Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: The Shadow Theory, "Behind the Black Veil"

I’m having a tough time with the debut record from The Shadow Theory. On one hand, I love the mashup of soft atmospherics, driving heaviness and the occasional hit of weirdness. It’s all very well-played and put together. Those qualities make me want to call it the first candidate for best of 2011. On the other hand, around the midpoint of the record, it starts to taper off and the second half, the final song excepted, is largely unmemorable.

Behind the Black Veil is a concept album about a man trapped in his nightmares, and the record does a good job of capturing the feel of a dream, as we get musical flashes and shifts that sometimes don’t quite seem to make sense, but end up working together.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Freebies: Devin Townsend offers free acoustic EP online

The Devin Townsend Project is offering a free five-song acoustic EP featuring the songs "Supercrush," "Kingdom," "Truth," "Om" and "By Your Command." To get the EP, you have to share Townsend's tour page on Facebook or Twitter. Here are the details.

Townsend is also at work on two records slated for 2011 release.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Freebies: German thrashers Destruction offer stream of latest album

German thrashers Destruction are currently streaming their latest record, "Day of Reckoning," in its entirety on their Facebook page. The record is set for U.S. release on March 8. Look for a review of it here shortly thereafter.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What a concept: 10 metal tales worth exploring

The concept album, over the years, has become a staple of the metal genre. Though there are claims to the origin of the concept album stretching back to the 1930s (or I suppose you could argue that operas were the first concept albums), the form probably reached the public consciousness in the 1960s with bands like The Beatles and The Who. In the 1970s, the concept album became the provenance of prog rock. The hard rock and metal bands of the late 1970s and the 1980s soon jumped on board, and since then, just about every metal band that wanted to seem “epic” has given it a shot, and many of them have been dreadful. It’s a tricky proposition, the balance between story and music, the thin line between the almost necessary bombast of a concept album and pretentious self-indulgement. Proven, and even legendary bands (*cough,cough*Judas Priest*coughcough*), have failed in the attempt.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: DarkBlack, "Midnight Wraith"

I vaguely recall being asked to review a DarkBlack’s The Barbarian’s Hammer EP for the old Digital Metal and being quite unimpressed. While I don’t, to be honest, remember much about that record, I’m a little more intrigued by the material on Midnight Wraith. I’m not quite won over by it, but it certainly shows some promise.

The five tracks on this EP blend late 1970s and early 1980s traditional metal sounds with ‘70s hard rock for a cool vintage feel. The record opens with “Doom Herald,” a traditional metal number with some early Iron Maiden overtones.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: Bob Wayne, "Outlaw Carnie"

I understand that there are people on both sides of this one scratching their heads a little. The metal crowd is probably wondering why Century Media signed a country artist. The country crowd is probably wondering why Bob Wayne signed with a metal label. To me, though, it makes perfect sense.

The first thing that the metal crowd should know about Bob Wayne is that his music isn’t the overproduced pop bullshit that you hear on country radio. It’s honest. It’s real, and it’s got a lot in common with metal, in spirit if not in sound. Like the best metal being made today, the best country (and not much, if any, of it is on a Nasvhille label) is about making the music you want to make and to hell with trends and marketing. Wayne also has personal connections to metal, citing Black Sabbath, Pantera and Neurosis among some of his favorite acts. His music, on the other hand, has more to do with David Allan Coe, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, all guys with the spirit of metal in their own right.