Tag Archive: Heavy Metal


Take a look at the picture of the album cover artwork over to the left there. That picture pretty much sums up what to expect from Marrow of the Spirit by Agalloch. It’s dark, wintery, foreboding, and overflowing with a viscous atmosphere. As you immerse yourself in this album you will take a harrowing walk through the haunted forest that Agalloch has grown and when you finally escape its chilling grasp it will stick with you for a long time to come as you constantly cough up chunks of that viscid air that you were inhaling throughout your journey, and it couldn’t be a more rewarding experience.

The style of music Agalloch creates is a strange beast to describe. It’s soul is rooted from black metal(raspy vocals, tremolo picking) but past where their roots are their sounds branches out into something rather unique as they incorporate various vocal and instrument styles and textured song building akin to prog and post-metal bands(think Isis). All the songs on Marrow of the Spirit have a very earthen sound to them and the lo-fi production really hammers home the organic feel to this record. That organic, earthen feel is what really makes this band, and record, something special.

As you start up the album the sounds of a babbling brook come into focus along the chirping of various birds in the trees which then gets layered by the somber music of a cello brandishing its lost soul. Then the album just bursts and smacks you into confusion with the heaviest and fastest section on the whole record and then evens itself out and gives you an opportunity to regain your focus and from there they let you loose to get lost and explore the dusky winter forest and its various moods and textures. Throughout your journey you will stumble upon a darkened lake that is known as “Black Lake Niðstång”, and here you will, at the same time, meet true beauty and terror and you will not be able to pull yourself away from its dark and beguiling sorcery. Some time after this encounter you will find you way out of the entrapment of the woods, but not unscathed, and the haunted woods will beckon for you to return to discover all they have to show you, and you will oblige…

Like spring and summer flaunts its charm, so does autumn and winter. The color of the fall leaves, the taste of the fresh, cool air, the way snow reflects the moonlight to brighten you path, the proud yet barren trees, those seasons have their own captivating spells and Agalloch really knows how to capture them musically like none other that I’ve heard. While they may focus on the dark sides of the spectrum the light often shines through and makes Marrow of the Spirit a truly breathtaking spectacle to behold.

And bonus points for the artistic designer on the album packaging. There is some wonderful photography and I loved how the band logo and song titles were placed on with the raised clear ink(can’t be seen in any scan, but it’s there and it’s pretty damn cool). I hope this trend of excellent album packaging continues.

If one wants a gimmick to work there are really only two ways to go about making it succeed. The first is to take the Amon Amarth approach and be completely serious about it, the other, and more difficult way is to do the complete opposite of that and not take the gimmick entirely serious and just have fun with it. Scottish Pirate Metal outfit Alestorm‘s latest album there is a song about pirates traveling back into time to battle vikings and steal their gold and a song called “Midget Saw”. I think it’s pretty obvious where these metal buccaneers hoisted their anchor. Continue reading

So, for those that may not be familiar with the band Suidakra, they are a German trio(quartet for live shows) that play music reminiscent of Scandinavian Melodic-Death Metal and Black Metal and have an affinity for Celtic lore along with the music of the Celts and they do an excellent job of bringing all those elements together. Since their first album they have been constantly pushing their sound forward and refining themselves with just a couple bumps in the road. Their tenth album, Book of Dowth, is where they stand today and it is a culmination of all the hard work and progress they have shown in their musical career. Continue reading

