31 October, 2011

Vallenfyre: A Fragile King – new album


VALLENFYRE's doomy, death metal debut, ‘A Fragile King’, was unleashed upon most of Europe today, October 31st, 2011, or will be in the coming days. North American release date is set for November the 1st, 2011, while VALLENFYRE's Australian and New Zealand fans will be able to get their hands on the album from November the 4th, 2011 on, courtesy of Century Media Records. VALLENFYRE is the brainchild of Gregor Mackintosh (songwriter and guitarist of PARADISE LOST) who, accompanied by members of MY DYING BRIDE, AT THE GATES, and DOOM, recorded the album with James Dunkley (live sound engineer for PARADISE LOST). The effort was mixed by Russ Russell at Parlour Studios. Buy the album here.

[In Gregor Mackintosh's words: “The album is called ‘A Fragile King’ which is a reference to my fathers' battle with cancer. The lyrics are predominantly about the same thing but also include gripes with society, religion, politics and relationships as well. It’s all pretty grim.”

“The events that led to the conception and formation of VALLENFYRE are not particularly happy or pretty ones. In the late summer of 2009, my father, John Mackintosh, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We were not too worried at first as this is a common and quite curable form of cancer. Later in the Autumn as his treatment progressed, PARADISE LOST embarked on the their European tour to support the latest album [‘Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us’]. A week into this, I received a call from my mother telling me that the doctors had found cancer in his lungs and it was terminal. He only had weeks to live. I made the decision to leave the tour before it went to mainland Europe leaving my very able guitar tech Mully to take my place. I went and stayed with my parents for the next few weeks. After a very sad and painful time he passed away on the 2nd December early in the morning. Over the next few weeks I experienced all the famous stages of grief. It started to become very self destructive so I decided to channel it into creating something. To pay respects to the man that drove us to our very first gigs because none of us could drive. The only Dad I knew that listened to BOLT THROWER's ‘Peel Sessions’ on the radio. The guy who gave me my first chord book. I decided that I was going to go right back to the beginning. To my roots in death, crust and doom [metal]. It all started very angst ridden. This wasn’t originally meant for anyone else to hear. It was a release. After recording some material I realized that I was actually enjoying doing this but I wanted friends involved so it could actually become real fun.” [Read more here]

Mackintosh turned to PARADISE LOST drummer Adrian Erlandsson (“a great drummer and a good friend, he also has a great pedigree and taste in music”), MY DYING BRIDE's guitarist Hamish Glencross (“Hamish is a friend of many years and an all round lovely chap who grew up in my home town of Halifax. Every time I go back to my home town I give Hamish a call to see if he wants some ales in “The Sportsman” (one of the first pubs I ever went in and still the same good old rock establishment today as it was then), to which he always says yes”), rhythm guitarist Mully (“every Thursday I go to his house and we have a few beers and listen to lots of old school stuff as well as checking out newer underground stuff we’ve heard about; having only played in local bands previously, I assured him he would be among friends playing the kind of music they love. He agreed.”) and DOOM bassist Scoot (“he was interested in doing this VALLENFYRE project with me but wanted to hear it so I had to knock together some demos; he is very specific in what he does and doesn’t like so I was pleased when he said he loved the stuff”) with whom he first recorded a limited edition 7” entitled ‘Desecration & Iconoclast’ (sound samples available below) - released earlier this year on Imperium Productions - followed by the album, recorded between December 2010 and April 2011.

VALLENFYRE: Desecration & Iconoclast (sound samples) – courtesy of Imperium Productions


28 October, 2011

Isole: Born From Shadows – new album


Already out in the U.S. since October the 25th, 2011, the new album by Swedish doom metallers ISOLE, ‘Born From Shadows’, has just hit European stores today, October 28th, 2011, courtesy of Napalm Records. The imposing soundtrack to the story of endless struggle between good and evil was recorded and mixed by ISOLE  at Studio Apocalypse and mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street. Album's artwork was created by Gustavo Sazes. Buy ‘Born From Shadows’, the continuation of a story that began in 2005 with ISOLE's ‘Moonstone’ and carried forward on their debut album ‘Forevermore’, here (Napalm Records), after listening to the album's opening track ‘The Lake’, which is available below.

“Somber drama and hypnotic darkness! Swedish doom metal! 5th album. ‘Born From Shadows’ impressively maintains ISOLE's well-earned position and lays any doubts as to their superiority to rest. The Swedish quartet understands more than any other band how to effectively merge hypnotic melodies with viscous guitar lines. The album's main focus is undeniably the heavy riffs, but occasional digressions into more aggressive realms, where growls and vicious drumming reign, also find their niche. As such, even the epic tracks remain tantalizing and require one's complete attention, so as not to miss the fine details of this musical tristesse. The dark euphonious landscapes relate the third part of the “Moonstone Trilogy”, which dates back to the band's debut [1994's ‘Moonstone’]. The story of an endless struggle between good and evil couldn’t have found a better soundtrack than that of ‘Born From Shadows’. The four Swedes guarantee genuine and essential doom metal. Get it now and lose yourself!” [instructs the press release, while Metal Underground reviewer adds: “If terms such as “epic” and “depressive” catch your eye, then ‘Born From Shadows’ is a must-have album – read the review here]

ISOLE, originally known as “Forlorn”, was formed by  Crister Olsson (guitars and vocals) and Danile Bryntse (guitars and vocals) in 1990 in Gävle, Sweden. After recording several demo tapes in the 1990s, including 1994's ‘Waves Of Sorrow’, and after a myriad of line-up changes, I Hate Records approached the band in 2003, and through them ISOLE released their debut album 2005's ‘Forevermore’, followed by a 7” entitled ‘The Beyond’ in 2006, shortly followed by the next full-length ‘Throne Of Void’. The critically well-received 2008's ‘Bliss Of Solitude’ was recorded, produced and mixed by ISOLE themselves, with the ambitious concept album, ‘Silent Ruins’ following in 2009.

ISOLE features: Daniel Bryntse - guitars, and vocals, Henrik Lindenmo – bass and harsh vocals, Crister Olsson – guitars and vocals and Jonas Lindström - drums

ISOLE: The Lake – courtesy of Napalm Records

Lonely Kamel: Dust Devil – new album


Apparently, Norwegian blues & groove (& a bottle of booze) outfit's, LONELY KAMEL, third album proves once again that it is “absolutely not necessary to be surrounded by desert sands and cacti in order to produce genuine stoner rock”. And since ‘Dust Devil’ is the Nordic alternative to the desert sands, (and for fans of the stoner rock genre a definite must-have!), buy the album – along with the rest of LONELY KAMEL's merch Napalm Records has to offer - here. But first, get acquainted with the quartet's latest offering by listening to their new tune, ‘Evil Man’, via player available below and visit The Obelisk for ‘The Prophet’, off the new release, which comes out today October 28th, 2011, via Napalm Records.

“The name sounds like a handheld vacuum cleaner, it’s true,” [introduces us to the LONELY KAMEL The Obelisk's H.P. Taskmaster] “Contrary to such appliances though, ‘Dust Devil’ doesn’t suck. Rather, LONELY KAMEL come off like graduates from the University of ROADSAW (with a minor in SIXTY WATT SHAMAN), infusing loud, driving heavy rock with a sensibility straight off the Delta.” [You’ll find the rest of his clever observations here]

“Describing the sound of LONELY KAMEL would be akin to creating a musical Frankenstein constructed from the legs of PENTAGRAM, the torso of CATHEDRAL, the arms of LYNARD SKYNARD, the head of PEARL JAM, and the heart of BLACK SABBATH. The band seems gleefully stuck in a '70's time warp complete with the hazy production. Vocalist/guitarist Thomas Brenna sounds like a marriage of Eddie Vedder and Bobby Liebling,” [explained Metal Underground's CROMCarl – more here]

The adventure that is LONELY KAMEL began in 2005 in Oslo, Norway, when bassist Stian Helle and vocalist and guitarist “Tumblin” Thomas Brenna, both being in love with different kinds of music, wanted to start a band that would combine all genres that they loved (the late '60s and the early 70's with the heavy blues and psychedelia being the predominant influences). LONELY KAMEL's self titled debut full-length was released in 2008, followed by 2010's ‘Blues For The Dead’ both issued on the Norwegian Little Bird Records and the Swedish Transsubstans Records, respectively. Napalm Records plans to re-release the much sought-after debut, ‘Lonely Kamel’, in the near future.

LONELY KAMEL features: Thomas Brenna - vocals & guitar, Lukas Paulsen - guitar & backing vocals, Stian Helle – bass and Espen Nesset - drums

LONELY KAMEL (from ‘Lonely Kamel’): I'm Your God – courtesy of burneynapalmrecords

LONELY KAMEL (from ‘Lonely Kamel’): Don't Piss On The Lizzard – courtesy of burneynapalmrecords

LONELY KAMEL (from ‘Lonely Kamel’): Spacerider – courtesy of burneynapalmrecords

LONELY KAMEL (from ‘Blues For The Dead’): A Tale Of A Madman – courtesy of Transubstans Records

LONELY KAMEL: (from ‘Dust Devil’): Evil Man – courtesy of Napalm Records

27 October, 2011

Hemoptysis: M.O.D. – new video



“The unrelenting curse of the Sonoran Desert sun (be it Masaki's uncompromising vocals, Travis' thunderous drums, the monsoon of Ryan's solos or the heart stopping bass of Sunao)”, aka HEMOPTYSIS (medical term for expectoration - or coughing up - of blood), has released new video for ‘M.O.D.’, track taken from the band's debut full-length recording, ‘Misanthropic Slaughter’, self-released in March 2011 and unleashed upon the European continent by Rock It Up Records in May 2011. And since over 30 mayor metal critics agree the ‘Misanthropic Slaughter’ kicks major ass, you can’t go wrong by ordering the album here, can you? Especially, since I read a HEMOPTYSIS' show is “akin to witnessing an exorcism” - therefore I strongly suggest you attend one of those too, if indeed possible, because “the legions of fans that surround HEMOPTYSIS are immeasurable and devoted to the death”, heh.

HEMOPTYSIS, (or “the true embodiment of the re-birth of American thrash metal”) was formed in 2007 by Masaki Murashita (guitar and vocals) and Travis Thune (drums) in Tempe, Arizona. Joined by bass player Sunao Arai and lead guitarist Brian Bieganski in 2008, HEMOPTYSIS recorded a 5-track EP entitled ‘Who Needs A Shepherd?’ that same year. Recorded by Steve Conley and mastered by Maor Appelbaum, the EP earned the group a “Metal Artist Of The Year” award by Phoenix Music Awards in 2009, a feat the band managed to repeat in 2010. With new lead  guitarist Ryan Miller, HEMOPTYSIS entered Validus Recording Studio in July 2010 to record their debut full-length, ‘Misanthropic Slaughter’. Award winning producer Ryan Greene (MEGADEATH, ALICE COOPER…) produced, engineered, and mixed the album which was mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound.



25 October, 2011

Throne Of Katarsis: Ved Graven – new album


Already out in Europe as of yesterday, October 24th, 2011, and awaiting its North American release set for November the 1st, 2011, on Candlelight Records, I have no tangible proof to offer this time ladies and gentlemen, but the new THRONE OF KATARSIS album, ‘Ved Graven’ (“At The Grave”), promises to be the band's darkest to date, of course continuing the march towards the funeral. To complete the vision, Njard created the cover art, and Stein Sund assisted at mixing and mastering of the album.

“Cold, raw, and with the bizarre aura of an everlasting funeral , THRONE OF KATARSIS delivers their requiem in honor of the final darkness. During three long nights the seven rites of this album were recorded. The séance was done in darkness and with poisoned minds, and with a dedication closer to a possession rather than anything else. All instruments and vocal were recorded live in the studio, in order to capture the aura the band creates during their convocations. A couple of guitar leads were added to the mix, and also church organ - recorded at nighttime at a local church during a highly blasphemous ceremony,” [solemnly informs us of the goings-on the press release]

Formed in 2002 (or properly: “spew forth from a dimension of pitch-black darkness in 2002 anno Sathanas”) in Norway by Vardlav and Infamroth, the unholy black metal alliance THRONE OF KATARSIS has been building up the dark energy it represents ever since. Using a four-track tape recorder and making sure to include winter field recordings captured in the nocturnal gloom of Norway's Liarlund Forests, their first ritual, 2004's ‘Unholy Holocaustwinds’, was released as a tape and vinyl through Warfront Productions, and as CD through Paradigms Recordings. THRONE OF KATARSIS kept on molding their cold, atmospheric compositions of sonic primitivity and epic occultism on the debut album ‘An Eternal Dark Horizon’, released in 2007 by Candlelight Records (CD) and later as vinyl by Blut & Eisen Productions.

