30 July, 2013

Cattle Decapitation: Your Disposal – new video

Deathgrind aficionados rejoice: CATTLE DECAPITATION have released a new video for ‘Your Disposal’, previously available only as a Japanese bonus track on the band's latest album, ‘Monolith Of Inhumanity’. Directed, shot and edited by Mitch Massie, the video stars Brett Siler as Adam and Christine Murphy as Eve. Vocalist Travis Ryan explained:
“Director Mitch Massie has presented us all with a bizarre retelling of the story of Adam and Eve using themes from our latest album ‘Monolith Of Inhumanity’. Here we see Eve giving birth to humanity, a living, breathing piece of primordial meat birthed into the dirt making its way through the Garden of Eden, hellbent on destruction... A clean and conscious monolith foretelling what could be possible given the fact that humans exhibit superior traits of intelligence, instead the Earth is flooded with technological fallout and debris by the hands of man. This video is very much a prequel to our other videos ‘Forced Gender Reassignment’ [not for the faint of heart – available on Vimeo] and of course, ‘Kingdom of Tyrants’ [available below].”
‘Monolith Of Inhumanity’ was issued in May 2012 on Metal Blade Records. One of the most volatile, ambitious, and impossible to aptly categorize records you will ever hear was produced by Dave Otero of Denver's Flatline Audio. The album features a host of guests including Mike Majewski of DEVOURMENT, Lenard Leal of CEPHALIC CARNAGE, the CEPHALIC CARNAGE Community Men's Choir (consisting of all current CEPHALIC members and alumni Jawsh Mullen and Zac Joe), and “ambient and noise interludes by Los Angeles' most extreme decimator of sound”, John Wiese. Download CATTLE DECAPITATON's happy tune, ‘A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat’, free of charge from Metal Blade here.  ‘Monolith Of Inhumanity’ awaits your order here (Metal Blade store), on iTunes and on Amazon:
“California death-grinders CATTLE DECAPITATION will never be accused of subtlety, but there are moments on the typically grotesque ‘Monolith Of Inhumanity’, their seventh long-player, that are unabashedly melodic. The band's penchant for setting off relentless explosions of BPM shrapnel, while vocalist Travis Ryan swallows the microphone and uses his rib cage for a reverb tank, remains steadfast, but the occasional clean vocal in the mix, as heard on the exhilarating ‘Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat’, adds a new vintage black metal patina to the group's signature CARCASS/PIG DESTROYER-informed attack,” [wrote James Christopher Monger, AllMusic – more here:]


CATTLE DECAPITATION was formed in San Diego in 1996 by drummer and bassist David Astor and guitarist and drummer Gabe Serbian.  With vocalist Travis Ryan, they released two albums, the ‘Human Jerky’ in 1999 and the ‘Homovore’ in 2000. They added a bassist, Troy Oftedal, to the lineup next and recorded their third full-length, ‘To Serve Man’. The album was released in 2002 through Metal Blade Records: 

That same year, Josh Elmore joined in as a second guitarist. The band's next album was recorded without founders Serbian and Astor, with Ryan on vocals, Elmore on guitar, Oftedal on bass and newcomer, Michael Laughlin, in charge of the drum kit. Bill Metoyer-produced ‘Humanure’, approbated by critics, was released in 2004: 

A split with CANINUS followed in 2005, before CATTLE DECAPITATION delivered their fifth pro-vegetarian yet gore-oriented full-length statement, ‘Karma. Bloody. Karma’ in 2006: 

In 2009, the group returned to producer Billy Anderson with whom they recorded ‘The Harvest Floor’ with new drummer David McGraw. The album which broke onto American music charts (at number 16 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers) proved to be the last to feature bassist Troy Oftedal. ‘The Harvest Floor’ was described by AllMusic's Greg Prato as “extreme metal at its most complex and brutal”; he also applauded CATTLE DECAPITATION for their gift of “coming up with glorious song titles” (more here): 

Note: Download all the above CATTLE DECAPITATION tunes here (SoundCloud) for free, courtesy Metal Blade Records.

CATTLE DECAPITATION features: Travis Ryan – vocals, Josh Elmore – guitar, Derek Engemann – bass and David McGraw – drums


29 July, 2013

James LaBrie: Impermanent Resonance – new album


JAMES LABRIE, of DREAM THEATER fame, is back with a new studio album entitled ‘Impermanent Resonance’. Released in Europe today, July 29th, 2013, and due in North America on August 6th, 2013 via InsideOut Music, the album was was conceived together with LaBrie's songwriting partner Matt Guillory, who also handled all of the keyboard recordings as well as background vocals. As was the case on LaBrie's previous album, 2010's ‘Static Impulse’, Italian guitarist Marco Sfogli tracked all of the guitars, while the bass was handled by Ray Riendeau (HALFORD, MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE). Drums were once again recorded by Swedish drummer extraordinaire, DARKANE's Peter Wildoer. Next to the standard CD and the digital format, ‘Impermanent Resonance’ is also available as limited edition digipak with alternate artwork and two bonus tracks, and as limited LP (with the full album as bonus CD). LaBrie's new tune ‘Agony’ can be downloaded for free from InsideOut Music here. ‘Impermanent Resonance’ was mixed and mastered at Sweden's Fascination Street recording studios by Jens Bogren and Tony Lindgren, while its artwork was created by Gustavo Sazes. For Europe, all the album's available formats await your order here (InsideOut shop), for North America – shop/pre-order here (CM Distro):
[James LaBrie commented:] “To me this album incorporates and continues with the styles and musical direction that we have created with the previous releases. The difference being that the music on this disc is to me a true telling of the songs evolving and taking on a sense of identity that is every band’'s ultimate goal. It is powerful, memorable, hook-driven and above all extremely musical. It shows how the writing and the band itself have matured. I truly feel that this is our quintessential album:”

