28 February, 2013

The Gates Of Slumber: Stormcrow – new & free EP & Death March – new video


Recorded with Stamford Parker, THE GATES OF SLUMBER, in partnership with Scion AV, offer their new EP and their first recording since their 2011's album ‘The Wretch’ for free download here (Scion AV). The partnership which produced ‘Stormcrow’ EP has also conjured the new THE GATES OF SLUMBER video, available for your viewing pleasure below.

“[Excerpt from the band's official bio:] Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That’s what's important! Valor pleases you, Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to hell with you! – Conan the Barbarian”
Now, I swear I do have a life outside this blog, but stuff like the above keeps me going on. Anyhow, THE GATES OF SLUMBER started out as a solo project of one Karl Simon, first envisioned in 1998. In 2001, Simon recorded the ‘Blood Encrusted Deth Axe’ demo with drummer Jamie Walters (BOULDER) and bassist Dr. Phibes (later on known as MIDNIGHT's Athenar). After his move to Indianapolis, and with contributing musicians coming and going, another two demos, the ‘Sabbath Witch’ and ‘The Cloaked Figure’, preceded the band's debut longplayer. Released through Final Chapter Records in 2004, ‘…The Awakening’ featured Karl Simon on guitar and vocals, Jason McCash on bass and Chuck Brown on drums. 2005's EP ‘Like A Plague Upon The Land’ was followed by ‘God Wills It’ EP as THE GATES OF SLUMBER delivered their next big blow, ‘Suffer No Guilt’ LP, on I Hate Records in 2006. A compilation album, 2007's ‘Villain, Villain’, and three splits came before the band struck again, this time empowered by drummer “Iron” Bob Fouts. Described as “seriously engaging traditional heavy metal album” by Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic (more here), the ‘Conqueror’ was issued in 2008 on Profound Lore. Listen and buy:

An EP, ‘The Ice Worm's Liar’, and a compilation, ‘The Chronicles Of True Doom’, latter, “the greatest American biker doom band not fronted by SAINT VITUS' Scott “Wino” Weinrich” issued their ‘Hymns Of Blood And Thunder’ album in 2009 through Metal Blade Records:
“If you like your metal big, heavy, and focused on themes of war, death, and glory, without the epic cheesiness of MANOWAR, then you will love this album – THE GATES have always been great, and this is their best album to date, “ [commended and recommended Phil Freeman, AllMusic – more here]
THE GATES OF SLUMBER fifth full-length, ‘The Wretch’, followed in 2011:
“The greatest misconception about THE GATES OF SLUMBER is that the Indiana trio is your typical, run-of-the-mill doom band, but anyone who’s actually spent time with the group's discography would beg to differ. As of its very first album, the trio has in fact been experimenting with different metallic varieties, ranging from traditional '70s vintages to energized '80s flavors to a few psychedelic, semi-thrash, and even downright foreign musical elements to, sure, good old-fashioned doom as well. Whatever the group's motivations, ‘The Wretch’ certainly indulges in some of most brazen and unapologetic SAINT VITUS worship heard in some time…,” [was compelled to admit Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here:]

THE GATES OF SLUMBER features: Karl Simon – guitar and vocals, Jason McCash – bass and “Iron” Bob Fouts – drums

Vreid: Welcome Farewell – new album


The Norwegian black & roll brigade's, VREID, new and sixth album entitled ‘Welcome Farewell’ is already out in Europe (February 26th, 2013) and is patiently awaiting its North American release come March 5th, 2013, courtesy Indie Recordings. ‘Welcome Farewell’ was recorded at bassist Hváll's (Jarle Kvåle) Studio 1184 as well as on the road, during the band's extensive tour which included an appearance at the Damnation Festival in Leeds, UK. VREID's new video ‘The Reap’, available for your viewing pleasure below, was produced by Einar Loftesnes and animated by Kim Holm. ‘Welcome Farewell’ should be bought from here (Indie Recordings' North American store), from here (EMP/Europe), here (Plastic Head/UK) or via iTunes:
“Two years after we started writing new riffs, our new beast is now complete. It’s been a lot of work, but we are utterly pleased with the result. Dark, heavy and VREID are the three keywords to describe it,” [added VREID]

Formed in 2004 in Sogndal, Norway by remaining members of WINDIR, following the tragic death of lead singer and founder Valfar (Terje Bakken), VREID (Norwegian for “wrath”) released two albums, ‘Kraft’ (“a throwback to the early days of black metal and recalls that late-'80s/early-'90s era in which thrash metal was giving way to the death metal/black metal field” – Alex Henderson, AllMusic – more here) and ‘Pitch Black Brigade’ through Tabu Recordings between 2004 and 2006. VREID signed with Indie Recordings in 2006 and released their third album, ‘I Krig’ [“at war”], in 2007. The lyrics, written solely in Norwegian, were based on poems written by Gunnar Reiss-Andersen, a member of the Norwegian resistance during WW2:
“ ‘I Krieg’ falls short of the lushness of symphonic black metal (there aren’t a lot of clean vocals to go along with Sture's [Sture Dingsøyr, gutar and vocals] black metal rasp), but the 45-minute disc brings VREID into the folk-metal realm and does so with compelling results. Traditional Scandinavian folk is a strong influence, and this is an album that - for all its blistering, in-your-face intensity - has a real sense of craftsmanship,” [commented Alex Henderson, AllMusic – more here]
“The Norsemen are coming, the Norsemen are coming!”
introduced VREID's similar-themed album ‘Milorg’, released in 2009, AllMusic's Greg Prato (more here). With lyrics written this time in English language, the album once again dealt with the resistance movement in Norway during the Second World War. The release of ‘Milrog’ was followed by three European tours as well as their first North American tour and subsequent replacement of guitarist Ese with former WINDIR and current COR SCORPII guitarist Stian “Strom” Bakketeig. In 2010, VREID released their first DVD called ‘Vreid Goddamnit’, and in 2011, their fifth album ‘V’ which entered the Norwegian Album Chart at number 22, and was awarded by 9/10 rating by Decibel Magazine:
VREID features: Hvàll – bass, Steingrim (Jørn Holen) – drums, Sture – vocals and guitar and Strom – guitar

Full Album Stream: Byzantine: Byzantine – new album



BYZANTINE's fourth, self-titled album has been released independently by the reunited band on February 26th, 2013. It can be streamed in full here (No Clean Singing) or here (BYZANTINE's SoundCloud). The album awaits you here (Big Cartel), on iTunes and Amazon MP3. The ‘Byzantine’ cover art was designed by David Friedmann, the winner of the contest the band launched via MetalSucks metal portal. BYZANTINE also released the ‘Soul Eraser’ video, directed by Matt Maloney, which is available below.


