Windhand – Eternal Return (Review)

Windhand - Eternal ReturnWindhand are a doom metal band from the US and this is their fourth album.

Despite Windhand being one of the higher profile examples of this type of music, their split with Satan’s Satyrs was my first exposure to them. As such, it’s great to hear what they’re capable of with a full album’s worth of material to play with. Continue reading

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Of the Sun – Before a Human Path (Review)

Of the SunOf the Sun are a progressive metal band from the US and this is their second album.

This is an interesting brand of progressive metal – Of the Sun essentially take the groove metal of bands like Pantera and Lamb of God and mix it with a bit of modern progressive music that has hints of Gojira, Mastodon and Alice in Chains in it. Continue reading

Seven7 – The Follower (Review)

Seven7This is the third album from UK Progressive Metal band Seven7.

This is Modern Progressive Metal that’s big on riffs and melodies.

These songs are clearly well-thought out and are well-balanced between classic song structures and more adventurous Progressive explorations. Down-tuned riffs and heavy guitars work alongside lighter, introspective moments and a Rock sensibility that gives the songs an energetic vibe.

At 50 minutes in length, there’s a lot of different influences and ideas on The Follower. Under the overarching Progressive Metal aegis the band are able to work in a whole manner of different elements from a whole host of different genres and sub-genres, from Metal, Rock and otherwise. The amount of variety on display is still consistent with their overall Progressive core, and it takes the learner on a very involving journey.

The singer has a powerful voice and presence, coming across as somewhat of a mix of the singers of Metallica and Alice in Chains. His singing is dark, infectious and merges with the music symbiotically throughout this album. His vocals are flawlessly executed, much like the music itself.

In some ways this makes me nostalgic for the inventiveness of commercial Metal in the 90s. Seven7 sound like a 90s band updated for the current age. It’s as if a fledgling Nu-Metal band was consumed by the spirit of Progressive Metal, transported forwards in time a few decades and then unshackled and let loose. Don’t let the Nu-Metal tag fool you though; it’s part of their sound but doesn’t define them. The Follower is intelligent and passionate music that shares part of Nu-Metal’s once-essential vitality and incorporates this into Progressive Metal just enough to energise it.

There’s a lot to enjoy on this release and the band have worked hard to craft a collection of songs that have emotional depth and maturity while at the same time featuring enough instant energy and impact to snare the listener.

Highly recommended.

Astrakhan – A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin (Review)

AstrakhanAstrakhan are from Canada and play Progressive Metal. This is their latest EP.

This is powerful music with plenty of dynamics and personality.

Think Progressive Metal with a modern edge; kind of in the vein of what Mastodon do but without really sounding like them too much. Couple this with elements of bands as diverse as Alice in Chains, High on Fire and Metallica…

Hard Rock mixes with a Sludge feel and strong clean vocals dominate everything. Stoner simplicity and technical complexity merge together. They are at once cohesive and divisive; multiple influences congeal into a coherent whole and result in four very impressive songs.

The sheer force of charisma generated by the singer is draw-dropping. To further muddy the waters of genre-definition, he sometimes sounds like he could easily front an Avant-Garde band like Arcturus or Manes with ease.

The distortion feels alive and the riffs have a vitality to them. Each of the songs flexes its musical muscles and exudes feelings that are both epic and emotive.

Their music is textured and rich with riffs that propel the songs onward with real passion and vigour.

Top quality. If they can translate their obvious talent into a full length album they’ll be on to a real winner.

Apostle of Solitude – Of Woe and Wounds (Review)

Apostle of SolitudeThis is the third album from US Doom Metal band Apostle of Solitude.

With a quality album cover I was looking forward to hearing this band and they didn’t disappoint.

This is Doom Metal with an eye on the past and ambitions on the future. Of Woe and Wounds may have an Old-School core but it has a thoroughly up-to-date production that’s warm and organic whilst simultaneously being punchy and in-your-face. It may be Traditional Doom Metal but the recording leaves no-one in any doubt; Apostle of Solitude are a band that are of the here and now and they mean business.

The sound is crisp and crunchy, with the guitars sounding full of vitality and bone-crushing heaviness. Gargantuan riffs rise and fall with the drums sounding immense and the bass being a much more audible rumble than the norm.

Of Woe and Wounds combines the classic artefacts of Traditional Doom with elements of the more modern exemplars of the style such as Down and Orange Goblin to result in a truly wonderful album that combines the best of old and new. I even hear strains of Alice in Chains on occasion and it sounds just great, (Lamentations of a Broken Man, for instance).

The singer has a powerful voice that rings out strong and clear. He effortlessly becomes the focal centrepiece whenever he’s around.

Each song is a first-rate example of Doom Metal and of the depth that it can have. The tracks have a longevity about them that most bands would kill for. Carefully constructed Doomscapes and crawling riffs dominate the proceedings and I couldn’t be happier listening to this.

Apostle of Solitude have produced something special here. Make sure you get in on the action.