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On Monday of this week we began a 3-part series of micro reviews of releases that we were listening to in February. Part 3, T through Z, will publish on Friday.
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Nekromantheon – Rise, Vulcan Spectre
Thrash from hell by way of Norway. Ripping! — Aaron Lariviere
Nocturnal Torment – They Come At Night
OSDM that brings the slamz as well as the ’90s vibe. Glad they don’t overuse the HM-2, just keep away from Frank Mullen; he might want his band back. — Rhys Williams
Obolus – Lament (EP)
Appropriately grim ‘depressive’ black metal. I guess depressive means a hint of melody without being actually melodic. Why not, it’s free anyway. — A.L.
Orange Goblin – A Eulogy For the Damned
Stoners turn to rock and roll. Still the best live band I’ve ever seen, even if the album doesn’t quite live up to that standard. — A.L.
Pallbearer – Sorrow & Extinction
Epic doom with mournful melodic vocals. Reminiscent of Warning, with more of a death/doom vibe. Far better than the sum of its parts. Moving, crushing stuff. — A.L.
[Profound Lore Records]
Panopticon – Social Disservices
I don’t know how I feel about a left-wing black metal protest against incompetent government bureaucracy. Since when did black metal care about other people’s needs? But I’d definitely listen to an album called “Move faster you lazy piece of shit MVA drone, because I have better things to do on my Saturday morning!” — RSJ
Power Trip – Power Trip 7″
These guys are a welcome middle finger to every shitty nu-thrash band out there. Filling the vacuum left behind by Iron Age’s unfortunate demise, this is not only a lesson in violence, but a crash course in how thrash is supposed to sound. And hey, there’s a Prong cover! — Chris Rowella
Ram – Death
They should’ve called it “Life” or “Relevance, Finally”. Prior efforts weren’t even mandatory for power metal fans. Death is already their best effort and could be their inroads to the metal mainstream. Surprised me by being almost as good as Steelwing. — RSJ
Rocka Rollas – The War of Steel Has Begun
A US power metal album with 10 songs and the words “metal” or “steel” appearing 10 times throughout the tracklist. Don’t ask me if it’s good. Ask me how good it is. — RSJ
Shroud of Despondency – Pine
The guys from Shroud of Despondency like a lot of different types of metal—so they decided to write an album that touches on all of it. Although Pine remains firmly rooted in black metal, there’s no way of predicting what the next track will sound like. — Michael Cacciatore
Sigh – In Somniphobia
Japanese circus metal? No thanks. — A.L.
Stallone – Stallone
Do you like the idea of Torche more than the actual band Torche? Juan Montoya’s new gig may be up your cup of tea. No vocals, no problem; Stallone’s bright production and monster riffs fills up every iota of space. Speaking of space, “The Battle Of Miami” is a soundtrack to floating past the rings of Saturn. — C.R.
Steelwing – Zone of Alienation
Solid NWOBHM influenced power metal covering the requisite topics: space, aliens, hot girls in leather and spandex, nuclear apocalypse. Combine all those topics, and it’s like meeting some girls from Dundalk or Essex! (That’s a little Baltimore in-joke. Oh look, you’ve got some syphilis on you now.) — RSJ
Stormcrow – Enslaved in Darkness (Reissue)
Thoroughly crusty Bolt Thrower worship, which is the greatest worship of all. Wish these dudes were still around. Essential. — A.L.
Sulaco – Build & Burn
Mutant fusion of death, grind, and post-hardcore melodic stuff from Brutal Truth peeps. Weird-ass songs. Once you see the album art, it all makes sense. — A.L.
Surachai – To No Avail
“Experimental” black metal that’s pretty straightforward except for the strings at the end of a song. Not bad, but it’d be boring if it weren’t so short, so . . . kudos? — A.L.
Svartsyn – The True Legend
Rerecording of older album makes it no less formulaic, but still pretty good. Think slightly heavier, blastier, more modern Stormblast-era Dimmu Borgir plus Celtic Frost. Good riffs throughout, and some neat d-beat and two-step bits: surprised me, at least. — R.W.