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The Casket Lottery – Real Fear

December 3rd, 2012

The-Casket-Lottery-Real-Fear

Nothing To Fear

With a name like The Casket Lottery, you’d expect the band to be some of the most extreme metal out there. But the Kansas City quintet won’t be bogged down by such conventions, pairing an ominous name with some of the catchiest hard indie rock on the planet. The band’s fifth full length, Real Fear, is a wonderful blend of heavy rock and memorable pop, and a few other genres tossed in for good measure, creating a unique and enjoyable experience.
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By Josh Neale Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

A Life Once Lost – Ecstatic Trance

November 15th, 2012

A-Life-Once-Lost-Ecstatic-Trance

A Riff Once Played

Metalcore can be a rather homogenous genre, with its specific tenets, melodic structure, and general ethos, so bands often resort to experimenting with other styles. However, it can be difficult to blend genres skillfully, without cheapening them both. Combine metalcore with trance-y, groovy metal, and you’ll get Philadelphia’s A Life Once Lost, who have returned after 5 years with their sixth full-length, Ecstatic Trance. While it will definitely induce a trance, the emotion provoked is far from ecstasy.
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By Josh Neale Posted in Reviews

Isis – Temporal

November 6th, 2012

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Time For A Few More

The metal world was stunned in 2010, when post-metal stalwarts Isis announced they were calling it quits after 13 years. However, the breakup has somehow done little to slow the band’s output. They’ve since released several compilations and box sets, including Temporal, a collection of demos, remixes, and unreleased tracks. It may be the last new material fans get to hear, so we should certainly enjoy it while we can.
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By Josh Neale Posted in Reviews

The Secret – Agnus Dei

November 5th, 2012

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A Little Beef With God

Italian black metal/grind merchants The Secret have almost nothing in common with the wildly popular self-help wishing book, save one thing: they want you to wish that you’d never been born. Their combination of black metal bleakness and grindcore intensity will definitely darken your day, and while their fourth full-length, Agnus Dei, may not tread new ground, it will certainly sacrifice a goat or two while there.
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By Josh Neale Posted in Reviews

Obelyskkh – White Lightnin’

October 19th, 2012

Obelyskkh-White-Lightnin

Doom And Gloom

If your goal is to relax while listening to metal, there are really only two options available: stoner and/or doom metal. The repetitive riffs, psychedelic guitars, and distant vocals are designed to lull you into a trance-like state, and take you to another plane. However, this approach can be a double-edged sword. Those same qualities that make doom metal appealing can also make it boring, and German quartet Obelyskkh walk that fine line (and none too carefully) on their second full-length, White Lightnin’.
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By Josh Neale Posted in Reviews

The Everymen – New Jersey Hardcore

October 18th, 2012

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Hardcore? Well…

The title may be missing some punctuation, but that doesn’t detract from the debut release of South Jersey octet The Everymen (who, ironically or appropriately, contain a woman in their ranks). Rather than the expected definition of “hardcore” (as in “hardcore punk”), the band’s New Jersey Hardcore is closer to “We are from, and love, New Jersey. Hardcore!” Featuring a blend of punk, rock, ska, and doo-wop, The Everymen may not be doing anything earth-shattering, but what they do, they do VERY well.
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By Josh Neale Posted in Reviews

Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind

October 11th, 2012

Converge-All-That-You-Leave-Behind

Much To Love

Punk and metal used to be good friends, but that was a long time ago. Or was it? Hardcore darlings Converge out of Massachusetts have been decimating the eardrums of unsuspecting listeners with their unique blend of chaotic, asymmetrical mathcore-infused punk since 1990, and judging from their eighth full-length, All We Love We Leave Behind, they have no intentions of ever giving up.
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By Josh Neale Posted in Reviews

Between The Buried And Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence

October 9th, 2012

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The Future Is Here

Since their humble beginnings in 2000, North Carolina quintet Between The Buried And Me have always sought to push the boundaries of their craft. Across five studio albums, they’ve constantly grown and changed direction, never staying in one place for too long. Now, with the release of The Parallax II: Future Sequence, they’ve fully codified their inimitable sound and compositions, begun on last year’s The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. The band has found their sound, and it is breathtaking.
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By Josh Neale Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

As I Lay Dying – Awakened

September 25th, 2012

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A Similar, Yet Functional, Foundation

Metalcore has, at this point, become the hair metal of this generation. It has achieved a mainstream popularity, it’s heavy without being terrifying, complex without being progressive and just this side of radio-friendly. It also has a tendency to be very homogenous. Purveyors of the genre, like San Diego’s As I Lay Dying, have a distinct sound, and to stray too far from it would prove disastrous. It’s this mentality that created their sixth studio album, Awakened. Read more…

By Josh Neale Posted in Reviews

Kalopsia – Amongst The Ruins

September 17th, 2012

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Old Stomping Grounds

Death metal is to metal as jazz is to pop music. It’s highly complex and specialized, off-putting to the casual listener, and hasn’t been popular for a long time. Yet, in both jazz and death metal, dedicated artists steadfastly refuse to give up their craft and move on to more mainstream (and lucrative) genres. Why? Simply, because they love it, and they know their fans love it just as much. It’s this mentality that shapes northern New Jersey quartet Kalopsia’s newest full-length Amongst The Ruins, their first in 8 years. It’s pure classic death metal, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Read more…

By Josh Neale Posted in Reviews