Help finish Birth A.D.’s debut album!

Birth A.D. is in the final stages of producing their debut full-length, “I Blame You”, and they need your help! A good independent production isn’t cheap, so anything you contribute to assist in the mixing and mastering process of this soon-to-be classic of crossover thrash is appreciated.

Your donation will be commemorated with the inclusion of your name on the album’s thanks list, and you will be counted as part of the new Birth A.D. fan club, the Seven Billion Graves Brigade.

The Misfits had the Fiend Club, Voivod has the Iron Gang, and this is your chance to get your name immortalized as a collaborator and conspirator! Years from now when the band is huge, overrated, and not half as cool as when they started off, you can break out the album everyone really liked and say, “There’s my name!”

Pledge now, and CAUSE PROBLEMS!

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Burzum – Umskiptar

The good news is that it’s more clearly Vikernes writing this record. His previous voice, like his previous actions, seemed to get swallowed up by the notions of his “advisors.” As a result, previous albums did not sound at all like something he touched at all with his personality. This album re-engages his soul a bit more but remains a deliberate use of his talent to produce something cut to form, and the form is what is dictated by the audience. The result is to repeat the error of modern society over again: the people are led by economics or politics, instead of the other way around. While song structures vary somewhat, Umskiptar is designed around the verse-chorus model with melodic choruses and rhythmic, upbeat verses. Like many pasted-together projects, these are united with chromatic fills or conventional devices borrowed out of classic metal. While this album is not as cynically manipulative as the new Napalm Death, for example, it falls short of what made Burzum great, which was an innovative thinker opening up his mind and creativity to the audience. Like his mentor Tolkien, he took people on an adventure with what was and might be again. With Umpskiptar, the listener feels as if he is in one of those Disney-ride type “folk metal” bands that is mostly rock music with folk touches. Bands have been doing this since the 1970s… it has never succeeded, because people regress to the mean and in this case, it’s the archetype of rock and not folk. Vikernes’ early influences come out here, with muffled-chord riffs that sound straight off the first Destruction LP and what sounds like Iron Maiden influences. Musically, it’s adept enough that no part is offensive, and his use of three-part riff clusters as in traditional music is much appreciated, but it doesn’t add up. The whole is not greater than the parts and no atmosphere is created, thus the whole time we are aware that we are modern consumers listening to a modern musical product. Further, the riffs, tempi, themes and transitions are very similar, which in the absence of prior atmosphere does not cause a deepening but a sensation of floating on the surface. Many of the vocal tracks are entirely chanted in the death metal voice, which creates a ludicrous sensation of being yelled at by a drunk guy on the subway. By the time we get to “Valgaldr,” which sounds like an outtake from a bad stoner doom metal album, the lack of energy going into this album is evident. It’s ridiculous to expect an older musician to recapture his younger days. However, it’s equally ridiculous to sabotage a good musical brand by turning it from something rare and brilliant into something pedestrian with interesting “touches” and “accents.” That cuts to the real problem with this album and all post-jail Burzum: they’re boring. Not unmusical, but sparse in density with songs obviously patched-together “to be a song” and not to have any voice of its own. The new crop of teenagers he wants to sell albums to may enjoy this but it’s not distinctly better than its competition enough that it will endure as anything other than an SKU#.

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Napalm Death “Utilitarian” & Terrorizer “Hordes of Zombies”

