25 May, 2012

Marduk: Serpent Sermon – new album


Even if due to, er, life, this blog wasn’t very active of late, the infamous MARDUK will be nevertheless releasing their twelfth album, ‘Serpent Sermon’, on May 28th, 2012 through Century Media Records. The “blasphemous monster of an album that is not afraid to spread its leathery wings and sink its sanguine-soaked fangs into the listener” was apparently “recorded in pieces whenever the dark muse overtook MARDUK” in bassist Magnus “Devo” Andersson's Endarker Studios in Östergötland, Sweden, and produced by the band. You can still pre-order ‘Serpent Sermon’ here (CM Distro EU) if European, or here (CM Distro USA) if American. Watch their Håkan Sjödin-directed new video, ‘Souls For Belial’, below and visit Metal Hammer Germany to hear MARDUK's new track ‘M.A.M.M.O.N.’ here:

“The members of MARDUK - guitarist and sole original member Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson, drummer Lars Broddesson and vocalist Mortuus - have created an album that marks a return to the very diabolical essence of what black metal is really about. From sheer brutality of the opening title track to the blast beats of ‘Souls For Belial’ and the doom driven ‘Temple Of Decay’, ‘Serpent Sermon’ offers diversity in extremes without losing their trademark sound. Guitarist Morgan explains, “We just go in when we feel the time is right to have it done and then we enter and paint the picture of the death of your world!” The album is a testament to their burning desire to create blackened metal of the highest order. A concept album of sorts, ‘Serpent Sermon’ is an unadulterated attack on all that is good, casting a heavy pall over light and love. Morgan offers, “The lyrics should speak to everybody, to realize the power contained within. Just let it embrace you and the journey has begun!” That journey is a deep one that plumbs the very depths of Hell as guitars rip and shred, drums thunder and the low end bass pulls at the very bowels of the soul. “As long as we have the desire and burning ambition to spread the message we will continue to be the servants of a higher cause and keep delivering blood, fire and death to the world!”

Formed by guitarist Morgan “Evil” Steinmeyer Hakansson in 1990 in Norrköping, Sweden, MARDUK, consisting of vocalist Andreas Axelsson, bassist Richard Kalm, and drummer Joakim “Grave” Göthberg, released their controversial (banned in seven countries) ‘Fuck Me Jesus’ EP in 1991, and continued their blasphemous path with their debut full-length ‘Dark Endless’ in 1992, after second guitarist, Devo Andersson, was added. Described as “an exciting and historic relic from black metal's early years”, ‘Dark Endless’ was followed by the band's sophomore album, ‘Those Of The Unlight’, less than a year later and 1994's ‘Opus Nocturne’ came next as Joakim Göthberg gradually switched from drums to vocals, B. War became MARDUK's new bassist and Fredrik Andersson assumed drumming duties. Showcasing far bigger, clearer sound, 1996's ‘Heaven Shall Burn… When We Are Gathered’, was recorded at Abyss Studios with Peter Tägtgren, and introduced new (“gravel-throated”) vocalist called Erik “Legion” Hagstedt:

“Every track here, excepting the brief introduction and the slower ‘Dracul Va Domni Din Nou in Transilvania’, is more or less a full-speed, blasting assault with wall-of-sound drums, blurred guitars and shrieking, raspy vocals. That’s all well and good, but unfortunately MARDUK don’t show the sort of emotional depth needed to make their tirades fully convincing,” [cleverly noticed William York, AllMusic – more here]

EP ‘Glorification’ was released in 1996, their fourth recording issued through Osmose Productions, live album ‘Live In Germania’ followed in 1997 as was ‘Here Is No Peace’ EP. MARDUK quickly returned the The Abyss recording studio and their fifth full-length ‘Nightwing’, an album partly inspired by the life of Vlad Tepes (also known as Drakula), came out in 1998. Practically living in that village called Pärlby by then, MARDUK issued war-themed ‘Panzer Division Marduk’ in 1999, an EP called ‘Obedience’ followed in 2000, and they finished off their “Blood, War and Death” trilogy with ‘La Grande Danse Macabre’, issued in 2001 on Regain Records:

“Those disappointed by the blastbeat overload of previous album ‘Panzer Division Marduk’ will be pleasantly surprised to gander at the grotesque, club-footed cave beast that is La Grande Danse Macabre: A few grandiose song structures, plenty of tempo variations (blasting drums are still abundant, if not as prevalent), gleefully blasphemous lyrical exhortations, and a crisp, clean Abyss Studios production. … Sure, MARDUK knows how to wield its weaponry with succinct efficiency but, unless the group finds and embraces its own demonic muse, it will always be an unholy bridesmaid and never a bride,” [found his muse John Serba, AllMusic – the rest here]

