29 November, 2012

Kreator: Civilization Collapse – new video

Mighty KREATOR are back and fighting the system as vigilantly as ever; their new video was inspired by recent riots in Greece and incorporates photographs provided by Marios Lolos, president of the Greek union of journalistic photographers, himself a victim of police brutality. ‘Civilization Collapse’ comes off KREATOR's thirteenth album ‘Phantom Antichrist’ which was released in June 2012 on Nuclear Blast Records. German thrash titans' latest achievement and celebration of thirty years of existence was recorded in Örebro, Sweden at the Fascination Street Studio with producer Jens Bogren, and its artwork was created by Wes Benscoter. ‘Phantom Antichrist’, available here (Nuclear Blast Europe) and here (Nuclear Blast USA) as well as on iTunes or via Amazon, entered official album charts in Finland, Hungary and Canada at respective positions 11, 13 and 149. KREATOR's first video released in promotion of the album was produced by Grupa13 and awaits you below. In related news, ‘Civilization Collapse’ was just recently released on 7” vinyl, available only via Nuclear Blast mailorder, and as digital download containing the rare non-album track ‘Wolfchild’.
“… and yet KREATOR persist: still displaying, as the new material contained here bears repeated witness, 100 percent commitment to the original, metal-thrashing mad raison d'être that launched them in the first place. Filled with fire and fury, indefatigable energy, and truly incensed lyrical bile for men of such middle-aged ripeness - led as always by guiding light Mille Petrozza - the opening title track and ‘Civilization Collapse’ dispense a moshing master class, showing the young ones how it’s done, and how it’ll continue to be done as weaker, less driven bands young and old inevitably fall by the wayside,” [complimented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – read the rest here]

The unstoppable force also known as KREATOR (“certified worldwide superstars who still tour as widely and frequently as bands half their age - now that’s resilience” - courtesy Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic - more here) was created in 1982 in Essen, Germany by vocalist and guitarist Mille Petrozza, bassist Rob Fioretti and drummer Jürgen “Ventor” Reil. Originally called “Tyrant”, they became “Tormentor” for a while, until they finally settled upon the name KREATOR and as such they recorded their debut album ‘Endless Pain’ and released it in 1985 through Noise Records (“a savage debut, but its crude thrashing quickly had the underground metal world a-buzzing with excitement” – commented Mr. Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here). Their classic ‘Pleasure To Kill’, which followed a year later, was recorded with producer Harris Johns, and KREATOR's third album, 1987's ‘Terrible Certainty’, introduced new guitarist Jörg “Tritze” Trzebiatowski:
“It is certain that KREATOR's influence isn’t limited to stateside artists, as modern European metal has never been the same since the group unleashed a slew of powerful late-'80s discs, ‘Terrible Certainty’ arguably being the best of the lot,” [wrote Jason Anderson, AllMusic – more here]
KREATOR conquered the New World - with some help from Epic Records who became the group's North American distributer – with their 1989's Randy Burns-produced ‘Extreme Aggression’. Yet, their next effort, 1990's ‘Coma Of Souls’, “clearly suffered from the less than favorable circumstances in which it was created, seeming too much like a retread of earlier material and bogged down by filler” (as eloquently put by Mr. Rivadavia - more here) despite it being the debut of former SODOM guitarist Frank “Blackfire” Gosdzik. Consequently dropped by their American partners, KREATOR nevertheless bravely marched on with their sixth full-length, ‘Renewal’, in 1992, the last recorded with the original bassist Rob Fioretti, who was replaced with Christian Giesler on the only KREATOR album recorded without drummer Jürgen Reil, 1995's ‘Cause For Conflict’. ‘Cause For Conflict’ featured former WHIPLASH drummer Joe Cangelosi and was KREATOR's first issued through their new label, GUN Records.
“Looking to remedy the band's tenuous situation [“KREATOR [being] confused and uninspired - hopelessly out of touch with the day's reigning extreme metal trends, and surely traumatized by the recent departure of both Fioretti and Ventor”] Petrozza, called upon former CORONER guitar wizard Tommy Vetterli to help him guide KREATOR into realms unknown, getting even further away from their roots on their next two albums, the highly experimental ‘Outcast’ (1997) and ‘Endorama’ (1999),” [found his muse Eduardo Rivadavia]
KREATOR returned to their thrash roots on their “positively stunning” tenth album ‘Violent Revolution’, which featured yet another new second guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö and was issued through Steamhammer/SPV in 2001. ‘Enemy Of God’ came next in 2005, followed by “reliably thrash-heavy” ‘Hordes Of Chaos’ in 2009, the first KREATOR album to debut on American Billboard Top 200 (at number 165).
KREATOR features: Miland “Mille” Petrozza - guitar and vocals, Sami Yli-Sirniö - guitar, Christian “Speesy” Giesler - bass and Jürgen “Ventor” Reil – drums


