Psychonaut -- Unfold The God Man
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PsychonautUnfold The God Man

★★★☆ This is a fun old-style prog debut that’s halfway between Mastodon, Tool, and Intronaut… but with more grit than any of those. It is remarkable (in a good way) that an album this full of innovative twists and turns can come across as so unsurprising or natural. Aside from that faint praise, my only gripe is that this album feels overlong by a lot.

Deftones -- Ohms
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DeftonesOhms

★★★☆ If you’re a Deftones fan, this album offers tantalizing glimpses of near greatness. It’s the first time in 17 years that the band have worked with the great Terry Date, and their combined production choices yield very listenable, if not always straightforward, sonic decisions. Those choices just contribute to an overall sense of the band now being so post-meta that us listeners are just going to have to play catchup.

Nightwish -- Human. :II: Nature.
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NightwishHuman. :II: Nature.

★☆☆☆ Holy hell, but is this ever so overlong and boring. The production is great, and props for the band’s continued partnership with the London Symphonic Orchestra, but otherwise this is a (double) album with a bias toward neither metal nor philharmonic bombast, but rather seemingly just to eat up a lot of time.

Havok -- V
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HavokV

★★☆☆ This album is 100% rethrash with solid performances. Fans of Powermad and Metal Church will definitely love this. The production is crisp, although hollow sounding (but I guess that makes sense as an improvement from vintage thrash). Still, I’d prefer more of an Overkill approach to the sound. At least you can hear the bass here!

Protest The Hero -- Palimpsest
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Protest The HeroPalimpsest

★★★★ Wow. PTH have created their most accessible release to date, and yet don’t lose a shred of their intricacy, stylistic omnivorousness, or overall focus on musicianship. Most impressively, there’s a new emotionality and (dare I say it) maturity to what everyone in the band is contributing to the music. And even though it’s a whopping 52 minutes long, the pacing doesn’t suffer for it, and it’s a captivating listen from start to finish.

Xibalba -- Anos En Infierno
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XibalbaAños En Infierno

★★★☆ Once again, Xibalba add to their growing witches’ brew of influences with ease, melding vintage death metal, grind, doom, hardcore, and sludge. And it all makes ferocious sense! The real surprise here comes in the last two tracks. I won’t spoil it for you, but it gives you a sense of where Xibalba may go in the future, and it’s exciting yet unexpected.

Trivium -- What The Dead Men Say
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TriviumWhat The Dead Men Say

★★☆☆ This is a bit of a step down from predecessor "The Sin And The Sentence," but there’s still plenty of the band’s metal-for-the-love-of-metal all over the album. There’s also a conspicuous accessibility in a lot of the material here that might excite the SiriusXM metal crowd, but doesn’t really do much for me.