Feb 052020


(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by the Norwegian band Kvelertak. The album will be released by Rise Records on February 14th.)

The third album from these Norwegian punks is not only more refined, it is also their first with new vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen. The youthful attitude in his snarl gives more weight to the punk slant of this album.

When punk is referred to here, think more of a ’90s European direction like Refused. Punk is also only one side of the equation, as they also offer a large dose of rock ‘n’ roll with guitar harmonies that have a warm Thin Lizzy-like tone. Not that any of these elements are coming out of left field. They have all been hinted at on the previous albums, but have now been brought further into center stage. Continue reading »

Sep 292016

Photo by Dirk Behlau


I intended to prepare a round-up much earlier this week than I have, but commitments to write premieres plus interferences from my fucking day job screwed those plans. So, I’m behind once again. Catching up isn’t realistic, but I’m going to make a stab at it anyway by doing a two-part Seen and Heard.

In this first installment I’m giving a tip of the hat to two widely popular bands — and no, Metallica isn’t one of them, though if you want to talk about the new Metallica track in the Comments, feel free. Then we’ll dive deeper into the underground with the final two bands in this group (with help from our contributor Grant Skelton).

The second installment, at least as I’ve planned it (because it’s not written yet), will be devoted to perhaps even more obscure and ferocious new music. But I do also have a couple of premieres to prepare for today, plus my day job isn’t leaving me alone… so there’s a chance Part 2 will slip.


Earlier this week Century Media announced a new Dark Tranquillity album, their 11th. Named Atoma, and again featuring cover art by the band’s guitarist Niklas Sundin, it will be released on November 4, 2016. Coincident with that announcement, DT released the video that’s the first item in this round-up, for an Atoma track called “The Pitiless”. The video was filmed during the band’s appearance at the Turock Open Air Festival 2016 in Essen, Germany, by director Dirk Behlau. Continue reading »

Apr 112016

Shadow Woods Metal Festival 2016


As we begin the new week, I have some unfortunate news (at least it’s unfortunate for me). Beginning today and continuing through Thursday morning, I have to bury myself in my fucking day job for one of those day-and-night projects that periodically descends upon me. I’ll make time to post what other writers have sent me, as well as a few premieres I’ve agreed to do, but aside from this round-up and one “Short But Sweet” review I wrote over the weekend, I will be missing in action until sometime Thursday.

Before saying good-bye, I’ve collected a few items that I wanted to share — including, at the end of this post, streams of ten recent videos without commentary (because I’ve run out of time for commentary).


I’m late sharing this news, but the news is so exciting that I’m following the “better late than never” mantra. Last year’s Shadow Woods Metal Festival was a marvelous event by all accounts — including this account by our guest Captain Karbon. As I reported in February, organizer Mary Spiro and her team (who are joined by Baltimore’s Grimoire Records as co-producers this year) have been planning the second installment of this open-air camping metal party, which will run for three days in central Maryland: from Thursday, September 15th through Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland. They’ve been announcing performers since January, and now the complete line-up has been revealed — and it’s an eye-popper: Continue reading »

Mar 082016

Skeletonwitch 2016


Over the last hour I spied four new items of interest that I thought I’d toss up here instead of waiting to include them in tomorrow’s planned round-up, which is already pretty over-stuffed as it is.  The first three include new songs.


I think we can all agree that as the vocalist of Skeletonwitch, Chance Garnette was going to be a tough guy to replace following his ejection from the band in late 2014. Last month the band announced that Adam Clemans of Wolvhammer was the man they chose to try to fill those shoes. And now we have a chance to find out how well he is doing that. Continue reading »

Dec 302015

Integrity-Orgasmatron cover


Like a lot of people, I spent most of my music-listening time yesterday with Motörhead. For the hell of it, I also spent time listening to metal bands covering Motörhead songs. A lot of bands have done that. Out of the many covers I listened to,  damned few of them are quite as good as the originals, and at least to my ears, none of them is better.

However, having invested the time hunting for covers that breathed some kind of different life into the classic originals, I decided to put them all here — the good ones and the so-so ones — by these bands: Satyricon, Sepultura, Ringworm (with guest vocals by Barney Greenway), Korpiklaani, Sodom, Machetazo, Avulsed, Overkill, Metallica, Horna, Kvelertak, Warbringer, and Krisiun.

But before I get to those, I’m starting with one that’s definitely a success. It’s a cover  of “Orgasmatron” that Integrity released just yesterday on Bandcamp (here). Continue reading »

Jul 072014

Here are two North American tours announced this morning that are worth mentioning.


