Reviews

Samael: Above

Samael’s Above is an album that comes and goes very quickly, but while it hangs around it pounds those who hear it with a relentless return to form. Said to be a “tribute” to the Swiss band’s past, this new effort leaves behind the more melodic and organized sound of their previous album, Solar Soul, in exchange for an all-out torrent of black metal/industrial metal that rarely leaves any space to catch one’s breath.

Minsk: With Echoes In The Movement Of Stone

Interwoven through all of Minsk’s albums are underlying themes of survival, perseverance and a triumph over physical, societal and /or personal challenges, but instead of a Rollins-style “DIY or you’re a pussy” self-help ethos, Minsk provides an introspective narrative that investigates the feelings of frustration, loss, and perhaps finally, redemption.

Dragonslayer: Dragonslayer

A quick run down on Dragonslayer: this four piece English band was originally called ‘Heavy Thunder in its infancy, then in 1980 they changed their name to Slayer. In 1983 to stop any confusion with the American band named Slayer, who had just released their debut album Show No Mercy, they changed their name to Dragonslayer.

Alestorm: Black Sails At Midnight

Yes, the concept of Scottish Pirates may be silly – although, pirate metal straight outta Jersey (hello, Swashbuckle) is infinitely more ridiculous – and that they don’t dress in pirate garb on stage is more disappointing than any measure of falseness, but in the end they have infectious, sing-a-long anthems and that’s all that matters.

Amorphis: Skyforger

The new album from Finnish band Amorphis fits in perfectly with their recent sound and albums. In fact, Skyforger sounds like it could easily be the third entry in a trilogy that would begin with 2006’s Eclipse and continue on with 2007’s Silent Waters.

Amorphis: Skyforger

Combining folk elements with catchy song writing and haunting keyboards, underneath another brilliant vocal performance by Joutsen, Skyforger is set to be another classic in the Amorphis discography.

The Great Kat: Beethoven’s Guitar Shred

The claims about being “one of the fastest shredders of all time” and “a musical genius” The Great Kat (nee Katherine Thomas) lays down are always up for subjective debate, no matter how much she yells and screams and claims them as fact.

Magica: Wolves & Witches

If there is any potential still to be found in metal that is distinguished by a vague fantasy and mythology themes with an emphasis on female-fronted operatic vocals, it isn’t terribly obvious when listening to Romania-based Magica’s album Wolves & Witches.

Thin Lizzy: Still Dangerous

Released in 1978, Thin Lizzy’s Live & Dangerous is considered essential. An about-face to the band’s hit-and-miss studio output of the time, that offering boasts a tight, almost untouchable act. Therefore, news of a follow-up effort recorded around the same time, Still Dangerous: Live at the Tower Theater Philadelphia 1977 comes across as a double-edged sword.