Album Review: Soon – “Vol. 1”

SOON_vol1_cover_rgbThe longer I stick around in heavy metal, the more I find myself asking the question –– and answering it by searching for new bands –– “What happens when you form a heavy band that isn’t necessarily influenced by metal?” This seems like an odd question, but especially in the past decade, we’ve seen all niches of metal move far beyond the confines of the genre, sometimes never really starting in it to begin with. Vol. 1, the debut from Soon, isn’t merely an answer to the posed question –– it’s a declaration that the most compelling heavy music bursts with light and color rather than hues of gray and black. Continue reading

Album Review: Eight Bells – “Landless”

eight bells landless
Artwork by Nate Burns

Landless is a bit of “wait and reward.” Long ambient passages, epic build ups and soft harmonies give way to rewards in the form of well-paced, driving sections of addictive, drum-forward rock. Appropriate, as the addition of Thrawsunblat drummer and Immortal Bird vocalist Rae Amitay provides the atmospheric and remains filled experience necessary for Eight Bells. Despite being entitled Landless, the album feels anchored by oceanside plains. It’s as if the music is tracing the cartography of these lands; pulling the listener along with them. Continue reading

Album Review: Jess and the Ancient Ones – “Second Psychedelic Coming: the Aquarius Tapes”

Jess and the Ancient Ones - Second Psychedelic Coming the Aquarius Tapes

On Second Psychedelic Coming: the Aquarius Tapes, Jess and the Ancient Ones evolves their sound from a traditional metal blend to occultflavored acid rock. There are touches of surf, blues, acoustic and even jam band influences, but it’s the way the band combines these influences that makes this album so much more than simply retro. Sure, it sounds as though it came from an alternate-universe’s summer of love where cults and evil ruled the headlines, but rest assured: there’s enough of a gypsy spirit to keep things lighthearted. Continue reading