Memoriam Announce New Record Out Early 2017 on Nuclear Blast

Memoriam nuclear blast

Memoriam, the new project of Karl Willets and Andy Whale from Bolt Thrower with former Benediction members Frank Healy and Scott Fairfax, have signed to Nuclear Blast Records and announced an upcoming album for early next year. Since they’re on Nuclear Blast, fans should expect a sterile production even though Andy Whale doesn’t use triggers. From Nuclear Blast’s press release:

Nuclear Blast proudly announces the signing of MEMORIAM, the death metal band founded by Karl Willetts (BOLT THROWER) and Frank Healy (BENEDICTION)!

MEMORIAM was primarily developed to fill the void that was left following the tragic death of Martin ‘Kiddie’ Kearns, the drummer from BOLT THROWER, back in September 2015. BOLT THROWER subsequently placed all activity on hold for the foreseeable future, which gave vocalist Karl Willetts an opportunity to develop a new project with friends, that had expressed interest in forming a band for some time.

Comments the band:
“The war rages on… It is with great pleasure that MEMORIAM announces that we have signed a recording contract with Nuclear Blast Records.

“Throughout our long careers, 30 years to be precise, within the music industry and specifically within the death metal scene we have witnessed the growth of Nuclear Blast Records to become the number one record company within our genre.

“When we started MEMORIAM back in January 2016 we intended just to form a band to go into the rehearsal rooms to jam out some cover versions of old classic songs that had influenced us in the past along with some cover versions from the bands we had played with over the years, and maybe eventually do a few low key gigs.

“With the introduction of Scott Fairfax into the line up all this changed, Scott has brought with him a wealth of killer riffs and new ideas which has totally changed things around from our original intentions. Very soon we decided to scrap the idea of being a covers band and to formulate our own songs using these riffs and ideas that Scott introduced to us, and from this we developed a whole load of new crushing brutal old school death metal songs which we are very proud of and can’t wait to unleash upon the world!

“When we started developing the songs we talked about the possibility of signing to a label and releasing an album, at that point we all decided that if Nuclear Blast approached us we would sign to them. This is because amongst all the labels out there none have a better relationship with the bands on their roster, none communicate better with both the bands and the fans of the music. None care as much about the music and the scene as Nuclear Blast Records.

“Nuclear Blast currently boasts the best artist roster of all the labels within the death metal genre, we are proud and honored amongst this list! 2016 is the year of MEMORIAM. Let the resistance begin…”

Markus Staiger, CEO of Nuclear Blast, adds:
“Being a lifetime fan of both BENEDICTION and BOLT THROWER, it is with great pride that I announce that the new band of Frank Healy and Karl Willets has now joined the Nuclear Blast family! Following the first news regarding the band, I have been keeping a close eye on them and was very curious to hear their material.

“Besides me, a lot of metal magazines have been in touch with the band even before they had heard a single note of music, while the band has also received many invitations to play several summer festivals. After hearing their first demo songs I was completely sold and knew that I had to get in contact with Frank and Karl to seal the deal. MEMORIAM will please all the fans of old school death metal and especially the worldwide fan base of BOLT THROWER and BENEDICTION! With bands like MEMORIAM, Nuclear Blast remains the no # 1 in extreme metal!!”

MEMORIAM maintains the standards set by their previous bands, focusing on the themes of death, loss and war. Initially, the band members got together to play covers of songs that had influenced them throughout their careers within the death metal scene. However, it soon became apparent that the new songs they had created were of a superior quality and that they needed to be heard. Currently the band is tentatively scheduled to release their debut album in early 2017 via Nuclear Blast Records.

MEMORIAM is:
Karl Willetts (BOLT THROWER) – vocals
Frank Healy (BENEDICTION, SACRILEGE) – bass
Andy Whale (ex-BOLT THROWER) – drums
Scott Fairfax (ex-LIFE DENIED, BENEDICTION) – guitars

The upcoming record probably won’t be as good as the prime period of Bolt Thrower’s career so enjoy For Victory!

