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.

EP Review: My Wooden Pillow – Uncomfortable


My Wooden Pillow AlbumLocation: Manchester, England

Genre: All-in-one metal, hardcore & rock

Release date: 21 December 2014

Label: Independent

Previous releases: This EP is their debut

Tracks: 4

Length: 19 minutes

Recommended to: Fans of rawkin’, rollicking, highly infectious female-fronted rock and metal across the moshing spectrum

Mammal’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

My Wooden Pillow, a new band from the UK, invited Metal State to give their debut EP a spin. I’m so glad they did. What came out of the box – or, more accurately, the Dropbox – is a lustrous pearl.

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Roundtable Review: In Times by Enslaved


enslaved-in-times-recensioneLabel: Nuclear Blast

Release Date: 6 March 2015

Songs: 6

Length: 54 minutes

Genre: Extreme prog/Viking/black metal

Studio Albums: 11 previous

Location: Bergen, Norway

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Album Review: Cambion – Virus (Extended Edition)


Cambion Virus ArtworkLocation: Exeter, Devonshire, England

Genre: Technical Progressive Metal

Release date: 20 April 2015

Label: Independent

Previous EP releases: City of Ember (2010), Last Rites (2011), Virus (2012)

Tracks: 8

Length: 38 minutes

Recommended to: Fans of Meshuggah, Fear Factory, Gojira and other creators of adventurous experimental metal

Mammal’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

When you listen to bands like Cambion, it’s easy to understand how they hold their fans in such thrall. It’s surprising that they haven’t been swooped up by a big metal label.  Cambion will be new to many prog metal fans, but once they’ve heard this band, it should soar high up in their estimation.

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Album Review: Graveward by Sigh


a4227779154_10Italy is known for many things: Food, culture, food, friendly people, food, women, food, wine, food, fashion, food, beautiful seas and landscapes, and food.  If you happen to be a fan of cinema, Italy also has got you covered there, especially if you happen to be a fan of the horror genre.  From Dario Argento and Joe D’Amato to Lucio Fulci and Mario Bava you could almost say that gore and suspense were practically invented on the Big Boot.  Italy is also home of two of the most controversial horror/suspense flicks ever made (Cannibal Holocaust and Salò: 120 Days of Sodom, neither are safe for life).  If you have ever seen the Fulci classic Zombi (or known as Zombi 2 and Zombie Flesh Eaters in some places, same movie, it’s confusing, roll with it) you no doubt remember one of the finest scenes in horror movie history, Zombie vs. Shark in a battle to the death.  What makes that scene so special goes beyond its ridiculousness and it’s shot straight-faced.  It creates this unique dynamic of art house, horror, and comedy that modern Zomedy directors could only wish to achieve.  With this particular approach to horror/suspense it’s always amazed me that metal bands rarely channel this particular sect of horror, especially given its massive influence on the genre that maybe too many metal bands take their inspiration from.  Enter Japan’s Sigh, a band that has not even once followed anything close to ‘normal’ or ‘conventional’, and their new record Graveward.

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Album Review: Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful


613dW-xBHFL._SY300_Album:  Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Songs:  22 (deluxe version)

Length:  2 hours; 38 minutes (deluxe version)

Previous Albums:  Angels Fall First (1997); Oceanborn (1998)’ Wishmaster (2000); Century Child (2002); Dark Passion Play (2007); Imaginaerum (2011)

Genre:  Symphonic Metal

Location:  Finland

I had high hopes for a newly invigorated Nightwish.  Not that Anette’s departure was a blessing, I actually liked Anette with Nightwish quite a bit.  Lineup changes happen and sometimes it is unfortunate. But, after hearing Floor’s initial performances with the band on various YouTube clips I maintained the hope that Nightwish would continue to pump out highly fervent symphonic metal to the masses. I read that Floor was with the band during the recording process which was something new for the band.  This led me to believe things would be just different this time around.  Sadly, the only thing that is different that Nightwish acquired a new singer that’s sounds equally as excellent their previous front-ladies, but the passion in their music seems to be largely absent.  Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Katatonia – Sanctitude (Live)


489616I am not one for live albums anymore.  I used to always buy them because I felt I was enjoying a piece of the band that I did not have regular access to.  The live setting was raw and mostly unedited back then.  It seemed pure and energetic.  Then, bands like Dream Theater and Opeth (to name just two) went and threw a whole bunch of production into their live albums/DVDs and now my bar has grown accustomed to excellent sound.  How can I go back to bootleg-ish production now?  There is one exception to the rule though.  The (sort of) “unplugged” setting is an intimate atmosphere free of distortion and all around craziness.  More importantly, bands have to rehearse quite a bit because the audience will be able to hear every single nuance of the music.  It has to be awesome.  This is where Katatonia’s new live concert, Sanctitude, comes in.  It is (basically) unplugged, crisp, and sensational.  Of course, the production helps.  Read the rest of this entry

Retro Roundtable Review: Gorguts – Obscura


3009Label: Olympic Recordings
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Release Date: June 23rd 1998
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Songs: 12    Length: 1 hour
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Genre: Technical Avant-garde Death metal
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Studio Albums: Considered Dead 1991, The Erosion of Sanity 1993, From Wisdom To Hate 2001, Colored Sands 2013
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Location: Canada
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Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for March: Part 2/2


SC logoHere are the second six of the 12 female-fronted albums our friends at Sonic Cathedral reviewed during March. I’m still trying to determine if the Christopher Backeberg who does reviews for SC is the same one who posts as ChristopherMammal on Metal State. Every time I look for him, he seems to be looking for me.

 

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Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for March: Part 1/2


SC logoOur good friends at Sonic Cathedral have reviewed 12 albums since our February digest. SC covered a lot of different types of music, from alternative and prog rock to death metal, all featuring female vocalists. Sonic Cathedral is a destination all FF metal and rock bands and fans should know about and visit.

Thanks again, SC, for sharing your coverage and the summaries of every review!

We’re posting a song from each album. This round-up will be in two parts ‘cos we don’t wont to super-saturate you with top-class FF music. As a digression, that reminds of an answer some chemistry student gave in a test. Q: What is a super-saturated solution? A: A solution that holds more than it can hold.

 

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EP Review: Trepalium – Damballa’s Voodoo Doll


TrepaliumLocation: Poitou-Charentes, France

Genre: *Big breath…* Off-the-wall progressive jazz/swing death/thrash/groove metal

Release date: 9 February 2015

Label: Klonosphere

Previous releases: Through the Absurd (CD, 2004), The Holy Party (DVD, 2005), Alchemic Clockwork of Disorder (CD, 2006), XIII (CD, 2009), H.N.P. (CD, 2012)

Tracks: 6

Length: 24 minutes

Recommended to: Fans of Destrage, Meshuggah, Protest the Hero, Diablo Swing Orchestra

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Trepalium are highly esteemed in France for their wildly eccentric and addictive style of metal. They’re not yet totally famous around the world, although four of the five members have been together since 2000 and the present members started making demos in 2002. If you’re not familiar with Trepalium but you love the most musical of experimental metal, be prepared for Damballa’s Voodoo Doll to blow you away in an orgasm of creativity. Read the rest of this entry