Damn the Irish for fouling our pristine land. Great waves of them washed up after the potato famine of the 1840s, the most destitute national group ever to arrive on American shores. They couldn’t have been less desirable, a gaggle of morally depraved peasants with little education and equally meager resources.
And to make matters worse, they were Papists! Ignorant and superstitious, these mongrels took their orders from a foreign religious power and were bent on degrading and corrupting the moral purity of these great and Protestant United States. They dragged the culture of our homeland into the stinking troughs where they themselves wallowed by birth and breeding. They fled a wretched land and brought the wretchedness with them.
I haven’t managed to compile a round-up of noteworthy new things in a few days, so this one is largish, though still not large enough. I’ll try to keep my own verbiage to a minimum so you don’t lose interest and drift away like hyperactive children, or like me when I hear a firetruck going by. I’ll begin with a trio of news items and then move into the music.
MACHINE HEAD / CHILDREN OF BODOM / EPICA / BATTLECROSS
Yesterday came an announcement that Machine Head, Children of Bodom, Epica, and Battlecross will tour North America together beginning on October 4 in Denver and ending on November 1 in Hollywood. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. Eastern. Machine Head’s new album on Nuclear Blast should be out around the time of this tour. I can’t honestly say that I’m very lathered up about this tour, but if you are, please send photos of yourself. Here are the dates (continued after the jump):
10/04/2014 The Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO
10/05/2014 Aftershock – Merriam, KS
10/06/2014 House Of Blues – Dallas, TX
10/07/2014 House Of Blues – Houston, TX
10/09/2014 Hard Rock Live – Orlando, FL
10/10/2014 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
(DGR reviews the latest effort by Finland’s Children of Bodom.)
Almost every review dealing with Children of Bodom these days tends to open exactly the same way. Someone will start talking about how awesome they were years back, and inevitably the discussion becomes focused on how people think the band has stagnated…and why. I have no solutions or magical spells to chant that can make up for CoB’s past two somewhat uninspired efforts. However, let’s just get this bit out of the way: Yes, there was a time when Children of Bodom were one of the most important bands out there for me (and I assume the same for many others). The guitar work alone was enough to bring me over, and worshiping at the altar of Alexi Laiho felt so much better at the time than the alternative of drowning in a tide of interchangeable metalcore.
It may have been that as I heard more of their music, I burned out on this band. I definitely fell into the block of people for whom a lot of their music was beginning to feel like the same song over and over again. While you could make the argument that a lot of folks complain when a band changes their sound too much, and other folks complain when a band stays the same and sticks with what got them to where they are, I think there’s a way for a band to do both and still retain people’s attention.
With Children Of Bodom’s latest releases beginning with Blooddrunk, there were maybe three or four songs on each disc that you could probably combine into one hell of an EP (I actually liked a lot of Are You Dead Yet – though I don’t view it as integral as everything up to Hatecrew). Halo Of Blood on the other hand, feels a little different. If you were to view each disc as an incremental improvement on their sound after some unspecified dip in quality, then Halo Of Blood is once again a step in the right direction. There are glimpses of something here that were missing on Blooddrunk and Relentless; it’s small, but enough of a change that I found myself enjoying about half of the disc this time – as opposed to my rigid three-to-four-song grumpiness from before.
Nuclear Blast is set to release the eighth album from Finland’s Children of Bodom on June 11 in North America. This morning COB premiered an official video for one of the new songs, “Transference”, which has already debuted and which is also being made available as an immediate download for fans who pre-order the CD. And these are a few things that guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho said about the song and the album:
‘Transference’ is a straight-up CHILDREN OF BODOM to-the-core-type song and therefore was a good pick for a video and obviously is one of our favorite tracks. It always had an evil vibe to it, which I wish I knew how to explain because it still gives me chills… Enjoy!
Halo Of Blood is the eighth studio album from CHILDREN OF BODOM, and believe it or not, but we still managed to keep it fresh and new while still maintaining the elements that make COB sound recognizable. It’s got the fastest and the slowest song we ever made and lyrics wise there are themes we had never had before. It’s 10 new songs of pure Nordic metal and whether you enjoy it with a beer or a glass of water, I’m sure you will have a good time.
(DGR brings us a couple of new video releases that hit our radar screens since the end of our posts on Friday.)
This weekend brought us a lyric video of the new Children Of Bodom song “Transference”, from their due to be released early next month disc Halo Of Blood. I know, NCS isn’t exactly the biggest bastion of CoB news – nor are we planning to become one; but I felt that because I had spent a news post a little while back musing on whether or not the disc would be any good, then at the very least we needed to do some sort of follow-up so folks could judge for themselves.
As far as I know, this is the first song released from the disc other than the samples of songs that have been covered in their video breakdowns. A good rule of thumb on my end for whether or not I am going to find a disc amazing is whether or not I enjoy the lead-off single, and most of the time I never enjoy the first song released; don’t know if I have some sort of old man knee jerk, “I don’t like change!” reaction, but I have very few albums where I have liked the lead-off single. I knew I was really going to enjoy Omnium Gatherum’s and Soilwork’s latest because I loved everything that came off the pre-release PR wagon. This new song? Not so much.
It’s not a bad song and it has way more bass than Children Of Bodom have had before, but I think I’m really going to need to hear the whole disc before I pass any sort of judgement. Right now, we’re about a month out from the June 11th release date, so I figure we’ll probably start hearing more within the next two weeks and I’ll be ending this odd arc of CoB news on NCS.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to go home to Seattle tonight after more than 3 weeks of grueling bullshit for my day job. I even had a couple of hours yesterday to start catching up on all the metal I missed while buried in work. Of course, I found a lot of new things. In this post are a few of the more recent discoveries.