MARDUK's 2003's ‘World Funeral’ introduced Emil Draguntinovic on drums, and was the last to feature Legion on vocals and B. War on bass, as well as their last mixed by Peter Tägtgren. 2004's ‘Plaque Angel’ was recorded with new, Bible-obsessed (“solely for its violent content”), vocalist Mortuus, while Magnus “Devo” Andersson switched over to bass and took upon himself the mixing of the album. 2004's EP ‘Deathmarch’ was followed by the group's second live album, ‘Warschau’, in 2006 and ‘Rom 5:12’, “an expansive or adventurous disc, an inspired, if formulaic, effort” – as perceived by Alex Henderson (more here) - came next in 2007. MARDUK's 2009's ‘Wormwood’, praised by AllMusic's Phil Freeman as “their most musically adventurous to date” (more here), introduced a new drummer Lars Broddesson, with whom they recorded their fifth EP, ‘Iron Dawn’, in 2011.

“As even a cursory look at their back catalogue highlights, MARDUK have proved themselves capable of a surprising level of diversity, having reinvented themselves on more than one occasion during their twenty plus year career. Whatever era one favours, their longevity, consistently prolific output and constant touring of the world in that time remains undeniably impressive and a reflection of the band's self belief in their ability, as well as in the power of extreme metal itself,” [concludes this black journey the press release]


16 May, 2012

Full Album Stream: Shadows Fall: Fire From The Sky – new album


American heavy metallers SHADOWS FALL have a new, seventh album out since yesterday, May 15th, 2012. ‘Fire From The Sky’ was released through Razor & Tie Recordings, it was produced and engineered by Adam Dutkiewicz at Zing Recording Studios and Wicked Good Recording Studios, and mixed by by Brian Virtue at Modernist Movement Studios. The album's artwork was created by Aaron Marsh. Listen to the entire ‘Fire From The Sky’ below, courtesy SHADOWS FALL, and don’t forget to buy the album:

“Brian Fair's vocals are right up front and you can hear every word. Thankfully, he's one of the better lyricists in metal. Here he examines spiritual, philosophical, and rhetorical questions that continually focus on the nature and meaning of life in the face of certain death - while grim, these are wide open ideas; SHADOWS FALL have never been a “devil's” metal band. Opener ‘The Unknown’ contains killer guitar arpeggios and a punishing bass throb, as well as the more proggy yet melodic bridges. … Between the shouted, growled, and sung vocals, the riffage of Jon Donais (lead guitar) and Matt Bachand (vocals, guitar) is angry and accusatory but nonetheless prompts existential questions, and while Fair may seem to simply laugh at its subject, it's far more complex than that. The sheer fury of the interplay between bassist Paul Romanko and drummer Jason Bittner (one of the best rhythm sections in modern metal) takes the cut over the rails and into the red,” [complimented the album Thom Jurek, AllMusic – read the rest of his review here]

Formed in 1995 in Springfield, Massachusetts by guitarists Jonathan Donais and Matthew Bachand, SHADOWS FALL thus far released seven studio albums (‘Somber Eyes To The Sky in 1998, ‘Of One Blood’ in 2000, ‘The Art Of Balance’ in 2002, ‘The War Within’ in 2004, ‘Threads Of Life’ in 2007, ‘Retribution’ in 2009 and 2012's ‘Fire From The Sky’), two compilation albums, and two DVDs. In 2008, they received a Grammy Award nomination for the song ‘Redemption’ from the album ‘Threads Of Life’ in the category “Best Metal Performance”.

SHADOWS FALL features: Brian Fair - vocals, Matt Bachand - guitar and vocals, Jon Donais - lead guitar, Paul Romanko – bass and Jason Bittner – drums











12 May, 2012

Full Album Stream: The Fallen Divine: The Binding Circle – new album


A treat for supporters of Scandinavian progressive death metal: listen to the entire new and debut album by THE FALLEN DIVINE, ‘The Binding Circle’, right here before its release date, set for May 18th, 2012 through Indie Recordings. Patronized by two of the music's greats, ‘The Binding Cycle’ was engineered by Andy LaRocque at Sonic Train studios in Gothenburg, Sweden and mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö who confidently remarked:

“[This album is] another example that proves that Scandinavia rule the progressive death metal scene. Dynamic and bombastic, just the way I like it. These guys have a bright future ahead!”

Appreciate and order the album here or here. ‘The Binding Circle’ comes accompanied by a 12-page booklet, designed by Marcelo Vasco.

