ALBUM REVIEW: Cognizance – Phantazein

New year, new label… Following their first two releases under the Prosthetic Records banner, UK-based Death Metallers Cognizance are back with Phantazein, a concept album via Willowtip Records that focuses primarily on “art, obsession, and the profound influence of one’s environment.”

The five-piece outfit surpasses typical Death Metal and on this record introduces elements of Technical Death Metal and thrash. None of this puts a strain on the production value, which is a well-oiled machine – and certainly sounds like it – from start to finish.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Structural – Decrowned

Israeli-based tech-death outfit Structural are no strangers to taking time to hash out any kinks before finishing a full-length. Five years removed from their self-released debut album, the five-piece accentuate their talents on Decrowned (ViciSolum Productions/Sound Pollution).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Faceless Burial – At The Foothills Of Deliration


There are (at least) two ways to ascertain if metal is going to be technically inspired: the cover or the song titles.

In fact, with an album entitled At The Foothills Of Deliration, maybe it was obvious all along.

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Ever Living – Artificial Devices

The contradictions of crafting an album using the very technologies and processes the band had previously railed against are but one small element of the complicated and interesting layers that make up Artificial Devices, the self-released second full-length composition of London duo Andrei Alan (guitars/bass/programming) and Chris Bevan Lee (keys/vocals/programming) collectively known as The Ever Living (I promised myself no Mumm-ra comments, but here I am in the intro… I can’t help it, every time I see the band name…).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Tómarúm – Ash In Realms Of Stone Icons

Tómarúm is a band tailor-made for extensive, elaborate compositions, overflowing with equal parts technicality and atmospherics. The Georgia-based progressive black metal group put the general public on notice with their scintillating debut full-length, Ash In Realms Of Stone Icons (Prosthetic). Just as each glance at the album cover (courtesy of Mariusz Lewandowski) presents new findings, so to does each listen trigger new emotions.Continue reading

EP REVIEW: Crown Magnetar – Alone In Death

These days, with technology readily at our disposal, music isn’t always created directly by humans. Programming has significantly widened the plains of the musical landscape, for better or worse.Continue reading

Arch / Matheos – Winter Eternal

Gobsmacking. That’s the first word that came to mind and I wasn’t even a minute into Winter Eternal (Metal Blade Records). Arch / Matheos deliver everything people like about heavy metal. The music is imbued with headbanging fury. The guitar riffage is sublime. Winter Eternal is that perfect storm of a heavy metal album. It’s a wicked mixture of classically awesome Iron Maiden, heady powerful Dream Theatre, and has the story-telling prowess of Queensryche. Listening to the album makes you go, “Grrrrrrrrrr!”Continue reading

Mask Of Judas – The Mesmerist

With the UK’s Progressive/Tech Metal scene growing ever bigger and ever more packed, a band that provides any form of new ideas is surely going to be a welcome addition, right? On paper, Mask Of Judas sounds like an intriguing prospect which should offer some wide appeal with their brand of progressive metal with vocals that range from the recognisable growls to contemporary pop and R&B. The sad reality, however, is that, at very best, debut album The Mesmerist (self-released) can only be described as a mixed bag.Continue reading

Adagio – Life

Times have been rather tumultuous for French progressive metal stalwarts Adagio since the release of their last album Archangels In Black (Listenable) way back in 2009. A continuing series of vocalist setbacks saw numerous changes in that time, with the latest seeing Mats Levén single year duration come to an end with him being succeeded by Kelly Carpenter. Jelly Cardarelli and Mayline Gautie have also joined as drummer and violinist respectfully. A mammoth wait for an album was also heightened by a crowdfunding campaign, and thus, the promise of big things to come. Now finally the follow-up arrives, revealing what is their most ambitious work to date, which sadly is not entirely a saving grace.Continue reading