Monday, September 17, 2018

hear the Xoth 2018 single Plague Revival

The Seattle "space shred" group Xoth has a single in 2018 called "Plague Revival." Xoth is thrashing, headbanging metal of aliens, diseases and horror, and happen to be ridiculously skilled. Check it.

hear the Drawn and Quartered album: The One Who Lurks

Seattle death metal stalwarts Drawn and Quartered have a new album in 2018 and it is called The One Who Lurks. This is album number seven for the long-running band that began in 1993. The entire album is available for streaming in its entirety courtesy of Krucyator Productions (France). Listen to the album at the link below.
Drawn and Quartered
The One Who Lurks
release date: July 27th, 2018
1. Nefarious Rites 05:44
2. Ravage the Cadaver 05:40
3. Horned Shadows Rise 04:32
4. Deliverance to the Worms 03:18
5. Temples of Arcane Devotion 06:01
6. Carnal Transmigration 02:41
7. The One Who Lurks 06:50
8. Portals of Communion 05:28
total time 40:14

check out the new Zero Down (Seattle) music

The Seattle hard rocking heavy metal band Zero Down has a new album called Larger than Death. This is album number five for the 16-year veterans of rock and roll. Hear a new song below.
About: ZERO DOWN consists of five veteran musicians from the Seattle metal/punk rock scene that cast iron 70's Arena Rock and NWOBHM guitar riffs with hardcore punk intensity.
Biography: Formed in 2002, ZERO DOWN consists of five veteran musicians from the Seattle metal/punk rock scene that cast iron 70's Arena Rock and NWOBHM guitar riffs with hardcore punk intensity. ZERO DOWN has shared the stage with a variety of national acts including UFO, Motley Crue, Diamond Head, Y&T, Raven, Accept, Godsmack, The Accused, The Supersuckers, Michael Schenker Group, Prong, Paul Dianno and many more over the years and have released four full length CDs. Their latest release "No Limit To The Evil" was released on Minotauro Records in Jan of 2015 and includes artwork by the master of metal art, Ed Repka (Megadeth, 3 Inches of Blood, Death, Misfits, etc).
Zero Down - High Priestess (Official Music Video)

Fuglymaniacs has posted issue number 152 of Metal Bulletin Zine

The friends at Fuglymaniacs have posted number 152 of Metal Bulletin Zine.
Blood of the Wolf
Rock and Roll in the 1940s (The Blues and Heavy Metal, Part 3)

Friday, September 14, 2018

NEWS: out today: Black Viper

This is one for fans of speed metal with the vocals of the air raid siren. Black Viper is from Norway and this is their debut album. Find out more about them below.
BLACK VIPER - "Hellions Of Fire"
Label: High Roller Records
Release date: 14.09.2018
BLACK VIPER is a new metal outfit hailing from Oslo in Norway. The band started out as a solo project in late 2012/early 2013 when drummer Cato began to write some songs inspired by traditional heavy metal and speed metal that did not suit his other band DEATHHAMMER. He takes over the story: “I recorded a couple of instrumental demo tracks in 2013 and also began recording an EP which didn’t get finished, probably because I was moving to Oslo. When I moved there, I finally got a band together and we started to rehearse and recorded and released our demo »Storming With Vengeance« in 2016. Then we played a few gigs and started to record our debut album »Hellions Of Fire« which is now finished and due for release very soon. We also lost our bassist in the process of recording the album, but we quickly found a new one and are now ready to ‘kill with power’!”
“The album is pretty much a mix between heavy metal and speed metal (fast heavy metal anyway)”, continues the drummer. “If anything, then »Hellions Of Fire« sounds a bit like the first Savage Grace album.” According to Cato, BLACK VIPER are big US metal fans: “Yeah totally, at least Agent Steel. The US metal bands just sounded so larger than life and so over the top metal it hurts. Of course, without Priest and Maiden it would not have happened, but yes, we are very inspired by the massive power and supremacy of the US metal gods. The first Heathen album is a total ripper!”
Although coming from Oslo, BLACK VIPER do not feel inspired by the metal heritage of Norway in any shape or form (not even by classic 1980s bands like Witchhammer): “Ha, absolutely not! Many people seem to think that black metal is the shit in Norway, but it’s not. I mean, people who are genuinely into music of course listen to good black metal, but it’s not like people gather in dark cellars with candlelights listening to Gorgoroth or something. At least many people in Oslo are open-minded music wise and that’s always a plus in my book.”
Black Viper - Hellions of fire

NEWS: out today: Ominous Eclipse

Ominous Eclipse is a melodic extreme band from Canada and today is the day their new album, their third recording overall, Sinister is out. Fans that are looking for melodic extreme metal that is lesser known and independent will want to check out the album. It is available for streaming in its entirety at the link below. See the information below, too.
Ominous Eclipse
14 September 2018
Drawing their inspiration from a wide variety of genres, OMINOUS ECLIPSE is a brutal quartet that create a unique hybrid sound with death metal being the main aspect combined with elements of thrash, groove, black, melodic, etc. Unleashing their sophomore album “Sinister” officially this Friday, September 14th, the band is now streaming it in full at the following link.
The band comments:
"There's no concept or theme on this album so all the songs have different meaning. The title track itself divulges into the inevitable end to humanity and potentially the world with it. It discusses the issues around the globe and also addresses the ignorance and selfishness of those indirectly affected by the chaos. It has a strong "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" theme in regards to how people can turn their backs on those in need in order to save their own skin, which ironically will lead to our end as it causes people to turn on each other. Musically for this album, you will notice we have evolved from the first release and have moved away from thrashy overtones to become more diverse including more heavily stated melodic and technical with a solid groove and death foundation."
The album follows their 2015 debut full length “End Of Days" and EP “Beyond The Apocalypse” released that same year. Active since 2014, OMINOUS ECLIPSE is a very ambitious band passionate about writing and playing extreme music. They have already shared the stage with the likes of Revocation, The Agonist, Kalmah, Archspire, Incantation, Vesperia, Beyond Creation, Rivers of Nihil to name a few. Their Ottawa CD release show for "Sinister" will be held on October 6th at House of Targ with local support from Lord Almighty, Infrared, Scepter. Event info here.
Album download and stream available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Spotify.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Metal Bulletin Zine 150 and 151 online

The friends at Fuglymaniacs have posted issue number 150 and 151 of Metal Bulletin Zine.
Read it online at this link.
Metal Bulletin Zine 151
Nigredo, Hoth, Dygora De Profundis
The Electric Blues, and Country Music (The Blues and Heavy Metal, Part 2)
Metal Bulletin Zine 150
Ghostblood, Voidthrone, Marduk
The Blues and Heavy Metal (Part 1): The Rise of the Blues

