Jeremy Ulrey's Posts
To their credit, Blind Guardian have been content to just lay back in the cut and perfect their craft one album at a time; and yet, over the course of 20 years their sheer longevity has lent itself to a certain "taken for granted" quality among casual fans, to the point where the band's first album in five years has been met with an almost blasphemous lack of anticipation, particularly in the United States, where Blind Guardian has long been one of the few European power metal bands with any degree of major success.
We kicked this series off last year with an initial installment tracing the origins of black metal up through 1984. Picking up in 1985 we're still very much in "proto"-black metal mode for the most part. We're getting there, though.
The following post is a part of Black Metal History Month, our monthlong celebration of all things black metal. Check…
Well this was unexpected. With narry a feint or dodge that they might be going in any other direction, Black Sheep Wall begin their latest by giving every appearance of committing with sincerity to – wait for it – Full Blown Emo.
For all their quality attributes Armageddon are hardly the sea changing world beaters as either fellow Swedes At the Gates nor Amott's brother Michael's band Carcass, but listening to their new effort Captivity & Devourment it seems like they should at least be getting the sort of props that Arch Enemy enjoys.
While initially finding Downfall of Gaia quite interesting in an inchoate sense, they rather quickly became one of my "shit or get off the pot bands", those being artists that clearly have the potential to be major stars but seem stuck in a developmental rut, never quite taking it to the next level. Then again, two equally exhausting albums in a single year can do that to you.
Katatonia have been in a reflective mood of late. After retooling their 2012 album Dead End Kings on last year's Dethroned and Uncrowned, the band return not with a new album of studio material, but instead an expansive package collecting full-length live performances of albums Last Fair Deal Gone Down and Night Is the New Day. While the former is often considered the band's masterpiece, the latter made the cut solely because it was the most recent album to have been released at the time these gigs were recorded in 2011. Fair enough, but why now?
Singer/calling card Uta Plotkin joined Witch Mountin in 2009, her bluesy blend of Allanah Myles ("Black Velvet") and Heart's Ann Wilson standing out memorably in a growing field of female singers still clinging tightly to traditional metal values. But now that Plotkin has announced that this is her last go-round with Witch Mountain, one can't help but pick over her finale with the band, Mobile of Angels, looking for signs of trouble.
Not to be confused with the occult/doom-lite Swedish band Noctum currently signed to Metal Blade, Valencia's Noctem have bubbled up through a brief series of underground labels to burst through the surface with their Prosthetic debut, Exilium.
Hod doesn't stand for anything, as the band is constantly having to remind people. It comes from the Anglicized spelling of the Norse god Hodur, but with the Hod logo being rendered in three upper cased letters fans seem to want it to be an acronym of some sorts. Nope. The band stand for something, sure, but their name sure as hell doesn't.
September 12th marks the third anniversary of the most recent Anthrax album, Worship Music, so let’s hope this cherry on the cake – a new DVD documenting the band’s extended touring affectionately title Chile on Hell – represents the final victory lap before the quintet head back into the studio.
Dylan Carlson doesn’t exactly abandon his Western noir template on this year’s Primitive and Deadly – an uncharacteristically ho hum album title that serves as more blunt descriptor than evocation – but he does tear down the barbed wire fences a bit, opening his pastoral drone to a greater sense of experimentation than we’ve seen since he settled into the sound to begin with.
Rorcal's recent album, Világvége, made my list of the best albums of 2014 so far, so needless to say I was…
Hailing from the “if it ain’t broke…” school of thought, Mike Scheidt continues to drive his band YOB to new heights of epic, darkly spiritual doom without consideration for trends, self-consciousness or the whims of fickle consumers. At 62 minutes yet only four songs, Clearing the Path to Ascend rewards the patient while almost deliberately snubbing the ADD set. In other words, a typical YOB album.
Where certain oft-criticized bands that changed their sound drastically long ago continue to exercise the fruits of that early fan betrayal on album after album, there continues to remain a simmering hope in the fan base that any day now the band will see the light and recapture that former glory while there's still time. Such is the ire raised by a band like In Flames.
Pallbearer roared into 2012 with enormous expectations, being one of the most hyped new bands in years without an actual album under their belt. Sorrow and Extinction came out in February, and by the time the band had played a number of high profile showcases at SXSW three weeks later, they'd been anointed Band of the Year well before record release season was even fully in swing yet.
In spite of a long, logical progression toward a distilled all-prog sound, 2011's Heritage failed to benefit from the nearly unanimous acclaim Opeth had enjoyed since the mid-90's. The following year's Storm Corrosion side project similarly failed to catch on, which leaves Åkerfeldt entering 2014 in an unfamiliar position: uncertainty.
When your public nemesis is the likes of Gene Simmons, it's not difficult to come off as the sympathetic party in the Kisstory war of words. Such is the high ground that Ace Frehley finds himself enjoying these days, even when he's making ludicrous us-vs-them claims about his own drawing power
In simplest terms, Back to the Front is essentially canonical Entombed: even with Hellid's departure, the remaining members had all been touring with the band for several years and would almost certainly have been present on the next album even had Hellid stayed aboard. Furthermore, the recording finds Entombed getting back to their mid-90's high water mark.