Album Review: Steel Panther – “Lower the Bar”

Steel Panther - Lower the Bar

In a way, Lower the Bar is the perfect title for the new Steel Panther album. You see, whether consciously or not, that’s what they’ve done on two consecutive albums now, following the two relatively lights-out records (Feel the Steel and Balls Out) that broke them out. Album No. 5 is still unmistakably a Steel Panther record — and, to its credit, one that boasts a couple of absolute panty-dropping tunes — but something’s just amiss this time out. Continue reading

Album Review: Falls of Rauros – “Vigilance Perennial”

vigilance perennial

I’ve always found it very easy to talk about the things that I like. It’s part of the reason why I got involved in writing as a creative outlet; I love discussing my passions and I usually have an easy time describing the things I enjoy. It’s rare that an album leaves me completely speechless, yet now I am faced with just such a scenario. I strive in all things to be professional, however, so I am going to give my best attempt to tell you why Falls of RaurosVigilance Perennial will very likely be one of the best albums you will hear all year.   Continue reading

Rainbows in the Dark: Trevor de Brauw – “Uptown”

trevor de brauw uptown cover

Rainbows in the Dark is back once again in force. Even in years where there is seemingly an avalanche of great metal albums released, it is necessary to make sure that you don’t get new release tunnel vision and miss out on some great albums from across the rest of the genre spectrum. To that end, I’d like to talk about my love for ambient music and a great release from earlier in the year by Chicago’s Trevor de Brauw. Continue reading

Album Review: Twilight Fauna – “The Year the Stars Fell”

twilight-fauna-stars-fell

Push away the tags, move past the labels and niches of “Appalachian metal” and “black/neofolk” that have been used to describe Twilight Fauna and artist Paul Ravenwood over the years. The concept of music recalling and communicating a sense of place, of community and time is well and good and entirely accurate, but there’s another layer to what Ravenwood is unraveling for the listener in Twilight Fauna’s latest, The Year the Stars Fell. By weaving his musical heritage into his own personal history Ravenwood exposes a raw nerve of grief and tragedy, a painful narrative buried deep under a foundation of feedback waiting for someone to take the time to dig.   Continue reading