Hailing from the backwoods of West Virginia, USA, BYZANTINE was formed in the year of 2000 by singer and guitarist Chris “OJ” Ojeda, bassist Cid Adams and guitarist Tony Rorhbough. Initially just a tool to “knock the dust off of their prospective instruments, write some songs and have a little fun away from their day jobs, employing a drum machine to practice with and write their tunes”, BYZANTINE recorded their first full-length demo in 2002 with drummer Matt Wolfe. Invited to open a show by certain famous Virginian Chris Adler (whom you, by now, probably associate with LAMB OF GOD), followed by a small tour, BYZANTINE eventually landed a record deal with Prosthetic Records. Combining musical styles initiated by PANTERA, TESTAMENT and MESHUGGAH (“torn asunder and reconstructed in sometimes curious, often startling new ways” – Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here), their Prosthetic debut, ‘The Fundamental Component’ was issued in 2004. BYZANTINE recorded their second album with new bassist Michael Cromer. Biblically named ‘…And They Shall Take Up Serpents’, released in 2005, received high praise both domestically and abroad. Relentless touring that ensued has claimed guitarist Rorhbough, who was temporarily replaced by Eric Seevers. In 2007, the band released a fan-oriented DVD called ‘Salvation’ and began recording their third album ‘Oblivion Beckons’. Issued in 2008, BYZANTINE announced they could no longer function as a band shortly after its release.

BYZANTINE features: Chris Ojeda – vocals and rhythm guitar, Matt Wolfe - drums, Skip Cromer - bass and backing vocals and Tony Rohrbough - lead guitar




26 February, 2013

Mysticum: In The Streams Of Inferno – reissue


Continuing in the oftentimes murky waters of Norwegian black metal, Peaceville Records has just reissued MYSTICUM's debut album ‘In The Streams Of Inferno’, February 25th, 2013. Originally released in 1996 through Full Moon Productions, the recording was remastered by Tom Kvålsvoll at Strype Studios in Oslo, Norway and includes two bonus tracks. The package comes with new artwork (“made in close association with the band to fully reflect their intended vision”), with liner notes and additional lyrics, and a bonus DVD containing two live shows from 1996. Shop for ‘In The Streams Of Inferno’ here (Peaceville store). MYSTICUM, in association with Peaceville Records, plan to release a new album titled ‘Planet Satan’ later on this year:
“One of the pioneering industrial black metal forces to emerge in the early 90's, MYSTICUM brought to the world a completely unique brand of extreme and psychedelic discordant black metal with insane drum machine patterns and synths. They were originally signed to Euronymous' [Øystein Aarseth, co-founder of MAYHEM, murdered by Varg Vikernes in 1993] Deathlike Silence Productions label, such was his belief in the band (MYSTICUM even featured Hellhammer from MAYHEM in their lineup for a brief period). However, this venture proved to be cut short following his death, forcing MYSTICUM to look elsewhere for the release of their eventual debut album, ‘In The Streams Of Inferno’, finally surfacing in 1996. A perfect concoction of cold, primitive black metal and forward-thinking ideas from an act unafraid to push boundaries, the hell of ‘In The Streams Of Inferno’ has had a lasting and profound impact on many since 1996,” [explains the label]

Founded in 1991 and known as “Sabazios” for a while, the industrial black metal pioneers, MYSTICUM, in 1992 featured six-stringers Cerastes and Ravn and him, responsible for four-strings, synthesizer and computer programming, Mean Malmberg. In between recording and releasing eyebrow-raising demos, ‘Wintermass’ and ‘Medusa's Tears’, the band officially became MYSTICUM in 1993. As planes were made to release MYSTICUM's debut album ‘Where The Raven Flies’ through MAYHEM's Euronymous Deathlike Silence Productions, due to Euronymous' tragic death, the album was put on hold. Following a split 7” with ULVER, a two-song contribution on ‘Nordic Metal - A Tribute To Euronymous’ compilation, and a five-track promotional tape called ‘Piss Off!!!’, MYSTICUM's debut album, ‘In The Streams Of Inferno’, was finally released in 1996, incidentally giving birth to industrial black metal. (Listen to the full original album here, MYSTICUM's YouTube channel.) Consequently, MYSTICUM embarked on European tour with MARDUK and GEHENNA. Taking their time, the band contributed a new song called ‘Eriaminell’ on ‘A Tribute to Hell - Satanic Rites’ sampler CD released by Full Moon Productions in 1997, and another song called ‘Black Magic Mushrooms’ on AUDIOPAIN 7” split EP released by Worship Him Records in 2003. In 2004, Planet Satan Revolution gathered the band's old cassette tapes and EPs and released the remastered material as ‘Lost Masters Of the Universe’ compilation (visit here (YouTube) to listen to three tracks off the recording). In 2012, MYSTICUM reunited as Herr General Cerastes, Prime and Dr. Best.

22 February, 2013

Katatonia: Lethean – new video & Dead End Kings – full album stream

KATATONIA's highly successful and much praised latest album, ‘Dead End Kings’, just recently shortlisted for a Swedish Grammy award in the “Best Metal Album” category, was released in August 2012 on Peaceville Records. The group's ninth lengthly testimony to sadness sold 3,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release and has debuted at position 138 on The Billboard Top 200. ‘Dead End Kings’, produced by lead guitarist Anders Nyström and vocalist and lyricist Jonas Renkse, and mixed by David Castillo, can be still enjoyed in full here (Exclaim.ca). Frank Default contributed sampling and atmospherics on the album and Norwegian vocalist's Silje Wergeland (of THE GATHERING) voice can be heard on the tune ‘The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here’. The album's artwork was supplied by KATATONIA's long-time visual collaborator Travis Smith and their new visuals come courtesy Lasse Hoile. Order ‘Dead End Kings’ from here (the album site), from where you can download the single ‘Dead Letters’ for free as well, and enjoy the song ‘Buildings’, more of new KATATONIA, via the YouTube player embedded below:
“ ‘Dead End Kings’ is [an] exploration of the deeply atmospheric, melodic brand of “dark rock” offered on the [KATATONIA's] earlier recording, but where the former [‘2009's ‘Night Is A New Day’] was so focused on being an album that was greater than the sum of its parts, the latter [‘Dead End Kings’] is a collection of tightly written songs that work in virtually any sequential context, making for a more compelling listen. … With its various parts, ever-shifting dynamics, and blazing instrumental interludes, it [the album'] sends the set off with a nearly majestic bang. ‘Dead End Kings’ is uncompromising in its musical excellence, bleak vision, and dark, hunted beauty; it extends KATATONIA's reach exponentially,” [wrote Thom Jurek, AllMusic – more here]