27 November, 2012

Fear Factory: The Industrialist – new video

‘The Industrialist’ is FEAR FACTORY's title-track from their June 2012, Candlelight Record-released eight studio album. Described as their “most confident and passionate album, a vital chapter in the history of one of the most over-achieving bands in heavy music history”, listen to ‘The Industrialist’ here (BandCamp) or via player available below. ‘The Industrialist’ was produced by Rhys Fulber and mixed by Greg Reely, and its artwork was created by Antony Clarkson. Written by vocalist Burton C. Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares, ‘The Industrialist’ is a conceptual record based around a short fiction written by vocalist Bell:
“There is a main character who is called ‘The Industrialist’,” [stated Bell, referring to the character at the heart of songs like ‘God Eater’ or ‘Virus Of Faith’] “He’s a machine that has become self-aware and becomes a catalyst for change. The album has the loose concept of a murder plot, with the realization that the automaton is becoming more human each day. The last track on the album ‘Human Augmentation’ is moment where machine becomes human and realizes its own humanity. That’s a thought that’s very key to the FEAR FACTORY universe.”
The album comes available on three formats: as standard CD, as a limited edition deluxe digi-book featuring two additional songs, and as 180-gram double vinyl. Visit Candlelight Records U.S.A. store here (and don’t forget the Amazon and iTunes options available to you) to buy the record:
“FEAR FACTORY continue to deliver album after album of metal honed with a cold, mechanical precision, creating a sound for themselves that isn’t merely processed, but machined. … Much like their last album, ‘The Industrialist’ is at its best when it’s at its most punishing. Pummeling tracks like ‘Recharger’ and ‘Depraved Mind Murder’ feel like Cazares and Burton C. Bell are scientists perfecting some kind of ear-destroying technology while the rest of the scientific community calls them mad,” [wrote Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – more here]

One of the first bands to fuse the intensity of death metal with the harshness of industrial electronics, FEAR FACTORY was formed by guitarist Dino Cazares, drummer Raymond Herrera and vocalist Burton C. Bell in 1989 in Los Angeles, who, after recording a couple of demos, and the ‘Concrete’ album which would be released some years later, proceeded to record their official debut album, ‘Soul Of A New Machine’, which they released in 1992 through Roadrunner Records:
“ ‘Soul Of A New Machine’ was so groundbreaking because it fuses together some of the best aspects of numerous metal subgenres: the rhythmic crunch of thrash, the melodies of crossover metal, the syncopated man-machine lock-step of industrial, the growling low end of death metal, and the blitzkrieg impact of grindcore. Just as importantly, it did away with the generic aspects of each subgenre, resulting in a unique sound that was in no way whatsoever clichéd (though it would later become a cliché itself years later),” [commented Jason Birchmeier, AllMusic – more here]
After ‘Fear Is The Mindkiller’ remix EP (1993) came FEAR FACTORY's second Colin Richardson-produced longplayer 1995's ‘Demanufacture’, featuring new bassist Christian Olde Wolbers, which was followed by second remix album, ‘Remanufacture’, in 1997. The band's biggest hit yet, 1998's Rhys Fulber-produced album ‘Obsolete’, broke FEAR FACTORY onto the music charts, reaching position number 77 on the Billboard Top 200. ‘Resurrection’ EP and ‘Messiah’ compilation album ware both issued in 1999, as the band's last album before officially breaking up in 2002, ‘Digimortal’, came out in 2001:
“Born of all things electronic and evil, ‘Digimortal’ is a cornucopia of apocalyptic views of the evils waiting outside your door, under your bed, and inside your computer. The complete set of warnings on the dark days ahead linger like dense, lurking shadows in the form of the 11 foreboding tracks on the album. … ‘Digimortal’ is an ear-drum puncturing and adrenaline-induced cry out against a warning that the digital age may bring everyone those final fatal steps closer to their eminent doom as vital, viable human beings,” [understood Kerry L. Smith, AllMusic – more here]