NEWS: releases tomorrow: HITTEN

Hitten is a group of traditional and melodic heavy metal dream warriors. They are now on their third album, and their debut is from 2014, but unfortunately (for us) they are new to us, but maybe that’s alright, too, because we have never heard of them and never have read about them, either. Here’s the thing about Hitten, they really know their classic heavy metal and they are breaking their backs to give the fans a fun, headbanging and rocking product.
They have studied their art. They make it easy on the listener. As long as one wants to hear some tunes that one can remember, and guitar riffs and solos, and singing, then it’s on. The album proves its worth by getting better with repeated listens. The guitars have a pleasant tone. There is a certain adult contemporary melodic rock feel, too, friendly to the ears. The band has a preference for vocal harmonies and that makes the choruses sweeter. The high screams are classic-style efforts to hit the glass-breaking notes.
Hitten is on its way to the future. With albums like this one, it will not be long before the European audiences that support traditional heavy metal take note of the Spanish band.
Check out a couple of songs below and the official information.
HITTEN - "Twist Of Fate"
Label: High Roller Records
Release date: 14.09.2018
HITTEN formed in 2011 in the city of Murcia in the South-East of Spain (near Alicante). The same year the band issued their first demo entitled »Darkness Queen«. Two EPs and one full album entitled »First Strike With The Devil« (2014) followed, before HITTEN signed to High Roller Records for their second full-length record »State Of Shock«. With captivating heavy metal songs such as “Don’t Be Late”, “Endless Race” and “Eternal Force” »State Of Shock« was a clear improvement on the band’s rather naïve debut effort, altogether a more rounded effort. Founding member and guitarist Dani Meseguer cites Accept, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon as HITTEN’s musical inspiration, as well as US Metal bands such as Fifth Angel, Crimson Glory, Shok Paris and Metal Church.
“Me and the boys are pretty satisfied with how »State Of Shock« was received,” explains Dani Meseguer. “The album reached a lot of shops, labels, magazines, and webzines all over the world. It also took us on a really good tour around Europe, we played cool festivals and appeared in Japan for the very first time. We are really happy with how High Roller Records works overall.”
However, the period between »State Of Shock« and the brand new album »Twist Of Fate« saw some changes in the HITTEN camp: “In September 2017, our singer Aitor played his last show with HITTEN and then left the band. As we all know, it’s very hard for a band to find a new vocalist. Well, not for HITTEN though. Alexx is a gift from heaven, he was there for us at the perfect time.”
“We are more than happy with the final result of »Twist Of Fate«,” continues Dani Meseguer. “From the cover art to the music, it’s all high quality stuff. We truly believe that people who enjoyed »State Of Shock« are going to enjoy »Twist Of Fate« even more. The mix (by Javi Félez) and the mastering (Patrick W. Engel) is simply incredible. The album is full of crazy twin guitar passages, very emotional solos, high-pitched screams, vocal harmonies and powerful backing vocals … all the necessary ingredients for a great metal album! Alexx did a hell of a job with the vocals, he really is amazing. He has a very broad vocal range. He can perfectly sing in a low range but at the same time also go for those insane high-pitched screams that we all love.”
HITTEN - On the run (Official Video) | High Roller Records
HITTEN - In the heat of the Night (Official Tour Video) | High Roller Records

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

NEWS: releases on Friday: Druglord

Life is too fast. Time goes by too quickly. People eat too fast. They talk too fast. Most of all, music is too fast. Quit your job, drop out, tune out, ignore everything. Go to sleep on Tuesday and wake up sometime on Friday afternoon.
This could be the view of Druglord. Besides having the perfect name for a band in the field of stoner sludge, they have a gnarly super fuzzed out guitar tone, like they found an old guitar in the forests of sweet home Virginia and they picked it up and it was covered in moss and they just started playing it, and it took them back in the time machine.
Besides having Flash Slothmore as the perfect audience for the Virginians, who else would be down for some Southern fried doom? Between Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath is the deep burned out currents of Electric Wizard and Sleep, and it’s likely you might find the answer there.
Slow down, you're moving way too fast, children of the modernity. Take this medication listed below.
New Day Dying
Sludgelord Records
14 September 2018
Sludgelord Records is pleased to announce that they will release New Day Dying by DRUGLORD on September 14th 2018. The album will be released both digitally and on cassette.
Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Druglord was formed in 2010 and later recorded 6 songs, which were intended for demo purposes but ended up being released as the “Motherfucker Rising” LP on Last Anthem Records in October 2012.
This activity resulted in STB Records offering to release the next LP. In July 2013, the band began recording with Garrett Morris of Windhand in his former recording space known as The Darkroom, and the result was the “Enter Venus” LP, which was released in Feb. 2014. The band would also release the "Deepest Regrets" EP on STB Records in December 2015.
In Feb 2017 the band started recording 6 new songs (their first with new bassist Julian Cook) with Garrett Morris in his current space, Phantom Sound Recording And Reproduction . Fast forward to 2018 and these recordings will be released as “New Day Dying”, their first album in 4 years set for release via Sludgelord Records on 14th September 2018.

NEWS: releases on Friday: Hyperdontia

The necrobrutal death metal of the Danish/Turkish goregang satisfies the desire for super duper low growling blasting massive heaviness that detests the dilution of the music by way of shooting melody, sugar, spice and everything nice into a creation that is supposed to be Hyperdontia ugliness. The personnel involved is filled to the brim with old-school and brutal death metal, and that explains a lot about this album. Undergang, Diabolizer, Decaying Purity, Phrenelith, Apparatus, and the like are Danish and Turkish bands hellbent on extreme metal, mostly death metal. As for Hyperdontia itself, it is the low, incomprehensible growling that goes with blasting, brutal, claustrophobic death barrage.
A question for the audience is, have you spent money on Undergang or Diabolizer? If so, get your cash out because these musicians live and die for death metal in 2018. This is what is happening in low, sick and dirty death metal in 2018. In case you don’t know, Hyperdontia is all about a rebellion against modern, clean metal music, especially the many forms of death metal. Nothing here is clean, not the vocals, not the production, not the guitars.
Hyperdontia is uglyrotting death metal. Read about it below with the official information and listen to a couple tunes at the link at the end.
Nexus of Teeth
Dark Descent Records
14 September 2018
Turkish/Danish Death Metal group HYPERDONTIA will release their full-length debut, Nexus of Teeth, on Dark Descent Records. The level-jumping follow-up to 2017 debut EP Abhorrent Veil will be available for direct purchase from Dark Descent on September 14 (the album will be released through international distribution channels on November 9). That gnarly cover art comes courtesy of Paolo Girardi.
Some of the best death metal out there was made out of accident. But yes, sometimes magic does happen. A bunch of people who, on paper, sometimes weren't even supposed to meet, let alone make music together, share a beer or two, get talking, realize that more in common that they first realize, book a rehearsal room 'just to see' and boom, come up with a monster they never thought they would create in the first place.
In a nutshell, that's basically the case with Hyperdontia, a surprising gathering of forces of what the Danish and Turkish scenes have the best to offer in term of vile, sick and disgusting music.
Mustafa (guitar) and Malik (bass) had been playing together for years in many different bands (in)famous in the Istanbul scene, among them Burial Invocation. When the latter got invited to play the 2010 edition of the Kill Town Death Fest in Copenhagen, they met co-organiser but also Undergang/Phrenelith frontman David and the trio just clicked. Then, after Malik had moved permanently to Denmark, Mustafa showed his friend all those "cool"' songs he had came up that just didn't fit the bands he was involved at the time and asked for advice. Malik urged him to start a new venture, offering his service and suggesting David as their vocalist in the process. Last piece of the puzzle was Phrenelith, Polish-born drummer Tuna. "That when what was initially just a home project turn into an actual band" confirms Malik. "Although Mustafa wrote all the riffs, David and Tuna put a lot into the songs. It was David who came up with the name and when we all looked it up on google (it describes a condition where you have supernumerary teeth that can appear everywhere) and saw how disgusting it was, we instantly all loved it!"
Just to tap the waters, the quartet came up with the Abhorrence Veil EP in 2017. But such was the feedback that soon enough, the idea to write more songs and even play live became a reality. Hence Nexus of Teeth, recorded in between Copenhagen and Istanbul, a eight tracks monstruous death metal masterpiece where, to quote the song 'Stapled Down' the human body is reduced to a pile of bones, blood, pus and organs that easily fester so it can be "To be pissed on/left to rot/ravaged through by instruments of for prey". No wonder that famed cover artist Paolo Girardi came up with an equally horrific image... As they're getting ready to play their first ever gig at this year edition of the now world-reputed Kill Town Death Fest in Copenhagen, David summarizes very easily what this is all about: "Well, we all love death metal. So this is a cool way to expand our friendship and create something others might care about in the process too." Let it rot then!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

