Jun 152016

Opeth 2016-photo by Stuart Wood
Photo by Stuart Wood

This is Part 2 of a round-up of newly discovered things that I began earlier today (here). As expected, between posting Part 1 and getting ready to post Part 2, I spied more developments that happened this morning and have added them (the first two items are in that category, as is the last).

I nearly didn’t add the first two news items because I thought that, by now, everyone who had any interest in the bands — Opeth and Insomnium — would have learned about the news already. Those names are so big that there was probably even a news flash in The Wall Street Journal. And then I thought that adding the announcements might help ease the day for those people who are afraid that metal will run out of things to argue about before the year ends. To them I say, don’t worry, Opeth and Insomnium are releasing new albums.


Yes, Opeth will be releasing a new album late this year (named Sorceress) on a new label, Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Actually, it seems to be a partnership between Nuclear Blast and Opeth’s own imprint, Moderbolaget Records, which I believe is Swedish for “your arguing sounds like a motorboat”.

The press release we received characterized Opeth as “always an unstoppable force for uniqueness amid a sea of generic swill”. Beyond that, it provided no real clues about the musical direction of the new album or how it will distinguish itself from all the generic swill with which the rest of us are forced to feed ourselves in between Opeth releases. Continue reading »

Jun 022016

Wombbath at MDF-photo by Bryan Zakala

Wombbath at MDF – photo by Bryan Zakala


When I started this recap of Maryland Deathfest XIV a couple of days ago (here), I explained that I didn’t intend to report on the festival day-by-day, as I’ve done in previous years, but instead decided to focus on the best performances I saw, grouped into four loosely defined categories. In that introductory post, I only wrote about one band (Dragged Into Sunlight), because their set was the best one I saw at this year’s edition of MDF.

DIS happens to be in one of those four categories, but I’m going to leave that one for another day. Today I want to focus on one of the others, which I’m labeling Swedish (and Dutch) Death Metal Supremacy.

But first I want to publicly thank these four dudes: Continue reading »

Mar 192016

Ashcloud-Children of the Chainsaw


Last week was another one in which I noticed lots of new songs and videos but didn’t have time to round them up, in part because I was writing about a flood of new songs that we were premiering ourselves. So now I’m doing what I failed to do earlier — but because I waited, the round-up has become jumbo-sized. Consequently, I’ve kept my introductions to the music brief and haven’t taken the time to consistently add album art or links as I usually do. When I did something like this last weekend (except with even fewer words), I said I didn’t intend to make a habit of it. I still don’t.

For those who pay attention to such things, I also failed to post Part 3 of the Shades of Black series I began at the start of the week. But I will do that tomorrow. Now, presented in alphabetical order, here are new songs and videos from 17 bands.


On May 1, Xtreem Music will release the new album by Sweden’s Ashcloud. The album’s title tells you a lot of what you need to know about the music: Children of the Chainsaw. Here’s the title track — smoking, tree-felling, crusty Swedish death metal that’s awfully damned sweet. Continue reading »

Sep 222015



(This is the first of a two-part article prepared by our Russian friend Comrade Aleks.)

We are used to horror lyrics in metal and especially in extreme metal music. Different reasons push different bands to write about it, and I’ll let someone else write about that who knows this topic better than I do. Today I have for you a compilation of tracks dedicated to World War II, mostly to the Eastern Front. 70 years ago the War ended, and today there is still a lot of discussion born in Russia, the East, the EU, and the USA about how it truly was, and how it could have turned due to some specific circumstances. I will not tell you my point of view — but just provide brief historical excursions, music, and sometimes the comments of death, black, and doom bands about it.

Here you will find exclusive detailed comments from Martin van Drunen of Hail of Bullets and some stories by participants in Skyclad, Altar of Oblivion, Mental Home, Eastern Front, Dark Lunacy, and Sodom.

Why the Eastern Front? Because a damned lot of things happened here, sooth to say. My grandfather was recruited in January 1943. He was 17 years old, and German aviation had bombed his village near Leningrad / Saint-Petersburg. He took part in breaking the Leningrad siege and in a Finnish company where he was wounded. The War touched nearly every family here, and we must remember. I’m thankful for all these bands who remind us about it. Continue reading »

Mar 182015


(In this latest installment of his “Get To the Point” series, KevinP poses 5 questions to Stephan Gebédi, guitarist of Thanatos and Hail of Bullets.)

K: Be honest with me here. Does Thanatos flying under the radar all these years annoy you in any way?

S: Well I would be lying if I said that it has never annoyed me, ’cause we had loads of bad luck and deals with shitty record labels that did us more bad than good. But on the other hand I know we made a lot of bad decisions ourselves as well, especially in the early days. Not everyone in the band was serious enough about taking the band to another level, so we’re too blame as well.

And maybe I should not have disbanded in 1992 when I grew tired of all the record label bullshit and irresponsible behavior of certain band members, and maybe I should have just kicked them out and recruited new band members. But at that moment I was sick and tired of all the lineup changes in the past. Continue reading »

Mar 032014

(In this post our friend and well-known Eli Manning apologist KevinP interviews Ed Warby, who’s a fixture in a plethora of strong bands, including The 11th Hour, DemiurgAyreon, and Hail of Bullets — whose most recent album we reviewed here.)


K:  Now that we are about 5 months post release of Hail of Bullets’ third album, III: The Rommel Chronicles, and you’ve had some time to reflect, how do you feel about it?

E:  To be honest I haven’t listened to it in a while, but I feel good about it. It’s as good an album as we could make. Reviews were great again, the “best album yet” far outweighed any “not as good as the debut”, so that’s fine with me. When I look back I see three slightly different albums that form a cohesive body of work, pretty much the way we envisioned it when we started.


K:  So has the recording process changed since the last album?

E:  Dan Swanö did visit the studio this time to help set up the drum mics.  But otherwise it was done just like On Divine Winds: recorded at my place, mixed by Dan (in Germany, he’s moved).  The mixing took a few weeks and we’re constantly in touch about every detail.


K:  Was there any consideration of NOT using Dan this time around, just to be different?

E:  None. He did an early test mix for one song and it was dead on, so there was no reason to try something else. Continue reading »

Jan 142014

Welcome to Part 5 of my list of the year’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. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.

2013 was a banner year for the ongoing revival of old school death metal. Two of the standout releases in that vein are the sources of today’s two additions to this list — but they won’t be the last.


Hail of Bullets returned to the battlefield in 2013 with their third album, III: The Rommel Chronicles. TheMadIsraeli reviewed it for us (here) and it has subsequently appeared on many of our year-end lists. It’s a masterful fusion of scorching-fast death metal and abysmal, suffocating doom. To quote from TheMadIsraeli’s review: Continue reading »

Oct 182013

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Hail of Bullets.)

“In a man-to-man fight, the winner is he who has one more round in his magazine” – Erwin Rommel

Hail of Bullets really are the sonic incarnation of war at its most savage and horrifying. Their dedication to concept albums about real events, events that played out like a ballet of death, has proven effective, not only musically, but in their ability to capture the mood of the solider in the thick of war. No band has channeled the deadly precision, the zealous dedication to completing the objective and killing the enemy, or the rush of frantic horror in the last seconds of life, quite like Hail Of Bullets.

What accounts for this? Besides the lyrics, I don’t know if it’s the guitar tone, which sounds like the corpses of freshly dead soldiers being churned into putrid meat by tank treads, or van Drunen’s vocals, which sound less like an attempt to be brutal and more like an attempt to capture the sensation of a soldier frantically stabbing his enemy to death with a bayonet. …Of Frost and War summoned the bitter cold of winter warfare on the Eastern front, the imminence of death, and bitter defeat. On Divine Winds channeled the fanaticism, the fervor, and the imperialistic arrogance of Japanese forces in the second World War.

III: The Rommel Chronicles is more interesting, as its subject is someone who was a more ambiguous figure. I find it intriguing that they chose to make an album about Rommel, who was both a badass German tank commander and one of a group of conspirators who attempted to overthrow/assassinate Hitler himself. Continue reading »

Sep 232013

This morning brought the premiere of two new songs from two forthcoming albums that we’ve been eagerly awaiting. You can and should hear both of them below.


The new Hail of Bullets album is entitled III: The Rommel Chronicles and it will be released in NorthAm by Metal Blade on October 29 (pre-orders available here). The new song is “DG-7”, and it follows the previous premiere of “Pour Le Mérite” (featured here).

The hammerstrikes of doom . . . the writhing melodies of dank death . . . the rampaging riff-tanks . . . soloing that’s both flame-spitting and soulful . . . the hoarse howls of the incomparable Martin van Drunen . . . it’s all here, and it’s all so damned fine: Dutch death metal devastation comes your way next. Continue reading »

Sep 102013

Painstakingly selected from among the detritus that litters the interhole and the NCS in-box, here are items of interest that appeared over the last 24 hours.


If you need more darkness in your life — and who doesn’t? — then you should listen to Vermis, the new death metal monstrosity by New Zealand’s Ulcerate. The album won’t be released in North America until September 17 (a day earlier in the UK and September 13 in certain European countries), but yesterday Metal Sucks began hosting an exclusive stream of the album. Ulcerate are one of those rare death metal bands who are pushing (or dragging) the genre in new directions. The music of Vermis is harrowing and inhuman, but it exerts a powerful attraction. You should hear it.

THIS is the link for the stream.


The new Carcass album, which we reviewed here, is due for release on September 16. I have a feeling that anyone interested in hearing the new Carcass album has already heard it, but just in case, it’s now streaming in full, too. Nuclear Blast has uploaded the entire album to YouTube. Obviously, it’s one of the biggest releases of 2013, and it also happens to be a fine album. You can hear it next.  (thanks Daniel for the tip) Continue reading »