The Heavy Metal Review

Archive for the ‘Editor’s Choice’ Category

Bonus List: Top 2 Rock Albums of 2013

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Mark 2013 as the year I became a fan of Clutch with Earth Rocker and the year Alice in Chains continued to keep radio rock tolerable with The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (seriously, this disc gets a ton of play on the radio in these parts at least). While both albums could fall under the category of metal – and were reviewed on this very site – they are more rock than metal.

Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

AliceInChains_TheDevilPutDinosaursHere

Alice in Chains is on a roll with its post-Layne Staley era releases. In fact, my biggest complaint for The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here was it felt like William Duvall wasn’t allowed to take charge as often as I would like to see (check out “Phantom Limb”/”Hung on a Hook” I want more of this!). Jerry Cantrell continues to deliver as always though in a proper balancing of trademark grooves and melancholic acoustic numbers.

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Written by Eric

January 4, 2014 at 8:44 pm

The Heavy Metal Review’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013

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Another year down and a pretty memorable one in terms of music released. While I haven’t been keeping up-to-date with the reviews, it still feels right to once again share the albums that stuck with me the most in 2013.

10. Chimaira – Crown of Phantoms

Crown of Phantoms

Chimaira is one of those bands metal elitists (and the review section of Decibel magazine) always seems to hate on year after year, passing them off as somewhat generic tough-guy music that spawns the macho crowd you don’t need at a metal show. However, I was a big fan of 2009’s The Infection and now 2013’s Crown of Phantoms. Mark Hunter delivers his usual brand of guttural vocals which you probably know whether or not you like at this point, but it’s guitarist Emil Werstler who gets weird on each track to keep things feeling fresh with fun riffs, fills and squeals. And hey, it’s also a great weight-lifting album!

9. Evile – Skull

Skull

Wild card! I have followed UK thrashers Evile’s music over the years and always thought they were the closest thing we have to the good ‘ol days of Metallica, but the band’s music just seemed to be missing that lasting power the Bay Area thrashers had in their heyday. So when I purchased Skull via Amazon MP3 I was expecting sometime highly listenable, but not all that memorable. This is not the case at all. If you are looking for an example, go on YouTube and listen to the song “Head of the Demon.” The entire album is like a mix of Slayer meets Testament meets Metallica thrash goodness. Give it a spin!

8. Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed

Serpents Unleashed

Skeletonwitch puts on a mean live show, but the band has never fully managed to capture the full experience of the blackened thrash stage goodness in a studio recording – until now. Serpents Unleashed is a quick and fierce album that never outstays it’s welcome. It also has some of the best metal bass production of the year, with every galloping rhythm and slide played by Evan Linger coming in through the speakers.

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Album Review: Alice In Chains ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’

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AliceInChains_TheDevilPutDinosaursHereAlice in Chains is a tough band to impartially review. There is the old iteration of the group, featuring the late Layne Staley on vocals, which released all the classic records – Facelift, Sap, Dirt, Jar of Flies and the lesser, but still solid, Alice in Chains. This catalog is untouchable in many fans’ minds who believe there is no Alice in Chains without Layne Staley.

Then there is what could be referred to as the coping/hibernation phase of the band, or the Jerry Cantrell solo albums, Boggy Depot and Degradation Trip, the latter record being an awesome reflection back on Cantrell’s career and the passing of Staley. It’s a monster in its own right and one hell of a double-album.

Which brings us to Alice in Chains circa 2013, featuring Jerry Cantrell in full-on frontman mode and adding William DuVall on backing guitars and vocals (with some standout leads peppered throughout). At this point, Alice in Chains is very much Cantrell’s band (though there are plenty of core members still around). So we get sort of a blurred mixture of his solo efforts without the raw emotion Staley added to the mix

Black Gives Way to Blue was the huge 2009 comeback record, and while perspectives (and reviews) were a bit biased, this was one of the best returns to form in quality for any reuniting band. Alice in Chains in 2009 was still foreboding and dark, but also more cleanly produced and polished, which could be good or bad depending on your perspective. Staley was declining rapidly towards the end of his career and this album was easily better than the band’s last self-titled record.

