Mar 082022

(We present DGR‘s review of the new album by the California death metal band Arkaik. The album will be released on March 11th by The Artisan Era.)

For a very long time I considered Arkaik something of a bellweather when it came to the modern tech-death scene. Up until the time following 2017’s Nemethia the group were a pretty reliable snapshot of that scene, every two to three years adding to their conceptual album universe with a battering of groove-oriented and rhythmically-complex songs that straddled the line between being overly technical and brutally-core without leaning too far in either direction. Despite an ever-shifting lineup, Arkaik have maintained a fairly strong and consistent output. Because of that, as noted, they’ve been perfect if you’re the type to dance into and out of many different subgenres of heavy metal.

Now though, the situation shifts as labels have gotten far more specialized than before. It’s not so much that Arkaik find themselves at the forefront of a particular genre any more, but that they have found another label that specializes in where Arkaik are at this moment in their musical journey. Continue reading »

Jan 062022


There was a modest but noticeable slowdown in the release of new songs and videos over the holidays, but things have kicked back up into high gear again, as evidenced by the enormous number of tabs I’ve opened up for new music and video streams just since last weekend. I’ve made my way through many (but not all) of those and made the following selections across many metal sub-genres in the hope of brightening (and darkening) your day.


A dozen years after the release of their second demo this death metal band (now the formidable duo of Jonny Pettersson and Jon Rudin) has crawled from its crypt again and fashioned a debut album named Flesh Sermons that’s been set for release on January 31st by Iron, Blood and Death Corporation. Last Monday saw the discharge of the album’s first advance track, a macabre monstrosity called “Blasphemy“. Continue reading »

Sep 212017


(Later this month Unique Leader will release the latest full-length by California’s Arkaik, and here we have DGR‘s review.)

Southern Californian tech-death group Arkaik have become something of a slowly gathering storm in the music world for a little while now, having remained on a fairly consistent up-swing since the start of their series of meditative science fiction concept albums with 2012’s Metamorphignition.

Over the years the band have seen a rotation of members — including various members from Deeds Of Flesh, Flesh Consumed, and Brain Drill (even more fun considering former drummer Alex Bent currently sits behind the kit for Trivium) — yet they’ve been able to keep their hybrid of tech-death musicianship, brutal-death slamming, and yes, light deathcore sense and dedication to all things groove relatively unchanged. Continue reading »

Nov 232015

Arkaik-Lucid Dawn


(DGR reviews the new album by Arkaik.)

The idea of a “tentpole” band is something that has been playing on the darkest reaches of my mind lately. Like an idea that has its claws slowly wrapping around you, so the tendrils have slowly wormed their way into my thoughts over the course of my album listenings for this review.

I’m definitely the most unqualified person in the world to opine about how the record label business is conducted, but I’ve always been under the impression that a lot of many label’s rosters often don’t exactly generate tremendous amounts of money, and under some business models there are usually two or three fairly huge bands that happen to bring in most of the money, and that tends to get kind of spread out amongst the rest of the label.

If it isn’t the profit factor, sometimes these bands I’m thinking of just happen to be the ones that seem to define the ethos of the label. In other words, there will usually be a band or two per label that seem to define what much of the roster sounds like, or they embody huge swaths of the sound — the exemplaries of the label, so to speak. In my mind, this is the case with Arkaik and their label Unique Leader. Continue reading »

Sep 242015

Arkaik-Lucid Dawn


Lucid Dawn is the name of the third album by SoCal’s Arkaik, and it’s scheduled for worldwide release on October 30 by Unique Leader Records. As a sign of what the album holds in store, today we bring you the premiere of the album’s fifth track, “Awaken the I“, via a lyric video.

Lucid Dawn continues a dystopian concept story involving the protagonist Cyrix that began in the band’s last full-length (2012’s Metamorphignition), and it features the contributions of new guitarists Miguel Esparza (ex-Hatriot) and Greg Paulson, as well as guest appearances by Trevor Strnad and Ryan Knight of The Black Dahlia Murder, as well as Bay Area live string quartet, Amaranth. Continue reading »

Aug 282015

David Herrerias-cover for Irkallian Oracle-Apollyon


Your humble editor is about to have to devote the rest of the day to his fucking day job, and therefore this will most likely be the last post of this Friday on our putrid site, other than a big review we’ve got coming. And, sad to say, there’s not a lot of new music in this little round-up (until the end) because my time is regrettably short — but there’s a lot of impressive artwork for forthcoming releases that I spotted over the last 24 hours.


