Reviews by Michael O'Brien

  • Rotting Christ - Rituals
  • Rotting Christ


    By Michael O'Brien | 05 February, 2016

    You really have to hand it to Rotting Christ. Over the course of nearly 30 years and now 12 full-length releases, I can’t think of a single album that hasn’t at the very least been decent, but can definitely think of many that have bee...

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  • Conan - Revengeance
  • Conan


    By Michael O'Brien | 29 January, 2016

    From the rough and raw doom of their 2010 EP, Horseback Battle Hammer, through to the more refined but no less crushing doom of their second full-length album, 2014’s Blood Eagle, The UK’s Conan has been responsible f...

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  • Abbath - Abbath
  • Abbath


    By Michael O'Brien | 20 January, 2016

    At the risk of sounding like a grouchy, jaded contrarian, I have to say that I didn’t come into Abbath’s debut album feeling overly excited about it. I was curious, sure, but excited? No.


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  • Otargos - Xeno Kaos
  • Otargos

    Xeno Kaos

    By Michael O'Brien | 11 November, 2015

    What initially drew me to France's Otargos when I reviewed their fourth full-length album, No God, No Satan, a number of years back was the band's mixture of black metal with light hints of industrial influence. While I’d be lying i...

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  • Dead to a Dying World - Litany
  • Dead to a Dying World


    By Michael O'Brien | 14 October, 2015

    With its stupendously long running time, its compositional depth, and its *cough* litany of stylistic influences, Texan septet Dead to a Dying World's second full-length release, Litany, is certainly a dense and challenging listen.

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  • Kowloon Walled City - Grievances
  • Kowloon Walled City


    By Michael O'Brien | 03 October, 2015

    Kowloon Walled City is a band that I've always wanted to make more time for but never seem to, despite having the best of intentions. Having seen their name mentioned in a positive light by a number of folks online lead me to pick up their second ...

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  • Myrkur - M
  • Myrkur


    By Michael O'Brien | 08 September, 2015

    With all of the heated and polarised opinions about one-woman band, Myrkur, the cynic in me can’t help but wonder if there’s a marketing department out there patting itself on the back for the chaos it has had a hand in confecting, bec...

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  • Soulfly - Archangel
  • Soulfly


    By Michael O'Brien | 07 August, 2015

    Soulfly is a band that just about every metal fan seems to have an opinion on, and in my circles that opinion trends heavily towards the negative. In fact, that opinion is held almost universally within said circles to the point that I’ve av...

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  • C R O W N - Natron
  • C R O W N


    By Michael O'Brien | 03 August, 2015

    France's C R O W N (Crown, henceforth) have been on my radar for a while now, originally from seeing their name around the traps and then from their bio which simply and minimally states that the band is "three men, three guitars, a voice and mach...

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  • Kataklysm - Of Ghosts and Gods
  • Kataklysm

    Of Ghosts and Gods

    By Michael O'Brien | 25 July, 2015

    Remember that brief period about 20 years ago when the prospect of a new album from Canada’s Kataklysm was something to get excited about? Man, those were the days. This was a time when using the adjective ‘northern hyperblast’ t...

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  • Author & Punisher - Melk en Honing
  • Author & Punisher

    Melk en Honing

    By Michael O'Brien | 05 July, 2015

    As jaded and crabby as it probably makes me sound, I just don’t see a lot of true innovation going on in music’s heavier and darker realms these days and, if I’m being honest, I probably haven't for a long time. Oh, sure, th...

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  • Thy Art is Murder - Holy War
  • Thy Art is Murder

    Holy War

    By Michael O'Brien | 29 June, 2015

    Holy bore

    It’s no great secret that deathcore has been on the receiving end of an awful lot of flak over the years. I can’t say that I have any particular animosity towards it in principle, but I do understand why it is...

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  • Shape of Despair - Monotony Fields
  • Shape of Despair

    Monotony Fields

    By Michael O'Brien | 05 June, 2015

    The wait was long, but it was worth it

    It’s been a long time between drinks for Finland’s Shape of Despair. After releasing two great albums and one OK one between 2000 and 2004, the band has largely been quiet, save fo...

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  • Paradise Lost - The Plague Within
  • Paradise Lost

    The Plague Within

    By Michael O'Brien | 03 June, 2015

    Paying lip service to the past

    As much as I’ve always wanted to be into everything that long-running doomsters, Paradise Lost, do, the truth is that my enjoyment of their albums is more an exception to rather than representat...

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  • Valborg - Romantik
  • Valborg


    By Michael O'Brien | 20 May, 2015

    Romancing the darkness

    Despite the fact that German’s Valborg has been quite prolific since releasing their debut album in 2009 and that I’ve seen their name mentioned numerous times over those years, I'd not managed to...

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