May 252015

 

Alas, our revels now are ended. Maryland Deathfest XIII is over and in the history books, and it was an amazing experience. I’ve got to pack up and vacate my hotel room soon, and I don’t have nearly enough time at the moment to say everything I want to say. For now, I’ll show you some photos I took from the first three performances I saw yesterday (the last day of the festival), with a few words about each of those first bands I saw on Sunday. More pics and words will come in the next few days.

 

PRIMORDIAL

 I arrived late to the Edison Lot and missed the first four bands of the day, but caught all of Primordial’s set — which floored me. Alan Averill is an amazingly intense and charismatic front man, and his voice is an instrument of incredible power and passion. In the category of clean vocals, he probably took the prize for the fest, though ICS Vortex performing with Arcturus the night before was a very close second.

May 252015

 

Listen to the first 90 seconds of “Weltverloren”, as it moves from a lilting solo guitar melody into a racing torrent that carries the same melody, driving it home, and then changes again to a rocking rhythm, never losing its fast grip on that brilliant melody — nor its grip on you. If you’re not hooked in the first 90 seconds, I’ll be surprised.

But “Weltverloren” is far from finished in 90 seconds. Before it ends, it staggers into a pool of tears, drenched in sorrow but no less transfixing in its emotional impact, and then accelerates into an even more intense, ravishing finish. And this is only the first song in a magnificent album — all of which you will be able to hear through our premiere of a full streaam.

The album is Grausammler. The band is Germany’s Vargnatt.

May 242015

 

I guess I’m not strictly taking a blog break, because I’m writing this post. I just wanted to say hello and tell you that I’m having a wonderful time at Maryland Deathfest and wish you were here. I know just reading those words will make your whole day, and probably even your whole week.

Saturday was amazing, even though my traveling companions and I missed some awesome bands because our visit to the National Aquarium lasted longer than we planned, and because we were compelled to make some difficult choices between bands whose set times conflicted with each other.

But these bands I did see were just fucking fantastic:  Arcturus (pictured above), Triptykon, Antigama, Adversarial, Wolfbrigade, and Agoraphobic Nosebleed.

May 242015

 

(It’s Sunday, and therefore Father Synn returns with another Metal Confessional, ready once again to hear your sins and mete out the penance.  I believe the enjoyment of meting out penance is the principal reason why Father Synn became a man of the cloth. )

Truly this is a momentous edition of Father Synn’s Metal Confessional, for many of our loyal congregation will surely have sinned their happy little hearts out at MDF over the past few days, and will surely have a burning need to confess their crimes.
So to them I say… step forward, and be absolved! (Disclaimer: absolution not guaranteed)

But first, as always, let me bare myself before you once again!

May 232015

 

That photo up there was taken shortly before Vallenfyre began their set at Maryland Deathfest XIII yesterday, with Waltteri Vayrynen perched behind the drum kit. Later, the band’s frontman Greg Mackintosh growled during a break in the action: “When we formed this band in 2010, we had a dream that someday we would perform in a parking lot in Baltimore. And now, praise be, we are living the dream, in a Baltimore parking lot.”

One of the better stage lines delivered during the fest so far, but some truth in it too, at least for me. For the second year in a row I’m having a hell of a time at this festival — deafened, sleep-deprived, with sore feet and an aching back — but living the dream. And the fest is only half-done.

May 222015

 

Over time I’ve come to enjoy tours that mix and match, that cross genres and by doing so introduce Band Y to fans who come to see Band X. Of course, there’s also a risk in this strategy, especially if what you’re mixing are all well-known bands, and the fans of some wouldn’t be caught dead in the presence of the others. I’m thinking there might be some of that risk in this year’s edition of the SUMMER SLAUGHTER TOUR.

Arch Enemy has been announced as the headliner — and bear in mind, this is Arch Enemy with Jeff Loomis in the line-up. Obscura are on this tour, too, along with Cattle Decapitation and Beyond Creation. And then these bands are also on the line-up:

May 222015

 

(Andy Synn reviews the crowd-funded solo album of Daniel Cavanagh.)

As the old saying goes, “when the cat’s away, the mice will play”. And with both Islander and Badwolf currently semi-AWOL from the site due to attending MDF, it’s definitely time to play…

In that spirit, and as part of my continued quest to drag down the good name of this site, I hereby present to you the entirely clean-sung, all-acoustic, and almost completely un-metal, covers album by Anathema guitarist/co-vocalist Daniel Cavanagh.

Let the games begin!

May 222015

 

Germany’s Dew-Scented have been discharging blasts of electrifying death/thrash since the early ’90s and they’re now about to unleash their tenth album, Intermination, via Prosthetic Records. Today we bring you the premiere of the new album’s fourth song, “Affect Gravity“.

The dismal, dissonant sounds at the outset of the song are immediately arresting, but the music becomes downright explosive moments later when the full band joins the fray in a tumult of jabbing riffs, booming drums, hammering bass, and scorching vocal howls. It’s a turbocharged rocket-ride of a track that also includes a completely electrifying guitar solo. Heavy, venomous, galvanizing music that will shoot a megawatt charge of energy straight down your spine… and a hugely appealing teaser for the new album.

May 222015

 

In February of this year I came across the debut of a song from the new album by LychgateAn Antidote for the Glass Pill —  that stopped me dead in my tracks. That song (“Letter XIX”) was so striking, and so strikingly different, that I became both intrigued and anxious to hear more. And now the time has arrived when we can all hear more, because we have the privilege of premiering a second track from the album: “An Acousmatic Guardian“.

Lychgate features the talents of vocalist/guitarist Greg Chandler (Esoteric) and guitarist/organist/keyboardist Vortigern (The One, Spearhead), as well as T.J.F. Vallely (Macabre Omen) on drums, A.K. Webb (Ancient Ascendant) on bass, and  guitarist S.D. Lindsley. Together they have created some very distinctive and unusually compelling music.

May 212015

 

I continue to have a weakness for metal bands from Austin, Texas, the place where I was born and spent my formative years and to which I still return a couple of times a year. But I’m not so weak-minded about bands from Austin as to lose a sense of perspective about the music — and I’m pretty sure Unmothered’s new EP would have blown me away even if I’d grown up in Bangkok.

This new three-song offering is entitled U M B R A and it’s being released by Crowquill Records on May 26. Today we give you the chance to hear the EP for yourselves before jumping for it on the release date. Since you can listen for yourselves, I’m not sure there is much to be gained by writing about U M B R A, but I can’t help myself.

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