THE FALLEN DIVINE: The Binding Cycle – courtesy of Indie Recordings

THE FALLEN DIVINE was conceived in Oslo, Norway in 2009. They have since recorded an EP, ‘The Eternal Past And Future’, which came out in 2010, and have toured their home county with fellow Norwegians, such as KVELERTAK and INSENSE. THE FALLEN DIVINE's music contains strong progressive elements, as well as influences from a wide spectrum of genres such as death metal, black metal, symphonic metal, folk music and other genres.

THE FALLEN DIVINE features: Magnus Kvist – vocals and keys, Magnus Haugo – guitar, Markus Charras – guitar, Christoffer Wig – bass and Alex Stebbing - drums

09 May, 2012

Full Album Stream: Mutilation Rites: Empyrean – new album


MUTILATION RITES are known as “filthy black metal act” from Brooklyn, New York, who proudly wear the badge “evil as fuck”, assigned to them by notorious metal portal MetalSucks. Their debut full-length ‘Empyrean’, set for release on May 22nd, 2012 through Prosthetic Records, can be heard in its “suicide, depression, vices” influenced entirety here (scroll down) on Pitchfork. The album was recorded with producer Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations in Baltimore, Maryland. A pre-order bundle, consisting of the CD and a T-shirt, is available via the Prosthetic Store here.

“[When asked about the album's lyrics by Pitchfork's Brandon Stosuy, vocalist and guitarist George Paul replied:] I don’t tell people my lyrics intentionally. I’m a guitar player first and a singer because I have to be. While I appreciate bands that have meaningful or well-written lyrics, I’ve never considered it an integral part of listening to a band. I’m not a lyricist. I’m not a poet. What I write about is very personal to me, and it’s almost entirely about depression, vices, suicide, substance abuse. But I intentionally slur my words while singing to make it more monotone sounding. I’m self conscious about it more than anything.” [Read the rest of the interview here while you listen to MUTILATION RITES new track ‘Realms Of Dementia’:]

MUTILATION RITES: Realms Of Dementia


Formed by guitarist Michael Dimmitt and drummer Justin Ennis (formerly of TOMBS) in 2009, MUTILATION RITES survived various incarnations and eventually solidified with George Paul on second guitar and vocals and Iain Deaderick on bass. They have released a demo in 2011 which can be listened to and bought here (BandCamp), followed by ‘I Am Legion’ 12” in March 2012. Listen to their black/doom/crust metal recording below and buy it here (BandCamp):



08 May, 2012

Full Album Stream: Horseback: Half Blood – new album


HORSEBACK's first true new release for Relapse Records, ‘Half Blood’, is out now, May 8th, 2012, and should be bought here (Relapse) immediately. This “amalgamation of drone, doom, black-metal, psychedelia, post-rock, noise, and ambience” was recorded by the band's mastermind Jenks Miller at The Chateau with a wide array of instruments including guitar, bass, drums, keys, piano, bells, contact mics, field recordings, drum programming, noise and various signal processors, and comes available as CD, LP and as digital download. The album's stunning artwork was created by Russian surrealist painter Denis Forkas Kostromitin. Listen to the full album here (BandCamp) or via player available below:




“With ‘Half Blood’, HORSEBACK's mastermind Jenks Miller has brilliantly managed to throw all of those styles into one seamless album. ‘Half Blood’ naturally shifts from Americana twang to fiercely evil buzzing guitars to hypnotically meditative kraut-drone with a level of confidence that takes other bands years to master. HORSEBACK's ‘Half Blood’ is NEUROSIS on a Neil Young overdose, EARTH after being locked in a room with Merzbow (Japanese noise musician) for weeks straight. This is an album at once immediately captivating as well as rewarding for those who treasure music that reveals new twists and turns with repeated listens,” [impresses the press release and provides proof; listen to two brand new HORSEBACK's tunes below:]

“HORSEBACK have been plying this oddball-but-effective hybrid for a couple of years now,” [wrote Jess Harvell for Pitchfork] “ ‘Half Blood’ is simply the strongest argument yet for just how effective it can be. They’re still probably the only band in the world that makes a writer want to reference both weirder-than-weird black-metal band NECROFROST (those Tolkein orc vocals) and the lonesome cowboy epics of CALEXICO (those mournful guitars and weighted-by-heartbreak drums). Earlier albums, like 2010's ‘The Invisible Mountain’, proved their point with gusto, namely that a band could evoke the sad, wide-open spaces of American roots music while suggesting the screams and riffs of black metal could be equally (and not dissimilarly) affecting. Drunken ballads about losing everything aren’t a million miles from drinking blood and wailing about how you wish everything would just stop already.” [Read the rest of this well-written review here (Pitchfork).]


