We’ve picked up a lot of new readers over the last couple of weeks, so for their benefit let me explain what others have already figured out about our news reporting: We make no effort to be comprehensive. We don’t cut and paste every press release we get. Actually, we don’t cut and paste any news releases. We write our own thoughts, and what we write about is filtered through my mind and occasionally the minds of our other writers when they message me about something they think is interesting.
So, for better or worse, what you see here is what we think is interesting, according to our tastes. And here are a few items I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that interested me.
CANDLEMASS vs ENTOMBED
Candlemass and Entombed are two Swedish bands who have reached near-legendary status in distinctly different corners of the metal spectrum, Candlemass in the realms of doom and Entombed in the fields of death metal and death ‘n’ roll (though over time Entombed has plowed other fields as well).
Someone at Sweden Rock Magazine, the country’s top-selling music magazine, had the bright idea of asking each band to cover one of the other band’s songs. The result will be a CD single exclusively included with the magazine’s 100th issue that will be sent to subscribers on January 8. For now at least, it won’t be available elsewhere. But fortunately, as of today both tracks are up on YouTube.
Candlemass recorded one of Entombed’s death ‘n’ roll goodies, “To Ride, Shoot Straight And Speak the Truth”. This recording features new vocalist Mats Levén (Krux, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Therion) in his first recording with the band since he took over from Robert Lowe.
Entombed recorded a cover of the Candlemass song “Black Dwarf” from that band’s self-titled 2005 comeback album. It’s an up-tempo romper-stomper with a memorable guitar solo and a mix of LG Petrov’s distinctive growl and some occasional clean vox. And the vocals are the main distinction between Entombed’s faithful cover and the original. Guess which vocals I prefer.
Speaking of romper-stompers, Entombed’s original version of “To Ride…” is definitely that — a deathened-up, chainsawed blues rocker. The Candlemass take on the track turns it into something gothier and doomier, especially when they drop the tempo down into a trudge at the back end of the song. Nice shreddy guitar solo, too, and Mats Levén sounds pretty damned good.
Of the two performances on this single, Candlemass definitely does the more transformative work, but I got a kick out of both tunes. Here you go:
Over the last 24 hours, another iconic death metal band, Arkansas’s Living Sacrifice, have posted a series of photos on their FB page showing members of the band in what looks like a recording studio, accompanied in some of the photos by a dude who resembles Jeremiah Scott (a recording engineer and guitarist for Demon Hunter and The Showdown). No explanation or announcement accompanied the pics.
However, using the kind of superhuman deductive powers that have led others to compare me to Sherlock Holmes, my conclusion from the photos is that Living Sacrifice are recording something. Because more than two years have passed since the band’s last album (The Infinite Order), one might further deduce that the band will have a new album for us in 2013. As Sherlock Holmes might have said, Fuck Yes!
Xenosis are a progressive, technically-oriented death metal band from New Haven, Connecticut, whose vocalist Rhys Bufford has become a passing acquaintance of mine via the interwebs. They have recorded a debut album named Haunted Skies. Although the album was completed last November, the band have only recently made it available for streaming and download on Bandcamp. In addition, they’re also now making public an official lyric video for a track from the album called “The Contactee”, and I checked that out yesterday.
I was impressed with “The Contactee”. It’s a mix of jagged, distorted riffing, squirmy, insectoid guitar leads, delicious rumbling bass notes, inconstant rhythms, and tandem growly/shrieky vocals. I haven’t yet made my way through the whole album, but I did also check out the opening track.
“To the Cliffs” is a fuckin’ barrage of grisly meat-grinding riffs and progressive guitar and rhythm workouts, both gut-level brutal and mentally engaging and made even more memorable by a sweet guitar solo in the off-tempo segment that closes out the track. I really like “To the Cliffs”, even more than “The Contactee”.
Xenosis definitely have some excellent songwriting and performance chops that deserve some exposure. Check out the video and the whole album stream below.