30 October, 2012

Full Album Stream: Early Graves: Red Horse – new album



Brooklyn Vegan is streaming the new EARLY GRAVES album ‘Red Horse’ right here right now. The album, the band's first since the tragic death of founding member singer Makh Daniels two years ago, is out now, October 30th, 2012 through No Sleep Records. EARLY GRAVES recorded the follow up to 2010's ‘Goner’ with their new singer John Strachan at Louder Studios with producer Tim Green:

“After enduring every shitstorm the proverbial “universe” can throw at us for last few years, we are extremely excited to be releasing our new batch of burners on No Sleep Records,” [said guitarist Chris Brock] “No Sleep Records may not seem like a likely landing spot for a band like us, but No Sleep release music that they care about and want to work with, which is something we can definitely get behind. I won’t bore with you with a “our new album sounds like mixed with this mixed with that” or “it’s heavier, faster, more melodic” bullshit, but I will say that we are happy to be releasing it with a label that likes it as much as we do.”

There you go then; listen to it and if you like what you hear, buy the record here (No Sleep Records).


EARLY GRAVES was started by vocalist Makh Daniels, guitarist Chris Brock, bassist Tyler Jensen, and drummer Dan Sneddon in San Francisco in 2007. In 2008, the group headed to Nashville, Tennessee to record their debut album with producer and former TODAY IS THE DAY member Steve Austin. ‘We: The Guillotine’ was released on Metal Blade imprint Ironclad the same year. Listen to full recording here (BandCamp) or below:


EARLY GRAVES: We: The Guillotine


In 2010 EARLY GRAVES returned with ‘Goner’. The album was recorded at Louder Studios with Tim Green:

“The result is a ragged, pissed off amalgamation of heavy self-medication, year long blackouts and all the depression of an a thousand yard stare,” [explained vocalist Makh Daniels upon its release:] “The last couple years have been kinda rough for most of us, you hit times in your life when shit is basically spiraling out of control and you try to reign it in but it just doesn’t ever seem to work so you drink it away. Basically you dig yourself further in the hole because you don’t know any other way. A lot of the lyrics, while not being a concept record, have a lot of the same themes of loneliness and depression and substance abuse running through each song. I think us as a band getting together and writing these songs and writing these lyrics got out a lot of bad dark shit that has been under the surface for all of us. Like an exorcism of sorts. I hope maybe this record will connect with some people who are goin’ through the same kinda shit.”

“Of course, albums this unapologetically vicious aren’t everyone's cup of tea; ‘Goner’ isn’t for those who only like their metal with a lot of melody and plenty of nuance, but it’s an exciting, if predictable, listen if one is in the mood for some truly bombastic sensory assault,” [added Alex Henderson, AllMusic – read the rest here as you listen to the recording here (BandCamp) or below:]




A tragedy struck during the band's North American tour with THE FUNERAL PYRE when the band's van lost control and crashed in Oregon; Makh Daniels was sadly pronounced dead at the scene:

“By many accounts, “EARLY GRAVES' Makh Daniels was a passionate, kind man, as well as a ferocious vocalist who lived for the road. That he died in a van accident a little more than two years ago while on tour with the FUNERAL PYRE is just a reminder that sometimes the best die young. But to live as exuberantly as the departed did is a powerful tribute, and the members of the metal band EARLY GRAVES have continued on with FUNERAL PYRE vocalist John Strachan stepping in for Daniels on tour - and, now, on their third album, ‘Red Horse’. According to Strachan, ‘Pure Hell’ [see below] is “a song dedicated to Makh; he always had that pure hell back patch. So I wrote this for him and the way he lived.” [From NPR Music]

EARLY GRAVES features: Chris Brock – vocals and guitar, Dan Sneddon – drums, Tyler Jensen – guitar, Matt O’Brien – bass and John Strachan – vocals



26 October, 2012

Machine Head: Imperium – new video & Machine Fucking Head Live – new live album

Metal establishment known as MACHINE HEAD will be releasing their second live effort, ‘Machine Fucking Head Live’, on November 13th, 2012 via Roadrunner Records. But before you rush to pre-order the two-CD set here and the deluxe digital edition with four bonus tracks here (Roadrunner Records store), make use of a preview available to you above in form of ‘Imperium’ video. ‘Machine Fucking Head Live’ was recorded at various tour stops across the globe last year. It includes songs from throughout the band's expansive catalog, including crowd favorites like ‘Imperium’, ‘Aesthetics Of Hate’, ‘Locust’, ‘Ten Ton Hammer’, ‘This Is the End’ and ‘Halo’. It was mixed and mastered at Trident Studios in Pacheco, California by Juan Urteaga and the group's co-founder, guitarist and vocalist Robb Flynn:
MACHINE HEAD's studio albums rule,” [expressed an opinion Phil Freeman who rules the Roadrunner Records site:] We all know this. But honestly, you’ve got to experience this band's music in the live setting. MACHINE HEAD has spent nearly two full decades establishing itself as one of the best live acts in the hard rock and metal world, bringing venues and crowds to their knees night after night, for years at a stretch. Few, if any, of their peers can deliver the type of sweat-soaked, deafening and totally punishing live sets that the band delivers with near-religious fervor, in their native U.S. and across the globe.”
But, before ‘Machine Fucking Head Live’ there was ‘Unto The Locust’; MACHINE HEAD's highly anticipated seventh LP was released in September 2011 on Roadrunner Records. The album, produced by MACHINE HEAD's vocalist and guitarist Robb Flynn at Jingletown Studios, had charted outstandingly upon its release, debuting at position number 5 on the German Albums Chart and climbing up to position number 22 on the Billboard Top 200. The group has released a video for ‘Locust’, directed by Mike Sloat and worked on by a team of veteran Hollywood CGI artists and monster makers, including album art designer Paul Gerrard, available below:
“The first thing you’ll discover about the group's seventh full-length studio effort overall is that it is comprised of only seven tracks. However, time-wise, it all adds up, as the majority of the tunes stretch past either the six-minute or seven-minute mark. And something else the listener will discover quickly after sampling a few tunes on ‘Unto The Locust’ is that Robb Flynn and company have hit upon a formula that they follow throughout, save for one song (‘Pearls Before The Swine’) - start off mellow, then bludgeon the listener with full-on metal fury. … Still, it can’t be overlooked that 17 years after the release of their debut album (1994's ‘Burn My Eyes’), MACHINE HEAD is still a force in modern heavy metal, as exemplified by ‘Unto The Locust’,” [wrote Greg Prato, AllMusic – more here]

MACHINE HEAD was formed in 1992 in Oakland, California by Robb Flynn, Adam Duce, Logan Mader and Chris Kontos. The band's debut album and their Roadrunner debut, 1994's ‘Burn My Eyes’ (released to a massive European acclaim), was said to “successfully bridge the gap between second-generation Bay Area thrash (represented by TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL, etc.) and the modern-day PANTERA school of hard knocks”. The record sold over 500,000 copies and took the band on a massive international tour that lasted almost two years.Drummer Kontos, who left to join TESTAMENT, was replaced by Dave McClain on 1997's ‘The More Things Change’. The album debuted at number 138 on American albums chart Billboard 200. MACHINE HEAD's next effort was Ross Robinson-produced 1999's ‘The Burning Red’, featuring lead guitarist Ahrue Luster; the album charted even higher than its predecessor, reaching position number 12 on the Finnish Albums Charts, position number 13 on UK Album Chart and debuting at number 88 on the Billboard Top 200. Next came ‘Supercharger’ in 2001; deemed a disappointment by some critics, the album would go on to sell an impressive 250,000 copies worldwide. In 2002, Ahrue Luster left the band and was replaced by Phil Demmel. ‘Through The Ashes Of Empires’ came out in 2003 in Europe and Australia, and only a year latter in the USA, again debuting at number 88 on the Billboard 200. MACHINE HEAD's sixth album, ‘The Blackening’, was released in 2007 and had quickly became the group's highest charting release at number 54 (Billboard Top 200), selling 16,000 units in its first week. The album's first single, ‘Aesthetics Of Hate’, received a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Metal Performance”:
“[‘The Blackening’] is an over-the-top rage and pummelfest with all the qualities that earned the group its enormous fan base by touring and recording. The record starts out unlikely enough, and gladly enough, with a left-of-center call to arms to the youth of this nation to not accept blindly the words (and threats) of “patriotic brutes”. It calls for rage with triple-timed slamming beats and blistering lead guitar breaks, as the piece alternates between death metal, industrial metal, thrash and prog. It blends seamlessly. At ten-and-half minutes for an opening cut, one can tell this is no original heavy metal record,” [recommended Thom Jurek, AllMusic – more here]

MACHINE HEAD features: Robb Flynn - lead vocals and guitar, Adam Duce – bass and vocals, Dave McClain – drums and Phil Demmel - lead guitar


Rwake: It Was Beautiful But Now It’s Sour – new video & Rest – full album stream


Warning: The following 12 minute short film features slow motion close-ups of actual pig fetuses being annihilated by a variety of implements!



“[Explained himself vocalist C.T.:] Casper [Haugegaard, Danish horror aficionado] came to us about a year ago with this idea. He said he had “certain” subject matter he knew he had to film and that it would fit to our music perfectly. He probably knew no other band in its right mind who would agree to this footage and believe me the original test shootings he sent were way sicker. This fits RWAKE perfectly and we are honored to have such an artist like this think of us in the way that it inspires him to make such a beautifully, disturbing short film accompanied to our music.”

‘It Was Beautiful But Now It’s Sour’ is one of six critically acclaimed tunes off RWAKE's latest recording ‘Rest’. Follow the band's example and fit ‘Rest’ into your busy schedules  (“'cause in Arkansas that’s all you have… time”) and  listen to the album here (BandCamp) or via player available to you below. While at it, read Ned Raggett's review here (AllMusic). ‘Rest’, “a perpetually evolving, deeply emotional set of missives heralding the end of times”, can be bought here (Relapse Records) or through here (RWAKE store):




Originally called “Wake”, the southern sludge metal group (often caught sympathizing with doom and progressive metal) formed in 1996 in Little Rock, Arkansas:

“RWAKE started out as a four brothers jamming to kill time, ‘cause in Arkansas that’s all you have… time. And in time those brothers were joined by other brothers (and a sister) and recorded some tracks in '97.”

