Album Review: Immortal Guardian – “Psychosomatic”

My tastes tend to to sway when it comes to power metal. Sometimes I want it to be aggressive, heavy and light on the histrionics. Sometimes I want full-blown, costume and role play drama on an operatic level. Back in 2018 when we were doing the Power Metal Album of the Month one of the biggest surprises was Immortal Guardian, who on their debut were more often than not able to successfully merge the two styles into a ridiculously fun outing. If anything, that balance solidifies on sophomore effort Psychosomatic, bringing sharper songs and a beefier production to highlight how in a short amount of time the band has become a force to reckon with in the genre.

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Death Metal Stew: Frozen Soul, Nervosa, and Asphyx

I slept, and I dreamed.

I dreamed of ripping, gain to 11 HM2 riffs with an edge so brittle they would shatter. I dreamed of cavernous reverb, and of blistering tempos jackknifed into mid-paced stomps that locked into a pocket so deep I could feel the void. I dreamed of vocals both guttural and vicious, speaking to me in the tongues of ancient religions, intoning rites of passage into another world, another time.

I woke, and realized it was February and I had slept on killer old school death metal releases from Frozen Soul, Nervosa, and Apshyx. Rising from my decrepit tomb of a bed I exhaled a chilled breath and decided to rectify the situation.

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Second Circle: Bloody Hammers and Miserable

In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.

Happy 2021! Everything is fine! I swear! At least in terms of music everything seems to be fine. Right when I was thinking there wouldn’t be anything of note to grab my ears in January (sorry, but Tribulation still fails to do anything for me, so we’ll let others on the site rave) up pops two bands that trade in the kind of music that instantly strikes a chord in my metal heart. So let’s use this edition of Second Circle to the sinister pomp of Bloody Hammers and the killer old school thrash of Miserable

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Best of 2020: Chris’s List

Best of 2020

If you’re reading this there are two possibilities at play, either of which warrant a hearty congratulations:

  1. It’s the end of the year, and you found the strength, courage and forbearance to get through the infested muck that was 2020.  Congratulations!  I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but let’s put the future aside for a moment and just revel in survival, and talk about some great music.
  2. It’s an indeterminate time in the future, after the apocalypse, and the collective hive mind has integrated into the data streams and come across this post in a random search string query to ascertain various data points about the distant past.  Congratulations!  I’m not alive to know what the Time Lords have in mind for the future, but let’s put that aside for a moment and just revel in whatever constitutes life in your existence, and talk about some great music.

Either way, it’s list time… Continue reading

Best of 2020: Chris’s Honorable Mention List

Best of 2020

It’s the beginning of the end. Of the year. This shitty, terrifying, mind-screw of a year. But you know what?  It’s also the beginning of list making, which by now (if you’ve been reading me over the last four years) you realize I relish even as I qualify and condition every list I make.  As per usual I kicked it off with a list of great albums that  – for various reasons – didn’t make my main lists, but that didn’t make them any less special.  Every album does that for me: even the ones I don’t connect with tell me something about how I connect with music, and sometimes that’s just as important as finding an album that does make that connection. Continue reading