In related news, James LaBrie's album ‘Static Impulse’, released in 2010, is being issued on vinyl for the first time today, July 29th, 2013:

Witherscape: The Inheritance – new album



WITHERSCAPE, the new dark metal outfit formed by Swedish singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Dan Swanö together with fellow Swedish multi-instrumentalist Ragnar Widerberg, have a new album, ‘The Inheritance’, issued through Century Media in Europe today, July 29th, 2013. The album is awaiting its North American unveiling on August the 6th, or so I am informed. On ‘The Inheritance’, vocals, drums and keyboards were handled by Dan Swanö, with Ragnar Widerberg recording all guitars and bass:

[Elaborated Swanö:] “One of the coolest things about WITHERSCAPE is that we actually rehearsed. We were two grown adults getting our coffee and sandwiches, going to the Nightingale rehearsal room, gearing up and rehearsing the material for hours and hours. We’d record everything, take it home and listen to it, pick apart the songs. When all the rehearsals were done and we were satisfied with these tracks, we made a full-scale pre-production.”

[Sound-wise:] “"In terms of the whole feeling I wanted as the WITHERSCAPE sound, I was being pulled in a number of different directions. I came to a point where I felt I was completely over-producing, sort of hiding everything in overdubs, reverbs and delays. I lost the plot because I was thinking 'This must be epic! '. I remember sitting behind the drums one day while we were working on the record, hearing just one guitar playing a riff, and I thought 'This IS fucking epic!' We already had the WITHERSCAPE sound at the beginning; it was just a case of allowing the music to breathe and go where it wanted.”

According to the same trusted source, Dan Swanö, ‘The Inheritance’ is a pretty thick concept album split into different episodes. The story takes place in a remote village in northern Sweden in the late 1800's. It apparently revolves around “the central character [who] lives in Stockholm and comes from wealth and who, upon the death of his family, is informed by the family lawyer that he has inherited a large estate up north. Having been oblivious to the estate's existence, he decides to investigate, and once he’s there all kinds of weird shit happens…”. Get a vague idea of the kind of weird shit happening throughout the recording by briefly observing the album's art created by Travis Smith. ‘The Inheritance’ can be ordered from here (CM Distro Europe), here (CM Distro North America), from iTunes, from Amazon/Amazon MP3:




27 July, 2013

Fueled By Fire: Trapped In Perdition – new album


This band's interests include “fucking shit up”, so pay attention: FUELED BY FIRE have a new record out in Europe since yesterday, July 26th, 2013, on NoiseArt Records. Recorded at Mana Recording Studios in Florida, USA with death metal legend HATE ETERNAL's Erik Rutan, ‘Trapped In Perdition’ is due in North America on August 6th. Its artwork created by German artist Axel Hermann, buy/pre-order ‘Trapped In Perdition’ CD or vinyl here (NoiseArt store) or search for it on iTunes:

FUELED BY FIRE was founded in 2002 in Norwalk, California. Their first demo, recorded in 2004, helped to put the band on stage alongside heavy metal weights such as MUNICIPAL WASTE and TOXIC HOLOCAUST. In 2006 they recorded their first full-length album consisting of nine tracks, ‘Spread The Fire’. A self-financed affair, the album gained FBF an international recognition as well as the attention of Brian Slagel, the founder of Metal Blade Records which re-released the album in 2007: 

After a personnel reshuffle, FUELED BY FIRE embarked on a promotional tour which took them across the U.S. and Europe. In 2010, drummer Carlos Gutierrez, vocalist and guitarist Rick Rangel, bassist Anthony Vasquez and guitarist Chris Monroy released their second album, ‘Plunging Into Darkness’, via Napalm Records and Universal Music:

FUELED BY FIRE features: Carlos Gutierrez - drums, Rick Rangel - lead vocals and lead guitar, Anthony Vasquez - bass, Chris Monroy - lead guitar

The Ocean: Bathyalpelagic II: The Wish In Dreams – new video

The new THE OCEAN video, I read it is their first ever, was directed by Alexander Kraudelt and Lukas Hambach and produced by Frameshock; ‘Bathyalpelagic II: The Wish in Dreams’ comes off the group's April 2013 release ‘Pelagial’, issued through Metal Blade Records. The concept album which invites listeners to journey with the band “beginning at the surface of the ocean and plunging through all five pelagic depth zones: epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathyalpelagic, abyssopelagic, and hadopelagic” was written, recorded, mixed and to-be-performed-live as one single 53-minutes piece of music. This journey was mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren (who, reportedly, at one point faced a mammoth amount of 288 audio tracks) at Fascination Street Studios in Örebrö, Sweden,  while its art was created by Seldon Hunt. ‘Pelagial’, the standard double CD edition, should be sought out here (Metal Blade store), and the special acrylic boxset edition of the album, released through the band's own Pelagic Records, on both CD and 4×10” vinyl formats (containing the CD digipak or the 2 vinyl gatefolds respectively, “buried” underneath five thick acrylic layers coloured in different hues of transparent blue, of course reflecting the individual pelagic depth zones – courtesy illustrator Martin Kvamme) can be found here (Pelagic Records store). The boxset comes with an extra DVD featuring a 5:1 dolby surround mix of the instrumental album, and the “Pelagial” movie by Craig Murray which “visualizes the journey into the depths and is completes the holistic music and visual art project that is ‘Pelagial’:
“THE OCEAN pull it off simply because they present it: they never ram these philosophical concepts down the listener's throat. In this 53-minute work of 11 continuous sections, the band careens through airy, melodic rock to knotty, dense prog metal to suffocatingly bleak post-rock with cohesive neo-classical interludes of chamber strings and acoustic piano. This is made possible by rigorous compositional acumen, communicative, expert, performance precision, articulate, painstaking production, and a beautifully balanced vocal delivery from frontman Loïc Rossetti,” [wrote Thom Jurek, AllMusic – read more here:]

