ALBUM REVIEW: Pallbearer – Mind Burns Alive


Five albums into their career, the fact Pallbearer was once a Doom Metal band has faded into the haze of the atmosphere that dominates Mind Burns Alive (Nuclear Blast Records). Of all the metal sub-genres, fans of doom metal are the most forgiving when it comes to a band outgrowing the confines of the genre. Perhaps this is just Brett Campbell’s beautiful singing voice distracting you from the lyrics, which are as equally as bleak as those on the previous album. There might be a marginally more optimistic tone to “Where the Light Fades.” These depressive expressions are a thread of continuity tethering this bands’ entire body of work. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Sundrifter – An Earlier Time


Small Stone Recordings, which is famous for the renowned Acid King and Wo Fat listed in their roster, sure got their thing going by releasing An Earlier Time (Small Stone Records), the third studio album of none other than Sundrifter. Having been around since 2012, the Boston-based desert rock trio has left significant marks through their 2016 debut Not Coming Back, and their 2019 sophomore album Visitations. They have also shared stages with a wide range of fellow heavy psychedelic units, King Buffalo and Gozu. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Faith In Jane – Axe To Oak


 

Since forming in 2008, Thurmont, Maryland trio Faith In Jane has racked up an astounding eight releases of which Axe To Oak (Grimoire) is the latest. Quite impressive when you consider it takes a band such as Guns ‘N’ Roses decades to put out new music. The band is comprised of Dan Mize – guitar/vocals, Brendan Winston – bass, and Alex Llewellyn on drums.

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CONCERT REVIEW: Cradle of Filth – Frayle Live at The Machine Shop


Flint, Michigan, might be known for the crime, cars, and crisis. Yet this down-and-out town has more to offer than that. Music fans know it best for being home to The Machine Shop. This nationally acclaimed music venue has been hosting, supporting, and celebrating bands for twenty years. This special concert lounge has gained its reputation because of their genuine love of live music and doting on its patrons. They bring to mid-Michigan audiences an enthusiasm and care most venues don’t bother with anymore. It was a bright, spring evening last weekend when a group of goth kids formed a line outside this beloved hall’s doors. They were exposed to more sunlight than what they were probably used to, but it was worth it because the Symphonic Black Metal Titans, Cradle of filth, were in town. Continue reading


Burning Vow – Burning Vow


We’re nearing the end of another year and no doubt we’re all scrabbling together our now mandatory album of the year lists, all the while agonizing over those handful of records that we leave out or forget, to showcase our personal highlights and the standouts that will be used in future years as a signifier for the high quality of music 2018 has bestowed upon us.Continue reading


Alunah – Amber & Gold


As EPs go, this release by Birmingham doomsters Alunah is perhaps a necessary one. In the wake of their founder/head vocalist Sophie Day leaving the band last year, the need to establish her replacement, Siân Greenaway, as quickly as possible means Amber & Gold (self-released) has a purpose, if nothing else.Continue reading


Esben And The Witch – Nowhere


Four years ago, at Cult of Luna’s heralded Beyond The Redshift festival, I saw a band that went toe-to-toe with the headline acts and matched their beauty, elegance, and musical depth. Ten years into their career and with their fourth album Nowhere (Season of Mist) about to grace our ears, we find Esben And The Witch at their darkest.Continue reading


Windhand – Eternal Return


Much of personal significance has happened to the members of Virginia Doom troupe Windhand since third album Grief’s Infernal Flower (Relapse) dropped in 2015: the resignation of co-founder and guitarist Asechiah Bogdan, after which the band has remained a quartet; the death of a friend close to the band; and the birth of guitarist Garrett Morris’ child. Given the joy and despair surrounding such events, it’s understandable the new full-length Eternal Return (Relapse) is a different beast from the droning sound usually expected.Continue reading


High On Fire – Electric Messiah


I don’t know how Matt Pike does it. Six months since Sleep dropped The Sciences (which is still ace and you should totally buy if you haven’t already) seemingly out of nowhere, the man who has forgotten more brilliant riffs than most of us will ever know has effortlessly created another world-beater. I admit that might be a case of me showing my hand a bit too soon – saying a High On Fire record is great is about as predictable as the sun rising in the morning, but both are positive reminders that good things are always on the horizon.Continue reading


Hangman’s Chair – Banlieue Triste


The ten tracks of the fifth album by Hangman’s Chair, Banlieue Triste (Spinefarm) clock in at a wee bit over an hour. The title track ‘Banlieue Triste’ opens the album. It was an odd choice. It’s almost three minutes of maudlin slow-moving fare. It gives you no indication of what’s to come. To wit, if I were a casual listener, I’d switch it off and that would do a disservice to the rest of the album. Banlieue Triste, the album, is best described as atmospheric angsty Sludge. The second track ‘Naive’ more encapsulates the overall sound of Banlieue Triste: the music sounds as if it’s in an echo chamber. This production choice enhances the listening experience as it impacts the depth of the music. The listener feels just a tad “off”. There is a constant unnerving expansive feel to every song.Continue reading