Wednesday, May 8, 2019

interview: Andrey Tollock (Ukraine)

It is difficult enough to be a one-person project and take care of all the music and details yourself. It’s more so if the political situation around you is chaotic, tense and violent, as it has been for several years now in Ukraine where Andrey Tollock lives. Generally speaking, since 2013 Ukraine has experienced upheaval and violence, and some general estimates say that 9,000 people have died, other estimates put it closer to 13,000, or more; it’s hard to say what the real numbers are. In Donetsk where Andrey lives there has been fighting between the forces of the Ukrainian central government and the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, and this conflict is not resolved.
This publication sent some questions to Andrey about the music that he makes. Check out the music at the links at the end of this interview.
Hello! Can you give us information about yourself and your music?
Hi there! My name is Andrey Tollock. I’m from Donetsk, Ukraine. I have two projects: Haissem (melodic black) and Sunset Forsaken (melodic doom/death). I’d started to compose music for Haissem in 2014, but the debut album has been done only in 2016. At the current moment, Haissem’s discography consists of four albums: “Maze Of Perverted Fantasies” (2016), “Hatavism” (2017), “Panacea For A Cursed Race” (2018) and “Demonotone” – the brand new one (2019). Sunset Forsaken has the only one work for a while – “Chameleon Waters” (2018). The second album is in process.
Do you do it all by yourself? Do you collaborate with others?
Right you are. I compose, perform and arrange music by myself. My friend and the part-time owner of the “Vetkin Records” studio, Vitaliy Dorofeev, helps me with drum programming. I always have the model of the drum arrangements and Vitaly successfully assists to realize the plan. As for collaboration with other musicians: I’ve begun to do it since 2018 when the instrumental part of “Demonotone” album was completed. I’ve decided to involve the session vocalists into process. Denis Schwan of Bredor band on the lead vocals and Dmitriy Kufley of Datura band on the backing vocals have done their work perfectly! There are my vocals on this record, too. By the way, “Demonotone” includes the tracks that were removed from “Hatavism” album due to discrepancy of musical concept. My next work, “Куһаҕан тыын” (it translates as “The Maleficent Spirit”, Yakut language), that will be out in 2020, also contains session collaborations: there will be cello and female voices.
What can you tell us about your work and your experiences in making music in Ukraine with finding other musicians and the scene there?
The area I live is called Donetsk region and it’s rather huge. Till the tragic events of 2014, there were over 5 million denizens. As for my civil occupation: I’m miner, I work down the ground, almost at the bowels of Hades …I live with my wife and kids. I performed a lot of shows in my country being a member of other bands that played pop-rock and punk, but not Haissem and Sunset Forsaken. My concert activity was from 2006 till 2013. I was winner and laureate of a number of festivals and competitions. Now I’m also having pop-rock project “Ampula Seven”.
Ukraine isn’t good place for metal music. The bands who strive to promote their music prefer to do it abroad, in Europe. Ukranian fans know about my projects, but their support leaves much to be desired. I have no budget for additional advertisement and PR. So I remain in deep underground. My music is totally dedicated to the 90s and it’s not fashionable and not popular among the fans.
Why are Haissem and Sunset Forsaken separate?
The 4th release of Haissem is done. On the 25th of May “Demonotone” will be available on Bandcamp. This work stylistically differs from the previous ones. It’s more death-metal oriented release inspired with Florida DM-school. Haissem and Sunset Forsaken are fundamentally different projects. Haissem includes the elements of melodic black, melodic death, dark metal with slight progressive influences. It’s inspired by Rotting Christ, Old Man’s Child, Cradle Of Filth, Moonspell, In Flames, At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity. Sunset Forsaken is the melodic/doom death unit. I cannot title it “side project”. It’s just another genre and style that is not suitable for Haissem’s sound and concept. SF is inspired by Paradise Lost, Katatonia, My Dying Bride, October Tide, Draconian.
Did you learn instruments and recording by yourself (with YouTube?)?
For almost a year I took guitar classes. But my further practice was exceptionally done by myself. I didn’t learn to record my music, ‘cause my friend Vitaly Dorofeev helps me with the recordings. In times when I started to practice there was no YouTube. I bought the lessons on VHS. I do not consider myself as a good instrumentalist.
Do your lyrics cover life in Ukraine? Do you write in English, Ukrainian and/or Russian?
The lyrics of Haissem & SF are only in English. And these lyrics ain’t connected with life in Ukraine. It is just the offspring of my imagination. The topics are very vast to discuss: from the appearance of religion as the way to enslave mankind mentally and physically to the reason why the people do strive to self-annihilation.
Is your family ok? The news report violence and conflict in Ukraine!
My family is OK, thanks. The political, economical & common situation in the place where I live is very complicated. But there’s no violence here locally. We are rather safe. But violence happens everywhere, even in relatively prosperous regions. Please, let me give you a piece of advice: don’t believe everything you read. We live in time of informational war and total propaganda. Mass media do lie!!!
Does the political tension make it more difficult for you to make music?
My music remains independent. It’s out of any political shit. The only thing I support is the idea of peace, the idea to stop this f***ing war and stop killing people from both sides.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
You can support Haissem below. I wish all American readers health, wealth, money, success and good luck! And, of course, be yourself! And I also wish the progress, the growth and the enhancement to The Metal Bulletin’ Paper zine!!! Thanks for interview!

read online number 170 of Metal Bulletin Zine

At the link below you can read number 170 of Metal Bulletin Zine. It features the grind of Fordærv, the traditional heavy metal of Booze Control, and the folk metal of Diaboł Boruta.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

read online issue 169 of Metal Bulletin Zine

At the link below is number 169 of Metal Bulletin Zine. This particular issue features the traditional heavy metal of Ascheregen from Germany, the doom and depressive black metal of Hypnotic Dirge Records, and the black metal of Gorgon from France.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

read online issue 168 of Metal Bulletin Zine

The nice people over at Fuglymaniacs have posted issue number 168 of Metal Bulletin Zine for you to read online. Number 168 features: the political music of King Apathy, the veteran death/thrash of Opprobrium (Incubus), and an interview with Russian extreme metallers Second to Sun.