Founded in early 2000 in Berlin, Germany by guitarist and songwriter Robin Staps, THE OCEAN (who apparently “occupy a space right near NEUROSIS, ISIS and CULT OF LUNA”) released their eponymous EP in 2002, followed by the first part of the two-album project in 2004, ‘Fluxion’, which ended with ‘Aeolian’ LP in 2006, described by Alex Henderson, AllMusic, as a “generally decent listen if one isn’t afraid of being musically pummeled, stomped, and kicked repeatedly” (more here):

THE OCEAN Collective's, counting eight members, third album and their first concept album (which dealt with the elusive geological era Precambrian), 2007's ‘Precambrian’ featured guest musicians OLD MAN GLOOM's Caleb Scofield, CONVERGE's Nate Newton, TEXTURES' Erik Kalsbeek etc as well as musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra:

Thir first album recorded with vocalist Loïc Rossetti, 2010's ‘Heliocentric’, apparently couldn’t take its proper shape anywhere but 1000 meters above the sea level, in the highest city in Europe, La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland, where it was recorded along with its sister record, ‘Anthropocentric’, also released in 2010:
“Each of these (each OCEAN record, really) is a sit-down-with-the-lyric-sheet-and-ponder experience; it’s possible to just let the loud guitars and thundering drums wash over you, as you would with, say, HIGH ON FIRE, but that’s so clearly not what the band wants to happen that ‘Anthropocentric’ ceases to be cathartic, like all the best metal, and starts to feel like homework. … That’s not to say that the band doesn’t rock,” [wrote Phil Freeman, AllMusic – more here:]

THE OCEAN features: Loic Rossetti - vocals, Robin Staps – guitar, Jonathan Nido – guitar, Louis Jucker – bass and Luc Hess – drums


25 July, 2013

Full Album Stream: Mercenary: Through Our Darkest Days – new album


Danish melodic death metal soldiers of fortune's, MERCENARY, new album ‘Through Our Darkest Days’ will be released in Europe tomorrow, July 26th, 2013, on NoiseArt Records and in North America on July 30th, 2013 on Prosthetic Records; in the meantime, enjoy their seventh full-length here (Decibel Magazine) or below, courtesy the band. Recorded with the band's longtime collaborator Jacob Hansen at Hansen Studios in Denmark, ‘Through Our Darkest Days’ awaits you here (NoiseArt store), here (Prosthetic store) and here (MERCENARY shop). The album's artwork, created by strapping young lad Mircea Gabriel Eftemie, according to MERCENARY “symbolizes the darkness that we have gone through as a band, which we feel that we have finally been able to put behind us", while the title “thematizes both the journey through existential darkness as a general theme and the ability to break through it; the lyrical universe is very much about making the most of life and not getting caught up in negativity:”

Formed in 1991 by vocalist and bassist Kral (Hans Henrik Andersen) in Aalborg, Denmark, MERCENARY worked in relative anonymity until 1998, when they finally landed a deal for their debut album, ‘First Breath’. Kral, vocalist Mikkel Sandager,  guitarists Nikolai Brinkmann and Signar Petersen, keyboardist Morten Sandager, and drummer Rasmus Jakobsen released MERCENARY's second Jacob Hansen-produced album, ‘Everblack,’ in 2002. Following, drummer Jacobsen and guitarist Petersen left the band and were replaced with new guitar team of Jakob Moelbjerg and Martin Buus Pedersen, as well as drummer Mike Park. This new lineup signed with Century Media Records; described as “exciting and inspired” and “a solid album through and through” by AllMusic (more here), 2004's ‘11 Dreams’ was MERCENARY's final album recorded with founder Henrik “Kral” Andersen. The band went on to write and record their fourth full-length as quintet, with Mikkel Sandager performing all vocals, while the album's producer Jacob Hansen handled bass duties. ‘The Hours That Remain’ was released in 2006. Soon after, MERCENARY recruited bassist and vocalist René Pedersen with whom they recorded their fifth album entitled ‘Architects Of Lies’, which turned out to be the last to include vocalist Mikkel Sandager, keyboardist Morten Sandager and drummer Mike Park, as well as their last album to be released through Century Media. In 2011, vocalist and bassist René Pedersen, lead guitarist and keyboardist Martin Buus, guitarist Jakob Mølbjerg and Morten Løwe released MERCENARY's sixth album ‘Metamorphosis’:
“Not so much a wholesale metamorphosis as a gradual transmutation, MERCENARY's sixth album reflects certain changes in musical direction that most observers could have seen coming from miles away, but nevertheless drove out half of the Danish sextet's lineup over the course of its creation, and rocked their fan base to its core upon release. … Conversely, numerous tracks are prolonged through unnecessarily repetitive riffing marathons (see ‘Velvet Lies’, ‘The Black Brigade’), as though the members of MERCENARY were attempting to counter their own commercial inclinations with a surplus of instrumental showboating. In any case, the final takeaway is that of a group in frank transition issuing a rather suitably named (and often quite enjoyable) album, certain to keep MERCENARY's supporters and detractors engaged in heated debate until the next album can answer some questions, perhaps,” [commented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
MERCENARY features: René Pedersen – vocals and bass, Jakob Mølbjerg – guitar, Martin Buus - lead guitar and keyboards and Peter Mathiesen - drums

Ancient VVisdom: Never Live Again – new video & Deathlike – full album stream:

[ANCIENT VVISDOM's singer and songwriter Nathan Opposition has shared with us some of his infinite wisdom:] “In this video we wanted to portray horror and the fine art of self-awakening. The executioner stands as the final act of judgment upon your mortal existence. Because we’re all dying to live, I challenge the listeners and viewers to go beyond the realms of their own consciousness to expand the mind into a new positive reality while they still have time. Inspired by BLACK SABBATH's ‘Killing Yourself To Live’, I wrote this song to invoke change. I believe this generation needs to learn a thing or two about their own existence.”
‘Never Live Again’, directed by Nathan Daughdrill, has been just uploaded unto YouTube; the tune comes from ANCIENT VVISDOM's February 2013-issued album ‘Deathlike’. Mixed and mastered by engineer and co-producer Jason Buntz, and co-produced by ENORMOUS DOOR founder Jack Control at Diamond Factory Studios in Austin, Texas, the album is available for your listening pleasure below, and purchasable through Prosthetic Records store here, or through BandCamp, iTunes and Amazon. The album's artwork was created by American graphic artist Travis Smith, while ANCIENT VVISDOM's previously released video, ‘Deathlike’, was directed by Sikander Khan:
“Those who found comfort amongst the ashes of ANCIENT VVISDOM's past gloom will appreciate the band’s efforts on ‘Deathlike’. It’s a familiar tale but the band has widened song-writing parameters and began developing sonically; especially on the heavier additions (‘Never Live Again’ [and] ‘Here Is The Grave’). These songs in particular leave the feeling there is a hunger to venture further into electric waters, and whether this is something that the band embrace in the future only time will tell. But for now ANCIENT VVISDOM's music contain no studio trickery or showboating, just passionate songs that connect with tongue and thought,” [commented Dean Brown, PopMatters – more here:]

According to a widespread and quite believable rumor, singer and songwriter Nathan Opposition, his brother Michael Jochum (electric guitar) and acoustic guitarist Justin “Ribs” Mason have been annihilating the underground rock scene under the moniker of ANCIENT VVISDOM since 2009. Determined to spread their infectious, an enticing yet macabre, sound from the darkest corners of Austin, Texas to the masses, the band utilized unusual instrumentation including a bowed stand-up bass, synths, and machete/bamboo percussion on their 2011 debut ‘A Godlike Inferno’:
“… other listeners may understandably come away disappointed, simply because of the wealth of inspired work being churned out in this arena by some of the artists named above [see here], compared with which ‘A Godlike Inferno’ decidedly sounds more like youthful naïveté than true, well, ancient wisdom. Having said that, there are certainly clues contained herein suggesting better things may lie ahead for ANCIENT VVISDOM, if only they keep working at their craft and honing a more unique voice within the occult rock revival,” [commented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic who will be surely pleasantly surprised with the new ANCIENT VVISOM output as was yours truly – read the rest of his review here:]

ANCIENT VVISDOM features: Michael Jochum – electric guitar, TA – bass, Mitch – drums and Nathan Opposition – vocals and acoustic guitar  



23 July, 2013

Full Album Stream: Black Tusk: Tend No Wounds – new EP & Truth Untold – new video


Savannah, Georgia BLACK TUSK's six songs, twenty minutes long (“blast of high octane raging Southern rock/metal that merges the classic original backwoods metallic hardcore BLACK TUSK sound with the newer more polished rock based tunes the band has honed after years on the road on the road with bands like BARONESS, SKELETONWITCH, MASTODON, KVELERTAK and others”) new EP called ‘Tend No Wounds’, is out now everywhere, July 23rd, 2013, on Relapse Records and is already streaming in its heavy-rocking entirety below. The EP was recorded with producer Phillip Cope at the Jam Room in Columbia, South Carolina, while its artwork comes courtesy the talented Mr. Brian Mercer. The ‘Truth Untold’ video was directed by Brad Kremer. ‘Tend No Wounds’ can be found in all its available physical formats here (Relapse store) and on Amazon, and digitally on BandCamp, iTuunes, Amazon etc:

Guitarist and vocalist Andrew Fidler, bassist and vocalist Jonathan Athon and drummer and vocalist James May formed BLACK TUSK in 2005 in Savannah, Georgia. Combining the drive of (fellow Savannah residents) BARONESS with the thick and murky stoner sludge of HIGH ON FIRE, the trio recorded an EP ‘When Kingdoms Fall’ in 2005, which thet released on Wrecked Signal Records. Two years later, BLACK TUSK self-released their first full-length album, ‘The Fallen Kingdom’, followed by second album 2006's ‘Passage Through Purgatory’, released through local label Hyperrealist Records and later re-issued by Relapse Records:

Following a of split with ASG issued in 2009, BLACK TUSK signed to Relapse Records in 2010. Their third release (“of locomotive riffing, powerful percussion, furious display that incorporates the fury of punk and the precision of thrash metal”) 2010's ‘Taste The Sin’, excited music critics:
“There’s no prog wizardry or noodly, atmospheric head trips to get caught up in. Instead, BLACK TUSK delivers ten tracks of big and dirty Southern doom/sludge that draws you in with its simplicity, daring you to enter its murky depths. Once you’ve entered their world, prepare yourself to be taken on a relentless hell ride,” [wrote Gregory Heaney, AllMusic Guide – more here:]

In 2011, BLACK TUSK were recognized as the “Best Local Metal Band” by “Best of Savannah” readers poll, the free weekly alternative arts and entertainment newspaper for Savannah, Georgia. That same year, the band recorded ‘Set The Dial’ LP with producer Jack Endino. “Cooking like the Savannah heat, raising up BLACK TUSK's signature brand of primal, triple-vocal, chromatic madness, and tattooing it across canyon-wide grooves”, enjoy the ‘Set The Dial’ below:

BLACK TUSK features: Jonathan Athon – bass and vocals, James May – drums and vocals and Andrew Fidler – guitar and vocals