Their first proper demo entitled ‘Xenoglossalgia: Absence Due To Projection’ was released in 1999, the same year RWAKE recorded a full-length album which, “for reasons buried by the sands of time”, was never released. Three years later Relapse Records issued ‘Hell Is A Door To The Sun’, “less a record than an hour-long summoning of personal demons and primal fury” as explained by the band. The album was re-released in 2011 and can be streamed, as well as purchased, in full here (BandCamp) or below:

“[The record] ultimately resembles a promising but still rather rough sketch of the superior design eventually rendered for the band's subsequent effort. Hence, it’s not recommended as a first-time taste of RWAKE, but it’s still likely to appease devotees who were converted by their later efforts,” [commented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here:]


RWAKE: Hell Is A Door To The Sun


In 2004, RWAKE entered Volume Studios with producer Sanford Parker to record the album ‘If You Walk Before You Crawl You Crawl Before You Die’, released by At A Loss Records:

“And for all these ready comparisons to other bands [CROWBAR, EYEHATEGOD, ISIS, NEUROSIS, MASTODON…], the fact is RWAKE's testing ground is vast enough to let their creativity roam nearly without boundaries, discovering untapped wonders all their own in the process. The closing, two-part title track (two minutes of acoustic beauty followed by nine of bludgeoning ferocity) exemplifies this freedom, and along with the remaining material on hand, makes for a very impressive release,” [commended the record Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]

In 2006, the group signed with Relapse Records and shortly after revisited Volume Studios “to lay that material to tape”; as a result, 2007's ‘Voices Of Omens’ would hit the listener “below the bible-belt with thick, tar-black riffing, vicious male and female howls and leads so sweet you’d think they’re from Georgia”. Understand by visiting RWAKE's BandCamp page here for full album stream (also available below):

“But what truly separates RWAKE from most all of their like-minded contemporaries, is their self-effacing obsession with trailer-trash culture (generally realized via amusing snatches of TV and movie dialog), and a unique talent for weaving positively sublime melodies into their otherwise punishing musical bulk - like gold stitching onto a two-ton rhino's pelt! That and the downright flashiest, shred-guitar solos to be found anywhere within their aesthetic milieu, which are delivered with unashamed heroics by the cryptically named Gravy [guitarist] (that’s right, his handle is Gravy),” [continued to cheer – and rightly so – Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – read more here:]


RWAKE: Voices Of Omens


RWAKE features: C.T. – vocals, Gravy – guitarist, Kiffin – guitar, Reid Raley – bass, Jeff Morgan – drums and B. – synthesizer and vocals



23 October, 2012

Full Album Stream: A Life Once Lost: Ecstatic Trance – new album


Already out in North America with international release date set for November 16th, 2012, visit BandCamp here to enjoy A LIFE ONCE LOST's “angular, furious, forward-thinking, and totally trippy” new album ‘Ecstatic Trance’. The album was recorded at Planet Red studios in Richmond, Virginia with producer Andreas Magnusson, while its artwork was painted by Brian Baker. ‘Ecstatic Trance’ awaits your order/pre-order here (Season Of Mist):
“A band that has sold tens of thousands of albums and may boast millions of plays of their songs on the internet like A LIFE ONCE LOST could easily try to take the easy option and repeat their successful formula. Yet [such] lack of creativity is usually just a recipe for losing the interest of followers, while not gaining new ones. With sixth album ‘Ecstatic Trance’, the American band dare to take a giant step in their continuous evolution. This leads A LIFE ONCE LOST out of yesterday's metalcore box into a new disturbing vision of sinister coldness founded on huge, jagged riffs and churning, syncopated rhythms, which are contrasted by emotive guitars, explosive vocals and capturing melodies,” [instructs the press release:]

A LIFE ONCE LOST was formed in 1999 on-the-forward-edge-of-modern-metal-where-progression-and-innovation-collide-with-tradition (Philadelphia suburbs) by guitarist Doug Sabolick and vocalist Bob Meadows. Their high-impact-wall-of-sound-combining-dissonant-modern-aggression-with-the-hallmarks-of-traditional-metal (proper album) called ‘Open Your Mouth For The Speechless… In Case Of Those Appointed To Die’ was delivered first in 2000 and reissued in 2004 through Robotic Empire Records. The band followed up with an EP ‘The Fourth Plague: Flies’, and second LP, ‘A Great Artist’, in 2003, which they released via their new label Ferret Music. A LIFE ONCE LOST's 2005's album ‘Hunter’ was described as “a decent example of the hammer-to-the-skull aesthetic” by Alex Henderson, AllMusic (read more here), while Greg Prato, also AllMusic, recommended their 2007's full-length, ‘Iron Gag’, to fans of the power metal genre, finding it full of “Dimebag Darrelll-esque guitar heroics and Phil Anselmo-style manly man vocals” (more here).

