Neurosis “Of Honor Found in Decay” European tour

neurosis-honor_found_in_decayNeurosis got a bad rap among metalheads because most of us got introduced to this innovative band at the peak of their career, when metal journalists and radio were pushing the metalcore trend and wanted us to consider Neurosis part of that movement.

The reality is more complex. Neurosis started out as a terrifying hardcore band with completely alienated approach to modern living, and has since then continued to grow and develop, forging a new style of hardcore-metal hybrid.

Music around them has tried to catch up, but when you’re ahead of your time as much as Neurosis has been (consistently) over the last two decades or so, patience is required. However, more people are warming to the radical sounds and ideas of this innovative band.

Of Honor Found in Decay, the most recent Neurosis album, has spawned a European tour worthy of such a vast musical effort.

NEUROSIS Honor Found In Decay European Tour

  • 5/24/2013 Primavera Sound Festival 2013 – Barcelona, Spain
  • 5/25/2013 La Grande Halle de la Villette – Paris, France w/ Swans
  • 6/21/2013 Hellfest – Clisson, France
  • 6/22/2013 Eurocam Media Center – Lint-Antwerp, Belgium
  • 6/23/2013 Substage – Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 6/24/2013 SO 36 – Berlin, Germany
  • 6/25/2013 Grey Hall / Christiania – Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 6/26/2013 Betong – Oslo, Norway
  • 6/27/2013 Byscenen – Trondheim, Norway
  • 6/28/2013 Bravalla Festival – Norköpping, Sweden
  • 6/30/2013 Palladium – Warsaw, Poland
  • 7/01/2013 Lucerna Music Bar – Prague, Czech Republic
  • 7/02/2013 UT Connewitz – Leipzig, Germany
  • 7/03/2013 UT Connewitz – Leipzig, Germany
  • 7/04/2013 Magnolia – Milano, Italy
  • 7/05/2013 L’Usine – Genf, Switzerland
  • 7/06/2013 Rote Fabrik – Zürich, Switzerland
  • 7/07/2013 Eurockeennes Festival – Belfort, France

De Profundis – The Emptiness Within

de_profundis-the_emptiness_withinEvery age has its conventions that set a target for those who aspire to success. When they achieve a fulfillment of those conventions, the aspirants have entered the elite and expect great reward to follow.

In our time, “progressive” rock has returned with a vengeance in the metal/hardcore world. It takes two types; the avant-garde type cycles between radically different riffs in an attempt to open the mind through contrast, while the jazz-type builds on a jam and then breaks it up with contrasting riffs to keep the jam going without becoming circular. De Profundis is of this second type.

What comes to mind when hearing this record is that Cynic and Atheist put their second and third albums into a room and nine months later, out popped De Profundis. This band mixes metal riffs of several different types with a cocktail jazz ambiance and plenty of delicious lead guitar, but builds up tension and release much like a hard rock band from the late 1980s.

The result is very easy to listen to. The jazz format is the most efficient for musicians, as it doesn’t require creation of custom song structures like other prog does, and it absorbs basically anything you can throw at it. De Profundis throw everything in there, from Satriani-esque quick pentatonic runs to dark minor key improvisation, and the result will enthrall people who like a high degree of internal contrast in their layered music.

Like dub or a really free-form jazz jam, De Profundis songs revolve around a central conflict that encounters interruptions which lead back to the theme. It’s the interruptions that are the main course, ironically enough, because these allow extended rhythm leads and leads that showcase the playing skills here.

It’s a slight to this band to call them “metal,” because it’s clearly only one of several dozen ingredients, but a wide diversity of metal riffing can be spotted here, from Swedish melodic to early black metal. All of this fits into a funky, warm, jazzy exterior that fulfills the expectations of its age’s elites.

Morgengrau – Extrinsic Pathway

morgengrau-extrinsic_pathwayMorgengrau unleash an album described as classic death metal, while in actuality it sounds more like 1980s metal merged with progressive death metal from a decade later. Despite being a relatively new band, Morgengrau includes several experienced players alongside enthusiastic new blood, and the result shows on this thoroughly professional album.

With detuned guitars, death vocals and cluster-munition drumming, Morgengrau tears into songs like a death metal band. However, songs are structured more around vocal/guitar cadences and lengthy fills in the style of later Exodus, augmented with progressive touches that are reminiscent of later 1990s Death. This makes them easier to listen to than riff salad and gives them more of a compelling groove.

Extrinsic Pathway features the hooky rhythms you might expect from a classic 1980s speed metal album with the more elaborate atmosphere of a progressive metal band, without the noodly flights of fancy of prog metal. Lead guitars are elegant and yet obscure, and rhythm guitar is rigid with enough swing to give it a groove of its own. In this, it’s reminiscent of Death’s The Sound of Perseverance.

