During black metal’s most creatively fertile period in the early 1990s, a handful of Greek musicians forged an alternative musical path noticeably different from that of their Nordic peers. Their efforts would subsequently crystallize into the Hellenic black metal sound or style.38 Comments
Texas is a huge place, which is why Texas metalheads spend most of our time driving between cities to attend shows far away. We drive the equivalent of several eastern states — Texans measure distance between cities in a unit called a Massachusetts because that dinky little state is a great yardstick — just to see some of the many great bands that Texas has produced.
It is for this reason that Alfred Fuentes III is known to most of us. A fixture at Houston, Austin and San Antonio shows for the last two decades, he always shows up early and supports the bands through intangible ways as well as tangible. He has known many of the Texas metal musicians for even longer. Unfortunately, he has run into health challenges and to counter this, Texas metalheads are throwing a benefit bash to help his family.5 Comments
Swedish death metal/metalcore hybrid At the Gates revealed the cover artwork for their upcoming album At War With Reality and issued some details about the concept and purpose of the new work.
The artwork, designed by Costin Chioreanu, reflects the topical direction of the new album toward “magical realism,” a literary genre that emphasizes the fluidity of what we think of as a static and linear reality. Said Tomas Lindberg, vocalist:
The concept of ‘At War with Reality’ is based on the literary genre called ‘Magic Realism’. The main style within this genre is the notion that ‘reality’ is ever-changing, and needs to be constantly re-discovered and re-conquered.
The band also released some of the song titles from the new album, including “Death And The Labyrinth,” “The Circular Ruins,” “The Conspiracy Of The Blind,” “Order From Chaos,” “Eater Of Gods” and “Upon Pillars Of Dust.”
The album was recorded with Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman. Jens Bogren, who mastered the new work at Fascination Street Studios, had this to say about the musical experience that it promises:
At the Gates line-up:
Tomas Lindberg – Vocals
Anders Björler – Guitars
Martin Larsson – Guitars
Jonas Björler – Bass
Adrian Erlandsson – Drums
Agonized will violently sodomize the inner core of your fragile soul. – Sarjoo Devani/Explicitly Intense
Not every band from the frozen north aimed for melodic and energetic interpretations of death metal; many, like fellow Finns Belial or the Swedes in Obscurity, chose instead to write grinding cudgels of primitive bass noise that sounded like a winter avalanche of the soul overtaking all hope. Agonized created a six-song demo in this vein and sadly were lost to time after that point.
Gods… resembles a Scandinavian version of the ultra-primitive death metal of Morpheus Descends in that songs start with simple motifs, often two notes shaped into a compelling rhythm, and then ride that pattern through textural changes such as alternating tremolo/single-picked, tempo doubling, and layers of vocals. This pattern is then confronted with an oppositional pattern which is extremely similar, causing a kind of crossover which tends to find itself in a third pattern which is a mid-paced melodic overview of the previous two. It creates a result that must be like rising from the frozen wastes to walk along mountain ridges.
Perhaps most famous for its title track, which includes a distinctive riff shared between Agonized and Beherit (on both Engram‘s “Axiom Heroine” and Drawing Down the Moon‘s “Thou Angel of the Gods”), Gods… evokes the raw purpose of the death metal and black metal underground. This was not political music; it was a rejection of what civilization had become in its reliance on friendly, happy, positive, “human” values. Thus it turned toward the inhuman. These churning dark riffs and gurgling demonic growls convey the point aesthetically that the days of enlightenment have failed us, and darkness has come again, rising from below to destroy all who were fooled by the false light.10 Comments
Nocturno Culto, who forms one-half of the nefarious duo known as Darkthrone, has a long history of side projects. Among other contributions, he worked out the intricate riffcraft behind Satyricon’s Nemesis Divina, making it a favorite in that band’s catalog.
Now he has embarked on a new side project which is a pure traditional heavy metal band called Gift of Gods. Gift of Gods will release its debut mini-album Receive on Peaceville Records on November 5, 2013.
Commented Nocturno Culto, “Finally, the mini-album is done. Gift Of Gods has been a great ride for me. I don’t want this to end now, so I will most likely work on new material. Thanks to my partner in crime, K.A. Hubred, we got to rehearse during the last two years. What to expect? I have no idea how to describe this, but it’s metal for sure.”
Receive was performed and recorded by Culto and Hubred at Culto’s home studio, and mixed and mastered by Jack Control at Enormous Door, who recently worked with Nocturno on Darkthrone’s The Underground Resistance.
So far the only reports tell us this will be traditional heavy metal with a wide range of influences and that it will lead toward the melodic side of things. This EP/mini-album will be a half-hour of material including a cover of “Looking For an Answer” originally by obscure Swedish 80s band Universe.
- Enlightning Strikes
- Looking For An Answer
- Last Solstice
Fans of Amon Amarth will find their latest offering Deceiver of the Gods to be a solid continuation of the band’s heavy and bloody recapitulation of Norse mythology, albeit a little less heavy and a little less bloody.
Those new to the latest album by this 14-year-long line-up of Swedish death metal royalty will find a great introduction to their sound and ethos. While Deceiver of the Gods does not have the intensity of classics With Oden on Our Side or Twilight of the Thunder God, this album certainly offers everything expected of an Amon Amarth album.
The first two tracks, “Deceiver of the Gods” and “As Loke Falls” show a strong Iron Maiden influence. “Father of the Wolf” — for which a video is being produced — is thrashier. “Shape Shifter” is an epic song that proves a bit heavier than the offerings to this point. “Under Siege” steps things up nicely with a fairly intricate opening, a much more complex structure overall, and a couple of extra minutes to develop. At 6:17 it is the second-longest song on the album (and this reviewer’s favorite track) and exemplifies the melodic death metal aesthetic Amon Amarth has so adroitly sustained year after year, album after album. “Blood Eagle,” “We Shall Destroy,” and “Hel” are solid tunes if a bit tiring; “Hel” also features the vocal contributions of Messiah Marcolin, notable for his work with unique doom metal band Candlemass. “Coming of the Tide” drives harder, and the energy it brings — as well as tempo changes and nice guitar work — recall the intensity of earlier albums. The eight-minute epic “Warriors of the North” closes the album with classic Amon Amarth flair.
Those interested in the deluxe edition will find a four-song EP-Under the Influence– included. Each song appears to be a tribute to an influential band. “Burning Anvil of Steel” (Judas Priest), “Satan Rising” (Black Sabbath), “Snake Eyes” (AC/DC), and “Stand Up to Go Down” (Motorhead) constitute an intriguing contemplation of Amon Amarth’s sources.
Expertly produced, mixed, and mastered by veteran metal-maven Andy Sneap (originally of Sabbat UK), Deceiver of the Gods is a good album and well worth the asking price. Fans will appreciate the new material and those new to Amon Amarth and/or death metal will find this album a worthy introduction.
- Deceiver of the Gods (4:19)
- As Loke Falls (4:38)
- Father of the Wolf (4:19)
- Shape Shifter (4:02)
- Under Siege (6:17)
- Blood Eagle (3:15)
- We Shall Destroy (4:25)
- Hel (4:09)
- Coming of the Tide (4:16)
- Warriors of the North (8:12)
MANOWAR’s new studio album, The Lord Of Steel, will first be released worldwide on June 16, 2012 exclusively on iTunes and on the band’s own online store, The Kingdom Of Steel.
On the same date, Metal Hammer UK will release a special ‘Steel Edition’ of Metal Hammer #233, including the CD and a digital copy of the album.
The Lord Of Steel is blazing with pure power, untamed energy, and a sound as raw and wild as a force of nature. Track titles like Annihilation and Hail, Kill And Die! set the tone for a record that is packed with surprises.
In contrast to the 2007 release Gods Of War, this new album is not a concept album, yet each song tells a different story, retaining the MANOWAR vision of righteousness, honor and everything MANOWAR fans have come to know and love.
MANOWAR fans should expect to have “their heads completely blown off” said MANOWAR bassist Joey DeMaio in a recent interview, and explained that “…this album is all about brutality and raw power!”
Known for their adventurous spirit and for never releasing the same style of album twice in a row, MANOWAR have this time tapped into the world of action heroes and their stories, writing their first song specifically for a Hollywood movie, EL GRINGO and another one, Expendable, inspired by Sylvester Stallone’s action movie franchise ‘The Expendables’.
The band recently announced that El Gringo will be the theme song of the action western EL GRINGO, featuring Scott Adkins (‘Expendables 2’, ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’) and Christian Slater and produced by After Dark Films (‘An American Haunting’) and Joel Silver’s (‘Matrix’, ‘Lethal Weapon’) Dark Castle Home Entertainment.
