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

Show Review: Hellyeah @ Yokota Air Base, Japan

IMG_1421It isn’t too often a metal band get sponsored by the United Services Organizations (USO) to play free shows on military installations.  I am not saying it never happens, but it’s rare and even rarer that I get to be part of the event.  Hellyeah was the sponsored band of the evening and kids were not allowed at the Yokota Air Base, Japan, venue.  It was probably a good thing since it was beyond loud.  Spinal Tap would say it was #11 loud.  I couldn’t care less about all of Chad Gray’s F-bombs he was politely asked not to say, but damn it was one of the loudest shows I have ever been to.  My lovely wife was my date and I think she walked away a fan.  Yep, she just validated that statement and followed up with stating that she thought the show was well-played, Tom Maxwell did a great job with all that southern twang in his guitar, and that Chad Gray was a really good, active frontman.  I can certainly confirm that.  I got tired watching him and that says a lot about his presence on stage.  The dude is a mover! Read the rest of this entry

Roundtable Review: Meliora by Ghost (B.C.)

ghostmelioracdAlbum Review: Ghost – Meliora

Label: Lorna Vista Records (USA), Spinefarm/Rise Above (Europe)

Release Date: Aug. 21st, 2015

Songs: 10

Length: 41:35

Genre: Doom Metal/Psychedelic Rock/Pop

Studio Albums: Opus Eponymous, Infestissumam

Location: Linköping, Sweden

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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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Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for August

SonC logoMany thanks again to our buddies at Sonic Cathedral for sharing their reviews of the last month. In case you haven’t seen one of these posts before, we do a digest of their reviews. They specialise in rock and metal with female vocalists.

Everyone who is or wants to be anyone in FF rock and metal must, must visit Sonic Cathedral. They have a website/online store and a Facebook page. I don’t know any music site that goes into more depth in its reviews.


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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.