Pirates in Black

interview: Pirates in Black
The old, classic ways are alive in the form of Pirates in Black (Germany). The band does not even care about what label people put on the music and they just call themselves heavy rock, as heavy metal was known in the early days before the craziness of the genres, subgenres and subsubgenres and that stuff. Pirates in Black for the old at heart, whether you are young or not so much a spring chicken. It does not matter, this is music you can understand easily because the purpose is to rock, and nothing else. Ahoy, mateys! All aboard!
Friends, who is Pirates in Black and how many recordings do you have?
Hi, my name is Falo Faltu and I am the founder (and the Captain) of the PIRATES IN BLACK. I’m the lead singer, play guitar, and wrote all of our songs so far. And I’m very pleased to answer your questions.
The PIRATES IN BLACK formed as a band in late 2016. That was the time when I thought the songs I had written and recorded back in those days should be played live. I asked my friend and drummer Hans Heringer (serving on board of our pirate ship as a Powder Monkey) to join the band. Hans used to play the drums for many years in the band UNIVERSE which you might now as a long time established melodic hard rock band from Germany. On bass we have the Gunner, Carl Clover. I used to play together with Carl back in the early 90’s in our band LYVE WYRE (some great kind of heavy hard rock, though we didn’t get far). And the other guitar is played by the Quartermaster, Accu Becher. In fact, Accu heard about the project, the PIRATES IN BLACK, quite incidentally, and asked me if he could join us. He was a well known guitar player in our local community, with great skills, and a long experience in various local bands. So I was more than happy about his request. And here we are: Four old school rockers, who payed their dues in many ways, with the passion for heavy rock music, and the strong urge to let the good times roll, again! We are Pirates! Ready for plundering. Stealing riffs wherever we can. Destroying them. And devastating the stages with all of our might. And – yes – we do not take it all too seriously! :-)
Back to your questions: The songs available on Bandcamp (and on our website are part of our first album “Pirates In Black” which is going to be released in May. The album will consist of 10 songs (and a bonus track).
How much experience do you have?
Yes. As I mentioned before all of us look back at a long history of playing in different bands. Some of them were (heavy) cover bands. Others played their own songs. All of our former bands played hard and heavy rock. Today Hans and I use to be members of a heavy cover band called BANDOXX. Accu plays guitar in another band of that kind, called MEDLEY CRUE. We all live in Germany in the region around Wuppertal, called Bergisches Land. The next bigger cities are Cologne, Dusseldorf and Dortmund.
Honestly, playing music in a band is not our main profession (although we would describe our musical skills as semi-professional). All four of us are self-employed which gives us the flexibility to play gigs, shows, and festivals whenever we are given the chance to. Until today we played shows in a circle of about 100 miles around Wuppertal. But this will change soon since we are already booked for a gig in Northern Germany. And we keep spreading the word for sure!
What is the inspiration for your band in 2019? For example, do you like the old Running Wild pirate-loving music? What about 1980s music like Ozzy, Accept, Faithful Breath, Scorpions and similar bands? What about 1970s?
Yes, we are grey headed bloody old bastards :-) Our musical roots go back to the 70’s and 80’s. I am very much inspired by Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, but also by Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society. AC/DC and Motörhead, of course. I love Whitesnake, especially when John Sykes played the guitar (and btw I give a sh*t on Steve Vai’s humpty dumpty fiddeling). And yes, Accept was also a great band from Germany. Did you know that Udo Dirkschneider, the former singer of Accept, was born in Wuppertal? Fun fact: We recorded the vocals of our album in the studio of Udo’s brother Peter Dirkschneider (also known as the singer of Vanize). He was also in charge for the mix of the songs.
Of course, we know Running Wild’s “Under The Jolly Roger”. But believe it or not, I only got aware of that song way after I founded the PIRATES IN BLACK. Anyhow, great (and funny!) song!
Have the German rock publications done any reviews of your music? Is there a market for your music in Germany? I mean, rock fans in Germany still love Scorpions, Judas Priest and Ozzy, right?
In fact, this one is our first serious interview. So you deserve all the credits to be the one who had the PIRATES IN BLACK beforehand of all the others :-) We are still at the very beginning. We are not signed by a label right now, but have to manage all of the PR stuff on our own. Which is fun but also very time consuming. We had some air plays recently, on rock stations like Pure Sound Radio, Metal Only, and Metal Devastation Radio. And we have been listed as a newcomer band on the website of Radio BOB, which is one of the two major rock radio stations in Germany. So I think we are on a good way, but there is still much more way to go.
I have the impression that most of the other newcomer bands are much more into metal, growling, playing faster, than we are. On the other hand those old school guys like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, KISS, even Saxon, and of course Ozzy, are undergoing a kind of revival today. If you take a look at Wacken (the biggest heavy metal festival in Germany) you will find that the kids still go crazy about classic heavy rock. So – back to the question – yes, I think there is still a niche (a market?) for classic heavy rock like we are celebrating it. To undermine this: We took part in a newcomer band contest last year (called the SPH Bandcontest) and made it to the region final (which will take place in September this year). So there must be definitely at least some interest in our kind of music.
“Words Are Loaded Guns” is the first song. It has a cool heavy big midtempo riff that is the basis of the song. The drumming is grooving and the guitar solo is a nice blues-based melodic segment. What is the story behind the song?
The title “Words Are Loaded Guns” is a citation of the French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. For me, it means that people don’t need real guns, or any violence at all, to change the system they are living in, or at least to force the current leaders to resign. We had the so called “peaceful revolution” in Germany in 1989 where the people in the streets peacefully protested against the socialist system of the German Democratic Republic, and the system collapsed with not even one shot out of a gun. This is one aspect of it. The other thing about it is what we are experiencing with leaders today who try to cut the rights of the free press, calling them “fake news”, knowing, fearing, and using that in fact “Words are loaded guns”.
After the midpaced song “Words Are Loaded Guns”, you respond with a faster tune called “Pirates in Black”. When you all formed the band, what did you imagine that Pirates in Black would be as a sound? Pirates are outlaws. Do you feel like you are outlaws playing music that goes against the grain in Germany? I do not know what music is popular in Germany! I don’t know if Rammstein is big or if bands with growled vocals are popular.
Rammstein is big in Germany (although I think they are beyond their peak in terms of sound and songs). Growling is very popular in the German metal scene. But there are a bunch of other great bands in Germany, too. Listen to Twenty Dark Seven, for example. Great heavy rock straight into your face. Or The New Black. Great bands, no growling, just ROCK!
Are we outlaws? Well, in a certain way I think we are. We describe our sound as “Merciless. Lawless. Heavy. Rock.” And that is in fact how we mean it. We don’t care if anybody else does not like the groove, the style, the rhythm. We really give a sh*t about genres, especially into which genre we might – or might not – fit in. What really drives us is to play music we like, together with persons we like, in front of people, who have fun. We are wearing pirate costumes on stage. We are posting funny things on social media, speaking in a pirate way, arrrrrr!!!! Some so called “professional musicians” do not like that. But we have fun with it. And so have our fans. That’s the only thing that is important for us. I mean, if you go to a rock show, what do you expect? You want to be entertained! You want to have a great evening. You want to sing out loud! Bang your head! You want to see crazy people on stage who give everything! You don’t want to see our next door neighbor. You don’t want to go home later and think, “well, next time I’ll stay at home and watch TV instead of going to that pirate show again.”
In the end it is all about having fun, destroying our ears, pushing up the amps, and rock. Is there a business in it? We don’t know. With rules to be obeyed? We don’t care. We are pirates!!!! Harrrharrrharrr!!!
Is there one general theme in all the songs or are they separate stories? For instance, the song “All Alone” (a cool mitempo song that becomes a rocking uptempo tune). Are the lyrics based on personal experiences or is it a story about somebody else, not necessarily about you?
There is no general theme shared by all the songs. Not so far. To tell the truth, I really love those concept albums, for example Queensryche’s “Operation Mindcrime” or even “The Wall” from Pink Floyd. And (for me, personally) it would be great to set up something like this in the future. If this ever happens, I don’t know.
Concerning the songs of the PIRATES IN BLACK I can tell you that I like to sing about things that move me. “All alone” is a song about homeless people living in the streets. I have never experienced that on my own, although I used to play guitar as a street musician for a couple of a while. That’s not the same thing. But you get in contact, and you learn about those things, as long as you are open minded and keep your feet on the ground.
Is there anything in particular happening in Germany that has made you write lyrics about it?
I’m not so much focused on what is happening in Germany particularly. But of course I listen to the news. I keep myself informed. I am interested in politics and in all the other things happening in Germany, in Europe, all over the world. As I said before, I like to sing about things that move me. Our Song “Eternal Blood” for example is dealing with terror caused by religious fanaticism. Another song, “Omerta”, is a story about politicians who have their own hidden agenda and use their power only to become richer and richer, “raping your society”. But in the end we are not a political band. I’m convinced that most of our fans like us because of the music, not because of the lyrics – and we feel great with that. Otherwise we might have called us the “Bob Dylans” or so ... but wait a minute, maybe we should name our pirate ship “The Black Spirit of Joan Baez”? Harrrharrrharrr!!!!
Coming back to the music. Now your recording is finished, what do you think about the guitar sound on it? Are you pleased with how it sounds? It has a classic-style heavy metal guitar tone, but it is also chunky, heavy. It’s both classic-style but more modern. Do you feel like that is what you wanted?
YES!!!! That is exactly what we wanted it to sound like. A little tiny bit of Black Sabbath. A small amount of Zakk Wylde. On top a pinch of Judas Priest. Some plundering here. Some stealing there. There you have the pirate sound! :-)
More seriously we recorded the DI-signals of our guitars and sent them through a great ENGL-Plugin at Peter’s studio. A little bit of playing around with them knobs and there you go. Hail to the inventors of digital recording technology!!!!
Given that you love the classics, do you ever wonder if recording in the analog ways would be possible?
If you are speaking about using tape as a recording medium I would say no. Those times are gone. But in means of putting down the tunes live without (too much) overdubbing, well, as long as you go for just a few songs (three or four), that would be an interesting (though demanding) way to go at least as you are a (more) semi (than) professional band as we are. It is technically demanding but not too difficult. You would need good equipment, a good location, and a sound engineer who knows how the things are done. I’m sure that the result would be great as long as we would take our time until we nailed down the songs REALLY good! The main disadvantage would be the studio time you have to pay for. We do not expect to make very much money (if any) with our music. We just want to have fun. And we want to produce the best sound possible keeping in mind our limited financial capacities. So if Napalm Records told us tomorrow “There you go with 100.000 bucks you bloody Pirates! Go and make another record!” we would be more than happy to record it live. Since this will probably never ever happen we stick to our home recording tools, DI-signals, Midi-Drums, and save our money for pirate costumes, rum barrels, and guitar strings.
What is the current situation for touring? How can fans support your band directly?
We are really looking forward to do some more shows this year. We will be on stage in May in Haan which is quite near to Wuppertal. We will take part in the region final of the SPH Bandcontest in Bochum in September. There will be a show in Wilhelmshaven at the northern shore of Germany later this year. And there are still some more options for us. Plans for 2020 are to be part of some bigger open-air festivals in Germany or in surrounding countries in Europe.
Fans are welcome to support us by buying pirate shirts or songs via our website. It is also possible to buy our songs via Bandcamp. And once our album had been released we will offer our songs on iTunes and Amazon as well. But – of course – if you like our music and you are out for a digital download or a physical CD, we are more than happy if you choose our own website for that despite of one of the big players who are going to keep a substantial share for themselves.