In our first post this morning I included a report from Metal Hammer based on an interview with Gojira’s frontman Joe Duplantier that the Gojira would be touring with Mastodon this October. There were no further details then, but there are now.

In addition to the pairing of Mastodon and Gojira, the tour will also include Norway’s Kvelertak and it will include dates in both the U.S. and Canada. A pre-sale for tickets and a limited number of VIP packages will become available this Wednesday, July 9, at 10 a.m. local venue time. General sales will begin on July 11.

Here’s the schedule (sadly for me, they’re skipping Seattle this time): Continue reading »

Feb 072014

(Last December, guest writer Johan Paulin compiled for us a wonderful feature on metal bands based in the relatively small town of Umeå in northern Sweden. Today he rejoins us with a lively show report from Umeå, along with photos he took at the event.)

While the rest of Umeå celebrated its inauguration as the 2014 European capital of culture (if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, neither do we), I headed out to the old slaughterhouse outside of town where Kvelertak, Spiders, and Håll det äkta were preparing to fuck shit up in a most royal of ways.

Truth be told, I was never really sold on Kvelertak’s eclectic mix of punk, metal, and Norwegian insanity. But their second album Meir had slowly warmed me over, and besides, given Umeå’s shitty geographical location, you’re pretty much required to attend whenever a foreign band shows up or have your metal license revoked.

Local band Håll det äkta started off the night with their nimble one-two bursts of hardcore smackdown, channeling both Refused’s first album as well as Gorilla Biscuits and Earth Crisis. With slightly silly lyrics in Swedish and a nasal singer, the band might seem like an acquired taste, but what they lack in vocal brutality they more than make up for with intense tremolo guitars, authoritative drum beats, and instantly mosh-worthy breakdowns that sent the crowd into a pit-frenzy. The band has a strong local following, and their dedication carried the band whenever they happened to lose the plot. Continue reading »

Feb 042014

Here’s Part 19 of our 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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.

Yes, I missed adding an installment of the list yesterday. I blame my continuing delirium over the Seahawks’ victory in the Superb Owl. And yes, it’s February and I still haven’t finished this list. I blame metal, for giving us so much to like in 2013. Now, with those excuses out of the way, here are three songs I’ve grouped together because, well, because they rock. And they’re vocally vicious, too.


Not every song on this list comes from an album that ranked high on a plethora of year-end lists, but this next one does. The Formulas of Death deserves all the praise it has received from so many quarters. It is a highly ambitious, remarkably accomplished album, full to bursting with musical ideas and hell-bent on breaking free of any kind of death metal strait-jacket that might confine the band’s creativity. It leavens the raw and the raucous with the exotic and the atmospheric — it’s a long album, but it’s endlessly interesting.

Tribulation don’t go in for cheap tricks, but they sure do know how to get heads moving when the mood strikes them. In the “highly infectious” category, the two strongest contenders are “Wanderer In the Outer Darkness” and “When the Sky Is Black With Devils”. I picked the latter.  Continue reading »

Feb 032014

As if winning the Superb Owl weren’t enough of a prize for the City of Seattle, this morning brought news of yet another prize:  Seattle will be the first date in a US tour that for my money will be a must-see event for 2014. Mastodon will be the headliners, with support from Gojira and Kvelertak.

The only problem with this announcement is that while all the press statements note that the tour begins in Seattle, I haven’t yet seen one that says WHERE in Seattle the show will be played, and Seattle is omitted from the usual list of dates and venues that have been appearing — all of which you can see after the jump. If anyone figures out the location, do let me know.

UPDATE (2/10/14): New dates/venues have now been added to the tour schedule, including that Seattle location. I’ve updated the schedule that appears after the post.

Goddamn, I’m excited for this show… Continue reading »

Sep 182013

About two weeks ago Norway’s Kvelertak uploaded a teaser for a new music video for the song “Evig Vandrar” (“Eternal Wanderer”) from their latest album, Meir.  I usually don’t bother posting about snippets of anything because I usually find more than enough complete songs and videos to write about every day. But this one looked so cool that I made an exception.

A few minutes ago, the entire video premiered. And guess what? It’s really fuckin’ cool!

The sci-fi themed animation is a feast for the eyes, and a bit of a puzzler for the mind at first. And it goes without saying (so of course I’ll say it) that the song rucks hard. Watch and listen next.  Continue reading »