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Clearing the Path to Ascend NR090 CD SEPTEMBER 1st 2014 YOB 2014 EUROPEAN TOUR


IDES OF GEMINI Old World | New Wave NR091 CD SEPTEMBER 15th 2014






EDITORIAL # #252 AUG 2014

48 Leigh Road, Leigh on Sea, Essex SS9 1LF, UNITED KINGDOM Tel: +44 (0) 20 7729 7666




DESIGN Steve Newman

PA TO MY Clare Shoesmith

WRETCHED SPAWN Rhiannon Yardley

WRECKING CREW Olivier ‘Zoltar’ Badin, Adrien Begrand, J. Bennett, Alex Boniwell, Ed Chapman, Faye Coulman, Angela Davey, Robyn Doreian, Noel Gardner, Ian Glasper, Benj Golanski, Rod Hunt, Steve Jones, Kim Kelly, Mike Kemp, Connor Kendall, Ronnie Kerswell-O'Hara, Jim Martin, Andy McDonald, John Mincemoyer, Mörat, John Muskett, Avi Pitchon, Darren J. Sadler, José Carlos Santos, Rob Sayce, Joshua Sindell, Kevin Stewart-Panko, Guy Strachan, Rich Taylor

SNAPPERS Steve Brown, Dan Fellowes, Marie GC, Steve Gerrard, Dan Gray, Kane Hibberd, Rod Hunt, Zen Inoya, Gobinder Jhitta, Mark Latham, Enda Madden, Al Overdrive, Al Pulford, Andre Purvis, Christian Ravel, Antony Roberts, Ester Segarra, Alex Solca, Emma Stone, Taya Uddin, Leigh van der Byl

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PRINTING Wyndeham Heron The views represented in this magazine are not necessarily those of Dark Arts Ltd. Best endeavours have been taken in all cases to represent faithfully the views of all contributors and interviewees. The publisher accepts no responsibility for errors, omissions or the consequences thereof.

©2014 DARK ARTS LTD. Terrorizer is published every four weeks. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the prior consent of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for the advertisements in this publication.


cover pic: MARIE GC



he festival season is over. Instead, we are now into what can politely be described as “silly season” for recorded releases. The cyclical nature of music “events” (for lack of a more precise term) could lead the more jaded observer to become rather cynical about the calendar, and with sensible reasons. Tom’s audition for an Akercocke There is a decided pattern tribute band was sadly about what we at Tez get excited unsuccessful by depending on the time of year. February to May is when we’re frothing over the new records after the quiet Christmas/New Year release schedule; June to August, the new releases slack off a bit, so we spend all our time at or recovering from festivals and harping on about how good Roadburn was; September to November, we dick off about yet more new music and an insane number of gigs in town; December and January, bog all new music comes out and few tours come around, so we navel gaze reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming year. Every year, the same pattern follows. Boring, predictable, mundane, right? Well, no. You never actually know what will come. The records that shock and amaze you vary hugely, and often the stars of the show will be unpredictable. The first half of the year – in my opinion already eclipsed by the coming autumn – may have included the expected greatness of Behemoth and Triptykon, but the degree to which Schammasch and Coffinworm ripped our collective tits off was nearly impossible to predict. The same goes for festivals; yes, of course Napalm Death’s slow set in Tilburg was killer, but who saw Inter Arma emerging as one of the best live bands on planet Earth that weekend? Who knew that Megadeth were going to be at their snarling, enjoyable best at Bloodstock and prove one of the highlights of festival season? It’s easy to be cynical. It’s entirely natural to feel jaded when the broad pattern of the year can be plotted before it even begins. But the reason music is fucking awesome is that it can shock and amaze you when you least expect. Few people saw Swedish death metal enjoying the enormous renaissance – both in terms of the style and simply “death metal bands wot come from Sweden” – it has in recent years. But it, as an important section of our musical world, is well and truly alive and kicking. In that spirit, we celebrate that this issue.


Want to know the people behind the scene that make Terrorizer so great? Each month we’ll give you the skinny on our esteemed wrecking crew. THIS MONTH:



ong-standing Terrorizer writer Ian Glasper has not only contributed to more Terrorizers than pretty much anyone else alive or undead, he has played in a bunch of bands including Stampin’ Ground, which was our cover artist aeons ago for issue 114, Suicide Watch and latterly Betrayed By Many and Thirty Six Strategies. He’s written no less than four books on punk, anarcho-punk, hardcore and latterly how British punk survived the 1990s and has an interest in gratuitously violent movies and Brazillian jiu-jitsu.

TERRORIZER, ISSN 135-0677, is published Monthly with extra issue in January by Dark Arts Limited, 27 Hoxton Street, London N1 6NH The 2011 US annual subscription price is 100.00. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by agent named Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to TERRORIZER, Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA Subscription records are maintained at Dark Arts Limited, 27 Hoxton Street, London N1 6NH. Air Business Ltd is acting as our mailing agent. The paper used in this publication is from a mill that carries chain of custody and is from sustainable forests.

AWARDS Print Media Management ‘Innovation in Publishing' Award 2005 - Highly Commended ACE Press Awards 'Circulation Excellence and Endeavour' - Gold, 2008





“Open this crypt up”

FEATURES 20. SWEDISH DEATH METAL We corner two of the genre’s big hitters to discover why the country has seen such a resurgence in the genre


How have an instrumental doom band who write half hour long epics gained such a big following?

28. DRAGONFORCE The secret of success when you get tagged as a novelty

30. NACHTMYSTIUM Why the band aren’t quite as dead as we thought, despite arrests and drug abuse




“Of course, I’m delighted to talk to Terrorizer again”

How did drunken pretend pirates become Scotland’s biggest metal export?

36. PALLBEARER The Arkansas doom quartet on finding success beyond genre boundaries

38. ENGLISH DOGS How one incarnation of the British crossover troupe came back to life

REGULARS 4. FRONTLINE We talk to Orphaned Land for the peacecampaigning band’s perspective on the Gaza conflict, plus we hear from you, the readers, on last month’s op ed

12. STUDIO REPORT British black metallers Winterfylleth fill us in on their forthcoming opus

13. FEAR CANDY All the details on this month’s CD of mayhem and destruction

16. CHOICE CUTS New bands on the butcher’s block this month include technical supergroup Conquering Dystopia, inventive death metal upstarts Fallujah, filthy speed metal renegades Midnight, UK grindcore champions Atomçk and many more

56. PROMOTER STORY Behind the scenes of North America’s biggest heavy music festival, Heavy Montréal



40. THE HAUNTED 58. SELECTED & DISSECTED We wrap our ears around Accept’s latest offering, get filthy with the new Necros Christos record, pass judgement on Belphegor’s most recent outing, find out if Karma To Burn have made something decent plus the rest of the month’s major releases


This month, we take a look at Meshuggah’s new live DVD as well as reliving the gore drenched madness of ‘Re-Animator’, now available on Blu-ray

After their last turkey of a record, what rekindled the Swedes’ fire?

42. MUTILATION RITES The unique USBM act on the state of the scene around them

44. SÓLSTAFIR How the Icelandic cowboys made banjos misanthropic

46. WOLVHAMMER Don’t know your own songs before recording? No problem





How clued in are Bloody Hammers on their occult metal? We decided to find out

We trekked out to Sonisphere to watch Metallica, Maiden and Electric Wizard, as well as checking out recent shows from Nails, Church Of Misery, Onslaught, Primitive Man, Inquisition and more


Metatron from Wolves Of Avalon offers up some prime black metal for us

Recapturing the classic power metal sound with Michael Kiske

Panopticon’s Austin Lunn shifts away from politics and gets personal

52. ELUVEITIE Delving into the secrets of Celtic history

54. MADBALL The NYHxC greats discuss the state of hardcore today


#252 SEPTEMBER 2014





e’re doing the best we can to keep on spreading our message and giving hope. Everything is falling apart so fast.” Orphaned Land frontman Kobi Farhi is speaking to Terrorizer from his home in Israel. The outbreak of violence between Gaza and Israel is the lead news on every channel. With the situation becoming more unpleasant, and with the voices of peace being drowned out by anger on all sides, we spoke to Kobi for a perspective on the conflict from one of our fellow metalheads, and to see if those calling for peace are being heeded.

What’s it like where you are now? Kobi Farhi (vocals): “I was running for shelter,



just today, two times, and I’ve been doing so for the last seventeen days, so that the rockets will not hit me. It’s pretty crazy, to know that people are throwing rockets at you. I mean, just try to imagine if rockets were being thrown in London, and you had to find shelter. You have between 45 seconds and one minute to run away and find shelter. I guess that the people of Gaza, of course, they’re suffering as well, because unlike us, the people of Gaza don’t even have shelters – their regime never even bothered to buy them shelters. They took all the international community money and they just bought tunnels and bought rockets. Their tragedy is even bigger because of that, because they’re even less protected than we are. This is an unfortunate situation for me as a musician, as someone

who is trying to build a bridge with heavy metal: to build a bridge between enemies, to build a bridge between Jews and Muslims, between Israelis and Arabs. It’s so unfortunate to know that it’s so hard with each step that you make towards this, every step is so precious. And then you go back, miles back, in five minutes. That’s so depressing sometimes.”

Are voices for peace more important now than ever? “Of course. But we’re lacking those voices from Gaza, because you have to understand that Hamas took the regime in Gaza eight years ago. They were voted by election, but eight years have passed and you don’t see any new

BULLET POINTS AT THE GATES have completed work on their comeback album, ‘At War With Reality’. The Swedish melodeath kings’ first album for nineteen years will be released on October 27 on Century Media.

ORANGE GOBLIN will release their eigth album ‘Back From The Abyss’ on October 7 via Candlelight. The band will also appear at Damnation Festival in Leeds on November 1. OrangeGoblinOfficial

elections on the horizon. And what’s frightening about Hamas – one of the tragedies of the Palestinian people – is the fact that Hamas is ruling them with a reign of fear. I would urge you and even the readers to search for one demonstration or protest that the people of Gaza have done against Hamas in eight years of regime. You will not find one. Now, it doesn’t make sense that in every normal place, you have a coalition and an opposition and you hear both voices. It doesn’t make sense that the people of Gaza never protest against Hamas unless they are controlled by a reign of fear. I’m sure that many of the Palestinian people want to be free and want to have peace with Israel, but they’re afraid to say it. They’re afraid to be the first one to take the flag and say ‘Yeah, I want to live in peace with Israel.’ This is something that would probably be the bravest thing to do, but the easiest way to get a bullet. There’s much more than the conflict and you need to understand all the chemistry of that area: who is Hamas, who is the government of Israel, what is the West Bank, what is the history of both nations? Because this is a conflict of almost more than a century now. “I think that the key to the problem in our country, in Gaza and in the Muslim countries is the education system. The first toy that our parents buy us is always a toy gun. We’re trained to survive, we’re trained to use weapons. And add to that all the fire of religions versus politics – that’s a bloody combination that leads us to war again and again and again. The hate circle is always so huge; the voices of extremists are always so loud, that even when the majority of people are the more pragmatic ones, they’re also more quiet. As the singer of a heavy metal band, I’ve been trying to think how, if the majority are the normal, pragmatic people who just want a normal way of life, why are they so quiet, and why are the minority of extremists so much noisier? How can we find a way to create some extreme pragmatic noise? That’s what I'm trying to figure out now.”

British doom lords ELECTRIC WIZARD have announced their long-awaited album ‘Time To Die’ will see the light of day on September 29 via Spinefarm. ElectricWizardDorsetDoom

Is it as bad now as it has ever been? “The last seventeen days have definitely been some of the most difficult that I’ve had in the last years, I think. I cannot sleep properly. I’m falling asleep for two hours, and taking my phone and refreshing all the news I want to see. A soldier died, someone died, what’s going on? What if the sirens start or the rockets fly and I’m asleep? You cannot sleep properly, and you’re worried about your friends who are soldiers fighting. The innocent people of Gaza, the kids in Gaza: we know that we all bleed red, and to be in a place where people are bleeding‪… This is really painful. I don’t know why the media doesn’t deal with Syria. Did you know that in the seventeen days of the recent conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, more people died in the civil war in Syria? No one is talking about it – maybe it’s not as sexy for the media. I don’t want to be cynical, but I really don’t know. In Iraq, all the Christians from Mosul were exiled from their city by extremist Muslims, who took over. The whole Middle East is bleeding to death, and I’m living in the only democracy in the Middle East. It’s a very hard task to be an Israeli in the Middle East, to explain why there are Palestinian children dying from the fire of our armies. Words cannot explain it; my heart cannot explain it to myself. I’m torturing myself to think that kids are dying. One of Israel’s prime ministers, Golda Meir, once said, “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children, but we cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.” She also said that we will have peace with the Arabs the day they love their children more than they hate us. I find some sense in it. I don’t think it’s fully true – I will not blame only the hatred of Arabs as the reason that there is no peace between Palestinians and Israelis – but I definitely think that it has something to do with the education.” How can things be changed for the better? “Maybe we need to buy different toys for our boys. Maybe we need to educate them. Instead of all those stories about Napoleon, instead of all those stories about wars, maybe we can also teach them about humanity. Maybe we can

For daily updates check

ROADBURN FESTIVAL has revealed that the 2015 edition will be curated by Enslaved’s Ivar Bjørnson and Wardruna main man Einar Selvik. Both bands will perform very special sets as part of the festival April 9-12.

focus and teach each other about what dialogue is, how to listen to each other. Because I’m sure that if Israeli and Palestinians sat with a beer or a coffee together to talk about their tragedies without being afraid, without taking all those borders of victimising themselves, they would find so many similar stories. They would find so much sympathy towards each other. Palestinians need to understand the Jewish trauma of the World Wars. They need to understand that Jews were persecuted so many times and in so many places throughout history. And when a Jewish guy hears the words of the leaders of Hamas: ‘We will wipe Israel from the face of the earth’… The Palestinians and Muslims and Arabs need to understand what death and war have done to an Israeli mind as to an Israeli foe. “On the other hand, we Israelis can have sympathy for the Palestinian tragedy. We were persecuted, and we were vocal about a sympathy for the Palestinian story. And that’s what I'm doing with my Palestinian friends: that’s how me and my Palestinian friends have become brothers. This is not a cliché – I know that if someone came to hurt me, they would defend me with their own bodies, and vice versa. It’s only education. Being the singer of Orphaned Land, seeing that suddenly, we have Arab fans – I never intended to do it, it wasn't any strategy – Orphaned Land has educated me more than any mentor, rabbi, priest or teacher that I had in school. Just by being the singer and asking myself questions, answering them myself and figuring out all those things, I have learned so much. I have found my way of thinking; my solutions to all the problems have come only from my heavy metal band. And the key is only education, nothing else. No negotiation, no U.S.A. or European community, it’s only education that will definitely plant and launch new leaders in the shape of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, or any other one of those great leaders who really got out of the paradigm and changed the reality. That is what we need here. And again, that is a complete utopia for the moment.”






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FESTIVAL have DAMNATION , acts. Sólstafir, Ahab announced five new val Bast will play the festi Atlantis, HARK and r 1. Bolt Union on Novembe y ersit Univ s Leed at s, with liner head e stag Thrower are the main stage. lining the Terrorizer Cannibal Corpse head .uk www.Damnat


y men y hardcore for manl SICK OF IT ALL: Manl

The Villag SABATON: or is it

e People?

I wanted to write in to commend you on Tom Dare’s piece about homophobia in the metal scene. I thought it was a very honest and straightforward way to raise the issue. The other reason for writing in was because of the varying reactions of the metal scene on social media. It was brilliant to see so many positive responses! However, it also highlighted to me that there are a couple of reasons why homophobia continues. First, people seem to think that it doesn’t even exist on the scene. I’m sure that many would point out that two women kissing is totally acceptable… have up to it’s hot isn’t it? (Let’s disregard suggestions of second will be misogyny and objectification of women still being se l relea part of the scene) Also, it is easy to fall into pitated this belief, if it is not something you personally encounter – I mean, how many times would a e somehow straight guy be called a “fucking queer” because y their a significant they hold hands with another guy? Not often. BT people is in the closet With this in mind, in a community that prides poke about ew openly gay, itself on its inclusiveness and alternative nature n high profile I think that people find it difficult to admit to the male of the per cent it is possibility that there could be prejudice towards ber of male her, but we’ll anyone based on their identity. e Bloodstock rforming (to the Unfortunately, I would have to refute that. are e . In fact, ther Nada. As an openly gay man, who has been part of our ut ugho thro en t challenging it, the goth/metal scene for nearly twenty years g “you like metal? We need to fix this. and been in a relationship with a man, on r and queer family. we’ll look bloody the metal scene, for the last fifteen years, I TOM DARE have experienced it. I have had insults and commentary from members of the scene for looking “gay” (somehow when I had blonde hair with purple streaks that gave strangers the right to tell me I look “a right fucking faggot with that hair”?!?). Also, as a couple, we have either had the shock attitude because we “don’t look like a gay couple” or the question “so who is the female?” or “which one is the taker?” I appreciate that these are not threats or violence – something more likely when I first came out on the scene – but they are homophobic and bigoted stereotypes. What a person looks like, talks or carries themselves should not automatically tell you whether they like boys or girls (many of us have piercings 5 #251 R and tattoos but it does not indicate we IZE OR RR TE love pain and must therefore be into S&M!) and no one has the right to ask a couple invasive questions about their sex life just because they have a same-sex partner (the question really being asked is “do you take it up the arse?” which is nothing to do with you and never acceptable in polite company!) The other side to this, and probably part of the reason that some are deluding themselves about the reality of homophobia in metal, is the change that it has undergone. As I mentioned, when I first came out, violence and direct threats were not unexpected, whereas we are now in a situation where prejudice is more implicit and subtle. People often refer to bands and band members as being “gay” or “queer” if they dislike them and there is also a tendency to use similar words to take the piss out of mates. Obviously this is just thought of as common slang

and often there is no intent to be homophobic, but it still carries with it the meaning that being gay is a negative thing that should be laughed at. (This is the case throughout society, not only the metal scene, but it does not make it more trivial or less harmful.) It is offensive that this has become normality and it definitely sends the wrong impression to both younger generations and the rest of the world that the alternative scene is comfortably homophobic. Denying this is how such attitudes become tolerable, unrecognised and lead to their propagation – something that I do not believe the majority of our scene would want to happen. This letter may come over as being rather negative so I have to stress that the metal and alternative scene is the most accepting community that I have come across, hence why I have been involved with it for most of my life, and it has afforded me the honour of meeting so many wonderful people (including my partner!). The reason for this letter is not to diminish this but rather to address some of the misguided notions of how ‘enlightened’ we might be. We are all human at the end of the day and all have our quirks but it is by tackling issues like this that there can be progress. Chris Day

RIGHT MESSAGE, WRONG MESSENGER The idea of a music magazine, particularly one that shaped and influenced a great deal of my tastes and preferences (not just in music, many other media forms as well indirectly through references made by writers I respected) suddenly and out of nowhere running a large-scale editorial on a rather polarising issue has made me rather uncomfortable. There was a time when Terrorizer reported on bands and artists without any sort of political/social agenda (remember the whole Kristallnacht shitstorm?), and that's a definite preference for me. I understand that extreme music attracts a decent share of knuckle-dragging shitwizards, but I really don’t think it's the place of a periodical dedicated to news and criticism of releases to set any kind of social mandate, which Terrorizer has sort of done with this editorial. When the mag’s tagline was “extreme music – no boundaries”, I always interpreted this as an acceptance and willingness to deal with the negative aspects of this as well, and I think it’s… not so much damaging, but limiting for there to be such an aggressive setting out of such an opinion. I agree with everything the editorial stated, don’t get me wrong; I’m a painfully liberal leftie wuss to the point of it causing friction (I’m not a welcome face amongst my own family due to this), I’d just prefer to read my social justice in the pages of The Guardian. The timing seems a little opportunistic as well; while there isn’t exactly an avalanche of outings in metal there are certainly many more accepted gay metal artists than there has been in any previous time, and preaching about this now… it’s a bit like, not closing the stable door, but running after the horse once the horse has gotten out. I approve of the message, not the medium. Davydd

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The purpose of the article was specifically addressing the issue within metal itself. I would greatly love the mainstream press to deal with it, but they seem uninterested. The print press spent its entire existence not dealing with some of the mess within our scene, and precious little changed. Then webzines came along and made it clear it’s fine for journalists to have strong opinions away from music, and have tackled issues. I feel it’s time Terrorizer caught up. Heavy metal’s had 40-plus years to get its shit together on this and spectacularly hasn’t (see the guys in Cynic needing more than two decades to feel comfortable enough to open up, and the pitiful number of other openly gay people in the genre for evidence). I feel it’s time the press spoke out on this more. Hence the article. – Tom Dare

MARK MY WORDS I very rarely write to magazines, bands etc, but felt implored to do so to say a very big and heartfelt thank you for your recent article on homophobia in the metal world. It meant a lot to see this article in a major publication, especially one that I have followed and valued for many a year myself! I am 53 years old and have been into music and specifically metal and rock since I was about ten years old, but have also battled with being a gay man until I was about 40 years old! Different times to now to a point, but pressures of family, religion and to a large part my surroundings – going to football, hanging out with predominately bikers and metalheads at gigs – kept me in the darkness of my own world. (I am ashamed to say I have even laughed at “queer” jokes in the past to hide my own sexuality when at a gig or the pub). It didn’t help that some of the bands I worshipped at the time (Metallica and Slayer) used the “fag” word and jokes, and Kerry King has even said he would least like to be stuck in a lift with a faggot – cheers Kerry when I have idolised your work for years mate! But things are slowly changing – with Rob Halford (the GOD!) coming out and now those Cynic lads (love ’em) and people like yourself talking about this issue, things have to move forwards. I still go to gigs from time to time, still heavily into metal (mainly thrash and death) but I don’t know any other gay men into metal at all! I should add that Rob’s coming out finally helped me to say to myself “if he can do it a public arena, I can too”, and it was a lot less scary than I thought it would be. Yes I did lose some mates over it, there was some vileness from some of them and from some of my family (no surprise when I tell you it was the so called Christian contingent of the family!). The happy ending came for me seven years ago when I met my now civil partner (also called Mark!) and we have been “married” for four years now – soul mates in every way, except he is into dance music and Kylie (but I forgive him!) so we don’t go to the same gigs, obviously! Cheers Mark



Twilight Of The Gods

THE INTERNET HAS IT’S LITTLE MELTDOWN, WITH THE BEST AND WORST COMMENTS FROM TERRORIZER’S FACEBOOK POST Morten Rimmen “Homophobia is everywhere!! Sadly. But there is not more of it metal than in the rest of society.” Shawn Sixma “Homos should keep their lifestyle to themselves.” JJ Plunkett “There are very few openly gay musicians within the metal scene at all. You have folk like Gaahl, Rob Halford and to an extent Roddy Bottum from FNM. It’s a very low number for a massive scene that has been active for so many years now.” Wretched Black “What problem? This is bullshit, I don’t know any homophobic metalheads.” Alexander Thomas Melia [in reply] “You don’t know any homophobic metal heads? It’s homophobic every time some elitist dick refers to a -core band as ‘faggots’ or says ‘this band is fucking gay’. They don’t mean, ‘this band is like a sexuality’ they mean ‘this band sucks’ using gay to describe how bad it is.”



Gail Pamela Shaw “Whilst I have never seen any overt homophobia, I haven’t seen any dudes kissing at a festival or a gig either. I think more of a deal should be made of how inclusive the metal scene is to make sure any LGBTQI metalheads feel comfortable.” George Gill “Metal is about brutality. You’re all a bunch of sympathetic, pussies. Queers.” Caroline Hutchinson “Seems like a non-issue to me, although perhaps that's wishful thinking, Everyone I know who’s into metal is pretty liberal. Manowar still look daft, though.” Jon Duggan “I know I guy who refuses to listen to Priest since Rob came out. I played epic by Faith No More and when he looked like he was digging it I broke the news to him. Dumbass.” Rob Steer “I would say there is a bigger issue with sexism, it is very rare that you get a female member of a band that isn't viewed as a sex object rather than musician.” [We agree –

more on this in future issues – Tom] Matman Randall “Never seen any problems with homophobia whilst out with my metal friends. And yes some of my friends are gay and some are girls and we all love metal. If you want to see homophobic music look at gangsta rap. Our metal subculture is full of misfits as we do not wish to conform” Mark Skeete “The only country on the planet that protects sodomites is the U.S.. For a change I do agree with Russia, censorship and punishment for the sexual deviants!” Richard Morgan “Just because you’re not recognising homophobia, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.” Nate Lewis “Surely it could just be summarised as ‘because homophobia makes you a cunt’?”

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loodstock this year featured a grand total of four women (Cristina Scabbia and Floor Jansen from Lacuna Coil and ReVamp respectively, Evil Scarecrow’s Princess Luxury and Vanja Šlajh from Triptykon) on the main stage all weekend. To put that in perspective, there were fewer women on the main stage of Britain’s biggest metal festival than there were men in the Friday headline act, Down – and Bloodstock is better than most. Compare that to Damnation, where only one woman features at all at time of going to press (Bolt Thrower’s Jo Bench), and Bloodstock is ahead. It is very clear that women are dreadfully under represented in performances. But one festival went out of its way this year to do its best to reverse this trend. Back in May, Beyond The Redshift debuted in London, with Cult Of Luna curating – and a specific goal was in sight for the line-up.



“I had the intention of – and I’m disappointed that it didn’t work out really well – I wanted the festival to have more females on stage than usual,” says vocalist and guitarist Johannes Persson. “We got it up to fifteen per cent, I think, which is better than most festivals. Some artists couldn’t do it, and some it didn’t make sense financially, which is quite sad.” That fifteen per cent is considered an improvement on the average illustrates the scale of the problem, but it is at least a start. And Johannes is realistic about setting targets. “[In Sweden] a lot of festivals want to have 50-50, and I think that’s stupid, because first of all, the music needs to be good – period!” he says firmly. “The musical merit needs to be the focus, and I don’t care if it’s 100% women on stage or 100% men – it’s not good if you’re kicking out bands that are really good. You have to understand that people go to a festival to enjoy the music. And there are more bands out there with

guys. But you need to start somewhere. I don’t think you should make the goal 50-50 in itself, the goal must be to have a more diverse musical scene. We all know why we started playing music; you need to have role models. If I, as a person, could be able to look at artists that don’t get as much attention as they deserve, then I will do that. There’s a bunch of amazing female artists that don’t get the recognition they deserve and could be inspiring other girls to want to play in rock bands.” Part of the problem is to do with the use of language; if Terrorizer had a pound for every time we received a press release about a “female-fronted metal band”, we could book Metallica to play our Halloween party and have enough left over to get Manowar to support. That the language used by the industry and certain sections of the rock press treats women as an anomaly is not lost on Cult Of Luna. “I have a friend in a band called Tiger Bell – they’re kind of punk rock/hardcore, they’re doing quite well in Sweden, and everyone in the band is female – and me and her had a discussion about journalists talking about them as a female band. I’ve never heard anyone saying [Cult Of Luna] are a ‘male band’,” Johannes says succinctly.

