Category Archives: Album Reviews

Our unbiased and comprehensive album reviews. We focus more on talking about an album for what it is. We highlight the good points, note the bad, and let you decide for yourself. However, if you really want to see our score look to our “quick hits” list on the right side of our main page and hover your icon over the album’s thumbnail. There, you will see our score based on 1-5. The higher, the better.

Album Review: Queensrÿche – Condition Humän

queensrycheconditioncd-300x300As I age (I’m in my lower 40s now) I ponder the fate of my long-standing favored bands.  Let’s face it we’re all getting older and for me that means there will come a time when I read a story about a favorite band of mine quitting or retiring.  Queensrÿche, along with the Big Four bands and many others have been around long enough that I dread the day of their eventual end.  I thought Queensrÿche might have been headed there earlier than necessary with their former vocalist at the helm and all the craziness that ensued.  But damn, Queensrÿche dusted themselves off, picked up a great lead vocalist, and threw some uppercuts.  2013’s self-titled album paved a new foundation for the band and there appears to be no looking back…only aiming forward.  Read the rest of this entry

Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for September

SonC logoHey, sorry I’m late with our digest of last month’s album reviews by Sonic Cathedral, the best website and Facebook page devoted to rock and metal bands with female singers. We’re always extremely grateful to SC for sharing their reviews with us because we don’t feature a great number of FF bands.

I’ve been preoccupied with a few things during the last couple of months. First there was a zombie breakout in my part of Zululand and we had to stop the moshing dead with appropriate weapons. Drone metal disintegrated them. Then the Arcturans landed with hostile intent, and we repelled them with space metal. Then I woke up.

Enjoy SC’s September selections. They featured some super albums. I’d go so far as to say “awesome” if I knew what it meant. Check out SC for the full reviews and plenty of other great information about the FF music scene.

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Album Review: Slayer – Repentless

Slayer-RepentlessAlbum:  Repentless

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  11 Sep 2015

Genre:  Thrash

Songs:  12

Length:  42 Minutes

Previous Albums:  Show No Mercy (1983); Hell Awaits (1985); Reign In Blood (1986); South Of Heaven (1988); Seasons In The Abyss (1990); Divine Intervention (1994); Undisputed Attitude (1996); Diabolus In Musica (1998); God Hates Us All (2001); Christ Illusion (2006); World Painted Blood (2009)

Location:  United States

I didn’t realize that it had been so long since Slayer’s “World Painted Blood” album back in ’09.  I went to look back and see if we reviewed it, but Metal State didn’t exist back then.  So, this is our first ever review of a Slayer album.  Looks like a retro-review is due.

Back in the day…or a long time ago in the late 80s, early 90s listening to Slayer meant you crossed the line as a metal fan.  I wasn’t keen to what was going on in Europe as a teenager (except for Helloween), but for American standards listening to and loving Slayer meant that you were full-blown metalhead and there was is no coming back from that.  It was a one-way ticket to hell and I was in the front row.  Slayer was a more extreme level than the rest of the Big Four and being a fan was taken seriously.  Seeing a Slayer show in a small club was one of the most intense experiences I have ever had.  On another note, I remember cutting school just to buy their live “Decade of Aggression” album with my buddy…we were such rebels, not!  Just die-hard geeks.  Anyway, owning Slayer material, going to their pummeling shows (10 of them), and trying to interpret their lyrics was time consuming, but time well spent.  Read the rest of this entry

EP Review: Every Hour Kills

Every Hour Kills - Every Hour Kills EP Cover 2Album:  Every Hour Kills EP

Release Date:  18 Sept 2015

Label:  N/A

Songs: 5, plus same songs five as instrumental versions, plus one demo

Length:  20 Minutes for five original songs

Genre:  Melodic Metal / Electronic / Djent / Alternative

Previous Albums:  N/A

FFO:  Soilwork, Sevendust, Lacuna Coil, Celldweller

Location: Calgary, Canada

I tend to get wrapped up in a comfort zone of reviewing music I know or at least bands that fall into genres I am comfortable with; usually death, thrash, and any variation of anything progressive.  Canada’s Every Hour Kills is challenging me because of the profound electronic presence in their songs; something I tend to shy away from for no real explanation except that…I shy away from it.  I wouldn’t say they rely heavily on the electronic elements, but for my taste, it is more than usual. Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Jazzy stuff

Main categories - jazz

Last time I did death metal. Next time will be more death metal. As an interlude and a diversion, I offer you my top choice of jazz and jazz-related albums of the year so far. Once again I’m wearing my Other Music Guy hat that my colleagues at Metal State made for me. It has pictures of bunnies and kittens on it.

Most jazz doesn’t slot easily into most metal brains. There are, however, metal lovers whose tastes are broad. Yes, some of you even like jazz, or at least the better rock, prog or metal with a jazzy flavor. If you have a sense of adventure and exploration, try this bunch. They are five very different types of music. Jazz has numerous sub-genres, just as metal does.

You may note I’ve given the highest rating to all of these picks.

