Jul 122014

It was a rare Friday night for your humble editor, in that your humble editor didn’t get completely shit-faced. This means that I was able to listen to music on this Saturday morning without experiencing severe brain pain and heaving waves of nausea. I made my way through a long list of new songs and videos I had collected over the last few days, from which I’ve sifted a still pretty long list of things I commend to your ears and eyes, presented in alphabetical order with a minimum of words. But before getting to those, here’s a piece of somewhat older news I only discovered recently.


Over the years since I began getting into metal I’ve done a lot of deep diving back into music that was released before I wised up, but I didn’t know about Dawn until just a few days ago. They were formed circa 1990 by guitarist Fredrik Söderberg (Cranium) and recorded a smattering of demos plus two albums (1994’s Nær Sólen Gar Niþer For Evogher and 1998’s Slaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy)) before disbanding for nearly a decade. They’ve reactivated, and the line-up now includes, in addition to Söderberg, original vocalist Henke Forss (Retaliation) plus drummer Tomas Asklund (Gorgoroth, ex-Dissection, ex-Dark Funeral) and bass player Philip von Segebaden (ex-Afflicted, ex-Cranium). That’s a hell of a line-up.

Beginning in April, Century Media has reissued the band’s discography from the 1990s on vinyl, and Dawn have also been working on a new album. A “semi-official rehearsal track” has been up on YouTube for a while, though the song title apparently isn’t correct. Here it is, followed by a full stream of Slaughtersun: Continue reading »

Jun 122014

Here are some new things I found over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth sharing around. I’m doing my best to finish a review, so I’m going to atypically attempt to be brief. I know this will cause mass depression among readers, but that’s just the way it has to be.


As previously reported, the next album by Iceland’s Sólstafir is named Ótta and will be released by Season of Mist on August 29 in Europe and September 2 in North America. Today the album became available for pre-order in triple-LP format (here) and the cover art was disclosed (above). I don’t know what thinking is behind the use of this photo or how it relates to the music and/or lyrics, but I like it — such a dramatic setting, and such a fascinating face. Bought it.

Also today Stereogum premiered the new album’s title track. You may not be prepared for it. You may not even think it’s metal. But I think it’s goddamned awesome. It’s icy and adrift, bleak and beautiful, melancholy and memorable. But it has a harsh edge as well, it rocks in its own way, and the soaring of the vocals into a howl near the end are very cool. And is that an electrified mandolin I’m hearing, along with the synth and strings? (Answer:  Nope, it’s a banjo!)

Go HERE to listen.


I’ve written before about the Relapse reissue of the one and only album by Sweden’s God Macabre — a band who’ve frequently been on my mind ever since seeing their magnificent set at Maryland Deathfest XII last month. One of my friends who was there with me surprised the hell out of me a few days ago with a gift of the special MDF edition of the LP. And then yesterday I noticed that the digital version of The Winterlong reissue is now available on Bandcamp. If you haven’t heard it, you should. It has lost nothing in the two decades since its original release. Here it is: Continue reading »

May 162014

Here are a couple of North American tours announced this morning that I thought were worth spreading around. The music in the two tours lies on divergent ends of the metal spectrum, but both shows should be excellent.


This death metal blockbuster is co-headlined by Suffocation and Kataklysm, with Suffocation closing the shows on the US dates and Kataklysm playing the final sets in the Canadian shows. Accompanying those two heavyweight acts on this tour will be Jungle Rot, Pyrexia, and Internal Bleeding.

As the poster up there indicates, the tour schedule hasn’t been announced yet.

Now, changing gears… Continue reading »

Jan 272013

Welcome to Part 18 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.

I think you’ll readily get the connection between the two songs I’m adding to the list today. Folk/pagan metal is not a genre of music that is as near and dear to my black heart as others, and I’d never hold myself out as any kind of expert, much less as someone who listened to a lot of albums in this field during 2012. But I do know what I fuckin’ like, and I do like these two songs.


I’m unable to disassociate this Swiss band’s recorded music from my memories of hearing them live. I’ll see them live whenever I get the chance, because every show I’ve attended has been a big kick in the ass. Those experiences make me prone to like their recorded music because I can visualize and feel the energy of them performing. But with that said, I believe I’d still think the title track to their 2012 album Helvetios is a damned fine song. Continue reading »

Dec 042012

There’s nothing that will get you excited for a metal show quite like arriving at a Seattle venue in December twenty minutes after the doors are supposed to open, only to find that the doors haven’t opened and and that you get to stand in a cold, drizzling rain for 20 more minutes near the end of a motionless line of water-logged metalheads that snakes around the block.

I’m here to tell you: That will make you really eager to get inside. The poor motherfuckers who’d been standing near the front of the line for an hour must have really been stoked.

I wish I could say this is the first time such a thing has happened to me, but there seems to be an unwritten rule (at least at Seattle venues) that doors will not open until at least half an hour after the doors are supposed to open. I could understand this if the venues had their employees walking the lines selling hot dogs with cream cheese and grilled onions, but all El Corazon had for us on the night of December 2 was a dude with a megaphone repeatedly broadcasting to everyone that if you didn’t have everything removed from your pockets by the time you reached the door for the pat-down, you would be sent to the end of the line. This did not taste as good as a hot dog.

It did feel good to get inside, though I was already plenty excited to see Varg, Wintersun, and Eluveitie even before the bonus of a twenty-minute wait in the rain. Once inside, my friends and I made a bee-line to the bar, thinking that a shot of rye and a PBR would help un-freeze our guts. In the bar we came across members of two local bands (Blood and Thunder and The Devils of Loudon) and proceeded to drink and talk our way straight through most of Varg’s opening set. So I have no review of Varg’s show. I blame the rain. And the rye. Continue reading »

Sep 062012

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn made the trek to Germany for this year’s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival, and provided us with a review of the bands whose performances he witnessed.  We’ve divided the review into two parts. In this post, Andy covers the festival’s first two days, and tomorrow we’ll have his impressions of Day 3. We’ve also collected videos of many of the performances at the end of the post.)

So… German festivals go Thursday – Saturday, not Friday – Sunday… who knew? Well apparently everyone else in the world except for us, when we booked an overnight stay in Cologne on the Wednesday night! Still, Cologne was awesome, and only a mere four hours drive away…

Anyway, on reaching the site (after a desperate last minute rush to the petrol station – seriously, make sure you fill up before you reach the Dinkelsbuhl exit guys and gals!) we joined a surprising, infuriating, queue of cars, followed by an interminable security check… time was ticking away and Be’lakor (one of my primary reasons for going to the festival) would soon be taking the stage! So with some slightly rushed stunt driving (I’m pretty certain I went down that grass verge as much sideways as I did forwards) and a breathless scramble… we made it. Just.


Justifying our desperate, occasionally slightly risky, efforts to get to the festival on time, Be’lakor were undeniably awesome. Live, the Agallochian overtones of the music come through a lot more, a melding of misty melancholy with swells of oceanic heaviness giving the band a more distinctive and individual live presence. The group’s image is a little difficult to reconcile with the music though, encompassing a host of short haircuts, laid-back Australian accents, and inappropriate t-shirts! Shame on you guys!

The next band I was dying to see also happened to be one of my favourites, my loyalty to Darkest Hour forcing me to choose them in an unfortunate clash with Glorior Belli. And though it pained me to do so, I’m glad I did. Darkest Hour never disappoint, their punky, hyper-energetic take on melodic death metal fitting perfectly with the blazing sunshine and free-wheeling atmosphere of the festival. Plus, I was still yet to see them live with either the new material or the new line-up, and both absolutely killed it live. Continue reading »

Sep 052012

Here’s some breaking news that will be of serious interest to fans of Wintersun (and Eluveitie):  The two bands will be joining forces for a 21-date North American tour in late November and December. The tour will begin on November 28 in Tempe, Arizona, and end on December 21 in Boston, and almost half the shows will be in Canada.

This will be Wintersun’s first North American tour, and it will come on the heels of the band’s Time I album. Wintersun’s Jari  Mäenpää says, “We’ve had lots of requests from the fans before, but finally we are able to come there and kick some ass with new material from the Time I album and of course play the old stuff too! Hope to see you guys there. Let´s make it special!”

The tour will also include the German pagan metal band Varg.

I won’t make special mention that the tour is stopping in Seattle, because that would be self-centered and boorish. The full schedule is after the jump. Continue reading »

Jan 062012

December and 2011 are both over, and with the end of the last month, it’s time to round up what we saw over the last 30 days about forthcoming albums.

We usually try to post these updates on the first of the month, but the first of this month was New year’s Day, and I was moving kinda slowly that day. Plus, I’ve been focusing on year-end lists from a variety of sources, and, well, I’m late with this. I have more excuses, if you’d like to hear them.  No?  Okay, I understand.  I’ll just shut up and get going with this list.

So, here’s the deal:  In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (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 December, 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. It includes some real eye-openers. In fact, it’s not too soon to say that 2012 is already looking like yet another royally skull-fucking year for metal. But as usual, this list is half-assed rather than comprehensive. I confess that in December I was even more half-assed than usual in keeping my eyes open for news about new albums. So, feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed when I put this list together. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here! Continue reading »

Dec 242011

As we reported previously, Switzerland’s Eluveitie have a new album coming on Nuclear Blast in February. Called Helvetios, it’s a concept album about a time long ago when a Celtic tribe called the Helvetii occupied part of Eluveitie’s homeland. Today, the band released the first song from the album for streaming — “Meet the Enemy”.

Unsurprisingly, it includes a variety of folk instruments and a bit of folk melody — but these contributions are brief. The song is mainly a galloping dash of familiar Scandinavian melodic death metal, albeit with a female warrior playing the hurdy-gurdy with the reins clenched in her teeth. The apparently studious Chrigel Glanzmann (who belts out the lyrics on the new song in full-on harsh mode) had this to say about the track on Eluveitie’s blog:

“We’re happy and proud to already present you “Meet The Enemy” – track 7 off our upcoming album “Helvetios”!

It tells you about the ‘encounter’ the Helvetians had with the roman legions in the year 58 BC – one of the crucial points in their history, for it was basically when the gaulish wars erupted.

So the song is pretty much filled with wrath and rage – upholding the furious spirit you might know from tracks such as “Kingdom Come Undone”, “Bloodstained Ground” or “Lament”.
Furthermore the song’s substantial instrumentation (including fiddle, hurdy gurdy, whistles and uilleann pipes) is also enriched by one of the guest musicians, we had the honour to work with – Fredy Schnyder (from Nucleus Torn) who contributed some amazing parts on the hammered dulcimer.

Hope you enjoy!”

Continue reading »

Dec 162011

I do like Eluveitie. They put on a helluva live show, and I picked “Thousandfold” as one of 2010’s most infectious extreme metal songs. I’m looking forward to hearing their new album, Helvetios, which will be released by Nuclear Blast in February. It’s a concept album about a time long ago when a Celtic tribe called the Helvetii occupied part of Eluveitie’s homeland of Switzerland.

Today, Nuclear Blast released a trailer for the new album. It consists of about 15 seconds of music and several minutes of Eluveitie frontman Chrigel talking about the concept behind the album. Watching the trailer induced an attack of narcolepsy, and I fell asleep before the trailer ended, so I may have missed some more music at the end. Apparently, there’s an even longer trailer available at Eluveitie’s web site. I’m getting sleepy just thinking about a longer version of the trailer I watched.

Are most Eluveitie fans even more nerdy than average metalheads (Trollfiend, I’m looking at you)? Because that’s the only explanation I can come up with for why Nuclear Blast or the band thought this trailer would put everyone on the edge of their seats, instead of into a deep coma. I will probably wake up again before the album comes out. I will probably still listen to it, because it couldn’t possibly be more soporific than the trailer. In case you’re feeling jittery and really need to calm down, the trailer is after the jump. Continue reading »