NEWS: releases on Friday: Anisoptera

As a work of prog-death/jazz extreme metal, Anisoptera offers several expectations that are the standard for the genre, and a few that are a bit more unique to this project. For a debut, and an independent one at that, the sound quality is strong and it is as loud as fans of the style would want.
True to the jazz metal attitude, the music crosses boundaries and genres and at some moments this gives a glimpse of musicians with minds not loyal to a genre but rather loyal to a mentality of tentative experimentation. They seem willing to try out different moods, and they are not committed to one in particular. For now, they go in the direction of heaviness and progressiveness. Progressive to Anisoptera does not mean a genre, but rather ideas about pushing themselves in loud, extreme music. Genres don’t mean that much. Deathcore, melodic death, groove, tech-death, metalcore, djent, shred, blasting speed, and chugging heaviness is all in various ways here.
They are working hard to make it worth the time of the listener. For instance, the vocals show a desire to have growling that is a bit more comprehensible. As a debut, it is worth for the die-hard prog-death fans and collectors to check out the tunes that are available now for listening at the link below, after the official information.
Spawn of Odonata
14 September 2018
“Float like a dragonfly, sting like a bee.” That’s probably how Anisoptera prefer to think of the legendary Ali quote, as they explore the wonders of this carnivorous insect on their début full-length through the medium of progressive death metal. Spawn of Odonata lands straight in the middle of the Californian hotbed of metal in the Bay Area, fully formed and fighting fit.
As a mission statement, Spawn of Odonata is ambitious; fusing jazz, technicality, melody, and blistering death metal, Randall Krieger knows precisely how to craft the right balance that darts all over the place but without becoming tiresome. His riffs and solos echo the greats in Obscura and Decrepit Birth, interwoven into a death metal tapestry that offers much on repeat listens. Robby Perry, meanwhile, lays down a gauntlet of harsh vocal dominance. His lows are a roar that offsets well against the higher screams, not unlike Travis Ryan in decimation mode.
Aside from the wealth of talent between the duo, there are a few other names of note. Behind the mixing desk is producer Mick Kenney (Anaal Nathrakh, Bleeding Through), while guesting in the vocal booth are Jared Christianson (Arkaik, on “Aerial Predator”) and Jimbo Patton (Aethere, on “Cursed”), both of whom provide unique dynamics against Perry’s already varied harsh vocals.
Having already shared the stage with a bewildering list of bands - from Deicide and Dying Fetus to Sepultura and Septicflesh - Anisoptera are just getting started with making a name for themselves. Spawn of Odonata is a quintessential example of a band emerging from their cocoon, ready to take on the world at large.
FFO: Cattle Decapitation, Obscura, Deeds of Flesh
Anisoptera is:
Randall Krieger - Guitars
Robby Perry - Vocals
(Guest) Jared Christianson (Arkaik, on “Aerial Predator”)
(Guest) Jimbo Patton (Aethere, on “Cursed”)
Mixed by Mick Kenney at The Barracks Recording Studio.

Monday, September 10, 2018

interview: Dracena (part 3)