Acracy (continued)

Doorways to Destiny
April 5th, 2019
1.Liberation (Control Denied) 6:29
2.Aging Desires (9:35)
3.Book of Faces (9:26)
4.On My Own (6:09)
5.A Love Least Expected (9:25)
6.Come with Me (11:05)
This time around let's talk about songs number three and four. In you are interested, the first two songs were discussed here:
“Book of Faces” has two very distinct sides. The first half is one of the album’s most traditional heavy metal moments: it does not throw too much at you; it’s catchy; it has a bit of a circular vibe. The band can and does write short, chorus-centered segments, and this is a great example. This one is likely to remain in your head after the album stops playing. The rhythm section keeps the song close to the foundation; that helps to make things memorable and easier on the listener. There’s a certain comfort and sense of fun in the catchiness of it all. Thus, you are comfortable and rocking along, thinking you know what’s up: “I got this now, I’m with it”, you may thinking.
No, you don’t. What happens? Well, what had happened was that I thought I knew where I was, but then the spaceship went into a different dimension, and I needed a paper bag right away. A little trip to magic electric guitarland where it rains sideways and the guitar strings become roller coasters. However, before that, the drumming does warn you that something is on the horizon, and then it’s guitar time. This second half of the song goes full progressive. The first solo is melodic, while the second one is slower and bluesier and lasts longer. Very nice work. Let’s just say that they did not improvise the solos in the studio, but had to craft them with premeditated intelligence.
Next is “On My Own.” A six-minute song that is Acracy showing a progressive band’s efforts to not overwhelm the listener. Effectively, this is the album’s single, and was the band’s first preview of the album to the fans. Like everyone else, this is the first song that I heard from the album before the release.
This is the album’s most direct and ear-friendly song. It’s a good track to ease fans into Acracy. The band shows that not only do they write some catchy segments, but that they do also have some full songs that stay on a more direct path. On the whole album there are no ballads, but this track is the closest to a power ballad, or a prog power ballad, if you will, at least in the beginning. Then, however, the drummer is doing the double kicks and dexterous fills, and down the stretch the song will move into power thrashing mode. Of course, the vocals change mood according to the action: the singing starts out mellow and soft, but by the end it’s the singing of prog power. One way to think of it is that it has three moods: the power ballad, the transition, and then the power thrashing, uptempo last section to which the song had been building up all along. At the beginning of the song, I had reached for my lighter, but I had to put it away midway through the song because it’s difficult to hold a lighter when you are headbanging.
Alright, friends, I’ll leave it there for now. I’ll tell you about the last two songs next time. In the meantime, I have some Power Rangers episodes to check out.

