The Heavy Metal Review

Quick Review: Megadeth ‘Super Collider’ is not great, but it is weirdly interesting

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Megadeth_SuperColliderDave Mustaine says and does some of the dumbest things these days. To the point you have to wonder what the other members of Megadeth are thinking (including the more recently reunited Dave Ellefson). I’m sure it’s along the lines of, “What have I gotten myself into?”

The internet reviews have been highly critical of Super Collider, where some are saying it’s the worst thing the band has ever done. Others have argued the album really isn’t that bad. I don’t think I have seen anyone claim it is the group’s best output anywhere, though I’m sure it’s possible (this kind of person probably also argues Lulu – by Metallica and Lou Reed – is a great record).

I have argued Megadeth has been on the decline since The System Has Failed, due to seeing them several times in concert and just being bored. The band lacks passion even when its playing the old tunes live. Granted I haven’t seen them since Ellefson rejoined the fold.

While Super Collider is nowhere near the top of Megadeth’s catalog, it is different, and that makes it interesting. If I had to categorize the band’s discography into groups, this would go into the bin I’d call “Wild Cards” also containing Hidden Treasures (awesome), Risk (not so awesome, some good moments) and The World Needs a Hero (not as bad as people think). I actually enjoyed listening to Mustaine’s crazily conservative rants and conspiracy theories set to the background of Megadeth guitars, bass and drums, which is basically what Super Collider boils down to.

So don’t be afraid, give Super Collider a full listen. It’s more interesting than United Abominations, Endgame or Thirteen, though I don’t think it’s musically better than those recent releases.

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Written by Eric

June 7, 2013 at 9:53 pm

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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Album Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan ‘One of Us is the Killer’

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thedillingerescapeplan_oneofusisthekillerIt took me 10 years and one live concert to finally “get” The Dillinger Escape Plan. No I was not continuously listening to the band in this time, trying to understand the appeal of the music, but rather I didn’t really give the group a fair shake. That all changed when I heard 2010’s Option Paralysis and later saw the band live at Knotfest in 2012 (there aren’t many bands out there who put so much energy and emotion into a live performance).

To me, Option, was the perfect mix of melody and aggression (and admittedly it is the most melodic Dillinger album to date). I then went back and explored the group’s back catalogstarting with Ire Works and Miss Machine and finally getting into the group’s roots with Calculating Infinity (which is excellent in its raw appeal, but the weakest album in the band’s catalog).

This left me curious, what would Dillinger’s 2013 follow-up One of Us is the Killer sound like? The answer is a mix of the more intense moments on Ire Works (and even a hint of Calculating Infinity, blended with a scaled back version of the melody found on Option Paralysis). Maybe this album was released at the right point in my musical experience, but it fully delivers the sound I was waiting to hear from the band.

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Written by Eric

June 5, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Review Roundup: Rob Zombie, Ghost B.C. and Killswitch Engage

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The Heavy Metal Review has been slacking lately in the review department, so here is my attempt to play catch-up and analyze the biggest metal releases of the past month or two in a Review Roundup.

rob-zombie-venomous-rat-regeneration-vendorAlbum: Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
Artist: Rob Zombie

Quick Review: Rob Zombie seems to be another one of everybody’s favorite musicians to hate on recently, despite constantly putting on an energetic live show and basically being the closest thing we have to this generation’s Alice Cooper.

Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is a mouthful of a name, but the album itself is a concise 38:50 in length, and combines some of the industrial sounds back from the original Hellbilly Deluxe and The Sinister Urge with the more straightforward style found on Educated Horses and Hellbilly Deluxe 2.

With songs like the hard rockin’ “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy” and  the industrial tinged “Rock n Roll (In a Black Hole),” you can kind of guess what to expect here, however, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With VRRV, Rob Zombie releases one of his more consistent solo albums since The Sinister Urge.

Final Verdict: 8.5 out of 10

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Album Review: Clutch ‘Earth Rocker’ makes me a fan of the band

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I’ll waste no time admitting it. I have never cared much for Clutch’s music. It spawned the crusty, stoner, rock ‘n’ roll movement which I don’t get much enjoyment out of, especially in the local music scene, because these types of bands are decent, sure, but all the songs get old fast. I have also seen the band live and wasn’t impressed there either. It was the equivalent of catching a jam-band show, without the energy of a full-on metal show (not that I consider Clutch to be full-on metal) and I quickly zoned out and eventually left the venue.

However, in 2013, I decided to give Clutch another shot and check out Earth Rocker. I heard the title track previously online and thought the straightforward, almost classic rock, direction of this record fit the band better than past releases. In addition, frontman Neil Fallon’s vocals have more of a bluesy vibe, which I can totally get behind.

My first listening experience with Earth Rocker took place in Denver, Colorado, and it provided the fitting soundtrack to driving on the highway, with scenic mountains in view. The previously mentioned album opener, “Earth Rocker,” provides fun, straightforward rock ‘n’ roll entertainment, and that’s exactly how I would describe my feelings towards the record as a whole.

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Written by Eric

May 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm

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Album Review: Six Feet Under’s ‘Unborn’ contains some bloody-good leftovers

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SixFeetUnder_Unborn

Roughly 10 months after the release of Six Feet Under’s surprisingly rockin’ death metal record, Undead (which was never actually reviewed on this site – great album), the band released another full-length disc of what many would assume to be leftovers (aka B-sides) of material on Unborn. Similarities in album names and cover artwork aside, both albums showcase why former Cannibal Corpse frontman Chris Barnes is still adored by so many fans, something Six Feet Under’s previous work never did for me.

Ever since his final album with Cannibal Corpse (The Bleeding), Barnes’ career in Six Feet Under started to feel like a pot-smoking parody of his former one – no, the music world did not need a death metal cover album of Back In Black in its entirety, no matter how hard you might argue (see Graveyard Classics 2). It didn’t help that Cannibal Corpse had a stellar last couple of albums with George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher on vocals.

However, in 2012, Six Feet Under’s track record of mediocrity was crushed by Undead. The album took everything fans loved about Barnes and combined it with an amazing backing band, led by guitarist Rob Arnold, of Chimaira fame. On Unborn we lose the greatness of Arnold (his guitar work is only featured on “Psychosis” and “Inferno”), but still get plenty of enjoyable songs written and performed by Whitechapel’s Benjamin Savage and Torture Killer’s Jari Laine (Ola Englund is the current touring guitarist with the band).

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Written by Eric

April 20, 2013 at 1:24 am

The Heavy Metal Review Contact Information

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Contact Info

As you may have noticed, The Heavy Metal Review has been lacking in the album review department as of March 25, 2013. I recently relocated to a new apartment/city and am about to begin working a new job, so times have been busy! However, I plan on catching up on some major missed reviews of Clutch Earth Rocker, Six Feet Under Unborn and Killswitch Engage Disarm the Descent over the course of the next week, in addition to reviewing Ghost B.C. Infestissumam – which will be released on Tuesday April 16.

I have also been getting more inquiries from independent artists looking to submit their music for review. Any inquiries can now be sent to heavymetalreview@gmail.com and the About page of the site has been updated to reflect the new email address.

Thanks,

-the Management

Written by Eric

April 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm