Reviews by Michael O'Brien



By Michael O'Brien | 08 September, 2015

With all of the heated and polarised opinions about one-woman band, Myrkur, the cynic in me can’t help but wonder if there’s a marketing department out there patting itself on the back for the chaos it has had a hand in confecting, bec...

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By Michael O'Brien | 07 August, 2015

Soulfly is a band that just about every metal fan seems to have an opinion on, and in my circles that opinion trends heavily towards the negative. In fact, that opinion is held almost universally within said circles to the point that I’ve av...

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By Michael O'Brien | 03 August, 2015

France's C R O W N (Crown, henceforth) have been on my radar for a while now, originally from seeing their name around the traps and then from their bio which simply and minimally states that the band is "three men, three guitars, a voice and mach...

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Of Ghosts and Gods

By Michael O'Brien | 25 July, 2015

Remember that brief period about 20 years ago when the prospect of a new album from Canada’s Kataklysm was something to get excited about? Man, those were the days. This was a time when using the adjective ‘northern hyperblast’ t...

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Author & Punisher

Melk en Honing

By Michael O'Brien | 05 July, 2015

As jaded and crabby as it probably makes me sound, I just don’t see a lot of true innovation going on in music’s heavier and darker realms these days and, if I’m being honest, I probably haven't for a long time. Oh, sure, th...

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Thy Art is Murder

Holy War

By Michael O'Brien | 29 June, 2015

Holy bore

It’s no great secret that deathcore has been on the receiving end of an awful lot of flak over the years. I can’t say that I have any particular animosity towards it in principle, but I do understand why it is...

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Shape of Despair

Monotony Fields

By Michael O'Brien | 05 June, 2015

The wait was long, but it was worth it

It’s been a long time between drinks for Finland’s Shape of Despair. After releasing two great albums and one OK one between 2000 and 2004, the band has largely been quiet, save fo...

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Paradise Lost

The Plague Within

By Michael O'Brien | 03 June, 2015

Paying lip service to the past

As much as I’ve always wanted to be into everything that long-running doomsters, Paradise Lost, do, the truth is that my enjoyment of their albums is more an exception to rather than representat...

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By Michael O'Brien | 20 May, 2015

Romancing the darkness

Despite the fact that German’s Valborg has been quite prolific since releasing their debut album in 2009 and that I’ve seen their name mentioned numerous times over those years, I'd not managed to...

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George Kollias


By Michael O'Brien | 14 May, 2015

A decent debut that desperately needs some individuality

There’s no denying that George Kollias rightly occupies a very safe spot within the upper tier of death metal drummers due to the speed and ferocity with which he punis...

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By Michael O'Brien | 07 May, 2015

Into the grave

Even way back in 1993 when Sigh released their debut album, Scorn Defeat, on Euronymous' Deathlike Silence Productions (which was a feat unto itself for a band that was not only not from Scandinavia, but hai...

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By Michael O'Brien | 27 April, 2015

An enjoyable album that could use a little distinctiveness

Hailing from Iceland and with a bio that lists post-metal as their style, it was practically impossible to come into the promo for Kontinuum’s second full-length albu...

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IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends

By Michael O'Brien | 23 April, 2015

There’s few surprises to be found but it’s a solid offering nonetheless

I feel like I’d be on pretty safe ground if I said that I don’t think I’d find too many people who would argue with the assertion...

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Sulphur Aeon

Gateway to the Antisphere

By Michael O'Brien | 10 April, 2015

A paean to the Great Old Ones

A couple of years ago I remember seeing a fair bit of positive press for Swallowed by the Ocean’s Tide, the debut full-length release from Germany’s Lovecraft-inspired Sulphur Aeon...

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By Michael O'Brien | 27 March, 2015

Continuing to put the power in power trio

To say that Italy’s Ufomammut have been on an absolute tear over the past five years or so wouldn’t be doing them the justice they deserve. The mastery of the single-song, space...

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Slow Death, The


By Michael O'Brien | 19 March, 2015

Hints of greatness

I like to think that I have a pretty good finger on the pulse of what’s happening metal-wise in my local scene, but the existence of funeral doom/death metal act, The Slow Death, completely passed me by, wh...

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By Michael O'Brien | 12 March, 2015

Ruin & misery

There were a good few years there when I wouldn't hear a bad word spoken about Portugal's Moonspell. The band's 1994 EP, Under the Moonspell, as well as the duo of albums consisting of 1995's Wolfhear...

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By Michael O'Brien | 27 February, 2015

Divine nature awakens

It’s been close to five years since Israel’s “Sumerian thrashing black metal/Mesopotamian metal” band, Melechesh, released their last album, The Epigenesis, which was one that ...

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Primitive Man

Home is Where the Hatred Is

By Michael O'Brien | 27 February, 2015

31-minutes of savage oppression

Despite an awful lot of ridiculousness, a heavy metal band’s name will often give a prospective listener a reasonable idea of what the band in question is going to sound like. This is far from ...

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A Swarm of the Sun

The Rifts

By Michael O'Brien | 13 February, 2015

A masterful exploration of sadness and loss

If there’s one thing in music that I simply cannot stand, it’s overwrought and needlessly melodramatic compositions, but as someone who is devout in his love of all things doo...

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