‘Digimortal’ made the Top 40 on the Billboard album charts. Due to legal wrangling with producer Ross Robinson, FEAR FACTORY's demo album ‘Concrete’ was eventually issued by Roadrunner Records in 2002, reportedly without the approval of all of the band’s members.‘Archetype’, the group's fifth album recorded without founding member Dino Cazares, was released through label Liquid 8 in 2004, and “equally merciless” Toby Wright-produced ‘Transgression’ followed on Calvin Records in 2005. “Disappointed with ‘Transgression’ and feeling that they had been pressured into rushing the album out, FEAR FACTORY went on hiatus while the bandmembers pursued other projects,” writes Steve Huey for AllMusic (more here). In 2009, founders vocalist Bell and guitarist Cazares reconciled their friendship and reformed FEAR FACTORY with Byron Stroud on bass and Gene Hoglan on drums. The band's seventh studio album was recorded with producer Rhys Fulber and released through Candlelight Records in 2010. ‘Mechanize’ peaked at position 24 on Australian Albums Chart, at position 31 in Germany and Finland and reached position number 72 on American albums chart Billboard Top 200:
“This early 2010 release/2009 recording doesn’t break any new ground for the band - ‘Mechanize’ is very much a throwback to the industrialized FEAR FACTORY sound of the '90s - but there is no shortage of passion on scorching tracks like ‘Christploitation’, ‘Designing The Enemy’, ‘Oxidizer’ and ‘Industrial Discipline’ (which is an appropriate name for a FEAR FACTORY tune in light of the major role they played in bringing industrial elements to alternative metal),” [commented Alex Henderson, AllMusic – more here]
Agree or disagree with Mr. Henderson (or simply get to know FEAR FACTORY) by listening to their album ‘Mechanize’ via player embedded below, courtesy Candlelight Records, and then, convinced, buy the album here (BandCamp)FEAR FACTORY features: Burton C. Bell – vocals, Dino Cazares – guitar, Mike Heller – drums and Matt DeVries – bass

Full Album Stream: Alternative 4: The Brink – reissue



‘The Brink’, debut album by Duncan Patterson's ALTERNATIVE 4 was reissued nearly a week ago, 23rd of November 2012, through Prophecy Productions. The “icon of melancholic alternative rock music” recorded ‘The Brink’ with guitarist Mark Kelson (of THE ETERNAL fame) and  Argentinean drummer Mauro Frison and originally released it in 2011 through Avantgarde Music. In 2012, ALTERNATIVE 4 signed a long term deal with German label Prophecy Productions and are currently finishing off their upcoming new album titled ‘The Obscurants’. ‘The Brink’ reissue awaits you here (Prophecy Productions store) as jewelcase CD or double CD and DVD digipak. Listen to the full album here (Prophecy BC YouTube channel) or below, where you’ll find the ‘False Light’ video, directed by Luís Rolo, as well.


Duncan Patterson, a driving force behind ANATHEMA's success in defining the death/doom genre (along with PARADISE LOST and MY DYING BRIDE) and the chief composer and bassist behind ANATHEMA's albums ‘Eternity’ and ‘Alternative 4’, as well as ANTIMATTER co-founder, built ALTERNATIVE 4 on “a solid rock foundation enriched with painful piano and string arrangements, sometimes on the verge of ambient music, sometimes offering the big influence of the rather dark and abysmal side of PINK FLOYD.” Duncan Patterson commented on his band's new cooperation with Prophecy Production as follows:

“It’s good to be back onboard a label who have always had respect for my work, regardless of how obscure or “uncommercial” it often turns out. In today's musical climate it is difficult to find a decent label who are genuinely focused more on the artistic/innovative side than anything else. For me that is essential as I’ve no plans to start playing and writing fashionable music as a career move, not unless I do it accidentally that is.”










23 November, 2012

Destruction: Spiritual Genocide – new album


The twelfth, as well as the 30th anniversary album by German thrash metal kings DESTRUCTION, ‘Spiritual Genocide’, is out now, November 23rd, 2012, via Nuclear Blast Records. The new “Mad Butcher” adventures were recorded at Gernhart Studios in Troisdorf with engineer Martin Buchwalter and were mixed by Andy Classen. As fast, as brutal and yet as groovy as they have ever sounded, ‘Spiritual Genocide’ also features very special guest musicians: TANKARD's Gerre (Andreas Geremia) and SODOM's Tom Angelripper, the original ‘Release From Agony’ (1988's album) line-up, as well as “the hottest young thrash guitarist” EVILE's Ol Drake. The “Mad Butcher” makes his return courtesy artist Gyula and Mania Studio (‘Carnivore’ video, see below). Shop for DESTRUCTION here (Nuclear Blast store).

