Review: Burial Oath – Beyond the Vale of Shadowlands Aug01

Review: Burial Oath – Beyond the Vale of Shadowlands

Do you yearn for the days when black metal was still a simple endeavor? A time when its taxonomic boundary was both well defined and clearly understood; a time when grown men could don corpse paint with pride; a time when black metal was, well, exactly that – no more, no less. Maybe I’m just a closet luddite. But the truth is more often than not, I just want to listen to Plain Old Black Metal™ without any pretentiousness or pretense that seems to be the metal du jour these days. If you know of what I speak, then say hello to my little friend, Burial Oath‘s Beyond the Vale of Shadowlands. Shadowlands triumph is in its...

Echo Chamber: Room Acoustics Part 3 Jul07

Echo Chamber: Room Acoustics Part 3

A couple of months back in part two of this series, I explained how room modes can wreak havoc on in-room frequency response, and how kinetic bass traps work by slowing down the air particles that carry sound waves, reducing the energy of the reflected waves that cause peaks and nulls in response. The problem with these types of traps is that while they are very effective at medium to upper frequencies, they can be ineffective at dealing with low frequency peaks and nulls, which can often be the most problematic areas in a room. The reason why is that the velocity of the particles directly at the wall (where you would normally mount the...

Review: Æther Realm – Tarot Jun22

Review: Æther Realm – Tarot

I want you to imagine a record that has the folksy edge of Ensiferum combined with the melodic complexity of Wintersun all delivered through this very Mors Principium Est sounding package. That, in a nutshell, is Æther Realm‘s Tarot. Sounds delicious, right? But let’s step back for a moment. If you haven’t heard of Æther Realm, I’m not surprised. Their 2013 debut, One Chosen by the Gods, which though a laudable effort in its own right, was a bit too overt in its Wintersun meets Ensiferum worship, and came off as more novelty than anything of actual substance. Nevertheless, if you did happen to stumble upon it, Gods...

Review: Audioengine D3 DAC and Headphone Amp Jun09

Review: Audioengine D3 DAC and Headphone Amp

Introduction As I wrote in my review of the two AudioQuest Dragonflies back in March, the market for “dongle DACs” (USB connector on one end, headphone jack on the other) is now fiercely contested, and one player looking to make a name for themselves in this space is Audioengine. If that name rings a bell, it’s probably the company’s powered desktop speakers that you’re thinking of, which Alex has covered on a few occasions. Speakers are definitely their primary focus, but AE has also produced a few DACs and headphone amps, and currently sells the B1 Bluetooth streamer, D1 desktop DAC/headphone amp, and the subject of this review, the D3...

Review: Nokturnal Mortum – Verity May26

Review: Nokturnal Mortum – Verity

Nokturnal Mortum is one of those bands that everybody should know but very few actually do. And as I stated in my vinyl follow-up about the band’s 2009 magnum opus, The Voice of Steel, a big part of that has to do with their now former association with the NSBM movement early on in their career. But over the last decade, the band has tried to distance themselves from said movement and in the process rebrand themselves as a fairly prototypical blackened folk metal band. In fact in 2014, lead vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and the band’s spiritual leader, Varggoth, addressed some of these issues head on by stating that since the...

Po-Nope! May12

Po-Nope!

I last wrote about Neil Young’s erstwhile Pono music store a little less than two years ago, when the SS Pono was already taking on water. Unsurprisingly, Pono has now found a new home in Davy Jones’ Locker. Let’s take a moment to consider the reasons why. When you are trying to enter the market as a disruptor, you need to actually do something different. The original iPhone is a great example of a market disruptor. Touch screen phones prior to the iPhone sucked, because nobody had thought to build a UI around the idea, and even if they had, plastic resistive screens would’ve been miserable to use anyway. In its earliest stages, Pono did...