Saturday, January 30, 2016

AVANTASIA - Mystery of a Blood Red Rose (OFFICIAL TRACK & LYRICS)

Tobias Sammet became known amongst Rock fans all over the world as the singer and songwriter of EDGUY, one of Germany's biggest internationally acclaimed Rock bands in recent music history, having played numerous headline tours in Europe, Australia, Asia and North, Central, and South America.
In 1999 Tobias started his side project AVANTASIA. What was originally planned as a one-off studio affair, was revived in 2007. The album "The Scarecrow" was released in 2008 and was officially amongst the 20 best selling albums all over Europe upon its release, it entered the charts in 15 countries (Germany #8), featured the Top 10 hit single "Lost In Space" and producer Sascha Paeth received an award for "The Scarecrow" having been chosen "Best Rock Production 2008" by the Association of German Sound Engineers (VDT).
On the album Tobias had been working with fellow musicians like Jorn Lande, Eric Singer (KISS), Rudolf Schenker (SCORPIONS), Bob Catley (MAGNUM), Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske both ex-HELLOWEEN), Alice Cooper and many more. The unexpected success of the album resulted in a Festival-tour, climaxing with a headlining show at the prestigious Wacken Open Air in front of more than 85.000 people. When the tour was over AVANTASIA had played in Europe, Asia and South America in front of more than half a million people. Tobias later recalled: "Allstar albums are being recorded quite often, but I don't think the Heavy Metal circus has seen a giant allstar show like that travelling around the world."
To this date EDGUY and AVANTASIA have sold more than 2.5 million CDs worldwide - exclusively on Independent labels and to quote Tobias: "(...) without kissing ass in today's fast food music business (...)" Currently he is working on a new AVANTASIA album which is scheduled for April of this year.
release date: January 29th, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
1. Mystery of a Blood Red Rose 03:51
2. Let the Storm Descend upon You 12:09
3. The Haunting 04:42
4. Seduction of Decay 07:18
5. Ghostlights 05:43
6. Draconian Love 04:58
7. Master of the Pendulum 05:01
8. Isle of Evermore 04:28
9. Babylon Vampyres 07:09
10. Lucifer 03:48
11. Unchain the Light 05:03
12. A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies 05:53
total time 01:10:03
AVANTASIA - Mystery of a Blood Red Rose (OFFICIAL TRACK & LYRICS)

Sabbatory "Ascension To My Holy Tomb" (audio video)

One of two Sabbatory tracks from the upcoming full length split album "4 Doors To Death" - other bands include TrenchRot, Cemetery Filth, and Ectovoid. CD to be released Feb 19, 2016
Sabbatory "Ascension To My Holy Tomb" (4 Doors To Death / Unspeakable Axe Records)


Ride Forth
Prosthetic Records
release: 8 January 2016
The L.A. kings of shredding virtuosity return for another victorious crusade. Once again Exmortus, the great one, brings its gongshow in all its glory. The combination of neoclassical guitar + power/thrash tempos + growled vocals is as sharp as ever. If things turn out right for them, this album should raise their profile higher and more people will know the name. Listen to this music and very quickly you will hear the precision and the quality instrumentation. The music rejoices with neoclassical shredding and the spirit of neoclassical metal in general. The 2014 album was called “Slave to the Sword” and it was a very good album for the audiences looking for excellent musicianship. I have been listening to this new one that will be out in January 2016: the band’s dedication to the craft shines through mightily again. It’s refreshing to hear a metal band so devoted to mastering its art. The guitar playing is something to be heard. At times the band is melodic, at times the speed of the shredding is dazzling, it always sounds awesome. The standard that the band has set for itself gives great results, and the listener wins. The public into serious guitar and headbanging tunes will find many, many positives here. Highly recommended to metal audiences that want, that demand, that seek skill, hard work and high standards of quality.
(They started young!)
ON TOUR: EXMORTUS will hit the road in early 2016 alongside Enforcer, Warbringer and Cauldron.
1/31 Seattle, WA - Studio Seven *
2/1 Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theatre *
2/2 San Francisco, CA - Thee Parkside *
2/3 West Hollywood, CA - Whisky a Go Go *
2/4 San Diego, CA - Brick by Brick *
2/5 Tempe, AZ - Club Red *
2/6 Las Vegas, NV - LVCS *
2/7 Reno, NV - PB&Js *
2/8 Salt Lake City, UT - In The Venue *
2/9 Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater *
2/10 Merriam, KS - Aftershock *
2/11 Austin, TX - Sidewinder *
2/12 San Antonio, TX - Korova *
2/13 Houston, TX - Scout Bar *
2/14 Dallas, TX - Trees *
2/15 New Orleans, LA - Siberia *
2/16 Tampa, FL - Orpheum *
2/17 Orlando, FL - The Haven *
2/18 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade *
2/19 Louisville, KY - Diamond Pub *
2/20 Richmond, VA - Canal Club *
* with Enforcer, Warbringer & Cauldron

Friday, January 29, 2016

new shows: Seattle region concert calendar

Seattle region concert calendar by Metal Bulletin Zine (Washington state). If you know of other metal concerts in the area, please get in contact with Metal Bulletin Zine, here, on Facebook or on Twitter. -
January 30 Nile at El Corazón, Seattle
January 31 at Studio Seven: Warbringer, Enforcer, Exmortus, Cauldron, Oxygen Destroyer
February 5 Act of Defiance at Funhouse, Seattle *
February 6 Black Sabbath at Tacoma Dome -
February 9 Nervosa, Fallen Angels, Crud Guns, Trust Me Im Scared at Studio Seven, Seattle *
February 19 Fleshgod Apocalypse, Abigail Williams, Carach Angren at Studio Seven - Seattle, WA
February 20 Skelator at Funhouse - Seattle, WA
February 20 Metal Church at Louie G's in Fife, WA
February 21 Coffins at Highline in Seattle
February 23 Gravespell, Embryonic Devourment at Funhouse, Seattle *
February 23 A Flourishing Scourge at Funhouse - Seattle, WA
February 23 Cradle of Filth at The Showbox - Seattle, WA *
March 3 Children Of Bodom at El Corazón, Seattle *
March 5 Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Cryptopsy, Abysmal Dawn at El Corazon - Seattle, WA -
March 6 Helloween at The Showbox
March 7 Delain, Sonata Arctica, Nightwish at Showbox SoDo
March 19 Slayer, Testament, Carcass at Paramount Theater - Seattle
March 19 Queensryche at Snoqualmie Casino Showroom - Snoqualmie, WA
March 24 Y & T at Studio Seven Seattle
April 1 Decibel Magazinel Tour ABBATH, High On Fire, Tribulation, Skeletonwitch at El Corazon - Seattle, WA
April 11 Absu at Highline, Seattle, WA *
April 11 Iron Maiden at Tacoma Dome
April 14 Iron Kingdom at The Kraken Bar and lounge - Seattle, WA *
April 23 D.R.I. at El Corazón *
April 25 Sarcalogos TBA - Seattle, WA
May 1 Napalm Death at The Showbox - Seattle, WA
May 08 Primal Fear, Luca Turilli's Rhapsody at El Corazon - Seattle, WA
May 17 Amon Amarth at Showbox Market - Seattle, WA *
June 05 Iron Kingdom at Tony V's Garage - Everett, WA * *

Serenity (by The Man of Much Metal)

Artist: Serenity
Album Title: Codex Atlanticus
Label: Napalm Records
Year Of Release: 2016
Over the course of their career, Austria’s Serenity have made themselves ever-more indispensable in my world, slowly gathering momentum with each release. And then, with the release of ‘War Of Ages’ in 2013, I became entirely comfortable and had no qualms in describing the band as one of my very favourites within the melodic metal subgenre. The blend of catchy melodies and powerful male/female vocals alongside plenty of symphonic drama and bombast became a real highlight for me. ‘War Of Ages’ in particular, received regular rotation on my stereo as a result.
Fast forward to 2016 and Serenity are about to deliver album number five, ‘Codex Atlanticus’ via Napalm Records, albeit without the involvement of female vocalist Clémentine Delauney who has since departed the band. In an official release, the band cited the fact that they had taken the dual vocal approach as far as they wanted and therefore had no further need for Delauney’s services. As someone who found the vocal interplay between make vocalist Georg Neuhauser and Delauney very rewarding, this news came as a bit of a blow if I’m honest. Tracks like ‘Royal Pain’ for example, rank amongst my Serenity favourites.
Of course time will tell as to whether Serenity have made the correct decision here. However, the early signs are good and, to their immense credit, Serenity like to try new things. On ‘Codex Atlanticus’, bassist Fabio D’Amore adds his voice to a couple of tracks as does each member of the band to a greater or lesser extent.
The occasional track features a female vocal line but in the main, the responsibility for the bulk of the storytelling on this record is down to Georg Neuhauser. And fortunately, in Mr Neuhauser, Serenity are blessed with one of the very best vocalists in European melodic power metal. His range is impressive, his delivery is a great blend of the powerful and subtle and you can feel the passion in his voice as if he lives and breathes every word that he sings. I’m not normally a fan of vocalists with discernible accents but Neuhauser’s accent adds a welcome dose of the unique, meaning that he cannot be mistaken for anyone else.
As with the majority of Serenity albums before it, the lyrics on ‘Codex Atlanticus’ have a historical theme. However, rather than exploring many figures from the past, this album takes an in-depth look at one person in particular – namely Leonardo Da Vinci. It provides a fascinating backdrop for the record and underlines the intelligent song writing that can be found on ‘Codex Atlantic's’.
Great vocals and intelligent lyrics are nothing however without the music to back them up. And on that score, Serenity are not left wanting either. Backed up by a trademark crystal clear production, Messrs Neuhauser, D’Amore, Schipflinger (drums) and Hermsdörfer (guitars) create seriously catchy music that delivers tune after tune of generally up-tempo and bombastic material. There are occasions where the content verges on ‘cheesy’ territory but you know what? This subgenre is all the better for it and Serenity are no different. The final upshot is a record that hits you hard from the very beginning and gets better with each listen, to the point where you can’t help but listen to the album without a smile on your face.
The album opens with the title track, a short instrumental number that sets a genuinely cinematic tone to proceedings. As the title track dies away, it is replaced by ‘Follow Me’. Beginning quietly, it soon launches into a wonderfully crunchy and headbang-worthy riff topped off by a classic Serenity chorus. If anything, the bizarrely-titled ‘Sprouts Of Terror’ is even stronger thanks to an opening thrash-like riff, a hook-laden chorus and some wonderfully intense vocals from Neuhauser and D’Amore.
Elsewhere, ‘The Perfect Woman’ intrigues and genuinely pushes the boundaries of what can be achieved in this genre. The mix of Meatloaf and Queen with a stage-show musical sheen is brave but Serenity pull it off, just about. ‘Iniquity’ dials up the theatrical symphonic elements, as does ‘Reason’, with both sounding suitably bombastic, grand and epic as a result. Then there’s the celtic-sounding ballad ‘My Final Chapter’ which is slower but builds beautifully into a stunning crescendo full of power and emotion. ‘Caught In A Myth’ channels a stomping Kamelot vibe in places whilst ‘The Order’ is a brooding and rather menacing, yet highly melodic and addictive track that closes out the album in style.
On a first spin, I got the feeling that perhaps ‘Codex Atlanticus’ lacked a stand-out killer track or two like previous records. However, I soon realised that this is simply not the case. Such is the consistent quality on display throughout this album, each individual track offers something worthy of mention. And ultimately, it is this consistency that transforms ‘Codex Atlanticus’ from a good album into a great one. As such, it could be argued strongly that this is the best album of the band’s career. New and existing fans should therefore lap up the music on ‘Codex Atlanticus’. And, when all is said and done, this record helps to reaffirm my opinion that Serenity are simply one of the very best bands within the melodic power metal world.
The Score Of Much Metal: 9.0
Read more of The Man of Much Metal's writings:

Abbath (by Akerblogger)

Album Review: Abbath - Abbath (2016)
Frost, ice, winter, and death: black metal for the ice hearted. Abbath's self-titled album is pretty straightforward: melodic thrashy riffs; a barrage of whirlwind sound; blasting drums. Yet, this conventionality is it's strongest and most powerful attribute; Abbath knows melody and the riff like the back of his frostbitten hand and years of writing has only honed the ice-precise structure of this album.
The first track, 'To War!', got me really excited, its sound a chaotic rampage of speedy riffs and snappy snarls, its intense barrage of sound like something from an Absu record, everything at breakneck speed. The drumming on this song and this album as a whole is one of its best features: Creature - also known as Kevin Foley of grind/death band Benighted - offers much more diversity and aggression than your conventional blast-beat repetitive format. With grind and much brutal death relying on nuanced and varied drumming, the drums here feels much more textured than your typical black-metal formula.
There is enough variety here to keep a listener interested: tempo changes and an acoustic interlude in the second track 'Winterbane'; heraldic trumpets and guitar solos in 'Ashes of the Damned'; vocals are more tortured, strained, and snarling vocals in 'Count the Dead'; 'Root of the Dead' is more plodding in pace, even groovy with the bass is jumping about like a lead - in fact the bass is really interesting throughout - King knows his stuff. This is an Abbath album but Abbath doesn't steal the spotlight one bit.
What made Immortal and I so popular were the riffs. And here there are riffs aplenty; they're persistently engrossing and consistently varied. What I like most is the intensity of the tracks here; there is a real thrash/speed energy that underpins the whole thing, and it doesn't lack heaviness thanks to the drumming. I think working with a new - or partly new - band members and maybe not feeling the weight of expectation that a new Immortal record would have had - has give Abbath an icy blast of creative rejuvenation, and although this is not at all groundbreaking or left-of-field, it's fun and thrashy, intense and lively, and there are some evil solos to! It owes a lot to that playful-buzz and excitement that the best thrash albums give, and it maintains that trademark, cartoonish corpse-paint and ice aesthetic.
Rating: 8.5/10
Read more of Akerblogger's writings:

Suppressive Fire (by MMB)

Suppressive Fire
release: 14 January 2016
label: independent
I have been listening to this album a whole lot because it’s that good, at many levels. You also can hear the complete album yourself at the Bandcamp link below. They sound professional, serious and obsessed with making a good album, one that shows what this band is about. Well, I hope that they feel great about the album because it is a strong one. Let’s put Suppressive Fire under the unmerciful eye of the microscope and get down to the nuts and bolts and let’s figure how they have done it.
thrash; black thrash; furious, tight thrash with blasting as an element in the songs; the blasting is used selectively; this type of extreme metal thrash is not just for the thrash category; this band can roll on stage with the best of thrash bands, but they have the metal to get down with death metal and black metal bands due to the intensity of the album
ripping guitar tone and riffs by the boatload; the frenetic drumming is thoughtful and skillful and sounds fantastic; the guitar work is riffs, hooks and shredding
black thrash vocals; the type of vocals, more or less, found on Sodom albums, mid 80s to early 90s; old Sodom, late 80s Sepultura, Angelcorpse, Dissection and other similar vocal styles would be reasonable points of reference
remarkably clear and upfront sound; you can hear all sorts of details in the drumming; you can hear the cymbal work; the drum sound is an attractive component of the album; this sounds like a professional recording; it’s a good balance between raw metal and technology
songs to remember; songs to bang your head; the band knows how to write songs in this genre
general assessment:
Repeated listens have only confirmed and strengthened the initial positive impression. The combination of an album that sounds good and songs that will attract serious metal people should give Suppressive Fire many reasons to continue. This is an independent album, and that means that the band needs more than just internet likes. They need to be heard and to be supported by the people that are into the album. They have made a work that demonstrates dedication to metal. Tell your friends about it and maybe we all get lucky and the band decides to make another album. They most likely have made some sacrifices in order to do the album independently and their bank accounts have probably taken a major hit. They may be living with their parents or under a freeway because of this album. The main thing is this: listen to this album once, listen to it a few times all the way through. Does it make you bang your head? Does it move you? If so, then that is your answer: Suppressive Fire needs you, metalhead!
People who hate thrash, black thrash and extreme metal in general should stay away. People that support thrash, black and death metal are the main audiences.
official band information:
“North Carolina Death Thrashers SUPPRESSIVE FIRE will release debut album Bedlam on January 14, 2016. The album was mixed and mastered by Joel Grind (TOXIC HOLOCAUST) and features art by Par Olofsson (Exodus, Abysmal Dawn). SUPPRESSIVE FIRE channels the old school fury of bands like KREATOR, EXODUS, DEATH, and SODOM in creating its own brand of scorched-earth devastation.
SUPPRESSIVE FIRE proudly hail from Raleigh, along with greats such as Corrosion of Conformity and Between the Buried and Me. The trio has shared the stage with Toxic Holocaust, Wretched, Genocide Pact, The Hookers, and a slew of other bands and have no plans on slowing down. SUPPRESSIVE FIRE began their all-out attack on the Southeastern metal scene in 2013 and have refused to restrain the assault. Independently releasing Hellwraith (EP) in August 2014 and Covered in Conflict (Split) in 2015, the stage is now set for the unrepentant annihilation that is Bedlam.
Members: Joseph Bursey - Guitars // Aaron Schmidt Bass/vox // Brandon Smith - Drums
Suppressive Fire begun their all-out attack on the Southeastern metal scene in 2013 and have refused to let up the assault. Independently releasing Hellwraith (EP) in August 2014 and Covered in Conflict (Split) in 2015. They’re set to release their debut album, Bedlam, in January 2016. This album was mixed and mastered by Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust) with art by Par Olofsson (Exodus, Abysmal Dawn). Proudly they hail from Raleigh with greats such as Corrosion of Conformity and Between the Buried and Me and take aim as a 3-piece focusing influence from bands such as Kreator, Exodus, Death, and Sodom. They’ve shared the stage with Toxic Holocaust, Wretched, Genocide Pact, The Hookers, and a slew of other bands and have no plans on slowing down.”
Hellwraith demo 2014
Covered in Conflict Split 2015
Bedlam Full-length 2016
the album:
1.Ceasefire 03:16
2.The Hellwraith 04:17
3.Coup d'État 03:28
4.Thy Flesh Consumed 04:42
5.Bayonet Penetration 04:19
6.Nazi Face Melter 02:53
7.Pyrophoric Blood 04:55
8.Ironsights 03:26
9.Crucify the Kings 03:20
10.Holy Masochism 03:59
11.Bedlam 05:23
total time 43:58

the new Megadeth does not suck? really? (by Akerblogger)

Akerblogger is a friend of Metal Bulletin Zine. Recently, Akerblogger wrote something curious: a mostly positive review of Megadeth, a band that some people say is terrible and that others say that they are terrible, but not as terrible some other people might think at other times.
Akerblogger is:
"I listen to a lot of metal and read a lot. I also like to write a lot and listen to metal, a lot. I thought I'd bring it all together to form Akerblogger: a blog that has nothing to do at all with the band Akercocke, unless they reform (please reform)." In addition, Akerblogger can also be described as: "An extreme metal blog for extreme metal fans. We'll find you weird and wonderful new music from the weird and wonderful corners of the extreme metal world."
Below you will find the links to Akerblogger. Make sure to check it, friends. *
Album Review: Megadeth - Dystopia (2016)
Dystopia is very good. It has the energy and diversity of a rejuvenated band; Mustaine seems more intense and angry throughout, his vocals seem gruffer, his snarls more menacing and the tone of the album as a whole owes more to the angsty political persona of early Megadeth, heavily influenced by hardcore-punk bands like Fear ('Foreign Policy' is a Fear cover). Kiko Loureiro and Chris Adler are a near perfect fit for this refreshed sounding Megadeth: Adler's rhythmic and frantic pedaling brings back a pummeling speed-thrash edge and Loureiro's progressive-eccentricities (he has three writers credits on the album) brings about a rather flamboyant and creative touch.
It's a diverse album with tempo-changes, spiralling solo after solo, acoustic passages, melodies and groove galore and, I think to it's minor detriment, there is perhaps too much indulgence, or if not indulgence too much going on; the speed-thrash aggression pops up from time to time and that intensity mixed with progressive touches is when Megadeth are at their best, but too often it does not maintain that intensity, rather it slows down to a more groovy, still quite angry, and melodic NWOBHM-esque sound. It's ultimately down to taste, the slower tracks really aren't bad at all.
The first three tracks, the three singles, maintain a thrash-energy that permeates from song to song; 'Dystopia' is a great Megadeth song with a melodic groove and sleak transitions; it has an underlying aggressiveness that seems genuine, not forced. 'Fatal Illusion' opens with a crunching riff leading in to Ellefson's punchy bass popping into the mix alone segueing to dual guitars and the trademark Mustaine snarl: It's well written and certainly heavy-metal, a long way from the hard-rock filth that was Super Collider.
Following on, 'Death From Within' seemed a little uninspired, it's steady and bland riffing littered with quite interesting licks, the drumming interesting, but it was all quite conventional; it didn't quite manage to reclaim the energy from the previous songs, although this would probably be the best song on Super Collider.
'Bullet To The Brain' illustrates the importance of an imaginative rhythm guitar; Kiko and Mustaine interplay, they are both near-virtuoso's and they're not afraid to flaunt it: the solos soar and switch between dramatic and frantic, soft and forceful, the guitars sing as they harmonise and fluctuate back and fore. Kiko and Mustaine really seem to work well together. And Kiko's influence is even greater on the next three songs - 'Post American World', 'Poisonous Shadows', and 'Conquer or Die!' - as Kiko is attributed, along with Mustaine, with writer credits. These three tracks feel a lot more different: the acoustic opening to 'Poisonous Shadows' is a well-placed rest, there is an atmosphere that doesn't feel too cheesy or forced. The three songs have that progressive-power metal eccentricity that one attributes to Angra. But, and this one of my few gripes, my issue is that, although these three tracks are decent enough, they seem to stop the album in its tracks; it feels a bit plodding and less furious. 'Poisonous Shadows' is the closest thing to a ballad and, although not bad, is that what we really want from a Megadeth album? We know the band have so much potential, and they've shown us that with some of the previous tracks, so hearing this shift in tone is a bit of a let down. (Still better than Super Collider).
The rest of the album though, following on from the instrumental 'Conquer or Die!' is fantastic; it really sounds like old-school Megadeth at times and, with shitty 80's production values, I'm sure Dave Mustaine could try and palm off a few of these songs as once-lost-now-found unused studio recordings from Peace Sells. 'The Emperor' is another fun, fast-paced melodic gem; it's cheesy and eccentric and idiosyncratic with fantastic musicianship and catchiness (it even has a Tom G Warrior ughhh thrown in): isn't this all we really want from life?
It’s maybe not a good thing that my two favourite tracks on first listen were covers: ‘Foreign Policy’ a cover of 80’s hardcore-punk band Fear and ‘Melt The Ice Away’ (a Spotify bonus track, so it probably should not count, but I listened to it as part of the album before realising) a Budgie cover (Welsh hard-rockers from the 70’s). Before knowing this I had noted the punk-thrash simplicity of 'Foreign Policy' and it made sense after finding out it was a cover. Even as a cover it's a fantastic track, each member really shines through. The same can be said for 'Melt The Ice Away', Chris Adler in particular has some great fills.
All in all I am pleasantly surprised by this album. I was expecting it to be good based off the singles and based off Mustaine's recent return to a reasonable level of sanity. It really does have that unpredictability and diversity that Megadeth do so well: solos melt in to solos, solos fuse into grooves and eccentric bridges, bouncing bass interludes merge with gruff snarls and diverse drumming. It's extravagant but still espouses an 80's thrash-hardcore-punk sentiment that Megadeth seemed to be missing before. The lyrics, I find, still make me laugh - more likely cringe - at times, but this is Dave Mustaine, he's more of a stereotype, a cardboard cut out of a rock-star these days; he seems a bit more normal but he is still an anomaly. Dave Mustaine is a concept, an idea, a feeling, a movement deep inside of us all; he is human - well, half-human half-robot - and so I can forgive him.
It's better than Super Collider!
Rating: 8.25/10

Thursday, January 28, 2016

the current issue of Metal Bulletin Zine

Procreation, Chronos Zero, Benefactor Decease, Sarasin, Ripper, Lethal Cross (free), Afrobomination (free), Brainstorm, Borknagar

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

ELVENKING - Seasonspeech (Live) // official clip

"Since 1997, Italian metal pioneers ELVENKING have been an active part of the European scene steadily building a rapidly growing cult fan-base and performing around Europe, in both their home country, Budapest (where a strong set at the Sziget gathering several years ago had people talking for months), and the UK where the band appeared at the legendary Bloodstock Festival with ex Skyclad / Sabbat singer Martin Walkyier (in 2002) and at Metalfest in Dudley (2009) where the band walked away with the joint ‘Band Of The Festival’ prize sharing the spoils with Brainstorm.
The band debuted on record in 2001 with the excellent "Heathenreel", but this would only be the beginning. Spreading mystic tales of fantasy and imagination to a wider audience, that album proved that their mixture of epic power metal and frisky folk was capable of instantly grabbing attention and was a lot more focused and real than many. "Wyrd", the band's second album was released in 2004, followed by another showcase of their musical individuality, "The Winter Wake", unleashed in 2006; but it was probably “The Scythe” (released in 2007) that became their biggest success so far and set the band on the current path. Not only did they dare to enhance their unique sound with some more dark/modern elements (to the delight of many), but with its strikingly bold track “The Divided Heart” they presented a high class video clip that has grabbed the attention of over one million (!) viewers on the internet, a feat that continues to this day. Their semi-acoustic 2008 follow up to “The Scythe”, “Two Tragedy Poets (...And A Caravan Of Weird Figures)” displayed their folk roots like never before and provided the band with their first European headlining tours and biggest festival bookings such as “Summer Breeze” but for 2010, the band has decided to return to full electric power again with “Red Silent Tides”. A tour with Primal Fear accompanied the release, as well as many headliner shows and festivals throughout Europe, proving that ELVENKING is more wanted than ever before."
ELVENKING - Seasonspeech (Live) // official clip // AFM Records

