30 November, 2013

Artillery: Legions – new album



It’s nice to see things falling back to their places, isn’t it? It’s nice to read about ARTILLERY's seventh album ‘Legions’, out now everywhere since November 26th, 2013 on Metal Blade Records. Angry Metal Guy Steel Druhm agrees with my thinking and welcomes ARTILLERY back with words: “Nice to see these guys firing accurately again!” (more here), while Ave Noctum's Gizmo thinks highly of the band's new vocalist's, Michael Bastholm Dahl who replaced Søren Nico Adamsen, capabilities: “… a fantastic voice, without a shadow of a doubt; more range than the most epic of Westerns and the ability to hold a note that would make most power metal vocalists weep into whatever chalice their current album was wittering on about” (more here). Excretakano, who “haunts the shadowy terrain between massive incompetence and total irrelevance”, of MetalSuck's agrees on the matter, even accolades Michael Bastholm Dahl with the term “singer”: “Dahl takes that word and makes it his bitch,” he writes:

“I should probably mention here, for the sake of candor,” [he continues] “that my tastes veer pretty far from clean-throated throwback thrash rock, and all indicators should point to me hating this music pretty hard.  But I don’t.  The songwriting talent on display is formidable, and all the instruments turn potentially routine passages into extra appendages that work always in the band’s favor.” [More here]

The bottom line, ARTILLERY love their album and so does everybody else. Therefore waste no time ordering ‘Legions’ from Metal Blade here or get it from iTunes, Amazon or from wherever you usually get your prized possessions.


(Godfathers of technical thrash metal) ARTILLERY was formed in 1982 in the Copenhagen suburb of Taastrup by brothers Michael (guitar) and Morten  Stützer (bass): “Their recorded demos quickly became a hot commodity on the heavy metal tape-trading circuit, then a booming worldwide network,” reminds us AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia (more here). After replacing original singer Carsten Lohmann with Flemming Rönsdorf, the band, rounded out by guitarist Jørgen Sandau and drummer Carsten Nielsen, inked a deal with British metal label Neat Records, which issued ARTILLERY's first two albums, 1985's ‘Fear Of Tomorrow’ (“Fans needn’t have worried about [this album], however, for, even though the quintet's somewhat inconsistent songwriting couldn’t keep listeners riveted at all times, their instrumental abilities at such high speeds still sounded quite phenomenal for the mid-'80s, and the distinctively varied style of the singer provided a highlight in itself,” – Eduardo Rivadavia) and 1987's ‘Terror Squad’. Guitarist Jørgen Sandau left the band in 1989 after a lengthy tour sponsored by the Danish government that took them to the far reaches of the Soviet Union, (“Understandably, ARTILLERY went down a storm with the rock-starved Soviet kids, but authorities were less impressed, eventually sending them packing by way of one-way tickets on the Trans-Siberian Railroad,” - Eduardo Rivadavia). Sandau left shortly after and Morten Stützer took over his position, leaving the bass to Peter Thorslund. The band eventually signed with Roadrunner Records to release their third album, 1990's ‘By Inheritance’, only to disband the following year. Following the 1998 release of ARTILLERY's compilation CD entitled ‘Deadly Relics’ by Mighty Music, Stützer brothers decided to attempt a comeback; the band returned in 1999 with Andy Sneap-produced ‘B.A.C.K.’ (Die Hard Music) only to split up again a year later. Following the release of 4-CD box-set ‘Through The Years’ in 2007, Michael Stützer announced that the band was active once again, with Søren Nico Adamsen taking over long-time singer Rönsdorf's vocal duties. Fifth album, Søren Andersen-produced ‘When Death Comes’, was released in 2009 through Metal Mind Productions: “One of the best things about [this album] though, is the powerful production and mixing; every instrument is clear and thunderous, especially the bass. This is a quality disc recommended to any metalhead, not just thrash diehards,” commented Phil Freeman, AllMusic (more here). Once again wrapped in artwork designed by Polish graphic designer Graal, ARTILLERY's sixth studio album, ‘My Blood’, followed in 2011 via Polish label Metal Mind Productions and was depicted as “powerful and anthemic, with plenty of twists and turns that hold listeners' attention without being all about ‘look what we can do’” by Phil Freeman, AllMusic (more here).

ARTILLERY features: Michael Bastholm Dahl – vocals, Michael Stützer – guitar, Morten Stützer – guitar, Peter Thorslund – bass and Josua Madsen – drums




29 November, 2013

Switchblade: Heavy Weapons – new album


Who knew that while I was busy fending off real and imaginary fiends, somewhere in this country (which is currently searching for a new and hopefully even better identity) a group of enthusiastic heavy metal musicians kept rediscovering the tried and the true. Well, now we all know. Israeli traditional heavy metallers, SWITCHBLADE, have a new and debut album out as of today, November 29th, 2013; ‘Heavy Weapons’ is being released through German label Killer Metal Records this very moment. Those of us who heard the record, cannot, on its account, feel but a little nostalgic for the times that were and can certainly appreciate the band's passion and devotion to the genre. So, check SWITCHBLADE's new tune, ‘Infernal Paradise’, below and contact the band here (Facebook) or their label here (Killer Metal Records' store) if interested in buying SWITCHBLADE's album:

Formed in 2005 in Haifa, Israel, SWITCHBLADE also searched for their identity and a place in the local metal scene through revolving line-ups and metal sub-genres until 2011, when they found their true calling (“not to reinvent the vintage steel, but to make it come alive and keep the old fires burning”) and had solidified their ranks. That year they recorded their first official digital single, ‘Endless War / Euphoria’ (listen here and here - YouTube), followed by their second digital single, ‘Metalista’, less than a year later (visit YouTube here to listen). 

