Jul 112015

Wolfheart 2015


Happy Saturday. A whole bunch of metal bands I like released new songs this past week. I didn’t jump on all of them with my usual alacrity because I was burning the candle at both ends with a combination of day-job crap, personal crap, and late-night drinking with good friends (not crap), followed by hangover crap. I will make it up to you: Our other writers stand ready to mow your loans or hand-wash your underwear. I stand ready to direct those operations from afar.

In addition, in this post I’m going to stream some of those things I missed, plus one new discovery at the end.


Tuomas Saukkonen is one of those rare metal artists who just doesn’t seem to make a misstep. After closing down a multitude of other projects (including Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon), he turned right around and released a great album in 2013 (Winterborn) under the name Wolfheart. He has completed work on a second Wolfheart album entitled Shadow World that will be released by Spinefarm on August 21. After the jump, check out the music video for a new song named “Aeon of Cold”. Continue reading »

Jan 072015

Welcome to the lucky Part 13 in the continuing rollout of our list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here.

I missed a day in the rollout yesterday because of my fucking day job. To make up for that, we’ll have an extra-strong, double-dose of ass-kicking to begin the day.


We posted not one but two reviews of Aborted’s 2014 album, The Necrotic Manifesto, one by BadWolf (here) that accompanied our premiere of a full-album stream and one (here) by TheMadIsraeli. We could have posted five reviews, because everyone among the longest tenured staffers around here (including me) agreed — and its rare for all of us to agree on anything — that the album was fantastic. Continue reading »

Aug 252014


(Our man BadWolf interviews Jeff Lohrber of Enabler; he also took the photos in this post at Enabler’s show in Detroit at The Loving Touch on June 10, 2014.)

In the months since Inquisitiongate (can we agree on that as the formal term?), it seems like virtually any extreme metal band could come under fire for suspicion of racism—Dragonforce and Bölzer have both come under fire as of late, and rebuffed those accusation with varying degrees of success.

Let’s scratch one band off the suspicion list: Enabler are not racist. In a brief conversation with Jeff Lohrber, guitarist/vocalist of the three-piece crust outfit, he made that much perfectly clear, alongside talking about his love of classic rock and breaking down my favorite track on what very well might be my favorite record of the year, La Fin Absolue Du Monde.


To begin, things I didn’t notice at Maryland Deathfest: not only do you have a Today is the Day tattoo, but you have an Ohio knuckle tattoo.



What’s up with that?

Well, I’ve been in Today’s the Day three times now. I’m currently the drummer for the band, and I grew up in Ohio.



Around Dayton. I actually live back in Ohio again. We were in Milwaukee. We started in Milwaukee but we’re based out of Ohio now. We have one member who lives in Milwaukee still.


Where do you live, Dayton?

No, I live in the middle of nowhere. Continue reading »

Aug 112014


(Guest writer Ty Lowery has assembled a personal list of favorite metal album covers for 2014 to date, divided into two parts. Please feel free to add your own favorites in the Comments.)

Sometime last year, I had planned to showcase some of my favorite album covers. However, as you might imagine, that didn’t happen. So, a bit over halfway through 2014 already, I’ve decided to give it a go again so I don’t have to worry with trying to find everything last minute and become overwhelmed at year-end. I’ve been looking back at some of my favorite album covers, as well as looking at random covers here and there, and I must say, I’ve found a lot more than I expected- so many that I think it’s be best to break this up into a couple of posts.

I’ve actually happened upon some really cool bands this way, too, which isn’t out of the ordinary but worth noting nonetheless. Had it not been for their album art, I might never have found some of the following bands, one of which I simply can’t get enough of. However, to be clear, I’ve done this exercise for the sole purpose of rounding up the nicest looking album art, according to my own tastes. There are a couple of bands in here whose music I can’t stand, and a couple more I’d never heard of before. So to avoid any confusion, I am not necessarily recommending all of the albums featured below. They all just chose wisely for their album art.

Since I began working on this article, I noticed something peculiar: A good number of the album covers correlated in one sense or another with the music on the album. To make sure that I wasn’t just imagining this, I asked my wife (who’s not very big on metal music as a whole) and a friend of mine (who is) to look at the album art and give me their impressions. Some of them were spot-on, others not so much. Here’s what we came up with for the first nine. (Another note, these are in no particular order. They are just listed as I came upon them.)