This is an interview with Dracena, extreme metal from Sweden that began in 1994. The interview has been done in segments. The person answering the interview is Mia, who is the creative force behind Dracena. The objective is to do an extensive interview that covers the past and present of Dracena, whose most recent work is called Cursed to the Night (2017).
The previous parts of the interview are found below, and after that, is the new segment. This is not the last part of the interview. There will be more!
Previously we discussed the 2017 album Cursed to the Night, and looked back at the 1980s and also we began looking into the 1990s, leading into the Demo ’97 recording.
Before we continue to 1997 and after, can you help us understand how the idea of an all-female line-up came up?
The idea to seriously form a female metal band took shape during a party. Almost all our friends played in bands from the Gothenburg scene and during this evening, while we listened to their albums, me and some friends thought it would be a cool thing to start a band of our own with only girls. It was quite easy to start up since I already played with some other female friends and we also rented a rehearsal room. We shared the room with a few other bands, for example Sacramentum and Swordmaster and therefore we had a complete back-line available to use with drum set and amplifier.
So, we just went to the rehearsal room, everybody chose what instrument they were interested to handle and we started to play covers and write our own material. At this time we had no band name and we never decided to play any specific kind of genre, but because we all listened to heavy, black, thrash and death metal we ended up playing a more extreme kind of metal.
All members during the years have been close friends and the band was basically an extra activity for us to hang out and have fun and play and create the metal we loved to listen too. Dracena would probably have continued to be all female if we had had the chance to find a good enough female drummer which fit with the band and style.
Of course, nowadays Dracena is not an all-female entity. Now that you are older, and that you have lots of experience with the complete process of music, from writing to recording, from money matters and the music business, how has your thinking changed/ matured about Dracena about whether you work with men or women?
Most of the music industry (not only in metal) is dominated by men, labels, music stores, management, studios etc., which makes it difficult to not work with men. If there was a 50/50 choice for me to work with a man or a woman I would go for the most competent person in every case. In my opinion, gender has no important role in music, it’s all about talent, dedication and being able to cooperate with other egos. Playing the extreme genres of metal is a level you’ll never reach without sacrificing a lot of social and family time. As any art form, it demands a certain dedication and hours of practise and rehearsing, to be able to play with speed, technique and tightness/rhythm.
I would love to have an all-female band, but I think it would be difficult to form such a line-up, even today there’s still so many more guys than girls playing metal that it would be easier to find a male musician who would suit the demands.
In your own experience, what has happened that Dracena had ended up as a solo project with friends helping out with drumming and solos?
After the permanent line-up broke up in 2002 I haven’t felt that I needed a full band to be able to write and record. The possibility to afford to buy and build a studio and record at home made it easier to become a one-person band. I can record all instruments myself and rehearse them one at a time at home with head phones and re-write and develop the songs anytime I feel like it. When I engage other musicians I can share the songs online and we can work from our own homes as well as sit in a rehearsal room. On the other hand, when, sometimes, the progress of the material slows down and the ideas dry out it is nice to have other persons helping out with the writing and adding their touch to the songs as well. I do not dictate the way my studio musicians should play their drums or guitar solos, just indicate a direction and let them work their magic, which has worked out excellent this far.
Have you ever wondered about what has motivated you to continue while other people stopped?
Metal is my life and to be able to create my own music and lyrics and albums is just awesome! It’s much like writing a book or painting a picture and when it’s finished it doesn’t matter if anyone likes it or not, it’s something I have created and given my soul to.
Luckily, I have fans who appreciates my work and gives me great feedback which keeps me on track when things get heavy.
I think it’s sad when great musicians/bands can’t make a living on their art. Even when they are on big tours and signed to large labels they don’t seem to make the money they deserve. Being forced to have a job on the side is killing creativity, and a society without art and music is a dead place to live in. Buying music and merch through legal channels ensures your favourite bands to survive.
Going back to the times of the demo, can you tell us more about the 1997 demo?
In 1997 we’ve had the longest lasting line-up so far and with great anticipation we booked a studio to record three of our original songs and the Venom cover.
The track list and line-up is:
2.Dark River of My Soul
4.In league with Satan
MiA - guitar & vocals
Emma - guitar
Camilla - bass
Karin - drums
We chose to record a cover because when Dracena played live we always had a Venom cover on the set list, usually “Countess Bathory” but we thought ”In league with Satan” fit better on this demo. The title wasn’t very original, Demo ’97 and the only official release has been a limited edition cassette tape of 100 copies. The demo sold out quickly and we started to get reviews and interviews in zines like Slayer Mag and Swedish Close Up and soon earned a reputation in the underground scene.
What happened with the line-up of the demo after the demo was recorded?
Camilla and Karin (Deathwitch) decided to leave the band sometime after the first demo was recorded, as I recall they moved away from Gothenburg. We already knew Asa and she started to handle the bass almost immediately but we had trouble finding a female drummer who played our kind of metal. For a year or so we had Terror (Sacramentum/Runemagick/Necrocurse) as a session drummer during rehearsals and gigs and he also plays on the Demonic Women demo from 1999.
Who was the line-up for 1999’s Demonic Women. By the way, this demo shows a tighter, much more black metal sound. It has good melodies. Do you remember who is playing some keyboards on this demo? Where was this demo recorded? In your opinion, how had your vocal style changed from the first demo to the second one? What about your guitar playing from the first to the second demo?
We still didn’t have a permanent drummer in 1999 so the line-up was me (vocals/guitar), Emma (guitar) and Asa (bass) and we had help from Terror to play the drums on the Demonic Women demo. Terror also played the few keyboard melodies.
This demo was recorded at Andy La Rocque’s studio Los Angered as we wanted a professional studio where we could get a good metal sound and we knew that Andy would be great working with as well. We had a great time recording this and it was a really cool experience!
Musically we had developed a lot since our first demo and also starting to shape the Dracena-sound. The material was better, we all have influences from different genres and our favourite bands spans from Black Sabbath and WASP to Bathory and Morbid Angel, which makes a very interesting mix for Dracena’s material, a mix I have tried to keep when I write new material. In preparation for the studio, since we had only 2 days for recording and mixing, we rehearsed several times a week which of course made us better musicians as well as developed and sharpened my vocals.
Then in 2001, there was Labyrinth of Darkness. How you feel about this demo now?
In 2001 we finally had a permanent drummer, Daniel ”Mojjo” Moilanen (Heavydeath, Runemagick, Katatonia) and we went to the studio for a third demo.
This is a demo with potential, but I am not completely satisfied with this release. The material went a little bit away from the thrash direction which I wanted to go towards.
The recording was in a home studio and the production sound is a bit blurry and muffled and I would have loved to make a re-mix, but sadly I never received the original files of the recording. We had a lot of technical problems during the recording and the vocals was recorded in a friend’s bedroom behind a mattress with no effects in the feed back to my head phones, which made me sing a bit darker and growlier than usual. Anyway, the songs are still good and a lot more melodic than previous demos.

Friday, September 7, 2018

out on Monday: P.H.O.B.O.S. (review by MMB)

Phlogiston Catharsis
Transcending Obscurity Records
10 September 2018
1.Biomorphorror 06:41
2.Igneous Tephrapotheosis 06:36
3.Zam Alien Canyons 04:54
4.Aurora Sulphura 04:31
5.Neurasthen Logorrh 05:57
6.Taqiyah Rhyzom 05:51
7.Aljannashid 06:57
8.Smothered In Scoria 05:13
total time 46:40
Slow extreme heaviness of this type should catch the attention of fans of biomechatronical music. The recording sounds like it is coming from an abandoned warehouse in which the crashing and banging is echoing within the dirty, oily walls. This alien-cyborg-robot doom concentrates on plodding, repetitive, monolithic, monotonous crawling heaviness that drags out the vibe for all that it is worth. Such a commitment to keep the massive lead foot stuck to the pedal brings a consistent monochromatic spirit throughout and keeps the music on even keel, for a relaxing experience, not a jarring listen. Press the on button and let it plod and drudge while you do your math homework or do that long drive from the house to the airport or take a nap or even while you work on your paintings.
This has a dissonant edge, but the disharmony in these tracks is only there in a secondary way. The purpose is not to make the listener be in awe at how irritating the disharmony and disjointed beats can be, but rather it is all there as a background to the pulsating weightiness of industrial music.
Is there melody here? No, but in certain places there is a bit of it, there are some patterns that approach a nice, cool beat, like on track number five. Actually, track number three has a bit of something that sounds like a hint of a guitar solo, and it is one of the most melodic segments. Track number seven has some danceable moments; we might even dare to call it uptempo in some segments. Speaking of dancing with cyborgs in an abandoned warehouse, track number four definitely begins with some danceable beats. These little things do stand out in this landscape of contemporary industrial doom.
Are you up for an adventure in doom and industrial with this French entity?

