Sep 102014

I’ve fallen behind in completing some reviews (one in particular) that I had planned to post on Monday of this week. Partly, this is the result of how many new music premieres and press releases of interest I’ve found this week. The last 24 hours have been no different. What follows is a sextet of such things.

THE MONOLITH DEATHCULT

One of this site’s favorite bands made this statement yesterday:

“We have some exciting news! To bridge the gap between TETRAGRAMMATON and our forthcoming album we decided to record some tunes from our first album The Apotheosis. This because The Apotheosis is sold out and we simply aren’t in for an ordinary repressing. We will release it as an EP+ some cool rare recordings we collected through the years. The title of the EP will be BLOODCVLTS & DEATHCVLTS.

At the moment we have no idea how and who will release this EP. Maybe it will be on vinyl, maybe on CD or maybe only on Itunes and Spotify. Stay tuned!”

Jul 052014

Happy Fourth of July Hangover Day. Hope none of you American readers lost any fingers in a gunpowder accident, put out an eye with an errant sparkler, or lit off a bottle rocket in your ass. I have some news items and new metal for you that I spotted over the least 24 hours. This is a big collection, but what else have you got to do?

STRIKER

Striker are from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Metal Archives says they are a power metal band. This means the odds are very high that I won’t be able to stand their music. However, the cover art for their new album City of Gold is so goddamned awesome that I may be forced to listen to at least one song whenever the first advance track appears. You can click the image above to view a larger version of the piece, which is by one of my favorite metal artists, Berlin-based Eliran Kantor.

The album is due from Napalm Records on September 9 in North America (Aug 29 in Europe, September 1 in the UK). If anyone can give me a reason to bury my prejudices and listen to a Striker song, I will try to keep an open mind.

https://www.facebook.com/strikermetal

May 052014

Behemoth, Goatwhore, 1349, Inquisition, Black Crown Initiate, and Drawn and Quartered performed at Studio Seven in Seattle on Saturday night (May 3, 2014). It was one of my most eagerly anticipated shows of the year. But I had a sinking feeling about it before the concert began.

I paid extra to get advance VIP tickets for myself and some friends (for what turned out to be a sold-out show) because they promised a meet-and-greet and early admission. An e-mail from the ticket-seller notified us that we needed to be at the venue no later than 3:45 for the meet-and-greet, and even earlier than that to pick up the tickets at will-call. This provoked groans, given that the show wasn’t scheduled to begin until 6:00. Of course, this was a metal show, and the odds were high that nothing would actually happen at 3:45, but we didn’t want to risk missing what we’d paid extra for. So we were there at 3:30. And of course nothing happened until 4:15.

In the meantime, we got soaked when the drizzling rain outside the venue became a downpour. And while shaking ourselves like wet dogs in a doorway we speculated that since this was the last stop of the tour, the promoters might have been having trouble waking up any of the musicians for the meet-and-greet. This suspicion was strengthened when we were finally ushered inside, to find obviously fatigued representatives from all the touring bands sitting along a long row of shadow-shrouded tables in the dark venue, waiting one-by-one to sign tour posters we were given at the door.

Apr 162014

Agalloch – photo by Veleda Thorsson

These are things I noticed over the last 24 hours that I thought you might want to notice as well.

AGALLOCH

When I found out that Agalloch was going to play a special show at Highline in Seattle on May 17 with YOB and Wounded Giant, I didn’t crow about it on our site. I can be pretty boorish when I want to be, and even when I’m not trying to be, but even I recognized it would be a dick move to express my joy about something I could see but the vast majority of our readers couldn’t. But now, finally, Agalloch has announced an official tour — Serpens In Culmination.

