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Deströyer 666 -- Los Angeles, CA -- July 16th, 2016
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  #1  
Old 01-04-2016, 02:39 PM
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MPF's 2016 Year In Review

Hey Guys! Time to start early!


This is something I have been meaning to do for a long time and something I've tried to attempt in the past on a couple occasions. This time, however, I am going to make it stick!

I'm already off to a rough start, personally. I lost my band of 2 and a half years. I'm having issues with my radio show that has sidelined me for over a month (thankfully, all the stations that air my show completely understand until i get back on my feet) and many issues in my personal life. But one thing has always cheered me up. Whether it was when I got sick in 2013, when I felt I lost everything, or when I am at my happiest. It is when I am working on what I do as That Drummer Guy. This year since I am no bandless and free from anything else, I can now devote 100% of my focus on That Drummer Guy. And a huge thing I've wanted to accomplish is get reviews done for albums as soon as I receive them as promos and get to listen to it enough to give proper thoughts on them (usually within the week, if not sooner.). I also wanna make more a devotion ot the other sides of what I do as That Drummer Guy. More Interviews, get the radio show in top form, try to get on more stations and become the force I always wanted to be.

I also doing a much more expansive End Of The Year Extravaganza with adding EPs, local bands, concerts, interviews, etc starting in December.

So be on the look out for all of my reviews starting in just a little bit as I write up my first review!
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:51 PM
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Good luck man! Looking forward to reading all of your reviews.
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Old 01-04-2016, 03:59 PM
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Alright folks, here is my first review of 2016: Borknagar​- Winter Thrice:

http://www.thatdrummerguy.com/writte...-winter-thrice

*Those who don't wanna click the link, read below*

Borknagar- Winter Thrice
FFO- Progressive Black Metal, Folk Metal

Borknagar is one of the most legendary names in Norwegian Metal. As a supergroup powerhouse that is most notable for featuring ICS Vortex and Vintersorg on shared lead vocals (Vortex providing bass guitar as well), the band has become a very collective outlet for the group to share their Norwegian Pagan Ritualistic music. Winter Thrice is the 10th album for the band and hearkens back to more of the Norwegian Folk Metal side of the band that has been missing for the last couple albums (that said, Borknagar has yet to ever release a disappointing album) yet, also make for their proggiest album to date as well.. Winter Thrice just may be the best thing the band has ever released! Let's find out why!

The album starts with the lead single from the album, The Rhymes Of The Mountain. This is collectively the strongest single from the band to date. It features everything that makes the band strong. Soaring clean vocals, evil screams, majestic music that makes you feel like you are in the heart of a Norwegian winter (maybe not so much in the style of Immortal, but you get the idea. Winter Thrice is the next track starting with haunting keyboards before coming in with a double bass driven assault. The song features a great contrast of clean vocals and Progressive and folk elements for the majority of the song and pure Black Metal and screams as the chorus. A great song to name the album after. Cold Runs The River is much more of a mid-tempo song to start then just blasts into Black Metal goodness before a very gorgeous chorus. The song features a choir type background vocals throughout that hit in all the right spots. 3/4ths of the way through features a Led Zepplin style guitar riff and guitar solo mixed with the Black Metal screams that makes for an unexpected, but gracious change. Panorama has the feeling of the last couple albums with Prog style keyboards throughout leading into a nice, off-time, verse riff and shared dual vocals. For those that love the Prog-Driven side of the band, this is definitely a song that will hit home for you. When Chaos Calls starts with a short piano break before leading to a blast beat driven, clean vocal attack (nothing is better than blast beats over clean vocals done right). While there are some screams, the song is more focused on the cleans. The middle of the song leads to a nice, instrumental interlude featuring clean guitar before leading to one of the most majestic moments on the whole album and ending with a nice blend of cleans and screams. Erodent starts with desolate style clean guitar that leads to amazing clean vocals, proggy keyboards, and a killer mid-tempo battle theme. When the song picks up it goes heavy on the blast beats and Black Metal elements and has a gorgeous and evil chorus. Noctilucent is the "ballad" of the album. The song doesn't feature much vocals, but they are all clean and beautiful. The music behind it is very majestic sounding and gives a nice breather for the last couple songs to come. Terminus is by far the best song on the album. Starting off with a quick drum fill leading to a Black Metal driven Assault that has a bit of an early to mid era Opeth and even some Soilwork feel to it. The chorus is slower but sounds absolutely grand. This song has the best use of the of the synths that not the typical keyboard sounds. And absolute highlight of the band's career. The closing track, Dominant Winds, sounds very desolate as well with some wind sound affects that make you feel like you are alone right before the force of double bass driven, grandiose clean vocals, and Black Metal riffing takes place. The middle of the song is another highlight of the album that is both beautiful and evil. Roughly 3/4ths of the way through hits a big Opeth/Goblin style keyboard instrumental section before kicking into the grand finale of the album. Another great mix of the cleans and screams. It ends with keyboard becoming a force with a mid-tempo evil riff leading to a slower clean guitar and bass that slowly fades away making you want to start the whole album cycle over again.

