30 April, 2013

Full Album Stream: Altar Of Plagues: Teethed Glory And Injury – new album


‘Teethed Glory And Injury’ awaits you in its glory (and at times appropriate pain) here (Profound Lore's store), for some sounds – especially this massive – should be appreciated. ‘Teethed Glory And Injury’, ALTAR OF PLAGUES' third studio album is out now, April 30th, 2013, on Profound Lore Records. The album was recorded with producer Jaime Gomez Arellano at his Orgone Studios in London, England. The video for ‘God Alone’, available below, was created by Pariah Productions and directed by James Kelly and Patrick O’Mahony:
“ALTAR OF PLAGUES were born different,” [wrote José Carlos Santos for Terrorizer] …Why the apex of the record, the placid second half of ‘A Remedy And A Fever’ and the first part of ‘Twelve Was Ruin’ (before it turns into a shrieking inferno), is a soothing valley instead of a peak, when everything before it seemed like a tortuous climb, why the surprisingly clean underlying melody of closer ‘Reflection Pulse Remains’ shines so luminously after almost 50 minutes with your head buried in disease and dark earth, those are all questions that aren’t easy, and if you’re going to live with this record for a while (and you will want to, despite its initially antagonist nature) it’s up to you to figure them out. And any others you will have yourself too. Don’t shy away from that path, however. It will be one of the most fascinating journeys of the year,” [he concluded his review of ‘Teethed Glory And Injury’ he awarded with 5 out of 5 marking – read the rest of it here:]

Expanding already extreme genres into new territories since 2006, Cork, Ireland's ALTAR OF PLAGUES unleashed their ‘First Plague’ demo already in 2006, which they followed with independently released ‘Through The Cracks Of The Earth’ EP in 2007 and ‘Sol’ EP in 2008. Their untraditional approach to black metal (which they fuse with ambient, progressive and post metal) appealed to Profound Lore Records who issued the band's first proper album, 2009's ‘White Tomb’, described by critics as one of 2009's most exciting releases:

After 2010's ‘Tides’ EP (listen here), ALTAR OF PLAGUES recorded their second LP ‘Mammal’. Through it revealing their darkest and most honest, the album was issued on Candlelight Records in Europe and on Profound Lore in North America:
“By putting the listener into the appropriate headspace, ALTAR OF PLAGUES are able to exert total control over the listening experience, taking listeners on a journey that, through all of the brittle production and icy, unforgiving atmosphere, is remarkably thoughtful, introspective, and visceral. This feeling really shines through in how surprisingly dynamic the record is. The songs don’t just pummel listeners into submission with their intensity, but are instead more tidal, ebbing and flowing between feverish, blastbeat-laden outbursts and quieter, more expansive passages,” [commented Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – more here:]

ALTAR OF PLAGUES features: James Kelly – vocals, guitar and keyboards, Johnny King – drums and Dave Condon – bass and vocals

29 April, 2013

Sodom: Epitome Of Torture – new album


The formidable SODOM are back with their fourteenth album ‘Epitome Of Torture’; issued in Europe today, April 29th, 2013, the album will become available in North America as a limited-edition digipak including two bonus tracks and a poster, as a double gatefold LP, as a CD, and as digital download on May 7th, 2013 through SPV/Steamhammer. Vocalist and bassist Thom Angelripper, guitarist Bernd “Bernemann” Kost and new drummer Markus “Makka” Freiwald recorded ‘Epitome Of Torture’ with producer Waldemar Sorychta, and have turned to graphic designer Meran Karanitant for the album's art. Described by SODOM's backbone Tom Angelripper as “hard as nails and contemporary” and once again featuring his highly critical powers of observation, shop at Onkel Tom's webshop here or here, or search for ‘Epitome Of Torture’ on Amazon.

Formed in 1981 by Tom Angelripper (real name Thomas Such), reportedly “as a desperate attempt to get out of having to work in coal mines” in his home town of Gelsenkirchen, Germany, SODOM have nevertheless worked hard ever since, influencing many of the early black metal bands along the way. Together with KREATOR and DESTRUCTION, SODOM are considered Teutonic thrash metal's one of the big three. After recording ‘In The Sign Of Evil’ EP, the band, featuring Angelripper, guitarist Michael Wolf/Uwe Christophers and drummer Chris Witchhunter, released their debut LP ‘Obsessed By Cruelty’ in 1986 via Metal Blade Records in North America and Steamhammer in Europe. Shifting their sound from proto-black metal to thrash, ‘Persecution Mania’ followed in 1987 on Steamhammer – as will all of their consequent releases; the record was described as “a virtual tour de force of blinding speed and blunt force” by Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic (more here). SODOM's second and last album recorded with guitarist Frank Blackfire, ‘Agent Orange’, came next in 1989:
“SODOM's fans have argued to the teeth about whether 1987's ‘Persecution Mania’ or 1989's ‘Agent Orange’ is the German metal act's definitive record. Both stand right at the devil's crossroads of thrash and death metal, and both are brutally furious assaults on the senses,” [wrote Thom Jurek who nevertheless judged in this 1989 release's favour – read why here]
SODOM's fourth album, 1990's ‘Better Off Dead’, was recorded with guitarist Michael Hoffman and their fling at death metal, 1992's ‘Tapping The Vein’, featured Andy Brings on guitar. Attempting to revitalize their pre-death metal stile, the band issued ‘Get What You Deserve’ in 1994, featuring new drummer Atomic Steif who stayed on for SODOM's seventh record, 1995's ‘Masquerade In Blood’. The string of underachieving albums continued in 1997 with ‘Till Death Do Us Unite’ which showcased new guitarist Bernd “Bernemann” Kost and new drummer Bobby Schottkowski. Onkel Tom & company finally succeeded to recapture the frenzied chaos of SODOM's earlier work, satisfying many of their patient fans with 1999's album ‘Code Red’. Francis Ford Coppola's “Apocalypse Now” themed album, ‘M-16’, followed in 2001 and a double live album recorded in Bangkok, Thailand titled ‘One Night In Bangkok’ came next in 2003. Twenty five years after SODOM's first tentative steps, they released their self-titled album in 2006, “because every band needs a self-titled album” they explained:
“SODOM's music is a matter of curious interest since, from the group's very inception, it has represented a rare intersection of styles that experts would normally separate into thrash, speed, death, and black metal (and, depending on how rarely they get laid, even more subdivisions). One listen to SODOM is enough to ascertain that little has changed; most of its songs tend toward the frenetic, dirt-encrusted ends of the extreme metal spectrum, their lyrics wavering between sociopolitical observations and anti-establishment diatribes,” [sharply observed Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
Re-recording all five of the songs from their 1984 EP and adding seven bonus tracks with guitarist Grave Violator (Josef “Peppi” Dominic) and drummer Chris Witchhunter (Christian Dudeck), ‘The Final Sign Of Evil’ followed in 2007, preparing way for SODOM's thirteenth album ‘In War And Pieces’ Tom Angelripper recorded with Bernd “Bernemann” Kost and drummer Bobby Schottkowski. Lyrics-wise, ‘In War And Pieces’ once again focused on the worst excesses of power: arrogance, greed, spotlight-seeking, fanaticism, corruption, cowardice and oppression:
“I’ve always written about what’s going on in the world, about the injustice and mistakes that happen everywhere. I know that you can’t change anything politically that way, but I would like to at least comment on the situation and generate an awareness of this deplorable state of affairs. Being a singer in a metal band allows me to voice my anger to a large audience,” [explained Tom Angelripper]
SODOM features: Tom Angelripper – vocals and bass, Bernd “Bernemann” Kost – guitar and Markus “Makka” Freiwald - drums


27 April, 2013

Soilwork: Spectrum Of Eternity – new video

SOILWORK's new video, ‘Spectrum Of Eternity’, was created by Stanimir Lukic; the song comes off the band's first double album, ‘The Living Infinite’, issued in March 2013 on Nuclear Blast Records. Featuring new guitarist David Andersson who replaced co-founder Peter Wichers, ‘The Living Infinite’, was produced by Jens Bogren and showcases artwork created by Mircea Gabriel Eftemie (of MNEMIC fame), as well as guest vocalist Justin Sullivan (NEW MODEL ARMY) on the track ‘The Windswept Mercy’. ‘The Living Infinite’ nearly conquered SOILWORK's home country, Sweden, Rock Chart at number 2, peaked on UK Rock Chart at number 9, on Finland Albums Chart at number 10, on Germany Albums Chart at number 17, on Sweden and Switzerland Albums Chart at number 19 and, finally, debuted at position number 60 on The Billboard Top 200 chart, selling around 7,800 copies in the United States in its first week of release. Among four new singles given out by SOILWORK prior to the album's release, all of which are available below, you will also find previously released video ‘Rise Above The Sentiment’, directed by Sune Eskelinen. Order ‘The Living Infinite’ here (SOILWORK store), find it on iTunes, Amazon or Amazon MP3:
“While ‘The Living Infinite’ is certainly a whole lot of record, it’s filled with enough vigor and creativity that it doesn’t feel as though it’s dragging along, and though fans might be disappointed to see Wichers [Peter, guitarist] leave the band yet again, it’s clear that SOILWORK seem to be getting along just fine without him,” [commented Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – read more here]

Formed in late 1995 in Helsingborg, Sweden by vocalist Björn Strid and guitarist Peter Wichers, SOILWORK softened their death metal when they abandoned their original name, “Inferior Breed”. Through Listenable Records the band, featuring guitarist Ludvig Svartz, keyboardist Carlos Del Olmo Holmberg, bassist Ola Flink and drummer Jimmy Persson alongside Strid and Wichers, released SOILWORK's debut album, ‘Steelbath Suicide’, in 1998, which AllMusic's Vincent Jeffries described as “one of, if not the most impressive Swedish metal debut” (more here). Their critically acclaimed second album, 2000's ‘The Chainheart Machine’, landed SOILWORK a recording contract with Nuclear Blast Records which resulted in the band's, arguably, most popular album, 2001's ‘A Predator's Portrait’:
“Each song flows with a compositional sleight of hand, sounding thick and complex, but without any great exertion from the band. The album simply makes sense, like a natural flow of the band's conscience, with its dense, '80s thrash-driven guitars, tighter than thou rhythm section, and split vocal approach,” [commented Jason Hundey, AllMusic – more here]
2002's ‘Natural Born Chaos’ took SOILWORK on their first U.S. tour. The album was also the first recorded with keyboardist Sven Karlsson. Continuing on the melodic path, SOILWORK issued their fifth full-length, ‘Figure Number Five’, in 2003. After touring Europe, Japan and Australia, the band recorded 2005's ‘Stabbing The Drama’:
“Extreme enough to convince some of the genre's more suspicious fans of their authenticity to the cause, they’ve also excelled at flirting with its more mainstream sensibilities, and, like every release before it, 2005's ‘Stabbing The Drama’ is no different. Like a hyper-efficient assembly line, its songs connect components of the band's hometown melodic death metal to elements of neo-thrash velocity, to metalcore's innate simplicity, to even - gasp! - sketchy nu-metal devices in order to construct a well-lubricated driving machine that’s ever compact and economical,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
SOILWORK's first commercial success came with 2007's ‘Sworn To A Great Divide’. Selling approximately 5,000 copies in its first week of release in the United Stated and charting at number 19 on Finnish Albums Chart, at number 25 on Swedish Albums Chart and at number 148 on the Billboard Top 200, the record featured guitarist Daniel Antonsson instead of Peter Wichers who left the group in 2005:
“There is absolutely nothing to complain about on ‘Sworn To A Great Divide’ - the melodic hardcore/death metal hybrid is ever-present and as a singer, Björn Strid has never sounded better. When he sings, he really sings; when he growls, he gets downright ugly,” [commented Thom Jurek, AllMusic – more here]
2010's ‘The Panic Broadcast’ marked the return of SOILWORK's co-founder Peter Wichers, who produced the album as well, and introduced new rhythm guitarist Sylvain Coudret. The album sold over 5,250 copies in its first week in the USA where it debuted at number 88 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, thusly becoming the highest charting album in SOILWORK's career.  

SOILWORK features: Bjorn “Speed” Strid – vocals, Sven Karlsson – keyboards, Sylvain Coudret – guitar, David Andersson – guitar, Dirk Verbeuren – drums and Ola Flink – bass


Holy Grail: Ride The Void – new video & full album stream

Old-school metal revivalists HOLY GRAIL have just unleashed their second-ever music video, directed by Will Knapp. ‘Ride The Void’ is the title track for their sophomore album, released in January 2013 on Universal Music in Japan, on Nuclear Blast Records in Europe (shop here), and on Prosthetic Records in North America (shop here). ‘Ride The Void’ was received well by music critics as well as the fans, selling approximately 1,400 copies in the U.S. in its first week, landing at number 9 on the Top New Artist Albums chart (Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart for best-selling albums by new artists who have not yet appeared on the top 100 of the Billboard Top 200). ‘Ride The Void’ was produced by Matt Hyde and its art created by world-renowned concept artist Dylan Cole, best known for his Directors Guild of America Award-winning art for the 2009 blockbuster “Avatar” (he has also worked on the “Lord Of The Rings” trilogy, “Daredevil”, “Tron: Legacy”, “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon” etc):

“While everything you’d expect is here - solid songwriting that stays close to the early-'80s school of pre-thrash HM (though they do speed things up a bit on occasion), maximum riffage, anthemic choruses, and plenty of (copious, really) blistering guitar solos - the new thing is a touch of prog rearing its head...and no, this isn’t a bad thing,” [wrote Thom Jurek, AllMusic – read more here]

“[Advised the press release:] HOLY GRAIL could have easily written an album filled with lovable tales of mead-chugging knights-on-horseback, but instead, they pushed themselves further and, in the end, created an unforgettable collection of timeless metal anthems that not only validates the early praise they received, but creates an exciting question: “Where will they go from here?” For now, though, buckle up and enjoy the ride!”

Formed in 2008 in Pasadena, California by rebellious WHITE WIZZARD ex-members singer James Paul Luna, guitarist James J. LaRue, and drummer Tyler Meahl, HOLY GRAIL invited guitarist Eli Santana and bassist Blake Mount to complete the line-up before they recording their first EP, 2009's ‘Improper Burial’:
The band's debut recording was received by raving reviews, and invitations to perform at major events such as Germany's Wacken: Open Air festival and UK's Download Festival soon followed. HOLY GRAIL's debut LP, ‘Crisis In Utopia’, followed on Prosthetic Records in 2010:
“On their full-length debut, they’re proving themselves to be old-school metal warriors, their sound rooted in the early-'80s, pre-thrash. There are guitar solos erupting all over this disc, and song titles like ‘Fight To Kill’, ‘Call Of Valhalla’, ‘Immortal Man’ etc., etc. The songs are about death, terror, and all the classic larger-than-life metal subjects, and some of them - ‘Call Of Valhalla’ in particular - are damn catchy. … overall, this is a very solid full-length debut from a bunch of talented semi-newcomers. The great WHITE WIZZARD schism of 2008 seems to have been a boon for metal in general, as there are now two good bands in the place formerly occupied by only one,” [wrote Phil Freeman, AllMusic – read more here:]
HOLY GRAIL features: James Paul Luna – vocals, Eli Santana – guitar, Alex Lee – guitar, Blake Mount – bass and Tyler Meahl – drums

26 April, 2013

Satan: Life Sentence – new album


Listen to rejuvenated SATAN's comeback album ‘Life Sentence’, the follow up to their 1983's debut album and NWOBHM cult classic ‘Court In The Act’! Thirty years in the making, ‘Life Sentence’ features the (classic) lineup of vocalist Brian Ross, guitarists Steve Ramsey and Russ Tippins, drummer Sean Taylor and bassisy Graeme English. The CD was recorded at First Avenue Studios in Newcastle, England, mixed and mastered by musician and record producer Dario Mollo at Damage Inc. Studio in Italy, with its artwork created by Eliran Kantor. Buy the record via the band's site here or search for it on Amazon/Amazon MP3 when available: April 29th, 2013 in Europe and May 21st, 2013 in North America via Listenable Records:
“For a genre that adopted the devil as chief muse and aesthetic patriarch, SATAN should have fitted right in; acceptance should have been instant. But while SATAN, too, were a product of VENOM's hometown, Newcastle, England, their approach was wholly different,” [introduced SATAN's resurrection Jonathan Horsley, Decibel Magazine – read more here]

Formed 1979 in Newcastle, England, SATAN released their debut album (“what at the time surely ranked among the heaviest albums yet recorded”), 1983's ‘Court In The Act’, on Neat Records:
“ ‘Court In The Act’ bordered on the yet undefined style of thrash metal, thanks to the frenetic speeds achieved, but the album also boasted more accessible and melodic mid-paced metal fare, putting great effort into the memorable melodies and choruses…,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
Vocalist Brian Ross decided to leave SATAN in order to resurrect his first band BLITZKRIEG. With new vocalist Lou Taylor, SATAN became known as BLIND FURY and as such they proceeded to record 1985's hard rock-oriented album ‘Out Of Reach’, issued through Roadrunner Records. Enlisting yet another new vocalist Michael Jackson, the group decided to give the old moniker and pre-thrash sound another try. SATAN recorded ‘Suspended Sentence’ they issued on SPV/Steamhammer in 1987.
“Frustratingly,” [continues this perplexing story Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic] “SATAN would squander any momentum they might have gained from this masterful gem of an LP, by once again changing their name (although, not their singer, thankfully) before their next album, which they released as PARIAH,” [more here]
Through SPV/Steamhammer PARIAH put forth two additional albums, ‘The Kindred’ in 1988 and ‘Blaze Of Obscurity’ in 1990, before guitarist Ramsey and bassist English moved on and formed folk metal band SKYCLAD. SATAN reunited in 2004 for a one-off performance at Germany's Wacken Open Air 2004 and then reassembled their original line-up in 2011.

SATAN features: Brian Ross – vocals, Steve Ramsey – guitar, Russ Tippins – guitar, Graeme English – bass and Sean Taylor – drums

Full Album Stream: Orchid: The Mouth Of Madness – new album


Truth be told, I liked ORCHID before they were widely compared to the almighty BLACK SABBATH by just about everyone (including the metal institution called Nergal (BEHEMOTH) who reportedly advised those very same pioneers of heavy metal to “do an album like ‘The Mouth Of Madness’”), for they once offered a worthy advise. They said:
“Hide your blonde, fair-eyed daughters, let them cower with our sons. Hide your precious live stock for we shall slaughter them all and spit their blood at your tall white gates. For we recognize ourselves as the sons of the new dawn, the thorn in the heel of hypocrisy, the seeds of cancer in the bloated bellies of the rich.”
And I liked their music too, of course. Besides, they are a hard working and dedicated band, passionate about their craft. ORCHID's latest LP is out now in Europe, April 26th, 2013, on Nuclear Blast Records. ‘The Mouth Of Madness’ can be enjoyed in its witchy & doomy entirety here (Metal Hammer UK), and should be bought here (Nuclear Blast store) or via Amazon immediately (soon to be found on iTunes)! The album will see its UK release on April 29th and will be issued in North America on May 14th, 2013.

Formed in 2007 in San Francisco, USA, ORCHID don’t just write, play, record and perform their dark and heavy music, they “craft an entire experience”, eying the likes of BLACK SABBATH, LED ZEPPELIN and PINK FLOYD for inspiration. In 2009, the band signed with The Church Within Records and released their debut 4-track ‘Through The Devil's Doorway’ EP shortly thereafter:

ORCHID's first proper album, ‘Capricorn’, followed in 2011. Described as “faithful yet adventurous album of reinvented retro rock, a cauldron of infectious songs effortlessly brewed with that classic sound which seems so elusive to other bands”, ‘Capricorn’ caught the ear of the Nuclear Blast Records folks who had signed ORCHID upon their return from their first European tour:
Next came ‘Heretic’ 10” vinyl EP in 2012, followed by ‘Wizard Of War’ 10” vinyl EP in 2013. Rock Hard Germany chief editor Gotz Künemund consequently proclaimed ORCHID “the coolest band in many years” and their album ‘Capricorn’ “a stroke of genius”:

ORCHID features: Theo Mindell – vocals, Carter Kennedy – drums, Mark Thomas Baker – guitar and Keith Nickel – bass

25 April, 2013

Full Album Stream: Howl: Bloodlines – new album


HOWL, generally referred to as Providence, Rhode Island riff manglers who get at times accused of “forging a nervous truce between the worlds of progressive sludgecore and metalcore” (more here), have their new album, ‘Bloodlines’, streamed in full here (Relapse Records' SoundCloud) as well as here (MetalSucks) and below. The band's sophomore full-length offering (in some circles described as “second full-length of molten metal filth”) was recorded at Planet Z studio in Hadley, Massachusetts, produced by Chris “Zeuss” Harris and offers beautiful artwork by Ryan Begley. ‘Bloodlines’ is due in Germany and Benelux tomorrow, April 26th, 2013, in the rest of Europe on April 29th, and in North America on April 30th through Relapse Records. Get your very own copy of this lead-footed audio menace here (Relapse Records store) or via Amazon:
“[Commented the band:] ‘Bloodlines’ is HOWL 2.0, HOWL on steroids - the bigger, heavier album. We took our signature sound and pushed it to the next level. This is a metal record influenced by doom, rather than vice versa. There’s more aggression, more extremes, it’s harder-hitting. Zeuss really helped us capture the sound we wanted, the way we truly sound. ‘Bloodlines’ is huge, brutal, monstrous:

HOWL was formed in 2006 in Providence, Rhode Island by vocalist & guitarist Vincent Hausman, guitarist Andrea Black, bassist Robert Icaza, and drummer Timmy St. Amour. They self-released an eponymous EP in 2008 which Relapse Records re-issued a year later:
After a fair amount of touring with the likes of KYLESA and TORCHE, HOWL recorded ‘Full Of Hell’ album which, issued in 2010, they dedicated to “all who were made to feel out of place, to those who were made to feel guilty about doing what they wanted, and to those who others called fags, weirdos, and losers”. AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia, who describes HOWL's music as “sludge with benefits”, noted:
“HOWL draw the bulk of their musical cues from the classic Southern sludgecore sound, but this 2010 debut sees that sound transformed into a much more agile, dynamic, and feral beast by the time its been dragged, roaring and clawing, across the Mason-Dixon line and beyond… HOWL can certainly challenge in this space, if not come away victorious.” [Read the rest of the review here:]

HOWL features: Vincent Hausman – guitar and vocals, Josh Durocher-Jones – guitar, Robert Icaza – bass and vocals and Timmy St. Amour - drums

F.K.Ü. : 4: Rise Of The Mosh Mongers – new album & Black Hole Hell – new video



Well… Who can resist a band of brothers who call themselves F.K.Ü., apparently short for “Freddy Krueger's Underwear”. I mean these guys get you thinking – especially about Freddy's undergarments. Besides, they bring a new era – moshocalypse - and their goal is worthy: they intend to rid the world of everything but horror and metal:

“… the master pointed his four blades towards his disciples and commanded them to prepare for the journey, to dress in proper battle attire and be ready for war. They left their dwelling at dusk, well prepared for the task at hand. To walk the earth, from city to city, and gather the moshoholics horde. To crush the opposition and establish a new world order of horror and metal for all. And so it began [apparently]… the rise of the mosh mongers.”

Their label, Napalm Records, lovingly describes F.K.Ü.sound as “killer old school thrash metal with class and humor from Sweden” and promises that “even fans of other genres will [be] immediately transformed into die-hard moshoholics and will crave for more just like zombies crave for the brains of the living”. So, if you long for days when “things weren’t dead serious and you could fill celluloid with blood and guts with a big smile on your face”, ‘4: Rise Of The Mosh Mongers’ is just what the good doctor ordered. Get it here (Napalm Records store) and shop for the rest of what F.K.Ü. have to offer here (the band's official store). ‘4: Rise Of The Mosh Mongers’ in due out tomorrow, April 26th, 2013. The band's new video ‘Black Hole Hell’, available below, was animated and directed by Juppi Juppsen.


F.K.Ü, in those days die-hard S.O.D. disciples, first “raised its ugly head” back in 1987 in Uppsala, Sweden:

“After a handful of something that was supposed to be rehearsals but [bore a] resemblance to cheap beer and pizza fights, the band [went] into hiatus. It wasn’t until early 1997, when confronted with a strange guy called Larry [Lethal, vocals], that the band considered bringing the slumbering beast back to life. After the overwhelming response [to] the 20-song demo ‘Beware Of The Evil Underwear’, recorded in 1998, the guys decided to put some more effort [into it].”

In 1999, the band had spent nine whole days with engineer Daniel Bergstrand, laying down 22 tracks that would “show the world that it’s still possible to have good, friendly, violent fun and create music”. And so, F.K.Ü's debut record, their “moshing magnum opus”, ‘Metal Moshing Mad’ was released in 1999 on bassist's Pat Splat own label Head Mechanic Records. Following lots of “unforgettable club gigs” with the likes of THE HAUNTED, ENTOMBED and MESHUGGAH, “the band [had] slowed down the pace” until 2004, when “Larry, Pete, Pat and Ted realized that what the world really needed was another dose of their patented horror metal mosh”:

“Once again inspired by '80s thrash and horror movies and of course, old issues of “Metal Forces” and cheap beer, [2005's] ‘Sometimes They Come Back… To Mosh’ thrashed and slashed its way into the metal fans veins,” [admitted F.K.Ü] And once they tasted this hot dish of destruction, they ended up begging for more!”

In 2009, “due to massive demand from around the globe”, the “mighty horror metal moshing machine” recorded their third album, ‘Where Moshers Dwell’, “in the boiler room” of Ted's [full name: Dr. Ted Killer Miller, drummer] own Blueflame Productions studio. Mixed by Larry in his Great Scot! Audio studio, the record reportedly “set a new standard for horror and metal for decades to come: prime neck breaking, horror-inspired, sing-along thrash madness”.  

F.K.Ü features: Larry Lethal – vocals, Pete Stooaahl – guitar, Pat Splat – bass and Dr. Ted Killer Miller – drums



23 April, 2013

Rob Zombie: Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor – new album


ROB ZOMBIE's fifth solo album, ‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor’, is out now, April 23rd, 2013, a few days after the release of Zombie's latest film, ‘The Lords Of Salem’, a story about what happens when a Salem, Massachusetts' rock radio station DJ named Heidi Hawthorne, played by Zombie's wife Sheri Moon Zombie, plays a mysterious vinyl record she assumes a rock band has sent to her – in attempt to spread their word. ‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor’ features for the first time on a record drummer Ginger Fish (MARILYN MANSON) who joined Zombie and his cohorts, guitarist John 5 and bassist Piggy D, a couple of years ago. Produced by Rob Zombie and recorded at his own studio in Massachusetts, USA, the album was issued through Loud & Proud Records and Universal Music. ‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor’ awaits you on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Best Buy and other reputable music vendors:
“It’s kind of hard to say what Rob Zombie is at this juncture. He’s a filmmaker, he’s a musician but, more than anything, he’s a brand selling... There seems to be a concept album tying together ‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor’ but it’d require patience to piece together, patience that only fanboys could afford. Zombie panders to these true believers but he’s clever, clever enough to give ‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor’ some distinctive wrinkles, whether it’s the heavy dose of DEEP PURPLE organ, relentlessly sequenced rhythms, or the monster movie lyrics he loves so. … If you like what he likes, you’ll have fun with him. If not, this is a world of hurt,” [wrote Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic – read the rest here]

ROB ZOMBIE worked as a bike messenger, porn magazine art director and production assistant for children's TV series “Pee-Wee's Playhouse”; he was known as Rob Cummings before he formed  WHITE ZOMBIE in 1985, “one of few hard rock bands of that era that you could actually dance to “, together with then-girlfriend and bassist Sean Yseult. ‘Astro-Creep: 2000’ was WHITE ZOMBIE's all-time highest charting album, peaking at number six on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 chart, but the album's success couldn’t hide the fact that he, Rob Zombie, was getting fed up with the group and longed to launch a solo career of his own. WHITE ZOMBIE would split up in 1998, the same year Rob Zombie released his debut solo album ‘Hellbilly Deluxe’. The album sold more copies in its first week of sales than any WHITE ZOMBIE record before. Zombie started his own label, Zombie-a-Go-Go Records, and began to work on a feature film entitled “House Of 1000 Corpses”. He drafted in metal superstar cast including Ozzy Osbourne, SLAYER's guitarist Kerry King, MOTLEY CRUE drummer Tommy Lee and LIMP BIZKIT's DJ Lethal for his next solo record, 2001's ‘Sinister Urge’. “House Of 1000 Corpses” became a cult hit and Rob Zombie went on to write and direct its sequel “The Devil's Rejects”, released in 2005. Next he recorded his most experimental album to date, ‘Educated Horses’, and issued it 2006; it debuted at number 5 on the Billboard Top 200 and sold around 120,000 copies in its first week. His first live album, ‘Zombie Live’, came out the year this prolific man (director, writer, animator and horror devotee) directed, co-wrote and co-produced the remake of John Carpenter's “Halloween”, out in 2007, which was followed by “Halloween II” in 2009. Zombie enlisted longtime touring comrades guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D and drummer Tommy C for his next recording, issued through Roadrunner Records in 2010:
“It’s as if Rob Zombie’s trying to be something else, but still coming up totally Zombie,” [wrote music critic Jason Lymangrover in his review of ‘Hellbilly Deluxe 2’] At this point in his career, his best move is to take these types of risks, and when he does so on the ten-minute closer ‘The Man Who Laughs’ with its underlying orchestral score by Tyler Bates, the results are compelling and unnerving in a good way.” [Read more here]

18 April, 2013

Full Album Stream: Beastwars: Blood Becomes Fire – new album


New Zealand finest, BEASTWARS, have just released their new and second full-length album ‘Blood Becomes Fire’, or are just about to, April 19th, 2013, depending on your own particular time-zone. ‘Blood Becomes Fire’ was co-produced by BEASTWARS and Dale Cotton, recorded and mixed by Dale Cotton, mastered by John Golden, and once again features the art of Weta Workshop's (yes, the Peter Jackson's) award-winning Nick Keller (“whose mind-melting gatefold oil paintings depict a twisted world inspired by the aural artillery within”). Listen to six reflections on mortality, death and disease off the ten tracks rich self-released record - which “serves witness to the end of days, told through the eyes of a dying traveler from another time” - here (BandCamp) or below and order ‘Blood Becomes Fire’ there as well - or here (the band's official site):
“It is a work inspired by eternal themes”, [elaborated vocalist Matt Hyde] It’s a reflection on mortality, death and disease. Sooner or later they come for all of us and we’ve all screamed to the gods for answers, not that they’ve ever come. It’s a heavy album, both sonically and lyrically, but what solidifies it are the really triumphant “fuck yeah” riffs. To us, this music is like getting psyched up to go into battle. You could be at war with someone else or yourself.”
“Pace varies more than mood on the 39-minute offering, and ‘Blood Becomes Fire’ is almost universally aggressive, but as big as they go sonically, BEASTWARS don’t give in to metallic chestbeating,” [observed The Obelisk's H.P. Taskmaster – more here] “ ‘Blood Becomes Fire’ is imaginative, dynamic, and hits like a staggering punch to the solar plexus. If BEASTWARS [don’t] find more global success with ‘Blood Becomes Fire’, it won’t be for lack of inventiveness or determination. The album's pulverizing percussiveness is built to smash borders to smithereens, and should rightly be seen as a significant release for fans of heavy music in 2013,” [added Craig Hays for Pop Matters – read more here:]

Formed in 2007 in Wellington, New Zealand, BEASTWARS' eponymous debut full-length, released in New Zealand in 2011 through independent label Destroy Records, peaked at number 15 on RIANZ (Recording Industry Association of New Zealand) and was nominated for best New Zealand rock album of 2011. ‘Beastwars’ was released internationally in 2012:
“BEASTWARS' debut perfectly manifests the darkened heart of the Antipodes,” [wrote on the occasion Craig Hayes, About.com] ‘Beastwars’ was recorded in four days, with Dale Cotton producing. It sounds all the more fervent for it, and the band ooze confidence. Much of that self-assurance comes from Matt Hyde's powerful vocals. His gravel-throated voice comes with a Tom Waits-like eccentricity and authority worthy of Lemmy. He screams, bays at the moon, and spits venom throughout. Live on stage, he is the consummate frontman, leaning over the crowd like a frenzied preacher leading his congregation, and raising his arms to call down the gods. They may hail from the South Pacific, but you can forget any balmy associations - the only southern location BEASTWARS evoke is the one located due south of heaven. Fitting then, that their debut is so hellishly good.” [Read the rest of it here:]

BEASTWARS features: Clayton Anderson – guitar, Nathan Hickey – drums, Matt Hyde – vocals and James Woods – bass

16 April, 2013

Full Album Stream: VHÖL: Vhol – new album


Described as a “thunderously raw and adventurous album” by NPR Music and compared to a “well crafted beer” by About.com, VHÖL's debut self-titled album is out now, April 16th, 2013, on Profound Lore Records. VHÖL, comprised of vocalist Mike Scheidt (YOB), guitarist John Cobbett and bassist Sigrid Sheie (HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE) and drummer Aesop Dekker (AGALLOCH) who refuse to be termed as supergroup, combine elements of old-school punk, hardcore, classic old-school metal and a touch of outsider black metal:
“I think we subconsciously look over our shoulders but didn’t want to make something wholly retro. All of us definitely tapped into our love of '80s thrash and hardcore and just plain old classic metal, but the focus was to make something strange,” [disclosed Aesop Dekker in an interview he gave to SSG Music – read the rest here]
For better insight into VHÖL's sound depicted as raw, primal, fierce, triumphant, and ultimately face melting (“this fact solidified by Scheidt's distinct vocal capabilities he expands into the beyond”), listen to it below, courtesy the label, and believe you me - it's an energising affair. The album was recorded by Greg Wilkinson “in conspiracy with Cobbett” at Earhammer Studios in Oakland, California, mixed by engineer/producer Randall Dunn in Seattle, Washington, and its artwork created by John Cobbett and Kevin Gan Yuen. Do buy the record here (Profound Lore Records):
“As with a well crafted beer, the album's depth is not revealed at first taste. Returning again and again, the subtleties not immediately apparent rise to the surface as it lingers on the palate. The more time spent with ‘Vhol’, the more its true character shines through. The four basic ingredients necessary for this concoction cannot become such a potent brew all on their own. Passion, drive, and willingness to push boundaries are all imbued into VHÖL, fermenting the album into the unique experience that it is. … Craft beer may sour as it ages beyond a certain point but this is not the case with ‘Vhol’. It’s more like wine, getting better as time wears on, each taste surpassing the last,” [read the rest of Matt Hinch's review here (About.com):]

VHÖL features: Mike Scheidt – vocals, John Cobbett – guitar, Sigrid Sheie – bass and Aesop Dekker - drums

Full Album Stream: Cough & Windhand: Reflection Of The Negative – new split album


A prologue to the upcoming full-lengths from both COUGH and WINDHAND, both slated for release via Relapse Records later this year, a split album called ‘Reflection Of The Negative’, out everywhere today April 16th, 2013 on Relapse, can be streamed in full here, at Invisible Oranges. Composed of three tracks, the massive 18-and-a-half-minute opener ‘Athame’ by COUGH and two tracks by WINDHAND that equal and top their pals' effort in length, ‘Reflection Of The Negative’ makes for an impressive tease. The split album awaits your order here (Relapse Records):
“COUGH uses the split LP format to go the distance with one uninterrupted track. These 18 minutes are a showcase of pacing and structure. The ingenious setup keeps the track interesting by revealing the layers slowly and in an unexpected order. Nearly a decade into their career, COUGH has never sounded so belligerent, frightening or immediate,” [wrote Grayson Currin for Pitchfork] On its side, WINDHAND opt for two numbers, both of which find the band ratcheting its intensity and urgency. The shorter ‘Amaranth’ deals in italicized aggression, turning everything from Cottrell's [Dorthia, vocals] arching vocals to the sprawling guitar solo that consumes the song's back half into a point that must be made now. Though it’s slower than its counterpart, ‘Shepherd's Crook’ capitalizes on the same feeling. Every piece comes with a little extra energy, whether it’s the irascible noise-guitar introduction or the fortified punch that the drums pack in the otherwise torpid verses.” [Read the rest of the review here:]

Founded in 2005 in Richmond, Virginia, COUGH have been struggling ever since. They primarily live to hate and they hate to live. When not thusly preoccupied though, they record music. For instance, 2006's ‘The Kingdom’ EP, 2008's ‘Sigillum Luciferi’ full-length album and their Relapse Records debut, 2010's ‘Ritual Abuse’:
“With needle-scarred arms draped around each other, these songs lumber and stumble about drunkenly; seemingly oblivious to the periodic strains of blissed-out psychedelia, outer space sound effects, and blinding distortion that occasionally interrupt their search for the next fix; all the while tormented by satanic incantations and occult rituals to boot. And, thanks to the steady hand brought to the proceedings by producer/sponsor Sanford Parker, COUGH's songs generally arrive at their destination, however long they take to get there, without in any way “ritually abusing” listeners along the way,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here:]

COUGH features: David Cisco - guitar, Parker Chandler- bass and vocals, Joey Arcaro – drums and Brandon Marcey – guitar

Founded in 2009 in Richmond Virginia, WINDHAND is a stoner, doom metal band made up of guitarist Aschiah Bogdan, bassist Parker Chandler, vocalist Dorthia Cottrell, guitarist Garrett Morris, and drummer Ryan Wolfe. In March 2012, WINDHAND released their self-titled debut LP which became quite an underground hit, selling out multiple vinyl presses in a matter of months. The album was recorded and mixed by guitarist Garret Morris and mastered by Bill McElroy. WINDHAND officially signed to Relapse Records in March 2013:

15 April, 2013

Spiritual Beggars: Earth Blues – new album


SPIRITUAL BEGGARS have just put forth their eight studio album, ‘Earth Blues’, today April 15th, 2013 on InsideOut Music. Described as their “finest hour yet, raw, heavy and honest record” by the band's founder guitarist Michael Amott, ‘Earth Blues’, recorded with recording engineer Roberth Ekholm at Fat Guitar Studios in Sweden, should be bought here (InsideOut Europe), here (InsideOut Noth America) or via Amazon. SPIRITUAL BEGGARS released three new tunes in promotion of the album, ‘Turn The Tide’, ‘Kingmaker’ and ‘Wise As A Serpent’; watch the last of the three in its video form below. Now, regarding the artwork:
“I had the idea for this artwork from my time as a child, seeing posters of two young lovers watching a romantic sunset on the beach - just your typical tacky bedroom art in the '70s, really... Also, growing up in what is now referred to with some nostalgia as the “Atomic Age” - the threat of nuclear war was always looming over our heads it seemed,” [explained Amott who is actually old enough to remember some of it] I wanted to combine these two images of my youth in one paradoxical image and Per Wiberg [also the group's keyboardist] really managed to capture the melancholic feeling perfectly. Earth blues, indeed”

Founded by CARCASS' and ARCH ENEMY's Michael Amott in 1993 as an outlet for his retro hard rock tendencies, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS debuted with a self-titled album in 1994, followed by ‘Another Way To Shine’ in 1996, their first of four albums issued on Music For Nations. Described by Jason Anderson, Allmusic, as “one of the best stoner coming-out parties of the '90s”, ‘Another Way To Shine’ ended up nominated for Grammisgalan (the Swedish Grammy Awards): “Music so accomplished paradoxically solicits the simplest of descriptions, so there’s no sense complicating descriptions of this stoner gem with obvious comparisons and inadequate adjectives,” he wrote, read the rest here. Alongside Amott, vocalist and bassist Christian “Spice” Sjöstrand and drummer Ludwig Witt, 1998's ‘Mantra III’ featured former OPETH keyboardist Per Wiberg:
“From ‘Homage To The Betrayed’ through ‘Broken Morning’, the tempo is nonstop, full-on, in-your-face heavy rock. The lyrics are as lunkheaded as one might expect - as on ‘Monster Astronauts’ (Take me to the river/Dance with the demons inside/Put me in the mist/Wait for the golden twist/Fly me to the moon 'cause we got enough fuel) - but it makes no difference. It’s cool enough that they sing in English and often mess up the syntax. … The tempos are throbbingly quick, but they hold within them a kind of funk that only white guys from Sweden would interpret as soulful. It comes off to the average Yankee grungoid rock fan or metalhead as a more complex kind of riffing, but no matter, it’s all a great ride, full of crunch, bombast, and the sound of meat tearing from the bone,” [wittingly observed Thom Jurek, Allmusic – more here]
Wilberg became an official SPIRITUAL BEGGAR on 2000's ‘Ad Astra’, which received many accolades from press, including from Allmusic's Jason Anderson who stated: “ ‘Ad Astra’ would bake like a sun dancer in the heat of stoner rock perfection.” 2002's ‘On Fire’ (which “saw the band reaching deeper into the epic 70's hard rock style of song writing”) was the group's last record on Music For Nations; it featured Janne “JB” Christoffersson (GRAND MAGUS) on vocals and new bassist Roger Nilsson. The group had spent much of 2003 touring, including a stint in Japan. Their next album was 2005's ‘Demons’ (SPV/InsideOut Music), after which they had taken a five-year break. SPIRITUAL BEGGARS returned with ‘Return To Zero’ in 2010 (InsideOut Music), featuring new vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (FIREWIND) and new bassist Sharlee D'Angelo (ARCH ENEMY).

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS features: Michael Amott – guitar, Apollo Papathanasio – vocals, Ludwig Witt – drums, Sharlee D’Angelo - bass and Per Wiberg – keyboard and vocals

Full Album Stream: Aosoth: IV: An Arrow In Heart – new album

“From the moment the album begins you are drawn into a looming atmosphere that lurks within every subsequent track thereafter, creating an air of mystery atop a methodology of rampant decay. Clean acoustic passages grace the spaces between the fevered pitch, allowing the melody to be truly captured before subjected to the previous discord. It’s these small touches that embrace the positive influences of early black metal artists at their core, while still retaining their own experimental sound that is executed to blackened perfection,” [wrote CVLT Nation's reviewer after listening to AOSOTH fourth full-length ‘IV: Arrow In Heart’ – read the rest here]
To get a taste of the said blackened perfection, listen to the full album below, courtesy Agonia Records, and watch the video for the album's closing tune ‘Ritual Marks Of Penitence’, directed by Matthieu Spinazzola and David Fitt, below. But for the true black experience, buy AOSOTH's ‘IV: Arrow In Heart’ here (Agonia Records). As it is usually the case with musicians with certain perspective on life, no further information linked to the album was, is, or will ever be forthcoming. A certain artist, Somnyum, seems to be associated with the band, and one date keeps popping up, April 16th, 2013, the day of ‘IV: Arrow In Heart’ will see its release: 

Once a side project created by members of uncompromisingly brutal black metal band ANTAEUS, AOSOTH was formed in 2002 in Paris, France. After two splits with ANTAEUS in 2002 and in 2007 and another one with TEMPLE OF BAAL, released in 2007 as well, AOSOTH, featuring its driving force vocalist MkM and multi-instrumentalist Bst, issued their self-titled debut full-length in 2008, followed by ‘Ashes Of Angels’ CD in 2009 on Agonia Records. Another couple of splits later, ‘The Truth Through Salt’ with MALHKEBRE in 2009 and ‘Angels Falling Down’ with IV in 2010, AOSOTH recorded their third album ‘III: Violence & Variations’, which saw its release in 2011 through Agonia Records and Spikekult Records.

AOSOTH features: MkM – vocals, Bst – all instruments and Inrvi - bass

14 April, 2013

Full Album Stream: The Moth Gatherer: A Bright Celestial Light – new album


Swedish experimental/progressive duo THE MOTH GATHERER, featuring Alex Stjernfeldt and Victor Wegeborn, prefer to speak through their music which is just fine by me, since due to their and their label's generosity we get to hear a whole lot of them. Their new debut album, ‘A Bright Celestial Light’ can be streamed in its highly emotional and unstoppable entirety (from its opening track ‘The Water That We All Come To Need’ to ‘Intervention’, ‘A Road Of Gravel And Skulls’, ‘The Womb, The Woe, The Woman’ to its closing tune ‘A Falling Deity’) here (SoundCloud) or below. THE MOTH GATHERER's debut full length is due on April 16th, 2013 in Europe and on April 30th, 2013 in North America on Agonia Records. Get your own copy of ‘A Bright Celestial Light’, available as a CD and as a LP, here (Agonia Records store):
“THE MOTH GATHERER's music is hard to label, due to the band's [multi-dimensional] approach towards the songs they create; the debut offers long and complex [yet] surprisingly simple and compelling tracks, abundance of tempo changes and variations that surround the album bask in a emotionally charged, progressive yet utterly melodic slower-sections, addictive enough to stimulate the imagination,” [the press release instructs]
“[CVLT Nation's reviewer recommends ‘A Bright Celestial Light’ to the fans of heavy experimental music:] With the inclusion of electronic elements to give a more psychedelic dimension to their music, something that is further [aided] by the ingenious use of synths, keyboards and various effects to build a daunting atmosphere, the album will remain unforgettable to anyone after the very first few minutes. What is even more intriguing is the emotional charge that comes [from within] the band's music, from the heavier cathartic moments of songs like ‘The Water That We All Come To Need’ to the melancholic lead guitar parts, for instance in ‘Intervention’, ‘A Bright Celestial Light’ transfers an extreme variety of emotions to the listener,” [- read the rest here:]

12 April, 2013

Warbeast: Destroy – new album & Blood Moon – new video



On a warpath through North America since April 2nd, 2013 supported by Housecore Records, we, on this side of the Atlantic, get to enjoy Texas metal alliance's, WARBEAST, second LP via Season Of Mist today, April 12th, 2013, together with WARBEAST's new video ‘Blood Moon’, directed by Mike Holderbeast and featuring the acting talents of the band's guitarist Scott Shelby. ‘Destroy’, recorded with PANTERA and DOWN frontman and Housecore Records founder the legendary Philip H. Anselmo at his studio Nodferatu's Lair, is available as a CD and as a LP here (Season Of Mist e-store) and here (Housecore Records):

“This album is simply meaner and heavier than our first [2010's ‘Krush The Enemy’]. We’ve managed to keep the variety we had, but we allowed ourselves more freedom to go beyond the traditional songwriting patterns. It’s less predictable,” [stated vocalist Bruce Corbitt. Lyric-wise:] I just wanted to write about a wide range of subjects and emotions. Topics include everything from werewolves and humans warring with aliens, to national disasters and a robotic monster called “Warbeast”. There’s also a track called ‘Egotistical Bastards’, which could be about many people I know,” [he added, apparently laughing] “I want people to feel like they’ve been hit with a sledgehammer ten times in a row when they hear this. As long as they feel strongly about, we’ve accomplished our mission.”

In related news, Season Of Mist unleashed Philip H. Anselmo (backed by an instrumental threesome dubbed THE ILLEGALS) and WARBEAST split MCD (also available as 10” LP) titled ‘War Of The Gargantuas’ on the European market back in March 2013. Described as “a bite-sized glimpse into American heartland metal at its most extreme” as well as “a timely holiday stocking stuffer for the aging mosh pit veteran in your family, but not exactly mandatory listening for everyday metal heads” by Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic (more here), get your own copy of this rarity here (Season Of Mist).


Formed in 2006 in Arlington, Texas by vocalist Bruce Corbitt, who used to be the voice of thrash titans RIGOR MORTIS, guitarist Scott Shelby, who was part of the riff machine behind GAMMACIDE, and drummer Joey Gonzalez formerly of DEMONSEED, WARBEAST recorded their debut full-length with bassist Alan Bovee and guitarist Rick Perry. ‘Krush The Enemy’, released in 2010 on Housecore Records, was described as “a fierce metal record” and prescribed to fans of “second- or third-tier, regionally successful old-school thrash acts like DEFIANCE, HALLOWS EVE and RIGOR MORTIS” by Phill Freeman, AllMusic (read more here).

WARBEAST features: Bruce Corbitt – vocals, Scott Shelby - guitar, Joey Gonzalez – drums, Bobby Tillotson – guitar and Casey Orr – bass