SWITCHBLADE features: Lior “Steinmetal” Stein – vocals, Fede “FedeRock” Taich – lead and rhythm guitar, Venedict Pavlovic - rhythm and lead guitars, Boris Siper – bass and Moshe “Moshpit” Sabah - drums

27 November, 2013

Free Album: Obsidian Kingdom: Torn & Burnt – new album


Well, November 2013 is now officially one of the worst months of my life. Hanukkah begins tomorrow and the Hanukkah-stuff/end of the year-thingy I do on this blog is far from ready – maybe I somehow missed the approach of the end of the year because it’s 32 fucking degrees Celsius outside. All in all, I have missed quite a few things this month, being slightly torn apart on the inside and quite burnt out on the outside (see, it’s funny how everything always fits), and there is nothing I can do about it now. It would be nice though, if the rest of the world (or certain people, rather) would simply use these new tools available too nearly all of us these days for the best and not the opposite, as MONSTER MAGNET nicely put it: “Why even keep it hard in a flat-lined world/Where every piece of dung is the next big thing/What’s gonna happen now?/Will the good guys pull through somehow?/Stay tuned till next time and we’ll see what’s what” (‘Stay Tuned’, from ‘The Last Patrol’ 2013).

And then I remember again that music is actually what makes the world go around. Like OBSIDIAN KINGDOM, for example, who not only conjure interesting music, they also give it generously away for free here (BandCamp) using those precise tools I alluded to. (Plus, they are immensely polite, calling me “Noise & Stuff editor”.) Their new album called ‘Torn & Burnt’ is a remix album featuring seven OBSIDIAN KINGDOM reworks by Octopus, Subheim, Poordream, Necro Deathmort, Jr Morgue, Drumcorps, Larvae and Mothboy, “giving their fans the opportunity to rediscover these seven songs through the prism of electronic-related styles such as abstract hip-hop, ambient, breakcore, idm or dubstep”. ‘Torn & Burnt’ was released independently on November 15th, 2013; it was mastered by Mr Ax with Jorge Mur and OBSIDIAN KINGDOM at Ax Studios in Barcelona, Spain. The album's art was created by Raf Veulemans. So, give it a spin below, because OBSIDIAN KINGDOM are an inspired and exciting bunch, and then download or buy the album from BandCamp or from the band's online store here. You can also stream it on Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud and every other major online music distributor:

OBSIDIAN KINGDOM came to be in 2005 in Barcelona, Spain because they felt that “the traditional values of the music industry have suffered a severe collapse”. Bypassing music labels they felt were “no longer the only ones who can decide which music is worth recording, promoting, distributing or listening to”, they have decided to return the power to its rightful owner – the audience - through the internet, p2p schemes and other sharing devices. They believe that the key to success lies not in record sales; “but in whether or not a band manages to build a loyal fanbase and worldwide exposure by whichever means”. Therefore OBSIDIAN KINGDOM give their music away for free. The band's first creation came in 2007. Called ‘Matter’, the recording was “musically speaking, a complex yet cohesive melting pot of various styles and influences; a bet on innovation through eclecticism, always inside the boundaries of extreme metal”:

In November 2012, OBSIDIAN KINGDOM released their debut full-length album ‘Mantis’ (or “an agony in fourteen bites”). A conceptual album featuring a single song divided into fourteen tracks which flow through different genres and as diversely influenced as Akira Yamaoka, to CULT OF LUNA, ULVER and PINK FLOYD, ‘Mantis’ has been produced by Jorge Mur and the band and mastered by Jens Bogren:

OBSIDIAN KINGDOM features: Rider G Omega – guitar and vocals, Prozoid Zeta JSI – guitar, Zer0 Æmeour Íggdrasil – keyboard and vocals, Fleast Race O’Uden – bass and Ojete Mordaza II – drums

23 November, 2013

Hell: Curse & Chapter – new album



HELL, yes the HELL, the original HELL, have a new album out in Europe since November 22nd, 2013 which is due in the UK and North America on November 25th through Nuclear Blast Records. Cursed until 2011 when their debut album ‘Human Remains’ was finally released, HELL are now truly ready for the second chapter in their long saga. The album's art was created by artist Dan Goldsworthy and photographer Nigel Crane and dreamed up by Kev Bower (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Andy Sneap (guitar):

“…whilst staggering back from the local pub late one night, after a “heavy creativity session”. It was inspired by the rise in spiritualism in England during the 19th century, during which time séances and attempts to communicate with the dead became commonplace - along with the establishment of numerous secret cults and aristocratic organizations who would meet in secret, attempting to raise spirits and reach “the other side”.”

HELL's lyrics revisit the band's favorite themes of historical, political, and religious persecution, intolerance, and prejudice, and some good old-fashioned myths and legends are being invoked and reinterpreted in their own “inimitable” way:

“We also have some songs in which the listener will be implicitly invited to solve the clues contained in the lyrics in order to find the meaning of the stories for themselves. Being completely aware that many people interpret things in ways that writers do not expect as a matter of course, it seemed logical to take that idea a little further,” [elaborated singer David Bower]

Visit Nuclear Blast here for track-by-track explanation by Kev Bower and enjoy ‘Darkhangel’ video clip below. Order the ‘Curse & Chapter’ from here (Nuclear Blast store) or get it from iTunes or Amazon.


One of the true founding fathers of occult metal, HELL formed in 1982 in Nottingham, England from the carcasses of UK metal bands RACE AGAINST TIME and PARALEX. Despite over five years of constant touring, the band were cruelly overlooked by the '80s music press, who “just didn’t get it:. HELL were too different, too extreme, too musically intelligent and far too thought-provoking for all but the most enlightened to understand them”. The final crushing blow came when their long-awaited 1986 album deal with Mausoleum collapsed as the label went bankrupt, followed by the tragic suicide of singer/guitarist, Dave Halliday in 1987. A teenage Andy Sneap was a permanent fixture on the front row of almost every show HELL played (“He’s also the nicest bloke you could ever wish to meet, and it’s a privilege to have him as a best friend,” added Kev Bower) and upon meeting again, the remaining members of HELL - Kev Bower (guitar/keys), Tony Speakman (bass) and Tim Bowler (drums) - talked with Sneap about re-recording the old material. With Sneap replacing Halliday on guitar and with David Bower on vocals, the band recorded ten HELL's classics from the 1980's. Sneap apparently funded the entire project out of his own pocket: “The recordings were completed with neither hope nor aspirations of any outcome, and the original intention was to produce just a few CDR copies for the band members, close friends and family.” The finished product though attracted attention from five record labels, with the band eventually signing to Nuclear Blast Records. In 2011, HELL released their debut album ‘Human Remains’ which entered the national charts in Germany and several Scandinavian countries:

