Reviews by Michael O'Brien

  • 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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  • Myrkur - Myrkur
  • Myrkur


    By Michael O'Brien | 22 September, 2014

    When hype and cold, hard reality collide

    A huge amount of fuss has been made about Myrkur, the mysterious, one-woman black metal act, in the lead-up to the band’s debut EP being released. Much of the hubbub has been the result o...

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  • YOB - Clearing the Path to Ascend
  • YOB

    Clearing the Path to Ascend

    By Michael O'Brien | 18 September, 2014

    Quite possibly the best thing they’ve ever released

    Ever since I got my hands on YOB’s 2009 album, The Great Cessation, I’ve been hopelessly hooked on the band. There’s something intoxicating and myste...

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  • american - Coping with Loss
  • american

    Coping with Loss

    By Michael O'Brien | 18 September, 2014

    There’s lots of potential here but more time is needed to reach it

    Aside from being endlessly frustrating to type into a word processor due to their insistence on spelling their name in lower case, Virginian duo, american, also ...

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  • Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden
  • Pallbearer

    Foundations of Burden

    By Michael O'Brien | 29 August, 2014

    Their debut heralded their arrival but the follow-up cements their place

    I don't think it's physically possible for me to overstate just how much I adored and continue to adore Pallbearer's debut album, 2012’s Sorrow and...

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  • Sólstafir - Ótta
  • Sólstafir


    By Michael O'Brien | 28 August, 2014

    About as close to essential listening as it gets

    While the last handful of years or so since the release of what is arguably their breakthrough album, Svartir Sandar, don’t betray it, Iceland’s purveyors of dr...

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  • Belphegor - Conjuring the Dead
  • Belphegor

    Conjuring the Dead

    By Michael O'Brien | 06 August, 2014

    Belphegor’s best release in years

    Approaching Conjuring the Dead, the tenth full-length release from long-running Austrian blackened death metal act, Belphegor, for the first time was an experience marked with a sense of...

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  • Eastern Front - Descent into Genocide
  • Eastern Front

    Descent into Genocide

    By Michael O'Brien | 05 August, 2014

    It isn’t just the themes that are ripped from the past

    As a thematic construct in heavy metal, World War II is probably reaching the same levels of ubiquity as Satanism and the occult these days. In the context of black metal, it...

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  • Entombed A.D. - Back to the Front
  • Entombed A.D.

    Back to the Front

    By Michael O'Brien | 04 August, 2014

    A treatise on the over long and underdone

    When it comes to the big names in death metal, there are few that carry the kind of weight and recognition that Sweden’s Entombed do. Back in the early through to the mid to late ’9...

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