interview: Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper in 2018 impressed lots of fans with their take on traditional heavy metal by way of the album East of Sun. The album came out back in April. This publication is late to the party, but better late than never! Jeff Blackwell (guitars) was gracious and generous with the replies to questions from this publication.
Greetings. Are you right across the border in Vancouver, Canada?!
Cheers, Metal Bulletin! Geoff from Gatekeeper here. Yes, we are based out of Vancouver, but only two of us actually live in the city. We have a few guys out in the 'burbs, like Port Coquitlam, Surrey and Abbotsford. Vancouver is pretty cool. We have a lot of fun at our local shows and we've been getting a great response since our album release but funny enough, our largest shows tend to be out of town.
How did Seattle treat you the last time you were in town?!
Seattle has been fantastic both times we've played there. The first time was in 2015, opening for the NWOBHM band Satan. Northwest Metalfest was a pretty wild gig and it was an extra special honour to have Paul Davidson from Heir Apparent onstage with us. We also had our first crowd surfer which was a heartwarming experience.
Gatekeeper has existed for almost 10 years, right? Who are the current members?
Yeah, that's right, I started the band way back, although it was just a couple demos, a logo and a Myspace page. I didn't make it a proper band until the early 2010s. Up until that point I recorded all guitar, bass and programmed the drums and sang a bit too.
We've had two main chapters in the band up until now. When we were based out of Edmonton, I had Tyson, Shorre, Leillyn and a number of talented lead guitarists on board. In 2014 I relocated to Vancouver and the current lineup of David Messier (bass), Jean-Pierre Abboud (vocals), Tommy Tro (drums), and Kenny Kroecher (lead guitars) was formed. It took me about a year of living in Vancouver before we got this lineup together. We played our first show with the current lineup in March, 2015.
Did you release East of Sun independently, then Cruz del Sur Music (Italy) got involved?
We didn't really release anything independently as we worked closely with Cruz Del Sur regarding the CD and LP for some time before the album came out. The digital and streaming versions of the album (Bandcamp, Spotify, etc) are controlled by us but Cruz Del Sur has been on board from day one, thankfully. They are great to work with and were extremely supportive of what we are trying to accomplish.
How is the reach of the band ever since you are on Cruz del Sur Music?
We'd worked with some labels in the EU and USA for smaller releases in the past so we'd already had some seeds planted here and there, but Cruz Del Sur had a larger budget and a really great team to work with so we've really reached greater heights than ever before with the new album. The CD edition is just about sold out in the EU and we only have a couple boxes on band copies left here and the LP is on the 2nd pressing. Considering that the album came out on April 27th, that's pretty impressive for a band of our stature, I think. That all being said, we've really pushed ourselves as a band and as musicians more than ever before. So I like to think this has an impact on things.
Are Europeans now asking you for shows? Are fans asking you online if you have plans for Europe?
Yes and yes. We regularly get emails, Instagram posts, Facebook messages and YouTube comments from people who are enthusiastic about the band which is very humbling.
And what is your answer?!
Also yes! We actually made our EU debut at the fantastic Keep It True festival in Germany on April 28th which was our album release show. We are booked to return to Germany for Hell Over Hammaburg in March 2019 and we will be roaming around the EU for more gigs. We'll have a formal announcement on this very soon!
I noticed that traditional heavy metal fans in Seattle seemed to take note of Gatekeeper. Maybe it’s the proximity or maybe it’s the fact that we have Skelator, Substratum and other bands playing traditional heavy metal. You did good work on East of Sun and people have noticed it.
That's cool to hear. I have a lot of friends in Seattle and travel there a lot to visit people so even before Gatekeeper played there I had a group of metalhead friends to hang out with. Lucky for me my friends are very talented and play in the awesome bands you mentioned and they've helped us a lot with getting good gigs down there.
Did the band pay for the recording? Did you have help with the recording process?
Yeah, we financed everything ourselves. We recorded the album at Harbourside IT, which is an audio engineering school in North Vancouver. Mike Rogerson oversaw the tracking, mixing and mastering of the record and the very talented Angelo Boose spent a lot of time in the booth with us during the process as well.
When you were young, weren’t your friends listening to metalcore, Slipknot and stuff? What attracts you to classic heavy metal?
Where to begin? Heavy metal is an extension of the things I like most of rock and roll music. The powerful voices, the drama, the tension, the bombastic guitar playing, the crunchy riffs and the thunder of percussion. Bands like Dio, Saxon, Judas Priest, Triumph, Iron Maiden and then Blind Guardian, Manilla Road and so on embody that for me.
Yeah, I grew up in the age of nu metal, metalcore, pop punk, emo, so on. I'm from a smaller town so that's pretty much what I had when I was a young teen. Thanks to my parents I also had Queen, Led Zep and Thin Lizzy. What drew to me power metal and classic metal is the heavy metal instrumentation (shredding solos, chunk power chord riffs, double kick drums) but with a bigger emphasis on great singing and strong melodies. Plus, lots of those bands sing about people with swords so that's always helpful.
It goes to show that you have high standards.
I like to think so. That being said, I'm big into prog rock, jazz, fusion, bluegrass and folk music, too. There's lots of great stuff out there.
What has been the case for Gatekeeper’s journey towards finding someone who wants to sing for real and who can do it?
It's not easy to find a singer who has a cool voice and knows how to use it. I met our singer JP in Chicago at the cool Ragnarokkr Metal Fest (now called Legions of Metal) and we had been in touch before that through his old band Borrowed Time. We were initially only going to have him do a handful of shows with us, but we had so much fun that we decided to keep things going.
Gatekeeper covered cult classic 1980s Omen and Savatage. Does every copy of the album have those covers?
Only the CD editions have these as the LP didn't have enough room. I consider them bonus tracks. They're fun extra tunes that we were able to squeeze in and if people don't like them, all they have to do is restart the album from the beginning.
You picked two bands in their classic eras with great singing.
Yeah, the Savatage song in particular was a tough one. The Omen song we play live at almost every show and it's a lot of fun—JP has been singing that one for a long time and nailed it in two takes in the studio. It's a great low-stress banger by comparison.
Your Savatage cover does not have the background shouts of the original, but it does have the signature big moment of repeatedly hitting the high scream over and over. Why did you leave out the background shouts? Did you run out of time? Did you do the covers mostly as fun rehearsals?
Yeah, our deadline from our label was fast approaching and thing at the studio were extremely hectic so there ended being a couple things that we had to drop which is unfortunate. But that's just how things go. The cover songs on the album were tracked during the drum sessions because Tommy was a monster and got through all his drum tracks for the album in half the time that we expected, so we took a couple extra hours to lay down the covers. We did them without a metronome or anything so they're a little more raw than the album songs to begin with.
Those classic albums have drums that sound real, the singing is great and you can hear everything well.
Absolutely. I've always liked the use of reverb in old 70s and 80's metal recordings. The instruments bleed into each other a little bit and everything sounds really big and open.
When you think about those standards for Gatekeeper, what would you like to improve?
Ah, there are always things to work on! I'm quite happy with the quality of the album but I want to improve on my own guitar playing, writing more melodic solos, trying to make all the songs different and interesting without losing touch with our roots. There are little technical things I would try differently of course. Guitar amps, drum skins, keyboards...
What are you thinking about the sound engineering for the next album’s production?
Haha! I honestly don't mind the production of the album, but we have gotten comments about it and as I said above there are some things I would try doing differently to see what kind of results we'd get. There are a lot of good studios and awesome engineers in Vancouver so you can be sure that our next album will be in good hands.
Gatekeeper has momentum going right now. Is the band working on a new album?
Yes, momentum is key. It's hard to get and once you have it, letting it expire can kill a band for good. We will have new music out very soon, much sooner than people realize and we are working on songs for the second album, too. We have about three songs completely written and at least 12 other riff sets and ideas in various forms that we are sculpting into usable songs. Once we've got all this laid out, we'll pick the best stuff and go from there.
What are some places to hear the complete album?
The album is easy to find on the usual formats. You can buy the physical albums, merch and digital downloads through our Bandcamp page and we are on Amazon, Google Play, Apple Music and so on. Stream us on Spotify too, I have zero issue with that. You can also listen to the album on YouTube but out of all these options, YouTube is the least beneficial for us. The best way to stay on top of our band activities is to join our mailing list. We give out prizes, post new music, videos, gig photos and the latest announcements to our subscribers before they hit the public.
What type of merchandise do you have now?
Mens and womens shirts of course, plus CDs, LPs, 7” vinyl, patches. We've also had koozies and posters. We're working on new kinds of merch as well. Best thing to do is follow us on our social media channels and to join our mailing list!
Thank you for your time!
Cheers Metal Bulletin! Thanks so much for having us. 'Til next time.
- Geoff Blackwell

