Jan 052012

Swallow the Sun blend melodic doom and death about as well as it can be done. We’ve been eagerly awaiting their new album, Emerald Forest and the Blackbird, which is due for release on February 13 by Spinefarm. We already posted a preview of what the album holds in store at this location. And now, we have a first taste of the music.

Today, Terrorizer premiered an official video for the song “Cathedral Walls”, which features the vocals of Anette Olzon (Nightwish) in the chorus.

The first half of this nearly 7-minute song is all melancholy, the sorrow of bereavement, all clean vocals from Mikko Kotamäki and Olzon. Pretty and atmospheric. And then as the ashes fall to the ocean, the shit gets heavy, and it’s the heavy side of StS that I wait for in their songs. It’s usually worth the wait, and I’ve even come to enjoy the build-ups and the denouements.

No big surprises here — it’s Swallow the Sun doing what they do — but it’s a satisfying introduction to the new album. Watch and listen after the jump. Continue reading »

Oct 012011

September is behind us. Here in Seattle, it was such a beautiful month that it seemed like nature’s compensation for how late the summer started. Unfortunately, with September’s end, we’re on a short track to the onset of winter, which means about six months of short, cold, grey, ceaselessly wet days. Ain’t that just fuckin’ great?

Well, bitchin’ about the winter ahead won’t change one fucking thing. I prefer to think instead about the deluge of new metal that’s headed our way and try (momentarily) to forget about the deluge of rain on the horizon. Which brings us to the latest monthly edition of METAL IN THE FORGE.

You know the drill:  In these posts, we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — this isn’t a cumulative list. If we found out about a new album before August, we wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. As usual, also feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that you’re stoked about. Continue reading »

Dec 162010

We’re down to our last two posts in this Finland Tribute “Week” series. Today, for the sake of completeness, we’re betraying the title and thematic focus of this site. Of the three bands we’re writing about today, only one — Apocalyptica — is a band whose music is on our personal playlists, and none of them fits our definition of extreme. But in terms of global appeal, they’re certainly among the most popular quasi-metal acts to come out of Finland in the last decade. So, we’re paying respect to them through this post. While gritting our teeth. For the sake of completeness.


Apocalyptica started in 1993 when four classically trained cellists at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki started playing Metallica songs on their cellos. They released a debut album in 1996 (Plays Metallica by Four Cellos), consisting entirely of Metallica covers. Their second album, Inquisition Symphony (1998) included more Metallica covers, plus songs by Faith No More, Sepultura, and Pantera. As fun as it was to hear metal songs covered by cellists, many people (including us) thought this would be a one-and-done novelty act.

We couldn’t have been more wrong. The third album (Cult, 2000) included mainly original songs, and the fourth one (Reflections, 2003) was nothing but original tunes and included drums along with the cellos (with Slayer’s Dave Lombardo providing the drum tracks). Guest vocalists began to appear on the band’s albums, which led to even greater heights of sky-rocketing popularity. Now, with nine albums in their discography (including a couple of “best of” releases), the band has sold over three million records worldwide and has played somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 concerts in 50 countries. Some novelty act.

We’ve seen Apocalyptica in concert twice, and their shows are massively entertaining. The live productions are slick, but these dudes work their butts off on stage, and the fun they have while playing is irresistibly infectious. And yes, a lot of their music legitimately qualifies as metal, despite the hard-rock feel of most of those songs with guest vocalists. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »