Album Review: Stygian Crown — “Stygian Crown”

stygian crown - stygian crown

Traditional metal continues to forge a path that is refreshing to these old ears.  Toss “extremity” out the window and ride hard and steady on a riff, nail that groove with the eye of a sharpshooter and carry that melody to the end of whatever metaphor I lost a few words back.  Point being, this debut self-titled full length from Stygian Crown is good.  Damn good. Continue reading

Album Review: Sorcerer — “Lamenting Of The Innocent”

Sorcerer - Lamenting of the Innocent

With Lamenting of the Innocent you can now make it a streak of three that Sorcerer have been holding the torch aloft for the pinnacle of epic, melodic doom metal in the vein of…yeah, Candlemass.  But that’s the one and only time I want to call that tired comparison, because after three albums of this caliber, Sorcerer deserve to stand on their own as masters of the form. Continue reading

Profile: Joshua Murphy of the Trad-Doom Quartet Blessed Black

Blessed Black

Ohio’s Blessed Black got their start back in the twilight of 2017 much like a lot of bands over the years: riffing on heavy metal and doom in local dives until they felt they had something strong enough they just couldn’t walk away from. Basically, the American Rock ‘n’ Roll dream since the beginning of the term. One year later they released a two track EP that had that trad-doom meets COC vibe and now have an upcoming full length, Beyond the Crimson Throne, that incorporates those two tracks but successfully builds on them in the shape of five more extremely strong, riff-heavy barnburners. Stoner doom, traditional heavy metal, driving rhythms, and epic vocals means that you’re about to have a new favorite band to be pulling for. Roughly a month ahead of the album’s release we had the chance to ask vocalist and lead guitarist Joshua Murphy (War Curse) our set of Profile questions to get a deep dive behind the curtains. Head inside to see how it went down and go show them some support, links are contained within. Continue reading

Second Circle: Black Anvil and Gatekeeper

second circle - black anvil and gatekeeper

In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.

Ah, the Extended Play.  Compact, versatile…few genres really know how to effectively wield the EP like metal does.  In today’s edition of Second Circle we take a look at two EPs, used to different ends, but carrying the message of metal loud and clear.  So let’s kick things off with the forthcoming tribute from Black Anvil and then cap it off with the early 2019 metal hammer that is the latest from Gatekeeper.
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Best of 2018: Chris’s Honorable Mentions List

EOY 2018 Header 9C

We’ll save the long-winded rhetoric for the final list.  There’s fifteen albums listed here that are categorized as “Honorable Mentions” because that’s typically how these list things work.  But in reality it’s a disservice to relegate the incredible music contained herein to a tier of “also ran.”  I spent much of the year thinking about what I needed music to do for me, and hunting for the songs, the bands, and the albums that worked – selfishly – for me.  All of the albums listed below work on me and for me: pushing me to move further, holding me back when I’ve gone too far.  I can’t ask for much more than that.  Last year I titled my honorable mentions albums #40-26, but in truth a number can’t define the reinforcement and excitement this music provided.

So let’s dive in and talk about them for a spell. Continue reading