KATATONIA was formed in 1991 in Stockholm, Sweden by vocalist Jonas Renkse and guitarist Anders Nyström. In 1922, the pair issued a Dan Swanö-recorded “sludgy and doom-laden demo, with just a dab of classic black metal atmosphere to it” they named ‘Jhva Elohim Meth… The Revival’, which became a quite a hit in underground metal circles (as any demo called ‘Jhva’ would). Hiding under such illustrious names such as “Blakkheim”, “Lord Sith” and “Israphel Wing” (bassist Guillaume Le Huche), KATATONIA released their first LP, ‘Dance Of December Souls’, on Helion Records in 1993, what many consider to be their masterpiece, ‘Brave Murder Day’, in 1996 (with new guitarist Fredrik Norrman), and “either a masterpiece, or else something very close” (William York, AllMusic – more here), ‘Discouraged Ones’, in 1998 (with new bassist Micke Oretoft) on Avantgarde Music. KATATONIA signed a multi-album deal with Peaceville Records and issued their fourth full-length, ‘Tonight's Decision’, in 1999. Trying out a new lineup featuring bassist Mattias Norrman and drummer Daniel Liljekvist, KATATONIA first recorded an EP ‘Teargas’ and then full-length ‘Last Fair Deal Gone Down’, both released in 2001. ‘Viva Emptiness’ followed in 2003:
“… The other thing that sets KATATONIA apart from all of its peers with the possible exception of Liverpudlian quartet ANATHEMA is the band's lyrics. Virtually every track here will have the listener entering into a dialogue with Renske as he offers observations on everything from questioning the right to continued existence to revenge to determination to grief to alienation to political and social dystopian catastrophes, and even to glimmers of hope in the wasteland. ‘Viva Emptiness’ is a dynamically jarring and intellectually demanding yet musically accessible journey to the dark side and back, full of glorious riffs, complex harmonic sensibilities, and a vulnerable yet ultimately powerful brute force. ‘Viva Emptiness’ is so intelligent that it borders on brilliance; it’s a candidate for one the finest rock records of 2003,” [praised the record Thom Jurek, AllMusic – read more here]
KATATONIA had toured for nearly two years after the release of their seventh full-length, 2006's ‘The Great Cold Distance’. Their 2009's album, ‘Night Is The New Day’, which sold over 2,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release, peaked at position number 8 on Finnish Albums Chart and at position number 39 on Swedish Albums Chart, was described as “a very beautiful and reflective album” by Phil Freeman, AllMusic (read the rest of his review here). 

KATATONIA features: Jonas Renkse – vocals, Anders Nyström – guitar, Daniel Liljekvist – drums, Per Eriksson - guitar (live) and Niklas Sandin - bass (live)


20 February, 2013

Full Album Stream: Portal: Vexovoid – new album


Feared by metal music's who’s who (read ‘Vexovoid’ reviews here (MetalSucks), here (CVLT Nation), here (Spin), here (About.com) and so on), the surrealist death metal terror unit's, PORTAL, fourth longplayer is now definitely out (since February 19th, 2013) through Profound Lore Records: 
“Taking their sound of singular death metal psychosis by creating their darkest and most-dense sounding album to date, ‘Vexovoid’ carries the tradition PORTAL have laid upon since their inception [nearly 20] years ago.  Through the band's strange, unsettling, avant-garde, and polarizing take on death metal (on a musical, lyrical, visual, and aesthetical level), throughout the years, PORTAL have shape-shifted and inverted the genre into multiple realms of dementia.  ‘Vexovoid’, as expected, is another dreadful and frightening observation of unorthodox death metal terror unparalleled,” [reasures the label]
“I remember the first time I heard PORTAL,” [wrote CVLT Nation reviewer] My first feeling was oddness, but at the same time I became intrigued with what I was hearing. It created this feeling in my head almost like an increasing migraine as I sank deeper and deeper into ‘Seepia’ [PORTAL's 2003 album].”
“When the most evil and vilest heavy metal fails to chill you, that’s where PORTAL step in - providing a surreal and powerful voice for abomination and corruption, and doing so with polarizing and malevolent glee. PORTAL make for petrifying listening,” [admitted Craig Hayes, About.com]
“… by attempting to speak the same language as the rest of metal, PORTAL is even more terrifying. The notion that they’re bridging some sort of gap between their angled, concussed world and ours means they know how we think and probably where we live. We’re most likely not long for this world,” [gave up Sammy O’Hagar, MetalSucks]
If still in need of convincing, let me relate to you that Spin's Kory Grow describes PORTAL as “a quintet of thirtysomething headbangers likely too ugly to compete with younger, better-looking heshers”. Besides, you’ll find plenty of their music below. With artwork created by Reverend Kriss Hades, ‘Vexovoid’ awaits your order here (Profound Lore Records store):

Well, they definitely come from down under, Brisbane, Australia that is, and are rumored to be active since 1994 – proudly and fiercely producing a sound that has been compared to “among other things, a leaf blower, a vacuum cleaner and an aeronautics tunnel”. Now, Eduardo Rivadavia (AllMusic) would describe PORTAL's sound as an “attempt to demolish the boundaries of extreme metal with a death/black/grindcore hybrid style as technically ambitious as it is purposely mired in waves of distortion” (more here), wouldn’t he? Be as it may, PORTAL, keeping their identities hidden under masks and costumes and ludicrous names, released their first EP, ‘The End Mills’, in 2002, followed by their first LP, ‘Seepia’ in 2003 (which was later reissued remastered by Profound Lore Records). 2004's ‘The Sweyy’ EP preceded 2006's ‘Lurker At The Threshold’ demo which came before PORTAL's second full-length, ‘Outre'’, released in 2007:
Then, in 2009, came ‘Swarth’:
“Do you judge the music based on volume? On gutturalness? On degree of sacrilegious profanity? Some death metal bands offer guitar pyrotechnics, but PORTAL doesn’t even throw you that bone - every song on this album (with the possible exception of ‘The Swayy’) consists almost entirely of undifferentiated roar. You’ll be nearly halfway through the title track before you realize that there’s even a voice in the mix - and it’s a good thing you can’t hear it well, because PORTALs lyrics are the purest pseudo-occult twaddle: “Domus lacunae/Meta matriculant/Theta genus/Fait accompli” runs the opening stanza of the first song, while others string together lines like “lapsing tidal sinergy pulpittates” and “symbionts molten behest” and still others command the listener to “harbour the spleen” and “be as our gruel”. (Is it possible that this whole thing is a joke?),” [asked Rick Anderson, AllMusic – more here:]
PORTAL features: The Curator – vocals, Horror Illogium – guitar, Aphotic Mote – guitar, Omenous Fugue – bass and Ignis Fatuus - drums

Full Album Stream: Eight Bells: The Captain's Daughter – new album


“ ‘The Captain's Daughter’ features four organic soundscapes that oscillate seamlessly between tranquil and terrifying. EIGHT BELLS seem intent on giving the listener a broad canvas of sound to work with without seeming grandiose or tedious, and they succeed on every level of that presumed intention. Utilizing the negative space of sound in a way that many other bands would do well to pay heed to, EIGHT BELLS has created a masterwork with ‘The Captain's Daughter’ – easily placing themselves in a realm of music that will rarely be matched this year. Featuring four tracks over about 30 minutes, each song takes it time exploring various themes,” [states the press release]
‘The Captain's Daughter’ was released yesterday, February 19th, 2013, on Seventh Rule Recordings. Listen to the whole recording, produced by renowned Billy Anderson, exclusively here (Metal Insider) or not so exclusively below, and buy the record here (Seventh Rule). ‘The Captain's Daughter’ was described as being able:
“to evoke atmospheric qualities of a multitude of genres without succumbing to the confines of any of them,” [by Steel For Brains and as] “a journey into the far reaches of one’s mind through sound that acts as its own wordsmith,” [by Metal Psalter:]

Fusing progressive rock and black metal elements, EIGHT BELLS was created (in “January 1473”) by former SUBARACHNOID SPACE guitarist Melynda Jackson, a native of rural Texas now based in Portland, Oregon. The EIGHT BELLS alignment also includes former SAS drummer Christopher Van Huffel and classically trained six-string bassist Haley Westeiner. 

EIGHT BELLS features: Christopher Van Huffel – drums, Melynda Jackson – guitar & vocals and Haley Westeiner – bass & vocals

18 February, 2013

Death Wolf: II: Black Armoured Death – new album


Swedish blackened punks, DEATH WOLF, have a brand new album out; ‘II: Black Armoured Death’ was released through Century Media Records in Europe today, February 18th, 2013, and will see its North American release tomorrow, February 19th, 2013. In a true blackened-punk-rock fashion, the band has not revealed much about their latest opus magnum, leaving room for speculations: do they still sound like black metal guys who like Glenn Danzig or do they offer their fans a more varied collection of tracks (ranging from the darker DANZIG material, to the brutal, focused attack of early punk-hardcore bands such as ILL REPUTE to the blackened crust witchery of AMEBIX to the dark, textured black metal mastery of NACHTMYSTIUM, to the crushing doom aesthetics of CELTIC FROST and TRIPTYKON)? To find out, order the album from here (Century Media store). But first, listen to the ‘II: Black Armoured Death’s opening track ‘Noche De Brujas’ via YouTube embed and to ‘World Serpent’ you’ll find below, and visit Pitchfork here to march merrily into darkness with ‘Death Wolf March’. Because:
“No matter what your dark poison, DEATH WOLF has got you covered.”

Well, blame it on MARDUK's Morgan Håkansson (Morgan “Evil” Steinmeyer Håkansson) who founded a MISFITS and SAMHAIN cover band called “Devils Whorehouse” in 2000 in Norrköping, Sweden. The tribute band released two albums (2003's ‘Revelation Unorthodox’ and 2009's ‘Blood & Ashes’) and two EPs, ‘Howling’ in 2000 and ‘Werewolf’ in 2008, before becoming aware that the “philosophy behind the orchestra has outgrown its name”:
“The hour of the wolf had come - DEATH WOLF was born.”
In 2011, DEATH WOLF (who have chosen such a name in order to emphasize “the strength, dedication and will shown in their creations”) released their (“much lauded”) self-titled debut album on Regain Records and accompanied it with a video for ‘Iron Wood’ shown here (YouTube).After signing to Century Media, DEATH WOLF released the ‘Bloodscent’ 7” EP in 2012, containing two album songs with a different mix and vocal arrangement. 

DEATH WOLF features: Maelstrom – vocals, Morgan – bass, Makko – guitar and Hrafn – drums

Shai Hulud: Reach Beyond The Sun – new album


SHAI HULUD's fourth LP, ‘Reach Beyond The Sun’, will be out everywhere tomorrow, February 19th, 2013, on Metal Blade Records. The album was produced by Chad Gilbert (NEW FOUND GLORY guitarist and once SHAI HULUD vocalist) who also contributed vocals on the album. In addition, ‘Reach Beyond The Sun’ features vocal talents of Jay Pepito (REIGN SUPREME, BLACKLISTED) on ‘A Human Failing’, John Vigil (THE GHOST INSIDE) on ‘If A Mountain Be My Obstacle’, Louis Hernandez (ALPHA & OMEGA) on ‘Man Into Demon’ as well as all officially recorded former SHAI HULUD vocalists Matt Mazalli, Damien Moyal, and Geert van der Velde on ‘Medicine To The Dead’ as well as additional vocals throughout the album from the likes of Justin Krauss (WITH LIFE IN MIND) and Martin Stewart and David Wood (both of TERROR fame). Lyrics-wise, SHAI HULUD “continues to evoke deeper thought, and a range of true human emotions practically unique to the band as the modern underground often shies away from depth for fear of the vulnerability of inner exposure.” Unafraid, shop for SHAI HULUD here (Metal Blade) or find them on iTunes:
[Regarding ‘A Human Failing’, a song about a generation willing to turn numb in lieu of a life of pain and feeling, guitar player Matt Fox comments:] “It’s become “cool” to be cold. No pun intended.” [In the interest of challenging misinterpreted notions of pessimism, the song ‘Think The Adder Benign’ [he] professes:] No, I do not believe roses only bloom just to conceal the thorns. I merely accept the thorn pricked finger bleeds.”
[Sound-wise, longtime bassist Mad Matt Fletcher asserts:] “Anyone who really knows the band will agree this album is our definitive sound, encompassing all of our different influences and styles. Yep, this sounds like SHAI HULUD.”
“Within ‘Reach Beyond The Sun’ is found the glimmer of hope emerging as a keen perception of reality on a gridlocked battleground of grim pessimism versus unthinking optimism – a conflicting array of swirling thoughts and depth of emotion, honestly illustrating and defining the beauty and tragedy of the human experience. To the backdrop of progressive, metallic hardcore/punk, SHAI HULUD is thinking and expressing in perpetual forward motion. Onward and upward. Always. Forever,” [the press release concludes optimistically]

