Album Review: In Thousand Lakes – “Evolution”

In Thousand Lakes - Evolution

If a band comes out with a name that reminds you of a country mainly known for its massive metal exports, two things come to mind: a) they’re from that specific country; or b) they’re paying tribute to the country in some way, whether through their instrumentation or through their songwriting. In Thousand Lakes‘ case, a band hailing from Spain, seems to fall into the second category, but they’re also (very pointedly) bringing loads of that sweet Swedish melodeath into the mix on Evolution. Continue reading

Album Review: White Ward – “Love Exchange Failure”

White Ward - Love Exchange Failure

Smoke curls from a lit cigarette, set against the ashtray. Heightening the smell of perfume wafting throughout the room. It’s not unpleasant – you are familiar with the scent, after all – but there’s something else with Love Exchange Failure from White Ward. Something coppery, tied to the perfume, almost beckoning the curious to take a closer look. And you do, on pure impulse, because there’s something so compelling about how this scene is set that you can’t seem to articulate. That coppery smell turns out to be blood, and the trail it leads to your own dead body on the floor. It can’t be; after all, you are alive. Coming closer, you notice the intricate markings on the body, ones that you don’t see on your own. The marks look self-inflicted, as if your dead doppelgänger had scratched itself to bits, and you can’t help your fascination of the details. They swirl around the body’s forearm, making a slow rise to the shoulders. They look delicate, but you can see they were dug deep in the flesh. You wake up from visions of your dead body and the marks down your arms, making sure that you don’t have them yourself, and then shake your head, wondering what kind of internalization was going through your mind while you slept. Continue reading

Album Review: Opeth – “In Cauda Venenum”

Opeth - In Cauda Venenum

The past is only as dead as we allow it to be.  It may be behind us, but the present reveals echoes and traces that inform the whole of our experience.  It’s been an easy hit to simply cry out that the old Opeth is dead; what remains now is a vague simulacrum, going through the motions in a pale imitation of vague and obscure heroes of yesteryear.  But there’s another view, one where a band sheds its skin but the bones remain, framing a personal and vital change in direction that comes to full blossom with new album In Cauda Venenum.  It’s not just another step in the band’s ongoing evolution, it’s a firm realization of where they want to be.  Continue reading

Second Circle: Takafumi Matsubara and No One Knows What The Dead Think

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.

In today’s edition of Second Circle we take a look at the latest releases from grind legends, who happen to share a magnificent collaborative past (Gridlink, Hayaino Daisuki) and have now reached stunning creative apexes with their respective new albums. Whether it is pure serendipity or part of a divine plan that these albums are released on the same day only adds to their allure. So let’s dive head first into the unhinged brilliance of Takafumi Matsubara and No One Knows What The Dead Think. Continue reading

Album Review: Exhorder – “Mourn the Southern Skies”

Exhorder - Mourn the Southern Skies

Since 1992, which saw the release of The Law, Exhorder has been out of reach in the sense of new material. And each restart was foiled before any steam could build for a real reunion/reformation. But that hasn’t stopped their legendary status from staying intact and growing or the hopes of new material, one day. Now, that day has come and that new material is Mourn the Southern Skies. 27 years is a long time. Things change, fans change, technology’s changed and music consumption has changed drastically but the band’s basic penchant for biting thrash metal hasn’t changed a bit. Mellowed sure, but the basics are still there and it’s damn good to have them back. Continue reading