No doubt, the news will still be painful to fans who aren’t within reach of one of the stops, especially people who are also fans of Obsidian Tongue, Vex, and Jex Thoth, because those bands are also appearing at select stops on this tour. But on balance I feel okay about posting this news. Here’s the first part of the schedule, as announced late yesterday by Agalloch and Profound Lore:

Jan 132014

I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the announcement that’s the subject of this post. And as I wobbled in a sudden affliction of vertigo, the words “holy shit” repeatedly escaped my slack-jawed mouth. About all I’m capable of doing at the moment is re-printing the official press release. Grab hold of something solid in case you feel faint, and read on…

The Metal Alliance Tour is back for their fourth ferocious year of wrecking heads. Festival organizers Dan Rozenblum and Steve Seabury of High River Entertainment are proud to welcome to American soil the mighty Behemoth as their 2014 headliner. This will be the first time in over a decade that Behemoth will tour North America in support of their new record The Satanist released on April 2nd through Metal Blade Records. The tour will be rounded out by New Orleans natives Goatwhore1349Inquisition and the buzz worthy unsigned act Black Crown Initiate.

“This tour is no exception for our love of all things heavy.” states Rozenblum. “This tour is for metal fans by metal fans.” adds Seabury. “this bill explores our appreciation for the dark and black side of metal. Behemoth have been a favorite of ours and we are stoked to have them headline the fourth edition of the Metal Alliance Tour!” 

Apr 112012

(Our man Andy Synn attended the INFERNO FESTIVAL in Oslo, Norway, on April 4-7, 2012, and here’s his review of the first day’s inferno.)

Running a little late, the first band of Inferno Festival 2012 for me was, somewhat ironically, a band from just down the road from my own home. Anaal Nathrakh were, as always, a nasty proposition in the flesh, delivering some seriously abusive blasting accented by Dave Hunt’s tormented screams and regal singing voice. Definite highlights were the annihilating (and deceptively melodic) “Satanarchist” and the unforgiving mindfuck of “Pandemonic Hyperblast”, the band seemingly focusing on their more unrelenting material this time out.

Tonight’s show was noticeably (and unusually) sloppier than I’m used to, with a few obvious errors in timing and tightness evident to the familiar listener. This was all explained though, with Dave Hunt educating the crowd on the shittiness of US border control who had failed to allow his cohort Mick Kenney over to Oslo for the show, leaving them to conscript a last minute stand-in guitarist, whom the extreme pressure understandably left ill at ease.

Even more pissed off than usual, at one point the band’s ever-volatile frontman, responding to an ill-advised heckle from the crowd, verbally confronted his abuser, saying that although he didn’t “want to sound like Phil Anselmo”, he was in no mood to take shit from anyone after the band put all the effort into pulling together and making it over to Inferno despite these last minute setbacks. Despite its problems, this set proved that nothing short of total global extinction can stop the march of Anaal Nathrakh.

Mar 142012

I somehow missed this announcement when it first appeared, but by waiting, I have a few more details to add.

The news is that Sweden’s Marduk is headlining a North American tour that begins on June 2 at The Sonar in Baltimore and concludes on June 20 in San Diego. Along for the ride will be Norway’s 1349, Withered from Georgia, and a Canadian band called Weapon. All of these bands are excellent — that is, if you enjoy being sonically assaulted without mercy. And who doesn’t?

Weapon is the least well-known of this foursome, but we included them in a MISCELLANY post back in December 2010. Their frontman Vetis Monarch is from Bangladesh and the band’s blend of melodic black metal and death metal is influenced by his origins. There’s an official video of a live Weapon performance after the jump for those of you who haven’t discovered them. (Their Facebook page is here.)

Withered is another band worth getting to know if you don’t know them yet. I’ve also included one of their tracks after the break. From some quick web snooping, it seems that both Weapon and Withered are at work on new albums.

I’m presuming that Marduk and 1349 need no introduction. This will be 1349′s first visit to the continent since 2010. All the dates and locations are also after the jump.

Apr 292011

(I swear this was a coincidence. I wrote a post that went up earlier today on metal covers based on a single by Anachronaeon we received yesterday, and then our UK contributor Andy Synn delivered this special edition of THE SYNN REPORT about . . . covers. This is the kind of occurrence that sends me back to the dictionary once again to figure out the difference between synchronicity and serenditpity. Or maybe it’s both.)

