Jan 092015


(Andy Synn reviews the forthcoming eighth studio album by Sweden’s The Crown.)

Don’t call it a comeback! Call it… actually, I don’t know quite what to call it. After all, it’s been quite a while (over four years, in fact) since The Crown released their original “comeback” album, Doomsday King, with new vocalist Jonas Stålhammar at the helm, and now they’re back again, with a new album and yet another shift in the line-up, as original guitarist Marcus Sunesson and original drummer Janne Saarenpää both departed the band before the new album was recorded.

Not only that, but Death Is Not Dead sees original vocalist Johann Lindstrand returning to the fold for the second time… replacing Stålhammar, who replaced him, after he replaced Lindberg, who replaced him originally… (confused yet?)

So, does this make Death Is not Dead the band’s real comeback album? I don’t know. But I do know that it means more of The Crown for me to salivate over. And that’s never a bad thing. Continue reading »

Dec 052014


I’m still on the east coast of the US working day and night for the old fucking day job and have had almost no time to search out new new music and write about it — until last night, when I did have enough time to round up this big collection of recommended new videos. Some of these you may have seen already since I wasn’t able to pounce on them with my usual alacrity and grace, but I’m willing to bet big money you haven’t seen all of them.

P.S.  The end is near — I’ll be back in Seattle by Sunday, and things should get a little closer to normal around here after that.  (Thank you, please hold your applause so that others may enjoy the videos.)


You’d think the mighty Behemoth would have done a live video before now, but this new one for “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” off The Satanist turns out to be their first ever. The video, which was filmed by Grupa 13, is really, really well done. Of course, the song is a blasphemous killer. Continue reading »

Oct 282014

Here’s part two of a round-up post I began earlier today. Collected here are the best of the new songs and videos that I saw and heard over the last 24 hours.


We reported last month that after the passage of four years since Sweden’s The Crown released their comeback album Doomsday King, which Andy Synn praised in one of his earliest posts for our site as “a masterpiece of wild fury and calculated aggression, blurring the lines between razor-sharp thrash and full-speed death metal”, they will be returning in January with their eighth album, Death Is Not Dead.

Century Media has also just released a 7″ vinyl single from the band that includes one of the new songs — “Headhunter” — plus the band’s cover of “Unfit Earth” by Napalm Death. And yesterday the band unveiled a music video for “Headhunter”. Continue reading »

Sep 172014


I’m a couple of days late with this news, but it’s too exciting to overlook.

Almost exactly four years have passed since Sweden’s The Crown released their comeback album Doomsday King, which Andy Synn praised in one of his earliest posts for our site as “a masterpiece of wild fury and calculated aggression, blurring the lines between razor-sharp thrash and full-speed death metal.” The album made several of our 2010 year-end lists, and I included the song “Blood OD” on our list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Needless to say, we’re very stoked about The Crown’s announcement that on January 15, 2015, they will be releasing their eighth album, Death Is Not Dead. Above, you can gaze upon the album’s cover art by Björn Gosses of Killustrations.

The announcement appeared on a new web site that the band have established, which also includes the news that on October 27 the band will be releasing (via Century Media) their first 7″ single, which will include one of the new songs — “Headhunter” — plus the band’s cover of “Unfit Earth” by Napalm Death. Pre-orders for that will begin on September 27. Here’s the cover art for the single, rendered by Giannis Nakos: Continue reading »

Apr 112013

(Andy Synn is back with yet another of his five-item lists of favorite things.)

TheMadIsraeli’s review of the newest Killswitch album (which I still haven’t actually gotten around to listening to) got me thinking, mostly about missed chances and wasted potential. As a fan of KsE, even I have to acknowledge that, due to a variety of factors, some beyond their control, some due to their own decision-making, the band may have squandered some of their early potential.

That may sound rather harsh; it’s not meant to be but it may sound it. But I think it’s unfortunately an accurate assessment of things as they stand. Losing Jesse, the stalling of their initial momentum while they recruited Howard, the more simplistic, mainstream leanings that sanitised their most recent work… all these combined with the general state of the music industry and some unfortunate timing, have meant that the band never reached the “megastar” status which was, however fleetingly, hinted at by their early potential.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Killswitch Engage are pretty damn mainstream, at least by metal standards, right? Well that’s kind of my point… we often forget, we proud underground warriors, that for most bands, being part of the metal “mainstream” means fuck all to the “actual” mainstream. Bands with legitimate underground cred who get the merest sniff of wider exposure are immediately attacked for “selling-out” even when they’ve not changed a thing, they just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

But what I’m talking about here are five bands who had the possibility, however slight, of achieving real recognition (mainstream or otherwise), real status, without sacrificing their integrity or identity, but for whom it never quite “happened”. Continue reading »

Dec 292011

(Andy Synn provides an unexpected SYNN REPORT, seizing upon the imminent calendar change to discuss the re-recording of 12 songs by 12 tremendous bands — and of course we’re including the music, which means 24 tracks. Fuck, this would be a mixtape that KILLS.)

So here it is, a surprise Synn Report to finish off the year. Arbitrary though the distinction may well be, the end of the year provides a perfect excuse to attend to a similar theme, the transition from the old to the new – re-workings and re-recordings.