INFERNAL TENEBRA - Suspension Of Disbelief

"From the realms of the metal underground, Croatian based death/thrash metallers Infernal Tenebra emerged in 2012 with the critically acclaimed album “New Formed Revelations”, released by Massacre Records, produced at Fascination Street Studios by Jens Bogren (Kreator, At The Gates, Amon Amarth) and featured in magazines like Metal Hammer, Terrorizer and Rock Hard.
Described by journalists as “heavy like a mammoth and furious like Morbid Angel” (Reinier de Vries –, “on this mission to sound unique at all costs they go on quite successfully” (ROCK HARD Germany), an ”artisan-arranged complex and challenging endeavor” (METAL HAMMER Germany) with “the impeccably tight musicianship showcased here is dazzling” (Faye Coulman – Terrorizer UK), “Infernal Tenebra surely do represent a new league of technically skilled Modern Death Metal bands” (Ivan Tibos – ConcreteWeb).
Originating with pure black metal in the 1999, adding a death metal foundation in the following years, with two self-released albums “Beneath the Twilight” and “The Essence of Chaos”, the band was constantly pushing and evolving its sound with rock solid rhythms, dynamic and technical solos, powerful vocals and a distinct blend of melody, groove and sheer brutality.
Sharing stage and opening for a vast number of metal icons including Behemoth, Gojira, Kreator, Exodus, Fear Factory and Devin Townsend, the band is extremely passionate to play live shows. Infernal Tenebra played on big metal festivals like Bloodstock Open Air (UK), Metaldays (SLO), Trondheim MetalFest (NO), PPM Fest (BE) and toured Japan in 2014 with Rotting Christ and Havok.
The journey to music excellence continues with the newest 2016 album “As Nations Fall”, produced by Jens Bogren and released by Massacre Records. With its dedication to music, compositions and performance Infernal Tenebra is the true monument of Croatian extreme metal music." (bio)
INFERNAL TENEBRA - Suspension Of Disbelief Pre-Listening