DESTRUCTION was formed in 1983 in Weil am Rhein, Germany, by vocalist and bassist Marcel Schmier, guitarist Mike Sifringer, and drummer Tommy Sandmann. DESTRUCTION are considered one of the “three kings” of the Teutonic thrash metal, the other two being KREATOR and SODOM. Their demo, ‘Bestial Invasion’, impressed critics and fans as well as German label Steamhammer, which offered the band a record deal; DESTRUCTION's debut EP, ‘Sentence Of Death’, followed in 1984. DESTRUCTION released their first proper album, ‘Infernal Overkill’, in 1985, and continued on to record ‘Eternal Devastation’, which saw the release in 1986. Awarded with 4.5 out of 5 rating by AllMusic, DESTRUCTION's last album to feature the original, “classic” line-up was described as “an essential document of early European thrash” by Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic (more here). The band lost founding member drummer Sandmann, found his replacement in Oliver Kaiser and additional guitarist, Harry Wilkens, was brought on board before DESTRUCTION delivered what many consider their finest album, ‘Release From Agony’, in 1988. (“A bit more technicality is involved with this album, an overlooked classic,” is all AllMusic contributes on the subject.) Frontman and founder Schmier was sacked by the rest of the band shortly after 1989's ‘Live Without Sense’ was issued and was replaced with vocalist Andre Grieder and bassist Christian Engler.
“Feeling betrayed, upset fans made their feelings known by staying away in droves from 1990's ‘Cracked Brain’ album, as well as subsequent offerings like 1994's ‘Destruction’, 1995's ‘Them Not Me’ and particularly 1998's career low entitled ‘The Least Successful Human Cannonball’,” wrote Eduardo Rivadavia – read the rest here]
In 1999, Schmier rejoined DESTRUCTION and since then, 2000's ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’, 2001's ‘The Antichrist’, and 2003's ‘Metal Discharge’ (featuring drummer Marc Reign) have been released through Nuclear Blast Records. The band switched over to AFM Records for 2005's ‘Inventor Of Evil’, 2007's ‘Thrash Anthems’ and 2008's ‘D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.’, but returned home for their eleventh album, 2011's ‘Day Of Reckoning’, the first album recorded with new drummer Vaaver (Wawrzyniec Dramowicz):
“The songs have the churn of a truck in low gear, proceeding relentlessly uphill before the inevitable frantic, skidding slide down the other side. With track titles like ‘Hate Is My Fuel’, ‘Armageddonizer’, ‘Sheep Of The Regime’, ‘Sorcerer Of Black Magic’, and the like, you pretty much know what you're getting: a little bit of angry political ranting and a little bit of rote occultism, all set to tribal-meets-punk drumming and grinding guitars. Longtime fans of these guys will be very pleased that after nearly 30 years, they're every bit as powerful as they ever were,” [commented Phil Freeman, AllMusic – more here]

DESTRUCTION features: Marcel Schmier - vocals and bass, Mike Sifringer - guitar and Wawrzyniec “Vaaver” Dramowicz - drums

Nile: Enduring The Eternal Molestation Of Flame – new video

The indestructible NILE turned to Jon Simvonis (Magnum Production Studios) to produce and direct their new video ‘Enduring The Eternal Molestation Of Flame’. The video also features photography by Philippos Kokkalis and the African Heritage group. ‘Enduring The Eternal Molestation Of Flame’ comes off NILE's June/July 2012 Nuclear Blast release ‘At The Gate Of Sethu’, produced by Neil Kernon and decorated with artwork by SEPTICFLESH's thunderous voice Seth Siro Anton. NILE's seventh full-length entered the official German Albums Charts at position number 27, in Austria and Switzerland the album debuted at position number 61, and in the U.S. the album sold 3,800 copies in its first week of release to debut at number 131 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, making ‘At The Gate Of Sethu’ the band's highest charting album to date. The music “created in order to plant evil emotions into the hearts, brains and ears of their listeners”, according to the band's main man Karl Sanders, can be purchased here (Nuclear Blast Europe) and here (Nuclear Blast USA), as well as via iTunes and Amazon. 

Formed in 1993 in Greenville, South Carolina by guitarist and vocalist Karl Sanders, bassist and vocalist Chief Spires, and drummer Pete Hammoura, NILE delivered their first recording of “Ithyphallic metal” (combining their interest in Egyptian history, culture and lore with the ferocity of modern death metal) with ‘Festivals Of Atonement’ EP in 1995. Next, Viscera Productions issued their second EP ‘Ramses Bringer Of War’ in 1997, with NILE's debut full-length, ‘Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka’  following on Relapse Records in 1998. Described as “an encapsulated epic, brought about by skilled dynamics that never surrender NILE's unapologetic brutality” by Matt Kantor, AllMusic (more here), Sanders' second full-length interpretation of ancient Egyptian inscriptions, temple carvings, papyri, hieroglyphics and tomb paintings depicting ancient battles, rituals and religious ceremonies featured the vocal and guitar talents of Dallas Toler-Wade as well as the drumming of one talented Derek Roddy: ‘Black Seeds Of Vengeance’ was released in 2000. A compilation of their early material, ‘In The Beginning’, preceded one of the most epic death metal albums ever conceived, 2002's ‘In Their Darkened Shrines’:
“ ‘In Their Darkened Shrines’ transports the listener into the shadows of the ancient pyramids many millennia ago, and explores the brutal psychology of the time as well, thus betraying a level of ambition to which very few bands in the genre aspire. Quite frankly, NILE is the death metal band of the '00s, and ‘Shrines’ is, for all intents and purposes, a masterpiece,” [concluded his review John Serba, AllMusic – more here]
Replacing Tony Laureano, George Kollias debuted as NILE's new drummer on 2005's ‘Annihilation Of The Wicked’, which featured Jon Vesano on bass and which proved to be the band's last issued through Relapse Records. After signing with Nuclear Blast, NILE delivered their fifth album in 2007; ‘Ithyphallic’ entered American charts Billboard Top 200 at number 162.The unstoppable trio of Sanders, Toler-Wade and Kollias followed-up with ‘Those Whom The Gods Detest’ in 2009, which charted even higher on the Billboard Top 200 (at number 160) as well as broke onto some European charts. Greg Prato, AllMusic, complimented their achievement:
“It's hard to not be impressed by the sheer sonic onslaught that is otherwise known as NILE. Except to the most hardened death metal fanatic, the genre has a way of sounding the same after a while, but NILE is one of the few exceptions - able to put their own unmistakable fingerprints on this heavy duty style (Egyptian-influenced lyrics and musical bits, highly impressive instrumental dexterity, etc.),” [read the rest here]