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Saturday in Everett, WA: Xoth, Blood and Thunder, Ghostblood, DTI

Seattle thrashers Ghostblood have a reminder for you, people of Everett:
"Have you ever wanted to go to Everett, but lacked a compelling reason? Well, try this one on for size: Xoth, Blood And Thunder, ourselves, and another band TBA at Tony Vs Garage this Saturday!! Progenitor unfortunately had to drop out due to a hand injury (impairment due to impalement is what we hear; incidentally, that’s also kind of our thing, although we had nothing to do with this specific situation). LET’S GET SILLY, EVERETT!"
September 8 Xoth, Blood and Thunder, Ghostblood, DTI at Tony V’s, Everett, WA

Washington state concert calendar, updated September 6, 2018

Friends in the state of Washington,
Is there a metal music show in your area that is not listed in this calendar? Does your local metal band have a show coming up and is not listed here? Is your band's name spelled incorrectly? Are the dates wrong? If you have information about shows/updates/cancellations, please get in contact with Metal Bulletin zine.
Washington state concert calendar, updated September 6, 2018
September 7 Full Metal Fridays: Skullmaster, Battle Axe Massacre, Proven at The Heavy Metal Brewing Co., Vancouver, WA
September 8 Effluvia, Oxygen Destroyer, Disease, others at Le Voyeur, Olympia, WA
September 8 Xoth, Blood and Thunder, Ghostblood, DTI at Tony V’s, Everett, WA
September 8 Drug of Choice, Emanon, End Status at The Plaid Pig, Tacoma, WA
September 8 American Wrecking Company at Hard Rock Cafe, Seattle, WA
September 8 Necrosomnium, Weary, Opropos, Overwrought at Boscoe’s, Bellingham, WA
September 9 Unleash the Archers, Striker, Helion Prime, The Devils of Loudun at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
September 11 Mincefest 2018 at Lucky Liquor, Tukwila, WA
September 12 American Wrecking Company at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
September 13 The Mentors, Beef Bologna at Tony V’s, Everett, WA
September 14 Splitskull, The Crüd Güns, Exiled to Fire, Darkness Stole the Sky, Infernal Realm, Religicide at The Charleston, Bremerton, WA
September 15 Speaks in Tongues, The Crüd Güns, DTI, others at The Valley, Tacoma, WA
September 15 The Accused AD at Bainbridge Island Private Party
September 15 Northwest Tribfest at Historic Everett Theater, Everett, WA: tribute bands Dr. Crue, Infinity Project (Journey), Second Sting (Scorpions), Almost Human (Kiss)
September 15 Obscura, Beyond Creation, Archspire, Inferi, Exist, Aethereus at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
September 17 Alestorm, GloryHammer at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
September 19 Woe, Wvrm, Isenordal, Impulse Noise at Highline, Seattle, WA
September 20 Amorphis, Dark Tranquillity, Moonspell, Omnium Gatherum, Blood and Thunder, Convergence at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
September 21 Wiegedood, Addaura at Highline, Seattle, WA
September 21 and 22 Bedlam Birthday Bash: Dilapidation, Violent Hallucinations, Crüd Güns, Army of Dagon, others at Black Zia Cantina, Burien, WA
September 22 Coven, Disciples of Dissent, others at Wally’s House of Booze, Wenatchee, WA
September 22 Hell’s Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Swinomish Casino & Lodge, Anacortes, WA
September 23 Xenotaph, Dearth, Cerna Krev, Blood Atonement at Black Lodge, Seattle, WA
September 23 Mortal Ashes, Effluvia, Born Without Blood at The Kraken, Seattle, WA
September 26 Angra, Scarlet Aura, Forsaken Fortress at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
September 26 Wintersun, NeObliviscaris, others at Club Sur Rocks, Seattle, WA
September 27 Kingdom Come, Zero Down, others at Club Sur, Seattle, WA
September 27 Whythre, Born Without Blood, others at Substation, Seattle, WA
September 28 Speaks in Tongues, Odyssian, After the Fallout, LUNGS at Mirkwood Public House, Arlington, WA
September 28 Overwrought, Opropos, Vile Effigy at Waterfront Seafood and Bar, Bellingham, WA
September 28 Dominus Sabbata (Black Sabbath tribute) at Rocko’s Fireside, Everett, WA
September 28 Pallbearer, Tribulation at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
September 29 The War Within, Corvoid, Metaphoria, others at Darrell’s Tavern, Seattle, WA
September 29 Beyond Theory, Massacre at the Opera, others at The Plaid Pig, Tacoma, WA
October 2 Incantation, Dying Fetus, Gatecreeper, Genocide Pact, Oxygen Destroyer at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 3 Graham Bonnet Band, Zero Down at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 3 Un, Witch Ripper, Shrine of the Serpent, Old Iron at Highline, Seattle, WA
October 4 Revocation, Exhumed, Rivers of Nihil, Yautja at The Pin, Spokane, WA
October 4 Overwrought, Noceur at Tony V’s, Everett, WA
October 5 Revocation, Exhumed, Rivers of Nihil, Yautja at Highline, Seattle, WA
October 6 Oxygen Destroyer, Gravewitch, Progenitor at McCoy’s Tavern, Olympia, WA
October 6 The Accused AD, Zero Down at The Plaid Pig, Tacoma, WA
October 9 Satan, Substratum, Skelator at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 9 Carach Angren, Mors Principium Est, Wolfheart, Blood and Thunder, others mmat Club Sur Rocks, Seattle, WA
October 13 Hatebreed, Miss May I, Ringworm at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
October 14 Cognizant, Rottenness, Impulse Noise, Seizure at Funhouse, Seattle, WA
October 15 Enemy Soil, Antigama, Violent Opposition, Treasonist, The Drip at Funhouse, Seattle, WA
October 15 Paradise Lost, Sólstafir, The Atlas Moth at Neumos, Seattle, WA
October 15 Gwar, Hatebreed, Miss May I, Ringworm, American Sharks at Showbox, Seattle, WA
October 16 Vile Effigy, Overwrought, Born Without Blood, Speaks in Tongues at Highline, Seattle, WA
October 17 Expain, Kömmand at Funhouse, Seattle, WA
October 18 Steve Grimett’s Grim Reaper at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 18 Witchaven, Oxygen Destroyer, Sentient Divide, others at Highline, Seattle, WA
October 19 Witchaven, Oxygen Destroyer, Sentient Divide, Effluvia at McCoy’s Tavern, Olympia, WA
October 19 Tetrarch, others at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
October 21 Hell’s Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Tulalip Casino, Marysville, WA
October 21 Windhand, Satan’s Satyrs at Neumos, Seattle, WA
October 21 Hell’s Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip, WA
October 24 Captured by Robots, The Drip, others at The Big Dipper, Spokane, WA
October 25 Captured by Robots, Xoth, Toecutter at Funhouse, Seattle, WA
October 25 Danzig, Venom Inc., Power Trip, Mutoid Man at Showbox, Seattle, WA
October 27 Jesus Wears Armani, Casualty of God, Anthrocene, others at The Plaid Pig, Tacoma, WA
October 27 Method 13, Arisen from Nothing, The War Within, No Such Season at Madison Pub, Everett, WA
October 27 Hell’s Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Jazzbones, Tacoma, WA
October 27 Ingested, Enterprise Earth, Bodysnatcher, Aethere at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 29 Trivium, Avatar at Showbox, Seattle, WA
October 31 Trivium at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
October 31 After the Burial, The Acacia Strain, After the Fallout at Club Sur Rocks, Seattle, WA
November 2 Second Sting (Scorpions tribute) at Tulalip Casino, Marysville, WA
November 2 Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation, Krisiun, Soreption, others at Club Sur Rocks, Seattle, WA
November 4 Mac Sabbath at Jazzbones, Tacoma, WA
November 6 Stryper at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 9 Arsis, Decrepit Birth, Internal Bleeding, Pyrexia, Angelmaker, Within Destruction, Orator at Club Sur Rocks, Seattle, WA
November 9 Neck of the Woods at Eagles 2485, Kennewick, WA
November 9 Large Marge, Dilapidation, Oxygen Destroyer, Effluvia, Drawn and Quartered at The Valley, Tacoma, WA
November 9 ApHelion, Salem Knights, Wet Temple, The Wreck’d, Boxcutter PNW, Johnny Yuma at Mirkwood Public House, Arlington, WA
November 10 Sadistic Intent, Petrification, Drawn and Quartered, Oxygen Destroyer at Highline, Seattle, WA
November 12 Raven, Hatchet at The Pin, Spokane, WA
November 13 Korpliklaani, Arkona at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 13 Goatwhore, others at Club Sur, Seattle, WA
November 16 Underoath at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
November 17 Neck of the Woods, Darkness Stole the Sky, others at McCoy’s Tavern, Olympia, WA
November 20 Behemoth, At the Gates, Wolves in the Throne Room at Showbox, Seattle, WA
November 21 Municipal Waste, High on Fire, Toxic Holocaust, Haunt at Showbox, Seattle, WA
November 28 Whitechapel, Chelsea Grin, Oceano, Slaughter to Prevail at The Pin, Spokane, WA
November 29 Whitechapel, Chelsea Grin, Oceano, Slaughter to Prevail at Showbox, Seattle, WA
December 7 Zepparella (Led Zeppelin tribute) at Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
December 8 Devastation in December: Infernal Legion, Oxygen Destroyer, Nocturnal Slaughter, Orator, Violent Hallucinations, Beyond Theory, Something with Teeth, Trojan Swamp Monster at Erebus, Kelso, WA
December 28 Zoso (Led Zeppelin tribute) at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
January 25 Hell’s Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
March 22 Y&T at Club Sur, Seattle, WA
May 30-June 1 Northwest Terrorfest at Neumos/Highline/Barboza, Seattle, WA
June 9 Flotsam and Jetsam at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
Metal Bulletin Zine
P.O. Box 1339
Lake Stevens WA 98258 USA

