30 April, 2012

All Else Fails: Obsidian Walls – new video & The Oracle, What Was, Is, And Could Have Been – full album stream



If they could, they would change the world for the better - and that day might yet come; in the meanwhile they have a new video out, again directed by the band's vocalist and guitarist Barrett Klesko as was ALL ELSE FAILS' previously released clip, ‘Rebirth’, which is available below. Both tunes come off the band's second album, ‘The Oracle, What Was, Is, And Could Have Been’, released on Suicidal Bride Records in August 2011, produced, mixed and mastered by seemingly unstoppable Barrett Klesko. The 13-track full-length has been received well by fans and critics alike, even recently being nominated “Best Metal Album of The Year” at this year's upcoming Edmonton Music Awards. Listen to ‘The Oracle, What Was, Is, And Could Have Been’ here or via player below and buy the album here (BandCamp). Furthermore, ALL ELSE FAILS are offering “some punk songs they love” for free download and if interested, do just that here (BandCamp) under ‘Ruins Punk For Everyone’.


ALL ELSE FAILS: The Oracle, What Was, Is, And Could Have Been


Hailing from St. Albert, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and obviously socially conscious (they’ve recently performed at the first annual Blankfest Calgary - clothing fundraiser for the homeless - raising nearly $1000 and 200 blankets) as their bio claims they are, but as to when ALL ELSE FAILS started playing their brand of punk mixed with metal infused with experimental elements, namely classical music and electronica (not missing spoken word sampling)… well that seems to be well guarded secret. The band has played with major touring acts such as FEAR FACTORY, THREAT SIGNAL, CITY OF FIRE, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD and CANCER BATS, and has released their debut full-length recording, ‘Against The Darkening Sky’, in 2009. Listen to the album below and buy it here (BandCamp):


ALL ELSE FAILS: Against The Darkening Sky


ALL ELSE FAILS features: Barrett Klesko: vocals, guitar and programming, Seedy Mitchell – bass and vocals, Mike Sands – guitar and Tom Wolf – drums



28 April, 2012

Before The Dawn: Rise Of The Phoenix – new album


Having been honoured as Finland's  “Musician Of The Year” for the second time in a row at the 8th annual Helsinki Metal Meeting earlier this year, BEFORE THE DAWN's Tuomas Saukkonen, along with his companions lead guitarist Juho Räihä, bassist Pyry Hanski and drummer Joonas Kauppinen, delivered yet another slab of fine Finnish melodic gloom just yesterday, April 27th, 2012, confidently titled ‘Rise Of The Phoenix’. Listen to their new song ‘Phoenix Rising’ below, download the tune free of charge here, and you’ll find BEFORE THE DAWN's new video, directed by OneManArmy Productions, ‘Pitch-Black Universe’ below the text. Buy ‘Rise Of The Phoenix’ here (Nuclear Blast Europe) or order it via iTunes:

BEFORE THE DAWN: Phoenix Rising – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

BEFORE THE DAWN was started in 1999 as a solo project for musician Tuomas Saukkonen (also of BLACK SUN AEON). After issuing an EP ‘Gehenna’ and a MCD ‘My Darkness’, Saukkonen enlisted Panu Willman, Mike Ojala, and Kimmo Nurmi to his cause and the band recorded 2003's ‘My Darkness’, which was followed by ‘4 : 17 AM’ in 2004, both released via Locomotive Music. BEFORE THE DAWN's lineup shifted dramatically, this time featuring Lars Eikind, Juho Räihä, and Dani Miettinen, before the band's third album was released, 2006's ‘The Ghost’. ‘Deadlight’ came next through Stay Heavy Records in 2007, with ‘Soundscape Of Silence’ following in 2008. 2010 introduced the lineup of Saukkonen (songwriting, guitar and growls), Räihä on lead guitar, Lars Eikind on vocals and bass and Atte Palokangas on drums, as Saukkonen's hard work was rewarded when ‘Decade Of Darkness’ EP won the band the first spot on the official Finnish chart. BEFORE THE DAWN's sixth album, 2010's ‘Deathstar Rising, issued through Nuclear Blast Records and described as “an exciting demonstration of what these Nordic melodeath providers have to offer”  by AllMusic's Alex Henderson, climbed to position number 8 on Finnish Albums chart:

BEFORE THE DAWN: Deathstar – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records


24 April, 2012

Full Album Stream: Vesperian Sorrow: Stormwinds Of Ages – new album


They are “futuristically medieval, neoclassically barbaric”, they are “considered North America's premiere symphonic extreme metal act” and they are from Texas. They are VESPERIAN SORROW and they have a new album out; ‘Stormwinds Of Ages’ was released today, April 24th, 2012 by The Path Less Traveled Records and can be listened to in full here (BandCamp) and via player available below. The album was recorded at VESPERIAN SORROW's own Amplitude Media Studios in Austin, Texas and produced, mixed, mastered and engineered by the band's own Kristoph (who was assisted by William). ‘Stormwinds Of Ages’ artwork was created by Jon Zig. Buy the album here (BandCamp) and here (Amazon):

“They [album's songs] are filled with riff-oriented thrashing madness that instills an “epic” feel, a broad range in extreme vocal styles, and varied drumming (from the typical blastfest of your average black metal band to bombastic beats). Also, it’s nice to finally hear a keyboardist who doesn’t feel the need to dominate the sound, but contribute to it. The songs seem to change mood as the album progresses. At times the aggression seems to reach out and take hold of the listener, while the symphonic elements help ease that anger. This game of cat and mouse extends well into the latter portions of the album, where songs like ‘Death She Cried’ take a much more majestic approach. VESPERIAN SORROW are careful not to venture into ethereal territory, allowing their melodies to take a walk without getting lost,” [wrote Troy Killjoy for Metal Storm – read the rest here:]


VESPERIAN SORROW: Stormwinds Of Ages


Formed in 1998 in Austin, Texas, VESPERIAN SORROW thus far released two full-length albums,1999's ‘Beyond The Cursed Eclipse’ and 2001's ‘Psychotic Sculpture’, through Holland's Displeased Records and self-released ‘Regenesis Creation’ in 2006. They have been featured on four compilation albums, including Metal Blade's ‘Blackened V’.

VESPERIAN SORROW features: Donn Donni – vocals, Kristoph – drums and keyboards, William – guitar, JZD – guitar, Subverseraph – keyboards and Justin M - bass

Full Album Stream: Earthen Grave: Earthen Grave – new album


EARTHEN GRAVE's debut album is out now, April 24th, 2012 through bassist's Ron Holzner independent label Claude and Elmo Music. Produced by Holzner as well, listen to the full album here (BandCamp) or below, courtesy the band, and buy ‘Earthen Grave’ here. The single ‘Blood Drunk’ features guest vocalist Kristin Joy Elane:


EARTHEN GRAVE: Earthen Grave  


Six-piece Chicago band, EARTHEN GRAVE, was formed in 2008 and features an impressive array of musicians: bassist Ron Holzner(formerly of TROUBLE), classical violinist Rachel Barton Pine on extended range electric six-string “Viper” violin, vocalist Mark Weiner, guitarists Jason Muxlow (THE LIVING FIELDS etc) and Tony Spillman (formerly of MINISTRY, PRONG etc), and drummer Scott Davidson (the man in charge Chicago's WPJX “Rebel Radio”). Thus far, EARTHEN GRAVE has shared stage with music grates such as MEGADETH, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, ANVIL, PENTAGRAM, MACHINE HEAD, NOVEMBERS DOOM, NACHTMYSTIUM (click) etc.

“It’s not about being the heaviest band or the slowest – it’s about having good songs and playing them live,” [explains Ron Holzner] “Scott, Tony and I played doom metal before it was even called that, and for Jason, the music we pioneered was his influence. We’re bringing the strands of the music together - and with Rachel using the violin as a core component of a metal band, we’re taking the genre on a new journey.”


22 April, 2012

Full Album Stream: Wodensthrone: Curse – new album


CDs like ‘Curse’ don’t just get recorded – they are created, if we are to believe the press release. CDs such as ‘Curse’ (and I’m walking a very fine blasphemous line here) are not simply produced, they are taken to “a whole new level of majesty and mastery with meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail”. The creators, the heathens are WODENSTHRONE and the helper is none other than reverend Greg Chandler (of ESOTERIC fame) of Priory Recording Studios. The shrine was built by Candlelight Records. ‘Curse’ is due tomorrow, April 23rd, 2012. Burnt offerings are welcome here and here (BandCamp) where you can stream the recording in full as well:

“Now, as Spring takes hold of a troubled world in 2012, WODENSTHRONE return with ‘Curse’, an album that transcends the impermanence of individual nations and cultures to address timeless, universal questions of spirituality and freedom. ‘Curse’ explores mankind's most inherent and profound spiritual flaw; the instinct to lay the responsibility of our fates at the feet of imagined gods, to submit without question to the cultural machinery – religious, political, social, economical – that imposes systems of power and control to exploit, enthral, corrupt and oppress. The result is a tumultuous, dynamic album rich in tension, conflict and a grandeur verging on the terrifying. The diverse musicians that make up WODENTHRONE have unified their experiences and skills to render the grand narratives of ‘Curse’ into a richly evocative heathen epic that dwarfs even its predecessor, a heroic encapsulation in song of mankind's will to rise above its shackles, to pursue true freedom, shun the poisoned comforts of subjugation and stand proudly with values they have won for themselves with the blood and sweat of endeavour, unfettered from gods and masters:”




WODENSTHRONE was formed in Sunderland, England in 2005 by Brunwulf, Wildeþrýð, Gerádwine and Hréowsian. Inspired by greats such as ENSLAVED, MOONSORROW and PRIMORDIAL, the group dedicated itself to create “a sound perfectly formed to address meaningful, thought-provoking themes with passion and dexterity”. After issuing a couple of splits with NIROTH (in 2006) and with FOLKVANG (in 2008), WODENSTHRONE came of age with their debut album ‘Loss’, released through Bindrune Recordings in 2009 to much critical acclaim. Listen to the full album here (BandCamp) or below, courtesy Bindrune Recordings. The album caught the ear of Candlelight Records, who signed the band for a three album deal in 2011.




WODENSTHRONE features: Wildeþrýð – vocals and guitar, Rædwalh – vocals and guitar, Árfæst – keyboards, Gerádwine – bass and Hréowsian – drums and vocals

21 April, 2012

Full Album Stream: 16 : Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds – new album


16, the band whose interests include morning vomiting, hilarious nihilism, character assassination and tinnitus, have their new album, ‘Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds’, streamed in its “as pissed but not as pissed” entirety here at Invisible Oranges, here (BandCamp), and below. 16's next masterpiece of bleakness is due on April 24th, 2012 via Relapse Records therefore, without further ado, head over to Relapse store here and buy the album because “never has extreme depression and despair sounded so good!” ‘Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds’ was recorded with Jeff Forrest at Double Time Studios in San Diego, California and mastered by PIG DESTROYER's Scott Hull at Visceral Sound Studios. The album's artwork was created by Orion Landau.


16: Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds


16 was formed in 1992 in Santa Ana, California by guitarist Bobby Ferry, vocalist Cris Jerue, and drummer Jason Corley. With bassist Tony Baumeister joining in a year later, 16 released their first full-length, ‘Curves That Kick’ in 1993 on Bacteria Sour label. Their recording debut, described by Phil Freeman, AllMusic as “the edgy aggression that hangs thick in the air just before a bar fight, translated into music” can be listened to below and bought here (BandCamp):


16: Curves That Kick


Recorded in 1994, ‘Drop Out’ was issued by Pessimiser/Theologian Records in 1996. “Heavier, more musically ambitious, and less indebted to Midwestern noise rock than their debut”, as put by Phill Freeman, AllMusic, the album marked the departure of drummer Jason Corley who was replaced by Andy Hassler and the addition of Phil Vera as the group's second guitarist. Buy ‘Drop Out’ here (BandCamp) if you like what you hear below:


16: Drop Out

16's next record came in 1997; ‘Blaze Of Incompetence’ was followed by a U.S. tour, firing of Andy Hassler, hiring of R.D. Davies who apparently “overdosed on heroin six months later” and who was consequently replaced by Mark Sanger. Misfortunes aside, listen to the album below and buy it here (BandCamp):


16: Blaze Of Incompetence


By the time their next album,  ‘Zoloft Smile’, was released in 2002 (At A Loss Recordings), founding member Bobby Ferry and bassist Tony Baumeister had both quit the band. Phil Vera carried on as the lone guitarist, until he was forced to assume vocal duties as well, as alcohol and drug dependency sent Cris Jerue off to rehab. 16 disbanded in 2004. Fery, Jerue, Corley and Baumeister reassembled 16 in 2007, signed with Relapse Records and recorded their fifth album. ‘Bridges To Burn’ was issued in 2009:

“But in 2009, the earth rumbled, and the massive plains parted and belched up another slab of 16. … The gentlemen can still come up with brutal metal grooves that crawl along and sound absolutely monstrous. You’ll be hard pressed to find songs in the modern metal world that match the sheer mighty onslaught of such delightful ditties as ‘Throw in The Towel’, ‘Skin & Bones’, and ‘Thorn In Your Side’ among others. Without question, ‘Bridges To Burn’ is a 100-percent mega metal release,” [complimented Greg Prato, AllMusic – more here:]


16: Bridges To Burn


Mateo Pinkerton (formerly of BUZZOVEN, CROM) has since become 16's new drummer.

20 April, 2012

Unleashed: Odalheim – new album


“And Yggdrasil did tremble. And during the three years of everlasting cold and darkness called the Fimbulwinter, Mother Nature took back what was rightfully hers and life as we knew it was never the same again. It was Ragnarök, liberator and death. From the ashes of the old world, a new one began to take form. Here is where the story of ‘Odalheim’ begins…” [introduce their new album, ‘Odalheim’, the unrepented Vikings, UNLEASHED]

‘Odalheim’ is out in Europe now, April 20th, 2012 and will be unleashed upon North America on April 24th, 2012 on Nuclear Blast Records. The successor to 2010's ‘As Yggdrasil Trembles’ was recorded at Chrome Studio in Sweden and produced by UNLEASHED guitarist Fredrik Folkare. Buy this “multifarious and hymnal album” which continues the “post-doomsday story embedded with Norse mythology of ‘As Yggdrasil Trembles’” here if you view yourself European, and here if you feel closer to North America.

