Kevin Stewart-Panko's Posts


Album Review: ISIS - Live VII

Posted by | April 3, 2017

When I sat down to review this, I wasn't sure what there would be to say about an album comprised of live versions of songs from seven years ago recorded a mere three months before the band called it quits. But this brief look into the ISIS canon illustrates why they were one of the most important and innovative bands of the first decade of the 21st century.


Album Review: CRYSTAL FAIRY Crystal Fairy

Posted by | February 21, 2017

Whether you’re a fan or not, it has to be recognized that there’s no band like the singular, shape-shifting force of musical nature and what guise the duo of Roger “Buzz” Osborne and Dale Crover are going to take is always unpredictably up in the air. Take that irreverence and have it fronted by the multi-faceted performance art approach of Le Butcherettes’ Terri Gender Bender, add Omar Rodriguez-Lopez from At the Drive-In/Mars Volta, a musical polymath in his own right, and…


Album Review: HAMMERFALL Built to Last

Posted by | October 27, 2016

Whether you think positively or negatively about Hammerfall, the Swedes have to be respected for being one of the initial bands to break heavy metal from the doldrums created by the music industry’s obsession with finding the next Kurt Cobain and trying to replicate and extend the success of grunge back in the 90s. Ten albums in and things aren't so sunny.


Album Review: TARJA The Shadow Self

Posted by | August 4, 2016

There’s a lot more going on this record than what gets actual credit for, especially from the metal underground. There are definite weak spots and this brand of metal isn’t what you'd turn to in order to experience unchecked aggression and the expression of its creator’s simmering dark side, personal struggles and full-on disgust for the ways of the world. However, there’s no doubt of the infectiousness of just about every chorus here.


Album Review: SPELLCASTER - Night Hides the World

Posted by | July 18, 2016

The band draws instant comparisons to their peers in Holy Grail, Skelator, Monument and White Wizard, which also means they like their Jag Panzer, Vicious Rumors, Helstar, Armored Saint and, of course, Iron Maiden. And it’s this combination of past and present stabs at metal that give Spellcaster’s material a more streamlined, song-oriented feel.


Album Review SAVAGE MASTER With Whips and Chains

Posted by | May 23, 2016

In the interest of full disclosure, and as a demonstration of the transformative power that comes with taking one’s time and ignoring first impressions, when I first heard this album, I fucking hated it. Ok, maybe saying “fucking hated” is a bit of an extreme shank into the pine straw, but there weren’t a lot of hugs and kisses between myself and With Whips and Chains.
First whirl – a blah and a lazy shoulder shrug.
Second whirl – here’s where I started paying a bit closer attention.
Third whirl onward…


Album Review: GRAVES AT SEA The Curse That Is

Posted by | April 28, 2016

Graves at Sea is triumphant; sounding like a unit bristling with animated energy and freshness despite having produced a work no one would be surprised to find playing at the scene of a grizzly murder-suicide. The lifetime leading up to its debut’s torpedo landing may be unconventional, but fully justified as you can hear the musical anguish and life lessons learned being poured into the material. We’re not being melodramatic or histrionic when we say this album sets a new standard for the sludge/doom sub-genre and that the album of the year could possibly come in the form of these eight songs.