Apr 122011

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. Continue reading »

Mar 142011

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 . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 102011

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?” Continue reading »

Jan 012011

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 . . .)

Continue reading »

Dec 062010

In this ongoing Finland metal tribute, we’ve been trying to focus on bands that are new to us, because we’re selfish like that. But really, how could we run a series on Finnish metal and not talk, at least briefly, about what is arguably the country’s most visible extreme metal export — Children of Bodom?

The three of us who started NCS have been diehard COB fans for many years. Whenever we get wind that they’re coming anywhere near Seattle on tour, we react like Pavlov’s dog at the dinner bell. For us, it’s hard to get enough of that speedy, hooky, identifiably COB brand of thrashy, flashy melodeath or Alexi Laiho’s shredtastic solos, and in just about every way you want, they put on a kickass live show.

These dudes have come a long way from their underground days. They’ve perfected a signature sound — you hear the first few bars of a COB song, and you know it’s them — and it’s a sound that causes shitloads of people all over the world to salivate.

Next year will bring more worldwide salivating, with the scheduled March 8 release of the band’s seventh studio album, Relentless Reckless Forever. The recording is done, and the band has even finished a music video for the first single, “Was It Worth It?”, which was filmed in Pennsylvania (?!?) and will feature two-time X Games gold medalist and two-time Thrasher Magazine “Skater of the Year” Chris Cole as well as pro skaters Jamie Thomas and Tom Asta. So it’s gonna be some kind of skate-thrash party song apparently.

With significant fan popularity and commercial success have come some questions: Has COB become so reliant on that signature sound that they’re starting to become formulaic in their song construction? Is their musical growth slowing? Are they losing that underground edge they used to have? Was 2008’s Blooddrunk album something of a let-down, despite the fact that it was the band’s biggest seller of all time?  (more after the jump . . ., including a bunch of COB music) Continue reading »

Nov 192010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today we have yet another guest post by ElvisShotJFK — this one being the second installment in a series he created in his last post.]

Don’t you hate it when you hear a good song but don’t know who’s it’s by? Sometimes it’s more frustrating when the song is a cover and you can’t figure out who’s actually playing it. The more obscure the song or band, the harder it is to figure out where to look. Even with the wealth of knowledge to be found online these days, Napster Syndrome is alive and well, making some songs difficult to accurately track down. People still get it wrong, no matter how many times someone who knows what they’re talking about says something.

Like Cradle Of Filth (who I mentioned earlier in Volume 1), Children Of Bodom have recorded several covers over their career, going so far as to release an album’s worth of covers, some of them recorded specifically for the album. Not only that, but they used midgets to help promote the album.

Heavy metal midgets. Awesome.

Where was I? Oh yeah . . . even though they’ve done a fair amount of covers, there are songs that have been credited to them that were actually done by other bands.

Let’s get Blooddrunk and dive right in . . . Continue reading »

Sep 302010

Another month has passed. The fall season is approaching — unless you live in Los Angeles, which is pretending that it’s Phoenix in August. Fuck is up with that? It’s like that town has been placed in a cosmic microwave and the user likes his burritos very well done.

On the other hand, we’ve had way too many grey, chilly days in Seattle this September, which is traditionally one of the best months of the year. The weather gods have clearly dropped acid over the last 30 days and forgotten which end is up. But eventually they will get themselves straight, remember which season is approaching, and get ready to just blast the fuck out of our whole country with a vicious winter. Won’t that be fun?

No, it won’t be fun. It will suck like a new-born piglet at dinner time. But one pleasant constant will remain true — there will be new metal, regardless of how foul the weather becomes. And that brings us to another monthly installment of  METAL IN THE FORGE, a forge being the old name for a place where a blacksmith heats metal and works it into the shape of something useful.

And that’s what we’re interested in — new metal that will be useful in scrambling our brains, or uplifting us to a place where it really doesn’t matter what the fucking weather is doing.

What we do in this series of posts is update the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs from other sites, or from press releases, about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Perhaps needless to say, these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site — the kind that would like to tear your head off.

So, after the jump, in alphabetical order, you’ll find our list of cut-and-pasted items from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Continue reading »

Jul 042010

Fair warning: This will be one extended session of spittle-flecked frothing at the mouth, because we haven’t been this blown away since stumbling into a full-fledged Seattle windstorm last winter. So get the safety glasses on and strap on sanitary masks if you got ’em.

The subject of our enthusiasm is Nothnegal. They’re a band from The Republic of the Maldives that now includes two non-Maldivian heavyweights — drummer Kevin Talley from Dååth and keyboardist Marco Sneck from those Finnish swamplords Kalmah. They’ve got a four-song EP to their credit called Antidote of Realism and they’ve just signed with Season of Mist for the release of their debut album early next year.

Oh yeah, they’re also playing with Arch Enemy this month and touring Europe in the fall with the likes of Rotting Christ, Samael, and Finntroll.

And we’d wager that most of you have never heard of them. Until earlier this week, we hadn’t either. But this band shows all the seismic signs of an impending Vesuvius-sized eruption onto the scene — and based on the band’s output to date, it would be well-deserved.

If you like technically immaculate, headbangingly compulsive, Scandinavian-style melodic death metal played at autobahn speed, stay with us after the jump. Among other things, we’ll stream all four tracks from that EP and we’ll show you how to download a cut from Nothnegal’s forthcoming debut album. Continue reading »

Feb 022010

No, we’re not talking about the swine flu, or the avian flu, or the next animal virus that decides humans would be a nice host environment upgrade. We’re talking about new metal that has the potential to be sick.

On the first day of the New Year, we posted a round-up of new extreme metal albums forecast for release 2010, along with our list of the 21 we most wanted to hear.

One month has now passed, and we’ve discovered some forthcoming releases we didn’t know about on January 1. Seems like a good time for an update! So, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about forthcoming albums from bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), these are bands that fit the profile of music we cover on this site (with a couple of Exceptions to the Rule).

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources over the last 31 days about forthcoming releases we missed in our January 1 list:

AGALLOCH: “So what can we expect from the band’s long-awaited follow-up to Ashes Against the Grain? According to an interview songwriter John Haughm gave to German TV last May, ‘expect the unexpected.’ Haughm says that the next release will be ‘completely different’ from its predecessors — ‘a bit darker,’ closer to black metal, but with the same kind of dynamics that Agalloch is known for.  As for when we can expect the new album, Haughm said that he hoped it would be out by May 2010.”

APOCALYPTICA:  “Finnish rock cello quartet APOCALYPTICA has entered Sonic Pump studios in Helsinki to begin recording its new album for a spring/summer release.” [This is one of those Exceptions to the Rule.]

APOSTASY: “Four new songs from the Swedish black metal act APOSTASY are available for streaming on the band’s MySpace page. The tracks will appear on the group’s forthcoming third full-length album, Nuclear Messiah, which will be released later in the year.”  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Nov 232009

So you all have probably read some things by the author islander, but there’s a new girl in town! I’ll be writing about the music I love and things I’m passionate about. Here is the music I love Continue reading »