A LIFE ONCE LOST features: Robert Meadows – vocals, Douglas Sabolick – guitar and Jordan Crouse - drums

21 October, 2012

Pig Destroyer: Book Burner – new album & The Diplomat – new video


If feeling optimistic of late, do visit Relapse Records' BandCamp here and get your hopes dashed by PIG DESTROYER. They have returned; their long-awaited LP called ‘Book Burner’ is due tomorrow, October 22nd, 2012 in North America and October 29th, 2012 internationally, courtesy Relapse Records who state:
“ ‘Book Burner’ is a resounding statement of championship, as every element of PIG DESTROYER towers above their closest peers - a 32 minute, 19 song knockout punch of cerebral viciousness. ‘Book Burner’ is the finest work of extreme music's best band. Scott Hull's guitar heroics sound like a mutant double speed hybrid of SLAYER and the MELVINS jacked up on amphetamines, new skinsman Adam Jarvis is the pinnacle of inhuman drumming, Blake Harrison delivers layer upon layer of suffocating atmosphere and J.R. Hayes remains the poet laureate of extreme metal.”
After five long years, during which they were profoundly missed, extreme sound nihilists, PIG DESTROYER, have stepped outside their comfort zone of wasting time and pig-destroying and recorded the said album at guitarist Scott Hull's Visceral Sound Studios in Alexandria, Virginia. The result is available on multiple formats including CD, double deluxe CD, LP, double deluxe LP, cassette and digital. The deluxe editions will each contain a bonus disc of punk covers as well as a short story titled “The Atheist”, written by frontman J.R. Hayes.  “The Atheist” is a post-apocalyptic tale about a decaying world taken over by the violence of religion. All the editions are to be ordered/pre-ordered here (Relapse Records). Enjoy PIG DESTROYER's Phil Mucci-directed, Noisey-premiered video, ‘The Diplomat’, below. 

PIG DESTROYER was formed in 1997 by vocalist J.R. Hayes and guitarist Scott Hull in Virginia, USA. Their first exertion of utterly destructive grindcore came quickly in form of their self-titled demo, followed by a PIG DESTROYER/ORCHID split 7”. Debut full-length, 1998's ‘Explosions In The Ward 6’, was succeeded by Relapse Records' ‘38 Counts Of Battery’, which contained the remastered ‘Explosions In Ward 6’ album and tracks from PIG DESTROYER's split with ISIS. Listen to and buy the compilation album here (BandCamp) – also available for listening below:
PIG DESTROYER: 38 Counts Of Battery
PIG DESTROYER took listeners on disturbing, lyrics-wise, and relentlessly fast, music-wise, journey with their 2001 album, ‘Prowler In The Yard’. Described as “impressive release” by William York, AllMusic (more here), buy the ravenous wild beast here (BandCamp) and listen to it below, courtesy Relapse Records:

PIG DESTROYER: Prowler In The Yard

In 2004 came PIG DESTROYER's next onslaught of metal, grind, thrash and punk rock, 21-tracks, 32-minute long ‘Terrifyer’. The band's best praised music to date was issued accompanied by the 37-minute audio DVD presentation called ‘Natasha’, mixed in “glorious” 5.1 surround sound. Again, listen to and buy the recording here (BandCamp) – also available for listening below:

On 2007's ‘Phantom Limb’ PIG DESTROYER delivered another fourteen “loathsome, frightening images of pitch-black self-hatred and the frailty of the human experience”. Get viciously assaulted by them here (BandCamp), or below:

Relapse Records issued the before-mentioned track ‘Natasha’ as an EP in 2008. This surprising chapter in PIG DESTROYER's otherwise insanely fast catalog, the “never-ending sonic wave of drones, feedback, silence, slow riffing, etc.” – as described by Greg Prato, AllMusic (more here), can be heard and bought here (BandCamp) – and listened to below:

PIG DESTROYER features: J.R Hayes- vocals, Scott Hull – guitar, Adam Jarvis - drums and Blake Harrison – electronics (pan flute)

19 October, 2012

Insomnium: One For Sorrow – new video



Finland's champions of pain, INSOMNIUM, have released a new performance clip filmed at Wacken Open Air and Tuska Open Air festivals this past summer. ‘One For Sorrow’, the video, has premiered on Noisecreep. The tune itself comes from INSOMNIUM's latest same-titled recording you, most spirited visitor, should read all about here on Noise & Stuff, where you’ll find four additional songs from INSOMNIUM's latest CD and their two previously released videos, ‘Through The Shadows’ and ‘Regain The Fire’. Furthermore, two full INSOMNIUM albums can be streamed via the aforementioned post; 2006's ‘Above The Weeping World’ and 2009's ‘Across The Dark’. ‘One For Sorrow’, the album, was released in October 2011 on Century Media and can be bought here (CM Distro Europe), here (CM Distro USA) and through iTunes and Amazon:

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

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

18 October, 2012

Enslaved: Thoughts Like Hammers – new video

ENSLAVED, one of the most dependable components in extreme metal's indestructible backbone, have, luckily for us, released a new, Jerome Siegelaer-directed video. They have conquered the world with their latest album, ‘RIITIIR’, issued in Europe in September 2012 and in North America in October 2012 on Nuclear Blast, and will surely convince those few undecided left to their cause with their new visuals (or will at least help relieve those of their excessive bodily fluid). The album that caused The Obelisk's H.P. Taskmaster to write 3,400-word review, as well as being ENSLAVED's longest album to date, was recorded in Bergen, Norway at Duper Studios, Earshot Studios, Solslottet Studios, and Peersonal Sound. ‘RIITIIR’ was mixed by Jens Bogren and mastered by Tony Lindgren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden. The team of producers includes Ivar Bjørnson, Grutle Kjellson, Herbrand Larsen, and Iver Sandøy, while the album's artwork was created by Norwegian artist Truls Espedal. ‘RIITIIR’ should be acquired  here (ENSLAVED official site):
“For a band that went from a gnarly black metal band writing songs about Vikings to a band writing black metal songs about Vikings but really digging shoegaze and prog, they’re stretching out even more than usual. It’s probably their proggiest album in addition to being their least-metal in spots. Then again, it’s got some uncharacteristically raw viciousness for brief stretches of time. ‘RIITIIR’ segues so efficiently from snarling and personal to ethereal and all-encompassing that the record's scope seems full and endless. There are few bands that sound as fully in control of everything that exists than ENSLAVED, and how in the fuck am I supposed to sum up Everything?” [‘RIITIIR’ overwhelmed MetalSucks' Sammy O’Hagar – more here]

Some of you may even remember ENSLAVED's prototypical Norwegian black metal beginnings back in 1991, when guitarist and keyboardist Ivar Bjørnson and vocalist and bassist Grutle Kjellson started the band in Sveio, Norway. Two demos and an EP preceded ENSLAVED's debut studio album ‘Vikingligr Veldi’, featuring drummer Trym Torson, that was followed quickly by ‘Frost’ on which Grutle Kjellson led the band towards Viking metal with “plenty of throat splitting call-outs to various Norse gods and apocalyptic battle descriptions”, as put by Jason Anderson, AllMusic (more here). ENSLAVED's third LP, 1997's ‘Eld’, was recorded with Harald Helgeson behind the drum kit, as 1998's ‘Blodhemn’ introduced drummer Dirge Rep (Per Husebø) and guitarist Richard Kronheim. If we are to believe respected reviewer Eduardo Rivadavia (of AllMusic renown) it was the involvement of respected producer Peter Tägtgren (HYPOCRISY and PAIN) that made the band sound Swedish (shorter songs and cleaner, more compressed sound) on their fourth album (more here). ENSLAVED first incorporated progressive metal elements into their unique brand of Scandinavian black metal on 2000's album ‘Mardraum – Beyond The Within’, a trend they continued on ‘Monumension’, released a year later:
“ ‘Monumension’ is a truly daring album, one that embarks on a refreshingly original journey through grand, dignified metal passages, exceeding many expectations. Blastbeat-worshipping purists may not agree, but to close one's mind to the dark atmospheres of ‘Monumension’ is to overlook a bold step forward for the Viking/black metal genre,” [praised the second recording featuring guitarist Richard Kronheim John Serba, AllMusic – more here]
Arve Idsal took up guitar on ENSLAVED's last album issued through Osmose Productions, 2003's ‘Below The Lights’, and Cato Bekkevold replaced Dirge Rep on drums on the band's consequent 2004's ‘Isa’, described as “a tour de force by any definition” by Mr. Rivadavia, AllMusic (more here). In 2006 the band came up with ‘Ruun’, their second Candlelight Records release and the second album to feature keyboardist and vocalist Herbrand Larsen; ‘Ruun’ was awarded with 2006's Spellman award (Norway's Grammy) for best achievement in the metal genre. With their tenth album, 2008's ‘Vertebrae’, which followed through Indie Recordings in Europe and Nuclear Blast in the U.S., ENSLAVED continued to blow away the listening public and music critics alike; the recording was described as “yet another spectacle of imagination and quality control” by Eduardo Rivadavia (more here). 2010's ‘Axioma Ethica Odini’ saw the band “reconnecting with metallic extremity on a scale arguably not heard since 2003's ‘Below The Lights’”, according to the aforementioned critic:
“In other words, the “progressive” label still looms tall among the top three or four genre descriptions applicable to ENSLAVED's ever-complex and unpredictable sound (psychedelics not so much this time around), and the fact that black metal does too is all that longtime acolytes could ask from a band honorable enough to hang onto their musical roots while constantly intriguing and captivating them with new experiments,” [more here]

ENSLAVED features: Ivar Bjørnson – guitar and keyboards, Grutle Kjellson – vocals and bass, Ice Dale – guitar, Herbrand Larsen – keyboards and vocals and Cato Bekkevold – drums


12 October, 2012

Yakuza: Beyul – new album


The “makers of true “world” music”, the band that “doesn’t really sound like anything else in metal, or anything else, period” but “a little like a very heavy bar band”, those who know how to “bend what momentarily felt familiar into a wormhole of alien intrigue”, “a metal band by association/a jazz band with metal influences” (according to here and here at least), YAKUZA, have their new album ‘Beyul’ streamed in full here at Brooklyn Vegan. They describe themselves as an avant-garde metal band, their label, Profound Lore Records, adds “jazz-influenced progressive metal” definition, their album was recorded with Stanford Parker and it awaits you here (Profound Lore store). ‘Beyul’ is due October 16th, 2012:
“With ‘Beyul’ YAKUZA have followed-up ‘Of Seismic Consequence’ [2010 album] with another storming and moving triumph that will bring even more recognition and respect to YAKZUA, the recognition they should have been getting since the beginning of their career. Led once again by renaissance musician and band vocalist and saxophone player Bruce Lamont, ‘Beyul’ continues to see YAKUZA's revolutionary style that they’ve always known to carry come to the fore. While at the same time the band taking it to the next level with a stronger sense of straightforward more-accessible songwriting and melody that finds its way within the storming chaos, which has only heightened the YAKUZA listening experience that much more,” [recommends the label]

Formed by guitarist Eric Plonka in 1999 in Chicago, who, along with drummer Jim Staffel, added bassist Eric Clark to the YAKUZA lineup through an add he had put out and had answered an add placed in local newspaper by vocalist and saxophonist Bruce Lamont, the band released their first album, ‘Amount To Nothing’, in 2000 through independent label Product del Diablo. The album that was met with much critical praise, brought about a contract with Century Media Records on which YAKUZA released their second full-length album, 2002's ‘Way Of The Dead’. The album closed off with the 43-minute instrumental track, ‘01000011110011’,  yet it was Bruce Lamont's vocal capabilities that left a mark on William York, AllMusic:
“Through much of the album, Bruce Lamont's strained vocals give the impression that he is suffering some sort of paranoia-induced anxiety attack, but his semi-shouted vocals still carry a surprising amount of melody, which is welcome considering how many bands in this style try to get by on shouting alone; that said, his vocals are still unusual and may be an acquired taste,” [more here]
YAKUZA's come back album, 2006's ‘Samsara’, was issued through Prosthetic Records as would be its follower, 2007's ‘Transmutations’, featuring guitarist Matt McClelland and bassist John E. Bohmer. Once again produced by Stanford Parker, ‘Of Seismic Consequence’ followed in 2010 on Profound Lore Records; YAKUZA's fifth LP was awarded with 4 1/2 rating (out of 5) by Allmusic whose Phil Freeman wrote:
“When the album concludes with the slowly building ‘Deluge’ the ultimate impression is of a band that’s finally found its voice and is ready to take listeners on a journey that mirrors the human mind - frequently introspective, but just as frequently given to flashes of blind fury,” [more here]
Courtesy the label, listen to the full ‘Of Seismic Consequence’ here (BandCamp) or via the embed below:

YAKUZA: Of Seismic Consequence

YAKUZA features: James Staffel – drums, Bruce Lamont – vocals and saxophone, Matt McClelland – guitar and vocals, Ivan Cruz - bass

07 October, 2012

Fozzy: Sandpaper – new video



“Jericho [Chris, vocalist] mentioned that this was FOZZY's ‘Black Album’,” [argues David Jeffries in his review of FOZZY's August 2012 release ‘Sin And Bones’] “throwing some metal fans into a message-board tizzy because that 1991 masterpiece is really called METALLICA, but since MASTODON went astral, Dio passed, and GHOST are just so mysterious, FOZZY serve a purpose, getting metal fans to that Frank Franzetta [American artist] place in a riff or two, while offering some modern twists that can be taken as fun, shameless, or both.” [More here]

‘Sandpaper’ comes off the WWE wrestler Chris Jericho-fronted, Century Media-released FOZZY's fifth album ‘Sin And Bones’, featuring guest vocalist M. Shadows (AVENGED SEVENFOLD). The album, produced by guitarist Rich Ward, debuted on the Billboard's Top 200 albums chart at number 143 and had conquered Billboard's Heatseekers chart, marking best-selling first week ever for the band. Listen to another new FOZZY tune, ‘Spider In My Mouth’, here (SoundCloud) and, captivated, buy your own copy of ‘Sin And Bones’ here (CM Distro Europe) or here (CM Distro USA).


It’s a rather well known facts that FOZZY is a legendary American metal band led by singer Moongoose McQueen who, while trying to make it big in Japan for twenty years, had their material stolen by the likes of SCORPIONS and OZZY OSBOURNE. It’s also true that heavy metal doesn’t get much bigger than FOZZY.