22 July, 2013

Unkind: Olemisen Pelko – new video & Pelon Juuret – full album stream

Back to right the wrongs of this world, Finland's UNKIND have a new video out in addition to their new album ‘Pelon Juuret’ (Finnish for: roots of fear, I’m told), released worldwide on July 9th, 2013 via Relapse Records. Described by their label as “as if MONGWAI (Scottish post-rock band) made a record of TRAGEDY (a crust punk band from Oregon, USA) covers, or FROM ASHES RISE (a crust punk band also residing in Oregon, USA) were influenced by EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY (rock band from Texas, USA), ‘Pelon Juuret’ was recorded with producer Kari Nieminen at Noisecamp studios in Turku, Finland and seemingly “continues in the direction of the group's previous work, offering up a furious fusion of d-beat hardcore crossed with a highly creative touch of atmospherics”. Business' elders view UNKIND with a favourable eye; they describe ‘Pelon Juuret’ as “a heavy, emotional, well-crafted album that’s well worth the time and heartache it will cost you” (About.com) and “an awesome balance between compassion & rage” (Cvlt Nation). Available on CD/LP/digital, get your exclusive package here (Relapse store) or search for the album on iTunes. UNKIND's entire discography can be also found here (UNKIND's BandCamp):

In keeping with Finnish tradition, UNKIND don’t say much. Except through their music. I read they have called themselves “Speedapple” once, in the late 1990's, before changing their name to UNKIND, “unleashing dark, ominous hardcore/punk, distilling dystopian frustrations and anxieties, exploring deeper shades of darkness directly from the gut, with the urgency and true sense of purpose that hardcore/punk rock was built upon” as such.

UNKIND features: Tommi - guitar & vocals, Marko - bass & vocals, Saku – drums, Toni – guitar and Pekka – sound & confusion


Necrowretch: Putrid Death Sorcery – new video

Lovingly referred to by their label Century Media Records as French death metal maniacs, NECROWRETCH have just put forth a new video for ‘Putrid Death Sorcery’, the title-track for their January 2013 debut full-length album. The “result of eighteen months of intense song-writing” was recorded at Blackout Multimedia studios in Brussels, Belgium with none other than ENTHRONED's Phorgath in (no more or less) than ten day, while the art for NECROWRETCH's rancid, filthy and dark death metal product was created by Milovan Novakovic. So, if you think yourselves prepared for the arrival of “the defilers of sacrality!”, shop for NECROWRETCH here (CM Distro Europe), or on iTunes and Amazon. In related news, France's most vicious death metal band will release ‘Bestial Rites 2009-2012’, a compilation of the band's sold out demos and EPs, on October 21st, 2013 in Europe on CD and as digital download:
“Well, it didn’t take long before death metal's original Eye of Sauron (a.k.a. Century Media Records) gazed upon the Rhône-Alpes region of France and found, like they had back in the old days, something real, something cool, something decidedly violent and altogether evilly incandescent. Sure, NECROWRETCH owe their very existence to bands before them, but not the bands normally cited in I-love-the-past treatises. Right. No ENTOMBED or NIHILIST. CARNAGE or DISMEMBER.. We’re talking MERCILESS. With a smattering of BLASPHEMY,” [put it eloquently as always Decibel Magazine's Chris D. – more here]

“While most teenagers pick up a guitar to impress girls and get recognition, Vlad did so for one reason and one reason only: to emulate DEATH's immortal debut ‘Scream Bloody Gore’,”
we get introduced to NECROWRETCH's beginnings through their biography. Fully resolved to one day write his own ‘Scream Bloody Gore’, Vlad picked up the instrument in 2008 and, after finding a real flesh and bone drummer, in 2009 recorded his debut demo called ‘Rising From Purulence’. A couple of months later the pair became a trio with the addition of bassist Amphycion, and as such they recorded another demo which they released on tape via Belgium’s Detest Records in 2009.
“Suddenly,” [continues the bio] “Vlad noticed bands like Sweden's REPUKED, PUTRID and MORBUS CHRON and understood rather late that there was actually a return of death metal - the ancient way. But don’t you accuse him of jumping on the bandwagon: “Well, I lived in a very small town in the south of France, far away from any kind of scene so I had no clue there would soon be a resurgence of the “real” death metal of yore… It was also a reaction [to] all these modern bands that were popping up like crazy back then, with triggered drums and pro-tools effects that did nothing for me. And it drove me mad to see all these young fans going nuts for these bands while having no clue about the genre's forefathers. Besides, I have to admit I just hate being part of the norm and thus decided to follow my own path instead.”
Subsequent the release of ‘Putrefactive Infestation’ MLP and ‘Now You’re In Hell’ EP, Century Media Records, in cunning collaboration with ASPHYX, offered NECROWRETCH a worldwide deal.

NECROWRETCH features: Vlad – guitar and vocals, Amphycion – bass, Desecrator - live drums and Mörkk – session drums 


Full Album Stream: True Widow: Circumambulation – new album

TrueWidow_ Circumambulation

Well, this month has turned out to be quite complicated for me hence, with a slight delay, visit Pitchfork Advance here this instant to enjoy TRUE WIDOW's new album ‘Circumambulation’ (“Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. … What do you see? Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks glasses! of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster - tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone?” – Herman Melville [1819 – 1891], Moby Dick). Out today, July 22nd, 2013, worldwide on Relapse Records, ‘Circumambulation’ will be released in North America tomorrow. TRUE WIDOW's third LP was recorded at the Echo Lab in Argyle, Texas with Matt Pence. The album awaits you here (Relapse store), an on Amazon and iTunes. Visit Relapse Records here for TRUE WIDOW's free tune ‘Four Teeth’:

Started in 2007 by singer and guitarist Dan Philips in Dallas, Texas who recruited to his idea singer and bassist Nicole Estill and drummer Timothy Starks, TRUE WIDOW have previously released two albums: True Widow in 2008 and ‘As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth’ in 2011. According to a press release, each record has built on the band's unique approach to the guitar-centric intersection of shoegaze and ambient pop, which the band self-describes as “stonegaze”. NPR apparently described the band's sophomore release as “a warming headphone album for a bleak snowfall, moody and dreamy chords crushed by a rumbling low-end”, and Decibel Magazine prescribed it as “frankly, almost perfect”. AllMusic's Gregory Heaney concluded:
“Preventing the album from slipping into the territory of glacial doom, however, are the vocals. Drenched in reverb, the male/female harmonies wrap the listener up like a down comforter, completely enveloping everything they touch while providing a drifting feeling that keeps the trudging pace of the album from ever feeling like it’s about to stall out. The combination creates an odd kind of magic that at times feels as if you’re listening to an album of EARTH covering PAVEMENT…” [More here]
TRUE WIDOW features: DH Phillips – guitar and vocals, Nicole Estill – bass and vocals and Slim TX – drums

Stormzone: Three Kings – new album



Visit Northern Ireland heavy metallers', STORMZONE, website here to enjoy nearly half (six out of thirteen tunes) of the band's new album entitled ‘Three Kings’, issued today, July 22nd, 2013, on Metal Nation Records. And then, providing you like what you hear and why wouldn’t you especially if you are into NWOBHM and such, buy the album via the band's site as well:

“What has always separated STORMZONE from other retro acts is their knack for anthemic and truly memorable song writing. While it fails them some on the back-end, when they’re in the zone, they craft songs that take me back to the salad days of my misspent youth and prove this ancient genre can still be relevant and worthwhile,” [noted reputable metal observer Steel Druhm of highly trusted metal portal called Angry Metal Guy – more here]


STORMZONE was created as a studio project for vocalist John “Harv” Harbinson in 2004 for which Harbinson  recruited a formidable array of studio musicians comprising drummer Julian Watson, bassist Pete Macken, keyboardist Stephen Prosser and guitarist Keith Harris. This lineup recorded STORMZONE's debut album entitled ‘Caught In The Act’, issued through Escape Music in 2007 for whose promotion Harbinson gathered an almost altogether different lineup to tour with. Following, STORMZONE toured Europe for two years, supporting WHITE LION, TESLA, George Lynch, Y&T and L.A. GUNS and appeared at various music festivals. The band re-entered the studio to record their second album in 2009. Legendary music producer DJ Neil Kaye (him who “discovered” IRON MAIDEN) co-produced the recording titled ‘Death Dealer’. Both album's artwork was created by celebrated fantasy artist and illustrator, Rodney Matthews.

STORMZONE features: John “Harv” Harbinson – vocals, Steve Moore – guitar, Davy Bates – drums, Graham McNulty – bass and David Shields – guitar


18 July, 2013

Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals: Walk Through Exits Only – new album


According to Greg Prato, AllMusic, he is “known primarily as the over-the-top, drill instructor-like frontman for heavy metal titans PANTERA”. Well, he is much more than that and his first solo album, ‘Walk Through The Exits Only’, is currently streaming in full here (Revolver Magazine). Released in North America on PHILIP H. ANSELMO's own Housecore Records on July 16th, 2013, ‘Walk Through The Exits Only’ comes out internationally tomorrow, July 19th, 2013, through Season Of Mist. Philip H. Anselmo and THE ILLEGALS recorded the album over the past couple of years at Nodferatu's Lair in New Orleans with Steven Berrigan, while the mastering was done by Scott Hull. The album awaits you here (Housecore Records store), here (Season Of Mist e-shop), and on iTunes and Amazon:
“The master of all things heavy, Philip H. Anselmo, has returned with the very first solo album of his illustrious career. Years of fronting the legendary PANTERA and hard rock titans DOWN have propelled the vocalist to stardom and with ‘Walk Through Exits Only’, Anselmo and his backing band, THE ILLEGALS, have created a truly heavy, angry monster that merges the visceral aggression and power of PANTERA with the devastating thrash and Southern sludge that Anselmo and the NOLA scene pioneered. ‘Walk Through Exits Only’ is an essential metal album from one of the genre's most iconic names,” [the press release points direction]
“While the album has the kind of anger that fans have come to expect from the singer, the music is a fractured assault of lightning-fast riffs and blasts of drums, exploding out as if fired from a blunderbuss to evoke a more scattered version of PIG DESTROYER. The change is one that’s certain to surprise some listeners who, while prepared for a fair amount of sonic hostility, might not be ready for the unfocused savagery being unleashed here. Though ‘Walk Through The Exits Only’ is definitely a refreshing departure for Anselmo, the band behind him shouldn't be overlooked. … As a project, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS finds the singer reaching for, and grasping, new levels of intensity, so while ‘Walk Through Exits Only’ might not be in the wheelhouse of a lot of PANTERA fans, it’s nice to see the frontman expanding his horizons with a little metal mayhem,” [congratulated Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – more here]

PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS features: Philip H. Anselmo – vocals, Marzi Montazeri – guitar, Joey Gonzalez – drums and Stephen Taylor – bass

RAM: I Am The End – new video



‘I Am The End’, directed by Martin Högdal, edited by Leonard Palmestål and written by Oscar Carlquist (the same team that created the ridiculous ‘Flame Of The Tyrants’ video available for your viewing pleasure below), comes off RAM's metal behemoth called ‘Death’, issued through Metal Blade Records in January 2012. The album was recorded at Welfare Sounds Studios in Gothenburg, Sweden with producers Per Stålberg and Olle Björk and was mastered by Dragan Tanaskovic at Bohus Sound. While with ‘Flame Of The Tyrants’ RAM had gone for a “Mad Max II” feel, their new video is to “show a completely different cinematic vision of RAM”:

“This video displays a lot of esoteric aspects, and has many layers of symbolism that will not be seen at once. We thank everybody involved for their outstanding dedication to making flesh out of our disturbed visions,” [said singer Oscar Carlquist]