I’ll admit, I’ve never really gotten to deep into the world of Devin Townsend. I do have a couple Strapping Young Lad albums in my collection(City and The New Black ripped from a friends CD) and I’ve listened to them and enjoyed them, but for some reason they never really struck me and sit collecting dust in my music collection. I’ve caught a few videos from Devin’s other projects and enjoyed them also, but for whatever reason I never followed up on my enjoyment of a single or video. Then when I caught wind of Devin’s new project, aptly titled The Devin Townsend Project, he raised my interest in it with the concept of the project. He was going to release four albums with different moods, styles, and personalities all fueled by his new found sobriety. It wasn’t so much the concept that really grabbed me, but it was more his enthusiasm and passion for the project. So, what do I do? Well, instead of purchasing the first two albums in the project(Ki and Addicted), which were quite positively received, I passed up, don’t know why. Then within the weeks of me writing this, the next two albums were released, unfortunately on the same day as the new Symphony X and Rhapsody of Fire. So, I opted to pick up the latter two albums on that day. While surfing around the internet I came across a review of the new pair of albums and something caught me about it and it went onto the “I really need to suck it up and check out these albums list”. What caught me was on the third part(Deconstruction) of the album series was that there is a number of guest vocal spots by some vocalists that I am very familiar with and highly enjoy their respective bands. The other thing, the thing that sold me was that the album is about all the answers of life in a cheeseburger. Yes, a cheeseburger, a double. So, while I was about town this weekend I came across the double pack of Deconstruction and Ghost and finally purchased my first real foray into the world of Devin Townsend. And now I’m really excited to delve deeper into his musical world and look forward to what I find. Continue reading

It’s now July 2011 and we have hit the halfway point in the year. So far there have been tons of outstanding metal releases and there will be some upcoming releases to hit in the second half of the year(September is going to be one hell of a month). I’d like to present you with my top 10 favorite albums to be released so far in 2011. Let’s see how many maintain their hold till the end of the year. A few I haven’t gotten around to reviewing but be sure that will eventually pop up soon. And as always, what were your favorite albums for the first half of 2011. Peace Love and Metal!!!! Continue reading

These days it seems that New Jersey is nothing but a place filled with crooked politicians, overly tanned douchebags, and high taxes. While all that may be true, there is also great things coming out of my place of origin from delicious submarine sandwiches to the real Jersey Shore areas such as Pt. Pleasant, Cape May, and Asbury Park. One of the best things that is coming out of NJ right now is music, namely progressive metal powerhouse Symphony X. Having just released their 8th full length studio album Iconoclast, these Jersey boys have struck gold yet again and delivered a beast of an album. Continue reading

Now this is how you go out in style. Rhapsody(of Fire)‘s new release From Chaos to Eternity brings the Dark Secret Saga to a close and also marks the their exit from the fantasy world of Rhapsody(there will still be tours and concerts under the Rhapsody moniker, and maybe other Rhapsody albums, but none taking place in the world they have created). It will be sad to see the Rhapsody saga come to a close, but they couldn’t have ended it on a higher note. Over the years Rhapsody have captivated their listeners with their unique brand of neo-classical power metal and their world of dragons, elves, demons, angels, wizards, and dark geometry. Continue reading

Every once in a while an album comes along blows the top off the music world.  One of those rare occurrences would be Ghost Reveries by Opeth.  Not only does this album brutalize the listeners auditory sense with its harsh metal passages, it also haunts the listeners soul with its harrowing, elegant, and refined mellow and acoustic passages.  It’s not just an album that relies on the gimmick of changing pace up and down, softer and faster to show a contrast, every movement within this record has its place and every change, sound, word, growl, beat, and note feels perfectly placed, natural, and organic.  Every single sound fits perfectly into place and every sound works with its surrounding dins and tones faultlessly and in the end creates a listening experience like no other. Continue reading

Hitting a huge milestone in their career Amorphis have just entered the double digits by releasing their tenth studio album, The Beginning of Times, an honor that not many metal bands get to experience. Over their illustrious career the vast majority of those albums have been rock solid, top notch listens, especially with their last trio of albums(Eclipse, Silent Waters, and the mind blowing Skyforger). The Beginning of Times shows experimenting with their sound and style once again while keeping the integrity of their ever evolving musical style and continuing with the theme of using characters from the Finnish epic the Kalevala for lyrical inspiration. This time around they add a heavy 70’s prog rock vibe to their music with great influence from bands such as Yes and Jethro Tull. Continue reading

The boys of BTBAM do it yet again.  This time managing to squeeze hours worth of music and complexity into a three song EP.  On The Parallax:Hypersleep Dialogues BTBAM create a 30 minute musical journey into fantastical parallel planes of existence and reality where 2 characters have to come to terms on making a godlike decision that may have catastrophic effects.  And since this is a precursor to the full length album which will be released in the near future, this is just an introduction to the masterpiece that BTBAM has in the works, and I couldn’t be more excited to hear it. Continue reading