ALBUM REVIEW: Unearth – The Wretched; The Ruinous


Everything is cyclical, isn’t it? These days I read numerous think pieces telling me how Nu-Metal is experiencing a revival. There are even young bands like Tetrarch and Tallah that openly identify themselves as being nu-metal acts. Would’ve never thought that possible ten years ago. No way. But yet here we are, and it seems like we all plan to attend the Coal Chamber show.

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Hellfest 2023 Books Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Def Leppard, Pantera, Porcupine Tree, Amon Amarth, Alter Bridge, and More

After their biggest year ever this year, Hellfest 2023 has booked headliners Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Iron Maiden, and Slipknot! Set to take place June 15-18, 2023 In Clisson, France, the bill also includes Def Leppard, Pantera, Porcupine Tree, Amon Amarth, Alter Bridge And Within Temptation, and more! Headliners for the 2022 edition of Hellfest included Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Judas Priest, Deftones, Ghost, Scorpions, and Korn over two long weekends to make up for the missed pandemic year of 2020.

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Graspop Metal Meeting Books Pantera, Slipknot, Disturbed, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Kreator, Meshuggah, Gojira, Parkway Drive, Testament, Voivod, and More

Pantera, Disturbed, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Architects, Behemoth, Kreator, Meshuggah, Gojira, Parkway Drive, Testament, Voivod are among the 103 artists who have been added to the 26th edition of the Graspop Metal Meeting, set to take place June 15-18, 2023 in Dessel, Belgium. Tickets are on sale tomorrow at the links below. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Kublai Khan – Absolute

On Absolute (Rise Records), Kublai Khan ticks off a lot of the boxes I’m looking for in modern Metallic Hardcore or extreme music, but something isn’t quite passing state inspection. They’re blending equal parts Hardcore and Metal fury, have meaty breakdowns, occasional Thrash tempos and happen to be from Texas. I should like this. Or I should like this a bit more. Continue reading

Heart of a Coward – The Disconnect

I remember the great commercial Metalcore boom of the mid-aughts like it was yesterday. I was in the twilight years of high school, about 30 pounds lighter and with no useful insight into how to drive a car or pleasure a woman. I had it all figured out. You may not believe it, but I am wearing an As I Lay Dying tee as I type this. Heart of a Coward‘s The Disconnect (Arising Empire) takes me back to many an evening in 2004 hanging with the homies. Continue reading

As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis Apologizes In A Lengthy New Statement

As I Lay Dying front man Tim Lambesis was released from prison last December after spending roughly two years behind bars for his 2013 plot to have his then wife, Meggan Lambesis, murdered. Last night he broke his silence for the first time since his release with a lengthy apology on Facebook. Continue reading

Whitechapel – Mark of the Blade

Whitechapel – Mark of the Blade ghostcultmag

Seeing that it is 2016, and it has been two years since Our Endless War, it seems that we are due for another studio album from Knoxville’s pride and joy, Whitechapel. And right on cue here it is in the form of Mark of the Blade (Metal Blade).

Young bands could stand to learn from that work ethic as it netted Whitechapel a Billboard Top 10 spot for Our Endless War. That’s a pretty awesome feat for a Metal Blade artist. If memory serves me right, the last time someone on that stable landed on such a lofty chart spot was As I Lay Dying. Yeah, that one didn’t end well.

Will Mark of the Blade spring the trick again? Yeah, probably. After all this is the album that’s been making headlines on metal news sites for containing clean vocals (‘Bring me Home,’ ‘Decennium’) and taking aim at elitists (uh, ‘Elitist Ones’).

Plus it follows the same game plan as Our Endless War and the self-titled before it. What’s that said game plan? It’s less deathcore or death metal and quickly making itself comfortable in the real estate that housed Devildriver for so long; “groove metal”. Who came up with that moniker? Hell, if I fucking know, but it’s certainly proved itself popular. To me it loosely translates to some kind of mutant post-thrash metal. I guess it became vogue in the aftermath of Pantera. If it truly is a subgenre, then its best albums are Burn My Eyes, Chaos A.D., and Wolverine Blues.

whitechapel band 2016

But you know what the funny part is? The best moments here are the non-groove bits. That’s not discounting tracks like ‘Dwell in the Shadows,’ ‘Venomous’ and the aptly titled ‘Tremors’ which will fit nicely along Whitechapel live staples like ‘The Saw is the Law.’ But what’s most impressive is that the clean vocals, albeit sparse, truly work. It’s not unlike in Lamb of God’s melodic turn in ‘Overlord.’ And the fact that they were feeling ballsy enough to try an instrumental in ‘Brotherhood’ that has some ‘The Call of Ktulu’ leanings to it.

