Reviews by Michael O'Brien

  • 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

    Romantik

    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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  • George Kollias - Invictus
  • George Kollias

    Invictus

    By Michael O'Brien | 14 May, 2015

    A decent debut that desperately needs some individuality

    There’s no denying that George Kollias rightly occupies a very safe spot within the upper tier of death metal drummers due to the speed and ferocity with which he punis...

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  • Sigh - Graveward
  • Sigh

    Graveward

    By Michael O'Brien | 07 May, 2015

    Into the grave

    Even way back in 1993 when Sigh released their debut album, Scorn Defeat, on Euronymous' Deathlike Silence Productions (which was a feat unto itself for a band that was not only not from Scandinavia, but hai...

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  • Kontinuum - Kyrr
  • Kontinuum

    Kyrr

    By Michael O'Brien | 27 April, 2015

    An enjoyable album that could use a little distinctiveness

    Hailing from Iceland and with a bio that lists post-metal as their style, it was practically impossible to come into the promo for Kontinuum’s second full-length albu...

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  • Ufomammut - Ecate
  • Ufomammut

    Ecate

    By Michael O'Brien | 27 March, 2015

    Continuing to put the power in power trio

    To say that Italy’s Ufomammut have been on an absolute tear over the past five years or so wouldn’t be doing them the justice they deserve. The mastery of the single-song, space...

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  • Slow Death, The - Ark
  • Slow Death, The

    Ark

    By Michael O'Brien | 19 March, 2015

    Hints of greatness

    I like to think that I have a pretty good finger on the pulse of what’s happening metal-wise in my local scene, but the existence of funeral doom/death metal act, The Slow Death, completely passed me by, wh...

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  • Moonspell - Extinct
  • Moonspell

    Extinct

    By Michael O'Brien | 12 March, 2015

    Ruin & misery

    There were a good few years there when I wouldn't hear a bad word spoken about Portugal's Moonspell. The band's 1994 EP, Under the Moonspell, as well as the duo of albums consisting of 1995's Wolfhear...

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  • Melechesh - Enki
  • Melechesh

    Enki

    By Michael O'Brien | 27 February, 2015

    Divine nature awakens

    It’s been close to five years since Israel’s “Sumerian thrashing black metal/Mesopotamian metal” band, Melechesh, released their last album, The Epigenesis, which was one that ...

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  • A Swarm of the Sun - The Rifts
  • A Swarm of the Sun

    The Rifts

    By Michael O'Brien | 13 February, 2015

    A masterful exploration of sadness and loss

    If there’s one thing in music that I simply cannot stand, it’s overwrought and needlessly melodramatic compositions, but as someone who is devout in his love of all things doo...

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  • Solefald - World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud
  • Solefald

    World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud

    By Michael O'Brien | 09 February, 2015

    A highly ambitious offering that will not be for everybody

    To say that Norway’s Solefald has made a career out of the strange and the unexpected would be an understatement of the highest order. From their beginnings on 1997&...

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  • Hate - Crusade: Zero
  • Hate

    Crusade: Zero

    By Michael O'Brien | 30 January, 2015

    Little has changed but the results speak for themselves

    Hate are one of the most enduring death metal bands hailing from Poland, having steadily released albums every two to three years since 1996. I first heard them on their fift...

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  • Xibalba - Tierra Y Libertad
  • Xibalba

    Tierra Y Libertad

    By Michael O'Brien | 23 January, 2015

    Viva la Revolución

    When I reviewed Xibalba’s second album, Hasta La Muerte, a couple of years back, I didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about it. I loved the bowel-shaking bottom end of the band&rs...

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