Jan 242013

I thought I’d provide a quick update of things I noticed while web-surfing and reading e-mails this afternoon. As always, I’m sharing mainly what interests me, while hoping it interests you as well.

PAGANFEST IV

We first reported about this tour on December 2 when its existence became public but before any schedule had been announced. Today, all the dates and places were finally announced. And as a reminder about why this matters, the tour features Finland’s Ensiferum as the headliner, as well as Tyr (Faroe Islands), Heidevolk (The Netherlands), Trollfest (Norway), and Helsott (Los Angeles). Plenty of ass should be kicked by these pagan brethren.

The schedule consists of 21 shows, launching in Denver on March 30 and concluding in New York City on April 21, and it includes Canadian dates, too. Here’s the complete schedule:

Nov 252010

Yes, still catching up on developments in the world of metal that happened while I was on vacation. Yes, there’s probably a better-than-even chance that you already saw some of this while I was fucking off, but maybe you didn’t, or maybe you didn’t pay close attention the first time around. So, here are a handful of additional items I thought were interesting as I slogged through the mountains of posts on a few metal blogs and/or Facebook and/or MySpace that appeared while I was away.

Today, we have for you a hot new video by Bloodshedd (The Philippines) and new music from Murder Construct (California), and Exist (Washington, DC).

BLOODSHEDD

In February of this year, we reviewed an album called Spare No One, released in 2009 on the Tower of Doom label by a band from The Philippines called Bloodshedd. We summed up our review with these words: “Trust us on this: If Bloodshedd were in the U.S. instead of the Phillipines, they’d be turning heads far and wide. They’ve sure spun our heads all the way around! This is blazingly creative music played with passion and top-shelf skill.”

Well, while I was off on vacation, the band released their second official music video in support of Spare No One. It’s for a song called “Beast 696″. The video is another one of those band-playing-in-a-warehouse-or-alley concoctions, with fast cut-aways in the editing to keep pace with the blazing music. And oh hell, does it blaze — a buzzsaw of blackened thrash played with top-shelf instrumental skill and a knack for triggering neck-snap’s.  (more after the jump . . .)

Feb 182010

Earlier this week we began a 3-part post about some technically proficient bands we’ve discovered in the last few months who’ve pushed the extreme metal envelope by incorporating unusual elements into their music.  They’re not well known in the U.S., but we think they’re worth your time. In Part 1, we wrote about a mind-blowing band from Rome called Carnal Rapture. We devoted Part 2 to a head-turning band from the Phillipines called Bloodshedd. Today we return to Italy for Psychofagist.

PSYCHOFAGIST

Last week we wrote about a Norwegian band called Shining and their latest album called Blackjazz.  We thought that collection of songs was wild in every sense of the word. We thought it would be a long time before we encountered anything quite so inventively insane. Well, we were wrong. It only took a week. During that week, we stumbled on II secondo tragico, the second full-length release by Psychofagist on the Subordinate label.

How to describe this? Imagine that extreme metal is a river all its own, with branching tributaries.  The main current is fast and strong, fed with snow melt or heavy rain and rushing with power beneath overhanging trees that shroud it in darkness most of the time. (continue reading after the jump . . .)

Feb 172010

Yesterday we began a 3-part post about some technically proficient bands we’ve discovered in the last few months who’ve pushed the extreme metal envelope by incorporating some unusual elements into their music.  They’re not well known in the U.S., but we think they’re worth your time. In Part 1, we wrote about a mind-blowing band from Rome called Carnal Rapture. Today our subject is the equally mind-blowing Bloodshedd.

This band from the Phillipines has been making music since 1996 (with a few line-up changes over time), but didn’t release a full-length album until 2007′s Eye of the Pessimist.  Late last year, the band released its second album, Spare No One, on Tower of Doom Records, and it’s an honest-to-god, no-bullshit, jaw-dropper.

For starters, we can say it’s a blending of thrash and death metal, but that really is just the bare beginning. Whatever aural images that conjures in your brains, add to the mix that all of the instrumentalists — Bong Ecat and Bike Buick (since replaced by Darwin Venus) on guitars, MC Santiago on bass, and Toots Book on drums — are technically superb and they play (a) really fast, (b) really tight, and (c) really well. And they’re amazingly inventive.

Jojo Book supplies the vocals, and he’s got the kind of raspy, higher-range shrieking tone that brings to mind Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) or Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates) — and we don’t drop those names casually. So far, so good — but there’s a helluva lot more.  (read on, after the jump . . .)

Feb 162010

Those of you who’ve been visiting us regularly know that we tend to write more about little known bands than about the household names. By doing that, we hope to turn you on to music you might not otherwise find, which would be one of the few genuinely useful things we could do for you (other than make you smile every now and then).

Some of our recommendations have been more off the beaten path than others. The more we listen to extreme metal, the more we want a taste of something different and innovative. We haven’t let go of the more conventional shit (and in extreme metal, “conventional” is necessarily a relative term). But as time passes, we’re just moving further out into the gnarly frontier where weird beasts roam a surreal landscape, and sometimes our recommendations reflect that.

A few random cases in point: Carnal RaptureBloodshedd, and Psychofagist. These are technically proficient bands we’ve discovered in the last few months who’ve pushed the extreme metal envelope by incorporating some unusual elements into their music.  You might not have heard of them before, but we think they’re worth your consideration. We’ll focus on one band per day for the next three days, and as usual, we’ll stream some cuts so you don’t have to just take our word for it.

CARNAL RAPTURE

This unsigned band from Rome has been around under different names and with different personnel since 1992. The latest output from the latest line-up is an astonishing five-track EP called promo 2008.

Vince Neilstein at Metal Sucks has been carrying the flag for this band in the U.S., writing in December that the 2008 promo EP “still stands as the best demo I’ve heard all year from any independent metal band, anywhere in the world.” In the same month, Chris Catharsis at Spinelanguage also published a truly fascinating interview with the only original member, vocalist/guitarist Emilio Trilló.

Despite this attention, the band is still unsigned, and we still fucking love the music. So it’s only fair that we add our small voice to the chorus. (much more, after the jump . . .)

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