29 June, 2013

Gypsyhawk: Silver Queen – new video

How could I have missed the new GYPSYHAWK video?! It must have been fate. The fun-loving bunch representative,  vocalist and bassist Eric Harris, commented the “making of” ‘Silver Queen’ video as follows:
“One bottle of fireball, a fifth of Jim, some Kessler, some more beers, a couple of joints, sandwiches, one ditch, zero acting classes, six titties and a LARPers wet dream. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you... ‘Silver Queen’.”
‘Silver Queen’, directed by Farron Loathing, follows on the heels of another two true GYPSYHAWK videos, ‘Hedgeking’, which, directed by Simon Chan of Artificial Army, features acting skills of Australian-born actor and body builder Guy Grundy who successfully brings to life the story behind the song, showing the “Hedgeking”, (played by Grundy) casting aside his crown and taking up a life of “selling his sword, warring and whoring” and ‘State Lines’, filmed to show who GYPSYHAWK really are (“a hard drinking, life loving, rib chomping, woman stealing, full housin' mother fuckers”). All three tunes come off ‘Revelry & Resilience’, recorded by the band for “girls to shake their asses to and dudes to bang their heads”. ‘Revelry & Resilience’ was recorded with Zach Oren and issued through Metal Blade Records in August 2012. Buy the album here (Metal Blade store) or find it on iTunes, and download yourselves the track ‘Hedgeking’ for free here (Metal Blade SoundCloud):
“After naming their first album ‘Patience & Perseverance’, Los Angeles-based heavy rockers GYPSYHAWK christened their sophomore follow-up ‘Revelry & Resilience’ - see a pattern developing here? But as heartwarming as it is to learn that the band's “patient perseverance” has already left them feeling confident enough to “revel in their resilience” - even though virtually no one outside discerning underground circles is remotely aware of their existence - perhaps we’d better review the latest musical results before placing any bets on the a third album title (Satisfaction & Self-Indulgence? Suspicion & So-Long? Maybe Sense and Sensibility?),” [was stern as well as funny Eduardo Rivadavia, Allmusic – but perhaps you’d better click here to read the rest?]
“A god damn rock band when rock and roll needs it most”, GYPSYHAWK took their first swaggering step in 2008 in Pasadena, California after bassist, vocalist and founder Eric Harris left the thrash metal warriors SKELETONWITCH and decided it was time to start something new. After recruiting guitarist Andrew Packer, drummer Joe Fabio and second & lead guitarist Scotty Conan, and after months of honing their craft, the band self-produced a demo which, only weeks later, persuaded Creator-Destructor Records into offering the band a record contract. GYPSYHAWK's debut album, 2010's ‘Patience And Perseverance’, was produced by Zack Ohren; listen to the album below and buy it if you like what you hear. You can download the opening track ‘Gypsyhawk’ free of charge here, courtesy the band. In 2011 GYPSYHAWK signed a contract with Metal Blade Records. Apparently “no one but band and label believed it”:

GYPSYHAWK features: Andrew Packer – guitar, Eric Harris - bass and vocals, Ian “Pee Pee Rider” Brown - drums and Erik “Ron Houser” Kluiber – guitar


28 June, 2013

Venomous Maximus: Moonchild – new video

This “twilight zone” thingy that is going on with Houston, Texas VENOMOUS MAXIMUS is quite intriguing. I am quite sure I have encountered them and their album, ‘Beg Upon The Light’, a while back – yet, I read it is due out in Europe on July 3rd – 8th, 2013 and in North America on July 9th, 2013 on Napalm Records. With a slightly different cover, colour-wise. Well, ‘Beg Upon The Light’ deserves a proper release and should be bought here (Napalm Records store). VENOMOUS MAXIMUS' debut LP was first issued through Occulture Records in 2012. Its art was created by artist Dann Miller:
“With ten tracks and a runtime just under 46 minutes, the album is right in line with what one commonly thinks of as “full-length,” but it moves remarkably quick from one cut to the next, keeping a strong flow while not sacrificing a sense of the songs as individual pieces. ‘Dream Again (Hellenbach)’ culminates with well-mixed interplay between the two guitars and formidable thud from Brungardt [Bongo, drummer], and when Higgins says, “Everybody,” urging an imagined crowd to join him on the final chorus, it’s emblematic of the accessibility at the root of what VENOMOUS MAXINUS are doing. There’s an audience for this kind of metal, they know it, and that’s who they’re reaching out toward. The push continues on ‘Moonchild’, which features guest spoken vocals, more strong screaming, and the begging question, “Why did the gods have to make us this way?” backed by mounting chants in the bridge, offering one of the most dramatic moments of the album.” [Read the rest of ‘Beg Upon The Light’ review here, The Obelisk]

According to Blabbermouth (the CNN of heavy metal and hard rock news), VENOMOUS MAXIMUS are “one of the most successful metal bands to emerge from Houston, Texas in years, beloved of headbangers and headbanging blogs from across the U.S. and points beyond (maybe even astronauts)”. In existence since 2010, they “combine intense, unabashed metal riffing that locks into heavy rock grooves featuring interjected dual leads and surprisingly darkened atmospheres” to which they venture to add “the distinctive voice of towering front man Gregg Higgins and his unorthodox, unsettling tone, and unholy sinister laugh”:

VENOMOUS MAXIMUS features: Gregg Higgins – vocals and guitar, Christian Larson – guitar, Trevi Biles – bass and Bongo – drums


27 June, 2013

Decapitated: Carnival Is Forever – new video



Well who knew… Poland's ultra-technical death metal band, DECAPITATED, do have a sense of humor. They even marinade and barbeque their chicken just like the rest of us. ‘Carnival Is Forever’ is the title-track from the group's fifth album, self-released in Poland by DECAPITATED and issued worldwide in 2011 through Nuclear Blast Records. The album can be bought here (Nuclear Blast USA), here (Nuclear Blast Europe) and via Amazon and iTunes. The eight tracks-long album was produced by Wacek Kiełtyka and engineered by Malta Arkadiusz Malczewski. Drums and mixing duties were handled by Daniel Bergstrand. The author of the album's lyrics is music journalist Jarek Szubrycht, author of “No Mercy” (orig. “Bez Litości”) - the world's first biography of thrash metal legends SLAYER (or so claims the press release). The cover art is the work of photographer and designer Lukasz Jaszak (“Very intriguing and quite strange for a metal album, but surely staying in memory. A vital thing is that it’s a photo. We did not want any computer graphics this time or anything artificial or plastic,” commented guitarist and founding member Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka). The group has previously released two videos in promotion of ‘Carnival Is Forever, ‘Homo Sum’, directed by Marcin Halerz, and ‘Pest’, directed by Dariusz Szermanowicz and produced by Grupa 13; both videos are available for your viewing pleasure below:

“ ‘Carnival Is Forever’ is overflowing with intent and purpose, getting an eyeful of the sun in the shadow of the legacy of the band that made it. Phoenixes and ashes aren’t exclusive to HATE ETERNAL, after all,” [wrote MetalSucks' Sammy O'Hagar] … “Any awkward wobbling the new band could be doing has been corrected well before DECAPITATED laid the album down: it’s deeply rooted in polished ferocity, sounding well-oiled and fluid, advanced to a degree that even a few spins later is still hard to predict. Take the album's centerpiece, the lumbering and epic title track: after two songs' worth of tech-death grooves and blasting, the song starts at an uneasily still point, a stuttering, repetitive clean arpeggio building off its own presence until, after a little under a minute, the tunes' chunky main riff arrives, sucking up all the misty ambience created and bowling over everything in its path,” [read the rest here]:


DECAPITATED was formed in 1996 in Krosno, Poland, by then 12 - 15 years olds: guitarist Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka and his younger brother drummer Witold “Vitek” Kiełtyka, vocalist Wojciech “Sauron” Wąsowicz and bassist Marcin “Martin” Rygiel. These young talents released a couple of demos, 1997's ‘Cemeterial Gardens’ and 1998's ‘The Eye Of Horus’, before signing with Earache's Wicked World imprint. DECAPITATED's debut full-length, ‘Wind Of Creation’, was released in 2000:

“In the dark, murky realm of death metal, perhaps no band is more worthy of taking hold Excalibur's hilt and leading the next charge down the mountain into fiery oblivion than Poland's DECAPITATED,” [commented AllMusic's Matthias Sheaks] “and one need look no further for proof than on the band's 2000 debut. Much has been made of the band's supposed “tender” age, and in fact, early on, they were slighted from the respect they would have otherwise been due because of this; however, it must be remembered that a certain gruff-throated, engine-wristed young vocalist/guitarist for another certain popular metal band was only 18 when his band's debut, [METALLICA's] ‘Kill ‘Em All’, was released, and needless to say, as is the case here, tender had nothing to do with it.” [Read the rest here]

The band's sophomore album, 2002's ‘Nihility’, was praised by AllMusic's Jason D. Taylor who described it as “of the strongest metal albums since MORBID ANGEL's ‘Covenant’” (more here). DECAPITATED's third album, ‘The Negotiation’, followed in 2004. Vocalist Sauron left in 2005 and was replaced by ATROPHIA RED SUN's Adrian “Covan” Kowanek, with whom the band recorded 2006's ‘Organic Hallucinosis’. During their tour in 2007, DECAPITATED's tour bus was involved in a traffic accident, which left both drummer Vitek and vocalist Covan seriously injured; Vitek tragically succumbed to the injuries, age 23. Due to the slow improvement of his condition (find out how you can help Adrian “Covan” Kowanek and his family here and here), as Covan was unable to continue with the band, Vogg decided to reform the group in 2009: “It has been the hardest thing for me to move on without Vitek by my side, but he would have wanted me to continue with the band. Finally, I have found some great musicians who can continue the work of Vitek and Covan,” stated the guitarist. Drummer Kerim “Krimh” Lechner, vocalist Rafał Piotrowski and VESANIA's bassist Filip “Heinrich” Hałucha were drafted to reform DECAPITATED later that year.

DECAPITATED features: Rafał Piotrowski – vocals, Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka – guitar, Pawel Pasek – bass and Kerim “Krimh” Lechner – drums






26 June, 2013

The Black Dahlia Murder: Goat Of Departure – new video

Now you see why I like them so much?! Heh. ‘Goat Of Departure’, directed by Ben Mayer, comes off one of my all-time favourite band's, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, sixth album ‘Everblack’, issued in June 2013 on Metal Blade Records. Selling 13,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release and landing at position number 32 on The Billboard Top 200, the album was recorded at Audiohammer Studios (lead guitars and vocals), Rustbelt Studios (drums), and Regal Fecal (guitar and bass). ‘Everblack’ was mixed by Jason Suecof and Ryan Williams, and mastered by Alan Douches at West Westside, while its art was created by Nick Keller. Metal Blade have this time made it really easy for us to buy the album, so kindly do so here (Metal Blade store):
“Though metal has become an increasingly codified genre over the years, ‘Everblack’ shows the heights a band can reach by simply having the confidence to forge its own path, following influences and inspirations wherever they may lead without worrying about whether or not death metal is being created “the right way”. In a way, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER have figured out how to create a new sound not by innovation, but invitation, welcoming bits and pieces from all over the metal world to make something exciting and exhilarating, which, aside from being a huge boon for metal fans, is the most hopeful thing to be said about an album containing a song titled ‘Raped In Hatred By Vines Of Thorn’,” [wrote Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – more here]

THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER formed in 2001 in Waterford, Michigan and have since released six albums, three EPs and a DVD, 2009's ‘Majesty’. (“Yeah, initially we thought we were going to get together on Sundays and try to put a song together every week,” recalls guitarist Brian Eschbach.) With two demos out and after a a number of acclaimed concerts appearances, TBDM signed with Metal Blade in 2003 and soon released their debut full-length, ‘Unhallowed’:
“There are two extreme vocal styles on ‘Miasma’ - death metal's deep, guttural growl and black metal's high-pitched rasp - and throughout the 33-minute disc, the growl and the rasp interact in a duet-like fashion. Wherever the growl goes, the rasp is never far away (and vice versa). The growl and the rasp are so integrated on ‘Miasma’ that TBDM never really shows a preference for either death metal or black metal,” [was impressed with THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER's second album, 2005's ‘Miasma’, AllMusic's Alex Henderson – more here]

The band continued to blow away critics and listening public alike with the likes of their 2007 LP ‘Nocturnal’, which was the first album to feature bassist Bart Williams, who replaced Dave Lock, and Shannon Lucas, who took over drumming duties from Pierre Langlois. Evidence of melodic streak in TBDM music came to materialization on 2009's “brutal, but majestic” album ‘Deflorate’, which is their first album to feature new guitarist Ryan Knight, who replaced John Kempainen. The album had sold 12,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release and debuted at position number 43 on the American albums chart Billboard Top 200. THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER's Mark Lewis-produced, Jason Suecof-produced and mixed masterpiece, ‘Ritual’, followed in June 2011. ‘Ritual’ can be somehow still streamed in its unstoppable  entirety here (MSN Music), and I wholeheartedly advise you to take a listen if yet unfamiliar with the beast. The last record to feature Ryan “Bart” Williams on bass and Shannon Lucas on drums, ‘Ritual’ sold nearly 13,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release and debuted at position number 31 on the Billboard Top 200:
“Rising above the predictable black din of contemporary death metal can be a formidable task, but Michigan-based melodic death rockers THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER manage to do just that on their fifth studio album, the relentless and rewarding ‘Ritual’. Employing a lethal mix of old-school American thrash, Scandinavian black metal, CARCASS-era grindcore, and classic dual-lead power metal, ‘Ritual’ roars in like a runaway train and leaves the listener in pieces,” [complimented James Christopher Monger, AllMusic – more here]
[Elaborated Trevor Strnad:] “Yes, we sing about Satan. But really, how I see it, our evil is for your own good! The character Satan in our music represents the freedom to think for yourself… the strength to see through the facades of the norm that is presented to us at birth, and the courage to live your own way, free of the burden of guilt and shame. That’s how it’s always been for us…]

THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER features: Trevor Strnad − vocals, Brian Eschbach − guitar and vocals, Ryan Knight − guitar, Max Lavelle − bass and Alan Cassidy – drums


25 June, 2013

Full Album Stream: Man's Gin: Rebellion Hymns – new album


Through that imaginative label called Profound Lore Records we get to hear twelve ‘Rebellion Hymns’ (or twelve “epic odes to the bottle and wasteland America, with music steeped in American goth and folklore”), courtesy MAN'S GIN, captained by COBALT multi-instrumentalist Erik Wunder. Joined by multi-instrumentalists Josh Lozano and Scott Edward, ‘Rebellion Hymns’ were recorded and produced by Andrew Schneider at Translator Audio in Brooklyn, New York. The band's sophomore effort features photography and layout by Jimmy Hubbard and a formidable cast of guest musicians such as Jarboe (ex-SWANS), Bruce Lamont of YAKUZA, John LaMacchia of CANDIRIA, and COBALT co-conspirator Philip McSorley. Enjoy ‘Deer Head & The Rain’ off the record below, and visit Invisible Oranges here for ‘Sirens’. The rest of MAN'S GIN moving new music (or “murder balladry”), out June 25th, 2013, awaits your order here (Profound Lore store), on iTunes and Amazon:

Helmed by multi-instrumentalist Erik Wunder, MAN'S GIN was initially conceived ten (or so) years ago in Colorado, USA prior to moving to Brooklyn New York. Alongside Erik Wunder, his bandmates Joshua Lozano and Scott Edward all play a wide array of instruments; ‘Rebellion Hymns’ follows the band's debut opus ‘Smiling Dogs’, an ode to barren American landscapes (or “hymns paying homage to the bottle”), issued on Profound Lore in 2010 and available for our listening pleasure below:

MAN'S GIN features multi-instrumentalists: Erik Wunder, Scott Edward and Josh Lozano

24 June, 2013

October Falls: Boiling Heart Of The North – new video & The Plague Of Coming Age – full album stream

OCTOBER FALLS should be much more popular than they are; they should be sharing stages across the States with Paganfest bands, or at the very least, headlining small festivals in Germany and thrilling European crowds. Their music is finely tuned, beautifully composed, and an excellent example of how well this style of melodic, dark metal can be done. This is an album to return to on cold and lonesome evenings,” [had argued Pitchfork's Kim Kelly (more here), and I concur]
Directed by Håkan Sjödin, ‘Boiling Heart Of The North’ comes off OCTOBER FALLS' latest opus, ‘The Plague Of A Coming Age’, issued in March 2013 through that fine French label (which functions under the the maxim: “And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them”), Debemur Morti Productions. For ‘The Plague Of Coming Age’, OCTOBER FALLS' mastermind M. Lehto once again surrounded himself with gifted musicians, namely MOONSORROW's Marko Tarvonen on drums and ENSIFERUM's Sami Hinkka on bass, as well as guest musicians AMORPHIS' Tomi Joutsen and V. Metsola on acoustic guitar. The album's art was created by Argentinean artist Santiago Caruso. Available as CD and as vinyl, ‘The Plague Of Coming Age’ awaits you here (Debemur Morti store):

Formed in 2001 in Helsinki, Finland by M. Lehto, OCTOBER FALLS' debut recording came out in 2003; dark, acoustic EP ‘Tuoni’ was in 2005 followed by instrumental, classical guitar-guided full-length album ‘Marras’. On the mostly solo projects' Debemur Morti Productions debut, the ‘Streams Of The End’ EP, harsher elements were first introduced, blending folk with harsh black and pagan metal:
“Lush tones create a morose mood, while the cold manifestations drift slowly, reverberating off wistful woodland and caressing fecund foliage in some dark, wintry forest at the heart of the Great North. The songs are suffused in diversity and dynamic, sometimes serene and soothing but also generating sensations of inconsolable grief, tortured anguish and utter desperation. Quiver and cower beneath the might of nature, as gloom and despondency infect your isolated essence, giving rise to a well of emotions condemned to lie dormant in those untouched by OCTOBER FALLS' rich arrangements. Allow the sparse, chilly landscape to engulf your soul, while the artist’s singular vision shrouds you in mist and shatters your world,” [cheerfully recommended the label:]
After 2007's EP ‘Sarastus’, OCTOBER FALLS welcomed Marko Tarvonen; 2008's LP ‘The Womb Of Primordial Nature’, described as “ fatuously romantic” by Cosmo Lee, AllMusic (more here), thusly featured M. Lehto on guitar and vocals, V. Metsola on bass and M. Tarvonen on drums:
“A celebration of life and death – and the agony that inevitably marks both – the bipolar expressions seamlessly blend folk sensibilities with harsh dissonance to arrive at a unique and uninhabited destination. Rich and beautiful; classical and harmonic; yet also decayed and awash with inconsolable despair. The vast vistas and lycanthropic landscapes encountered during these four epic tracks are tragic, morose and discomforting,” [the label disagreed with the music critic:]

Two years later, the same lineup recorded ‘A Collapse Of Faith’; issued in 2010, OCTOBER FALLS' most mature effort so far proved to be the last recorded with V. Metsola:
“Feral spirits gather beneath the pallid glow of a full moon, slender slivers of pale light barely illuminating their foul forms. The figures flicker – almost imperceptibly – paying homage to the dark night skies, shapeshifting shadows shimmering across a vast, timeless horizon. Night's cold, lupine teeth bite hungrily, searing the glimmering lifeforms as nature follows its tragic course, a terrible, irresistible union of beauty and cruelty. The blood of generations seeps into the soil; from this death shall life rise once more. Horns chime for the end; burial mounds of ash pile high, reaching desperately towards an indifferent sky. All human ideals are shattered; pride is torn apart; faith collapses in a quivering, worthless heap. Rivers run red and a grateful world thrives, cleansed of human ineptitude,” [added instructions my current favourite label:]
OCTOBER FALLS features: M. Lehto – guitar, S. Hinkka – bass and M.Tarvonen – drums

Autopsy: The Headless Ritual – new album


‘The Headless Ritual’, AUTOPSY's latest relentless monster of violent and brutal death metal mastery,  is being delivered to Europe today, June 24th, 2013, via Peaceville Records. AUTOPSY's unmistakable chaotic riffing, insane solos and doom-filled interludes, all served with the band's unhinged brand of vocal sickness, will become available in North America on June 2nd - yet, all available formats already await your order here (Peaceville store). Recorded and mixed at Fantasy Studios in California with Adam Munoz, and featuring artwork by renowned artist Joe Petagno, listen to AUTOPSY's new tune, ‘Arch Cadaver’ below, and visit Pitchfork here for ‘Mangled Far Below’. AUTOPSY confirm our expectations:
“Expect nothing less than the monstrous brutality that AUTOPSY has been known to offer. Laurels will not be rested upon, trends will not be followed and mercy will not be shown. Mark your calendars for June and pick out a coffin to lie down and die in. Darkness and death await.....”

AUTOPSY was formed in 1987 by former DEATH drummer Chris Reifert in San Francisco, USA. After recording a couple of demos, ‘Demo '87’ and 1988's ‘Critical Madness’, Chris Reifert (drums & vocals), Danny Coralles (guitar) and Eric Cutler (guitar), along with Steve DiGiorgio (bass), signed with Peaceville Records. AUTOPSY's first full-length, 1989's ‘Severed Survival’, is considered to be of high influence for future death metal bands such as ENTOMBED and DISMEMBER. Steve Cutler took over bass in 1991, the year in which AUTOPSY issued two EPs, ‘Fiend For Blood’ and ‘Retribution For The Dead’, as well as a full-length entitled ‘Mental Funeral’. Their punk-inspired third album, 1992's ‘Acts Of The Unspeakable’, featured new bassist Josh Barohn, and 1995's ‘ Shitfun’, AUTOPSY's last album before their fourteen-year breakup, found Freeway Migliore on four-strings. After years of feeling underrated, AUTOPSY returned triumphant in 2010 with the EP ‘The Tomb Within’. One of the biggest and most respected names in the genre's history released the long-awaited (16-years-long awaited) studio album ‘Macabre Eternal’ in 2011. The effort, released via Peaceville Records,  was recorded in Fantasy Studios with Adam Munoz by the original AUTOPSY trio of drummer and vocalist Chris Reifert, guitarists Danny Coralles and Eric Cutler joined by Joe Trevisano (ABSCESS) on bass:
“ ‘Macabre Eternal’ is more ambitious [then its predecessor 2010's EP ‘The Tomb Within’] - 12 songs in 65 minutes, including the inexplicably drawn-out, 11-minute epic ‘Sadistic Gratification’ - and more musically complex than the EP, but it’s still AUTOPSY; they haven’t become progressive death metal or anything,” [was relieved Phil Freeman, AllMusic] “Song titles like ‘Always About To Die’, ‘Dirty Gore Whore’, and ‘Seeds Of The Doomed’ reveal their not-so-hidden intentions, which are to make listeners' heads bang and, somewhat more surprisingly, to inspire wild fits of air guitar. There are riffs on this record that have a catchiness extreme metal hasn’t exhibited in decades, and the solos squeal with an untamable and infectious energy. Death metal used to be fun, and the members of AUTOPSY remember,” [more here]

‘All Tomorrow's Funerals’ containing four new studio tracks recorded in late 2011 plus all of AUTOPSY's past EPs and rarities, re-mastered by the band themselves, followed shortly thereafter

AUTOPSY features: Joe Trevisano – bass, Chris Reifert – drums and vocals,  Danny Coralles - guitar and Eric Cutler – guitar and vocals

20 June, 2013

Rotting Christ: Χ Ξ Σ (666) – new video & ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ – full album stream

The Tolis brothers had my house insurance agency seriously worried back in March, when their new album was continuously blasting away in nearly every occupied room. ‘Χ Ξ Σ (666)’, directed by Jon Simvonis and Aji Stone, comes off that ROTTING CHRIST album ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy’ (“Do What Thou Wilt”, Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), “Æon of Horus”), issued through Season Of Mist in March 2013. Produced by Sakis Tolis, with Jens Bogren helping with the mixing and mastering, ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eyatoy’ is available as a CD, double gatefold LP and as a digipak CD with the bonus track ‘Welcome to Hel’. All formats can be found here (Season Of Mist e-shop):
“An overarching, spine-chilling atmosphere binds the album - no matter its narrative or musical breadth. The songs may be more listener-friendly than in the past (at least, for fans of polished extreme metal that is), but a heavy emphasis on bone-drilling percussion and chanted vocals perfectly showcases ROTTING CHRIST's bombastically ritualistic side. The hair-raising whispered vocals and glutinous grind that opens the album, on ‘In Yumen / Xibalba’, sets a fittingly theatrical mood before diving into an operatic gallop, and that velocity and temperament doesn’t cease till the album's finale. … If ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy’ is defined by anything, it’s the chemistry between the brothers Tolis, and the recognition that the core of the song, and not the fripperies, is what matters most,” [wrote Craig Hayes, PopMatters – more here:]

Formed in 1987 in Athens, Greece by guitarist and vocalist Sakis Tolis, ROTTING CHRIST's sympathy with death metal & grind quickly gave way to their love for dark and violent black metal (in their own words: abyssic death metal); in 1989 they released their first demo, a 5-track affair called ‘Satanas Tedeum’. In 1991, the band released two EPs, ‘Passage To Arcturo’ and ‘Dawn Of Iconoclast’, and a split EP with Italians MONUMENTUM:
ROTTING CHRIST's debut full-length ‘Thy Mighty Contract’, out on Osmose Production in 1993, featured Sakis “Necromayhem” Tolis on guitar and vocals, George “Magus Wampyr Daoloth” Zaharopoulus on keyboards, Jim “Mutilator” Patsouris on bass and Themis “Necrosauron” Tolis on drums. The debut was reissued by Century Media in 1998, expanded with two bonus tracks. Following a war of words with Osmose Production, ROTTING CHRIST issued their second album, 1994's ‘Non Serviam’, through Dan Swanö's Unisound. Unavailable outside their home country until Season of Mist and The End Records reissued it in 2006, the album was eventually praised by music critics:
ROTTING CHRIST scored a six-album deal with Century Media and ‘Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers’, the band's third LP, was issued in 1996:
“ ‘Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers’ saw the Greek band turning their backs decisively on pedal-to-the-metal thrashing and embracing majestic, slower tempos instead. … And precisely because it represented such a break from black metal clichés, it’s no wonder that [the album] still stands as one of the most unique and consistent extreme metal albums of the 1990s,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
ROTTING CHRIST further “embraced their goth tendencies” on 1997's ‘Dead Poem’, “unquestionably one of their best collection of songs” (more here), a trend which continued on 1999's album ‘Sleep Of The Angels’, as “Greece's favorite sons decided it was time to revisit the ferocious brutality of their raw primordial origins” (Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here) with 2000's ‘Khronos’ (produced by Sakis Tolis in close collaboration with Peter Tägtgren. After a year and a half in retreat the band, now showcasing Sakis Tolis on guitar and vocals, Kostas Vassilakopoulos on guitar, Andreas Lagios on bass, Georgios Tolias on keyboards and Themis Tolis on drums, recorded their next longplayer with Andy Classen; 2002's ‘Genesis’ was describes as a “powerful album of putrid black metal” by Jason D. Taylor, AllMuisc (more here), similar to 2004's ‘Sanctus Diavolo’ which to Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic “felt like an outright ritual, an intricate black mass marked by lush, orchestrated layers of sound stacked into each and every song” (more here). ROTTING CHRIST switched to Season Of Mist prior to issuing their ninth full-length album ‘Theogonia’. In 2006, Season of Mist re-released the band's early material, ‘Passage To Arcturo’ and ‘Non Serviam’ and in 2007, ‘Theogonia’ followed:
“For a band whose name alone should have spelled a short and furtive career, ROTTING CHRIST have certainly defied the odds, and their ninth studio album actually finds Greece's esteemed metal institution approaching the conclusion of their second full decade of existence. … ROTTING CHRIST have become the (virtually) undisputed masters of midtempo extreme metal marches, which Sakis effortlessly augments with untold layers of sublime guitar harmonies and atmospheric synthesizers. On ‘Theogonia’, this winning template produces some of his finest creations since 1996's watershed ‘Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers’. The band is clearly also bent on exploring their Hellenic heritage like never before, with many subjects and lyrics sung in their native tongue, not to mention evident appropriations of Greek folk music scales,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here:]

‘Theogonia’ also introduced new guitarist Giorgos Bokos. And then, in 2010, came ‘Aealo’, featuring guest performances by Irish vocalist Alan A. Nemtheanga and Greek-American diva Diamanda Galas, as well as an epic introduction written by the label, Season Of Mist:
“The mountain range of Mount Olympus has been considered holy ground for ages past. There the ancient gods of Greece, among them Zeus, Ares and Aphrodite, were thought to gather in their palace of light. It is here that ROTTING CHRIST recorded their eleventh release ‘Aealo’ (in the renowned Lunatech Studios) close to the battlefield of Pydna, where the Roman legions ended first the supremacy of Macedonian kings in 168 BC and then famous military formation Phalanx. Historic ground and divine forces have obviously joined to inspire band leader Sakis Tolis to create his finest work so far,” [claimed the press release] Close your eyes and listen to ‘Aealo’. Soon the spirit of the past will rise. Witness Homer's heroes clad in golden armour performing mythical feats before the gates of mighty Troy. See that host of Greek freemen among them those 300 Spartans under king Leonidas holding out against a far superior force of Persian invaders. Feel the ground shake as Alexander the Great marches his victorious Macedonian phalanxes as far as India. Have your heart broken as the brutal Roman general Lucius Aemilius Paulus and his legionaries break into the ranks of the hoplites. It is those feelings that Sakis evokes within the concept of ‘Aealo’. It is the loneliness of a warrior, his raging anger, sad grief and final despair, which are captured in the atmosphere and essence of this album:”
ROTTING CHRIST features: Sakis Tolis – guitar and vocals and Themis Tolis – drums


P.O.D. : Beautiful – new video

“… rather than coming off as religious blowhards, P.O.D. still just seem like exuberant West Coast hip-hop punks, emboldened by scripture and still riding high on positive vibes while making a play for their perfect girl, as on the infectious ‘Bad Boy’. Sonny [Sandoval, vocalist] sings, “I like the girl with the big ol' eyes/Cuz I can see her mind, body and soul harmonize”, and later, “You know that I’m a bad boy but I wanna good girl/To share my world and show you how I do it”. Ultimately, sharing their world is what P.O.D. do best and that’s what ‘Murdered Love’ is all about,” [wrote Matt Collar, AllMusic – more here]
‘Murdered Love’, P.O.D.'s eight album released in July 2012 on Razor & Tie Records, debuted at number 17 on the Billboard Top 200, with sales of over 16,000 copies in the USA in its first week. Produced by Howard Benson, engineered by Mike Plotnikoff, Paul DeCarli and Hatsukazu Inagaki, mixed by Jay Baumgardner, and mastered by John Franck and Brad Blackwood, the album came equipped with art by (a twice Grammy-nominee for his artwork) DEMON HUNTER's Ryan Clark. ‘Murdered Love’ features guest vocalists JAMEY JASTA (on ‘Eyez’) and CYPRESS HILL's Sen Dog (on ‘West Coast Rock Steady’). P.O.D. have previously released three videos in promotion of the CD; Ramon Boutviseth-directed ‘Murdered Love’, featuring guest appearance from rapper Sick Jacken of PSYCHO REALM, drummer Wuv Bernardo-directed ‘On Fire’ and ‘Lost In Forever’, directed by Spence Nicholson. All three video clips are available for your viewing pleasure below. In case your usual record store runs out of ‘Murdered Love’, get the album via Amazon or iTunes

P.O.D. (or Payable On Death), is an American rap/metal band formed in 1992;  the band's line-up consists of vocalist Sonny Sandoval, drummer Wuv Bernardo, guitarist Marcos Curiel, and bassist Traa Daniels. P.O.D. have thus far released seven studio albums and have sold over 10 million records worldwide. Over the course of their career, the band has received three Grammy Award nominations, has contributed to numerous motion picture soundtracks and has toured the world  many times over.

P.O.D. features: Sonny – vocals, Wuv – drums, Traa – bass and Marcos – guitar


18 June, 2013

C R O W N: Psychurgy – new album


An extraordinary French duo or man-machine trio, C R O W N, have their new album, ‘Psychurgy’, out everywhere today, June 18th, 2013 on Candlelight Records. Reportedly “tuning their neutron guitars to the Richter scale, and delivering the sound of a molten universe collapsing”, their sound further “emboldened by a massive bestial roar, heavy and oppressive, leading to an abyss of nothingness…”, take a listen below and if you like what you hear, and there is honestly nothing not to like, order your own ‘Psychurgy’ here (Candlelight US store), here (Plastic Head UK), on Amazon/Amazon MP3, on iTtunes and on Spotify.

Active since 2011, guitarist and machinery operator P. G and guitarist and vocalist S. A first explored the depths of slow tempos and overly serious, heavy and oppressive guitars on their 2012 debut album ‘The One’, followed by a split EP with ST. VALLEY, which is actually a one-man project for C R O W N vocalist S. A. These perpetually tense releases, available for your listening pleasure below, rightly excited Candlelight Records who abruptly reached out to the melancholic pair:

C R O W N features: P. G – guitar and machinery and S. A – guitar and vocals

Into The Flood: Vices – new album


It was (in)to the movies for me yesterday, so you’ll be reading about INTO THE FLOOD's new album ‘Vices’ today. Issued through Century Media in North America on June 11th, 2013 and digitally only in Europe yesterday, get acquainted with Seattle-based metal quintet's debut album here (Absolute Punk), where it is streaming in full. INTO THE FLOOD have recently released a video for ‘David Scheinost’ as well, directed by Kyle Bishop and available below. (On the topic of moving pictures, I would highly recommend the new “Man Of Steel” film, while on the topic of vices I wouldn’t recommend it watched in 3D from a third row of an IMAX cinema – the vice-thingy falling solely on shoulders of the anonymous theatre's management personnel. Anyhow, this post will be fairly short as a consequence.) Anyhow, INTO THE FLOOD deserve your attention here (CM Distro North America) and on iTunes (Europe).

Washington state's metal quintet, INTO THE FLOOD, formed in 2010. Combining a vast array of influences to create a punishing blend of brutal metal and post hardcore, INTO THE FLOOD apparently acted as the “go to local band”, asked to open up for touring artists passing through Pacific Northwest for the past few years during which they developed quite a belief system. They state:
“We are a band that believes that you are the start of a positive change in the people that surround you. We believe that you can help communities and cities change. We believe that you have purpose. We are imperfect. We are a group of normal guys that face the same struggles as you do in our everyday lives. We will not judge you for who you are and what you believe because that is not our place in this world. We are simply here to share our testimonies and our love with all of you. Come talk to us!”
INTO THE FLOOD features: Brendan Wilson – vocals, Jacob Sacquitne – guitar, Justin Thacker – guitar, Anthony Taylor – bass and Kevin Brady - drums


17 June, 2013

Valient Thorr: Our Own Masters – new album & Torn Apart – new video


“In a world where music has been growing increasingly beardy and serious, especially in the realm of metal, a band like VALIENT THORR can be a breath of refreshing, albeit sweaty, air,” [wrote Gregory Heaney, AllMusic]
Starting off with a track called ‘Immaculate Consumption’, VALIENT THORR's new and sixth album, ‘Our Own Masters’, is available for your listening pleasure below, courtesy the band's faithful label Volcom Entertainment. Described as “ridiculous without being ironic, and fun without being silly” by aforementioned reviewer, ‘Our Own Masters’ is out now everywhere including Venus, except the USA. where it will be released tomorrow, June 18th, 2013. Recorded at Ronnie Jone Sound Studios in Athens, Georgia with Kyle Spence who produced, engineered and mixed the album, its cover is reportedly a 1975 painting by John Aylward, father of VALIENT THORR drummer Jason Aylward. ‘Our Own Masters’ awaits you here (VALIENT THORR's store), on iTunes and Amazon:
“If their life on the road is causing any wear and tear on them, VALIENT THORR [who play an average of 200 - 250 live shows a year], sure don’t show it on the album, which has an invigorating quality about it that makes you want to immediately drop what you’re doing, shotgun an energy drink, and air guitar along to the album's endless string of killer riffs until you pass out from exhaustion,” [praised the album Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – more here]

Extraterrestrial members of VALIENT THORR, “the rock n’ roll saviors from Venus who crossed the solar system to warn Earthlings about the error of our ways”, left Burlatia, Venus and landed in North Carolina, USA in the year 2001. In 2003, they officially announced their current Earthling incarnations via their first, self-released album ‘Stranded On Earth’. After replacing original drummer Donn Thorr with current drummer Lucian Thorr, VALIENT THORR had signed a treaty with Volcom Entertainment which was to ensure that we, mortals of Earth, don’t share the Venusians' fate (overpopulation and war). Their debut full-length entitled ‘Total Universe Man’ was released in 2005; its success allowed the Venusians to quit their undercover Earthling day gigs (which included the members earning Masters Degrees in various Earth studies and Valient Himself's stint as a 6th-grade teacher) and hit the road full-time. Once on the road, VALIENT THORR lost their original rhythm guitarist Jjinn Thorr whom they replaced first with Bjorn Thorr and later with guitarist Odinn Thorr. VALIENT THORR consequently played an amazing 272 shows in the year 2006. They had also managed to squeeze in another studio album, ‘Legend Of The World’:
“VALIENT THORR return to planet Earth shaggier and denim-claddier than ever before,” [explained AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia] “Spewing double-or-nothing-entendre song-ditties dedicated to eviscerating the U.S. government and organized religion and describing their travels through the cosmos in equal measures. Sometimes they even mix politics and science fiction in unfailingly entertaining fashion; a hyper-paranoid Valient Himself complains about people going through his mail. But whatever the subject, real or imaginary (and to some conservative retrogrades, one may seem as implausible and un-American as the other), it takes some guts for VALIENT THORR to voice them so brazenly - not to mention eschew meaningless hippie preaching to demand action, action, ACTION!” [More here]
500 shows and new guitarist, Voiden Thorr, later, the group released 2008's ‘Immortalizer’ which undoubtedly withstood “the test of time across all planets of the solar system”, it being recorded with legendary Earthling Jack Endino. Not a group of aliens to rest on their laurels, they returned to the legendary Earthling with fifth album ‘Stranger’, which followed in 2010:
“All kidding aside, of all the VALIENT THORR albums, ‘Stranger’ is arguably the one where they least sound like the “X-Files'” house band, and yet it also sees the quintet coming full circle to the unpredictable metallic rock hybrid concocted by its breakthrough album, 2005's ‘Total Universe Man’. This is a good thing, since it means that fans are treated to the same, “as seen on-stage” level of irrepressible energy, wed to a restless imagination and highly entertaining lyrics that have always helped distinguish VALIENT THOR from the workmanlike hard rock masses”
VALIENT THORR features: Valient Himself – vocals, Eidan Thorr – guitars, Dr. Professor Nitewolf Strangees – bass, Voiden Thorr - guitars and Lucian Thorr – drums

