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Drottnar sure takes their sweet time putting out albums, with 6 or 7 years between full-length releases. This time, it was definitely worth the wait. I was a fan of the first album, Spiritual Battle, but found 2006’s Welterwerk too chaotic and have rarely listened to it after the first few spins. Stratum seems to have taken the best of both those releases and melded them together into a furious sonic fury. There is still plenty of technical playing involved, maybe even more than in the past. Yet it never seems to get too chaotic or noisy, as those parts are juxtaposed with a more subdued grind and some atonal chord work, of all things—and it works. Add to that the stellar production, and this album shines. It’s already been a great year for extreme Christian Metal, and Stratum does its part to contribute.


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The trio of Comrades – husband and wife Joe and Laura McElroy alongside drummer John Gaskil – is used to living in a van and touring the country. Now, their new normal has provided them with a moment to "be adults" for once. We recently sat down with the McElroys to talk more about the spiritual reality within life, how soon they'll be able to release new music, and how koalas are their new normal.


Photo by Quinsey Sablan

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