“Just about any type of music imaginable has its share of purists who have very definite ideas about how that type of music should and shouldn’t be played. … Those purists long for a rawer, tougher, more primal approach to black metal, and listeners who fancy that approach should be aware of ‘An Etarnal Dark Horizon’. Although recorded in 2005 and 2006 and released in 2007, this derivative CD recalls the early days of black metal; [the album] thrives on the type of rawness that characterized black metal in the late '80s and early '90s, and  KATARSIS sound like they are well aware of black metal's punk and hardcore roots,” [commented Alex Henderson, AllMusic – more here]

“To strengthen the unholy force the rituals embody, their execution through live-ceremonies was deemed necessary,” [continues to explain the band's official bio] “After a few domestic ceremonies [shows], an important event took place in the cult's [the band's] brief history, when getting the opportunity to perform its rituals at the legendary underground black metal venue Baroeg in Rotterdam, Holland, on the very stage where bands like MAYHEM. SATYRICON, GORGOTH, EMPEROR, DISSECTION and many other legends had started reigning the underground during the mid-'90s [“Sathanas In Gloriam” festival]. … Being considered by many as the most intense and worthy ceremony of the festival, it was an unholy blessing that it was recorded with four cameras, capturing it in all its Satanic grandeur. It led to the state of the occult art third ritual: a DVD literally baptized ‘In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanus’, made and released by Sathanas In Gloriam Productions.”

After completing the round of “ceremonies” across Europe, THRONE OF KATARSIS felt the urge to release their second full-length, ‘Helvete – Det Iskalde Mørket’ in (the winter of) 2009. Written by Vardalv and Dirge Rep of GEHENNA, the cult's responsible devotees for unleashing the opus on CD and vinyl were once again Candlelight Records and Blut & Eisen Productions.

THRONE OF KATARSIS features: Infamroth – vocals, guitar and church organ, Skinndød - guitar, Sanrabb - bass and Vardalv - drums

24 October, 2011

Full Album Stream: Robot Monster Army: Monsterpiece – new album


Listen to the new ROBOT MONSTER ARMY album, ‘Monsterpiece’, here (Bandcamp) in its entirety before its release, which is set for October 31st, 2011. ‘Monsterpiece’ will be made available via all major digital media outlets from the aforementioned date on, with YAAG Records planning a CD release in November. Written, co-produced, co-recorded and co-mixed by the band's founder and ex-WARGASM frontman Bob Mayo (who designed the album's cover as well), some production and engineering credit should be assigned to Ted Ostrander for Red Robot Productions, and engineers Bobby Dellarocco, Dan Dykes and Paul Wabrek should not be forgotten. Filled with “songs about superheroes [the Marvel Comics character “Black Bolt”], giant monsters and the end of the world” (next to songs about the KISS Army, the professional hockey team Boston Bruins garnished by an instrumental tribute to the history of Godzilla), ‘Monsterpiece’ features members of MELIAH RAGE, STEEL ASSASIN and TONGUE-N-GROOVE.

According to some, ROBOT MONSTER ARMY was one of the most under-rated rock bands of the late 70's, releasing two albums & touring with the era's biggest bands, even cracking the UK Top 40 with the 1980 single ‘No Big Deal’. Operating in the shadow of giants like AEROSMITH, B.O.C. and KISS, ROBOT MONSTER ARMY never broke big and “are now just a footnote in the hard rock history books - almost as if they never existed”. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 2009 on YAAG Records and is currently available via all major online music outlets. The 70's-inspired album features performances by former members of WARGASM, ONLY LIVING WITNESS and GANG GREEN, as well as current members of STEEL ASSASSIN, BAD KARMA and MELIAH RAGE.

“There are lots of bands out there doing “retro-metal” records. They’re going for either that early '70's thing or the NWOBHM thing. ROBOT MONSTER ARMY is aiming for the period in between; like 1975 to 1979. We were all inspired by the metal that happened while the whole punk rock thing was going on. There are so many great records from that period by UFO, JUDAS PRIEST, SCORPIONS, BLUE OYSTER CULT, RAINBOW, AC/DC, RUSH, CHEAP TRICK, THIN LIZZY… That’s what this project has always been about. This one’s a bit more “metal” than the first one, for sure, [added Bob Mayo. Listen to the album here (Bandcamp)]

22 October, 2011

Black Sun Aeon: Solitude – new video



Profusely productive Tuomas Saukkonen (of BEFORE THE DAWN fame) will be releasing new album pretty soon, this time as BLACK SUN AEON, Saukkonen's solo project. Out October 26th, 2011 in Finland and October 28th, 2011 internationally on Stay Heavy Records, ‘Blacklight Deliverance’ was recorded at OneManArmy studios by Saku Moilanen, produced by Saukkonen, mixed by Juho Räihä and mastered by Sami Koivisto. The album features guest vocalists Janica Lönn, Mikko Heikkilä and Mynni Luukkainen and keyboardist Saku Moilanen. ‘Blacklight Deliverance’s artwork was created by Heino Brand. The video, ‘Solitude’, off the aforementioned record was filmed and edited by Mike Sirén. Check out the album teasers here and here (YouTube). You can pre-order the album here (Record Shop X).

