FIRE FROM THE SKY
There's definitely some credit that has to be given to Shadows Fall. Without question, they are one of the most recognizable band from a collection of extreme metal bands to have broken out in the early 2000s. When you look at their contemporaries - God Forbid, Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage - they fit perfectly in there with that small collection of bands that a lot of modern metalheads actually care about from release to release. To me personally, they've done the most with the least amount of "it" factor. To their credit (or discredit if you must), they have always featured a sound that's all their own while merging pieces parts from everything else around them.
THE STRANGE CASE OF...
Sometimes I judge things without ever giving them a chance. This happens primarily because I get 30-40 releases to review. That said, if there's zero in the 1/10 of a second when I see the initial press release that interests me, a release goes low in the review pile. Most times, enough new stuff comes in where I don't end up getting to it. Halestorm is one of those bands that I just missed for what i guess has been 3 years. I remember when their debut came out I thought, based solely on the name of the band, that they were one of those horrible Celtic Folk Metal bands that Nuclear Blast seems to try to force me to like every quarter. I'll admit it, I judged this book by its cover (in this case, their name). Sorry about that.
It's ironic that shock rocker Marilyn Manson's career didn't crash and burn due to waning interest and a lack of ability to shock people anymore. Sure, both of those things have happened to Manson, but how quickly we all forget that those first several albums had some real musical meat on their bones as well. No, it wasn't anything outside that killed off Manson. It's was Manson himself, as he decided that he was his character and the world would be interested in his relationship struggles as converted and perverted into the soundscape he records with. To say the least, it was a monumental flop. Both of his last two droning tales of relationship woes, EAT ME, DRINK ME and THE HIGH END OF THE LOW. Sure, both had their moments of patented Manson Violence, but both were ruined by morbid tales of relationship failures and the deviant thoughts he was having as relationships ended. Simply put, those albums were not very good at all.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
Chicago metallers Dirge Within have returned with a brand new release called THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Does anyone care? While this band gained some attention because it features former Soil member Shaun Glass, their debut FORCE FED LIES didn't make much of an impression with the masses. Still, you can't give up that easily, can you? THERE WILL BE BLOOD seems to have benefitted from the band learning to be a band following the last effort. Their ProPain meets God Forbid meets Slipknot/Stone Sour sound has really grown a great deal since their debut. THERE WILL BE BLOOD is pretty solid.
PLAINS OF OBLIVION
It didn't seem like a coincidence that after the critical praise Jeff Loomis received from his last release, ZERO ORDER PHASE, that he left his main project Nevermore shortly afterward. Admittedly, I have no idea how the story goes. I don't know if Loomis was unhappy in Nevermore and was feeling out his options outside of the project, or if he just did a solo album and saw he could have success outside of the band. To be fair, it might just have all fallen into place without either of those two scenarios playing out. Whatever the case, Loomis left Nevermore a while ago, and now that puts all the pressure on his latest album, PLAINS OF OBLIVION, to launch his new career past the great band he was once a member of.