New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: September 17, 2013

Ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Anathema – ‘Universal’ (Kscope)

Anathema – 'Universal'
Kscope Records

Genre: Atmospheric Rock/Metal
Anathema’s 2012 masterwork Weather Systems comes to a Blu-ray player near you. A four disc collection of Blu-ray, DVD and two CDs offers a one-off concert filmed at a Roman stadium in Bulgaria by Lasse Hoile, who’s also filmed Opeth and Porcupine Tree. Anathema even chucks in bonus material of concert work at London’s Union Chapel.

Accompanied by full orchestra, the Bulgarian footage is exquisite. Imagine the rehearsals leading up to this event as Anathema allows Hoile to freeze them forever on film. The grandeur and bombast of the music sweeps you into the arena. Precision, complexity and Anathema at their hypnotic best makes Universal a memory under the Milky Way.

Rating: 4
(Todd Lyons)

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The Charm The Fury – ‘A Shade of My Former Self’ (Pavement)

The Charm The Fury – 'A Shade of My Former Self'
Pavement Music

Genre: Metalcore/Melodic Metal
Five seconds into The Charm The Fury’s album A Shade of My Former Selfand you know precisely what you’re getting into: chugging, double bass, and heavy melodrama. Led by singer/screamer Caroline Westendorp, this Amsterdam act blends earth-rattling riffs and melody to agreeable affect. The occasional synth-work is also a nice touch.

And while Westendorp does a commendable job mixing things up, the music is all too familiar. This is glossy, woe-as-us metalcore; beefy and whiny. It lacks the empowerment so many of the subgenre’s pioneers instilled in their music. Sonically, it’s as heavy as an anvil, but this style of metalcore still sounds like it’s stuck at the mall trying on studded belts. The mascara is streaking.

Rating: 2.5
(Evan Mugford)

Cult Of Luna – ‘Vertikal II’ (Density)

Cult Of Luna - 'Vertikal II'
Density Records

Genre: Atmospheric Sludge
Less than a year after the release of their latest album Vertikal, Cult Of Luna return with an EP as they embark on their first U.S. tour in eight years. Vertikal II includes three new songs and a remix of “Vicarious Redemption.”

The sonic template of the EP continues the vibe of the album, which makes sense since these songs are from those sessions. The songs are slow and deliberate, building gradually. Industrial and electronic elements are found along with aggressive metal moments. Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) remixed “Vicarious Redemption,” streamlining it to half the length it was on Vertikal and making it even better than the original. If you liked Vertikal, then you should also enjoy the 35 minuteVertikal II.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)



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