Reviews by Michael O'Brien

  • Myrkur - Myrkur
  • Myrkur

    Myrkur

    By Michael O'Brien | 22 September, 2014

    When hype and cold, hard reality collide

    A huge amount of fuss has been made about Myrkur, the mysterious, one-woman black metal act, in the lead-up to the band’s debut EP being released. Much of the hubbub has been the result o...

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  • YOB - Clearing the Path to Ascend
  • YOB

    Clearing the Path to Ascend

    By Michael O'Brien | 18 September, 2014

    Quite possibly the best thing they’ve ever released

    Ever since I got my hands on YOB’s 2009 album, The Great Cessation, I’ve been hopelessly hooked on the band. There’s something intoxicating and myste...

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  • american - Coping with Loss
  • american

    Coping with Loss

    By Michael O'Brien | 18 September, 2014

    There’s lots of potential here but more time is needed to reach it

    Aside from being endlessly frustrating to type into a word processor due to their insistence on spelling their name in lower case, Virginian duo, american, also ...

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  • Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden
  • Pallbearer

    Foundations of Burden

    By Michael O'Brien | 29 August, 2014

    Their debut heralded their arrival but the follow-up cements their place

    I don't think it's physically possible for me to overstate just how much I adored and continue to adore Pallbearer's debut album, 2012’s Sorrow and...

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  • Sólstafir - Ótta
  • Sólstafir

    Ótta

    By Michael O'Brien | 28 August, 2014

    About as close to essential listening as it gets

    While the last handful of years or so since the release of what is arguably their breakthrough album, Svartir Sandar, don’t betray it, Iceland’s purveyors of dr...

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  • Belphegor - Conjuring the Dead
  • Belphegor

    Conjuring the Dead

    By Michael O'Brien | 06 August, 2014

    Belphegor’s best release in years

    Approaching Conjuring the Dead, the tenth full-length release from long-running Austrian blackened death metal act, Belphegor, for the first time was an experience marked with a sense of...

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  • Eastern Front - Descent into Genocide
  • Eastern Front

    Descent into Genocide

    By Michael O'Brien | 05 August, 2014

    It isn’t just the themes that are ripped from the past

    As a thematic construct in heavy metal, World War II is probably reaching the same levels of ubiquity as Satanism and the occult these days. In the context of black metal, it...

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  • Entombed A.D. - Back to the Front
  • Entombed A.D.

    Back to the Front

    By Michael O'Brien | 04 August, 2014

    A treatise on the over long and underdone

    When it comes to the big names in death metal, there are few that carry the kind of weight and recognition that Sweden’s Entombed do. Back in the early through to the mid to late ’9...

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  • Blues Pills - Blues Pills
  • Blues Pills

    Blues Pills

    By Michael O'Brien | 28 July, 2014

    Talent abounds, but is that enough?

    If there’s one thing I feel comfortable in saying with some level of confidence, it’s that retro is definitely ‘in’ these days. It’s something that’s pervaded popu...

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  • Mutilation Rites - Harbinger
  • Mutilation Rites

    Harbinger

    By Michael O'Brien | 24 July, 2014

    There’s plenty to like but tighter editing was needed

    One of the things I hope for the most when I approach an album that I’m to review is that I’ll either love it or hate it. Either of these two possibilities makes t...

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  • Wolvhammer - Clawing into Black Sun
  • Wolvhammer

    Clawing into Black Sun

    By Michael O'Brien | 16 July, 2014

    Dripping with vitriol and brimming with confidence

    When I got my hands on the second full-length album from Minnesota’s Wolvhammer, 2011’s The Obsidian Plains, a couple of years ago, I was one happy dude. While I&r...

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  • Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestite
  • Wolves in the Throne Room

    Celestite

    By Michael O'Brien | 09 July, 2014

    A bold and rewarding venture

    Love them or hate them, if there’s one thing that I think can reasonably be claimed of Wolves in the Throne Room it would be that the band has never rested on their laurels. They have continually toye...

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  • Vintersorg - Naturbål
  • Vintersorg

    Naturbål

    By Michael O'Brien | 07 July, 2014

    A worthy addition to an already strong catalogue

    I'm not entirely sure that it’s physically possible for me to over emphasise just how much I dislike folk metal. It’s funny, too, because I actually tend to rather like folk ...

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  • Septicflesh - Titan
  • Septicflesh

    Titan

    By Michael O'Brien | 18 June, 2014

    Further refinement of an already strong sound

    As a genre, symphonic death metal is somewhat fledgeling, if not almost an aberration. While black metal has made use of orchestral elements for decades now, steps into symphonic territory ...

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  • Arch Enemy - War Eternal
  • Arch Enemy

    War Eternal

    By Michael O'Brien | 05 June, 2014

    Competent and catchy but ultimately disposable

    Confession time. Prior to receiving the promo for Arch Enemy’s tenth and latest release, War Eternal, I hadn’t heard a single thing the band has penned over their near...

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  • Vader - Tibi Et Igni
  • Vader

    Tibi Et Igni

    By Michael O'Brien | 31 May, 2014

    Another worthy addition to an already strong catalogue

    It’s pretty amazing to think that trailblazing Polish death metal act, Vader, has been releasing albums for over 20 years now. Longevity of this kind is impressive enough for...

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  • Serpentine Path - Emanations
  • Serpentine Path

    Emanations

    By Michael O'Brien | 23 May, 2014

    Serpentine Path return with another slab of crushing bleakness

    The demise of New York-based sludge/doom outfit, Unearthly Trance, back in 2012 was a disappointing turn of events but, softening the blow, a new venture featuring the band...

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