In short, Borknagar has come back with a vengeance! Winter Thrice is the perfect mixture of Prog, Black Metal, Folk, and Melodies/Harmonies. Winter Thrice is the perfect starting point for getting into the band. Any direction you go from here is the way to go. For those that want more substance out of your Black Metal or want your Prog to be way more evil, Borknagar is the band for you! This will be regarded as one of the best albums of 2016!


- 9.5/10


Borknagar- Winter Thrice available January 29th, 2015 via Century Media Records​!
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  #4  
Old 01-17-2016, 09:51 PM
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For the majority of people reading this when I post it, it will be late at night or early in the morning. Perfect timing to post 4 reviews without pissing off too many people!

Exmortus- Ride Forth
http://www.thatdrummerguy.com/writte...tus-ride-forth

Exmortus- Ride Forth
FFO- Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Neoclassical


Exmortus is a band that has been on an incredible streak as of late. Doing their blend of Thrash Metal, Death Metal and Neoclassical has kept the band sounding fresh as ever. With Ride Forth, the band's 4th album, the band really finds their sound and sounds tighter than ever.

The album starts with Speed Of The Strike, which is easily one of the fastest songs on the album and a great way to start this 4th adventure. For new fans, you will easily hear the Classical and Orchestral influences in the band. Relentless is still fast but not near as speedy as the first track. More of the Thrash influence is on this track. For The Horde is a classic sounding song for the band. Feast, heavy, thrashy and shreddy. A great single for the album. Let Us Roam is very mid-tempo in comparison to the rest of the album, but really showcases the band's chops. Almost like a nice breather for what is to come. Black Sails comes off as the most versatile song on the album. While coming in as a more mid-tempo, yet upbeat number, It really showcases the band's versatility as far as songwriting. Not as focused on notes and shred and love or Classical music, but much more on writing for the song itself. Hymn Of Hate brings back the speed and Orchestral chops highlighted in the guitars. Mixed with the speed of Thrash, it reminds you of versatility in chops that has gone missing in modern Metal. Beethoven's Appassionata is up next and is an absolutely flawless cover. It reminds you very much of playing one of the highest levels on Tetris, especially at the end. Exmortus always covers as least one classical movement on each album and this was an excellent choice this time around. Death To Tyrants is a very worthy song to follow the Beethoven cover. Starting with more of a march intro, it is a upbeat, midtempo song that is greatly paced throughout. While picking up at times, it just focuses on being an excellent march to war. Fire and Ice closes the album. While not the fastest song on the album, it is a great Metal assault. It is the longest song on the album (at 6:24). It gives a very epic, victorious feeling, much like winning a Viking Battle. A perfect song to close out the album.

Exmortus has done it again with their brilliant chops, classical influence, their love of speed and strive to make quality music. This is a band for those who want more substance in their Thrash and Death Metal or want what Orchestral music would sound like if it had distortion back in the day. Ride Forth proves that Exmortus is breaking new ground and creating a world of music that should have been touched upon years ago, especially in non-instrumental bands. Exmortus rules, plain and simple!


- 8/10


Exmortus- Ride Forth available NOW via Prosthetic Records
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  #5  
Old 01-17-2016, 09:53 PM
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Varg- The End Of All Lies
http://www.thatdrummerguy.com/writte...nd-of-all-lies

Varg- The End Of All Lies
FFO- Power Metal, Black Metal, Folk Metal, Metalcore

*For All Extensive Purposes, I am sticking with the English version of this album. the original German version is also available*

Varg has really been making quite an impact in the last few years. With a huge moment for the band being a part of Paganfest 2014, the band returns in 2016 with their 5th album, The End Of All Lies. This features the band tighter than ever writing some of their best songs to date. Heavy, evil, and catchy as hell!