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

out on Friday: Axe Steeler

Axe Steeler
On the Run
September 7th 2018
Axe Steeler is traditional heavy metal from Colombia. They have the banshee-scream singing, the guitar hero soloing and the Latin American mad, mad, mad, mad passion for true metal. The album is 36 minutes of music, eight songs, and it feels good to listen to a band that has a sense of proportion and restraint; a band that values the idea of a focused, on-point album. The Colombians are very competent and enlightened on the aptitudes of their music. The songs are made for headbanging and with pride. Essentially, it is rocking music and a fun album, and with a contemporary but classic-style production in which the bass guitar is audible.
That’s not all, though. There is one genial revelation on this album. Just when you think that you know what the entire album will be like, Axe Steeler hits you up with song number four “Beyond the Stars,” an instrumental track that is a most interesting moment. The song recalls a little bit of the 1970s big guitar melodies of Queen, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Scorpions, U.F.O., and Thin Lizzy. Axe Steeler shows a different and delightful facet by doing a song that has piano/keyboards and classic hard rock guitar work and melodies. This is a very entertaining development, and a surprising one, for it demonstrates that they are capable of doing much more than just regular traditional heavy metal.
This bands knows how to rock and they do it well, but “Beyond the Stars” puts them in a much more unique niche than would otherwise be the case. Unfortunately, this is the only song like that, and it is an instrumental, which suggests that they have not figured out a way to make this other side an integral part of their sound. Another song called “Storm” kind of points in that direction, and it’s also an interesting track. Thus, an interrogative that emerges here is how the band can pursue these other colors of their sound. It is possible to rock hard and to show the creativity and melodies of “Beyond the Stars” and “Storm.” Many bands, especially in 2018, can write good songs about headbanging, and those songs are welcome every time, but it is more special when a band can take the route that says that more is more and bigger is better.
If Axe Steeler can talk amongst themselves and lose the fear, things are going to be very interesting, indeed.

out on Friday: Satan (review by MMB)