Humiliation – Honourable Discharge (2016)

humiliation_-_honourable_discharge

This band is a pretty decent Bolt Thrower clone, with two caveats: their riff-writing relies on Pantera-blockhead phrases based purely in rhythmic expectation, and their songs are extremely simple in form in part because they are based around tropes borrowed from albums by that English band.

Continue reading Humiliation – Honourable Discharge (2016)

Upcoming War Master Anthology

war master compilation

Japanese label Obliteration Records is releasing a War Master anthology CD consisting of both the debut Pyramids of the Necropolis LP and the Blood Dawn EP, along with a slew of bonus tracks from demo tapes and splits. The Houston, Texas throwers of bolts are one of the better modern death metal bands and a perennial on Death Metal Underground’s best of lists. This release will be an easy way for Hessians in Asia to obtain the band’s material on a physical format.

For all Death heaz in Japan,
Finally, Bolt Death Metal WAR MASTER attack in Japan!
They will change battlefield here and take no prisoners!
Are you ready to die??

Obliteration records proudly release their Blood Dawn EP + 1st album and bonus trax on CD format.
Limited of 500 copies in Asian coutry only.
First sale on their Japan tour in May.

Join us.
May the Metal be with you

Listen to War Master and “Sever the head that does not bang!” on their Bandcamp page.

Karl Willets and other death metal musicians form Memoriam

memoriam

Memoriam is very, very, very early in its history, to the point that their Facebook page only showcases a few rehearsal photos  but it’s beginning to build up some buzz, at least for its membership. Besides the aforementioned Karl Willets (of Bolt Thrower) and Andy Whale (also formerly of Bolt Thrower), the current lineup also features members of Benediction and Cerebral Fix. Bolt Thrower’s studio output withered after the 2000s due to bandmembers not being pleased with whatever they wrote after Those Once Loyal, so it’s worth noting that this could turn into a venue for part of the band to write and release more material. No guarantees of quality, though.

David Ingram (Benediction, Bolt Thrower) has tantrum over defense of free speech

benediction_-_subconscious_terror_-_david_ingram

Popular music is a hard gig. To maximize your chances, you quit doing everything else and it becomes your only option in life. Then if that turns out poorly, you have the choice of being a 40-year-old shelf stocker at the local grocery, or swallowing your pride and becoming a cheesy third-ring entertainment figure. For this reason, musicians — especially those who first bands did not make the final cut of election to “favorite” of the public — tend to pander, flatter and provoke the public whenever they can. The resulting drama is the only thing standing between them and putting those cans on the shelves.

And yet, drama finds us all. It started on Twitter. Drama often starts on Twitter:

david_ingram_-_twitter_drama

To clarify what is happening here: some armchair white knight decides that because some guy out there does not like homosexuals, there must be a social activity consisting of people gathering to hate on this guy. As usual, I point out the reality-based analysis which is that his opinion does not concern us; let him do his thing, and you do yours, and stop being a busybody nanny state jackbooted interloper simply because your life is boring and your society is failing and you want a scapegoat for all your problems. Grow up, in other words.

That set off a chain of nasty replies. According to David Ingram (Benediction, Bolt Thrower): if you defend free speech, you are on the side of “hate” and you are a very, very bad person. To him, defending the right of people to coexist is the same as endorsing the most extreme of their opinions, even though I never said anything in support of what the guy said, only his right to say it and the maturity of letting him enjoy that freedom over there without our action against him. Free speech works when the other guy says what he wants, and you say what you want, and you do not directly intervene in one another. Boycotts and mob attacks change that, even if non-violent, and we all suffer as a result.

Not wanting to let a good dialogue drop, I took it up with Ingram when one of his promotional spams hit our inbox:

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Again we see the formula: defend free speech and you are a Nazi.

Join the angry mob and you are “good.”

Interesting to see Mr. Ingram cave to this. I suspect he is just doing it to try to keep his (flagging) career alive, and I have sympathy for that. But one can never truly have sympathy for those who use bad logic and are motivated more by hatred (of anyone who disagrees with them) than a desire to do right.

Realm of Chaos re-released in FDR audio

bolt-thrower---realm-of-chaosBolt Thrower‘s Realm of Chaos album will be re-released by Earache Records on Monday 18 February, 2013.

