Written by: Blackie Skulless
More often than not, I find it difficult to unearth heavy metal crossed with AOR in recent years that doesn’t reek of old men overproducing something generic that sounds like a cover of an ‘80s song. In the rare instances where this isn’t the case, expectations go beyond being met. Sumerlands nails this latter description. Being on their second album, these Philadelphia heavy metallers have taken what their debut longed to be and made it a reality. This isn’t to say the self-titled record was bad, but Dreamkiller is where the full potential is realized.
Given what we know, you can expect lot’s of metal-oriented riffing that doesn’t really utilize dense distortions or minor keys, but holds onto the rhythmic progressions firmly enough. Shrieking solos, synth-backings, and some of the cleanest singing adds a spacey atmosphere, invoking the feeling of shedding old skin for new enlightenment. Musically, things are ultimately rather light, but the amount of layers allows it to feel full for such a short album. Being only eight tracks, every bit of space is filled to the brim, either taking a steadier approach or a galloping one.
Written by: The Administrator
Our council of shadowy and ink-splattered scribes have decreed the following: Wednesdays are for epic progressive opuses. Or at least...that's what this Wednesday is for. Next week may very well deliver something entirely different, but that's to be expected. We're a fickle crew, after all.
In any case, today is for epic progressive opuses. Thankfully, Dallas' own Onward We March was kind enough to approach us with a track for premiere, and what a track it is: a 17-minute-and-change odyssey through the necromantic gates of Hades. "Nekromanteion" is a track that bears the weight of its breadth quite well, delivering both in terms of narrative intrigue and gloriously engaging composition. Without further ado, check out "Nekromanteion" below! Sink into its expansive environs. As always, we'll meet ye on the other side.
Written by: The Administrator
If you, dear reader, have A. frequented our humble halls with some regularity, and B., have a remarkably keen memory, you may recall prior coverage/adoration of one Rick Massie.
Over the past few years, this one-man outfit from the wilds of the Yukon consistently presents a healthy blend of rock, prog, and metal, whether in the form of an ode to Halloween, a foreboding single, or across the breadth of an expansive album. Each Rick Massie moment features a very different sonic and aesthetic backdrop, but the intentionality and sheer quality remains consistent.
For further proof, look no further than today's track in question, a largely faithful cover of the mighty Opeth's "The Moor." It officially comes out on May 20th, but until then, you can listen to your heart's content at ye olde Sleeping Village. Check it out below! As always, we'll meet ye on the other side.
And now for something completely different!
Welcome, dear readers, to a long-overdue edition of a regrettably infrequent segment we like to call "Is it metal? Who cares?" It's the part of the show where we openly admit that everyone likes different types of music, and thereby acknowledge that pigeonholing one's listening habits is nothing more than an exercise in stagnation.
Indeed, while we do often focus the limelight on loud and/or angry music, this particular population of slumbering scribes knows a thing or two about enjoying a well-crafted and otherwise highly listenable tune. Case in point: the latest single from Oakland-based solo artist James Utterback, who has been finely crafting a debut indie/psych/prog/surf rock album for the better part of 15 years under the Fire Whale moniker. "Serenity Within Chaos" has been on heavy repeat 'round these parts for the better part of a month, and we're honored to share it with you here today. Give it a listen below, and, as always, we'll catch ye on the other side!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.