Cruel Magic
Metal Blade Records
7 September 2018
The first thing that strikes about the new 2018 album is how real the recording sounds. It feels like they have invited the listener into the studio to watch how the cooking is done. Given that this is a cult British act with musicians that formed bands in the latter half of the 1970s, and that they have been making music for decades and decades now, their views on recording reflect their love of the pioneering bands of hard rock that inspired them in the first place. For new audiences, this album is a great place to begin listening to band. In point of fact, there is perhaps only one aspect that is clearly not possible to do live: the backing vocals and the lead vocals are the same person, and in the live setting the band has to do the backing vocals, although there is not that much of backing vocals, anyway, which means that they should be able to play the songs fairly close to the recording.
lf anyone knows how to write songs, it is this band. When you put together their experience—Satan, Blind Fury, Pariah, Blitzkrieg, Skyclad, to name the most important ones—you get a whopping 33 studio albums that they have done, at the very least.
They have been to the circus many times. They have seen the bright lights and the puppet strings. At this point there is only one thing, and one thing, that truly matters to them: the songs.
When your musical heritage is 1970s British hard rock and you yourself have made dozens and dozens of albums, there is no question that the new album will please the fans of cult traditional heavy metal. The new music sounds like a band with lots of youthful energy and making the most memorable, quality songs that they can make. Old fans should be pumped, and the new fans might as well start here. It is 2018 and the band’s standards are as high as ever. Get your pencil and get ready to take notes, the school of rock is in session. Welcome to the master class.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

out this Friday: Downpour (review by MMB)

September 7th, 2018
Downpour takes the contemporary American hard rock sound—groove metal, hardcore, and metalcore—to some different places, ones with some twists and turns.
Where is the contemporary hard rock American sound in Downpour? The first song “The Serpent’s Tongue” is the band giving the lay of the land. Heavy stop-start chugging, and American hardcore scream-shout-yell, perfect for the Middle American that likes to nod their head while holding the Budweiser. Imagine the young Pantera fan grown up, possibly married/divorced, but still rocking, looking for the heavy groove that has always has attracted them to beer and hard rock. The young Slipknot and metalcore kid of yesteryear now has a couple of children, but still likes rock music. Sometimes being a mom and dad takes it out of you, and Downpour would be a nice change of pace from all that children’s music. The anger of Downpour expresses, for said rock fans, the personal struggles with depression or anger management or the need to get away from the kids and the spouse for a while.
Do you remember Shadows Falls, the American metalcore-thrash band from years ago? That band is over, but you may be interested to know that Brian Fair, former vocalist for said band, is taking care of the microphone duties on here.
Downpour is simple heavy music. Hardcore and groove is the pillar of the sound. Yet, that is not the whole picture. Downpour has another side that might be unexpected. Downpour has a melodic side, something like a post-rock, alternative vibe going on. At times it sounds like a post-1990s alternative sound and at other times it comes across as a post-rock, post-hardcore spirit, like musicians who could play groove and hardcore all the livelong day if they so desired, but they want some melody, some mellow moments, too, at this point in their musical development. For example, Brian Fair can yell as he always has done, but he is making an effort to add melody and to sing more. Who says that an old dog cannot learn new tricks?!
Don’t judge a book by the cover of groove and hardcore. There is more than that here.

out this Friday: Infera Bruo (review by MMB)

Infera Bruo
Prosthetic Records
Released on: 7 September 2018
1.Poison Waters 01:10
2.Shroud Enigma 07:02
3.Effigy of Reason 02:03
4.Endnotes 05:59
5.The Lunar Pass 07:35
6.Draped in Sky 08:24
7.Scorne 03:20
8.Temporial 04:13
total time 39:46
In the nine years that Infera Bruo has been active they have earned some strong reviews and a reputation for atmospheric extreme metal. In 2018 they have their third album. The Americans generally have been involved in New England bands, more or less. For example, Galen was in the abrasive, crusty hardcore band Trap Them, and Neutrino has done previous work with left-field extreme bands Pillory and Virulence.
Musically, a crucial piece of the puzzle for Infera Bruo music is the aura, and the means by which such aura is realized. The music, on the issue of genre, would be best approached as progressive extreme metal, coming from black metal and post-metal. The vocals are mostly raspy and shrieking, with the occasional melodic passage. It is not slow music per se, but there is a morose feel to it. There are a few additional background sounds; eerie noises here and there. The music is pregnant with introverted, inward-looking moods, and this is perhaps why listeners have often agreed to call it atmospheric black metal. It’s not catchy, it’s not happy, but it is approachable, even if it’s abstruse to a certain degree. The song “Endnotes” stands out, for it captures the best elements of the sound: the intensity, the melody and the melancholy; the tremolo picking; the guitar solo and the melodic singing is all done very well in the context of the band’s style.
Unfortunately, this particular album is weakened largely by the overdoing of the music-less segments that take up more than seven of the nearly 40 minutes. For instance, the third track is two minutes of non-music, and it comes on very soon, after only one song of music because there is a one-minute of music-less introduction. The next three tracks are music, and the fourth one, “Scorne,” is a fast, fun black metal quickie, but seems rushed and incomplete. The last track is four minutes of no-music sound vibes.
This album comes after three years since the previous one In Conjuration, a very balanced album that is substantially better constructed in form and in flow than this one. The new songs themselves generally have plenty of Infera Bruo personality, but the non-music could have been eliminated for some 33 minutes of music that would have come across less interrupted and less uneven.

Monday, September 3, 2018

releasing September 7th: Siege Of Power (review by MMB)

Siege of Power
Warning Blast
Metal Blade Records
7 September 2018
Siege of Power unites a bunch of death metal elders from Holland with Asphyx, Houwitser, Hail of Bullets, Thanatos and other cult names on the collective curriculum vitae of Theo van Eekelen, Bob Bagchus, Paul Baayens, and on the vocals they got the honorable lord of U.S. depravity Chris Reifert from Autopsy to scream, rant, rave, shout and growl.
One beautiful sunny green Tuesday afternoon in Amsterdam these fine gentlemen were sipping tea and enjoying their vegan chocolate cake at the Chocolaterie Pompadour and they somehow came upon the topic of death metal, as one tends to do in such occasions, and they were circling around the matter of fun and rules and somehow, after a few bites of vegan cake, one of the gentlemen just blurted out, right out of the blue, “Death metal does not sound like fun anymore, and Utrecht metal must save it!” They did something about it, and voilà, this is Siege of Power.
There are 20 songs of angry punk-inspired death metal. Think olden death metal dressed in gutter punk rock attitude with obscene and obnoxious lyrics and you get the picture (This is not grindcore, by the way. I know what you’re thinking about the name.). The songs are short and get down to business quickly. The drumming is old-punk drumming concerned with the beat and the guitars are chugging loudness and the vocals for some reason seem angrier than ever before. So much for mellowing out with age, Mr. Reifert. One surprising fact about the album is the amount of melody. Yes, it’s nasty old punk death metal anger and whatnot, but the guitars solos more frequently than expected veer into a nice quick shot of melody. Hieperdepiep hoera!
It looks like these senior musicians decided to have more fun with their music than their past projects. They made the music simpler, looser and more rocking. Expect some uptempo grooving, and some melody, and a bit of slower rocking, too, and lots of angry rock and roll and you get Siege of Power.