Clayton Michaels

Posted Friday, October 17, 2014 - 8:09pm by Clayton Michaels

Thus far, 2014 has been an outstanding year for fans of black metal. Starting back in January with Murmur’s stellar self-titled record, this year has seen excellent releases from both more established bands (Cormorant, Agalloch, Lantlos, Woods of Desolation, Krieg) and relative newcomers (Bastard Sapling, Barghest, Mutilation Rites, Barbeleth, Myopic, Torrid Husk, The Great Old Ones, Emptiness, Thantifaxath). Add to that list a pair of releases from September: Panopticon’s Roads to the North and the self-titled debut EP from Myrkur.

Category: Album Reviews

Tags: Panpoticon, Myrkur, black metal, USBM, lo-fi black metal, progressive black metal, Burzum, pagan black metal, folk metal, hipster black metal
Posted Friday, September 5, 2014 - 1:52pm by Clayton Michaels

Upstart Baltimore-based Grimoire Records first came to my attention a few months ago when Highpriest’s excellent Shift EP landed in my inbox (which I reviewed here). Now they’re on my radar again with Crawling Mountain Apogee, the forthcoming split from Myopic and Torrid Husk, which I’ve been listening to almost non-stop for the last week. If you’ve slept on Grimoire Records thus far, it’s time to for that to change, because they are quickly becoming a label worth paying very close attention to.

Category: Album Reviews

Tags: Myopic, Torrid Husk, Grimoire Records, progressive black metal, Watain, post-rock, Isis, neurosis
Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 - 2:56pm by Clayton Michaels

We might as well get this out of the way up front: if you were among those who were hoping against hope that Mikael Åkerfeldt would steer the band back towards death metal on Pale Communion, you’re going to be very disappointed, because Pale Communion completes the transformation begun on 2011’s Heritage. It’s time to accept it—Opeth is no longer a death metal band. And this is a very good thing.

Category: Album Reviews

Tags: Opeth, progressive metal, prog rock, mellotron, Goblin, Mikael, Åkerfeldt, Crosby, Stills & Nash
Posted Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 8:20pm by Clayton Michaels

The Great Wall’s sound is more like Intronaut-meets-mathcore with a few electronic elements thrown in for good measure, but with vocals that are almost crooned. The end result is a heavily textured take on alt-metal that’s both proggy and accessible. On paper it might seem a bit incongruous, but in practice it’s pretty damn wonderful. It’s also not really like anything I’ve ever heard before, which is saying something.

Category: Album Reviews

Tags: The Great Wall, intronaut, progressive metal, alt-metal, mathcore, electronica
Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 8:08pm by Clayton Michaels

How best to describe Trioscapes? The trio, which is rounded out by tenor saxman/flautist Walter Fancourt and drummer Matt Lynch, are first and foremost a jazz combo, and they lean more toward the Miles Davis end of the spectrum than the Mahavishnu Orchestra end. Album opener “Digital Dream Sequence” and “Hysteria” both have some really nice hard bop moments interspersed with some seriously heavy fuzz bass. “From Earth to Moon” brings to mind Rashaan Roland Kirk with its flute and what sounds like a marimba sections. The highlight of the album, though, is the 15+ minute closing track “The Jungle,” which builds from gentle electronic percussion and an intricately tapped bass line into a full-on free/fusion freak-out and then back out again, with a particularly nice bass solo roughly halfway through the song.

Category: Album Reviews

Tags: hard bop, Miles Davis, Dan Briggs, Between the Buried and Me, Trioscapes, jazz fusion

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