Shinedown: I'll Follow You – new video



They are one of this household's favourites ever since WWE championed their tunes (in 2008) – so just bear with me this morning. ‘I’ll Follow You’ comes from SHINEDOWN's fourth full-length ‘Amaryllis’, released in March 2012 on Roadrunner Records and Atlantic Records. ‘Amaryllis’ conquered American Alternative Albums Chart, Hard Rock Albums Chart, Rock Albums Chart, and peaked at number 4 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200. In Canada, ‘Amaryllis’ peaked at number 7, in UK at number 18, in Switzerland at number 28 and in Germany at number 36. SHINEDOWN's long in-the-making album was recorded at Lightning Sound Studios, Ocean Way Recording and Capitol Studios and produced by Grammy-winning Rob Cavallo, who also produced the band's previous album, 2008's ‘The Sound Of Madness’. The group has previously released videos for the singles ‘Bully’, ‘Unity’ and ‘Enemies’ which await you below the text. Shop SHINEDOWN here (the band's EU boutique) or here (the band's American store) or on iTunes:

[Singer Brent Smith told Noisecreep:] “I never want people to be able to put their thumb on this band. I never want anyone to know what we’re going to do musically. I want them to be shocked. I want them to think, “They did it again. They surprised me.” We like that. We like to challenge our audience,” [declared SHINEDOWN frontman Brent Smith] “It’s not a record for the faint of heart,” [he added] “Every single song makes a statement. I was looking for the kind of emotion that made every hair on the back of my neck stand on end. Because of that, I feel in my heart and soul that this album is a game changer for our band.”

“With a trend toward the uplifting, SHINEDOWN push their sound in an increasingly positive direction on their fourth album, ‘Amaryllis’. While the album still has the driving, hard rock backbone that the band has been building their post-grunge sound upon for years, there’s something more anthemic about this effort, as if every song is an attempt to rouse listeners out of their seats, and to that end, it's largely successful,” [commented Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – more here]


SHINEDOWN was formed 2002 in Jacksonville, Florida by vocalist Brent Smith, guitarist Jasin Todd, bassist Brad Stewart and drummer Barry Kerch. The group released their debut album, ‘Leave A Whisper’, in 2003 through Atlantic Records; the album, which was eventually certified Platinum, took SHINEDOWN on a grueling tour of 400 shows played. Their second full-length, 2005's ‘Us And Them’, entered the American Billboard Top 200 at number 23 and was certified Gold in the United States. SHINEDOWN's third album, 2008's Platinum-selling ‘The Sound Of Madness’, debuted at number 8 on Billboard's Top 200 and remained on the chart for 120 consecutive weeks.

Do visit Atlantic Records' SoundCloud here for plenty more SHINEDOWN music.

SHINEDOWN features: Brent Smith – vocals, Zach Myers – guitar, Barry Kerch – drums and Eric Bass – bass






16 June, 2013

Djevel: Besatt Av Maane Og Natt – new album



DJEVEL, starring bandmembers of NETTLECARRIER, KVELERTAK and KOLDBRANN, have a new album out; available digitally on iTtunes, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer and eMusic since June 3rd, 2013, ‘Besatt Av Maane Og Natt’ has become obtainable in its physical form (as vinyl and as CD) on June 14th, 2013 via Aftermath Music. “True believers” should therefore shop here (Aftermath store). Featuring founder and guitarist, songwriter and lyricist T. Ciekals (ex-LJÅ), vocalist Erlend Hjelvik, drummer Dirge Rep and bassist Mannevond, DJEVEL recorded their second LP this past winter at Caliban Studios in Oslo, Norway. ‘Besatt Av Maane Og Natt’s (Norwegian for being obsessed by the moon and night – see picture) cover art was created by T. Ciekals and Truls Espedal:

“ ‘Besatt Av Maane Og Natt’ is a triumph of an album – it is as ambitious as it is nostalgic. Without a doubt, I would recommend this album to anyone even slightly interested in natural, Norwegian black metal,” [commented CVLT Nation's reviewer – more here]

“ ‘Besatt Av Maane Og Natt’ is 45 minutes of sheer brilliance. The darkness is ever present on all eight of the eerily haunting and hypnotizing tracks summoned here. The intensity, and at times very fast paced riffs, threatens to subdue and take over the listener completely,” [added Norskmetal reviewer who calls himself VempireChrist and for that alone we shall trust in him – more here]


Formed in 2009 by T. Ciekals in Oslo, Norway, DJEVEL (you’ve guessed it - it’s Norwegian for dybbuk) was initially a one-man project. Slowly but surely growing into a band, DJEVEL, made up of grim vocalist Erlend Hjelvik, aggressive drummer Dirge Rep - while Mannevond just plays bass, released their debut album, ‘Dødssanger’, in 2012 through Aftermath Music, followed by a very limited 7” vinyl single called ‘Besatt Av Maane Og Natt’.

DJEVEL features: T. Ciekals – guitar, Erlend Hjelvik – vocals, Dirge Rep – drums and Mannevond – bass