Album Review: Master – “Vindictive Miscreant”

Master - Vindictive Miscreant

It’s all right there, before a single note is played.  It’s there in that extra syllable Paul Speckman injects at the end as he bellows “You’re nothing but a vindictive miscreant!” It’s a burst of disgust, dripping with vitriol tagged onto “miscreant,” a venomous punctuation before the guitars burst in.

It’s all right there, but what is it?  It’s Master, doing what they’ve been doing for 30 odd years, and not losing a step with new album (in case you couldn’t guess) Vindictive MiscreantContinue reading

Album Review: Realm of Wolves – “Oblivion”

Realm of Wolves - Oblivion

Every so often an album comes along seemingly out of nowhere so that its mark is made even more indelible because of its previous anonymity to a particular listener. For me, Oblivion is one of those albums.  I would encourage anyone reading this review to stop, go listen to the embed below, and then return for the remaining synopsis.  Okay, now that you’ve heard what I’m talking about, lets continue with the review.  Realm of Wolves are a Hungarian band that formed this year.  Even though that’s what the bio indicates and based on what I’m hearing, they must have been doing their black metal woodshedding for some time now. Earlier this year they released an EP, Shores of Nothingness, and now follow it with this debut full length. Continue reading

Album Review: In the Woods… – “Cease the Day”

In the Woods... - Cease the Day

Most bands coming out of an extended period of inactivity are applauded for not missing a beat…in other words, sticking firmly to the formula that worked for them.  If Norway’s In the Woods… had a formula at all, it was moving adventurously forward, mixing death, doom, folk and black metal in a way that didn’t sound like anyone else at the time. Since reuniting and coming back with 2016’s excellent Pure (an album that made both Corey’s and my Best of 2016 lists) the band feels completely revitalized, honing their progressive mix to larger extremes.  New album Cease the Day further refines that sense of exploration in extremes, to fantastic results. Continue reading

Album Review: Azusa – “Heavy Yoke”

azusa - heavy yoke

Over the years, graphics in video games have evolved from tiny pixelated 8-bit characters to much more photo realistic art styles, and while this is generally seen as an advancement of the medium, in the last 10 years or so, there’s been another movement to bring back that old 8-bit aesthetic, using modern tech to evolve that style to do things it never could in its original incarnation. Think of it as an alternate history. While it’d ever be a mistake to call anything that Swedish extreme metal band Extol did basic, their 5-album discography covered a lot of ground, and any of those albums could provide foundational anchor for a whole band. In the year 2018, we receive just such an album in Heavy Yoke, the debut album from AzusaContinue reading

Second Circle: Slegest and Ævangelist

Second Circle

Life is all about contrasts. Some big, some small, some noticeable and some not so much. But in the end, without them, this would be a boring and laborious life. With that said, for this edition of Second Circle I’m taking a look at two albums that are sharp and stark in their contrasts but both have made an indelible impact on my listening habits as of late and both stood out instantly as albums I’d be engrossed in for different reasons and for some time to come. These albums are Slegest‘s Introvert and Ævangelist‘s Matricide In the Temple of Omega. Continue reading