Started by Chris Jericho and STUCK MOJO's guitarist Rich Ward in 1999, FOZZY's self-titled debut studio album came out in 2000 on Palm Pictures and Megaforce Records: “Considering that FOZZY is in reality a rap-metal band fronted by a professional wrestler, the album is surprisingly not bad,” commented the cover (DIO, TWISTED SISTER, IRON MAIDEN…) album Steve Huey, AllMusic (more here). The band's next similar feat was called ‘Happenstance’; it included original material as well as covers and was issued in 2002 through Megaforce Records. “There’s no denying that the group has grown into a powerful metal band in the style of BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, with extra added elements of '80s-era heavy metal,” wrote Greg Prato upon FOZZY's releasing their third longplayer, ‘All That Remains’, in 2005 (more here). The band's fourth studio album, 2010's ‘Chasing The Grail’, debuted at number 6 on the USA's Billboard Heatseeker's chart. Issued through Riot Entertainment, the album was reviewed by James Christopher Monger, AllMusic as follows:

“What started out as a hobby/promotional vehicle for its formidable frontman has manifested itself into a streamlined juggernaut of chunky, unpretentious, old-school metal that measures melody and brutality with equal amounts of affection. Between Ward's tasteful, bottom-heavy riffing and Jericho's truly impressive pipes, FOZZY have crafted another solid collection that successfully bridges the gaps between GODSMACK, the SCORPIONS, and BLACK SABBATH,” [more here]

FOZZY features: Chris Jericho – vocals, Rich Ward – guitar and vocals, Frank Fontsere (also of STUCK MOJO) – drums, Paul Di Leo (also of ADRENALINE MOB) – bass and Billy Grey – guitar



05 October, 2012

Trepalium: Heic Noenum Pax – new video & H. N. P. – full album stream



Progressif, as well as death & groove metallers', TREPALIUM, new video was directed by Guillaume Jolly. The tune itself is the opening track from TREPALIUM's nouvel Thibault Chaumont-produced album ‘H. N. P.’, released in June 2012 through Klonosphere Records and Season Of Mist. The album, along with splendid garments including TREPALIUM sweat zippé, can be purchased here (TREPALIUM official site). The band has also uploaded the entire album onto YouTube; you can enjoy almost all of it below - two missing tracks, ‘Prescription Of Crisis’ and ‘Raining Past’, can be found here and here respectively (YouTube).


Named after an ancient torture device and reportedly able to crush bones with their technical, multi-faceted yet wrenching brand of metal, TREPALIUM formed in 2001 in Poitou-Charentes, France. Following, they released two demos, 2002's ‘Psychic Storm’ and 2003's ‘Pain's Threshold’, before turning to GOJIRA's Joe Duplantier to produce their debut full-length 2004's ‘Through The Absurd’. As was the case with their debut, 2006's ‘Alchemik Clockwork Of Disorder’ was issued through Holy Records. In 2009 TREPALIUM signed with Season Of Mist through which they released their much praised third album ‘XIII’.

TREPALIUM features: Harun Demiraslan – guitar and keyboard, Nicolas Amosse – guitar, Cédric Punda (“KK”) – vocals, Sylvain Bouvier – drums and Ludovic Chauveau - bass










04 October, 2012

Full Album Stream: Converge: All We Love We Leave Behind – new album



Boston's most illustrious masters of heavy music, as reported, CONVERGE, have their entire new album streamed via YouTube embed above (as well as here (Epitaph's YouTube channel) and here (the band's site)) featuring original art for each track done by frontman and visual artist Jacob Bannon, courtesy the label. CONVERGE's eight studio album , ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’, will be available on October 9th, 2012 through Epitaph Records and Deathwish Inc. (vinyl). Recorded and mixed by guitarist Kurt Ballou at his Godcity Studios in Salem, Massachusetts, kindly pre-order ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ here (CONVERGE store). The ‘Aimless Arrow’ video was directed by Max Moore.

“[Jacob Bannon told Pitchfork what inspired the album's title:] The title comes from a song on the album with the same name. The song is an open letter to the things that I feel I've left behind in order to pursue an artistic and musical direction in my life. I don’t regret the decisions or direction I’ve chosen, but I feel it’s important to be self aware. That song and this album is part of that process for me. Specifically, I was motivated to write those lyrics a few days after I lost one of my dogs [Anna Belle] to old age. She was my best friend for a very long time in my life. I missed a lot of her life because I was traveling. That concept really sank in with me when I was holding her as she passed on,” [find out more here]


Described as a band that “can break multiple bones throughout the body with sound alone” by Blake Butler, AllMusic and formed over 21 years ago by Jacob Bannon and Kurt Ballou in Massachusetts, Boston-based “hardcore kids with leftover SLAYER riffs”, CONVERGE, issued their debut LP ‘Halo In A Haystack’ in 1994 after recording a series of singles and splits. ‘Petitioning The Empty Sky’, CONVERGE's second full-length, was originally released through Ferret Music in 1996 and has been since re-issued by Equal Vision and Deathwish Inc. “An extremely solid, well-written, and produced album that pushes the hardcore boundaries while maintaining the ability to explode” as put by Blake Butler, AllMusic (more here) ‘When Forever Comes Crashing’ followed in 1998 and critically acclaimed ‘Jane Doe’ came next in 2001:

“Experimentation with texture and mood unravels itself throughout the 12 tracks, yet maintains some cohesive element of undefined focus. Throughout all of the morphing and movement, some element of feeling remains, insisting that this album is an experience - an encyclopedic envelopment of so much at once,” [wrote CONVERGE's staunch supporter Blake Butler, AllMusic – more here]

CONVERGE's first release on Epitaph Records, 2004's ‘You Fail Me’, marked the first commercial success for the band; their fifth longplayer reached position number 171 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. ‘No Heroes’, released in 2006, bettered that achievement, peaking at number 151 on the aforementioned chart, selling over 17,000 copies in the U.S. alone, while the band was crowned with “just about untouchable” title for the execution by Corey Apar, AllMusic (more here). 2009's ‘Axe To Fall’, again featuring production by Kurt Ballou and artwork by Jacob Bannon, continued CONVERGE's upward chart climb, peaking at number 74 on the Billboard Top 200. Featuring guest appearances by members of CAVE IN, NEUROSIS and THE RED CHORD among others, AllMusic agreed with the listening public, rewarding ‘Axe To Fall’ with 4,5 out of 5 classification. In 2010, CONVERGE self-released a single ‘On My Shield’ which was distributed by Epitaph and Deathwish Inc. Visit BandCamp here to listen to the single or just click on the player available to you below:

CONVERGE: On My Shield

A year later, this hard-working band issued a split with DROPDEAD; listen to CONVERGE's contribution to the EP here (BandCamp) or below:


Following the tradition, a split with NAPALM DEATH followed in August 2012. Self-released by the bands, each group recorded two new tracks for the 7” EP available for purchase here (Deathwish Inc store); visit CONVERGE's BandCamp page here if interested in their take on ENTOMBED's ‘Wolverine Blues’.

CONVERGE features: Jacob Bannon – vocals and visuals, Kurt Ballou – guitar, Nate Newton – bass and Ben Koller – drums




02 October, 2012

Down: Witchtripper – new video & Down IV Part I - The Purple EP – full album stream



DOWN a.k.a. Louisiana finest, an all-star heavy metal side project whose lineup consists of former CORROSION OF CONFORMITY's guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, drummer  Jimmy Bower (EYEHATEGOD/CROWBAR), guitarist Kirk Windstein (CROWBAR/KINGDOM OF SORROW), vocalist Philip Anselmo (PANTERA/ARSON ANTHEM) and bassist Pat Bruders (ex-GOATWHORE), trip some witches in their new bewitching video ‘Witchtripper’:

“Somebody would suggest to me, “Hey, man, that might make a killer song title [‘Witchtripper’].” And at the time I’m like, “You’re out of your fucking mind. There’s no way I’m gonna call a song ‘Witchtripper’,” [Phil Anselmo told Rolling Stone. But after digging the riff created by DOWN guitarist Pepper Keenan and drummer Jimmy Bower, Anselmo decided to give them what they wanted:] “I was like, “OK, check this out, you dicks. ‘Witchtripper’ you want, ‘Witchtripper’ you will get. I laid it on them, and sure enough, they were right – it worked, as usual. So there goes the genius of Phil Anselmo. Always doubting, and I’m the last one to get it,” [he added, laughing – read the rest here and do not forget to check out the legendary man's autobiography when published]

‘Witchtripper’ is also the first single off DOWN's September 18h, 2012 release ‘Down IV Part I - The Purple EP’, available for purchase through iTunes, Amazon and through the band's official store here, as well as available for your listening pleasure in full here (Billboard.com). DOWN plan to release a series of four EPs over the next few years.


DOWN was formed in the mid-'90s when PANTERA was on a brief break; between their ‘Far Beyond Driven’ and ‘The Great Southern Trendkill’ albums. The then quartet's members (with Todd Strange of CROWBAR on bass) had been longtime friends and decided to break up their downtime (hence their name). The East/West label issued DOWN's 1995 debut ‘NOLA’ (an abbreviation for New Orleans, Louisiana, from which all its original members originate). The album went platinum with 1,000,000 copies sold (in America) and was hailed as a landmark album by music critics. Seven years later, members of the band reunited in Phil Anselmo's barn dubbed “Nodferatu's Lair” (see video) in southern Louisiana where they lived and recorded the album ‘Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow’ in 28 days without anyone leaving the house, or so the story goes. Despite poor reviews, the album debuted at number 44 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. Once signed to Warner Bros. Records, DOWN released their third album, ‘Down III: Over The Under’, which lyrically dealt with the breakup of PANTERA, murder of guitarist Dimebag Darrell, the band's anger at the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, and the singer's recovery from drug addiction. The album, received warmly by critics and fans alike, debuted at number 26 on the Billboard 200, selling about 29,000 copies in its first week. In 2010, DOWN released a 2 CD full concert recorded live in London and DVD titled ‘Dairy Of A Mad Band’.