There are a few metal sub-genres that I’m pickier than a toddler at the dinner table with. Of the ones I am most picky with, Power Metal would probably take the cake. In my opinion, good Power Metal needs to have something I call the cheese factor (superfluousness, theatrics, high-flying-ness, not taking things too serious-ness, etc) balanced in the right place. Not enough cheese you end up with one of those sad solo Timo Tolkki records, too much and the band is just a parody of itself (Rhapsody of Fire excluded). Get it in the right and you end up with some of the greats like Helloween and Stratovarius. Now, to add to my pickiness, since I can go pop one of the already Ch-balanced records in any time I want, a new Power Metal band really has to do something unique and original to grab me by the shorty hairs and get me to pay attention. That’s the hard part and probably why I haven’t fallen for a new Power Metal band in quite some time now. Enter Canada’s Crimson Shadows and their major label debut and sophomore record Kings Among Men.
Do you see the brilliant spheres?
This night knows countless years.
You step out onto your porch, gaze up, and look right through histories upon histories in the universe. Yet, you are here, glaring into a majesty you can’t even begin to comprehend. You look into infinite space, you see stars that haven’t existed for millions of years, planets that have come and gone, and bygone times you never knew or would have imagined existed. And you are here. You feel small, but unwittingly fulfilled that you are part of it all, whatever it is. You are part of that history, that energy, that existence that just maybe some other being is gazing of towards. You look down, across the cityscape, into trees, over to your dog, or to where ever your Earthly abode is and you feel a loving connection; gratitude to where your feet ground you. You are happy to be alive and given the chance to ponder and appreciate, to feel pain and loss, to experience love and life. You look back up and feel one.
For me, trying to describe the objective sound or style found on The Old Believer would be doing The Atlas Moth a huge disservice. I could say the record calls to mind White Pony-era Deftones with heavy black metal and post metal influences, but it’s so much more than that. I could say textures and layers of music paired with intriguing and introspective lyrics create journeys through the human and celestial mind and soul. I could say that visceral (and very understandable) blackened screams running in tandem with a beautiful baritone clean singing as well as layer upon layer of ominous keys, melodic and crushing guitars, thick grooved bass, and hypnotizing drum all work perfectly together to create a marrow chilling dynamic. I could say this album just about brought me to tears. But no. I’m just going to shut my mouth and implore you to take my word for it that this record needs to be in your collection and in your ears as soon as possible. I’ll just leave you with another sample lyric that hit me particularly. Peace Love and Metal! 5/5
To become whole I must first fall
The sky is the only one who knows how
To assemble the pieces like before
Eruption leads to rebirth
Just let go
The Old Believer is out June 10th 2014 through Profound Lore Records. You can order through their site to get the super cool physical CD (you dip the cover in water and it changes!!!) or go digital through Bandcamp. Give The Atlas Moth a ‘Like’ on Facebook and if you didn’t take my suggestion to listen to the advance stream the other day, here ya’ go.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the majority of bands hailing from New York, it’s that they have a penchant for being uncompromising, direct, to the point, and pull absolutely no punches. It must come from the non-stop pedal to the metal lifestyle of its denizens as the hustle and bustle throughout one of the worlds most bat shit crazy cities. Just look at the city’s storied hard-core scene and you’ll soon realize that none of those band take no shit from anyone. New Yorkers also know how to party, and that also shines through in the East Coasts style of thrash. Now, when we take the uncompromising side of NYC and mix it with its happy-go-lucky party side and jack it up on a base of black metal, you get a nice unique mix resulting in a little gem of a band called Black Anvil.
When take a gander at some of the reasons some of my favorite bands have remained my favorite bands over the course of decades one reason always seems to take the forefront. The ability to grow and evolve, not afraid to make dramatic changes, while remaining true to a core sound or style that initial made me a super-fan in the first place. These kind of bands give me something to look forward from release to release as I know I am going to get lots of new alleyways and avenues to explore. They keep their career fresh and I get a variety of albums to listen to (unlike just more or less needing a single album that sums up the bands catalog) all with different experiences contained within.
Enter Cormorant. A couple of years ago when they released their sophomore album Dwellings my ears picked up on the unique blend of blackened prog rock tinged with hints of classic metal and instantly became a super-fan of the Bay Area band. As par for the course, since I liked their current record so much I ponied up the cash for the back catalog expecting more of the same that was on Dwellings. To my delight, their debut album Metazoa was a much different beast than the record I was spinning ad nauseam, yet was still very much a Cormorant affair. They just needed a third record to prove they were the real deal and not just a fluke and they were pretty much guaranteed a spot in my coveted Realm of Upper Echelon Bands. I was very much hoping this would happen. Then tragedy struck; Arthur Von Nagal, the bands front man, lyricist, vocalist, bassist, and major songwriter contribute made the decision to leave the band to pursue in a career of video game development (FYI, that really freaking awesome Walking Dead game that won all them awards, he was on that team. Go play games made by TellTale, their all great!).
Release Date: March 4th 2014, self-released
Length: 50 minutes of seducing melodies
Genre: Exceptionally good progressive/melodic tech metal
Previous releases: The Space Between EP 2011, In Time EP 2012
Recommended for fans of: Between The Buried And Me, Protest The Hero, Periphery
Description: A really good metal album with heavy music and only clean vocals seems to be almost impossible to come by these days. But never fear, Intervals is here!
“Your only chance to survive, is to leave with us…”
Release date: 24th of February on Undergroove Records
Length: 45 minutes of heavy earworms
Genre: Feel-good, sludgy rock
Previous releases: This is their first album, and what a fine debut it is!
Recommended for fans of: Baroness, Queens Of The Stone Age, Mastodon, Foo Fighters, The Doors Read the rest of this entry →
Label: Moribund Records
Release Date: March 18th 2014 (re-release); also now available from Razorbleed Productions
Genre: Blackend Crusty Black and Roll
Studio Albums: A lot.
Release Date: 2 December 2013
Length: 31 minutes
Studio Albums: Rough Sleep EP 2013, two splits
Location: Southampton, UK
Posted by ChristopherMammal
Release Date: CD, 31 July 2012; Vinyl, 4 February 2014
Length: 33 minutes
Genre: Black heavy/thrash metal
Studio Albums: This is their debut album
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Release Date: 1 January 2013, 31 January 2014 (DLP)
Genre: The blackest and darkest death/doom
Studio Albums: Denouement, 2012