And now, in 2013, the at-first strangely titled The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here marks the next point in Alice in Chains’ career. The album does not grab the listener the same way Black Gives Way to Blue did, but there is no way it could. While the previous release had some amazing songs (“Check My Brain,” “Last of My Kind,” “A Looking in View,” the list goes on), the follow-up record is a more complete listening experience due to the band no longer having to prove it can still move forward without Staley on vocals.

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The Heavy Metal Review’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2012

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Every metal blog/magazine/musician out there is publishing its Top Albums List around this time of year and The Heavy Metal Review is no exception. It’s interesting to see how so many people’s lists can vary based on genre preference and life experiences that made a particular album hit home harder than the rest. So here is my heavily contemplated Top 10 in terms of what I rocked out to the most this year.

10. Black Breath – Sentenced to Life

blackbreathsentenced

Sentenced to Life takes the distorted death metal of Entombed and combines it with more traditional thrash and hardcore influences to make an album that is unrelenting, yet highly listenable. This is easily Black Breath’s best release to date (though it’s only the band’s second full-length) and the album’s short run-time means it does not overstay its welcome in your rotation.

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Album Review: Revocation’s ‘Teratogenesis’ EP is free of defects

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Revocation have recently become one of the more exciting prospects for the future of heavy metal and thrash music. 2009’s Existence is Futile was a refined version of the group’s debut album Empire of the Obscene. Then – with the release of Chaos of Forms in 2011 – the band really started getting noticed around the online metal circuit.

Chaos of Forms was different in that it combined the thrash/death metal onslaught of the past with classical/prog/jazz elements in a way that was not over-pretentious or complex. And now the “fourth” (technically fifth) release from Revocation Teratogenesis is here for free via the group’s Scion Audio Visual  label.

Offering the new EP for free is a great idea and this seems to be happening more with the bands on Scion AV’s roster. It will get more fans into the band and into concerts to buy merch where the real money is at.

However, anyone who has taken a basic economy class knows that there is nothing free in life and everything has a cost. So is Teratogenesis worth the precious download time and space on an MP3/phone/music playing device?

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Written by Eric

October 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Down nods to the old school on ‘Down IV Part I – The Purple EP’

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Down’s first album NOLA was one of the best stoner/doom metal releases of all time. So there has been a lot of hype (and subsequent letdown) from later releases Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow and Down III: Over the Under. That’s not to say these are bad albums – they just couldn’t stack up to the masterpiece that was NOLA.

In early 2012 legendary Pantera/Down/Superjoint Ritual frontman Phil Anselmo announced the group was going to do something different and release a series of EPs (possibly four of them) in order to get music out to the fans quicker and also cut out the filler involved with making a full album. Now the band – with new bassist Pat Bruders – has honored its word by releasing the first EP titled Down IV Part I – The Purple EP, and let’s just say the experiment paid off big-time for the southern supergroup.

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Written by Eric

September 19, 2012 at 5:38 am

Top Albums of 2012 since I’ve been gone…

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Hello readers,

It’s been awhile since I last posted an album review (believe that was in APRIL!) and now I hope to get on a slightly more regular schedule with my reviews. You can expect a full album review on Tuesday, but thought I would get back into this blog by posting brief quick commentary on albums that I never got to review that I think are amazing so far in the last few months of 2012.

You probably have already checked these albums out, but if you haven’t, I personally can vouch for everyone one of them as being some top-notch metal kickassery.

So let’s get the ball rollin’ on these metal releases you may or may not have missed…

Eric’s Top Metal Picks (since he left the blog, no particular order):

1. Six Feet Under Undead

Six Feet Under’s previous material never clicked with me. Between the schlocky covers and the more standard death metal fare, vocalist Chris Barnes couldn’t grab me like he did on his last amazing disc with Cannibal CorpseThe Bleeding. That is until I heard Undead. This record doesn’t necessarily go back to the Barnes/Corpse days – it goes back further to death metal’s roots of full-on slow chugging guttural bliss.

Also of note: The addition of former Chimaira guitarist Rob Arnold, who I believe is actually no longer in Six Feet Under already.

Check out: “Frozen at the Moment of Death,” “18 Days,” “Molest Dead” (oh yes, the song titles are still there).

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