This time around, it’s been pressed from the master tapes in Full Dynamic Range audio, which according to Earache means the album is

at its optimum sound quality, with full dynamic range and in its highest resolution. No loss of quality, no compromise. To put it simply, this is, without doubt, the best sound this album has ever had!

Realm of Chaos was originally released in 1989 and according to our review it shows how the band’s grindcore leaned towards the grandeur of death metal, making this album an amalgamation of the epic and the youthfully energetic.

The release includes a DVD of the Bolt Thrower performance at the “Grindcrusher” tour in Nottingham, where they played seven of the albums songs on 14 November, 1989.

Bolt Thrower to attend Maryland Deathfest

Bolt Thrower liveEnglish battle poets Bolt Thrower will, according to their homepage, be playing at the Maryland Deathfest on May 23rd, Chaos in Tejas Festival in Austin a week later and Tuska Open Air Festival (Finland) on June 28th. At Deathfest they’ll be joined by Antaeus and Carcass among others.

Bolt Thrower made deathy grindcore during the late 80s and early 90s probably culminating in the epic …For Victory (1994).

May 1st 2010 – Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Rotting Christ – The Next Offensive

Awakened in remorse

To rebuild from destruction

Recreate life’s evolution

Returning from the brutality of a Bolt Thrower show to recollect the events that defined it brings to mind the task of Ernst Junger, depicting the graphic scenes of martial violence and destruction in his soldier’s memoirs, ‘Storm of Steel’. Not merely the sounds of war and chaos, but the philosophy of death is what one has to confront on such a stage, and this sums up the depth of the Bolt Thrower experience. The great elemental gods of Britannia fired the opening salvo of the evening, unleashing a torrential downpour on the troops to be in attendance once conscripted into the dismal but still functional ULU venue, around the University College London site and home of the un-elite Utilitarian philosophy. A single flash of lightning, probably striking the Cenotaph for the war dead a few minutes away in Whitehall, would indicate that this night belonged to only one elite group, and the slowly multiplying hordes as if signalled to the venue by this storm omen, proved that the headliners were in everybody’s iron sights.

In the meantime, some fairly well-known bands would run through comparitively uninteresting sets in order to plug new albums or just an association with Bolt Thrower on this Next Offensive European tour. For the one unknown band, clearly grateful to the Coventry squadron for being able to provide opening infantry support, Ancient Ascendant took to the stage with some confidence and raged through their set infront of the minimal crowd at this time. The sound was not good and the technical setup of the venue’s sonic equipment would be a recurring issue throughout the night, usually leaving bands with an unbalanced sound. Even less impressive was Ancient Ascendant’s music, which was practically educated by the newer schools of Death Metal exclusively, sounding like a more frivolously melodic version of Bloodbath. A lot of generic rhythmic business with some predictably inserted flourishes of lead guitar lines and none of the compositional sense that at the very least ripping-off the old school Death Metal formula would have imbued the songs with by default. Even the next band, The Rotted’s only listenable song was from the older generic Gorerotted project, which is not much less moronic than The Rotted who are really damn retarded in this incarnation, with their stripped down songs consisting of one riff from a later Cryptopsy song played out as blasting Punk music. It’s also quite strange and not recommended to watch old, drugged up men performing breakdowns.