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Album Review: Act of Defiance – Birth and the Burial

R-7375955-1440150647-3346.jpegFor some reason, I was lost on the vocals the first time I heard Act of Defiance on YouTube.  Now that I have had the album experience blasted through my skull, the vocals are stronger and more complimentary than I remember.  After listening to Birth and the Burial, it leaves me to believe that Broderick and Drover were looking to play something much heavier than were authorized on Super Collider, their last effort with Megadeth before moving on.  If you are a fan of early Big Four-era thrash then Act of Defiance should interest you greatly.  With a vibe that reminds me of classic Testament and Exodus, there is no shortage of tight riffs, guitar solos and pure, raw thrash appeal.  3.75 out of 5.

Label:  Metal Blade

Release Date:  21 Aug 2015

Songs: 10

Length:  48 Minutes

Genre:  Thrash Metal

Previous Albums:  This is their debut.

Location:  United States

Album Review: The Book of Souls by Iron Maiden

IronMaiden_TheBookOfSoulsIf there’s a single band that personifies heavy metal more than Iron Maiden, fill me in.  Metallica? Lars is a dweeb who sues his fans… and Lulu and angry saints.  Slayer?  They have become caricatures of themselves.  Black Sabbath?  Sharon Osborne and 1984-1990 happened.  Judas Priest?  Close, but lack that little something special.  No, there isn’t a band out there that can out metal Iron Maiden and after 30 years of inhabiting the embodiment of heavy metal they still continue to be metal as fuck.  For example, while recording The Book of Souls, the bands 16th studio album, Bruce Dickinson was suffering from a cancer on his tongue he reportedly got from kissing his wife in an Australian manner one too many times.  He went on to record his parts on the record with golf ball sized tumors in his tongue and throat.  He then kicked that cancer’s ass.  Metal as fuck?  I think so.

Because he wasn’t singing when he was at 100%, while still excellent, you can hear that Bruce is really pushing himself.  That imperfection is what makes Iron Maiden so perfect and so metal.  What is at the core of ‘having a metal state of mind’ more so than determination?  Even when lambasted for records like No Prayer for the Dying and Virtual XI Steve Harris and Co. kept their cool, improved themselves, and kept on delivering countless amazing shows and a stack of great songs and albums.  With a string of albums that were pretty damn good but not up to the exceedingly high Iron Maiden standards, the English gents, determined as ever, rise to the challenge and attempt to deliver their biggest album to date.

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Album Review: Heart of Akamon by Nechochwen

a3878480350_10For how much metal delves into histories of their nations I’ve always been rather disappointed that the Native Americans are so poorly represented.  Sure, there are songs about the Native Americans and even bands that capture the atmosphere of the spiritual aspects of Native American culture, but until now nothing I’ve heard has been full on Native American; capturing the history, the nature, and the spiritualism.  Having a large part of my heritage being Native American (I’m of Seneca descent and grew up in NJ, a Lenni-Lenape region) I’ve always had interest in Native American culture, in particular the music.  Naturally there’s always been a desire to want to hear the traditional music and tales blended with my favorite form of music, heavy metal (obviously).  So you can imagine my glee when I saw that our very own Irmelnis had posted on her Facebook wall a link to an album preview for Heart of Akamon by Nechochwen, a full on Native American metal band.  Not only did they come from a label I’m really starting to come to admire quite a bit (Bindrune Records) who hosts some amazing artist like Panopticon and Falls of Rauros but also integrate Lenape and other Eastern Woodlands Native American history and lore into their music.  Damn straight I went right to the Metal State inbox to see if we had gotten a promo of the record.  And oh yes we did, and oh yes am I more than content and have bought the entire discography already.  Where has this band been my whole life? Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Melodic & symphonic death metal

Main categories 2 copy

Trying to pick out the very best death metal of the year so far was a bitch of a job. Of the many deathy albums we’ve been invited (and sometimes we’ve asked) to review, there are dozens I like. Eventually I decided the fairest approach would be to divide those albums into three groups – melodic and symphonic death; prog and technical death; and assorted death. That still left a pile of death to listen to.

Not that I minded, of course. Listening to and writing about music has become my consuming pastime since I sort of retired when I turned 65. Even so, I shall use one of the M-words to describe the nature of the task in hand. It was… no, not Majestic. Massive, yes. Monumental… yeah, that’s good because it fits so much of the music on my death row.

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Album Review: Soulfly – Archangel

SoulflyArchangelMax Cavalera has to be one of the busiest guys in metal at the moment; balancing three bands.  Soulfly’s 10th album, Archangel, continues the barrage of thrash they have perfected over the years.  We Sold Our Souls to Metal opens the album in blistering speed and angst followed up by the bone-crushing Archangel.  Despite a revolving door of musicians entering and leaving the fold, Soulfly manages to maintain a staunch level of continuity.  There aren’t any real surprises with Archangel, but in terms of band progression, album #10 is a step forward for the band compared to Savages and Enslaved.  Overall, Max Cavalera shows no signs of slowing down and Soulfly’s Archangel is evidence of that.  For a ripping good time…purchase, hit play, and try not to break anything.  3.75 out of 5

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  14 Aug 2015

Songs:  13

Length:  46 Minutes

Previous Albums:  Soulfly (1998); Primitive (2000); 3 (2002); Prophecy (2004); Dark Ages (2005); Conquer (2008); Omen (2010); Enslaved (2012); Savages (2013).

Location:  US/Brazil

Previous Album Reviews:  Savages, Enslaved, and Chaos A.D.