These album overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their “Hear Us Out” CD reviews section back in 2006-2007. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but would also be able to showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. Since “Hear Us Out” notations were usually “100” words in length, these posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here are the reviews, so “Hear Us Out”.
36 Crazyfists: “Rest Inside The Flames” (DRT Entertainment)
Newly signed to DRT Entertainment, the Post Hardcore meets Melodic Metalcore guys in 36 Crazyfists give us their third album “Rest Inside The Flames”. The release is a significant Metal punch to the teeth as they use the Hardcore vibe straight away but different from some bands that blend in the Melodic aspect, 36CF are often using the both at the same time. I found this a great dynamic instead of the switching off, and actually at the end of the listen wished that they had only used the clean vocal since it was so good. Songs like “On Any Given Night” are fantastic and serve to save the listener from the crop of Emo bands dished out and somehow popular. The drive and delivery of 36CF is bound to please those who are looking for some levels of anger in their music but also those who are seeking more melody than a lot of bands offer. There are a lot of flavors on the album and they even offer some tribute to their homelands on the cut “Aurora”, a song which they said is about love and its magic that can be inspired by the magnificent Northern Lights. If that’s not off the beaten path from other heavy bands I don’t know what else is. There is also a lot of cool music on the release as well as far as time signatures and overall technical display. The band has been around since 1994 so their time together shows in the tightness of the performance on the recording. This resulting tightness makes songs like “Felt Through A Phone Line” among the best on the album and a sure fire hit once it gets to the proper ears. Now despite the harmonies on a number of tracks there is still the continual assault which you find especially on tracks like “Elysium”; the number is a one-two punch of Metal force which makes it interesting to realize that the band takes their very name from one of Jackie Chan’s Kung-Fu movies. In similar fashion to that kind of film the band hits you hard and from a number of different angles leaving you as a listener very clearly remembering what has hit you. There is a lot of fun to be had with this album and there is a very live feel to the music that should transfer well to the group’s performances.
3 Legged Dogg: “Frozen Summer” (Perris Records)
When you take members of Dio, DLR and Quiet Riot you are bound to get a super group and this is exactly what you find in the Bluesy Hard Rock of 3LD. Singer Chas West reminds me of Coverdale while the riffs and drums thunder with Zeppelin/Purple finesse. It’s surprisingly fresh and catchy all around and the perfect band in a day where the old sound is sorely required once again. It’s a great new musical vehicle for Bain, Appice, West, Young and Cavazo but they should really change that name since it takes away from this truly impressive debut.
Abigail Williams: “Legend” (Candlelight Records)
Metal from Arizona with AW who display intensity more European than US on their debut. Its traditional Norwegian Black Metal, Swedish Gothenburg and the blistering Metalcore wrapped into one exciting result. Singer Ken Sorceron growls like a maniacal cross of Filth and Shagrath on “From A Buried Heart”. Drumming brings to mind Dark Tranquility and its grinding vibe along with a very effective and Classical use of keyboards by Ellyllon truly kick this up a notch. Winners exist in “Like Carrion Birds” and “The Conqueror Wyrm” and show they are not going to take a backseat in the quest for Metal history.
Absence Of Concern: “Open Letters To A Closed Mind” (Kik It Records)
Holding a little more of a fist in the air in a scene currently overwrought with “Emo” bands comes Absence Of Concern with “Open Letters To A Closed Mind”. Melodically sound and more related to All That Remains than to AFI – those who listen get a talented heavy band instead of sobbing milquetoast musical expose. The group mixes some clever riffs amidst both melodic and growling vocals and this should appeal to a younger crowd who is seeking a little harder edged band for their collection. “Every Time I Try” is a guaranteed hit for the group and should make them larger than life.
After Forever: “After Forever” (Nuclear Blast Records)
All power and majesty – AF will have you saying “where have you been?” as this incredible group releases an epic that touches old and new in style. Instant classics lie in “Energize Me” and “Withering Time”. Floor Jansen possesses one of the most powerful Operatic Metal voices and now she is hell bent on claiming the crown for her own. Intelligent musical adventures await that even showcase some Beauty & Beast flavors to mix it up. AF has been in the background while others claimed the scene and now with the new bombastic material are really going to mix up the order of things for the better.
Agalloch: “Ashes Against The Grain” (The End Records)
When thinking of Atmospheric or Doom Metal your mind does not go to Portland Oregon but Agalloch calls this home and serves a up healthy dose of it on the CD. Refreshingly Dark in sound and overall vibe, this enthralling CD stretches the boundaries on how genres can mix and be used together. Clean and dark vocal styles are blended to perfection on the recording and give a positive spin on groups who choose this model as well. Musically this is an intelligent and thought out release that touches upon the Melodic and Progressive angle as much as it does hold its handle on being Dark Metal of the highest quality.
Alabama Thunderpussy: “Open Fire” (Relapse Records)
Yeah this is the good stuff – this is the top-shelf liquor of Hard Rock & Roll. I dare you to not kick one back with the stereo blasting while ATP kicks into gear. There is a swagger and a rumbling groove that if you dig Southern Fried Metal ala Artimus Piledriver, then you need this one also. It’s brash and its ornery but heavy as hell since the guys are not aiming the site on being Prog or anything; this is more about getting their hands dirty for the cause. Fans of Southern Rock wanting something heavier will appreciate this.
Battlelore: “Evernight” (Napalm Records)
Calling all Orks and Hobbits it is time to raise your sword and shield high once more and prepare for epic adventures deep inside the mystical worlds of Middle Earth. Continuing the trend of using this type of imagery in their music; Finland’s Battlelore take you away from the trappings of the daily routine and instill your spirit with heroic tales of good versus evil. This format is brought to life by the bands use of detailed costumes and armaments as well as hefty Metal skills. Excellent vocals by the lovely Kaisa Jouhki help you go there and back again.
Borknagar: “Origin” (Century Media Records)
As Folk & Celtic Metal popularity rises it made sense for Borknagar, masters of Progressive Black Metal, to go acoustic and show just how melodic and deep their songs truly are. Think Opeth’s Damnation for comparison yet know that its not as experimental and more traditional based. This wondrous listen is built with strings, cello, harmony vocals and acoustic guitars and will appeal to any Metal fan with an open mind. It proves that the tapestries woven by many groups are richly detailed and with each completed work, there is beauty that requires several visits to best appreciate. Thanks guys.
Additional chapters in this series of “Revisiting Metal Edge Magazine” will be posted across the span of a couple of weeks. Please stay tuned for the next batch of summaries and let us know what you thought of these items down in the comments section below.
36 Crazyfists: https://www.facebook.com/36crazyfists/
3 Legged Dogg: no website found
Abigail Williams: https://www.facebook.com/abigailwilliamsofficial/
Absence Of Concern: https://www.reverbnation.com/absenceofconcern
After Forever: https://www.facebook.com/afterforever/
Alabama Thunderpussy: https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaThunderpussy/