I’m finally back! Did you miss me? My January break from writing went a little longer than planned, but I’m excited to be back and checking out all of the metal I can get my hands on. So, without further ado, let’s see what I stumbled across this week…

Tempestarii – Temple of Sky

First on the block is American black metallers Tempestarii, with their first full-length release, Temple of Sky.A slow, punishing soundscape, Temple of Sky is a record to pack a lunch for, stretching five songs to nearly an hour. There’s a lot to like about this record, as the long stretches of depressive black metal are broken up with some softer acoustic segments on songs like “Holy Dread”. Tempstarii’s soundscapes are well-constructed and truly punishing, but I can’t help feeling like it all goes on just a little too long. After a couple listens, I’ve started to blame the mix – while it’s generally appealingly lo-fi, the drums are little flat and high in the mix. The riffs are solid, but for me, they bury the guitars and give the whole thing a bit of a samey feel (especially if you’re not listening on the best speakers). Maybe I’m just not brutal enough, but it was a just little too long and droning to really hold my attention. If you’re deep into the depressive black metal? This will be worth a spin for you.

Temple of Sky was released on January 18, 2019. You can check it out HERE!

California Hearse – California Hearse

Next up, we’ve got pop-rockers California Hearse with their self-titled () record. These guys have solid musical skills and some great lyrics on tracks like “Best Worst” and “Used To Be”. The problem is that they sound exactly like every other pop-punk band I’ve heard in the past couple of years. Their music is competently executed, but their slavish devotion to clichéd melodies and progressions dooms this album to be forgettable. Even vocalist () sounds like a carbon copy of a standard nasal pop-punk dude. It sucks, because they’ve got great lyrics and skills, and applying a little more originality would really make them shine. But, you listen to the album you get, and not the album you wish you had, so yeah. Pass. Sadface.

California Hearse was released December 9, 2018. You can check it out HERE!

Sebastien – Behind The World

Real talk: this was by FAR my favorite release of the week. Sebastien’s shameless embrace of what I am terming “power cheese” is infectious and darn fun. The secret, at least in my opinion, is their commitment- you can’t pull off making a tune like “Fight For Love” awesome if your heart’s not in it. Luckily, the band’s hearts are in it, and the result is an earnest and engaging song I’d dearly love to sing at a drunk karaoke night. Title track “Behind the World” is much in the same vein – as much as I’d love to hear a bit more guitar in the mix in this song, it has a fantastic pop sensibility and infectious hooks. Sebastien have been around since about 2008 and it really shows in their writing and production – everything is crisp and it sounded great on both my nice headphones and my cheap Bluetooth speaker. All of the tracks would benefit from more guitars, at least in my opinion- this release feels more synth/rock driven than metal. But that’s a nitpick. Overall, Behind The World is a winner – a super fun, crisp release from start to finish.

Behind The World was released on February 2, 2019. You can check it out HERE!

That’s it for now. See you next week!

…No, really. You’re stuck with me now.