A cover of Sepultura’s “Inner Self” finds a home in the middle of the album and complements the other tracks, which pick up in intensity from the mid-paced death metal model to more of a ripping death metal pace as the album goes on. On the whole, this is a good first effort as this band finds its voice in the raging chaos of extreme metal.

Sammath releases new rough mixes

Sammath, Dutch-German furious black metal band, continues to work toward the release of its next album, Godless Arrogance.

To this end, the band released two tracks in demo form from the forthcoming album on Folter Records. These show the black/death thrashing hybrid that this band has become over the years.

On the new album, expect the instrumental prowess of 2009’s Triumph in Hatred with a stripped-down and vicious style more akin to 2006’s Dodengang. The band shows high confidence going into this album and it will be great to see it hit the shelves soon!

This world must burn

Birth A.D. – I Blame You

birth_a_d-i_blame_youBack in the 1980s thrasher music — a hybrid of punk and metal listened to by skateboarders — was big. In the 2000s, Birth A.D. has resurrected this style not through retro-nostalgia but by picking it up where it left off and taking it further.

Thrash grew up from simple short and fast punk songs with metal riffs and reached its peak with S.O.D.’s Speak English or Die and D.R.I.‘s Crossover. These albums packed the intensity of the blur-speed earlier work into lengthier songs with more emotional depth and variation. Birth A.D. picked up from that point with their first EP, Stillbirth of a Nation, which kept the chunky riffing but added melodic vocals and song structures customized to the topic of each song.

Returning with wisdom and more vitriol, I Blame You shows Birth A.D. reforming their style. The album comprises songs from Stillbirth of a Nation matched to new material which is tighter, faster and harder-hitting. It hits both with ripping riffs and militant time changes, but also with a greater internal contrast between themes which gives these songs a greater poetic intensity.

Lyrically, Birth A.D. emerges straight from the thrash tradition, which is to criticize our society as having made a wrong turn somewhere and now heading for doom. The lyrics defy categorization unless you imagine a systems architect looking at modern society as a whole and suggesting changes that management has overlooked for its own reasons. Of note is “Popular War” which criticizes the tendency of people to really enjoy killing other people when it’s easy, fail-safe and creates a good opportunity for business.

The original thrash movement burned out because it burned too bright. It had a lot to say, but instead of drawing it out into long dramatic pieces, it blasted us with rapid-fire alienation. Easily understood, it was rarely understood, because it was too radical. Birth A.D. bring this idea back not by imitating it, but by upholding its spirit, which makes for an exhilarating and violent listening experience.

Live stream of Revel in Flesh – Dominate the Rotten

revel_in_flesh-manifested_darknessTaking their name from an Entombed song, Swedish-style metallers Revel in Flesh mix Motorhead-esque rowdy roadhouse metal song formats with Swedish death metal riffs and production.

Like many of the newer generation, they combine the heavy metal style melodic Swedish metal with the more hardcore influenced old school death metal which kicked off the movement. The result is easy on the ears like a Motorhead tune, but has all the bass and crunch that an alienated outlaw anti-social metalhead might need.

One thing that’s refreshing about this band is that they are not trying to rehash the past. They’re trying to be a metal band with influences. The result is that this is not first album Entombed. It’s Revel in Flesh, and unlike some of the recent bands, it offers not nostalgia but a current sound of heavy metal style death metal.

We are pleased and excited to, in coordination with Clawhammer PR and Revel in Flesh, offer you this live stream of a song named “Dominate the Rotten” from the new Revel in Flesh album, Manifested Darkness.

For your listening pleasure:


Revel in Flesh
“Dominate the Rotten”
Manifested Darkness
FDA Rekotz (2013)

Supuration – Cube 3

supuration-cube_3No one doubts the importance of style, but at the end of the day, style is not what makes one album great and others mundane. Like a technique used in painting, style is essential to convey particular meaning, but its inclusion alone doesn’t make the painting great. Only the skill of the artist and the composition of the painting can do that.

Supuration emerged years before the current alternative metal and progressive metal trends, mixing 1980s dark pop and indie with a strong progressive undercurrent in the style of Rush or Jethro Tull. Their legendary album, The Cube, divided metal listeners because while it had many aspects of off-mainstream rock, it sported death metal vocals and metal riffs. However, it also made them many fans who liked their adventurous use of music and very personal, evocative songwriting.

Cube 3 hits the target set by this first album by not imitating the style of the past but instead developing changes to that style naturally and focusing instead on songwriting. This allows Supuration to gratify older fans but not force themselves into acting out the past as remembered from a far off-distance. The style is mostly similar to The Cube, being alternative/indie-rock harmonies mixed in with metal riffs and progressive chord progressions, melodic leads and oddball song structures.

