Mar 142010

Melodic death metal as practiced by the Swedes and Finns is alive and well, and those swamplords from Kalmah proudly bear the standard in their sixth studio album, 12 Gauge. In our humble opinion, it’s the best music these five dudes from the northern marshes of Finland have put out since 2003’s Swampsong.

It’s the same model Kalmah have been driving since the beginning, but they’ve given their machine an oil change, a tune-up, and a supercharger, and it’s running fast and smooth. Hop in, fire it up, and the adrenaline starts flowing.

12 Gauge is filled with thrash-metal speed, hammering rhythms, and enough infectious power-metal riffs to wake the dead and set their heads to banging. But this is melodic death metal, and so 12 Gauge also delivers blistering melodic guitar solos and soaring keyboards. Pekka Kokko’s vocals supply a low-end howl that provides an effective contrast and complement to the melodies.

For variety, folk-metal stylings make an appearance on “Better Not To Tell” and “Sacramentm,” and in acoustic intros to “Rust Never Sleeps” and the title track, while black-metal style tremolo work mixes with swirling guitar and keyboard solos to flavor “Godeye”.

Lyrically, the songs are as interesting as the music. (more after the jump, including some Kalmah-style swamp metal to stream . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 232010

We’re now almost two months into 2010, and it’s already time for our second update to the list of forthcoming new albums we posted on January 1.  (See the original list here and the first update here.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases that we didn’t know about on January 1 or at the time of our last update about a month ago — and there’s a lot of them.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources over the last month about forthcoming new releases:

1349: “Prosthetic Records will release the brand new album from Norwegian black metal legends 1349 in North America via an agreement with Indie Recordings. The new CD, which promises ‘a return to the band’s more traditional, raw-yet-technical black metal sound,’ is due on April 13. In support of the yet-to-be-titled record, 1349 will embark on a North American tour in April and May as the support act for CANNIBAL CORPSE (alongside SKELETONWITCH and LECHEROUS NOCTURNE).”

ABACABB: “ABACABB are currently out on the road headlining the Hot Dice On Black Ice Tour featuring Upon A Burning Body!. The tour just hit Texas and will be in California this weekend. Following the tour ABACABB will enter the studio with producer Will Putney at Machine Shop in New Jersey and will have a new album to be released sometime this summer.”

AEON: “Swedish death metallers AEON have set Path Of Fire as the title of their third album, due later in the year via Metal Blade Records. The CD was recorded in September 2009 at Empire Studio in Östersund, Sweden and was mixed the following month at Mana Recording Studios in St, Petersburg, Florida by Erik Rutan (HATE ETERNAL, MORBID ANGEL, CANNIBAL CORPSE). The mastering was handled by Alan Douches at West West Side Music (CONVERGE, HATEBREED, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN) in New Windsor, New York.”

AMORPHIS: “AMORPHIS will release its first-ever live DVD, Forging The Land Of Thousand Lakes, in early June via Nuclear Blast, in time for the band’s 20th anniversary. The filming took place on November 20, 2009 at Club Teatria in Oulu, Finland, where AMORPHIS was supported by STRATOVARIUS and BEFORE THE DAWN. In addition to the full-length live show, the anniversary DVD will include plenty of bonus material documenting the band’s impressive career.”   (much more after the jump . . . ) Continue reading »