Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal & Extreme Music And Culture

Album Reviews

REVIEW RATING SCALE:

6 – Rarely bestowed. An honor reserved for undeniable classics (or that should be). The Apex Predator.
5 – Impressive.
4 – Worthy of recognition.
3 – A primarily solid effort, but things likely could’ve been better.
2 – The participation trophy.
1 – These are the albums that the 2s beat up on the way home from school.
0 – A waste of both our time and yours.

Album Review: Invictus – Eden

Subdued and pastoral, the abbreviated intro is less a standard, bland “intro track” than an opening of a door, a passing through of a gate…that is until the rough ‘n’ ragged guitar tone of ‘The Hammer’ crashes down, frayed around the edges, and the better for it, reminiscent of the passion-over-proficiency so prevalent in the garage days of power/thrash. Not that the Bavarians aren’t skilled at their craft. Far from it, in fact, especially when the pace slows down ¾ of the way through to give the solo room to breath. After the Sacred Heart-era DIO influence of ‘Inside Your […]

Album Review: Thy Catafalque – Naiv

In almost every conceivable case, when I read a line in a band’s PR sheet that says their current album is “their least metal ever”, the hackles on my neck go up and I fear the worst. But not with THY CATAFALQUE, because I know Tamas Katai is in the driver’s seat. He knows where he’s going, he knows how to drive and his grip on the wheel is firm. With THY CATAFALQUE, Katai has consistently proven he’s the rarest of birds in today’s music scene…an honest to God composer. There is something about the way this man writes music […]

Album Review: Primeval Mass – Nine Altars

Now this is a real discovery! I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more from PRIMEVAL MASS, because on Nine Altars they have created a smoking blast of evil metal that rips at every turn. This is even more amazing when you learn that this is basically the work of one guy named Orth, who is influenced by everything from CORONER to STORMWITCH to ABSU to RUSH. You can actually hear those influences, and more, during the course of the album! On the whole, PRIMEVAL MASS is driven by speed, although they are capable of slower and more melodic […]

Album Review: Rosy Finch – Scarlet

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from ROSY FINCH, as not only has Spain never revealed itself as a hotbed of anything remotely sludge-related, but that I always brace myself for disappointment when a band uses the “s” word but fails to deliver. While technically the band’s third release, we might as well call Scarlet a debut, because when a trio changes out 2/3 of its lineup, it can hardly be called the same band, right? With each song named after a shade of red, the album should be looked at as a singular piece of art, but not […]

Album Review: Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier

In the realm of the black metal lyric, it’s uncommon to note such a stylistic shift between albums – at least not so abruptly – as what occurred in PURE WRATH between 2017’s Ascetic Eventide and Sempiternal Wisdom of the following year. While not entirely bereft of the former’s Nature-worship, it was clear that the fulcrum had tipped in the way founder and solitary member Ryo saw his place in the world, and his Indonesian heritage. And, thus, does The Forlorn Soldier find PURE WRATH not only tipping the fulcrum, but stepping off and into an EP thematically linked in […]

Album Review: Don Jamieson – Denim And Leather

I’m not a big fan of “fun”. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing things in life, but “fun” – in the traditional sense, at least – has always, in the words of TOM WAITS “…rubbed me up the wrong way.” The same goes doubly for stand-up comedy. Quite frankly, all our gods are dead in that realm, and modernity (by and large) has yet to bestow on us the next Foxx, Hedberg, Carlin, Williams, Hicks, Bruce, or Gardner. You get where I’m going with this, surely… I’ll admit to being fairly curious when DON JAMIESON announced his first offering, […]

Album Review: Seven Planets – Explorer

After over a quarter-century playing together in various incarnations, there’s no quarter given for half-assing a performance (live or on record), or not playing to the strengths of both yourself and your bandmates. Now, three albums deep into the space inhabited by SEVEN PLANETS, we have Explorer, so let’s just climb aboard and hope this ship takes us somewhere worth the trip. Opener ‘Vanguard’ sports a LEAF HOUND groove, albeit a bit more funky than London’s highest ever went. Instrumental rock bears a curse, in that there’s no room for “dead air”, or just wandering aimlessly, and it never feels […]

Album Review: Blood Spore – Fungal Warfare Upon All Life

I always get a little snarky when a band’s first release for a label is also their demo/album that originally came out anywhere from a month to years prior. I get the feeling the band’s got new material in the bag or “almost ready”, but one party or another wanted to buy some time for whatever reason. ‘Hostile Fruiting Bodies’ blooms and looms large, towering, crimson-bathed riffs and near-sludge pacing in parts, gnarled OBITUARY-an gore (think Cause Of Death) in others, the section from 1:16-1:33 being particularly Cro-Magnon in its abuse. Slow, and with a tinge of sable-hued psychedelia, I […]

Album Review: Nick Giannakos – The Alchemist

Ohio’s WRETCH fired off a few rounds in the mid-late ‘80s, never really rising above the demo/rehearsal stage. After – sort of – reuniting in the early ‘00s, it seems founding guitarist Nick Giannakos and longstanding drummer Jeff Curenton have hit their stride, adding new blood and crafting some fairly solid power/thrash over the past few years in the process. This isn’t a WRETCH review, though, but backgrounds can be important when it comes to instrumental albums, The Alchemist, in this case. Released under the moniker NICK GIANNAKOS And Alchemy, this debut is clearly meant to highlight the WRETCH gunslinger’s […]

Album Review: Sepultura – Quadra

Few bands are more frustrating to analyze than modern day SEPULTURA. They’re always on the edge of a major breakthrough but never seen to make it. They are at the nexus where ambition meets pretension and it’s hard to tell which side is going to win at any time. I’ve always been someone willing to give the Cavalera-less band a good chance, and for the last few albums, flashes of brilliance are there. So is some really banal groove-thrash. The last album, Machine Messiah, seemed like a disorganized mess where they reached too far past where they should have. I’m […]