Reviews by Michael O'Brien


Woe Betide You

By Michael O'Brien | 13 May, 2019

After taking a six-month break from reviewing, I was looking to pick up something relatively easy to break myself back into the routine. A new band, described in the promotional material as being avant-garde black metal featuring members of Swedis...

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By Michael O'Brien | 08 November, 2018

Amongst the litany of bands playing within the margins of the funeral doom space, few have cultivated a sound that is as instantly recognisable as that of New Jersey’s Evoken. Over the course of their rather lengthy career, they have managed...

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I Loved You at Your Darkest

By Michael O'Brien | 05 October, 2018

As far back as 2004’s Demigod (if not 1999’s Satanica), Poland’s Behemoth has been on a steep upward trajectory both with respect to the quality of their albums and the recognition they have rightly earned becau...

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By Michael O'Brien | 30 August, 2018

By just about any rationale I can summon, I should be all over Norway’s Iskald and their blend of thrashy, melodic black metal, but the reality has proven to be a little more complicated than that.

My introduction to the band came by...

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Northern Chaos Gods

By Michael O'Brien | 05 July, 2018

Though I have absolutely no reservations in saying that Immortal has long been a favourite of mine, I’d also have to be honest and say that their place of prominence hasn’t been earned by anything they’ve done in the past 20-odd ...

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By Michael O'Brien | 19 April, 2018

Even though I wouldn’t really consider myself to be a fan of progressive metal generally, I have enjoyed my share of TesseracT’s material over the years, and especially so their second full length album, 2013’s Altered State<...

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Soldat Hans

Es Taut

By Michael O'Brien | 27 March, 2018

Over the years, I’ve found it to be beneficial to be sceptical of the descriptions that are contained in the promotional blurbs for the promos that are sent my way. Though they’re clearly intended to be a guide and to pique interest (t...

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Exile Amongst the Ruins

By Michael O'Brien | 26 March, 2018

Despite having been around for over 20 years now, I have to admit to being pretty late to the party with Ireland’s Primordial. In fact, it wasn’t until I took the chance on seeing them at a festival in 2015 that their idiosyncratic fol...

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Mournful Congregation

The Incubus of Karma

By Michael O'Brien | 02 March, 2018

In the nearly 20 years since the release of their debut full-length album, Tears from a Grieving Heart, South Australia’s Mournful Congregation has been an exemplary example of funeral doom done right, and with the exception of the ...

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Morbid Angel

Kingdoms Disdained

By Michael O'Brien | 30 November, 2017

Though I personally think the lasting legacy of the first Tucker era of Morbid Angel is that it produced a lot of the patchier material in the band’s catalogue, the unmitigated disaster that was 2011’s Illud Divinum Insanus (w...

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Cannibal Corpse

Red Before Black

By Michael O'Brien | 07 November, 2017

Cannibal Corpse will always hold a special place for me, because they were one of my primary gateways into heavy metal many moons ago; hearing "Hammer Smashed Face" on the local community radio metal show back in the day was nothing short of a rev...

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Cutting Pieces

By Michael O'Brien | 25 October, 2017

I like to think of myself as being a pretty adventurous listener with an eclectic range of tastes, but there are limits to that adventurousness. One band that stands at the edge of those limits is the now long defunct New York drone/doom project, ...

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Chelsea Wolfe

Hiss Spun

By Michael O'Brien | 21 September, 2017

Ever since I got my hands on her Unknown Rooms acoustic album back in 2012, I’ve been a pretty big fan of Chelsea Wolfe. Of the many things that draw me to her as an artist, her unpredictability is very high on the list, but that ca...

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By Michael O'Brien | 13 September, 2017

When I was first introduced to long-running Austrian blackened death metal act, Belphegor, via their sixth full-length album, 2006’s Pestapokalypse VI, I went on what could best be described as a years long binge of their material. ...

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Codex Omega

By Michael O'Brien | 02 September, 2017

Greece’s Septicflesh must surely stand as one of the great heavy metal comeback success stories in recent memory. Following their breakup in 2003, they returned in 2008 with the very well regarded Communion, and have since that time...

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Paradise Lost


By Michael O'Brien | 29 August, 2017

To this day, Paradise Lost's 1995 release, Draconian Times, remains one of my favourite albums of all time. It also has the dubious honour of being the last Paradise Lost album that resonated with me for the nearly 15 years leading up to ...

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Negative Atonal Dissonance

By Michael O'Brien | 22 July, 2017

The daunting flood of promos that are sent my way each week makes the act of choosing something to review less of a science than a scattershot process that usually takes the form of picking something either due to a familiarity with the band, a fa...

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Carach Angren

Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten

By Michael O'Brien | 19 June, 2017

Theatrical, symphonic black metal isn’t exactly up there in my list of genre priorities, so by rights long-running Dutch act, Carach Angren, shouldn’t register as much more than a blip on my radar. Having been lucky enough to catch the...

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...Of the Dark Light

By Michael O'Brien | 06 June, 2017

Approaching ...Of the Dark Light for the first time a couple of weeks or so ago, it occurred to me that it’s actually been quite a while since I’ve been really drawn to and hooked by a new Suffocation release. My first instinc...

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By Michael O'Brien | 25 May, 2017

While I understand that many view 2009’s Köld as Sólstafir’s watershed album (and they may well be absolutely spot on for all I know as I’ve not heard it), I wasn’t introduced to the band until their 20...

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