HEAVEN SHALL BURN
Yesterday, Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn released a second song from their forthcoming album Veto. Its name is “Die Stürme Rufen Dich”, which means “the storms call you” (according to Google Translate). It’s venomous, heavy-booted music with catchy melodic hooks and Marcus Bischoff’s distinctive vox spraying acid all over everything. In other words, it’s recognizably Heaven Shall Burn.
If you’re a fan of this band, I think you’ll like the song. It’s up next.
I just saw news about a tour scheduled to make its way through the U.S. and Canada this summer, and fluids burst from every orifice. Well, at least my nose started running.
The headliner: Children of Bodom
The supporting bands: The Devin Townsend Project, Obscura, and Septic Flesh
The dates and places? They include Seattle on June 27, which is really all I need to know. But because I love every single one of you, especially those of you who will be denied the chance to see this tour because I know you will be hurting inside, the rest of the schedule is after the jump, along with the tour flyer. Excuse me now while I wipe my nose.
It’s not a good sign when you begin to play a Children of Bodom album with trepidation, if not downright fear — fear that it would be as largely forgettable as Blooddrunk, fear that one of your personal gateways to the realms of extreme metal would begin to tumble further down the barren road toward formulaic pandering, fear that a band which used to have some real teeth to go along with all the flashy fretwork and power-metal keyboard riffing would begin to gum their food. That was me — fearful.
I am happy to say that, at least for now, those fears have subsided. The new COB disc, Relentless, Reckless Forever, is not as relentless or as reckless as I might have wished, but it’s a step up from the last album. The band genuinely bear their fangs and flex some claws more than they have in recent memory, the borderline-cheesy, pop-metal stylings have been dialed back, and on some songs the band take a few welcome steps outside their comfort zone.
Having said that, not all is completely well in the Land of Bodom. For me, the question posed by the first single, “Was It Worth It?”, is “not really” (despite the presence of an infectious chorus riff). The closer, “Northpole Throwdown”, is a song destined to be forgotten — an uninspired thrash-and-keyboard sandwich that just isn’t spicy enough. And then there’s a number called “Pussyfoot Miss Suicide”. It’s not nearly as embarrassing as the song title (how could it be?). In fact, it’s a heavy song musically, but I made the mistake of reading the lyrics. Embarrasing.
On the other hand, the album includes a collection of real standouts, some of which will make my personal “Best of COB” playlist. (more words after the jump, plus a song . . .)
We’ve had previous discussions in these pages about the changes in Children of Bodom‘s music over time, and there seems to be a general feeling of nervousness about the quality of the band’s next album, Relentless Reckless Forever, which will be released on March 8 — particularly because the first single, “Was It Worth It?”, was an underwhelming effort.
Today, the band officially put up a second single from the album for streaming on their Facebook page — though as far as I can tell, you have to “share” the thing on your own page in order to hear it. Then, of course, I found out the song has unofficially been up on YouTube for almost a solid week. A few other metal blogs tuned in to that development before we did, but maybe you’re just as slow on the uptake as we are. And just in case you haven’t already heard the song, you can listen to it after the jump.
And just to be clear, no matter whether you think (like we do) that the band’s music has become increasingly formulaic and — dare we say it — more like heavy-metal pop music than we ever thought possible, this is still Children of Bodom and we WILL still listen when they come out with new music. And, as it happens, this newest song — called “Ugly” — is a big step up from “Was It Worth It?”
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Did you see what we did? We had to change the logo for this edition of SICKNESS. Because 2010 is behind us, and the new year lies ahead.
We spent the last 30 days, as we’ve been doing for the last year, collecting news blurbs and press releases about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like, or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we’ve cut and pasted the announcements and compiled them in alphabetical order.
All of our previous monthly updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages, and because we’re not keeping a cumulative list, you might want to check the last couple months of these posts if you want to get a full picture of what’s coming. The list that follows, in alphabetical order, are albums we didn’t know about at the time of our last installment when November ended, or updated info about albums we’d previously heard were on the way. And be forewarned: This is a really long list. There’s a massive slag of new metal coming our way, and man, does it look hot.
So, without further ado, let’s get started. See if there’s anything on the list that makes you moist, or tumescent, or just generally slobbery.
ABORTED: “Good news is that we are starting pre-productions for our upcoming record on January 4th. This means we will demo all the songs for the record, make sure everything sounds good and make the necessary adjustments to make sure they are all more lethal than a chainsaw in Mr. Leatherface’s hands. We’re all very excited about the material thus far and can’t wait to get this over with and proceed to the actual recordings later this year. Expect a fall 2011 release through our culprates in mayhem Century Media.”
AGNOSTIC FRONT: “The Godfathers of New York Hardcore, Agnostic Front, have just finished recording their highly anticipated follow up to their 2007 release, Warriors. The yet to be titled album features 13 new powerful and anthemic songs laid down by Erik Rutan (Madball, Goatwhore, Cannibal Corpse) at his Mana Recording Studio in Tampa, FL under the watchful guide of producer Freddy Cricien of Madball. The record was mastered by Alan Douches (Nile, Mastodon) and will be released in Europe of March 4, 2011 and in North America on March 22, 2011.”
(the list continues after the jump . . .)