30 July, 2012

Evoken: Atra Mors – new album


Considered one of forefathers of America's death/funeral/doom metal movement, EVOKEN are about to release their fifth full-length ‘Atra Mors’ tomorrow, July 31st, 2012 on Profound Lore Records. Recorded at Sound Spa studios in Edison, New Jersey, with artwork and layout provided by Robert Hoyem, ‘Atra Mors’ (from Latin: black death) marks the official 100th release for Profound Lore Records:

“ ‘Atra Mors’ sees EVOKEN comprise their most ambitious album to date. While still upholding the utterly colossal, apocalyptic, and extraordinary heaviness the band have become synonymous for, ‘Atra Mors’ sees EVOKEN embrace new ground by experimenting a bit more with the use of ambience and atmosphere, deploying a stronger sense of melody (and moments of tranquility) during some of the album’s discourse along with delivering moments that harken back to the ancient days of pure old-school death metal,” [proudly announces the label:]

EVOKEN: An Extrinsic Divide – courtesy of Profound Lore Records

Visit Pitchfork here to hear ‘Descent Into Chaotic Dream’, another track off the recording, and buy ‘Atra Mors’ here (Profound Lore).

Formed in 1992 by guitarist Nick Orlando in Lyndhurst, New Jersey and at the beginning known as “Funereus”, EVOKEN suffered through much lineup changes during their first years; they have released a ‘Shades Of Night Descending’ demo in 1994, which was re-released by Adipocere Records in 1996. ‘Embrace The Emptiness’, EVOKEN debut long-player, featured guitarist and vocalist John Paradiso, guitarist Nick Orlando, bassist Steve Moran, drummer Vince Verkay, keyboardist Dario Derna, and session cellist Charles Lamb:

“… in addition to slumbering tempos underpinned by reverberating drums, evanescent synth orchestrations haunting thundering guitars, and booming growls hurled straight from the deepest, foulest crypt, album standouts like ‘Tragedy Eternal’, ‘Chime The Centuries End’ and ‘Ascend Into The Maelstrom’ also boasted a few rather “energetic” passages and tormented clean baritones mixed in by frontman John Paradiso,” [commented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]


EVOKEN: Embrace The Emptiness


Listen to the record in its colossal re-issued entirety here (BandCamp) or above, courtesy Solitude Productions. ‘Embrace The Emptiness’ was released by Elegy Records in 1998. The group went on to record their second album, ‘Quietus’, which “found the group taking measures to tidy up the frayed edges of earlier productions, somewhat, in order to come up with more focused and condensed funeral doom sludge”, according to Mr. Rivadavia (more here). ‘Quietus’ was released through Avantgarde Music in 2001. As the band was preparing to record their next album, they found themselves a bassist short hence ‘Antithesis Of Light’ was recorded “under somewhat chaotic conditions” – in their own words – with John Paradiso adding bass guitar to his vocal and guitar duties; ‘Antithesis Of Light’ was issued in 2005. In 2006, bassist Craig Pillard joined up, as EVOKEN parted ways with keyboardist Denny Hahn, and in 2007, they signed with Swedish label I Hate Records, through which they issued their next full-length, ‘A Caress Of The Void’, that same year. The album featured new keyboardist Don Zaros:

“… the difference between good and great often lies in the contrasting musical accouterments that the funeral doom purveyors in question so miserly ration throughout, and it’s through these nuances that EVOKEN's veteran experience and songwriting maturity still stand out, transforming and transcending the “extreme for extremity's sake” ethos plied by most rookie competitors into truly memorable songs, capable of eliciting more complex emotions beyond utter, hopeless nihilism (not that there's any lack of that here),” [complimented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]

EVOKEN features: John Paradiso – guitar and vocals, Chris Molinari – guitar, Nick Orlando – guitar, Dave Wagner – bass, Don Zaros – keyboards and Vince Verkay - drums

29 July, 2012

Full Album Stream: Nachtmystium: Silencing Machine – new album


NACHTMYSTIUM, the Chicago-based black metal masters, are to release their sixth full-length, ‘Silencing Machine’, in Europe tomorrow, July 30th, 2012, and in North America on July 31st, 3012 on Metal Blade Records, but you can listen to their “fuckin' black metal record” in full here (Spin) right now. ‘Silencing Machine’ was recorded at Engine Studios with the band's own synths and electronics specialist Sanford Parker. NACHTMYSTIUM are currently busy releasing the “making of the album” videos as well; filmed and edited by Justin Baron, watch Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here (YouTube) and make sure you find Part 4 and 5 once available by yourselves since this blog will not be active during the month of August. Three brand new tracks off the album which begins with an optimistic track called ‘Dawn Over The Ruins Of Jerusalem’, heh, are available for your listening pleasure below (‘Silencing Machine’, ‘Borrowed Hope And Broken Dreams’ and ‘I Wait In Hell’), courtesy the label, where you’ll find a collection of NACHTMYSTIUM's previously released music as well. Do your civic duty and buy ‘Silencing Machine’ here (CM Distro Europe) and here (CM Distro North America):

“NACHTMYSTIUM [have] time and again shown that black metal is a many splendored thing, continuously stretching the walls of the genre to not only make waves, but create an undertow, nearly dragging their competition to drown in the darkened depths. … As for the opening tracks, there’s where you’ll find your trove of tr00ness.  Out of the gate is the onslaught that is ‘Dawn Over The Ruins Of Jerusalem’. Tracks like this - angry, boisterous, and caked in blood - are the bones of the album. Immediately after comes the title track, which just as wonderfully abrasive and venomous. The true gem, though, comes in the form of ‘I Wait In Hell’, a generously blackened post-rock track seething with all the blasphemous goodness (sinfulness?) you’d expect from a track with such a title,” [wrote Kellhammer, MetalSucks – more here:]

NACHTMYSTIUM: Silencing Machine – courtesy of Century Media Records

NACHTMYSTIUM: Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams – courtesy of Century Media

NACHTMYSTIUM is the brainchild of American musician Blake Judd who, along with Pat McCormick, founded the band in 1998. Their first release, 2002's ‘Reign Of The Malicious’, was heavily influenced by second-wave black metal bands such as Norway's DARKTHRONE as was their second album 2004's ‘Demise’, while their consequential releases, 2004's  EP ‘Eulogy IV’ and 2006's ‘Instinct: Decay’, incorporated psychedelic and experimental musical elements that were pioneered by bands like BLACK SABBATH. NACHTMYSTIUM's fourth full-length, released in 2008 on Century Media Records in the U.S.and on Candlelight Records in Europe, entitled ‘Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1’ received overwhelmingly positive feedback from music critics. Some controversy and an EP later (2009's ‘Doomsday Derelicts’), NACHTMYSTIUM released their fifth long-player 2010's ‘Addicts: Black Meddle, Part 2’. The album was was praised by critics with AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia describing it as:

“… another unmitigated triumph for NACHTMYSTIUM, arguably even superior to its wildly acclaimed predecessors, thanks to its collective daring, unprecedented stylistic variety, and, well, big balls!” [Read the rest here]

NACHYMYSTIUM features: Blake Judd - rhythm and lead guitar and vocals, Drew Markuszewski (also of LORD MANTIS' fame) - rhythm and lead guitar and vocals, Will Lindsay – bass, Sanford Parker - synths and electronics and Charlie Fell – drums

NACHTMYSTIUM – courtesy of Century Media Records


28 July, 2012

King Of Asgard: …to North – new album


KING OF ASGARD are heading north of Östergötland with their second recap of past glory; ‘… to North’ is due out on July 27th and 30th in Europe and is set for July 31st, 2012 release in North America on Metal Blade Records. KING OF ASGARD worked on their latest saga at Sonic Train Studios with Andy LaRocque who produced and mastered the recording, along with Olof Berggren:

“ ‘… to North’ takes off pretty much where ‘Fi'mbulvintr’ [2010's album] left off so to say, with a natural development, more varied songs and structures. It’s a development of our sound which will be recognized by old fans as well as bring some new ones to the horde. This time around I’ve been more involved in the writing process along with Karl [Beckman, vocalist and guitarist], which kind of shines through, giving the songs a wider perspective. Expect some very strong songs on ‘… to North’ where epic meets with brutality! The lyrical theme this time is basically in the same vein but has different twists. Not as obvious as before. ‘… to North’ will make The Nine Worlds burn… and Varberg was just left behind,” [spoketh bassist Jonas Albrektsson]