“A few of these songs date back to the band's earliest demos, but others are new. Old or new, they’re classic heavy metal in style and approach, with hammering drums, galloping guitar riffs, and a thick, full bass sound. Dave Bower's vocals are high-pitched and overwrought (he’s been an actor for decades, so he enunciates every syllable and generally acts the role of a heavy metal frontman, tipping over into goofiness more than a few times), and the lyrics are often quite cheesy in a Satanic-fantasy vein, with sound effects adding entertainment value. This is a fun record that will give fans of old and/or retro metal a lot to like,” [concurred Phil Freeman, AllMusic – more here]

HELL features: David Bower – vocals, Kev Bower - guitar, keyboards and vocals, Andy Sneap – guitar, Tony Speakman – bass and Tim Bowler – drums


Full Album Stream: Duncan Evans: Lodestone – new album



Dear children, there will come a time in your life, when you’ll be successfully putting up the highest barriers against the relentless inflow of shit coming your way, and there will also come a time, when you’ll be doubting the firmness of your structure. Well don’t. Doubt, I mean. And by all means, keep on building. I’m still here and believe you me, I’ve seen plenty of shit in my lifetime; its latest influx nearly ended by blogging career. And now, the show goes on.

Hence DUNCAN EVANS who describes himself as dark folk singer and songwriter. He is also the guitarist of A FOREST FULL OF STARS who occasionally lets his own star shine through solo. His new (and debut) album, ‘Lodestone’, is out now, November 22nd, 2013, on Prophecy Productions/Auerbach Tonträger. The album is

“a collection of musical short stories in the tradition of folklore and songsmithery not only of English provenance. In his reduced yet still virtuosic narrations [the poet and singer] speaks of simple people in extraordinary situations, dreams and delusions as well as myths and legends of the supernatural kind. With its dark, melancholy atmosphere, ‘Lodestone’ harks back to the murder ballads of Nick Cave or Tom Waits as well as the sublime momentum of Leonard Cohen and Roy Harper, but above all finds its own expression - an occasionally forceful intensity by which Duncan Evans worthily continues the legacy of the greats of his craft.”

Prophecy Productions have put the word out – listen to the full album here (by now you know you have to hit the “Play All” button) – and I am spreading the word below, including the video for ‘Girl On The Hill’ by talented Ingram Blakelok. ‘Lodestone’ comes available as CD digipak, gatefold vinyl (180g heavy virgin vinyl) with poster and PVC protection sleeve and as CD box set with CD digipak, DVD-R with video clip, photo cards, lodestone (I guess the stone: mineral magnetite) and numbered and signed certificate. Get it here (Prophecy shop). The album will be distributed to North America from 3rd of December 2013 on.









18 November, 2013

Satyricon: Phoenix – new video



‘Phoenix’, featuring Sivert Høyem, is a beautiful song, no matter how you like your metal, or music in general. It comes off SATYRICON's eponymous LP released in September 2013 through Indie Recordings in SATYRICON's home country Norway, and through Roadrunner Records in the rest of the world which apparently doesn’t include North America where it is distributed through Nuclear Blast Records. The self-titled album sold approximately 1,600 copies in the U.S. in its first week of release, it has conquered the charts in the band's home country (SATYRICON's first album to do so) and has debuted at number 6 in Finland, at number 23 in Germany and at number 26 in Austria. If you haven’t bought your own copy yet, do so through here (Nuclear Blast store) or search for it on iTunes and Amazon/Amazon MP3. Now, concerning ‘Phoenix’, which Satyr wrote specifically for Sivert Høyem (former vocalist of Norway's indie act MADRUGADA), which you might be tempted to dismiss as one not quite fitting the black metal formula:

“… Only if you fall into a trap of attributing genres according to musical formulas - which since the beginning hasn’t been SATYRICON's game. The song is a typical example of how hunger and instinct guided Satyr: he simply sat in front of his TV when Sivert performed one of his songs, he heard and he knew - and he made it happen. Don’t ask for reasons, because black metal doesn't follow reason and shouldn’t follow rules.”

Remembering this, I was nevertheless surprised when I read about Satyr's modus operandi which for six months apparently consisted of a remote cabin in the woods, a man, his vision and his guitar. As instructed, I have managed to visualise the process as well (quite successfully, in fact): getting the recording equipment into that place and then the six months spent in self-imposed isolation “to get to the core of things” (that was a bit harder because you see – I’m quite shallow, heh):

“Imagine the resolve in rejecting everything that is “just doing the job” - even if it means yet another indefinite time away from the comforts of life. Just listen to ‘The Infinity Of Time And Space’, Satyr's magnum opus on this album and the one song that pretty much sums it all up: the obvious root in all that is great in his previous works, the sequence of exciting, surprising breaks that form a new narrative for the old themes, one that goes so much deeper to the core of it all, beyond any generic gestures, beyond the cheap effects or elaborate, overly technical showboating we are all so used to. Pure blackness, perfectly executed.” [Amen. But let’s not forget one of black metal's most iconic drummers, Frost, because:] “…the real reward [is to] leave our comfort zone and feel that the hunger for something new is still there. And feel alive.”