UNLEASHED: Odalheim – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

UNLEASHED: Rise of The Maya Warriors – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

(The “chief Vikings of Swedish death metal”) UNLEASHED was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1989 by vocalist and bassist Johnny Hedlund. Demos ‘Revenge’ and ‘Utter Dark’ secured the band a record deal with German branch of Century Media Records, through which UNLEASHED released their debut album ‘Where No Life Dwells’ in 1991. Considered a “classic” by the band's founder Hedlund, ‘Where No Life Dwells’ was described as “an audio textbook for those interested in the state and design of early-'90s death metal excess” by Jason Anderson, AllMusic. UNLEASHED cooperation with producer Waldemar Sorychta continued on their sophomore full-length 1992's ‘Shadows In The Deep’. On 1993's ‘Across The Open Sea’, the band took the production upon themselves, a trend they continued on 1995's ‘Victory’, which is considered to be one of UNLEASHED's best efforts. Guitarist Fredrik Lindgren left the group which was joined by Fredrik Folkare before the recording of their fifth album, 1997's ‘Warrior’ took place. As put by Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic, ‘Warrior’ “announced the beginning of an extended, five-year break, effective immediately”.  They returned in style in 2002 with ‘Hell's Unleashed’, credited with being an “exceptional” album by Jason D. Taylor, AllMusic:

“Displaying a death metal sound that can only be described as their very own, UNLEASHED envisions macabre rituals with Satan and other, lesser demons with undeniable joy. The remarkably heavy groove that highlights each and every song is unusual considering the genre UNLEASHED is thrown into, yet is evident on every count,” [more here]

“In some respects,” [began his review of UNLEASHED next record, 2004's ‘Sworn Allegiance’, Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic] “UNLEASHED is to death metal what AC/DC is to hard rock, or the RAMONES to punk: creatively steady along the genre's formative guidelines to the point of repetition - but so good at what they do that their tricks still seem to work every time. So good, in fact, that the price of serious evolution is probably too steep to risk paying at this stage of the band's decade-plus career, making 2004's excellent ‘Sworn Allegiance’ - a gratefully surprise-free effort,” [more here]

UNLEASHED next longplayer came in 2006; ‘Midvinterblot’ was issued on SPV/Steamhammer Records as would be its follower, 2008's ‘Hammer Battalion’. In 2009, the band signed with Nuclear Blast Records through which aforementioned ‘As Yggdrasil Trembles’ was released in 2010:

“Perhaps this album's greatest virtue, one common to UNLEASHED's catalog, is that within the parameters of Swedish death metal, it’s pretty catchy. The riffs are a midtempo chug rather than offering the staccato bludgeoning of more technical styles, and the band rarely downshifts into ultra-slow sludge-noise, preferring to keep the music moving forward. … UNLEASHED, for all of their distorted guitars and thundering rhythms, retain an essential rock-ness that keeps their music accessible,” [acknowledged Phil Freeman, AllMusic – more here:]

UNLEASHED: Wir Kapitulieren Niemals – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

UNLEASHED features: Johnny Hedlund - bass and vocals, Fredrik Folkare - lead guitar, Tomas Olsson - rhythm guitar and Anders Schultz – drums


19 April, 2012

The Wretched End: Inroads – new album


Enjoy THE WRETCHED END's new album, ‘Inroads’, in its ferocious entirety here via Terrorizer (the stream has since ended). ‘Inroads’ is set for April 23rd, 2012 release on Candlelight Records and on Samoth's (also known as Tomas Thormodsæter Haugen) own imprint label Nocturnal Art Productions. ‘Inroads’ was recorded in 2011 in Strand Studio. THE WRETCHED END employed the talents from Trine + Kim Design studio for the album design (“following up in the same cold, desolate and apocalyptic style”) and have recorded a music video for the track ‘Death By Nature’, shot and edited in rural Norway in cooperation with the Canadian artist VEX (Vedi Djokich), which is available for your viewing pleasure below.

THE WRETCHED END was formed in 2008 by guitarist Samoth (EMPEROR, ZYKLON) and bassist and vocalist Cosmo (MINDGRINDER). The two talented Norwegians, who have previously worked together on the deathpunk project SCUM, composed material for their debut album already in 2008, enlisted fellow Scandinavian drummer Nils Fjellström (of DARK FUNERAL, AEON etc fame) in 2009, completed the recording of their debut ‘Ominous’ in 2010 and released it through Nocturnal Art Productions and Candlelight Records. ‘Ominous’ was received well by both press and fans, and has found its way on many a magazine's list of best albums released in 2010.


18 April, 2012

Furyon: Don’t Follow Me – new video



Apparently raised on a diet of heavy metal, progressive, and classic rock in order to be one day able to deliver huge rock radio friendly songs, well here they come then - FURYON that is. ‘Don’t Follow Me’ comes from Brighton, UK-based heavy metal act's debut album ‘Gravitas’, which was self-released in 2010 and which has gained international distribution through Frontiers Records in March 2012. Produced by Rick Beato, known for his work with SHINEDOWN and FOZZY among others, buy ‘Gravitas’ and the rest of FURYON stuff here and watch their ‘Disappear Again’ video, created by Sitcom Soldiers, below.

FURYON features: Matt Mitchell – vocals, Chris Green – guitar, Pat Heath – guitars, Alex “Nickel” Bowen – bass and Lee Farmery – drums



14 April, 2012

Suicide Silence: Slaves To Substance – new video



The protagonists, the flag bearers of deathcore, SUICIDE SILENCE, have graced us with a new video ‘Slaves To Substance’, off their July 2011-released album ‘The Black Crown’, the group's highest-charting album to date, which reached position number 28 on the Billboard Top 200. Issued through Century Media Records and featuring appearances by KORN's Jonathan Davis and SUFFOCATION frontman Frank Mullen, ‘The Black Crown’ was produced by Steve Evetts, mixed by Chris “Zeuss” Harris and engineered by Allan Hessler. Its artwork was created by Ken “K3N” Adams and SUICIDE SILENCE's first video released in support of the CD (available below), ‘You Only Live Once’, was filmed by director Nathan Cox.