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10/10 – Bristol, The Academy 11/10 – London, Roundhouse 12/10 – Nottingham, Rock City 14/10 – Glasgow, O2 ABC2 Glasgow 15/10 – Manchester, Manchester Academy 16/10 – Birmingham, The Institute PENTAGRAM


w/Lagerstein, Red Rum & RainbowDragonEyes 8/10 – Norwich, The Waterfront 9/10 – Birmingham, The Academy 10/10 – Sheffield, The Corporation 11/10 – Southampton, 1865 12/10 – Brighton, Concorde 2 13/10 – Plymouth, The Hub/DBs Live 14/10 – Liverpool, The Academy 16/10 – Cork, Cyprus Avenue 17/10 – Belfast, Qusub 18/10 – Aberdeen, The Garage 19/10 – Glasgow, The Arches 20/10 – Bristol, Bierkeller 21/10 – Manchester, Manchester Academy II 22/10 – Exeter, The Lemon Grove 23/10 – Reading, Sub 89 24/10 – London, Electric Ballroom 25/10 – Leeds, Leeds University Union 26/10 – Cardiff, The Globe AMULET

29/8 – London, The Black Heart (w/ Flight & special guests) 30/8 – Hastings, Union Bar (w/ Gorilla) 31/8 – TBA 5/9 – Birmingham, Scruffy Murphy’s (w/ Wytch Hazel & Dark Forest) 6/9 – Glasgow, Stereo (w/ Spartan Warrior, Salem & Disaster Area) 7/9 – Lancaster, The Yorkshire House (w/ Wytch Hazel & Ascalon)


w/ Disgorge, Jungle Rot 31/8 – Cardiff, ‘Brutestock Alldayer’ at The Baa Bar 1/9 – Birmingham, Robin 2 2/9 – Glasgow, Audio 3/9 – London, Boston Music Room


18/9 – Belfast, The Limelight 19/9 – Dublin, The Button Factory 21/9 – Glasgow, O2 ABC2 22/9 – Newcastle, O2 Academy 2 23/9 – Manchester, Academy III 25/9 – Wolverhampton, The Slade Rooms 26/9 – London, Koko 27/9 – Bristol, Thekla 28/9 – Southampton, Talking Heads

w/ Hatesphere & Profane Omen 4/10 – London, The Dome 5/10 – Bristol, The Fleece GRIM REAPER

w/Amulet & Dark Forest 27/09 – London, Boston Arms Music Room IN SOLITUDE

w/ Beastmilk 15/10 – London, The Underworld 16/10 – Glasgow, Audio Glasgow 17/10 – Dublin, Voodoo Lounge 18/10 – Manchester, Sound Control 19/10 – Bristol, The Exchange


Bolt Thrower, Saint Vitus, Cannibal Corpse, Anaal Nathrakh, Sólstafir & more 1/11 – Leeds, Leeds University Union DESTRUCTION

w/ Shrapnel, Lost Society & Evil Invaders 8/10 – London, The Underworld 9/10 – Bristol, Bierkeller 10/10 – Glasgow, Audio Glasgow 11/10 – Dublin, Voodoo Lounge 12/10 – Manchester, Sound Control DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT

4/9 – London, Union Chapel DIAMOND HEAD



10/10 – Derby, The Hairy Dog 11/10 – Trowbridge, Trowbridge Civic Centre 18/10 – Purfleet, ‘Metalwave Festival’, Circus Tavern 19/10 – Leamington Spa, Zephyr Lounge 24/10 – Aberdeen, The Moorings Bar 12/11 – Norwich, Waterfront 13/11 – Evesham, The Iron Road Rock Bar 15/11 – Pwllheli, Hard Rock Hell 18/11 – London, O2 Academy 20/11 – Wakefield, Warehouse 23 21/11 – Swansea, Sin City EDGUY

w/ Skarlett Riot, The Wild Lies 12/9 – Manchester, Sound Control 13/9 – Nuneaton, Queens Hall 14/9 – London, O2 Academy Islington


w/ Desert Storm 25/8 – Plymouth, The White Rabbit 26/8 – Bristol, The Fleece 27/8 – Northampton, The Picture Dome 28/8 – Chester, The Live Rooms 29/8 – Bournemouth, The Anvil 30/8 – London, The Underworld 31/8 – Dublin, Fibber Magees 1/9 – Belfast, Voodoo



w/ Orange Goblin 28/10 – Bristol, The Fleece 29/10 – London, Heaven 30/10 – Dublin, Button Factory 31/10 – Belfast, Limelight SLOMATICS

3/10 – London, The Windmill Brixton (w/ Undersmile, Grey Widow & Three Thrones) 4/10 – Stourbirdge, The Temple Of Boom (3:00pm) 4/10 – Stoke-on-Trent, Bunker 13 (8:00pm) WAR WOLF

w/ Selfless, Dysteria & Brutal Regime 18/9 – London, The Unicorn WHITE HILLS

23/9 – London, Corsica Studios 24/9 – Nottingham, Spanky Van Dykes 25/9 – Newcastle, The Cluny 26/9 – Glasgow, Broadcast 27/9 – Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia

w/ H A R K & Grey Widow 13/10 – Brighton, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar 14/10 – London, Black Heart




w/ Fen, Falloch & Krawwl 23/10 – - London, Boston Music Room OUCH MY GENERATOR!

Oathbreaker, Coilguns, Bastions, Kruger, Bast, Telepathy, Mine & In The Hills 18/10 – London, The Underworld OPETH Pic: ROD HUNT


w/ 11Paranoias, Ghold & Torpor 30/10 – London, The Underworld


26/8 – Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms 27/8 – Brighton, Concorde 2 28/8 – London, The Garage

11/9 – Manchester, Sound Control 14/9 – London, Borderline Leng Tch’e, The Rotted, Dripback, Evil Scarecrow and more 20/9 – London, The Underworld YOB

w/ Pallbearer 4/9 – Bristol, The Fleece (w/ Spider Kitten) 5/9 – Manchester, The Roadhouse (w/ Ghold) 6/9 – Glasgow, Audio (w/ Buried Sleeper) 7/9 – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club 8/9 – London, The Underworld (w/ Bast)


Ninkharsag, Bonesaw, Tommy Concrete & the Werewolves, Evil Blood, Live Burial and more 30/8 – Edinburgh, The Banshee Labyrinth



All dates correct at time of going to press


w/ Mangle 30/8 – Nottingham, The Old Angel



w/ Ilenkus, Stoneghost, Husk & Artemis 26/9 – London, The Unicorn




w/ Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell 7/9 – London, The Garage


artist: Winterfylleth title: ‘The Divination Of Antiquity’ studio: Skyhammer Studio, Cheshire, UK producer: Chris Fielding release date: October 6 label: Candlelight

of what a Winterfylleth album could attain. There are two or three songs that go off the beaten track for us. They’re still linked to black metal, and that extreme style that we have. There are some songs on there that almost return to the first album and the early Winterfylleth stuff, but then we also stray into almost Warning territory as well. There’s another song on the record, and that one is about nine or ten minutes with more choral vocals, much more mid-paced, much more varied drumming. Rather than it just being blastbeats, and double kick, it’s much more expressive, which is great for Simon to vary it up and show us what he can do, but also benefits the songwriting and allows us to do something a bit different.”

How have you approached lyrics?

WORDS: Tom Dare

IS DOING “THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY ER AGAIN THE SAME THING OVER AND OV LT” EXPECTING A DIFFERENT RESU How have you worked on this album? Chris Naughton (guitar, vocals): “We did it going there Friday to Monday for four weeks. It’s good, because you do drums, then there’s editing to do on the drums – all the kind of postproduction stuff that comes with doing all those kind of things – so it was good to give [Chris Fielding, producer] the headspace to do that, rather than sitting around watching him work.”

Was the album written before you went in? “This is probably the first record that we’ve all really, really worked on together. The first album [‘The Ghost Of Heritage’] I pretty much wrote, because it was just me and Simon [Lucas, drums] back then. The second album’s [‘The Mercian Sphere’] got a lot more bits from Mark [Wood, guitars] on, so he contributed a bit to that,



and then the next record it was Mark and Nick [Wallwork, bass] sort of finding their way with each other, and they became a bit more involved. But this time it’s really kind of come into its own. Mark’s really contributed his parts and so did Nick, so we spent maybe six or seven months writing – we probably started in November last year. You’re always writing bits in-between, but we really seriously started last October/November and we finished it three or four weeks before we went into the studios.”

What changed musically since last album ‘The Threnody Of Triumph’? “There’s still a very core essence of Winterfylleth songs; there are still those blastbeats, harsh vocals and choruses – I guess the trademark things that people would expect from a Winterfylleth album – but equally we’ve tried to push the boundaries

“It is a concept record, as they all are, but this time it’s saying that we’ve been living in the past, and saying that we should take history and learn from history, and we should use those ideas to make our society better – the way we interact with issues better, to help make our socio-political situation better, rather than just ignoring it. There’s an interesting analogy that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, and the concept of this record deals with that. It’s called ‘The Divination Of Antiquity’, basically divining meanings from ancient things. In some ways it’s politically themed in terms of its lyrical content, but it’s about relating ancient texts and poetry to more modern situations, learning from wars, and learning from colonialism, all these things that have gone on that we keep repeating. Like how there was a depression in the 1930s and a recession in the ’70s and recessions in the ’80s because of rogue trading, and then all of a sudden a couple of years ago, we’re in the same situation. If you learned from it in the ’30s and put controls in place to stop it going on, we’d never be in this situation now. And more recently, colonialism; look at Russia, look at Ukraine and Syria and all those countries that we just don’t learn from our mistakes as humanity of being power hungry, or raiding other countries for their resources. So it’s more themed around sociopolitical change and learning from history.”



‘Immortal By Your Hand’ taken from the Rise Above album ‘Death Penalty’ This is Catherdral’s Gaz Jennings’ new project. Gaz’s big, heavy riffs are balanced perfectly by Michelle Nocon’s commanding vocals. Satisfyingly authentic. DeathPenalty82


‘Bushido’ taken from the Nuclear Blast album ‘(r)Evolution’ Nine albums in, Hammerfall again show that they are still the masters of Swedish sword and sorcery, with trills and thrills, melodic arpeggios and powerful vocals.


‘Sunriser’ taken from the self-released album ‘Mordrake’ ‘Mordrake’ is this Canadian four-piece’s second album of dark, terrifying mystical metal. Having been around for six years, they’ve played more than a bunch of shows around the Montreal area and have supported Einherjer, Aborted and Tyr.


‘Revelation’ taken from the self-released EP ‘A Ceremony Of Power’ London black metal whippersnappers Premature Birth deliver nasty synthdrenched English black metal that echoes the grim yet halcyon days of early Cradle Of Filth and Hecate Enthroned. PrematureBirthOfficial


‘The Great Ass Poopery’ taken from the Erkonos Industry/Artist Head album ‘I Did Something Bad’ Undoubtedly winners of “track name of the month”, Swiss prog metallers The Erkonauts show off their instrumental virtuosity as well as their scampish sense of humour.


‘So, You Have Chosen Death’ taken from the Rise Above album ‘Ascending (Live In Space)’ Swedish retro space proggers Saturn sound like they just crash landed the party straight from 1972.


‘Ghosts Of Men’ taken from the self-released album ‘Black Sea Misanthropy’ The necronaut experiments with near-death experiences to then explore the underworld, here we have seven swaggering minutes of extreme eerie blackened metal to chill your bones.

HOLLOW Necronautical


‘Dethrone’ taken from the selfreleased album ‘Suffer The Clock’ The bouncy riffs of South African five-piece Octanium leap through the air like a gazelle on heat, their genre-bending sound mixing scowling venomous vocals with melody and appropriately technical riffage.


‘Start Something’ taken from the Animal Farm EP ‘Otherside’ With “meaty grooves and frantic fretwork from the south east’s shittest suburb”, Trevor’s Head show the fine people of Redhill have a lot to be grateful for with their melodic heavy blues. TrevorsHead


‘Accelerator’ taken from the selfreleased EP ‘Accelerator’ If you like your speed thrash retro with a stack of reverb on the vocals, Southampton’s Desolator may just float your boat. They are about to embark on their first UK tour. Desolatorthrash


‘The Midwife to Sorrows’ taken from the BadMoodMan album ‘Thanathonaut’ Narrow House are one of Ukraine’s first funeral doom bands who have now evolved to be what they call “apocalyptic doom”. Their music is constructed in an almost architectural way, and is unrelentingly heavy. NarrowHouseUkr





15. THE BODY POLITIC GentrificationMetal TheBodyPolitic

‘Rut Like A Hog’ taken from the selfreleased EP ‘Beggar II’ These Bristol space cadets play sludgy, heavy blues-influenced metal and have just released their second EP innovatively called ‘Beggar II’.

‘Consumer Worship’ taken from the selfreleased album ‘Deviance’ Berlin’s Gentrification have been around some six years, putting a political slant on extreme metal. They sing about social developments like emancipation, gender equality and gentrification itself.

‘Metacell’ taken from the Sonic Fire Records album ‘Distorture’ This is electro-rockers Venenner’s third studio album and takes you back to the days of Mazza Manson’s industrial anger of ‘Antichrist Superstar’.

‘Armature’ taken from the self-released EP ‘Egressor’ These Western Canadians from Vancouver Island combine a mish-mash of elements in their tech metal sound. With melodic soaring vocals, this will make you feel unrelentingly and irritatingly positive.






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hat do you get when you combine a highflying soloist guitarist from Nevermore, a stomach-churning bass player from Cannibal Corpse and a lightspeed drummer from The Faceless? A right-thinking extreme metal fan’s wet dream for starters, although this instrumental progressive death project goes under the snappier title of Conquering Dystopia. “I heard some great things about his guitar playing, so I called him up,” Jeff Loomis says of meeting his brother in shred Keith Merrow, described by the ex-Nevermore man as a “riff monster”. “He came up to my place in Seattle, and we started making little videos for YouTube, like gear demos. We would do little two-minute pieces of music together and it caught people’s attention. People wrote in saying ‘you people should do a whole project together, it would be awesome!’” Swiftly recruiting friends and fellow virtuosos Alex Webster and Alex Rüdinger to bass and drums respectively, a five-month writing process saw the quartet flesh out the two-minute ditties composed by Keith and Jeff into a titanic monster of a debut during the course of twelve-hour jamming sessions



one weekend. Jeff was very clear what he had in mind from the start. “We decided all the different tempos we wanted to write  in, the key signatures we wanted to write in, the time changes and all that stuff. We came up with this whole game plan before we even started writing, so we would have some kind of sketch board of what we wanted to do. We didn’t want to go in not having any kind of plan – we made a map of how we wanted the record to go.” The end result, as Jeff proudly describes, is one that fits right into the current mode of progressive instrumental music in 2014. “The record is very diverse, there’s a lot of troughs and valleys,” but as Jeff admits: “It’s very hard to write an  instrumental record; you gotta keep the riffs interesting because there are no vocals on it! I kinda took the place as the vocalist with my solo playing. It’s a solid record, we’re very happy with the  way it turned out.” It’s a welcome pay off for the quartet, and a justified payback for those fans who have demonstrated the potency of people power. “There was a lot of interest in people wanting

to support this album. So we came up with this Kickstarter thing,” Jeff explains. “We came up with our goal in 24 hours and by the end we had $38,000. That money went straight back into the album: it paid for the production, it paid for all the artwork, it paid for my trips to get down to Portland to write with Keith,” he marvels. “People wanted to hear this music and I think it showed in the support people gave us back. That was incredible – a great feeling!” Jeff is unequivocal about his new project’s place in the extreme music world, and particularly in the progressive metal camp into which they have artfully written themselves into: “I think that this type of music is coming back – it was very big in the ’80s  and we’re getting a resurgence of that with artists like Animals As Leaders. We’re happy to be a part that whole movement and it’s a lot of fun.” STEVE JONES ‘Conquering Dystopia’ is out now on Century Media



idnight’s new promo photos feature a naked lady, so that’s a good place to start a conversation as any. “Well she’s not totally naked,” says do-it-all main man Athenar, helpfully clarifying the situation. “She’s



volving from their early noise-grind beginnings into one of Britain’s most inventive contemporary grind acts, Atomçk’s intricate, light-speed assault is akin to listening to Brutal Truth, Discordance Axis and Sore Throat at the same time – and is just as exhilarating and baffling as that sounds. The trio also draw influence from progressive rock, noise and even guitarist Luke Oram’s background as a prolific visual artist. “Both [grind & graphic design] require a good deal of background understanding if you want to avoid making stereotypical rehashes of what has gone before,” he muses. Their stunningly vitriolic new EP ‘Whitewashed’ is a case in point: “Most of the songs are about things in UK politics that we think are bad, or reactions to stuff we have seen in the underground scene,” Luke reveals, before chuckling “Basically we tried to remember half our lives ago and write some sixth form protest music.” [KW]

covering up her axe wound and the tips of her milk melons.” While that doesn’t exactly answer the initial question posed (“is nudity lacking in metal these days,” if you must know), it shows what you are getting into when you mess with



rawing upon influences such as Ulver and Dissection, as well as various classical composers, Myrkur’s upcoming self-titled debut encompasses the Cascadian ambience of Wolves In The Throne Room teamed with Xasthur’s mournful atmospherics. Despite her Danish heritage, the black metal solo artist prefers to spend her time making music in the genre’s spiritual home. “I have spent much time in Bergen in Norway,” she says. “There are mountains and fjords and I also like to go to Edvard Grieg’s house and hear a piano concert. I prefer to be in Scandinavia when I write music.” While Scandinavian-influenced black metal may sound like a tired and overplayed cliché, Myrkur has big future plans for her project. “I will record a second album soon and I will play concerts. And black metal will take over the world.” [AD]

JOSÉ CARLOS SANTOS ‘No Mercy For Mayhem’ is out now on Hell’s Headbangers



o North Carolina-based grinders Columns’ debut ‘Please Eplode’ begins, we check them out on Metal Archives. It says there they’re a “deathcore” ban. Er, what? “We would need breakdowns, neon coloured strings, new haircuts and Adam squealing like a pig to be deathcore. I’d rather not do that,” bassist Jake Wade deadpans. And yeah, they don’t. They grind up their death metal and get on with it. “With my previous band, Hemdale, at some point we were just about writing songs. Same goes for Columns,” guitarist Michael Lehmann says. With a new video that features “Columns music, motorcycles, fire, green slime, potato chip eating and roof sitting,” as Michael puts it, they seem en route to achieving their goals. Which are, according to drummer Jason Skipper, “making some beer drinking, hell raising, kick your grandma’s ass grind.” Obviously. [JCS]


words: Angela Davey, José Carlos Santos, Kez Whelan


Midnight. So, follow-up: what else is lacking in metal these days? Athenar remains elusive. “I’m not one to give an opinion on current heavy metal releases,” he says. “When it comes to metal I’m not a fan of the more polished sounding stuff that all sounds like it was recorded in the same studio. Or computer!” Which is clear by listening to the rugged old schoolness of Midnight’s new blackened speed metal masterpiece, ‘No Mercy For Mayhem’. Athenar states that “not much has changed in my life in 30 years since getting into heavy metal at age ten,” and it shows, as the delightfully, stubbornly rough record could easily have been recorded three decades ago too. “Pretty much like the last album, all the songs were written really quick and recorded even quicker,” he reveals. “A day to record the drums, a day to do guitars and bass, then two short sessions for vocals. My thought is if at first you don’t succeed, fuck it.” Don’t worry though, if you have any kind of old metal blood in you, each dirty, sloppy note will capture your dark heart right from the first listen. “The initial goal was to just record the first mini LP, that’s it. But I’m still alive so I guess as long as I feel like making and recording music I’ll do it,” Athenar finishes. Good. Make more, then.


Pic: MichaelGardenia




or every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and that is particularly true when it comes to the hype generated by Fallujah’s new album ‘The Flesh Prevails’. It seems like for every gasping endorsement of the band’s intriguing mix of tech death adrenaline and ambient, exploratory soundscapes, there is someone ready to leap in and accuse the album of being just another addition to today’s already over-hyped tech zeitgeist. And it is something the band’s vocalist, the iron-lunged Alex Hofmann, is only too aware of. “It is funny, the album appears to be getting unrelentingly positive reviews from the press and we couldn’t be more excited. The only bad reviews normally pertain not to the album itself, but to the ‘hype’ and whether the reviewer believes it lives up to it. Which I’m fully okay with!” That calm sense of confidence shines through on every second of the band’s new album. Simultaneously striving towards both beauty and brutality, its mechanised drum work, gleaming solos, fluid riffs and soothing melodic ambience are more early Cynic than



Necrophagist – albeit without sacrificing an ounce of heaviness or intensity. “We pride ourselves not simply on musical ability,” continues Alex, “but on the ability to be tasteful with song writing. The album is really not that technical or ‘prog’ by contemporary standards, but it has its own vibe.” Despite Alex’s assertion that it is “not that technical”, it is clear from the very first riff that the band are all incredibly talented musicians. It is also clear that, with one previous album and an EP already to their name, they have truly developed a sound very much their own. Songs like sublime opener ‘Starlit Path’ and the dizzyingly dynamic ‘Sapphire’ do not just brutalise you, they wash over you in waves of pure auditory energy, leaving you both physically stunned and mentally overwhelmed. And apparently it all came surprisingly naturally to the group. “Honestly, none of it was conscious,” says Alex. “Each time we set our minds to writing music, it comes out exactly how we want, without compromise. Everything has been natural up to this point and I don’t see that changing. We as

song writers have gotten way more focused and solidified as to what characterises our band: an atmospheric and ethereal approach to death metal, with less emphasis on brutality and more on emotional intensity.” Indeed, ‘The Flesh Prevails’ really is the sound of a band stepping out from under the shadow of their influences and separating themselves from the modern tech scene in the process. It is bound to have its detractors of course, those who criticise it for being too fast, too clean, too loud or too pretty – but that would be missing the point somewhat. What we have here is a band unafraid of change, growth and experimentation. A band whose youthful nature is an asset, not a hindrance, because it lets them believe that anything is possible, and lets them reach and strive for something new. ANDY WALMSLEY ‘The Flesh Prevails’ is out now on Unique Leader



ormed by ex-Hate Eternal bassist Randy Piro back in 2010, Orbweaver are one of the most bizarre death metal acts to emerge in recent years. “I wanted to create music that had its roots in the more extreme side of metal, but with a large emphasis on noise and soundscapes,” Randy explains. “I have always been a fan of avant-garde music, and quite frankly I felt that a lot of that stuff was a lot more horrific in terms of sound than death or black metal. Gorguts and Neurosis are just two sides of the same coin to me.” Their surreal debut EP ‘Strange Transmissions From The Neuralnomicon’ is equal parts psychedelic, brutal and intricate, warping tried

and tested death metal tropes into weird and wonderful new shapes. There is enough mindboggling fretwork here to satisfy the tech heads, but also enough well crafted songs and huge, meaty riffs to please the old schoolers too, all wrapped up in a demented, hallucinatory atmosphere that is all their own. “I think any form of art has its inherit limitations, and what we do with the free ground and the barriers is what makes up the creative fabric for any artist,” Randy muses. KEZ WHELAN ‘Strange Transmissions From The Neuralnomicon’ is out now on Corpse Flower


ron Void first emerged in the late 1990s, generally only playing to a small number of die hard doomheads in dark dingy rooms above pubs. “It is great that people actually turn out to our shows these days,” laughs bassist vocalist Jonathan Seale. “Back in the day we had one man and his dog there, literally!” The band recently released their long awaited debut album, a traditional doom metal assault full of classic heavy riffage and clean vocals. [KG]


Hærken pic: Fiaz Farrelly (




ailing from the grim streets of Manchester, Nomad’s dank, filthy grooves and resin drenched riffs are irresistible, nailing that mid-tempo sludge sound that will please fans of bands like Bongzilla and Sourvein. Vocalist Drian Nash’s distinctively harsh, throaty gurgle lends the band a character all of their own too. “I like to throw in more subversive parts so it’s not all just screaming,” he smiles. “Tom Waits is a big influence with stuff like that.” [KW]



eorgia-based prog metal trio Lazer/Wulf have recently signed to Kylesa’s new Retro Futurist label. You probably think you know exactly what to expect after seeing the words “Georgia” and “Kylesa”, but if there is one thing Lazer/Wulf are adept at, it is confounding expectations. Imagine ‘Remission’-era Mastodon playing a medley of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Voivod and Tera Melos songs, and you will have some idea of how mental their debut album ‘The Beast Of Left And Right’ sounds. “[We wanted to] explore what was possible for a metal band that’s only a trio,” explains guitarist Brian Aiken, “so we brought in more ideas, looking for something that worked. But a few songs later, that exploration became our sound. Nothing about our situation was on purpose, but it’s what we have, and we won’t make excuses. Instead, we redefined our limitations as strengths.” [KW]



ew tags are more liberally tossed around than the term “atmospheric”, but as one of those rare entities whose every throbbing beat and pulverising riff oozes darkness, there is no more fitting definition for the industrial vibrations of Ventenner. “I know I use that word a lot,” admits frontman Charlie Dawe, “but I do like music that makes you feel a certain thing, whether it’s menace, fear or elation.” Since forming in 2007 as an ambient electronic solo project, Charlie’s early vision soon evolved into increasingly dynamic territory, with 2014’s ‘Distorture’ forming the quartet’s most mesmeric outing yet. Charlie elaborates, “the last record was still very loopbased, whereas ‘Distorture’ is much more progressive and advanced in the songwriting. As clichéd as it sounds, it feels like our music has been building to something these past few years, and now finally it’s right where it needs to be.” [FC]



eavy metal is a genre with a strong sense of tradition and Birmingham-based metal troupe Hærken epitomise this ideology in many ways. Their debut album ‘…Of Warriors And Kings’ is packed with tales of ancient fables, haunting folklore, brutal battles and mythical feats of wonder, all set to a soundtrack of state-of-theart melodic death metal that asks no quarter and gives none in return. History has never sounded so thrilling and visceral. [AW]