So, it’s another solid release from Whitechapel, who will likely continue to forge onwards to decent sales and many a Summer tour. Groove metal be damned, there are plenty of cool moments here. I mean, I could do without ‘Mark of the Blade’ and ‘Elitist Ones,’ but there’s more than enough to make for those missteps. Now excuse me, I have to find more subgenres to dislike.




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The Devil Wears Prada Talks Facing Metal Crowds

The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Being a band like The Devil Wears Prada and sounding the way they do can often be a challenge for those who are unfamiliar with their music. Over the past decade, the Ohio based act has built up a strong yet loyal following that live and breathe their style of metalcore.

They have once again appeared on the main stage of this summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and are tackling larger audiences who are new to their style of music. Vocalist Mike Hranica talked about playing in front of vast crowds at these events, and how much that influenced how they approached their music.

When we got started and doing Vans Warped Tour back in 2008, it didn’t really influence us too much. We were really influenced by bands like Killswitch [Engage] and As I Lay Dying. They were always doing an Ozzfest and still doing Warped and playing with rockier bands, poppier bands, and all the way to proper metal, Slayer bands. We tried to do the same.

Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Ever since the band first appeared on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour’s main stage, longtime fans got their first experiences hearing their chaotic sounds and became addicted. While The Devil Wears Prada immediately became the pit kings at Warped Tour, things became a bit more of a challenge at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival supporting some of the heavyweights in the metal world.

We get put in our place when we come to Mayhem. It’s actually tough guys and metalheads rather than at Warped Tour it’s a bunch of young bands. We’re less cocky on Mayhem than on Warped Tour.

Doing Mayhem three years ago was really eye opening and we know what we’re getting in for. Also at the same time, that was the best summer tour we’ve ever done and already the past two days have been ‘oh my god…it’s so relaxing to come to Mayhem.’

Having such a fraction of the bands on Warped Tour makes it so much easier. We’re pumped. I think it will be a good summer with fans recognizing and doing shows like Graspop and Download Festival overseas. We know the fan dude there standing there like ‘what the hell is this?’ and by the end of the set will be like ‘I can vibe some of this stuff.’ We enjoy that challenge and trying to win people over. That’s a big part of the challenge.

While playing in front of a tough crowd and seeing a sea of “what the hell is this” looks, bassist Andy Trick had an interesting view on it. “You can see it if you watch the people come up and sit down and then after a few songs they get into it.

By Rei Nishimoto

Sleeping Giant – Finished People



Christian Metal is a marginalised genre at the best of times. Is it all a marketing ploy? Hardcore is a good medium for faith-based metal. It’s easy to convey the passion you have, and they have that in spades, but recent claims from As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis that “maybe one in ten Christian bands” are genuine have not done the scene any favours. Sleeping Giant seem to mean it though. Finished People (Century Media) is the fourth album from the trio (Tom Green – Vocals, Geoff Brouillette – Guitar, Matt Weir – Drums).

Opener ‘Clutches’ builds from a slow start to a high octane crusher; Green doesn’t take long to start singing about spreading Christian love, but his vocal range is impressive nonetheless and he maintains a positive vibe throughout. Repeated breakdowns are to be expected and are delivered on a regular basis and as is often the case, their constant appearances can become fatiguing. But there are also melodic passages on the likes of ‘Overthrow’ or ‘Finished People’ reminiscent of Jamey Jasta’s solo album as well as thrashy elements on ‘Death Knell’ and ‘Brother’s Keeper.’

Overall there’s a good balance between the usual hardcore genre expectations and melody, but there’s plenty of bite in their sound. ‘Son of God, Son of Man’ is a highlight, as are ‘Christus Victor’ and ‘Victory.’ However there are plenty of overly generic, anonymous moments where it’s mostly shouting and breakdowns. The only outright bad song is ‘Violence’; an overblown and pretentious spoken word passage.

Whether they “mean it” or not, Sleeping Giant have made a respectable album full of energy and zeal with a positive message. They’ve also made an album lacking any new ideas and occasionally straying into pretentiousness or generic breakdowns. There a lot worse albums out there, but it’s a decent effort.



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