‘… to North’ features appearances by two guest musicians; vocalist Heléne Blad on ‘The Nine Worlds Burn’, and guitarist Jimmy Hedlund on the song ‘Gap Of Ginnungs’. Check out KING OF ASGARD video for ‘The Nine Worlds Burn’, directed by Andreas Edelönn, below, and visit Metal Hammer Germany here to hear ‘Gap Of Ginnungs’. Buy the album here (Metal Blade Records):

KING OF ASGARD: The Nine Worlds Burn – courtesy of Metal Blade Records

Formed in 2008 by singer and guitarist Karl Beckman and drummer Karsten Larsson, the two first approached (musically and lyrically, of course) their Norse heritage in 2009, when they recorded a 7-track demo titled ‘Prince Of Märings’. In 2009, bassist Jonas Albrektsson joined the horde which was in turn spotted by Metal Blade Records. Thirteen songs of “folk based blackened death metal reminding of times of old” were recorded with KING DIAMOND's etc. Andy LaRoque and released in 2010 as KING OF ASGARD's debut album, ‘Fi'mbulwinter’ (which, roughly translated from Norse, heh, means “harsh winter”, a well documented phenomenon up north):

KING OF ASGARD: Einharjar – courtesy of Metal Blade Records

KING OF ASGARD features: Karl Beckman – guitar and vocals, Jonas Albrektsson – bass, Lars G Tängmark – guitar and Karsten Larsson – drums


27 July, 2012

This Is Hell: Acid Rain – new video & Black Mass – full album stream



THIS IS HELL, tireless hardcore warriors from Long Island, New York, have a new video out, directed, shot (“across Europe”) and edited by Jamie Horton. ‘Acid Rain’ is the opening track from THIS IS HELL's latest album, 2011's ‘Black Mass’, issued on Rise Records. ‘Black Mass’ was recorded at Killingsworth Studio in Valley Village, California, with producer Tomas Costanza. You can listen to the full album below, courtesy the label:

“The new album takes the crossover and metal influences from last album [2010's ‘Weight Of The World’] to much greater extremes. The end product was by far the heaviest and thrashiest songs we’ve written and recorded. Lyrically this album touches on issues we haven’t dove into before. Social injustice as a whole is a recurring theme. Persistence and empowerment are familiar themes with us that I’ve revisited, but with an even more aggressive outlook than before,” [explained guitarist Rick Jimenez in an interview with Noisecreep]

Taking their name from an Elvis Costello song, THIS IS HELL formed in 2004 in Long Island, New York. After releasing a self-titled 4-track demo (in support of which the band had played over 200 shows), THIS IS HELL issued a self-titled EP in 2005, followed by full-length titled ‘Sundowning’, released through Trustkill Records in 2006. In 2007, “the band that never stops touring” somehow managed to squeeze two EPs, ‘Cripplers’ and a split with CANCER BATS, in between the gigs. Years of touring inspired THIS IS HELL to write their second full-length, ‘Misfortunes’, released in 2008:

“THIS IS HELL generally keep listeners engaged in areas where most competitors would have them drooling into pillows or tearing their hair out in irritation. OK, so things get progressively less interesting as the album wears on, but ‘Misfortunes’ still averages out well above THIS IS HELL's hapless competition, quality-wise, which bodes well both for hardcore fans and the group's imminent future,” [was of opinion Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]

Hardcore punk gave way to crossover thrash on 2009's EP ‘Warbirds’ (Think Fast! Records), which featured covers and new songs, some of which found their way on THIS IS HELL's following full-length, and the band's debut for Rise Records, 2010's ‘Weight Of The World’.

