Jan 312012

(TheMadIsraeli is on a mission to review or re-review the 2011 albums that were his favorites.)

Alright.  Time for me to return to reviewing or revisiting my top 15 albums of 2011, which I previously listed on this site.  These won’t be as long as my normal reviews (generally half as long), so unless an album requires a longer piece, I’ll be doing these two at a time.  Today’s subjects are the yin and yang, the chaos and order, the good and evil of THALL.

Uneven Structure and VildhjartaFebruus and Måsstaden. First:

“So, I’m not going to dance around the verdict on this album: This thing is the shit.  Listening is like achieving enlightenment through sound, an aural ascension into nirvana, the equivalent of finding true inner peace through heavy-as-fuck, syncopated, gain-soaked djent riffs drenched in waterfalls of absolutely gorgeous ambience with an odd oriental color.”

Jan 312012

Some news about this tour has already trickled out, but I’ve now received an official announcement:  Meshuggah will be following up on the March 27 North American release of Koloss by launching a 19-city NorthAm tour — THE OPHIDIAN TREK 2012. It will begin on April 29 in Houston and conclude on May 23 in New York City.

And as strong as a Meshuggah tour will undoubtedly be, it’s stronger still because Poland’s Decapitated will be the opening act each night, and Baroness will also be in the line-up.

My own feelings were succinctly captured by this quote from Decapitated’s guitarist and founder Vogg: “FUCK YEAH! DECAPITATED with MESHUGGAH! We’re so proud and happy to be part of this amazing tour! It will be a huge honor to share one stage with such a great fuckin’ band! Cannot wait!”

The schedule for the tour is after the jump.

Jan 312012

(Xerath’s 2011 album “II” was one of our favorites last year — check out TheMadIsraeli’s review of it here. Recently, he caught up with the band’s stellar guitarist Owain Williams for this real-time interview conducted via Facebook chat — a conversation to be continued at a later date.)

TheMadIsraeli: Hey Owain, totally random ass question…

Owain: Fire away

TheMadIsraeli: interested in doing an on the spot interview right now?

Owain: I’m game

TheMadIsraeli: Xerath. How did it start and why?

Owain: It was actually the brainchild of Andy Phillips, the old Xerath guitarist. Myself and Michael Pitman were merely there to facilitate his ideas. His vision was to marry classical music to technical heavy metal. All Mike, Rich and I have done (as well as recruiting Chris) is understand and realise that goal and try our hardest to make it our own and achieve it. While Andy’s no longer in the band, I think we were in agreement in the first place about how the band should sound

TheMadIsraeli: And Andy was on “I” and you were on bass at the time. So in a sense you’ve kind of taken the helm of a band you were just assisting along in its goal originally. How does that feel?

Owain:  I was credited as bass/guitar for “I”, so there are some songs that Andy or I would call our own. “Alterra” for instance was all Andy, “Right to Exist” was me, some we played about 50/50 guitar.  We’re such a multi-instrumental band, it’s hard to put a finger on who’s responsible for what anymore. For example I think the first song we ever wrote together was me showing Andy how you could have different tiny Polymeters on drums over different limbs which ended up as “Intrenity”. Rich (vocals) wrote a LOT of riffs on “II”, like “Sworn to Sacrifice” (my favourite!), and Mike (drums) wrote probably the most technical “guitar-wise”, “The Call to Arms”.

Jan 302012


Seems like I was just apologizing for the number of posts we’ve published today, but then I saw this album art for the first time and all thought of trying to be judicious with your time just evaporated like a soft shower in the Sahara.

I’m sure my enthusiasm is attributable in part to how eager I am to hear this album. Gorod is a remarkable band. Even as an inter-album EP, their 2011 release, Transcendence, blew me away. The next full-length, A Perfect Absolution, holds so much potential, and yet I have a feeling that it will unfold in multiple, unpredictable directions.

But wholly apart from anticipation for the music, this album art is bursting with visual extravagance and worthy of attention by itself. I don’t know what the bizarre imagery represents, but it’s striking. I also don’t know who created the artwork, though the style does seem familiar. I’m still searching for that info.

As for the music, the teaser video after the jump includes just a part of one song, without vocals, but it’s very sweet. Such a pity that the album won’t be released until March 12. It’s available for pre-order at Listenable Records web shop (here). I’ve put an even larger version of the album cover after the jump, too.

Jan 302012

Yes, I realize we’re swamping you in posts today, but I do think this qualifies as newsworthy:

Psycroptic’s new album, The Inherited Repression, is streaming in full at Guitar World.  To get there, click this link.

The album will be released by Nuclear Blast on Feb. 7 in NorthAm and on Feb. 10 in Europe. The album is available for pre-order — with our without an exclusive T-shirt design — at this location.

I’m attempting to do what I’m paid to do at my job, and therefore haven’t yet had a chance to hear this. But unless I entered a parallel universe sometime between falling asleep last night and awakening today, this album will surely be a superior supercharger of technical death metal.

Jan 302012

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new EP on Basick Records by the UK’s Chimp Spanner.)

