Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review: Future is Tomorrow, "Fit to Die (Part 1)"

The full-length debut from Italy’s Future is Tomorrow certainly shows some promise, if not much innovation. It’s a concept record that looks at a funeral through the eyes of the deceased, and apparently only the first part of the concept.

On a positive note, Future is Tomorrow plays a brand of power/prog without a lot of shameless showing off, which I appreciate. I’m of the school that the song should come before virtuoso performances. On the down side, the band sticks with a lot of very common power/prog themes. It’s very well done, but there’s not a lot of variation from song to song.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review: Witches Mark, "A Grim Apparition"

In all honesty, when I think of Austin, Texas, power metal isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Witches Mark, apparently, is making a valiant attempt to change that.

This four-song EP doesn’t convince me that can happen, but it’s also not a bad set of songs either. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d guess that this was a European band. Even vocalist Michael Lance has a few inflections that suggest the European movement.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: Siegfried, "Nibelung"

After being particularly impressed by Elis’ Catharsis recently, I was anxious to check out the latest from Siegfried, Nibelung, featuring vocalist Sandra Schleret from the Elis record. It also didn’t hurt that I happen to be a fan of Wagner, the original metal musician, so I was intrigued by the theme of the record.

This record is, apparently, the third in an attempt to do a metal version of Wagner’s operatic treatment of the epic German poem Nibelungenlied.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Celebrating 40 years of metal

This week marks the 40th birthday of the genesis of my favorite form of music. It’s hard to believe that metal’s been with us that long (of course, it’s also hard to believe that I’ve been around almost that long.) It was Feb. 13, 1970, when the first true heavy metal record was released, Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review: Charred Walls of the Damned, "Charred Walls of the Damned"

I’ve had high hopes for just about every project that Tim Owens has been involved in since his departure from Iced Earth, and they’ve been largely lackluster. Finally, though, the cycle of disappointment is broken with the debut of Charred Walls of the Damned.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Review: Fear Factory, "Mechanize"

Fear Factory’s latest record, “Mechanize,” shouldn’t be a hard sell for fans of the band’s groundbreaking first two records “Soul of a New Machine” and “Demanufacture,” but it might. After all, following those records, the band spiraled into an ever more commercial sound that culminated in a hit single for their fairly faithful cover of Gary Numan’s new-wave hit “Cars.” The band returned briefly to something similar to their early work with 2004’s “Archetype,” but quickly destroyed any goodwill built by that album with the lackluster “Transgressions” only a year later.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Review: Day of Fire, "Losing All"

So, here we have the third album from Day of Fire, my introduction to the band. It’s apparently the new project of Josh Brown, former singer of Full Devil Jacket, a nu-metal outfit that I vaguely remember from the late 1990s. Apparently Brown got a little big-headed in his previous band and then overdosed on heroin, which led to rehab and a break in his music career. He emerged with more of a radio-friendly hard rock sound which is on display here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Review: Rob Zombie, "Hellbilly Deluxe 2"

Surprisingly, the biggest thing working against the latest release from Rob Zombie is its title: "Hellbilly Deluxe 2."

I always think it’s a bad idea for a band to go back in its catalog to a fan favorite and try to do a sequel. Years have passed. It’s not the same band. It won’t recapture the magic of the original record, and therefore creates an expectation that the new record can’t possibly meet. That’s the case here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Review: Elis, "Catharsis"

Any package that includes releases from Napalm Records always gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand, I’m pretty sure that I’ll enjoy most of them, on the other, I know I’ll have to deal with voiceovers on at least half the songs. (Come on, guys, the watermark is sufficient for most everyone these days). It’s particularly frustrating on a record I really like, such as Elis’ Catharsis.