THIS IS HELL features: Travis Reilly – vocals, Rick Jimenez – guitar & vocals, Pieter van den Berg – bass and Mike Sciulara – drums

THIS IS HELL: Black Mass – courtesy of Rise Records



Zatokrev: Goddamn Lights – new video



Swiss sludge & doom (and much more) metal outfit ZATOKREV will be releasing their third long-player, long-titled ‘The Bat, The Wheel And A Long Road To Nowhere’ on August 13th, 2012 on Candlelight Records. In the meantime, enjoy their Lionel Weitnauer-produced video for the track ‘Goddamn Lights’ off the release, and pre-order the album here (Plastic Head). ‘The Bat, The Wheel And A Long Road To Nowhere’ was recorded with Serge Morattel at the Rec Studio in Geneva, and mixed, mastered and co-produced by Raphaël Bovey (also of KRUGER).

Formed in 2002 in Basel, Switzerland by drummer Silvio Spadino, bassist Marco Grementieri and guitarist and vocalist Frederyk Rotter, ZATOKREV recorded a demo and their debut self-titled album in 2003 in their own rehearsal room, which European release they secured through U.K. label Codebreaker in 2004, followed by North American release via Earache Records. Listen to ‘Zatokrev’ here (BandCamp) or via player available below. Buy here (BandCamp) as well:


ZATOKREV: Zatokrev


Encouraged by positive reception, ZATOKREV followed up with their second album, recorded in 2006 and released in 2007 on Firebox Records and Frederyk Rotter's own label Czar Of Crickets. Visit ZATOKREV's BandCamp page here and listen to the band's take on doom, apocalypse-metal, black metal, sludge and psychedelic rock called ‘Bury The Ashes’ in its entirety, or make use of the player below. Buy ‘Bury The Ashes’ here (BandCamp):


ZATOKREV: Bury The Ashes


ZATOKREV features: Frédéric Hug – drums, Lucas Löw – bass and backing vocals, Julien Duseyau – guitar and Frederyk Rotter – guitar and vocals


26 July, 2012

Testament: Dark Roots Of Earth – new album & Native Blood – new video


Unyielding thrash metal titans TESTAMENT are back; ‘Dark Roots Of Earth’ will be released upon Europe tomorrow, July 27th, 2012, and is bound to conquer North American music charts from July 31st, 2012 on, courtesy the band and Nuclear Blast Records. ‘Dark Roots Of Earth’ was produced, mixed and mastered by Andy Sneap, with special bonus tracks recorded, mixed and mastered by Juan Urteaga. The album's impressive artwork was painted by Eliran Kantor. ‘Dark Roots Of Earth’ comes available as a standard jewelcase, as a deluxe digipak CD/DVD (the CD includes covers of QUEEN, SCORPIONS and IRON MAIDEN songs, while the DVD consists of “making of” the album, breakdown of writing style and process, of working with drummer Gene Hoglan, of an overview of the band existence of over 25 years, and of live footage of classic tracks) and as a double LP. Visit TESTAMENT website to hear 90-seconds samples of the entire album here, download yourselves the track ‘True American Hate’ for free here, watch their Mike Sloat-directed video ‘Native Blood’ below, and then buy the album from Nuclear Blast here (Europe) and here (USA):

TESTAMENT: Native Blood – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

TESTAMENT: True American Hate – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