In related news, guitarist and one of the founding members, Daniel Johansson, has recently left RAM who have already welcomed their former session guitarist Martin Jonsson as a fulltime member. Furthermore, 2013 marks ten years since RAM released their first recording, ‘Sudden Impact’ EP which will be rereleased in September 2013 on vinyl only and in a strictly limited edition of 500 copies through Gothenburg based label Lake Of Fire productions. In the meantime, shop for RAM stuff here (Metal Blade), on Amazon and iTunes:


RAM was created back in 1999 in Gothenburg, Sweden by guitarist Harry Granroth who, “sick of the misinterpretation of metal that ruled the scene back then”, wanted “to form a real heavy metal band”. He soon found a kindred soul in guitarist Daniel Johansson but search for vocalist, Oscar Carlquist, proved to be long and tiresome. The backbone of RAM was there, yet rhythm section usually does come in handy in such matters and, luckily, drummer Morgan Pettersson and bassist Leif Larsson could be nudged into joining this expression of real heavy metal. RAM released their first EP, ‘Sudden Impact’, in 2003 while their first full-length, 2005's ‘Forced Entry’, reportedly “brought the entire old school heavy metal community to its knees”. In 2008 the band returned to the studio with producer Johan Reivén to record the ‘Lightbringer’; RAM took their own sweet time exploring the true heavy metal sound it seems, since the strife for “pure heavy metal perfection” lasted no less than ten months of recording. ‘Lightbringer’ was released in 2009 via AFM Records.

RAM features: Oscar Carlquist – vocals, Morgan Pettersson – drums, Harry Granroth – guitar, Martin Jonsson – guitar and Tobias Petterson – bass





17 July, 2013

Orphaned Land: All Is One – new video



Israel's own “warriors of light” (and, right after Ofra Haza and Dana International, our biggest musical export), ORPHANED LAND, have a new video out; ‘All Is One’, directed by Shahar Hamo for Plain-Studio, is the title-track from the group's latest album, issued through Century Media in June 2013. Adding a well-made video to their countless achievements, (they have been petitioned for Nobel Prize by their numerous fans (as many a metal band often is), and have been offered a Turkish citizenship during the strenuous time between Turkey and their homeland), ‘All Is One’, mixed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Recording Studios, was recorded in three different countries: Israel, Turkey and Sweden. (Century Media confirms: “Ironically, these countries are Jewish, Muslim and Christian respectively, which strengthens the ORPHANED LAND message of unity through music. Over 40 musicians were used to flesh out the sound of ‘All Is One’, including 25 choir singers and eight classical violin, viola and cello players from Turkey.”) Fascination Studio confirms: “This album is nothing less than fantastic, featuring more instruments and elements than any other metal album we’ve heard! And with matters addressed on this album, most other releases this year feels pretty… well, plain.” In keeping with ORPHANED LAND's beliefs (“People should be judged by their hearts and inner sincerity, not their religious beliefs”), ‘All Is One’ cover sport symbols of just those. And, in case you haven’t heard the album yet, the matters addressed on it are of political nature. According to singer Kobi Farhi, lyrics are “politically charged most of the time but not from the point of taking sides”. He elaborated:

“I could never imagine in my wildest imagination that one day an Israeli band would be followed by thousands of Muslims from all over the world. If we do a show in Istanbul, Turkey - which is the only Muslim country where we’re allowed to play - people come all the way from Iran, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan just to see us. These are enemies that are fighting each other coming to see us as one group of people. I’d say that historically the Jews and Arabs are brothers because we are all descendants of Abraham, but the conflict and the differences are so big that we’ve forgotten that. Discovering the fact that our music is the instrument to remind people that we are all one is shocking to me. I never imagined that blood enemies would open their eyes because of it. That’s why the title of the album is ‘All Is One’.”

[About.com's Natalie Zed listened:] “ORPHANED LAND have always walked a fine balance between engaging, exotic and fun music, and metal that is politically motivated and activist in tone. As the conflict in the Middle East has bubbled over in violence more and more in recent years, ORPHANED LAND have continue[ed] to spread a message of unity, and with ‘All Is One’ have grown quieter in response to the noise of war,” [more here]

ORPHANED LAND's fifth album is being described as “a breathtaking, indefinable masterpiece” by Zero Tolerance, as a “potent musical rebellion against religious prejudice with the solution of unity through music” by Terrorizer UK and as “an indispensable jewel” by France's Rock Hard. Buy ‘All Is One’ here (CM Distro Europe), here (CM Distro North America), here (ORPHANED LAND site), on iTunes and Amazon.

ORPHANED LAND features: Kobi Farhi – vocals, Yossi Sassi – guitar and “Middle Eastern strings”, Chen Balbus – guitar, Uri Zelcha – bass and Matan Shmuely – drums






Gotthard: Yippie Aye Yay – new video



(“Do you really think you can stop us Mr.Cowboy?” “Well,Yippie ki-yay motherfucker!”) Officially reborn in June 2012, GOTTHARD latest album, ‘Firebirth’, entered the band's home country (Switzerland) Albums Chart at position number 1 and peaked at number 9 on the German Media Control chart. GOTTHARD's firebaby awaits you here (Nuclear Blast Europe store) and on iTunes, Amazon and Amazon MP3:

[Commented GOTTHARD's co-founder and guitarist Leo Leoni:] “We are delighted with the new album. Songwriting with Nic and Freddy [Scherer, guitarist] was a real explosion of inspiration and new ideas! Regarding sound and production, we have returned to our roots and we deliberately produced it with a pure - and for GOTTHARD - typical sound. For us, ‘Firebirth’ is the comeback album with the rating back to basic!” [Added bassist Marc Lynn:] “Collaboration with Nic was unbelievable – it feels that we have known each other for ever and the euphoria in the band is now burning like a new fire. It is a true rebirth of the zest of 20 years ago, when the band took off “to conquer the world”. Producing this album with the new line-up was a real “birth of fire” – we are very proud of our new baby.”