Formed in Pompano Beach, Florida in 1995 by guitarist Matt Fox and bassist Dave Silber, SHAI HULUD are described as “a positively themed metalcore band with some straight-edge and Christian leanings” by AllMusic's Stewart Mason (more here). Naming the band after Frank Herbert's (author of “Dune”) giant sandworms, SHAI HULUD released their debut EP, ‘A Profound Hatred Of Man’, in 1997 on Crisis Records with Chad Gilbert on vocals, Oliver Chapoy on guitar and Steve Kleisath on drums. Described as “fantastic album” by Jason D. Taylor, AllMusic (more here), their debut full-length, ‘Hearts Once Nourished with Hope & Compassion’, followed soon thereafter. A couple of split EPs latter and by the time SHAI HULUD's second longplayer was released, the band had moved from Florida to New York. ‘That Within Blood Ill Tempered’ came out in 2003:
“The album title, the syntax of which is so affected and twisted as to render it meaningless, is fair warning: The guys in SHAI HULUD appear to be suffering from a terminal case of Freshman Creative Writing Seminar, and they can’t seem to tell the difference between pretentious syntax and actual intellectual content. The result is a lyrical disaster: The songs are all crawling (or perhaps “rife”? “fraught”?) with cringe-inducing and often downright nonsensical pronouncements… They seem to be sincere (or so they claim, explicitly, in both the booklet design and the opening lines of the first song), but sincerity isn’t enough: They need to be sincere about something in particular, and they need to be coherent in their expression of whatever it is they’re sincere about. That won’t happen until at least one of them figures out how to use a predicate,” [was stern in his review of the album Rick Anderson, AllMusic – more here]
Following numerous personnel shifts, SHAI HULUD answered the critics in their own way; in 2005 they released ‘A Comprehensive Retrospective: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Release Bad And Useless Recordings’ compilation album, followed by their third full-length album ‘Misanthropy Pure’, issued in 2008 through Metal Blade Records (four out of eleven tracks are available for your listening pleasure below) and a split EP with NEW FOUND GLORY in 2009, smartly titled ‘Not Without A Heart Once Nourished By Sticks And Stones Within Blood Ill-Tempered Misanthropy Pure Gold Can Stay’:

SHAI HULUD features: Matt Fox – guitar, Matt Fletcher – bass, Matt Covey – drums and Chad Gilbert – vocals

Full Album Stream: Son Of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys – new compilation album



Now, this girl has to have some fun too, no? Since I presumptuously call myself “daughter of plunder”, heh, and am presumed to like all things piraty (which is true, btw), and am spending my morning listening to pirate ballads, sea songs & chanteys, and have always wanted to write stuff like “produced by Hal Willner” and “executive produced by Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski” as well as “featuring Tom Waits, Keith Richards, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Sean Lennon and many more”, do surf over here (The Music) to listen to 36 sea shanties, which will be released as double CD through Anti Records (a sister label of Epitaph Records) tomorrow, February 19th, 2013. (Listen to Disc 1 in full via player available below.) Then kindly shop for ‘Son Of Rogues Gallery II’ here (Anti Records store) or order via Amazon.


The idea to pay such an extravagant homage to the original heavy metallers was, reportedly, first imagined when Verbinski and Depp were working on their second film together, the “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest”:

“I slowly became fascinated by the idea of a contemporary reinterpretation of the sea chantey,” [explained Verbinski] I imagined the artists that I listen to and respect doing their take on this age-old music: the song of the sea. I then described the project in detail to my old friend Brett Gurewitz (owner of Epitaph and Anti Records) who immediately understood its wondrous and strange potential. I also asked Johnny Depp if it might be something that he would like to be involved with. He has a great musical aesthetic, and as my partner in the films, his opinion is one I value. I’ve always believed Johnny is a musician first and the actor thing is just his day job. The project took shape when Hal Willner became “the captain of this vessel”.”

Immersing himself in antique bookstores, old record stores, and the internet for hours and hours, Willner collected some 600 songs and then went about narrowing the song selection down for the album. 60 songs were recorded for ‘Rogue's Gallery’; 43 appeared on the album. In 2006, ‘Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, & Chanteys’ was released:

“There is something here for most, and something to piss off everyone else. The real deal is this: by bringing up these old relics - some of which took considerable research to find - Willner has done a service to folk culture by presenting it in such an oddball, loose, and fun way to the masses. Perhaps that rarefied world of folk culture fascists (who will remain unnamed here) may take umbrage, but consider those who will actually get turned on by this music and research the old songs themselves. Certainly that may be a choice few; for the rest, there is untold knowledge to be gained for random conversation, filling in the “personal weird stuff” file in their brains, and perhaps, if urbane enough, may spark a discussion for a moment or so until the next really “big” thing distracts them. Any way you hoist it, ‘Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys’ is a treasure trove of the beautiful, the weird, the arcane, and the dangerous right out there on the record store shelves for anyone with a few dollars to spare to be awed or amused by,” [commented Thom Jurek, AllMusic – read the rest here]


15 February, 2013

Suffocation: Pinnacle Of Bedlam – new album & As Grace Descends – new video


New York death metal legends, SUFFOCATION, have released their new and seventh album, ‘Pinnacle Of Bedlam’, in Europe today, February 15th, 2013, through Nuclear Blast Records. Expect the album in UK stores on February 18th, and in North American ones on February 19th. The LP was produced by the band and tracked at Full Force Studios in New York by longtime collaborator Joe Cincotta. The mixing and mastering of ‘Pinnacle Of Bedlam’ fell in the trusted hands of Chris “Zeuss” Harris, while the art for the ten “genre-defining-bone-crushing” tracks was created by Raymond Swanland. If you happen to live in Germany, Austria or Switzerland you can currently listen to the entire album, which welcomes back drummer Dave Culross, here (German magazine Bild) and if not, you’ll have to make do with a couple of tracks featured below. Download yourselves ‘As Grace Descends’ for free from Nuclear Blast here and buy ‘Pinnacle Of Bedlam’ here (Nuclear Blast store) or through iTunes and Amazon:
“The meaning of the album title, ‘Pinnacle Of Bedlam’ is the tipping point or most elevated moment as we approach the chaotic climax of this existence,” [explained enthusiastically guitarist Terrance Hobbs] The cosmic scale teeters and the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. People should expect nothing less than sheer brutality, as we perform together with this incredible line up! We feel this CD will be the best SUFFOCATION album ever to have been released and are confident the fans will love it”