Surviving lineup changes, label switches and health crises, TESTAMENT formed 29 years ago, in 1983 in Berkeley, California. One of the most popular bands of the 1980s thrash metal scene was conceived by vocalist Steve Souza, guitarists Eric Peterson and Derric Ramirez, bassist Greg Christian, and drummer Louie Clemente. Known as “Legacy” for a couple of years, TESTAMENT replaced Ramirez with guitar wizard Alex Skolnick as well as lost Souza to EXODUS and brought in in his stead Chuck Billy as vocalist, before attracting attention of a record company. The band's debut LP ‘Legacy’ was issued in 1987 through Megaforce Records/Atlantic Records: “Hailed as an instant classic within thrash metal circles,” wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic, “the album's coupling of furious riffs and harmonic sensibility stood second only to METALLICA in controlled power, technical delivery, and sheer confidence.” Next came “every bit as brutally forceful” (as put by Alex Henderson, AllMusic) TESTAMENT's second album ‘The New Order’ in 1988, followed by an “unapologetically abrasive” (Mr. Henderson again) ‘Practice What You Preach’ in 1989. 1990's ‘Souls Of Black’ and 1992's ‘The Ritual’ arrived “by the time grunge had arrived and musical tastes had changed drastically and TESTAMENT were only one of countless casualties whose once highly anticipated albums fell on deaf ears”, as recounted by Eduardo Rivadavia (more here). Skolnick and Clemente left and were replaced by guitarist James Murphy (of DEATH renown) and EXODUS drummer John Tempesta respectively. Their sixth album, ‘Low’, was released in 1994 and “saw the boys from the Bay Area fighting for their lives in the unfriendly surroundings of the alternative nation” (as put by John Franck, AllMusic – more here). Successfully winning the fight, ‘Low’ entered the American albums chart Billboard Top 200 at number 122. Through their own label, Burnt Offerings, TESTAMENT issued their next long-player, 1997's ‘Demonic’, recorded with founding member Derric Ramirez on bass and drummer Gene Hoglan (also of DEATH renown), preceded by compilation album ‘The Best Of Testament’, put forth in 1996 by the band's former label. In 1999 came ‘The Gathering’, another independent release, which gathered mighty talents of vocalist Chuck Billy, guitarists Eric Peterson and James Murphy, bassist Steve DiGiorgio (also of DEATH, CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED etc) and drummer Steve Lombardo (SLAYER, “the human drumming machine himself”):

“Sounding tighter then the previous four releases combined, TESTAMENT has used ‘Demonic’ as the foundation from which they will once again build their metal legacy. The riffs are faster, heavier, and tighter, while the drumming is simple, but at the same time extraordinary (would you expect anything less from Lombardo?). Billy is one of thrash metal's most gifted vocalists. Continuing to expand upon his over the top performance from the last album, Billy demonstrates an aggressive versatility that is unheard of in this genre, as his voice fluctuates from angry to more angry to downright snarling,” [complimented Jason Hundey, AllMusic – more here]

Not long after the release of ‘The Gathering’, dark times fell upon the band; lead guitarist James Murphy was diagnosed with a brain tumor and frontman Chuck Billy was diagnosed with rare type of cancer that affected his lungs and heart. Both were treated successfully and have, thankfully, completely recovered. Reformed, TESTAMENT lineup once again included Alex Skolnick and Steve Souza. Three compilations and a live album, accompanied by DVD (2005's ‘Live In London’) came before TESTAMENT released ‘The Formation Of Damnation’, the first new material album the band recorded since 1999. Featuring vocalist Billy, guitarist Skolnick and Peterson, bassist Greg Christian and drummer Paul Bostaph, the album was issued in 2008 on Nuclear Blast Records:

TESTAMENT: More Than Meets The Eye – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

TESTAMENT: Henchmen Ride – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

TESTAMENT: F.E.A.R. – courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

TESTAMENT features: Chuck Billy – vocals, Eric Peterson – guitar, Alex Scolnick – guitar, Greg Christian – bass and Gene Hoglan – drums


Tankard: A Girl Called Cerveza – new album


TANKARD, the German alcoholic-thrash metal “Kings Of Beer” are just about to celebrate their 30th anniversary with ‘A Girl Called Cerveza’, their fifteenth studio album. Their latest glorification of alcoholic refreshments is due out tomorrow, July 27th, 2012, in Europe and will see its North American release on July 31st, 2012, courtesy Nuclear Blast Records. ‘A Girl Called Cerveza’ was recorded in Studio 23 in Frankfurt, Germany with renowned producer Michael Mainx, while the captivating cover was created by Patrick Strogulski, who is a student of former TANKARD cover artist Sebastian Krüger, we are told. Watch the video for the title-track below, where you’ll also find the preview of the album. Listen to 90-seconds long samples of the whole album here at iTunes, and order ‘A Girl Called Cerveza’ here (Nuclear Blast Europe) and here (Nuclear Blast USA).