HORSEBACK is one of Jenks Miller's many projects; he resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he records music (under his own name and as HORSEBACK), and plays guitar in the Americana band MOUNT MORIAH. (He has also played on, produced, recorded and/or mixed a number of records for other bands.) Relapse Records have reissued HORSEBACK's efforts that had previously appeared on smaller labels; ‘The Invisible Mountain’ was rereleased in 2010 and can be listened to in its entirety below and bought through here (BandCamp),


HORSEBACK: The Invisible Mountain


and a double album release, ‘The Gorgon Tongue (Impale Golden Horn/Forbidden Planet)’, in 2011, thus “providing further exposure to Jenks Miller's excellent work in varying realms of loud guitar dronescapes”, as put by Ned Raggett, AllMusic. Listen to the full recording below and buy it through here (BandCamp):


HORSEBACK: The Gorgon Tongue (Impale Golden Horn/Forbidden Planet)


HORSEBACK features: Jenks Miller, and sometimes includes John Crouch, Nick Petersen, Nora Rogers, Rich James, Bradley Cook, Jon Mackey, and others

01 May, 2012

Angelus Apatrida: The Call – new album


Those who find an inexhaustible source of listening pleasure in works of MEGADETH, EXODUS or PANTERA, as well as those who appreciate a heavier take on the classic approach of genre-defining acts such as IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST or METALLICA are, according to Century Media Records, well advised to check out new ANGELUS APATRIDA album ‘The Call’. Released yesterday, April 30th, 2012, ‘The Call’ was recorded in Moita, Portugal at Ultrasound Studio with producer Daniel Cardoso, while the striking artwork was handled by Gustavo Sazes. ANGELUS APATRIDA's new video ‘You Are Next’ was produced with directors Sara Cort and Adriana Lorente.

“The 10 ultra-catchy and dynamic new songs on ‘The Call’ clearly show a matured and more determined entity, sticking to their stylistic guns, but showcasing all the elements of their trademark-sound in a bolder and more irresistible manner. ANGELUS APATRIDA have a huge sense for melody, stirring hooklines, awe-inspiring instrumental skills and most of all, an unmatched understanding for effective and viciously aggressive songwriting.” [impresses the press release]

Originally founded around 2000 in Albacete, Spain, ANGELUS APARTRIDA (a mix of Spanish and Latin language, can be translated into English as “stateless” or “renegade angels”) launched two independent, self-released albums (‘Evil Unleashed’ in 2006 and ‘Give ‘Em War’ in 2007), prior to signing a worldwide deal with Century Media. Their third album, 2010's ‘Clockwork’ entered the official sales charts in Spain at number 44 as well as in Greece where the recording reached position 45. The album's first single, ‘Blast Off’, was backed up by a “very effective and vivid video-clip” which can be seen here (YouTube).

ANGELUS APATRIDA features: Guillermo Izquierdo – guitar and vocals, David G. Álvarez – guitars, José J. Izquierdo – bass and Víctor Valera - drums

ANGELUS APATRIDA – courtesy of Century Media Records


HURT: The Crux – new album


Stream the new HURT album, ‘The Crux’, here at AOL Music. ‘The Crux’ is out now, May 1st, 2012 on Dallas-based independent label Carved Records. The album was produced by HURT guitarist Michael Roberts and the band, and mixed by John Kurzweg; it offers “11 riveting examples of HURT's distinctive mix of sonic impact and subtle dynamics, as manifested in the songs' multi-layered instrumental settings as well as J. Loren's [founder, vocalist and violinist] distinctive violin textures and expressive string arrangements”. If you like what you hear then, buy ‘The Crux’ here (Carved Records), here (Amazon) or via iTunes.

“We wanted this to be a record of extremes,” [offered HURT frontman J. Loren] “We wanted it to be its own musical world that the listener can step into, and then return to again and again, and find something new to discover every time.” [Referring to the band's signing with an independent label he said:] “Being independent again has been incredibly liberating. I know that we’re a hard band to classify or put into an easy genre, but I don’t really care. If you’re going to do something that’s from the heart and from the soul, you can’t betray it for the sake of convenience. You just have to do your best and be as honest as you can, and then hang up your hat for the night, try to get some sleep, and try to be even better the next day.”

HURT was formed in 2000  in rural Virginia by then 15-years old J. Loren; they have ultimately relocated to the American West Coast. They self-released a self-titled debut album in 2000, which was followed by ‘The Consumation’ in 2003 that garnered enough word-of-mouth attention to win them a deal with Capitol Records. HURT issued two albums through Capitol, ‘Vol. 1’ in 2006 and ‘Vol. II’ in 2007. HURT have toured alongside some of rock's biggest names, including STAIND and ALICE IN CHAINS. To date, HURT has sold over a quarter million albums.

HURT features: J. Loren – vocals and violin, Michael Roberts – guitar, Rek Mohr – bass and Victor Ribas - drums