Venomous Maximus – Firewalker

By Andrew Bansal

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Hailing from Houston, Texas, stoner metal quartet Venomous Maximus announced their arrival with in 2012 with the release of their debut full-length album ‘Beg Upon The Light’. Traveling a path on which they’ve gained recognition from mainstream Texas-based press outlets and underground metal fanatics alike, Venomous Maximus put a great amount of work and thought into the follow-up album. Their sophomore effort ‘Firewalker’ is now ready for release on May 19 via Shadow Kingdom Records, and should stand to serve as a representation of the group’s metamorphosis. Continue reading

CalatrilloZ – Psalms Of Zahyin

By Andrew Bansal

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London-based symphonic metal quintet CalatrilloZ have honed their individual and collective personalities both sonically and visually since their 2009 inception, and with much investment of thought and deliberation put behind it, they are ready to release their debut full-length album ‘Pslams Of Zahyin’ in June 2015. In an era that is witnessing most so-called symphonic metal bands overstepping the fine line and lose the right to be truly labeled as metal, CalatrilloZ bring forth a fresh, intelligent approach that simultaneously obeys and disobeys the rules and stereotypes. Continue reading

Secondborn – Symbols (EP)

By Andrew Bansal

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Lafayette, Louisiana based six-piece Secondborn are ready to announce their arrival with the imminent release of their 6-song EP ‘Symbols’. The upbeat, melody-driven, progressive set of tunes presents the band in a largely positive light and seems poised to create a solid first impression. Continue reading

The Great Game – Self-Titled

By Andrew Bansal

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Based out of Spain but hailing from geographically all-encompassing regions, prog/experimental/fusion group The Great Game clearly know no rules or boundaries when it comes to musical style, and compose music in a manner that potentially appeals to a wide range of listeners. Their 2015 self-titled full-length effort is a shining example of this very trait, engulfing a multitude of sonic landscapes within itself. Continue reading

Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors

By Andrew Bansal

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Atlanta, Georgia’s Royal Thunder released their debut full-length ‘CVI’ in 2012, an album that can be truly hailed as one of the most beautiful efforts in psychedelic hard rock to have surfaced in recent history. In the three years that followed, the band toured endlessly to present these tunes on stages worldwide, but somewhere during that period, found the time and inclination for further creativity which has resulted in a new album called ‘Crooked Doors’, released in April 2015 via Relapse Records. For listeners that found themselves captivated by ‘CVI’, it was hard to detach from that album and give ‘Crooked Doors’ a fair chance, but Royal Thunder’s newest creation has finally sinked in.

The combination of singer/bassist Mlny Parsonz’ voice and the instrumentation by herself and her band mates is nothing short of spine-chilling on ‘CVI’. Royal Thunder attempts to achieve the same result on ‘Crooked Doors’ but through a varied approach and an evolved musical style. As is evident from the opening tunes ‘Time Machine’, ‘Forget You’ and ‘Wake Up’, there is greater focus on melody, and on utilizing the singing voice to the maximum. That being said, the instrumental mastery is still present and is skillfully intertwined with the ever-changing textures of Parsonz’ voice. For old-fashioned music listeners that like to absorb entire albums as opposed to singles, these first three tracks are crucial in convincing one to continue listening, and the sonic traits exhibited on them are certainly carried with much conviction through the entirety of the 11-track effort.

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The meat of Crooked Doors comprises compelling tunes ‘Floor’, ‘The Line’ and ‘Glow’, while ‘Forgive Me, Karma’, ‘Ear On The Fool’ and ‘One Day’ showcase some of the finest guitar work on the album, and it all comes to a somber end with ‘The Bear’ parts 1 and 2. Crooked Doors on the whole is catchier and more vocal-oriented than CVI, but is simultaneously also a much darker, emotional and thought-provoking effort. It’s as much Fleetwood Mac as it is Led Zeppelin. The blend of these characteristics should bring greater commercial success for Royal Thunder in the upcoming phase of their career, but for the most part, does not alienate fans of their past work.

Crooked Doors sees Royal Thunder take a positive evolutionary step while still staying firmly planted in their musical roots.

Rating: 8.5/10

Record Label: Relapse

Release Date: April 7th 2015

Track Listing:
01. Time Machine
02. Forget You
03. Wake Up
04. Floor
05. The Line
06. Forgive Me, Karma
07. Glow
08. Ear On The Fool
09. One Day
10. The Bear I
11. The Bear II

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Desecrate – Of Death And Damnation

By Andrew Bansal

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Los Angeles heavy metal quartet Desecrate have been toiling hard in local circles for what seems like an eternity. They’ve remained consistently prolific in terms of live performances at any and every club around town and occasionally elsewhere, but when it comes to releasing new music, there has always much deliberation, thought and planning behind it. Three years after they put out their sophomore full-length ‘At The Edge Of Sanity’, they self-released their third LP ‘Of Death And Damnation’ in March 2015. It’s an album that does not limit itself to any sub-genre definitions but one that succeeds in defining the musical personality of this band better than any of their past studio efforts and firmly puts them on a map that extends beyond the city of Los Angeles. Continue reading