“We were talking about a concept album but then got inspired to go in a different direction. This is where we are right now,” explained Joey DeMaio. “I’ve been doing research on getting the best microphones and pre-amps for the guitars. The bass sound is death defying. We’ve done a lot of work on drums too, giving Donnie room to stretch out. And Eric will simply sound bigger than life as always.”
The album will be mixed and mastered at the legendary Wisseloord Studios by long-time collaborators mixing engineer Ronald Prent and two-time Grammy award-winning mastering engineer Darcy Proper.
Upcoming MANOWAR headlining tour dates:
Sat, June 16, 2012 – Ost Fest – Bucharest, Romania
Thu, June 21, 2012 – Gods Of Metal – Milan, Italy
Fri, July 6, 2012 – Getaway Rock Festival – Gävle, Sweden
Mon, July 9, 2012 – Dortmunder Music Week Festival – Dortmund, Germany
CIANIDE premiere track from new album, their first in six years, set for release tomorrow!
Widely revered Chicago death metal cult CIANIDE are premiering a new track, “Dead and Rotting,” today at Metal-Army.com alongside an interview with the band. “Dead and Rotting” comes from CIANIDE’s brand-new album on HELLS HEADBANGERS, the appropriately titled Gods of Death, set for release tomorrow worldwide. The link to the track premiere can be found here: http://www.metal-army.com/?p=22698.
Already, CIANIDE’s Gods of Death is being hailed by the international metal press, even landing the band a covetted feature in next month’s issue of Decibel. Here are some snippets of the buzz currently circulating around Gods of Death:
• “Will make peers like NUNSLAUGHTER or JUNGLE ROT weep” – Terrorizer [4/5 rating]
• “Death metal at its most primitive, primeval, and downright punishing, ugly as sin and reassuringly predictable. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – Decibel
• “Exactly what it is intended to be: a well-done homage to early Celtic Frost” – About.com [B+ rating]
• “Comes from the oldest style of death metal…will confirm that the underground isn’t dead; it’s just overshadowed by the drama of the emotional-like-emo people” – Examiner.com
• “Cianide stay the course and leave an even longer trail of corpses” – Blabbermouth.net [8/10 rating]
• “Monstrous” – Popdose [10/11 rating]
• “Death metal as it should be, at its ferocious, bestial zenith” – Metalcurse.com [10/10 rating]
• “Proves that Cianide still has what it takes to be one of the more important driving forces of the underground metal world to date” – Apochs.net [9.5/10 rating]
• “For those who prefer their metal keeping its direct link and inspiration all the way to the glory ’80s, Cianide is one of the most obvious answers” – Dead Void Dreams webzine [9/10 rating]
• “A worthy effort from a band whose return is most welcome” – Metalreviews.com
• “Lots of bands are now jumping on the bandwagon, but these guys have been doing old-school since old-school wasn’t cool” – Wormwoodchronicles.com
• “This is the way death metal was meant to be: thick, groovin’ and brutal” – Brutal Control webzine
• “A superb death metal album that delivers exactly what you want: no-frills deathliness with no fancy trickery on the production or mix” – MetalTeamUK.net
• “Operate in a space between BOLT THROWER’s chugging surety and the more ominous, cavernous resonance of INCANTATION…one of our most devout, unsung US death veterans, and worth experiencing if you want nothing more than to ball your fists up and feast on human misery like a streetfightin’ troglodyte” – From the Dust Returned webzine
About Metal Army: Metal-Army.com is the new number-one online destination for the metal community! Featuring all of metal’s latest news, reviews, etc and guest writers that include Oderus Urungus (GWAR), Rob Dukes (EXODUS) and UFC fighter Dan Hardy (amongst others), Metal-Army.com is home to the best that metal has to offer. Metal-Army.com also hosts monthly bar nights across the country where metalheads can go to hang out with fellow metalheads, have some drinks, and see some of their favorite musicians spin their favorite metal songs during special DJ sets. Past DJs have included members of White Zombie, Exodus, Testament, The Cult, Neurosis and more! The next Metal Army Night is scheduled for August 9th at Idle Hands Bar in New York City at 9PM!
For more info, consult www.hellsheadbangers.com and www.myspace.com/cianidekills.No Comments