The album starts with a 2 and a half minute intro, The Great Dictator (Which is based off the legendary speech from the 1940 movie of the same name) and is the perfect segue way into the title track. The End Of All Lies is a fast, heavy song that features everything that is great about the band. The spirit of Power Metal mixed with Metalcore, and some Black Metal blasting to boot. The chorus is beyond catchy. Revolution is next and starts in quite an epic, held out, way before launching into a full Metalcore assault . Again, the chorus is extremely catchy and almost radio friendly. Streyfzug showcases more of the viking metal and folk side of the band. Much more of a slower, midtempo song give a nice break from the chaos that ensues the album. Achtung starts off with some electronic moments before breaking into a shocking danceable Amaranthe (Drop Dead Cynical) style riff. The middle section features some atmospheric elements and some cool drum fills, but otherwise sticks to this catchy style. Sounds like an absolute party song. Darkness shows off more of the black metal elements while having a power metal twinge to it. There is a couple metalcore style breakdown per-choruses, otherwise it is some black metal goodness. The Dance Of Death features vocals from Anna Murphy of Eluveitie. The song is the closest thing to a ballad on the album and gives a great, creepy feeling. Murphy's presence makes it feel like a dark carnival/vaudeville feel. Einherjer sounds actually very much like the band Einherjer, especially in the chorus. It's a speedy song in the verses and quite epic sounding in the chorus. Winterstorm is, by far, the fastest song on the album. A great black metal feel for the most part with some metalcore style verse riffing. By far the most evil sounding song on the album. The final song is Rain Of Ash. It's starts with a solitary guitar riff leading to a very mellow song. The chorus is one of the catchiest of the entire album and gives a great epic atmosphere. The album ends with a fade away of a heavy, breakdown style riff leaving the listener begging for more.

All in all, Varg knocks it out of the park with The End Of All Lies. It's got a little bit of everything you'd want in a band like this from the most evil sounding black metal to danceable pop metal to metalcore breakdowns to some of the catchiest choruses you'll ever here. This is just one completely solid album!


- 8/10

Varg- The End Of All Lies available NOW via Napalm Records
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  #6  
Old 01-17-2016, 09:55 PM
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Walking With Giants- Worlds Unknown
http://www.thatdrummerguy.com/writte...worlds-unknown

Walking With Giants- Worlds Unknown
FFO- Alternative Rock, Hard Rock

Walking With Giants is the debut album from Gary Noon (Vocals, Guitar) and features guest appearances from Clint Lowery (Guitar) and Morgan Rose (Drums) of Sevendust and Brian Marshall (Bass) of Alter Bridge. While many fans of heavier music fight the urge to want to listen anything lighter, they are missing some truly talented hard rock in the process. That is exactly what Worlds Unknown showcases. Very catchy and brilliantly written songs with lots of melody and harmony and heavy in all the right spots. Think Staind meets Alter Bridge meets Sevendust!

The album starts with the first half of the title track, Worlds Unknown Part 1. A short instrumental track that leads into the song Broken Truth. The song starts with a lone guitar riff before blasting in with a great heavier meets pop riff. Back To Life is a great radio rock ballad. Absolutely in the vein of what makes Alter Bridge ballads so great. Bound has a great alternative rock vibe to it right from the start. Lots of radio potential here. Heavy Hand is next and starts off with a great Sevendust vibe before getting more midtempo. An absolutely catchy chorus makes this a great listen. Endless Road is another great reason to not be afraid of your inspirations. While still having it's own sound, there is a huge Alice In Chains vibe in the verses, and that is a great thing. The Now is a big nod to Sevendust (considering who plays on the album, that's not a shock). While being a bit more of the radio rock variety than Sevendust's heavier sound, it really works! Guilty One is a great mix of heavy and poppy. Exactly what top 40 rock needs right now. Different Voice starts with a long guitar riff that leads into a midtempo number. The middle of the track features the heaviest moment on the album with a crushing breakdown before a very cool guitar solo. Solid Ground is the last full song on the album. With it's blend of heavier and catchy moments it is one of the strongest songs on the entire album. The song ends with a segue way into Worlds Unknown Part 2. It is a bit heavier than Worlds Unknown Part 1 leaving for a fantastic finish to the album.

