Mar 202013
 

I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to go home to Seattle tonight after more than 3 weeks of grueling bullshit for my day job. I even had a couple of hours yesterday to start catching up on all the metal I missed while buried in work. Of course, I found a lot of new things. In this post are a few of the more recent discoveries.

HEAVEN SHALL BURN

Yesterday, Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn released  a second song from their forthcoming album Veto. Its name is “Die Stürme Rufen Dich”, which means “the storms call you” (according to Google Translate). It’s venomous, heavy-booted music with catchy melodic hooks and Marcus Bischoff’s distinctive vox spraying acid all over everything. In other words, it’s recognizably Heaven Shall Burn.

If you’re a fan of this band, I think you’ll like the song.  It’s up next. Continue reading »

Feb 202013
 

Heaven Shall Burn’s new album Veto is one of my “most anticipated” releases of 2013. This morning, the band and its label (Century Media) unveiled the album cover, which, as you can see above, makes use of an eye-catching 1898 painting of Lady Godiva by John Collier.

But that’s not all. They also made available for streaming and free download a song from the album entitled “Land of the Upright Ones”. But you have to work for this. They’ve constructed a puzzle that must be solved before you can hear or download the music. This is what the puzzle looks like:

I’ll tell you this much: it isn’t as simple as just dragging and dropping each stone into those spaces in the same order as you see them. Reversing the order doesn’t work either. Continue reading »

Feb 032013
 

Yesterday I featured four new releases that appeared on Bandcamp on February 1. In this post I’ve collected more kickass new music that I discovered yesterday, plus a news item that excited me when I saw it.

CNOC AN TURSA

I wrote about this Scottish band last October after seeing the news that they’d been signed by Candlelight Records. In that earlier post I included all of the music from the band that I could then find, including a portion of a track called “The Lion of Scotland”. Sometime between then and now, that fragment disappeared from Soundcloud, but in the last couple of days it has reappeared in all its complete glory — and it is indeed a glorious song — along with the cover art for their Candlelight debut, The Giants of Auld.

I could hardly be more stoked for this debut, and “The Lion of Scotland” is an example of why I’m so eager to hear the album. It’s a genuinely soul-stirring song, with a skirling tremolo melody, an epic keyboard overlay, hard-charging rhythms, and passionate harsh vocals. If this doesn’t get your blood racing and your fist pumping, I’ll be surprised. Listen: Continue reading »

Jul 272012
 

I watched some of the opening ceremonies from London. Some of it was cool, like the cascade of lights falling from those big gold rings in the sky. But I gave up not long after Mr. Bean accompanied the orchestra on the theme song from Chariots of Fire.

I decided if I was going to watch spectacle, with big throngs of people, lots of lights, and explosions of sound, I should at least watch something with good fuckin’ music going on. So I watched these instead:
 


Continue reading »

Nov 072011
 

(Andy Synn ventures outside his usual meat and potatoes with this one. I’m not objective, of course, but this post includes many observations that ring true to me, and maybe will to you as well. Also, this post includes a heavy cargo of highly-worth-watching videos.)

I’ve been looking at doing some shorter pieces on various topics for a while now, spreading myself a little more widely and letting the material do most of the talking for me, and Islander’s sabbatical seems like the perfect opportunity to do so.

So I wanted to bring your attention to a couple of music videos which you may have overlooked, and highlight why I like them and what I think makes them a good example of the video “art-form”. Equally, however, the success (relative or otherwise) of these videos highlights some of the regrettably common failures of most metal videos!

Now bear in mind that most metal videos are a missed opportunity. I’m a fan of a good solid performance video, this is true, be it live footage (purpose-shot or amalgamated) or the traditional warehouse/barren-field performance, as long as it gives you a sense of the intensity and power of a band really getting into their music and their instruments. However, this is where most of them fall down, simply giving us a general shot of “hey look, this is what we look like when we’re playing” rather than any sort of “feel” for the intensity of the experience. And I’m not saying this is easy, far from it.

I do, however, want to highlight the issue that for so many bands (and most recently I’m looking at the plethora of metalcore/deathcore/djent bands) videos become merely a case of being SEEN without actually SAYING anything with the opportunity they’ve been given. Just because you’re moving/jumping/posing does not mean you’re coming across as doing anything more than singing into a hair-brush in front of the mirror.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Apr 292011
 

(I swear this was a coincidence. I wrote a post that went up earlier today on metal covers based on a single by Anachronaeon we received yesterday, and then our UK contributor Andy Synn delivered this special edition of THE SYNN REPORT about . . . covers. This is the kind of occurrence that sends me back to the dictionary once again to figure out the difference between synchronicity and serenditpity. Or maybe it’s both.)

Covers are a strange breed of song – they’re the equivalent of a parallel universe, an alternate history, a What If? Comic, an adaptation of your favourite book starring an unexpected actor, a Shakespeare play set in an average American high school…

Seriously though, they have a huge amount of potential, both to be intriguingly inventive and woefully horrendous. Their success (or lack thereof) depends on many factors, but mainly on the song-choice itself – is it a natural fit for the band? Do they have the intelligence to re-work it in a distinctive manner? Or is it simply enough to tear through it in their own inimitable style, making few changes, but relying on sheer power to see them through?