Formed in 1990 in Oslo, Norway, SATYRICON became SATYRICON we all know and admire when Satyr (Sigurd Wongraven) and Frost (Kjetil-Vidar Haraldstad) became its bandmembers in 1993. After a couple of demos, singer, guitarist and bassist Satyr, drummer Frost and guitarist Lemarchand (Håvard Jørgensen) put forth their debut studio album, ‘Dark Medieval Times’, in 1994, with it breaking into the top ranks of black metal genre. Described as “loud and sinister enough to satisfy even the most demanding black metal fans” (Jason Anderson, AllMusic – more here), ‘Dark Medieval Times’ preceded ‘The Shadowthrone’ by bare months. ‘The Shadowthrone’ featured Samoth (Tomas Thormodsæter Haugen of ZYKLON) on guitar and bass. SATYRICON's third full-length released through Moonfog Productions followed in 1996, showcasing Kveldulv's (Ted Skjellum, also known as DARKTHRONE's Nocturno Culto) guitar skills. ‘Nemesis Divina’ is these days generally considered a classic in the black metal genre, “a screaming indication of SATYRICON's sophistication within heavy music” (Matt Kantor, AllMusic – more here). In 2009, IGN included ‘Nemesis Divina’ in their “10 Great Black Metal Albums” list. Satyr and Frost followed up with ‘Megiddo’ EP in 1997 and ‘Itermezzo II’ EP in 1999. SATYRICON's fourth studio album, 1999's ‘Rebel Extravaganza’ which featured a whole array of guest musicians, broke onto Finnish charts at number 27 and onto Norwegian charts at number 32. Firmly down to a twosome, SATYRICON's next longplayer, 2002's ‘Volcano’, nearly conquered Norwegian charts, debuting at number 4. The first album from one of black metal's elite to be released on a major label, Capitol Records, also won the band several awards including the Norwegian Grammy for “Best Metal Album”. “For you see, although SATYRICON's souls may still belong to Satan, their hearts apparently belong to KISS. And so, token ‘Now, Diabolical’ cuts like ‘A New Enemy’”, wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic (more here). The fans loved SATYRICON's 2006 album ‘Now, Diabolical’ though, granting it position number 2 on the Norwegian charts, position number 28 on the Finnish charts and an entry into Swedish charts, at number 47. The band's next album, ‘The Age Of Nero’, their second on Roadrunner Records and their first and only album distributed through Koch/eOne in North America, had charted even better, entering the French and German charts for the first time as well as U.S. Top Heatseekers Chart at number 18. Issued in 2008, Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic, summed it up as follows:

“The band's carefully considered songwriting process likewise held sway over ‘The Age Of Nero's’ interconnected lyrics, which invariably delved into some aspect of mankind's self-destructive habits and the imminent threat of cataclysmic downfall (and, to be fair, remained as blackened and downright evil as one could ever hope for). In sum, although it was never going to please everyone who has followed some aspect of the group's long and risk-filled career, ‘The Age Of Nero’ was a SATYRICON album through and through: daring, surprising, inventive, and controversial.” [More here]

SATYRICON features: Satyr (Sigurd Wongraven) – vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards and Frost (Kjetil-Vidar Haraldstad) – drums 




Generation Kill: We’re All Gonna Die – new album


If you’ve been asking yourselves lately something like: “What the hell is going on with that woman who writes that amazing blog which completely changed my life (for the better) and which I have recommended to all my friends?!”, well, hopefully I am back to this noise and this stuff and have finished with the noise and the stuff that was happening recently everywhere else in my life but here. Because, as you know, and if you don’t just trust me on this because I am (almost certainly) older than most of you, music unites beyond words. So I guess I should conclude this episode with an assumption that this little project of mine must be a good thing to do.
By now you also know that GENERATION KILL are the final answer to “all that tedious talk about a comeback of thrash metal”. They think you will enjoy their new record, cheerfully titled ‘We’re All Gonna Die’ – out now in Europe on Nuclear Blast Records and due in North America on 26th of November 2013 – because “it’s 40 minutes of metal that is heavy, melodic, at times fast, but most of all diverse.” They add: “We wrote this album for ourselves. Paid for it ourselves. Took a chance and went to Europe as an unsigned band, impressed the right people, and that got us to where we are today. We have been waiting almost a year for you to hear this!!!” This should be bought here (Nuclear Blast EU store), on iTunes, Amazon etc. ‘We’re All Gonna Die’ is GENERATION KILL's second full-length album; it was produced by Zeuss.


GENERATION KILL are singer Rob Dukes (EXODUS), bassist Rob Moschetti (ex-PRO-PAIN and M.O.D.), guitarists Jason Trenzcer (MUTILATION) and Jason Velezon, and drummer James DeMaria (MERAUDER). The band's name, GENERATION KILL, derives from the title of journalist's Ewan Wright book (also an HBO mini-series) of the same name. The musicians who all come from diverse musical backgrounds, released their highly acclaimed full-length debut, ‘Red White And Blood’, on Season of Mist in 2011. It allegedly incorporated everything an aficionado of the genre might have wished to hear: “crunchy riffing, capturing melodies, killer solos and exactly the right dose of unashamed aggression that propelled bands like METALLICA, ANTHRAX, MEGADETH, TESTAMENT and many others to the forefront of extreme metal music in the 1980's”. And if you don’t believe the press release, you can freely form your own opinion by listening to ‘Red White Blood’, since it’s available in full below, courtesy Season Of Mist. So, buy their music and remember: “GENERATION KILL is not a side project!” 

GENERATION KILL features: Rob Dukes – vocals, Rob Moschetti – bass and backing vocals, Jason Trenzcer - lead guitar, Jason Velez - lead guitar and Jim DeMaria - drums 

16 November, 2013

The Week That Was (full album streams & new albums): Glorior Belli: Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls & Temple Of Baal: Verses Of Fire & Obliteration: Black Death Horizon & Pestilence: Obsideo & Satan's Wrath: Aeons Of Satan's Reign

Full Album Stream: The purveyors of “the perfect blend of black metal and southern badassery (with crushing brutality, sick melodies and an overall approach that simply rocks)”, Frenchmen GLORIOR BELLI, have their new full-length album called ‘Gator Rumble, Chaos Unfurls’ streamed in full  below, courtesy the label. GLORIOR BELLI's fifth LP is out since October 29th, 2013 in Europe and since November 12th in North America on Agonia Records. The band has even filmed and released a video in support of the record, a well known unresolved issue they had with their previous label, Metal Blade Records, ‘Backwoods Bayou’, available for your viewing pleasure below. Get your own copy of ‘Gator Rumble, Chaos Unfurls’ here (Agonia store), or here (GLORIOR BELLI store). Additionally, GLORIOR BELLI long-time drummer has been recently sadly diagnosed with a serious condition, “forcing him to quit drumming for a long while, if not forever”. The band are looking for a new session/live drummer, preferably established in France or Denmark (“but not necessarily if you’re willing to invest time and effort...”). Visit GLORIOR BELLI Facebook page for further details if interested:

GLORIOR BELLI crept out from the temperamental suburbs of Paris in December 2002. What started as a notorious duo soon became a remarkable beast, acting as a beacon for everyone looking to free themselves of the influence of the Demiurge. A symbolic demo,  ‘Evil Archaic Order’, was released in June 2004, followed by their first full-length album, ‘Ô Lavdate Dominvs’, in May 2005. GLORIOR BELLI's sophomore album, ‘Manifesting The Raging Beast’, was released in June 2007 via Southern Lord Records followed by ‘Meet Us At The Southern Sign’, which ravaged unsuspecting ears in June 2009 via Candlelight Records. GLORIOR BELLI continued on their twisted and unique way in 2011; a tremendous journey through dark deserts and evil swamps with Lucifer as a personal guide, ‘The Great Southern Darkness’, was released in September 2011 through Metal Black Records.  

GLORIOR BELLI features: Julien – guitar, bass and vocals, JHM. – drums, S. – bass and Q. – guitar

Full Album Stream: TEMPLE OF BAAL's fourth album ‘Verses Of Fire’ is available for your listening pleasure below; the album is out in Europe since October 29th, 2013, and since November 12th in North America through Agonia Records. Available as digipack CD, limited double LP and extra limited gold LP (66 copies only), get ‘Verses Of Fire’ here (Agonia store). Reportedly inspired by Aleister Crowley, the life of Keith Richards and the writings of author Bill Bryson, the album was recorded at Hybreed Studios with Andrew Guillotin and its art created by AAAA Atelier:

Formed in 1998 in Paris, France, TEMPLE OF BAAL thus far released four full-lengths and numerous splits. Their debut LP released in 2003 on Oaken Shield Records, ‘Servants Of The Beast’, featured Amduscias on vocals and guitar, Arkdaemon on bass and Herr Rick on drums. Antares replaced Herr Rick on drums on 2005's LP ‘Traitors To Mankind’, and the band's first release through their current label, 2009's ‘Lightslaying Rituals’, saw the addition of guitarist Alastor.

TEMPLE OF BAAL features: Amduscias – vocals and guitar, Saroth – guitar and backing vocals, Arkdaemon – bass and backing vocals and Skvm - drums

Obliteration_BDHFull Album Stream: It’s what Pitchfork said: “If you liked to hear CELTIC FROST and DARKTHRONE go out searching for something strange, OBLITERATION wields that weirdness like a newborn superpower.” I don’t know what exactly they meant with what they said about OBLITERATION, but OBLITERATION do sound excitingly weird. Their third album, ‘Black Death Horizon’, is out on vinyl in Europe since November the 8th, 2013 (November 12th in North America on Relapse Records) and can be enjoyed in full below and acquired through Relapse store here, through Indie Recordings (vinyl only) here, or via iTunes:

OBLITERATION come from Kolbotn, Norway, home to many a fine Norwegian band. Formed in 2001, OBLITERATION was assigned to Tyrant Syndicate, a sub-label of Peaceville records run by DARKTHRONE's Nocturno Culto. OBLITERATION released their debut album, ‘Perpetual Decay’ in 2007. In 2009, the band unleashed their second album, ‘Nekrospalms’, through Norwegian label Fysisk Format to rave reviews and even “Osloprisen” for “Best Album in 2009”. “Well well well,” apparently commented DARKTHRONE's Fenriz modestly “What we have here is the second album of the Kolbotn maniacs, [who] have, with this recording, succeeded what we [DARKTHRONE] attempted on our ‘Soulside Journey’ and ‘Goatlord’ albums – a death metal masterpiece.”

OBLITERATION features: Didrik Telle – bass, Kristian Valbo – drums, Arlid Myren Torp – gutar and Sindre Solem – vocals and guitar

Formed in 1986 in Enschende, Netherlands, PESTILENCE was initially influenced by

And last but not least, SATAN'S WRATH. Their only this-worldly representation comes in form of Metal Blade Records who keep faithfully unleashing their blasphemous music upon this sorry world. In 2012, SATAN'S WRATH recorded ‘Galloping Blasphemy’ (“Die!!!! White witch die!!!! Echoes through abysmal crypts as the high priest drives the dagger in the heart of the infidels. We are nothing…slaves and minions of the archfiend. Only the hideous horned master of our Sabbaths can lead us to ecstasies of sorcery. Only there you can drink Satan's blood and burn by Lucifer's fire, only there you will find us… us…all of us witches. Hidden by the World and daylight, born again and again through centuries of terror, to live lives of the necromancers…we shall never die. Our galloping blasphemy lead us now to aeons of Satan's reign…”), and now (November 12th, 2013) comes ‘Aeons Of Satan's Reign’ (“Die!!!! White witch die!!!! Echoes through abysmal crypts as the high priest drives the dagger in the heart of the infidels. We are nothing…slaves and minions of the archfiend. Only the hideous horned master of our Sabbaths can lead us to ecstasies of sorcery. Only there you can drink Satan's blood and burn by Lucifer's fire, only there you will find us… us…all of us witches. Hidden by the World and daylight, born again and again through centuries of terror, to live lives of the necromancers…we shall never die. Our galloping blasphemy lead us now to aeons of Satan's reign…”). Visit Pitchfork here for ‘Satan's Blood, Lucifer's Fire’ hymn, and SoundCloud here (I don’t do SoundCloud anymore) for the inspiring ode called ‘Die White Witch Die’. Order your own copy of ‘Aeons Of Satan's Rage’ here (Metal Blade store), or get it on iTunes.

