Winter Calling – Faces

By Andrew Bansal

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With the release of their 2015 debut full-length album ‘As Darkness Falls’, Florida quartet Winter Calling staked their claim in the burgeoning progressive rock/metal world, and quickly following up to the first set of tunes, they unveiled their sophomore effort in August 2016, a concept album called ‘Faces’ that attempts to present the musicality of this group in a storytelling format. Countless bands have released concept albums over the years, many succeeding to stamp theirs as timeless classics, others failing to convey their point across in a concise manner. It remained to be seen where this audacious venture from this new band would end up. Continue reading

Running Wild – Rapid Foray

By Andrew Bansal

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Longstanding German power metal band Running Wild have a long four-decade history, a career that has spanned 15 full-length studio albums thus far, and even though they’ve mostly stayed within Europe as a live band, they’ve garnered a large fan-following all over the world, and every piece of Running Wild news is greeted with much excitement. Following a very brief split from 2009 to ’11, the band reformed and released their 15th album ‘Resilient’ in 2013, and are now ready to unveil the follow-up, ‘Rapid Foray’, on August 26th 2016 via SPV/Steamhammer. Pirate metal as a sub-genre came into prominence only in the mid-2000s, but metalheads well-versed in its history would know that Running Wild gave birth to this style, although what they play could be more accurately described as pirate-themed power metal. In a world where some bands that were clearly influenced by them are more popular, Running Wild attempt to re-stamp their authority with their newest studio effort. Continue reading

Hammers Of Misfortune – Dead Revolution

By Andrew Bansal

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San Francisco, California stoner/psych/prog metal band Hammers Of Misfortune hadn’t released an album since their fifth LP ’17th Street’ came out in 2011, for a variety of reasons, both personal as well as musical, as members of the band worked on other projects and/or dealt with incidents and developments in their lives. Having been around since 2000, Hammers Of Misfortune are one of those bands that quickly gained respect and admiration in the heavy music underground, and every move of theirs became highly anticipated among their cult fan base. Through the past five years, as fans spun the Hammers Of Misfortune albums, they faintly hoped for a new one some day. The time has finally come, as the band is now ready to release their long-awaited sixth full-length ‘Dead Revolution’ on July 22nd 2016 via Metal Blade Records. Continue reading

Turning Virtue – A Temporary Human Experience

By Andrew Bansal

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Fledgling Buffalo NY progressive rock group Turning Virtue released their new full-length album ‘A Temporary Human Experience’ earlier this year. Prog truly has no boundaries and limitless possibilities, so when a new band comes along with a promise to pursue prog in earnest, the genre’s fans and explorers are compelled to take notice. Inspired by the likes of prog luminaries such as Steven Wilson, with this album Turning Virtue attempt to stake their claim as the genre’s worthiest newcomers. Continue reading

Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us

By Andrew Bansal

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Oxnard, California based power violence band Nails have been around for nearly a decade, and for the longest time, marched on with a do-it-yourself ethos, playing shows wherever they were allowed to, in the dumps and dungeons of the Los Angeles/Southern California extreme music underground. Amidst crushing every stage they stepped foot on, they also kept releasing studio recordings on a regular basis, and up until 2013, had two EPs, a split and two full-length albums to their name, the last LP ‘Adandon All Life’ having been released by Southern Lord Recordings in 2013. All these releases came across as very short, precise and deadly. Forward to 2014, they got signed to Nuclear Blast Entertainment, and quickly, all the mainstream rock media outlets that ignored this band’s existence for so many years started noticing them, to the extent that Nails is now gracing cover stories, and lo and behold, they even got accepted on Metal Archives, where they were previously thought to be too brutal to get classified as metal. Based on this breakthrough of theirs, their third full-length and Nuclear Blast debut ‘You Will Never Be One Of Us’ is releasing on June 17th 2016, and comes as more anticipated and hyped than any previous Nails release. It remained to be seen whether it still retained the angst and venom the band’s music has been known for. Continue reading

Gojira – Magma

By Andrew Bansal

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French progressive extreme metal quartet Gojira have enjoyed a meteoric rise since the release of their fifth LP ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ (2012) and the globally reaching touring cycle that subsequently came with it. But this was no sellout move by any means, and they achieved all of this success by progressing vastly as songwriters within a short period of time, striking the right balance between complexity and accessibility. In existence since ’96 (and since 2001 under this name), Gojira have made a distinct statement with each album and have never made the same album twice. So, when it was time for follow-up to ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’, it was unanimously expected of Gojira to not only retain their newfound popularity, but also to deliver the goods on all fronts in a manner that would satiate their longtime fans as well as expand their outreach in equal measure. Enter Gojira’s sixth full-length effort ‘Magma’, slated for a June 17 2016 release via Roadrunner Records. Continue reading