BelphegorConjuring the Dead

This might be one of the best “photo realistic” album covers I’ve seen so far this year. It’s got the dark, gritty feel washing over it in shoals. The symbolism on the cover speaks of blasphemy, a great deal of death, and more than a smidge of Satanic interplay. When my wife Heather saw it, she immediately guessed that it was death metal, which is a good part of the album, so I’ll give it to her. My friend Adam said the same thing: “This had better be death metal.” Heather also hit the nail on the head about the dark/demonic themes that run throughout many of the songs. That’s a point for the correlation theory, although an easy one. Continue reading »

Jun 022014

(BadWolf reviews the new album by Enabler.)

“We all pay for life with death so everything between should be free.”

So begins “Balance of Terror,” one of the many tracks I adore on La Fin Absolue Du Monde, the newest album by midwestern metalcore outfit Enabler. It’s a direct, ideological and emotional piece of language—the kind that vocalist/guitarist Jeff Lohrber excels at. Every well-articulated roar that issues from his maw feels anthemic. Which is funny, considering that Enabler’s particular brand of crusty, noisy, grind-length metalcore doesn’t typically focus on recognizable words, or songs at all for that matter. Lohrber doesn’t conform to expectations. He’s an honest-to-god songwriter in a genre that praises drive-by firebombings over experiences that one wants to dissect and revisit. His songs, each a cry for some sort of justice or sensibility, convey a genuine emotionality that much extreme music lacks.

Enabler is every bit his baby, and what a baby it is. 2012’s All Hail The Void would have been a high point of my year-end list had I given it a spin the year it came out. Last year, Enabler released two EP’s, Shift of Redemption and Flies, both of which produced at least one incredible song (“Live Low” and “Sickened by the Wake”, respectively). To say I was excited for La Fin Absolue Du Monde, would be an understatement—but I had no idea I would love it this much this quickly. Continue reading »

May 302014

I’m slowly moving back into what I normally do at this site after more than a week of living in the world of Maryland Deathfest, first by attending it and then by re-living the experience in NCS posts. And part of what I do is attempt to highlight news items of interest. I’m a bit late featuring the three collected here, but I think they’re worth mentioning, even if tardily.


Beginning in September and running into November, Sweden’s Amon Amarth will be touring the US and Canada. Sadly, they will only have the Viking ship on stage at the October 18 New York City (Manhattan)  date, which is a show that’s part of Decibel magazine’s 10th anniversary celebrations. At that show, the UK’s Vallenfyre will also be appearing.  I would give your left arm to see that show.

Except for that New York City event, Skeletonwitch will also be a part of this tour, which makes it doubly enticing. Sabaton will be on the tour as well. However, although Vallenfyre will be playing the Manhattan date in place of Skeletonwitch, Skeletonwitch and Evoken will be playing later that same night at St Vitus Bar in Brooklyn; that show is also part of the Decibel anniversary festivities. I would give your right arm to see that one. Continue reading »

May 182012

I spent last evening in Tacoma witnessing a momentous event in the life of a friend and then celebrating it with her and her family. Had a blast, but between that and day-job shit, I didn’t make much headway on reviews I’ve been trying to write. I did have time to latch on to a few new songs that struck a chord, and they’re in this post. Also, on the way out of Tacoma back to Seattle, I saw something that sent me on a nostalgia trip — more on that at the end of this post. But first, I bring you Hell.


I latched onto this band (or they latched on to me) almost entirely as a result of that eye-catching album cover you see above. It’s for their second full-length release, Black Poison and Shared Wounds, which is out now on Daemon Worship Productions (the same label/distro that’s handling the U.S. release of the new album by Iceland’s Svartidauði that I wrote about two days ago.

Israthoum was originally created in Portugal during the early 90’s, but its members relocated to The Netherlands around 1998. The three current members are, shall we say, devoted followers of The Left Hand Path. All three of them also interchangeably play bass and guitars on the album (one of them also plays the drums), and all three share vocal duties.

Daemon Worship have put two songs from the album on SoundCloud — “The Unravelling Traveller” and “The Presence, The Baying”. The music is scathing — definitely not for the faint of heart. But beneath the surface veil of blasting and rending there lurks an almost avant-garde layer of complexity that reminded me in some ways of Deathspell Omega, and I found the melodies crouching in the dark corners of my head long after the music stopped. Continue reading »

Mar 022012

For a change, I actually remembered on the second day of the new month that that the preceding month had ended; usually takes longer than that. My creditors would be happy, except I think their bills need to age a while longer. But yes, February is history — and that means its time to post our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. Today’s list is a little more comprehensive than the half-assed job I did at the end of January, which means it’s about three-quarters assed. One of these days it will be fully assed.

Here’s how this round-up usually works: 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, I cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If I found out about a new forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, I probably 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.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us (me and your fellow readers) what I missed when I put this list together, because I’m abso-fucking-lutely certain that I missed all sorts of shit. So let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here! Continue reading »