell me, is that it’s a continuous tradition going back hundreds of years (I’ve never heard these folks talk about the 60,000 year continuous culture of Aboriginal peoples in so-called Australia but I digress) Metal listeners have a habit of canon-worshipping-navel-gazing almost as bad as classical fans. Ask any boomer metalhead what their favorite band is and you hear a band formed any later than 1994. Annoying gatekeeping aside, many musicians in metal bands tend to be well-versed in the styles and bands that came before them and it makes for wonderful reinterpretations and synthesis of older sub-genres. Hailing from Siberia, Millstone is one such band offering up a tasty blending of many the sub-genres that originally came about in the 80’s and 90’s. […]

2021

Album Review: Screaming Banshee – “Pierceive” 7/10 (Prog Death)

Let’s talk about the differences between string quartets and symphony orchestras. Yes, this is an album review for a death metal band. Just hear me out for a paragraph. In the classical music world, symphonies are the expressive zenith for composers. Think of Beethoven’s monumental symphonies and the massive works of Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. A wide range of instrumental colors and dynamics are available in the crafting of a symphony and one can make damn near any sound they want if they know what they’re doing. A string quartet on the other hand is but two violins, a viola, and a cello. A severely limited color palette compared to a symphony orchestra but ask any fan of Johannes Brahms and talk your ear off about how much music you can fit in a string quartet. Where a symphony is bombastic and emotionally over-the-top, a string quartet is often esoteric and rewards close listening to discover the music’s secrets.  […]

John Angel Reviews

The Z-List Vol 1: Gabe Is A Unit, Winterleaf, no sky can blind us & MoonBurial

Hello to all the wonderful, underground theydies and djentlethems! Today I’m bringing you the first installment of The Z-List, a column dedicated to bringing some much deserved attention to the underground of underground music and celebrating the people that make up our small community. We’re after the smallest, most obscure bands and projects that lack institutional support. No label? That’s Z-List. One person band? Z-List. Mainstream music journalists say liking this band is elitist?? Oh baby, that’s the most Z-List of all! Our first entry in the Z-List column features some one and two person projects of diverse genres as well as the swan song of an Ohio band. Let’s dive in! […]

2021

Album Review: NaKhArA – “The Procession” 9/10 (Prog Death)

Sometimes a music publication can overlook a release from a smaller artist that kicks just as much ass as those from bigger acts. Lord knows I’ve read about it countless times in columns on underground music. As the fine folks at Heavy Blog is Heavy point out, we’re living through a golden age of underground music and there is an absolute flood of new releases at all times. I’m still new to writing music reviews for Noob Heavy (six weeks strong!) but I already find the number of communications soliciting reviews for upcoming releases a bit overwhelming. And I only see the releases for 4-5 subgenres! So it’s perfectly understandable that some gems from smaller and/or newer acts get overlooked in the deluge of press kits and review requests. That being said I want to right one such oversight today with this review for The Procession by NaKhArA.  […]

2021

Album Review: Draken – “Draken” 8/10 (Prog Rock)

Prog as a genre has become meaningless these days. Half of all the metal/hard rock bands have prog somewhere in their genre and the other half write music that display characteristics of what has historically been called prog. Then you have bands that just call themselves prog. Yeah? Prog what? I’m a bit of a newbie to prog rock and I always thought it was basically Rush and Gentle Giant. It had clean production, was usually happy, and rocked in a more cerebral way. Then I heard Norway based prog rock power trio Draken and they’ve kinda changed what I thought prog rock could be. Dropping on March 26th, Draken’s self titled debut has a retro vibe that harkens back to metal and hard rock of yore but with a new, exciting reimagining. […]