NILE features: Karl Sanders - guitar, vocals and instrumentals, Dallas Toler-Wade – guitar and vocals, George Kollias – drums and Chris Lollis – bass and vocals

Hellyeah: Drink Drank Drunk – new video & Band Of Brothers – full album stream



American soupergroup HELLYEAH, featuring members of MUDVAYNE, NOTHINGFACE, KNIVES OUT!, PANTERA and DAMAGEPLAN, has released the second video in promotion of their latest album ‘Band Of Brothers’, issued in July 2012 on Eleven Seven Music. HELLYEAH's third LP, produced by Jeremy Parker and recorded at the drummer's Vinnie Paul studio (VP's Upstairs Studio) in Dallas, Texas and described by AllMusic's Gregory Heaney as “bigger, louder, and more intense” (comparing to the preceding album), peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Top 200 and had nearly conquered U.S. Rock Chart (at number 3) and U.S. Independent Albums Chart (at number 4). ‘Band Of Brothers’, available in full below, courtesy the band, awaits you here (HELLYEAH store), through iTunes and Amazon:

“The title track rolls like an Abrams tank, crushing everything in its path through big grooves and even bigger vocals. ‘Rage/Burn’ ups the ante on heavy, twisting and turning on a jagged riff and brain-bashing bass line from Zilla [Bob, bassist]. Then, there’s ‘Drink Drank Drunk’ which is so heavy it’s straight-up intoxicating. Don’t drive after that one… The record's standout is ‘Bigger God’. Tension mounts on the verse as Gray [Chad, vocalist] opens up just enough to explode. It’s a dynamic and deadly bruiser where Gray screams, “If I’m taken for granted, I won’t be treated like a fucking dog. Now that I’ve had enough of all of you, I’m going to build a bigger god”. Then, he slips back into an airy verse,” [more or less sumed up the album Rick Florino, Artist Direct – there’s more to it here]


HELLYEAH first geared up in 2006; MUDWAYNE's Chad Grey on vocals and Greg Tribbett on guitar, NOTHINGFACE and KNIVES OUT!'s Tom Maxwell on guitar, and DAMAGEPLAN's Vinnie Paul on drums and Bob Zilla on bass, HELLYEAH's self-titled debut came out in 2007 through Epic Records. ‘Hellyeah’ peaked at position number 9 on the American Billboard Top 200 chart, and had sold around 45,000 copies in its first week. Their second studio album, ‘Stampede’, followed in 2010 on Epic Records; it bettered its predecessor one place on the Billboard Top 200:

“ ‘Stampede’ is an almost nonstop cavalcade of huge, slithering groove riffage. While the album lets a couple of ballads slip through the cracks by way of ‘Better Man’ and ‘Hell Of A Time’, HELLYEAH do their best to stick to what they do best: delivering track after track of fist-pumping, down-and-dirty metal in the grand Southern tradition. It’s this simplicity that makes ‘Stampede’ an ultimately fun record. There are no chin-stroking prog arrangements to puzzle over, knotty guitar acrobatics or deep lyrics to dissect - just pure and simple old-school heavy metal aggression without pretension,” [commented Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – more here]














22 November, 2012

Corrosion Of Conformity: Megalodon – free EP & Feed On – new video & Corrosion Of Conformity – full album stream