Words: Faye Coulman, Kat Gillham, Andy Walmsley, Kez Whelan







Swedish death metal is one of the iconic scenes and sounds of extreme metal, but unlike most, it is still alive. It needed a little resuscitating, but it lives and breathes again. With the help of ENTOMBED A.D.’s L-G PETROV and former Dismember axeman DAVID BLOMQVIST, Terrorizer charts the rebirth of a legend… David picks up again, saying, “none of us who were in those bands back then think like that,” referring to the importance they had, and still have, in the history of death metal. “Of course we love it when we see young kids with Dismember or Carnage t-shirts or even tattoos, it means we must have done something right back then. But it’s a very Swedish thing to be humble, we honestly don’t think that what we did might have been so important.”


his unassuming, carefree attitude might actually have contributed to the development of the main characteristics of the genre. Though heavily inspired by American death metal, the Swedish sound is looser and more open to rock-outs, so to speak. L-G even throws the word “punk” into the conversation, and we cannot help but nod in agreement. So, we asked them point blank: What exactly are the main components of the Stockholm sound? If anyone can pinpoint this one, it is the two of you. “When we started out with Nihilist I listened to

and sound to it too.” David nods and offers: “The main influences came from bands like Autopsy and early Death, yeah. And the heavy metal pedal as well… it gave us a very distorted guitar sound.” Ah, the pedal. Though not a new thing by any means when Nihilist/Entombed or Carnage/ Dismember first started blurting out their superdowntuned warm and rough riffs that still sound and feel today like they are caressing your spine every time you hear them, with people like David Gilmour or Gary Moore among its previous users, the BOSS HM-2 Heavy Metal pedal found its true calling with this bunch of kids from Stockholm. It is at the very core of that sound, and even when it is used in other genres we all collectively and instinctively associate it with Stockholm death metal, such is the way all the bands incorporated it into their distinctive musical personality. “Everybody talks about that guitar sound, and there are bands doing that today as well, we’re also getting back to it,” L-G says, talking about the

“IT’S A VERY SWEDISH THING TO BE HUMBLE, WE HONESTLY DON’T THINK THAT WHAT WE DID MIGHT HAVE BEEN SO IMPORTANT” – DAVID BLOMQVIST stuff like Iron Maiden and suchlike, we were also all into Suicidal Tendencies and all that stuff. Nicke Andersson [drums] was a huge Kiss fan and almost everyone was into Motörhead as well,” L-G starts tentatively. “The American sound was quite heavy, we were particularly into Morbid Angel and Deicide, but the Swedish sound derived from that with the downtuned guitars and also the more punk attitude



omething was rotten in the kingdom of, erm, Sweden. It was the late 1980s when the whiff of putrefaction first started to emanate from the capital city of Stockholm, and the air was never the same again. Obviously, we are being metaphorical about the emergence of Swedish death metal, but that last bit about its permanence is particularly true: the uncanny longevity of this very particular genre defies all expectations and general rules that have applied to mostly every other variant and subvariant of metal. Swedish death metal, despite natural ups and downs during the quarter of a century throughout which it has existed, never really died, disappeared, went unbearably crap or even changed that much, and it has nevertheless maintained a certain freshness that feeble trends from last month wished they still had today. Hell, the very fact that scene became an actual subgenre of extreme music, as crystallised and specific as, say, Norwegian black metal or German thrash, is a feat in itself. As two of the main figures in the history of the scene have told us, no one at the time was really thinking farther ahead than the next kick-ass riff. “Back in those days we didn’t even think we might be doing something new,” says David Blomqvist with a dismissive laugh. David, who is now in hard rockers The Dagger, played guitar for the seminal Carnage and even had a short stint as Entombed bassist in 1989 before assuming the axewielding post in Dismember for over two decades, right up until the band split up in 2011. “It was what came naturally to us, we didn’t imagine all this would turn out like it has. You don’t think like that when you’re a teenager, you just play the stuff that you like and your influences come naturally into what you’re doing.” L-G Petrov, famous Entombed vocalist (currently in the Entombed A.D. incarnation) who was also in pioneers Morbid and Nihilist, concurs with this reasoning: “We just played music and made demos,” he offers with the utmost simplicity. “It was a kind of a little bubble we lived in, looking at it now. It was only later that we came to realise we were making a mark in the history of death metal. I guess it all started when I was too little of a kid to realize it. At the time, we were only kids playing with a group of music.”

Words: José Carlos Santos




current activities of Entombed A.D.. “We actually just Sunlight Studio. Most of the earlier classics were had a rehearsal with a second guitarist, he has three recorded there, and perhaps more importantly, the of the legendary HM-2 pedals, so we cranked it up place became a focal point for what was a true scene, and it was fucking amazing. It in the best sense of the word. sounded like twenty years ago all “There were tons of bands over again.” popping out from everywhere, “WE CARRIED ON Which is interesting, as it shows and that was good,” L-G says. that Swedish death metal is one of “Sunlight was a bit of a safe zone AS IF NOTHING the few genres in which sounding for all of us, it was a safe house HAD HAPPENED, like twenty years ago all over again where we always knew what the AND THEN THEY is not just a nostalgia thing, it is deal was. Being there, we could TURNED UP actually an integral part of what it relax, we knew Tomas Skogsberg FIFTEEN YEARS should be like. and the sound that was going to “It feels that we are come out of there. Even when LATER WITH NEW rediscovering it again right now,” a lot of bands, from abroad and GROWN HAIR” – L-G says. “That rehearsal we had everything, started going there, it DAVID BLOMQVIST was damn nice, I was headbanging didn’t seem to water it down like a lot. I always headbang, but I it has happened in other similar headbanged harder!” he says with situations in other scenes.” a booming laugh. “It was crucial,” David states. “That’s why we used The other man chiefly responsible for the that studio for five Dismember albums. It was a very establishment of the typical Stockholm sound was positive vibe. It was a very small studio, a typical rock of course Tomas Skogsberg, owner of the famous studio. Everyone was talking and drinking coffee, it



felt like a real old time recording studio, not like what you get these days. I have good memories of those days and I think everyone who was there in those years does too.”


o far, so teary-eyed retrospective, right? Big bands, origins, twenty-plus years ago, and so forth. But there is a reason Swedish death metal is special, and that is its resilience and refusal to lie down throughout the years. While it is true that Entombed, Dismember, Grave and Unleashed have more or less carried the torch and became the names everyone thinks about when the subgenre is mentioned, it is no less true that the supporting cast has been a brilliant one, from Murder Squad to Comecon, just to name two random ones, that has poisoned minds of youths from every decade. The disease spread outside Stockholm too, giving us gems from pioneers God Macabre to Centinex or “Rogga” Johansson’s unwieldy catalogue of bands, not to mention the whole Gothenburg melodic metal world, which will surely be subjected to its own proper analysis when the new record of a certain returned



band hits us later in the year. Though the picture was not the most vivid one in the first years of the 21st century, the renewing power of Swedish death metal proved itself worthy there too, with the emergence of Repugnant – whose 2006 album ‘Epitome Of Darkness’, which quite literally changed the Swedish DM game, sadly remains their only full-length – and the immense catalyst that was Daniel Ekeroth’s ‘Swedish Death Metal’ book (which, besides massive renewed interest, even prompted some band reunions when it was edited in 2008) breathing new life (and death) into the old horse. “I think it was a very important book,” David considers. “He was working on it for years, and when it finally came out it was unbelievable. Everyone, even the people in the scene, were like, whoa. It’s a very fun read, too, it’s not just documental [sic] work. A lot of bands were even motivated to get back together, like Nirvana 2002 for example. Those were the sort of bands that cut their hair and split up too early. We carried on as if nothing had happened, and then they turned up fifteen years later with new grown hair, and we’re like ‘oh, hello. Where have you been?’”

“That book explained a lot in depth, it’s good to read and find out about a lot of things that were going on. It was a complicated scene, there were a lot of bands coming out from all over the place. I haven’t read all of it, but I want to so I’ll remember things that I’ve forgotten because I was drunk at the time,” L-G says with a big laugh.

the term “Entombedcore” has been floating around and seems to be catching on. “For me it’s okay, I love it. It’s aggressive, it feels genuine, so it’s fine by me,” L-G says of these bands. “It helps spread the word even, and more people will find out where it came from originally.”


slow but sure revolution has been in place since then, and in the meantime the illustrious subgenre has even managed to spawn its own subscenes. Who can deny the Swedishness of all the admittedly amazing, mostly Kurt Ballou-produced (and mostly signed to Southern Lord) bunch of Trap Them, Black Breath, Nails, All Pigs Must Die and their ilk? It has become such a big thing that




MiIASMAL, VAMPIRE and MORBUS CHRON pic: Gobinder Jhitta


“WE CARRY THE FLAG, ON AND ON” – L-G PETROV Back at the original birthplace, the new generation shows as much promise as the previous one did back then. Interestingly, while still retaining enough basic characteristics to make them very much a part of this seemingly endless musical movement, the younger bands seem set to take Swedish death metal into the next evolutionary step by dipping more into the actual influences of their spiritual parents than into the parents themselves. Bands like Bastard Priest, Miasmal or Vampire all have that intangible excitement factor, but not by sounding like Entombed or Dismember – if anything, they sound more like Autopsy, Repulsion or Motörhead’s dirtiest moments, precisely the same bunch that kick-started the whole thing in the late 1980s. As with any scene worth its salt, there are also a couple of beautiful anomalies, and Morbus Chron really take the biscuit right now. After a relatively predictable start to their discographic career, they’ve taken a sharp turn into Swedish DM leftfield with their latest album ‘Sweven’, again maintaining the unmistakable brand of the subgenre but infusing it with hitherto unheard twists, coming across as a perfect cross of Autopsy, Sweden and jazz. Swedish progressive DM, maybe? Or is that straying too close to Opeth and confusing the picture further? Whatever it is, it’s awesome, and it is a proof of the scene’s vitality these days.




hat’s more, these newer bands are not a replacement at all, because nearly everyone is still around. Despite the turbulence of the past year, Entombed are still around (as Entombed A.D., but decidedly still around) with a new album out and our L-G Petrov excited as a little kid with the latest rehearsals, as he told us back there, they are going out on tour with the still alive and kicking Grave, and Unleashed are still active as well, their latest album ‘Odalheim’ dating from 2012. Dismember are the only one of the “big four” to have dropped along the way, but three ex-members, David Blomqvist included, are now rocking hard in The Dagger, and their death metal credentials are still intact. “We could have made it very easy for us and just put together a Dismember band and play the same old thing,” David says, with remarkable perspective for such a hardened veteran. “But we did that for 25 years. The last year the band was together we got so fed up with everything, the constant touring, the rehearsals… we needed a long break from that. I didn’t want to be bored on stage, that would suck. That would betray the only reason I’ve ever done this for – to have fun. I never wanted to be a millionaire, I just wanted to have fun. People have told me I’m turning my back on death metal, but that’s not true. It’s still there, it’s what I grew up with and it’ll always be in me. What I’m doing now is just another side of it. When we played death metal, I was still listening to bands like Rainbow and Deep Purple, I’m still the

same person and I’ll never change.” Neither will anyone else, apparently. Swedish death metal is for life, you see. “We love the music,” L-G says matter-of-factly. “Of course we can all like different styles, but we always come back to the safety of this sound. Entombed has been putting out different albums almost every time, we’ve confused people sometimes, but that sound is always there and it’s what keeps things glued together, it’s safety. I think people want to feel safe. You can always evolve, but there always has to be that element that harks back to how it used to be.” As for the future, it seems as much forward planning is being done right now as it was by those snotty kids in the late 1980s who unwittingly invented a new kind of music. “We get on with it, it’s what we do,” concludes L-G. “There’s not much else to it. New bands are popping up all over the place and we love that, we’re all together in this. So we keep doing what we do, release albums, headbang and go on tour. Meet new people who have been discovering it, and also the people who have been around even before we were, they’re all there still enjoying the music. We carry the flag, on and on.” ‘Back To The Front’ and ‘The Dagger’ are out now on Century Media



despite having no record label, and playing instrumental doom songs long

enough to make



Electric Wizard nod approvingly, serious following. Terrorizer asks how…

wince and evil enough to make

have actually managed to get a

Words: Steve Jones Pics: Steph Byrne


ising to become one of the most talked-about bands in your sphere and playing high profile slots at a festival as prestigious as Roadburn is no mean feat for any band. So when you take into account Chicago instrumentalists Bongripper wield guitar tones like a misanthrope psychopath wields a steamroller, and lack record label backing, instead releasing on their own The Great Barrier Records imprint and Bandcamp, it becomes even more striking that they have achieved these things. “It has been quite surreal,” guitarist Nick Dellacroce comments of life in the last few years. “‘Satan Worshipping Doom’ was our first vinyl release and at the time, we debated whether anyone would buy a double LP. A few years pass, and there’s a double LP of the album’s performance at Roadburn…” Another few years later, and here we are with the brand-spanking new and aptly titled ‘Miserable’, three tracks of the most drawn-out filth you will probably hear all year. It also marked a more instinctive songwriting approach. “We didn’t want to overdo it this time,” Dennis Pleckham, the other half of Bongripper’s guitar

bludgeon, explains of a process that previously saw them pick over recorded tracks splicing in ‘extra elements’. “Not that we’ve overdone it in the past, but maybe we’ve put too much thought into it – almost forcing it. This time around, if something didn’t come around naturally, it just wasn’t meant to be.” This is not to say they have narrowed their horizons, bass player Ronald Petzke explains: “We take influence from a lot of different areas, both musically and general life experiences. We’re all on the same page, but taking different directions to get there. The longer we’ve played together, the more thought we’ve put into songwriting and working out exactly where things should lead to.” He adds: “I feel our newer songs have more momentum even though we’re playing slower than ever. We’re super proud of how the record came out, and that’s the important thing.” Like all their releases, ‘Miserable’ is being released on their own label, with Bandcamp as the main facilitator for distribution. It is clearly a formula that’s worked well for Bongripper. “We’re happy doing things ourselves and it gives us complete control over everything, and it

allows us to operate within a schedule that works for us,” Dennis says. Nick concurs: “We would not exist in the same capacity without the internet – it levelled the playing field for upcoming independent bands.” “It’s taking the middle man out of the equation,” Dennis picks up. “This is why you are seeing a lot of major label artists going the same route once their contract is up with their label.” And as for the bugbear that people can copy music with two clicks of a mouse, it is not something that Nick loses any sleep over. “I personally do not care if someone illegally downloads our music,” he says. “This band began with filesharing [debut album] ‘The Great Barrier Reefer’ over AIM [AOL Instant Messenger] almost a decade ago,” he shrugs. “We appreciate the support, but we can also understand that purchasing music is a luxury that everyone cannot afford.” It seems as though plenty of people are supporting Bongripper, with slots at Maryland Deathfest and other sundry festivals and shows planned for the rest of 2014. How do the ’Rippers feel about being regarded as, dare we say it, one of the leaders of their genre now? The response in the camp is generally one of confusion. “I keep expecting people to reveal it’s all been a big joke on us,” Ron muses irreverently. “Maybe our moms are calling everyone ahead of time to make sure everyone acts nice to us.” Nick’s response is even more deadpan: “It feels miserable.” ‘Miserable’ is out now via The Great Barrier






They came from a land where their style of metal had never flourished, their sense of humour goes down badly in Germany and still get dismissed by some as a novelty. Yet DRAGONFORCE are still going, and successful. Terrorizer asked why Words: Tom Dare


ragonForce are a singularly unlikely success act. If you don’t have a scene with you it’s hard to get story. They are a power metal band who broke accepted bit longer. It’s like the metalcore scene; if you the UK – arguably one of only two bands, along listen to metalcore with 100s and 1000s of bands, you with Sabaton, to ever really crack a market generally don’t feel like a weirdo, the trend is always there. So we considered a graveyard for that style. Even more came out with no one, and we still have no one to hang bizarrely, they do not do particularly well in Germany, out with. They kept saying we’re a novelty act.” where Powerwolf go to number one in the mainstream The “novelty act” aspect may have briefly had some album charts and Blind Guardian can put on their clout to it when ‘Through The Fire And The Flames’ got own festival. umpteen million views on YouTube, but that will not Added to this, they broke at a time when power sustain a band long. Novelty has a limited shelf life, and metal was hardly healthy; of the three aforementioned songs people like have to take over quickly if a band is heavy hitters, one was doing albums barely more often not to disappear back into obscurity as quickly as they than Metallica (although the records were vastly better, came. That DragonForce are still going and able to tour obviously) and the other two were very much in their extensively and successfully rather clearly shows they infancy. Helloween were on the mend but far from their have survived this, and yet they have never quite lost creative peak, Stratovarius were having their shit phase the tag. This may, in part, be their own fault however, and HammerFall’s glory years were beginning to wane. as they have never been shy of showing a sense of Meanwhile, the general interest in DragonForce’s base in humour on stage. But this is simply a reflection of the Britain was nonchalant. The upside of this was that they band themselves. were not trying to break into a crowded scene. “You’ve got some bands that plan it out really “I still think about 60 or 70% of all the people carefully and think, ‘right we’ll do this and that’; we that have come to our gigs or bought our records still just play songs we like, play it out on stage and enjoy probably haven’t even heard a Stratovarius album,” says ourselves without overthinking it too much, and that’s guitarist Sam Totman. “I think that when we started we how it turned out,” says Sam. “There are so many weren’t trying to play to a power metal audience, but we different audiences, there are people that think ‘oh were playing to a lot of people that had never heard any they’re a bunch of clowns and they aren’t taking it of it before.” seriously,’ then you get people that think ‘oh this is cool “We were considered the black sheep among the that they aren’t so serious.’” genre of power metal,” remembers fellow six-stringer “To be honest, I think of this whole thing as kind Herman Li, of the band’s early days. “We really are of childish: trying to pretend to be something else, the the weird ones. We started to get some recognition in whole act thing,” says Herman. “The reason for this is: countries like Germany, basically because we did some I’ll give you an example. I was in L.A., and I see people mid-tempo songs. Before that, when we did all fast speaking in this same bullshit way – trying to be nice, songs, people were just like, ‘this is not power metal, and not say anything bad. You speak to some people this is just too fast.’ And whenever we did and they always talk in the same way. anything different they were against us.” There’s not an ounce of personality. I Preposterous tempos or not, it said to them, ‘look you play music, you’re obviously worked, as eleven years on supposed to be musicians. Express yourself, from their debut album and with sixth be who you are, talk the way you want to album ‘Maximum Overload’ now out, the talk.’ And the same thing in Dragonforce; multinational outfit are a name recognised we express our personality on stage, and throughout metal audiences – even those anyone we have met or has seen us on that do not consider themselves fans. stage can see that. They ask why me and The method of their rise and the reasons Sam are so different on stage, and it’s for it – their early use of MySpace when SAM TOTMAN because we’re completely different people the Internet’s power to break bands was and personalities.” largely still untapped, the fact they were both good and Maybe that is the real key to why people still like doing something original, and that video game tie in them. Or maybe it is just the funny jokes… – are by now well documented. What is mentioned less “One of the things we recently did was cutting is that they managed to do it without a pre-packaged things back, because it would get a bit silly,” Sam says audience, or without a pack of running mates to of some of their more provocative humour. “I would love maintain interest in their style. While thrash, death, black to do simulated bumming all day, but we realise that metal and even the “djent” thing had a posse of bands no one else finds that funny except a few of our mates. geographically close to them to bump each other up, Everything that we found funny in our day to day DragonForce were very much alone. lives, in the pub or whatever, we’d put it on stage, but “The way I see it, we got really big worldwide from now after travelling the world, we’ve realised that not not being one of them [a power metal band], from everybody has the same sense of humour!” being the weird one and being different,” says Herman. “But also at the same time by standing on your own, ‘Maximum Overload’ is out now on earMUSIC by standing there playing this, we become the novelty










black metal’s biggest, best creative forces

were all set to depart.



to put the band to bed.

quite as finished


chemical and personal problems had led mainman

So when he announced that they were as we thought, Terrorizer sought him out to find out what is going on…


Words: Rob Sayce & Tom Dare


n a Facebook post on November 13 last year, Blake Judd announced Nachtmystium was over. The frontman had spent a month in jail on charges of theft, had departed supergroup Twilight and was battling drug addictions. A final album, ‘The World We Left Behind’, was announced. Only now, with the album hitting the shelves, it turns out the band is not as finished as we thought…

So, Nachtmystium is not truly over? Blake Judd (guitar, vocals): “Oh, absolutely. I know I made a pretty prolific statement originally though. I wrote it on my 31st birthday, winding up in jail. Prior to then I’d never been arrested, it was a huge wake up call. It had nothing to do with me not filling orders or ripping people off, or even drugs. It was purely coincidental, to do with a roommate and an apartment lease. The bottom line was, I got into that situation because being so fucked up, I wasn’t dealing with my responsibilities as an adult. It caught up with me. I had missed a bunch of orders, but I wasn’t trying to steal people’s money. When you’re a heroin addict, you fuck everything up. With the best intention in the world, your habit is in control. None of the stuff that makes sense to most people matters, until you’ve taken care of the demon. If you don’t fulfil the physical need… the sickness is absolute hell. I broke my leg a few years ago – it’s actually how it all got started, getting addicted to pain pills – and the whole process of recovery, I’d rather go through all that again than be sick from withdrawal for 24 hours. “With all of this shit coming to a head, I felt that I needed to change everything. The jail thing became public knowledge so quickly, and in a way I wanted to hide away from the world. I’d been on top of the world, being successful in the kind of music I play. I’d been on the cover of Terrorizer, a lot of really good things… but when you’re that visible, negative things become visible too. I fell victim to the way the media works. My fiancée has told me ‘you know you’re somebody when your mugshot’s a big deal’. [laughs] It freaked me out, so I needed to clear my head and regroup. I haven’t stopped to live in seven years. I’ve been on tour or making records. I’m 31, and since I was seventeen, Nachtmystium has been my life. I didn’t know how to be a normal person. These last nine months have been beautiful for me.”

Given your situation, what was the period recording the album like? “I’ve been on a turbulent path, and things have veered between good and bad for the last few years. I’m sure that you’re aware I struggled with serious drug problems over the last few years, and all of that came to a head around the time this album was being created. I knew that this album was being made during a time where, the way I was living, my lifestyle, the things I had been doing and somehow getting away with, I was completely out of control. There was going to be only one type of end to this life I was living, and it was not going to be a good one. This album was reflective of that. The album is so fucking personal. I’d write lyrics late at night, when the other guys were sleeping. I was awake all night every night writing and listening back to what we’d recorded. I was thinking about what I’d do when we’d finished this record. I’d had a marriage fall apart, I was bouncing from place to place, my life was more unstable that it’d ever been. I’d always had a home-base, usually a girlfriend, a permanent place where I lived. Doing this record I was couch surfing, bouncing about… not because I couldn’t afford a place, but because my life was in such chaos. I didn’t know where I wanted to be, and almost didn’t care. I was so far gone and immersed in my heroin addiction, and when you’re going down that road, that’s all that matters to you every day. It’s a horrible, horrible way to live. “Doing this record I detoxed, which was… interesting. I was going through this horrendous withdrawal without the aid of methadone or anything they use to treat it. I went into the studio and had to kick it cold turkey. It was absolutely

miserable, fighting all the physical symptoms – nausea, diarrhoea, sleeplessness. I didn’t sleep the whole time I was there, for three weeks. Those were the nights I was up writing. I was very much living what those songs were saying.”

Did you conceive ‘The World We Left Behind’ as a conscious “final album”? “I knew that it was time for a change, for things to end. This album had to be symbolic of the end of a period of my life, and I didn’t know how that’d affect Nachtmystium. It was the end of what the band had come to represent. It wasn’t necessarily by choice that we became a band about drugs and chaos; I never wanted my message to be conceived as ‘drugs are cool, go out and get fucked up.’ That content in our music is more of a cry for help than anything else. It’s how I’ve released the demons in my life. I came to the realisation that it had to end. “The last song on the album very much deals with that. Meanwhile ‘On The Other Side’ was written when I’d got through the physical effects of kicking heroin. I was eating again, sleeping again, felt like myself. I’d tried to kick that awful shit so many times, spending weeks in rehab, travelling thousands of miles to get away from it, and eventually I’d always gone crawling back. Making this record, being focused on that, I decided that I wasn’t going to let this drug that had taken everything else away from me stop me finishing this album. I wasn’t about to




leave and go fix. That song’s almost a celebration of getting through it. “In a nutshell, yes, this was all about ending and rebirth, entering a new phase of my life and Nachtmystium. I decided that I needed to hang the band up, but nine months later I’ve reconsidered. I’ve had time to focus on my own life, getting myself together, and have realised that I don’t need to end Nachtmystium. I need to end what it was doing to me. Blake from Nachtmystium got Blake Judd in a lot of trouble. That persona that I created, intentionally or not, this character I became, the stumbling fucked up, drug addict mess, messed me up. I needed to reconnect with the real me, my mission in life.”

How did you make this record? “We got together and I booked in some time in mid-June of 2013, to enter the studio in July. In that time we wrote the songs ‘Voyager’ and ‘Into The Endless Abyss’. Those were the only tracks we had entering the studio; the rest of it was written in improvisational style while in there. We lived at the studio for a month and half, and jammed all day, every day, for weeks and weeks. The mics were set up and ready to go, so we were recording scratch demos all the time. Slowly it built up into this collection of songs. It’s a totally unconventional way of doing things, but I really like that. You can really dial into the moment. My music has always been a very personal reflection of my life, not just in the lyrics, concepts and themes, but through the music itself. Whatever I’m feeling or dealing with that day, I transform that into sounds that I equate with those situations or emotions. That’s how we built this record. In a sense, when it was completed, it was like we’d cut out a chunk of my life and recorded it. It’s exactly where I was at, in all senses of consciousness, essentially.” Where do you feel you want to go in the future, musically? “Previously, electronic stuff had been handled by Sanford Parker [Minsk, Corrections House], where we were experimenting with psychedelic, ’70s synthesisers. On this new record we had a guy called Dustin come in who I’ve known since I was eight years old. He’s anything but a metal guy; he’s a DJ, doing techno music and stuff. The synths on this record are all programmed, and if you listen to it it’s very much like… I don’t speak the language of that type of music, but those kind of sounds are more common in dubstep and trance. I’m not suggesting that I’m going to make a dubstep record, but I’ve always liked that music. I like that we’ve been able to incorporate something more modern, rather than exploiting the sounds of the past – Moogs, and all the Pink Floydstyle stuff. I’d really like to explore that more in the future, quite possibly as Nachtmystium. Let’s see what I can do in that realm. “I love poppy, shoegazey stuff, and there’s a real onslaught of that right now, with the likes of Alcest becoming big. I’ve explored some of that in my music on recent records, but bands like Deafheaven are really going with it. I’d like to explore that kind of vibe, but try to incorporate different influences I’ve yet to discover. There’s a lot left to explore; there’s so much shit out there, and I haven’t even scratched the surface. I’ll always be looking for something new and different, that I can fit into the melancholic, dark, sombre yet catchy vibe I enjoy, and work with in Nachtmystium.” ‘The World We Left Behind’ is out now on Century Media





being largely not taken seriously

of the press,

by much


bad for

or even actively opposed

ALESTORM have gone on to become Scotland’s biggest metal

export, with a sizeable fanbase that goes drunkenly nuts for them.

a bunch of pretend pirates who didn’t drink when they started…

Words: Andy McDonald


ometimes you’re sitting on a plane, going to play a gig somewhere on the other side of the world, and you suddenly go ‘What the fuck is going on here? How did this happen?’” says Alestorm frontman Chris Bowes. His disbelief is unsurprising; the pirate-themed metallers have had a fairly quick rise to a formidable level of popularity over the last six years, all beginning with a staggeringly fast response from one Napalm Records regarding a “crappy demo”. “We sent them a wee letter, when we were called Battleheart, asking if they were interested. Literally one hour later, they wrote back saying ‘yes, here’s a record deal,’” he laughs. A beach bar at Metal Camp festival in Slovenia was the location for signing the contract – romantically apt for a pirate metal band, but ironic for a man who, despite writing ‘Wenches And Mead’, didn’t drink until then. “I felt a bit hypocritical, so I decided to have a drink! We’re definitely not the same people we were back then.” Subsequently and improbably, their fourth gig



ever became the opening night of a national tour supporting Turisas in 2008. From there, they quickly established themselves on some of the most iconic stages in metal, including Wacken, Graspop and our own Bloodstock. While their reputation was built on maritime-themed, folk-infused power metal, the genre’s constraints are something they have tried to break on their forthcoming fourth release, ‘Sunset On The Golden Age’. “I don’t listen to any folk or power any more, so they aren’t points of reference for me,” he says of the inspirations behind it. “It’s just from the dark, twisted recesses of the mind. On this album, there are surf rock riffs, wee metalcore breakdowns, Nintendo chiptunes… we’ve realised that we don’t have to pretend to be folk metal any more. It’s just so stale now. Maybe it’s a dead genre, but it’s something we want to get away from and do something different.”

It hasn’t been smooth sailing; the band have often had their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, and have faced their fare share of derision for it. But Chris believes it is their creativity that resonates with people in a metal scene that often takes itself too seriously and relies on repetition. “Some of these bands are complete nutjobs!” he says. “Covered in blood, screaming about Satan… I’m not saying be a normal nerd, but it’s a strange way for people to be, and to take themselves so seriously and get defensive about their art. I wish more bands could get back to just being fun.” In this sense, he laments the lack of internationally-recognised metal bands coming from his native Scotland and feels a burden of proof as, effectively, the biggest metal band of Scottish origin: “I would love to be on tour and be bumping into other Scottish bands. It disappoints me there isn’t really a scene. Sometimes I feel like I want to apologise for Scotland for being the only representative, some eejit dressed as a pirate! “There are a million bands doing the same thing in a million cities. Creativity is all it takes. Don’t be afraid to do something different.” ‘Sunset On The Golden Age’ is out now on Napalm



The great doom metal success story of the last few years,

PALLBEARER, flourished by crossing beyond metal-only fan bases.

Naturally, this got them a fair slice of “hipster” dismissal by the metal underground. But love them or hate them, the question arises: Why were they the band to capture such an audience? Words: Adrien Begrand Pic: Diana Lee Zadio


s the band’s de facto spokesperson, Pallbearer bassist Joseph Rowland is learning what life is like when you are in a band whose forthcoming album is one of the year’s most anticipated releases. “Two years ago [press interview requests] happened mostly after the album was out, but it wasn’t as intense as this,” he says. “I have to take a



day off work and schedule my entire afternoon and evening doing press. As is everything with Pallbearer, you just gotta take it in stride, and go with it when it arrives. That’s the way it’s been every step of the way.” It has been a hectic couple of years for the easygoing, hard-touring band from Little Rock, Arkansas. After generating some mild advance buzz in metal circles on the strength of their 2010

demo and subsequent signing with Profound Lore, Pallbearer blew up practically overnight in America thanks to sudden, unprecedented attention from publications outside the metal scene shortly after the release of debut album ‘Sorrow And Extinction’. One day the band was an underground curiosity, the next it was Profound Lore’s all-time biggest seller, an indie crossover sensation, which left the unsuspecting foursome incredulous. “It was so unexpected,” says Joseph. “We didn’t even know that many people were going to hear the album. We didn’t think we’d bloom out from there too much. I never knew just exactly what it was that was so appealing to such a wide audience, and I still haven’t been able to put my finger on it, other than the fact that we’re drawing from a much larger palette of music than what a lot of bands that are playing a similar style are going for.”


efining Pallbearer’s music can prove to be just as difficult as figuring out its broad appeal. The music is rooted in doom metal, but defiantly bucks convention, often placing more focus on melodies than riffs, something that permeated the dreamlike ‘Sorrow And Extinction’ and positively bursts from the splendid follow-up ‘Foundations Of Burden’. “So many bands try to take the ‘Iron Man’ riff and base their entire sound off of that one part of Black Sabbath, instead of looking at the whole picture, which is so one-dimensional,” says Rowland. “Sabbath have a lot of different things incorporated into their sound. We’re trying to write songs rather than write a few heavy riffs that fit together. We like catchy songs with feeling, that are very long. A lot of people are drawn to Brett’s vocals in some way.” In fact, delve a little deeper past the heavy guitars, and you will hear a decided progressive rock influence in guitarist Brett Campbell’s vocal melodies, which don’t follow predictable patterns, but rather weave in and around the riffs, often heading in very unexpected directions. It might feel arbitrary, but it is no coincidence and fully intentional, reflecting both Brett’s and Joseph’s great interest in the form. “Progressive rock is a huge influence on us,” Rowland admits. “I definitely listen to more prog rock than I do new metal, and have for a long

time. We’re all really big fans of that, Brett and I especially. We’ve spent a considerable amount of time listening to a lot of stuff like PFM and Camel, more obscure bands like Ramases and Khan, and bigger bands like King Crimson and Yes. We’re drawing so much, at least mentally, from there. Especially when it’s progressive rock with a lot of feeling to it, that’s what we’re drawn to. We’re just heavy prog in some places.” Although producer Billy Anderson plays a significant role in making the new album such a big sonic leap for Pallbarer, the big reason why ‘Foundations Of Burden’ bests the debut is the way the band refined its approach while playing countless shows on the road. “We’ve learned not to go completely overboard with stage volume to the point that it hurt what we’re doing,” Joseph says. “We used to play with two full stacks and two bass cabs, each powered by different heads, because that’s what we were used to. In the Little Rock scene, it’s always been geared more toward the old school Southern sludge, where excessive volume is good. That’s what we grew up in, so we were trying to incorporate that kind of aesthetic into a different style of music, and it ended up hurting our precision and musicianship a little bit. We scaled that back, and it’s helped Brett be able to sing in a more comfortable range for him, and he’s able to hear himself better on stage, which obviously is an important thing. Also this line-up of the band has been together for over two years now, and we’ve had the opportunity to play

together all over the world with a lot of frequency, so at this point we feel each other a lot more, we’re locked in more when we play, and do the improvisation that we like to play live.”


hether or not Pallbearer is able to keep the non-metal crowd interested in their music is anybody’s guess – pop culture is more ephemeral now than it ever was – but the humble musicians welcome the challenge. To them, their music is meant to be more inclusive than exclusive, no matter what dissenters in the underground metal scene say about the matter. “It gets a little frustrating seeing the manifestation of that mindset of that whole ‘patch vest’ community who call people out for being hipsters, or whatever,” Rowland chuckles. “Saying that we’re faking it. I don’t understand what basis they have. Is it because we’re not also wearing patch vests? It’s like we’re disingenuous and are playing a genre that’s pretty niche because we decided to cash in. There’s a lot of absurd stuff like that. “None of this has ever been an exercise in trying to appeal to a mass audience. If people are swayed away to something else, so be it. We’ll still be making the music we want to make. That’s the most important thing.” ‘Foundations Of Burden’ is out August 25 on Profound Lore

“So many bands try to take the ‘Iron Man’ riff and base their entire sound off of that one part of Black Sabbath”




One of the major names of both British punk and heavy metal in the 1980s, ENGLISH DOGS are back again. Only there are two bands both using that name, both are releasing albums and neither appear to like the other much… Words: Andy McDonald


orming in a crossfire hurricane of adolescence, changing culture and a shifting heavy music landscape, Grantham’s English Dogs, like many of their 1980s peers, lived life in the proverbial fast lane and burned out quickly, if brightly. Existing in various incarnations since, with two simultaneously active at the moment, the line-up that includes most of those who recorded ‘Forward Into Battle’ and ‘Where Legend Began’ have just released their first in almost twenty years. “We were only eighteen and nineteen, so we didn’t really know what we were doing at the time. We were vulnerable,” admits guitarist Gizz Butt. “But our main influence for this record is our old selves. The essence was there, it’s just that we can play a bit better now.” The reinvigorated band were first reunited in 2012 at the suggestion of Exodus, but the relationship between Gizz and drummer Andrew “Pinch” Pinching had deteriorated following the guitarist’s stint with The Prodigy through the end of the 1990s, and a reconciliation seemed like an impossibility until differences were put aside over a curry. “We didn’t even know if we were ever going to

be able to sit in the same room again,” Gizz reflects, sombrely. “The next minute, we’re working 50-50, and that was the very special thing about the record. We got our friendship back more than ever. Because we weren’t eighteen any more, we could understand each other. I’ve never done anything like that.” Despite living on opposite sides of the ’Pond, Dropbox, Pro Tools and sheer determination made the album, ‘The Thing With Two Heads’, a reality. “We discussed that recording again seemed to be the best and right thing to do,” he explains. “We had a cassette of riffs from ’86 and I’ve always got a big pool of riffs I’m working on. The first three songs we wrote in a traditional way, but I was struggling, so he said ‘let’s try something different.’ He recorded a drum track, and it was crazy. I listened to nothing but that over and over, and it would suggest riffs to me, then I sent it back and he wrote lyrics over it.” “The title,” Gizz continues, after explaining that it was named for the previous band of guitarist and bassist Ryan and Craig Christy, “explains the fact that we were trying to fuse together punk and metal. That’s what we were trying to do from the beginning, and that’s what we’re trying to do now.”



A sizeable elephant in the room is the existence of original vocalist Pete Wakefield’s version of English Dogs, who stick conservatively to the more punkbased sound of the early material. It has been the source of some public animosity, with a recent track of theirs declaring “death to the heavy metal Dogs.” “As far as I’m concerned, the band is Pinch’s baby,” says Gizz. “Pete with three completely different guys is like Paul Di’Anno calling a new band Iron Maiden. I honestly think he should know better and shouldn’t be doing it. “We’re a crossover band. The term is important to us. We’re about bringing things together, not splintering it. Whether you’re a metal fan or a punk fan, you can quite often become a victim of a scene that is forever fragmenting. We’re always trying make things coexist. It’s more fun that way, anyway.” And it is with this confidence that the band are going to soldier on. “There’s no better advertisement than touring an album to show people that you’re passionate and believe in what you do. You’re proving you can take a lot of shit and still stand up. It’s worked for me until now and still does.” ‘The Thing With Two Heads’ is out now on Candlelight ForwardIntoBattle


After a dreadful last album and the departure of more than half the band, two years ago, all looked over for THE HAUNTED. Only the band refused to die, and are now back with an album that – shockingly, unbelievably – isn’t bollocks… Words: Rob Sayce


hough failing to meet its apocalyptic billing, 2012 did at least serve The Haunted a catastrophe of potentially career-shattering proportions. Losing firebrand vocalist Peter Dolving, lead guitarist Anders Björler (departing in favour of At The Gates) and drummer Per Möller Jensen amongst a bitter war of words, the Swedish veterans looked to have gone the way of the dodo – especially given the hostile reaction to thenmost-recent album ‘Unseen’. But their story did not end there. Fast forward to 2014, and you witness a very different incarnation. Patrick Jensen and Jonas Björler (guitar and bass respectively) have refused to let the flame die, bringing original (and At The Gates/Paradise Lost) stickman Adrian Erlandsson



and former vocalist Marco Aro back on board, while recruiting Six Feet Under’s Ola Englund for guitar duties. For Marco, it’s been a surprisingly smooth reintroduction. “I thought it would be like walking out onto a football pitch with ice skates on,” he laughs. “I’ve been doing super aggressive stuff since my first stint in The Haunted with my other band The Resistance, and that’s a lot easier… you just walk in swinging. Every punch a cage fighter throws, it lands exactly where it’s supposed to. That’s The Haunted. In comparison, my other stuff’s like a street fighter on crack. [laughs] The songwriting process was a bit scary in the beginning, but once I’d settled in it felt like coming home. Ola, having the personality that he does, is a perfect fit. He’s a

bit of a control freak, but we all benefit from him being that way. We’re having the greatest time of our lives, actually. Once we get together it’s all fun and games.” Glued to the highways for countless years, the band have never shied away from their share of heavy touring. As both the sobering ‘Road Kill’ documentary and Peter Dolving’s departure missive illustrate, they have paid a considerable price for it too: strained relationships, fatigue, addiction and disenchantment. The key condition of Marco’s return was that it could never happen again. “When Patrick asked if I would consider coming back, I had to take time to speak to my family and make sure everyone was on board,” he relates. “To be honest, I was anxious about all the touring. They’d been doing it for ten years after I left, still going like crazy, and I wasn’t interested in that at all. We had a meeting and they laid out the format for 2014 and onwards, where we decided to become weekend warriors. We’ll only do what makes sense for us. We’re not doing a month on Eastern European roads, playing to 150 people a night, sleeping at punk rockers’ houses and using

their shoes as pillows. It’s just not appealing any more. Once it becomes a ‘must’, we’ll have to take stock and see what went wrong. This must not become a ‘must’, or it’s simply not worth it.”


t seems fair to say that many old school fans looked on records like ‘Unseen’ and – to a lesser extent – ‘Versus’ with some dismay. New album ‘Exit Wounds’ resets the clock, returning to a venomous and uncompromising brand of thrashy metal. “It’s good fun,” laughs Marco. “There’s definitely more of a relaxed atmosphere within the band, especially with recording. Even the crew have been saying ‘this is definitely a different Haunted’. They hadn’t seen that spirit in a while. Actually, the only one of us who went into a studio for this was Adrian, to put down the drums. The rest of the guys laid their parts out in home studios, and I did the vocals in The Resistance’s rehearsal room. We sent files around, and they were mixed. It’s not something we’re going to do again though! I think it would have come out richer if we’d been in the studio at the same time, everyone having their

input. But in the end, it turned out strong anyway. Next time we’ll go back to the rehearsal room, and actually jam. We got out of it alive, pretty much!” Still, is Marco nervous about how the record – and his contributions – will be received? Given their differing styles, ‘Exit Wounds’ may prove divisive among admirers of Peter Dolving. “Peter’s like a poet,” muses Marco, “so he writes the best lyrics. But that’s because he’s also a bit crazy! He leaves nothing out. I tend to polish it a bit, but he doesn’t. Whatever’s in his mind, it goes on the paper. He’s so damn honest with his lyrics, so much so that it’s actually painful to read at times. For some bands it doesn’t matter what you scream about, just scream bloody murder. That doesn’t go for The Haunted.” He pauses. “Lyrically, the song ‘Psychonaut’ is about my twisted love affair with drugs. It’s pretty much an explanation of why I left the first time. The rest of the songs are dealing with similar subjects. One of my favourites is ‘Trendkiller’, because I get to sing with my all time hero. He’s actually the reason I started singing in the first place, Chuck Billy

[of Testament]. When I first heard the song with Chuck’s vocals on, I had to pull my car over and stare at the stereo. It was a crazy experience.”


t this point The Haunted do not need to turn the metal world on its head, and neither do they feel compelled to argue their relevance. As far as Marco’s concerned, they will be taking the band forward whether 10,000 people buy the new record, or just ten. “There’s always going to be a Marco camp and a Peter camp; I’ve accepted that,” he says. “Everything I’ve seen so far from the fans has been very positive. But on the other hand , it doesn’t really matter any more. We’re not doing it for fame, or even for appreciation. It’s just fun. The album sales aren’t that important, The Haunted isn’t our living at this point. We just want to get it out there and start playing to people again. It’s been a long time coming.” ‘Exit Wounds’ is out August 25 on Century Media





of the rising talents of


black metal

MUTILATION RITES are happy to do things the hard way,

working as a unit and putting in the hours and miles needed to get it right.

And as hateful and nasty as they can manage… Words: Rich Taylor Pic: Keith Marlowe


waggering, d-beat black metal maniacs Mutilation Rites broke into underground recognition, firstly following a couple of well-received EPs, but significantly with their debut record ‘Empyrean’ back in 2012, an album that slapped every disgusting and depraved element of extreme metal onto a single recording that screamed (literally) vitality. But with follow-up ‘Harbinger’, the Brooklyn four-piece responsible for 2014’s most hallucinogenic album cover have found their feet a little more. Speaking to Terrorizer from the bustling streets of New York City, vocalist and guitarist George Paul reveals that one of the primary catalysts of this musical consolidation was the inevitable adjustment that comes with line-up changes. “[The writing process for ‘Harbinger’] actually wasn’t that much different,” Paul reflects. “Ryan Jones, our bass player is the main difference. He had been playing bass and backing vocals during ‘Empyrean’, but he ended up leaving right after it was recorded, so we got him to come back and start playing bass for us, and he’s added a lot to it for death metal influences. There are a lot more death metal vocals on the new record for example, so he added a lot in that sense. I guess it was easier

with Ryan; he’s a really good problem solver when it comes to writing. He’s like, ‘this is why this stuff doesn’t work’, so in that way the new record is a lot more efficient, because he helps out a lot like that.” The growth of the last two years goes beyond Ryan’s bestial grunting and streamlining impact, however. The impossibly filthy, malignant repugnance and skilful genre-blending of ‘Harbinger’ has the feel of a band that have gained not only exposure, but also experience working together within a more focused environment, a suspicion that George confirms: “Yeah, that’s definitely true. Me, Justin [Ennis, drums] and Michael [Dimmitt, guitars] have been playing together for a while now, and we’ve definitely figured out how to play off each other. I think that’s why the riffs end up like they do – like when I write a riff I know in my head that it won’t end up the same as when I first wrote it, but I know it’s something that will be easily malleable for Justin, Michael and Ryan to change and end up with something that we sound like.” Although the period that brought ‘Harbinger’ to fruition sounds relatively relaxed (especially considering its downright demented contents), it would not be extreme metal without some blood

of course, trying to make music

and sweat going into the process, as George insists: “We’re always trying to push ourselves as much as we can,” he goes on, “to make it as pissed off and mean as we can. It’s not supposed to be fun music, you know what I mean! We like touring and having fun and stuff, but we’re not trying to write party thrash or anything… It’s music for us: music that we write because we need to write music.” It is apparent then that, while the second album can be a creative trial for some bands, for Mutilation Rites, the sheer need to channel their negative energies has enabled the band to surpass their earlier efforts relatively effortlessly. The band’s increasing exposure and growing prominence in the underground US scene has played its part, as they have more than paid their dues in just a few short years. In response to Terrorizer’s shock at stating the band are about to set off on their fifteenth (since forming in 2010!) US tour, George reveals how the original energy that birthed Mutilation Rites has in turn fuelled their musical growth and progression: “When I joined the band, we would kind of just write a couple of songs, enough music to play a set, and then just go out… we were kind of playing in the band as an excuse to travel. But I guess now we have a little bit more attention than playing in basements in the middle of nowhere to four kids, we can focus on getting a real album out and doing some real touring, playing bigger places which is a blast.” ‘Harbinger’ is out now on Prosthetic







Icelandic masters of miserable SÓLSTAFIR have gone from underground black metallers to Europe who dress like cowboys and make the banjo sound serious. And they did it just by being themselves…

melancholic rockers reputed across

Words: José Carlos Santos


on the past couple of albums deal with, and Addi sees no problem with that. In fact, it’s a sign of maturity. “Well, we’re not My Dying Bride, we don’t have this really cool old English,” he jokes. “But we try to write like that in an Icelandic way, ‘epic’ Icelandic lyrics from a personal point of view. It’s easy to write Jimi Hendrix lyrics, ‘hey baby, you and me, angel’ kind of thing, everybody does that. We don’t want to do that. I like singing ‘Fjara’ [from last album ‘Svartir Sandar’]. Singing soft lyrics in Icelandic is nice, you get all the girls crying in the front. The boys are crying in the back!”


ven with the increased interest in bands from “exotic” places that years of jadedness and instant access to music have helped instigate, it is still a bit of an anomaly that remote Iceland should be one of the most exciting, promising scenes right now, with young bands from every genre popping up from the small and fascinating island high in the North Atlantic. At the helm of this evolution is quite clearly Sólstafir, the quartet of elusive, stylish Nordic cowboys that has slowly turned from a quirky black metal band into some of the finest purveyors of heart-stoppingly melancholic and atmospheric rock today. And they did it not by catering to the “markets” of the mainland, but instead by becoming ever more in tune with their own original surroundings. The last English we heard in one of their songs was on ‘Goddess Of The Ages’, the final track of 2009 album ‘Köld’, and despite the unfamiliar vocabulary, new album ‘Ótta’ still reaches straight to your heart and instantly grips it as if Icelandic was a suddenly universal language. “I think it’s more comfortable now to sing in Icelandic for me,” ponders guitarist/vocalist Aðalbjörn “Addi” Tryggvason over a cup of coffee. Terrorizer caught the band during the Eistnaflug festival in their native country (an event where they’ve played every single year so far), so their Icelandicness is at its maximum. He continues: “We’re not a literature band, we’re a rock ’n’ roll band. It’s first and foremost about music and its atmosphere. At first it was really difficult for me to sing in Icelandic, like in the ‘Köld’ song for instance. That one was supposed to be in English, but then in the studio I told the guys I wanted to try this part I had written in Icelandic. I tried it and I was like, forget about it, but the guys really wanted me to use it, and that’s what happened. It’s tough listening to it because it’s really sensitive stuff. Doing it live was really difficult, because I was screaming or half screaming all my life and I went to really soft all of a sudden. But when you write stuff from your heart, it’s nice putting it out there in a good way.” Sensitive stuff is also what most of the lyrics

lthough Sólstafir started to become a recognisable name for European metal audiences only a few years ago, the band date back almost two decades already, and they have come a long, long way to arrive at the point of dishing out emotional atmospheric rockers that make both girls and boys cry. Their 1995 demo ‘Í Norðri’ is a fine slab of nearly inaudible lo-fi black metal noise, a period Addi fondly remembers. “When we first started the band, we weren’t going to play live. Burzum didn’t play live, Darkthrone didn’t play live, In The Woods… didn’t play live, so we weren’t going to either,” he laughs. “I was so proud of that demo. I heard it at home and I was like, damn, this is awesome. I was convinced I would never write better riffs than that – might as well just quit.” A frame of mind which remains to this day: “I’ve always felt that about all the albums since. I’m so proud when I’m done with them. But at the beginning of the process it’s quite different. I keep asking myself if I’m doing anything really good. We wrote ‘Ótta’ from September to November 2013, I’m only now at the stage of thinking it’s better than the last one, but I’m also already listening to things on it that I know we can do better. When you’re so into your records, when you know every detail, where each idea came from, how it was recorded, how we went about the mixing of every detail, all the other ideas we didn’t pick because when you pick something you have to sacrifice something else… you can’t help but keep running it over in your head.” And when an album feels as genuinely from the heart as ‘Ótta’ does, it is probably quite hard to be strictly objective about it too. “It’s the same thing, there’s nothing new in rock ’n’ roll,”

the frontman says dismissively about the album’s subject matter. “It’s about love and death and hate and drugs and whatever. It’s about life. It doesn’t sound cool saying you sing about life, so you say you sing about death and hate and sorrow, but all that is life. I don’t need to sound cool. It’s not about how cool your leather jacket is, it’s how cool you are in your leather jacket, you know? You can’t make stuff up. People will always see through that. Watain is not made up, it’s the real thing. What they do, their clothes, it’s just who they are, the way they are. This is who we are, it’s not fake.”


his measure of truth in everything they do is what makes them one of the only bands who could actually pull off a banjo in one of their songs and still make it sound sad. “That’s Gringo, man,” Addi says, referring to guitarist Sæþór Sæþórsson’s affectionate nickname. “He’s always coming up with this country-based guitar stuff. He was just fooling around with something similar this time and we thought it was really cool, but we had to use a real banjo. But we can’t use a banjo…” Why not? “That’s what we said! Why can’t we? So we decided to do it, and we even tuned the banjo down so it fit the song. So we have a downtuned banjo. It’s always looked at as a funny instrument, isn’t it? The biggest thing about it was making a banjo a non-smiley thing. When you hear this song, you’re not going to laugh, and I’m really proud of that. I hate funny stuff in music and there’s nothing funny about this. It’s a sad banjo. A fucking misanthropic banjo. Who would have thought it, though? We have a banjo, violins and clean vocals on this record. We used to cover ‘Transilvanian Hunger’ a few years ago,” he finishes with a laugh. This is what happens when you decide to follow your heart. ‘Ótta’ is out August 29 on Season Of Mist





you are the founder and leader of a band, you expect to go into the studio

to record an album fully versed in the material… or so you would think.


