The Shrine – Primitive Blast [10 out of 10]

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

LA-based psychedelic violence rock ‘n roll trio The Shrine are ready to release their new album “Primitive Blast”, and honestly speaking, it feels exciting to listen to this album now, after having seen the band put on some thoroughly impressive performances and owning the stage amongst the likes of Kyuss Lives, The Sword and Graveyard over the past few months. When I talked to the band at the Kyuss show last November, they had already written and recorded this album, but it was in the form of a demo called “Bless Off”, which they released for free listening on SoundCloud, sold tapes of, and of course performed live. It’s heartening to see that one of the most outstanding rock acts in today’s scene is now signed to Tee Pee Records, who will ensure the proper release this set of tunes deserves. Continue reading “The Shrine – Primitive Blast [10 out of 10]”

Retrospective: Exodus’ “Another Lesson In Violence” Still Kills After 15 Years

By Avinash Mittur

In 2012, Exodus is one of the heaviest thrash metal groups currently active. The last eight years have seen the band releasing the most mature, brutal and violent material of their career. When one thinks of their original frontman Paul Baloff though, it’s hard not to imagine the big guy being an amazingly fun and joyous presence in the middle of a Bay Area slaughter. In 1997, Gary Holt, Rick Hunolt, and Tom Hunting reunited Exodus with Baloff returning to the mic and recruited Jack Gibson to fill the vacant bassist position. In many ways, this was the last time the band was all about “good friendly violent fun.” Continue reading “Retrospective: Exodus’ “Another Lesson In Violence” Still Kills After 15 Years”

Retrospective: Dream Theater’s “Images And Words” Turns 20

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

Progressive metal titans Dream Theater have been around since 1985, originally under the name Majesty for a couple of years, before they changed it to Dream Theater and released their debut album “When Dream And Day Unite” in 1989. 23 years and a few lineup changes later, they now have an 11-album catalog under their belts, and have earned the respect and admiration of fans and fellow musicians worldwide. But one album that truly stands out and is still strongly etched in everyone’s minds is the sophomore release “Images And Words”. Today, July 7th 2012 is its 20th anniversary, and the time is apt to take a retrospective look back at it. Continue reading “Retrospective: Dream Theater’s “Images And Words” Turns 20″

Retrospective: Blind Guardian’s “Somewhere Far Beyond” Now Two Decades Old

By Avinash Mittur

Blind Guardian are frequently lauded as one of the greatest and most influential power metal acts and it’s tough to make a strong argument against that assertion. The band’s amazingly aggressive songwriting along with Hansi Kursch’s extremely versatile vocal abilities is a winning combination that continues to produce great songs to this day. Many fans and critics point to “Tales From the Twilight World” and “Imaginations From the Other Side” as their masterworks, but the record that came in between, “Somewhere Far Beyond” is often unjustly passed over. On June 30, 1992, “Somewhere Far Beyond” was released; twenty years later, this album is still powerful and catchy, and its songs truly have stood the test of time. Continue reading “Retrospective: Blind Guardian’s “Somewhere Far Beyond” Now Two Decades Old”

Savage – Sons Of Malice [8 out of 10]

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

The legendary New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement of the late 1970s gave rise to some of my favorite music, and even today, it doesn’t cease to amaze me. Over the past couple of years, that era has seen somewhat of a resurgence, with the reincarnation of Tank in 2010, Saxon touring North America in 2011 after a long time, and Angel Witch releasing their new album this year, their first after a gap of 14 years. Now it’s the turn of Savage, who have reunited after a 10-year hiatus and have come out with their sixth studio release “Sons Of Malice”. Formed in 1979 by bassist/vocalist Chris Bradley and guitarist Andy Dawnson, teenagers at the time, the band gained recognition in their early years through songs like “Let It Loose”, which was also covered by Metallica for their pre-Kill ‘Em All demo recordings. Fast forward to 2012, Savage is back to present some of the very same musical elements that made them an influential band in the early days, but with a modern touch. Continue reading “Savage – Sons Of Malice [8 out of 10]”

Kreator – Phantom Antichrist [9 out of 10]

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

Teutonic thrash veterans Kreator have been around for more than 30 years, and their twelve studio albums thus far have taken them through quite a journey. They started with out-and-out thrash metal on the first four albums, after which they began experimenting during the 90’s, and at the turn of the century, they returned with a hybrid of thrash and Scandinavian melodic death metal on albums such as “Violent Revolution” and “Enemy Of God”. But their latest album “Hordes Of Chaos” really took them back to the roots, not only in terms of musical style but also the recording process. For the most part, they used analog tape to record this album in a live setting, giving it the exact mid 80’s vibe that laid the foundation for the band in the first place. Based on the strength of this album, Kreator also completed a successful world tour, including a very memorable gig at the House of Blues in Hollywood, on March 23rd 2010. That show remains strong in my memory, as Kreator definitely proved themselves to be one of the most intense and violent thrash metal acts going around, when it comes to the live performance. It’s now been three-and-a-half years since the release of “Hordes Of Chaos”, and it’s time to embrace Kreator’s follow-up effort “Phantom Antichrist”, which also marks their debut on the Nuclear Blast label. Continue reading “Kreator – Phantom Antichrist [9 out of 10]”