Friday, April 19, 2019

NEWS: prog power band S91 (Italy) album is out now

S91 is a very talented prog power band from Italy. In 2019 they have their third album. The new album features very interesting topics about major figures in the history of Christianity.
Fans wanting to hear melodic and progressive songs with good singing and instrumentation will be pleased with S91. The album is perfect for Holy Week and Easter or for any time of the year. Check them out!
“Along The Sacred Path”
Rockshots Records
Release: 22 March 2019
Italian Christian power prog metal band S91 unleashed their sophomore album “Along The Sacred Path” on March 22, 2019, via Rockshots Records. The album follows their 2016 debut full length “Behold The Mankind”, which was a concept release about the history of humanity from the point of view of Christian theology. That album was produced by Cristiano Bertocchi (Labyrinth, Vision Divine, Wind Rose) with mastering done by Simone Mularoni (Domination Studios). Received well by critics and audiences, the debut opened doors for the band to tour across Italy and abroad, including a performance at the latest edition of “Elements Of Rock” (Switzerland), the largest Christian metal festival in Europe.
The band explains their sophomore full length: “‘Along The Sacred Path’ is a concept album that traces the history of Christianity, continuing the narrative from “Behold The Mankind”. The story is told through the life of some key figures that are not always considered positive by everyone. The main goal is to show how the Gospel message has spread in its original form, becoming the fabric of modern Western society. Scrolling through the track listing, you will see that all the characters are of European origin.”
S91 was formed in 2006 with the intention of playing rock music with Christian lyrics. After several lineup changes and the release of some self-released albums, the band developed its’s own sound influenced by progressive-metal with psychedelic and symphonic influences. In 2012, the band began to write their debut album “Behold the Mankind” in collaboration with producer Cristiano Bertocchi (Labyrinth, Vision Divine, Wind Rose). The album was released in 2016 on the label “Underground Symphony”. The album’s concept was about the history of humanity from the point of view of Christian theology. The audience response was well received and pushed the band to perform on great festivals such as Elements Of Rock in Switzerland (the greatest European Christian Metal festival). S91 are currently wrapping up their follow up release “Along The Sacred Path” due out March 2019 via Rockshots Records.
Track Listing:
1 – Constantine the Great (5:40)
2 – Saint Patrick (5:24)
3 – Pope Gregory I (3:38)
4 – Olaf II Haraldsson (5:02)
5 – Godfrey of Bouillon (5:02)
6 – Joan of Arc (4:42)
7 – Martin Luther (4:39)
8 – John Williams (8:18)
9 – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (10:50)
Album Length: 53:19
S91 - Constantine The Great (Official Lyric Video)


The melodic extreme style of Atlas Pain assembles disparate parts of a puzzle and brings it all together into a coherent sound even though the elements might seem impossible for coexistence: well-done black metal vocals, some background singing, power metal guitar, thrashing riffs, folk melodies, symphonic metal, and other components, like subconscious Italian traditional folk melodies that they would never be able get rid of, even if they wanted to do it because of the great Italian musical traditions deeply embedded in the souls of the Italian peoples. Somehow, some way, it all comes together very smoothly. For instance, you would think that black metal vocals and power metal vibes might not be partners, but the vocals are mixed in the sound at the right volume and proportion; it’s not super harsh on the ears, and the melodies meet up with the vocals at the right points of convergence. The result is catchy uptempo cheerful extreme and melodic songs. They have the fast songs, the midtempo songs, the rockers, the epic tunes, the slow segments (not too many, though!), they do it all. The music sounds like they poured their sweat, blood and tears to deliver that elusive second album that convinces the fans.
Listen to new songs by clicking on the link below.
Tales Of A Pathfinder
Scarlet Records
Release: 19 April 2019
‘Tales Of A Pathfinder’ is the second full length album of the Italian Epic-Pagan Metal band Atlas Pain. After the stunning acceptance from both critics and fans of the previous ‘What The Oak Left’, the band is now ready to push you into a wonderful unique experience.
As the result of efforts lasted two years, the concept around ‘Tales Of A Pathfinder’ finds its foundation on an epic steampunk fairy tale, as the listener will be driven into a journey at the end of the world, making him discover unknown lands and hidden cultures.
1899, London. Laughs and noises from a freak show make space for the great announcement, aiming to start the most difficult expedition that the man have ever experienced.
Each song, starting from ‘The Coldest Year’, the glorious announcement, is a specific stop that leads us to discover ancient tales and different cultures, making us appreciate all the different people around the planet.
The journey finds its end with the disclosure of a brand new world, full of rising hopes, in a reality oppressed by machines and steam for a long time.

NEWS: melodic-technical death metallers Allegaeon's new album is out now

Allegaeon's new album is out today. If you are new to the band or you would like to find out more this melodic-technical death metal band, see the official information below. Listen to the album by clicking on the link below.
Metal Blade Records
Release: 19 April 2019
With Apoptosis, Allegaeon have delivered their defining statement. A near-perfect symbiosis of technical, progressive, and melodic death metal, it is a record that is as crushingly heavy as it is inventive, lithe and intelligent, and marks a significant leap forward in their songwriting. "On this record, I was more open to new ideas that we might not have used in past," states guitarist Michael Stancel. "Rather than deleting something because 'it's not Allegaeon-y enough', I would take a step back and see if that idea fit the song and decide if it was worth keeping. With that mentality came some of my favorite songs, because I was less worried about if it fit into our old sound." This statement is borne out across the whole album, which while very much embodying the core Allegaeon sound that has drawn fans in over the course of their impressive career, it pushes into new territory, and does so with unerring confidence. "Thematically, this record is all about contrast, and the music reflects that perfectly," says vocalist Riley McShane. "The vocals are heavier than ever, but there are also more clean sections. The drums are faster than ever but also more dynamic, and the guitar playing is lower and slower than on most previous albums, but also provides long, melodic and beautiful sections throughout."
Having delivered a career best with 2016's acclaimed Proponent For Sentience - the band's first attempt at a true concept album - they toured hard in support of it. In the midst of this came an adjustment to the lineup, with the departure of longtime bassist Corey Archuleta and the addition of Brandon Michael. "Musically, Brandon brings a huge new dimension," McShane enthuses. "He has this wide breadth of music knowledge and stylistic proficiency that he draws from with excellent taste, and this makes a lot of the songs on 'Apoptosis' comes to life." Written and tracked in the midst of touring, the heavy schedule also affected Allegaeon's approach to the making of the record, guitarist Greg Burgess asserting that they "didn't have time to agonize over the songs - and honestly we didn't know what the record was going to be until we were putting on the finishing touches!" Regardless, the sheer anger driving a great many of the songs is palpable and unmistakable, with the opening to "Metaphobia" feeling like the end of the world as it thunders down, and "The Secular Age" truly seething. "After I turned 23, all my sad thoughts just turned into rage - sweet, sweet rage - so instead of taking that out on people around me, I decided to take it out on my guitar," explains Stancel. "I always like it when bands sound absolutely pissed on their recordings, and I tried to capture that same aggression on both those tracks. Along with that, I also love adding subtle layers to songs to make them as big as possible."
For those unfamiliar with the term, in science Apoptosis is the death of cells, which occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism's growth or development. For Allegaeon, this made for a succinct title due to the lyrical themes of the record being rooted in the idea of death leading to new and better life. "Be it in science, society, religion or philosophy, this idea rings true and can be observed throughout history, both told and currently unfolding," states McShane - but there is also a second layer to the choice of title, that applies to the growth and change of the band itself. "Allegaeon has been through a lot of members, but we've always continued to move forward and in an upward trajectory. With this current lineup, we feel that we are finally in a position where there are no weak links. It took a lot of loss to get here, but, in the end, it was all worth it for the overall growth of the band."
Tracking at Flatline Audio in Denver with long-serving producer Dave Otero (Cattle Decapitation, Cephalic Carnage) proved a largely stress-free process, allowing the band to bring in classical guitarist Christina Sandsengen to duet with Burgess on "Colors Of The Currents". While in the studio, they also had the time to record a bonus song, and while on Proponent they chose to cover a Rush track, this time around they were pulled in a more classical direction, delivering their take on JS Bach's "Concerto In Dm (BWV 1052)". Having always held a special place in Burgess' heart, particularly Murray Periah's version with St. Martin of the Fields Academy, he has long been eager to write a metal interpretation. "When I was having writer's block for the album, I decided to bite the bullet and arrange it. It was a huge undertaking and truly a life accomplishment for me." A further noteworthy achievement lies in 2018 having marked the 10th anniversary of Allegaeon's debut EP, and to have not only made it so far but to see the band continuing to build momentum as they storm into 2019. "We've come a long way in that time, and I'm extremely proud of what we've achieved," Burgess states. "Not only have we continued to grow from album to album despite personnel changes, every lineup change has been a huge improvement for morale. And now I can just look at our touring schedule for the coming year and know we're doing well."