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

HELLOWEEN - Lost In America

Helloween is a German power metal band founded in 1984 in Hamburg, Northern Germany. The band is a pioneering force in the power metal genre, and their second and third studio albums, Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I and Part II, are considered masterpieces of the genre.[citation needed] Twelve musicians have been a part of the band's line-up in its history, which has consisted of singer Andi Deris, guitarists Michael Weikath and Sascha Gerstner, bass guitarist Markus Grosskopf, and drummer Daniel Löble since 2005.
Helloween was formed in 1984 by members of bands Iron Fist, Gentry, and Powerfool. Its first line-up consisted of Weikath, Grosskopf, singer and guitarist Kai Hansen, and drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg. After the release of a self-titled EP and a first album in 1985, it expanded into a quintet when singer Michael Kiske joined, with Hansen only acting as guitarist. Under this line-up, they released the Keeper of the Seven Keys albums (1987 and 1988), which established Helloween as a notable heavy metal band and led to the creation of the power metal subgenre. However, Hansen left the band quickly after the release of Part II and was replaced by Roland Grapow. He then created the band Gamma Ray.
Helloween's first two albums without Hansen, Pink Bubbles Go Ape (1991) and Chameleon (1993), were commercial and critical failures,[1] which created tensions between band members and led to the firing of Schwichtenberg and Kiske. They were replaced by Uli Kusch and Andi Deris respectively. The albums released under this line-up, consisting of Master of the Rings (1994), The Time of the Oath (1996), Better Than Raw (1998) and The Dark Ride (2000), received a warm reception from both fans and critics, gradually establishing Helloween as a successful band again.
However, tensions following the release of The Dark Ride led to the dismissals of both Grapow and Kusch, who then went on to found Masterplan together. Grapow was replaced by Gerstner, but the attempts to find a new drummer were chaotic and no band member was credited for drums on the album Rabbit Don't Come Easy (2003). The band finally found a stable drummer in Löble in 2005. Under this new and current line-up, the longest in its history, the band has released four successful studio albums: Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy (2005), Gambling with the Devil (2007), 7 Sinners (2010), and Straight Out of Hell (2013), with all members except Löble contributing to songwriting. Their fifteenth studio album, My God-Given Right, was released on 29 May 2015.
Since its creation, Helloween has released fifteen studio albums, three live albums, three EPs, and twenty-seven singles, and has sold more than eight million records worldwide.[2] *
Early years and first album (1984–1986)
Helloween formed in 1984 in Hamburg, Germany. The original line-up included Kai Hansen on vocals and guitar, Michael Weikath on guitar, Markus Grosskopf on bass, and Ingo Schwichtenberg on drums. That year, the band signed with Noise Records and recorded two songs for a Noise compilation record called Death Metal. The compilation featured the bands Hellhammer, Running Wild, and Dark Avenger. The two tracks were "Oernst of Life" by Weikath and Hansen's "Metal Invaders," a faster version of which would appear on the band's first full-length album.
Helloween recorded and released its first record in 1985, a self-titled EP containing five tracks. Also that year, the band released its first full-length album, Walls of Jericho. During the following concert tour, Hansen had difficulties singing and playing the guitar at the same time. Kai's last recording as the band's lead singer was in 1986 on a vinyl EP titled Judas, which contained the song "Judas" and live versions of "Ride the Sky" and "Guardians" recorded at Gelsenkirchen. (The CD edition has the live introduction, but the songs have been replaced with studio versions and crowd noise spliced in.) Following these releases, Helloween began the search for a new vocalist.
Keeper of the Seven Keys (1986–1989)
The band found an 18-year-old vocalist, Michael Kiske, from a local Hamburg band named Ill Prophecy. With their new lead vocalist in tow, Helloween approached record labels Noise International and RCA and proposed the release of a double-LP to introduce the new line-up. This proposition was turned down. Instead, they recorded a single LP, Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I, which was released in 1987. In 1988, Helloween released Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II, the companion album. MTV put the single "I Want Out" into heavy rotation and in support of its "Headbanger's Ball" show. MTV also presented the inaugural Headbangers Ball Tour with Helloween joining San Francisco Bay area thrash-metal band Exodus in support of headlining act Anthrax. The band was slotted in the prestigious second spot, right before Anthrax's set. On the heels of this exposure to US audiences, the band achieved worldwide success.
Hansen and Kiske's departures (1989–1993)
Guitarist Kai Hansen unexpectedly left the band soon after the European leg of the Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II tour, due to ill-health, conflicts within the band, troubles with Noise International, and a growing dissatisfaction with life on tour. He was soon replaced by former Rampage guitarist Roland Grapow, who finished the rest of the tour with the band.
In 1989, the band released a live album called Live in the U.K. (Keepers Live in Japan and I Want Out Live in the United States), featuring material from its 1988 European tour. The remaining members continued on but ran into label problems with Noise, and after litigation kept them from touring and releasing new material, they were eventually released from their contract. A new album would not appear until 1991 when, after several rumors about the band breaking up, they released Pink Bubbles Go Ape for their new record company, EMI. The album was less heavy and, with song titles such as "Heavy Metal Hamsters", "I'm Doing Fine, Crazy Man", and "Shit and Lobster", showed a shift toward – and an emphasis on – humor rather than the epic moods on previous releases. As a result, Pink Bubbles Go Ape failed both commercially and critically, and tensions started to build amongst the band members.[1]
The pop-influenced follow-up Chameleon was released in 1993. Instead of taking a heavier approach, the band ventured into new territory, eschewing its signature double-guitar harmonies for synthesizers, horns, acoustic guitars, a children's chorus, country music, and swing. As with the previous album, Chameleon failed commercially and critically.[1] Tensions within Helloween worsened, and the band split into three factions, with Michael Kiske and Ingo Schwichtenberg on one side, Michael Weikath and Roland Grapow on the other, and Markus Grosskopf in the middle, trying to keep peace between the four men.
Shortly after, the band began to disintegrate. During the Chameleon tour, the band would often play to half-filled venues. Drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg fell ill due to mental and drug-related issues, and was eventually fired, replaced by session drummer Ritchie Abdel-Nabi. Meanwhile, the conflicts within the rest of the band worsened, with Michael Weikath refusing to work any longer with Michael Kiske. The decision was made to fire Kiske. Since his firing, Kiske has not spoken positively about Helloween. In May 2008, Kiske released Past in Different Ways; an album featuring most of his old Helloween songs, albeit rearranged and re-recorded acoustically. Commenting on Kiske's dismissal, Grosskopf later said:[3]
“ People thought we were crazy for firing a singer like Kiske, but then after all those years and listening to what he's doing now I hope people will understand why we did that decision. Otherwise he would have pushed us into the direction where he is going now and we didn't want that. ”
In addition to the firing of Kiske, Abdel-Nabi, whose inability to replicate Schwichtenberg's machine-gun style of drumming hindered Helloween's ability to play live fan-favorites like "Eagle Fly Free" and "How Many Tears", was let go by the band. 1993 would come to a close for Helloween with no singer, no drummer, and no record contract (EMI released the band from its agreement for the low sales numbers for Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon).
First years with Andi Deris (1994–2000)
Helloween returned in 1994 with former Pink Cream 69 frontman Andi Deris as their new lead vocalist and Uli Kusch, formerly of Kai Hansen's Gamma Ray, on drums. The band already knew Deris from some recording sessions in Hamburg.[3] He had been approached by Weikath to join the band in 1991, but he had declined, despite being intrigued by the offer and having to deal with emerging conflicts between him and his band. In the years since, however, Kiske was fired from Helloween and the issues within Pink Cream 69 worsened. Faced with the inevitability of his firing, Deris accepted Weikath's offer during a night out with the band members.[3] With this new lineup and a new record contract with Castle Communications, Helloween released its comeback album, Master of the Rings.