Formed in 1988 on Long Island, New York by him who-is-recognized-to-be-among-the-first-to-bring-low-pitched-vocals-in-death-metal Frank Mullen, guitarists Dough Cerrito and Terrance Hobbs, bassist Chris Richards and drummer Mike Smith, SUFFOCATION released their first EP, ‘Human Waste’, through Relapse Records and their debut LP, ‘Effigy Of The Forgotten’, trough Roadrunner Records in 1991, with it “providing a veritable blueprint for '90s death metal”:
“Delivering a truly devastating display of technical death metal bordering on grindcore, this incredibly influential release opened the doors for an entire generation of extreme metal miscreants who would subsequently make their uncompromising sounds the prevalent template for East Coast metal in the '90s,” [commented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – read more here]
While ‘Effigy Of The Forgotten’ showcased Josh Barohn's skills on bass, SUFFOCATION's next full-length featured Chris Richards on four strings; ‘Breeding The Spawn’ was released in 1993 on Roadrunner Record. Richards remained to combat the guitar duo from hell on the band's two subsequent recordings, 1995's full-length ‘Pierced From Within’ and 1998's EP ‘Despise The Sun’ (listen to the remastered track off ‘Despise The Sun’ here (BandCamp), courtesy Relapse Records). Following the release, the band broke up, reportedly disheartened by label problems and a lack of direction. According to SUFFOCATON's official bio, “extreme metal fans wept at the loss of one the genres greatest champions and pioneers,” as a result. In 2003, SUFFOCATION returned and recorded ‘Souls To Deny’, which they issued in 2004 through Relapse Records. Their “truly devastating display of technical extreme metal” featured new guitarist Guy Marchais while Hobbs and Smith contributed on bass:
“There seems to be a sort of hidden logic at work in it, since it's hard for even an astute listener to figure out what's going on in terms of the song structure, yet it obviously all makes perfect sense to the band, who deliver this perplexing material with a natural, freely flowing sense of brutality. Many bands have attempted to copy SUFFOCATION's sound, and most of them are extremely boring because they either don’t grasp the subtleties or don’t have the intuition that these guys obviously possess as songwriters and musicians,” [obviously grasped the subtleties William York, AllMusic – read more here as you listen to the track ‘Deceit’ off the album here (BandCamp)]
Over 400 shows and countless tours later, SUFFOCATION entered the studio to record their fifth, self-titled album with new bassist Derek Boyer. ‘Suffocation’, presenting “punishing drumbeats, frantic doomsday riffing, and vocals so devilish that Beelzebub himself is probably green with envy” (courtesy Greg Prato, AllMusic – more here) as always, was issued in 2006 on Relapse Records. (Again, visit BandCamp here to listen to the opening track ‘Oblivion’.) ‘The Best Of Suffocation’ compilation album preceded 2009's LP ‘Blood Oath’, SUFFOCATION's first Billboard charts entry, where it debuted at position 135 on the Billboard Top 200. ‘Blood Oath’ was the band's first release on Nuclear Blast Records.
SUFFOCATION features: Frank Mullen – vocals, Terrance Hobbs – guitar, Guy Marchais – guitar, Derek Boyer – bass and Dave Culross – drums

14 February, 2013

Tsjuder: Desert Northern Hell – reissue


And now, ladies and gentlemen, let me wish you a happy whatever you are celebrating today, if at all, in a true Noise & Stuff fashion; Season Of Mist is about to remind us of TSJUDER's horned weapons and razor sharp riffs with the reissue of their 2004's LP ‘Desert Northern Hell’. Fortifying that which is evil with four previously unreleased live tracks and the complete ‘Norwegian Apocalypse’ DVD, bow to the malevolent and buy ‘Desert Northern Hell’, officially spat out in its black metal purity on February 15th, 2013, here (Season Of Mist e-shop).

Bassist and vocalist Nag and guitarist Berserk crawled up from beneath Oslo, Norway in anno 1993. With second guitarist Drauglin joining in a year latter, TSJUDER (named so after a mythical Russian barbarian tribe) released their first demo, ‘Ved Ferdens Ende’, in 1995. With Berserk departing, the line-up was solidified by drummer Torvus on their next demo, 1996's ‘Possessed’. The Norwegian act established quite a reputation within the underground scene with their spiritedly titled first EP ‘Throne Of The Goat’, issued in 1997. TSJUDER's debut album, 2000's ‘Kill For Satan’, recorded with GEHENNA drummer Blod and  guitarist Arak Draconiiz (ISVIND), was released on Drakkar Productions to much critical acclaim. Their next  offering of brutal, speed-addicted black metal came in form of a second full-length, 2002's ‘Demonic Possession’, recorded with RAGNAROK's drummer Jontho. Striking a new deal with Season Of Mist Records and with (recovered) Anti-Christian back behind the drum kit, 2004's ‘Desert Northern Hell’ was unveiled:
“There’s none of that new age, high-falutin, symphonic s**t cluttering the work of these Norwegian noise terrorists. No sir, just brutalizing sonic hatred reaching way back to legendary compatriots DARKTHRONE and MAYHEM, and beyond to primordial giants like BATHORY, HELLHAMMER and, of course, the big twisted daddies of them all: VENOM. As such, ‘Desert Northern Hell’ is a mixed blessing (or curse, as it were) for extreme metal fans and the members of TSJUDER, as well, since it’s quite evident they are consciously forcing themselves to work within their chosen genre's time-proven, but very limited stylistic boundaries,” [was excited Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here:]

TSJUDER split up in 2006, but nothing can keep true Norwegian black metallers sitting by their fireplaces for long (as we all know but only a handful were let in on a secret); founder, bassist and vocalist Nag (Jan-Erik Romøren) had stared writing new material with guitarist and vocalist Draugluin (Halvor Storrøsten) already back in 2009. With Anti-Christian (Christian Svendsen) behind the drum kit, TSJUDER officially reformed in 2010. ‘Legion Helvete’ followed in October 2011:
“ ‘Legion Helvete’ does not dwell in the past,” [claimed the press release back then] Songwriting reveals the virtues of maturity and skill which leads to an uncanny catchiness that never succumbs to the simplicity of added rock or even pop structures. ‘Legion Helvete’ remains firmly within the framework of the black metal genre, true to its roots without trying to curry favor by latching onto any current trend.” [Reassure yourselves below:]

