Jan 182011

Yeah, I know I’m taxing your attention span with our third post of the day, but I continue to see eye-catching items and just can’t resist. But I will keep this one short and sweet. It’s about breaking news from three of our favorite bands.


You’re looking at Item One: The just-released cover art for Amon Amarth‘s new album, Surtur Rising. Talk about a fucking metal album cover. The art is by Tom Thiel. The album will be released in North America on March 29, 2011 via Metal Blade Records.

The track listing for the album is out, too, and includes such juicy titles as “Destroyer of the Universe”, “Live Without Regrets”, “For Victory Or Death”, and my favorite: “A Beast Am I”. I’m expecting epic levels of epicness.

Did you know that Surtur was (is?) the leader of the fire giants of Muspelheim (“flame land”) and the oldest being in the nine worlds of Norse mythology? Oh, fuck me, sorry about that; I said I would keep this short. On to the next item (after the jump).


The next item is another piece of cover art, along with the just-announced title, for Arch Enemy‘s next album, which is due for release in May on Century Media.  Check it out:

Arch Enemy is currently recording Khaos Legions in the Sweet Spot Studio facilities in the south of Sweden, with the engineering and mixing being orchestrated by Rickard Bengtsson (who produced 2005’s Doomsday Machine). I’m expecting epic levels of epicness.


A month ago we wrote about an unsigned Vancouver band called Archspire and their four-song EP in one of our MISCELLANY columns (here), with these words: “This is a truly eye-popping convulsion of tech-death, with schizophrenic rhythms, astounding technical riffing and drumwork, and tiny threads of reappearing melody that stitch the songs together into cohesive wholes. And I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a death-metal vocalist bark out the lyrics faster than Archspire’s . . . . This is most definitely a band to keep your eyes on; you will hear more about them.”

Well, sure enough, we just saw the official confirmation that Archspire has been signed by French label Trendkill Recordings. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, given that in the main photo accompanying our recent interview of Trendkill’s Virgil Palazzolo, Virgil was wearing an Archspire band shirt. Still, it’s a sweet piece of news.

Archspire has finished recording a full-length album called All Shall Align, and it will be out in digital format on April 7, 2011, followed by a limited digipack CD edition on April 14 in Europe and April 21 in the U.S. and Canada. Pre-orders for a limited digipack CD and very limited CD/Shirt bundle are available as of today at this location.

Guess what? I’m expecting epic levels of epicness.


  1. Amon Amarth are one of those hit or miss bands, every now and then they’ll release a decent album but then I’ll get annoyed at them, generally whenever I read more half-assed lyrics about vikings 🙂

    Based on the previous song the Archspire release will be interesting, although I’ll withhold any predictions of epicness for now.

  2. Like them or not, you have to admit that the new Amon Amarth artwork is sooooo metal. I wasn’t aware that Arch Enemy was coming out with new stuff either. I haven’t seriously listened to them for quite a while but I guess it’s now time to get back into them again.

  3. AA I have high hopes for, I thought the latest one was great.

    Arch Enemy on the other hand, ugh, what a mediocre band. Have they done ANYTHING good since Stigmata? Speaking of which, I sadly enough heard the re-recorded version of “Beast of Man” with the girly girl singing. When are people going to realize that her vocals are shit?

    When it comes to bands with female growlers, I prefer Estuary. Zdenka is fucking awesome.


    • Damn, yet another discovery. That Estuary song is great, and I think Zdenka moves high onto my list of best female growlers, which includes Som (Cerebrl Bore), Jessica Desjardins (the now-departed Bloodshoteye), and Grace Perry (Landmine Marathon).

    • Not to start another OT sub-thread here, but who the fuck cares if there is a woman in a (metal) band? Yes there might be some novelty to it, but really? it’s 2011 this should not be note worthy anymore. Bands need to be premiered for good music and not their gender composition, and this starts with reporters / journalists who need to stop making this an issue. Don’t take this rant as a slight against female musicians, I just think constantly pointing out that “oh this is a female vocalist/guitarist/whatever” distracts from the fact that it might be brilliant music or it might be shit. I dug the Estuary stuff above, but not more or less because it had a female vocalist, to me that’s completely irrelevant.

      • I think you’re way ahead of the times. I applaud the sentiment, but I think the fact is that a woman who can growl like Zdenka or some of the others we’ve mentioned is a novelty. No one would care if all we had was the music, with no intelligence about the people who make the music. But we do know.

        I can remember a time when women in elected office were a novelty. Now, it’s so commonplace that I don’t think it’s much of an issue to anyone any more (or at least a lot less than it used to be). Maybe metal will follow the same trajectory. But in metal, I suspect it will remain unusual for a long time to come, and for that reason will remain a side issue that people talk about at least as much as the music these women make.

        • I’m well aware of the problem, as an example take a band like Deathspell Omega who tried to take the people out the equation, well now people talk just as much about “who could be in DsO” as they discuss the more intricate musical aspects of the albums and how it is that they could go from releasing average underground black metal to eight straight releases that should top lists.

          • The most recent band I know of that has gone to great lengths to conceal their identities is Sweden’s Ghost, whose album “Opus Eponymous” generated so much buzz last year. In their case, I haven’t figured out whether there’s a genuine reason for the secrecy or it’s just a marketing ploy. The music isn’t really my thing, but I still thought it was an interesting album, an interesting blend of styles.

      • Btw, I hope you’ll read tomorrow’s album review and listen to the music we’re including. I’m still feeling my way through the black metal genre and would be interested in your take on it.

  4. I thought Amon Amarths “Twilight..” artwork was cool, but I think this may be better. Definitely has a epic feel to it, hope the music lives up to the cover (Ive got high hopes for this one).

    Never understood the appeal of Angela Gassow, she seems too manly to be a token “hot chick”, but shes not that impressive as a singer either. Now Stéphanie Masson of November Grief, that chick could growl.


    • Finally got the time to hear this. What a cool song! It’s almost like punk rock set to an old-school Swedeath format, but with intervals of doomy crawling. And I never would have guessed that was a woman singing. Awesome.

  5. I’ll defend Angela Gossow.

    Although I’m not sure how, as it seems to come down purely to opinion and personal taste… I love her vocals (when they’re not processed to fuck as they were on the awful “Anthems Of Rebellion” and the hit-or-miss “Doomsday Machine”) as I feel there’s definitely a lot of passion behind them.

    I also feel she’s very distinctive and, if nothing else, a welcome improvement on Johan’s vocals… he was just… so bad.

    Live as well, very commanding presence and, having been fortunate to watch them from side-stage a number of times, I can vouch for her live voice and power as well (I hope).

    She is hot in person too. Just to reduce the class of my argument a little.

    • I was waiting for someone to bring hotness into the discussion. Now that the door has been opened, I’ll stick my neck out and say that she is way, way hotter than Johan (Axelsson, that is).

      As I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of Arch Enemy’s live shows, and a lot of that has to do with AG’s stage presence and vocal power. She can definitely bring it in person.

    • I don’t think she’s a bad vocalist, I’m just not thoroughly impressed by her either. She does the same generic melodeath vocals that seem to be the norm. And she does them very well, but it doesn’t really grab my attention.

      At least on the few songs I’ve heard….

      And while hotness is nice for my bedroom, I’d rather have a killer vocalist than a hot vocalist…

    • I think shes a average singer….like I said shes not impressive enough (to me) for all the notorietyshe gets. I stand by my comment that shes looks rather mannish

    • I’m very picky with vocals, and to me she has a quite terrible growl. Now Johan might not have been the best growler out there, but can you honestly say that you’d rather listen to Angela’s version of “Beast of Man”?

      I couldn’t care less about her hotness, my only gripe is the fact that people go “zomg, teh gurl, it growls” and automatically there is no critique of her growling skills. (Oh, and yeah, the processed bullshit they do with them doesn’t make them any better)

      I think there are people out there who hear her, and go “Oh, so girls can growl and then it sounds like this”. That’s why I posted the Estuary video. I’ve known Zdenka for many years, and she has worked hard on her growls to get to the point where she is. Just wanted to show people that there are better ones out there.

      • To me, it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges. AG definitely can’t do what Zdenka can do, or Stéphanie Masson of November Grief (who I just discovered via one of the comments here), but I still like her sound. I don’t know if I’m not picky enough or just have a different set of tastes.

        • I think it’s a different set of tastes.

          I’m super picky about growls/pig squeels/whatever.

          I write off really talented bands based on, “Well, this guy just doesn’t sound quite heavy enough.”
          (The Obscura you posted yesterday was like that actually.)

          Angela’s vocals are in the “well, it’s okay, I guess” range…but I don’t like just okay music.

  6. Amon Amarth used to be my favorite death metal band when I first started listening to death metal. Them and Children of Bodom….

    I still think that both bands are full of excellent musicians who make really good music…it’s just kind of tepidly good music. My guess is that I’ve simply heard too much of it.

    Thanks for mentioning Archspire though, I missed them the first time around. I like erratic guitar work…

    • Also, about Amon Amarth, I am through annoyed with people telling me that this new song they heard is soooo brutal and then reveal that it’s by Amon Amarth.

      Okay, that’s only happened about two times, but that’s ten times too many.

      • I know what you mean. Some people clearly have a different brutality scale than I do (and you do).

        • Yeah..it just depends on where you are in metal. For a lot of people Amon Amarth is brutal, I remember thinking that originally. Now I go to it when Im in the mood for something lighter to listen to, after being pummeled by stuff like Incantation all day

          • I’m remembering your personal Top 20 list for 2010, and even Incantation would sound relatively tame compared to some of those bands. 🙂

            • Exactly!

              Some people need to listen to better music.

              /elite douchebag

            • Would you believe only a couple years ago I only listened to melodeath.

              • I believe you. A few years ago, I pretty much listened only to melodeath and metalcore.

                • I thankfully mostly missed metalcore, but melodeath…yah…

                  At least it’s still pretty solid music. I don’t feel BAD about listening to Amon Amarth….
                  But I wanna shoot myself in the foot whenever I hear that awful sing/scream shit….

                  No, I take that back, I wanna shoot scene kids in their feet….

                  • I dabbled in metalcore for about 15 seconds, but quickly moved onto melodeath instead. It was the screamer I got tired of, now that screamed style of vocals actually annoys me.

                    I still enjoy melodeath, Amon Amarth being one of my favorites, but my musical taste has become much heavier since I first heard them. Its funny how a band that seemed so heavy at the time is probably one of the milder bands I listen to now

    • Amon Amarth scratches an itch I need scratched every so often, and they do a mighty fine job scratching. But i don’t get that itch too often. Same goes for COB. I still look forward to new music from both bands (though in COB’s case my anticipation is tempered by increasing dread), and I definitely am excited to hear the new Amon Amarth, but that doesn’t mean I’ll still be listening to it 60 days later.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.