Roundtable Album Review: Cruadalach – Rebel Against Me


Cruadalach_CoverLabel: Metalgate

Release Date: January 2015

Songs: 11

Length: 41 minutes

Genre: Folk Metal

Studio Albums: Agni – Unveil What’s Burning Inside (EP, 2011), Lead – Not Follow (2011)

Location: Prague, Czech Republic

 

 

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Album Review: Beyond the Red Mirror by Blind Guardian


beyond_the_red_mirror_earbook“It sounds like a ‘insert the same band name as the album here’ album.”  In my years as a metal fan and hobbyist writer I have heard and lazily used that phrase way too often.  An Amon Amarth, Primus, Slayer, Tool (one can keep dreaming right?) new album pops up, a quick sum up is requested, and that phrase gets the point across to existing fans quick enough.  It can be a good thing as well as bad.  Sure it says that the pedigree of quality is there but also doesn’t take into account any forward (or backward) progress in the bands unique, established sound may have undergone.  Yet after listening to the newly minted release, Beyond the Red Mirror, from German heart-throbs Blind Guardian I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe it summarily.  It sounds exactly like what you would expect a Blind Guardian album to sound like.  Though, allow me to explore that statement just a tad deeper.

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Album Review: Furyon – Lost Salvation


FuryonLostSalvation

As much as I love complicated rhythms, odd time signatures, blast beats, deathly growls, and other wild riffs and things; sometimes I like music that doesn’t have any of that.  There are numerous bands fitting for what I am talking about, but a standout among the newcomers of the music world is Furyon.  From the southern UK comes the latest album Lost Salvation, the sophomore effort from these classic hard rockers. Read the rest of this entry

A Metal-Prog Interlude: VOLA – Gutter Moon


I know and love VOLA, from Denmark, for their earlier and largely unheralded music. When I first heard them in 2009 they were a progressive rock band with a strong flavour of math rock in their compositions.

The new VOLA album, “Inmazes”, features a different line-up and a much more exploratory approach. It’s a beautiful merging of prog and math rock, prog and math metal and djent. I believe this must greatly broaden VOLA’s potential fan base. From my point of view as a metal-prog hybrid, this album will be too good to miss. It should be available now.

Find out more at VOLA’s Facebook page.

“Gutter Moon” is from the new album.

For comparison, “Like The Rainbow” is the first track on the 2009 EP, “Homesick Machinery”. Both songs are deeply satisfying.

 

Full Album Stream: Cult of Occult


CultOfOccultThe temptation was great. The words “sludge doom” immediately made me prick up all of my ears and my cat’s ears too. The temptation led to a fine reward – an introduction to the intentionally evil occult sludge doom of Cult of Occult, who may be the most evil band in France or maybe all of Europe.

The challenge was also impossible to resist. Cult of Occult are on a quest to spread the darkness wherever they cast their sinister shadow. Would their Satanic evil be more powerful than my occupational evil? In my nearly 65 years I’ve been a journalist, a PR consultant, an editor, a publisher, an IT manager and a website designer. What could be more evil than that? But there’s more. I’m very close friends with Bharti the Trans-Dimensional Bunny, whose most cynical trick was to invent the Universe, then humans, then all the gods.

To my horror, Cult of Occult didn’t flinch at the mention of Bharti. That’s how demonic they are. We’ve been in contact a few times and I’ve learnt the depths of their depravity. For example, I told them I’d sold my soul on Facebook a few years ago and asked if their souls were for sale. They replied: “We have no soul left, but listen to our songs while worshipping the Master and he’ll probably contact you for a deal.”

If their Facebook page is to be believed, you can book them to perform at black masses, sacrifices, Satanic rituals, dark ceremonies and unholy meetings.

Would they really watch while a coven of witches ripped a human apart? Well… maybe the stage names of Cult of Occult give a hint about how evil they actually aren’t. I can’t imagine a real demon would name itself George PompiDoom, Gary McDoom, Jean Paul BelmonDoom or Jean Claude VanDoom.

But enough of that. As I’ve told these guys in the same breath I used to call them evil bastards, their album is 110% my kind of music. Check these guys out on Facebook and hear their self-titled album on Bandcamp. Evil, maybe; wicked, bloody hell, yes!

 

 

 

Game Review: The Evil Within (Xbox One)


D_093155118539I can’t think of a game in recent memory that has been more overblown than The Evil Within, at least in the survival horror genre.  Tango Gameworks took cues from just about every other horror game out there; Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Outlast, etc., and put them all into one mashup, hence, it’s unoriginal!  I will give the developers props for a few things, but seriously how many puss-filled, pulsating, veiny, acid-spewing, bulging mucous looking sores-on-walls am I going to see in these kinds of games?  Time to come up with something new; let’s get back to scaring the crap out of gamers with suspense instead of wowing us with the fantastically grotesque.

What started off as a pretty legit story line; cop responds to gruesome murders at Beacon Mental Hospital.  Cop sees some really strange crap and runs for life.  Cop and friends escape in ambulance (earth shakes violently); ambulance crashes in the woods; cop and friends get split up (of course).  Cop runs through woods trying to find his way.  And this is where things start to take a turn for the worse.  And when I mean worse, I don’t mean for the safety of the cop protagonist, I mean took a turn for the ludicrous worse in overall gaming experience.  Read the rest of this entry

Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for January


SC logoOne of our innovations for 2015 is an alliance with Sonic Cathedral, the website that specialises in reviews of albums by female-fronted bands. Collectively, the Sonic Cathedral team is probably the best team of experts in the world on the types of female-fronted music we at Metal State don’t cover too often, notably symphonic metal and Gothic metal. SC covers a lot more ground than that, however, featuring FF albums in various genres of rock and harder metal as well.

We’ll be presenting a highlights roundup of the Sonic Cathedral reviews every month. Our coverage will include the album details, an intro from SC, and a link to the full (and often extremely comprehensive) review on SC’s website.

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Retro Roundtable Review: At the Edge of Time by Blind Guardian


MI0003036053Label: Nuclear Blast

Release Date: July 30th, 2010

Songs: 10

Genre: Symphonic Power Metal

Studio Albums: 9 other ones

Location: Germany

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Game Review: Game Dev Tycoon (PC)


profile_lThis review was created entirely by my 11-year-old son/game enthusiast…

I bought Game Dev Tycoon as part of the 2013 Steam Summer Sale.  Business Simulation games weren’t really my style then, so I thought “Hey, I’ll give Game Dev Tycoon a go.” As of now I’ve committed 132 hours of blood, sweat, and tears into this game.  This game is basically centered in the early 1980’s era when videogames were getting very, very popular.

So, I started my videogame developing Simulator Company with the name “Crank Incorporated,” named after Steam Corporation.  My company started out in a location that seemed like a garage that might actually be housing a DMC Delorean.  With $70K, I started development of my first game.  At the moment I had four game topic choices, one of those being “Racing,” so I chose that.  The second choice was of the genres RPG, Simulation, Action, etc.  So, I chose Simulation because I know that racing and simulation is a good combo.  The next choice was naming my game.  I saw some of the forum pages where people made hilarious names such as a military action game being called Call of Dooty, but that didn’t stop me from making a formal name for my racing simulator because I take gaming seriously. Speed Racer was what I chose; named after the somewhat successful film. Read the rest of this entry