Author Archives: RiffRaff

Album Review: Mach Dich Frei by Finsterforst


mach_dich_freiIn my CD collection I have a few CDs where I have no idea when or where I bought them.  They just kinda appeared.  One of those is this double CD called Urwerk by Finsterforst.  It’s nothing outstanding; an ok record.  Still for the life of me, I can’t remember ever buying it.  Anyhoo, I’ve only really listened to it a handful of times and it basically sounds like Moonsorrow plus an accordion player hopped up on a cocktail of cocaine and amphetamines.  Not bad, but a tad repetitive, long-winded, and that overload of accordion can get a bit annoying at times.  I do appreciate the ‘what if Korpiklaani were a black metal band’ thing as an experiment, but… Oh, well.  So, when I saw that we got a promo for the latest record from this anomaly in my CD collection I decided to give it a spin to see if these guys were still berating listeners with post-neo-accordion-black-metal.  To my surprise, what I found is nearly a whole different band who kept their best elements, shook their formula around, and sent their accordion player to rehab.  In short, a band which has really matured a lot since my last experience with them.

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Album Review: Beyond the Red Mirror by Blind Guardian


beyond_the_red_mirror_earbook“It sounds like a ‘insert the same band name as the album here’ album.”  In my years as a metal fan and hobbyist writer I have heard and lazily used that phrase way too often.  An Amon Amarth, Primus, Slayer, Tool (one can keep dreaming right?) new album pops up, a quick sum up is requested, and that phrase gets the point across to existing fans quick enough.  It can be a good thing as well as bad.  Sure it says that the pedigree of quality is there but also doesn’t take into account any forward (or backward) progress in the bands unique, established sound may have undergone.  Yet after listening to the newly minted release, Beyond the Red Mirror, from German heart-throbs Blind Guardian I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe it summarily.  It sounds exactly like what you would expect a Blind Guardian album to sound like.  Though, allow me to explore that statement just a tad deeper.

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Retro Roundtable Review: At the Edge of Time by Blind Guardian


MI0003036053Label: Nuclear Blast

Release Date: July 30th, 2010

Songs: 10

Genre: Symphonic Power Metal

Studio Albums: 9 other ones

Location: Germany

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Matt’s Top 15 Albums of 2014!!!


tumblr_static_cm4blpgifnwo8wokk0wo4scscIt’s that time of year again for arbitrary lists of really great albums that were released since the last time I did one of these things.  Contributing to my absolute burnout of writing about kick ass metal bands, I can not think of another year where there were just so damn many stellar records released.  I simply had to say fuck it, step back, and enjoy the great stuff I already had.  Sure, I missed out on some great stuff, but on the other hand, all killer no filler.  To try to make up for the insane amount of great albums this year I’ve expanded my usual 10 to 15 and will have an honorable mentions post sometime in the near future.  I hope you find yourself something cool to listen to with this list or at least nod in agreement with some of my picks.  Thanks for reading, sticking with AMSOM, and being awesome and stuff.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

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Album Review: Blood & Banjos


a0968299274_10A few years ago during one of my forays into ‘that’ part of the internet I stumbled on a blog called Blood and Banjos.  It was basically about a guy, let’s call him Mike, who was kicking around the idea of making a record that combined his love of bluegrass music with its polar opposite, black metal.  He had a couple of audio clips and ideas posted up, and needless to say, as a lover of any original idea in the realm of metal, I was instantly intrigued and started following the blog regularly.  Over time Mike’s vision started to take shape and the idea of an album began to come to fruition.  He called upon friends and fellow musicians from all over the US and even Europe to offer their skills on his ideas and offer their own.  Then there was a successful Kickstarter campaign which allowed Mike and friends to realize all their ideas, demos, and musings on a full-fledged, professionally recorded album.  Needless to say there was a huge amount of passion and time invested in creating this record, and holy hell does it show!

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Album Review: Primus and the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble


Primus-And-The-Chocolate-FactoryThroughout my childhood there have been many films that have captured my impressionable imagination and then warped and raped it.  The Secret of Nimh, The Dark Crystal, The Brave Little Toaster, Labyrinth, Dumbo, Watership Down, etc.  They were all able to lure me in with colors, cuteness, and imagination and then rip the rug up from under me and show me the dark, seedy underbelly of the world in all its twisted glory.  I don’t know why, but I always tended to gravitate toward this style of film in my young age (and well into my teenage years and adulthood).  Sitting at the top of horrifically cute films lies the 1971 cinematic masterpiece Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring the great Gene Wilder in the role he was born to play; the magically mad Willy Wonka.  From the colorful cinematography to the densely dark under-themes of consumerism and greed the film didn’t shy away for a moment from the fact it was luring young kids into its mind-rape Ford Econoline van with pretty colors and promises of candy.

Another aspect of Willy Wonka that cements it as one of the greatest cinematic achievements is its soundtrack.  From happy and uplifting ‘Pure Imagination’ to nightmare inducing boat ride song the music of the flick covered just about every reachable aspect of places ones imagination can go.  And I’ll be damned if they weren’t catchy songs.  Don’t tell me you don’t find yourself humming the Oompa Loompa songs from time to time.  It was simply a quirky, fun, and occasionally dark bit of music.  And do you know what else is quirky, fun, and occasionally dark (ok, a bit more than occasionally)?  The long-standing oddball band, Primus.

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Roundtable Review: Withered by Earthship


earthship_withered coverAlbum: Withered

Label: Pelagic Records

Release Date: Sept. 15th, 2014

Songs: 10

Length: 34:18

Genre: Sludge/Doom

Studio Albums: Exit Eden (2011), Iron Chest (2012)

Location: Berlin, Germany

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Roundtable Review: Slab City by Steak


DAX112XT.pdfAlbum: Slab City

Label: Napalm Records

Release Date: Sept. 5th, 2014

Songs: 10

Length: 48:07

Genre: Desert Rock

Studio Albums: Disastronaught (2012), Corned Beef Colossus E.P. (2013)

Location: London, U.K.

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Album Review: Clearing the Path to Ascend by YOB


Yob-Clearing-The-Path-To-Ascend-CoverStepping out of the office doors a surprisingly gentle breeze on a twilit summer city evening greets me.  I glance down at my watch and see I have a bit over an hour to occupy before I have to meet my wife at the train station.  She has been gone a few days on business, so I miss her quite a bit as we are rarely apart for so long.  Noticing that the city is rather empty I take the opportunity to make a slow peruse towards my destination to take in some of the finer details of Milan’s center which are usually covered with businessmen, fashion models, and tourists.  I make my way to the marble monolith which marks the epicenter of the city as I dig around in my pockets for my earphones.  Of course I will need a soundtrack for this little excursion.  Flipping through the selections I have on my phone I realize I have my yet to be listened to copy of the new YOB record sitting on there.  That should be perfect; atmospheric, shamanistic, and introspective. Read the rest of this entry

Video of the Week: Foehammer by Conan


Unfortunately, no real interesting videos go released this week.  Just ones with the band playing in a basement, abandoned warehouse, forest, etc. And you all know how much I love those.  Silver lining being, I get to dig a bit back for stuff I overlooked throughout the year.  Here’s one video and record I criminally overlooked until recently.  So, hail Crom and check out the nightmarish visuals with a crushing sludge doom soundtrack.  Also, check out the record, Blood Eagle; absolutely shattering stuff.  Enjoy!!!