This Month In Metal: August 2007

New releases from Heaven & Hell, As I Lay Dying, Machine Head under fire from MCR fans, and more.

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Welcome to this, the first column attempting to cover the past month in metal. In here you'll find news, random amusing tidbits and of course some brief reviews on albums released in the past month. Enjoy!

Neaera - Armamentarium


Release Date: August 27thLabel: Metal Blade RecordsGenres: Melodic death/thrash

The German quintet's third album in three years is, bluntly put, more of the same. The band burst onto the scene a few years ago with the promising The Rising Tide of Oblivion, mixing death, thrash and the Gothenburg-sound as if they were their own creation, and they did so well. However, as their second album, this is more or less a rehash of that formula.

In terms of production, arrangements and execution, it's a job damn well done. Sadly, the core material isn't as strong as the group's potential. Despite that, it's not to say the album doesn't have any good tracks. Spearheading the Spawn and Armamentarium will without a doubt create massive moshpits on the band's upcoming German tour, running from mid-October to early November.

However - the bottom line is that this band with their potential needs to trim the fat and start moving forward, not standing still with the same sound.

As I Lay Dying - An Ocean Between Us


Release Date: August 21Label: Metal Blade RecordsGenres: Metal/hardcore

An Ocean Between Us definetely has a darker and more metal vibe than their previous releases. The mainriff to Nothing Left echoes Metallica's Blackened and if you look at just riffs, this album offers them in abundance. At the core, you have solid slabs of metal, with some catchy, almost pop-like choruses.

Luckily, the album is predominantly metal with a good dose of speed added for good measure. AILD manage to balance the screaming with the (raspy) singing without coming off overly cheap and/or trying to appeal to two crowds at the same time.

Despite that this album represents growth for AILD, it does not do much to carry the sound of the modern American metal scene forward. While being a competent release, it is not by any means the genre-defining record for this scene.

Still Remains - The Serpent


Release Date: August 7Label: Roadrunner RecordsGenres: Hard rock/metal

Everytime a scene makes it big, there bands that end up tagging along as stragglers, echoing the creators. This album comes off exactly like one of those. This is cute, poppy, bottom-of-the-creative-barrel pop-metal/rock.

Cue all the predictable elements: poppy choruses, screams, start-stop breakdowns, emotional lyrics. The album in itself is well produced, and the playing is good. There're hooks thrown in at the right places.

But.

We have heard this countless time and at best, this band comes off as a third-rate Killswitch Engage copy.

Vital Remains - Evil Death Live (CD)


Release Date: August 7thLabel: Century Media RecordsGenres: Death metal

On paper, this should be one of the best live releases of the year. Though, for a few reasons it manages to disappoint somewhat. The biggest reason of course being that Glen Benton doesn't provide the vocals on this, but instead Damien Boynton handles the growling. Damien is a good albeit not very special growler. Put him up against one of the best in the genre, and I'm afraid it alone makes this release a bit disappointing. The tracks on this release are also all from the Benton-era.

Despite this - it's a live album from one of the prominent acts in death metal, and it will probably break bones in your body one way or another. Hell, it features great versions of Dechristianize (the intro is as awesome as on the album), Icons Of Evil and Devoured Elysium. Now had it only been with Benton

  • More Listening: Deicide - The Stench of Redemption
  • Rating: 7

Heaven And Hell - Live At Radio City Music Hall


Release Date: August 28Genres: Heavy metalLabel: Rhino Records

Probably the biggest reunion of the year, and a quite succesful one at that. With this live album, the magic of the Dio/Butler/Iommi/Appice lineup in their live setting is captured. The performance is excellent - these guys are pushing retirement, but they can still dish out a liveshow that rivals bands a third their age. The setlist is filled to the brim with classics, and despite the fact that the albums are a good 25 years old, Dio can still do it despite his age. The scream at the beginning of Mob Rules is killer, and then we're treated to blistering performances of The Sign of the Southern Cross, Heaven And Hell, Children of the Seaand then some!

Bottom line - this is one of the best live albums in recent years and if you're a fan of classic metal, you must own this.

  • More Listening: Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell
  • Rating: 8.5

News And Tidbits From The Past Month

Norwegian avant-garde metallers Green Carnation, whose 2001 release Light of Day, Day of Darkness generated some serious praise from the critics, decided to split up after, according to the band, getting ripped off by their label on their recent tour of the US.

In Flames will enter the studio shortly to begin recording the follow-up to their 2006 effort, Come Clarity. The band is aiming for a spring 2008 release.

Opeth have announced that they will release their The Roundhouse Tapes CD and later DVD, on October 22 via Peaceville.

Laugh of the month goes to the recent uproar amongst My Chemical Romance fans against Machine Head winning the Best Album award at the Kerrang Awards the other week. Machine Head themselves have commented on the matter on their website:

"Wrought with dismay, polished fingernails the world over lashed out at the band and metal as a whole with diatribes the likes of MCR really should have won!!! I'm mad now!!!!, "what a load of shit, who the fuck listens to them?" and "Stupid Machine Head!!", at times stooping so low as to say the competition was fixed, and often gravely endangering the integrity of their carefully sideswept hair with posts like "I H8 METAL, I H8 METAL"

The moral of the story? Music is not a competition.

 

224 comments sorted by best / new / date

    AvengedThrice
    ROFL at MCR fans. Its a bit obvious that Machine Head were gonna win Machine Head created a metal classic. And MCR? Well..blegh.
    Reviewer Pete
    duncang wrote: Says a lot about the memorability of these releases that it took me a little while to realise this isn't August 2010!
    However, the article must be memorable, this is the third time it's been on the mainpage!
    GS LEAD 5 wrote: In Flames will enter the studio shortly to begin recording the follow-up to their 2006 effort, Come Clarity. The band is aiming for a spring 2008 release. Didnt anyone notice this? a) Their last album was "A Sense Of Purpose, 2008" b) Now its 2010
    I think the lulz is on you, mate.
    EpiExplorer
    Opeth are to... NO WAIT, WHAT ABOUT MY EXPERIENCE AT THE RAH D:! IT NEVER HAPPEEEENED.... One massive cock up after another for me, this week.
    CTGraphixGuy
    Uh... You never actually mentioned Maiden or Black Label in your reviews! Woops! I like the Machine Head/MCR fued... Funny stuff!
    FearOfTheDuck
    MCR haven't been active for years, they are completely irrelevant today. As for Machine Head, new album please. You've toured The Blackening to death. Who actually hasn't seen MH yet? Took me a while to figure out what was going on, thought i went back in time
    loseurillusion
    UG apparently did this last year, reading through the comments they put up the august 07 TMIM article instead of 2009, and theyve done it again now
    Eccer
    Why do you guys review the bad stuff? How about, kamelot's new stuff?
    maximumrocker
    loseurillusion wrote: UG apparently did this last year, reading through the comments they put up the august 07 TMIM article instead of 2009, and theyve done it again now
    yea i noticed that lol
    K!!LsWiTcH
    GS LEAD 5 wrote: In Flames will enter the studio shortly to begin recording the follow-up to their 2006 effort, Come Clarity. The band is aiming for a spring 2008 release. Didnt anyone notice this? a) Their last album was "A Sense Of Purpose, 2008" b) Now its 2010
    i was just thinking this...
    wicked_hobbit
    Haha..gotta love you UG.I know some hilarity would ensue in the comment board. Anyway,just change the year in the URL and welcome back to the future.
    TsarBomba
    lol, The Blackening deserves no attention. It's thrash for people who don't really listen to thrash outside of the big 4. I'll take Sepultura, Demolition Hammer, Morbid Saint, Exhorder, and Vio-Lence over anything Machine Head has to offer.
    TsarBomba
    decayingdave wrote: Lucifer1805 wrote: emo's moan,oh well,its intelligent peoples entertainment Emo is not intelligent, and it is not listened to by intelligent people. Emo's lack idiosyncratic moral backbone, hence the reason why they look (for the most) like ''trendies''. Every argument I've seen between a Metaler and an emo consisted of emo's being generally bigoted and arrogant and metalers making valid points with GOOD grammar. No, emo/emo's are not intelligent, and mcr and other follow ons are merely trying to copycat the image of transgressive rock&rollers, while taking away all their meaning and aggression and replacing it with self indulgence and terrible production values. I think I just defined emo as best as anyone ever will.
    Also, you lose any credibility you might have when you generalize an entire genre of music, as well as those who consider themselves fans. I don't know what a 'metaller' is, but no one likes a self righteous douchebag who thinks they can sum up an entire genre of music and its fans based on their own tastes. That speaks even more to my previous post. You have no business speaking of credibility if you're going to rep such obvious music like Machine Head. Before they wrote The Blackening, Machine Head were writing by the numbers, tough guy crap. And that's a demographic even worse than any emo fan. How man MCR fans would you consider potential date rapists vs. Machine Head? lol.
    TsarBomba
    Like, seriously. Your whole point being that 'metallers' are intelligent and open minded, and then you shoot yourself in the ****in foot.
    Edgecrsuher
    What is doing the Still Reamins album here? It was released a long time ago (more than 1 year if i'm not mistaken), also they have already splitted up...
    Lion_Slicer
    TsarBomba wrote: lol, The Blackening deserves no attention. It's thrash for people who don't really listen to thrash outside of the big 4. I'll take Sepultura, Demolition Hammer, Morbid Saint, Exhorder, and Vio-Lence over anything Machine Head has to offer.
    The Blackening is a masterpiece, I find it a LOT more interesting than a lot of those thrash bands. I don't really lump it into that genre, though, it is what it is... which is awesome. Machine Head really upped their game for this one. BTW, UG should fix this link pretty soon, a lot of (unobservant) people are becoming confused
    TsarBomba
    Lion_Slicer wrote: TsarBomba wrote: lol, The Blackening deserves no attention. It's thrash for people who don't really listen to thrash outside of the big 4. I'll take Sepultura, Demolition Hammer, Morbid Saint, Exhorder, and Vio-Lence over anything Machine Head has to offer. The Blackening is a masterpiece, I find it a LOT more interesting than a lot of those thrash bands. I don't really lump it into that genre, though, it is what it is... which is awesome. Machine Head really upped their game for this one. BTW, UG should fix this link pretty soon, a lot of (unobservant) people are becoming confused
    It's true that those bands I listed are straight forward, balls out thrash. They don't sound like the Blackening, but I listed them because they're far more genuine than Machine Head. The Blackening is alright, but I have no idea how someone can genuinely look at metal in all its parts, doom/death/black/traditional/thrash, whatever labels you want, and come up with The Blackening as a masterpiece. It's why I find bands like Machine Head and BTBaM to be lackluster and unimpressive. To me, and I could be wrong, it seems like no one wants to do the research as far as what led up to these so called modern 'masterpieces'. Gorguts - Obscura is a masterpiece. You could listen to it and tell me it's unorganized noise (which it isn't), but I could make an honest case for why the riffing is genius, incredibly structured, unique, groundbreaking, and a true milestone in metal and extreme music. Could you honestly do that for ANY Machine Head album? The Blackening is a fun listen, but masterpiece?
    GS LEAD 5
    In Flames will enter the studio shortly to begin recording the follow-up to their 2006 effort, Come Clarity. The band is aiming for a spring 2008 release.
    Didnt anyone notice this? a) Their last album was "A Sense Of Purpose, 2008" b) Now its 2010
    DeadDerykk88
    how the hell is MCR metal? Did i miss something? Unless theirs some kind of genre called "Gay Metal"
    Gregoric
    i've never been bothered by MCR's music so much, I really enjoyed three cheers, black parade wasn't as good but not too bad and i think for a mainstream or 'emo' band they do have more talent than alot of the shit out there...but I've gotta say the blackening blew me away, it's probably the best metal album since master of puppets or reign in blood, they deserved that award, mcr didn't.
    Reviewer Pete
    fluffylump2 wrote: If the New York Times published an article that said "he said this to her and then she said this and their friend was like 'aw hell no bitch' and then this random bystander was like '**** that bitch up' and the guy was like 'i'm so over you,'" would you have a reaction to it? No, because it's bullshit. This story is called bullshit, kids.
    It's quite true. http://blog.kerrangawards.com/2007/08/be... ml#more
    metaldud536
    DeadDerykk88 wrote: how the hell is MCR metal? Did i miss something? Unless theirs some kind of genre called "Gay Metal"
    It's not. It's in the article cause it has something to do with Machine Head which is Metal.
    7_seven_7
    What immature faggots. It's a well known fact that all MCR fans are in the age range of 7-12
    a well known fact hey? I'd like some proof of that.
    7_seven_7
    I Walk Alone wrote: I love how metalheads do the exact same thing every time MCR gets an award.
    haha..
    7_seven_7
    Lucifer1805 wrote: mcr- name sucks, 2nd album was ok, the black parade however sucked emo's moan,oh well,its intelligent peoples entertainment machine head,brilliant album,deserved its award nice short reviews as i lay dying sucks
    Intelligent peoples entertainment? I do hope you aren't referring to yourself when saying that. Because nothing you have said here is remotely intelligent.
    AmpleSteak
    WTF why does it show this on the UG homepage as this month in metal... This was 2 years ago.
    HammettFTW
    Haha, yeah wheres my August 2010 month?? I saw a pic of Warp Riders on the front page and I was looking forward to seeing what they had to say about it
    decayingdave
    Lucifer1805 wrote: emo's moan,oh well,its intelligent peoples entertainment
    Emo is not intelligent, and it is not listened to by intelligent people. Emo's lack idiosyncratic moral backbone, hence the reason why they look (for the most) like ''trendies''. Every argument I've seen between a Metaler and an emo consisted of emo's being generally bigoted and arrogant and metalers making valid points with GOOD grammar. No, emo/emo's are not intelligent, and mcr and other follow ons are merely trying to copycat the image of transgressive rock&rollers, while taking away all their meaning and aggression and replacing it with self indulgence and terrible production values. I think I just defined emo as best as anyone ever will.
    Lion_Slicer
    Haha seeing this story is awesome... These past few months I spent some time trying the hear CDs by bands I wasn't into yet. I listened to around 120 CDs, all told. Out of all of them, the Blackening was definitely the most standout to me. When I heard it, I was convinced it was in fact one of the greatest metal albums of all time. Jaw-dropping brilliance through every song.
    Andragon
    No offense, but your short reviews are very biased. I mean it's obvious you like the heavier/more extreme forms of metal. It's reflected in your reviews when you should be 100% objective.