Heavily influenced by music's greats such as WHITESNAKE, DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN, VAN HALEN, AC/DC etc, GOTTHARD was founded in 1992 in Lugano, Switzerland by guitarist Leo Leoni and singer Steve Lee.  GOTTHARD has thus far released ten studio albums, four live albums and four compilations as well as countless singles. Their last 12 albums have reportedly conquered their home country charts, making them one of the most successful Swiss acts ever, with over two million albums sold worldwide. Tragically, in 2010, GOTTHARD singer Steve Lee was killed in a motorcycle accident. In 2011, to commemorate their friend as well as an exceptional artist,  the group issued a live album ‘Homegrown – Alive In Lugano’, a recording of one of Lee's last performances. GOTTHARD decided to carry on and eventually found Lee's successor in Nic Maeder (from among 400 applicants). The band's new album, ‘Firebirth’, was produced in their own Yellow House Studios in Lugano, Switzerland by guitarist and songwriter Leo Leoni and Paul Lani, who has previously worked with GOTTHARD on their earlier albums, (including 1996's ‘G.’ and 2001's ‘Homerun’).

GOTTHARD features: Leo Leoni – guitar, Freddy Scherer – guitar, Marc Lynn – bass, Hena Habegger – drums and Nic Maeder – vocals







11 July, 2013

Matricide: Wear & Tear – new video & We Are Alive – full EP stream

If this video has been shot just recently, Israel's MATRICIDE don’t deserve just a record contract – they deserve a Nobel Prize. In biology. Whoever dares to put on anything other than whatever is absolutely necessary in this heat, deserves some sort of reward. ‘Wear & Tear’, its video directed by Adam Shuldman, comes off, I suppose, MATRICIDE's yet untitled and unreleased full-length album (they are searching for a label that believes in their music), mixed by Daniel Strosberg at the Keoss Studios in Tel Aviv, Israel and mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering in California, USA.

Formed in 2005 as a side project for SOLITARY guitarist Yogev Sitton, quickly joined and as quickly abandoned by some of Israeli metal scene's best known musicians, MATRICIDE had become a full fledged band with their own style (combining death metal with hardcore, nu-metal and punk) when vocalist Ran Eliahou, drummer Rom Gov and bassist Shahar Guy competed the line-up. In 2008, MATRICIDE (meaning: the act of killing one's mother) recorded the ‘We Are Alive’ EP, available for your listening pleasure below:

MATRICIDE features: Yogev Sitton – guitar and backing vocals, Ran Eliahou – vocals, Auria Sapir – guitar, Shahar Guy – bass and Ofir Zigi – drums


Jungle Rot: Utter Chaos – new video



‘Utter Chaos’ comes off Kenosha, Wisconsin hard working death & groove metal band's, JUNGLE ROT, eighth studio album ‘Terror Regime’, released in March 2013 on Victory Records. The recording of ‘Terror Regime’ took place at Bell City in Racine, Wisconsin with engineer Chris Djuricic, while the album's artwork was once again created by Gyula Havancsák. Check out JUNGLE ROT's previously released videos, ‘Terror Regime’ and ‘Blind Devotion’, below. ‘Terror Regime’ awaits your order here (Victory Records store), here (the band's store) and on iTunes and Amazon:

“What separates JUNGLE ROT apart from many of their peers is their songwriting. They have a way of crafting crushing, catchy and infectious material. ‘Terror Regime’ is eleven songs, and at just under 35 minutes makes for an incredible fast listen. The material is easy to digest, accessible and never overstays its welcome. The release should appease longtime fans and create a new legion of death metal fanatics to expand their fan base,” [wrote Dan Drago, About.com – read the rest here]


Formed in 1994, JUNGLE ROT released their first full-length album, ‘Skin The Living’, in 1995 which, helped by the band's explosive live performances, led to a recording deal with Pulverizer Records in 1998. The release of their second full-length, ‘Slaughter The Weak’, followed immediately. Next, the band paid tribute to their chief influences SLAYER, SODOM and CARNIVORE with an EP entitled ‘Darkness Foretold’, released by S.O.D. Records.

“Proving one can sound original even while tapping into ancient musical genres, JUNGLE ROT have found a way to grasp the exact moment of transition where speedy thrash metal gave way to slower, more intricate death metal (somewhere in the late 1980s). Evident in their excellent third album, 2004's ‘Fueled By Hate’, this heavy metal formula is fast, simple, catchy, and, unlike most new millennium metal – immediate,”

commented the band's 2004 release ‘Fueled By Hate’ AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia (more here), while AllMusic's Alex Henderson observed that “JUNGLE ROT still sound like JUNGLE ROT” in 2006 when ‘Warzone’ LP was issued, despite guitarist and vocalist Dave Matise becoming the only original bandmember prior to its release. Through Napalm Records, JUNGLE ROT delivered a straightforward death metal album, ‘What Horrors Await’, in 2009 and, after finding their new home with Victory Records, had put forth an album which “inspired headbanging (during the fast parts) and head-nodding (during the slower parts), and live, it’ll get the mosh pit roiling”, 2011's ‘Kill On Command’:

“The songs are built around powerful drumming, downtuned guitar riffs that blend with the prominent, choppy basslines, and guttural vocals - all the classic elements that have made this style of hardcore-friendly death metal one of the most viscerally satisfying and long-lived styles of underground music across the globe,” [approved Phil Freeman, AllMusic – more here]

JUNGLE ROT features: Dave Matrise – vocals and guitar, James Genenz – bass and backing vocals, Geoff Bub – guitar and backing vocals and Jesse Beahler – drums