Arc of Ascent—The Higher Key

Arc of Ascent—The Higher Key Space-rockers Hawkwind don’t get enough credit for helping to imbue the psychedelic spectrum of metal with a distinct accent. Lyrics from the band’s ’74 release, Hall of the Mountain Grill, (“We’re astral-planing, floating free / On our continuum frequency / Spacing out, we’re spacing in …”) underscore the mantra of mind-bending metal to this day. That same searching tenor... Read More

Stone Angels—Within the Witch

Stone Angels—Within the Witch We all lean on music in troubled times. And I think we can all agree that heavy metal provides the perfect forum to vent life’s frustrations. But it’s one thing to listen to music as a means of escape; it’s a whole other scenario to create music as a means to understand the legacy of unforeseen tragedy. Stone Angels are from Christchurch, New Zealand, a city that was left devastated by two huge earthquakes—with... Read More

Winter Deluge—As the Earth Fades into Obscurity.

WINTER DELUGE—AS THE EARTH FADES INTO OBSCURITY. Remember that quickening of the pulse you felt when you first heard black metal? That feeling that the world had suddenly shifted on its axis and would never be the same? There was catharsis and comfort to be found amongst all that misanthropic veracity. It was the voice of everything you saw on the grey washed-out faces that passed you by every day. Black metal wasn’t afraid to acknowledge... Read More

Sabbatic Goat—Demo Review

Sabbatic Goat—Demo Sabbatic Goat’s self-titled demo got me thinking about scenes. Where you come from, your inspirations, your immediate surroundings, all these things should come into play on any band’s recording, let alone their debut. But there’s a huge disconnect with Sabbatic Goat in that regard. The hellish blackened death the band spews out on their demo sits in radical opposition to the family holidays, retirees’... Read More

Spook the Horses—Brighter (Review + Q&A)

SPOOK THE HORSES—BRIGHTER (REVIEW + Q&A) It wasn’t remotely difficult to decide which album to review first in 2012. Brighter, the debut release from post-rock outfit Spook the Horses, of Wellington, New Zealand, is stacked with all the panoramic creativity needed to kick start the year in invigorating fashion. With an hour’s worth of undulating, textural post-rock, Brighter shifts effortlessly between picturesque soundscapes and pugnacious... Read More

Meth Drinker—S/T

There are two kinds of sludge metal. There’s the one that evokes a certain Southern charm with its whiskey sippin,’ thunderclouds-a-gathering, sweaty clubs and down-home big fat riffs. And then there’s the other type—the obnoxious one. The one that conjures up images of broken glass, rubbish-strewn wastelands, dirty needles, infected leg sores, rotting teeth and very unhealthy co-dependent relationships. Meth Drinker plays the latter kind.... Read More

The Mark of Man- Interview 2011

Benevolent Brutality Brutal is a word bandied around a lot in the metal community, but brutality shouldn’t necessarily be measured by plain old heaviness or technical ability alone. There are plenty of bands that are barbaric, unrelentingly callous and cold, but aside from a certain weight there’s often little else except vacuous clatter. Not that I’m disparaging noise for noise’s sake. I’ve got plenty of mindlessly battering artists in... Read More

Beastwars- S/T (2011)

How’s that for a band name. You have to be at least marginally interested already, right? Let’s see if I can convince you to take another step forward. The first thing you need to understand is that New Zealand does grimy hateful metal real well, but I’ll forgive you for not knowing that – we’re well down south (of heaven) after all. It’s been a bumper last few years for our more obnoxious brethren, with releases from Diocletian, Witchrist... Read More

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