Napalm Death – Utilitarian

In rock ‘n’ roll, it’s better to die young. Even that is a cliche, but so is rock itself. Formed when corporate investors found a way to combine blues, country, folk and pop into a single product, rock has no real soul and so it pretends. The result is a parade of cliches and you hope that if you change the order enough, you become the next Jim Morrison or Morrisey. The sad truth is that rock bands come in two types: the ones who have three albums worth of good ideas and then burn out, and the ones who make the same song over and over again when they run out of energy. If a teenage version of yourself ever walked into a record store and spotted the guy with thinning hair, faded tattoos, and a bunch of stories and even more excuses but no accomplishments, you know what the new Napalm Death is. This is the sound of exhaustion pretending it has vitality for long enough to sell the slop to the kids and move on. The songs are built around the same tired chord progressions, which are barely even progressions in any sense except chromatic patterns at convenient places on the fretboard. The rhythms and riff ideas come from past Napalm Death albums, with a few influences borrowed from older death metal scattered throughout. On top of this, the aged suit-wearing corporate rock Napalm Death throws a single “outside” nuance per song. One tries to imitate the noise/avant-jazz of the early 1990s. Another is halfway to being a Rite of Spring tune. Still another apes the blur-core aesthetic of the new style of grindcore. Others try to return to the bouncy glory days of Fear, Emptiness, Despair or Utopia Banished. Underneath the skin however there is a total lack of ideas or even the guts to just go ahead with something that feels right. This is a cynical, manipulative album hiding a plastic soul which just wants your cash. In aging into oblivion instead of dying young as rock heroes, Napalm Death have made a mockery of everything they stood for. By wrapping this in a trendy surface and trying to pull the works of classic death metal over them like a camouflage mantle, Napalm Death have created a gateway into this genre from the soulless and burnt-out. You have made us all hipsters. Avoid this horrible album.

Terrorizer – Hordes of Zombies

Melba toast has a crunchy exterior, yet turns soft in your mouth. Lightly toasted, it is sweet upon contact with saliva, and will never upset your digestion. In fact, it is like baby food, except that it is crunchy. The new Terrorizer is baby food, true, but it’s awesome baby food. The band have focused not on innovation, not on a nifty surface, and definitely not on topic, since they’re beating the dead couch of the zombie album. What they did do was make something that’s easy to digest but unlike almost all metal released at this time, it’s coherent. Riffs fit together and make sense, even if a kind of pidgin. Rhythms mate effortlessly yet have enough variation to give depth to the compositions. Much of this is pure chromatic, but it captures the momentum of a good riot or fistfight. As a result, it’s easy to listen to and yet maintains its intensity throughout. If you can get over expecting something of emotional profundity like World Downfall, and instead look for the Terrorizer equivalent of Napalm Death’s Fear, Emptiness, Despair (or even Aura Noir’s Black Thrash Attack), you will find in this album a guilty pleasure. It throbs with aggression and yet by not attempting anything too complex, always manages to deliver. There is no attempt here other than to make an energetic, fun, musically-competent grindcore album and Hordes of Zombies rages supreme in this area. Oddly the only new influences seem to be a later Swedish death metal melodic tendency, and a study of riffs from the recent post-death metal era in which the punk riff and the recycled speed metal riff have crept back in. Wisely however Terrorizer keep their music extremely basic, along the lines of the first Brutal Truth album, but give it compelling rhythms and an underlying furor that makes us tune in to see how such violence can also be so much fun to listen to.

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Divine Eve preview of 2012 album

We were fortunate enough to hear a preview of the new 2012 album from Texas doom/death occult conjurers DIVINE EVE. The result is resonantly good: further developing the sounds of their last EP, Vengeful and Obstinate, the band have filtered their classic material through its own influences and brought out a stronger, clearer version.

In particular, the bulk of the material heard here are classic CELTIC FROST-style droning verse passages. These are complex and follow the rhythms of the lyrics with several variations. Even when uptempo riffs, reminiscent of CIANIDE, carve their way into each passage, the overall mood of a pervasive and inexorable doom is maintained. On top of this the band pile dark choruses straight off an early CATHEDRAL record and exchanges of death metal riffs that give meat and density to each song, and PARADISE LOST-style lead melodic riffing that drapes each song in an aura of mystery and potential.

What makes this material more advanced than past DIVINE EVE is its consistency. Each part relates to every other part, no matter how simply. There is no extraneous material, or riffs fumbling around for a place in a stream of similar riffs, which gives these tracks more of the early metal feel of NWOBHM or 1980s doom metal. Some of the pacing has a NYHC feel as well, which when played against the CELTIC FROST-style trudging riffs gives the material an almost industrial but apocalyptic and mystical feel. From the sound of this preview, the DIVINE EVE album for 2012 will be a crushing odyssey of doom/death metal.

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Dead Can Dance 2012 tour dates

We are pleased to announce that the Dead Can Dance World Tour will visit 15 North American cities in August and September 2012.

