Jun 022012

Happy Saturday to one and all.  I am awake and adequately caffeinated now, only moderately hung over from Friday night’s revels, and therefore able to type.  My thinking capacity is only on a par with that of the lower primates, but this is not unusual, so I am forging ahead with our first post of this first weekend in June.  And really, this post doesn’t require much thought, because it involves free music.

The first offering comes from Century Media. They have compiled a free sampler of songs from bands who are scheduled to perform at the SUMMER BREEZE festival in Germany on August 16 – 18. It’s a hell of a compilation, too, with songs from the likes of Insomnium, Napalm Death, Darkest Hour, Crowbar, Deicide, Asphyx, and Vallenfyre. Though it’s unlikely that every band is going to appeal to every metalhead, I’d be surprised if you don’t find some tunes to like, even from bands whose music you don’t already own.

To get the download, you do have to surrender an e-mail address and expose yourself to email marketing campaigns from Century Media and its affiliates, so there is that hitch. But otherwise, this is free, and you can get it via this link.

But that’s not all.  I found another just-released free compilation worth mentioning, and it’s maybe even more delicious. Continue reading »

Dec 192009

wacken10smallVans WarpedYesterday, NCS Co-Author IntoTheDarkness posted a piece on the brutality of German extreme metal bands. In an episode of synchronicity, this morning I saw three news updates about festivals scheduled for 2010 — one in the U.S. and two in Germany. And the comparison speaks volumes. On the one hand, we have the 2010 Vans Warped Tour spreading across the US next summer like a brain-sucking plague. On that tour, you’ll have the opportunity to see such stupifyingly awful bands as Attack! Attack!, Breathe Carolina, and Eyes Set to Kill. There are a few saving graces on the tour — Parkway Drive, Suicide Silence, and Whitechapel. But suffering through the rest of the 67-band lineup for the opportunity to see those dudes would be worse than a garden-hose colonoscopy without anesthesia.

SUMMER_BREEZE_2010On the other hand, next year in Germany we’ll have the latest installments of (a) the Summer Breeze festival scheduled for August 19-21 in Dinkelsbühl; and (b) the Wacken Open Air festival scheduled for August 5-7 in (where else) Wacken, Germany. At Summer Breeze, you could see the likes of Asphyx, Barren Earth, Behemoth, Dark Tranquillity, Despised Icon, Dying Fetus, Hypocrisy, Necrophagist, Obituary, Sepultura, Swallow the Sun, The Crown, and Maroon. And Wacken Open Air will feature bands such as Amorphis, Arch Enemy, Caliban, Immortal, Iron Maiden, and Slayer.

What’s really mind-blowing about the contrast is that those German festivals, each spread over just a few days in a single location, will draw tens of thousands (e.g., 70,000 tickets were sold for the 2009 edition of Wacken Open Air more than 200 days in advance). To get that kind of attendance in the U.S. for metal, you apparently need to have a line-up of largely craptastic bands and a schedule of about 40 dates in 40 cities.

To be fair, the German festivals draw crowds from all over Europe, and the U.S. does have some legitimately extreme festivals that are drawing headbangers in increasing numbers (the Maryland Deathfest, now in its 8th year, comes to mind most prominently). But still, so far, it’s no contest.

For full lists of the bands scheduled to date for these 3 tours, continue reading after the jump.

Continue reading »