Those still unsure what to be thankful for (but could go with stuff like life, for instance), can be thankful for ‘Megalodon’, the new & free EP given away by CORROSION OF CONFORMITY in partnership with Scion A/V right here. Besides the EP named after one of the largest and most powerful predators in history, a giant shark with triangular teeth, the said partnership also produced a video for ‘Feed On’:
“Black and white studio footage makes up this seemingly innocuous music video until midway through the tempo changes dramatically. A producer begins to hallucinate heavily on the metal music. Paranoid ticks develop into monstrous apparitions, as whatever is “feeding on” takes its toll on his mental and physical capacities.”
The year 2012 also produced the first new CORROSION OF CONFORMITY recording in six years; the self-titled LP was released in February 2012 through Candlelight Records. The 11-song album was produced by John Custer and mixed by John Lousteau. The band's first album with Reed Mullin on drums since 2000's ‘America's Volume Dealer’ and the first without singer and guitarist Pepper Keenan since 1998's ‘Technocracy’, can be enjoyed in full here (BandCamp), or via player available below. ‘Corrosion Of Conformity, the album that entered the American albums chart Billboard Top 200 at number 157, was reviewed by Gregory Heaney, AllMusic:
“While this lineup may be slimmed down, it lacks none of the fury and aggression that listeners have come to expect from C.O.C., combining a raw, almost grimy guitar sound with a songwriting approach that hearkens back to their more hardcore-influenced days. This combination gives the album a decidedly retro feel, but there’s just enough of the more modern version of the band in there to keep it from feeling like an out-and-out rehash of their old stuff. Acting as a kind of crossroads between the old C.O.C. and the new, ‘Corrosion Of Conformity’ feels more like a distillation of their career than an evolution of their sound, combining the best parts of three decades of metal into one document that fans of any era of the band's career can get on board with.” [Read the rest here]
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY (C.O.C for short), one of the first punk-metal fusion bands, was formed in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1982 by bassist and vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin. Through its various incarnations, C.O.C released seven studio albums, two EPs, one compilation, and one live album to date. Their recorded debut, BLACK FLAG-influenced 1983's ‘Eye For An Eye’ featured vocalist Eric Eycke alongside the band's founders, who continued on to record their next effort, 1985's ‘Animosity’ as a trio. C.O.C's 1987's EP, recorded with singer Simon Bob, will be forever remembered by John Book, AllMusic, who wrote:
“There’s a numb look at the realities of the world on this great set of music.” [You will find no further information here]
After being dumped by their label Death, Mike Dean and Simon Bob departed from the band in 1987. Eventually, vocalist Karl Agell, bassist Phil Swisher and second guitarist Pepper Keenan (DOWN) were recruited. This lineup recorded a straight-forward heavy metal record ‘Blind’, which they released on Relativity Records in 1991. The record broke onto American charts, selling in excess of 250,000 copies in the U.S. to date. In 1993, Agell and Swisher left, Dean returned and Keenan took over lead vocals. Completely shedding their punk and thrash influences, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY released their BLACK SABBATH-inspired ‘Deliverance’ in 1994 to great success, with it entering the Billboard Top 200, peaking at number 155, where the album remained for almost four months. Their second record issued on Columbia Records continued the upward chart climb, peaking at number 104 on the Billboard Top 200; the track ‘Drowning In A Daydream’ off 1996's ‘Wiseblood’ was nominated for 1998's Grammys. The last album to feature longtime drummer Reed Mullin before his return to C.O.C in 2010, was their fifth album ‘America's Volume Dealer’, issued on Sanctuary Records in 2000, followed by the last album so far to feature Pepper Keenan; 2005's ‘In The Arms Of God’. Praised by critics, C.O.C's seventh album peaked at number 108 on the Billboard Top 200 chart:
“Joining Keenan once more are other mainstays Woody Weatherman (guitar) and Mike Dean (bass), as well as a big surprise on drums - GALACTIC timekeeper Stanton Moore. To prime themselves for the sessions, the group immersed themselves in old hardcore and metal albums they hadn’t listened to in years, and the approach worked, as ‘In The Arms Of God’ is a straight-ahead and raw set. The beginning of the album opener ‘Stone Breakers’ closely resembles a Tony Iommy-led SABBATH jam, while such other ragers as ‘Paranoid Opioid’ and ‘Never Turns To More’ are classic C.O.C. Along with BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, C.O.C continue to wave the biker metal flag high,” [commented Greg Prato, AllMusic – more here]
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY features: Woodroe Weatherman – guitar, Mike Dean – bass and vocals and Reed Mullin – drums and vocals


20 November, 2012

Full Album Stream: Death: Spiritual Healing - reissue


Listen to DEATH's  genre-defining album ‘Spiritual Healing’ in its remastered entirety here, via Relapse Records' SoundCloud. Originally released in 1990, ‘Spiritual Healing’ marked a new turn in the DEATH discography:
“One which ushered in cleaner production, a new level of boundary pushing musicianship and songwriting skills that were previously unimaginable from a metal band. ‘Spiritual Healing’ sets the standard for riffs, insane time changes and of course mainman Chuck Schuldiner's masterful guitar solos.”
Reissued as a double CD housed in a deluxe packaging featuring brand new liner notes from DEATH members guitarist James Murphy and bassist Terry Butler, Chuck Schuldiner's sister Beth Schuldiner and VOLBEAT's Michael Poulsen, disc one features a completely new remaster of the original album, while disc two contains 16 previously unreleased rehearsals, outtakes and studio instrumentals. Buy ‘Spiritual Healing’ here, from Relapse Records. Relapse Records, in partnership with Perseverance Holdings Ltd. and the Schuldiner family, has to date released remastered DEATH albums ‘Human’, ‘Individual Thought Patterns’, 'The Sound Of Perseverance' and live collection ‘Vivus!’:

DEATH was founded in 1983 (known then as “Mantas”) in Orlando, Florida by heavy metal icon, known to many as the founding father of death metal, Chuck Schuldiner. After creating a buzz in the metal underworld with their first demos, DEATH released their debut LP ‘Scream Bloody Gore’ in 1987 via Combat Records. By now legendary ‘Scream Bloody Gore’ is considered a genre template for death metal (“death metal's first archetypal document”):
“Boiled down to the most basic terms, this transition simply entailed propelling thrash metal's sheer speed and ferocious execution into further inaccessibility with the addition of gore-obsessed lyrics delivered via often indecipherably growled vocals. Needless to say, this unprecedented level of sonic hatred went down a storm with thousands upon thousands of angry teenagers across the world,” [explained Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
On 1988's ‘Leprosy’, Schuldiner enlisted guitarist Rick Rozz, bassist Terry Butler and drummer Bill Andrews. The album was recorded with, now legendary, death metal producer Scott Burns. Rozz left the band and was replaced by James Murphy before DEATH's next offering, 1990's ‘Spiritual Healing’. Turmoil between bandmembers that ensued, caused Schuldiner to turn to bassist Steve DiGiorgio, drummer Sean Reinert and guitarist Paul Masvidal before the release of 1991's album ‘Human’. Listen to the entire reissue here, via Relapse Record's BandCamp:
“This release, along with the even more commercially successful ‘Arise’ by Brazilians SEPULTURA, helped ensure that 1991 should go down as the absolute apex of death metal's world domination,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic, enthusiastically]
In 1993, Reinert and Masvidal left and were replaced with drummer Gene Hoglan and guitarist Andy LaRocque. That year's release, fifth album called ‘Individual Thought Patterns’, continued to expand on the technical, progressive style that began with ‘Human’. Again, the entire album is available for your listening pleasure here (BandCamp):

In 1994, DEATH left Relativity Media after eight years and signed with Roadrunner Records which acted as their European distributor until then. Their sixth album, 1995's ‘Symbolic’, benefited from Bobby Koelble on guitar and Kelly Conlon on bass.
“But come 1996,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic] “DEATH's chief architect was hungry for a creative outlet with which to express his more mainstream heavy metal songwriting, and citing his own voice as too limited for what he had in mind, Schuldiner shocked the heavy metal community by disbanding DEATH and announcing his plans for an entirely new band, to be named CONTROL DENIED.”
Entering into a licensing agreement with Nuclear Blast Records for both DEATH and his new project, Schuldiner recorded one final album with DEATH, 1998's ‘The Sound Of Perseverance’:
“Words cannot do this album enough justice. This is a truly glorious metal release, certainly DEATH's finest hour, and easily one of the top metal albums of all time. … This album delicately mixes the best aspects of past albums and takes them one step further. The album is more aggressive, more progressive, and certainly more melodic. … No “true” metal listener can ignore the fact that DEATH have carefully crafted the perfect album for the metal world, an album which draws from the creative pool of ATHEIST, DREAM THEATER, and CYNIC, yet remains pure unadulterated DEATH,” [commented Jason Hundey, AllMusic – read more here]
‘The Sound Of Perseverance’ featured Shannon Hamm on guitars, Scott Clendenin on bass and Richard Christy on drums. Chuck Schuldiner was diagnosed with a malignant brain-stem tumor in early 2000. After a long battle, he succumbed to cancer in 2001, age 33.
“Throughout this long journey and drastic evolutionary curve, Chuck Schuldiner was the only constant, the effective mastermind behind DEATH's continually groundbreaking career, and his near-canonization at the time of his untimely passing only confirmed his unequaled stature at the top of rock's most uncompromising style,” [concluded Eduardo Rivadavia – read more here]

Troubled Horse: Step Inside – new album



‘Step Inside’ by the “hotly-tipped” heavy garage rock band TROUBLED HORSE was released in Europe on November 5th, 2012 via Rise Above Records and has just become available in North American stores today, November 20th, 2012, through Metal Blade. TROUBLED HORSE, “out of Örebro, Sweden and banging heads and crushing bones since back in 2003”, features three members of the original WITCHCRAFT line-up, one of whom, bassist Ola Henriksson, is still a current member. They are reportedly just what the rock and metal scene needs right now (especially since everything goes backwards these days), combining the hard edged spirit of 70's US bands such as DUST and PENTAGRAM, with a more soulful 60's vibe. Listen to the guitar-filled tune ‘Another Mans Name’ here (Decibel Magazine) and check out ‘One Step Closer To My Grave’ below. Order the album here (Metal Blade Records).