Covers are a strange breed of song – they’re the equivalent of a parallel universe, an alternate history, a What If? Comic, an adaptation of your favourite book starring an unexpected actor, a Shakespeare play set in an average American high school…

Seriously though, they have a huge amount of potential, both to be intriguingly inventive and woefully horrendous. Their success (or lack thereof) depends on many factors, but mainly on the song-choice itself – is it a natural fit for the band? Do they have the intelligence to re-work it in a distinctive manner? Or is it simply enough to tear through it in their own inimitable style, making few changes, but relying on sheer power to see them through?

I have chosen 15 artists who have produced some of my own personal favourite covers, showcasing a variety of approaches, some fully traditional takes on the original, others totally reworked variations. If there’s one thing that these covers show however, it is the subtle threads that inter-link all different sub-genres of rock and metal, which allow bands to re-work them organically. (more after the jump . . .)

May 062010

I’m so fucking bummed I can hardly see straight, and if I don’t get it off my chest, I’m afraid my eyes will stay crossed permanently.

My day job took me and one of my co-workers (he uses the name Ullr when he comments on this site) to Oakland yesterday. We finished what we had to do and we had the whole night to kill before our return flight to Seattle this morning.

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we ate some awesome Central American food, including grilled, endorphin-inducing serrano peppers, and pounded down some tasty margaritas with chile salt at a place called Tamarindo, and then Ullr got on his iPhone to see if there was any live music we could hit up.

And what a fucking bonanza he found! The Evisceration Plague Tour was scheduled to play at Slim’s in San Francisco, with the doors opening at 7:00. If you don’t know about that tour, it’s a sick line-up: Cannibal Corpse, 1349, Skeletonwitch, and Lecherous Nocturne.  And it was only 6:30 when Ullr stumbled across that bonanza. What could possibly go wrong? Lots, as it turned out. (more of this suckfest saga after the jump . . .)

Feb 232010

We’re now almost two months into 2010, and it’s already time for our second update to the list of forthcoming new albums we posted on January 1.  (See the original list here and the first update here.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases that we didn’t know about on January 1 or at the time of our last update about a month ago — and there’s a lot of them.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources over the last month about forthcoming new releases:

1349: “Prosthetic Records will release the brand new album from Norwegian black metal legends 1349 in North America via an agreement with Indie Recordings. The new CD, which promises ‘a return to the band’s more traditional, raw-yet-technical black metal sound,’ is due on April 13. In support of the yet-to-be-titled record, 1349 will embark on a North American tour in April and May as the support act for CANNIBAL CORPSE (alongside SKELETONWITCH and LECHEROUS NOCTURNE).”

ABACABB: “ABACABB are currently out on the road headlining the Hot Dice On Black Ice Tour featuring Upon A Burning Body!. The tour just hit Texas and will be in California this weekend. Following the tour ABACABB will enter the studio with producer Will Putney at Machine Shop in New Jersey and will have a new album to be released sometime this summer.”

AEON: “Swedish death metallers AEON have set Path Of Fire as the title of their third album, due later in the year via Metal Blade Records. The CD was recorded in September 2009 at Empire Studio in Östersund, Sweden and was mixed the following month at Mana Recording Studios in St, Petersburg, Florida by Erik Rutan (HATE ETERNAL, MORBID ANGEL, CANNIBAL CORPSE). The mastering was handled by Alan Douches at West West Side Music (CONVERGE, HATEBREED, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN) in New Windsor, New York.”

AMORPHIS: “AMORPHIS will release its first-ever live DVD, Forging The Land Of Thousand Lakes, in early June via Nuclear Blast, in time for the band’s 20th anniversary. The filming took place on November 20, 2009 at Club Teatria in Oulu, Finland, where AMORPHIS was supported by STRATOVARIUS and BEFORE THE DAWN. In addition to the full-length live show, the anniversary DVD will include plenty of bonus material documenting the band’s impressive career.”   (much more after the jump . . . )

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