Friday, May 31, 2013
Defeated Sanity (Germany): “Passages into Deformity” “Brooooootality,” slamming technicality is how Defeated Sanity rolls. If you love, love the super-over-the-top karate-chop-moshpit beatdown and throwing your elbows in good, friendly violent fun, I have to tell you that Defeated Sanity has just entered their album “Passages into Deformity” into the my wildly famous Most Brutal Album of the Year contest, which takes place in my van, down by the river. Every person who is physically fit should form a pit now. Do it. Do it now for Defeated Sanity! I am not physically fit because I am 83 years old, but I can sure lift up my hand and do the Frank Mullen hand quake like nobody’s business! It’s easy for me to do it because my hands already shake all the time, anyway. What I like the most about Defeated Sanity is that they do well the multiple things that they do, meaning that they cook their songs just right, at the right temperature, and the result is a great success. The superlow indecipherable grunting, the blasting, slamming, shredding, riffs, pinch harmonics, solos, and all these things are placed and measured well. For example, the chugga-chugga knuckle-dragging low-string plucking, if not handled correctly, bores me to tears because it can sound like uncreative, unskilled stuff played by good-for-nothing, weekend warriors of death metal. That’s certainly not the case with Defeated Sanity! Step aside, make way for the professionals. If you want to hear a superbrutal band this year, and you insist that you have the patience for one album only, make it this one. It’s that good. About the only thing that is missing here is pig squeals and more screaming, but this is so good that I will forgive them for that. Nobody is perfect, but Defeated Sanity is 97.33% perfect. www.facebook.com/DefeatedSanity
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Project Armageddon (U.S.) Recently, I took a very important international corporate business trip to the big apple, Houston, Texas, where the cold winds freeze, the buffalo roam free, and the lunar beaches shine bright with the stardust of the future past. It was nice to leave my grandma’s basement in Washington State for a while and enjoy my wealthy lifestyle in Houston. One day I was having my happy vegetarian meal with a couple of tycoons, and my grandma, who is blind in Texas. Anywho, The Hermanitor came up to me and whispered, looking right into my good, left eye: “I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse, I’ll make your day, punk” and then handed me this cd, and added: “Say hello to my little friend.” It was Project Armageddon! After dinner, my grandma and I asked the limo driver to pop in the cd. Little did we know about the doom that awaited us. My grandma exclaimed, “That’s brilliant! Simply, brilliant! I can’t believe that Texas has such splendid doom and we didn’t know. It reminds me of the music of my youth in England, when I would go to concerts in Birmingham and Tony would get together with Bill and the lads.” The Hermanitor was right. Here they are, Project Armageddon, calling out to the doomster stoners of the world. You wanted the doom, you’ve got the doom! Here the answers by Raymond Matthews (drums) and Alexis (vocals/bass) to a set of questions that I sent them in Morse code. www.projectarmageddon.com -- Hello, Project Armageddon! Metal Bulletin zine here. I have been listening to the "Tides of Doom" album. I didn't realize that Houston, Texas had such doomsters. Is it true that you put out the album by yourselves? By the way, what does that mean: You have put up your own money to record the album? We own the Production company, Shattered Man Records. So we did record the album ourselves, and we paid for the CD production from money we saved playing shows. We try hard to reinvest everything we make back into the band so we can continually improve our sound and quality of production. We also hired out the mixing and mastering to Tomasz Scull, of supernaturalsoundltd/Venomin James & I'd say he did a killer job for us.
Are you all homeless now from having spent all your money on the album?! Are you living in a van, down by the river? Project Armageddon must be one tough bunch to go at it alone, only motivated by the love of doom, right? Raymond-I've played drums for over 20 years and have always been motivated by the excitement of creating something new, original, and entertaining, and then having the joy of sharing that with fans in a live performance. I also thrive on the technical challenges of capturing that original work in its best possible form by recording. Though I don't have formal training in recording, after spending countless hours and dollars over the years I've managed to pick up enough to make it work. Doomstress Alexis-Really when it comes down to it, if you have a drive and passion about something that you are creating, then you strive to overcome any obstacles in order to achieve that goal. There are things that will either obstruct that objective or perpetuate it. If it means enough to you, you will find a way to make it happen regardless of the consequences, and this is true in many things in life. Say, so how exactly does Project Armageddon achieve its sound? Do you use special equipment? Do you use equipment that is old, in order to achieve the classic 70s doom sound? How much auto tune did you use, ha ha?!! We use a rack mounted 24 track recorder, the Alesis HD24. It captured the sound exactly as we play it. I use the same Tama drums set that I bought in new back in 1991, the Rockstar DX series, with some good mikes and as few punches as possible. It's important for the feel or the song to try to get in in as few takes as possible. We typically play the song and record the drums, bass, and rhythm guitar all at once. This helps capture the live feel, then we go back and add or replace bass & guitar lines including solos and harmony tracks. Last we lay down the vocal tracks. Doomstress Alexis does a great job of capturing the feel in just one or two takes most of the time. The sound has to be attributed to the gear and the mikes we use. Like to make sure we can capture the same or better sound live and we have on the album so we don't rely on any triggers or computer generated synthesizers. We use a couple samples that we made ourselves, too, like the marching crunch in “Fallow Fields,” which is the same sample we used on the first album. We do have an assortment of effects pedals and love to experiment with them to create original sounds as well. One example is running the bass through a POG (Keyboard synth pedal) as heard in the intro to “Sanctimonious.” Doomstress Alexis-1st off-NO AUTOTUNE! We record through a mix of different gear both analog and digital, and then we sent it off to SupernaturalSoundLtd for mixing (although the 1st record we did mix ourselves via an analog mixing board). Aside from that we just use great gear that gives us the sound we like, and we capture it well thru trial and error, and advice from those with the know-how.
Is it true that all three of you (Alexis, Ray and Brad) are former members of Well of Souls? Did all three of you carry out a mutiny in Well of Souls and then formed Project Armageddon?! Was it musical differences? Yes, we all enjoyed playing in Well of Souls for several years, including the North American tour in support of their first album. Brandon was a founding member of WOS and I joined early enough to participate in writing all of the material that has been released by them to date. During the recording of “Sorrow My Name” at Dungeon Manor Studios in 2008, the three of us started writing songs that would later become Project Armageddon's first album, “Departure.” It started out as regular rehearsals for Well of Souls, but since the lead singer and other guitarist were unable to make rehearsals for an extended period of time, we decided to go ahead and record these new songs as a side project. By the time the album was released in 2009, it had become apparent that the other members of Well of Souls would be unable make the effort continue on, so Doomstress Alexis, Raymond, and Brandon committed to focusing on their new venture. Project Armageddon is now working on its third full length record at Dungeon Manor Studios. Doomstress- As I started writing material that was an obvious departure from the former band, the idea of a side project became very relevant, especially due to the lack of activity of the former band. So Project Armageddon just kind of took on its own life and we've just rolled on with that tide, so to speak. How has 2013 worked out for you so far? 2013 has been our strongest year yet. We have toured regionally and played Houston about once or twice a month. With two albums out, and the third in the works, we feel like momentum is building. I've notice more crowd support, and, with the help of our new manager Herman García, we've gained a better perspective and direction for the bands future. Doomstress Alexis-2013 has definitely renewed our focus as we have continued to gain more attention locally and regionally. Hiring a manager seemed essential so we could concentrate on the creativity of writing and performing. So far it's been a rewarding year playing some of the major cities around the state and even SXSW this year in Austin! The songs "Fallow Fields" and "Path of Darkness" are both over 9 minutes song. But your instrumentals are shorter. Is there a logic here? How does your band approach the songwriting process? We like to write together as a band and feed on each other’s creative energy. The synergy of working together often gets the creative juices flowing. Typically one of us will come up with a riff on the guitar or bass, the others will join in, then it will morph into several different movements before we stop. We try to record everything when we are writing so we can piece the parts we like together after the jam. Sometimes the parts of one song were written in sessions months or years apart, and other songs come out more quickly. While vocal ideas and some melodies may come out during these jam sessions, the vocals are usually not refined until after we have a core structure to the song with well-defined riffs. In some cases we just decide that the song is strong enough instrumentally that it doesn't need vocals at all. We tend to end up with a few musical ideas that don't seem to be right for a featured song, but more or less stand on their own. Sometimes it's inspired by an instrument like the 100-plus year old pump organ at the studio, or some D'jimbes. These expressions became the shorter instrumental songs on the album. Doomstress Alexis-most of our songs, especially the longer ones, tend to incorporate instrumental segments so naturally they tend to be longer as they expand musically upon the vocal segments of the songs. Some songs come together very easily, while others we may take some time to work out certain parts after many trial takes. How much training does your singer Alexis have? Doomstress Alexis sang for a few side projects before PA, so we knew she had talent. Neither Brandon nor I had any interest in singing so it was a natural thing for Doomstress Alexis to just start singing. She also has a natural talent and passion for creative writing so this new project gave her the perfect outlet to express and nurture that talent. After working together for so many years in our previous band, and not really thinking about PA as its own band in the beginning, we never even considered looking for or recruiting another singer or any other members for that matter. Even today, we are very happy to be a three piece band. Doomstress Alexis-I've always enjoyed singing even before playing guitar or bass. I'd been in a few bands here and there singing or not but always sang in my free time. I did some backing vocals and wrote some lyrics in our former band, but was generally too busy to try to pursue much until Project Armageddon started to take shape. I'm still expanding and developing my range and style as I continually evolve.