TSJUDER features: Nag – bass and vocals, Draugluin – guitar and backing vocals and Anti-Christian - drums

Full Album Stream: Disperse: Living Mirrors – new album


Chiefly inspired by the “universe, self-consciousness, omnipresence, love and nature”, young progressive metallers from Poland, DISPERSE, will have their second full-length album, ‘Living Mirrors’, released through Season Of Mist in Europe tomorrow, February 15th, 2013 and in North America on February 19th, 2013. Equally inspired, order/pre-order ‘Living Mirrors’ here (Season Of Mist e-shop) and listen to full album here (BandCamp) or below:
“DISPERSE inject fresh momentum into the progressive genre,” [explains the label] On their second full-length ‘Living Mirrors’ this young Polish band demonstrates that they have learned the essential grammar of their musical language by heart. There are moments of hovering fluidity taken from the void left by [none other than] PINK FLOYD. You will find the complexities of cascading syncopated breaks, odd-time signatures and all these tools of trade that DREAM THEATER brought close to perfection. And most of all, there is a strong undercurrent of CYNIC's playful approach in elegantly fusing hard metal sounds with just any style they deem appropriate ranging from jazz to electronic elements:”

Formed in 2007 in Przeworsk, Poland by guitarist Jakub Zytecki, bassist Marcin Kicyk and vocalist and keyboard player Rafał Biernacki, DISPERSE produced their debut recording shortly after the band's inception; titled ‘Promo 2008’, the recording featured session drummer Konrad Biczak. Inspired by meditation and sounds of nature, DISPERSE found it necessary to record their first proper album in 2009, under the auspices of Paweł “Janos” Grabowski. Their debut LP, ‘Journey Through The Hidden Gardens’, which consisted of nine tracks that “enraptured listeners with the maturity which, in comparison with the young age of the artists, made [the album] even more attractive”, was released in April 2010:

DISPERSE features: Rafał Biernacki - vocals and keyboard, Jakub Żytecki – guitar, Wojtek Famielec – bass and Maciek Dzik – drums

13 February, 2013

Full Album Stream: Misery Index: Live In Munich – new live album


The relentless tour machine, as well as one of my favourite live bands ever, MISERY INDEX, have their new live album, ‘Live In Munich’, streamed in full here (Legacy Magazin Soundcloud) and below. ‘Live In Munich’, a prelude to their forthcoming LP, is due on Season Of Mist on February 15th, 2013 in Europe and on February 19th, 2013 in North America. Professionally recorded at a sold-out show in Germany in February 2012 during the massive “Full Of Hate Tour” alongside CANNIBAL CORPSE, BEHEMOTH and LEGION OF THE DAMNED and perfectly capturing the raw ferocity and furious intensity that is MISERY INDEX, the band's first live album should be shopped for here (Season Of Mist e-shop):

MISERY INDEX began as a studio project in Baltimore, Maryland in 2001, when vocalist and bassist Jason Netherton and drummer Kevin Talley (both formerly of DYING FETUS) recorded, together with guitarist  and vocalist Mike Harrison, their debut five-song EP ‘Overthrow’. Encouraged by considerable praise they’ve received in the underground circles, MISERY INDEX became a full time project with the addition of guitarist Sparky Voyles (also ex-DYING FETUS). Since their humble beginnings, MISERY INDEX have released four studio albums, several EPs and have performed over 1000 concerts in over 30 countries. In 2002, Mike Harrison and Kevin Talley left the band and the latter was replaced by Matt Byers. In 2003, MISERY INDEX released their first full-length ‘Retaliate’ and in 2004, a video for ‘The Great Depression’ was released, complimenting their first live DVD. Later that year, Adam Jarvis (of PIG DESTROYER fame) became the band's new drummer and further touring and festival appearances followed. In 2005, guitarist and vocalist Mark Kloeppel joined the band, solidifying the line-up for the next five years. In 2006, they released their second full-length ‘Discordia’, followed by even more persistent touring with bands such as FEAR FACTORY, JOB FOR A COWBOY and many, many others. Despite being on the road for months, MISERY INDEX recorded their third album with CONVERGE's Kurt Ballou in May 2008, and released ‘Traitors’ later that year. Amidst raving reviews, the band embarked on their next tour:
“The MISERY INDEX gentlemen keep things as precise, tight, and brutal as possible from start to finish. As a result, you can take your pick of any of the album's tracks and be prepared for a complete sonic assault. Which brings up an obvious question - in the wake of ‘Traitors’, how further can MISERY INDEX possibly go musically, before it all implodes?,” [asked Greg Prato, AllMusic – more here]
In 2008 and 2009, the band toured extensively, for the first time visiting places like Mexico, Russia, Iceland and Japan, an performed at the Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore and at European festivals such as Summer Breeze, Party.San, Hellfest, and Death Feast. In 2010, the band recorded ‘Heirs To Thievery’ with producer Steve Wright and released it in May 2010, “dropping like a bomb on the death metal masses and shattering all expectations”. 2010 also saw the departure of long time guitarist Sparky Voyles, who was replaced by Darin Morris.

MISERY INDEX features: Jason Netherton – bass and vocals, Adam Jarvis – drums, Mark Kloeppel – guitar and vocals and Darin Morris - guitar

11 February, 2013

Carach Angren: The Funerary Dirge Of A Violinist – new video & Where The Corpses Sink Forever – full album stream

Dutch painters of dark portraits and supernatural landscapes, CARACH ANGREN, have released a new video for ‘The Funerary Dirge Of A Violinist’, directed by B.J. Harring of After Hour Films. The tune comes off ‘Where The Corpses Sink Forever’ album, released through Season Of Mist in  May/June 2012. It can be purchased here (Season Of Mist) and listened to in its entirety here (BandCamp) or via player available below:
“[Commented director B.J. Harring:] When setting out to do this project, I felt we had to do ‘The Funerary Dirge Of A Violinist’ because the piece had a soul. I have a very personal connection to the casualties of war having lost a family member in Afghanistan and wanted to explore what I believe these soldiers experience while serving on the front lines, which is what the piece is all about. The story of the violinist in particular, his frailty in the face of suffering and death, which ultimately leads to his undoing, is one that I feel everyone can connect to. The paranormal connection at the end of the piece was then meant to serve as a sort of bow to tie the story together as well as bring everything back home to CARACH ANGREN and what they represent"
“Dutch masters of horror are back to paint yet another dark portrait of supernatural landscapes with bold strokes of eerily shimmering and whirring guitars, scratching dashes of fiercely rasping vocals, dabs of precisely rattling drums and a wide palette of grey and black sound hues that rival the masterful craftsmanship of Rembrandt, Bruegel and Vermeer in their vivid imagery and depth of detail. Although their music is clearly based in black metal, CARACH ANGREN developed a style on their own, more flamboyant and openly theatrical, which perfectly fits the cinematic horror concepts of the Dutch. This originality has been well received by critics and fans alike right from the beginning and CARACH ANGREN also gained a reputation as an excellent live act. Now it is time to open a new and even darker chapter with ‘Where The Corpses Sink Forever’. Let these ghosts of war drag you under their irresistible spell,” [the press release recommended the album:]