Some of you may know who this is, but I have a feeling a lot of you NCS readers won’t know. Nothing wrong with that; the music of Paul Ortiz, or Chimp Spanner, long evaded me, too, despite being around since 2004. What do we have in store for today?

Instrumental djent-influenced prog metal.

Jan 302012


Russia’s Abominable Putridity will release their second album, The Anomalies of Artificial Origin, via Brutal Bands on February 28. We featured two early song releases from this collection last May, along with Par Olofsson’s brutal cover art, but it appears the album has now leaked in full, and all the songs have now made their way to YouTube over the last couple of days.

What’s more, the band have themselves been linking to the YouTube videos via their Facebook page. We presume this means they want people to start listening to the music now. Who are we to disagree?

So, after the jump we’ve collected all of them. This isn’t the time or place for a full review — we’ll do that later. For now, let’s just say that if you’re a fan of wantonly destructive slam metal with pile-driving grooves and cavernously croaking vocals, this will probably make your day.

Jan 302012

(In this interview conducted by phone last month, NCS writer BadWolf caught up with Bob Meadows of Philadelphia’s A Life Once Lost, who have a new album in the works — the first since 2007′s Iron Gag. The band played the inaugural Metal Suckfest in New York City last November (reviewed by BadWolf in a two-part feature here and here), and the live photos accompanying this interview except for the one above were taken at that show for NCS by Nicholas Vechery.)

Bob Meadows is angry.

And why shouldn’t he be? As vocalist for A Life Once Lost, it’s part of his job description. More than that, his band has been jerked around within the industry on a near-continual basis for their entire career. It’s a common story, but a tragedy nonetheless. It’s been nearly five years since 2007’s Iron Gag album, and since then A Life Once Lost has gone through innumerable lineup changes.

But all that’s in the past. This year, the Philly bastards will release a new album on Season of Mist. They’ve already done some smaller gigs, as well as played the Metal Suckfest.

So why is Bob so angry? Maybe it’s got something to do with the toxic in-fighting that pulls our great art-form into infamy. It might also have something to do with the youngsters following in Bob’s footsteps. These Djent youngsters owe him some credit as well: A Life Once Lost mixed Meshuggah-like math grooves with melodic hardcore sensibility (before Hot Topic co-opted that sound) over a decade ago.

His views on these and other subjects, after the jump!

Jan 302012

On January 18 we announced a contest to help celebrate the release of Dismal Hollow, the fantastic new album by Virginia’s King Giant (glowingly reviewed at NCS here). Drawing on the sense of violent historical conflict that underpins the first track released from the album — “Appomattox” — we came up with this question for our readers (actually, BadWolf came up with it): Tell us what famous battle in history deserves a metal song immortalizing it and why?

We got quite an impressive list of submissions, most of which you can read in the Comments to this post. We turned all of them over to King Giant and asked them to pick the winner, and they’ve now done that. Here’s the message we received from King Giant’s David Kowalski:

“This was really tough to pick just one winner because the majority of the responses were really good!!  But here it is: #5 - Ørsaeth - The Battle of Cameron.”

Ørsaeth will receive his choice of a CD of Dismal Hollow signed by the band or a signed copy of the colored vinyl LP of the album, plus one of the band’s shirts. After the jump, you can check out Ørsaeth’s winning entry. And if you haven’t yet picked up your own copy of Dismal Hollow, do that shit without delay. The CD is being sold by all the usual retailers, and it’s also available for download at Amazon mp3. We’re not the only people to praise this release — it’s racking up a slew of great reviews, including an 8 out of 10 in the March 2012 issue of Decibel.

Jan 302012

Sometimes, the unfinished dreams of youth can be recaptured and brought to fruition despite the passage of decades. This is one such story.

I first learned about Altars of Destruction almost one year ago from fireangel of the Finland-based Night Elves blog, who provided me quite a lot of information about the band and their significance in the history of Finnish metal. To sum up:

AoD was founded in 1986 by the brothers Kimmo (guitar) and Pasi Osmo (bass) and Jukka Sandberg (drums). By 1988, the band’s line-up had solidified with the addition of guitarist Mika Ahlqvist, vocalist Mika Luoma, and new drummer Juhani Mäenpää. AoD was one of the earliest thrash bands in Finland, playing alongside Stone, who we featured in our Finland Tribute Week series (here) and whose former members are now in bands such as Children of Bodom (Roope Latvala) and SubUrban Tribe (Janne Joutsenniemi, who is also a producer for the excellent Finnish band MyGrain).

After the replacement of Mika Ahlqvist with guitarist Junnu Mäki, AoD released an EP (Painful Awakening) in 1989, but unfortunately dissolved due to internal and external difficulties before recording what was to be their debut album. But beginning in about 2006, the band began the process of re-forming, with Jussi Samppala (Tyrant Disciple) eventually stepping in on drums, and in 2010 — more than two decades after the band first formed — they finally released their “debut” album, Gallery of Pain. It’s a mix of old and new material and is available for streaming at MySpace (here).

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