Valaska, the performing name for the solo effort of frontman Dave Valdez, brings a show-gazer indie effort for his first full-length release. It’s instrument rich (think ukeleles, strings, flutes), which makes the effort hard to drop into a category, but it’s easy to describe: bland. “On The Surface”, the album’s opening track, is bare bones and sounds like what a pop-core band would do when asked to record an acoustic version of one of their songs. Jump over to “In Voids” and, if it weren’t for Valdez’s tone, you’d think you were listening to a track Randy Newman wrote for the next Disney film. The problem with all of it is that it’s just a little too ho-hum. It sways like you would if you were a buoy in the ocean, but if the wind never got over 10 mph. It’s not enough salt and pepper, but it’s certainly not unseasoned. It’s Grant Wood’s American Gothic incarnate. Some more spice would do the record well.
At their core, Atreyu is a hard rock band with metal riffs and pop choruses. Now, after more than 20 years, the band has stepped boldly into their next chapter with a change in lineup and an album that proves the lifeblood of Atreyu is stronger than ever.Full Feature More from Atreyu
Death metal is no longer strictly a one-kind-of-sound genre but a cloud under which many elements have formed. We have assembled five must-hear death metal acts you should be listening to now, each distinctly set apart from another in form, yet still brethren in the death metal community.Full Feature More from In-Conquered
When rock emerged from blues and 'heavy metal' began to surface, faith-based metal acts also rose to start their own journeys. Initially shunned by both believers and non-believers, they were fighting for their spot at the table, ultimately building a legacy that would go on to change the genre forever. HM presents an oral history of the beginning of Christian metal music, featuring Guardian, Tourniquet, Holy Soldier, Whitecross, and, of course, Stryper.Full Feature More from Guardian
With influences that span Miles Davis and Stravinsky to Geddy Lee and Les Claypool, jazz metal force Imperial Triumphant is the epitome of genre-bending. HM contributing writer Andrew Voigt spoke with the band about their unique style, the massive bass presence in their music, and the rise and fall of civilization.Full Feature More from Imperial Triumphant