Jul 032018


This is a SEEN AND HEARD round-up that’s going under a different name today. If the reason for that isn’t already obvious from the title of this post, let me explain:

Below you will find new songs and one new video, plus a news item, from seven bands. One of them is by a band whose last release was 10 years ago. Three are from bands whose last albums came out eight years ago. Two more are by bands whose last albums were released six and four years ago, respectively. And the video for the last one is set in a time when if you wanted to watch a movie at home, you went to the VHS store.

I can’t take credit for the Robin WilliamsJumanji meme or the post title. That was suggested by DGR, and actually it was he (with an assist from Andy Synn) who foisted all these new songs and videos on me. Basically, today I’m just a marionette whose strings are being pulled by others. Let’s get this over with so I can go back to listening to really disgusting death and black metal. Continue reading »

Jan 212015

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth


I’ve commented before about the enormous flood of stream premieres, new album announcements, label signings, and other metal news that has been unleashed since the beginning of the year. But yesterday may have reached new heights of ridiculousness in terms of the number of noteworthy things I saw in a single day.

In fact, yesterday brought so damned much cool stuff that I’d either have to write a half-dozen posts or do what I’m doing here instead — just funneling streams, links, artwork, and news blurbs your way with a minimum of commentary. The bands are presented in alphabetical order — all 18 of them. In most cases, you can enlarge the cover art and photos by clicking on the images in this post. Continue reading »

Sep 102014

I’ve fallen behind in completing some reviews (one in particular) that I had planned to post on Monday of this week. Partly, this is the result of how many new music premieres and press releases of interest I’ve found this week. The last 24 hours have been no different. What follows is a sextet of such things.


One of this site’s favorite bands made this statement yesterday:

“We have some exciting news! To bridge the gap between TETRAGRAMMATON and our forthcoming album we decided to record some tunes from our first album The Apotheosis. This because The Apotheosis is sold out and we simply aren’t in for an ordinary repressing. We will release it as an EP+ some cool rare recordings we collected through the years. The title of the EP will be BLOODCVLTS & DEATHCVLTS.

At the moment we have no idea how and who will release this EP. Maybe it will be on vinyl, maybe on CD or maybe only on Itunes and Spotify. Stay tuned!” Continue reading »

Sep 082014


(In this post Andy Synn reviews a live performance from September 3 in Derby, England.)

I kind of knew already this was going to be a good night, even before setting foot out the door.  For one thing I have never, ever, seen a bad Unearth show — the Massachusetts maulers always bring it hard and hit that sweet spot between metal and core every time. Plus The Hairy Dog is a great venue, both sound and layout wise (and the fact that I wasn’t driving, so could enjoy a few beers, definitely helped too!).

But what would really make the evening special, and a tad bittersweet, was the fact that this would be potentially my last chance to see Shadows Fall live, as the band have announced they are going on an extended hiatus from touring. And, you see, Shadows Fall have been one of my favourite bands ever since I caught them supporting Kittie in Manchester back in February 2002, long before the release of The Art of Balance brought them to the attention of the metal-loving public at large, so this show really would mark, in many ways, the end of an era for me. Continue reading »

Sep 062012

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn made the trek to Germany for this year’s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival, and provided us with a review of the bands whose performances he witnessed.  We’ve divided the review into two parts. In this post, Andy covers the festival’s first two days, and tomorrow we’ll have his impressions of Day 3. We’ve also collected videos of many of the performances at the end of the post.)

So… German festivals go Thursday – Saturday, not Friday – Sunday… who knew? Well apparently everyone else in the world except for us, when we booked an overnight stay in Cologne on the Wednesday night! Still, Cologne was awesome, and only a mere four hours drive away…

Anyway, on reaching the site (after a desperate last minute rush to the petrol station – seriously, make sure you fill up before you reach the Dinkelsbuhl exit guys and gals!) we joined a surprising, infuriating, queue of cars, followed by an interminable security check… time was ticking away and Be’lakor (one of my primary reasons for going to the festival) would soon be taking the stage! So with some slightly rushed stunt driving (I’m pretty certain I went down that grass verge as much sideways as I did forwards) and a breathless scramble… we made it. Just.


Justifying our desperate, occasionally slightly risky, efforts to get to the festival on time, Be’lakor were undeniably awesome. Live, the Agallochian overtones of the music come through a lot more, a melding of misty melancholy with swells of oceanic heaviness giving the band a more distinctive and individual live presence. The group’s image is a little difficult to reconcile with the music though, encompassing a host of short haircuts, laid-back Australian accents, and inappropriate t-shirts! Shame on you guys!

The next band I was dying to see also happened to be one of my favourites, my loyalty to Darkest Hour forcing me to choose them in an unfortunate clash with Glorior Belli. And though it pained me to do so, I’m glad I did. Darkest Hour never disappoint, their punky, hyper-energetic take on melodic death metal fitting perfectly with the blazing sunshine and free-wheeling atmosphere of the festival. Plus, I was still yet to see them live with either the new material or the new line-up, and both absolutely killed it live. Continue reading »

Jul 112012

(You can probably tell from the spelling in the post title that our UK-based writer Andy Synn is responsible for this post.  What do you think of Andy’s picks?  What are your favorite solos?  Leave comments!)