“ ‘The Black Crown’ is us at our finest,” [explained vocalist Mitch Lucker] “We learned while touring on the last two records, the parts we play live that make people go the most insane; when we see thousands of people ripping each others' faces off to and just destroying each other. We took the most aggressive elements of the last two records and just compiled them all into pure brutality this time around. This record just attacks, attacks, attacks,” [Lucker continued] “you’re jumping up and down, or you’re smashing something, or you’re stomping something. It’s simply unrelenting.” [Lyrics-wise, Mitch Lucker continued:] “I’m not trying to put people's beliefs down – it’s about me and my life. This is my head cracked open and poured on the paper! I still have the same beliefs and same views, but I’m more open to everything. At this point in my life, I don’t see the good in making people hate you for something you say. This record is for everybody.”

The Black Crown – courtesy of Suicide Silence


SUICIDE SILENCE was formed in 2002 in Riverside, California. After putting out three demos and after some personnel reshuffling, the group issued a self-titled EP (Third Degree Records/SOS Records) in 2005. With it impressing Century Media Records, SUICIDE SILENCE released their debut full-length ‘The Cleansing’, in 2007. The record debuted at number 94 on the Billboard Top 200 (U.S. albums chart) and has since become one of best-selling debut albums in Century Media's history. Their second studio album, 2007's ‘No Time To Bleed’, charted even higher, reaching position 32 on the aforementioned albums chart:

“With an instinctive nose for songwriting economy (no overlabored epics for this band) and lyrics that, while simplistic and even repetitive, at times, are also both refreshingly direct and intelligible, for the most part, and you get a real sense of - dare we say it - accessibility?! … Deathcore neophytes may still require a few additional listens of ‘No Time To Bleed’ before they’ll be able to pick these nuances out of the ever prevailing din and hysteria, but they’re in there, just waiting to be revealed, and hopefully becoming increasingly clear to longtime genre converts, looking to separate the wheat from the chaff,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic Guide]

SUICIDE SILENCE features: Mitch Lucker – vocals, Chris Garza – guitar, Mark Heylmun – guitar, Alex Lopez – drums and Dan Kenny – bass

SUICIDE SILENCE – courtesy of Century Media Records



12 April, 2012

The Atlas Moth: Your Calm Waters – new video & An Ache For The Distance – full album stream

Well yes, I can finally do something about not paying my due last year to this fine group from Chicago, Illinois, THE ATLAS MOTH. Their new video, sponsored by Scion AV and directed by Ryan Oliver, is described as “dark, impressionistic and features candle-lit incantations and a burial at sea: not for the faint of heart”, therefore cautious approach is advised. The tune itself is taken from THE ATLAS MOTH's second full-length ‘An Ache For The Distance’, released in September 2011 on Profound Lore Records. Produced by Andrew Ragin and mastered by James Murphy, listen to the album here (BandCamp) or below and buy ‘An Ache For The Distance’ here (Profound Lore):
“Reaching into every corner of the musical world for inspiration, the album feels as if it’s sitting at some kind of sonic crossroad, acting as the focal point where the endless nomenclature of the heavy metal world crosses paths with spacy art rock and blues. … What makes THE ATLAS MOTH so successful isn’t their ability to draw an all-encompassing pool of influences into their sound, but their ability to get those elements to coalesce into something greater than the sum if its parts, and that’s exactly what the band has done on ‘An Ache For The Distance’. … With a real combination of thoughtful craftsmanship and genuine movement, ‘An Ache For The Distance’ is an album that doesn’t just instantly engage the listener, but also stands up to repeated visits, making for one of the more intense and rewarding post-metal albums to emerge out of the post-Isis landscape,” [complimented Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – more here:]

THE ATLAS MOTH, featuring bassist Alex Klein, drummer Anthony Mainiero and guitarists and singers Stavros Giannopoulos, David Kush and Andrew Ragin, who handles the synth as well, self released an EP ‘Prey For Tides’ in 2008: (Listen to the 5-track recording below and if you like what you hear, buy it here:
Again recorded and mixed by the band's own Andrew Ragin, THE ATLAS MOTH released their full-length debut, ‘A Glorified Piece Of Blue Sky’, on Candlelight Records in 2009. (Listen to the full album below or here via BandCamp:)
“The grandiose riffing, hoarse roars, and crooned backing vocals of ‘Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence’ all but require the mailing of a royalty check to Aaron Turner of ISIS,” [mused AllMusic's Phil Freeman] “But THE ATLAS MOTH always add something that’s uniquely theirs to each song, in this case a high-pitched black metal screech and some seriously stoneriffic guitar. This is an impressive full-length debut by a promising American metal band,” [read the rest here:]
A suggestively titled EP, ‘One Amongst The Weeds’, followed in 2010 on Candlelight Records. The 4-track recording which includes a memorable cover ‘California Dreamin'’ (by THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS) is available for your listening pleasure below or here (BandCamp):