The message of the album is quite clear, ENJOY LIFE! There is too much negativity in the world, especially right now. We should change that and be happy with ourselves and strive to make the most out of ourselves. That is absolutely something I can get behind. This is exactly what is needed in radio rock today. Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll is cool, but we need room for stuff to keep us positively motivated. When this album hits, it should take the world by storm, even if it takes time, it will be worth it.


- 9/10

Walking With Giants- Worlds Unknown available NOW via a self release
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:57 PM
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The Mute Gods- Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
http://www.thatdrummerguy.com/writte...u-hear-from-me

The Mute Gods- Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
FFO- Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock, Pop Rock

The Mute Gods is the brainchild of Nick Beggs (contributor to the likes of Steven Wilson, Lonely Robot, Steve Hackett and so much more) on Chapman Stick, Vocals, Guitar and Bass. Also featured on this album is Marco Minnemann on drums and Roger King doing production and playing Keys. The album is an extremely catchy brand of prog rock layered in pop and alternative rock. Imagine Steven Wilson doing Hand. Cannot. Erase. with 70's prog instead of having electronics and BOOM! Let's dive right into this amazing album.

The album starts with the title track, Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me. While having the awesome 70's prog twinge, the chorus is unbelievably catchy. There is a good reason why this was, indeed the first single from the album. Praying To A Mute God starts quite mid-tempo and keeps that similar speed much like the former track, but expands upon it. Much more diversity and fills happen throughout the song giving a little bit or room to show off on each instrument. The second half of the song is a great example of that. Nightschool for Idiots is much more mellow and piano driven. A great, almost relaxing song, until you hear the lyrics. It definitely has the Steven Wilson cynical lyrical charm to it. Feed The Troll is the second single off the album. It starts off bass driven and an electronic movement before kicking into a darker, almost King Crimson style riff. The song is one of the heavier moments on the entire album as well. Very dark and brooding, but so enjoyable. Your Dark Ideas follows next and is a bit more uptempo. It almost sounds like a track Steven Wilson penned around the time of In Absentia or Deadwing. A very killer track. In the Crosshairs is the shortest track on the album. Being that it is instrumental, it showcases every instrument in the band in a great way. A great change of pace in the album. Strange Relationship starts with a great 8 bar, almost Opeth like, swing beat provided by Minnemann. The song is quite mellow in comparison to other songs on the album and features quite a bit of keyboard changes until the song. The fading piano notes of the last track segue way into Swimming Horses. The song begins more atmospheric before kicking into a mellotron style riff mixed with guitar, then finally kicking into a dark, brooding song. It features song Middle-Eastern style riffing and very bass and chapman stick driven. The second half of the song is where things start to pick up in tempo before progressing back to the dark mood it left before. Father Daughter closes out the album and features a Porcupine Tree feel and more of the electronic faded drums that Steven Wilson is famous for in so many moments before kicking in. The album ends in a very electronic way as it dramatically stops, leaving you wanting more.


All in all, The Mute Gods have provided an absolutely phenomenal debut album. Combining all the best parts of prog rock mixed with a great nod to the likes of Steven Wilson and Steve Hackett throughout. The lyrical content is very much intended to be a way of living your life to the fullest and not giving into the world we currently live. Explore, Create and most importantly, try to make the world a better place for those that will follow us in this world. It is a great sentiment!


- 9/10


The Mute Gods- Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me available January 22nd via InsideOut Records
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  #8  
Old 01-23-2016, 12:45 AM
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Obscura- Akroasis
http://www.thatdrummerguy.com/writte...scura-akroasis

Obscura- Akroasis
FFO- Technical Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal


Obscura Is a phenomenal German Technical/Progressive Death Metal that has definitely gone through the wringer in the last two years. From losing half the band (Guitarist Christian Muezener and Drummer Hannes Grossmann) in 2014 and recently guitarist Tom Geldschläger in 2015. When the band got back on it's feet in 2015 to be a part of 2015's Summer Slaughter tour in North America, the band suffered from several issues making the band drop off the entire tour. From that point on, Frontman and Guitarist, Steffen Krummerer, set out to make sure that the band's 4th album, Akroasis, would be a complete force to be a reckoned with. Not only did he succeed, but the band is arguably the strongest it has ever been. Let me explain why...