Much has changed for TANKARD since 2010; Eduardo Rivadavia has since investigated the band and their achievements for AllMusic (here) where they were once described with a single sentence: “This German speed-metal band's primary theme revolved around extolling the virtues of alcohol”, and in the beginning of 2012 they were picked up by Nuclear Blast Records. Founded in 1982 in Frankfurt, Germany, TANKARD released five long-players through Noise Records (1988's ‘The Morning After’, 1990's ‘The Meaning Of Life’, 1992's ‘Stone Cold Sober’, 1994's ‘Two-Faced’ and 1995's ‘The Tankard’), two albums through Century Media Records (1998's ‘Disco Destroyer’ and 2000's ‘Kings Of Beer’), and five albums on AFM Records (2002's ‘B-Day’, 2003's ‘Beast Of Bourbon’, 2005's ‘The Beauty And The Beer’, 2008's ‘Thirst’ and 2010's ‘Vo(l)ume 14’). Their beefy catalogue also includes two compilations, two DVDs and a live album. The fun-loving band's fourteen album, ‘Vo(l)ume’ 14’, was reviewed by Mr. Rivadavia, AllMusic thusly:

“Heck, even when TANKARD contemplate the thought-provoking notion of traveling back in time (see ‘Time Warp’), their chosen protagonist doesn’t bother with attempting to murder Hitler, foiling the 9/11 terrorist attack, or averting some such other disaster; he just wants to win back his girlfriend, even if it means shooting his numbskull self before he drives her away in the first place. God bless their shaggy heads. By the time TANKARD reveal some genuine concern for the environment (‘Black Plague [BP]’), take Wall Street to task (‘The Agency’), or rebuke sensationalistic news agencies (‘Condemnation’), most listeners will probably be too tipsy to take notice - so bartender, this round’s on us!” [Read the rest here]

TANKARD features: Andreas “Gerre” Geremia – vocals, Andreas Gutjahr – guitar, Frank Thorwarth – bass and Olaf Zissel – drums



23 July, 2012

Slipknot: Antennas To Hell – new compilation album


“We’re banded together in hate,” [explained candidly SLIPKNOT's Joey Jordison] “Sometimes we hate each other, sometimes we hate the world. Sometimes we just hate our own lives. But when we get together, something monstrous happens and we pull this amazing sound out of all that energy. Plus, we believe in world domination. And this is the band that’s going to get us there.” [Added the label, Roadrunner Records:] “Always imitated, never duplicated, there is only one SLIPKNOT. And they’re peerless.”

So, to celebrate 17 years of excellence, SLIPKNOT came up with new compilation album titled ‘Antennas To Hell’, comprised of tracks from across SLIPKNOT's four studio albums as well as remixes and live cuts, packages notes on their career, a DVD of a live show at 2009's Download Festival and a series of video montages (take a peek below). ‘Antennas To Hell’ is out now in the U.K. and will be released tomorrow, July 24th, 2012, in the U.S. on Roadrunner Records.

“Greatest Hits [albums] means one of three things to me,” [told Spin.com Mr. Shawn M. Crahan, also known as Clown]  “Either the band is breaking up, they’re trying to get off their record company, or they’ve become some pathetic infomercial at two in the morning and their label is sucking them dry while a couple of “rock star” actors try to sell their shit when they should be jamming,” [‘Antennas To Hell’ being one of those greatest hits albums, rush over to Spin and read the rest here]

SLIPKNOT: Live at Download Festival 2009 – courtesy of Roadrunner USA


Formed in 1995 in Des Moines, Iowa, SLIPKNOT have thus far released four studio albums, four video albums and two compilations. Globally, the band has notched 11 Platinum albums and 38 Gold albums, as well as some multi-Platinum releases across albums and DVD releases. SLIPKNOT's most recent studio album, 2008's ‘All Hope Is Gone’, debuted at number 1 on Billboard's Top 200 chart, an achievement they have matched in Europe (European Top 100 Albums), Canada (Canadian Albums Charts), Australia (Australian Albums Charts) and New Zealand (New Zealand Albums Chart). The band has been nominated for a Grammy seven times and has won once (‘Before I Forget’). In 2010, SLIPKNOT's founding member bassist Paul Gray (#2) died, age 38.

