Thursday, August 31, 2017

interview: Mystica Girls

Mystica Girls is a heavy metal band from Mexico City. They have been recording EPs and albums since 2008, but they started earlier, in 2005. This publication sent them some questions about the band and the latest album Veronica, the Courtesan from Hell.
Hello! How are you in Mexico City in 2017?
Hi! Thank u! Excellent. We have been working a lot more since Veronica, The Courtesan from Hell.
The band started as a cover band in 2005?
We were a cover band until 2010, that was our regular job, and thanks to this I was able to pay my career in Fermatta Academy and since 2005 to 2010 covers and guitar lessons help us to pay bills and let us to be full time with our original project, it has been difficult but not impossible.
Mystica Girls plays in many places in Mexico. Do you tour Mexico often? Have you had opportunities to play in Central America and South America?
Yes, as an independent band we have always have to search new places and it has been more difficult to have an international exposure, we have finally got some contacts in Ecuador, Argentina and Bogotá to have some shows there with the Colombian band Highway, we are always touring in Mexico because it is more easy to close deals with promoters and festivals and as an-all girl band and a metal band people have recognized us more through the time, we have become a well known band here.
Do you have plans for the U.S.?
USA has been a very difficult country for us, we have lots of fans, but we are independent and MEXICANS, that force us bands here to go illegally and tour in USA, and actually is more risky for us if we don’t get a Visa Work, and all promotes don’t want to make that kind of investment, so we are trying to get all the contacts in different places of USA to finally go to the embassy and try to be approved to tour there, so this really has been a nightmare for a band like us, but soon or late we will have some shows there, its just a matter of time, and savings lol.
Are you in contact with any record label here in the U.S.?
Not yet. We have been seeking but have no answer yet
Is it true that your band is independent and not signed to a label in Mexico? Is this your choice? Do you prefer to be independent?
We have all the things we have thanks to our work since 2005, we have received some invitations to labels but they want from us other type of image, music and more, we don’t play music only but only for money, we have a message to say, and not everybody understand that, so we have discovered that it is a difficult path to go, but not an impossible one, we see our project as an enterprise, it is our business, we have now people who is part of our team work, we are now working with Terraza Records that help us to release our two versions of Veronica, The Courtesan from Hell cd, but only that. We produce our project, but we are not close to get the next step, to finally get an international booking agency or things like that, we are seeking them, but still independents and if that never happens, we will continue our work as we know it has been working until now.
In 2016 you had the album Veronica, the Courtesan from Hell. You did the album in a Spanish version and also the English version. Are you pleased with the results of doing the album in two languages? Do you think you will do that again or not?
Of course! They are two different albums that complements each other with the artwork, the simple way to have two languages in the songs let us have different aspects of the same song, we were right to make this choice and it has worked very well, people from the overseas ask a lot more for the English version, while for some German people, the Spanish version has been like an exotic Mexican metal album, and here in Mexico people love to sing the songs in our language, so it has been a very pleasant result for us.
Who are the current members of the band in 2017 and how long has each member been in the band? Are any of you in other bands?
Cinthya Blackcat, voice and lead guitar, 12 years
Yoli Moreno, drums, 5 years
Bianka Roads, rhythm guitar, 2 years, and LaKorn bassdoll, 1 year
We usually collaborate in other musical projects but we only have Mystica Girls as a current band
Now that Mystica Girls has been around a while, since 2005, how would you say your objectives with the band are different from 2005?
We think we have achieve step by step every goal we have set since that year, we have learned a lot of things, and we know what we have to do to continue our musical path and we are happy because we see al the results of our hard work and people follow us and support us, too.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017 and for 2018?
In first place is to release our DVD, we are preparing and acoustic show with some new songs, we are planning 2 or 3 official videos and still continue with the research of other countries to have any tour outside Mexico, we will focus only in international show for now, we are still having the Veronica national tour and continue with that
How can your fans support your band?
We have our digital albums on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon mp3, Apple Music, Google Play, YouTube, we have an online store available in or you can write us on facebook and we make national and international shippings, we have our albums, t-shirts, signed pictures, caps, mugs, etc. We always appreciate our fans support, thanks to them we can continue investing on new projects involved with the band.
What other news do you have about your band?
You can visit our Vevo channel on Youtube and check out two videoclips from the DVD recorded at Circo Volador in Feb 17, we are updating too the official picture of the band and starting to compose some new songs. Thank u for reading and stay in touch!

review: Midnite Hellion

[review by MMB]
Midnite Hellion
Condemned to Hell
Witches Brew
Release: 15 September 2017
Midnite Hellion is a band with its heart in the right place and their thinking makes sense. I definitely appreciate a band dedicated to making serious heavy metal. It can be such drama and emotional roller coaster trying to find the right people for a band, especially for traditional styles in which skill is important. The people you find also cannot be a bunch of jerks you hate because you have to spend time rehearsing, talking, discussing ideas for songs, recording, gigs and a thousand other details.
On this album the recording quality is good and the instrumentation is good, solid headbanging no-nonsense heavy metal. The one area that needs more improvement is the singing. The singing is not quite there for the music. What is needed? More practice, more training? Maybe. The singing sounds too shy, too restrained, too middle-of-the-road vocals, not quite singing and not extreme metal vocals. For this music, it's necessary to sing like nobody's watching and see how that sounds. Sing like you are alone in the shower singing along to “Painkiller,” “Stand up and Shout,” and “Blackout.” You have to sing like you do not know what embarrassment means. No holding back. Just go for it!
I would love to hear this band with a renewed approach to singing. Once a vocal sound or a singing style is established and decided upon, then things will go better. Right now, it sounds too much like a man that has been forced into the vocals because nobody else wanted to do it. That’s no crime. I get it. Screaming is easy. Singing is hard. Singing well in a heavy metal band is no joke. The standards are high.
Don't change, don't stop. Go for it harder and unleash the beast inside that sings big time. "Fill your heads with heavy metal thunder!"
OFFICIAL: Trenton (NJ) - U.S. Heavy Metal trio MIDNITE HELLION will release new album Condemned to Hell September 15 on Germany's Witches Brew. The album will be available on CD format with a vinyl LP version to follow in the new future. Blending a healthy mixture of Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal, MIDNITE HELLION creates an addictive, crushing sound, a combination as evident as ever on Condemned to Hell. Among the pure metal bliss is a tune called "Teenage Bloodsuckin Bimbos,' which will be the theme song for an upcoming B-movie of the same name. MIDNITE HELLION will play a Record Release show on September 17 at Sayreville, NJ's Starland Ballroom along with EXODUS, OBITUARY, POWER TRIP, and DUST BOLT. As it turns out, the gig comes five years and 10 months to the day of the band's first demo release show, which also featured OBITUARY.
Biography: MIDNITE HELLION is a Heavy Metal trio from Trenton, NJ. Blending a healthy mixture of Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal, MIDNITE HELLION creates an addictive, crushing sound that's ready to take the world by storm. They released their demo, "The Fever," on Thursday, November 17th as a limited hand-numbered edition of 100 copies, which have nearly sold out within two weeks of the release. They releasied their debut EP, "Enter The Unknown," on September 29th, 2012. They toured with the legendary PRIME EVIL on the "Enter The Evilution Northeast Coast 2012 Tour" to support the release. 2013 will see the release of a full-length debut, as well as more touring to support the release.
So far, MIDNITE HELLION has had the honor of sharing the stage with OverKill, Grim Reaper, RIOT, Picture, Anvil, Raven, Artillery, Blood Feast, Whiplash, Morbid Saint, Deceased, October 31, Obituary, Denial Fiend, Deathrash, Warbringer, Lazarus A.D., Diamond Plate, Landmine Marathon, Sacrificial Blood, Condition Critical, Asphyxiating, Anvil Bitch, On Top, A.S.D., Swashbuckle, Corpse, Fiakra, Carcinogen, Power Theory, Regalia, Lethal Strike, Grim Legion, Anticosm, Asphyxiating, Day of the Beast, Revocation, Cannabis Corpse, Ramming Speed, Dimentianon, Sectioned, Coffin, Deathrash, White Goblin, Bröhammer, Vermefüg, Mount Olympus, Heavy Sons, The Fetals, Enemy Eternal, Tortured Existence, Mobile Deathcamp, Gnarly Vomit, Eliminator, Scarred For Life, Eternity’s End, Brain Damage, Thrashole, Centralia, Pitch Black Sleep, Bob Mitchell Band, Undivided, Coffin, Shadows of Dawn, Thanatotic Desire, Ruins of Akora, Helcaraxe, Valacar, Wizard Eye, Saviour, Pitch Black Sleep, Egokill, Tantalus Spine, Forever Her Nightmare, Winter Nights, Seeds of Redemption, Infernal Opera, and Supercrabs. Plenty of more to come!! Keep an eye out for MIDNITE HELLION, as they are an unstoppable force!

Monday, August 28, 2017

NEWS: Castle Tour

Heavy metal doomsters Castle refuse to stop touring and they won't be satisfied until all of the United States has gotten a chance to bang their head live to Castle.
OFFICIAL: Get ready for the Endless Graveyard!!
9/7 Riverside, CA - Aurea Vista
9/8 San Diego, CA - Tower Bar
9/9 Flagstaff, AZ - Green Room
9/10 Oklahoma City - OK - Blue Note
9/11 Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone
9/12 Nashville, TN - The End
9/13 Asheville, NC - Odditorium
9/14 Richmond, VA - Strange Matter
9/15 White Hall, MD - Shadow Woods Metal Fest
9/16 Boston, MA - O'Brien's
9/17 Wallingford, CT - Cherry Street Station
9/18 New York, NY - Saint Vitus
9/19 Rochester, NY - Bug Jar
9/20 Buffalo, NY - Mohawk Place
9/21 Cleveland, OH - Maple Grove
9/22 Pittsburgh, PA - Cattivo
9/23 Detroit, MI - Smalls
9/24 Indianapolis, IN - Taps Live
9/25 Cincinnati, OH - Northside Yacht Club
9/26 St. Louis, MO - FuBar
9/27 Kansas City, MO - Riot Room
9/28 Wichita, KS - Elbow Room
9/29 Sioux Falls, SD - Stoned Meadow Of Doom Fest
9/30 Colorado Springs, CO - Triple Nickel
Biography: CASTLE is pleased to announce the release of their breakout fourth full-length this Summer via Ván Records worldwide.
Titled Welcome To The Graveyard, the follow up to 2014’s critically-lauded Under Siege was recorded by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Eyehategod, Ommadon et al) at Type Foundry Studios in Portland, Oregon this past Winter. Welcome To The Graveyard is set for official unveiling July 15th.
Comprised of 8 tracks written over the last year, Welcome To The Graveyard sees CASTLE merge their doom powered riffing with soaring 1970s rock . The album features a new level of confident songwriting and is a creepy-crawl through the wastelands of the band’s new L.A. ­­home; a hard-boiled barrage of classic heavy metal riffery tempered with blasts of melodic orchestrated doom. The perfect soundtrack for a Hollywood cult initiation.
Elizabeth Blackwell's haunted vocal style draws a sigil of death and madness - imagine the Wilson sisters singing hymns from the stygian void, while lyrically CASTLE adapt the stark and compelling vistas of Aleister Crowley’s “Amphora” for the song "Traitors Rune" and Eliphas Levi's “Transcendental Magic”, whose mystic rumination inspires the lyrical backdrop for the lead-off single "Flash of the Pentagram".
CASTLE was forged in San Francisco in 2009 and released their debut full-length, In Witch Order, on Germany’s Ván Records in 2011. The album brought light to the newly-formed band and earned them “Album Of The Year” honors from Metal Hammer Norway, as well as Roadburn Festival’s “Newcomer Of The Year.” Shortly thereafter, the band joined the Prosthetic Records roster in North America and released their critically-adored sophomore album Blacklands. The record left to a Canadian JUNO nomination for “Metal/Hard Music Album Of The Year.” CASTLE performed over two-hundred shows worldwide in support of the release alongside the likes of The Sword, Conan, Intronaut and Pentagram among many others as well as appearances at some of the underground’s largest fests including Roadburn and the London and Berlin Desertfests.
Since the release of Under Siege in 2014, CASTLE, which consists of vocalist/bassist Liz Blackwell, guitarist/vocalist Mat Davis and drummer Al McCartney, has maintained a relentless touring schedule with multiple expeditions throughout the US, Europe and Canada including stops at the 2015 edition of Heavy Days In Doomtown Fest in Copenhagen, Denmark and the Acherontic Arts Fest in Oberhausen, Germany.
CASTLE, who recently announced a three week run of tour dates around their appearance at the Maryland Doom Fest on June 24 will continue touring across the U.S. throughout July and August with the announcement of 32 additional dates. The month-long headlining trek, which follows the release of “Welcome to the Graveyard”, commences July 17 in Fullerton, CA. Expect Canadian and European dates in support of Welcome To The Graveyard to be announced in the coming months.

NEWS: Bloodletting North American Tour

Origin has announced a tour for October and November.
OFFICIAL: Origin are teaming up with Archspire, Defeated Sanity, Dyscarnate, Visceral Disgorge and The Kennedy Veil for the Bloodletting North America Tour.
Fresh off of our run with Summer Slaughter we are happy to announce our immediate headlining return as part of Bloodletting North America 2017! This incredibly brutal tour showcases the most intense, technical, and extreme acts in metal today from around the world, taking with us Archspire from Vancouver, Defeated Sanity from Germany, Dyscarnate from the UK, and Visceral Disgorge and the Kennedy Veil from the US.. Amongst a sea of tours coming this fall, nothing brings the true kings of the underground together on one stage like Bloodletting North America.. We will be showcasing material from our brand new album, "Unparalleled Universe", as well as tracks spanning the bands 20 year history. This is not a tour to miss, see you in the pit! Hail Space!
Confirmed dates for the Bloodletting North American Tour are:
10/20/2017 The Riot Room - Kansas City, MO
10/21/2017 Club Garibaldi - Milwaukee, WI
10/22/2017 Cobra Lounge - Chicago, IL
10/232017 The Token Lounge - Westland, MI
10/24/2017 Montage Music Hall - Rochester, NY
10/25/2017 Bungalow - Manchester, NH
10/26/2017 Saint Vitus Bar - New York, NY
10/27/2017 Stanhope House - Stanhope, NJ
10/29/2017 Motorco Music Hall - Durham, NC
10/31/2017 Groundzero - Spartanburg, SC
11/01/2017 Exit/In - Nashville, TN
11/02/2017 The Masquerade - Atlanta, GA
11/03/2017 Walters - Houston, TX
11/04/2017 The Shrine - Tulsa, OK
11/05/2017 The Curtain Club - Dallas, TX
11/06/2017 Come and Take It Live - Austin, TX
11/07/2017 Jake's Sports Cafe - Lubbock, TX
11/08/2017 Rockhouse Bar - El Paso, TX
11/09/2017 Club Red - Mesa, AZ
11/10/2017 Gideon's Hall - Upland, CA
11/11/2017 Brick By Brick - San Diego, CA
11/12/2017 The Catalyst - Santa Cruz, CA
11/13/2017 Rock hard PDX - Portland, OR
11/14/2017 Studio Seven - Seattle, WA
11/15/2017 Rickshaw Theatre - Vancouver, BC CANADA
11/17/2017 Metro Music Hall - Salt Lake City, UT
11/18/2017 The Roxy Theatre - Denver, CO

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Metal Bulletin zine number 129

Read online issue number 129 of Metal Bulletin.
Thou Shall Kill
Gateway to Hell
Hyper Fury
Lifeless Form

Seattle and Washington concert calendar, updated August 28, 2017

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.
Seattle and Washington concert calendar, updated August 28, 2017
August 28 Metal Mondays: Beekeeper (CA), Noceur, Iron Nightingale at Substation, Seattle, WA
August 30 Weedeater, Telekinetic Yeti at The Pin, Spokane, WA
August 31 Decapitated, Thy Art Is Murder at The Pin, Spokane, WA
August 31 Whythre, Prey the Hunter, Born without Blood at The Skylark, Seattle, WA
September 1 Queensryche at Walla Walla Frontier Days, Walla Walla, WA
September 1 Massacre at the Opera, Casualty of God at Louie G's, Fife, WA
September 2 Monsters among Gods, Crowskull, others at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
September 3 Decapitated, Thy Art Is Murder, Fallujah, Ghost Bath, Dismembering Mary, Aethereus at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
September 3 Zero Down at Houndstooth Public Bar, Seattle, WA
September 5 Inquisition, Uada, Volahn, Noceur at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
September 8 The Drip at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
September 8 Among the Torrent, Aethereus, Odyssian at The Kraken, Seattle, WA
September 9 Blaze Bailey, Killian Mahaffey, Thou Shall Kill, Anthrocene at Funhouse, Seattle, WA
September 9 Versus, Dead Crown, Follow the Lights, Down the Scope, Rucker, Vesuvian at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
September 9 TitanFest 2017: Motograter, Chronological Injustice, The National Guard - Music, Invasive, Bleed The Stone, Syztem7, Jesus Wears Armani, Vial 8, Heart Avail, Salem Knights, Hammerz Down, Voodoo Death Gun at Louie G's Pizza, Fife, WA
September 11 Epica, Lacuna Coil, Insomnium, Elantris at The Showbox, Seattle, WA
September 13 Venom, Inc., Goatwhore, Toxic Holocaust, The Convalescene, Rutah, Dysfunktynal Kaos at The Pin, Spokane, WA
September 14 Venom, Inc., Goatwhore, Toxic Holocaust, The Convelesence, Noctium at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
September 14 Isenordal, Vradiazei, Omens, Exulansis at Obsidian, Olympia, WA
September 15 Hell's Belles at Lucky Eagle Casino, Rochester, WA
September 15 Addaura, Isenordal, Exulansis, Omen at Highline, Seattle, WA
September 16 Hell's Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Kitsap County Fairgrounds, Bremerton, WA
September 16 Army of Dagon at Black Zia Cantina, Burien, WA
September 16 The War Within, Visceral Disembodiment, others at Anchor Pub, Seattle, WA
September 18 Orphaned Land, Pain, Voodoo Kungfu, Wythre at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
September 20 Lich King at Tony V's Garage, Everett, WA
September 22 Hell's Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Swinomish Casino, Anacortes, WA
September 22-23 Famine Fest Seattle at Highline, Seattle, WA. Friday September 22nd. Witchtrap (Colombia), Witchaven (Los Angeles), Drawn And Quartered, Malleus (Boston), Xoth. Saturday September 23rd. Hirax (from Los Angeles), Plague Bearer (Ancient Seattle Death Cult reunion), Effluvia (recently refomred death Metal from Washington), Raptor (Portland, Oregon), Oxygen Destroyer
September 23 Wovoka, Drainage, Addaura at McCoy's Tavern, Olympia, WA
September 24 Black Table, Hexis at Funhouse, Seattle, WA
September 25 The Casualties at The Pin, Spokane, WA
September 29 Dark Tranquillity, Warbringer, Striker, Last Bastion, ReEvolution at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
September 29 Scorpions, Megadeth at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, WA
September 30 Scorpions, Megadeth at Tacoma Doma, Tacoma, WA
October 2 Bat, Savage Master, Bewitcher, Substratum at Highline, Seattle, WA
October 3 The Devils of Loudun at The Pin, Spokane, WA
October 4 Cerebral Incubation, Cordyceps, Angel Splitter, others at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 5 American Wrecking Company at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 7 A Flourishing Scourge, Anthrocene, Shades Of Static at The Charleston, Bremerton, WA
October 7 Army of Dagon at Skylark, Seattle, WA
October 8 Hell's Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Jazzbones, Tacoma, WA
October 10 Soulfly does Nailbomb performing "Point Blank"; Cannabis Corpse, Noisem, Lody Kong, others at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 15 Warning, The Body, Worm Ouroboros at Highline, Seattle, WA
October 17 Cattle Decapitation, Revocation, Full of Hell, Artificial Brain, Transcribing The Necronomicon, Dismembering Mary, others at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 21 Tony MacAlpine, Felix Martin at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 24 Aura Noir, Mutilation Rites, Weregoat at Highline, Seattle, WA
October 25 Wolves in the Throne Room at Obsidian, Olympia, WA
October 28 Vale of Pnath, First Fragment, Virvum, Aethereus at The Pin, Spokane, WA
October 28 Hell's Belles (AC/DC tribute) at Jazzbones, Tacoma, WA
October 29 Vale of Pnath, First Fragment, Virvum, Aethereus at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
November 1 The Black Dahlia Murder, Suffocation, Exumed, Decrepit Birth, Necro, Wormwitch, Ashes of Existence at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
November 4 Narcotic Wasteland, Dreaming Dead, Countless the Dead at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
November 7 Children of Bodom, Carach Angren, Lost Society, Uncured at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 11 Children of Bodom, Carach Angren, Lost Society, Uncured at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 15 Gwar, Ghoul, U.S. Bastards at Showbox Sodo, Seattle, WA
November 17 Cannibal Corpse, Power Trip, Gatecreeper at Neumos, Seattle, WA
November 17 Washington Deathfest at The Charleston, Bremerton, WA: The Charleston (Monsters Brawl Main Stage) 6pm: Embryonic Devourment, Violent Hallucinations, Progenitor, Whythre, Ghostblood, Nihilist Nation, Ashen Pyre, Oxygen Destroyer. High Fidelity lounge (The Chaos stage 2) 4pm: Monsters Among Gods, Abiosis, Inside Defiance, Prey The Hunter, Noceur
November 18 Boycott the Baptist at The Charleston, Bremerton, WA
November 24 Arch Enemy, Trivium, While She Sleeps, Fit For An Autopsy at Showbox Sodo, Seattle, WA
December 2 Ghoul, The Plot Sickens, Crud Guns, Misuse of Power, Kömmand at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
December 4 Ghost Ship Octavius, American Wrecking Company, Avoid the Void, Omnisight at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
December 9 Jesus Wears Armani, Massacre at the Opera, Chamber 6, Method 13, Odyssian, Born without Blood, Children of Seraph, As Pillars Fall, Blood and Thunder, After the Fallout, Prey the Hunter, Anthrocene, Bleed the Stone at at Tony V's, Everett, WA
December 22 Black Bone Exorcism, Thou Shall Kill, others at Substation, Seattle, WA
December 29 Zoso - The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
March 19 Udo Dirkschneider, Zero Down, Children of Seraph at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
March 22 Michael Schenker at Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA
April 6 Nightwish at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
April 15 Uli Jon Roth, Killian Mahaffey at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
June 10 HammerFall, Flotsam and Jetsam at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
Metal Bulletin Zine
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Lake Stevens WA 98258 USA

review: The Haunted

[review by MMB]
The Haunted
Strength in Numbers
release date: August 25th, 2017
label: Century Media Records
The Haunted is back and making a serious effort to please the longtime fans. They have some damage control to do after some drama going on in their camp and that awful album whose name will not be mentioned here. This is the sound of a band doing its best to give the listener an intense album, like they believe that they are supposed to do. They bring the energy fast and loud, with aggressive semi-growling. They add a bit of variety by having some groove songs, too. They also bring on the guitar solos and the solos show that they are serious this time around. Most of the melody comes from some of the soloing, given that the rest of the music is chunky/chugging, fast, energetic or muscular and heavy. This is exactly what The Haunted is supposed to sound like for so many fans. It is accurate that this is a return to form.
For all the energy and heaviness, none of these songs connects with me. They can sound loud and fast. They can groove. They do the angry-middle-aged-man punk scream shouting well. It is all done competently. I get the impression that just about any man or woman with big a belly, with a bit of training, can figure out how to sound like an angry, weight-lifting punk screamer.
The song "This Is the End" is a heavy-hitting groove number. It is also boring. How can this band write such bland songs? With all the skill and experiences they have, you would think their imagination would be more creative than this. The guitar solo is the only redeeming quality in the song. If the solo can be creative, why can't the rhythms? What about the fast songs? It is difficult to get excited about musicians who have decades of experience playing fast metal music actually doing their job in an acceptable manner. Isn't fast what they are supposed to be doing anyway?
What do I want?! Most of all, better riffs. The energy is fine overall and the vocals are definitely ok, too. This all can work with better riffs, but chugging along sounds good only if the standards are so low that we don't expect anything superior from these veterans. Here and there some riffs sound cool, but the musicians cannot keep it up for long and are incapable of putting it all together in a song. These riffs are not easy to remember. After the music ends—and by the way, I have listened to this album a lot recently—I can’t remember the riffs well and I remember chugging and grooves and play-on riffs.
In short, longtime fans of the band should be very pleased because they want the energy and the thick-thrash/groove guitar work. Mission accomplished. The American Pantera/Machine Head/Slayer legions should be other sectors of the metal audiences that could welcome The Haunted for the direct way of writing songs and for the chugging. The Haunted is back on track for sure.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

review: Neurosis

[review by MMB]
The Word as Law
release date: August 25th, 2017
reissue, limited edition, gatefold, 5 colors vinyl
label: Neurot Recordings
This particular recording features an interesting sound: the bass guitar is rather prominent, and the rhythm guitars seemed subdued in comparison, while the drums and the aforementioned bass guitar work together well. The guitars are mostly hardcore and punk.
Unfortunately, the songs are not interesting. It appears that the band wants to do something creative, do something imaginative, but given that it is punk rock, they don't have the skills to do it. Here and there, there are some rocking moments, like on the song "Obsequious Obsolescence." The overall sound is a hardcore and punk sound, but definitely heavier than a lot of punk and the bass guitar does have a cool quality on here. It's nice to hear it, and the energy is good, but the songs, in general, do not have much to stand up because it's mostly shouting and gang shouting for vocals. There is a sense, however, that the band is not working with a strict definition of punk. It's something else, it's that post-80s hardcore sound already rolling along.
Speaking of vocals, it is typical angry-man shouting. There are some different forms of angry-man shouting, the angry-little-man screaming, the tough-guy shouting and just general shouting that's really pleasant to the ears if you like hardcore and punk, but sounds really terrible if you were expecting some actual talent and singing. They have the drive and desire to do vocals, and it's men with no vocal skills besides the ability to shout. For fans of hardcore and punk, this is normal and expected, so it's not weird. The music is a bit different from standard hardcore for sure, but the vocals are more in line with the angry-person approach to shouting in hardcore.

Friday, August 25, 2017

right now, Friday night, Excuse All the Blood metal music show is on

Listen to the live broadcast right now, Friday night:
Excuse All the Blood is a metal music show from the state of Washington, U.S. The show features black metal, heavy metal, death metal and other metal genres, too. The show is on Friday nights, but it is also available any time here:
Friday night, 10pm to 1am Pacific Time (Seattle), listen to Excuse All the Blood metal music, out of Olympia, Washington state, U.S.

review: Paganizer

[review by MMB]
Land of Weeping Souls
release date: August 1st, 2017
label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Traditional-conservative death metal loyalists might not be the majority in the world of extreme metal, yet those fanatics who seek out the orthodox ways of the classic sounds should have not too much difficulty once they find their way towards the doors of the purveyors of death metal. Enter Paganizer and Rogga “Bone Swedenizer” Johansson. This album is based on the foundational framework of the death metal of the late 80s and early 90s and is designed for the golden age of Death, Morbid Angel, Entombed, Dismember, Napalm Death, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Sinister and Pestilence.
It's not that Paganizer sounds retro, it's that this is the way they sound and it's what Rogga "Riff Machinizer" Johansson does and loves. The old American, British, Swedish and Dutch scenes certainly provided good death metal that went around the world.
Also, it should be noted that, interestingly enough, Paganizer does not sound like those classic bands. In fact, if you were to point out what Rogga "Voodoo Zombiefizer" Johansson says he likes, he might tell you that he loves Massacre and Furbowl and Grave, which he does.
Anyway, Rogga "Buzzsaw Operatizer" Johansson believes wholeheartedly in the 1980s ways of death metal: simple, direct, headbanging, heavy, sick, catchy, guitar solos and all-out aggressive loud growling. I have never heard of anyone explaining it this way, but this is the deal: it's death metal made by heavy metal maniacs whose most profound foundations come from heavy metal itself and they are taking the no-nonsense Judas Priest way of making music to death metal; it's death metal that comes from heavy metal. Nowadays, lots of modern death metal doesn't sound like it comes from heavy metal because it does not; it comes from progressive rock or jazz or hardcore/punk or pop rock or whatever.
Paganizer is death metal largely resembling old-school, early Swedish death metal. It hits quickly. It gets to the point quickly. If you are an old fanatic, then you have heard it all in some form, but this is why you'll understand and like it. It's for you.
Rogga "Maggot Colonizer" Johansson does not care if you are old or young. If you are not too familiar with the bands mentioned in this review, that's great, too. Rogga "Worm Survivizer" Johansson and his band are an awesome gateway to the classic sound. This is the way death metal is supposed to rot in death’s sleep.

review: Iron Curtain

[review by MMB]
Iron Curtain
Guilty as Charged
release date: October 14th, 2016
label: Pure Steel Records
Iron Curtain is traditional street heavy metal. Dirty, loud and sweaty, it's the way of Iron Curtain, a descendant of Motorhead, Tank and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The vocals are rough-and-ready-to-rumble in the Lemminized delivery. These Spaniards love the album Ace of Spades and Filth Hounds of Hades and they want you to know that heavy metal is supposed to sound real, hot and full of rock and roll. They borrow from their sources and they do it convincingly.
They do no ballads. They have no keyboards. They use no accordions, no piano and no tubas. Mustaches, beards, bad boys, rowdy tattooed girls, long hair, beer, motorcycles, bar fights, denim, leather, cigarettes, whiskey, poker, billiards and getting arrested for disturbing the peace are things that go along with Iron Curtain. Their motto is simple: "We are Iron Curtain and we play rock and roll." They do not do any nonsense like a message for you to be a better person or whatever. They are not role models. Their job is not to teach you morals. Your parents were supposed to teach you that and if they didn't, and they didn't, then it's too late now. You're going to spend the night in jail.
This is Iron Curtain. They play heavy metal. They want to come to your town and make some noise. Blood, guts and beer. Everything louder than everything else. Welcome to Spain.

review: Ferndal

[review by MMB]
release date: April 21st, 2017
label: Einheit Produktionen
1.Ouverture 02:50
2.Ferndal 09:07
3.Ungelebtes Leben 09:23
4.Arntor, ein Krieger (Windir cover) 06:46
5.In die Freiheit 08:12
6.Ein später Gast 07:13
7.Coda 02:39
total time 46:10
For Ferndal (Germany) making music means writing towards a framework which allows elegance to join extreme metal in order to reflect both perspectives—beauty and extremity—while crafting something of its own. Certain risks are inevitable in such work, given that the audience must in some way be ready to commit to Ferndal. Instant results, immediate gratification and music that follows strict guidelines with the aim of attracting people quickly is not what Ferndal represents. The music most likely will not make sense at first, but it does have enough that you can get, not a complete idea, but sufficiently enough of the music to understand that this will take a while to absorb.
With patience, an interested person can see that for which Ferndal is striving. To bring classical music and black metal together might be a dangerous meeting in some cases, and in others it does not seem genuine, like with projects done artificially with outside musicians, or when it is the result of studio magic with symphonic samples.
How is Ferndal different? Well, they can play the music live without outside musicians because this is not a one-time experiment. They can play the parts that are traditional black metal, their vocalist can do the sung and screamed parts and they do the quieter moments and they have a cellist.
The truth is that this is not easy-listening music. Does the idea of black metal and classical together make you think it's a bad combination? Then, this might not be for you. If you are at least curious, then they have in mind someone like you. Is this pure black metal? Obviously not, but the way that the band sees it, there are plenty of black metal bands if that's what the audience wants in particular. On the other hand, Ferndal does have something creative to offer, something that is a bit different from usual and normal styles that some metal music audiences are accustomed to hearing.
What Ferndal needs from you, most of all, is for you to give them a chance to let them show you what they do, all that they do, and don't get too trapped by ideas about genre or style. Let Ferndal be Ferndal, and you step back, don't jump to conclusions, and just hear this work all the way through, then you will understand better all of what Ferndal is. A quiet and peaceful segment may come across as very different from one with blasting and growling in the same song. In truth, perhaps not all the transitions are that smooth, and maybe that's something that will need more development or attention from the band in the future. At the same time, the music demonstrates a great sense of sophistication in the execution. The band is not lacking ideas nor imagination, and if they can take you along on this adventure, why refuse the invitation? All that will happen is that you will see music as Ferndal does. If you are patient and adventurous, then perhaps you could join this trip.

review: Lör

[review by MMB]
In Forgotten Sleep
release date: August 11th, 2017
label: independent
1.Dusk 10:55
2.Dark Cloud 03:03
3.Requiem 07:10
4.The Forest 01:29
5.Visions of Awakening 06:32
6.Song for the Lost 08:28
7.Aura 01:29
8.Eidolon 11:58
9.Spectrum 08:12
10.In Forgotten Sleep 07:51
total time 01:07:07
Old-school prog fans looking to find undiscovered talent should put this American group on the radar. They are not on a label and apparently they gathered together their own pennies to do this album, their debut. From the looks of it, they decided to do things their way and make the album as they wanted without any regard for anyone but themselves.
Is this a proghead's band? Yup, I'd say so. The album is loaded with talent and skill, perhaps too much, actually. The album does sound like they don't care about the rules and they decided to make the traditional progressive heavy metal that they had not heard yet, somewhere between Blind Guardian and Dream Theater, more proggy than Blind Guardian, and more rocking than Dream Theater. Of course, these youngsters don't the have beaucoup dinero to sound as wealthy as those two bands, who spend years in the studio. However, the Pennsylvanians leave no doubt about what's happening here; they thought big and made it as big as they could.
The music is old-school, traditional, melodic prog metal with singing. Who knows, they probably love 70s prog and all those bands that Opeth has been raving about for decades and they probably love classical, too.
Personally, the music is too proggy for me, but there's no reason to believe that you won't fall in love with it. What do I know? Nothing!
For example, the track "Song for the Lost" features one of the catchiest moments. Unfortunately for me, the band gets too proggy and has two transitions. The first two minutes of the song are quiet, almost silent. Then the song begins in earnest, but, in my opinion, the flow is interrupted by another two-minute break/transition. Look, I get it. Why are there these moments of quiet, low-key sounds in the song? Because those are moments that the band wants to convey as the feeling of being lost, lacking direction or being confused. However, the song has not one extended transition but two. The first one can be dispensed with because it does not add to the song. We know that latter-day Iron Maiden loves the long, quiet introductions, but it can get boring when they do that, too (that’s right, I said it, send your hatemail). On the other hand, the middle transition is a lost opportunity. Some of the quiet transition can stay, but then it should be a moment for the band to showcase its guitar might with a heroic solo. That did not happen, but it needed to.
By comparison, the songs "Dark Cloud" and "Visions of Awakening" are excellent examples of the band being effective with the songwriting. They unlock the band's best qualities: the good singing; the guitar playing; the neoclassical soloing and making the music understandable despite the virtuoso skills. I can ride with this until the wheels come off.
"Spectrum" is a proghead's song. Some black metal vocals show up out of nowhere; some acoustic or clean guitars also show up; the song changes mood a bit too abruptly for me, but I guess the prog people love this type of quirkiness, right? I bet you do.
The crucial questions for the band and for the listeners can be summarized as follows: What is this song (the music) all about? Is it meant to go back and forth in a winding road that gets the audience a bit perplexed? If you are the band, when you play the super long and proggy songs, does the audience lose momentum? What do you notice? If you are the listener, do you want the long songs and the showcasing of instrumental skills to this extent? These Pennsylvanians made the album as if there won't be a next one. They put all their chips on the table. Hey, it's hard to keep a band together and maybe they decided to go for broke.
The biggest progheads who like music that's a bit out there will be the main audience, I think, while it might be a bit of a full plate to tackle for other people. If you have the time, this band has the album for you.

review: Crafteon

[review by MMB]
Cosmic Reawakening
Release: 25 August 2017
Crafteon is traditional occult extremity in the form of pure melodic black metal executed at an uptempo, headbanging pace. Skilled with the knowledge and the abilities to play this music in the classic ways, Crafteon is a band made for and perfect for those seeking several traits in extreme metal: a sense of melody present throughout, tremolo guitar playing, classic-style black metal vocals, songs that you can remember, a bass guitar that is very audible and the sensation of pure black metal. In addition, there are two outstanding reasons why this work is worthy of your dedication. The first reason is that you can easily tell that they have devoted time and effort towards making good music. For instance, the bass guitar is an integral component of these songs and you can feel its presence at all times, in the same way that you, for instance, always feel it in Iron Maiden and Motorhead, to name two fundamental cases in which the bass is important. Of course, the guitar melodies are big. It's not just an issue of guitar solos, but rather an element that is front and center for the listener to take hold and catch a ride on this black metal quest. In short, if a band can demonstrate amply and indubitably that they have busted their hump to make good music, as much as they can within a particular style, within their means and abilities, then that's pentagrams in their favor.
Therefore, the dedication to making a recording of which they can be proud is a key reason to research this band. However, I had previously mentioned that there are two reasons for giving Crafteon your attention. The second reason is the songs. This music is as naked as possible; vocals, drums, bass and guitar (Are there keyboards here? I can’t hear any.). What do we have? The first song that the world has heard is "What the Moon Brings." That's fine. Let's begin there and take other songs at random. Big tremolo melodies. A huge bass line that hits the bottom end big time. Very catchy. Some grim vocals, some higher-register notes and some lower scowls. The main melody is infectious. "The White Ship" boasts an undeniable bass sound that threatens to become master of the song until the melodies take over to make the sound fuller. This pace is a comfortable uptempo beat. Not too slow, not too fast, slow enough to allow to notice the details, fast enough at least to get the neck moving. The gigantic melodies take the song to a higher plane, one that was not expected because everything was good already. "Dagon" underlines how easy and simple Crafteon makes it all look easy. The constant spiraling of the melody weaves and builds at a steady pace. On the other hand, "The Colour out of Space," gives the impression of a more vocally-driven song and it has a slightly different feel, with the vocals at center. Drums and bass drive the beginning of "The Whisperer in the Darkness." The black-metal-monk lower vocals contrast noticeably with the higher vocals in the song. The guitar solo/harmony is simple and effective, then the picking gets faster and it feels like it is driving to the end of the song, which also happens to be the end of the album.
It's possible that some listeners will have to get used to the band's fuller sound, the sound of a whole band in which you can hear everyone. The band plays uptempo songs in general, but they don't push the speed to blasting as a habit or a crutch. This is an advantage for them, though. It's often the case recording blasting metal runs into the problem of sounding like a big jumbled mess, leaving people wondering why they can't hear all the instruments. I am curious to hear more music from this band to see how they will handle the production in the future. Personally, I think that at times I would like for the drums to come up just a little bit, and take down the bass ever so slightly, with the hope that the rhythm guitars in particular are more audible throughout.
Finally, speaking for myself, I had the feeling that Crafteon was something creative. I sensed in the overall sound their desire to be great. After listening to the album for days on end to confirm, I'm glad to report that they definitely have made a very cool album, in my opinion. I have not heard another black metal band that sounds like this one, certainly not this year and not that I can remember in the recent past. The idea of classic black metal is important to the band and I think that you will sense it, too. Crafteon is not about playing fast or slow for the sake of it. It's about a general thing like atmosphere. You might hear distant echoes of classic Dissection and Euronymous-era Mayhem, maybe also some of the earlier, younger and more melodic Marduk, for instance (Not that I know this information for a fact). Whatever their inspirations may be, I find the musical objectives of the band commendable.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

NEWS: Pure Steel Hollowfest USA 2017

Supporters of traditional-conservative heavy metal music will surely have something to attend in October in Ohio, the capital of what some Europeans affectionately call "U.S. metal," a general sound in which guitar rules all and everything. We don't know all the bands listed below, but the majority of this concert certainly looks like traditional heavy metal for the fanatics who must have it this way. Take a look at the flyer for more information and get yourself a map, people, because you need to find where Ohio is located.
OFFICIAL: Hell Yeah! We are proud to present that Pure Steel Records and the Hollowfest, which is in the USA, are bundling the forces and will go forward in the future.
Hollowfest becomes to "PURE STEEL HOLLOWFEST". The festival is now in his new hometown in Cleveland, Ohio. This year, on the 20th and 21st of October, 18 bands will play and rock the Foundry Club. Pounding Steel for the ears of US Heavy-, Power-, Speed and Thrash Metal fans - METAL TIL YOU DIE.
The ticket prices are $ 12 per day and $ 20 for both days. Tickets are available at or

review: The Great Discord

[review MMB]
The Great Discord
The Rabbit Hole
The Sign Records
Release: 7 October 2017
The Great Discord (Sweden) is a pop djentcore band that is very keen on creating a buzz around itself with the visual presentation and the vibe of alternative/strange rock. They don't care about genres too much, and instead it's a mix of pop/djent sounds. The band claims to have some metal in it and its idea of metal music is The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon and Meshuggah. Some of the people in the band are former members of Ghost and there is a clear sense of adding emotional/pop sensibilities to the music. Yes, indeed, you've go it, you got it, and they want it: "Oh, there’s a lot of opportunities, if you know when to take them, You know there’s a lot of opportunities, if there aren’t, you can make them (Make or break them), I’ve got the brains, You’ve got the looks, Let’s make lots of money."
OFFICIAL: On October 7th 2017, progressive death pop band THE GREAT DISCORD will release their sophomore album, The Rabbit Hole. The band features notable musicians who have worked with or are working with bands like GHOST, MCC (Magna Carta Cartel), TID, PG. LOST, DEAD SOUL, VANHELGD and many others. Returning from tours with GHOST, KVELERTAK, KATATONIA and GHOST BATH, they have wowed reviewers and concertgoers across Europe with their theatrically enticing and energetic performances.
Completely self produced and mixed/mastered by Aksel Holmgren (Drums), the band shows they are a force to be reckoned in the continued development of hard rock and metal.
The album showcases an immense maturity from their debut album Duende (Metal Blade Records, 2015), making the band more accessible yet still retaining their unique sound, completed with the impeccable vocal performance of front person Fia Kempe.
Thematically the album represents an alternate twist on the famous story of Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole by Lewis Carrol. It also introduces Fia’s new on-stage persona, named IRE. A sinister and dangerous being that acts as a guide throughout the songs.
The album also contains a guest solo from MARK HOLCOMB of PERIPHERY on the track OMEN.

review: Devangelic

[review by MMB]
Comatose Music
release date: 27 October 2017
When you get tired of bands trying to be everything to everyone, and you want a meat-and-potatoes-blasting-and-slamming band, you can't go wrong with these Italians.
Look at the facts. They are signed to Comatose Music, which is home to a roster of out-and-out disgusting, guttural bands. Another fact. Devangelic doesn't claim to be anything but what they are. Indecipherable, low-growling that doesn't even resemble actual growling but more like a murmur and a long burp. Guitar with no melody and no solos, just lots of chugging and straight heaviness. The drumming is American-style blasting and some breaks for slamming.
That's it. That is all that's on the menu. Death metal reduced to its minimalist heaviness for the duration of the album, a nine-song to-the-point affair. Devangelic is the living incarnation of clinical perfection taken to the highest levels of monotony. First, they want to play all the dive bars in Italy and then they will take on all the pubs, bars, taverns and house parties where the small crowds into brutality congregate to mosh, drink beer and talk about which Disgorge and Devourment albums are the sickest, and the drunkest in the bunch will mention Lividity, and people will nod in agreement, and then they'll go back to moshing and some more drinking to the music of Devangelic.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

review: Thy Worshiper

[review by MMB]
Thy Worshiper
Popiół (Introibo ad Altare Dei)
release date: 1996 [original]
label: Arachnophobia Records [for this reissue]
The Ireland-based long-running band Thy Worshiper nowadays has a very respectable body of work that spans decades of music with lyrics in Polish. Originally, Thy Worshiper began in Poland and the lyrics are in their majority done in Polish to this day. On Metal Archives it seems like the lyrics of the first demo (1994) were in English, but afterwards everything else has been in the Polish language, apparently. They have a reputation for a rather unique sound and a particular standing amongst certain cultivated sections of the audiences that support avantgarde metal music.
Certainly, the diehard supporters of the band must already know everything about this 1996 album and its place in establishing the band's sound of atmospheric and ethereal extreme metal. Thy Worshiper does have the prototypical extreme vocals associated with black metal and they have abundant tremolo in the songs. Nevertheless, the constant use of pleasant and smooth guitar melodies sweetens the overall experience for the listeners. In addition, they utilize other components, such as the angelic chanting from a guest on some songs, and flute, and keyboards, for purposes of atmosphere and ambience. The results are beautiful and elegant extreme metal. It's accurate that the extreme vocals are definitely black metal and that may drive away some people and there are also moments of intensity and headbanging, but the general feeling, despite the extremity contained within, is a gentle caress of contemplation. This album is partly a physical listening experience, but it's meant to be very spiritual, too.
Given that we are talking about a certain feeling from the 1990s, perhaps it would help to note that this album would fit in well amongst other moments in the 1990s like Paradise Lost's Gothic and Draconian Times; Tiamat's Clouds and Wildhoney; Dark Tranquillity's Projector; and others like My Dying Bride's debut EP, Opeth's first two albums, and the general feeling of early gothic metal, for instance. In short, music that is metal, but are also works in which the musicians are very invested in the idea of making beauty a part of the sound.
Here in the U.S. I have not seen this name mentioned by writers about 1990s extreme metal from Poland. This album does not have a review on Metal Archives, actually. Isn’t that unbelievable? You would think that it would have been reviewed a long time ago already. Maybe the Polish-language speakers do not care to share their secret pleasures with outsiders (“If you don’t speak Polish, too bad,” eh?). Maybe the album is mostly known by the Polish devotees and they like to keep it cult and exclusive? Has the issue of the language been such a problem? Maybe, I guess. I don't know.
The album is done very well and it is a good balance in the act of making metal a beautiful form of music, without sounding contrived and commercialized (Polish is probably not a good choice of language if you want to make the big bucks in the world of international metal music, right?). It's possible that, given that the album is so old, some people who would otherwise be interested and supportive of this music might think that it is not worth the time to investigate a work from decades ago. If it's so good then why have you never heard of it? All these doubts are understandable, of course. The problem, however, is that it is also entirely possible that the skeptics would be wrong.
The skeptics are wrong.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

review: Argus

review by MMB
From Fields of Fire
Cruz Del Sur Music
8 September 2017
Perhaps it will help if we understand one thing about Argus, which is that the band—a high quality group tremendously respected for its very good music, and the overall set of skills that they bring to the table—has somehow found itself the creator of a bit of a disparate fan base, and while the band may not see itself caught in a bit of a pickle, there is a bit of a pickle to consider. Argus has often been categorized as doom and they even called their second album from 2011 Boldly Stride the Doomed, but their traditional heavy metal side has become too pronounced for some people.
For instance, I have noticed that some fans say that they do not like that the band has lost its doom mojo and has become too traditional heavy metal. The band's previous album, 2013's Beyond the Martyrs, saw criticism that the doom was gone. It's a shame that there should be negative comments about said album because it is about as perfect as it can get in terms of serious, strong traditional heavy metal, praised even by people who prefer extreme metal because they believe that traditional heavy metal is too goofy or retro or just plain ridiculous or that the genre has too many bands with weak/annoying singing.
The reason why Argus keeps climbing up people's list of top heavy metal bands is, quite frankly, that it is serious business and appears to have no weak links in the chain.
Cutting to the chase, the new album features a band firing on all cylinders, with a professional production, thoughtful songs and a pair of lungs that you can bet all your money on; each and every single penny that you have, bet it on Argus.
So, what's the problem? Is there a problem? Is it possible that the band was not entirely happy with the previous album? The new work features the doom in a way that is a striking contrast to the album from 2013.
Therefore, since it's already established that Argus is synonymous with quality, the issue is not whether this is a good album. Instead, Argus has put you on the hot seat. It's up to you. Do you want to hear the two sides of Argus? Can you handle the two-headed style? Do you have the patience to let the album convince you that this mix of genres can work?
Who knows, at this rate, the band might give you another four years until a follow-up arrives. That's plenty of time to explore and get to know the full identity of Argus on here.
OFFICIAL: Four years after the release Beyond the Martyrs, mighty U.S. Heavy Metal torchbearers ARGUS have returned with From Fields of Fire on Cruz Del Sur Music! From Fields of Fire is the defining moment from a band that has delivered the goods album after album. It is the highlight of their career to date and it is an album that will be seen as a highlight in heavy metal circles, not just this year, but for years to come.
ARGUS no longer needs an introduction. Three studio albums, three EPs, several European tours and US showcases and festival appearances have established the name of ARGUS as an established force in the Heavy Metal Universe. Yet, ARGUS is a band not content to rest on its achievements. This is a band that is still hungry - a growing and strengthening animal that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Judging from the outside almost nothing seems to have changed this time around on From Fields of Fire. Another exceptional and visionary cover provided by Brad Moore, and an Intro / Outro on the tracklist, another of ARGUS’ trademarks through all their records. But it’s when you get on the inside, when you bite this album below the flesh to the bones that you realize ARGUS has not only been able to maintain their uniqueness, but the band has raised the quality of their creativity and therefore raised the stakes for their future. There’s a definite step ahead in terms of production and songwriting, which has reached the highest quality with the addition of producer and guitarist Dave Watson and bassist Justin Campbell in the line-up. The tense opener “Devils of Your Time” and the emotional closing “No Right to Grieve” are the songs that most clearly express their courage and confidence of exploring unusual sonic paths.
But it’s the entire album that confirms that ARGUS is probably the best band nowadays to pay homage to traditional heavy metal without merely aping their heroes. This is true metal with doom elements, two worlds that often touch, but have never been as well synthesized into a single, organic sound as they are here. From Fields of Fire features some real Heavy Metal gems: the infectious melodies and guitar-drive of “You Are the Curse” and “216,” the moody “Hour of Longing,” the galloping sound of “As a Thousand Thieves” and the borderline epic, ever-shifting majesty of “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors.”
From Fields of Fire is an album that whose parts are as strong as the whole, where each track is a highlight; yet, it is also an album that demands to be absorbed as a whole where the music, lyrics and atmosphere reach deep inside of you and take root as your appreciation of this band and this music grows to be a part of you.

NEWS: Lady Beast Enters Studio To Record “Vicious Breed” Album

The American traditional heavy metal constructionist crew Lady Beast is preparing to bring their pitchforks and torches to get their name in the book of heavy metal. They have signed the contract with the devil, and they would die to be immortal and they are ready to give up their life to see their name in the book of heavy metal. It's not the fame that drives them, it's not the money, well, it's certainly not the money. What drives them is the fact that they have pledged their total allegiance to traditional heavy metal with riffs and solos and singing and this is the way that things are going to be and that's that. Listen for yourself at the first link below. This is how you want to live!
OFFICIAL: Pittsburgh, PA NWOBHM-inspired upstarts LADY BEAST will be entering +/- Studios in early September to record their third full-length album, “Vicious Breed”, which will also serve as the band’s first release for Italy’s Cruz Del Sur Music. Jason Jouver will be handling production duties; Karl Dahmer has been enlisted to create the album’s cover.
Comments guitarist Twiz: “Musically, I'd say it's a continuation of the ‘Metal Immortal’ EP. Some of the songs were written at the same time as the songs on the EP. I think it's our most dynamic and diverse album to date. We have fast songs (‘Vicious Breed’), heavy songs (‘Lone Hunter’), melodic songs, a ballad (‘Always With Me’), rockers (‘Get Out Of My Way’), and an instrumental. I'm probably most proud of the songs on this than I am of other stuff I've written”
“I am very proud of the melodies and lyrical content on this album,” adds vocalist Deborah Levine. “I have a bit of a formula when I start writing lyrics. The music and feel of the song obviously help the direction I turn, but also I like to have a skeleton of the same idea for each album. The song of an epic story, the hopeful song, the metal ripper, etc. Each is important as it builds the album as a whole. On 'Vicious Breed', we have our first ballad, on which it will be fun to slow it down and have people hear a different side of us.”
“Vicious Breed” is set for an early 2018 release, after which, LADY BEAST hopes to embark on their most expansive run of shows to date.
“We are excited to release our third full-length, but first release with Cruz Del Sur,” concludes the band. “This is by far our greatest album yet and we are excited to get out there and play it for the world. We have goals of more international touring in the next year. Europe is our biggest goal right now and we are networking as we speak trying to plan a LADY BEAST European tour, as well as touring in the States and writing new music!”
Biography: Lady Beast is a heavy metal band from Pittsburgh PA. Now in its 7th year, the band has played hundreds of shows, played festivals, done tours, and sold thousands of albums. Upon hearing a recording of the band, it’s easy for the listener to pick out the band’s musical influences (NWOBHM, Motörhead, Dio, etc), but that isn’t the only influence. The band draws heavily on the DIY ethos of the punk scene. Lady Beast has always done everything on its own. -Booking tours, doing band photos, printing t-shirts, setting up shows at home, writing songs, putting out albums (released on bassist Greg Colaizzi’s label, Cobra Cabana Records), and driving the van. Anyone that has seen the band live can attest to the band’s energy, and singer Deborah Levine’s vocal ability, charisma, and love for what she is doing. Lady Beast is getting ready to release a new EP with 4 new metal songs in the style that the band is known for. The EP (our third release) is also a debut for the band’s new lead guitarist, Andy Ramage. Andy is a familiar face, as he is the older brother of drummer Adam Ramage, and the two also played together in Oh Shit They’re Going To Kill Us. Andy’s style fits perfectly with the songs that rhythm guitarist Christopher “Twiz” Tritschler has been writing for the band. In addition to the EP, Twiz and Andy are writing songs for a full length, hopefully to be recorded next year.

Monday, August 21, 2017

review by Matt Spall: Decapitated

Our friend Matt Spall has never been a fan of Decapitated. The music has never impressed him as much as it has other people and the hype has not convinced him to become a fan. Why has Matt not thrown himself into the fandom of Decapitated? Maybe his thinking is too old-school? Maybe Decapitated hasn't had the songs to impress him in the first place? Maybe the hype was always just that, hype? Decapitated is an old band now. Once they were young and shiny, but life and death has thrown more than a few monkey wrenches their way. How does Matt see Decapitated now? Is it the same old stuff that has not impressed before? --MMB
Artist: Decapitated
Album Title: Anticult
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Date of Release: 7 July 2017
My relationship with Polish death metal band Decapitated could be best described as casual. I was struck in the early days by two things: the band’s youth and their proficiency. The proficiency was mind blowing, savage and suddenly, to many, here was a band which helped to breathe new life into the death metal scene.
And yet, since their inception in 1996, I have only really dabbled in and out of their offerings. I admired the talent and I own a few of their albums but I’d not refer to myself as a hardcore fan. In many ways, I think that this had something to do with the overt technicality which threatened to make their albums sound just a little too polished and perfect. Nevertheless, their name carries enough of a cache to force me to take notice when a new album arrives.
‘Anticult’ is the seventh album from Decapitated, which may seem a relatively low number for a career that has now spanned more than two decades. Mind you, given the disaster that befell the band in 2007, we should be grateful that Decapitated still exist. Indeed, in the months and years following the vehicle accident that sadly claimed the life of drummer Witold ‘Vitek’ Kiełtyka, one of two founding members and the brother of guitarist Wacław ‘Vogg’ Kiełtyka, the band took a well-understood hiatus.
It can often sound trite, but positive shoots can grow out of adversity. And if there is any proof in the truth of this platitude, it is here. ‘Anticult’ can quite possibly claim the accolade of being the best album of their career. This is an album that does everything that is required of death metal and does it fantastically well. It sounds vital and fresh, it sounds full of anger, full of hunger and it is brutal as hell. And, most importantly for a band that has historically sat within the more technical end of the death metal spectrum, it is razor-sharp and incisive.
Decapitated 2017 is comprised of vocalist Rafał Piotrowski, guitarist Wacław ‘Vogg’ Kiełtyka, bassist Hubert Wiecek and drummer Michal Lysejko. And whilst ‘Anticult’ retains some of the overt technical prowess, the likes of which we have become accustomed to over the years I can’t help but think as I listen to this record that the technicality has been dialled down a little from the early days. It might be my brain playing tricks on me, but I found myself being surprised initially by the looser and freer delivery that I hear on ‘Anticult’. It is something that is bound to divide their fanbase. Those that love the precision might be concerned and even upset by ‘Anticult’. But those who are slightly more open-minded and embrace a touch of change, might just feel similarly to me about this record. It is a monster.
The most positive thing that I can say about this album is the fact that I have found myself somewhat addicted to it. This happens with other genres of metal, but for me, it’s a rarity where death metal is concerned. With ‘Anticult’, I have listened to it with a frequency that initially surprised me but over the past week, I realised it’s because it is a damn fine record, with plenty to entertain and delight.
The songs themselves are utterly immense; they are certainly some of the most immediate and accessible of the band’s career. However, this does not mean that they have lost any of their aggression. There is groove upon groove to be heard, clever atmospheric interludes, uncomfortably dissonant soundscapes and a welcome injection of progressive ideas that has been built on from 2014’s ‘Blood Mantra’. And that’s not to mention the veritable cornucopia of little subtle embellishments that litter the eight tracks, many of which go under the radar for the first few spins.
Case in point – track one, ‘Impulse’. Opening with some unsettling quiet and brooding melodies, it soon explodes into a blitzkrieg of intensity overlaid by some mournful lead guitar melodies before settling into explosive riff after explosive riff. The rhythm section, it almost goes without saying, is tighter than a duck’s behind and so are the transitions within a song that lasts six minutes but which packs an album’s worth of ideas into it almost seemlessly. The grooves, the drama, the sense of violence, it all comes gushing forth in a well-measured torrent but in a way that makes perfect sense, thus creating one hell of an opening statement.
The rest of the album follows suit with a further seven expertly crafted tracks that have an unmistakeable vibrancy to them. They live and breathe in a manner that I don’t think I’ve ever heard from Decapitated before, whilst still sounding distinctive enough to know you’re listening to Decapitated…or at least to one of the best death metal units out there on the scene today. To pick out personal favourites feels a little unfair given the unbelievably high standard here throughout. Nevertheless, ‘Kill The Cult’ is probably has the biggest grooves and the cockiest swagger to it, whilst I love the drum solo intro to ‘Anger Line’ as well as the ensuing three-and-a-half-minutes of high tempo devastation. I also have to mention the stomping excellence of ‘Earth Scar’ with its extended guitar solos and where the vocals of Piotrowski call to mind Darkane, another firm favourite of mine.
But all-in-all, there is nothing less than brilliance to be heard throughout this highly impressive album. You tend to know when you are listening to something a little bit special and that is most definitely the case here with Decapitated and ‘Anticult’. If this doesn’t end up being the best pure death metal album of 2017, I will be thoroughly shocked.
The Score of Much Metal: 9.5

Saturday, August 19, 2017

review: Wintersun

The Forest Seasons
release date: July 21st, 2017
label: Nuclear Blast
Wintersun receives, on one hand, glowing reviews all over the place and the words genius and masterpiece seem to be used often and the hype machine never rests and it has worked for the band. On the other hand, Wintersun also receives lots of money, apparently substantially more than half a million dollars, in its crowdfunding campaigns. The band has convinced the fans that they need to give money in order to hear more masterpieces of computerized symphonic happy metal in the future. The powerful television evangelists convince people to bankroll their lifestyles and maybe that's what happening with Wintersun. From the looks of it, the fans want to give their money in bucketloads to the band and the band, being the sensitive, caring depressive Finns that they are, reluctantly accept the money, and go crying all the way to bank. Oh, what to do with all that fan money. Buy a new house? Maybe buy that vacation house in Hawaii? Maybe send the kids to Harvard? Hey, that's the dilemma that a symphonic computer metal band faces. Oh, also, once every 12 years or so, the band might release an album. They tell the metal press that they have been sweating and working hard at this new music. All the money is necessary for all that computer software, you know.
"Welcome to the church of Wintersun
We'll have a service and wonderful recital
But before we go on, there's something I must mention
An important message I must bring to your attention
I was in meditation and prayer last night
I was awakened by a shining bright light
Over head, a glorious spirit
He gave me a message and you all need to hear it
'Send me your money', that's what he said
He said to 'Send me your money'
Now if you can only send a dollar or two
There ain't a hell of a lot I can do for you
But, if you want to see a new album some day
Make a check out for five hundred today.
'Send me your money', do you hear what I'm saying?"
review by MMB