HEATH RAVE of American black/sludge horrors WOLVHAMMER, this was not the case. It’s a good thing he trusts his bandmates…

Words: Kevin Stewart-Panko


t is very difficult referring to Wolvhammer’s Heath Rave as the band’s mastermind. He is the lone founding member, the driving pulse on the drums, the man who created the name from out of thin air because it sounded “metal” and “evil”, who uprooted from his native Minneapolis and moved to Chicago a few years ago, both to further his career as an in-demand tattoo artist and dive deeper into the world of irreverent American black metal. Heath may possess the deepest roots of the band’s family tree, but going into album number three, ‘Clawing Into Black Sun’, he farmed out the majority of writing duties to guitarist Jeff Wilson – so much so that, when the band eventually repaired to Hideaway Studio with producer Dan Jensen, the drummer had not heard most of the material that eventually comprised the new record. “I was stoked. So no,” comes the response when Heath is asked if there was trepidation about handing the reins of the baby he’s been nurturing since 2008 to the former Nachtmystium axeman. “Jeff is on one of the greatest records of the last decade; he helped write [2008 Nachtmystium album] ‘Assassins[: Black Meddle Part 1]’ and everybody knows the story about how they didn’t have shit when they went into the studio and wrote a killer record on the fly. We got home from the The Black Dahlia Murder tour and demoed three songs – which I didn’t actually hear until the night before we demoed them. We had two written before



and the two others I didn’t even hear until we got to the studio. In February, I cut my thumb open to the point I was wearing a splint. I couldn’t work and literally wasn’t able to play until we got to the studio. That’s the only thing I was really scared about: being under prepared and not knowing the stuff, but it turned out to be a blessing because you can hear the spontaneity. That we weren’t over rehearsed and didn’t beat things to death helped simplify everything.” The ironic result is that ‘Clawing Into Black Sun’ is probably the most accomplished piece of the puzzle that is Wolvhammer’s discography. From textural fulllengths and raw EPs to spontaneous split 7”s and The Cure covers, their ongoing marriage of raw black metal and velvety death rock (“we’re goth to the heart, sans buckle pants,” Heath quips) continues unabated. There is heart and soul to ‘Clawing…’s seven songs (and one interlude) with drums that sound like you are actually sitting in a dingy practice space, sans earplugs, watching and listening to Heath pound a kit held together with bubblegum and toothpicks while

vocalist Adam Clemans experiments with the recentlydiscovered dimensions of his instrument. “I honestly didn’t have anything in my head about what this was going to be like going into it,” Heath says about what parts of the final product surprised him, “but there were surprises, especially the clean singing on the title track and the chanting on the last song. ‘The Desanctification’ and ‘A Light That Doesn’t Yield’ were the two I hadn’t heard before the studio and I think those are the album’s super-stand outs. We encouraged Adam to do his thing, mainly because we didn’t know how capable he was until we covered The Cure’s ‘Burn’. “All our older stuff – and what I like about it – is that we were really unhinged,” he sums up with a little compare and contrast. “We were tasteful about some stuff, but we never reined ourselves in; we let that manic quality fly. Whereas this time, especially with the way Jeff writes, it’s a bit icier. There’s still that raw quality, but this one is darker, maybe not as angry but there’s still a consistency. We don’t sound like a different band on this record and it’s more fun for me right now, if I’m allowed to say ‘fun’ in a black metal interview!” ‘Clawing Into Black Sun’ is out now on Profound Lore

“we’re goth to the heart, sans buckle pants”


Kai Hansen and MICHAEL KISKE helped make arguably the most iconic power metal record of the lot with Helloween. Back together in UNISONIC, they have just released a record that harks back to that sound. Only it turns out their bandmate wrote more of it than they did… Words: Rob Sayce Pic: Erik Weiss


round the time of our first album, we weren’t sure of our musical identity,” muses Unisonic frontman Michael Kiske. “I hadn’t been in a functioning group since the early days of Helloween, had been doing my own thing for many years, so it was a very different experience. Since our world tour in 2012, though, this band has truly been growing. You can tell that we’re a lot more confident.” Reunited with power metal icon and former Helloween wingman Kai Hansen (now better known as the linchpin of Gamma Ray) the seasoned vocalist has finally returned to the spotlight. Completed by guitarist Mandy Meyer (Gotthard), co-founding bassist Dennis Ward and drummer Kosta Zafiriou (both of Pink Cream 69), Unisonic’s second album ‘Light Of Dawn’ bears all the hallmarks of the veteran duo’s partnership, being fast, expansive, and punctuated by big vocal melodies. Surprisingly, Kai Hansen took more of a back seat this time around, “The first record was very slow going,” recalls Michael. “We had loads of songs but weren’t totally satisfied with most of them, were sort of fooling around. It needed Kai to come in and finish it up. This time we didn’t even use Kai’s songwriting – he didn’t write for this, because he was so busy with Gamma Ray. There was a good creative atmosphere all the same. “Dennis played a

big role in this,” he continues, “in terms of songwriting. Unlike me, he’s able to stick his head into a concept, and then just write in that direction. After the first record, I told Dennis what I thought I was good at, in terms of epic melodies and all that. He went away and did his research, listening to even the really old stuff with Helloween, and then wrote songs in that vein. At the same time, they sounded very fresh and convincing. I was very impressed that he could do that; I knew him more from AOR-sounding music. So many of these sound like they could be Kai Hansen songs, but they’re not at all, they’re Dennis’.” While unlikely to convert power metal naysayers or turn the genre on its head, ‘Light Of Dawn’ is a vibrant, massively entertaining listen. At present the band are hoping to take it on the road for a phase of lengthy, festivalcentric touring, but clearing time in the diary isn’t easy. “It’s been a little bit of a problem,” Michael laughs, “finding the time to rehearse properly, and all of those practical things. We played in Bali, Indonesia a little while ago, and were totally unprepared. We hadn’t been playing together since 2012, and then had just four days to rehearse a 75

minute set. It can be kind of punk, in that sense. Some things just fall together in a very unlucky way, but I don’t think that’ll be the case the whole year. Kai has been touring with Gamma Ray, but usually we can work out a way to make it work. We’ll be busy with shows and festivals all the way up to December, and if everything works out the way we hope, there’ll be even more next year.” Splitting his time between Unisonic and an occasional role with Tobias Sammet’s all-star Avantasia project, Michael’s a man with little to prove. But while this band is far from a practical necessity, it seems to have helped him heal some old wounds. “I’m just very excited to be in a band again, to be honest,” he admits. “There aren’t the same insecurities now. After Kai left Helloween, the whole thing became quite an unpleasant experience. I’d forgotten that together, you can do far more than you ever could on your own.” ‘Light Of Dawn’ is out now on earMUSIC








ELUVEITIE’S serious credentials are a CHRIGEL GLANZMANN to discover just how

some folk metal bands are pure bombast, bluster and booze,

little more serious than that.


spoke to main man

deep they delve into their subject matter

Words: Tom Dare


hen delving deep into the riches of a long-dead culture, certainty about subject matter can be a challenge. While many of Earth’s ancient societies wrote and recorded extensively – ancient Rome, for instance, where there is plenty of contemporary evidence for many of the most famous events – others recorded far less, or in many cases were not literate, leaving accounts of their history largely to archaeologists, or even their enemies. Swiss folk metallers Eluveitie’s focus is on the Celts, the tribe that grew to inhabit much of northwest Europe in the Iron Age before being pushed into the corners of modern Britain and France. While the focus of other historically focused metal bands are well known to popular culture – Nile’s Egypt obsession, or Amon Amarth’s Viking fixation, for instance – Celtic history is less universally known. So how do Eluveitie find their information? “I always work together with different scientists and different universities – including a British one, I’ve been working together with a guy from the University of Cambridge,” says vocalist and multiinstrumentalist Chrigel Glanzmann. “There is a lot of

information around this topic. Ancient information – original information from back in the days – the main problem is that, in Celtic culture, it was disregarded to write spiritual thoughts down. “The Celts wrote a lot, and we have a lot of written down information and testimony from the Celts, but as soon as it comes to beliefs or mythological stories or things like that, the Celts believed it would not be good to write these things down for religious reasons. They believed that writing these things down made the heart waste, in a way. They thought you should have spiritual thoughts in your heart and not just in a book where you could look it up, so all of that mythology and beliefs, there are no written testimonies from the Celts. So everything that we know, and all the written testimonies that we do have, we only have from second and third-hand sources, which means from ancient historians – from Greece and Rome.” Chrigel is quick to point out that such nonCeltic sources are not always to be entirely trusted, however. It is entirely possible that writings could be exaggerated by the writer to make his travels appear more fanciful and entertaining – or, in the case of

Roman statesman Julius Caesar, carrying political motivation. Caesar’s ‘Commentarii De Bello Gallico’, charting his wars against the tribes of Gaul (France), Germania and Britannia, was in part motivated by his political ambitions. “Something that struck us over and over again during the last couple of years when dealing with history is how little has changed in the last two or three thousand years,” Chrigel says. “Caesar needed those invasions for political and financial reasons, but under Roman law it was forbidden to just attack another country or tribe unless Rome was threatened, so he needed to portray the Britons, for example, as a threat to Rome, and was trying to get the senate’s blessings to attack them by those writings. If you think of today and the whole war against terror, there’s a lot of things that make you want to observe the media. So I don’t think things were that much different back then to how they are today!” The more things change… ‘Origins’ is out now on Nuclear Blast

“Little has changed in the last two or three thousand years”




changing face of hardcore has led to a very different looking style

than the founding bands played. touch with its roots?



does this mean the fan base has lost





about hardcore’s health…

Words: Tom Dare


he definition of the word “hardcore” probably depends more on the person asked about it than the music associated with it. For some, it will always be those early bands, the Dead Kennedys and Blag Flags and The Exploiteds of the world; for the generation too young to have seen Refused live the first time around, the sound that band pioneered are more likely to spring to mind. For those whose formative years listening to punk rock fell during heavy metal’s dark age in the 1990s, the New York bands probably hold more significance than either. And one of the best of those bands – Madball – seem to agree that the meaning of the term has shifted slightly with the passing of the years. “I think that’s been true for a while now,” agrees Freddy Cricien, the band’s founder and frontman. “There’s definitely a younger generation that’s interpreting it a little bit differently, and that’s to do with the times, the way everything has changed. Nowadays, you look at social media and internet and things have changed in general, all over the world, so I think that naturally, that’s going to affect even our scene. But I also have come across younger guys and girls that do get it. Not everyone gets it the way you wish they would, or the way you want them to, but some younger people get it. I think the ones

that are more well schooled, they’ve been reared up by the right people or just schooled about the culture of hardcore. There’s always gonna be that more fickle type of generation, I think with a lot of genres. Unfortunately.” The changing of generation happens with every genre. Metallica went from adolescent upstarts to accepted, mainstream institution within a decade, and the same thing happens to hardcore, and Madball have gone from the fresh faces following in the footsteps of Agnostic Front to veterans worthy of respect from all eras of their scene. But do they perceive there has been something of a disconnect between hardcore fans of today and the bands that came before? “There can be, and it’s sad, because you’re disconnecting yourself from important bands – I’m not even talking about our band, I’m saying all those bands [like Dead Kennedys and Fear],” says Freddy. “Now we’ve become a band where, we’re cool with the old school, we’re considered old school, we’re considered veterans, so we get lumped in with that old generation now, and it’s funny because at one time what we were doing was frowned upon in a way. Now we’re very much accepted by that old

school generation, which I’m happy about, but I think sometimes we bridge a gap to the newer kids, but then there’s even newer generation that still has a lot to learn, I think. There are some kids out there who will only go to the newest, coolest hardcore bands, and it’s very selective, and that to me is not the spirit of what we’re doing. It used to be about being open minded and checking out all the different styles within the genre, and even checking out other stuff.” That said, there must be some advantage to disconnection from older bands. In heavy metal terms, if every band starts with a reference point of, say, Slayer, the myriad directions of metal over the last decade would not exist. Does Freddy feel the separation has helped creatively? “We come from the Agnostic Front family, that school, because there’s obviously blood relations and so on,” he says. “But if I were to try and sound exactly like Agnostic Front, we wouldn’t be Madball. If we’d tried to sound exactly like Minor Threat or old Bad Brains or whatever – and all those things are amazing, and super influential to everybody, it’s not that I ignored that stuff, I knew about that stuff and I liked it, but we wanted to do something different – in that respect, you do have to pave your own way and your own way. To me, I think there’s a happy medium.” ‘Hardcore Lives’ is out now on Nuclear Blast



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While most of Terrorizer are soaking up real ale and Emperor at Bloodstock, our North American – Canada’s HEAVY MONTRÉAL. We spoke to the promoter to find out the full story…

colleagues head to the continent’s biggest rock and metal festival

Words: Adrien Begrand


t is the start of an intense period for Daniel Glick, director of concerts and events at Evenko, Canada’s largest independent concert promoter. Over the span of five consecutive weekends in late summer, the company will be staging five massive events: Osheaga, a three-day indie music and arts fest that draws comparisons to Coachella and Lollapalooza in the United States, EDM/hip hop festival ÎleSoniq, a pair of headlining shows by mainstream titans Linkin Park and Arcade Fire, and most notably, Heavy Montréal, the rock and metal festival that has quickly become the biggest such festival on the continent, attracting 40,000 people per day. “It’s pretty nuts,” he says during an afternoon phone call, “But we have awesome people working for us, and we’re very organised. You have to be.” Modelled after such large European festivals as Wacken Open Air and Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, Heavy Montréal has had its share of big-name headliners – Iron Maiden, Slipknot, System Of A Down – and is poised to have its biggest year yet thanks to Metallica’s lone North American performance of 2014, a huge coup for a festival that’s starting to rival its European counterparts.




“IT’S ALL ABOUT DISCOVERY, ABOUT EXPANDING PEOPLE’S MUSICAL TASTES” “We wanted them from day one,” says Daniel. “It’s obvious that we wanted them, and this year it worked out timing-wise for them and for us, and financially and production as well. The stars just aligned. They’re an expensive band, but for us it’s worth it. It really makes the festival that much more credible, it makes us stand out a little more. The average Metallica fan who may have not heard of Heavy Montréal will now hear of Heavy Montréal. And not just in our local markets, but around the world. We see that in who’s buying tickets; we have people coming in from all over the place, which is really exciting – definitely more people from the States than we’ve ever had before.”


ith the biggest metal band in the world taking up a huge chunk of your budget, finding a headliner for the second day, as well as a 48-band undercard, is a challenge in itself, and the sheer variety of mainstream metal, hard rock, punk and extreme metal just WINTERSUN pic: EVA BLUE


might be the festival’s masterstroke. The line-up runs the gamut, from Slayer, to The Offspring, to Twisted Sister, to Bad Religion, to Epica, to Fucked Up, to Protest The Hero. Even a pair of viral sensations, Brooklyn’s Unlocking The Truth (the band of twelve- and thirteen-year-olds signed to major label Sony) and Japanese stars Babymetal are being brought in. “It’s definitely a tricky piece of the puzzle, we have X amount of dollars to work with,” Daniel admits. “We need to be respectful of bands that are worth X amount of money, and bands that we want to help from the ground up, like Biblical and Whores. It’s like, ‘We’re here now, and if this band doesn’t happen we can get two more of these guys.’ And adding the fourth stage, it was important to us that we expand a little bit in the site and make it a little larger of a festival. It’s all about discovery, about expanding people’s musical tastes. “Sometimes we’ve just got to fly bands in and pay them for the one-off because we really want it and it can be worth it to us and our festival. You have to do that once in a while, and hope that that band really wants to play your festival at the same time. Metallica’s a great selling point for certain bands and they’re like, ‘Ah, I want to play that day!’” While the familiar faces boost ticket sales, it is that sense of discovery that Daniel and his organisers pride themselves upon most. Wandering through the pastoral, tree-lined setting of Parc Jean-Drapeau, a Metallica fan might be won over by bands like Cynic or Alestorm, or a punk fan could discover Nashville Pussy or Voivod – an inclusive perspective key to the festival’s vision. “It was always supposed to be as broad as possible for anyone who likes metal and hard rock and punk. All the genres,” says Daniel. “So we decided to change the brand so it could be more for everyone, so everyone could understand it a little more, where they could go for three or five bands they really like, and discover some new bands [as well]. Obviously we spent a lot of time and energy trying to get the



“WE WANT TO BE A DESTINATION FESTIVAL, WE WANT PEOPLE FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD TO COME CHECK OUT HEAVY MONTRÉAL” look and the feel of it right, picking the right bands and so forth.”



ne of the biggest attractions of Heavy Montréal is its location, and British and European metal fans are starting to discover it as a viable summer festival option. Situated in the middle of the city, on a man-made island park in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, connected to the city centre by a very quick Metro ride, Parc Jean-Drapeau is not only spacious and welcoming, but extremely convenient. And when you climb to the top of the hill at night when the headliners are on and watch the sun set behind Mount Royal and the urban skyline, it is a breathtaking sight. “We want to be a destination festival, we want people from all around the world to come check out Heavy Montréal,” Daniel enthuses. “The festival is very representative of Montréal, it’s in the very heart of the city. A ten-minute subway ride, and you’re there. I feel like it’s unique compared to European festivals, where most of them are camping, whereas us, we’re a subway ride away from your hotel, our afterparties that

we put together. It’s great. If you want to camp, that’s an option, you don’t have to stay at the super nice hotels, there’s tons of different options in Montreal. Plus you can buy your tickets with a hotel package, which allows people to get the full deal. And for us, we feel the same way going home after that. We get to run this festival and sleep in our own beds. Amazing.”










he Icelandic cowboys of Sólstafir have never been easy to pin down. To describe the atmospheric intensity drawn from their black metal roots implies they are more necro and grim than they have been for years; to talk about the beauty, misery and longing that drips from their laments makes them sound like Katatonia (which they don’t), and overlooks the strange bliss their darkness inspires; to refer to the warm weight that drives them forward makes them sound like another Cult Of Luna- or Isis-worshipping band, which they decidedly are not. Perhaps the most salient comparison you can draw with them is Primordial – not because of any Celtic-isms, but because they are so instantly recognisable, be it the impassioned emotion of their singer whose voice can be spotted within three notes, or the riffing style that even those who unashamedly try and emulate cannot match. This distinctiveness is why they continue to make killer records every time they enter the studio, and ‘Ótta’ is no different. Dropping back on the pace from the rocking ‘Svartir Sandar’, the four-piece’s fifth record at first may seem to lack a little momentum. But dig beneath the surface, and the

slow build is the reason ‘Ótta’ is gripping. It draws you in gently, enticing you into the warm and bright, yet bleak, world it crafts, wrapping you in the inherent sadness as completely as you will let it. It is a record that, despite maintaining a thick, heavy guitar tone, is all about subtleties of rhythm and melody, an album that won’t force you to embrace its sombre dark moods but seduces you until it has you hooked. As ever, what draws you in quickest and conveys the feelings inherent most clearly are the sumptuous vocals of Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, whose crooning lilt speaks of a man holding his emotional stability together by a slender thread. And while the singing is only one aspect of why ‘Ótta’ is so powerful, it encapsulates the power perfectly. Sólstafir on this album sound at their most natural, as if they

just pitched up at a studio, plugged in and hit “record” and did the entire record in one take. The compositional skill evident beneath the surface tells you they didn’t, but you have to look for it to tell, so clear is the honesty on display. If heavy metal has, as some bemoan, become too manufactured and programmed, Sólstafir’s ‘Ótta’ is the antithesis of this. It is an authentic, pure encapsulation of the passion of its musicians, and while this inevitably leads to the odd rough edge, that only adds to its ability to grip you and not let go till your eyes are misting up. Beautiful melancholy should sound this good more often. [9] TOM DARE





















After calling it quits in 1987 without an album to their name, Andy convinced the NWOBHM legends to reform in 2008 and they’ve since delivered two killer full-lengths with him on guitar



or pure, unadulterated heavy metal thunder, you can’t really beat Accept. Losing talismanic frontman Udo Dirkschneider hasn’t slowed the Teutonic titans down much, as they continue to serve up slab after slab of brilliantly over the top fare. There’s more to this lot than sheer bombast, however, and fourteenth album ‘Blind Rage’ is a testament to the enduring strength of their songwriting. There are good reasons why Accept still command respect. Steely and immune to irony, they’ve stuck to their (oversized, more metal than life) guns for decades

now, and as a result are almost peerless on their own terms. If you’re a living, breathing metal fan it’s hard not to get caught up in the runaway train speed metal of ‘Stampede’ and epic call to arms of ‘Wanna Be Free’, vocalist Mark Tornillo playing it absolutely straight throughout. Running the gamut from apocalyptic, mid-paced fist-pumpers like ‘Fall Of The Empire’ and ‘From The Ashes We Rise’ to pure balls-out metal, this is Accept at their memorable best, doing exactly

what they’ve always done. There’s even an overblown shred-fest of a finale, in the form of ‘Final Journey’. Just as there’s room for innovative, boundary-pushing approaches to metal, there will always be a place for Accept to champion the style that never really went away. ‘Blind Rage’ is loud, proud and violently unsubtle, but in this corner of our world, you couldn’t really ask for more. Heads will be banged. [8] ROB SAYCE


The thrash titans were in a bad way in the early 2000’s, but that all changed with the arrival of the Sneap-produced ‘United Abominations’ in 2007


Mixing and mastering one of metal’s most anticipated comeback records is a task most audio engineers would shy away from, but not Andy, who did a sterling job here









‘In Humor And Sadness’


‘Elements Of The Infinite’


‘Instinct Is Forever’




ith The Chariot reaching its natural conclusion last year, Josh Scogin is back with his new musical adventure, and if you were worried he’d lose any of his unpredictable nature, then you’d be pretty wide of the mark. Stripping things back to a duo of guitars/vocals (Josh) and drums (Michael McClellan), ’68 make an explosive and harsh noise that combines elements of Josh’s former glories with a low-fi blues and post-punk abrasiveness. Abandoning the notion of song titles, tracks one to ten are wild and chaotic and, for the most part, make you want to drink dirty whiskey and cause havoc in your local bar. Wild and primal creativity at its best. [7.5] DARREN SADLER

ar too often in recent years, the phrase “melodic death metal” has meant hackneyed rehashes of a twenty-year-old sound done with little personality or emotion. Allegaeon have been one of the exceptions, both in that they offer some originality, adding modern technicality to the formula and without simply reworking the minor-key cliché for melody, and manage to provoke a reaction. ‘Elements Of The Infinite’ is another distracting, engaging effort in their catalogue, and should make even the most jaded fans of melodic aggression bang their heads. The band do still slightly lack in the instantly memorable hook department but, with some attentive listening, songs like ‘1.618’ soon manage stand up on their own. [7] TOM DARE

here are moments on the Richmond, Virginia band’s second album that show signs of becoming a truly original voice in American underground metal. ‘Lantern At The End Of Time’ is a sensational combination of bracing Bathory grooves and Coven-inspired incantations by Dorthia Cottrell of Windhand, black metal at its most grimly dynamic and, yes, beautiful. ‘Forbidden Sorrow’ and ‘The Killer In Us All’ take a similarly measured approach, moving gracefully yet never losing an ounce of power. Overall it’s a near miss unfortunately, as the bulk of this record can’t live up to those highlights, coming across as neither incompetent nor outstanding, instead simply rote – and in this day and age, rote just isn’t good enough. [6] ADRIEN BEGRAND

here is an overwhelming sense of confidence that Denmark’s Black Book Lodge exude throughout this powerful debut that makes the quartet a very exciting proposition. With gargantuan riffs firmly inspired from greats such as Josh Homme and even Mastodon at their commercial peak, ‘Tundra’ is packed with songs that are clearly quite simple in their approach, and yet manage to sound huge and devastatingly fresh. Songs such as ‘Pendulum’ are arguably a little too QOTSA for their own good, but ‘Battering Ram’ is as damaging as its name suggests and the slow-build closer of ‘Empire’ rounds things off rather splendidly. Bearded riffs and just the right amount of melody make for a satisfying listen. Investigate. [7] DARREN SADLER








‘After Death Before Chaos’


dhering to the concept of musical primitivism as strictly as a Hellhammer tribute band comprised entirely of Neanderthals, the debut album from Singaporean quartet Abolition A.D is a righteously filthy affair. Taking the dark, smouldering hardcore of bands like Cursed and His Hero Is Gone and stripping it down to a squelchy, mid-paced ooze, what the band’s raw, primordial racket lacks in subtlety it more than makes up for with a distinctively ramshackle charm. Whilst their riff writing capabilities may pale in comparison to the bands they’re aping, there’s still a lot of potential here, and if they can refine their songwriting without sacrificing any of that scummy atmosphere next time round, they’ll be on to a winner. [6] KEZ WHELAN

‘The Virtuous Purge’


ince their fantastic 2012 split with False, underground expectations have been running high for Barghest’s second full-length studio album, and with ‘The Virtuous Purge’, the black metal band from Baton Rouge won’t disappoint. Emerging from the suffocating swamps of Louisiana, Barghest drag forth some of the most imperiously heavy extreme metal you’ll hear all year. And as the sulphurous dust settles on the doom epitaph that is album closer ‘My Own Grave’, another resounding impression appears; where many death/black metal bands tend to sacrifice crafting unforgettable riffs for sinister atmosphere, Barghest balance both brilliantly, especially on ‘Agonizing Spiritual Descent’, ‘When The Cross Points To Hell’ and the torturous twists and turns of the title track. [7.5] DEAN BROWN

‘Conjuring The Dead’


t every frenzied turn, this machine gun-paced amalgam of hyperblasts, churning grooves and intricate tremolo leaves the synapses crackling with adrenaline. Stirring deeper within the thrill of aggression, Belphegor’s unearthly presence looms exceptionally large throughout the Far Eastern flourishes of title track ‘Conjuring The Dead’, while ‘Rex Tremendae Majestatis’ is rife with fiendishly majestic acoustics. Furnished with the vocal contortions of Mayhem���s Attila Csihar and Deicide’s Glen Benton, ‘Legions Of Destruction’s rhythmic clusters of reverb display impeccable precision atop a churning undercurrent of luxuriant atmospherics. Manipulating these dynamics to delectably dark effect, ‘Conjuring The Dead’ is a thoroughly seasoned exercise in wickedness. [7] FAYE COULMAN

‘Dark Star On The Right Horn Of The Crescent Moon’ SEASON OF MIST


kranian multiinstrumentalist Roman Saenko may be better known for his folk-inspired atmospheric black metal project, Drudkh, however, but Blood Of Kingu are well worth your attention as well, and if the band’s previous two albums have managed to pass you by, then ‘Dark Star…’ is as good a place to start as any. Much like its predecessors, this record takes its inspiration from Babylonian mythology, told through the medium of a merciless inundation of pounding drums, enormous vocal bellows, swelling tremolos and tantalising melodies. While BoK may fall short of Drudkh’s immersive atmosphere, they prove their worth with expansive passages of engaging riff patterns that will satisfy even the pickiest of black metal fans. [7] ANGELA DAVEY







‘Brimstone Coven’


‘Please Explode’


n a genre as standardised as the current retro/occult rock trend, one’s success is very subjective. How many Sabbath riffs can you ape without truly nailing it? It’s really all about the groove and how one can actually manage to make it natural and not calculated. Brimstone Coven are one of those few happy campers. Despite their beards and flannel shirts looking akin to a sludge gang signed on Relapse and their Metal Blade’s debut odds-and-sods nature (it compiles their first two self-produced releases), a genuine love of ’70s heavy rock and surprisingly well-performed vocal harmonies transpire from these seventeen songs. Now bring on a proper full-length so they can fulfil this promising attempt. [6.5] OLIVIER ‘ZOLTAR’ BADIN

mbodying the dark triad of modern death/ grind (namely, relentless speed, razorblade riffs and a misanthropic sense of humour) Columns make no attempt to break the mould. Their second full-length ‘Please Explode’ is a thoroughly nasty, if familiar beast, boasting future feel-good hits like ‘Mudfucker’, ‘Punching Nancy Grace’, ‘Laid Off For X-Mas’ and, er, ‘Bear Molester’. It’s delivered with surgical precision to boot, right down to Adam Cody’s (Wretched, Glass Casket) venomous growl and a handful of squealing guitar solos, jumping between time-signatures for fun. Relapse have an incredible ear for this sort of thing, and in these sixteen tracks they’ve picked another winner. When something’s this fucking vicious, you can overlook a little déjà vu. [7] ROB SAYCE





‘Burning Flag’


his being produced at the Mecca of crust (Studio 1 In 12), by none other than Brian from Doom, might give you an inkling of the harsh, heavy sounds on offer from this vitriolic new Halifax band. It’s angry metallic punk, but the stand-out track is the mid-tempo stomper, ‘Strong’, which, as well as Antisect and Police Bastard, also looks towards Helmet and Prong for influence, providing a nice counterpoint to the punchy thrashy tunes either side of it. It’s all as gnarly as fuck though, with MD’s vocals recalling the late great Dawn Crosby (of Detente fame), and whets the appetite nicely for their full album due later in the year. [7] IAN GLASPER

‘Conquering Dystopia’


eginning life as a few riffs between guitar heroes Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore) and Keith Merrow (Demisery, Merrow), Conquering Dystopia has since evolved into a full band with the addition of one of the tightest, most technical rhythm sections in existence, bassist Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse, Blotted Science) and drummer Alex Rüdinger (The Faceless). While it’s apparent that everyone has brought their backgrounds with them, the way in which those elements connect to form music that’s perfectly unified yet equally dynamic is remarkably refreshing and modern. The otherworldly musicianship and innovative songwriting will mesmerise you through the nearhour of flawless material, ensuring that you never even notice the lack of vocals, let alone miss them. [7.5] RAY HOLROYD





‘Harbinger’ PROSTHETIC


isten up, metal bands: this is how you make a second album. Mutilation Rites have taken what was great about their 2012 debut ‘Empyrean’ – namely, its potent synthesis of swarming black metal and crusty hardcore aggression – and honed it to a fine point. The result is a punchier and more memorable collection of tracks that find the band moving beyond their initial Scandinavian influences to deliver a filthy, bastardised racket of their own devising. This is instantly apparent with opener ‘Black Pyramid’, the Brooklynites unleashing a raging torrent of blastbeats and tremolopicked riffs, before settling into a queasy, mid-paced groove that serves to highlight the rhythmic dexterity of drummer Justin Ennis (ex-Tombs) and bassist Ryan Jones (ex-Today Is The Day). For the most part, ‘Harbinger’ is a harsh and brutal record, especially when you factor in frontman George Paul’s

tempo changes, or tiny tweaks in direction are employed to massive results. Irrationally heavy, mentally and physically invasive, and likely to have you involuntarily rocking back-and-forth, ‘Miserable’ characterises how doom is done. [7.5] RICH TAYLOR

anguished shrieks and guttural growls, and yet there’s something curiously graceful about the way the band navigate its myriad twists and turns, not to mention the subtle melodic sensibility at play on cuts like ‘Exhaling Or Breathing In’ and ‘Ignus Fatuus’. Though plainly still in thrall to black metal, the four-piece borrow liberally from across the extreme music spectrum, with ripping thrash riffs coming to the fore on ‘Gravitational Collapse’ and ‘Contaminate’, and crushing, Incantation-esque death metal vibes underpinning final number ‘Conspiracy Of Silence’. In short, Mutilation Rites deliver everything you’d expect from a selfproclaimed “filthy black metal” band, and a lot more besides. [7] MIKE KEMP




feel like a lot of bands, especially black metal bands in the US, focus way too much on imagery and the stupid shit they say, the atmosphere and aesthetics, rather than writing a good damn metal riff. I don’t know why it’s not cool in the US to listen to these riffs, but people would rather

sit around and listen to kitchen cleaning music. The shit some of these bands say is fucking embarrassing, so I don’t wanna be associated with any of that garbage. It’s supposed to be mean, aggressive music. There’s nothing mean about the shit I’ve been hearing!”





‘Darkest Hour’

BONGRIPPER ‘Miserable’ nstrumental doom. Three tracks. Over an hour in length. If these simple phrases don’t get your riff-detecting antenna wiggling with anticipation for what could only be the new Bongripper album, then you’ve got some catching up to do. If unfamiliar with what these guys do, then the pounding, earth-moving ability of this new record is likely to blow your gasket, but for the initiated, ‘Miserable’ is paradoxically guaranteed to make you very, very happy. Bongripper’s signature crushing tone and simplicity is utilised on this record to create both their utterly immobilising aural density, as well as the backdrop from which subtle musical changes become hugely evocative, powerful nuances of atmosphere and emotion. This is Bongripper’s bread and butter, and on ‘Miserable’, the increased (yet still almost subliminal) presence of experimentation,



riginal members John Henry (vocals) and Mike Schleibaum (guitar) are no strangers to line-up changes, with their ex-members list almost reaching double digits. This has given the DC-based band an openness to growth with every new musician through their revolving door, further honing their signature sound of clean/ shouty vocals, thrashy riffs, shredding and grooves galore. Newest additions Aaron Deal (bass) and Travis Orbin (drums) lay down such a solid rhythmic foundation it sounds like they’ve been there all along, and with young producer Taylor Larson (Periphery) tapping into the quintet’s full potential, the result is as mature as you’d hope for from their eighth album but as energetic as you’d expect from their debut. [7] RAY HOLROYD



ead Neanderthals, Nijmegen’s finest saxophone wielding grind duo, were one of the more interesting bands on Jay Randall’s Grindcore Karaoke roster, so it’s been heartening to watch them grow even weirder recently. For this collaborative release, they’ve teamed up with noise artist Machinefabriek, tempering their usual manic energy to coalesce with his long, stately drones. Opener ‘The Thing On The Door Step’ is a slow burner, but yields many rewards for the patient listener as its stark, sombre electronics swell into a flurry of eerie sax squawks. Side B, ‘The Colour Out Of Space’ is more raucous, bringing drums to the forefront whilst retaining that sparse, creepy atmosphere. Now we know what the inside of David Lynch’s mind must sound like. [7] KEZ WHELAN







dola Specus’ is Drowned’s first full length album since forming in 1992. It clearly belongs to the group of ‘new wave of old school death metal’ releases that seem to have littered the underground lately, even if the band are old enough that they could’ve put an album out back in the day. Unfortunately though, Drowned are a bit late to the party. ‘Antiprism’ is enjoyable enough, and has some interesting changes in pace, from doomy passages to almost punky moments, but it’s by far the most diverse track on the album. ‘Idola Specus’ is by no means bad, it’s just unremarkable, and bands have already done similar things better this year, Dead Congregation being a good example. [5] TOM SAUNDERS

ooking for some brutish Swedish D-beat? If, somehow, your music collection is devoid of any Electric Funeral, the Dischargeworshipping explosion perpetuated by Jocke D-takt (how does he find time? He’s also in Paranoid, Desperat, Warvictims and Totalt Jävla Mörker, amongst others), now you can have everything they have put out on one filth and feedback drenched release (with two new/ unreleased tracks too). It’s over 90 minutes of straight up dis-noise, 53 tracks of unrelenting, pissed off crust punk carnage. Variation is not a word used by Electric Funeral, so it’s best sampled in ten-to-twelve-track blasts – unless you really want that crusty, squat gig head smash sensation, then play the whole thing. [7] ALEX BONIWELL



‘In A Dutch Haze’



everal bands have already released albums taped live at the Roadburn festival, varying – as live albums tend to – in essentialness. ‘In A Dutch Haze’ makes its case more strongly than most, in capturing almost an hour’s worth of untethered, off-the-cuff über psych jamming that even outstrips these two bands’ studio albums for sheer spacecase indulgence. Recorded at Roadburn 2012, the line-up features two members each from Heavy Blanket, formed by Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis, and Earthless, blessed with one of the best currently active rock drummers in Mario Rubalcaba. There’s pretty much no letting up at any point, with solos peeled off constantly and hairy heroism on a par with Blue Cheer, Amon Düül or Mainliner. [7] NOEL GARDENER




ith an arsenal of worldly instruments that would leave their folk metal peers quaking in their loincloths, these Swiss, Celt-inspired stalwarts have never known the meaning of the word “subtle”. With an everything-and-thekitchen-sink approach, it’s an odd interlocking of ideas sometimes, with almost omnipresent pipes sounding at odds with the frenzied death metal. They nail it here and there, though. The sugary ‘The Call Of The Mountains’ sticks out like a sore thumb, but it still stands as a sublime slice of heavy pop, while the loquacious ‘Virunus’ is a rousing call-to-arms, for all it owes to alreadydone melodeath riffs. While not recommended for the casual listener, there’s enough here for those who like their metal three-dimensional. [6] ANDY MCDONALD



achtmystium’s stylistic twists and turns have made for a career you turned away from at your peril. With this, originally intended as the band’s final curtain call, they have yet again created something likely to divide their audience. ‘The World We Left Behind’ touches on multiple points in their dozen years of making albums, from the foggy black metal it opens with to the ‘Addicts…’-like psychedelia and post-punk it switches into for ‘Fireheart’. But, rather than a hodgepodge of their best bits cobbled together to close this chapter of their tale, ‘…Behind’ is a quirky, provocative and deeply personal work in its own right. On first glance, you could be forgiven for taking this as an unremarkable not-farewell, but look deeper and give it some breathing room, and its subtleties and darkness become much more affecting. The ode to self-destruction of ‘Voyager’ gives way to the effects-tinged rawness of ‘Into The Endless Abyss’, all loneliness and misery, before the out-of-place




really like what Deafheaven are doing. I remember when Nachtmystium first started having success, getting bigger, but it seems that they’ve done with what record what took us five years. I like the more avant-garde black metal stuff, the guys a lot of metal folks would call posers. [laughs] It’s good to hear

EVERY TIME I DIE ‘From Parts Unknown’



‘Maximum Overload’ EARMUSIC


et’s dispense with the silliness from the off: yes, they cover Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring Of Fire’. Yes, it’s been “DragonForce-d” up. Yes, it’s ridiculous. No, it’s not entirely terrible. The preceding synopsis could be a viewpoint transferable to the entirety of the band’s sixth album, if not their career. While only those determined to be po-faced have ever left a DragonForce gig without sporting a ridiculous grin, their dousing of power metal in energy drinks, video game sounds, sing-song choruses and enough shredding and whammy bar abuse to make the 1980s jealous, isn’t everyone’s pint of Skittles. Vocalist Marc Hudson tickles airplane underbellies with his gossamer pitch as the band essentially remain faithful to their blueprint, albeit adding quirkier soloing, even more outrageously epic bridges, glossy choruses and

mid-paced outings. Here, the wheels fall off as the intensity established by ‘The Game’ or ‘Chemical Interference’ swap out for tracks possessing the same density exhibited when everyone is racing along at 300 BPM. [7] KEVIN STEWART-PANKO

feel and downright weirdness of ‘Tear You Down’ fucks with your mind, and then right at the end, mournful epic closer ‘Epitaph For A Dying Star’ plunges you into an awful, longing finality, and your emotions have been well and truly wrung through. Black metal may not hold subtlety amongst its foremost virtues, but this is an album that only reveals its true power and painful honesty when fully absorbed. This may not be the swansong for Blake Judd’s idiosyncratic reinterpretations of black metal it was supposed to be, but if , he’d have gone out in style. [8.5] TOM DARE


f ETID’s cycle runs between party dude and torso rending metalcore lycanthrope, then they remain firmly in the full moon phase here, with their seventh record boasting a Kurt Ballou production credit to hammer home their malevolent intent. The fact is, whether it’s crowd-pleasing chorus monsters like ‘El Dorado’ or invitations to total societal breakdown like ‘Idiot’s apoplectically chaotic, typically imperious sign-off, the Buffalo quintet are meticulous. The charisma and range of Keith Buckley will only stop being a talking point when those qualities stop being so infuriatingly rare. Until then, it’s left to these guys to start a record with a scream of “Blow your fucking brains out!” and somehow make it utterly life affirming. [8] BENJ GOLANSKI

bands who’ve grown up on Slint and Swans rather than Slayer and Cannibal Corpse, because they’re coming at it from an interesting angle. It’s like if I try to make a psychedelic rock record, I’m going to turn up with ‘Assassins…’, it’s still going to sound like a black metal record, because that’s what I do.”




owever much the Latin moniker and epic brush strokes adorning this visually enticing album might suggest an offering in the ritualistic vein of Rotting Christ or Septicflesh, the diabolical essence of Exordium Mors lies in something infinitely more feral and simplistic. With a dusky smattering of melodic accents and occult whisperings barely grazing a livid tumult of battering, Bathory-esque thrash, the bone-scraping contortions contained within instantly overwhelm the senses with all the ripe repugnance of the grave. But while unforgivingly sustained brute force forms a crucial ingredient in the mix, a greater degree of restraint and structure within this often bewildering assault would arguably elevate the quintet’s sound into considerably more dynamic musical territory. [6.5] FAYE COULMAN




‘The Flesh Prevails’ UNIQUE LEADER



‘Far From The Callous Crowd’ ANARCHOTIC/PUMPKIN/1859


here’s a kernel of brilliance in Fallujah. The mixture of massive, space-age atmospherics with noodly tech death has the potential to achieve something rather wonderful – much like Progenie Terrestre Pura did last year using black metal instead of death. The soaring textures are indeed gorgeous and evocative, and there’s a definite richness to the atmosphere, while much of the guitar work – when they stay away from more stock rhythmic tech metal chug, anyway – is effective and individual without being self-indulgent. That said, occasionally it does slip towards djent-death filler, and the rather mechanical drumming (both in sound and execution) lacks feel. They sound capable of greatness, but fall just short here. [7] TOM DARE

hat an incredible debut album by this hard-working young punk band from South Wales, who mix metallic riffing, indignant anger and rough-hewn melodies in an explosion of rampant, but super tight, hardcore energy. They gig like troopers, and all that hard work has paid dividends because ‘Far From The Callous Crowd’ captures every ounce of the passionate intensity they wring out of their live shows , and recalls the viciously metallic crossover of The Accüsed or Beyond Possession, with hints of our own Send More Paramedics. Breathlessly fast and never scared of bolting off on a disconcerting tangent, Grand Collapse are one of the most exciting musical prospects in the UK right now. [8] IAN GLASPER



‘Sinister Rites Of The Master’ ARTIFICIAL HEAD


aul Bearer, of Houston trio Funeral Horse, is not to be confused with Paul Bearer from Sheer Terror, or the late manager of WWE’s The Undertaker. This is made apparent as early as ‘Until The Last Nation Falls’ – the first song on Funeral Horse’s second album – where we find him singing like a yobbier Thurston Moore, over music which sounds like a yobbier Sonic Youth. Often, though, ‘Sinster Rites…’ is less refined than this still. Nodding to rockabilly and canonical ’70s hard rock, with a cover of Rush’s ‘Working Man’ thrown in, FH’s bluecollar orneriness sometimes sounds ripped from the proto-grunge underground of mid-’80s Australia. Sure, they’re no Beasts Of Bourbon, but they rock serviceably. [6.5] NOEL GARDNER

‘Arch Stanton’ FABA/DEEPDIVE


vidently their hiatus was just a blip, as ever since then the instrumental stoners have released and toured like well-oiled clockwork. Their sixth album sees them once again rolling out their usual swaggering ways post-return when they open with the joyous ‘57’, but then it quickly gets intense, with a darker mood harking back to the dark clouds that hovered over their self-titled days – lead single ‘53’ being a case in point, and ‘23’ ramming the point home still further with a dust dry riff and military drumbeat matching the gruesomely intense album artwork of a cavalry charge. Quite possibly their best since ‘Wild Wonderful Purgatory’, there’s plenty left in the still for them. [7.5] STEVE JONES

oom might be at its most fashionable in the entire history of the genre these days, but slightly paradoxically, it’s harder than ever to come up with something clearly new in any doom subgenre – either you go weird or it’s otherwise very difficult to stand out. Which makes it all the more remarkable that Pallbearer have always been clearly different from everyone else, right from their 2010 demo which caused quite a stir in the underground. The band possess a near-universally recognised potential that was more than realised on 2012’s ‘Sorrow And Extinction’ debut, and is now further amplified on this new album. The basic blueprint is still the same as it ever was: heart-breaking melodies, crushing riffs and an overall despondent, discouraged feeling. However, the evolutionary step is still as big from the debut as it was from the demo to that one. Upgrades are notable on every component, from the more uncluttered, spacious approach to songwriting

and in each evocative “portal” in between the proper songs as there was in ‘Blessed For The Sick’, for instance. So yeah, it’s “only” an EP, but it’s better than most records of the genre you’ll hear this year. [8] JOSÉ CARLOS SANTOS

to the richness of the melodies, and even on Brett Campbell’s voice, stronger and more heart-wrenching than ever. With ‘Foundations Of Burden’, Pallbearer reach further in more directions, and as a whole the album comes across as a sort of best of everything doom has to offer in 2014 – the introspective melancholy of 40 Watt Sun, the crushing, suicidal depression of Loss and even the rousing nature of the best remnants of traditional doom that still resist to this day, everything is here. [9] JOSÉ CARLOS SANTOS




ooking back at it, I am still very proud of [‘Sorrow And Extinction’], especially considering the circumstances under which we made it. We’d never really been a in a real studio environment, and we ended up wasting a lot of time. I still feel really strongly about all the material










NECROS CHRISTOS ‘Nine Graves’ ine songs in 40 minutes for your buck – now that’s an EP. It makes sense, considering the gargantuan ‘Doom Of The Occult’ was over 73 minutes long, all interludes and crushing death metal monsters and things. Not a second of that death metal gem was wasted and the same thing happens here, despite the smaller scale. Even in a necessarily less ambitious release, there is the same distinctive Necros Christos mark, the sort of rare elusive feeling you get from the very best genre leaders. With hindsight, we might come to realise this band has a similar sort of depth and meaning as the inarguable cornerstones of ’90s death metal – there is certainly the same whiff in each tortured, twisted riff, in each suffocatingly slow passage

PALLBEARER ‘Foundations Of Burden’


t’s ironic that an album with a title translated as “barren” could be so full of ideas, and third time certainly seems to be the charm for these Swedes. Previous release ‘…To North’ was a promising session of folk-infused death metal, more mature than the genre’s trappings would have you believe. Album three sees a more austere – “karg”, if you like – melancholic approach with the folk elements diminished to subtleties, but they still go some way to encompassing the pseudo-psychedelic, dark stylings that their country has recently given us, from the icy, twilight scenes that ‘The Trickster’ conjures to the entrancing, tribal ‘Omma’. Even for Viking pillagers, sometimes less is more. [7] ANDY MCDONALD

there. It almost has a dream-like quality to it – listening to it now in comparison to ‘Foundations…’, there is this strange, otherworldly flow to the first one, it feels like a record that’s being played a little slower than it should be, like a 45 RPM record that’s playing at 40.”


‘No Mercy For Mayhem’ HELL'S HEADBANGERS


ore often than not, it was a certain transgression that got all of us into heavy metal in the first place: an out-oforder aesthetic overload of volume, power, nastiness or energy. Thus, the reason why the knuckleheads in Midnight are currently one of the greatest metal bands treading the boards. For all of those who like a bit of raw savagery and rock ’n’ roll overload with their metallic onslaught, ‘No Mercy For Mayhem’ (their second album proper, which arrives dripping in horror with a countenance much like a combination of a zombified Venom and a vampiric Zeke with NWOBHM bells on) is a feast of entrails for true believers and newer converts to the ways of darkness alike. [8] JIMMY MARTIN





‘Sabbracadaver’ PROFOUND LORE


ollowing up 2012’s ‘Omens’ (arguably their most definitive and harrowing statement of intent) wasn’t going to be easy, but within the first few minutes of eerie opener ‘Pentagrammes’, it’s clear that French doom outfit Monarch have done it yet again. The band’s formula remains largely unchanged, marrying funeral doom tempos with Emilie Bresson’s spine-chilling shrieks and some of the most genuinely sinister riffs this side of Moss’ ‘Sub Templum’, but their masterful use of tension and an instantly arresting atmosphere makes for a gripping listen nonetheless. The album’s three lengthy compositions are unlikely to convert the non-believers, but for the doom faithful, this is a trusty companion indeed for those long, dark, sleepless nights. [8] KEZ WHELAN


‘Cursed To See The Future’ RELAPSE


his is Brooklyn trio Mortals’ second full-length release (and first since signing to Relapse), producing the perfect marriage of sludgy riffs and black metal atmosphere. Think Darkthrone meets Kyuss, or Bathory meets High On Fire, add some truly blood-curdling vocals that would put most death metal frontmen to shame, and you’re about halfway to describing the ferocity of this record. The guitars are depraved and filthy, bolstered by the ominous crashing of cymbals in the background. The only downside is the production quality; often the instruments sound too compressed, leaving for very little breathing space. However, this will quickly become a reliable album to turn to when your ears are in need of a thorough pummelling. [7.5] ANGELA DAVEY



ounding member and vocalist of Novembers Doom, Paul Kuhr, has been on a perpetual journey to refine his band’s doom-laden paradigm since their 1995 debut, ‘Amid Its Hallowed Mirth’, and on their ninth album, ‘Bled White’, Kuhr and company have managed to attain, in both the execution of songwriting and sound, the exact refinement they’ve been searching for. The confidence of Kuhr’s deep growls and gothic cleans and the duality of consuming riffs and prosaic introspection, unveiled during affecting moments like ‘Just Breathe’ and ‘Clear’, are so immersive that not only is ‘Bled White’ a creative peak for the Chicago five-piece, it rivals recent achievements by some of their more commercially successful peers. [7.5] DEAN BROWN




he third full-length instalment of dark and twisted blackened punk rock from this Oslo crew offers plenty of aural pleasure, as you’d expect from members of Norway’s infamous Black Hole Crew. If you liked ‘Snakereigns’ for the most part, chances are you’ll enjoy its follow-up. You can hear tributes to Darkthrone, Kvelertak-esque splurges of energy, The Misfits’ horror aesthetic and primal Hellhammer growls all wrapped up in one sinister, low-fi package. The one contentious track is the sixteen-minute atmospheric closer ‘Cosmic Wynter’, which could well have you reaching for the skip button and leaving the listening experience on something of a cold downer rather than a majestic high. [7] DARREN SADLER


‘Roads To The North’ NORDVIS


ometimes, we still give our heads a shake when we think about the disparate genres of black metal and bluegrass being combined. Beyond that, the rest of our time is spent banging our heads or stomping our feet, and we didn’t think we'd ever be able to say that about the improbable world that Austin Lunn has created with Panopticon over the past seven years. It’s on ‘Road To The North’, album number five, where you really hear an increased synthesis of bluegrass into black metal instead of bouncing back and forth between very distinct slices of each. That’s not to say the black metal herein isn’t suitably evil. It is. In fact, the image of corpsepainted crusties doing a celebratory jig around a smouldering mega-church in America’s Deep South is an image that comes to mind during ‘In Silence’. On the flipside, there’s an almost waltz-y rhythmic bounce to ‘The Echoes Of A Disharmonic Evensong’, ‘Where Mountains Pierce The Sky’ utilises fiddles and wind instruments in helping



he only thing I am aiming to do is say what is on my mind. I spent my teen years in the crust scene [but] honestly, I don't identify with it much anymore and have not for the past few years. I felt just as judged there as I did when I went to church as a kid. The only agenda that I want to push is, “be honest



‘Clawing Into Black Sun’ PROFOUND LORE


lthough long-term fans of the abrasive and punkish sludge/black metal found on Wolvhammer’s previous two releases may be surprised, or perhaps even wary to learn it, with ‘Clawing Into Black Sun’ the Minneapolis quintet have reigned in some of the adrenaline and explosive rage. Oddly however, this transition isn’t something to lament over, for the result of Wolvhammer’s newly found restraint is an album that, while sounding more coherent and thought-out, doesn’t lack for underground attitude and aggression. Distilling a form of sardonic, sleazy black metal from the crusty shit-mix of their early albums, Wolvhammer have refined their sound into something simultaneously dark and luminous, and ‘Clawing Into The Black Sun’ benefits from this maturation hugely. Their signature sneering, snarling contempt for life remains, yet expressed through a sound more



focused on transcendent melodies and meditative, dissonant passages of tremolo picking as opposed to pure aggression, it feels more subliminal, evocative and truly malicious. [7] RICH TAYLOR

about your thoughts and ideas.” Everyone has their own voice. I don't give a damn about wearing anyone’s stupid ass uniform anymore. American history is important to me… so is European history. If we don't know where we came from and where we are planted, we don't know who we are.”




to create an extremely sombre mood and no one should scoff at our referring to the transition between parts one and two of ‘The Long Road’ as “post-black grass”. There have been rumblings about this album scrimping on the political statements that comprised previous fulllengths ‘Kentucky’ and ‘Social Disservices’, but ‘Roads To The North’ appears more focused on personal expression instead of activism and a display of what the musical combination says to, and about, the creator, not about how it relates to any public cause. [8.5] KEVIN STEWART-PANKO

oredoms drummer Yoshimi, besides being a central part of one of the planet’s most consistently mind-blowing psychedelic troupes, has also pursued an increasingly free-flowing and kaleidoscopic aesthetic in this more personal project. Since their 1997 origins, OOIOO have expanded to manifest a wild, zesty experimental elixir that transcends art-rock and minimalism with both primitive directness and earthy extremity at its centre. ‘Gamel’, their seventh album to date, is a bracing blast of refreshing ritualism. Fiercely rhythmic, frequently atonal and benefiting gloriously from the gamelan tinges brought by the addition of two metallophone players to the line-up (hence the title), it’s a welcome tonic for the more adventurous forager amongst the outer reaches and the undergrowth of the avant-garde. [7] JIMMY MARTIN