SLIPKNOT: Iowa (featured tracks) – courtesy of Roadrunner USA

SLIPKNOT: 9.0 Live (featured tracks) – courtesy of Roadrunner USA

SLIPKNOT features: Corey Taylor (#8) – vocals, Mick Thomson (#7) - guitar, Sid Wilson (#0) - DJ, Shawn M. Crahan (#6) –percussions, Joey Jordison (#1) - drums, Chris Fehn (#3) – percussions, Jim Root (#4) – guitar,  Craig Jones (#5) – samples










20 July, 2012

Full Album Stream: A Forest Of Stars: A Shadowplay For Yesterdays – new album


Prophecy Productions is generously streaming the entire new A FOREST OF STARS album ‘A Shadowplay For Yesterdays’ here (Prophecy YouTube channel) -  also available for your comfort below. ‘A Shadowplay For Yesterday’ is out now, July 20th, 2012, in Germany and Austria, and will become available everywhere else on July 23, 2012 – but North America where the release date is set for August 14, 2012, courtesy Prophecy Productions/Lupus Lounge. The album comes available in four different physical editions: as jewelcase CD, as digipak CD with extended 20-page booklet and bonus track, as limited artbook double CD/DVD with bonus track, bonus CD with two cover songs and DVD, and as limited gatefold  double LP with bonus track, 12-page booklet and poster. Do your shopping here (Prophecy online shop). ‘A Shadowplay For Yesterday’s amazing cover art was created by Karolful, which the band matched by equally amazing video ‘Gatherer Of The Pure’, created by Ingram Blakelock and which is available for your viewing pleasure after an introduction by A FOREST OF STARS keyboardist and percussionist, The Gentleman:

“The Gentlemen's Club of A FOREST OF STARS is truly proud to present its new Théâtre Optique (fancy words we’re told, meaning “an animated film”) for your pleasure, as it follows just one possible fate of our protagonist Mr Carrion Crow. Please spare a thought for Mr Ingram Blakelock - the talented director and animator - as he has to re-draw the film frame by frame every time you command the machine to play. Sadly (for him), some of our Victorian technology isn’t as sophisticated as your own. For his continued sake, we hope you enjoy every last second!”



Perhaps spiritually belonging to another era, A FOREST OF STARS nevertheless formed in 2007 in Leeds, England. A progressive black metal assemblage, they debuted with 2008's self-released full-length ‘The Corpse Of Rebirth’ (re-issued a year later by Transcendental Creations) described as:

“… a conceptually unified five-song, hour-long manifestation of savage outbursts, dreamy reveries and every mood in between, topped with occult extrapolations upon the “seasons, celestial bodies, and recreational drug use” for what might even be perceived as eco-friendly “green” black metal…”

by AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia (more here). Next came ‘Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring’ in 2010 on Transcendental Creations. The album was reviewed by Ned Raggett, AllMusic:

“… the appeal of ‘Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring’ lies best in how the band puts the pieces together rather than necessarily making new statements with them; if anything, their slow-burn arrangements are their secret weapon, along with sudden individual moments in them,” [he wrote – more here]

A FOREST OF STARS features: Mister Curse – vocals, Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts - violin, flute and vocals, The Gentleman – keyboards and percussion, Henry Hyde Bronsdon – guitar and vocals, Mr Titus Lungbutter – bass, Mr John “The Resurrectionist” Bishop – drums and percussion, Sir Gastrix Grimshw – guitar and vocals and The Projectionist – phantasmagoria, projections, music videography and photomancy

“The year is 1891. The members of the Gentleman's Club of A FOREST OF STARS, an exclusive brotherhood of English Victorians, consider themselves to be exponents of their glorious and pompous, at times decadent era characterized by extreme opposites. A FOREST OF STARS channel the experiences gained from their numerous meetings hazed by opium and absinthe, occult rites and séances in the form of a previously unheard-of ghostly and hypnotic music, filled with the spirit of the glorious Victorian Age – a harrowing testimony of their many spiritual and sensual excesses:”












