Album Review: Caratucay – Nocturnes of the Incarcerated

Band: Caratucay | Album: Nocturnes of the Incarcerated | Genre: Death metal, Progressive metal | Year: 2023

From: Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany | Label: Independent

For fans of: Between the Buried and Me, Opeth


Caratucay is a German prog-death metal quintet, and Nocturnes of the Incarcerated is their second full-length album. I will admit that I was entirely unfamiliar with this band before running across Nocturnes while perusing Bandcamp, but this album made enough of an impression on me, I felt it’d make a solid spotlight for this site.

After the brief subdued intro “Captivi te Salutant”, the album starts in earnest with “Paralysis”. It’s an immediate punch in the face, full of pummeling yet melodic riffs. The vocals have more in common with black metal than death metal for the most part, but that’s something I like. In general, I prefer black metal shrieking over death metal Cookie Monster vocals. Those low guttural vocals feature prominently, too, but they strike a nice balance. “Paralysis” is a tight, anxious song, where the riffs bounce all over the place. Despite the many shifts, the song holds together well.

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Album Review: PeroPero – Massive Tales of Doom

Band: PeroPero | Album: Massive Tales of Doom | Genre: Progressive metal | Year: 2023

From: Berlin, Germany | Label: Panta R&E

For fans of: Dream Theater, Haken, Devin Townsend


PeroPero is a Berlin-based progressive metal duo of Austrian origin. It’s been six years since their last release, 2017’s Lizards. Massive Tales of Doom hews rather close to PeroPero’s typical sound. The vocals are idiosyncratic and dramatic, and the songs are full of wild and twisting riffs.

Massive Tales of Doom opens on the pummeling, slightly-askew guitar lines of “Vermin”. The drumming is exciting and energetic without being overbearing. The vocals are dramatic and are perhaps the most distinctive part of the band, overall. It’s unorthodox but it works excellently. The song alternates between expansive, doom-influenced walls of guitar and twisting, irregular scalar runs. Growling stabs of synthesized bass add an effective counterbalance during the song’s more ascendent moments.

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Odds & Ends: April 3, 2023

Band: Enslaved | Album: Heimdal | Genre: Progressive metal | Bandcamp

If nothing else, Enslaved is a very consistent band. They’ve got a sound they stick to pretty well, and they release albums reasonably often. However, this can also lead to a number of their albums bleeding together into a vague mush of proggy, blackish metal. Heimdal is certainly better than Utgard, but it still doesn’t do much to stand out in their discography. Maybe it’ll grow on me; Enslaved’s best albums have always taken a few listens to sink in. But as it stands, after a couple listens, this is a perfectly fine–though inessential–release.

Score: 74/100

Band: Fistfights with Wolves | Album: The Sheep That Eats The Wolf | Genre: RIO, Zeuhl, Progressive rock | Bandcamp

This short release has some good ideas on it, but the problem is there aren’t quite enough of them to justify the 28-minute runtime. This band is clearly heavily influenced by Magma, especially in their vocal arrangements, but they feel like a bit of a one-trick pony. None of the songs stood out that much, and the 12-part mini-suite “RMFP” is scattershot and unfocused. The opening “Skeletons” is pretty good, so maybe this should have just been a single with one other tightened-up song.

Score: 61/100

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Album Review: Witch Ripper – The Flight After The Fall

Band: Witch Ripper | Album: The Flight after the Fall | Genre: Sludge metal, Progressive metal | Year: 2023

From: Seattle, USA | Label: Magnetic Eye Records

For fans of: Mastodon, Baroness, Gojira, Inter Arma


Witch Ripper is one of my favorite local acts from the Seattle scene. They play a heavy, sludgy variety of metal, but it’s shot through with complex melodies and artful subtleties. I’ve seen them live a few times, and they always put on a fantastic show. So if you’re in the Pacific Northwest and you get a chance to see them, I’d strongly recommend the experience.

Despite being around since 2012, the band didn’t put out its first full-length release until 2018. Homestead is a solid album with some great moments. It’s more sludge-with-prog-elements than vice-versa, but it still holds its own. Their new album, The Flight after the Fall, has more explicitly progressive leanings.

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Album Review: Riverside – ID.Entity

Band: Riverside | Album: ID.Entity | Genre: Progressive rock, Progressive metal | Year: 2023

From: Warsaw, Poland | Label: InsideOut

For fans of: Porcupine Tree


Riverside is one of the bigger names in the progressive music world. They’re a progressive metal act based out of Poland that came to prominence in the early 2000s. Their first decade or so of existence was great, with 2009’s Anno Domini High Definition being one of the best records of that decade. Moving into the 2010s, though, the band faltered a bit. Shrine of New Generation Slaves didn’t quite land, in my opinion, and I disliked Love, Fear and the Time Machine so much, I didn’t even give their 2018 album, Wasteland, a listen. So, when I saw they had a new record coming out (their first since I started this site), I was viewing it comparably to how I view Dream Theater: something I’m pretty much obligated to cover; something I’m not that jazzed about; but something I’m willing to be surprised by.

When I first heard “Friend or Foe?”, the album’s opening track and leadoff single, I had a rather negative reaction to it. Those blooping faux-80s synth lines usually summon a visceral revulsion from me. I don’t like synthwave or most of the other ‘80s pastiches that have been in vogue for what feels like at least a decade at this point. It can be fun as an interlude to switch things up, admittedly, like BTBAM did on Colors II. “Friend or Foe?” isn’t even a bad song; I’ve warmed up quite a bit to it. But there’s a difference between tossing in some contrast two-thirds of the way through an album versus leading an album off with such a decision. I was worried this would wind up being something of a mission statement for the record, but thankfully it isn’t.

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Album Review: Hammers of Misfortune – Overtaker

Band: Hammers of Misfortune | Album: Overtaker | Genre: Progressive metal, Thrash metal | Year: 2022

From: San Francisco, USA | Label: Independent

For fans of: Detente, Voivod, Droid


Hammers of Misfortune is a progressive thrash four-piece currently based somewhere out of Montana. Every source outside of their Bandcamp listed their location as San Francisco, but Bandcamp said they’re based in Montana. So I’m guessing a relocation occurred somewhat recently.

Geographical unclarity aside, they’ve got a distinctive sound. Female-fronted acts outside of power and traditional metal are somewhat rare, and this band is quite keys-forward, especially for a thrash band. The vocals remind me a lot of Detente, and the rich synths and organs could fit in perfectly with any classic prog band. The riffs are fast and complex, though, and the music overall is uncompromising.

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