Century Media has reissued third rate Gothenburg melodeaf band Gates of Ishtar’s first two studio albums, The Dawn of Flames and At Dusk and Forever, remastered by Dugout Studios (vinyl mastering by Patrick W. Engel) and with new artwork from Juanjo Castellano as the original artwork was “really ugly” according to the band. The band should have been more concerned with writing worthwhile material than artwork for lame, cash-in releases on the popularity of In Flames and other competitors with VH1’s adult contemporary lite rock. Gates of Ishtar were not “melodic death metal masters” but warmed-over bouncy speed and power metal for a late 90s mallrat and Wacken audiences just like the most of their contemporary bands from Gothenburg, Sweden when they weren’t making outright pop music.
Sepultura‘s Morbid Visions is my favorite thirty year old album. Released in Brazil on November 10th, 1986, Morbid Visions saw Sepultura slither past the primitive Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, and Sodom worship of their initial Bestial Devastation extended play (included as a bonus on almost all CD versions of Morbid Visions) and into ultraviolent, progressive but still primitive, death and black metal.
Unaussprechlichen Kulten have a new record, Keziah Lilith Medea (Chapter X), coming out on Iron Bonehead Productions June 2nd. Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath was good so this is one of the few death metal releases this year that Death Metal Underground is looking forward to. Hopefully our staff won’t stick the CD in the toaster upon hearing the new Sammath record.
Finnish death metal band Abhorrence are releasing a live album of their comeback performance at the 2013 Tuska Open Air Festival. Totally Vulgar – Live at Tuska Open Air 2013 is coming out February 10th on Svart Records. Svart released an earlier anthology of the band, Completely Vulgar, that was some of The Best Underground Metal of 2012.
Morbid Angel (Trey Azagthoth and Steve Tucker) have finally found a new drummer: Scott Fuller of Annihilated and Abysmal Dawn. Instead of Morrisound, the band is currently recording a new album with Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) at his Mana Studios and the drum tracks have been laid down. Expect digital, plastic sounding sterility.
Immortal are recording a new album next month. Demonaz will be the primary songwriting for the first time in almost twenty years. Will the KISS of All Shall Fall continue with Abbath kicked out of the band for refusing to kick drinking and drugs? Will Demonaz continue from March of the Norse or Blizzard Beasts? Let’s find out!
New Zealand war metal band Heresiarch are set to record a new album in February of next year according to a recent post of the band’s in the Nuclear War Now! Productions forum. Death Ordinance will be released by Dark Descend Records.
Graveland‘s 1050 Years of Pagan Cult rerecordings of Rob Darken’s greatest hits from the best of Graveland‘s black metal period is available now for download on Bandcamp. This release appears to be another rerecording for losers with iPhones who want to hear old songs with a modern, less necro production.
Graveland announced a new album of studio rerecordings of prior material and premiered a new music video for “Thousand Swords” on their Facebook page. 1050 Years of Pagan Cult comes out this November.
After Slayer‘s foray into narrative composition on Hell Awaits, Slayer could have taken any number of directions in the then fertile metal landscape: gone in for the throat of aggression, matured their pubescent approach to long-form content, or paired down on riff quality for focused but circular songs. Reign in Blood was something of a compromise bred to appease more Floridian tastes which crave motion before coherence or purpose. The album is brief but bookended by two of the better songs in their discography which daftly elevate the questionable content residing in between. The remaining material siphons off of the paired down and quintessential “Angel of Death” by meandering in whatever assortment of good but disconnected riffs the Hanneman/King dichotomy happened upon in between Heinekens; held together in tacit alliances by a sweltering pace which exhausts itself right as the title track closes the record. The foresight required to write an album such as this is commendable but Reign in Blood is not Slayer’s watershed moment if for nothing more than the sheer amount of disposable songs – not riffs – which constitute the majority of the runtime. This uncomfortable fact goes unrecognized due to the sheer brevity of this work. Yet as I wrote this brief paragraph I must have recited the full album in my head at least a few times and I have not listened to the album is many years. May the resolve of Reign in Blood’s memetic warfare continue to withstand assailants from the ever flowing genre compost bin and grant listeners to the strength to withstand the torrents of nature herself.