This Swedish black/death band’s 2013 debut album Grave Ekstasis drew lots of praise from assorted year-end lists at our site (and elsewhere), and yet I managed to miss it entirely until much later. I won’t make the same mistake twice.

What I saw today (and what you’re looking at above) is the amazing cover art by David Herrerias for the band’s next album, Apollyon. The band revealed the artwork yesterday, and so I assume the recording has been completed, but I haven’t yet seen any info about a release date or method of distribution. I’ll be watching for that…. Continue reading »

Sep 192012


Here’s a grab bag of things I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that I thought were good enough to pass your way. I saw and heard other things that I’m keeping to myself, for your own protection.


Laboratory testing of animals is a hot-button issue for lots of people. On one side are those who view it as utterly unethical, as a vestige of humanity’s barbarism that should be abandoned as quickly as possible. On the other side are those who argue that animal testing is essential for the development of things like new medicines that will save lives (of course, animals are also used to test products that have nothing to do with human health).

But I suppose there are lots of people who give the issues no serious thought at all, which is unfortunate. Sweden’s Arch Enemy are trying to get more people to think about the treatment of animals in laboratory testing through a video they released today. The video is for “Cruelty Without Beauty”, a song from their latest album, 2011’s Khaos Legions. It effectively mixes disturbing film clips of animal testing with animation — and of course shots of Angela Gossow venting her rage.

I had mixed feelings about the album, because I thought the quality of the songs was a mixed bag. For me, “Cruelty Without Beauty” is one of the stronger tracks, though I should confess that I lean toward the side of the debate that the song represents. Check out the video, which gives a voice to the voiceless, after the jump. Continue reading »

Jun 222012

Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. I suppose people in our community have as varied a set of tastes in artwork as the rest of society at large, but when it comes to album art in particular, we’re off in a world unto ourselves. What we find “beautiful” in album art tends to fall on the ugly side of things. I think that’s because we look for album art that represents the dissonant, frequently voracious, often bleak sound of the music.

But even within the realm of extreme metal album art, there’s good and bad. Today I came across a collection of new artwork for forthcoming albums that I’d put on the good end of the scale . . . plus some works in progress by a well-known metal artist for album covers that are in the making.

The first example is the one you see above. It’s the just-disclosed artwork for the next album by long-running Swedish death metal band Grave, who happen to be one of my perennial favorites. The next album will be their 10th and is titled Endless Procession of Souls. It’s due for release in Europe on August 27 by Century Media. The artwork is by Costin Chioreanu, who also created the art for Grave’s last two albums. If you know anything about Grave’s music, you’ll appreciate how perfectly appropriate this creation is for their style of music. Beautiful. Continue reading »

Feb 072012


Cannibal Corpse will be headlining SUMMER SLAUGHTER this summer and they’re about to leave for a tour of Europe. But in between those events, they’ll be headlining a 23-city tour of the U.S. beginning in April.

Today, the band announced the U.S. Torture Tour 2012, sponsored by Metal Blade Records, Good Fight Entertainment, and dB Drum Shoes. It starts on April 5 in Jacksonville, Florida, and ends in Gainesville, Florida, on May 3.

Their support on this tour is first-class: Exhumed, Abysmal Dawn, and Arkaik. That will be a must-see show for death metalheads within spitting distance of any tour stop. Sadly, yours truly will be missing this tour, because the closest it will get to the Pacific Northwest is Colorado, and I can’t spit that far.

The full schedule is after the jump. Continue reading »

Nov 032011

October is over, except for Halloween, which continues to go on and on here at the metallic island that NCS calls home. Your humble editor spent the end of the month and the beginning of this new one grinding away at his fucking day job, which explains why this installment of METAL IN THE FORGE is late. It also explains why it’s more than typically incomplete, but more on that later.

Here’s the deal:  In these posts, we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If we found out about a new forthcoming album before September, we wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier.

This month’s list begins right after the jump. I fell down on the job of monitoring the interhole and press releases to catch news about new albums that looked potentially cool to me, so I know I missed announcements of new releases that should be included here. So, feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about! Continue reading »