Jul 232015

Kataklysm-Belphegor tour


Just a few quick notes in here about three new North American tours that were announced within the last week. Two of the headlining bands — Kataklysm and The Black Dahlia Murder — also premiered new songs yesterday, so I’ve included a stream of them below as well.


This is an interesting mix of co-headliners — Canada’s Kataklysm (whose new album Of Ghosts and Gods was given an initial assessment by Andy Synn for us here) and Austria’s Belphegor (whose most recent album was 2014’s Conjuring the Dead). The complete schedule is below, but first, a video… Continue reading »

Jun 242015


Under normal circumstances, I would have included this song in a round-up of other new songs, but I decided to give this one stand-alone attention because the trajectory of The Black Dahlia Murder has been such an interesting one to watch. For an extreme metal band, they are tremendously popular, they have a lot of musical talent in their ranks, and they’ve got a larger-than-life, charismatic frontman. But in certain quarters of metal fandom, they’ve sort of been permanently stuck with a metalcore or deathcore label despite the evolution of their sound since 2005’s Miasma and Trevor Strnad’s self-professed “long, intimate love affair with death metal”.  And if you haven’t been paying attention, their sound clearly has evolved, and the evolution has clearly been purposeful.

I’m one of those people who wasn’t a big fan in the band’s early days, even as their visibility and popularity skyrocketed, but have been warming up to them as time has passed (for example, I enjoyed Everblack more than any of their previous releases). And so I’ve been curious about what their new album Abysmal would sound like, especially after seeing the fantastic cover art, which seems to scream “magnified brutality inside!”.

This morning one of the new songs popped up on YouTube, apparently a leak, and so it probably won’t be around for long (though today is the day previously appointed for release of the first single and the launch of album pre-orders). Its name is “Vlad, Son of the Dragon“. Continue reading »

Oct 032014


(Leperkahn continues to pitch in during my round-up hiatus.  Between what I sent him and what he found himself (of which there was quite an overlap), this is a monstrously large collection of recent, recommended goodies.)

Hey all! So a bloody lot of things got put up between when I sent in my last roundup and now, so this is gonna be a long one, since I’m not in the mood to separate them out. Strap in for a wild ride across the metalsphere.


A few hours ago a new song named “Clarissima Mundi Lumina” from the new Blut Aus Nord album Memoria Vetusta III — Saturnian Poetry was made available for listening. This follows our own premiere of “Paien” right here. Islander says his review of the album will be posted on Monday, but he says there’s no point in waiting — just go pre-order the album in a special digipack CD edition here or on vinyl here. You can listen to “Clarissima Mundi Lumina” while you’re doing that:

https://www.facebook.com/debemurmorti Continue reading »

May 142014

(In this post our man BadWolf reviews the performances of Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Gorguts at the Columbus, Ohio stop of the DECIBEL MAGAZINE TOUR, and the photos are his too!)

For the purposes of this review, let’s accept a false dichotomy: that there is a real and tangible difference between ‘mainstream’ extreme metal music, and ‘underground’ metal music. It’s a bullshit claim perpetuated by a self-important blogosphere and a sometimes-right-sometimes-wrong minority of metalheads with a serious penchant for nostalgia, but assume for a moment that it is true.

If so, then up until three years ago, the large package tour was exclusively in the domain of mainstream metal music. Mayhem, Summer Slaughter, and their progenitor, Ozzfest, are each the domain of the popular music industry. Even the Metal Alliance Tour falls into this trap to a lesser degree (mostly in its over-abundance of bands with too-short set lists).

The occultocrati’s sole entity in this realm has become the Decibel Magazine Tour, which year after year has presented solid and cohesive lineups that stand on the razor’s edge between critical acclaim and commercial viability. It was a bold move in 2012: when I caught that first Decibel tour (reviewed here), there was no guarantee it would happen again. Who could have predicted the way that the tour would break the careers of bands like In Solitude, or poise groups like Behemoth and Watain for the kind of massive album sales they’ve enjoyed since. Continue reading »

May 112014

(DGR brings you this collection of bonuses, because he loves you. Well, maybe not you in particular, but the idea of you.)

Don’t worry, I know ninety percent of the time whenever my name pops up it’s because I’ve got another long review written up, and believe me, I’ve got three of those in the works. I’ve found myself stricken with a bit of writer’s block at the moment, though, so I began to distract myself by starting this article that you see here, and since then have found myself expanding upon it more and more. Now I am generally interested in potentially digging up rarer tracks and doing a series on them.

