Album Review: Dreams in Fragments – “Reflections of a Nightmare”

Dreams In Fragments - Reflections of a Nightmare

After making a hard left on symphonic and gothic metal around 2014 and going straight off the deep end, I figured the genre was as good as dead. Given the saturation of it, I became jaded and decided to stick to bands that I knew and loved. Over the years, I have seen bands come and go in this genre and while some have done things differently by changing their sound, others have been using the same tropes. When I heard of Dreams In Fragments and their latest album Reflections of a Nightmare, I was hoping for new things – a change in the beauty/beast vocal trope, new tones embedded in the music, and maybe a new approach to the genre. Every year, I am disappointed with new bands and unfortunately, this one is no exception to the rule. Continue reading

Album Review: Howling Sycamore – “Seven Pathways to Annihilation”

Howling Sycamore - Seven Pathways to Annihilation

Whenever someone mentions the term supergroup, I can’t help but think of massive ones, like Ayreon or Avantasia, and the way they are able to create stories while incorporating a revolving door of vocalists and musicians that play major parts as characters. However, supergroups don’t need a huge group of people to be considered as such, which brings us to the band Howling Sycamore, whose members have various degrees of expertise across the metal spectrum, making this one of the more ambitious groups I’ve encountered. But, that doesn’t mean that Seven Pathways to Annihilation works like a total charm. Continue reading

Album Review: Nuitville – “When the Darkness Falls” (EP)

Nuitville - When the Darkness Falls

Ah, blackgaze – the genre that, when done correctly, can be the most beautiful thing to grace a set of ears. As someone whose primary listening turns dark in the summer, it made sense to continue my sensibilities into pursuing what else is out there before I’m neck-deep into black metal for the next four months. Which brings me to When the Darkness Falls, an EP from the Ukrainian one-man project, Nuitville, whose emotional flair really caught my attention and held it for the duration. Continue reading

The Path to Paradise Begins in Hell – Progressive Metal

The Path to Paradise Begins In Hell

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these, despite writing about numerous other things and being on the Nine Circles Audio Thing. Blame grad school – I am stuck in this hellhole to further new opportunities, so I am hoping things pan out. Otherwise, I will be so mad. Luckily, I am free (for now!), so here we are!

Anyway, last time, I discussed gothic metal and my appreciation of the aesthetic as a whole. I consider that genre to be the darker side of symphonic metal; instead of the beautiful fairy queen, you get the belle dame sans merci who will make you suffer for your desires. I also wanted to address something that I thought of before we jump into the next genre – if you think about it, there are more men involved in gothic metal than in symphonic metal. Granted, the genres overlap, but men rarely take the spotlight in symphonic metal. Maybe some of you can tell me why?

Now, we can start talking about a genre that is known to be experimental in nature, albeit not avant-garde (I might write about avant-garde at some point). Given our recent discussion of Empath (see podcast), it’s only fair that we look at how this genre has become a staple in my music listening and how it has expanded my horizons into other bands.

It’s time we talk about Progressive Metal. Continue reading

Album Review: Sol Sistere – “Extinguished Cold Light”

Sol Sistere - Extinguished Cold Light

As the seasons begin to shift once again, the yearning for black metal returns. I am a ‘summer black metal’ person – that is, I take the time to cram as much black metal as I can in a period of four months before I get sick of it. Then, the cycle repeats anew, and I yearn for the bleakness of a genre that doesn’t fit with the weather conditions I live in. It may sound like a bad idea, but when you’re feeling miserable, black metal can heighten that feeling and, for me, that is essential for getting through the summer. In order to pre-game that feeling before July begins, I decided to go back into my research roots and look into a band whose first full-length gave me hope many years ago. This leads to the bleak, incessant sounds of Sol Sistere and their newest release, Extinguished Cold Light. Continue reading