Nickelback -- Feed the Machine
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Nickelback — Feed the Machine

★★☆☆ I was going to say that this isn’t half bad, but that’s the problem: it’s exactly half bad. The riffs are tasty and groovy (if forgettable), and speak to Chad Kroeger’s metal tendencies. But his vocals and lyrics are just so schmaltzy. And then there are the unforgivably saccharin intentional hits; “Song On Fire,” “After The Rain,” and their ilk constitute the kind of music I’d hear while driving quickly through some place I wouldn’t want to linger.

Dying Fetus -- Wrong One to Fuck With
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Dying Fetus — Wrong One to Fuck With

★★☆☆ Blisteringly technical technodeath that verges on the ridiculously inhuman. It’s fun to listen to the band’s perambulations, although I defy anyone (outside the band themselves) to hum a single riff from memory. But good lord, fellas, this is a long and busy album. I appreciate the price-performance of these 54 minutes, but it’s too much!

Iced Earth -- Incorruptible
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Iced Earth — Incorruptible

★★☆☆ This is a welcome step-up from IE’s previous album “Plagues Of Babylon.” No huge surprises here, although it is nice to see the band eschewing their concept-album fetish, opting instead of a traditional collection of thematically disparate tunes. By and large, what you’ve got here is smooth sailing aboard the S.S.

Eighteen Visions -- XVIII
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Eighteen Visions — XVIII

★★☆☆ This album feels about a decade too late. It gets decently heavy in places, but for the most part you’re dealing with metalcore that alternates between calling back to AIC and Entombed, and visiting the same territory that’s been well traveled by Norma Jean, ETID, and a slew of others.

Alestorm -- No Grave But The Sea
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Alestorm — No Grave But The Sea

★★☆☆ Man, these guys fucking love the pirate life. Especially the drinking part. You can almost hear the mugs of grog and beer sloshing on every track. If you’re already a fan of this kind of beerhall metal (somewhere between Amon Amarth and the Dropkick Murphys), you won’t be disappointed or surprised by this album.