How can people stay in touch? I live in Washington State, have you ever played here?We keep up with our Facebook, ReverbNation, Youtube and MySpace pages. We are on Itunes, CD Baby, hellridemusic, shadowkingdomrecords.com, brainticket.com, and several other locations on the web. We have also recently created our own official band website: www.projectarmageddon.com. There are links to listen to and buy our music, shirts, and other band merchandise, as well as info about our upcoming shows and events. We also have a blog with info about past events and a fairly extensive photo gallery. From our site you can sign up to become a "Fan" & receive notifications of upcoming events. We have not yet played Washington State, but we do plan to do more touring this year and the next, so check back with us at the website to stay informed. Thanks, Raymond Matthews THE END.
Trail of Tears (Norway): “Oscillation”Many, many, many great news about “Oscilllation” by Trail of Tears. There is also some bad, bad news, but it’s not even bad news about this album. More on that in a second. In terms of style, Trail of Tears represents the dichotomy of elegant, lush symphonic/melodic/melancholic/pop/catchy sensibilities with heavy/growl/headbanging metal. On this album, they master their craft impeccably and beautifully. It is certainly the one that I have enjoyed the most since their debut in 1998, “Disclosure in Red.” It would be easy to go into great detail, but the sake of brevity, I will tell you about one thing that really, really, really steals the show here: the singing by Catherine Paulsen. What can’t she do?! What a talent. She knocks it out of the park on this one. Excellent way to carry melodies, passionate singing, with a variety of voices, from intense high, air-raid siren acrobatics to soprano gymnastics, to midrange singing. Anyway, I won’t bother you with more details. The songs by Trail of Tears = excellence in their style. Ah, yes, the bad news, eh? Trail of Tears has disbanded! So, this is it. No more Trail of Tears. Reunion, anyone? www.facebook.com/trailoftearsofficial
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
GOLD: "Interbellum" If you like good ole rock n roll, perhaps in a 70s way, perhaps a bit in a 90s way, you will be glad to hear Gold. I don't want to try to drop names because maybe that would be very inaccurate, anyway. Instead, here you go: www.facebook.com/thebandGOLD
superstoner growl überdoom SAMOTHRACE: "Reverence To Stone" 2 songs. 1 is more than 14 minutes and the 2nd is more than 20 minutes. Samothrace takes their sweet time with their music. There is no hurry to go anywhere, every riff is squeezed dry, while things move along at a snail's pace. It also takes a while for the growling to kick in and when it does, watch out, it is a slow, sluggish growl that sounds as if it's coming from a cave located way out there in distance, behind the studio where they recorded this.
"When We Emerged" (the first song) takes some 6 minutes before the pace picks up to a 70s Black Sabbath doom pace. It made me sit up and take notice: "Wow, look at that, they are rocking out for a bit." It sounds pleasant. I had the feeling of a bit of joy, and because Samothrace knew this, they decided to keep it slow, just to make things once again insanely heavy, heavily hopeless. You have to like very slow music to like this, I think. Not everyone will pass this test of heaviness. Samothrace is no laughing matter, but it's probably a crying matter. How do they manage to pack so much misery into the music? Did they break the equipment at the studio? It sounds like they reduced the studio to rubble, then decided to illustrate it all in a very, very slow motion set of songs. www.facebook.com/pages/Samothrace/67987779185
Decrepitaph / Humiliation The Carnal Slumber / Enemy's Perimeter Split 7-Inch
This is a quickie to alert you to Dybbuk Records and their EP with Decrepitaph and Humiliation
This is an EP aimed straight at the old school death metal crazies These two bands ain't kidding around about death metal and "old school." Check it out! www.facebook.com/DybbukRecords www.decrepitaph.com www.facebook.com/decrepitaph www.humiliation.my
Darkall Slaves (France): “Abysses of Seclusion” Oh, no, this is only two songs! Taking into account how well Darkall Slaves executes blasting “broootality,” the band must present more to hear soon. Does this band have outrageously hideous guttural low grunting vocals? Like their life depended on it, wow! Darkall Slaves will have you lifting up your hand and doing the Suffocation/Frank Mullen “hand quake” within seconds. Darkall Slaves gotta give us some of that. What a fun little ditty this two-song recording is, but let’s not wait too long to get more of this going. Darkall Slaves plays lights out “brooooootal” death metal and you can’t argue with the stuff, just can’t do it. Little baby Suffocation is rocking the house and the circle pits in France are already forming. www.facebook.com/darkallslaves
MECHANICAL SWAN Black Dawn Romance
If you like Depeche Mode and/or Linkin Park and you'd like to hear a bit more of that combination of electronic/pop music worked into a modern mainstream rock sound, the band Mechanical Swan should be interesting to check out. They definitely sound very professional and like they would appeal to a much broader audience than most bands on this website. However, you should check it out for yourself, don't just take my word for it. They cover a song by Depeche Mode, which of course, means something special to them, and maybe would interest Depeche Mode fans. I'm not the most qualified person to talk about rock with electronica/pop combinations. Hear for yourself! www.facebook.com/pages/Mechanical-Swan/40657191618 www.facebook.com/pages/Mechanical-Swan/40657191618
Monday, May 27, 2013
Necrocurse (Sweden) The album “Grip of the Dead,” by Necrocurse, a traditionalist death/thrash/black squad, forges the sound of a life-long obsession with “underground metal,” the type that certain listeners embrace, knowing that Necrocurse represents a loyalty to the tradition. Some people might say, in insult, that Necrocurse is “primitive,” “ugly,” and of course “necro.” To the band, however, those are badges of honor. Necrocurse’s aesthetics shares an affinity with Nifelheim, yes, that Nifelheim. Here’s the huge surprise for you: Nifelheim’s screamer Hellbutcher is the maniac doing vocals in Necrocurse! Drummer Nicklas Rudolfsson answers these questions. www.necrocurse.com www.necrocurse.com
Why have you not sold 10 million albums yet?! It’s so good! Is Necrocurse a band that will tour or do you prefer to record music and play a few shows a year? Thanks as hell! Obviously we play live, but so far it's single gigs and festivals. But right now we have no festival appearances booked this summer. Right now we are working on writing new material and recording demos. When did Necrocurse actually start? The first songs were written in 2004 and was recorded as simple demos. Then it was just a side project that was not meant to be directly officially. It was in 2009 that it became a real band with the lineup and name NECROCURSE became official. In 2010, we recorded material which later was released as vinyl singles. Metal Archives says that your first EP came out in 2011, "Chaos Carnage Cataclysm." But you have been very active because there was another EP in 2011, "Insane Curse of Morbidity" and in 2012 the EP "Speed to the Grave," and now "Grip of the Dead" in 2013. Are these old songs? In 2010, we recorded five old songs. As the new revised versions. These were later released as two singles, two tapes and a collection MCD "Shape of Death". And some of them plus some live tracks were also released as "Speed to the Grave" MCD. What type of recording equipment is appropriate for your band? Do you use triggered drums? Are the drums, the actual sounds of the drums, or are those sounds "sound replacement" technology? Obviously, real drums, no triggers or replaced sound. The recording is done with Andy's drum kit standing in Sonic Train Studios and a few extra toms (+ own snare, cymbals) that I brought. What do you think about the current state of drumming sound in "modern death metal"? I do not like the "modern" plastic drum sound, sometimes it almost sounds like drum machines. So yes, I prefer real drums! Only analog drum sounds are real! In Necrocurse, there are three members of Masticator: Johan (bass), Nicklas (drums) and Stefan (guitars). Now, that band was formed in 1989, and maybe you guys attended Nihilist shows? So, one of the main reasons why Necrocurse is so good is that, in reality, everyone in the band is a knowledgeable and experienced veteran of metal music. I do not think any of us have seen Nihilist. Our