Reviews by Michael O'Brien

  • Windhand - Soma
  • Windhand

    Soma

    By Michael O'Brien | 01 October, 2013

    Inhale deeply and be carried away

    From a musical perspective, there are few things I enjoy more than a great doom album. Anything from the overly dramatic whining of My Dying Bride, to the crushing devastation of Evoken, to the fuzzed-...

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  • Gorguts - Colored Sands
  • Gorguts

    Colored Sands

    By Michael O'Brien | 05 September, 2013

    A remarkable and very welcome return

    When you’re one of the most revered and influential bands in technical death metal and you’ve been out of the game for as long as Canada’s Gorguts has been (it’s been 12 year...

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  • Fleshgod Apocalypse - Labyrinth
  • Fleshgod Apocalypse

    Labyrinth

    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...

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  • Mercenary - Through Our Darkest Days
  • Mercenary

    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...

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  • Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn
  • Summoning

    Old Mornings Dawn

    By Michael O'Brien | 19 June, 2013

    Easily the finest release of their career

    It’s been a long seven years since Austria’s purveyors of all things epic, atmospheric, and Tolkien released their sixth album, Oath Bound, which was a release that saw the band upp...

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  • TesseracT - Altered State
  • TesseracT

    Altered State

    By Michael O'Brien | 27 May, 2013

    An ambitious and rather bold musical statement

    TesseracT is a band I’ve been meaning to check out for a while now, having first heard of them a number of years ago when their name was often muttered in the same sentence as Meshug...

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  • Amorphis - Circle
  • Amorphis

    Circle

    By Michael O'Brien | 10 April, 2013

    Excellence interspersed with the not quite so excellent

    There are a handful of albums that not only made a massive impact on me as a young metal fan but that I also listen to and thoroughly enjoy quite regularly today. One of those alb...

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  • Moss - Horrible Night
  • Moss

    Horrible Night

    By Michael O'Brien | 09 April, 2013

    A much needed change in sound. Is it the right one though?

    Some four years or so ago I was blown away by Sub Templum, the sophomore full-length release from the UK’s purveyors of ugly as sin doom, Moss. This album (and it’s...

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  • October Tide - Tunnel of No Light
  • October Tide

    Tunnel of No Light

    By Michael O'Brien | 26 March, 2013

    Low tide

    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...

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  • Amenta, The - Flesh is Heir
  • Amenta, The

    Flesh is Heir

    By Michael O'Brien | 20 March, 2013

    The electronic gives way to the organic

    If there’s one thing that The Amenta’s two full-length albums and four EPs have demonstrated it’s that the band is idea-driven and that they are willing to follow them wherever ...

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  • Portal - Vexovoid
  • Portal

    Vexovoid

    By Michael O'Brien | 06 March, 2013

    The shroud is lifted ever so slightly

    Australia’s Portal has made a career out of their obscurity and the practical inaccessibility of their highly unique and experimental take on death metal – a style that is more about at...

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  • Hate - Solarflesh
  • Hate

    Solarflesh

    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...

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  • Nightfall - Cassiopeia
  • Nightfall

    Cassiopeia

    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...

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  • Neurosis - Honor Found in Decay
  • Neurosis

    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...

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  • Aeon - Aeons Black
  • Aeon

    Aeons Black

    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...

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  • Amenra - Mass V
  • Amenra

    Mass V

    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...

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