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

Album Review: Soen – “Lotus”

soen - lotus

Soen have always played in that space that blurs the distinctions between genre classification: are they metal?  Rock?  They’re certainly progressive, but are they so progressive to be considered “progressive” metal?  Or rock for that matter?  The good news is that on fourth record Lotus continues to not care about labels, opting to let the emotional core of their music carry through.  Others can opt to argue what it sounds like; to these ears, it simply sounds like Soen. Continue reading

Album Review: The Tangent – “A Spark in the Aether”

the tangent a spark in the aether

So here’s the thing: I listen a lot of extreme metal. My musical interests are rather exclusive. This isn’t due to narrow-mindedness—quite the opposite, actually. I’ve gone through a lot of musical phases in my life…and I’ve listened to a lot of crap along the way. Extreme metal is simply where I’ve settled. Despite all that, for my birthday week, I decided to deviate a little bit…no, I decided to deviate severely. I decided “let’s give all that a break and give something else a try.” So, with that mentality as the driver, I decided to explore The Tangent‘s new full-length album, A Spark in the Aether. And all I can say is…lesson learned.

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