history affects certainly the music that we play. I mean we grew up with the same bands and music that more or less inspired us. Have you known Hellbutcher since the 90s? We have known him for many years, since the 90s, yes. In the beginning we had no singer, so when we thought about who we would ask so it seemed natural to ask Hellbutcher. He lives in the same town and he sings really good. It gives a great dimension to our music. What bands today play with the same attitude and values as Necrocurse? Any bands that you like?! Of course we like bands like Nifelheim and Rapid Terrör hahahha. There are many bad bands but also many good ones. Hard to burp up a lot right now. Who writes the lyrics? Do Martin and Stefan write the music? Did they write the music for "Rotten in the Dark" or Coffin Breakers"? In the studio, did both guitar players record, or only one guitar player recorded all the guitar parts? Nicklas “Terror” writes most of the lyrics but also some with inputs from Hellbutcher. Terror, Hellbutcher and Basstard write the basics of music, then the whole band work together with final arrangements and details. Guitars, they each play their rhythm guitar on every song. Stefan "Rotting Vomitor" plays most of the solos. What else about Necrocurse?! When will you play in Seattle?! Thanks for interview and support!! check www.necrocurse.com for the latest news, merchandise and so on! Don’t know if and when we will show up in Seattle... Stay hard! Death Metal Rebels!!! Mvh / Best regards. Nicklas Rudolfsson THE END.
Eyeconoclast (Italy) Their album “Drones of the Awakening” surprised me beyond expectations with its blasting death/thrash. The sound allows room to hear what the guitars are doing, and the excellent drumming cuts across very well. Also, the guitar work grabs one’s attention for the clarity, despite the fact that Eyeconoclast is high-intensity, tight, blasting frenzy death/thrash. The drumming patterns, rhythms, blasts, rolls, cuts, zigzags—the elbow grease—will make you like this album, if you like fast metal drumming that employs creativity, not just speed. It’s easy to hear the good guitar solos, some melody, some thrashiness, and the growling has personality and energy. Paolo (bass) and Stefano (guitars) answered the questions. www.eyeconoclast.it www.eyeconoclast.it -- Hello, Eyeconoclast! I enjoy the way that the guitar work is memorable. The listener can distinguish the riffs played; and I also like the drum work a lot; and of course, the songs are well written and intense with interesting twists. Can you explain the situation with the vocalist Giuseppe? Paolo: Hi man, thanks for your words! We really appreciate it. That was our main intent!! The band was formed in 2002 by Alessio and Synder, the singer who was with us until 2011. Unfortunately due to his job, he was unable to continue with the band and only was on the EP “Sharpening Our Blades on the Mainstream” as a session member. After that we had some changes in the vocal front, our songs are really hard and we are even more demanding with our members, so to find a good front man took almost two years, and yes, Giuseppe is our current singer, he jumped on board last year and he recorded the vocal sessions of the album. What is the situation for the band in Rome? Paolo, Stefano: At the end of May we have the official release party for our latest release “Drones of The Awakening” in Rome. After that show we probably we won’t play here for a long time, except for out of ordinary gigs. The band has played in Rome a lot of times, in every club and now our current focus is to play abroad and bring our music to a new public. What do you mean by your previous EP from 2011 "Sharpening Our Blades on the Mainstream"? Paolo, Stefano: “Sharpening Our Blades on the Mainstream” was aimed at Mainstream Metal of course, we really dislike the latest trend in Metal Music to play very simple songs (or apparently difficult/wanna be technical with messy riffs), with poor structure, only to please forgetful listeners. The EP just wanted to kick some asses, that’s all. How famous is a band Italian band like Rhapsody of Fire in Italy? Does the radio play any Eyeconoclast? Paolo, Stefano: In Italy the media never talk about metal music if it does not imply a crime fact. Even a top selling band like Rhapsody of Fire is not on tv shows or on radio What do you mean with "our conscience detunes the neo-cyber dumb nonsense chorus"? Stefano: With that line we use a metaphor where we mean to imply that our conscience misinterprets (detunes) the dumb same old chorus - the bullshit we hear every day, politically and musically speaking- and we are unable to see this truth. This is a lyric written by our former singer Carlos and he often used some sort of complicated rhetoric figures and bizarre metaphors to both hide and tell what he wanted to say. Tell us about the songwriting process. Stefano: In this new album the lyrics were written by Giuseppe (the singer) and I. Alessio (guitars) and I write the music and Paolo [bass] and Mauro [drums] contribute for the last touches that make the songs perfect, and they are also really good to notice if one song is, or is not perfect when it’s finished. Are there any political ideas in your lyrics, or are they mostly cyber fantasy lyrics? Do you have any opinions in your lyrics about the economic situation in Italy? Paolo: I think that every action has a political meaning and Sci-fi is a just another way to talk about something without saying it straight out. But no, in our lyrics there’s nothing about economic situation, corruption or things like that, we are more focused on the relationship between man and society as result of his ruinous ideals. Even that has a political value, but it’s seen through a sci-fi point of view. The main lyrical themes are about trans-humanism and post-humanism. All the lyrics are based on the concept that the evolution of mankind towards an integration with his own technology, is the only possible way to survive to what we are doing to ourselves with what we call "progress". We use the same concept to talk about the current situation of man, who has the perennial need of trapping himself behind the ceilings of his own society. That's represented in our cover art, where you see a "mecha" with a man inside, controlling it, while he's disemboweled by the hand of the same mecha he once controlled, after it became sentient. The mecha is representing the society who has its final victory over the man who willingly trapped himself in it. I have not heard your 2003 EP "Cursors." How does the memorable, blasting death/thrash of "Drones of the Awakening" compare to that old recording? Stefano: Our style has changed a lot. It is way faster, less melodic (but still melodic), the structures are more complicated but better, and of course we're better as musicians, but sometimes when I hear that old recording, I always find something that I like, haha, much has changed but those old songs were good I think! How did you connect with Prosthetic Records? When you think of the U.S., what do you imagine that touring would be like? Are there plans for Eyeconoclast to play in the U.S. at all? Paolo: It’s a simple story: “Sharpening” was released to find a new label, we had a friend in common with the guys at Prosthetic, they listened to our stuff and probably they enjoyed that, I hope they saw what we see in our music haha! It was great when we first got in contact with them, and they pushed us to make the songs even better than they were before! Prosthetic is a good label, we hope they’ll push our music like only a label can do. Nowadays, with the enormous quantity of music on the internet, it’s really difficult to reach the listener without a label behind you. To play in U.S. is a big goal for us, we just have to wait for the right occasion, and the right proposal. I hope to come there soon! I imagine it like an adventure through the places I’ve only seen if the movies, a coast to coast trip with the smell of barbecue sauce in the air, haha! Back to reality: yes, it’s expensive and we need a certain request from the public. So if your readers want to see Eyeconoclast in the States, please ask your promoters! Here's a non-music related question: In Italy there often seems to be cases about racism in soccer (football) that become international news. Some fans do racist things to players who are African or African-European (or African-American, like from Brazil, etc.). Do you find that some Italians are angry about that type of racism (or perhaps, embarrassed)? Do the newspapers criticize that racism or they think it's "funny"? Stefano: Good question! From how I know Italians (as I am Italian) I think it's more something that has to do with