“In the summer of 2011 it was time to get back to the writing board and new album started to take shape. More varied than the past two albums, featuring both female and male clean vocals in a bigger role than before, while keeping the growling as the dominant voice. Also, after the nature inspired theme album [2010's ‘Routa’] it was time to dive into some deeper and darker waters; ‘Blacklight Deliverance’ is the creator's most personal album. The deepest darkness always lies inside our souls!” [States the press release]

Conceived as a solo project by Tuomas Saukkonen in 2008 in Lahti, Finland, his debut album of melodic doom metal with death metal twist, ‘The Darkness Walks Beside Me’ released in 2009 through Cyclone Empire, was received with much praise by critics and fans alike. Sharing the stage with the likes of SAMAEL and appearing at Summer Breeze Festival, “what many thought to be a simple side project and one time release has become a solid one man band and the sharpest blade in the musical armory of Tuomas Saukkonen” (says the project's bio). Inspired by the cruel Finnish winter of 2009, the double album, 2010's ‘Routa’, landed a top-10 position on official Finnish Album Chart, reached position number 3 on that year's “album of the year” chart in musician's home country Finland, which awarded Tuomas Saukkonen with “musician of the year” award in 2010.


Icon In Me: Lost For Nothing – new video



Do pay attention: ICON IN ME, first metal band to encompass Russian, Swedish & Danish musicians, has released new video ‘Lost For Nothing’, made for a tune taken from the group's back in July 2011 released album ‘Head Break Solution’ (Goomba Music). ‘Head Break Solution’ was recorded at several studios in Denmark, Sweden and Russia, and was mixed by Ben Schigel and mastered by Maor Appelbaum. The album features a whole array of guest musicians, including ex-MEGADETH's Glen Drover and THE HAUNTED's Anders Björler whose guitar solo you’ll find on the track ‘Un-Slaved’, available in its video form below (as perceived by  direcor Yury “Jerzy” Yaryomin).

“Money versus humans. It is sad to see the never ending profit-before-everything else mentality. It’s cool that the video was filmed months ago and it ties in to the Occupy Wall Street movement,” [offered his insight on the ‘Lost For Nothing’s subject ever observant singer Tony JJ]

This Russian-European project of modern metal with some thrash, death and hardcore style elements, ICON IN ME, had begun to take shape back in 2007 when HOSTILE BREED founder and guitarist Dimitry Frans came up with the idea of forming an international music project. It took him two months to recruit musicians from Russia and Germany who started to records project's first album in 2008 in various recording studios in Europe and Russia, including in Hansen Studios in Denmark under the watchful eye of renowned producer Jacob Hansen, who has handled the mixing of the project's debut as well. Guest musicians that ppeared on ICON IN ME's ‘Human Museum’, included teve Smyth (ex-NEVERMORE, TESTAMENT) and Flemming C. Lund (THE ARCANE ORDER, INVOCATOR). The album was released in 2009 through Massacre Records / Irond Records and was received well by critics and listening public alike. In late 2009, the band recorded a digital EP entitled ‘Moments’ and made it available for free download from their official site.

ION IN ME features: Tony JJ - vocals (M.A.N, ex-MNEMIC, TRANSPORT LEAGUE), D. Frans - guitars (ex-HOSTILE BREED), Artyom - guitars (ex-REIGN THE ABSOLUTE), Konstantin - bass (ex-HOSTILE BREED) and Morten - drums (AMARANTHE, MERCENARY, THE ARCANE ORDER, SOILWORK…)



21 October, 2011

Graveworm: Fragments Of Death – new album


New album by Italy's symphonic black metallers GRAVEWORM has been unleashed upon Europe today, October 21st, 2011, via Nuclear Blast Records. Entitled ‘Fragments Of Death’, the album was recorded at the Dream Sound Studios in Munich, Germany, and mastered by Jan Vacik. Cover artwork was created by artist Daniel Hofer. Commented vocalist Stephano Fiori:

“For me, the cover artwork reflects the lyrics exactly. The album generally deals with the topic of death. So the fragments are pieces of the puzzle of death. Each one of the songs represents a way to die. For example, song six is about the happenings in Japan. Other songs are about war, which sadly still exists in this world these days. We’re all influenced by all of these proceedings. Be it that you’re confronted with them yourself, you know someone who is, or you see it in the media. The angel of death on the cover is made of pieces of the puzzle, the so-called elements of death…”

Download yourself the track ‘See No Future’ free of charge from Nuclear Blast here and watch the track's video below. Buy GRAVEWORM stuff here (Nuclear Blast).

Hailing from Bruneck, Italy, GRAVEWORM formed in 1992. Signed by Serenades Records in 1997, GRAVEWORM went on to release a handful of EPs and a number of gothic-symphonic black metal albums, including 1997's ‘When Daylight's Gone, 1999's ‘As The Angels Reach The Beauty’ and 2001's critically acclaimed ‘Scourge Of Malice’ (released in the U.S. through Napalm Records). In 2002, as GRAVEWORM inked a deal with Nuclear Blast, bassist Didi Schraffel and guitarist Eric Treffel left the band. The band's next release, 2003's ‘Engraved In Black’, the first album to feature guitarist and bassist Eric Righi, earned GRAVEWORM comparisons to DIMMU BORGIR and CRADLE OF FILTH:

“Clocking in at less than 40 minutes (42 if you have the limited-edition digipak with a bonus track), the album is refreshingly direct and concise when compared to most bloated black metal prog opuses, but it’s also clogged with the Gothic synths, articulate riffing, dramatic bravado, and guttural-to-piercing-rasp vocal trade-offs on which the aforementioned “Filthies” [CRADLE OF FILTH] banked their artistically successful career,” [commented John Serba, AllMusic – more here]

More personnel shifting followed before GRAVEWORM's next album, 2005's ‘(N)utopia’ was issued, followed by 2007's ‘Collateral Defect’ and 2009's ‘Diabolical Figures’, released on Massacre Records.

GRAVEWORM features: Stefano Fiori – vocals, Eric Righi – guitar, Thomas Orgler – guitar, Florian Reiner – bass, Martin Innerbichler – drums and Sabine Mair - keyboards


The Haunted: No Ghost – new video



In case you’ve forgotten about THE HAUNTED's latest album ‘Unseen’, here comes reminder in form of new video clip for the song ‘No Ghost’, filmed at Germany's Wacken Open Air Festival 2011 by Marcel Schleiff (Record Film) and edited by Anders Björler (At The Gates Production). The live sound recording was engineered by Jacky Lehmann (Audiosound Lehmann) and then mixed by no other than the band's longtime producer Tue Madsen at Antfarm Studio in Denmark. ‘Unseen’, was released in March 2011 on Century Media Records.

