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.

Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for April – Part 2/2


SC logoOn Friday we posted our digest of the first five female-fronted albums our buddies at Sonic Cathedral reviewed during April. On Saturday we slept late. On Sunday we rested, it being the seventh day and all that. Today we feature the other four albums SC reviewed last month.

They are all goodies, like us and the people at SC. Some of them are the best, like all of the followers of SC and Metal State.

 

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Roundtable Review: Lancer – Second Storm


Lancer-CoverArt-DimitarNikolov.psdLabel: Despotz Records

Release Date:  April 10th, 2015

Songs:  9

Length: 51 minutes

Genre:  Power/Speed metal

Studio Albums: Purple Sky EP 2012, Lancer 2013

Location:  Arvika, Sweden

Recommended for fans of: Iron Maiden, Avantasia, Helloween, Edguy

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Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for April – Part 1/2


SC logoI’ve heard it said that Sonic Cathedral agreed to let Metal State publish a digest of their reviews because I train the Sonic Cathedral unicorns. This is untrue. Their unicorns are untrainable. It is very dangerous to stand in front of them when they are moshing. It’s also dangerous to stand in front of their unicorns.

Sonic Cathedral reviewed nine female-fronted albums during April. We’re doing a two-part digest of those reviews, including the album details and a very short summary of each review. Here are the first five. Part 2 will cover the next four.

 

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Album Review: Mellowtoy – Lies


PromoImage

Release Date:  20 Jan 2015

Previous Albums:  This is their fourth album

Length:  42 Minutes

Songs:  12

Genre:  Hard Rock

Label:  Scarlet Records

FFO:  Ill Nino, Five Finger Death Punch, All That Remains, Stone Sour, Gemini Syndrome, Disturbed

Location:  Milan, Italy Read the rest of this entry

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