SATAN'S WRATH features: Tas Danazoglou – vocals, Stamos K – guitar, V – guitar, Costa – bass and Nathan Perrier - drums

10 November, 2013

Full Album Stream: Falkenbach: Asa – new album



He calls himself “the searching wanderer”, Vratyas Vakyas, and a certain amount of searching and wandering apparently had to be done by me before I discovered his and his company's new album. FALKENBACH sixth album, ‘Asa’, was mixed by Patrick Damiani and mastered by Robin Schmidt, its cover provided by German-American painter Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902) and features, alongside its mastermind multi-instrumentalist and singer Vratyas Vakyas, violinist Nikos Mavridis, guitarist Hagalaz, drummer Bolthorn and additional vocals by Tyrann (all LE GRAND GUIGNOL). ‘Asa’ (I will venture to assume the album's name refers to Norse paganism and not to Asa, god of the Kamba ethnic group in Kenya) is out on Prophecy Productions since November the 1st, 2013 and is being distributed in North America since November the 5th as CD, as gatefold LP (with slightly different cover artwork, poster and PVC protection sleeve), as picture LP, and as hardcover book with double CD (with a bonus CD containing four additional tracks, translations of the lyrics and previously unreleased text fragments of Vratyas Vakyas) – all available here (Prophecy shop). You can also search for it on iTunes or Amazon. Enjoy the full album here (Prophecy YouTube channel) or below.


FLAKENBACH, a one-man black metal project of multi-instrumentalist Vratyas Vakyas based in Düsseldorf, Germany, reportedly claims Icelandic roots. Active since 1989, FALKENBACH recorded six demos during first years of its existence, before ‘...En Their Medh Riki Fara...’ (“and in glory will they go”), Vratyas Vrakyas debut full-length of glorious Viking metal, saw the light of a day in 1996. ‘Magni Blandinn ok Megintiri...’ (“mixed with strength and pride glory”) came next in 1998, before the searching wanderer Markus Tümmers took a five year break. He returned in 2003, reinforced by Haglaz, Bolthorn and Tyrann, when ‘Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty’ (“and call Tyr twice”, apparently) was issued through Napalm Records, followed by FLAKENBACH's fourth album, ‘Heralding – The Fireblade’, a collection of re-recorded tracks, originally intended to be the project's debut album (in 1995). ‘Tiurida’ (“glory”), FLAKENBACH last record released through Napalm Records before switching over to their current label’ came out in 2011. Phil Freeman, AllMusic, found the songs on the album “somewhat harmonically and structurally static”. “They start out doing one thing, and they keep doing it for seven minutes at a stretch, with no solos or other adornments to provide catharsis or crescendo,” he wrote and came to a conclusion that “this music won’t do much for metalheads who prefer their metal aggressive and/or crushingly heavy, rather than ritualistic and midtempo”. (More here). Luckily for the band, metalheads have since evolved. FLAKENBACH next recorded the single ‘Eweroun’ and released it through Prophecy Productions in April 2013 to much acclaim.

FLAKENBACH features: Vratyas Vakyas – all instruments and vocals, Bolthorn – drums, Hagalaz – guitar and Tyrann – vocals










09 November, 2013

Full Album Stream: Cronian: Erathems – new album


Did you know Norwegians invented modern skiing (or so they claim), the modern cheese slicer, the aerosol spray can and, some say, the paper clip. And, when not preoccupied lamenting the nature's elements (as in many a black metal tune), they win Winter Olympic medals (a grand total of 303 medals, of those 107 gold medals), they are proud of their Ministry for the Environment which was established in 1972 and, simultaneously, are proud oil exporters (world's fifth largest, ahead of Kuwait and Nigeria) and natural gas exporters (world's third largest). They are the owners of one of the most expensive cities in the world and certainly the most expensive European city, Oslo, and yet they still practice state capitalism, like China. Well, as long as Norway gets voted as the best country in which to raise children by Save The Children, don’t be surprised when seasoned black metal musicians, in this case Mr. V and Øystein G. Brun, take a breather. “Channeling their multi-instrumental abilities and inborn familiarity with Scandinavian hypothermia into the symphonically adorned progressive metal”, CRONIAN's third longplayer, ‘Erathems’ (erathem is the total stratigraphic unit deposited during a certain corresponding span of time during an era in the geologic timescale – btw, Norwegians are reportedly also the best educated people in Europe), is out now in Europe, and is due in North America via Season Of Mist's Underground Activists on November the 12th, 2013. The collaboration between Scandinavian metal visionaries Andreas Hedlund (VINTERSORG) and Øystein Brun (BORKNAGAR), CRONIAN first new record in over five years, “the meticulously arranged and orchestrated album from start-to-finish, the symphonic, melody-laden metal nothing short of exhilarating, the truly progressive, avant-garde heavy metal art”, ‘Erathems’, awaits your order here (season Of Mist e-store), on BandCamp, on iTunes and at Amazon's/Amazon MP3:

Now, with all due respect to Norway, CRONIAN is half Swedish; it was founded in 2004 by BORKNAGAR's Øystein Brun (Norway) and VINTERSORG's Andreas Hedlund (Sweden) - also known as Vintersorg or Mr. V - who one day discovered, heavily inspired by astronomy, glaciers and transpolar drifts, they both held similar ideas for a side-project. CRONIAN's debut album, ‘Terra’, was issued on Century Media in 2006, followed by ‘Enterprise’ on Indie Recordings in 2008:

CRONIAN features: Vintersorg - bass, keyboards, programming and vocals and Øystein Garnes Brun – guitar, keyboards and programming

Full Album Stream: Sólstafir: Í Blóði Og Anda – reissue


Iceland. Did you know that 65% of Icelandic children were born outside marriage? Did you know that knitting has long been a national obsession there, men included? Did you know that Icelandic people do not like eating ugly animals (such as lobsters) but have no problem consuming dishes such as boiled and cured ram's testicles, putrescent shark meat, sheep's loins cured in lactic acid, and singed sheep's head? Did you know beer was banned there until 1989? And lastly, did you know that Iceland's most unusual attraction is the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which houses the world's largest display of penises and penile parts (the collection of 280 specimens from 93 species of animals allegedly includes 55 penises taken from whales, 36 from seals and 118 from land mammals, allegedly including elves and trolls)? Therefore SÓLSTAFIR being referred to as Icelandic heathens by their label, Season Of Mist, isn’t an oxymoron after all. Be as it may, their album debut ‘Í Blóði Og Anda’, which translates as “In Blood And Spirit”, was released in 2002 and went out-of-print almost immediately upon its release. Season Of Mist has just made this rarity available again (November 12th, 2013 in North America) plus a bonus second disc full of previously unreleased material. (“Take a good look at this stunning snapshot that exposes the earliest roots of this incredible band!”) The album is now re-mastered, repackaged and is available as a double CD and in various LP formats via Season Of Mist e-shop here and via BandCamp here:

Formed by guitarist and vocalist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, bassist Halldór Einarsson and drummer Guðmundur Óli Pálmason in 1995 in Iceland, SÓLSTAFIR's musical journey started a year later with a demo tape ‘Í Norðri’, followed by another demo ‘Til Valhallar’, already featuring that distinctive sound described as “pitch black as the volcanic ashes of their Icelandic home” by just about anyone who venture to describe SÓLSTAFIR's sound. Halldór left in 1997 and the band recruited Svavar Austmann as his replacement, before recording SÓLSTAFIR first full-length, ‘Í Blóði Og Anda’, released in 2002 by now defunct label Ars Metalli. Strengthened by second guitarist Sæþór Maríus “Pjúddi” Sæþórsson, the group recorded ‘Black Death’ demo, followed by ‘Black Death’ EP, both issued in 2002. Second album, 2005's ‘Masterpiece Of Bitterness’, was SÓLSTAFIR debut on Spinefarm Records, which, along with third offering, 2009's ‘Köld’, gained high acclaim from critics and fans alike. SÓLSTAFIR's (Icelandic for “crepuscular rays”) latest release entitled ‘Svartir Sandar’ (Icelandic for “black sands”), was issued through Season Of Mist in. The album, recorded in Studio Sundlaugin (“and in various places in Iceland”), produced by Fredrik Reinedahl and Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, mixed by Fredrik Reinedahl and mastered by Göran Finnberg at Mastering Room in Gothenburg, received high acclaim by critics and fans alike:
“What the sprawling ‘Svartir Sandar’ actually sounds like is Robert Smith [vocalist, THE CURE] playing krautrock in a fjord, or perhaps KYUSS regrouping in Reykjavik and trading their desert rock for, well, lava-field rock - equally drawn-out and groovy, but also grim like an Icelandic sunset in November, plowing ahead on steady, dynamic rhythms that induce a sort of trance laden with Nordic imagery,” [couldn’t help himself Alexey Eremenko, AllMusic] “Addi Tryggvason's singing is almost clean, but there’s an edge of desperation to his shouting that draws on BURZUM, but really recalls THE CURE - while the jagged, acidic, reverb-drained guitars sound close to SHELLAC's school of alt-rock or, indeed, KYUSS, only darker than Homme [Josh, songwriter and guitarist] and company have ever been, though the music also feels strangely open and cold, like a glacier or a distant planet,” [he continued - more here:]

SÓLSTAFIR features: Aðalbjörn Tryggvason - guitar and vocals, Guðmundur Óli Pálmason – drums, Sæþór Maríus Sæþórsson – guitar and Svavar Austmann – bass

Full Album Stream: Avatarium: Avatarium – new album



They have not yet celebrated their first birthday and yet they are already know as Swedish doom titans: AVATARIUM, the new project led by Leif Edling, founding bassist and main songwriter for Swedish doom metal legends CANDLEMASS, have released their self-titled debut album this November the 1st, 2013 in Europe and November the 4th in the UK on Nuclear Blast Records. Visit Terrorizer here and listen to it in full before its North American release come November 26th, 2013. In addition to Edling, AVATARIUM features Marcus Jidell (ROYAL HUNT, EVERGREY) on guitar, Lars Sköld (TIAMAT) on drums, Carl Westholm (JUPITER SOCIETY, CARP TREE) on keyboards and Jennie-Ann Smith on vocals. The album's art was created by Swedish artist Erik Rovamperä. ‘Avatarium’ awaits you here and here (Nuclear Blast store EU/UK/NA), on iTunes and Amazon:

“We are very proud to present the first, but not the last, AVATARIUM album to you,” [elaborated guitarist Marcus Jidell] “When we started to demo the songs on this album, we had one thing that we thought was extremely important: we wanted to make music that was heavy, dark and poetic. Also, we had an urge to make an album with a very organic sound and no fixing and trixing in computers but just try to make great emotional music. During the whole process, we have been looking for feeling rather than trying to make everything technically perfect. I think that everything really came together the first day Jennie-Ann came in the studio and sung ‘Moonhorse’. She had everything we looked for in a singer: rock ‘n’ roll attitude, jazz and blues feel, a big and powerful voice and yet so able to be fragile and extremely tender in her interpretation of the songs. If you like heavy, dark riffs and big guitars, emotional, raw and bluesy vocals, thunderous and groovy drums, I am quite sure that you’ll like AVATARIUM.”

AVATARIUM features: Leif Edling – bass, Jennie-Ann Smith – vocals, Marcus Jidell – guitar, Lars Sköld – drums and Carl Westholm – keyboards



Sepultura: The Vatican – new video & The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart – full album stream