CARACH ANGREN (meaning “Iron Jaws” in Sindarin, a fictional language devised by J.R.R. Tolkien) was formed in the southern regions of Limburg, Netherland. In 2004 they recorded a demo ‘The Chase Vault Tragedy’ on which the band indulged in the story behind paranormal causes in a 17th century Barbados, a theme, the paranormal, they continued with on the ‘Ethereal Veiled Existence EP released in 2005. The 2008 full-length, ‘Lammendam’, told the tale of the ghost of a lady in white (reissued remastered in 2013 by Season Of Mist and available for purchase and listening pleasure here - Bancamp) and was followed by “a stormy journey onboard a cruel ghost vessel entitled ‘Death Came Through A Phantom Ship’, released in 2010 and reissued remastered in 2013 by Season Of Mist (and available for purchase and listening pleasure here).

10 February, 2013

Cult Of Luna: Passing Through – new video & Vertical – full album stream



The new CULT OF LUNA video, ‘Passing Through’, directed by Markus Lunqvist, was apparently filmed in sub-zero temperatures at what was once Sweden's largest mental hospital. Closed since the 1960's, the Säter hospital was where the mentally ill were routinely castrated and lobotomized, we are told. Furthermore, we get to discover some of behind-the-song goings on with the help of guitarist Fredrik Kihlberg, who also sings the tune:

“When we decided to start writing a new COL album and talked about which direction we wanted to go, this was actually the first idea that came to my head. I had this phrase - time is passing me by - in my head, going on repeat, and I thought and I should try to make something out of it. It’s a simple phrase but at the same time a powerful and overwhelming feeling. We wanted this to be a beautiful but at the same time intimidating song.” [Added vocalist and guitarist Johannes Persson:] “You can hear the sensitivity in his voice - just listen and you can hear what he’s communicating. You can feel it. It’s the most honest song I’ve ever heard.”

‘Vertical’ was released in January 2013 (January 25th, 2013 on Indie Recordings in Europe and on January 29th, 2013 on Density Records in the USA). CULT OF LUNA's sixth LP, its concept loosely based upon Fritz Lang's film “Metropolis”, was produced by the band and recorded, mixed and mastered by Magnus Lindberg at Tonteknik Recording and The Vilhelm Room, with additional recording by Måns Lundberg and Kristian Karlsson. The album is available in full for your listening pleasure here (Density Records' YouTube channel), here (Brooklyn Vegan) as well as painstakingly embedded, track by track, below. Get ‘Vertical’ through iTunes or Amazon:

“If you need to understand ugliness for beauty to truly shine, then CULT OF LUNA have both on display here, right next to one another, time and time again. The three minutes of odd instrumentation in ‘The Sweep’ will evoke memories of 20th century science fiction, and the curious piano-led 45 seconds of ‘Disharmonia’ is sandwiched between the boisterous ‘Mute Departure’ and the slow-burning barbs of ‘In Awe Of’, highlighting the expert aural dynamics that this band has mastered. While the band is still active, and Johannes Persson [guitarist & vocalist] and Fredrik Kihlberg [guitarist & vocalist] also work together in KHOMA, every CULT OF LUNA release and tour must be savoured, as this is a so far ahead of its peers. They have tested their boundaries, and they will test yours. That the Swedes are still succeeding like this on their sixth album is testament to both their quality and vision,” [wrote Razik Rauf, BBC Music – more here:]


Formed in 1998 in the area of Västerbotten, Sweden, CULT OF LUNA released a split 7” together with SWITCHBLADE in 2000, before recording their self-titled debut full-length they issued in 2001 on Rage Of Achilles. Next, in 2001, came their “astoundingly great” second album, ‘The Beyond’, through Earache Records (read its review by Ned Raggett, AllMusic here), followed by extensive touring in its support with the likes of ISIS, POISON THE WELL and THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. CULT OF LUNA's critically acclaimed third album, deemed nearly perfect by AllMusic (more here), 2004's ‘Salvation’, took the band on the European as well as U.S. roads again and, upon their return to Sweden, straight back to recording studio, this time to record ‘Somewhere Along The Highway’. The band's 2006 LP, inspired by J.M. Coetzee's “Life & Times Of Michael K”, won the top rock/ metal award at the Swedish National Radio Awards for, apparently, “the will and courage to expand and bring new dimensions to the metal genre”. Acknowledged for their work, CULT OF LUNA returned to studio to record the tale of a man who, after loosing his wife and children, looses his mind and retires into a parallel world called “Eternal Kingdom”, “where animals symbolize good and evil”:

“When Sweden's CULT OF LUNA moved into a new rehearsal space on the site of a converted mental institution, they stumbled upon an unexpected source of inspiration for their fifth album, ‘Eternal Kingdom’. There, amongst the long-abandoned madhouse's detritus, lay a diary kept by a former inmate who had rationalized drowning his wife by concocting an entire imaginary world and cast of characters responsible for the heinous crime - anyone but him, in other words. The title of this diary was - you guessed it - “Tales Of The Eternal Kingdom”, and its contents provided the perfect jumping-off-point for CULT OF LUNA to wrap their always inventive post-metal songwriting around a gothic fairy tale right out of the Brothers Grimm. … On the subject of the music itself… the band's concerted effort to break out of their habitually epic songwriting mindset along with the incorporation of atypical electronic sounds and horns, make a good case for this album as the band's most unique yet. This assertion is definitely debatable given CULT OF LUNA's consistently groundbreaking career, but what certainly isn’t in question is ‘Eternal Kingdom’s tantalizing allure, as a result of its singular concept and the band's often breathtaking execution thereof,” [commented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – read the rest here]

CULT OF LUNA features: Johannes Persson - guitars and vocals, Magnus Lindberg - drums and engineering, Erik Olofsson – guitar, Andreas Johansson – bass, Anders Teglund - keyboards and electronics, Fredrik Kihlberg - guitar and vocals and Thomas Hedlund - drums and percussion