Reviews by Michael O'Brien

  • 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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  • Ethereal - Opus Aethereum
  • Ethereal

    Opus Aethereum

    By Michael O'Brien | 23 January, 2015

    1997 calling

    There’s a fine and often ambiguous line that exists between the kind of music that evokes long-established tropes and the kind of music that is completely beholden to said long-established tropes. In the case of ...

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  • Marduk - Frontschwein
  • Marduk


    By Michael O'Brien | 19 January, 2015

    Another solid release from the dependable Swedish veterans

    In their 25 years as a band, I can’t think of a single bad album that Sweden’s Marduk has released. Sure, there are definitely some that are better than others...

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  • Crown, The - Death is Not Dead
  • Crown, The

    Death is Not Dead

    By Michael O'Brien | 16 January, 2015

    A good but inconsistent release

    Despite their impressive lineage and the considerable amount of adoration out there for them, Sweden’s The Crown (originally Crown of Thorns between 1990 and 1998) are a band that have complet...

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  • Ghoulgotha - The Deathmass Cloak
  • Ghoulgotha

    The Deathmass Cloak

    By Michael O'Brien | 14 January, 2015

    Ghoulgotha may be capable of something good, but this isn't it

    One of the primary things I try to convey in my reviews is what the experience of listening to an album “feels” like. I’ve never been one to find much...

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  • Nero Di Marte - Derivae
  • Nero Di Marte


    By Michael O'Brien | 11 December, 2014

    Highly challenging but also richly rewarding

    Modern death metal is a pretty mixed bag for me these days. While I still like the genre itself, the vast bulk of the bands that seem to be making waves are the ones who are, in my opini...

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  • Eye of Solitude - Dear Insanity
  • Eye of Solitude

    Dear Insanity

    By Michael O'Brien | 04 December, 2014

    An attempt at something new yields mixed results

    Last year, the UK’s Eye of Solitude released what was easily one of the best doom albums of 2013 (if not one of the best doom albums of any year) in Canto III - their...

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  • Mysticum - Planet Satan
  • Mysticum

    Planet Satan

    By Michael O'Brien | 07 November, 2014

    A solid return that probably could've and should’ve been more

    While it might reek of starry-eyed nostalgia, I genuinely believe that the mid ‘90s were a magical time for black metal. No doubt the specific period any gi...

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  • Necrophagia - WhiteWorm Cathedral
  • Necrophagia

    WhiteWorm Cathedral

    By Michael O'Brien | 31 October, 2014

    Cheesy fun of the highest order

    Have you ever wondered what Mortician might’ve sounded like if they played their death metal kind of like mid-career Carcass did? No, I haven’t either, but Necrophagia go some way to add...

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  • Rings of Saturn - Lugal Ki En
  • Rings of Saturn

    Lugal Ki En

    By Michael O'Brien | 22 October, 2014

    Utterly ridiculous but strangely alluring as well

    Prior to receiving the promo for Rings of Saturn’s third full-length release, Lugal Ki En, I was only vaguely aware of the band’s existence and that they someh...

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  • Inter Arma - The Cavern
  • Inter Arma

    The Cavern

    By Michael O'Brien | 14 October, 2014

    The very embodiment of an act at the top of their game

    One of the albums that made the biggest impact on me in 2013 was Sky Burial, the second full-length release from Richmond, Virginia’s Inter Arma. While it was only ...

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  • Xerath - III
  • Xerath


    By Michael O'Brien | 08 October, 2014

    The potential they’ve always shown has finally been capitalised on

    Xerath is a band that I’ve always wanted to like but have never really been able to in anything more than the most superficial of ways. Their swir...

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  • Electric Wizard - Time to Die
  • Electric Wizard

    Time to Die

    By Michael O'Brien | 05 October, 2014

    Undoubtedly solid but unable to live up to the band’s best works

    Come my Fanatics… and Dopethrone. Is there anyone out there who’s been bitten by the doom bug who doesn’t view these two early...

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  • 1349 - Massive Cauldron of Chaos
  • 1349

    Massive Cauldron of Chaos

    By Michael O'Brien | 02 October, 2014

    A disappointing though not unenjoyable backwards step

    Norway’s 1349 have had quite an interesting career but have also managed to polarise a lot of people over the course of it, especially in the five years since the release of ...

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