OSI: For Nothing – new video



OSI's new video was directed by Jimmy Ahlander; ‘For Nothing’ comes from the duo's fourth undertaking ‘Fire Makes Thunder’, released in March 2012 through Metal Blade Records. In its first week of release, the album broke onto the Billboard New Artist Chart at number 18, it has charted at number 43 on the Hard Music chart in Canada and has entered the Benelux charts at number 139. ‘Fire Makes Thunder’ was recorded by Jim Matheos (guitar, bass, keyboards and programming) and Kevin Moore (vocals, keyboards and programming) at musician's respective home studios while drums were recorded at Gavin Harrison's (PORCUPINE TREE) home in London. The record was produced by both Moore and Matheos, mixed with engineer Matt Sepanic at Sound Farm Studio and Recording Environment and mastered by renowned engineer Roger Siebel. Buy OSI's music here (Metal Blade):

OSI: ‘Fire Make Thunder’ album sampler – courtesy of Metal Blade Records

OSI: Cold Call – courtesy of OSI

OSI: Big Chief II – courtesy of OSI


OSI (named after a former U.S. government department “Office of Strategic Influence”) was formed 2002 by Jim Matheos (FATES WARNING, ARCH / MATHEOS) and Kevin Moore (CHROMA KEY, former DREAM THEATER keyboardist). With Mike Portnoy (ADRENALINE MOB etc) on drums and Sean Malone on bass, OSI's first deliverance of strategic influence came the following year in form of their self-titled debut album:

OSI: OSI – courtesy of Metal Blade Records

Conceived as a studio project, Matheos and Moore did not plan to make a second OSI album. With some spare time on their hands in 2005 though, second album was recorded with Portnoy and bassist Joey Vera. ‘Free’ was issued in 2006 on InsideOut Music, as was the project's debut album, and their third endeavor, 2009's ‘Blood’. ‘Blood’ introduced PORCUPINE TREE's Gavin Harrison on drums and featured guest vocals by OPETH's Mikael Åkerfeldt and NO-MAN's Tim Bowness:

“The sound on ‘Blood’ is basically prog-metal meets alt-metal and alt rock. Prog-metal often has an overt power metal influence; ‘Blood’s approach, however, is PINK FLOYD and KING CRIMSON by way of RADIOHEAD, NIRVANA, grunge, alt-metal and alt rock. Instead of bright, shiny '70s/'80s-like guitars, we’re talking chug-chug riffs and downtuned guitars. ‘Blood’ has its aggressive, forceful moments, but even so, the material is quite melodic - and most of the time, OSI are moody and darkly atmospheric more than anything. Some of that moodiness comes from OSI's appreciation of PINK FLOYD and KING CRIMSON, but some of it comes from their appreciation of RADIOHEAD,” [was precise in his description, heh, Alex Henderson, AllMusic – more here]


10 April, 2012

Demon Hunter: True Defiance – new album


DEMON HUNTER's sixth full-length ‘True Defiance’ is out now, April 10th, 2012, through Solid State Records. The album was recorded at Compound Studios in Seattle with the band's longtime collaborator producer Aaron Sprinkle and mixed by Jason Suecof, who worked with DEMON HUNTER on their 2009's ‘The World Is A Thorn’. Listen to some brand new DEMON HUNTER tunes, ‘Wake’ and ‘Someone To Hate’ right below, and watch their new Robby Starbuck-directed video ‘My Destiny’ you’ll find below the text:

“ ‘True Defiance’ represents a rallying call to arms, both spiritually and artistically, to the legion of “hunters” the world over who cling to core principles and only the most authentic music against the tide of a materialist world that builds castles on shifting sands. We all stumble and fall, nobody on earth is perfect, but DEMON HUNTER will not apologize for who they aspire to be and their fans continue to be invigorated by each new anthem that seeks to empower us to conquer self-doubt and emptiness. This attitude of ‘True Defiance’ against the obstacles of the world persists throughout every aspect of the band's songwriting and overall presentation,” [states the press release firmly:]

DEMON HUNTER: Wake – courtesy of Solid State Records

DEMON HUNTER: Someone To Hate – courtesy of Solid State Records


Formed by brothers Don and Ryan Clark in 2000 in Seattle, Washington, DEMON HUNTER released their “dense” self-titled debut album through Solid State Records in 2002. (“When the alternative metal band is in the mood for maximum brutality, it pummels the listener with a dense, noisy, highly abrasive metal/punk assault. … [This is] an album in which moments of intense brutality are followed by hauntingly melodic passages,” wrote Alex Henderson, AllMusic.) Vocalist Ryan Clark, bassist Jon Dunn, guitarists Don Clark and Kris McCaddon and drummer Jesse Sprinkle recorded their second effort, ‘Summer Of Darkness’, with producer Aaron Sprinkle in 2004, and entered the American chart Billboard Top 200 (at number 136) with its successor, 2005's ‘The Triptych’:

