Rest Among Ruins: Fugue
Written by Jay Oakley    Sunday, 21 June 2015 16:50    PDF Print E-mail

Rest Among Ruins is a band worth getting excited about. Based out of Baltimore, Md., the three-piece band, led by vocalist Mike Semesky and featuring guitarist Ben Schmitz and drummer Geoff Palmer, have just released their debut album Fugue.

This is a concept album based around a patient Semesky knew while working in a psychiatric hospital. The album takes you on an amazing journey around the traumatic events that let to the patient’s time spent in the hospital.

Fugue is 14-track onslaught featuring heavy guitars and a pounding rhythm section, but it also features stellar ballad-type tracks, like "In Focus," that don't lose their heavy feel but make you aware that not everything has to be sung in a screaming fashion. A standout track of the album is "Reach the Edge" and features a terrific duet featuring female vocalist Aleka Farha. But if you like your metal aggressive, don't you worry because "Beyond the Storm" is the song for you featuring deep, chilling vocals intertwined with a melodic chorus.

Overall, this is a high-quality release and worthy of some chatter around the water cooler.

Attack of Life: The Bang Tango Movie. A Drew Fortier Film
Written by Jay Oakley    Sunday, 21 June 2015 16:45    PDF Print E-mail

It's important to state right off the bat that a band being successful and not making it is totally common. There is no secret or shock about a band having the world by its nuts and losing it. This story, however, is a little different.


Graveworm: Ascending Hate
Written by Lauri Lindqvist    Tuesday, 16 June 2015 06:51    PDF Print E-mail


Italy's dark metallers Graveworm release their ninth album, Ascending Hate, on July 7. This album marks the return of guitarist and songwriter Stefan Unterpertinger after a break of over a decade, but that doesn’t mean a return to 2003’s Engraved in Black (his last album with the band). The new album has the grandeur of symphonic black metal, but continues the band’s shift toward death metal with growled vocals and aggressive riffs that are sometimes thunderous, sometimes epic and melodic. There are still a few touches of gothic keyboard here and there, but even more than that, the whole album is also suffused with melancholy doomy guitar à la Finnish bands like Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum.


Trixter: Human Era
Written by Jay Oakley    Friday, 12 June 2015 08:07    PDF Print E-mail

Trixter has easily delivered the best record since the band self-titled debut and it is, quite possibly, their best record ever. Human Era has everything you want out of a straight up, in-your-face rock record, from heavy guitar tracks, like "Rockin' To The Edge Of The Night" and "For You," to softer ballad-style tracks, like "Every Second Counts" and "Beats Me Up." The standout tracks of the record are easily "Crash That Party" and "Midnight In Your Eyes." "Crash That Party" delivers a blistering mix of guitars over heavy drums, and "Midnight In Your Eyes" is a little lighter but is highlighted by a stellar bass line and hypnotizing vocals.

Trixter's writing and music development have aged like fine wine and they appear to only be getting better. Featuring vocalist Pete Loran, guitarist Steve Brown, bassist P.J. Farley and drummer Mark "Gus" Scott, Trixter totally killed at the recent M3 Festival and are currently touring in support of the new record. This record belongs in everyone's collection.

Dreamgrave: Presentiment
Written by Charles Handley    Thursday, 07 May 2015 16:06    PDF Print E-mail


The latest release from Dreamgrave, Presentiment, may be their first full-length release, but you would never know that by the maze of sound woven by this five-piece Hungarian prog metal band. There is definitely something here for anyone who enjoys heavy, symphonic, expansive, ambient, dreamlike prog complexity from metal.

The use of an operatic female background vocalist, in addition to deep, old school Mikael Akerfeldt-inspired guttural male vocals, work well together in this release. This is a band that is not afraid to show their inspirations proudly, going from ELP- and Yes-inspired keyboard arrangements, to Dream Theater-like symphonic compositions, to the good old days of Opeth. There is a lot going on here and it demands more than a cursory listen or two. The band members are very good musicians, and this is clearly evident in their immense song structure and construction: everything is precise and well placed.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed this whole CD, two standouts for me would be track two, “Black Spiral,and track eight, “It’s Ubiquitous.” The first features pounding drums, technical multiple tempo changes, heavy and deep forward vocals and dreamlike background vocals. The latter features the haunting, unforgettable voice of Maria Molnar, which creates a dreamy, hypnotic ambience that is seamlessly meshed with a piano resulting in a very non-typical metal gem.

The use of the word “dreamlike” is used a lot here, and I believe the name of this band is no mistake. Upon listening to this nine-song, almost hour-long progressive metal standout, one would be hard pressed to realize this is their first studio album.


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