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.

Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Core


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Two-thirds of the way through the year, I find that the four unreviewed ’core releases I’ve enjoyed the most were all issued in the opening months of 2015. There have been many other good ’core albums in our Inbox, but these are the ones that call to me most sweetly. Two of the four are EPs, not full albums, which goes to show yet again that quality matters much more than quantity in music.

As always, my picks are sub-genres of the melodious and experimental ilk. That doesn’t mean I’m soppy, it reveals that I’m half hippie.

The albums and EPs are listed alphabetically by name of the artist. Any rating of 4 or more on Metal State equates to “Geez, gotta have this!”

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Roundtable Review: A Tunnel to Eden by Alustrium


a1122127405_10Album: A Tunnel to Eden

Artist: Alustrium

Location: United States

Label: Self-Released

Genre: Progressive Death Metal

Release Date: July 24th, 2015

Songs: 11

Length: 1 hour 13 minutes

Studio Albums: An Absence of Clarity (2011)

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Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Black metal


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So much good metal has come out during the year to date that it’s impossible to listen to all of it. In black metal I took a long time to select the 15 best albums I’ve heard this year, then narrow that down to the five I like the most up to now.

Those who know me won’t expect my top picks to be old-school, aggressive, scrotum-busting tirades of fury and deafening thunder. Because my taste is influenced by my love of prog rock and other non-metal, I tend to prefer the melodic, symphonic, progressive or atmospheric forms of the various metal genres. As for my taste in black metal… hey, blame Dimmu Borgir.

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Roundtable Review: Underworld by Symphony X


Symphony_X-Underworld-Front-Label: Nuclear Blast

Release Date: 24 Jul 2015

Songs: 11

Length: 64 Minutes

Genre: Thrash/Power/Progressive Metal

Studio Albums: Symphony X (1994); The Damnation Game (1995); The Divine Wings of Tragedy (1997); Twilight in Olympus (1998); V: The New Mythology Suite (2000); The Odyssey (2002); Paradise Lost (2007); Iconoclast (2011).

Location: NJ, United States

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Album Review: High Country by The Sword


The Sword High Country Album CoverSome bands evolve, some metamorphose.   If you look at a butterfly you can still see the remnants of the shriveled caterpillar body still hanging around but for the most part the entirety is changed after a brief cocooning period.  Unlike evolution where the change takes place over a huge period of time and many key features are still kept in tact, metamorphosis yields something quite different from its original and the process of change is quite abrupt.  You could say a band like Opeth evolved into the prog rock powerhouse they are today slightly changing it up album after album.  And Clutch took metamorphosis path when they injected some gospel/blues rock into their sludge metal sound on their self-titled sophomore record (the cocoon phase) and then fully embraced it on their third album, The Elephant Riders, where the metal edge was heavily toned down but still had a glaring presence.  With both bands, if you listen to their latest in contrast with their earliest works, they are almost completely different bands but still maintain their cores.  Metamorphosis is, however, a much more pronounced change.  For their fifth full length album, High Country, The Sword have metamorphosed into something quite different from their sludgy doom metal beginnings.

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Double Album Review: Geof Whitely Project – Supernatural Casualty [and] Circus of Horrors


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Location: Staffordshire, England

Genre: Prog-related Rock

Release dates: Supernatural Casualty, 3 August 2015; Circus of Horrors, 31 October 2015

Label: Self-released

Previous releases: An album every few months during the last four years, no kidding

Mammal’s rating: 4.25 out of 5 (both albums)

I haven’t previously reviewed two albums by one artist for a single post on Metal State. But then, not many artists release albums as rapidly as Geof Whitely does. He is one of the most prolific composers and recording artists in any type of modern music.

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Roundtable Album Review: Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction


TheAnthropoceneExtinctionLabel: Metal Blade Records

Release Date: 7 August 2015

Songs: 12

Length: 46 minutes

Genre: Death Grind

Studio Albums: Homovore (2000), To Serve Man (2002), Humanure (2004), Karma Bloody Karma (2006), The Harvest Floor (2009), Monolith of Inhumanity (2012)

Location: San Diego, California, USA

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Album Review: Fear Factory – Genexus


downloadAlbum:  Genexus

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  7 Aug 2015

Songs:  12

Length:  60 Minutes

Genre:  Thrash / Industrial

Previous Albums:  Soul of a New Machine (1992); Demanufacture (1995); Obsolete (1998); Digimortal (2001); Archetype (2004); Transgression (2005); Mechanize (2010); The Industrialist (2012)

Location:  United States

A great and wise man said that the new Fear Factory sounds like the Slayer of the 90s.  As I pondered such a thought I was taken aback by this statement.  Was the great and wise man a fan of Slayer of the 90s?  In the 90s, I saw a Slayer headline with Fear Factory as the supporting act.  What an amazing coincidence, I thought.  Did the great and wise man know this?  Did he read my mind?  Hack into my computer?  Did he see that tour too?  I asked the great and wise Matt what he meant.  He said that “Slayer was consistent, but not really doing anything new” or something close to that affect.  He hit the nail on the head concerning Fear Factory’s latest output. Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: The Boats of Glen Carrig by Ahab


PromoImageFor as much as I love doom metal one sect of the genre I’ve never really been able to get into is funeral doom, bar an exception or two.  It’s just a style that has to be particularly fresh and engaging for me to be able to sit through at attention as 10 plus minute long songs plod along.  So forgive me for remaining ignorant to the thunderous majesty know as Ahab for over a decade.  Self-proclaimed as nautical doom metal these Germans stay true to their Melville-ian namesake and produce dirges which require patience and a hearty pair of sea legs to really appreciate the payoff of a gorgeous, well-crafted world.  Slow and sludgy Ahab’s new album, The Boats of Glen Carrig, looks to be the bands most accomplished record to date.  Going back and checking out their earlier releases as reference points (Holy Shit!  The Call of the Wretched Sea is a beast!) it also sounds as if the band is pushing their sound into uncharted territory.  That may or may not be a good thing depending on how slow you like your doom metal.

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Roundtable Review: Cradle of Filth – Hammer of the Witches


Cradle-Of-Filth-Hammer-Of-The-Witches-Artwork-wpcf_300x300Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  10 Jul 2015

Songs:   13

Length:  69 Minutes (is that a coincidence?)

Genre:  Symphonic Black Metal

Studio Albums:   The Principal of Evil Made Flesh (1994); Dusk…and Her Embrace (1996); Cruelty and the Beast (1998); Midian (2000); Damnation and a Day (2003); Nymphetamine (2004); Thornography (2006); Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder (2008); Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa (2010); The Manticore and Other Horrors (2012).

Location:  UK Read the rest of this entry