Tag Archive: Reviews


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.

I’m sure by now you’re familiar with the formula for a Rockstar game. Open world, a plethora of cars to drive around in, plenty pedestrians to run over and torture, shooting stuff with shoddy gun and cover mechanics, a large variety of mission based gameplay and narrative advancement, a decent narrative and story wrapped around a pretty one dimensional protagonist with a lot of cool friends, America, political commentary, and the words Grand Theft Auto in the title, but for the most part, with as many flaws their games might have, they made up for it with witty humor and giving the player freedom to reek havoc in almost anyway that they may choose. Recently Rockstar have noticed that their company can’t survive on Grand Theft Auto alone, so they released the stunning Grand Theft Horse, err, Red Dead Redemption. They kept the basic gameplay elements of the Grand Theft Auto series such as the open world, mission base, ect. But they went and made some major tweaks to their style such as improving the gunplay mechanics, pulling the style out of modern America into the wild west, creating one of the more interesting video characters out there, and also crafting one of the best game narratives available today. While from a technical stand point the game was filled with flaws, it completely won over gamers as they got sucked into John Marston’s wild west and his quest to hunt down his ex-gang members. Along with the great narrative, the game its self was just damn fun to play and in its own right, Red Dead Redemption was a very ambitious game. Now Rockstar pushes its self further and brings players into Los Angeles during the 1940’s right after the end of WWII and the ambition scale is through the roof. 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

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

Where do I start trying to explain Maryland rockers Clutch.  They have a highly unique sound that incorporates the attitude of metal, the grooves of rock and roll, and the passion of the blues.  While many other bands may incorporate these attributes into their music, nobody does quite like Clutch.  Over the years they have mellowed and streamlined their sound which had a lot of metal and grunge characteristics and brought out the more blues and rock and roll orientated sounds.  While album such as Transitional Speedway League and the self titled album are quite amazing in their own rights, it’s the change in style that they embraced on The Elephant Riders that really pulled this band into being a force to be reckoned with. Continue reading

Guitar virtuoso Buckethead’s musical style is just as eclectic as his fashion sense.  He creates avant-garde compositions deeply rooted in funk, rock, metal, jazz, and pop.  In 2005 he teamed up with a full cast of musicians and songwriters and created the album Enter the Chicken.  To say this album is diverse is an understatement.  He explores musical styles ranging from trance to hip-hop to metal to full on shredding.  Everyone who listens to this album is sure to find a song or three that they will enjoy. 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

Amazon Kindle

I like to read.  I read a lot, just about everyday for a minimum of a half hour, most of the time, much more.  If you were to come into my cozy little flat the first thing you would probably notice would be the large amount of books me and my wife have amassed.  We got ourselves a nice little collection overflowing our bookshelf.  Last year my sister and her boyfriend came out to Italy to visit us and noticed the wall of literature and upon returning to America they suggested to my mom that a Kindle would be a great gift for us for Christmas in which she gifted to us on the holiday. Continue reading

The original two Fallout games were stokes of genius in the RPG realm and really helped popularize western RPGs throughout the world.  They gave you a sense of freedom and the ability to solve quests in any way you wanted.  They gave you a destroyed post-apocalyptic Earth to travel around instead of the typical “D&D/anime” setting that eastern RPGs had been providing.  They also help popularize the quest based method of advancing the game which made a huge impact on the way that many games today are played out.  Above all, they were fresh and original, and also very funny at times. Continue reading