“ ‘The Triptych’ is the Seattle natives' third opus, and it finds them investigating alternate styles of metallic expression with a sense of freedom they'd surely never dare question their religious beliefs with. … It’s also a matter of no small consequence that DEMON HUNTER choose their lyrics wisely throughout this set, keeping them more elliptical and metaphoric than most Christian metal bands, and greatly broadening their appeal as a result (even if it pisses off a few Christian zealots). And, ultimately, even if ‘The Triptych’s audacious diversity still rubs some close-minded listeners the wrong way, it probably bodes well for the band's future capacity to navigate heavy metal's ever-changing trends,” [appraised Eduardo Rivadavia – more here]

With lead guitarist Ethan Luck and drummer Timothy “Yogi” Watts, DEMON HUNTER navigated wisely; their fourth album, 2007's ‘Storm The Gates Of Hell’, entered Billboard Top 200 at number 85, selling well over 10,000 copies in its first week. A documentary (‘45 Days’) was followed by a live recording, ‘Live In Nashville’, in 2009 and their fifth full-length, ‘The World Is A Thorn’, came next in 2010. ‘The World Is A Thorn’ had debuted at number 39 on the US Billboard Top 200 chart, with first-week sales topping 14,000 copies:

“ ‘The World Is A Thorn’ is the sound of Jesus leading his flock down a musical path that was built upon the foundations of hedonism and power (as well as a general fondness for the occult) and staging a coup. Rebellion can go both ways, and Seattle's DEMON HUNTER is as embarrassed as anyone about Christian rock's well-earned reputation for conjuring up lifeless, cookie-cutter slabs of faith-based treacle that carry the weight of a fortune cookie prediction. The band's fifth full-length offering is both composed and volatile. … Metal purists needn’t be wary of cranking this one up with the windows down, as the performances are as brutal as many of the group's death/power/thrash/screamo metal peers, and as true to the genre's defiant nature as its nihilistic creators intended it to be,” [summed the album and the state of things up AllMusic's James Christopher Monger – more here]

DEMON HUNTER features: Ryan Clark – vocals, Patrick Judge – lead guitar, Jeremiah Scott - rhythm guitar, Jon Dunn – bass and Timothy “Yogi” Watts – drums



Full Album Stream: Reverence: The Asthenic Ascension – new album & Earth – new video


French dark industrial and black metal group REVERENCE have finally released their fourth full-length yesterday, April 9th, 2012 through Candlelight Records. ‘The Asthenic Ascension’, due in North America in September 2012, comes accompanied by the group's brand new video clip made for the album's opening track, ‘Earth’, by Pablo Caraballo Sierra. The clip is available for your viewing pleasure below as is the full album stream. Buy the ‘The Asthenic Ascension’ here (Candlelight USA) or via BandCamp here:


REVERENCE: The Asthenic Ascension


Formed in 1998, REVERENCE released a bunch of demos and splits between 2001 to 2004, including a split with fellow countrymen BLUT AUS NORD. In 2005, the band recorded their debut album, ‘Industrial Metal Concept’, which was released soon after by French label Dead Sun Records. Another split readily followed and signing with UK label Avantgarde Music came next. In 2007, REVERENCE issued their sophomore album ‘Chamber Of Divine Elaboration’, followed by ‘Inactive Theocracy’ in 2009, issued on Osmose Productions.

REVERENCE features: Eguil Voisin – bass, Vincent Roubière – drums and I. Luciferia – vocals and guitar


09 April, 2012

Jeff Loomis: Plains Of Oblivion – new album


New solo album by one of the most influential guitarists around, JEFF LOOMIS, is out now, April 9th, 2012 through Century Media Records. Entitled ‘Plains Of Oblivion’, the album was produced and mixed by Aaron Smith and mastered by Jens Bogren. For the album, Loomis has enlisted a group of exceptional guest musicians, including vocalists Ihsahn (EMPEROR) and Christine Rhoades, guitarists Marty Friedman (MEGADETH, CACOPHONY), Tony MacAlpine (Steve Vai, PLANET X), and Attila Vörös (NEVERMORE), and drummer Dirk Verbeuren (SOILWORK, SCARVE). ‘Plains Of Oblivion’ features bassist Shane Lentz (an impressive new talent Loomis discovered through videos Lentz had uploaded onto YouTube). The album's artwork was created by Colin Marks.

“The ten-track ‘Plains Of Oblivion’ is a wholly diverse work that finds Loomis pushing his abilities to new heights that even his most ardent admirers could never have predicted. From the unrelenting, pulsating aural skydive that is ‘Mercurial’, to the soaring, anthemic arena rock of ‘Chosen Time’ from the groovy, dreamy ‘Continuum Drift’ to the predatory, raw ‘Surrender’ from the melancholic, aching, acoustic ‘Rapture’ to the chunky, heavy-as-bricks ‘Sibylline Origin’ – no two tracks are alike on ‘Plains Of Oblivion’, and Loomis never settles for the same old same old. ‘Plains Of Oblivion’ is his most personal expression of his creative vision yet. The metal world will never be the same,” [solidifies the press release:]

