Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal And Other Occasional Musics And Cultures

Album Reviews

**Please note that this rating scale serves as a reference for albums reviewed prior to 2023.
Numbered ratings will not be added going forward, in hopes that the writer’s impression of the work will suffice.
It will have to.** 

6 – Rarely bestowed. An honor reserved for undeniable classics (or those that should be). The Apex Predator.
5 – Impressive.
4 – Worthy of special recognition.
3 – A solid effort.
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: Big Scenic Nowhere – The Waydown

While I remember digging BIG SCENIC NOWHERE’s initial two EPs, Dying On The Mountain and especially 2020’s more prog-tinged Lavender Blues, I’ll admit to letting 2020 debut LP Vision Beyond Horizon and The Long Morrow of the following year slip under my radar, always “intending to” go back and investigate what the foursome could do within the space of an album. I never did, though, so no better time than now to check in. Opener and title track, ‘The Waydown’ doesn’t so much arrive as materialize before closed eyes and open ears, the vocal harmonies and flowing, yet purposeful momentum […]

Album Review: Stygian Crown – Funeral For A King

THIS is how you Doom! STYGIAN CROWN have written a textbook on epic slow motion metal with Funeral For A King and demonstrate just how this art should be performed. This is one of the best doom efforts of 2023 and might just slip onto my “Best Of” list for the year. This shit is heavy! Yet it is also stately and melodic…well composed and varied. The shadow of CANDLEMASS hangs deep over STYGIAN CROWN, but it’s not merely mimickry and there’s a thick burliness to the songs that exceeds what is generally heard from the Swedish masters. The title […]

Album Review: Upon Stone – Dead Mother Moon

Ah, melodic death metal. From Gothenburg, Sweden and Finland did the beautiful yet razored strains of our beloved metal flow. While I’ll admit to being a lifer of the Stockholm sound, the rusted yet tearing teeth of the Swedish Chainsaw (HM-2) cranked to oblivion, the sometimes- bludgeoning doom-influenced moments, there’s something special about the more precise attack of the G-burg bands, and the inherent melody they brought to the table. And thus, from the cold, jagged cliffs, the snow-encased lands of the San Fernando Valley, California comes UPON STONE. Say what you will, but I’d imagine growing up as a […]

Album Review: Lord Dying – Clandestine Transcendence

LORD DYING’s third album, Mysterium Tremendum, set the Portlandians (Portlanders? Portlandites?) firmly amid the bands that release watershed albums in which they could’ve really gone any direction from where they were. Brushes with previous prog elements became more intentional, and it helped the foursome in carving out its own niche in the somehow currently crowded sub-genre of doom in all its facets. Clandestine Transcendence sees founders Olson and Evans return with a new rhythm section, and slowly, almost languidly ushering us into ‘The Universe Is Weeping’ with guitars reminiscent of WISHBONE ASH or PROCOL HARUM when they knew they had […]

Album Review: Nobody’s Fool – Time

‘Cherrie’ kicks off the NOBODY’S FOOL’s fourth album with an effects-drenched guitar tone that sounds alright at the start, but when it’s kept up for the entire song, it turns what could be a neat introduction to the band into a something the trained ear has to struggle to “listen past” in getting to the meat of an otherwise-decent opening. Things seem to be reined in a bit more on ‘So Wrong’, and we’re able to see NOBODY’S FOOL has some chops, and know the ‘80s Sunset Strip sound well, ticking all the boxes. Clean, higher-register vocals, blue collar rhythm […]

Album Review: Slope – Freak Dreams

‘Talk Big’ takes shape slowly, fluidly, almost slow funk influenced before the actual funk is kicked into gear. Problem is, it’s not even really that funky, recalling more (Hed)PE half-assing its way through an early RHCP cover. Conversely, ‘It’s Tickin’’ kicks with a BEASTIE BOYS flavor circa Hello Nasty for the most part, only the outro dragging down any of the momentum SLOPE was close to gaining. ‘Chasing Highs’ carries on in this style, a very slight CIV presence revealing itself in the chorus but keeps the energy up for the entire tune. ‘Hectic Life’ is another winner once it […]

Album Review: Atronos – Erwachen

Enter in ATRONOS of Germany for its second full length, despite being together less than three years. Chalk at least some of that up to lyricist/vocalist Baptist and (now) skinbasher Valfor doing double duty in underrated EISENKULT. Still, ATRONOS be helmed by Henker, who is responsible for music, guitars and bass, so no laurels to rest upon here. ‘Was uns so schrecklich hasst’ begins, fully formed and hoisting the banner of pagan black metal proudly. Baptist’s delivery here is markedly different from his style with EISENKULT, more mid-late ‘90s, reminiscences of when the genre was stepping out of the shadow […]

Album Review: Engulf – The Dying Planet Weeps

While the solitary black metal entity has become a known genre trope – almost to laughably sad proportions – over decades, often losing part of what made it special in the first place in the sheer glut of what should never have been a “scene”, death metal has yet to trip over that stumbling block. Hence, when a death metal project arises where one person is responsible, win or lose, I’ll at least approach with an open mind. After three EPs, New Jersey’s ENGULF (in the form of Hal Microutscicos) marks its first full-length with The Dying Planet Weeps. ‘Withered […]

Album Review: Plaguemace – Reptilian Warlords

In case you just woke up after being asleep for 10 years, death metal is a big deal again. Really. We are in the second great age of the gnarly subgenre and it is arguably producing more material than the first wave in the early ’90s. With this windfall, though, there are obviously good bands….and just as obviously bands that are bandwagon jumpers and also-rans. PLAGUEMACE is part of this second wave. Where do they fall on the spectrum of worthless to godlike? Well, it’s somewhere in the middle part….the lower middle part. This bunch hails for Denmark, which is […]

Album Review: ÚLFARR – Orlegsceaft

Ever get tired of the lyrics of your favorite black metal bands being written in some obscure “eldritch” dialect that with a short visit to Google Translate becomes known as modern Norse or High German? Do you see Chaucer as a false for using Middle English in Canterbury Tales? Feel like Cascadian black metal’s “alright if you like that sort of thing”, but long for something evoking your eldritch and Cumbrian ancestral home? Behealdan ÚLFARR! Birthed and guided by founder Dominus (aka Hfran), in 2011, ÚLFARR has unchained new material regularly since, yet Orlegsceaft be its first march into the […]