“The group is on fire,” [exclaimed Revolver's Jeremy Borjon] “delivering a dirty, eclectic mix of jams that defy simple categorization, but suggest a loose blend of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD and IN FLAMES. The album is daring and varied in its scope and execution, each track markedly different in genre and approach from the last, but never losing the distinctive HAUNTED touch. … Along with the Björler brothers' diverse work, vocalist Peter Dolving's performance is one of the highlights of this album, as he gives each song its own unique sense of maniacal energy and showcases his unique range of tones, styles, and delivery. ‘Unseen’ is not your typical metal album; but then, as they’ve proven again here, THE HAUNTED is not your typical band,” [he wrote about the album THE HAUNTED's singer Peter Dolving described as “epic, danceable, groovy and very very arty farty metal album”]

Arising from the ashes of Swedish death metal band AT THE GATES (mid-1990's), and featuring former members of WITCHERY and FACE DOWN, the band went through countless lineup changes before releasing its self-titled debut via Earache Records in 1998 with second effort, ‘Made Me Do It’, and second singer, Marco Aro, following in 2000:

“Staying true to the complex and intense tendencies of underground metal without being too inaccessible isn’t an easy task (only a small handful of metal bands have ever done it, and even fewer for more than one album). THE HAUNTED seem to understand this balance well: their songs average around three to four minutes in length, their vocals are nearly intelligible, their sparingly placed guitar solos never become masturbatory, and their songwriting never breaks too far away from traditional song structuring. … THE HAUNTED manage to bring a sense of melody to their songs that creeps into their choruses and bridges, bringing back memories of the mid-'80s when METALLICA was an important group for similar reasons,” [was of opinion Jason Birchmeier, AllMusic – more here]

THE HAUNTED won their second Swedish Grammy in “Best Hard Rock Album” category for the 2003's ‘One Kill Wonder’:

“Is there a bad riff or a single wasted moment on the album? Not in the least – it’s lean, mean, and nasty. But there’s also a ring of familiarity to it - overall, it’s not a drastic departure from its two brutally concise predecessors. It’s just business as usual, and the killing business is good,” [seemed inspired John Serba, AllMusic, more here]

The fourth full-length, 2004's ‘rEVOLVEr’ , their debut on Century Media Records, had some music critics wondering if the Swedish neo-thrash favorites felt they had something to prove to their new record company. ‘rEVOLVEr’ was also the album to welcome back the group's original singer Peter Dolving. Its 2006 follow-up, ‘The Dead Eye’, seems to be AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia favorite:

“As well as his [Peter Dovling's] still-prevalent hardcore bark and ragged screams, you’ll hear him actually sing over exceptionally memorable, big chorus numbers like ‘The Reflection’ and ‘The Medusa’, testing an uneasy baritone over portions of ‘The Flood’, and delicately lending subdued melodies to ‘The Fallout’, which is only less shocking than the song's accompanying piano and techno-industrial knick-knacks,” [he mused – more here]

After this issue, the band's unity had been called into question by some, as THE HAUNTED went on an extended break. The group returned with their tenth anniversary album 2008's ‘Versus’, with it marking a brief return to aggressive sound. A greatest-hits package entitled ‘Warning Shots’ came out in 2009, followed by live CD, ‘Road Kill’ in 2010.

THE HAUNTED features: Anders Björler (AT THE GATES) – guitar, Jonas Björler (AT THE GATES) – bass, Peter Dolving – vocals, Patrik Jensen (ex-SATANIC SLAUGHTER) – guitar and Per Möller Jensen (ex-INVOCATOR) – drums


18 October, 2011

Big Talk: Big Eye – new video



In support of THE KILLERS' drummer Ronnie Vannucci solo album, ‘Big Talk’, new Robert “Roboshobo” Schober-directed video has been just released. The dramatic clip powerfully evokes a sense of lost youth and regret mirroring the haunting and building mood of the song. ‘Big Eye’ is the second video-cooperation between BIG TALK and Schober who has directed videos for METALLICA, DEFTONES and MASTODON, just to name a few.

“ ‘Big Eye’ was a unique situation for me because it was the first time the idea came before the song. I had this story and I could see it, but there was no music,” [explained Schober] “I had just finished ‘Replica’ [video available below] with Ronnie when I told him I had an idea for a video. Ronnie told me he had the perfect song for it. ‘Big Eye’ is an amazing song and I’m thrilled that I got to create something with it. Everything just lined up and fell into place.”

BIG TALK released its eponymous debut album in July 2011 on Vannucci's own label Little Oil in association with Epitaph Records. The record was produced by Vannucci along with Joe Chicarelli and mixed by heavy-hitter Alan Moulder.

“Vannucci isn’t as much of a force behind the microphone as Brandon Flowers [THE KILLERS' vocalist] is - though his tenor is perfectly respectable - but he doesn’t need to be. Instead, he concentrates on songcraft, filling ‘Big Talk’ with tunes that brim with proper bridges, breakdowns, and turnarounds. In this regard, the album feels like a real throwback; these tracks aren’t trying to be cool or edgy, and ‘Big Talk’ feels surprisingly personal because of that,” [argued Heather Phares, AllMusic Guide – more here]

BIG TALK features: Ronnie Vannucci - vocals, guitar, drums, bass and keys and Taylor Milne - lead guitar and backing vocals



17 October, 2011

Helmet: So Long – new video



The video for ‘So Long’, the opening track on HELMET's seventh album, ‘Seeing Eye Dog’, released back in September 2010 through Work Song Records, was directed and edited by Eddie Granillo. Listen to three songs off the album and download some of the HELMET's songs for free here (HELMET's official) - by submitting your email address first – and buy the CD there as well.