NEWS: SMOULDER's 'Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring' Streaming in its Entirety / Digital Version Out Now

Fans of epic doom metal, you can now hear the Smoulder album at the link below. Find out more about Smoulder through this official information about them and the album.
Times Of Obscene Evil And Wild Daring
Cruz Del Sur Music
Release: 26 April 2019
Toronto (ON) - Cruz Del Sur Music is proud to announce the forthcoming full-length debut album from Canadian firebrands SMOULDER. On Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring, the quintet escapes into realms of fantasy, glory and heroism, all under the banner of epic doom and power metal! The album will be released April 26.
Buoyed by the success of their The Sword Woman demo comes SMOULDER, a Canadian epic doom/power metal quintet who combines obscure metal savvy with brilliant storytelling on their first full-length, Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring.
An impromptu jam session at a house party was all it took to light the fire under Canadian metal aficionados Sarah Ann and Shon Vincent. The two shared a fondness for doom bands such as Reverend Bizarre, Lamp of Thoth and Solitude Aeternus, utilizing this synchronicity to throw around ideas that while crude, were the foundation for what was to come. Originally, Sarah was on drums; Vincent on guitar and vocals, resulting in the name SMOULDER, as in “smouldering ruins.” After doing the perfunctory check on Metal Archives to ensure the name wasn’t taken, SMOULDER was forged in 2013.
SMOULDER's first few years was slow-going, though, as the two struggled to find reliable bandmates in their hometown of Calgary. The pair relocated to Toronto in 2017 and came to the realization Sarah would be better off singing and Vincent should concentrate solely on guitar. Faced with the high costs of a rehearsal room and delaying the band for another year so they could afford space, Sarah and Vincent reached across the border to Illinois to secure the services of Collin Wolf (guitar) and Kevin Hester (drums). Shortly thereafter, SMOULDER trekked into the studio to record their debut 2018 demo, The Sword Woman.
The Sword Woman was released by Hoove Child Records on a limited run of 100 copies. The demo quickly sold-out, prompting the band and label to push the run to 150 — which sold out just as quickly. Soon, the label had no choice but to press a 300 run of the demo to vinyl. Smoulder (who are completed by bassist Adam Blake) eventually caught the eye of Cruz Del Sur Music owner Enrico Leccese, who extended an offer to the band at last year’s Hammer of Doom festival in Germany. Pen now put to paper, the band got to work on its first full-length, Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring.
Recorded throughout 2018 at Chicago’s Swift Road Studios and Toronto’s Lincoln County Social Club, Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring was mixed and mastered by Arthur Rizk (Eternal Champion, Sumerlands). Artwork is courtesy of iconic fantasy painter Michael Whelan (Cirith Ungol). Featuring six songs of climatic and challenging epic doom crossed with elements of power metal, Times of Obscene Evil… is the result of countless songwriting sessions and intercontinental file-sharing. With lyrics provoking the imagination while testing the mind, SMOULDER emboldens the listener with literary and fantasy-driven stories on cuts like the nine-minute epic “The Black God’s Kiss,” power metal-ripper “Bastard Steel” and “Shadowy Sisterhood,” Smoulder’s ode to Iron Maiden’s immortal “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”
Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring is for the bold, brave and daring; those with a hardened metal spirit and thirst of the epic. Point your swords to the sky — SMOULDER has arrived!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Ceremony of Silence

Ceremony of Silence
Willowtip Records
5 April 2019
Ceremony of Silence is song-oriented, compact technical dissonant brutal extreme metal. First of all, it is fantastic that they keep the recording on point, with almost no distractions, and the album is a great example of efficiency, and that approach cannot be recommended highly enough. Do not waste people’s time, and the people that really listen to the album will notice the difference.
This album made me wake up from my autopilot stupor and take notice. Don’t listen to this album on autopilot! Maybe have a cup of coffee or just eat five or six sugar cubes, and then you’ll be ready for the journey ahead. As long as you have an earnest interest in hearing a band taking technical extreme metal as a very serious art form, then everything is going to be a o.k. with this IQ-raising brain metal done the brutal way. I find that you either wake up and listen, or this whole thing will pass you by at warp speed.
The album registers a total time of 35 minutes, but it’s closer to 30 minutes because the intermission track “Upon the Shores of Death,” a slow instrumental featuring guitar, is here for two probable reasons. First, there’s pressure to make the recordings long because there is this idea that music is like laundry detergent, toothpaste or dish soap; the more you get, the better; the bigger the package, the better (“new and improved with 30% more!”). This is often false. Longer albums basically mean a lot more filler material, bonus subpar tracks, and you even see bands releasing demo, instrumental and rejected old versions of recordings when people already have the perfectly good official versions of the songs. Another reason, is that record labels need products to sell, and it looks better on paper when you brag that your product is bigger and longer than your competitors’ product. At any rate, this instrumental track is alright, but it doesn’t fit the all-out intense technicality of the six songs that are the flesh and bones of the giant. At least it is placed well, number four, after three monster songs, and it is followed by another three awesome songs. It functions as a moment of pause.
The album is highly impressive and great quality. The drumming is almost by itself worth the price of admission. It is a veritable clinic in blazing, blasting technical drumming. In addition, the sound of the drums, the way that the drums sound, is cool. I have no idea how the drums were recorded and what technology they used, but you hear various small details of the drum work, and the drums themselves sound like real drums, not like plastic toy drums that is so common in metal music. The guitar work is interesting because it has dissonant, unmelodic tendencies (like you would find in Immolation and Deathspell Omega albums, and in some technical genres like math-oriented metal and rock), but it is done with precision and with restraint, with mercy for those of us who do not have music theory master’s degrees on extreme metal and jazz music. The dissonance becomes memorable, which of course seems like a contradiction, after a few listens because it is focused, not showing off. Also, the tremolo picking is very pleasant on the ears, and provides a major attraction for finding parts to remember. The vocals are all low, all brutal, all the time, with nothing else to distract. Logically, the vocals in this style of music are not the centerpiece because, in some real ways, this music is closer to jazz than to the traditions of hard rock and heavy metal.
For all the above reasons, highly recommended. Stand up, applause, much applause, some more applause, and a tip of the hat to Ceremony of Silence.

Twisted Tower Dire

Twisted Tower Dire
Wars In The Unknown
No Remorse Records
Alice Cooper, The Misfits, Mercyful Fate and The Ramones have the naughty, naughty habit of making you sing along to happy tunes only discover that you are singing along to creepy songs about creepy people. Twisted Tower Dire is a melodic heavy metal version of that idea. The album is rather straightforward heavy metal with melodic singing and melodic guitar playing for catchy songs that revolve around the big chorus. Efficient as possible, skilled, experienced, the album is a shameless, I say again, shameless seductive provocation aimed at living your secret guilty desires to be a singer or a guitar player. Sick boys. These Virginians are sick, they be trying to infect y’all with the grooves that make ya moves. I am on to you, Twisted Tower Dire. Y’all be making sing too much. I am singing at the grocery checkout, I am singing on my way to church, I am singing on my way to the chiropractor, I am singing while walking my two pit bulls down the street and people are wondering why the heavily tattooed grandma is singing “tear you apart, into little pieces” while smiling to strangers with her two pit bulls on hand.
That song “Tear You Apart” is just one example of the naughty, naughty intentions of TTD. These sickos dared to make the whole album as a type of greatest-hits package and I’m here for it. TTD is, according the world wide webs, a true metal band founded in 1995 when y’all weren’t even alive, and I guess that sounds about right, but why do y’all young whippersnappers insist on coming up with new names for everything? It is traditional heavy metal with singing and solos, and enough catchy songs coming out the ears. Do you know which song is garbage on the album? Ah, yes, the answer to that question would be none! None! The bottom line is that fans of classic-style heavy metal that value melody and the metal lyrics (thunder, ghosts, beasts, triumph, earth, wind, and, ahem, fire), y’all best get off the fence and come down here and get it while it’s fresh and hot. And that’s the bottom line cuz Stone Cold said so.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

NEWS: SKELATOR signs with Gates of Hell Records; new album Cyber Metal due in June

Seattle (WA) - Veteran West Coast metallers SKELATOR have signed with Gates Of Hell Records for the release of their fifth studio album, Cyber Metal. The album is due June 14 in European territories and June 21 in North America.
Formed in 1998, SKELATOR has capably flown the flag of never-say-die true metal, harnessing Jason Conde-Houston’s stratospheric vocal range, dueling guitar harmonies and battle-tested rhythms. SKELATOR originally met Cruz Del Sur Music/Gates Of Hell owner Enrico Leccese in 2013, who relayed word that SLOUGH FEG leader Mike Scalzi suggested the label sign the band. Fast-forward six years and the two parties have joined forces for Cyber Metal.
“Creating ‘Cyber Metal’ was a long process for us, not just recording and writing, but finding the right lineup as well,” says Conde-Houston. “We started writing for the album in 2016 but had two incidents of needing to find a bass player to round out the lineup which effectively put a stop to the writing process. Luckily in 2017, we found Darin Wall and he brought the driving bass that we needed to solidify the lineup. His playing immediately locked in with Pat’s [Seick] ‘rock bomb’ drumming style and enabled Robbie [Houston] and Rob [Steinway] to focus in on delivering the guitar harmonies and heavy riffs and allowed us to shape the band’s sound into what we have always wanted. I can say without hesitation that this current lineup of the band is the most talented and cohesive that it has ever been.”
With the goal of making Cyber Metal their “most polished effort to date,” SKELATOR has assembled a batch of songs that deftly combine modern German power metal (GRAVE DIGGER, PRIMAL FEAR) as well as classic influences such as JUDAS PRIEST and RIOT. The result is an album with no shortage of screaming vocals, high-flying guitar solos, thunderous bass, gated drums and even extra doses of keyboards.
The album was recorded throughout 2018 between a variety of studios, including drums at Hangar 12 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington and vocals with Matt Roach at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver, British Columbia. The rest of the tracking was handled by the guitar duo of Houston and Steinway, who eventually put the finishing touches on the album this past December. “It was a long grueling process but it was well worth it because now we have the best sounding SKELATOR record to date,” says Conde-Houston.
Thematically, Conde-Houston says SKELATOR had one rule: No songs about swords, unless they are laser swords. “We touch on movies and comics that have inspired us since we were kids in the ‘80s. Songs like ‘Akira’, ‘Highlander’ and ‘Seven Scars’ are all obvious nerd-out lyrics based on decades of watching the same movies over and over. But the songs are still anthems and we still have at least one track about playing true metal.”
Now past the 20-year mark as a band, “Cyber Metal” finds SKELATOR at the top of their game with the same drive and passion as when they started. “The hard part about keeping a band together for 20 years is the fact that we are all getting older and have more and more responsibilities,” concludes Conde-Houston. “But the beauty of having this band for so long is that we have a great legacy of albums to share with the world, and we all enjoy what we do and have the drive to keep doing it. As hard as it was to create this new album, it is a joy to listen to. This is our most ambitious record and the catchiest as well. I think it will please SKELATOR fans new and old. Even if you are a ‘Give Me Metal Or Give Me Death’, purest you’ll be still be singing along to tracks like ‘Cast Iron’ or ‘Cyber Samurai’.”
Track Listing:
1. Cyber Samurai
2. Cast Iron
3. The Hammer
4. Highlander
5. Akira
6. Erlkönig
7. Seven Scars
8. Psychic Silver Wheels
Jason Conde-Houston - Larynx of Doom
Robbie "the" Houston - Guitar of Power
Rob Steinway - Guitar of Glory
Patrick Seick - Drums of War
Darin Wall - Bass of Tyranny
Started in San Diego in 1998 by a band of nerdy teenagers trying to rip off Slayer's "Show No Mercy" to a tea then grown up and moved to Seattle to rip off Manowar and kill posers where ever they lie.

Monday, April 15, 2019


Lust of Consciousness
Prosthetic Records
12 April 2019
On certain occasions Frank Zappa was fond of saying that he was trying to create music that would so irritate people that they would end up doing something about their lives. His point that he wanted to annoy his listeners so that they would get off the couch and do something about whatever was irritating them in life. Similarly, Nekrasov is made to be irritating, annoying and frustrating. It’s a dude finding electronic-robotic-monster-white-noise sounds and adding a bit of homemade black metal to it. I kid you not, the title track is eight minutes and 34 seconds of robot-space white noise sounds. Other tracks are garage-style lo-fi low-quality electro-necro black metal with distorted-robotized vocals. Some of it resembles something like black metal, but most of it is a very calculated effort to find those listeners willing to hear something challenging, something closer to anti-music. Nekrasov has been releasing this type of stuff since 2007 and the recordings just keep on coming because there is an audience for this: Nekrasov fans do want to hear something challenging, like the white noise of the television set, or the sound of when the radio station is not coming in right or like machines crashing into each other or when your kids bang, bang, bang on pots and pans just to make a lot of noise or like when Lloyd and Harry in Dumb and Dumber are trying to find the most annoying sounds in the world. When Nekrasov wants to rock, Nekrasov becomes Rebel Wizard, a different project that combines lo-fi cave black metal with heavy metal melodies, but Rebel Wizard is actually much more comprehensible as music. Nekrasov is not that. It is the pleasure of irritation for the fans that pay money for it.

Iron Fire

Iron Fire
Beyond the Void
Crime Records
8 March 2019
Album number nine. The first one was released in 2000 and pleased the die-hard fans of European-style polished power metal. In 2019 Iron Fire is much grittier, heavier, rougher heavy metal, closer to Motörhead than to Helloween, closer to traditional heavy metal and thrash than to joyous power metal, closer to the local pub than to a fancy wine tasting event, closer to the city streets’ hustle and bustle than to rainbows, damsels in distress and knights in shining armor. Somewhere along the line the band has chosen to sound considerably more muscular, with more punch, more crunch and nowadays they have quite an individual sound.
What a cool tune “Bad Habits Die Hard” is. Rowdy, rough around the edges, but with melodies above the chunky riffs, and the gritty singing that has melodies, but man, there’s lots of crunch in the tone, like a mix of that Elvis-Danzig-Motörhead-Volbeat tone, but with some high notes to boot. The ballad “Judgement Day” dials up a little bit of the blues; hey, this is a ballad, but it’s a tough-and-rough ballad, not a wimpy one. It’s not trying to make you cry, it’s trying to make you raise your fist. This is a ballad for tough, salt-of-the-earth people. This is followed by “To Hell and Back,” a thrashing, double bass drumming and the singing kicking up the grit, some bits of melodic singing, but some lower singing, too, that is not really growling, but it’s intense nonetheless.
What a great place musically Iron Fire find themselves in 2019. The old fans hopefully are adjusting well to the heavier direction that the Danes have been pursuing for years now, given that this is not some unannounced change that has arrived out of nowhere. This is where they have been heading for the last few albums. It’s a good spot. To anyone that objects to the old heavy metal bands because the genre is supposedly wimpy and sugary, check out this album! You might be surprised by how much muscle and elbow grease Iron Fire puts into this heavy metal. Who says that old dogs cannot learn new tricks?! These old dogs can school new puppies all day every day and twice on Sunday.

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Damp Chill of Life
Hypnotic Dirge Records
April 11th, 2019
1.Fade 01:58
2.The Damp Chill of Life 10:30
3.Cease 08:50
4.You Did a Good Thing 05:08
5.It's Painless to Let Go 05:56
6.I Yearn to Feel 03:45
7.A Chance I'd Never Have 07:57
total time 44:04
None is “depressive black metal”—subgenre that is stubbornly unwilling to disappear despite the merciless derision and criticism coming from some quarters—and it’s presumably a human alone working in a hu/wo/it/man/cave somewhere in the state of Oregon, U.S., where it is grey, cold, cloudy and rainy, and where, to add insult to injury, the beaches do not even warm up during the months of July and August, so there might as well not be any beaches there in the first place because you cannot go in the water, unless you have a salt cold ocean water death wish.
None is, we may assume, one person that miserably enjoys taking slow and melancholic guitar notes, add sad keyboards to the recipe, and a trustworthy drum programming software, all the while recording/cutting/pasting and adding studio magic for the perfect agonizing-desperate-tortured-soul screams that sound like they were recorded not in the recording room but rather down in the hallway with the microphone at nice, long distance so that it sounds a bit like an echo. This one person also sorrowfully delights in making this music anonymously for the (small, selective) masses around the world that cannot get enough of “depressive black metal.” This is the third album and it is completely obvious that this is not an inexperienced person who has just discovered about one-person slow sad black metal projects. This is done with a good understanding of making a do-it-yourself cave recording that can be soft, subtle and gentle, and weird, of course, because, you know, keep Portland weird.
You know how Iron Maiden has a million songs that have quiet introductions with Steve Harris noodling around on his bass? Well, None can play that game, too. The song “Cease” takes a full four minutes before it begins. The first four minutes are quiet or meditation or silence sounds. Then the wonderful misery starts again. The song called “You Did a Good Thing” looks like it is going to be yoga sounds. It is peaceful sounds, but then about 2:20 a huge argument (yes, people screaming-arguing, or something) breaks out and it totally ruins your yoga moment of zen, but then the yelling stops and we’re back to meditating. The depressive black metal starts up again on “It’s Painless to Let Go” and we are back to the slow sounds of the cave of misery.
Anyway, you get the picture. Fanatics and zealots of this style will need to do some shopping. A new source of quiet despair has just shown up in your radar.

TOARN from Everett, Washington, U.S.

This is TOARN, an extreme metal band in Everett, Washington, U.S. Their music can described as deathcore or just plain old downtuned groove heaviness.
The members of Toarn say about their music: "We want to bring the light of God to places of darkness. We wan't to show and express his love... even if that means we need to mosh like apes. As a Christian band, we are put to the test by non believers; satan, so reputation is key. Therefore we set a standard that we try to live by, in and outside of the band. JESUS can be found, even in the darkest heaviest riff out there. Don't believe us? We'll show you."
Check them out at the links below.


Doorways to Destiny
April 5th, 2019
This past Saturday the crew from Chicago by the name of Acracy sent in a copy of their brand new 2019 album Doorways to Destiny which features the following songs.
1.Liberation (Control Denied) 6:29
2.Aging Desires (9:35)
3.Book of Faces (9:26)
4.On My Own (6:09)
5.A Love Least Expected (9:25)
6.Come with Me (11:05)
The album opens with “Liberation (Control Denied)”. This first song is anthemic in form. The song is also a good representation of the Acracy way of making music. The traditional metal singing, the traditional heavy metal/progressive guitar, and the clear, audible sound of the rhythm section as the glue that keeps the frame together. This first song is headbanging power prog and it’s memorable. Uptempo and rocking, it’s a great introduction to the album. An important part of the song here is the progressive side, too. In the middle segments the guitar kicks in with the catchy, melodic soloing. Lyrically, the song is a statement on those so-called good-intentioned people in your life that tell you, “Can I give you some advice? I think you’re wasting your time and money doing music.” This type of so-called wisdom metal musicians hear all the time (“Are you still doing music?”, with emphasis on the word still), as if the musician—who knows in the flesh what it is like to make art in a society that values not art but money—is not aware of how difficult it is to play a music that is largely disdained, frowned upon and ignored by the corporate music machinery.
The catchy chorus is also a confident declaration of purpose:
I will not be swayed and follow
the path you feel is right for me
failure, triumph, pleasure, or sorrow
I must discover my own journey
There it is. Acracy is going to give you songs with skills, and the lyrics are not going to be fooling around: "Intrusive and not wanted—your advice; I don’t want to hear from you," is the band’s response to the cynics.
“Aging Desires”
The nine of minutes of “Aging Desires” show fully the progressive nature of Acracy. The song has three main paces: midtempo, uptempo and back to midtempo. In some ways, it is a more memorable song due to the midtempo, ear-friendly style. The first couple of minutes present a proggy style. The chorus is another catchy one that stays around after the song ends. Then, at 2:35 the tempo gets faster and the drumming becomes more pronounced, and the song will continue in the same manner, but before that, the song throws you for a loop with an interesting transition that is better heard than described. It’s something that makes you sit up and take notice. You should hear it for yourself and decide what to call it! “Space rock conversation percussive with some studio imagination”?
After that, there’s another surprise: the solo that follows is a cool melodic tremolo picking part that is, basically, melodic black metal. Very nice segment, and now the double bass drumming and general tempo is in full swing. Here in this part the singer plants his flag and lets out a signature scream, before the song returns to the pace of the beginning. However, even though there are hooks and licks in this song so far, we still haven’t gotten a proper guitar solo, but we’re going to get it now (in addition to several more high screams!). When the solo shows up, it’s the right time and we get a cool bluesy solo that reworks some of the riffs and melodies that we have heard before in the song, before letting out a bit of shredding.
Alright, I will tell you more about the album later. Let me stop right here because I have to jet right now and these comments are turning into an essay. I have a date tonight! There is a piece of chocolate cake that keeps staring at me. It’s telling me, “Hi, there. How you doing?” and I don’t want to ignore such a friendly gesture. Talk to you later, friends, and may you find yourself the chocolate cake happiness as I have. We’ll come back to Acracy!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Blind Monarch

Blind Monarch
What Is Imposed Must Be Endured
Black Bow Records
Release: 5 April 2019
1.Suffering Breathes My Name 13:15
2.My Mother, My Cradle, My Tomb 10:24
3.Blind Monarch 13:33
4.Living Altar 17:12
total time 54:24
Oh, boy, what an experience this album is turning out to be. I recommend that you approach it in a relaxed way, this ain’t gonna be no quick listen, friend. The album is the pure happy joy of diving deep into the oceans of super duper heavy duty massiveness in which time slows down to a crawl. The guitar is essentially as heavy as it is technologically possible in 2019 in the general style of sludge death doom. I am discovering for myself that if you really listen to the whole album, you can find the twisted motivations of this band: to bring you some cheer and an escape from the fast routine of everyday life through ear-splitting super slow extreme doom.
Quiet desperation is the English way no more. Slow but very loud sludge desperation is the new English way. The band pushes the power of distortion to the maximum sludge quotient. Be careful with the volume, these Englishmen have the sinister of intention of possibly damaging your hearing. It might seem like the previous sentence is making a joke, but this band knows very well that it is not a joke, especially if you hear this album at high volume in the car or on any real speakers.
Besides the big heaviness and the overwhelming extreme doom experience, are there any particular traits to mention? Well, the guitar tone is rather clear and you hear the actual guitar playing, which is a nice change of pace in doom. It is not a totally and completely fuzzed out big blur of grime and fog. The song “Blind Monarch,” is sort of divided in two: the first half is the band rocking out and sounding like a heavy metal band doing headbanging music (believe it or not!), and the second half works the heaviness big time and the pace slows down, and then a space rock vibe takes over until it is topped off with a mini-solo. Both the rocking and the melody were unexpected, but very nice.
On the other hand, don’t get it all twisted, this is, in fact, doom and gloom. Personally, I especially enjoyed the song “Blind Monarch” for the band’s willingness to break the rules and rock out, but the whole big drums, big cymbals, big fat simple riffs and the growling, especially the lower growling, is fun for the times when the house is a rocking slowly.


Defragments of Insanity
Scarlet Records
Release: 5 April 2019
This 2019 album is a newly recorded version of the 1989 album Fragments of Insanity. It features the same eight songs and in the same order as the 1989 work.
Necrodeath is a 1980s Italian underground extreme metal band that split in 1990 after recording a demo and two albums in the 1980s. The two albums are regarded well by the collectors of all things 1980s underground/lesser-known extreme metal bands. The two old albums have a huge vibe of Kreator thrash all over them, as reviewers have observed throughout the years. In 1998 the name of the band came back. Nowadays, in comparison with the 1989 album, only the drummer remains from the musicians that recorded the original work. Metal Archives shows the 1989 line-up:
Marco "Peso" Pesenti drums
Ingo vocals, guitars
Claudio guitars
Paolo bass
While the 2019 line-up is listed as:
Peso drums (1985-1990, 1998-present)
Flegias vocals (1998-present)
Pier Gonella guitars (2007-present)
GL bass (2008-present)
Why do musicians record new versions of old albums? Sometimes it is a question of legal matters. Sometimes young musicians sign their lives away and do not own the rights to their music and when they try to release an old album the old owner wants lots of money for an album that never sold that much anyway. Sometimes musicians find themselves dissatisfied with the quality of old recordings and really want to give a proper production to albums that have annoyed them for years. Sometimes bands don’t have new material and it’s time to put out some new product. It could be contractual obligations. Maybe it is artistic reasons or financial or legal reasons or all of the above. In this case it is possible that the band has gotten tired of people complaining about this incarnation of Necrodeath as being a false one. Maybe they have read that these particular musicians are incapable of playing the old material properly.
Those old songs always were good, and pretty much a thrasher’s dream. Pedal-to-the-metal thrash that crosses over into the early death metal and black metal sounds in a variety of ways. The vocals are in the style of old Mille Petrozza/Quorthon. The drumming steps up the speed and intensity, compared to other thrash in 1989, like the U.S. and Bay Area thrash. There are no attempts to be progressive or jazzy. That remains unchanged in the new album. It is unapologetic headbanging metal.
The musicianship on this new version is superior to the old album. The experience is so much bigger and better. Peso’s drumming now has decades of experience. The vocals are in the same style as before, but Flegias has a lot more than a debut album of experience, now with at least 10 albums as vocalist for Necrodeath. The guitarist is a hundred times better than the young ones were in 1989. Pier Gonella is very skilled and can play pretty much any style of metal guitar, not just thrash. From neoclassical to power to traditional heavy metal to extreme metal, he has done it with his other bands.
The production is better, of course. Here’s the deal. It seems like in metal people are no fans of bands going back and recording new versions of old songs. Whether it is Exodus, Destruction, Anthrax or Testament, the old thrash fans just don’t really go for new versions. People who have the old album are understandably going to be skeptical, and the old people who have the vinyl or cassette are not about to change. However, younger fans probably do not have the old material and now will be able to get a copy of this one.

Monday, April 8, 2019


Rebirth of Consciousness
release date: November 23rd, 2018
label: Rockshots Records
1.Fallen Leaves 01:48
2.Supernova 04:23
3.Atman Denied 07:13
4.Innerdemon 04:00
5.Revelation 07:02
6.Total War 00:30
7.A Raw Awakening 06:50
8.Anam 05:28
9.Sahara 05:21
total time 42:35
This is apparently the Italian band’s debut album, according to Metal Archives. The music is European-style melodic extreme metal with growling and with lots of singing. The music goes from extreme metal to power metal and progressive, so there’s a nice but smooth range of sounds. The use of the dual voices finds the growling to be quite harsh, and on the aggressive side, while the singing is very melodic and high. The rhythm section is on point, anchoring the songs rather well. At times the drumming does stand out a bit more through some of the times changes, which include kicking up the speed substantially during some segments where blasting and near-blasting speeds are reached. Besides the dual vocals, the guitars call for attention, given the catchy riffs and the great amount of melodies used. The vocals, as already mentioned are done well, but the guitars also have lots to offer to the listener in terms of hooks and soloing. There is a bunch of interesting details: some thrashy stuff, power metal riffing, tremolo picking, melancholic moments, and other traits that are memorable.
The songwriting is remarkably smooth. Maybe it’s the good vocals, and the cool singing, maybe it’s the guitar melodies, but it could be the chemistry of the songwriting team, and the fact that this is the first album. It is possible that these buns have been cooking for a while in the oven and with the right amount of work and time, the perfect recipe has been made. Fans of catchy melodic extreme metal, especially the European sounds and styles, would be the ideal audiences to consider the album. The album begins pretty strong, and as it progresses the songwriting shows more diversity, but towards the latter half of the album the band does a good of keeping up the quality. There is not a sense that the latter half of the album is filler material. The playing time in general goes by quite well. In the U.S. the band’s name might be unknown, and this might also be the case in Europe, but the album on its own stands very nicely and should be interesting for fans of melodic death metal.