18 July, 2012

Hammers Of Misfortune: 17th Street – new video



We live to learn and vice versa and on this glorious day, dear children, we discover another metal sub-genre here (AllMusic), namely “Celtic fantasy metal” through the tune and its video ‘17th Street’, “filmed by Aaron Cobbett on location in San Francisco on the very street for which the song was named” – as revealed to us by Metal Blade Records. ‘17th Street’ is the title track from HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE's fifth studio album, issued through Metal Blade in 2011. ‘17th Street’ and the rest of HOM stuff is still available here (Metal Blade):

“Led by guitarist/lyricist John Cobbett, ‘17th Street’ juggles power metal clichés, classic rock melodies, and doom metal breakdowns with equal aplomb, managing to circumvent any kind of eye rolling through sheer determination and earnestness. … Eclectic? Absolutely, but it never feels contrived, and when all of the disparate parts successfully align, as they do on the breathtaking BIG COUNTRY-meets-IRON MAIDEN-inspired single ‘The Grain’, it’s like randomly spinning the dial on the radio and landing on your favorite song,” [answered all the frequently asked questions James Christopher Monger, AllMusic – read the rest here]

“It’s about loss, and endings,” [Cobbett added his] “The songs each deal with this in one way or another. It could be the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a way of life, one's home or livelihood, or one's innocence. It could be about any number of these things at the same time. It’s not uncommon for me to write lyrics about several different things at the same time. I feel that this makes it easier for the listener to get whatever meaning he or she needs from the song:”

The Grain – courtesy of HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE

Formed in the mid-1990s in San Francisco by guitarist John Cobbett and drummer Chewy Marzolo, HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE were first known as “Unholy Cadaver” and as such they released the band's debut three-track demo titled ‘Demo #1’, while the rest of the material recorded during the band's first years remained unreleased until 2011, when Shadow Kingdom Recordings issued the ‘Unholy Cadaver’ LP. Listen to the track ‘Hammers Of Misfortune’ off the recording below or here (BandCamp):

UNHOLY CADAVER: Hammers Of Misfortune

Known as HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE from 2000 on, the band that included Cobbett, Marzolo as well as bassist and vocalist Janis Tanaka and guitarist Mike Scalzi, recorded the debut album, ‘The Bastard’, on eight-track recorder in their rehearsal space and released it in 2001 on Tumult Records. ‘The Bastard’ was described as “ambitious piece of work” by William York, AllMusic (more here):

You Should Have Slain Me – courtesy of HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE

HOM signed with Cruz Del Sur Music and released their second long-player, ‘The August Engine’, in 2003. The album featured guest musicians vocalist Lorraine Rath, violinist Kris Force and cellist Sitara Kapoor on the track ‘Rainfall’, and was referred to as “quirky and original enough” by Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic (more here):

Doomed Parade – courtesy of HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE

After ‘The August Engine’, bassist and vocalist Tanaka left the band (to tour the world with pop star P!NK), and was replaced by Sigrid Sheie (keyboards, flute and backing vocals) and bassist Jamie Myers. This lineup recorded ‘The Locust Years’, which was released in 2006:

“ ‘The Locust Years’ is the third musical opus released by the fiercely self-sufficient group, and, although it’s almost surely their most challenging upon first listen, it still doesn’t take too long to fall in love with its idiosyncratic blend of twin guitar wizardry, neo-classical metal orchestrations, and trademark alternating of male and female vocals,” [complimented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here:]

Trot Out The Dead – courtesy of HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE

Following, guitarist Scalzi was replaced by Patrick Goodwin, and Jesse Quattro replaced Myers on vocals while bassist Ron Nichols filled in on four strings. This new lineup recorded the double album ‘Fields / Church Of Broken Glass’ which was issued on Profound Lore Records in 2008. Alas, Quattro, Nichols and Goodwin parted ways with the band in 2010, the year HOM signed with Metal Blade Records. The label has since re-issued HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE's entire album catalog.

HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE features: John Cobbett – guitar, Joe Hutton -  lead vocals, Leila Abdul-Rauf – guitar and vocals, Sigrid Sheie - piano, keyboards and backing vocals, Max Barnett - bass and Chewy Marzolo – drums