What makes this album work is that each song unites two concepts: first, a pop style hook; second, a theatrical staging of the conflict between two or more tendencies. These songs pull themselves apart between bassy heavy metal riffs, bittersweet vocal melodies, and intricately picked melodic guitar that expands the context of the music and shows a broader context.

These songs are full of musical oddities picked to stimulate, amuse and delight, but what fundamentally drives this band is its songwriting which has a strong connection to the idea of metal. The result is a metal hybrid that keeps the intensity of metal while creating a technical achievement that also has the emotional appeal of negative pop.

Prong European tourdates 2013

prong-beg-to-differ-1990Prong is hitting stages across Europe this summer as part of a wide-reaching tour. If you’ve been looking for a chance to witness this legendary band, now’s a good time, especially if you’re in Europe or work for an airline.

The story of Prong begins with their mid-1980s origins as a messy hardcore/metal crossover thrash band with their Force Fed and Primitive Origins releases that set new standards for raw intensity. Some musical experience later, they released their mid-paced speed metal classic, Beg to Differ.

As they describe it, they were art school grads trying to make metal. The sound they embarked upon eventually integrated some aspects of art-rock into metal, and has never gone for a full-on traditional metal vibe. In recent years, the band has gone further into its own style, starting with Cleansing, that more resembles the power-pop and late hardcore mix of bands like Helmet fused with some of the underground metal acts.

Their newer material continues in this vein but with modern metal influences. If you’re out there on the European continent, catch them live this summer with these handy tour dates:

June 23, 2013
Clisson, FRANCE
Hellfest

June 25, 2013
Luzern, SWITZERLAND
Schüür

June 26, 2013
Freiburg, GERMANY
Cafe Atlantik

June 27, 2013
Mannheim, GERMANY
Alte Seilerei

June 28, .2013
Dessel, BELGIUM
Graspop Metal Meeting

June 29, 2013
Dordrecht, HOLLAND
Bibelot

June 30, 2013
Münster, GERMANY
Sputnikhalle

July 12, 2013
Zlin, CZECH REPUBLIC
Masters Of Rock

July 14, 2013
Novi Sad, SERBIA
Exit Fest

Revel in Flesh – Manifested Darkness

revel_in_flesh-manifested_darknessRevel in Flesh explores the area previously inhabited by recent Swedish tribute bands such as Entrails, who mix the bludgeoning simple music of Grave or Suffer with the wisps of melody that make recent Swedish death metal offerings both listenable and murderous.

Riffs slam along with a rudimentary intensity that resembles that of battlements carved roughly from ancient rock, but then are contrasted by melodic single-picked leads that add an infectious hook to the relentlessly compelling rhythm. Over this, two vocal tracks play off each other in the style of older Carcass.

Manifested Darkness bypasses imitating first album Entombed for the more ear-catching sounds of the recent Swedish death metal revival, which mix the cudgel-like chromatic riffing of early Swedish death metal with the relaxed song structures and 1970s heavy metal melodic and chorus riffs that bands like Unanimated and Desultory used to great effect.

Having Revel in Flesh discover its own path instead of emulating the past works out well for the band. Like later offerings from Fleshcrawl, little time is spent on complex arrangements that take five minutes to get to the point. Like early Motorhead, these songs are rough and ready and charge right into their groove and then exploit it. As each song reaches conclusion, riffs shift and melody leaves a sense of lingering loneliness and isolation.

On Manifested Darkness, Revel in Flesh upholds the best Motorhead-ish tradition of simple riffs and verse-chorus song structures with transitions to liven the experience. It reminds me of Motorhead’s 1916 crossed with Entombed’s To Ride, Shoot and Speak the Truth.

The soaring melodies and melancholic moods conceal how much roadhouse heavy metal hides within these album. The trademark crunchy “Swedish style” distortion accelerates the classic metal power of thunderous riffs and gives this album a balance between rocking out and musical destructiveness that any heavy metal fan will appreciate.

Interview with Ian Mackaye by Shane and Amy Bugbee

Shane and Amy Bugbee, authors and entrepreneurs who helped organize the Milwaukee Metalfest and interviewed metal luminaries including Jeff Becerra and Gene Hoglan, also interviewed Ian Mackaye of Minor Threat.

The interview occurred as part of the year-long tour of America that forms the basis of their book, The Suffering and Celebration of Life in America, in which they basically traversed America hobo style.

Ian Mackaye and Minor Threat were part of the American hardcore punk scene which followed closely on the English scene of 1977-1983 that provided the formative basis for metal and punk after, and instrumental in both the founding of the straightedge (SxE) and post-hardcore (Fugazi, Rites of Spring) scene.