The Heavy Metal Review

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

Album Review: Anthrax’s ‘Anthems’ EP is enjoyable, but not the record fans need right now

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anthrax-anthems-ep

It’s always intriguing when a famous band decides to release an album of covers. Especially when that band is Anthrax, who released a strong comeback in the form of 2012’s Worship Music with frontman Joey Belladonna returning on vocals and even more recently lost lead guitarist Rob Caggiano, whose last recorded work with the band is featured on the Anthems EP.

The best cover albums come from musicians who put their own signature sound into the tracks they choose to record, such as on Metallica’s Garage Inc. full-length, otherwise a covers album is a passing pleasure that doesn’t do much to enhance a group’s catalog.

Anthrax’s Anthems EP generally plays it safe in the delicate balancing act between staying faithful to the originals and putting the band’s own thrash-fueled spin on things, which results in a mostly pleasant, but not entirely necessary listen, unless you are already a diehard fan.

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Written by Eric

March 25, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Album Review: Soilwork’s ‘The Living Infinite’ is a career-defining double album

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soilwork-the-living-infinite

In Flames and Soilwork are two of the biggest Swedish melodic death metal bands still consistently putting out albums. While In Flames changed its formula drastically over the years (and isolated many fans in the process), Soilwork gradually modified its sound to the slightly more commercial output of today while still retaining elements set in place on the now classic releases A Predator’s Portrait and Natural Born Chaos.

Fans and critics have applauded more recent efforts by Soilwork including The Panic Broadcast and Sworn to a Great Divide, but these albums were missing something that made the previously mentioned classics (and even to some extent Figure Number Five) so highly regarded. Given the departure of longtime guitarist and founding member Peter Wichers for a second time, followed by other longtime guitarist Ola Frenning leaving, things were beginning to look shaky for frontman Björn “Speed” Strid and the future of Soilwork. It was even more worrisome when Strid announced the follow-up to Sworn to a Great Divide would be a double album released as a full 20-track package (a risky move for any band).

After giving The Living Infinite several listens, it is safe to say the double album is Soilwork’s best release in years and holds its own against the group’s other career-defining classics.

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