Best of Q1: Dustin’s List

9_headerThe releases for any genre that come out in the first quarter of a given year are what usually set the precedent for the remaining nine months of music to be consumed. If a bunch of mediocre albums come out, the bar for quality (and expectations) is set low, and listeners won’t expect to be wowed anytime soon. But if solid albums come out within a year’s first quarter, we at least have the anticipation of more solid albums down the pike. As fortune would have it, the first quarter of 2016 has been stacked with great releases from both major label artists and those who are just now crossing our collective radar.   Continue reading

Album Review: Meadows End – “Sojourn”

Meadows End - Sojourn - CoverOrchestration and keyboards in metal, especially extreme metal, will continue to be one of the genre’s most polarizing issues. When done well, the combination of choirs, orchestras, and pianos can enhance the power of the underlying song structures and take it from merely solid to way beyond epic. When not done well or over-emphasized, though, keyboards are tantamount to ruining a perfectly good steak by drowning it in nacho cheese. Fortunately, symphonic melodic death metal veterans Meadows End are masters of their trade, and their newest album Sojourn is yet another strong display of brawn and beauty as partners in tango.  Continue reading