TROUBLED HORSE features: Martin Heppich – vocals and guitar, Ola Henriksson – bass, John Hoyles - lead guitar and Jens Henriksson – drums


15 November, 2012

Devin Townsend Project: Lucky Animals – new video & Epicloud – full album stream & commentary



A very Devin Townsendish video has been just released by the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT; the clip includes snippets of 130 videos (out of 150 submitted) filmed by Mr. Townsend's numerous fans. ‘Lucky Animals’ comes from the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT's latest epic and loud album ‘Epicloud’, which can be still listened to in full here (Exclaim!) or below, provided you like your music explained by its author, the prolific and slightly hyperactive Devin Townsend himself. ‘Epicloud’ was released in September 2012 through Inside Out Music and HevyDevy Records. The fifth album in the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT series that began in 2009 with the release of ‘Ki’ and ‘Addicted’, and continued in 2011 with ‘Deconstruction’ and ‘Ghost’, ‘Epicloud’ boasts thirteen “light-hearted, hook laden tracks” and features, once again, guest vocal appearances by Anneke van Giersbergen. Order the album here (official Devin Townsend store):

“With ‘Epicloud’, I wanted something catchy as the flu, but with a sentiment that is romantic, positive and beautiful. Spiritual without religion and set to heavy music. Again, because some structures are “common” (but new to me), this record is my take on what a big, epic, commercial sounding record that sings about nice stuff would sound like in Dev-land. Please don’t take it as a “sell-out” move, because it truly surprised me as well and is a “transition” between the four DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT records and my upcoming musical, ‘Z2’,” [explained the musician]

“About the only thing that one can count on from Devin Townsend is not to count on anything at all,” [began his review of ‘Epicloud’ Thom Yurek, Allmusic] … For fans who wondered where he’d go next, ‘Epicloud’ was perhaps the least likely direction. It is the most unabashedly mainstream and “pop”-oriented recording of his career thus far. … The single ‘Lucky Animals’ is driven by a catchy metal riff, but given the multiple vocal layers, it almost feels like QUEEN getting edgy. … Ms. van Giersbergen's vocals take it to an entirely different level musically; her level of self-expression throughout the record, but particularly here, is remarkable. … ‘Epicloud’ was recorded to be accessible to a wide range of listeners, and as such, it succeeds in spades. It’s not particularly adventurous, but it is a hell of a lot of fun. If half of what passes for mainstream rock was nearly as interesting or satisfying, radio would be worth listening to again, “ [he concluded and I agreed – read the rest here]


One of the most admired figures in the rock & metal world, Devin Townsend, once famously stated:

“Making music for me is like taking a shit. It’s just part of the day. I’ve got goals, of course, but it’s the process I really dig. I make sure everything’s right and then I go and listen to someone else's music before I lose my mind. Otherwise it’s like swimming upstream in a river of your own splooge! I’ve got so much left to say and so much more that I’m planning that it’s great to get this part, the end of the beginning, wrapped up.”

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT features: Devin Townsend - vocals, guitar and electronics, Anneke van Giersbergen – vocals, Ryan Van Poederooyen – drums, Brian Waddell – bass and Mark Cimino – guitars




13 November, 2012

Full Album Stream: Bell Witch: Longing – new album


Listen to one of the heaviest and saddest doom metal albums you will hear all year, ‘Longing’ by BELL WITCH, in its emotionally-draining entirety here, at CVLT Nation. BELL WITCH, comprised of bassist and vocalist Dylan Desmond (also of LETHE and SAMOTHRACE fame), and drummer and vocalist Adrian Guerra (also of LETHE), who first impressed with their self titled 2011 demo (available below in full), have already become known as one of the heaviest sounding doom metal bands in America today.
“ ‘Longing’ is about as bleak of a sonic picture as a doom metal album can get. This is a time-stretching album (which features guest vocals by Erik Moggridge of AERIAL RUIN Ruin on the track ‘Rows’) that depicts sadness, suffering, and despondency like none other. Through Desmond's down-tuned bass pulsations along with his lamentations that work in conspiracy with Guerra's warhammers and his cavernous growls, ‘Longing’ is an epic work that will become realized as that emotional sledgehammer of self-reflection and despair,” [offers the label, Profound Lore Records]
“Dylan Desmond lends his considerably heavy tones to proceedings whilst Adrian Guerra fills the spaces left by the mournful essence of this group with light touches of cymbal and the occasional mighty pounding needed to carry ‘Longing’ into ever increasing despair. BELL WITCH are intensely sorrowful and ‘Longing’ is the most aptly titled record heard this year. … This record is unrelenting in the sense that when you think you’ve reached a point of wanting to let go, to give up, and for it to be forever, it brings you to a place you never thought possible. A place even further away than ever imagined. It’s bleak and it’s terrifying in its quest for an end and for that, it is beautiful.” [Read the rest of CVLT Nation's review of ‘Longing’ here]

Become a proud owner of Seattle's duo ‘Longing’ here (Profound Lore Records' store). ‘Longing’ is out now, November 13th, 2012.