I have chosen 15 artists who have produced some of my own personal favourite covers, showcasing a variety of approaches, some fully traditional takes on the original, others totally reworked variations. If there’s one thing that these covers show however, it is the subtle threads that inter-link all different sub-genres of rock and metal, which allow bands to re-work them organically. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jan 032011
 

Ah, too bad — the holidays are behind us. For most U.S. denizens, school and work resume today, and consequently the suck quotient of life will rapidly escalate back into the normal zone. We will do our best to help soften the blow by rolling out the next two entries on our list of 2010’s most infectious extreme metal songs.  For a full explanation of what we mean by “most infectious”, read this. And to see the songs we’ve named so far, click the Category link over on the right called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2010.

In a nutshell, what we’re doing is listing, in no particular order, the catchiest songs from a wide range of extreme metal sub-genres — not necessarily the best metal of the year (though lots of these songs would qualify for that kind of list), but the ones that most effectively got our heads and other parts of our bodies moving, and then got stuck in our skulls on mental replay long after they ended.

The two songs we’re adding today are by Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn and Kenos, from Italy. Heaven Shall Burn has been a band whose music we’ve liked for years, and their 2010 album was no exception. Kenos is a much more recent discovery for us, but we immediately got addicted to their music, particularly the song we’ve chosen for this list. To read about the selections and hear the songs, follow along with us after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Jul 232010
 

We seem to have fallen into a video kick this week, which is unusual for us. But the one we saw for the first time today is far and away the best of the lot. Actually, it’s the best of the lot by a few light years.

It’s a video for the song “Combat” off the new album Invictus by Heaven Shall Burn (which we reviewed here). “Combat” is about child soldiers, which explains in part why the song is so full of fury. It’s a harrowing, slashing, anguished, bone-rattling piece of music, but it also includes a beautiful keyboard melody and some surprising electro-beats.

The video is an animation created by Animaatiokopla from Finland and was premiered by Amnesty International Germany. It’s visually arresting, and it enhances the emotional power of the song. In carefully selected places, something happens in the video — like the stitching of machine-gun bullets across a muraled wall — that’s in sync with a burst of rhythm or a riff in the song.

But this isn’t one of those videos that’s full of strobing imagery set to the frenetic pulse of the music’s beat. Like the song, it’s about the ripping away of innocence, and in the main, it uses slow-moving childlike graphics to tell the tale as the music scorches with anger. Do check it out (after the jump). Continue reading »

Jun 152010
 

The odds are probably slim that any of you who visit this site have never heard Heaven Shall Burn, and you’ve probably made up your minds already about whether to check out their new album, Invictus. But we’re writing about it anyway because it’s just so damned good that we’d feel guilty if we didn’t.

What has always been distinctive about Heaven Shall Burn’s music is on full display in the new album, except even more so: passionate, politically charged lyrics; a blistering instrumental assault delivered at a furious pace; bludgeoning percussion and headbanging rhythms; irresistible melodic hooks; and Marcus Bischoff’s distinctive, paint-peeling vocals.

Invictus includes a few surprises, too, plus some eye-catching album art. More about the music and the surprises, pictures of the album art, a song to hear, and an unusual video all come your way after the jump . . . . Continue reading »

Jun 072010
 

We do our best to keep up with news in the world of extreme metal. We read a few web sites every day that collect news items, we get press releases via e-mail, and we get alerts about MySpace and Facebook posts by bands we’re following. Put it all together, and it’s a daily flood of words — almost all of which are just completely forgettable, or worse. Usually, we find items that are either intentionally or (more often) unintentionally funny. Rarely, we find something we think is worth writing about on this site.

We’re kinda behind on putting together reviews of new music we’ve been cranking, and that may have lowered our newsworthiness threshold today, but whatever. Today, we’re just gonna dump a bunch of news on you that we read over the weekend, including one of those funny items and one new video that put us in a party mood. Not a lot of rhyme or reason to our choices, but there’s not much rhyme or reason to anything we do, so what the fuck?

Our topics? They involve Heaven Shall Burn, Hour of Penance, French Bat-Shit Grindcore, All Shall Perish, and The Ghost Inside.

HEAVEN SHALL BURN

Last Friday, German death metal and hardcore fusionists Heaven Shall Burn announced that their new album Invictus, which has already been released in Europe and will be released in North America tomorrow, landed on the official chart in Germany at position No. 9. According to the announcement, this marks Heaven Shall Burn’s and Century Media Records‘ first-ever Top 10 release in Germany.

The press release included this comment from guitarist Maik Weichert: “Top Ten! This is insane! It is a dream come true and we thank everybody who had something to do with it! Everything will be awesome! However, when the police stopped my car yesterday they were still quite unpleasant to deal with, so I am assuming they hadn’t heard the news yet . . .”  (lots more after the jump — stay with us . . .) Continue reading »