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
Cash grab alert! After giving the classic board room “fuck you” to cornerstone musician Abbath, the corporate conglomerate of Demonaz and Horgh have secured the legal rights to the band name “Immortal” and are now positioned to promptly squeeze their fans to blindly buy music and merch advertised as that of a Norwegian black metal legend. Although the pair have only played together on one album out of 12, they’re billing this as “the comeback of Immortal!” and have already gotten the infamously money-hungry Nuclear Blast records to set up the most overused rock n’ roll ponzi scheme.
Together, the pair have released a new song “Northern Chaos Gods,” the title/intro track of their first foray into commercialized rehash. So how did the miraculous (fake?) recovery of Demonaz’s tendonitis work out? Exactly how far into the waters of retro-rehash did the band wonder? Have they evolved even the slightest as musicians or do they remain forever trapped in the 90’s? As trust fund life-dropouts living in the woods at the expense of their family might say:
“Let’s find out!”11 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