baptists - bloodmines

Baptists: Bloodmines (2014)

How many seconds into Bloodmines, the second full-length from British Columbia hardcore outfit Baptists did you become aware this was recorded and produced by Kurt Ballou?  It’s unmistakable, and that’s a huge plus if you’re a massive fan of the man’s work as a producer.  If you’re not, I don’t know if anything is going to change your mind here, because this sounds like like any number of hardcore bands recorded under the Godcity banner.  Make of that what you will. Continue reading “Baptists: Bloodmines (2014)”

belus - apophenia

Belus: Apophenia (2017)

The first thing I noticed about Belus was the drumming.  Listen to how the drums practically skip over the melodic black metal riffing on “Chasm,” the opening track of the band’s debut album Apophenia.  It’s a marvel of work, on par with the first time I heard someone like Brann Dailor explode on Remission or even (gulp) Lars play on And Justice for All.  It immediately serves to move Belus apart from what the glut of other melodic black metal bands are doing, and makes Belus one of the best modern US black metal releases in some time.  Continue reading “Belus: Apophenia (2017)”

behemoth - the satatnist

Behemoth: The Satanist (2013)

It would be a simple thing to talk about The Satanist in terms of Nergal’s bout with leukemia, how in the face of sickness and death he found it within himself to create a towering work of death metal fury, the rage and volume a shout against his condition, his mortality, and his reliance on a higher power.  I’m pretty sure a ton of magazines and sites did just that.  But coming to the album, and to Behemoth years later, I’m left with the realization that – as solid as the metal is, and as good as The Satanist is – I don’t see myself reaching for this or any of the albums when I’m in need of a loud death metal fix.  Continue reading “Behemoth: The Satanist (2013)”

becoming akh - absolute truth

Becoming Akh: Absolute Truth (2017)

With Absolute Truth must come abolsute truth.  The sophomore LP and continuing conceptual narrative from Portland one man death machine Becoming Akh is more complex, more technical and, sadly more unlistenable.  Forsaking anything even remotely related to low-end frequencies, it’s painful to try and got to the admittedly technical prowess on display throughout the record. Continue reading “Becoming Akh: Absolute Truth (2017)”

Becoming Akh - Abolisher

Becoming Akh: Abolisher EP (2015)

What what I knew about Becoming Akh before coming into their 2015 EP Abolisher.  It was metal, and it was on Transcending Records.  I got the album and about a dozen others like it as part of a campaign to help Transcending Records with a flood that devastated their merchandise.  I even wrote about it on Nine Circles.  The first of a two-part concert album, Abolisher deals in a kind of mechanized progressive death/djent that sits high in a few sonic frequencies and eschews the rest. Continue reading “Becoming Akh: Abolisher EP (2015)”

barshasketh - ophidian henosis

Barshasketh: Ophidian Henosis (2015)

Here was the deal with this one: for about seven euros I could get the digital download for Ophidian Henosis, the third full-length from New Zealand’s Barshasketh.  Or, for a euro more (plus shipping, of course) I could get the CD.  I opted for the latter and here we are, although I still don’t rightly know what the album name means beyond it’s rough translation of “union of snakes” which is – admittedly – pretty metal. Continue reading “Barshasketh: Ophidian Henosis (2015)”

baroness - purple

Baroness: Purple (2015)

Red mixed with blue give you purple, so it stands to reason there’s an element of mixing at play with Purple, the most recent release from Baroness.  Coming almost four years after Yellow & Green, and also after the traumatic accident that almost cost John Baizley his arm, there’s a sense of bruised urgency to the tightened song structures that make for a great return to form for the band, as well as a clarity of intent and identity.   Continue reading “Baroness: Purple (2015)”