stupid football fans that always find a way to tease the opponent, using everything they can. Italy has been a multicultural society since the roman empire, which gives us about 2000 years of cohabitation with all the near and far people, and to this day many ethnic minorities live in Rome and Italy and they are 100% Romans like all of us. So MANY Italians are pissed off hearing news of these stupid racist football fans that are so stupid that I think they don't even realize what truly isracism. Our society and government firmly rejects all kinds of racism and fascism. Also newspapers reject this kind of behaviour, and those who are caught by the cameras in the stadium while doing something racist are identified and prosecuted by the law. As it should be. Three quick questions: What is your favorite metal band from Italy of all time? Paolo: Mmm.. it’s difficult. Probably Bulldozer, I love that stuff! What is the food that you eat the most and like the most? Paolo: Ok…It’s a fucking cliché, but it’s pizza! (Italians and Ninja Turtles favorite meal ahah) Can you tell me the name of a great movie from Italy in 2013?! Maybe I can find it here and watch it. Paolo: Italian Cinema has been dead for years. You’d be better off watching something from 70’s or 80’s. If you like Italian comedy – it is a mixed of tragedy, sad ending and joke, very different from the comedies made in USA - I really recommend the director Mario Monicelli: Amici Miei I & II, L’Armata Brancaleone, Brancaleone alle Crociate, Il Marchese del Grillo are big masterpieces (sorry, I don’t know the English titles)! Or if you are more horror oriented, you surely know Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci, but if you want to see something more underrated check out “La casa dalle finestre che ridono” or “L’arcano Incantatore” by Pupi Avati, you’ll thank me! Anything else about Eyeconoclast that we should know?! Paolo: Yes, we are on iTunes! and our FB is updated daily, everyone interested in Eyeconoclast news can find us here: http://www.facebook.com/eyeconoclast You can find our albums at Prosthetic official store www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/band/eyeconoclast For additional Merch go check our official webstore: http://eyeconoclast.bigcartel.com/ Congratulations on the album, I have enjoyed it! Paolo: Thanks for the interview man, hope we’ll see in USA as soon as possible! THE END.
Some time ago Metal Bulletin zine wrote about death metal band Absence of Light (Kenya) Metal Bulletin zine received information that their album is ready now. Here's more information. INFERNAL HAILS email@example.com You can now support the usby purchasing the VYOM CHAKRA in Digital Format. http://absenceoflight.bandcamp.com/album/vyom-chakra www.absenceoflight.bandcamp.com Digital Album Immediate download of 10-track album in your choice of high-quality MP3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire Keep Supporting Us ! Stay Heavy ! ABSENCE OF LIGHT "MEMetalHead Verdict: An album worth listening to any day. Topped the Reverbenation Charts, the first real East African Metal Ensemble, what more can we say? It will leave you dazed and wanting to discover more about Vedic scripture." MEmetalhead "Vyom Chakra is what every Hardcore Metal Fan desires: a totally “headbang-able” compilation of insane music that could drive one to the bounds of eccentricity, that could send a jolt up the spinal cord and engage the listener in a world of high voltage metal." MEmetalhead "I admit, the fact that this band is from Kenya is what initially piqued my interest. But while we get tons of submissions from all corners of the globe that aren’t well-known for their metal scenes, Absence Of Light have something really good happening. Nile’s death metal aesthetic meets Behemoth’s blackened intensity." Vince Neilstein, MetalSucks
Sunday, May 26, 2013
keep Portland weird, indeed: Eolian Empire records unleashes 26 Portland bands Eolian Empire KEEP OUR HEADS Compilation: 26 Portland Bands, 99-Minutes Of Bedlam No such thing as too much music, just ask Eolian Empire You wanted the best (from Portland), you've got the best!! What's going on in Portland?! A lot, actually. Punk that sounds like black metal that sounds like hardcore that sounds like sludge that sounds like angry hippies that sounds like...everyone who lives in Portland??!! Here it is. This is a great idea of what's happening in the Portland DIY, punk hardcore stoner thrash and a whole lot of other noise world. I miss Portland. Voodoo Doughnuts and music. Keep Portland Weird!! KEEP OUR HEADS Track Listing: side X: Honduran – “No Man's Land” Diesto – “Arrows” Fist Fite – “Bitches Leave” Humours – “In the Court of the Corn-Eyed King” Drunk Dad – “S.O.U.” Palo Verde – “Swimming in the Royal Academy” Big Black Cloud – “Reptile Brain” Lord Dying – “The Value of Pity” Norska – “Eostre” Towers – “Hell” Tiny Knives – “Winter” Redneck – “Princess” side Y: Sioux – “Ascension” IX – “Robocrastinatortron” The Ax – “Luminaries” Order of the Gash, "In the Library of Leng: Vol 1 - The Hangman's Wine" Sei Hexe, "Minutiae Obsession" Prizehog – “Irrevelant” Hot Victory – “The Cog” Gaytheist – “Gimme Black My Blow” Rabbits – “Drink, Drank, Drunk” LKN – “Freedom Shot” Nasalrod – “Suicidal Propaganda” Crag Dweller – “The Animal” Gone to Croatoan – “Poor, Poor Little Man” Acre – “Heavy Day” www.eolianempire.com
Saturday, May 25, 2013
strictly, exclusively for the devoted to prog metal: Cynthesis: "ReEvolution" Cynthesis is a traditional prog metal band. Traditional singing, clear production, and intelligible guitar. They appear to sound harmless enough. Then reality sets in: This band will chew you up and spit you out if you want something to sing along to, something to rock, something to move to. Instead, this band demands that, if you make the decision to listen to this music, you have to listen carefully. Their record company has a motto that says "thinking man's music." Well, they should change the "man" to "person" because it's not only men that listen to this music. Anyway, yes, it is "thinking person's music" because if you do not have the endurance or patience for spacey,instrumentalicious prog, meandering segments, and yes, also "music for musicians," then this will be very, very, very boring. Cynthesis has an IQ test for you. It is this album. Cynthesis has found the "book of heavy metal" and decided to set it on fire, and re-burned the ashes and flushed them down the toilet. I have listened to this album, and I'm dizzy, I need my medication, because I am 83 years old and I cannot fall down again and break my hip once more. I already fell down the stairs and broke my foot. Cynthesis, if I get injured again, it is your fault, you mofos. If you read philosophy books for fun, you do calculus as a hobby, you love classical music, you like metal bands that people say are "boring" and have songs that are "too long," you like bands that are called "wankers" and things like that. Cynthesis is for you. Cynthesis is quite an elitist little bunch of musical demons. They appear so normal. They are wicked smart. www.cynthesisband.com www.cynthesisband.com
Extrema (Italy): “The Seed of Foolishness” Thrash meets Pantera meets angry politics Extrema released their debut back in 1987 and ever since then they have been working on a fusion of thrash and groove riffs (Pantera style), while ranting and raving about politics. Extrema takes what is happening around them, musically and politically, and wraps it all up in their own way. Well, now, they have a new album called “The Seed of Foolishness” and since in 2013 Italy, like the world, is not doing so well financially and politically, Extrema has plenty of fuel for their fire. Extrema has a 90s Pantera energy to it, as well as a thrash sound. You know what’s kind of curious about Extrema? They sound like they are from Texas! What? Texas?! In Texas, I would think, this type of sound would be very, very intelligible, recognizable and comfortable and Extrema would have a nice share of the Pantera and thrash fans into them. The world is a pretty small place after all. Italy or Texas, it doesn’t matter, Extrema will find their niche anywhere. Check this out, in particular you do like Pantera, and fun and lighthearted thrash that takes on politics with a bit of an angry angle, but mostly Extrema wants their fans to mosh and scream, and have a drink. www.extremateam.com
a FREE album from Kaotoxin Records Do you like FREE? Here's a nice gift for you from Kaotoxin Records. Below is what Nico from Kaotoxin wrote: Nico Kaotoxin Thanks a lot! And for your readers, get our FREE label sampler here : http://listen.kaotoxin.com/album/toxic-kaos
Friday, May 24, 2013
Dark Moor (Spain): “Ars Musica” This makes 9 albums, from their debut in 1999. It is true that I have never heard a Dark Moor title that I did not like, and listening to this new one is just as much fun as their previous material. Featuring luxurious, symphonic power metal; and melodies that hit the mark big time, these veterans deliver like the true professionals that they are. Dark Moor does not emphasize upfront shredding guitars nor heaviness per se, rather it is melodies, hooks and notes coated in sugar. Speedy rockers, uptempo compositions, sing-along tunes, midtempo numbers (some more symphonic than others), ballads and others in between, Dark Moor covers all the bases in power metal, including acoustic and orchestral versions, and a song in Spanish. If you like power metal and you have not given them much of your time, this album is a very good place to start. Another fine, fine effort. Pleasing. www.dark-moor.com
Thursday, May 23, 2013
instrumental doom stoner The Lumberjack Feedback (France): "Hand of Glory" Welcome to the house of doom. Take your shoes off, please. Sit down. Here's a beer. In this house, do not text when The Lumberjack Feedback is on. The tv is off. No videogames. Stop playing Angry Birds. Just drink your beer. The Lumberjack Feedback is on now. The doom is on. No vocals, so you don't get distracted with nonsense lyrics. Just heavy riff, after heavy, just like Iommi would want. Do you hear the loud thumping? It's the bass. Do you notice that the drums sound different? No? That's two drummers, by the way. How's that beer? Here's another one. This is The Lumberjack Feedback. Welcome to heavy. https://www.facebook.com/thelumberjackfeedbackband
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Obscurantist death metal appeals to the initiated in a heritage of metal in which the total is bigger than a simple sum of the parts: Venom, Sodom, Destruction, Kreator, Bathory, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Morbid Angel, Possessed, Sarcofago, early Sepultura, etc. It’s not a coincidence that in 2013 the bands that play obscurantist death metal are not recording their first demos, but rather but have been around the block a bit. It is a spirit of profoundly blasphemous death metal, with ancient themes, such as found in the myths of holy books or evil characters in fantasy fiction (books, movies, etc.). It is unscientific, irrational, obscurantist, superstitious on the topics of deities, darkness and evil. Chapel of Disease (Ger.): “Summoning Black Gods” If you have ever said something like: “I love dark and evil old death metal” or “I love very early Sodom, Sepultura and Sarcofago” or things along those lines, Chapel of Disease makes music for you. The target audience is exactly you. To show how serious the band is about this matter, consider this: They have a song called “Dead Spheres” whose beginning is a lot more than reminiscent of Sarcofago’s song “Nightmare”: it is actually simply lifted off Sarcofago, straight up, lifted. It is the band putting out the call for those into this type of music. Let’s you reach a false conclusion, Chapel of Disease is no retro, semi-tribute-like band. I find this album to be outstanding and when I listen to it on headphones, I hear a drummer with a lot of style and personality, a hard hitter; and a vocalist dedicated to the fundamentals of what used to be called “dark and evil underground metal” and turns in a wonderful performance, in that sense. One more thing, these hard-driving riffs are rough around the edges, as they should be, but ridiculously effective. Whether you like “war metal,” “black thrash,” the heaviness of Incantation and Immolation, classic black metal, as well as Possessed and classic Dark Angel, I would say that there is something here, made especially for you. Chapel of Disease has essentially read your mind. They do not necessarily sound like those bands, but they have certain elements for sure, be it hooks or just an ancient feel. www.chapel-of-disease.jimdo.com www.chapel-of-disease.jimdo.com
Stratovarius has new studio album out called "Nemesis," already reviewed in this zine. With this quick note I just wanted to remind the Stratovarius fans that there is also the live album, which is interesting to the Stratovarius fan for two reasons: 1.It is the last album with longtime drummer Jörg Michael. This is one of those last shows with him. 2.This has a lot music, of course, with all the hits that you'd expect! There is also a dvd of this concert in Finland. The band does sound live on here, it does not sound perfect, which is a good thing. Very nice presentation. www.stratovarius.com
better late than never! Metal Bulletin zine totally missed the boat on this one: Unisonic:"Unisonic"
The father of power metal, Kai Hansen (former Helloween leader and longtime Gamma Ray mastermind) joined his former Helloween mate Michael Kiske's band Unisonic, rounded out by other experienced rock/metal musicians from bands like Pink Cream 69. This music oscillates between metal and rock, from the rocking moments to the midtempo songs. Of course, all the levels of quality on "Unisonic" are high, professional and experienced. Expect very good sounds because they do not know any other way of working. The main thing to emphasize here: it is always nice to hear Michael Kiske sing because his voice is very special, backed up by top notch musicians, with extensive knowledge how to write songs that can impact the willing listener. Unisonic is a good time, a good, good time. www.unisonic.org
Melodic thrash with a vocalist that sings, and a bit of a prog-melodic touch. For the most part, Rectified Spirit goes for thrashing and headbanging, with a melodic edge, with some of overtones/moments suggest metalcore elements, like the screamed vocals and traditional singing in combination. All in all, the sound is melodic thrash, and definitely not hardcore, amply demonstrated by the Maidenesque guitar melodies and the Priestesque wailing. Tracks like “There Is No Tomorrow” and “Rectified Spirit” are good examples of these traits. “Paradigm Lost,” on the other hand, sounds a bit like Killswitch Engage and Exodus together. The prog parts, in general, are separated in the form of two longer songs that are 8-minute plus. This shows that a characteristic of metal bands from India: they do not care to be boxed in a particular category; they play metal, mix and match, cut and paste, in a free-thinking way, seemingly unfettered by the rules found in certain other countries and their scenes. Good potential here. www.facebook.com/Rectified.Spirit.Official www.facebook.com/Rectified.Spirit.Official
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
These three entities are heavy, in a metal way. The target audience is very much metal, given that this is black and death metal in fundamental ways, but with added elements of adventure. It’s impossible to confuse the albums with someone else’s because each one is pretty unique. Azure Emote (U.S.): “The Gravity of Impermanence” Rotting Christ (Greece): “KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY” Sigh (Japan): “In Somniphobia” The basis of Azure Emote consists of “brutal death metal,” in the sense of Montrosity and Vile, where Azure Emote mastermind Mike Hrubovcak growls. What is really, really distinct about Azure Emote is the variety of instrumentation, moods and components that make this album a complete other ball game. The result? Depending on which moment we are talking about, it’s atmospheric death metal, really heavy “brutal” classical music, death metal opera, trippy sounds, amongst other things. Highly recommended if you want to hear death metal taken to places that few have imagined. That’s something, isn’t? www.azureemote.com Rotting Christ just keeps taking journeys, dragging any willing listener on field trips into the band’s fearless minds. So, how do they make weirdness sound so catchy? Snake-charming music, freaky chanting, and music that sounds like the band wanted to create the atmosphere of an “evil convent” in the mountains, by the caves. Compared to Azure Emote above, Rotting Christ sounds a bit more “normal.” Of course, Rotting Christ is also very experienced at the art of composing memorable songs. That’s definitely an achievement for these veterans of black/death mind expansion. www.rotting-christ.com www.rotting-christ.com
Sigh embraces weirdness. See “L’excommunication a Minuit” for an illustration. Imagine, if you will, that the international man of mystery Austin Powers (it’s going to get downright strange when a sentence begins with “Imagine Austin Powers…”) with a bunch of hippy friends and funny sounding guitars and organs, from the 60s. Add Lisa Simpson and her jazz to this commotion. You will also hear monkey screams, maniacal laughter, bird or mosquito-like sounds, and insane asylum sounds. That’s one song. There are 11 tracks. Yikes! I’m going to need a double dose of my medication today.www.facebook.com/pages/SIGH-official-page/227550909275
Anvil: "Hope in Hell" or rather, Anvil: Stupid Music by Stupid People for Stupid People, and Proud of It
Anvil: "Hope in Hell"
or rather, Anvil: Stupid Music by Stupid People for Stupid People, and Proud of It
Anvil has a new album that is perfect for the stupid moments in life. Anvil are the kings of stupid. stupid has nothing on Anvil. stupid and Anvil go together, like a fish to water. new album, new levels of stupidity www.facebook.com/anvilmetal
Enshadowed: "Magic Chaos Psychedelia" Efficient, reliable, intense and appealing, that’s Enshadowed. Blasting their way through traditional black metal with contagious enthusiasm and personality, this title (their third) sees the band stack up the riffs with quickness, always keeping the foot pressed against the pedal, and wisely backing off the blasting at the selected places, only to return reliably to the high level of intensity. When the music is playing Enshadowed is utterly convincing in the execution of songs that bundle up slightly dissonant riffs, thrashing hooks, while loyally sticking tightly to the definition of traditional black metal. The snarls and screams give you everything you want, and nothing you don’t. Just black metal. Noticeably, Enshadowed rejects utilizing melodies to make their point, preferring to communicate through sheer musical muscle, and a riff-after-riff mentality. The “psychedelia” element seems to be found only on the last song, the title, which sports some spacey/trippy moments. In summary, as black metal execution, Enshadowed has it all bagged up and ready to go. Join them for ride into blasting black metal, and more. www.facebook.com/EnshadowedOfficial www.facebook.com/EnshadowedOfficial
Monday, May 20, 2013
Fiends at Feast: "Towards the Baphomet's Throne"
I like what I’m hearing from the skillful and confident Fiends at Feast, who begins with three headbanging songs, full of raging riffs, speed and a veteran vibe, some cool hooks to boot. The sound is pretty clear and the bass is audible in places. They are the kind songs that black metal listeners, especially the black metal maniacs, will view positively, as it should be. The fourth track “Walls of Worship” is a slow number. Here, I find a bit less to be interested in. The next one, “From Hell They Rise” should have hit the ground running, and it’s incredible that it is a sort of midtempo, meandering one. The vibe of the album is in serious jeopardy now. Shockingly, next is an acoustic interlude. “Hedonistic Heresy” brings back the energy, a bit too late in the album, even though there are there are two more songs. After repeated listens, I have concluded that the chronology of the songs is not the most conducive to keep the intensity up. More importantly, I think that the slower numbers would have been better served by (1) making them shorter and (2) infuse them with more speed earlier on. The result is an album that I want to like more, but it’s necessary to arrange the songs better, bringing forward the intensity more. www.facebook.com/FiendsAtFeast
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Here's one for the thrashers: Texas thrashers Warbeast recently played a show in Houston,Texas here's footage of the show www.fuglymaniacs.com
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Kingcrow (Italy): “In Crescendo” Kingcrow, a traditional progressive metal band, has a talented singer and songs packed with so much skill that they should give away 20 percent of their talent to core or slam death metal bands, who would not know a note if it bit them on the derriere. In addition to being potential musical philanthropists, Kingcrow strikes an efficient balance between writing songs that can be remembered rather easily and flexing their prog musical muscles. “Right Before” and “This Ain’t Another Love Song” are the two easy, memorable tracks that open this title. Then, things get melancholic, proggy and the band really shows its cards. Kingcrow’s sound allows different, subtle details to be heard, from the bass to acoustic guitars, to vocal layering. Of course, no growling, no blasting, no breakdown, no pig squeals, no zombies, no glorification of violence, so on and so forth. If you hate singing and singing about personal emotions, clearly, this is not for you. There is also not much headbanging or shredding here. It’s just music with good songs, and no gimmicks. If Kingcrow were literature, it would be the type of books that “the masses” complain that the author is too complicated and “doesn’t get to the point” quickly, and that the author tries to “confuse” the reader by using “big” words. If Kingcrow were a painting, it would be a one that a lot of people do not like because “you can’t tell what it is,” and it’s too “abstract.” Really, it’s actually not that difficult, but it takes several good listens before most listeners will understand it a bit. All that’s needed is a willingness to comprehend. www.kingcrow.it www.kingcrow.it
Being out of the loop on the music of Woe, I had no expectations. The band name is not the most exciting and the one-word title surely doesn’t sound interesting. Just wait until you hear this black metal! I was not even finished checking out the second song when it all became obvious: although steeped in the grim and classic 90s black metal, Woe has substantial creativity and a strong sense for arranging the songs. The most impressive aspect of Woe is how each song has things to make it stand out: whether it is a hook, a change in rhythm or just good riffs, Woe takes but one listen to convince. Woe is not afraid to use semi-melodic singing nor fearful of using melody to enhance certain moments in the compositions. Even though it is completely accurate that Woe has semi-necro production values and they could benefit from a clearer sound quality, Woe is more than a band with potential. No need to wait, they deliver the goods now. Check out the huge black thrashing riffs on “Carried by the Waves to Remorseless Shores of the Truth,” and if that doesn’t make you bang your head, then possibly nothing ever will. The soloing is catchy, too. Of course, the vocals are ripping shrieking snarls, and you can hear the bass in places. The thing is that every song has important spices like that which makes them attractive to the black metal ear. Woe has just made me a new advocate. www.facebook.com/woeunholy?ref=ts www.facebook.com/woeunholy?ref=ts
High-density, claustrophobic, massively heavy death metal, sustained by some of the most doom-ominous guitar work covered in issue 35 of this zine, Krypts carries the music of a numbing darkness, and no hope. Think of the slow music found in Blaspherian, early Incantation, Candlemass and Imprecation, and you’ll be in the frame of mind for this. The vocals are way beyond comprehension, and project only a dark, rumbling murmur, perfectly appropriate for this bleakness. Krypts launches into bursts of blasting speed in some places, for variety and hopeless fun. In addition—but it’s indispensable to listen closely to these songs—there is a silver lining of melodies, the type of melodies for the end of the world. This last particular matter of melody is actually, in my opinion, the crucial piece of the puzzle for Krypts. This is why: without them the songs would be boring, because we would have a band that sounds like it is playing slow songs for some 40 minutes. In fact, some people have listened to this album and have not listened closely enough and they did not find the melodies and have mistakenly dismissed Krypts as a band that specializes in slowness. No, Krypts specializes in a vibe, a very heavy, dense death metal darkness. Yes, it does take several listens (and you probably should not be texting and driving while this is on because a mosquito-like attention span will not understand Krypts). If patience is not a quality you have with metal, then turn around, walk away, because this will seem extremely dull. Otherwise, if this review caught your interest in Krypts, go here and give a listen. www.mesacounojo.com
as I often tell you, Fuglymaniacs provides an insight into metal events in Houston, Texas. today I went to the website and look what I found: Warbeast, a thrash band made up of veterans of metal in Texas. is Warbeast is the best thrash band you have never heard?! Well, let's find out now: www.fuglymaniacs.com
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Hod: “The Uncreated Demo”I hope that someone with some connections hears this demo and signs the band. Three songs by San Antonio, Texas black metallers Hod performed at a high level of skill. Tight, mean, ripping execution, and a venomous gremlin for a vocalist. I have only seen Hod live once and was thoroughly impressed with their professionalism onstage. They clearly have a twisted sense of humor, but the performance is serious business. Actually, now that I think about it, Fuglymaniacs’ (www.fuglymaniacs.com) technological spell magic wizard Juan has stated this very same thing about seeing Hod live. And Juan is pretty polite, but he doesn’t like people who are not ready for stage. Hod is not only ready for prime time, they could easily conquer stages all over Europe if they were given the chance. I know that people who like seriously-executed death and black metal would love this band because Hod is a high standard. Somebody sign them already. Listen to this and tell me it’s not good. Liar. www.facebook.com/pages/Hod/118127951554999 www.facebook.com/pages/Hod/118127951554999
Necro death metal from the Phillipines and Peru Here are 4 bands that practice death metal the unmodern way: ugly, unfancy, ripping, and meant for the initiated in the ways of early death metal, when death and black were essentially the same thing, just blasphemous uncommercial metal music. Pathogen (Phillipines): “Miscreants of Bloodlusting Aberrations” Such a necro form of death metal that Pathogen will appeal to fans of both raw black metal and old school death metal. The album is from 2010, but I just heard it recently, so I might as well tell you about it now. This is strictly for those into the type of sound values found on Morbid Angels’ “Abominations of Desolation” and of course the first Sarcofago. At times I also get the impression that Pathogen’s favorite song of all time is Morbid Angel’s “Pain Divine” from the “Covenant” album. They do skillful work and one that the initiated will recognize and like immediately. Pathogen does not hide their influences, which is their way of showing their calling card to the listener, and finding those that want to hear some ancient death metal. www.facebook.com/pages/Pathogen-PH/177645992334222 www.facebook.com/pages/Pathogen-PH/177645992334222 Ancestral/Non Serviam/Offensor (Peru, all three): “El rito” (three-way split) This split is quite the revelation because these three bands are specialists in the type of death metal that is raw and associated with that South American sound. The foundation for is the vibe and enthusiasm for keeping their metal fixed on the selective audience that enjoys 80s production values of underground metal. Riffs that at times go from death metal to black metal and thrash, although the atmosphere and style is certainly death metal. Whether it’s early Slayer, Bathory, Sodom or Hellhammer or Sarcofago, all that is in some way represented here, directly or indirectly. A great and welcomed contrast to the overproduced, “perfect production” and robotized metal. www.facebook.com/Offensor non-serviam-666.wix.com/nonserviamperu www.ancestralperu.es.tl www.facebook.com/Offensor www.non-serviam-666.wix.com/nonserviamperu
Italian prog power metal veterans recently did a couple of special shows: 1 in Chicago and 1 in Houston, Texas. Go here to see it: www.fuglymaniacs.com
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Saxon –-legends from New Wave of British Heavy Metal—has 20 studio albums, from the debut “Saxon” (1979) to “Sacrifice” (2013). As of May 2013, Priest has 16, Maiden 15 and Motorhead 21. Saxon has more than a handful of total classic must-haves. Unlike some longstanding bands, Saxon has a remarkable history of consistency because Biff Byford (vocals) and Paul Quinn (guitars) have been at their respective posts since 1977. By now, the other members—Nigel Glockler (drums), Nibbs Carter (bass) and Doug Scarratt (guitar)—have been in Saxon a long, long time, too, decades, actually. Probably their best since the 1997 classic “Unleash the Beast,” this one is very enjoyable all the way through. Even as a Saxon lunatic fanatic, I am surprised at the excellence, high quality and headbangingness of this album. Nine songs: 8 uptempo rockers, 1 midtempo track. Great rocking vibe. Saxon is very good at heavy metal, always has been. In addition, Saxon here offers fun, new versions (reworked, classical or acoustic) of 5 classics, all good stuff. www.saxon747.com
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Aethernaeum (Germany): “Wanderungen durch den Daemmerwald”; Lux Divina (Spain): “Possessed by Telluric Feelings” Vreid
Aethernaeum (Germany): “Wanderungen durch den Daemmerwald” Lux Divina (Spain): “Possessed by Telluric Feelings” Vreid (Norway): “Welcome Farewell” Aethernaeum used to be the solo project of romantic black metal entity Alexander Paul Blake, the name of the frontperson for gothic metallists Eden Weint im Grab (“Eden Weeps in the Grave”). Now that APB has surrounded himself with a band, the name has changed, the essence of the music has not: romantic black metal. I’m not sure if the new band did record these songs or if it’s just APB himself doing everything still. Bottom line, Aethernaeum embodies an elegant, pensive type of “nature black metal.” This music adds to black metal an atmospheric, folk, acoustic feel, with whispered vocals in some places. Twoh songs are about 12 minutes and 3 are between 8-10 minutes, amongst other songs in this hour-long title. It’s not music for a short attention span nor immediate satisfaction. It’s meant to be an experience, and it’s sort of a test for the kind of metal listener that one might be. Right from the beginning, the listener gets two songs (11:44 and 12:07) that invite repeated listens. How good is your mental concentration? If it’s not that great, then Aethernaeum will expand the parameters of the ability to focus, provided the music is given a chance. www.aethernaeum.de www.aethernaeum.de www.lux divina.com
God Seed, being the work of ex Gorgoroth members Gaahl and King, surely has some Gorgoroth-like characteristics, but also the use of keyboards throughout the album and broader speeds and moods, and also background sounds. Overall, it is energetic and intense, of course. “From the Running of Blood” and “Aldrande Tre” illustrate the old black metal aesthetics of blazing speed, tremolo and necro vibe. When the band explores other moods, it does not sound out of place with the faster parts. There are some spacey sounds, movie soundtrack-like vibes and perhaps background psychedelic sounds, all done in proportion, nothing too dominant. I know that a lot people like this album, and it does several cool aspects. Nevertheless, I have to call it as I hear it. I have heard God Seed a lot, actually, and have come back to it time and again. In the end, the energy/aggression has not been enough to catch my attention, and I still don’t have the sensation that I know the songs, even after repeated listens. Furthermore, there is another problem, as I see it: I simply cannot believe that they kept the sound quality so poor. These gentlemen are very experienced, and should have insisted on a higher quality for the drums, for instance. The drums sound so poor and plastic. I have a difficult time hearing anything other than a basic plastic snare sound. I don’t know that I hear cymbals, bass drum or anything else. Unbelievable. Is it a drum machine? www.reverbnation.com/godseed www.reverbnation.com/godseed
Monday, May 13, 2013
melodic/growl The bands in this section have in common the melodic segments (guitar and/or singing) and heavier, growling parts. Sometimes it’s a back and forth switching, like Soilwork or Killswitch Engage. Sometimes it’s not a change between harsh/melodic, but rather an amalgamation/layering of heaviness with melody rolled into a single, consistent bundle, like Be’lakor. Be’lakor (Australia): “Of Breath and Bone” Blinded by Faith (Canada): “Chernobyl Survivor” Kalmah (Finland): “Seventh Swamphony” Killswitch Engage (U.S.): “Disarm the Descent” Soilwork (Sweden): “The Living Infinite” Judging by the music on here, Be’Lakor enjoys classic 90s In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. The vocals go for a low, gruff growl (not scream/sing vocals). The identity of Be’lakor comes from the foundation of rhythms, on a guitar tone close to death metal, with a second layering of dominant and constant guitar melodies. Meaning, Be’lakor layers the melodies on top of the heavy riffing throughout the duration of the songs, maintaining the dual nature of the guitar work. Be’lakor in 2013 swims against the stream by playing longer, mid/uptempo (no blasting) songs for almost an hour of music: 3 songs are 9 minutes, 3 tracks over 6 min., and 1 song that’s 8 min. They take their time, and appear oblivious to commercial pressure or trends. Recommended for fans of classic 90s Gothenburg sounds, and also more current, for fans of Insomnium. www.belakorband.com www.belakorband.com Blasting and speed in general, with raspy, screechy vocals forms the basis of Blinded by Faith. The raspy vocals are of the high variety, as found in early Emperor, early Children of Bodom, as well as in some metalcore/emo screaming. That part of the band’s sound is more for fans of this particular kind of screaming. In comparison with the other bands in this section, Blinded by Faith is by far the fastest, and is likely to make an impact the most quickly. For example, compared to Blinded by Faith, Be’lakor sounds moody, mellow and mature, while BbF is frenetic, frazzled, hip and modern. Having said that, Blinded by Faith gives me the feeling that maybe they try to do too much, for this style. Evidence of this aspect may be that after listening to this title a few times, I still don’t really recall the songs. www.blindedbyfaith.com www.blindedbyfaith.com June 18, 2013 is the official release date for the new Kalmah album. Very reliably on their 7th title, Kalmah continues on the path of a band that never wants to disappoint nor freak out its followers. Once again, Kalmah comes up with guitar work that sounds like black metal and power metal, with thrashy and tremolo riffs, and hooks at every turn. Kalmah underlines riffs, taking the double road that has marked their trajectory: melodies layered above heavy riffs. Some moments are melodic, others are very melodic, some are fast, and others, blazing speed. The vocal style seems to have stabilized for the band: mostly gruff growling, with some snarls peppered in places. Seven albums in, and Kalmah sounds as confident, stable, predictable, and strong as ever. www.kalmah.com www.kalmah.com Killswitch Engage have put their best, most commercially viable foot forward. They knew that they needed to bring it, and have good reason to be pleased. The songs are very memorable, have thrashing moments, shredding, moshing parts, energetic/blasting segments, melodic (poppy, even) moments and growling and screams, and a huge emphasis on the scream/sing switching back and forth. Very commercially sensible and business savvy: the 12 songs, (about 3:30 minutes on average) have a basic formula of thrashy riffs over growling, and melodic singing over memorable hooks. Killswitch Engage has put a serious effort into establishing themselves again with their new, returning vocalist Jesse Leach. Their fans should be pretty glad, and some very happy that JL is back. www.killswitchengage.com www.killswitchengage.com This 84-minute, double title “The Living Infinite” by Soilwork is the most exciting music since 2002’s “Natural Born Chaos,” which made them a brand within the style of melodic growl metal. If you like Soilwork, this will be an enormously pleasant surprise. When a band does a very long album, sometimes I fear that the band will bore me with non-song time-consumers (to be pompous or “complex,” maybe to fulfill some contract obligation). Sometimes bands do long songs with much filler (keyboard solos, bass solos, spoken parts, interludes, so on and so forth). Unexpectedly, Soilwork sticks to doing what they do best: songs that are not too long, that are memorable, poppy in places, with blasting speed or bursts of energy, and thrashy riffs. They simply rolled up their sleeves and got down to work. I believe that they worked very hard to put together a strong album, and it really shows. If you have liked any Soilwork in the past, without a doubt whatsoever, you should seriously consider supporting the band on this endeavor because it is a remarkable effort that maintains a high standard. www.soilwork.org www.soilwork.org
adult contemporary Adult contemporary metal is mellow, singing-driven, unoffending, uncontroversial music that could be played at the suit-and-tie office, or in the background at a restaurant. People would go, “Ah, that’s a nice song, who is that? Is it Journey? Boston? Trans-Siberian Orchestra?” The guitar work is melodic, not “shredding.” Other characteristics of adult contemporary metal are: it is not music you’d be embarrassed if young children heard it; it is not x-rated music; the likelihood that there is a curse word is very low; no gimmicks, no image, no cartoonish, no anti/religious things. It is just catchy songs. If someone told these bands that they are not “real” metal, they would smile, and say nothing because that would be a boring discussion for them. Rock? Metal? Hard rock? Heavy rock? Melodic heavy metal rock? That’s not something with which these musicians concern themselves much. In The Silence (U.S.): “A Fair Dream Gone Mad” Pretty Maids (Denmark): “Motherland”
In The Silence exudes talent and professionalism: a clean, clear production, great singing, and skillful instrumentation. In The Silence specializes in melancholic, moody, a bit proggy songs (in places, a bit similar in feel to latter-day Katatonia). Only the first song, “Ever Closer,” sounds like a “normal” song, in the sense of an easily comprehensible metal number, for purposes of getting the attention of the listener. However, after that, it is required to listen to the complete work to get a good idea of the overall interpretation of the music. Personally, it took a day of listening to the album to understand it. I would say that two things stand out the most. First, the melodic singing (no growling, no tough-guy shouting, no air-raid siren screaming, etc.) gives the band an intelligent vibe. It is a nice change of pace from the constant pig-squeals, blasting and growling in this zine. Second, the mood: these songs require patience, have to let them go into moments of slow, mellow, wandering segments, get a little proggy, and find a way to wrap things up. You can listen to this by itself, or have it in the background while reading a book, but it’s probably a very bad idea for the gym when you “want to rock out.” www.reverbnation.com/inthesilence www.reverbnation.com/inthesilence
If radio and television played the song “Wasted” by Pretty Maids, then it would become a massive, international hit song with soccer moms, with middle-age people, and would be playing on the radio every hour. Men and teenage boys would claim that they don’t like it, but they would secretly sing along in the car, when no one is with them. “Wasted” is not the only song like that, “Sad to See You Suffer” is just as, if not more, memorable and ear-friendly. The album is uptempo, happy rockers (but not too much rocking, this is adult contemporary, after all) and midpace sing-along big-chorus tracks. Warning to the knowledgeable listener: If you want the Pretty Maids of the classic heavy metal thunder of the “Future World” album (1987), you should know that this is not that type of band anymore. They are older, less angry, more mellowed out and less speedy. Be that as it may, these songs are well-arranged ear candy, something the band has always done, regardless of time period. www.prettymaids.dk
Saturday, May 11, 2013
A Transylvanian Funeral: "Gorgos Goetia" Vreid: "Welcome Farewell" One-person, minimalist, barely audible black metal is the specialty of A Transylvanian Funeral, a project that makes Darkthrone sound like “Epic Hollywood Filmscore Metal.” The audience for this black metal is probably the person writing this review, who, for some reason, happens to get a kick out lo-fi black metal. If your ears perk up when hear the term “garage black metal,” then walk this way. A Transylvanian Funeral has been waiting for you.www.facebook.com/pages/atransylvanianfuneral www.facebook.com/atransylvanianfuneral Vreid works within broad parameters, and really Vreid is such quality that even very selective people should find this to be a worthy album. Vreid is the type of veteran band that in their youth they loved the early 90s Norwegian black metal and were of course influenced by it, but at this point in their journey that they do not care for categories and narrow definitions. Vreid, being the continuation of Windir, after frontman Valfar died. Anyway, this is no one-man project garage rock “black metal,” but rather a creative force, a band, whose huge riffs show the craftsmanship, the dedication and experience. In parts, Vreid sounds like true-blue black metal tremolo guitar, and the drumming can go at that black metal blasting speed for sure, just check out the second song “The Way of the Serpent,” in which Vreid lets loose on this black metal barnstormer of a song, tremolo riff and tight blasting. However, Vreid casts a wide net, with thrash riffs, heavy metal hooks, a variety of speeds. In the end, Vreid is quality metal, not necessarily a perfect fit for box to be put in. Their “melodic black metal” is highly recommended. www.vreid.no www.vreid.no