The album starts off with Sermon Of The Seven Suns, which starts with a fade and Cynic style clean vocoder vocals before kicking into the band's signature sound of technical riffs, bombastic blast beats and outstanding Guitar and Bass work. So many great technical riffs mixed with melodic moments of sheer beauty. The middle instrumental section features fantastic Bass riffs provided by Bassist, Linus Klausenitzer. The ending features some more crazy riffs that eventually lead into a fade out that leads into the Middle Eastern Influenced song, The Monist. While still being very technical, the song is a bit slower than most of the rest of the album. Lots of groove and very double bass driven ala Death. The chorus features a great vocoder section that would make Cynic fans very happy. An overall killer, groovy, song. The title track, Akroasis, is easily the fastest song on the album. Absolutely pure chaos right from Drummer Sebastian Lanser's opening drum fill. The song is layered in Blast Beats and melodies and harmonies of the great 90's Tech Death bands, which the band has made so perfectly well their own. The guitar solo section of the song is easily one of the highlights of the entire album. The song ends with clean guitar and bass sections that slowly fade away leading into the clean guitar intro of Ten Sepiroth. The song has more of an upbeat Thrash/Death Metal feel compared to the rest of the album, yet, still featuring plenty of blasts and growls. The short instrumental sections really make this song great to hear. A song that would definitely be perfect to get caught in the middle of a circle pit. Ode To The Sun (Sadly, not a Dredg cover) has is another groovier song that is beyond crushing. The slower riffs give off that ultra heavy vibe Gojira has become famous for. Actually that's a great way to look at it. Cynic meets Gojira. Arguably, this is one of the best choruses on the entire album. The second half of the song features a slower doomy feel to it with choir type vocals that lead to a quite eerie ending before leading into the chaos that is Fractal Dimension. The song features the famous Obscura signature sound. The solo section features some slower and crushing riffs that are meant to make you bang your head, before it snaps from the verse riff kicking back in. After a short bass-driven interlude the song ends on one of the best riffs of the album to close out the song. Perpetual Infinity starts with clean and acoustic guitars and bass, giving a great Cynic feeling once again with the vocoder vocals. While the song is more uptempo compared to the rest of the album, it is almost the catchiest song on the album. Giving more nods to 90's Tech Death, it has the most melodic moments in the album on almost the entire song before ending on a very chaotic last riff to make way for the final epic. Weltseele is the longest Obscura song to date at 15:16. While on paper, a 15 minute Tech Death epic may feel way too long and jarring to listen to, that couldn't be further from the truth. Without question, this is the best song on the album. While starting is a mellow intro, the song eventually throws it's way into a march style assault. This definitely shows off everything the band is capable of, The fast, the mellow, the heavy, the melodic, the chaotic. It's all here. This also features the other best chorus on the album, if not the best. Roughly half way through the song it gets a bit more mellow and focused on creating atmosphere with synths, acoustic guitars and clean spoken word. This comes back into an amazingly dark section that gives such an evil feeling. This is followed by the fastest blasts on the entire album for just a little bit before kicking into a Cynic style and synth driven instrumental section before hitting the climax of the song. the climax makes you feel like you are just about to fall off the side of a mountain in sheer terror. The final riff on the album rivals Between The Buried And Me's White Walls as one of the best ending riffs to an album put on record. Everything about it is brilliant. The song finally ends with bass and clean picked guitar that leaves on a final lingering and fading note to close out Obscura's 4th magnum opus.


It's hard to put into words how amazing Obscura has rebounded from turmoil and back luck in the last couple years. While many thought that the band would have reached it's highest point with 2011's Omnivium, Steffen Kummerer and Co. not only shatters that notion, they prove that they are stronger than ever and the band's best days are still to come. Akroasis is sheer and utter brilliance! Combining the best of the Tech Death days of yore with a modern twinge. Obscura is one of the leading bands in the Progressive and Technical Death Metal realms for a reason. Come see why for yourself!

- 10/10


Obscura- Akroasis available February 5th via Relapse Records
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  #9  
Old 01-23-2016, 11:20 AM
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So the best song on the album was written by somebody that was kicked out of the band....interesting.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2016, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anomynous View Post
So the best song on the album was written by somebody that was kicked out of the band....interesting.
That actually happens quite a bit.
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