Archive for the “All Metal Resouorce” Category

There is a weird hollow version of prog rock that many categorized in the late 90′s and early 2000′s in the burgeoning nu metal sub-genre, known as “math metal,” that was essentially the layman’s mainstream, acceptable form of alternative riff concepts. By traditional prog standards, these types of acts were not truly prog rock, but did contain substance that categorized them slightly outside of the norm. For all intents and purposes though, these so called math rock bands, were no more than nu-metal or commercial hard rock with a bit of flavor thrown in; hardly something palatable for most prog fans. Paul D’Amour’s (Tool) newest project, Feersum Ennjin is really no different, with a fusion of older Deftones and Mudvayne era nu metal (and of course his founding band, Tool), and a bit more edge along the lines of Blueprint Dives era Extol. I won’t come up and call Feersum Ennjin’s debut album bad simply because of my categorization of them being “math rock,” but I will say they are bad for being stereotypical math rock.

Despite having moments of clarity, like the band’s take on 80′s era Yes with the tune “Magnus,” this self titled album is incredibly dull without a proper level of prog (or simple creative riffing even), or aggression on their metal side. This album makes no sense, and would likely only appeal to the novice listener who doesn’t know any better. The entire record is chalk full of meandering stereotypes of post-grunge era creativity (ala Smashing Pumpkins), with the aforementioned watered down list of bands. I am not a fan of Tool, an I am definitely not a fan of this album either; sorry D’Amour, you just don’t speak to me. And if the name is phonetic, please think of creating a new name, Feersum Ennjin is horrid.

Similar Artists: Extol, Kayo Dot, Deftones, Mudvayne, Tool

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It seems like in 2011, Motley Crue has been relegated to the old man sleaze rock fest known as Crue Fest, drug and alcohol induced reflections on the 80′s sexcapades, law suits and money grabs ala KISS. Sometimes I can’t tell if the modern day incarnation of the Crue is more of a joke to the fans who aren’t 40+ years old and live in a trailer park, or the band themselves. However, 27 years ago, Motley Crue was a product of heavy fucking metal, and only heavy fucking metal. So many people merely consider them glam rock progenitors, and group them in with the likes of Poison, but unlike most of the glam groups of the 80′s, Motley Crue was true to the metal sound, and continued to do so throughout most of the decade before they completely forgot what it meant to be metal. So, as an ode to 80′s era Crue, here are my top 10 favorite Crue songs that bled heavy metal of the most absolute degree.

10. Helter Skelter

9. Louder Than Hell

8. Fight For Your Rights

7. Red Hot

6. Looks That Kill

5. Wild Side

4. Live Wire

3. Kickstart My Heart

2. Shout At the Devil

1. Knock’em Dead Kid



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To develop a polished, mainstream sound, while sounding authentic, is a difficult task for a musician to create, and sometimes for fans of the underground to genuinely appreciate. Los Angeles, California’s Einvera, with their take on technical death metal, has done the unusual by formulating their debut record, In Your Image,  to represent metallic pop culture, while acknowledging the underground in one fell swoop.

Bands like Bullet For My Valentine and Blackguard, are often maligned by the underground for their at times bubblegum-esque take on melo death and folk elements, but the same cannot be said for Einvera. In Your Image, is a host of top technical chops that resemble a combination of the two previously mentioned bands, as well as Dark Tranquillity and any number of tech/prog death bands in the news as of late. This album could have easily spiraled into Revolver magazine, as “breakout artist of the year” with a sampler CD in the back of the magazine or something (which it still may), but the crux of the album is it’s ability to grab the listener with it’s whimsical, folksy vibes that usher in a carefree essence to it’s brutality, but without becoming a charicature. Bands like Blackguard, who perform similarly to Einvera are downright bad, because they are cartoonishly stereotypical, with little in the way of substance, Einvera though, are articulate with their riffs, and allow folk elements to never become stale, especially with the inclusion of bluegrass elements, or latin folk elements, to provoke an American style folk into their music instead of the just the carbon copy gypsy music that has become a staple on these types of albums. This is a key difference, and a defining moment for this band, despite it being only their first album. Much of the criticism of bands like this, is that they only adopt the European styles of folk, but Einvera clearly consider their American roots to be as important as European style folk.

Vocalist Grant, who based on my research seems to be kind of the heart of the band by not only performing the vocals, but also all of the non-traditional instrumentation, which ultimately adds to the individualism to the band’s sound. His guitar, is much more in tune with prog metal and Dark Tranquillity’s rhythmical fluidity, than say the balls to the wall fury of Obscura. Zac, the drummer, provides the perfect levels of drum intensity depending on the mood of the track, be it a subtle prog interlude, or an all out blast beat-a-thon; this guy is on point with any style that the band deems worthy.

In Your Image is a solid album for any fan of metal, as is hits on all the right points to make this a very enjoyable album without any fluff, and really is a natural successor to the modern American technical death metal style en vogue these days. Take note Unexpect fans, THIS is how to perform this style!

Similar Artists: Blackguard, Dark Tranuillity, Unexpect

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When analyzing subtleties in the nature-themed black metal powerhouse from Washington, Wolves in the Throne Room for reviewing, you cannot give any album from these guys a cursory once over and expect all that needs to be absorbed to come to fruition. With every WITTR album, including the latest, Celestial Lineage from Southern Lord Records, a deep, introspective odyssey is necessary in order to provide the necessary word placement to critique aa piece of art, that the practitioners clearly put a lot of heart and soul into. With that said, Celestial Lineage is likely to be overrated for one of two reasons: one, because they are an American black metal band who makes “North American” black metal. They are not carbon copies of the European scene, this is wholly American black metal with a certain atmosphere and folk vibe that is an American creation (see Agalloch as another regional favorite that interprets some of the same aspects of the music). Second, the non-metal portions of Celestial Lineage are out of this world amazing. If this were an Arcana release, it would be off the charts, but since this is a primarily a black metal release, simply looking at the beauty behind the non-metal portions, and overlooking the metal parts, does the band a disservice, and reviewers need to be aware of that.

So, what makes Celestial Lineage overrated, and not an album that should realistically reach expectations? Quite simply, the black metal portions are just not that creative or inspirational. I have heard that, lyrically, this band is completely on point, but as a man who usually could care less about lyrical content, this tends to go over my head admittedly. In terms of raw musical emotion though, WITTR come up short with their metal riffs. This is fairly paint by numbers black metal, to the point where I was left wondering when the next interesting non-metallic interlude would interrupt the monotony of the blackened aural discourse. There is no connection between the heavy aspects, and the beautiful interludes that some of the French bands these days are mastering, and when an attempt is made for the band to meld melodies into the harshness, it just comes up sounding forced.

Overall, Celestial Lineage is a logical step for WITTR, and while I have some reservations fully supporting the metallic aspects of the record, it’s still a solid piece of art, that any fan of the band will likely enjoy. Much like the current obsession surrounding Skyrim, the latest Elder Scrolls video game, I just don’t get the hype of Celestial Lineage; it has all the makings of a memorable album, but it just doesn’t stick with me.

Similar Artists: Arcana, Agalloch, Nachtmystium, A Forest of Stars

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Starting out with a great acoustic prelude, Thorns, my first introduction to the Akron sludgsters started off on a high note, especially with the feedback laden transition to track one, “Brown.” Unfortunately, this introduction to Thorns is pretty much the high note for the entire album, which is track after track of mediocre sludge.

Realistically, calling this album sludge is a bit of a stretch. Yes, the grimey grooves are there, but in reality, Rue is more a kin to Burn the Priest era LoG, combined with Anselmo’s Down. Does the world need another Lamb of God? The simple answer is no. LoG have treated us to more than enough of their stylings, and Rue does not need to sample their shenanigans.

Perhaps what holds back Rue the most, is their vocalist, Jeff Fahl, who really takes after Randy Blythe with the strained, gutteral style a little too much. Now, this comparison is not the only likeness to LoG, but it certainly does not help. Fahl’s clean vocals are actually quite a bit worse than his gutterals, and when combined in a studio setting (clean and gutterals), it sounds like a monotone atrocity.

I will say that when Mike Burns opts to really break out the grooves, his chops are quite apparent, but when saddled with non-memorable songs, even the most talented musician can fall flat.

Thorns is my first introduction to Rue, and it’s an entirely forgettable experience.

Similar Artists: Lamb of God/Burn the Priest, A Perfect Murder, Down

Shifty Records

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So the world has been graced with yet another Dave Mustaine album….err…I mean a Megadeth album.

Let me preface this review by stating that I was very happy when Dave elected to continue on with Megadeth after his hand healed, and the output he has produced since 2004′s The System Has Failed, have been quality releases, often highlighting the best moments of 80′s era Megadeth that every fan loves. With this album though, the band is really beginning to sound tired. In the 90′s, the lack of creativity can almost entirely be blamed on dollar signs and mainstream pressure (which Dave has since regretted doing), but there’s really no good excuse for Th1rt3en sounding like a full album of “been there, done that.”

Dave’s solos, of course, are the highlight of the album, he tears into each song with ease, reminding us why his shredding ways put him on the map. When Dave begins to sing though, I feel all enthusiasm for this band begin to slowly fizzle out. The lyrics are crap, the production is crap, with Dave sounding like he is singing at a karaoke bar with his own band’s music playing on some ancient, beer encrusted sound system, and finally, Dave sounds like a tired old man. The energy of Megadeth of old, I believe is gone. Dave should get out while the gettin’s good, and try some new projects. Megadeth had a good run, but if this is the sound of their future, I want no part of it.

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When I launched AMR in 2007, I had no idea it would become something that people who actually be interested in reading en masse. I figured a few stragglers across the Internet might be loured in by my inane ramblings. I never thought it would acquire head wind in any respect. But when it finally did, I spent years doing my best to compete with the largest metal websites out there, and I found myself burnt out of ideas. After taking a few months off, I am definitely finding I miss writing about the best music in the world, and I think I may have a new perspective. AMR won’t be (and really never has been) competition for the big league sites. This is a niche site, for niche readers, and I am going to pursue my interests in that direction. I will write what I want, and not get sucked into the PR debacle that is the Internet media. I am going to get warmed up here this month writing up a few reviews and thoughts, but after that, I will launch a brand new AMR with a new life for myself, and anyone else who wants to come a long for the ride.

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Hey everyone, as you’ve no doubt noticed, I haven’t updated the blog myself in quite some time, and this can be attributed to two simple things…burn out, and ear trouble.

I have been dealing with over-sensitive ears for months now, and I am finally going to get it checked out so I can actually enjoy listening to music again. In addition, I have been running this blog, every day, non-stop since 2007. That’s a long time to be blogging as any blogger will tell you. Not only that, but I have largely been doing this myself, with only occasional assistance from some great writers, but nonetheless, still only occasional.

I am not doing anyone a service, be they bands, PR folks, readers, etc, by doing this blog half-heartedly. I think the only way I will strike this blog up again as a daily entry blog,  is if I acquire more regular writers, which I will be hunting for, but I will not hold my breath as this is a time consuming “hobby,” and I don’t want to force anyone to sacrifice face time with humanity just to write some blog entries about metal. There are a TON of fantastic blogs around for your amusement and education, so I feel comforted that any loyal AMR readers won’t have any problems finding replacement material (hopefully temporarily).

I want to tell all my loyal readers that it was a honor writing for you, and it’s a pleasure knowing that people garnered some sort of deeper appreciation for this crazy genre of music we all love. And to the bands and PR staff who entrusted me with their material, it’s very humbling that you believed in my words enough, both positive and negative, to continually send me your materials.

I am not out of this game permanently folks; one way or another, I will continue to write and make my voice heard on the Net, as I still feel like I offer an opinion that many other writers do not have, I just need to take a break, breathe, enjoy life, and start to get back to listening to music for the simple pleasure of listening to music, and not worrying about how I will coordinate my thoughts into a well written critique.

So, without any other rambling, I say my good byes temporarily. WHEN AMR comes back, it will be evolved into a much better foundation, I can promise everyone that. I will still be checking my email, so if you still wish to correspond, I will be around for sure. Thanks again everyone!


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Click here to view the embedded video.

There’s not really all that much to say; The Faceless is (are?) hard at work in the studio and the small snippets sound great, especially that riff towards the end of the video. I’m hoping more video updates are done, especially with the new vocalist. I know “The Eidolon Reality” had a clean chorus, and I guess that could potentially sound cool on the album, but I do hope they stick to the tried and true formula that was perfected on Planetary Duality. If it ain’t broke…

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Taking on the name Death Valley Driver takes balls. I don’t know if these Canadian sludgesters chose their namesake inspired by WWE wrestler The Undertaker’s finisher, but that’s the first thing I thought of, and unlikely any other 20-30 something who grew up in the 90′s during pro wrestling’s prime. At any rate, these guys got my attention before I even put on my headphones, and that is always a good thing for marketing purposes. Musically speaking? Death Valley Driver’s debut album Choke the River may not be as appealing as their name, but they do deliver the goods at least in part.

Death Valley Driver are a groovy sludge group clearly inspired by the likes of Down, Crowbar and to a lesser degree, Corrosion of Conformity in terms of the clean vocal delivery and with some of the grooves. While not in direct relation sonically, I liken Choke the River to that of any number of Pro-Pain albums, in that there’s nothing especially “wrong” with the album, in fact, it’s actually quite catchy most of the way through, but it suffers from one key setback – formulaic unoriginality. Death Valley Driver certainly no how to deliver a hard hitting riff, but every song on this album is just a chugga chugga roughneck track with random drum fills on overly tight snare heads. As for the clean vocal moments, these just blatantly take away from the raw forcefulness of the record.

I think this is a genre that can experience a lot of growth, in fact, bands like Birds of Prey and High on Fire have really shown you can shove some originality into this purported un-original sub-genre. For now, because there is some originality coming out of this sound, I’d stick with investing your money with Birds of Prey and high on Fire, and avoiding Death Valley Driver until they offer up something that can compete.


Similar Artists: Down, Crowbar, Birds of Prey, High on Fire

1. Choke the River with Your Dead
2. Mothsblood
3. Straight to Hell
4. Insect Dirge
5. Heavy Lies the Crown
6. Sleeping All December
7. Lambs in the Wolfskin
8. Armour Divides

Ric Rumblot : Bass, Back Vocals
Dan Hodgson : Vocals
Nick Doucette : Guitar
Ray Blacquiere : Guitar, Back Vocals
Ryan Gallant : Drums

Diminished Fifth Records

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