Equipoise -- Demiurgus


★★☆☆ Solid prog metal from the Cynic and Sadus school of neoclassical musicianship and sooooo much fretless bass (good to hear Hugo Doyon-Karout’s tireless perambulations all over the place). This is an interesting and promising debut; while it loses points for cookie monster vocals and overall anemic production values, it’s still an almost-great album.

A Novelist -- Folie

A NovelistFolie

★★☆☆ This is somewhere between doom and death metal, but not fully either. This album somehow manages to sound familiar yet totally unique. But it’s also somewhat uneven when it comes to the songwriting; another editorial pass or two would have propelled this album to three stars, I’d wager. But do listen to it, and tell me what you think.

King 810 -- Suicide King

King 810Suicide King

★★☆☆ Weird: my very first thought was, “What the actual fuck is this?! Nu-nu-metal? Mumblecore? Frippertronics?” After a few tracks, I realized that I can’t think of anything else that sounds remotely like this… and that uniqueness absolutely should be celebrated for what it is. Don’t get me wrong: this is about as metal as The Prodigy.

Rotting Christ -- The Heretics

Rotting ChristThe Heretics

★★☆☆ A surprisingly smooth, energetic, and entertaining collection of folksy, dronelike black metal from these pioneers of the Greek metal scene. Sure, the album is liberally embellished with black metal clichés, but if you’re down for atheistic metal with some cheesy chants and badly-enunciated English vocals, this album is sure to be a hit!

Flotsam and Jetsam -- The End Of Chaos

Flotsam and JetsamThe End Of Chaos

★★☆☆ This is destined to be thought of as the opening salvo of the Great Thrash Offensive Of 2019. As such, it’s a very capable tip of the sword: plenty of tasty, high-speed riffs and infectious headbanging in tighter songs than I’m used to from Flots. Plus, A.K. Knutson’s voice sounds better than ever (faint praise, but worth mentioning).

Dream Theater -- Distance Over Time

Dream TheaterDistance Over Time

★★☆☆ Props to DT for coming out with a grittier, tighter version of themselves on this album (somewhere in the musical ballpark of “Scenes From A Memory”). The shorter compositions lead not only to a sharper focus often missing in the past, but this feels in some ways like the best-yet fusion of DT’s twin penchants for heavy technicality and pseudo-emotive composition.

Born of Osiris -- The Simulation

Born of OsirisThe Simulation

★★☆☆ Glitzy and glossy as always, this time around BOS actually manage to deliver some interesting songs as well! What’s interesting about this album (other than its 25-minute length) is that the 8 songs tend to fall into either a strongly metal-with-techno camp or in a techno-core vibe. What’s detrimental about that is that BOS has yet to integrate their djent, synthwave, emocore, and blackened death tendencies into a cohesive whole.