Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

To Complete Your Metal Heart

October 20th, 2011 by Sharkchild

Anatomy Of Life, from the Finnish melodic death metal group Noumena, is unreal—a gem tucked away into the vastness of chaos. There are heavy riffs, soothing melodies, and best of all, a haunting allure that is indescribable. The combining force of the three different vocalists (guttural, male clean, female clean)—blending and dispersing—is like a hurricane of splendid sound, resounding powerfully and purely into ears of a chosen few. The simple yet stunning guitar work tells relic stories that hang in the boundaries of distant realms, opening the mind to see places never known. Every song speaks its peace, but those metal lovers that fail to listen will never rest in peace.

Become one of the few and pick up this album; it must be listened to. I cannot, literally, speak more highly of a band and its music. I listen to Soilwork, In Flames, Scar Symmetry, Mercenary, Kalmah, Darkane, Dark Tranquility, Opeth, Children of Bodom (and more), and yet this band and this album still blazes above them all, cutting to the top of my metal priorities with uncanny resolve. This album is one of my favorite metal albums (of all genres). Do not take what I say lightly.

Anatomy Of Life by Noumena

The Donnie Darko of Sound

May 19th, 2011 by Sharkchild

The Birthday Massacre, in their debut album, Violet, is the first band I have heard to initiate a sound that I can easily deem as Alice in Wonderland Goth. For me, their sound seems to have come from a darker ’80s in a parallel universe. The ambiance of the music is in a league of its own—completely unique, completely alluring. The electronic melodies are so simple and yet so hauntingly delightful. The mixture of whispering within the singing also helps to set the surreal mood. If you listen to this album, you will know there is something special immediately and that it absolutely should not be overlooked. An appropriate comparison to The Birthday Massacre would be Donnie Darko; just as Donnie Darko is to movies, The Birthday Massacre is to music.

While I only give this album four stars out of five, I do not want to detract from its powerful impact; the fifth star was only lost for me because of production quality and some pitchiness in the singing. I have also already listened to the newer album, Walking With Strangers, which is a complete masterpiece—a progression of quality and exceptionality.

Violet by The Birthday Massacre

Stealing Our Spectral Hearts

May 12th, 2011 by Sharkchild

Sometimes it takes only a simple children’s fantasy to steal our hearts.

In The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman creates a wonderfully fresh world that is rooted in the-always-curious and -always-mystifying life after death—the macabre if you will. Following the life of Nobody Owens (Bod)—a boy raised and protected by ghosts on a graveyard—a tale of limitless paranormal innovations, warm ghoulish characters, and an enticing, mildly sinister plot unfolds, all while small gestures of humanity throughout pull at the strings of the heart.

You will not be able to take a slow ride through this book; it is a wonderful, delicious treat that should be gobbled up immediately by young and old alike.

American Metal Can Still Reign Supreme

May 10th, 2011 by Sharkchild

Ever since the Gothenburg scene began just before the 21st century, I have had a hard time finding heavy, riveting, melody-strewn American metal that lived up to my new expectations—with the exception of a couple bands (Nevermore, Killswitch Engage). But when I came across Machine Head’s The Blackening, and listened to the tracks, a wonderful smile came upon my face. With the Gothenburg babies (In Flames, Soilwork) fading into more commercial mush these days, it was refreshing to find a band that stayed true to their roots in their latter work–unafraid to keep the solos long and brutality harsh. And even among the heaviness I love, Machine Head perfectly laced their tracks with melody, causing their haunting choruses to become drugs.

This album is worth every penny in the headbanger’s pocket. Do not think twice.

The songs most notable to me are Beautiful Mourning, Now I Lay Thee Down, and Halo.

My only disappointment in this album was the onslaught of profanity; too much is never a good thing. Profanity, for me, does not equal artistry.

The Birth of a Grand Fantasia

May 9th, 2011 by Sharkchild

Lord Dunsany wrote raw fantasy. His work is like wood before it has completed a house; it is like precious gold before it has been made into a ring. Within this book you will find the resources of fantasy—the bits and pieces of the imagination that have been the tools of so many writers lingering on after this ingenious author. I suggest that everyone who has an imagination of their own glimpse into the elaborate shards of the mirror of fantasy’s history with In the Land of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales (Penguin Classics) by Lord Dunsany so that they might know one of its fathers.

The Bureau d’Echange de Maux, The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth, and the stories born off of Go-by Street are my favorite from this collection. Read these for yourself—read all of the stories; you will not be disappointed.