THE LIVING INFINITE
To be perfectly honest, I REALLY thought that Soilwork was dead and buried. Sure, I knew they were still a band and were still making music, but their last couple of releases were some of the biggest disappointments of a band that I truly love that I can think of. I couldn't have hated STABBING THE DRAMA or SWORN TO A GREAT DIVIDE more if they were hand delivered to me by a pedophile that had just finished raping my children. When you consider what masterpieces A PREDATOR'S PORTRAIT and NATURAL BORN CHAOS were from this band, and then hearing them reach aimlessly for commercial success by changing their sound, it was very disheartening in very much the same way that a band like In Flames let so many down with their transition to a soft modern metal act. Thankfully though, Soilwork has come storming back. While it's not quite a full return, THE LIVING INFINITE is by far the best release from this band in a decade.
BLACK OUT THE SUN
In 2013, there are not many bands where I actually get excited to hear they have a new release coming out. For a lot of reasons, the whole specter of a new release just doesn't get me anticipating things like it used to. In large part, it's because I get everything sent to me months in advance that takes away from the real excitement of a release. For a few bands though, I literally can't wait each and every time for new music. Sevendust is one such band. Without question, they are my favorite band of the modern era; a band criminally underappreciated when you consider that lesser bands like Disturbed and Korn surpassed them greatly in popularity throughout their respective runs. I'm so much of a fan that I'm traveling twice in a month to see them - once in Fort Wayne, Indiana and then a few weeks later in Columbus, Ohio. So, when BLACK OUT THE SUN was provided, you can bet your ass that it hit my iPod and stayed there for weeks.
Kyler is a band that I really know NOTHING about. By nothing, I mean that I can find almost nothing at all about them online, so even a quick run through Google didn't help to figure out just what makes this band tick. So, in many ways, this review has to be old school and based solely on old school habits. In short, this band HAS to be reviewed solely based on what I hear in my ears. Fair enough!
Kyler's SWAGGER is a band that reminds me of a lot of great influences from other bands that I enjoy a great deal. Throughout any given song, influences of bands like Pantera and Lamb Of God come screaming through. At other times, you feel a kinship with modern bands like Texas Hippie Coalition. SWAGGER is full of giant guitars, monsterous riffs, gutteral vocals that are clean enough to understand, and a hodge podge of traditional thrash and metalcore stylings that just plain works.
33 Love Child
33 LOVE CHILD
So many times, new bands get all wrapped up trying to reinvent the musical wheel so much that they forget to actually showcase the core influences that made them what they are in the first place. 33 Love Child is a band that features vocalist Whiskey Diamond, who many metalheads might remember as the vocalist behind ex-Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman's solo material some years ago. That said, he's brought his strong voice together with some qualified musicians to create an album chock full of material that doesn't really break any new musical ground, but just kicks ass because of one simple reason - it rocks.
Black Veil Brides
WRETCHED AND DIVINE
The Black Veil Brides have certainly come from out of nowhere to capture the Hot Topic community of modern metalheads. There's no denying their success. Ultimately, they are a fairly average band, even if they make efforts to fuse both modern elements and some old school into their music to create what I'll call "hybrid rock". They blew up with SET THE WORLD ON FIRE, and their REBELS EP was well received as well. That said though, the band is clearly at a crossroads for their career where they can emerge as superstars or fall back to the pack. Or, after listening to WRETCHED AND DIVINE, they can probably stay exactly where they are.