JEFF LOOMIS: Surrender (featuring IHSAHN) – courtesy of Century Media Records

Jeff Loomis auditioned for lead guitar player for the legendary MEGADETH at the age of sixteen. Deemed too young for the part by Dave Mustaine, he was nevertheless impressed with Loomis and he brought the guitarist to the attention of SANCTUARY, who were themselves looking for a new six stringer. When SANCTUARY disbanded a couple of years later, Loomis teamed up with his bandmates Warrel Dane and Jim Shepard and formed NEVERMORE. In 2008, Jeff Loomis released his debut solo album ‘Zero Order Phase’:

“One shouldn’t expect to see ‘Zero Order Phase’, or any of its songs, rising up the pop charts, but they will surely find instant acceptance among shred aficionados and convert many new fans for the formidable seven-string stylist before its ten songs are through,” [commented the release Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]

JEFF LOOMIS: Jato Unit – courtesy of Century Media Records

JEFF LOOMIS: Miles Of Machines – courtesy of Century Media Records

06 April, 2012

Accept: Stalingrad – new album


The successor to their noteworthy comeback album released in 2010, Germany's heavy metallers', ACCEPT, thirteenth full-length entitled ‘Stalingrad’ is being unleashed upon Europe today, April 6th, 2012, while the group's North American fans will have to bite their nails in envy until April 10th, 2012 – all due to Nuclear Blast Records. ‘Stalingrad’ was recorded with British producer and long-time ACCEPT fan Andy Sneap. Listen to the album's title-track below, and download the tune free of charge here, courtesy Nuclear Blast:

“ ‘Stalingrad’ ain’t no product of light entertainment or a work of staid rockers coined by the leniency of the old age. This record presses out the air of your lungs, makes you break out in sweat and thrusts its clenched fist right into your face. The world's best riff-smithy is put into perfect contradistinction to the classically influenced solos penned by Wolf [Hoffman, guitarist]. Apart from the mighty chorals and the incomparable guitar ballet, this consonance of antagonisms embodies the most important “patent of heavy metal“ ACCEPT can claim for themselves. With ‘Stalingrad’ it’s not only the future that belongs to one of the world's most important classical heavy metal bands, but also the stages of each and every big festival! ACCEPT that!” [directs the press release:]

ACCEPT: Stalingrad – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

One of the top metal bands of the early 1980s, ACCEPT's beginnings can be traced back to 1968. Vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, guitarists Wolf Hoffmann and Jörg Fischer, bassist Peter Baltes and drummer Frank Friedrich recorded ACCEPT's debut self-titled album in 1978 and released it the following year. With new drummer, Stefan Kaufmann, the group entered the studio with producer Dirk Steffens, with whom they recorded ACCEPT's second full-length 1980's ‘I’m A Rebel’, as well as 1981's ‘Breaker’ and 1982's ‘Restless And Wild’. The band's best known and highest-selling album (selling about two million copies worldwide), ‘Balls To The Wall’, came next in 1983:

“Following hot upon the heels of their creative breakthrough, ‘Restless And Wild’, you'd also be hard pressed to find a more sexually charged record in any musical genre. Its hysterically nonsensical lyrics notwithstanding, the legendary title track remains an irresistible, fist-pumping masterpiece that came to epitomize the modern, slow-marching metal anthem as it became known. And when paired with second single ‘London Leatherboys’, it arguably constitutes the most blatantly homoerotic couplet in the history of heavy metal (eat your heart out, Rob Halford),” [advised Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – read the rest here]

With Dieter Dierks-produced album, 1985's ‘Metal Heart’, ACCEPT impressed American public once again, with it entering Billboard Top 200 at number 94. Their self-produced album ‘Russian Roulette’ followed in 1986, and ‘Eat The Heart’, recorded with vocalist David Reece, came next in 1989. After issuing a live album ‘Staying A Life’, recorded in 1985 and released in 1990, the group ceased to function until their reunion with singer Udo Dirkschneider. ‘Objection Overruled’ was issued in 1993 and ‘Death Row’, the last ACCEPT album to feature drummer Stefan Kaufmann, followed in 1994. Their last recording with Dirkschneider, 1996's ‘Predator’, was to feature (current LYNYRD SKYNYRD) drummer Michael Cartellone. But a brief resurrection in 2005, ACCEPT was put on hold until 2009, when the band reunited with new vocalist Mark Tornillo and new drummer Stefan Schwarzmann. They recorded their highest carting album to date, 2010's ‘Blood Of The Nations’, with producer Andy Sneap:

“Tough and heavy is a straight-to-the-point description of such tunes as the ass-kicking album-opener ‘Beat The Bastards’, as well as ‘Teutonic Terror’ and the heavy duty title track. Producer Andy Sneap (known for working with the heaviest of heavy metal bands) successfully brings ACCEPT sonically back to the metallic roar of their glory days throughout ‘Blood Of The Nations’, resulting in an impressive return of Germany's second best-known heavy metal export of all time,” [commented Greg Prato, AllMusic – read the rest here:]

ACCEPT: Teutonic Terror – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

ACCEPT: The Abyss – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

ACCEPT features: Mark Tornillo – vocals, Wolf Hoffmann – guitar, Herman Frank – guitar, Peter Baltes – bass and Stefan Schwarzmann - drums