You can see a complete list of all the dates announced below, and, as with Europe, we will have full ticket links on www.deadcandance.com when they become available.

Information on the current Onsale dates is available from the site.

Look out for special Presale details which will be sent directly to you TOMORROW via this mailing list !

AUGUST

9th – Orpheum, Vancouver, BC, CANADA
10th – Marymoor Amphitheater, Seattle, WA, USA
12th – Greek Theater, Oakland, CA, USA
14th – Gibson Amphitheater, Los Angeles, CA, USA
17th – Red Butte Garden, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
19th – Temple Hoyle Buell Theater, Denver, CO, USA
21st – Pritzker Pavillion at Millenium Park, Chicago, IL, USA
23rd – Sony Center for the Performing Arts, Toronto, ON, CANADA
24th – Bell Centre, Montreal, QC, CANADA
26th – Verizon Hall – Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA
27th – Filene Center, Wolftrap, Vienna, VA, USA
29th – Beacon Theater, New York, NY, USA
30th – Beacon Theater, New York, NY, USA

SEPTEMBER

4th – Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN, USA
5th – Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, Atlanta, GA, USA
7th – Austin City Limits TV – Moody Theater, Austin, TX, USA

Dates for the South American and Asian legs of the tour will be announced shortly. As always, you will be the first to know

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Winglord readies “The Chosen One”

This another band from the Lord Wind-created category of medieval ambient soundtrack neofolk-ish stuff. Their first album, Eroica, sold out quickly. It is similar to Lord Wind but a bit lighter and brighter and more inclined to show instrumental prowess. The new album, The Chosen One, hits our shores this year.

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Self-censorship is awesome

There’s something everyone should be aware of concerning Nokturnal Mortum’s NeChrist.

I’ve owned that album since I was like 17 or so, and I’m very familiar with it. Recently, I didn’t feel like digging it out, so I said, fuck it, I’ll just download it and play it on my computer. Something was missing. Yes, something was definitely missing. An entire song. So I downloaded a different rar, then a different zip… ALL OF THEM WERE MISSING THE SONG.

What song am I talking about? The song where they blatantly stated their political motivations in the song title. OK, but the track is listed here… NO incorrect track listing.

Why was this done? Whoever uploaded the fucking files wanted you to NOT have that song but THINK you did- they went as far as to rename the 88 tracks of nature sounds as an actual song. – Black Metal Jihadist

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Cianide “A Descent Into Hell” re-issue

Cianide A Descent Into Hell (with bonus tracks)

Rising from the depths of “The Windy City”; Chicago’s finest death/doom threesome Cianide delivered its first death blow to the underground in 1992. After some initial praise from 1992’s “Dying Truth,” Cianide assaulted eardrums with what many consider their finest hour, “A Descent Into Hell.”

Pure, unadulterated death metal and almost 20 years after its initial issue; 1994’s “A Descent Into Hell” is finally available on CD once again. Almost 80 minutes (includes 1993’s “Kills” demo and two unreleased tracks) of true death metal that Cianide has been delivering for almost a quarter of a century.

“Cianide plays TRUE death metal exclusively!”

Cianide A Descent Into Hell 2CD $10+SH

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Impiety – Ravage and Conquer


Impiety – Ravage and Conquer

This album is thoroughly enjoyable energetic and simple death metal which incorporates enough hints of melody and harmony to give the songs memorability. However, on the whole it belongs to that category of bands which are guilty pleasure bands by design. They do not aim for profundity, but rather intensity. We might list Vader and Angelcorpse as well, or maybe early Grave, because they have a similar low-tech approach. There is not much that is musical about this release. It is pure rhythm, with the aforementioned musical elements tacked on to keep your interest. But as rhythm, it has the intensity of later Angelcorpse and the raging power of broad basic statements that propelled early Grave. Its songs are not as memorably constructed as those on Exterminate or Into the Grave, have more the intensity of mid-period Vader, but in a time of feeble self-pitying rock bands trying to be hipster “metal,” it’s gratifying to find something with heart. You will tap your feet to these energetic, propulsive tunes and appreciate the sheer violence out of which they are created. Unlike many recent albums which drag you along for the ride, Ravage and Conquer drops you into the middle of it and makes you fight your way out.

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