Album Review: Dreaming Dead – Midnightmares [9 out of 10]

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

After what seemed like an eternity, Los Angeles’ very own Dreaming Dead have finally released their sophomore album “Midnightmares”. The trio of Elizabeth Schall on guitar and vocals, Michael Caffell on drums and Juan Ramirez on bass has been steadily rising in the LA underground scene. I discovered them when they opened up for Nile at the House of Blues, Hollywood in February 2010, and since then, I’ve kept an eye on their activities. “Midnightmares” is an album that’s been in the making for a long time now, and I’m glad it has now seen the light of day. It serves as the follow-up to the “Within One” album which was released in 2009, and the progress they’ve made in their musicianship over these last three years is clearly evident on this new album. Continue reading “Album Review: Dreaming Dead – Midnightmares [9 out of 10]”

Album Review: Cattle Decapitation – Monolith Of Inhumanity [9.5 out of 10]

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

San Diego grind masters Cattle Decapitation have been doing their thing for more than 15 years now, and they’ve always been a band that captured my attention not only with their music, but also through their lyrical concepts and album covers. They’ve strongly demonstrated their pro-animal and anti-human stance on past albums such as “Human Jerky”, “Humanure” and most recently on “The Harvest Floor”. In addition to the great initial shock value they provide to first-timers, it’s the music that has kept people interested in them for so many years, ensuring that their concept is far beyond a mere gimmick. I rate the “Humanure” album cover as one of the best in metal, and whenever a new Cattle Decapitation record is about to be released, the first thing I look at is the cover. That time is now upon us, as the band’s seventh studio album “Monolith Of Inhumanity” is releasing on May 8th via Metal Blade Records. As is the case with pretty much all of their past album covers, the cover artwork for the new album is straightforward, represents the title very well, and drives its point across. As compared to their last couple of album covers, I do find this one to be more brutal, and I was curious to find out whether the music has the same characteristics as the cover. Continue reading “Album Review: Cattle Decapitation – Monolith Of Inhumanity [9.5 out of 10]”

Retrospective: Death Angel’s Ultra-Violence Completes 25 Years

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

Starting out in 1982 in their early teenage years, Death Angel became one of the youngest bands ever to grace the metal scene, and it didn’t take them long to prove their worth as musicians, even at that age. The original lineup consisted of Rob Cavestany on guitar and vocals, Dennis Pepa on bass, Gus Pepa on guitar and Andy Galeon on drums, and they released the “Heavy Metal Insanity” demo in 1983. But the band’s lineup really became complete after the addition of Mark Osegueda on vocals, and the five-piece lineup’s “Kill As One” demo was released in 1986. In those glory days of tape-trading, this demo was primarily responsible for garnering widespread attention for Death Angel, and it was only a matter of time before the band took it to the next level. The debut full-length “The Ultra-Violence” came out on April 23rd 1987, and a thrash juggernaut was unleashed. Continue reading “Retrospective: Death Angel’s Ultra-Violence Completes 25 Years”

Retrospective: Testament’s Legacy Now 25 Years Old

By Avinash Mittur

Twenty-five years ago on April 21, 1987, Testament released their debut album, The Legacy. Many fans still consider this one their best, and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike many thrash metal bands from the era, Testament’s sound was firmly established on their first record. Every track on The Legacy is stellar and shows a band confident in their playing and songwriting ability. By 1987, some of thrash metal’s most amazing albums had already been released. With records like Master of Puppets, Reign in Blood, and Pleasure to Kill in the market, Testament had a massive amount of competition that they had to match. With the release of The Legacy they did just that, and began a winning streak of albums that has yet to end. Continue reading “Retrospective: Testament’s Legacy Now 25 Years Old”

Review: Pelican – Ataraxia/Taraxis EP [9.5 out of 10]

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

Chicago-based instrumental quartet Pelican have been around for more than a decade, releasing four studio albums and four EPs in the process. The absence of a vocalist has allowed the band complete freedom to express their musicianship, and as a result, they’ve encapsulated a tremendous amount of diversity in their music over the years. It’s diverse to the extent that it’s nearly impossible to categorize this band under a particular label or sub-genre, and ‘instrumental’ is really the best way to describe them. Their latest full-length album “What We All Come To Need” was released in late 2009, and the new EP, titled “Ataraxia/Taraxis”, serves as the follow-up fans have been waiting for. Continue reading “Review: Pelican – Ataraxia/Taraxis EP [9.5 out of 10]”

Album Review: Primal Rock Rebellion – Awoken Broken [9 out of 10]

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

Primal Rock Rebellion is a UK-based studio project featuring Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith and former sikTH frontman Mikee Goodman. I always find it interesting when musicians from massively successful bands like Iron Maiden attempt to break out of that mould and do something on their own, and Primal Rock Rebellion falls into this category. Smith has always been an integral part of Maiden, and his ten-year long absence from 1989-1999 was deeply felt by the fans, as the Maiden albums released during this period were deemed unsuccessful. While Dave Murray has been the only guitarist to be part of every single Iron Maiden album, Smith has been the more adventurous of the two in terms of musical creativity, which led to his departure from Maiden. During his time away from the band, he pursued other interests, including the Psycho Motel project, for which he released two albums. The Primal Rock Rebellion debut “Awoken Broken” is his first album outside of Iron Maiden since those Psycho Motel releases, and needless to say, the heavy metal world took great interest in finding out what it sounds like. Continue reading “Album Review: Primal Rock Rebellion – Awoken Broken [9 out of 10]”