Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal And Other Occasional Musics And Cultures

nuclear blast

Album Review: Ringworm – Seeing Through Fire

Ah, Cleveland. Land of the Cleves, of the burning Cuyahoga, Drew Carey, and a pretty thriving music scene that’s always slithered along under mainstream media’s radar. No Athens, no Seattle, no East Coast/West Coast rivalries. Just a buncha bands out there, hitting the bricks every weekend in your local clubs, biker bars and basements. Near chief among them is RINGWORM. By now, anyone who’s heard them knows what they’re about, and those who don’t won’t ever. While they’re not the sort of band that’s going to veer too far from the black-and-blueprint of The Promise (1993) and 2001’s Birth Is […]


Musical history delivers unique talents, discovers one-off voices and gives artists an immortal status. But it is rare to have continuing worldwide success paired with real humanity because you need a very special character to not lose the wheel grip with all the limelight and applause. Steve Lee was one of these rare specimen and left the world being only 47 years old. Way too young one of the greatest Swiss rock singers died in the US in 2010 due to a motorcycle accident through no fault of one’s own.Steve Lee would have turned 60 years in August 2023. “He […]

Album Review: Venom Inc. – There’s Only Black

A pretty bland cover on this one and the font for the band name is about as basic as it gets. But fortunately what’s within pulses with plenty of energy, as VENOM INC. continue to put out strong releases as if they are on a mission. And I think maybe they are… This is probably the fastest VENOM INC. album so far. Only the last two tracks ‘The Danse Macabre’ and ‘Inferno’ ease up on the pedal. Most of the cuts are quite thrashy and drummer Jeramie Kling proves his worth, knocking out rapid fire beats that old Abaddon could […]

Album Review: Belphegor – The Devils

I have a great admiration for BELPHEGOR. Helmuth and his cohorts have very much created their own world and a distinct, evil sound to go with it. Naturally, we’ll have the usual cultists who insist only on their earliest material, back when they sounded like a thousand other bands instead of themselves. It takes vision and a certain amount of guts to break with the usual death and black metal cliques and come up with something fairly original. With The Devils, we get a distillation of the modern BELPHEGOR sound. There’s low tuned and blasting death metal touches mixed with […]

Album Review: Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain

Virginia thrash/crossover goofballs MUNICIPAL WASTE have been plying their trade for over two decades, gaining and losing fans, a group of die-hards who love everything this crew breathes, burps or farts in tow, and doing – quite frankly – nothing to my ears and eyes but put a clown face on metal. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Tony Foresta & co. aren’t talented, but their output has always seemed, well, contrived. I’m also looking at you, Joel Grind, but that’s for another time. Still and all, I seem beholden to give each album a chance – at […]

Album Review: Watain – The Agony & Ecstasy Of Watain

It’s funny to me how I still think of WATAIN as a “new” black metal band. With a recorded history longer than a good many of its fans have been alive, countless tours and now seven full-lengths to their credit, it’s not as if the members haven’t put in the work. That the original blackened trinity remains intact well over a decade after formation speaks to the dedication and perseverance if nothing else. But here’s the rub. For myself, WATAIN has just been, largely, there. Lawless Darkness was alright enough, The Wild Hunt tiresome, so I shrugged and stepped away. […]

Album Review: Immolation – Acts Of God

Where does IMMOLATION rank in the list of American death metal bands? Right up at the top, I would say. They passed the likes of MORBID ANGEL and DEICIDE a long time ago…way more consistent. Compared to CANNIBAL CORPSE? Hmmm, that’s a tough one, because the CANNIBALS are masters of consistency themselves. But I give the nod to IMMOLATION because the music seems to have a bit more depth to it, and a special kind of darkness that IMMOLATION alone has mastered. Acts Of God continues in the style of the most recent albums, Atonement and Kingdom Of Conspiracy. The […]

Album Review: Accept – Too Mean To Die

When you get to the elevated level that ACCEPT is at, your albums are pretty much critic proof. The band is going to write what they want and the fans will be there. In this case, Too Mean To Die practically writes itself, following all the hallowed and well worn traditions of ACCEPT. But it doesn’t seem fair to criticize them for sticking to a well worn path when everybody is going batshit crazy over the utter traditionalism of AC/DC’s PWR Up. This is a pure ACCEPT album down to the last note, and the last atom. It follows the […]

Album Review: Pallbearer – Forgotten Days

On one side of the coin, I’ve never just never “gotten” Arkansas’ PALLBEARER. They’re a doom/doom-influenced band, which should be a selling point for me, they’re from the Southern US, which has its own special brand of sorrow and weight, and perspective on things, which should be another. But I just can’t. After a couple “good enough” albums on Profound Lore, Heartless arrived on newfound home Nuclear Blast, and the band became a buzzword through no fault of their own. On the other side, Forgotten Days purports to be an album dealing with the theme of family, something I myself […]

Album Review: Hatebreed – Weight Of The False Self

I just can’t get behind Jamey Jasta & co. One could make the case that HATEBREED’s frontman/heart and soul of the band has done much for hardcore, as far as bringing it into the spotlight. Whoever said that’s where hardcore wanted to be is my thought. Anyway, the band’s never impressed me, but I can’t seem to help giving each new album a listen. Not sure exactly what I’m hoping for, but I know I haven’t found it yet. And so it remains with Weight Of The False Self, HATEBREED’s eighth. I couldn’t help but wince at the rhyme of […]