Reviews by Michael O'Brien
By Michael O'Brien | 09 August, 2013
Technically better in every way but at the expense of accessibility
Symphonic death metal is one of those sub genres that’s a particularly tricky beast to tame. Getting the balance right between both poles is a challenge that a l...
Through Our Darkest Days
By Michael O'Brien | 05 August, 2013
They’ve weathered the storm and are stronger for it
Denmark’s Mercenary would have to qualify as one of the more frustrating bands that I like. They are a band who, when they hit the mark, are capable of writing infectiousl...
Beyond Mortal Dreams
By Michael O'Brien | 12 June, 2013
A strong teaser from a promising act
Despite the fact that this trio of deathsters are not only Australian but also came together back in the early ‘90s (before an extended hiatus between the late ‘90s and early ‘00s)...
Tunnel of No Light
By Michael O'Brien | 26 March, 2013
There was a time not so long ago when the melodic death/doom genre was fresh and exciting with bands like Katatonia, My Dying Bride, and maybe even Amorphis comprising but a few of the acts who offered listeners a digestible t...
From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain
By Michael O'Brien | 25 March, 2013
An impressive debut from some seasoned musicians
With five years having passed since the release of Antichrist which would now seem to be Akercocke’s final album and with three ex-members of said band now working together on a ne...
Desert Northern Hell (Reissue)
By Michael O'Brien | 05 March, 2013
Ferocious no-frills black metal
As a style, black metal has evolved over the years and exists in many different forms, however, every once in a while an album comes along that channels the underlying aesthetic with a kind of rawness an...
By Michael O'Brien | 13 February, 2013
Solid enough but Hate continues to play it safe
Despite of the fact that Hate has been releasing albums since 1996, they still remain one of the least likely bands that someone would rattle off if they were asked about Polish death met...
Lightning Swords of Death
By Michael O'Brien | 27 January, 2013
The name may be ridiculous, but not so the music
Clearly not content with the stupid that comes from a name like Lightning Swords of Death (which, to be fair, is still oddly tough in its own way), this American horde of black metallers...
By Michael O'Brien | 17 January, 2013
Eclectic, unpredictable, and very enjoyable
When it comes to Greek heavy metal, along with Septicflesh and Rotting Christ, long-running act Nightfall would surely have to be counted amongst the original pillars of the scene, having for...
Honor Found in Decay
By Michael O'Brien | 12 January, 2013
Dense, introspective, draining
The prospect of reviewing an album from a band as revered as Neurosis is quite the daunting task, especially when the band in question isn’t in the business of releasing easily digestible tunes. Fiv...
By Michael O'Brien | 06 January, 2013
An unimaginative album that betrays its influences far too easily
When it comes to the topic of Swedish death metal it is still largely inescapable that the first thing that will come to mind is the classic sound of bands like Dismembe...
By Michael O'Brien | 14 December, 2012
Sonically rich, technically dynamic, and utterly captivating
While I am hopelessly in love with the atmospheric sludge/doom sound that was pioneered by Neurosis way back when, there are a glut of bands out there who have adopted the so...
By Michael O'Brien | 28 November, 2012
A solid if unremarkable release
In spite of numerous line-up changes and their modest recorded output, Lycanthia can rightfully be considered stalwarts of both Sydney and Australia’s gothic doom scene, having outlived countless o...