CALADAN BROOD – Echoes of Battle

I am sure I would have eventually paid attention to this band even if it wasn’t for the fantasy aspect. Right? I mean I have been know to let loose with the occasional atmospheric black metal. I enjoy a healthy amount of keyboards with my black metal. It’s not just the fantasy. Come on guys. Stop it. I’m not that one dimensional. Does it help that this band devotes themselves to a complex literary universe? Of course. But does that mean I only care about that minor aspect of the…

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PHALGERON – Cosmic Cataclysms

Phalgeron Cosmic Cataclysms

Long ago (~3years), and far far away (1/4 mile down the street), I saw a local band called PHLEGETHON open for TYR, ALESTORM and SUIDAKRA on the Pagan Knights Tour at the now defunct Knitting Factory in Hollywood (R.I.P.). I carved out some space to rock on the second level next to my then radio co-host Damon Wang and below us was a packed house of sweaty heathens who were in for a spectacular night initiated by three over-delivering local bands (EINVERA and STATIUS being the other two). This trend…

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BORKNAGAR - Urd (2012)

To anyone who has been following Borknagar at all during their almost two-decade-long career, the sound of their newest album should come as no surprise. It picks up where 2010’s “Universal” left off: marking another step on their journey away from “kvlt” Black Metal toward a more measured, sophisticated sound. The path from alienating to accessible is one that many Metal bands have taken, but few have weathered it as well as this band. Though their sound has changed dramatically – this album sounds nothing like their savage 1996 debut…

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Stratovarius - Nemesis (2013)

Wait. Really? When? How? I mean it is not that I doubted them but, really? They did this. Holy shit. Well, skin me alive and call me Sally, this is something. Maybe it was because I got lost in the last Portal record but wow. I mean sorry for being speechless but this is pretty damn good. Finnish outfit Stratovarius has been around for a while. In fact, the band hovered around the inception of European power metal in the late 80´s with other acts like Helloween. Since then Stratovarius,…

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PORTAL – Vexovoid

I think I brought up reviewing this album as a joke. Actually, I did, and laughed a little to myself before Brendan nodded his head in approval. What? Really? Well now I have to do it. I mean, I would love to review the fourth release from the Australian abstract black/death act, which has the ability to make my skin crawl to the ceiling. Who wouldn´t want to spend an afternoon in the depths of madness and existential nightmares? Looking at this album under the umbrella of epic metal makes…

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FEN – Dustwalker

Fen - Dustwalker (2012)

Sometimes I have trouble parsing out the myriad of new black metal styles each month since they only differ slightly from others. The term “Black-gaze” is used to describe black metal incorporating shoegaze. Black-gaze is different but somewhat similar to “Post-black,” a term used to describe the combination of post rock and black metal. Actually, that is only one definition as the other means “after” black metal and is a placeholder for “Experimental black,” but that is just ridiculous so let us try to keep it simple. There is also…

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