‘Ultimate Whirlwind Of Incineration’ BLASTAFUK


pparently deciding that they’re once again just plain old P.L.F. – they have been called Pulverizing Lethal Force and Pretty Little Flower in the past – this three-piece grind band are back to fuck up your eardrums. ‘Ultimate Whirlwind Of Incineration’ continues in much the same vein as last year’s ‘Devious Persecution And Wholesale Slaughter’ (they have a thing about titles). If you’ve ever thought that Terrorizer should have been influenced more by your favourite B-list thrash band, P.L.F. are the band for you. The thrash-like parts – even including (gasp) a guitar solo in ‘Human Hunter: Future Butcher’ – are pummelling and only serve to make the grind all the more vicious. The album title is an accurate one. [8] ED CHAPMAN










ariso and Svalbard complement each other very well indeed. This split is bookended by two collaborative tracks; ‘Floating Anchors’, the opener, has all three vocalists roaring in unison, and musically is fairly balanced between the two band’s sounds. Pariso’s contributions are intensely dark, but also full of groove, while ‘Underground Notes’ has a lethal fast/slow dynamic. When Svalbard’s first track ‘Ripped Apart’ kicks in, it’s almost cathartic – full of vibrant melodies, but sacrificing none of the aggression, it is the highlight of the split. Svalbard’s side continues in a similarly melodic vein, making the viciousness of the closing collaborative track, ‘Faceless’, even more potent. [7] TOM SAUNDERS

inland’s estimable Svart label has repeatedly proved its mettle in the business of reissues over the last few years, but in the case of Rippikoulu, they’ve gone one better and helped a band’s rebirth. A death/doom trio active in the early 1990s, their ‘Musta Seremonia’ demo was rescued from tape-trader obscurity by Svart’s 2010 reissue, but that was that – until Rippikoulu handed them ‘Ulvaja’, three new tracks lasting eighteen minutes. It’s a rock-solid return, too, dispensing with the sludgy fidelity and introducing piano parts, deeper vocals and female harmonies. Tempos are most often slow and stately, only the fairly short ‘Loputon’ relying on speed, and oppressive weight combines with My Dying Bridestyle prettiness without sinking into cheese. [7] NOEL GARDNER





‘As All Seasons Die’





inland’s Profetus follow on in the legacy of their countrymen, employing the organ-led approach that earned Skepticism their throne almost twenty years ago to give their crushing funeral doom dirges the atmosphere of a spectral and enshrouded procession. With their third record ‘As All Seasons Die’, Profetus do fine justice to their influences, with crushingly evocative chord passages and proudly melancholic vocals that cavort intimately with sorrow and loss. Oddly for a band of their genre however, Profetus don’t spend too much time reaching the climax of their music. Instead ‘As All Seasons Die’ quickly immerses the listener in the morose and haunting realm of a band quite capable of flying the flag for Finnish funeral doom in 2014. [7.5] RICH TAYLOR

aising a swift and defiant middle finger to polish, maturity, proficiency and other nonsense permeating black metal, Sacrificio turn the clock back to a time when (youthful) exuberance, a thirst for blood and a desire to create a maelstrom of audio violence ruled the day, and each new release seemed ever more violent, over-the-top and barely controlled than its predecessors. Thus, their self-titled mini-album is replete with raw, scything guitars, drum work that sounds more like the kit is falling down a steep flight of steps and suitably hellish vocal screams. Sprinkled with their own brand of form and style, ‘Sacrificio’ is a commendable presentation of a declaration of outright war between ‘I.N.R.I.’ and ‘In The Sign Of Evil’. [7] GUY STRACHAN









here’s a video available online with one live take of this whole recording, the entire 21 minutes and five songs of ‘Teeth, Hair And Skin’ that ended up as final takes, vocals aside. That should tell you all about the spontaneity of this collaboration between Red Fang’s Aaron Beam and John Sherman, and Kunz’s Louis Jucker and Luc Hess (both also former members of The Ocean). Despite this laidback nature, and the fact that we’re talking about two bass/ drums duos, nothing is rushed or sloppy, nor is there a feeling of something lacking. It’s not just Red Fang + Kunz sonically either, the five songs bouncing along with an upbeat, rocky vibe, catchy as hell and demanding a continuation of the collaboration soon. [7] JOSÉ CARLOS SANTOS

f nothing else, Sacrocurse’s debut is easily one of the most potently vicious recordings of 2014. Following the template laid down by the ‘Sepulchral Desolation’ demo, the chaotic onslaught replicates a similar wall of noise well known to fans of the South American and Canadian underworlds (what would you expect from a former member of Morbosidad?). It’s generally relentless, but there’s a cavernous quality to the face-melting mayhem and it’s Sacrocurse’s dropping of crushing heaviness and berserk Morbid Angel-styled lead breaks that gives ‘Unholier Master’ an intensity and multi-dimensional crush that pushes the duo near to the top of whatever the more annihilatory elements of “bestial war metal” happen to be calling themselves this month. [7.5] GUY STRACHAN

lmost two decades have passed since Sheer Terror’s last album proper (1995’s ‘Love Songs For The Unloved’), but it’s obvious the Reverend Paul Bearer and his crew haven’t missed a beat, this new release feeling like a continuation of classic ST albums ‘Just Can’t Hate Enough’ or ‘Ugly And Proud’. In an age of lame reunions and cashin reformations, Sheer Terror sound remarkably vital and intense, still mining that dark and dreary vein somewhere between NYHC, Oi! and Celtic Frost. They were never just about the music though, and thankfully Paul’s selfdeprecating, world-weary rants are in full inimitable effect, making this the hardcore album of the year by a blue collar mile. [7.5] IAN GLASPER

‘Teeth, Hair And Skin’




athedral guitarist Gaz Jennings should need no introduction, so he goes first on this month’s column. His new band Death Penalty (where he’s surrounded by quality Belgian musicians, including ex-Serpentcult vocalist Michelle Nocon who puts in a hell of a performance here) have chosen the perfect way to introduce themselves with a 7” single called ‘Sign Of Times’ [8, Rise Above]. One listen to the title-track on side A is enough to get serious salivation started for the forthcoming self-titled full-length, as everything is in its right place – the killer riffs, the super-catchy vocal lines, the underlying heaviness of it all. Then, side B does it all over again with another belter, ‘Seven Flames’. Great things are on the horizon for riffmaster Gaz, and he deserves it. Remaining in Belgium, Eleanora throw down their first individual release, a self-titled two-track EP [7, Consouling Sounds], after a split with Amenra earlier in the year. There are worse ways to start your discographic career than that, and the promise they showed on their side of that 10” keeps building with these two cuts. Remarkably dense and straining with coiled tension, their hard-hitting post-hardcore is a sort of more concise, in-your-face version of their celebrated split partners. Keep an eye and two ears out for them. Also showing huge promise are Bowl Ethereal, a duo from Virginia which includes Loincloth’s Pen Rollings on drums. Their first release for the illustrious label is a self-titled 7” with six songs [7.5, Southern Lord], all of them lasting for one minute and one second, and the resulting six minutes and six seconds are a feast of crazy, unpredictable dynamics, crushing grooves and instrumental might. If they can keep this up for an entire album, beware. Bristol-based Atomçk provide the following info on their bandcamp: “UK GRINDCORE OVER THE WORLD. DESTROY EVERYTHING.” Which sums up their new ‘Whitewashed’ 7” [7, Wooaaargh] quite nicely – it’s shrieky, no-frills grindcore which aims to inconvenience your eardrums as much as possible in the most Discordance Axis-y way possible. Mission accomplished, lads. Dysteria, from Brighton, are on a similar mission with their equally self-explanatory EP, ‘Fuck The Future’ [7, self-release]. Nasty, crusty D-beat from the nearest, filthiest gutter is what you get, with the occasional much welcome doomy slow-down so you can better reflect upon how fucked you really are. If you wallow further in that gutter, by the way, you might dredge up a copy of ‘Afterwards’ [7, Wooaaargh], This Ends Here’s newest three-tracker which piles up a few meaty rhythms and riffs on top of the buried, tortured punk vocals. They’d be the perfect band to finish the column with, but fuck puns. Fuck everything, because that’s what you’ll feel like after Vermin Womb’s ‘Permanence’ [9, Throatruiner] runs you over. Bad news first: Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire, one of the best things to have happened to grindcore this century, are over, but the good news is that these guys are essentially CTTTOAFF with a new drummer and an even worse attitude. So yeah, Ethan McCarthy (Primitive Man, Withered) rules as king fucking destroyer over these six blistering tracks and you’ll either get this and play it every day until a proper album comes out or you’re a wimp. Your pick. WORDS: JOSÉ CARLOS SANTOS


‘Unholier Master’


‘Standing Up For Falling Down’


‘I Promise To Thrash Forever’


ith the enthusiastic reaction to the exhumation of compatriots Xentrix last year, it’s clear that the UK is still hungry for some homegrown thrash. Enter underappreciated undergrounders Solitary with this celebration of their twentieth birthday and all things roaring. A crowd-funded live effort, ‘I Promise…’ is a tight, ferocious barrage of anti-hits, choice cuts and more recent efforts (such as a functioning rendition of Testament’s ‘Into The Pit’ and a shoutout for the magazine you’re holding, which hosted ‘No Reason’ way back when), all performed to an audience of merry, loyal headbangers. There’s little in the way of variety, but their adroit expertise and sheer force is a reassuring exposure to what lies in the British undergrowth. [6] ANDY MCDONALD

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‘Beholden To Nothing And No One’ ARK NOISE


‘Light Of Dawn’ EARMUSIC


f ever you needed a crystal clear statement of intent, Leeds doom band Sunwølf have provided it with their third long player in three years – and this is an exceptionally long player even by their mighty standards. Sprawled across two discs, they finally have enough room to prowl the musical landscape that suits their epic intent. Musically, it’s an atmosphere of almost crushing despair, like Neurosis if they took plenty of outdoor exercise on the Pennines listening intensely to neo-folk. Sunwølf strictly segregate the two styles, with the heaviest songs crushing all before them on disc one and two being chill-out central. When they combine the two, they’ll be unstoppable. [7] STEVE JONES

ai Hansen has been burning the candle at both ends this year with Gamma Ray and this second Unisonic full-length, which finds him reuniting with fellow ex-Helloween member, Michael Kiske. Their self-titled debut was an unapologetic jamboree of feel-good hard rock and this follows suit, if to a lesser extent. There’s a fair whack of those power metal melodies that burrow into your skull like a denim ’n’ leather clad tick, whether you like it or not. But with one hand they giveth, and with the other they chug out some impotent ballads and cringers like ‘Manhunter’, delivered with an eventually grating squeal. Contains a few smiles, but they’re a bit too experienced for “difficult second album” to fly. [5] ANDY MCDONALD



‘Volume X’



‘Some Nightmares Take You Aurora Rainbow Darkness’ CANDLELIGHT

aving long-suffered the ignominy of being dumped in the “post-rock” category, Trans Am have continually challenged the perceptions of them that have often been presented in reviews or, indeed, the notion of how a Thrill Jockey band should sound. While there is a certain kosmische element (‘Failure’, ‘I’ll Never’) to their sound, Trans Am’s tenth album is far removed from a straight transcendental workout, often presented in a contrary, jarring form. The serenity of the Kraftwerk-fuelled ‘Nightshift’ is constantly attacked by heavy duty rhythms, the mellow atmospheres of ‘Anthropocene’ are elbowed aside by pounding tribal drumming of which Killing Joke would be proud, and the thrash metal violence that aggressively attacks ‘Backlash’ is worth the price of entry alone. [7] GUY STRACHAN

here’s a specific kind of wackiness you can basically only get from Japan, and this first full-length from the band featuring former Boredoms drummer Toyohito Yoshikawa perfectly exemplifies that. A description of what you can find here sounds insane, with two-drummer blastbeats, death grunts and swathes of noise happily coexisting alongside lush piano melodies, violins and choirs. Actually listening to the thing, however, isn’t the jarring experience one would expect; the flow of all the seemingly random components is perfect, beautiful even. Greatly enhanced by the fantastic Ben Frost recording job (at Greenhouse Studios themselves), ‘Some Nightmares…’ should be your unlikely oddball summer record of choice. [7] JOSÉ CARLOS SANTOS



‘Ultramantis Black’ RELAPSE


ltramantis Black are a punk band fronted by a pro wrestler – sold! Sadly they’re not Gorilla Biscuits fronted by The Rock, and have nothing to do with CM Punk either, but are members of Pissed Jeans backing a Chikara wrestler called, um, Ultramantis Black. The basic vibe is more like a less chaotic version of The Locust than like Pissed Jeans’ other stuff – this is ramshackle, skronky hardcore that somehow still sounds tight. Ultramantis’ vocals are less forceful than you might expect for a wrestler, and take a bit of getting used to, but if you like the idea of ‘Calculating Infinity’ with 75% fewer notes and less shouting, this may be the ticket. [7] ED CHAPMAN





‘Enjoy Of Deep Sadness’ MORIBUND


ontinuing his one man quest to snuff out all human existence, Sicilian Vardan is back with his third album of isolated misanthropy so far this year. Concentrating on just three epic, depressive dirges, the morass of gloom and doom on display has plenty of time to really drag you down into its suicidal depths. Sharp guitar tones, rattling bass and tortured screams perpetuate this lifeless void, which pretty much plods along for the duration. It’s the melodic atmospheres that make it all compelling though, as they hark back to the recognisable, morose tones of Joy Division and early The Cure. Despite his prolific output, Vardan’s joyless muse seems to be flourishing and here death’s touch creeps ever closer. [7] PETE WOODS


h, EPs. Do you remember those short-format and sometimes hastily put together “in between albums” releases bands used to throw out there to keep the fans waiting while trying out new tricks, or digging out old cover tunes that wouldn’t have fitted a full-length? The declining record sales and “more is more” obsession of the internet days almost phased them out altogether, but there are still some bands out there defending this so-called outdated snack. Not that Germany’s Slaughterday have used that opportunity to completely step out of their comfort zone with the ‘Ravenous’ EP [7, FDA Rekotz], mind you. But these two new songs (plus a new version of ‘Abyss Of Nameless Fear’, the opening track of their 2013 debut demo) and a killer and infectiously catchy Acheron cover (‘Ave Satanas’) confirm that as unoriginal as their potent and dynamic mix of Asphyx and classic Entombed is, it still kicks major ass. In Bloodsoaked’s case, the ‘Religious Apocalypse’ EP [6, Comatose] definitively feels more like an appetiser than anything else. The sole testimony of their short-lived two guitarists/vocalists line-up, the three new tracks are still riding the same drum-machine-assisted wave – no useless slam parts and no OTT blasts, just classic US death metal with just a tiny taste for melodies and good old religion-bashing. The bonuses are exactly the kind of goodies EPs are made for though; if the four live tracks feel like useless karaoke versions, the real treat here are those tributes to both Cinderella (!) and Ratt (!!) that prove brilliantly that even a zombie can rock out with its rotten cock out. When one wants to enjoy the brand of brutal death metal a band like Devangelic unapologetically practice, one has to remember the basic blueprint set up by Suffocation a long time ago, which was later bastardised by Deeds Of Flesh: the groove you shall not care about, nor coming up with actual hooks. The rolling blastbeats of the drums shall be glued to the palm-muted guitars, not the other way around. Your singer shall be extremely guttural and barely intelligible and your album shall last no more than 30 minutes. These Italians, who’ve learnt their art in such nasty acts as Corpsefucking Art and Putridity, follow these rules blindly on their debut ‘Resurrection Denied’ [6,5, Comatose] yet without forgetting that, in this tiny cesspool of gore of theirs, you make a difference by never, ever sparing any prisoners. Regardless of what their complex moniker might suggest, (it stands for ‘Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni’, a phrase taken from Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ in case you were wondering) VRPI don’t beat around the bush. They like to hold their collective head high as their clear-cut guitars and “evil” thrash influences bear the mark of their previous endeavours (Necroccultus, Ominous Crucifix) yet also stir the whole thing away from chaos and confusion. Originally released in 2012 but now available again with their 2011 demo as a bonus, ‘Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni’ [6, Memento Mori] may lack voracity but it is still one damn solid piece of satanic death metal. Even if they’ve somehow flown under the radar until now despite having four full-lengths to their name, what’s interesting with Keitzer is how they’ve started out in a much more hardcore fashion before gradually becoming more and more infatuated with, first, grindcore and now black metal. But no matter how wellproduced and raging those fourteen new outbursts of violence à la Misery Index are, the more you listen to ‘The Last Defence’ [5, FDA Rekotz] and the more you can’t shake that feeling that underneath it all, there’s a band that has yet to break its chains and really go full throttle. WORDS: OLIVIER ‘ZOLTAR’ BADIN


‘Anticipation For Blood Leveled In Darkness’ SATURNAL


enyan born drummer Alex “Voodoo” von Poschinger has cast an impressive, high profile set of international musicians for Voodoo Gods; George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher shares vocal duties with Seth Van de Loo from Severe Torture, not to mention the whole thing was recorded with Andy LaRocque (King Diamond, Death). Still, one can’t help but be a tad disappointed by how “normal” this melodic mix of thrash and death sounds. The lyrical concept about voodoo never truly transpires in the music and, even if there are a handful of blistering solos (some courtesy of ex-Manowar guitarist David Shankle!), ‘Anticipation…’ never feels like a true band effort, but more like a decent yet safe temporary work by seasoned veterans. [5] OLIVIER ‘ZOLTAR’ BADIN




he Swedish traditionalists in Wolf have always been good for some solid NWOBHM riffery and soaring vocal melodies, and although it’s not quite on par with the band’s first three albums, this seventh full-length is nevertheless very satisfying. Perhaps a little goofier than ever, mind, from ‘Overture In C Shark’ to the very silly ‘Skeleton Woman’, but featuring such stand-outs as ‘Back From The Grave’ and the brooding ‘Dark Passenger’, it’s hard to dislike. Niklas “Viper” Stålvind continues to possess one of the best singing voices in metal, providing the right combination of fun, flamboyance and gravitas that this style of music demands. It might be a digital-only release, but don’t miss out on this one. [7] ADRIEN BEGRAND

#249 Reviews KW TD.indd 10 origin one page.indd 2

14/05/2014 18:19 19:09 14/07/2014







o commemorate 25 years of ominous, polyrhythmic madness, Meshuggah have chosen to, erm, release another live DVD. It may seem strange coming just four years after the comprehensive ‘Alive’ package, but the crisp Blu-ray picture and booming 4.0 surround mix are certainly enticing prospects. Plus, ‘Koloss’ was (amazingly enough at this stage in their career) arguably one of the band’s finest hours so far, and so the chance to hear some of the new material is obviously a big draw here too – and sure enough, the six new songs they play sound monstrous, with the unbelievably frantic ‘The Hurt That Finds You First’ being a definite highlight. The band’s performance is (unsurprisingly) impeccable, churning out head-spinning grooves that roll over the crowd with a cold, mechanical intensity. Given how clean cut and amiable the so-called djent movement that these guys inadvertently helped pioneer has become, it’s interesting to watch Meshuggah grow in entirely the opposite direction, becoming increasingly more stark, atonal and downright evil with every passing year. Whilst it’s hard to fault the material on offer, it’s also difficult to see what more you’d gain from this (beyond the new tunes, obviously) if you already own a copy of ‘Alive’. Oddly enough for an anniversary release, ‘The Ophidian Trek’ is curiously bereft of extras too, ultimately making this a “strictly for the die-hards” kind of affair. [7] KEZ WHELAN





ith some skilled SFX and good make-up, it’s not too difficult to pull off an aesthetically competent vampire or zombie flick – get it wrong with werewolves though and you have a real howler on your hands. Proving not everyone can be a John Landis or Neil Jordan, director BC Furtney goes for the “tall man in a costume-hire suit” approach with remarkably laughable results. Emma (Melissa Carnell) is a recovering alcoholic returning after twenty years to the isolation of her backwoods past to discover that all is not as tranquil as she hoped. Apart from every sleazy bloke trying to hit on her, some are turning hairy in all the wrong places. In a genius move, when first confronted with the dog’s dinner of a werewolf she hits the bottle and passes out, hoping it will all go away. Naturally, it doesn’t, and we are left to watch the seven (over)actors in the film ham their way through things on a shoestring budget, the only thing going for it being the natural charm of the breath-taking Arkansas location. It’s hardly a case of werewolf “rising” as unfortunately this lycanthropic loser has a definite case of the mange. [3] PETE WOODS




mbarking on a career that would see him breathing cinematic life into the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Stuart Gordon delivered an excessive slab of deranged, blooddrenched medical deviancy with 1985 feature ‘Re-Animator’. Using the Miskatonic University as Herbert West’s playground, the corpses of everything from cats (which are way beyond tangoing) to interfering headless professors quickly rise thanks to his glowing green re-agent, and splatter blood and limbs at the screen with wild abandon. It works brilliantly due to West’s deadpan and driven portrayal by Jeffery Combs, excellent effects, irreverent humour and a devilishly superior score courtesy of Richard Band. Pushing limits that saw the film trimmed on original cinema release, all the gore (and indeed head) is restored on the uncut version of this double Blu-ray presentation, but it is the “integral cut” with never-before-seen plot exposition that is of particular interest here, as well as a couple of hours-worth of extra interview and documentary features. Despite being almost 30 years old ‘Re-Animator’ has not lost any impact and looks, sounds and virtually smells like it has come fresh off the embalming slab, making this a welcome return to life of an old favourite. [9] PETE WOODS


hile ‘The Walking Dead’s apocalyptic, zombie infested setting may not be particularly original, it is unique because the ideas and storylines that make it enjoyable are also what highlight its pitfalls. Season four is possibly the show’s most ambitious; it plonks a finale-style cliffhanger smack bang in the middle of the series and hands two entire episodes over to a group of survivors that viewers haven’t encountered until now. This season isn’t completely new terrain, however, and protagonist Rick Grimes is as ever mournful of his role as a father in these trying times and still warring with the prospect of group leadership. Similarly, the group are once more put into situations of finding themselves in safe places only to realise they’re overrun by zombies, or ruled by villainous humans and were never safe at all. The relationships that develop between characters is the most interesting thing about the show, but in order to keep the motor running there needs to be a constant spate of zombie killings too, so story arcs are often cut short to pave the way for high octane violence and gore. ‘The Walking Dead’ is occasionally brilliant but will never escape the drawbacks of its subject matter as that is its lifeblood. [7] ANGELA DAVEY




ombining humour, heavy metal and a great story line, this graphic novel excels in the entertainment stakes. Taking the reader through the trials and tribulations of Perkeros, an up-andcoming progressive tech metal band, it’s a journey that takes us through the personal emotions of the band members and the craziness of being in a band, as well as how they have to battle with the rising success of the evil hipster band Diablotus. Of course there are some high levels of fantasy contained herein, but the storyline and plot are not overly ridiculous when you consider the world of heavy metal and its frankly preposterous nature. The books success lies in the author’s knowledge of the genre, which manifests itself in the attention to detail in some of the illustrations and references to some classic and under-rated rock albums of recent times, adding an authoritative approach to the whole tale. Excellently illustrated and with good characterisation throughout, this a delightful book and a joy to read. [8] DARREN J. SADLER


S R E M M A BLOODY H With the American occultists in town, Terrorizer cornered BLOODY HAMMERS’ frontman for a special, Did they know their Mercyful Fate from their Mayhem? And why the hell did we play them power metal? Words: Tom Dare Pics: Leigh van der Byl

evil-themed test of their metal knowledge.


If you are playing occult-themed heavy metal, spotting the grandfathers and masters of it should be as easy as finding bad smells at a festival… right? Anders Manga (vocals/bass): “Kinda sounds like Mercyful Fate.” Yes, it is. Anders: “That’s Mercyful Fate? I didn’t recognise King Diamond’s voice! I don’t know the track.”



nother band quite happy to sing about the occult (and, unfortunately, the ‘Radikult’), how far into the murky, filthy and generally brilliant depths of extremity do Bloody Hammers go? Anders: “Death? [long pause] No idea.”



Morbid Angel.

to wait for the chorus.

Anders: “Being a singer, I was never really into the growling thing, so I guess I missed Morbid Angel.” This may get interesting, then…

Anders: “Oh good. So it’s not like a timed thing? I get more money if I guess it sooner? We just saw them live right before we came on tour. I like the bass sound. ‘Elizabeth’? Help me! Oh, ‘Prime Mover’!” Full marks.



(RISE ABOVE, 2010)


rguably the band that provided bands like Bloody Hammers with a platform onto the modern music audience, this song from that flawless debut should be no problem for them. Anders: “Ghost. I can’t remember the song. ‘Con Clavio Con Dio’?” Later on on that album. You are allowed



o one has done sinister evil quite like Mayhem’s immortal first record. Has it found its way onto Anders’ playlist? If you didn’t get Morbid Angel, this is

“Being a singer, I was never really into the growling thing”

“I like it! It sounds like The Velvet Underground” HORSEBACK ‘Ahriman’ FROM ‘HALF BLOOD’ (RELAPSE, 2012)

going to be difficult…

Anders: “Yeah, this is going to be a massive fail. Er… I have no idea. Wait… is this Tom Warrior?” No. Anders: “It sounds like Celtic Frost.” It does, but it isn’t. Anders: “I have no idea.” It’s Mayhem. Anders: “Mayhem! OK!”




band from Bloody Hammers’ home state of North Carolina, have the modern masters of progressive extremity crossed our examinees path? The clue here is North Carolina. Anders: “That’s not Corrosion Of Conformity.” No, much younger. Anders: “I have no idea. No clue. North Carolina band.” It’s Between The Buried And Me. Anders: “I didn’t even know they were from North Carolina!”



hile they never quite followed up that brilliant introductory record, Ancient VVisdom should be easy – especially as the bands toured together. Anders: “I know this. I definitely know this. Is this Metallica?” No, much more recent. And not as popular yet. Anders: “It sounds like Metallica! It sounds so familiar. I think I own this. I probably skipped it because I don’t like long intros. I want singing, goddammit! I totally own this. [vocals come in] Oh yeah, Ancient VVisdom. ‘The Opposition’. Of course. We toured with them – I’m just a moron! We only played three shows with them, and then the tour went south, but they were awesome. We had a good time. We played with them again at Phil Anselmo’s little thing in Austin, his horror festival. They really kicked ass. They just dropped all the acoustics and went down this kind of all electric route, and it really worked.”


nother NC native, Horseback’s beautiful eeriness should be instantly distinctive – if, of course, they have registered on the Hammers radar… This is another North Carolina band. Anders: “This sounds like Corrosion.” It’s not. Anders: “Corrosion Of Conformity have had different phases. [vocals enter] See, that’s where I get lost – the vocals. Yeah, I have no idea.” It’s a band called Horseback. Anders: “Oh shit, they’re from North Carolina? I had no idea. I’ve seen the name, I just didn’t know.”



fter they were so killer at Temples Festival earlier this year, we could not resist throwing the Canadians into our challenge. Anders: “Is this Blood Ceremony? I love Blood Ceremony. We went to see them… I guess it’s been about a year ago. They came to Asheville. I stood right at the front.”

Anders: “I like it a lot!” It’s a band called Wardruna. Anders: “This is awesome.”



rom the sublime to the brilliantly ridiculous, Bloody Hammers have shared stages with the world’s premier (and probably only) occult/werewolf/vampire/sex-themed German power metal band. Have they made a lasting impression? Anders: “Is that Manowar?” No, but they’ve probably listened to Manowar a lot. Anders: “No clue. It sounds a bit like Iron Maiden. No idea. I think my bandmate would know it, but I have no idea.” It’s Powerwolf. Anders: “Oh of course! We played with them the other night at Metal Fest in the Czech Republic. I probably would have known if I’d got to the chorus.” ‘Under Satan’s Sun’ is out now on Napalm



nders likes his singing, and no one sings quite like Wardruna. Have Kvitrafn’s Viking troupe found a place on his generic mp3 player? Anders: “I like it! I don’t know it but… it sounds like The Velvet Underground.” It’s not. Anders: “Roger Waters?” No. Completely different. It’s a much newer band playing much older music.


Let down badly by song titles and an iffy relationship with extreme vocals, this proved a mite difficult. That said, getting Mercyful Fate without needing to hear King’s high vocals is worthy of respect

DA RULES Fifteen minutes, no limits. One point for each artist and another for the song. Scores given as a percentage. No arguments.





SONISPHERE FESTIVAL 2014 KNEBWORTH PARK Robotic stomping beats have Gary Numan throwing himself around like a man half his age and firing out jagged cluster-bombs from his recent albums. It’s ‘Are Friends Electric’ that engages everyone for a mass sing-along at the end though. October File’s industrial tinged post-punk fares far worse on the Jägermeister Stage, however, failing to inspire the audience with a flaccid and radically uninteresting performance. Thankfully, Atari Teenage Riot are on hand with one of the loudest and most destructive sets of the weekend. Nic Endo’s vocals are particularly potent and the pumped up aggro-tech and gabber beats are unrelentingly fearsome. Meanwhile, Brutality Will Prevail get the crowd moving and it’s complete mayhem down the front, as the band’s chugging breakdowns hit exactly the right chord for an early Friday evening slot. Anthrax then pack out the Bohemia Stage as they blaze through ‘Among The Living’ in its entirety. Those lucky enough to get ‘Caught In A Mosh’ quickly build raging circle pits, whilst the rest of us do our bit trying to match Belladonna’s lofty power croons. Elsewhere,



Carnifex’s deathcore stylings are ear-splittingly heavy, although their impact is lost somewhat on a stage of this size. Are we still a Jilted Generation? It would seem so as The Prodigy have everyone bouncing around to their fiery anthems. It’s a ballsy headliner choice but proves both a fun and volatile one as Maxim Reality unites his people into a heaving, pogoing mass. As the sun sets on the first day of Sonisphere, Electric Wizard take to the Bohemia Stage and deliver a systematic master class in how to worship The Riff. Putting almost every other band today to shame, it’s almost absurd how well the band play today and their hard work is rewarded with a rapturous response, sending a mixed crowd of the already and recently converted into fits of headbanging ecstasy.

SATURDAY TesseracT quickly prove soporific as their naval gazing prog metal is far from a suitable wakeup call. Thankfully, Alestorm are just what’s



needed. “We are here to drink your beer,” is the infectious cry of these keytar wielding pirates and we’re all singing along by the second chorus. Babymetal are an incredibly bizarre proposition and it’s hard to tell how much of what they’re doing is a joke or not. Still, the audience gets into it and there’s no denying the quality of the backing band, despite the surreal vibe of the stage show which is more in line with arena straddling J-pop than most metal gigs. Even during daylight Ghost remain a captivating force as the nameless ghouls throw shapes around and Papa Emeritus II treats us to a set of devilish, devotional delights. Despite playing a good handful of their best songs yesterday, Anthrax are still brilliantly suited to a sunny Saturday afternoon show and go down a treat among the beer swilling hordes, bringing a party vibe to the Apollo Stage with a fair share of classics. Turning Saturday to Splatterday, the mighty Carcass put us all in a ‘Corporal Jigsaw Quandry’. The gnarly sound and grinding tumult are broken up by Jeff Walker’s rapid fire wry humour and a brief hello from ex-drummer Ken “he’s not my dad” Owen. After Bruce Dickinson does a good job of killing the Saturday night atmosphere by dicking around in a plane for twenty minutes, Deftones do a surprisingly good job of rescuing it. Their early, angsty material is certainly showing its age but the shoegazey hard rock of their later work certainly hits the spot, with more atmospheric tracks like ‘Digital Bath’ sounding very enticing tonight. Slayer then bring a much needed dose of extremity to


the Saturn Stage, and garner the biggest mosh pits of the day as Kerry King and co. turn Knebworth into a sonic warzone. Naturally including ‘The Hunt’, New Model Army play a storming and vitriolic set on the Bohemia Stage that has passion and ‘Vengeance’ at its heart. Forty years into their career, and there is still no stopping Iron Maiden. Tonight is the final night of their Maiden England tour and the chance to hear some much loved classics sends one of the biggest crowds of the whole weekend absolutely wild. Opening with the synth strains of ‘Moonchild’, the band storm through a set that peaks with all time belter, ‘Revelations’. Not even failing pyrotechnics during ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ can dampen the mood tonight, and Maiden prove that even among a line-up this strong, they’re unequalled. Unfortunately, The Sisters Of Mercy are then flat, dull and completely obscured by dry ice. ‘Alice’ is mangled beyond recognition and although there’s a spark about ‘Vision Thing’, this is clearly a band way past their prime.

SUNDAY First thing on a Sunday morning isn’t exactly the perfect time for Gojira, but the hungover hordes are out in force nonetheless, and the quartet are treated like heroes as they bust out tracks like ‘Backbone’ and ‘Flying Whales’. With Devin Townsend Project, the self-confessed “passive aggressive but friendly” Devy throws out punchy one-liners and classic “epic fucking” numbers like ‘Supercrush!’, and announces he’s working on a brace of new albums. What’s not to like? Truckfighters’ groovy stoner rock is the perfect thing to blow away the Sunday cobwebs on the Bohemia Stage and, while they may not get the biggest audience of the weekend, they’re well received by those present. Japan’s acid fried psych-rock mentalists Bo Ningen are nothing short of a revelation – frantically grappling with their instruments and taking us boldly into the unknown, the band’s energy levels (not to mention singer Taigen’s scarily Sadako-esque facial contortions) threaten to blow the roof off this tent today. Over on the Jägermeister Stage, Krokodil’s curiously toothless hardcore falls a bit flat, with a weak sound that fails to make an impact. Luckily Gallows sound far more vitriolic over on the Bohemia Stage. Debuting new song ‘Chains’, a surprisingly doom-laden affair, the band then proceed to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Apparently they signed a contract saying they wouldn’t encourage their audience to go nuts, but naturally they do it anyway.

With sun at full force, Mastodon bring their hefty slabs of sonic ‘Oblivion’ to the stage and psychedelically weave away, leaving heads stewed and burnt in equal measures. Unfortunately however, their clean vocals still sound horrendous live, which is unfortunate considering how much of their new material relies on vocal harmonies that they just can’t pull off in person. Alice In Chains have no such troubles, with vocalist William DuVall soaring through note perfect renditions of classics like ‘Them Bones’, ‘Would?’, ‘Rooster’ and, of course, ‘Man In The Box’. The setlist largely focuses on their pre-’92 material, and despite festival fatigue evidently setting in for a IRON MAIDEN few punters, it’s an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday evening indeed. all the extraneous bullshit, when they put their minds to it The irony of watching Anti-Nowhere League play ‘I Metallica are still more than capable of delivering a damn fine Hate People’ to so many on the Jägermeister Stage is not lost live show. By the time the devastating closing combo of ‘… and it’s heart-warming to see the long-surviving biker punks And Justice For All’ and ‘Seek & Destroy’ hits, it’s nigh imposgo down so well. sible to spot anyone who isn’t singing along or headbanging Dream Theater’s plodding prog metal is not an ideal like a caricature of a stereotypical 1980s metalhead. Thanks choice for a sunny, pre-headline set and there are audible for the memories, Sonisphere – let’s do it again next year. yawns as they struggle through a distinctly underwhelming set. The audience endures it, but only because they want a good spot for Metallica. Their loss though, as they’re missing Words: John Muskett, Kez Whelan, Pete Woods the reunited Raging Speedhorn on the Jägermeister Pics: Marie GC, Leigh van der Byl Stage. Bringing back old favourites like ‘The Hate Song’, ‘Scrapin’ The Resin’ and ‘Thumper’, the Corby bruisers are abGHOST solutely punishing. Snarling, bellowing and pushing circle pits ever harder, they go down a storm tonight. It’s almost criminal that Trash Talk have been hidden away on the tiny Satellite Stage, as the Californians put on one of the best shows of the weekend, inciting the entire tent into a rabid mosh frenzy with their taut, lightspeed hardcore. Frontman Lee Spielman works the crowd like a pro, and is evidently having a blast as he commands everyone to sit down for a whole song, winding everyone up only to watch them erupt all over again a few seconds later. Opening with ‘Battery’, Metallica then proceed to silence the nay-sayers with an energised and thoroughly entertaining set. As part of this ‘…By Request’ tour, the setlist has been voted for by the fans, which is a bit of a mixed blessing; whilst preventing any real surprises from inclusion, it does mean the set is crammed with sure-fire crowd-pleasers (although they cheekily sneak in brand new dud ‘Lords Of Summer’ mid-set). The momentum drops a little when competition winners are wheeled out to nervously introduce songs, and Papa Het’s constant reminders that “the lines are still open to vote for the encore song you want to hear!” lend the proceedings a slightly surreal whiff of Eurovision, but despite

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he cloying heat and sunshine from outside has infiltrated the darkened gloom of the Underworld, as Wolfshead open tonight’s show with a contemporary blend of stoner rock and NOLA sludge. While not the most original sounding band, they play with passionate determination and get more than a few heads nodding. Second sludgy offering Slabdragger are a far more refreshing proposition. The trio debut a host of new songs packed with raucous growls and burly shouts, while chugging riffs march along before evolving into more psychedelic patterns. The atmosphere is almost hazy enough to choke on and the audience lap it up. Church Of Misery performed at Desertfest just a few short months ago, but the air of anticipation tonight would make you think this is their very first UK show. The gruesomeness of the subject matter in each of their serial killer-themed songs is aptly portrayed by vocalist Hideki Fukasawa’s theatrical facial expressions, as he gruffly belts out tunes like ‘Shotgun Boogie’. With the band getting on with it, rather than wasting time with inane chatter between songs, the stage is electrified with their trademark debauched sound as guitarist Ikuma Kawabe fires out all manner of humongous, groovy riffs and the crowd goes suitably mental as a result.




iven the (admittedly deserved) hype surrounding Nails, it’s hardly surprising that their sole UK appearance this year sold out long before doors open tonight. Inherit warm up the eclectic crowd with a reasonable but fairly workmanlike performance, ploughing through muscular, chest-beating hardcore that sounds quite a lot like the Cro-Mags, only nowhere near as incendiary. Still, it passes the time, and eventually opens up the pit too, meaning the place is ready to go off like a baboon in an arms factory by the time Nails hit the stage. Frontman Todd Jones casts an imposing figure, staring down the crowd with all the intensity of a particularly disgruntled death row inmate as the band careen through pretty much all of ‘Abandon All Life’ and ‘Unsilent Death’, even throwing in a few vitriolic gems like ‘Confront Them’ from the ‘Obscene Humanity’ EP. They’re tight as hell and sound genuinely angry too; you’ll find no tough guy posturing or insincere stage banter here, just a volley

Words: Kez Whelan Pics: Steve Gerrard



Words: Angela Davey Pic: Karen Toftera

of honest-to-god riffs, performed with total conviction and a wild, untamed energy. Whilst the first few rows erupt, unfortunately Birthdays’ cramped confines traps the rest of the crowd in a sweaty mass by the bar, tempering the mosh-friendly hardcore show vibe somewhat. By this performance alone, Nails could easily be packing out much larger venues, and whilst their dedication to keeping their gigs up close and personal is admirable, let’s just hope next time they travel over to annihilate some dive bar it’s got a bit more character than this place.




pening tonight, the almost disgustingly young Anoxide are immensely impressive. Charismatic and energetic visually, and tight as a banjo string musically, their death metal promises much for the future – at least once they get past their slightly too overt Nile worship, anyway. Premature Birth are usually great live, but missing their keyboard player tonight, they lack their usual evil atmosphere and their black metal sounds rather too derivative. De Profundis are a far more interesting proposition, and while the blackshirt-plus-leather-trousers uniform looks a little odd, their proggy death metal is engaging enough to overlook that. It’s been two years since Demonic Resurrection last visited the capital, and the Indians have a rather better following this time around, and one they are quick to energise. The combination of wellexecuted riffy aggression, the occasional clean vocal hook to keep people on their toes and the obvious enjoyment of a band happy to be here and be playing makes this an easy set to engage with, and it’s no surprise they’re getting big cheers by the end. Words: Tom Dare

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matinee of thrash metal on a Sunday afternoon is a suitable cure to clear the cobwebs from the night before. However, starting a show at two o’clock in the afternoon poses problems of its own, as The Voodoo Lounge is only half full for Onslaught’s return to Dublin. After local lads Atominated provide an energetic start with their crude crossover thrash, Artillery swiftly announce themselves with the opening Middle Eastern strains of set starter ‘Chill My Bones (Burn My Flesh)’, off latest album ‘Legions’. Whilst new vocalist Michael Bastholm Dahl may not be the best vocalist the band has had (he certainly doesn’t match Flemming Rönsdorf’s Bobby Blitzmeets-Dio delivery), his looming stage presence and his pristine metal pipes give older Artillery anthems an added dose of drama,

which complements the band’s cheerful axe-wielding antics. By comparison, Onslaught are much more machine-like in their performance, and less entertaining in the process. Intently focused on nailing the transitions that typify their break-neck thrash metal, Onslaught’s straightforward delivery only receives approving applause from the sparse crowd rather than the all-out war these songs warrant. Maybe it’s the early start and poor turnout, but the band and crowd rarely collide, and after a rare airing of the title track off ‘In Search Of Sanity’ – during which vocalist Sy Keeler sounds conspicuously outside of his comfort zone – it’s left to classics ‘Metal Forces’ and ‘(Onslaught) Power From Hell’ to finally spill beers and get necks flapping, both on stage and off.

Words: Dean Brown Pics: Leigh van der Byl



etting a suitably ferocious and nihilistic atmosphere are hatefilled four-piece Grey Widow. Their noisy, blackened sludge gets fillings rattling with a flurry of mind bending riffs, as their frontman stalks through the crowd, resulting in a performance that’s as aggressive in appearance as it is in sound. Bast take a more refined approach, keeping within the realms of the stage. Their hypnotic fusion of fast and furious black metal meets soul-crushing doom is pitch perfect and, while they are slightly more polished than the rest of the line-up, they are a welcome and refreshing respite. Taking another turn for the nasty, Nathan Coyle’s throat-destroying screams cut through the audience like a scythe, as Opium Lord lay waste to The Unicorn with a violent display of muscular, intimidating doom. The carnage isn’t over yet, however, as Primitive Man take the stage, and what ensues is a display of utter horror. The molten despair of tracks such as ‘When Getting High Is Not Enough’ writhes uncomfortably beneath the heavily distorted guitars, making for a truly harrowing experience that is impossible to turn away from.

Words: Angela Davey



he less than salubrious surroundings of The Star And Garter is a fitting place to catch up with the gnarliest hardcore comeback in recent memory. And local noiseniks Denim & Leather might be named like a glam rock band but they channel the spirit of Black Flag and The Nerve Agents into a riotous set that serves as a fine aperitif for the sonic carnage that follows. Namely California’s nastiest, Bl’ast!, who may well be best remembered for an album they recorded almost 30 years ago, but they still snap and snarl with a palpable menace. Original vocalist

Clifford Dinsmore is a commanding presence centre-stage with a brutally harsh set of pipes on him, original guitarist Mike Neider has forgotten more twisted train wreck riffs than most metalcore pretenders will dream of in a lifetime, and they are nowadays joined by Queens Of The Stone Age’s Nick Oliveri on bass and Danzig’s Joey Castillo on drums, making for an incredibly tight, intense and mindnumbingly heavy show, a surprise highlight being when Joey hurls an electric fan into he front row of the crowd. Obviously he was concerned we were getting too hot.

Words: Ian Glasper Pic: Luke Denham











he ordeal of opening for Inquisition is a thankless task; their reputation for not turning up, or being incredibly late when they do, has led to a fan base that are wary to come inside unless they have solid proof that the band are actually going to play. With no sign of so much as their merch table yet, tensions are high and Primitive Graven Image are left to play to an anxious and sparsely populated crowd. Their eerie black metal, combined with a commanding stage presence, creates a dark and gritty atmosphere which is occasionally pierced by technical guitar solos, and it’s a pity more aren’t here to witness them. Inquisition finally take the stage 45 minutes after they are supposed to. The Boston Arms quickly becomes stiflingly full and impatience dissipates as Dagon effortlessly weaves together catchy riffs as if it’s child’s play. However, just twenty minutes into their performance, the pair fall prey to some

mysterious “technical difficulties” and proceed to soundcheck for a quarter of an hour, leaving the crowd to restlessly twiddle their thumbs. By the time they manage to claw things back, there’s only time for a few more songs, and whilst one of these is a razor sharp performance of ‘Infinite Interstellar Genocide’, you wonder how often are they going to keep pulling this crap before fans give up.

Words: Angela Davey Pics: Leigh van der Byl PRIMITIVE GRAVEN IMMAGE



visit by Carcass is a rare thing in Australia; we first saw them back in 1993 and then again in 2008, on their reformation tour. Not surprisingly, tonight there’s a near full-house of fans, young and old, hungrily awaiting their appearance. ‘Buried Dreams’ makes for a suitably intense opener before ‘Incarnated Solvent Abuse’ really gets things moving. “We’re a bunch of pommy bastards from England, called Carcass,” quips sharp-tongued vocalist and bass player Jeff Walker, which leads into ‘A Congealed Clot Of Blood’, a choice cut from their well-received new album, ‘Surgical Steel’. The sound of the band – completed by first-rate drummer Daniel Wilding – is impressively crisp, yet heavy as you could hope for, while Jeff’s distinctive, rasping vocals are especially vicious. Songs off ‘Heartwork’ and ‘Surgical Steel’ dominate, and feature some jawdropping guitar work from Bill Steer and new recruit Ben Ash. Their grindcore roots get a look in too, with ‘Genital Grinder’, ‘Pyosisified (Rotten To The Gore)’ and a flesh ripping version of ‘Exhume To Consume’. Walker’s relaxed and chatty demeanour in between songs gives the distinct impression that he’s really enjoying what has obviously now become more than just a short term let’s-play-some-big-metal-festivals resurrection. It seems that there’s still plenty of life left in Carcass. Words and pic: Rod Hunt




soteric Youth play for a blistering fifteen minutes. Their crusty, grinding hardcore might not be anything remarkable, but it’s executed well, and the band seem to have a ton of energy. Harrowed are excellent. They sound a bit like what would happen if Converge covered High On Fire, and play an engaging set which is full of riffs and free of pretence. Unfortunately Old Skin sound weak by comparison. They don’t have the focused, riff-driven songs like Harrowed, nor do they have the energy and groove of Esoteric Youth. As a result, the set feels lacking. For a band so aggressive, it’s surprising how boring they are. Caïna opens with noise worryingly reminiscent of his divisive experimental set last time he was in town, but luckily, the riffs do emerge. A fair bit of the set is made up of songs from the upcoming album, which sound promising. Unfortunately, the set is cut short due to equipment issues, meaning there isn’t as much old material as expected, but despite the technical difficulties and a disappointing turnout, the band sound good, and the set is enjoyable. Words: Tom Saunders

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T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E F R O M T H E W O R L D ’ S E N D P U B ( N E X T D O O R T O T H E U N D E R W O R L D ) O R B Y C C :

S T A R G R E E N 0 2 0 7 7 3 4 8 9 3 2 / W W W . S TA R G R E E N . C O M

modest-sized yet dedicated crowd have traipsed to the Black Heart on a wet and miserable Wednesday, and the weather provides an apt indicator of what is to follow: gloomy tones of the most punishing calibre. Local lads Rong and The Day Of Locusts kick-start proceedings with performances that are both energetic and weighty on the riffs. They are oddly juxtaposed with Belgian doom-death quintet Marche Funèbre, whose performance would not sound out of place as the backing track to a procession to a funeral pyre (not surprising, considering their name literally translates to ‘Funeral March’) – rudimentary and bleak, with the occasional flourish of delicate, pretty riffs, their performance ends on a depressingly silent void. Equally foreboding, Eye Of Solitude surge forth with fierce and strong technical black metal accompanied by a feeling of gothic grandiose. Despite only existing for three short years, this evening’s impressive performance puts Eye Of Solitude in the same league as the likes of veteran doomsters Mourning Beloveth. With a stage presence as imposing as the music, Eye Of Solitude drag their audience to their knees and into the murky depths of darkness. Well worth braving the elements for.

Words: Angela Davey

Words: Tom Dare Pic: Dan Gray


‘Tam, Gdzie Miesiąc Opłakuje Świt’ FROM ‘TAM, GDZIE MIESIĄC OPŁAKUJE ŚWIT’


(WEREWOLF, 2013)

“A recent album from Poland that takes the beating heart of Wolves In The Throne Room and squeezes its warm blood into a Drudkh soul. This is breathtaking, atmospheric black metal that takes me into a pagan forest of a time past.”


‘When the Flame Turns to Ashes’ FROM ‘BLOOD IN OUR WELLS’ (SUPERNAL, 2006)


‘Wotan’s Return’ FROM ‘WOTAN’S RETURN’ (CHRISTHUNT, 2011)



“The spoken intro to this track by Dead is just bone-shatteringly menacing and Euronymous on guitar just adds to the legendary status of this release. The sound is claustrophobic and utterly convincing. Dead would be literally his namesake a year later. This is the icy essence of Norwegian black metal before it exploded into a contradictory mainstream cash-cow.”



“This German band just ooze classic era Bathory without being just a clichéd parody. Like early Mayhemic Truth, cold, icy, epic black metal with crap production makes this and pretty much the rest of their albums sublime listening heaven.”


“A modern Viking metal masterpiece and an album that I listened to constantly whilst away from the new Wolves… album recording process. The atmosphere on this track is truly epic and completely hypnotises me every time I play it. Just spellbinding.”

“Having a member of this band do vocals on one of our songs is the next best thing next to swimming in a mist of hashish. This track is flawless in its grasp of mood and atmosphere, a masterpiece of Ukrainian black metal. With all the troubles in the Ukraine now, it’s a shame music cannot bind people together as it does in the metal community.”


‘Nobody’s Driving’ FROM ‘MONOLITH’ (HEAVY METAL, 1987)

“Shedding their crust roots to kick your ass into a dark, dirt-fused, Motörhead-style barrage of riffs, and those throat-grating vocals make sure you know it’s Amebix. A shamefully underrated album of our times. A true British legend, and another band I have the utmost respect for.”


‘Hatefulle Tanker Ut I Natten’ FROM ‘FOLKLORIC NECRO METAL’ (NORSE LEAGUE, 1996)

“This album features Ildjarn's trademark distorted guitar and rawto-the-bone magical Norwegian black metal set ablaze by a thundering bass and understated keys. Fuck! This track is as primitive as it gets, let’s call it Neolithic black metal.”


‘The Rising Red’ FROM ‘HERESY/EPEC’ (CORVUS, 2010)

“A Bulgarian pagan metal masterpiece with a unique clean vocal approach and sincere, wonderfully written songs that stick in your head. If you like Bathory’s ‘Hammerheart’, this will blow you away.” ‘Boudicca’s Last Stand’ is out now on Godreah

proudly presents

Out August 18th!


The brand new studio album produced by Jens Bogren. Incl. the single “The Game” – a DragonForce-ized version of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” and guest appearance of Trivium’s Matt Heafy. Available as CD, CD/DVD Digipak (incl. 5 bonus tracks and DVD feat. 25 min. “Making Of ” + “Cry Thunder” filmed live in Tokyo), Gatefold Vinyl (incl. Download Code), Limited Edition Boxset (incl. CD/DVD Digipak, exclusive T-Shirt, Poster and 6 Pictures) & Download. | Facebook: dragonforce

MAXIMUM OVERLOAD WORLD TOUR 2014/15: THROUGH THE UK…THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL 17.09.14 Edinburgh – Liquid Room 18.09.14 Aberdeen – Tunnels 19.09.14 Glasgow – King Tuts 20.09.14 Belfast – Limelight 2 21.09.14 Dublin – Whelan’s 23.09.14 Carlisle – Brickyard



24.09.14 Middlesbrough – Empire 25.09.14 Manchester – Deaf Institute 26.09.14 Stoke – Sugarmill 27.09.14 Birmingham – Institute 30.09.14 Brighton – The Haunt 01.10.14 Southampton – Joiners (sold out!)



02.10.14 Plymouth – White Rabbit 03.10.14 Bridgend – Hobo’s (sold out!) 04.10.14 Bristol – The Thekla 07.10.14 Leeds – Brundenell 08.10.14 Nottingham – Rescue Rooms 09.10.14 Colchester – Arts Centre




10.10.14 Norwich – Waterfront 11.10.14 London – Bush Hall (sold out!) 06.12.14 London – The Forum (Extra London Show!), co-headline with Epica



Two years after their celebrated debut album, German Hard Rock supergroup UNISONIC returns with the release of their brand new studio album “Light Of Dawn” including EP title track “For The Kingdom” and the first single “Exceptional”. Available as CD, DIGIPAK CD with Bonus Track, GATEFOLD DOUBLE VINYL (incl. Download Code/Bonus Track) and LIMITED EDITION BOXSET (incl. Digipak CD, exclusive T-Shirt and 7-inch Vinyl, the early demos CD, 6 Photos and Poster) & DOWNLOAD Facebook: earmusicofficial Youtube: earmusicofficial Twitter @earmusicedel

OUT NOW! // Facebook: unisonicofficial

Terrorizer september 2014