Greetings true-believers! Ok, so after the review-fest of “Unofficial UK Week” last week (which I swear, wasn’t intentionally timed to coincide with Independence Day) I’m easing up a bit this week. I should have a review of a truly badass new album by a certain Norwegian band for you in the next few days, and I’m slowly working on another Synn Report and a longer column or two for next week, but for now I thought I’d drop the inaugural column in what I hope to be a semi-regular series highlighting “5 of my Favourite…” things.

Today I’ve chosen to pick out 5 (ok, 6 actually, but I refuse to change the title) of my favourite guitar solos. Not of all time exactly, just five that came to mind when I was doing some random listening recently. Future iterations of the column, if it proves a success, will feature other random “5’s” in whatever order they happen to occur to me.

Enslaved – “Ground”

First off we have the defining solo in “Ground” by Enslaved. It’s a well-known fact that Ice Dale is a true guitar god, managing to rock both a killer solo and a series of iconic rock poses with a shirtless flourish. I’d swear he was the black metal reincarnation of Jimmy Page, if not for the fact that Page isn’t dead yet. Continue reading »

Jun 022011

Damn, I’m finally able to go outside without shivering and being beaten about the head and shoulders with high winds and rain blowing sideways. That must mean it’s June in Seattle!  And so it is. A largely dismal May is behind us, the Seattle Mariners are astonishingly only a game and a half out of first place in their division (that’s baseball for you outlanders), and the summer lies ahead.

What else lies ahead? A bunch of new metal, of course. And because it’s the beginning of a new month, we’re bringing you another installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, in which 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 during April or preceding months, we wrote about them 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. Continue reading »

May 122011

Doesn’t it seem like whenever you see the word “metalcore” in commentary about new music these days, the word “generic” isn’t far away? The metalcore genre has now been with us so long that, at least in the eyes of metal “elitists” (so-called by, uh, fans of metalcore), it has become stagnant, stuck in the template that was hammered out more than a decade ago, recycling its familiar tropes and only rarely venturing into the realm of originality.

To be honest, that “generic” label could be applied to bands and albums in every genre of metal. Is it really more often true of new metalcore releases than, say, new death metal albums? And do we really need a band to break new ground in a familiar genre in order to find the music worthwhile? Or is it sufficient that a band know what they’re doing and do it well, even if there are no surprises in store?

Before “metalcore” became a dirty word in many metal circles, before the genre became saturated with formulaic music, there was Unearth. In our opinion, their albums have stood out from the burgeoning crowd, thanks to their talent for creating memorable hooks and melodies (and breakdowns) while preserving all that hardcore grit and aggression. It doesn’t hurt that they put on a head-busting live show — one of those bands we turn out to see whenever they get close to The Emerald City.

Unearth will be releasing their fifth album (Darkness In the Light) via Metal Blade on July 4, their first in two and a half years. Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage) produced it, and KsE’s Justin Foley laid down the drum tracks. Last night, as a warm-up to the release, Unearth uploaded a song called “Eyes of Black” to YouTube. After the jump, we have the song and a few more words . . . Continue reading »

May 022011

What the hell is that big yellow thing up in the sky? It looks vaguely familiar, but it’s appeared so rarely here in The Emerald City over the last six months that we’re having trouble placing the name. Well, maybe the name will come to us. The great wheel of the seasons surely must continue to turn someplace, but in Seattle it seems to have been stuck on Winter since, like, forever. In some parts of the world, April showers bring May flowers, but here, April showers will probably bring . . . May showers.

Okay, enough whining. At least we don’t get tornados dropping from the sky like atom bombs and wiping whole towns off the map. And even though the weather hasn’t been our friend, we have metal to make up for the cold shoulder — and there’s a bunch of new metal headed our way.

What we do with these installments of METAL IN THE FORGE is collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we cut and paste the announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

This isn’t a cumulative list, so be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported in previous installments. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. Continue reading »

Dec 012010

November is now in our rear-view mirror. December lies ahead of us: A perfectly good stretch of road marred by the speed bumps of the cataclysm that is Christmas. And on the other side of those speed bumps is the end of the year – the roadkill that is New Year’s Eve. And you know what the run-up to year-end brings — year-end lists. It’s already started, but the coming weeks will bring us a slew of Best of 2010 album lists. We’ll probably do our own Best of 2010 list — not the best albums of the year, but, as we did last year, the most infectious extreme metal songs of the year.

But we’re not quite ready to launch that list. Instead, we’re looking off into the future, not backward at the music that’s rattled our skulls over the past year. Yes, it’s time for another monthly installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, in which we cobble together a list of forthcoming new albums, cribbing like rag-gatherers and lint-pickers from PR releases and metal news sites like Blabbermouth in order to construct a line-up of new music that we’re interested in hearing.

All of our previous monthly updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages, and because we’re not keeping a cumulative list, you might want to check the last couple months of these posts if you want to get a full picture of what’s coming. The list that follows, in alphabetical order, are albums we didn’t know about at the time of our last installment, or updated info about albums we’d previously heard were on the way. After the jump, of course . . .

Continue reading »