In 1995, original drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg committed suicide by jumping in front of a train in his native Hamburg. In the years since his departure from Helloween, Schwichtenberg had gotten involved in drug-use and suffered from depression. Dedicated to his memory, 1996's The Time of the Oath re-established the band as one of the most popular European metal bands (see 1996 in music). Following another world tour, a double live album called High Live was released. In 1998, Helloween released Better Than Raw, one of the band's heaviest albums since the full-length debut. The subsequent supporting tour was made up of stops in Europe, Japan, and Brazil, but on 20 December 1998, the band visited New York and played a show at the venue Coney Island High in Manhattan, the first show for Helloween in the United States in nearly a decade. The band would follow Better Than Raw with a 1999 release titled Metal Jukebox, a cover-album featuring Helloween's versions of songs from such bands as Scorpions, Jethro Tull, Faith No More, The Beatles, ABBA, and Deep Purple.
Some line-up changes (2002–2004)
The year 2000 saw the release of The Dark Ride, a more experimental and darker album than their previous releases. It came complete with downtuned guitars and a gruffer singing style from Deris. Immediately following the tour, Helloween parted ways with guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch.[3] One version of events states that Weikath, Deris, and Grosskopf felt that Kusch and Grapow, in particular, were spending more time on and paying more attention to their new side-project, Masterplan (Grapow's output on Helloween albums had dropped to barely one song per album by that point); since the others believed that Kusch and Grapow were not one hundred percent dedicated to Helloween, they were dismissed.
They were replaced by guitarist Sascha Gerstner (ex-Freedom Call, Neumond) and drummer Mark Cross (ex-Metalium, Kingdom Come, At Vance, Firewind), culminating with the recording of another studio album, titled Rabbit Don't Come Easy, in 2003. The band met Sascha via a recommendation by producer Charlie Bauerfeind. According to Grosskopf, one day he was recording something with Freedom Call "and later on we called him up and he went to first meet Weiki because it was very important that Weiki finds a player that he can play with and also communicate and understand. [...] So we got him on the island where we recorded and let him hang out with us a little and then he decided 'Good, let's go'."[3] Later in 2012, on an interview with Metal Shock Finland's Chief Editor, Mohsen Fayyazi, Roland stated:
“ I felt very secure in Helloween. In the middle of the tour I said something to Michael and Markus and I said my opinion about something. I wanted to make something the best for the band and I think they misunderstood me, like I wanted to be leader. I was telling the truth and that's how I am... It was a great time in Helloween... but I am happy when I left the band after Dark Ride because it's one of my favourite albums, it changed my life totally. ” [4][5]
Cross could not finish the album due to mononucleosis, completing only two tracks; the drum tracks were completed by Motörhead's Mikkey Dee. Stefan Schwarzmann, former drummer of Running Wild and Accept would shortly thereafter take over the drumming duties. Despite a somewhat tepid response to the album, Helloween nonetheless completed a successful world tour, highlighted by the return of classic songs such as "Starlight", "Murderer", "Keeper of the Seven Keys" and "How Many Tears" to the setlist. Additionally, the band toured the United States for the first time since 1989, playing to sold-out crowds at nearly every venue.
Current line-up and recent albums (2005–present)
Helloween at Przystanek Woodstock in 2011
2005 saw yet another line-up change, following the "Rabbits on the Run" tour, as it became apparent that Helloween and Stefan Schwarzmann did not share the same musical vision. As further noted by the band, he had some trouble performing fast drum parts,[3] so he was replaced by Daniel Löble, the former drummer of German metal band Rawhead Rexx. A change in record company also followed as they inked a deal with German label SPV. Any fears that what had now become a revolving door of band members would affect the quality of their new album were laid to rest as Helloween's new studio album, titled Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy, was released on 28 October 2005 in Germany, and 8 November in the U.S.A. to commercial and critical acclaim. The album had a pre-release single, "Mrs. God", as well as a video for the track. The track "Light the Universe" was released as a single on 22 November, featuring Candice Night of Blackmore's Night on guest vocals. She also appears in the video clip for that track.
In late 2006, Helloween filmed and recorded shows in São Paulo (Brazil), Sofia (Bulgaria), and Tokyo (Japan) for their live album Keeper of the Seven Keys – The Legacy World Tour 2005/2006. The DVD also featured extra footage of the band, as well as interviews and a road movie. This is the second Helloween live album to feature Andi Deris as frontman, and third overall. It enjoyed chart success in several countries: Germany: 9 (DVD) & 58 (CD), Sweden: 9 (DVD), France: 10 (DVD)[6] Helloween has since completed their studio album Gambling with the Devil, which was released on 23 October 2007. It received many positive reviews, with most fans praising the album as being one of the best Deris-era albums. Despite being one of Helloween's heaviest albums, it is noted for featuring more keyboards. "As Long as I Fall", the first single, was released in early September and only available via download (save for Japan, where it was released on CD). The video for the song is available at their official site.[7]
Helloween teamed up with Kai Hansen's current band Gamma Ray for their 2007–2008 "Hellish Rock" world tour, which started in early November 2007. Helloween were headlining and Gamma Ray were labeled as the "very special guest" with most shows also having fellow German "guest" Axxis. The tour went through Europe, Asia, and South America, as well as a few dates in the US. The tour is notable for Kai Hansen stepping on stage with his former band fellows Weikath and Grosskopf to perform hits "I Want Out" and "Future World" in the last encore segment of Helloween.[8]
On 26 December 2009, Helloween released the Unarmed – Best of 25th Anniversary album in Japan. The album was released on 1 February 2010 in Europe. The album is a compilation of ten of the band's best known songs, re-recorded in different musical styles than the original recordings and by the current lineup. It features a seventeen-minute "Keepers Medley", recorded by a seventy-piece orchestra from Prague, mixing together "Halloween", "The Keeper of the Seven Keys", and "The King for a 1000 Years". There is a limited edition digipak, including a thirty-minute "making of"-DVD with interviews and studio footage. The band's website states that the album was released on 13 April 2010 in North America via Sony & THE END RECORDS labels.[9] On 14 May 2010, it was announced on their site that they were working on a new studio album,[10] which was the fastest and heaviest effort in years.
Helloween released their thirteenth studio album, 7 Sinners, on 31 October in Europe and 3 November in the US. Before its physical release, the band made it available worldwide for streaming via their Myspace page. The name of the album alludes to the seven deadly sins. According to Andi Deris, the album goes straight to the point: "After an acoustic album, we needed definitely something that shows the people without any question that this is a metal album." [11] The band toured to promote the new album with Stratovarius and Pink Cream 69 as their guests.[12][13] On 5 April 2011, via the band's website, it was announced that 7 Sinners was awarded 'Gold status' in the Czech Republic.[14]
In June 2012, Helloween entered the studio to begin recording their fourteenth album, Straight Out of Hell, which was released on 18 January 2013.[15] They then went on tour around the world with Gamma Ray again.[16]
In September, Helloween played at Rock in Rio 2013 with former member Kai Hansen as a special guest.[17] In October 2014, the band announced a new album for a May 2015 release. It was be produced by Charlie Bauerfeind at Mi Sueño Studio on Tenerife and marked their return to the Nuclear Blast label with which they released The Dark Ride and Rabbit Don't Come Easy.[18]
On 26 February 2015 the band revealed the name and the cover artwork of the album, My God-Given Right, released on 29 May 2015. The artwork was created by Martin Häusler.[19][20]
In June 2015, it was discovered that the band members were working on a book, entitled "Hellbook".[21] Markus stated that it will be a kind of history book with lots of pictures.[22][23][24] (Wikipedia]