Mar 292014

Yesterday was a bonanza for me, like Santa got lost on Christmas Eve and wound up in a roadhouse in Amarillo and pulled out of his blackout drunk only yesterday, just long enough to drop these three presents down my non-existant chimney while he puked his guts out all over the reindeer. Or something like that.


I get all tingly in my nether bits thinking about Vallenfyre’s new album, Splinters. A Fragile King (2011) was such an auspicious debut, and it’s such welcome news that this all-star band decided to follow it up with another album, which is now scheduled for release by Century Media on May 12 in Europe and May 13 in North America. Yesterday brought the premiere of the album’s opening track, “Scabs”.

The combination of screeching feedback, massive guitar and bass tone, and crisp, rapid-fire percussion grabs you within the first half-minute — and the song just gets even better from then on. The writhing guitar melody, the truly titanic chugging, the cavernous vocals, the obliterating drumwork — it all combines to exert a powerful, primal appeal, and an atmosphere drenched in bleakness. Fantastic song.

The premiere is one of those exclusive things, which means the stream player isn’t embeddable, which means you need to go to this location to hear the music. You’ll be glad you did:




As we previously reported, on April 25 (and May 13 in North America) Debemur Morti will be releasing a new album by the one-man black metal entity known as Infestus. This band’s last album, Ex|Ist , was absolutely fantastic (I reviewed it here in 2011), and we’ve been anxious to hear what Infestus has accomplished on The Reflecting Void. We now have our first taste of the new music, thanks to yesterday’s premiere of a song named “Devouring Darkness” by Zero Tolerance.

“Devouring Darkness” is the kind of music I’ve come to expect from Infestus — a powerful, intense, and richly textured piece. While the song begins by unleashing a storm of ravaging guitars, blasting drums, and ravenous howls, it quickly changes into something dramatically different, something accented by acoustic guitar. And that turns out to be a signal of the continuing changes that are to come before the song ends — with passages that include more storm fronts, sombre melodies that flow like black rivers, jabbing rhythms and jolting riffs, a rippling guitar solo, and a long, intense finish driven by a memorable melody that hints at Middle Eastern ambience. Excellent!

The Reflecting Void is now available for pre-order here (for a CD) or here (for an LP). Listen to “Devouring Darkness” below.






Costin Chioreanu is one of my favorite metal artists. He has created a wonderful portfolio of album covers that we’ve highlighted repeatedly on this site, and yesterday brought yet another one, which you can see above (click the image to see a slightly larger version). This one will quickly become the icon for War Eternal, the latest album by Arch Enemy (and the first to feature the band’s new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz). are looking at right now. The album will be released on June 9 in Europe and June 10 in NorthAm.

In thinking about the symbolic significance of this hand-drawn piece, I remembered an earlier quote from the band’s main dude, Michael Amott, about the album’s concept and the meaning behind its title:  “A lot of times life is a struggle, a war against what I like to call ‘mental chains’ in society that try to prevent you from living life the way you want, that try to stop you from making your dreams come true. I have always resented that and I always will.”

And so the artwork depicts pigs and rats in robes and suits waiting hungrily to welcome a newborn into the world, a newborn already cradled in the arms of death. Given Amott’s explanation, I would guess those “filthy” animals are meant to represent societal institutions such as religious organizations, big business, and the law. But regardless of the intended symbolism, it’s an eye-catching work that’s suitably dark and grim. Bravo.


  1. That Arch Enemy cover is one of the better ones that I can remember from them.

    And HOT DAMN, that Infestus track was AMAZING. Damn me for not knowing about those guys sooner.

  2. love the Chioreanu artwork, i’m really looking forward to new Arch Enemy even though it’s a couple months away

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