Considered by many as nothing more than a brief distraction, this was soon forgotten as the once powerful entity of Promethean Greek Black Metal took to the stage and the floor swelled with eager hordes. For someone that reveres the older fraction of their catalogue as highly as the Nordic classics, the Rotting Christ set provided both frustrating disappointment but also possibly the biggest surprise of the evening (not the appearance of Diamanda Galas). The transition from ancient Heavy Metal-inflected compositions of blackened mysticism to a boring and cheap form of fast and extreme Rock music with pseudo-cultural embellishments that would make Vangelis either laugh hysterically or summon the wrath of Mars upon Sakis and company, was made quite some time ago when the band sold out to Century Media and although the recent jump to Season of Mist has only marginally improved the quality of their music, the bulk of their songs is blockheaded rhythmic work that wouldn’t sound out of place on a System of a Down joke and disembodied keyboards typical of mainstream Black Metal bands to accompany the minute flickerings of nostalgia that is the signature Rotting Christ melodic style, the same tactic used by fellow Greeks, Septicflesh. Within this disastrous but obviously crowd-pleasing selection of tracks was something quite unexpected given the current direction of the band and their most recent live performances. Almost as though the old spirit of Necromayhem broke free from his sealed confines, the band launched mercilessly into ‘Sign of Evil Existence’, flooding the crowd with a sea of beautiful, extended phrasal work, causing an absolute frenzy and evoking the first old school invocations of the night. Not content with such a brief introduction to arguably the pinnacle of their early discography, ‘Fgmenth, Thy Gift’ continued the magic of ‘Thy Mighty Contract’ with the folky but regal opening riff surging into those magestic, ascendant patterns of guitar. The higher register key of these older songs manipulated the flatness of the sound setup brilliantly, with every note perfectly audible and a memorable contender for song of the entire show.

Benediction were next on stage, an aging group of Death Metal punks fronted by Dave Hunt of Anaal Nathrakh, Mistress and Never Mind the Buzzcocks fame, who nearly talks as much shit on stage as Barney Greenway, including an embarrassing appeasement of some girl’s sob story about a now deceased Benediction fan, thankfully met with a shout of ‘Only death is real’ from the front of the crowd. The set itself was a typically reliable collection of songs spanning most of their discography, better suiting the live environment than on CD, inducing as much violence from the crowd as their primitive, bouncy Death Metal can, like ‘Harmony Corruption’-era Napalm Death meeting ‘Tower of Spite’ by Cerebral Fix. It wasn’t much of a loss to have a guitar cut out during their stint, as the rest of the band seemed to push onwards, building up as much aggression as possible and justifying their placement on the bill, though it was huge relief to hear the end of Benediction at long last, for the lights to dim and the next offensive to commence proper.

Anticipation was immense for the legendary Grindcore/Death Metal ensemble and the battle hordes pushed forward like a scene from Braveheart, rivalling the force of a 90,000 strong audience gravitating towards the celebrity status of Metallica. Faint sounds of approaching war lingered from the amps over the field as Bolt Thrower finally took to the stage and launched straight into the sombre yet mammoth opening riff to ‘IVth Crusade’. The deliberate, sinister pacing of the double bass began to roll through and the crowd imploded into deadly chaos and aggressive force. As bodies began raining from the skies like mortar fire, crushing necks and leaving temporary indents of fallen victims, the atmosphere became thick with the smell of blood, sweat and the disturbing fragrances of shampoo. A large bulk of the set consisted of tracks from the last album but these were all delivered with enough power and rousing, anthemic vigour to blend seamlessly with the more skillful dynamics and evocative melodies of the older songs, from the brilliant rendition of ‘World Eater’ into ‘Cenotaph’ to the unforgettable lead guitars of ‘…For Victory’.

Bolt Thrower commanded the crowd, Karl Willets looked like a war-torn veteran but still yet to be tamed as the ferocity of his vocals didn’t let up for an instant. Jo-Anne Bench is undoubtedly the most menacing female presence in the entire Metal scene, and the poorly balanced sound worked well to render the songs with more bassy fury than can be heard on record. The subtle rhythmic variations of Baz’s guitars on the other hand were not as discernable, but for a seemingly undiscerning crowd, this did nothing to quell the primal violence that tore bones asunder in a ritual of combat replication. The signature riffs were also fairly muted but managed to somehow shine through like the sun between Afghan mountain peaks, and as the band returned for an encore, the perfect choice of songs scorched the stage like a vast napalm attack, with the ominous theme of ‘War’ transforming into ‘Remembrance’ as though the sorrows of Arjuna had been cast aside as he takes to the empty plains of Kurukshetra, seeing the world as it is.

Even as the band exited, the feelings of confrontation and pugilism reigned as brawls ensued and battered humans walked out to count their wounds. The show proved how bands such as Bolt Thrower who retain their integrity, remain possessed by this same eternal process of nature’s evolution and deliver like a well-trained soldier, with precision and consistency will rule for the longest time. We will remember them.

-ObscuraHessian-