One of the things that has always aggravated the completionist side of my mind has been the release of limited editions and the inclusion of bonus tracks. I know I’m not the only one, but when it comes to content I tend to be one of those people who absolutely devours it and I need every single piece of it when it comes to albums that I have enjoyed and loved over the years. Of course, this often means there are always one or two songs that I discover later, recorded around the same time and included on some odd Japanese or rare edition, and oftentimes those songs are also great. But a lot of people may not even be aware that those tunes exist.

So what I found myself doing recently was starting to record my thoughts on bonus tracks in my regular reviews of albums here. However, there have been occasions when I really wish I had gotten the chance to go more in depth with those songs, or wound up neglecting them for many a reason — the review copy didn’t have them, general forgetfulness, or just no way to add another paragraph to the already ridiculously long tome of a review I had written. However, I still had those thoughts half-recorded or germinating, and I figured I’d finally take the time to expand upon them and let people know about some of the recent extra songs they may have missed and whether they’re worth hunting down. Continue reading »

Sep 232013

(Our Nottingham-based writer Andy Synn reviews the live carnage of The Black Dahlia Murder and Aborted in Manchester, England, on Sept 21, 2013.)

What a line-up, right? There was no way I was going to miss this show. Even going so far as to reschedule a Bloodguard practice for midday in order to give me enough time to get back, get changed, and head out again on my road trip across to Manchester.

So that’s what I did. Finished practice, pelted to the car, shot home, sorted my shit, out and dived back in the car. 80.5 miles. Approximately 2 hours travel time. Easy.

Hit a bit of traffic on the way, but no major issues. Navigated Manchester town centre without hassle (I grew up round there, so have a bit of an advantage) and parked up, finally rocking up to the venue just before seven…


I missed Revocation. Continue reading »

Aug 142013

I’m still catching up on what has happened in the world of metal since yesterday. Here are a few more items worth talking about.


A bit earlier today I wrote about the latest artwork, news, and music concerning the new Skeletonwitch album. If I’d just waited an hour, I could have included the fact that Skeletonwitch are embarking on a North American tour this fall with The Black Dahlia Murder (as the headliner) and Fallujah. And on selected dates, that group of miscreants will be joined by Wolvhammer (who are vicious killers in their own right) or Noisem (also murderous).

This is going to be one very fine evening in the pit of musical hell. Unfortunately, it appears I will have to get in the car to visit hell, because the tour isn’t going to hit Seattle. To see if it will threaten your town, check the schedule after the jump. Continue reading »

Jun 242013

Seeing The Black Dahlia Murder performing while dressed in tuxedos is only one of many “what the fuck?” moments in the band’s new official video for “Goat of Departure” from their new Everblack album. The montage of stills shown above gives a taste of some of the others, but there are a lot of ’em packed into the four minutes of mayhem you’re about to see.

The performance shots were filmed at the downstairs bar at The Magic Stick in Detroit. Ben Meyer directed it. Presumably, no goats were harmed in the making of this video. Watch it next. Continue reading »

Jun 082013

Saturday morning in Seattle. I’m up and moving around (slowly). Still need to finish that writing project for NCS I mentioned in the last post, but I thought I’d throw this out there in the meantime: Beginning about an hour ago (9 a.m. Eastern Time), Metal Blade began streaming The Black Dahlia Murder’s forthcoming album Everblack in its entirety. So you don’t have to take our word for it that the album is excellent.

But the album stream will only last for 24 hours, so if you’re curious about Everblack, don’t dawdle. Go HERE.

Jun 042013

(Andy Synn wrote the following essay.  However, I picked the image above, just so you don’t go believing that Andy is proclaiming his own wisdom.)

So if you’ve been following the site for a while you’ll hopefully have gotten some sense of the personalities of The Big Five ™ involved in the day to day running of things. You’ll probably know a bit about our general preferences, our particular style of writing, etc.

And if you know me, you’ll know that I’m always coming up with ideas for new ongoing columns. Some of them stick around pretty well (The Synn Report being the obvious one here) and some of them fall by the wayside.

What I’m going to try and do with this one is simply produce short/semi-short pieces of my musings on what it means to review and write about metal, the good parts, the bad parts, etc… basically just a series of random observations written up as inspiration comes to me. No real order or agenda. It just seems like it might be interesting (to some people anyway) to get an insight into my/our process when writing for the blog.

So, without further ado, let me present to you part 1 of ‘The Art Of The Review’: Continue reading »