Dec 062010

In our oh so humble opinion, God Dethroned‘s Passiondale was one of the best albums of 2009 — even though, in our typically half-assed fashion, we didn’t get around to reviewing it until January 2010, nine months after its release (here). It was unusual in that it was a concept album about one of the most horrific battles of World War I, fought for control of the village of Passchendaele near the town of Ypres in West Flanders, Belgium.

In that battle, the British launched massive attacks, without any decisive success until the Canadian Corps took Passchendaele in November 1917. The result? The Allies had captured a mere 5 miles of new territory at a cost of 140,000 combat deaths — about two inches per dead soldier. And then five months later the Germans recaptured the ground they had lost, without resistance.

Passchendaele became a symbol of “grinding attrition warfare” and the heedless sacrifice of human life by inept military commanders. It would have remained a symbol of senseless sacrifice to this day, except with the passage of time, most people now know nothing about it. But God Dethroned resurrected the memories and constructed a masterful soundtrack to the horrors of that war.

But Passiondale did not exhaust Henri Sattler‘s interest in World War I. He and his bandmates in God Dethroned have now released the second concept album about “The War To End All Wars”. Under the Sign of the Iron Cross (the band’s 9th studio release) is, if anything, even more intense, more emotionally powerful than Passiondale, and it’s simply brilliant — a raw, ravaging assault on the senses that’s also loaded with infectious riffs and dark melodies. If we had the ambition to make our own list of 2010’s best albums, Under the Sign of the Iron Cross would be on it.  (more after the jump, including a track for you to hear . . .) Continue reading »

Nov 062010

I’ve got a shitload of stuff to do in advance of my impending vacation, including advance work on this blog in an effort to keep it from going dark between November 10 and November 20. So what am I doing instead this morning? I’m fucking off, watching metal videos. Typical.

But it’s a hell of a lot more fun than doing all the crap I need to be doing. This is procrastination in action. Actually, I guess procrastination is the opposite of action. Whatever it is, I’m enjoying it, and I thought you might enjoy it, too. In case you feel like procrastinating, I’ve got five videos for you. That’s a lot of procrastinating material, but you can pick and choose if you don’t want to fuck off as much as I’ve been fucking off. The first four are live performances, with very good sound quality (and varying video quality).


The first offering is some quality fan-filmed video footage of WATAIN‘s October 27, 2010 performance of the song “Malfeitor” from Lawless Darkness at a club called the Baroeg in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. That Lawless Darkness album is stunningly good, and getting to watch Watain perform their evil music on stage is cool. Maybe someday I’ll get to see them in person.

(and after the jump, videos from God Dethroned, Asphyx, Pestilence, and The Browning . . .)

Continue reading »

Nov 022010

Another month has passed. Another Halloween has come and gone. Here in Seattle, we are looking forward to what is supposed to be an especially wet, dark, cold, sucktastic winter — which is really saying something, given that all Seattle winters are wet, dark, cold, and sucktastic. If they weren’t, we would have the population of Los Angeles, so there’s a silver lining to that massively dark cloud.

Yes, the seasons come and they go, the great wheel of life rolls forward, and we are all one month closer to our end, whatever it may be. But as time inexorably passes, new things happen. In particular, we find out about new metal gestating in studios around the world, struggling and kicking and yearning to erupt into the air, screaming like a banshee.

And that brings us to another monthly installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, in which we cobble together a list of forthcoming new albums, cribbing like rag-gatherers and lint-pickers from PR releases and metal news sites like Blabbermouth in order to construct a line-up of new music that at least we’re interested in hearing, even if no one else is.

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.) After the jump, in alphabetical order, is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or new info about some of the previously noted releases. Continue reading »

Oct 112010

We’ve been fans of God Dethroned for a while, but were late-comers to the wonders of the band’s 2009 release, Passiondale. Late or not, we splashed our admiration for that unusual album all over these pages in January (here). But you can be damned sure we won’t be late again when God Dethroned releases its next album on November 23.

It will be called Under the Sign of the Iron Cross, and like Passiondale, it will be another concept album about World War I. Singer/guitarist Henri Sattler has explained that the fires of his continuing interest in that conflict were stoked by his reading of In Stahlgewittern (Storm of Steel), Ernst Juenger‘s journal of his daily experiences in the trenches during the war.

Today, Metal Blade began streaming the first song from Under the Sign of the Iron Cross. The song is the title track, and holy hell, is it heavy as fuck. It’s fitting that we put it up here for your listening pleasure today, on the heels of our post about Autopsy, because it’s a bludgeoning piece of blackened death metal, as extreme as anything God Dethroned has done in many moons.

But . . . it’s also beautiful.  (more after the jump, including that song to stream . . .) 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 »

Jan 092010

Canadian 4th Division, Passchendaele, 14 November, 1917

So much to hear, so little time.

I liked Dutch blackened death metal band God Dethroned‘s 2006 album The Toxic Touch, and “On Wings of Pestilence” was one of those songs I came back to repeatedly. So when the band released its latest album, Passiondale, in April 2009, I promptly bought the CD.  But something happened.  I got distracted and I didn’t listen to it right away. I can’t remember why — other than the fact that I have the attention span of a hummingbird.

I listened to it this week for the first time — only nine months late — and was utterly blown away. The music is sick — the best this band has done in eons. But that’s only part of the story. This is one of those rare metal albums with a concept and lyrical content that are completely integral to the music and that turn what you hear into  something profoundly more powerful. “Epic” is an overused word, but truly, that’s what Passiondale is. (more after the jump) Continue reading »