Episode 258: Norma Jean, Devin Townsend Project, Virvum 2016 Album Reviews + Trap Them Preview

Going Above and Beyond

What do these three albums have in common? Well, not a hell of a lot besides guitars, bass, drums, and somebody doing vocals.  Two of them did “transcend” our expectations and the other has “transcend” in the name, so I guess that is kinda of a connection.  It’s not a great one, but it’s something!


Norma Jean Polar Similar (Solid State)
The Devin Townsend Project Transcendence (Inside Out)
Virvum Illuminance

First Impression:
Trap Them – “Revival Spines” from Crown Feral out September 23th from Prosthetic Records

Norma Jean – Polar Similar

Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence

Virvum – Illuminance


  1. I’ve actually done something recently that I almost never do: preorder albums. My reason has been to get the already released tracks off those albums now instead of waiting until the full release. There are so many anticipated albums being released in the next 2 months that I want to start listening to whatever I can from those albums as soon as I can. One of those albums has been Transcendence by Devin Townsend. Since it was a preorder, I’m really only able to judge three tracks so far, but they seem like average Hevy Devy material. The song “Secret Sciences” has a nice chorus, but “Stormbending” and “Failure” don’t seem to stand out all that much. I’ve listened to the rest of the album only once so far, so we’ll see if these songs sink in better with repeated listenings. Additionally, I’ll see how the new material comes across live when I see him on Friday at BestBuy/Playstation Theater. I’m already looking forward to losing my shit when he plays Kingdom and Grace.

    You say you haven’t covered a lot of tech death this year? I think there’s been a decent amount this year, and a lot of it has been good. Brain rattled off a bunch of things you reviewed but left out Enthean which you both gave 5s to. Plus the year isn’t over yet. There’s a certain tech death album being released on September 23 that is surely going to have me talking about it.

    Now for some previous recent releases: the new Subrosa album has not gotten better upon repeated listens. I do like violins (see Ne Obliviscaris) and I like female vocals (see Nightwish and Epica and lots of others), so I figure it’s the doom part of Subrosa that just isn’t resonating with me. It is becoming more apparent that Pallbearer is the only doom band that I actually like.

    Speaking of genres that we only occasionally listen to (such as doom), I’ve been enjoying the latest album from the band that is probably the best black metal band out there right now: Inquisition. I realize you aren’t going to listen to it but I’ll give you my review anyway. Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith is not only an awesome album title but also an awesome album. Inquisition is all about the riffs. Forget the production, forget the vocals, it’s the riffs that get inside your bones and stay with you. Their latest album doesn’t quite have as many awesome riffs as their previous album, Obscure Verses for the Multiverse, but there are still plenty enough to make this a great album. Listening to Inquisition leads me to ask the question: what is the best black metal band active today? By “active”, I mean they’ve released albums recently (that excludes Emperor even though they play live occasionally). Aside from Inquisition, I can only add Abbath/Immortal to the list of best black metal bands. Any other top black metal bands I can think of would fall into the category of “sort of” black metal, such as Secrets of the Sky, or “used to be black metal” such as Enslaved. I think some people might consider Behemoth as black metal but I see them more as death metal. That still leaves Inquisition at the top of the genre.

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