Declared as one of the band's most uncompromising and ambitious releases - embodying the classic and utterly unique HELMET sound and pushing it into regions the band has never before explored - ‘Seeing Eye Dog’ is essentially self-released record:

“I just felt completely free to do whatever I wanted to do,” [explained frontman Page Hamilton] “It was really fun to make this record because I just felt this… freedom. This album is human and honest. People have always commented that we sound like our albums live, and our recording approach has a lot to do with that.  Humans playing music will always be better than chop-shop rock.”

“In HELMET's twenty years, over a dozen musicians backed up Page Hamilton and with the exception of Chris Traynor, who played bass for HELMET's previous two albums, ‘Seeing Eye Dog’ boasts another new lineup. Yet, with every shift, it seems Hamilton distances himself from the band's golden years in the early '90s. Now with guitarist Dan Beeman and drummer Kyle Stevenson, the group sounds heavier and angrier. Those looking to hear the classic sound clash of alt-metal and post-punk that gave the band roots should stick with the first three records. Even so, in this new incarnation, when HELMET sidesteps the typical drop-D modern rock that makes up the majority of ‘Seeing Eye Dog’, there are some interesting twists.” [Thusly revieweth the album AllMusic's Jason Lymangrover – more here]

HELMET was founded in 1989 by vocalist and guitarist Page Hamilton. With Hamilton being its only constant member, the band has released seven studio albums and two compilations to date. Known as a “thinking person heavy metal band” (something having to do with simple T-shirts, jeans, and sneakers, along with short haircuts, as I was lucky enough to learn today), HELMET achieved mainstream success with 1992's release ‘Meantime’, an effort produced entirely by the band, which sold over 1,000,000 copies worldwide. Noisecreep conducted an interview with HELMET's main man Page Hamilton back in March 2010, in which the new album was discussed - click here if interested to read more.

HELMET features: Page Hamilton – guitar and vocals, Dan Beeman – guitar, Chris Traynor - bass and Kyle Stevenson - drums


14 October, 2011

Full Album Stream: Eternal Gray: Your Gods, My Enemies – new album


Recorded in 2007 with producer Pelle Seather at the Studio Underground in Sweden, mastered in 2009 by Göran Finnberg, attempted to be released in 2010, eventually released in their home country in a small capacity on a special limited edition USB disc on key, ETERNAL GRAY's second full-length, ‘Your Gods, My Enemies’, is finally being properly released in Europe today, October the 14th, 2011 via that fine French label Season Of Mist Records. With the U.S. release date set for October the 18th, 2011, listen to the Israeli masters' of technical death metal new album in its fine entirety here (BandCamp) or via player embedded below, and download the track, ‘Lost Control’, free of charge here. Album's artwork, created by artist Adrien Bousson, is said to symbolize “God” as a docking place, in which people can find “peace” and “answers”, worship and idolize it rather than investigate and gain the knowledge to answer the unknown. Buy ‘Your Gods, My Enemies’ here (Season Of Mist).

“Unfortunately,” [continue to explain ETERNAL GRAY] “as history proves, these acts of worshiping and idolizing have led to terrible wars, killing of innocent and struggles for control, ironically, by people themselves. The people that are falling from it towards their doom, symbolize the consequence of blind following after a “God”, the most destructive man-made killing machine ever created.”

“We don’t only mean the religious God,” [elaborated the album's theme the band's guitarist and mastermind Dory Gray in an interview conducted by Ov Metal] “but also everything that people give supernatural explanations for or basically everything that gives wrong interpretation. You can also say that the media is something “godlike”, since it dictates us how to feel and when to feel it, or what to think. I’m sure many things would have looked different without media and religion. I don’t want to attack religion so much, but I have to because I’m against it personally. I think it led to so many wars. I think it’s the biggest cause of death in the world. We can argue about it, we can say it’s not religion, but the people who invented it… But I think people lack the responsibility to think for themselves. [Read the rest of it here]


ETERNAL GRAY: Your Gods, My Enemies


Formed in 2001 in Tel Aviv by guitarist and vocalist Eyal Glottman, guitarist, bassist and keyboardist Dory “Gray”  Bar-Or, and drummer Eran Asias, ETERNAL GRAY released their first full-length of melodic death metal with a dark twist barely a year after their inception. Entitled ‘Kindless’, the effort was recorded with producer Tommy Tägtgren (of the Tägtgren clan) in The Abyss Studios in Sweden and had featured guest appearances by Peter Tägtgren (HYPOCRISY, PAIN) and Marcel Schirmer (DESTRUCTION). Released in 2002 on Listenable Records and Raven Music, ‘Kindless’ went on to score high grades with metal press and was awarded with “album of the month” titles by some of the major metal magazines:

Sins in the Process of Creation – courtesy of ETERNAL GRAY

Flesh Cycles – courtesy of ETERNAL GRAY

Inflicting Pain – courtesy of ETERNAL GRAY

War of Chaos – courtesy of ETERNAL GRAY

There Lays Nothing – courtesy of ETERNAL GRAY

The Unbelievers Die – courtesy of ETERNAL GRAY

ETERNAL GRAY recorded their never-released EP entitled ‘Numb’ in 2005, but, plagued by numerous personnel changes, the group disbanded in 2006. In 2007 new line-up reassembled with Oren Balbus on vocals, Dory Gray on guitars, Auria Sapir on guitars, Gil Ben – Ya'akov on bass, and Dror Goldstein on drums to record the follow-up to ETERNAL GRAY's successful debut album “which changed the face of Israeli metal scene and set the standard for years to come”.


13 October, 2011

Full Album Stream: The Living Fields: Running Out Of Daylight – semi-new album


‘Running Out Of Daylight’, second full-length by American doom/progressive/folk/symphonic/atmospheric metal band THE LIVING FIELDS and their Candlelight Records debut, was released back in July 2011. Hellbound.Ca has just recently decided that not enough of us are aware of this release and is currently streaming it in its ambitious entirety here (and via the player available below) and quite rightly so. Three years in the making, ‘Running Out Of Daylight’ sees the addition of a new guitarist Samu Rahn, and features violinist and violist Chuck Bontrager and cellist Petar Kecenovici. The album (made up of the group's longest and shortest songs to date) is comprised of eight tracks and is clocking in at over 60 minutes. ‘Running Out Of Daylight’ was produced and mixed by Jay Walsh, Farview Recording. If you like what you hear then, buy THE LIVING FIELDS impressive tunes here (THE LIVING FIELDS).

Lyric-wise, the voice and lyricist Jon Higgs' storylines veer far to the left of the self-centered clichés of doom (love, loss and death) in favor of more universal horrors that flow freely from the seemingly endless parade of humanity's self-inflicted plagues. Oppression, injustice, suffering and man's inhumanity to man flourish with such virility in today's world that merely turning on the news offers up ample material for an entire album. Reading any book of history provides enough for a dozen – unwaveringly states the press release.

“One has to give THE LIVING FIELDS credit for really trying to be different. While they may owe a few gothic doom debts to cross-town heroes NOVEMBERS DOOM, this Chicago-based quartet goes to great lengths to differentiate their sound with additional musical elements of the progressive, symphonic, and atmospheric persuasion. As a result, the frequently epic-sized songs presented on the group's sophomore album, 2011's ‘Running Out Of Daylight’, rarely give up their inner secrets on first listen, but then, nor do they always completely achieve the lofty ambitions set out by their creators,” [commented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here] :

THE LIVING FIELDS: Running Out of Daylight – courtesy of Hellbound.ca

Born as an outlet for guitarist Jason Muxlow's doom inclinations and populist beliefs in 2002 in Chicago, THE LIVING FIELDS founder soon found a partner who would bring a voice to the score in MONSTERWOK's Jon Higgs. The pair recorded a 4-song demo, ‘The Miseries Never Cease’, released in 2004 to much critical acclaim. (Download the demo free of charge here.) In 2005, joined by drummer Chad Walls (PUSTULATED, BESIEGED, DISLIMB etc.) the band had set to work on their full-length debut, which proved to be long and painful process. After being refused by label after label, THE LIVING FIELDS decided to release their debut self-titled self-produced full-length on their own in 2007 :

THE LIVING FIELDS (2007) – courtesy of The Living Fields

12 October, 2011

Insomnium: One For Sorrow – new album


“As daylight is saying goodbye and a wind of falling leafs and raindrops are the only ones knocking on your door, it’s finally time for the release of INSOMNIUM's new epic album ‘One For Sorrow’, ” states Century Media. And since they know that we know that Finns are experts in “Autumn soundtracks”, and in case we are still not hyped by the idea alone, they are allowing us to hear INSOMNIUM's album in all its epic greatness here at Hails And Horns. (The stream has since ended.) Listening, I’m barely able to contain myself enough to tell you that the album is already out in Finland and will be released on October 17, 2011 throughout the rest of Europe and on October 18, 2011 in North America, on Century Media Records. You should buy the album that is “as epic as it is melodic, as melancholic as it is majestic and as brutal as it is beautiful” through here (INSOMNIUM).

“The name, ‘One  For Sorrow’, comes from a traditional children's nursery rhyme,” [commented guitarist Ville Friman] “There are ten different scenarios in the original rhyme; likewise there are ten different songs and stories on our album. I think ‘One For Sorrow’ truly depicts what this album is all about: bereavement, grief and loss.” [And through time we came to expect nothing less from the Finns]

“To call INSOMNIUM a death metal band is to do them a grave disservice,” [states firmly the press release] “The upcoming album is such an amalgamation of styles that pigeonholing them into a single category would be to rob the band of its true complexity and ignore the very essence of its sound. Recalling art-metal titans CULT OF LUNA at one turn and brutal visionaries AMON AMARTH, ‘One For Sorrow’ displays the true musical breadth of a band that has clearly come into its own on this, their debut album for Century Media.”

You’ll find the video for the track ‘Through The Shadows’, off this champion of a release below as well as ‘Regain The Fire’ video, both created by Obscure Entertainment. If you click here (previous post) you’ll be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of ‘Weather The Storm’, the tune INOMNIUM recorded with DARK TRANQUILLITY's Mikael Stanne as guest vocalist:

“… But, by and large [read all about INSOMNIUM tinkering cautiously with Gothenburg metal style here at AllMusic], INSOMNIUM still seem happy to cater to genre loyalists and other sticklers to tradition with alternately brutal and morose mini-epics like ‘Song Of The Blackest Bird’ and ‘Lay The Ghost To Rest’, as well as multiple examples of melo-death-by-numbers. Some are kick-drum-happy bruisers barked with Cookie Monster fervor and streaked with serpentine synth accoutrements (‘Only One Who Waits’, ‘Every Hour Wounds’, ‘Regain The Fire’); others complex studies in dark and light, both vocal and instrumental (‘Unsung’ and the title track); yet all have their modest rate of innovation justified by INSOMNIUM's reliably high-caliber songwriting and performance,” [stated Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic]:

INSOMNIUM: Meandering Through The Shadows – courtesy of Century Media Records

INSOMNIUM: Unsung – courtesy of Century Media Records


Formed in 1997 in Joensuu, Finland, by Markus Hirvonen (drums), Ville Friman (guitar) and Niilo Sevänen (vocals and bass) soon joined by guitarist Ville Vänni, INSOMNIUM released two demos that led to a deal with Candlelight Records. INSOMNIUM married Scandinavian death metal with traditional Finnish tunes on their debut full-length 2002's ‘In The Halls Of Awaiting’. Darker and more challenging second album ‘Since The Day It All Came Down’ was released in 2004:

“Some Scandinavian death metallers, in fact, are honest enough to admit that their scene can be something of an inside joke (much like techno/rave music). But the '90s and 2000s have also seen a wave of Nordic death metal bands that are highly melodic, and Finland's INSOMNIUM is part of that trend. … The CD's pluses by far outweigh its minuses, and admirers of bands like AT THE GATES and KHOLD will find ‘Since The Day It All Came Down’ to be a respectable, generally well-crafted example of the melodic death metal style,” [commented AllMusic's Alex Henderson – more here]

The breakthrough for INSOMNIUM came in form of their third album 2006's ‘Above The Weeping World’, featuring long-time friend Aleksi Munter (SWALLOW THE SUN) on keyboards. During its first week the album peaked at number 9 on the Finnish Album Charts, its success taking the band on long European tours. Listen to the album here (BandCamp) or below, courtesy Candlilight Record:

“When bad boys mature, they don’t necessarily quit being bad boys, but they do become more complex and multi-faceted,” [was inspired or something that day AllMusic reviewer A. Henderson] “They may evolve into the Marlon Brando of “The Godfather”, instead of the punky young Brando of “A Streetcar Named Desire”. And in death metal, that quest for maturity has given us the nuanced world of melodic death metal - a world that death metal's stubborn, myopic purists denounce as watered down, but a world in which engaging albums like ‘Above The Weeping World’ are created.” [Definitely read more here]


INSOMNIUM: Above The Weeping World


2009's ‘Across The Dark’ entered the Finnish Album Charts at number 5, picking up a couple of awards in their homeland for Best Band and Best Album along the way. The album once again featured Aleksi Munter as guest keyboardist alongside PROFANE OMEN's vocalist Jules Näveri. Again, you can listen to the entire album as well as buy it here (BandCamp) and below, courtesy Candlelight Record:

“INSOMNIUM's melodies and harmonies are undeniably attractive, and their ability to combine aggression with nuance and intricacy serves them well. A lot of that aggression comes from Sevänen, whose Cookie Monster vocals are fun to listen to even though one wishes that he were consistently easy to understand. … ‘Across The Dark’ is well worth hearing if one has a taste for Nordic death metal that is unapologetically melodic,” [advised A. Hendeson, AllMusic – more here] [“Bit of folk metal, pinch of doom, some thrashing, a whole lot of timeless melodies and progressive twists and there you have it: ingredients of the masterpiece,” [added INSOMNIUM:]


INSOMNIUM: Across The Dark


INSOMNIUM features: Niilo Sevänen – vocals and bass, Ville Friman – guitar and vocals, Markus Vanhala – guitar and Markus Hirvonen – drums



11 October, 2011

Threat Signal: Threat Signal – new album


New self-titled album by Canadian modern metallers THREAT SIGNAL is being released today, October 11th, 2011 via Nuclear Blast Records. ‘Threat Signal’, the record, was produced and mixed by audio mastermind Zeuss at Planet-Z Recordings in Hadley, Massachusetts. Album's artwork was created by Colin Marks. Below you’ll find three brand new THREAT SIGNAL tunes, ‘Face The Day’, ‘Trust In None’ and ‘Fallen Disciples’; download the latter for free by visiting the band's Facebook page. ‘Threat Signal’, the band's third release on Nuclear Blast and third full-length overall, comes in all kinds of physical and digital formats (“Signs are pointing to storm! Lose no time and get hold of a copy of this burning hot piece through the Nuclear Blast webshop,” says Nuclear Blast) available through here:

THREAT SIGNAL: Face The Day – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

THREAT SIGNAL: Trust In None – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

THREAT SIGNAL: Fallen Disciples – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

THREAT SIGNAL were formed in 2003 in Hamilton, Ontario, by cousins singer Jon and lead guitarist Rich Howard, who later added composer and guitarist Kyle McKnight, drummer Adam Matthews and bassist Eric Papky to the lineup. Combining the complexity of thrash metal with a more contemporary groove sound involving technical rhythms and melodic musical passages, THREAT SIGNAL succeeded in generating a significant interest within online metal community even before the band had played a single live show; with four of their demo tracks achieving heavy airplay on various websites. The band released ‘Rational Eyes’ EP through the Gomek Records in 2005 as Marco Bresette replaced Eric Papky on bass guitar. Drummer Matthews left to be replaced by George Parfitt. THREAT SIGNAL signed to Nuclear Blast Records and recorded their first album, 2006's ‘Under Reprisal’, with producer (and ex-FEAR FACTORY bassist) Christian Olde Wolbers:

“Unlike most of yer more melodically oriented death metal bands, which usually have one of the guitarists providing clean vocals in counterpoint to the lead screamer's shredded larynx bellow, Howard handles both styles on ‘Under Reprisal’, and while his clean vocals are perfectly good, it’s his screaming that really pins the listener's ears back. (To put it in strictly Canadian terms, he really knows how to give 'er.) … Add to this the fact that the songs are both melodically strong (‘A New Beginning’ kicks off with an opening guitar riff that could be this generation of budding metal guitarists' very own ‘Sweet Child o' Mine’ before locking into a killer stutter-step unison riff that sounds like a funkier PANTERA) and suitable for full-on banging, and ‘Under Reprisal’ is clearly one of the better pure metal albums of 2006,” [stated Stewart Mason, AllMusic – more here, audible proof below]

THREAT SIGNAL: As I Destruct – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

THREAT SIGNAL: Seeing Red – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

THREAT SIGNAL: A New Beginning – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

In 2006 founding guitarist Howard split, with Bressette taking over lead guitar duties while Pat Kavanagh was drafted into the bass slot. But the lineup was not to be stable for long as Bressette, guitarist Kyle McKnight and drummer George Parfitt also departed from the band late 2007. THREAT SIGNAL's second album, ‘Vigilance’ was produced by then the only founding member left in the band, vocalist Jon Howard and mixed by Greg Reely. Alongside Howard, ‘Vigilance’ featured Travis Montgomery on lead guitar, Adam Weber on rhythm guitar, Pat Kavanagh on bass and Norman Kileen on drums:

“While ‘Vigilance’ isn’t full-fledged metalcore, the album's lyrics have a strong hardcore aesthetic. Memorable tracks like ‘United We Stand’ and ‘Revision’ have that “angry as hell, but positive and hopeful” vibe that is so common in metalcore and hardcore. In fact, ‘Vigilance’ is memorable more often than not. There are a few mediocre tracks, but overall, this sophomore outing underscores Howard's ability to keep THREAT SIGNAL healthy despite all those lineup changes,” [commented Alex Henderson, AllMusic – more here]

THREAT SIGNAL: Through My Eyes – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

THREAT SIGNAL: Another Source Of Light – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

THREAT SIGNAL: Severed – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

2010 brought about yet more shifts in the band's turbulent personnel department; rhythm guitarist Adam Weber left, soon followed by drummer Norman Killeen, whose positions were eventually filled by newcomers drummer Alex Rüdinger and guitarist Chris Feener.