I interviewed Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure (son of the late Ali Farka Toure, and godson of Toumani Diabaté; if you know your Malian music, you know this basically makes him the Chosen One) about his new album The Secret. Be warned: the album features guest appearances by John Scofield, Derek Trucks, and (ugh) Dave Matthews. But for the rest of its running time, it's a pretty hard-grooving, and occasionally quite scorching, slab of Afro-rock. VFT is not one of those lilting African guitarists. He likes to step on the pedal and kick some ass. Here's the link.
And here are links to 10 more All Music Guide reviews:
Arch Enemy, Khaos Legions
Autopsy, Macabre Eternal (Amazon MP3 link)
Krallice, Diotima (Amazon MP3 link)
Portrait, Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae (Amazon MP3 link)
Qluster, Fragen (Amazon MP3 link)
Wadada Leo Smith, Heart's Reflections (Amazon link)
A Storm of Light, As the Valley of Death Becomes Us, Our Silver Memories Fade (Amazon MP3 link)
Jeremy Udden, If the Past Seems So Bright (Amazon MP3 link)
Anthony Wilson, Campo Belo (Amazon MP3 link)
I also wrote a review of Hate Eternal's Phoenix Amongst the Ashes that AMG decided not to use, so here's that:
Phoenix Amongst the Ashes
Hate Eternal’s music is death metal, sharpened to a razor’s edge and polished to a blinding gleam. There is almost no subtlety to it—the riffs saw at the listener’s ears, the drums are a relentless double bass machine-gun barrage, the vocals are a harsh, guttural roar. Still, both through his long tenure leading the group and his production work for a variety of other extreme metal outfits, Hate Eternal leader Erik Rutan continues to refine his group’s core sound from album to album. Phoenix Amongst the Ashes doesn’t inject even slight doses of melody, but these songs do somehow seem to function as songs, not mere collections of riffs. The band is very much influenced by Morbid Angel, for whom Rutan played in the ’90s; their songs have the same feeling of huge slabs of concrete being pushed back and forth. There are unexpected sounds here, though, like when a guitar that sounds almost like a horn section comes in at 2:30 into “Haunting Abound,” or the ultra-clean guitar riff that follows it, in the same song. “The Art of Redemption” opens with extremely high-pitched, insanely fast picking by Rutan that sounds like the work of Krallice/Orthrelm guitarist Mick Barr, as drummer Jade Simonetto hammers his kit into submission. So while in some ways this is “just another Hate Eternal album,” the band continues to find new facets of a style that might be easily classifiable—and ignorable—in the hands of lesser players.
Oh, and I reviewed three albums for emusic.com:
Altar of Plagues, Mammal