What happens when the legendary Brazilians SEPULTURA team up with photographer and video director Rafael Kent? A video for ‘The Vatican’ off the band's new album ‘The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart’ is what happens. And what happens when the legendary Brazilians team up with Nuclear Blast Records and Metal Hammer UK? A full album stream of SEPULTURA's thirteenth studio album ‘The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart’ is what happens. So, visit Metal Hammer UK here for the full listen, and then get yourselves a copy of ‘The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart’ here (Nuclear Blast store Europe & North America), on iTunes or from Amazon/AmazonMP3. The album is out now everywhere since October 2013. In case you’ve been wondering, the album's mouthful-of-a-title relates to Fritz Lang's classic 1927 film “Metropolis”:
“In the movie, a crazy millionaire wants to transform a robot into a real person. That’s kind of the opposite of what we live today. More than ever we are robotized, through the worldwide web, Google glasses, chips under our skins and the globalized slavery our society suffers nowadays. The phrase points to the heart as being the human factor who keeps a man, a man, not a robot. The heart beats with freedom of choice, we have to think by ourselves to create a real world, not a matrix,” [commented guitarist Andreas Kisser]
Described by SEPULTURA vocalist Derrick Green as “really sinister, dark, and metal as hell!”, ‘The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart’ was recorded with the “renowned sound guru Ross Robinson”, while its artwork comes courtesy Brazilian artist Alexandre Wagner, who specializes in charcoal drawing techniques. Anyhow, I like it and I’m glad Gregory Heaney, AllMusic, agrees:
“On their 13th album, ‘The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be the Heart’, it would seem the giant's alarm clock has finally gone off, and he’s not at all happy about oversleeping. While it’s not exactly the SEPULTURA of old, the band feels revitalized, shaking off the slower pacing of 2011's ‘Kairos’ in favor of a faster, more savage tempo that allows the band to really recapture some of its former power. This especially comes through in the vocals of singer Derrick Green, whose distorted growls serve as a vehicle for some old-fashioned metal menace,” [more here]
SEPULTURA formed in 1984 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, when that country was beginning to emerge from a 20-year military dictatorship, and went on to become the most successful Brazilian heavy metal band in history. The group has so far released thirteen albums, of which many achieved Gold and Platinum status in numerous countries all over the world, and has sold nearly 20 million records worldwide. “Over its history, the band grew from strength to strength, transforming itself from a primitive death metal ensemble into one of the leading creative trendsetters of the international aggressive music scene,” wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic (more here). Founders of the band, vocalist and guitarist Max Cavalera (also of SOULFLY fame), drummer Igor Cavalera (CAVALERA CONSPIRACY), bassist Paulo Jr. and lead guitarist Jairo T., were first inspired by IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA and SLAYER (“Literally the first three records purchased by Max on a visit to the “big city” São Paulo,” Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic) and later by emerging death metal acts such as POSSESSED and DEATH: “And though all were only in their teens and still learning how to play their instruments, the band quickly evolved into underground contenders,” continued Mr. Rivadavia. After releasing a self produced split LP with OVERDOSE, ‘Bestial Devastation’, via Cogumelo Records in 1985, out came SEPULTURA's debut full-length, ‘Morbid Visions’ a year later, which earned the band some media attention: 

After moving to “the big city” and replacing guitarist Jairo T. with Andreas Kisser, the group released the much improved, production and musicianship-wise, ‘Schizophrenia’ in 1987. The record gained enough publicity across Europe and America for Roadrunner Records to pay attention and release it worldwide and to offer the band a multi-album contract: 

1989's ‘Beneath The Remains’ brought SEPULTURA into the international extreme metal arena; co-produced by Scott Burns, the album is considered to be a classic in the thrash & death metal genre: 

The band met again with producer Scott Burns for the highly acclaimed 1991's album ‘Arise’: “And though it ultimately lacked the consistency of its predecessor and added little innovation to the band's sound, ‘Arise’ has aged surprisingly well, proving itself a worthy progression and surprisingly well-rounded in its own right,” added his Eduardo Rivadavia. The album went on to achieve Platinum status worldwide:

“The band's thick, chunky guitars, busy percussion, and hoarsely shouted vocals may be rooted in death metal, but it was often hard to call SEPULTURA a true death metal band, even if they flirted heavily with the style by way of SLAYER; ‘Chaos A.D.’ is rooted just as much in hardcore punk in its lean, stripped-down assault,” reviewed the band's 1993 effort AllMusic's Steve Huey (more here):

SEPULTURA's departure from death and thrash metal continued with their sixth album 1996's ‘Roots’: “The introduction of native Brazilian percussion and musical styles into their trademark down-tuned guitars and increasingly sociopolitical themes resulted in a highly unique record which could be loosely described as heavy metal world music,” observed Eduardo Rivadavia. ‘Roots’ was the band's last album recorded with founding member Max Cavalera who “left the band amid much bad blood and acrimony”:

SEPULTURA chose American vocalist Derrick Green as his replacement and released their seventh studio album ‘Against’ in 1998: “Andreas Kisser, Paulo Jr. and Igor Cavalera prove they’re no slouches themselves. But the problem with ‘Against’ is that it seems to lack a clear vision or direction; the band seems unsure of whether to return to the controlled, hard-hitting brevity of ‘Chaos A.D.’ or the epic, experimental sprawl of ‘Roots’,” commented Steve Huey, AllMusic (more here):

Despite better reviews, 2001's ‘Nation’ sold poorly; SEPULTURA's eight album would be their last for Roadrunner Records: 

‘Roorback’ came out in 2003 via SPV / Steamhammer Records: “[Vocalist Derrick] Green is passionate and focused throughout the album - he has no problem going that extra mile - and the writing is consistently strong,” wrote Alex Henderson, AllMusic (more here). Green looked to Dante's “The Divine Comedy” for inspiration on SEPULTURA's 2006 album ‘Dante XXI’, and has based his words on Burghess' “A Clockwork Orange” on the band's eleventh full-length, ‘A-Lex’. The 2009 album was the first to feature new drummer Jean Dolabella (Igor Cavalera left in 2006), leaving bassist Paulo Jr. as the sole remaining founding member:
“For all its intellect,” [commented Alex Henderson, AllMusic] “this release doesn’t sacrifice anything when it comes to intensity; this is a vicious, loud sledgehammer of an album, and the kids in the mosh pit will have no problem connecting with alternative metal scorchers like ‘Filthy Rot’, ‘The Treatment’, ‘Paradox’, and ‘Forceful Behavior’ on a gut level. “The Clockwork Orange” angle is intriguing … but for metalheads, the bottom line is that SEPULTURA have no problem bringing the noise – and Green's angry lead vocals are an important part of ‘A-Lex’s intensity.” [More here]
SEPULTURA's twelfth studio album and Nuclear Blast Records debut, ‘Kairos’, followed in 2011; the album was recorded at Trama Studios in São Paulo, Brazil and produced and mixed by renowned Roy Z, with mastering being handled by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering. Somewhat disappointed, the group's greatest cheerleader, Eduardo Rivadavia, found it lacking (of great songs), a “speed-bump in the road to salvation” (more here): 

SEPULTURA features: Andreas Kisser – guitar, Derrick Green – vocals, Eloy Casagrande – drums and Paulo Jr. – bass