Are they better? That’s an argument for the ages? Are they necessary? Hell, that’s probably an even worse argument to start up…

Primarily, re-recordings serve a twofold purpose – 1. to reinvigorate songs that might otherwise not be getting the set-time they deserve, and 2. – to royally piss off a band’s fan-base. Although there’s a chance that the second isn’t entirely intentional. Still, the re-recorded album courts controversy like almost no other, whether it’s a varied collection of songs that are chosen to receive the treatment, or a full re-recording of an entire album.

The full re-recording of an entire album is clearly the most contentious option, while single track re-recordings are often a much more successful and welcome proposition, most often appearing as b-sides and bonus tracks for the avid collector. The full-album re-recording, however, remains exceptionally and unequivocally divisive, alienating as many old fans as it attracts new ones.

So here’s a list of some of those renewed tracks that I think definitely have something to offer the listener, both old and new. I’m sure I’ll have to turn in my kvlt card after this, for promoting something so new and shiny, but ah well… Continue reading »

Sep 102011

Yesterday my fucking day job actually demanded that I work instead of blog. Amazingly harsh that they actually expected me to do something I’m being paid to do. How fucking medieval! The result is that this round-up of news and new music is appearing a day later than it should have. Like hemorroids and lung cancer, these things happen.

Despite a waning of some of the excitement that comes with being first and fast out of the shute, and instead being late and resigning yourself to watching the buttholes of all the other horses that got the jump on you, I’m forging ahead anyway, waiting for that massive kick around the last turn that will leave the buttholes in the dust.


Yeah, the black fucking tusk, with the John Dyer Baizley cover (above) for their new album, Set the Dial. This Savannah band’s 2010 album, Taste the Sin, was one we liked and wrote about last year (here), so we’ve been waiting for a taste of the newness, which we got yesterday. It’s a new song called “Bring Me Darkness”, which coincidentally is my order of choice at the bars I frequent. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 042011

All death metal, all the time — at least for today. We started with Deicide, and now we’ve just seen two new death-metal videos from the other side of the Atlantic. We can take the hint: The metal gods have commanded that we give equal time to the Swedish school of cranial carving.

Our first offering is from The Crown — a band whose 2010 Century Media release, Doomsday King, made a big impression on us and found a place on lots of the Best of 2010 lists we published at this site. The new video is for a song called “Falling ‘Neath the Heaven’s Sea”, which appeared on a 4-song bonus CD that came with the digipack version of Doomsday King. It’s a surprise compared to the songs on the album proper — but a nice one — and the video is an engaging montage of tour photos.

Our second offering is from another Swedish band called Puteraeon, whose debut album The Esoteric Order was released in Europe not long ago on German label Cyclone Empire. We have Johan Huldtgren (Obitus) to thank for turning us on to this band in one of his comments to an earlier post. We’re still waiting for our copy of the CD to arrive, but this new official video for the song “Coma” is proof that the wait will be worth it.  (We were saving this video for a special edition of MISCELLANY tomorrow, but we’ll find something else juicy from Puteraeon for that post.)

Both these bands carry the banner of Swedish death metal proudly, and the songs featured in these videos are excellent. Watch ’em after the jump. Continue reading »

Jan 102011

We’re down to the next-to-last installment in our list of last year’s most infectious metal songs. (Read this for our definition of “most infectious” and click the Category link called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2010 to see the other listed songs to date). Two more songs today and two more tomorrow, and we’re done.


Heirs To Thievery is another one of 2010’s best albums that we never got around to reviewing, though it appeared on several of our guest contributors’ lists of last year’s noteworthy releases. Johan Huldtgren gave it the No. 6 spot on his list and wrote: “More polished (good), less grindy (bad) than before this, it is still an amazing album.” Andy Synn included it on his list of the year’s “good” albums, explaining: “[A]t times [it] comes across as a good, but slightly less balanced, cousin to the career defining Traitors. Heirs To Thievery is not as strongly tied together as Traitors and lacks some of the gusto that was such a shock to many ears, perhaps exactly because we’d all been effectively spoiled by the superior goods offered up by Traitors.”

Although we agreed with Johan that the album is less grindy and more thrashy death than some of the band’s earlier works, it’s still a mauling dose of aggression with blazing, intricate riffage and over-the-top drum-pummeling. At the same time, despite the turbo-charged rage that screams through every song, the music triggers the need to move (as well as the desire to punch the shit out of something). The best song on the album — “You Lose” — is also one of the most infectious extreme metal songs we heard last year.  (more after the jump, including the music . . .) Continue reading »

Nov 122010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s guest post comes to us from Dan, who apparently is now called The Artist Formerly Known As Dan. Dan is an American temporarily transplanted to Adelaide, Australia. He has a list for you.]

So, I realize it’s cliche to make one of these lists (and maybe a bit premature?), but they’re usually useful for several reasons.  Firstly, it allows me to shamelessly plug the bands I like and push my agenda on you.  Secondly, it allows you to post lists of the records I forgot and tell me why my first list was wrong.  I can then subsequently go back to the records I may have forgotten or never owned in the first place.  Everyone should theoretically win here, since there is always music overlooked or forgotten about throughout the year.  So, let’s begin.

10. The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – Danza III: The Series of Unfortunate Events

Technical, but so brutal.  A perfect recommendation for someone who listens to too much vanilla-breakdown deathcore (and, for some of you, “too much” implies listening to any deathcore at all).  I highly recommend seeing them in concert; they bring tons of energy.  Yippie-Kay-Yay-Motherfucker.

(more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »