REVIEWS: adult contemporary metal: In The Silence, Kingcrow, Pretty Maids black metal traditional: Enshadowed, Woe transitional: Aethernaeum, Lux Divina, Posthum, Vreid death metal obscurantist: Chapel of Disease, Imprecation traditional: Bone Sickness, Krypts, Megascavenger/Johansson & Speckmann, Morgengrau, Revel in Flesh, The Resistance, Skeletal Remains, Tormented, Weapons to Hunt, Zombiefication; plus: Master, Phlebotomized, Swazafix technical/blastattack: Extinction Protocol, Lecherous Nocturne, Wormed doom metal doom death: Daylight Dies, October Tide, Swallow the Sun heavy/power metal traditional hm: Sacred Steel, Satan, Saxon power: Aphelium, Stratovarius melodic/growl metal: Beâ€™Lakor; Kalmah; Killswitch Engage, Soilwork thrash metal: Hatriot, Rectified Spirit weird experimental: Azure Emote, Rotting Christ, Sigh
Metal Bulletin zine #35
www.facebook.com/pages/The-Metal-Bulletin-paper-zine www.fuglymaniacs.com Everett, Washington state Thanks for supporting this DIY zine! This zine is FREE. Huge donations of 50 cents, 75 cents or an evil $1 are appreciated
Metal Bulletin zine: www.metalbulletin.blogspot.com www.facebook.com/pages/The-MetalBulletin-paper-zine www.fuglymaniacs.com (videos, interviews, etc.) email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.myspace.com/themetalbulletin history of Metal Bulletin zine Issue 1 to 20: (2006-2009): Wisconsin Issue 21 to 26: (2009-2010): Texas Issue 27 (2010) - present; Washington State --
metal on the radio/internet (Pacific Time) Metal Shop (Seattle, WA): Saturday 11pm-3am KISW 99.9fm www.kisw.com FOUR ridiculous hours of the heavy stuff! Sweet Nightmares (Houston, TX): Thursday night 9pm-midnight KPFT 90.1 fm www.kpft.org Bill The Master and his pirates take over Texas! —
a long time, except for out of ordinary gigs. The band has played in Rome a lot of times, in every club and now our current focus is to play abroad and bring our music to a new public. What do you mean by your previous EP from 2011 "Sharpening Our Blades on the Mainstream"? Paolo, Stefano: “Sharpening Our Blades on the Mainstream” was aimed at Mainstream Metal of course, we really dislike the latest trend in Metal Music to play very simple songs (or apparently difficult/wanna be technical with messy riffs), with poor structure, only to please forgetful listeners. The EP just wanted to kick some asses, that’s all. How famous is a band Italian band like Rhapsody of Fire in Italy? Does the radio play any Eyeconoclast? Paolo, Stefano: In Italy the media never talk about metal music if it does not imply a crime fact. Even a top selling band like Rhapsody of Fire is not on tv shows or on radio What do you mean with "our conscience detunes the neocyber dumb nonsense chorus"? Stefano: With that line we use a metaphor where we mean to imply that our conscience misinterprets (detunes) the dumb same old chorus - the bullshit we hear every day, politically and musically speaking- and we are unable to see this truth. This is a lyric written by our former singer Carlos and he often used some sort of complicated rhetoric figures and bizarre metaphors to both hide and tell what he wanted to say.
Their album “Drones of the Awakening” surprised me beyond expectations with its blasting death/thrash. The sound allows room to hear what the guitars are doing, and the excellent drumming cuts across very well. Also, the guitar work grabs one’s attention for the clarity, despite the fact that Eyeconoclast is high-intensity, tight, blasting frenzy death/thrash. The drumming patterns, rhythms, blasts, rolls, cuts, zigzags—the elbow grease—will make you like this album, if you like fast metal drumming that employs creativity, not just speed. It’s easy to hear the good guitar solos, some melody, some thrashiness, and the growling has personality and energy. Paolo (bass) and Stefano (guitars) answered the questions. www.eyeconoclast.it -Hello, Eyeconoclast! I enjoy the way that the guitar work is memorable. The listener can distinguish the riffs played; and I also like the drum work a lot; and of course, the songs are well written and intense with interesting twists. You have a “new” vocalist named Giuseppe? Paolo: Hi man, thanks for your words! We really appreciate it. That was our main intent!! The band was formed in 2002 by Alessio and Synder, the singer who was with us until 2011. Unfortunately due to his job, he was unable to continue with the band and only was on the EP “Sharpening Our Blades on the Mainstream” as a session member. After that we had some changes in the vocal front, our songs are really hard and we are even more demanding with our members, so to find a good front man took almost two years, and yes, Giuseppe is our current singer, he jumped on board last year and he recorded the vocal sessions of the album.
Tell us about the songwriting process. Stefano: In this new album the lyrics were written by Giuseppe (the singer) and I. Alessio (guitars) and I write the music and Paolo [bass] and Mauro [drums] contribute for the last touches that make the songs perfect, and they are also really good to notice if one song is, or is not perfect when it’s finished.
What is the situation for the band in Rome? Paolo, Stefano: At the end of May we have the official release party for our latest release “Drones of The Awakening” in Rome. After that show we probably we won’t play here for
I have not heard your 2003 EP "Cursors." How does the memorable, blasting death/thrash of "Drones of the Awakening" compare to that old recording?
Are there any political ideas in your lyrics, or are they mostly cyber fantasy lyrics? Do you have any opinions in your lyrics about the economic situation in Italy? Paolo: I think that every action has a political meaning and Sci-fi is a just another way to talk about something without saying it straight out. But no, in our lyrics there’s nothing about economic situation, corruption or things like that, we are more focused on the relationship between man and society as result of his ruinous ideals. Even that has a political value, but it’s seen through a sci-fi point of view. The main lyrical themes are about trans-humanism and post-humanism. All the lyrics are based on the concept that the evolution of mankind towards an integration with his own technology, is the only possible way to survive to what we are doing to ourselves with what we call "progress". We use the same concept to talk about the current situation of man, who has the perennial need of trapping himself behind the ceilings of his own society. That's represented in our cover art, where you see a "mecha" with a man inside, controlling it, while he's disemboweled by the hand of the same mecha he once controlled, after it became sentient. The mecha is representing the society who has its final victory over the man who willingly trapped himself in it.
Stefano: Our style has changed a lot. It is way faster, less melodic (but still melodic), the structures are more complicated but better, and of course we're better as musicians, but sometimes when I hear that old recording, I always find something that I like, haha, much has changed but those old songs were good I think! How did you connect with Prosthetic Records? When you think of the U.S., what do you imagine that touring would be like? Are there plans for Eyeconoclast to play in the U.S. at all? Paolo: It’s a simple story: “Sharpening” was released to find a new label, we had a friend in common with the guys at Prosthetic, they listened to our stuff and probably they enjoyed that, I hope they saw what we see in our music haha! It was great when we first got in contact with them, and they pushed us to make the songs even better than they were before! Prosthetic is a good label, we hope they’ll push our music like only a label can do. Nowadays, with the enormous quantity of music on the internet, it’s really difficult to reach the listener without a label behind you. To play in U.S. is a big goal for us, we just have to wait for the right occasion, and the right proposal. I hope to come there soon! I imagine it like an adventure through the places I’ve only seen if the movies, a coast to coast trip with the smell of barbecue sauce in the air, haha! Back to reality: yes, it’s expensive and we need a certain request from the public. So if your readers want to see Eyeconoclast in the States, please ask your promoters! Here's a non-music related question: In Italy there often seems to be cases about racism in soccer (football) that become international news. Some fans do racist things to players who are African or African-European (or African-American, like from Brazil, etc.). Do you find that some Italians are angry about that type of racism (or perhaps, embarrassed)? Do the newspapers criticize that racism or they think it's "funny"? Stefano: Good question! From how I know Italians (as I am Italian) I think it's more something that has to do with stupid football fans that always find a way to tease the opponent, using everything they can. Italy has been a multicultural society since the roman empire, which gives us about 2000 years of cohabitation with all the near and far people, and to this day many ethnic minorities live in Rome and Italy and they are 100% Romans like all of us. So MANY Italians are pissed off hearing news of these stupid racist football fans that are so stupid that I think they don't even realize what truly isracism. Our society and government firmly rejects all kinds of racism and fascism. Also newspapers reject this kind of behaviour, and those who are caught by the cameras in the stadium while doing something racist are identified and prosecuted by the law. As it should be. Three quick questions: What is your favorite metal band from Italy of all time? Paolo: Mmm.. it’s difficult. Probably Bulldozer, I love that stuff! What is the food that you eat the most and like the most? Paolo: Ok…It’s a fucking cliché, but it’s pizza! (Italians and Ninja Turtles favorite meal ahah)
Can you tell me the name of a great movie from Italy in 2013?! Maybe I can find it here and watch it. Paolo: Italian Cinema has been dead for years. You’d be better off watching something from 70’s or 80’s. If you like Italian comedy – it is a mixed of tragedy, sad ending and joke, very different from the comedies made in USA - I really recommend the director Mario Monicelli: Amici Miei I & II, L’Armata Brancaleone, Brancaleone alle Crociate, Il Marchese del Grillo are big masterpieces (sorry, I don’t know the English titles)! Or if you are more horror oriented, you surely know Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci, but if you want to see something more underrated check out “La casa dalle finestre che ridono” or “L’arcano Incantatore” by Pupi Avati, you’ll thank me! Anything else about Eyeconoclast that we should know?! Paolo: Yes, we are on iTunes! and our FB is updated daily, everyone interested in Eyeconoclast news can find us here: http://www.facebook.com/eyeconoclast You can find our albums at Prosthetic official store www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/band/eyeconoclast For additional Merch go check our official webstore: http://eyeconoclast.bigcartel.com/ Congratulations on the album, I have enjoyed it! Paolo: Thanks for the interview man, hope we’ll see in USA as soon as possible! THE END. --
The album “Grip of the Dead,” by Necrocurse, a traditionalist death/thrash/black squad, forges the sound of a life-long obsession with “underground metal,” the type that certain listeners embrace, knowing that Necrocurse represents a loyalty to the tradition. Some people might say, in insult, that Necrocurse is “primitive,” “ugly,” and of course “necro.” To the band, however, those are badges of honor. Necrocurse’s aesthetics shares an affinity with Nifelheim, yes, that Nifelheim. Here’s the huge surprise for you: Nifelheim’s screamer Hellbutcher is the maniac doing vocals in Necrocurse! Drummer Nicklas Rudolfsson answers these questions. www.necrocurse.com -Why have you not sold 10 million albums yet?! It’s so good! Is Necrocurse a band that will tour or do you prefer to record music and play a few shows a year? Thanks as hell! Obviously we play live, but so far it's single gigs and festivals. But right now we have no festival appearances booked this summer. Right now we are working on writing new material and recording demos. When did Necrocurse actually start? The first songs were written in 2004 and was recorded as simple demos. Then it was just a side project that was not meant to be directly officially. It was in 2009 that it became a real band with the lineup and name NECROCURSE became official. In 2010, we recorded material which later was released as vinyl singles. Metal Archives says that your first EP came out in 2011, "Chaos Carnage Cataclysm." But you have been very active because there was another EP in 2011, "Insane Curse of
Morbidity" and in 2012 the EP "Speed to the Grave," and now "Grip of the Dead" in 2013. Are these old songs? In 2010, we recorded five old songs. As the new revised versions. These were later released as two singles, two tapes and a collection MCD "Shape of Death". And some of them plus some live tracks were also released as "Speed to the Grave" MCD. What type of recording equipment is appropriate for your band? Do you use triggered drums? Are the drums, the actual sounds of the drums, or are those sounds "sound replacement" technology? Obviously, real drums, no triggers or replaced sound. The recording is done with Andy's drum kit standing in Sonic Train Studios and a few extra toms (+ own snare, cymbals) that I brought. What do you think about the current state of drumming sound in "modern death metal"? I do not like the "modern" plastic drum sound, sometimes it almost sounds like drum machines. So yes, I prefer real drums! Only analog drum sounds are real! Necrocurse has three members of the old death band Masticator: Johan (bass), Nicklas (drums) and Stefan (guitars). Now, that band was formed in 1989. Maybe you guys attended Nihilist shows? So, one of the main reasons why Necrocurse is so good is that, in reality, everyone in the band is a knowledgeable and experienced veteran of metal music. I do not think any of us have seen Nihilist. Our history affects certainly the music that we play. I mean we grew up with the same bands and music that more or less inspired us. Have you known your vocalist Hellbutcher since the 90s? We have known him for many years, since the 90s, yes. In the beginning we had no singer, so when we thought about who we would ask so it seemed natural to ask Hellbutcher. He lives in the same town and he sings really good. It gives a great dimension to our music. What bands today play with the same attitude and values as Necrocurse? Any bands that you like?! Of course we like bands like Nifelheim and Rapid Terrör hahahha. There are many bad bands but also many good ones. Hard to burp up a lot right now. Who writes the lyrics? Do Martin and Stefan (both guitars) write the music? Did they write the music for "Rotten in the Dark" or Coffin Breakers"? In the studio, did both guitar players record, or only one guitar player recorded all the guitar parts? Nicklas “Terror” writes most of the lyrics but also some with inputs from Hellbutcher. Terror, Hellbutcher and Basstard write the basics of music, then the whole band work together with final arrangements and details. Guitars, they each play their rhythm guitar on every song. Stefan "Rotting Vomitor" plays most of the solos. What else about Necrocurse?! When will you play in Seattle?! Thanks for interview and support!! check www.necrocurse.com for the latest news, merchandise and
so on! Don’t know if and when we will show up in Seattle... Stay hard! Death Metal Rebels!!! Mvh / Best regards. Nicklas Rudolfsson THE END. --
REVIEWS adult contemporary metal
Adult contemporary metal is mellow, singing-driven, unoffending, uncontroversial music that could be played at the suit-and-tie office, or in the background at a restaurant. Other characteristics of adult contemporary metal are: it is not music you’d be embarrassed if your young children heard it; it is not x-rated music; the likelihood that there is a curse word is very low; no gimmicks, no image, no cartoonish, no anti/religious things. It is just catchy songs. If someone told these bands that they are not “real” metal, they would smile, and say nothing, because that would be a boring discussion for them. Rock? Metal? Hard rock? Heavy rock? Melodic heavy metal rock? That’s not something with which these musicians concern themselves much.
In The Silence (U.S.): “A Fair Dream Gone Mad” Kingcrow (Italy): “In Crescendo” Pretty Maids (Denmark): “Motherland” In The Silence exudes talent and professionalism: a clean, clear production, great singing, and skillful instrumentation. In The Silence specializes in melancholic, moody, a bit proggy songs (in places, a bit similar in feel to latter-day Katatonia). Only the first song, “Ever Closer,” sounds like a “normal” song, in the sense of an easily comprehensible metal number, for purposes of getting the attention of the listener. However, after that, it is required to listen to the complete work to get a good idea of the overall interpretation of the music. Personally, it took a day of listening to the album to understand it. I would say that two things stand out the most. First, the melodic singing (no growling, no tough-guy shouting, no air-raid siren screaming, etc.) gives the band an intelligent vibe. It is a nice change of pace from the constant pigsqueals, blasting and growling in this zine. Second, the mood: these songs require patience, have to let them go into moments of slow, mellow, wandering segments, get a little proggy, and find a way to wrap things up. You can listen to this by itself, or have it in the background while reading a book, but it’s probably a very bad idea for listening at the gym when you “want to rock out.” www.reverbnation.com/inthesilence Kingcrow, a traditional progressive metal band, has a talented singer and songs packed with so much skill that they should give away 20 percent of their talent to core or slam death metal bands, who would not know a note if it bit them on the derriere. In addition to being potential musical philanthropists, Kingcrow strikes an efficient balance between writing songs that can be remembered rather easily and flexing their prog musical muscles. “Right Before” and “This Ain’t Another Love Song” are the two easy, memorable tracks that open this title. Then, things get melancholic, proggy and the band really shows its
cards. Kingcrow’s sound allows different, subtle details to be heard, from the bass to acoustic guitars, to vocal layering. Of course, no growling, no blasting, no breakdown, no pig squeals, no zombies, no glorification of violence, so on and so forth. If you hate singing and singing about personal emotions, clearly, this is not for you. There is also not much headbanging or shredding here. It’s just music with good songs, and no gimmicks. If Kingcrow were literature, it would be the type of books that “the masses” complain that the author is too complicated and “doesn’t get to the point” quickly, and that the author tries to “confuse” the reader by using “big” words. If Kingcrow were a painting, it would be a one that a lot of people do not like because “you can’t tell what it is,” and it’s too “abstract.” Really, it’s actually not that difficult, but it takes several good listens before most listeners will understand it a bit. All that’s needed is a willingness to comprehend. www.kingcrow.it If radio and television played the song “Wasted” by Pretty Maids, then it would become a massive, international hit song with soccer moms, with middle-age people, and would be playing on the radio every hour. Men and teenage boys would claim that they don’t like it, but they would secretly sing along in the car, when no one is with them. “Wasted” is not the only song like that, “Sad to See You Suffer” is just as, if not more, memorable and ear-friendly. The album is uptempo, happy rockers (but not too much rocking, this is adult contemporary metal, after all) and midpace sing-along big-chorus tracks. Warning to the knowledgeable listener: If you want the Pretty Maids of the classic heavy metal thunder of the “Future World” album (1987), you should know that this is not that type of band anymore. They are older, less angry, more mellowed out and less speedy. Be that as it may, these songs are well-arranged ear candy, something the band has always done, regardless of time period. www.prettymaids.dk
black metal (traditional) Enshadowed (Greece): “Magic Chaos Psychedelia” Woe (U.S.): “Withdrawal” Efficient, reliable, intense and appealing, that’s Enshadowed. Blasting their way through traditional black metal with contagious enthusiasm and personality, this title (their third) sees the band stack up the riffs with quickness, always keeping the foot pressed against the pedal, and wisely backing off the blasting at the selected places, only to return reliably to the high level of intensity. When the music is playing Enshadowed is utterly convincing in the execution of songs that bundle up slightly dissonant riffs, thrashing hooks, while loyally sticking tightly to the definition of traditional black metal. The snarls and screams give you everything you want, and nothing you don’t. Just black metal. Noticeably, Enshadowed rejects utilizing melodies to make their point, preferring to communicate through sheer musical muscle, and a riff-after-riff mentality. The “psychedelia” element seems to be found only on the last song, the title, which sports some spacey/trippy moments. In summary, as black metal execution, Enshadowed has it all bagged up and ready to go. Join them for ride into blasting black metal, and more.
www.facebook.com/EnshadowedOfficial Being out of the loop on the music of Woe, I had no expectations. The band name is not the most exciting and the one-word title surely doesn’t sound interesting. Just wait until you hear this black metal! I was not even finished checking out the second song when it all became obvious: although steeped in the grim and classic 90s black metal, Woe has substantial creativity and a strong sense for arranging the songs. The most impressive aspect of Woe is how each song has things to make it stand out: whether it is a hook, a change in rhythm or just good riffs, Woe takes but one listen to convince. Woe is not afraid to use semi-melodic singing nor fearful of using melody to enhance certain moments in the compositions. Even though it is completely accurate that Woe has semi-necro production values and they could benefit from a clearer sound quality, Woe is more than a band with potential. No need to wait, they deliver the goods now. Check out the huge black thrashing riffs on “Carried by the Waves to Remorseless Shores of the Truth,” and if that doesn’t make you bang your head, then possibly nothing ever will. The soloing is catchy, too. Of course, the vocals are ripping shrieking snarls, and you can hear the bass in places. The thing is that every song has important spices like that which makes them attractive to the black metal ear. Woe has just made me a new advocate. www.facebook.com/woeunholy?ref=ts
black metal (transitional)
Transitional black metal comes from black metal in some fundamental ways, but it shifts a lot in other ways, sometimes adding folk/acoustic passages to the tremolo riffing. At other times, it might have clean vocals, or maybe riffing from other styles, such as thrash or heavy metal, or even bring in a substantial amount of melody. Transitional black metal is not “pure,” it’s part black metal, parts other things.
Aethernaeum (Germany): “Wanderungen durch den Daemmerwald” Lux Divina (Spain): “Possessed by Telluric Feelings” Posthum (Norway): “Lights Out” Vreid (Norway): “Welcome Farewell” Aethernaeum used to be the solo project of romantic black metal entity Alexander Paul Blake, the name of the frontperson for gothic metallists Eden Weint im Grab (“Eden Weeps in the Grave”). Now that APB has surrounded himself with a band, the name has changed, the essence of the music has not: romantic black metal. I’m not sure if the new band did record these songs or if it’s just APB himself doing everything still. Bottom line, Aethernaeum embodies an elegant, pensive type of “nature black metal.” This music adds to black metal an atmospheric, folk, acoustic feel, with whispered vocals in some places. Two songs are about 12 minutes and 3 are between 8-10 minutes, amongst other songs in this hour-long title. It’s not music for a short attention span nor immediate satisfaction. It’s meant to be an experience, and it’s sort of a test for the kind of metal listener that one might be. Right from the beginning, the listener gets
two songs (11:44 and 12:07) that invite repeated listens. How good is your mental concentration? If it’s not that great, then Aethernaeum will expand the parameters of the ability to focus, provided the music is given a chance. www.aethernaeum.de
not necessarily a perfect fit for a box to be put in. Their “melodic black metal” is very highly recommended. www.vreid.no
Lux Divina becomes a listening adventure for those that want something black metal, but also want sounds that provide other elements that correspond with fundamental grimness. In this specific case, Lux Divina makes substantial use of melodic, traditional singing as a main and recurring component, framing the black metal—somewhat in the area of semi-necro, not “modern,” but still rather clear to hear, and easy on the ears (the bass guitar is audible)—in a broader context, with more horizons. Lux Divina consists of plenty of blazing speed, although they bring additional dimensions by way of some slower riffs and rhythms that the listener can recall a bit more than the speed. Of course, the utilization of melodic singing goes a long way towards grabbing the listener’s attention and staying in one’s memory. The point: Lux Divina offers compact songs (about 4-5 min.) while constructing semi-necro, grim, tremolo-driven segments, balanced out with singing and tasteful moments. www.luxdivina.com
Obscurantist death metal appeals to the initiated in a heritage of metal in which the total is bigger than a simple sum of the parts: Venom, Sodom, Destruction, Kreator, Bathory, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Morbid Angel, Possessed, Sarcofago, early Sepultura, etc. It’s not a coincidence that in 2013 the bands that play obscurantist death metal are not recording their first demos, but rather but have been around the block a bit. It is a spirit of profoundly blasphemous death metal, with ancient themes, such as found in the myths of holy books or evil characters in fantasy fiction (books, movies, etc.). It is unscientific, irrational, obscurantist, superstitious on the topics of deities, darkness and evil.
Posthum.The inheritance of Norwegian black metal has proven to be a tremendous weight upon the shoulders of younger Norwegian metal musicians. Inescapable and inexorable, classic Norwegian black metal is the starting point for much of modern “extreme” metal music in Norway. Posthum play a form of metal that shares some common elements with black metal, such as the vocals, the production values and a general vibe, like on “Red”, “Down on Blood” and a few other moments. However, Posthum is certainly not much of a black metal band, as their midpaced songs clearly show prog leanings, maybe punk, maybe classic rock. Basically, the guitar work shows some other sounds that I am not qualified to talk about because I don’t listen to “postrock” or “posthardcore” or “djent” or “drone” or whatever the heck is meant by the idea of “beyond metal.” “Postblack metal” or “Prog black metal” or something like that is the domain of Posthum. “Post,” see what they did there? www.facebook.com/posthumofficial Vreid works within broad parameters, and really Vreid is such quality that even very selective people should find this to be a worthy album. Vreid is the type of veteran band that in their youth they loved the early 90s Norwegian black metal and were of course influenced by it, but at this point in their journey that they do not care for categories and narrow definitions. Vreid is the continuation of Windir, after frontman Valfar died. Anyway, this is no one-man project garage rock “black metal,” but rather a creative force, a band, whose huge riffs show the craftsmanship, the dedication and experience. In parts, Vreid sounds like true-blue black metal tremolo guitar, and the drumming can go at that black metal blasting speed for sure, just check out the second song “The Way of the Serpent,” in which Vreid lets loose on this black metal barnstormer of a song, tremolo riff and tight blasting. However, Vreid casts a wide net, with thrash riffs, heavy metal hooks, a variety of speeds. In the end, Vreid is quality metal,
death metal (obscurantist)
Chapel of Disease (Ger.): “Summoning Black Gods” Imprecation (U.S.): “Satanae Tenebris Infinita” If you have ever said something like: “I love dark and evil old death metal” or “I love very early Sodom, Sepultura and Sarcofago” or things along those lines, Chapel of Disease makes music for you. The target audience is exactly you. To show how serious the band is about this matter, consider this: They have a song called “Dead Spheres” whose beginning is a lot more than reminiscent of Sarcofago’s song “Nightmare”: it is actually simply lifted off Sarcofago, straight up, lifted. It is the band putting out the call for those into this type of music. Let’s you reach a false conclusion, Chapel of Disease is no retro, semi-tribute-like band. I find this album to be outstanding and when I listen to it on headphones, I hear a drummer with a lot of style and personality, a hard hitter; and a vocalist dedicated to the fundamentals of what used to be called “dark and evil underground metal” and turns in a wonderful performance, in that sense. One more thing, these hard-driving riffs are rough around the edges, as they should be, but ridiculously effective. Whether you like “war metal,” “black thrash,” the heaviness of Incantation and Immolation, classic black metal, as well as Possessed and classic Dark Angel, I would say that there is something here, made especially for you. Chapel of Disease has essentially read your mind. They do not necessarily sound like those bands, but they have certain elements for sure, be it hooks or just an ancient feel. www.chapel-of-disease.jimdo.com Imprecation is at it again, enveloping Texas metal in a cloud of doom, descanting the tunes of blasphemous death in “Satanae Tenebris Infinita.” I could listen to this album for weeks on end, really, it’s expertly done at all levels. The songs, heavy as the heaviest stuff around, have a lot to offer: the contrast between the doomiest drawn out parts, with the faster segments, including blasting, achieve much in the sense of distinctive songwriting. Furthermore, Imprecation brings a bit of background symphonic doom to accompany the heavier, drier moments, and that has been a great decision, given the undisputable result of memorability, not just massiveness. Plus, it’s not like that bit of background
sounds takes away from the denseness, it adds a sinister mood. The dense riffs have a huge classic Candlemass effect, though in a clearly different context of doom death here. Interestingly, the bits of guitar melody—a hook here, a tremolo lick there, a solo over there —are so carefully placed in the correct spots that you have to go back and listen to how they choose said placement. Finally, the vocals: the low and slow growling functions as another instrument in the cast of sounds. Basically indecipherable, the growling mauls the syllables for encasing in darkness the compositions. What an exciting thing it is to have Imprecation deliver on what has been promised for a long time. Mission accomplished.www.facebook.com/pages/Imprecation/1947 25213915960
death metal (traditional)
Even though the variety of sounds within “traditional death metal” or maybe “old school death metal” turns out to be far from narrow, the bands in this section have some things in common: the emphasis on songwriting, on riffs, and not so much chugga-chugga guitar, nor slam/breakdown. Certainly, the feel of 80s and early 90s death metal, such as Florida, Stockholm, UK and Dutch bands is tangible in multiple forms (but, example, not really much New York/Midwest death metal, in the sense of “brooootal” dm). Often, a bit of melody is present in the riffs, as well as in the solos. Frequently, the vocals underline enunciation and stretching out the syllables, making the growling somewhat intelligible (definitely not “burped” vocals). The drumming is not the bonkers mathjazz, stop/start, übertechnical, mosquito-attention-span style. There may be blasting, but it’s immediate bang-your-head blasting. Or, there may be slow, doom segments, too. What’s for sure is: it does not sound like “plastic death metal.” This time around in this issue of the zine, the last few releases here are actually old “old school death metal” recordings re-issues.
Bone Sickness (U.S.): “Alone in the Grave” Krypts (Finland): “Unending Degradation” Megascavenger (Sweden): “Descent of Yuggoth” Johansson/Speckmann (Swe./U.S./Czech Rep.): “Sulphur Skies” Morgengrau (U.S.): “Extrinsic Pathway” Revel in Flesh (Germany): “Manifested Darkness” The Resistance (Sweden): “Scars” Skeletal Remains (U.S.): “Beyond the Flesh” Tormented (Sweden): “Death Awaits” Weapons to Hunt (Holland): “Blessed in Sin” Zombiefication (Mexico): “At the Caves of Eternal” old “old school death metal” recordings Master (U.S.): “Unknown Soldier” (unreleased 1985) Phlebotomized (Holland): “Devoted to God”; “Preach Eternal Gospels” Swazafix (Holland): “Anthems of Apostasy” 7
This is a testimony of how 18 minutes of rotten death metal by Bone Sickness (from Washington state) has improved the quality of my life, the life that I live in a van, down by the river, next to my grandma’s house. So, anyway, there I was, enjoying my fruit loops in my grandma’s basement. I was eating and looking at the cockroaches hanging around on the floor, waiting for me to drop a fruit loop or two. I was finished watching one (of the five) alligator shows that I follow, so I put on the music of Bone Sickness and I noticed that the cockroaches were running away. I stopped the music and the cockroaches returned, with a look of confidence on their faces, so I decided to wipe off those arrogant smiles from their faces by blasting some Bone Sickness again. The cockroaches ran away again. Yes! That’s it, then: Bone Sickness—in addition to bringing enjoyment to the death metal public—is an insect repellant. Bone Sickness is efficient, compact, and unpolished with a sound of more human death metal production values. Short, rotten, to the point: Bone Sickness. Make that, very, very rotten and fun. Now, if only I can convince these death metal zombies to do an interview with this zine …. www.facebook.com/bonesickness?ref=ts&fref=ts High-density, claustrophobic, massively heavy death metal, sustained by some of the most doom-ominous guitar work covered in issue 35 of this zine, Krypts carries the music of a numbing darkness, and no hope. Think of the slow music found in Blaspherian, early Incantation, Candlemass and Imprecation, and you’ll be in the frame of mind for this. The vocals are way beyond comprehension, and project only a dark, rumbling murmur, perfectly appropriate for this bleakness. Krypts launches into bursts of blasting speed in some places, for variety and hopeless fun. In addition—but it’s indispensable to listen closely to these songs—there is a silver lining of melodies, the type of melodies for the end of the world. This last particular matter of melody is actually, in my opinion, the crucial piece of the puzzle for Krypts. This is why: without them the songs would be boring, because we would have a band that sounds like it is playing slow songs for some 40 minutes. In fact, some people have listened to this album and have not listened closely enough and they did not find the melodies and have mistakenly dismissed Krypts as a band that specializes in slowness. No, Krypts specializes in a vibe, a very heavy, dense death metal darkness. Yes, it does take several listens (and you probably should not be texting and driving while this is on because a mosquito-like attention span will not understand Krypts). If patience is not a quality you have with metal, then turn around, walk away, because this will seem extremely dull. Otherwise, if this review caught your interest in Krypts, go here and give a listen. www.darkdescentrecords.com www.mesacounojo.com Who is the hardest working person in death metal? Who seems to be an endless fountain of death metal music? Well, Rogga Johansson appears to be such a person. Megascavenger is another one of the many bands of Rogga Johansson (just look him up on Metal Archives and you’ll see). This album, “Descent of Yuggoth,” works the basic, super
heavy death metal foundation in every song, and on top of that foundation, there are riffs, licks, notes, melodies that run above, making things massive, with a bit of melody. The vocals are gruff and low. The drumming is uptempo, basic, almost rock n roll drumming, for beats that anyone can get into. Bang your head, drink your beer, nod along, it’s all good, because Megascavenger is just fun music, nothing too complex. Hear it one time and understand it. Hear twice and you know it, like AC/DC for death metal. Rogga can write songs like this in his sleep (if he sleeps) or if he is driving, he can just hum the riff onto his phone, get home and listen and do it on the guitar. A few hours later, boom, another song is done. Another day, another 2 or 3 death metal songs done. Is he a genius savant? Here is a link to one (out of about 3.7 million) band Rogga is in: www.facebook.com/paganizersweden This same Rogga Johansson has teamed up with the Lemmy of old school death metal, namely, Paul Speckmann for something called Johansson & Speckmann. What did I just tell you about Rogga’s endless activities?! In this case, Rogga plays guitar and Paul does vocals, as far as I can tell. I’m not going to lie to you, this sounds a lot like Paul Speckmann’s main band Master and also like Rogga Johansson’s “old school death metal” music that he does so well. If you happen to enjoy this type of death metal, then you know, this is music that is easy to get into. It’s not particularly flashy, it’s just heavy rocking stuff, comfortable as Motorhead or Slayer for death metal. You already have a Rogga Johansson website and I cannot find a website for this project, so here’s Master’s website. www.master-speckmetal.net Texas-based Morgengrau features a rawer production, a rougher sound, a bit of a faster tempo. Morgengrau definitely has an energy of its own. You can’t go wrong with Morgengrau. These riffs are thick, galloping and do everything except literary grab your neck and physically make you headbang. If you like death metal, it’s like Morgengrau is daring you not headbang and you will not be able to resist. It’s that good. The tightness, the immediacy of the riffs, and the memorable songs, are just what’s needed to make the day better. Very impressive and instantly likeable. Good job! www.facebook.com/pages/Morgengrau/112541632142818 Revel in Flesh’s debut was called “Deathevokation” and was a Stockholm-style death metal platter. Now then “Manifested Darkness” shows a great love of Dismember. I have read some negative reviews about this band. Revel in Flesh has a peculiar sense of humor. Their name is from Entombed and their debut was from Dismember. Now, they have a song called “Revel in Flesh” and also “Warmaster” and “Torment in Fire,” the type of titles that the metal-obsessed instantly know where they come from: Bolt Thrower, Sacrifice and lots of other sources. These little peculiarities have angered some jaded listeners. I, for one, have tried to find something wrong with Revel in Flesh, and I cannot do it. It’s all good. Yes, it’s not “original” and clearly Revel in Flesh is not claiming that. They’re a just a death metal band that loves their old Stockholm death metal and have a good time as devotees. True, this is a bit more for the total death metal maniac and
also for the love-it-all listener, but you know, there’s nothing wrong with that per se. I submit that these songs are pretty good, pretty enjoyable. Revel in Flesh has yet to come up with more distinctive riffing and memorable soloing, but it’s early in the game. Let’s see where they are after a couple more albums. www.revelinflesh.jimdo.com Here it is, The Resistance’s debut “Scars,” from the two former guitarists from In Flames (Jesper S. and Glen L.), ex The Haunted screamer Marco A. and Chris B (ex Kaamos, Repugnant, etc.). The band focuses on to-the-point death metal. The songs generally stay between 2 and 4 minutes, and go for thick, simple death metal riffs and uptempo energy, very much made for banging heads. In select places, snippets of melody show up, though not too prominently. Instead, the galloping riffs, the expert drumming and the growling-shouting drive these numbers. Surprisingly simple! It’s a pleasant surprise that these folks got it together for a good debut. In the guitar work the listener may detect the Stockholm-style death metal guitar tone and effectiveness of simplicity. A fun, solid album that should prove remarkably interesting for those that have been wondering what these four gentlemen have been doing since their departure or breakups of their more famous bands. www.facebook.com/theresistanceswe Skeletal Remains uses a particular template for their death metal found on the album “Beyond the Flesh.” That template is: “Leprosy” (1988) by Death. It’s all here: the simple, uptempo drumming (not blasting speed); guitar that really works out the midpace riffing; the melodic solos; and the classic-Schuldiner-like growling where the syllables are stretched out for effect (as opposed to fast growling, or to low-incomprehensible growling, etc.). Some bits of songs might recall Death’s “Choke on It,” “Leprosy,” “Left to Die,” and so on. They do a Gorguts cover and said cover fits in really nice with this fun album. It will be interesting to see where the band takes their death metal along the way to finding more of their own way towards a more proper identity as Skeletal Remains. www.facebook.com/SkeletalRemainsDeathMetal Here’s a little fact for you. Bill The Master, who is practically a death metal library, has been playing (on his metal show Sweet Nightmares on www.kpft.org) Tormented quite a bit because he really liked the band’s debut “Rotten Death.” Well, here’s the band’s second album “Death Awaits” in 2013 and it is 100 percent, true-blue “old school Stockholm-style death metal” with that guitar tone. One listen, just one listen is all the listener needs to install this in the brain. The solos are good, the vibe is great, the vocals are particularly rotten and stand out as Tormented. The songs get to the point quickly. Here’s another little fact for you. There’s a reason why Tormented is so awesome: experience: the vocalist/guitarist is “Dread” and “Dread” is Andreas Axelsson, guitarist in Edge of Sanity (all albums 1991-1997), ex Marduk, ex- Incapacity, exInfestdead, etc. Clearly, Tormented is no beginner’s home project. www.facebook.com/pages/Tormented/161161300563301 This is why metallers’ necks hurt so badly. Do yourself a favor, check out this shredding by Weapons to Hunt. Huge, smoking
deathrash-ish riffs, but sped up, so these things will make your fingers hurt faster just thinking about the movements on the strings. Every time I listen to this album, the riffs convince me that Weapons to Hunt should get more attention. Why are the riffs so good? One of the guitarists, Ron, is a former member of Sinister, and the other guitar player, Bastiaan, is a current member of Sinister, as is Aad, vocalist for Weapons to Hunt and Sinister. By the way, Weapons to Hunt does not sound like Sinister, either. This band is a bit thrashier, and even though it is fast stuff, it’s not “brutal blasting,” but more along the lines of relentless speed metal drumming. That is, tight and compact. A thrashy riff here, a tremolo segment there, a thick death metal dash over there, and solos/flashes of melody, all done within a sound/production that is death metal. This review makes it appear exciting, doesn’t it? I should hope so, because this band is. www.facebook.com/pages/Weaponsto-Hunt/124969717612834 Zombiefication admittedly has an unfortunate name that some people will not check out because they imagine a band with gore and zombies generic “brutal” death metal. That’s too bad because this band has worked hard at creating songs that really stand as individual pieces with a framework of “old school death metal,” particularly Stockholm-style death metal. Zombiefication is not about speed at all. Songs have moments of speed, but in selected places. Instead, Zombiefication is all about good riffs, good melodies and vibe. The guitar work is definitely worth your time. I am very surprised with just good the melodies are. Each song has little details that make them easy to remember and fun to think about, and hear again. I do not have information about the drumming, whether it is programmed or not. No drummer is listed on Metal Archives. In this specific case, the drumming (or programming) is considerably creative and has a vibe that keeps the rhythm. It does not sound like some mindless programming to just beat fast. There are nuances in the sound that work well for Zombiefication. Hopefully they find a drummer, if they don’t have one. To repeat: Zombiefication has a real strong effort to inject creativity into their songs, has developed a vibe in each and has delivered an album surprisingly good. It shows that they have busted their behind to stand out, to go beyond being a good tribute band. Zombiefication stands on its own with its songs. Good execution, impressive album, indeed. www.reverbnation.com/zombiefication old recordings (death metal) In the early 90s Master was a band that got name-checked by many, many death metal bands that have themselves now become classic and legendary. The information I have says that this is the 1985 unreleased album, so this would be the recording that got tape traded around the world in the 80s. I don’t know about re-mastering and how much the recording has been “fixed” or re-recorded here. Also, some of these songs are also found on the Speckmann’s other brief but respected band Death Strike. To the music. This thing sounds wonderful! Of course, the sound quality is raw. The energy of these songs is contagious. It is old, basic death metal, ugly and good. Investigate if you love old 80s death metal. I can’t imagine
anyone being disappointed, if they like Master and Death Strike. As if releasing the Master album weren’t enough, Vic Records has put out the Swazafix demos, and as if that wasn’t cool enough, they are also releasing two old Phlebotomized recordings: the “Devoted to God” demo (1992) and the EP “Preach Eternal Gospels” (1993). Phlebotomized on these recording plays really heavy duty super guttural growling death metal, but added keyboards for atmosphere. The keyboards are not very prominent because this death metal is not very melodic. Sounds massive. The result is something not strange today, instead it just sounds like creative really heavy death doom. This is the band’s earlier music, before they scared away metal people by becoming an eclectic band. This is just Phlebotomized playing massive doom death with an atmospheric background. Before the band confused some listeners, this is what they were. They were a solid band, with a sound that was not common back in the day, either. Good stuff. www.vicrecords.com Here’s another old recording from 1991 and 1992, the demos by Asphyx’s Theo Loomans (who died back in 1998). The name of this band is Swazafix. So, this recording is definitely for those that enjoy old demos of death metal. Swazafix does sound a lot like the death metal of Asphyx, in the vocals and guitar tone, but the big difference is that unlike Asphyx, Swazafix does not do much doom: it’s just blunt, heavy, raw death metal. It’s cool that Vic Records is making this available for the Asphyx and death metal fans. www.vicrecords.com
death metal (technical/blastattack) Extinction Protocol (U.S.): “Aeonic Obliteration” Lecherous Nocturne (U.S.): “Behold Almighty Doctrine” Wormed (Spain): “Exodromos” Extinction Protocol does two things a lot on “Aeonic Obliteration”: Are you tired of nonstop blasting? Are you bored with monotonous slam death metal? Extinction Protocol has a zesty recipe for you: spice up grind and slam by combining them into “grind slam,” plus they turn up the temperature on this hot dish with pig squeals. As you already know, pig squeals go well with grind and slam, which is why Extinction Protocol wants you to give them a call. If you call in the next thirty minutes, they will also add in pinch harmonics, for free. Don’t miss this offer: pig squeals and pinch harmonics! You heard right! Call now 1-800-pig-squeal. www.facebook.com/pages/ExtinctionProtocol/490898727623887
With “Behold Almighty Doctrine” Lecherous Nocturne sounds the alarm for another exhibition bout of this wrecking ball of noise, speed, growl-bark, technicality and energy. You have to stay alert, otherwise LN will send you flying off the top rope within a minute of the first song: very tight, loud and only for the trained ear, or the drunk kids doing the karate chops in the mosh pit. You could be a total metal nerd to enjoy this or you could just be drunk and enjoy the obnoxious noise. Make no mistake, however, the band itself knows exactly what it is doing, and they have to be huge metal dorks. The guitarists’ fingers have to hurt like crazy after playing these songs and
the drummer needs his medication to avoid a heart attack. You will need your medication, too. Get in the ring with this musical Mike Tyson, get knocked down on your behind. You out, sucka! www.lecherousnocturne.net/official.cfm Wormed’s “Exodromos” is the band’s submission in the international competition “The Most Brutal Album of 2013.” This wildly famous contest takes place in my grandma’s basement, where I live, in a van, down by the river. Wormed’s vocals are total pig squeals, since their vocalist could simply be a pig from the farm. They might as well put a microphone to the pig and see what happens. This is what happens!: Wormed. This band has two guitarists, otherwise known as “chugga-chugga specialists” and they slam and chug like cheeky monkies. Why? Because they are playing to win the gold medal of “The Most Brutal Album of 2013.” And what does the drummer do? Oh, you know, he blasts, blasts, blasts and then after that, he does a bit more blasting to go along with the blasting. Gillemoth is the name of the bassist, but I am not able to hear the bass because the pig squeals took over and kidnapped the bassist. Gillemoth still has not been found. Please call the authorities if you happen to hear Gillemoth at any time during this recording. Also, everybody in this band needs new instruments now because they destroyed them in the recording process. The vocalist had to go the hospital with a throat infection, too. I’m on my way to hospital now, I want to be there to support this pig-squealing maniac. I have some flowers and candy for him. www.wormed.net
doom death Daylight Dies (U.S.): “A Frail Becoming” October Tide (Sweden): “Tunnel of No Light” Swallow the Sun (Finland): “Emerald Forest and the Blackbird” Daylight Dies’ “A Frail Becoming” is a bit of classic Opethianstyle doom in the following sense: the heavy parts are really heavy, where the riff and the gruff growling are the center, and it sounds really great. In those moments there is melody, too, and that helps the songs a lot. Now then, Daylight Dies also has moments of clear singing, melody and melancholy. These segments sound like clean guitar or acoustic guitar, the clear singing is delicate—as opposed to obnoxiously loud “metal” singing—and have something in common with the clear singing in Opeth and Katatonia. In short, Daylight Dies is one the most exciting and interesting doom metal bands that I know of, currently. This album is another feather in their cap. www.daylightdies.com October Tide, Katatonia fans will be pleased to know, is the band of Fredik Norrman, guitarist in Katatonia from 1994 to 2010. I guess, one simple way to start the conversation on October Tide’s album “Tunnel of No Light” is to ask: Do you like early Katatonia, when the band was a heavy, melodic doom band? Well then, October Tide just happens to be a heavy, growl doom band that keeps the heaviness at a maximum level, while maintaining the growled vocals throughout, and bringing the melody from the guitar. On this
last mentioned aspect, this means that there are no clean vocals, no keyboards to soften up the doom. This is why October Tide is interesting, it’s about the guitar and the songwriting. There is a sense that October Tide hides nothing, and also avoids making things too busy. The result on the listener is immediate: easily enjoyable, yet with plenty of riffs, vocal patterns, hooks and heavy shades to keep the listener’s attention. www.octobertide.net Swallow the Sun is the type of doom that uses many things at its disposal for a song: death metal growling, black metal shrieking, clear singing, keyboards, tremolo guitar parts, melancholic guitar parts, heavy riffs, slow, midpace and uptempo are all found with this doom. Really, the band can give the impression of a hodgepodge of metal sounds, and all of this sounds unworkable on paper, and you would think this sounds like a crazy salad. At times, it does! They go from the symphonic black metal doom of “Hate, Lead the Way,” a headbanging tune to the slow, meditational sounds and whispered/folky singing of “Cathedral Walls” and it’s quite a change. Are they a black metal band? folk/gothic? However, all those concerns do not matter because somehow Swallow the Sun makes sense to my ears. They are good at all those things. I don’t know if all six band members write songs or why this is such an eclectic doom experience. The sound quality is excellent, it sounds like professional metal (NOT stoner sound), and the songs are very good. The one thing that you will need is patience, but if you like doom, you already know this is not instant music. www.swallowthesun.net
heavy metal (traditional) Sacred Steel (Germany): “The Bloodshed Summoning” Satan (U.K.): “Life Sentence” Saxon (U.K.): “Sacrifice” Sacred Steel is a particularly tight, energetic, thrashy heavy metal band, with no love songs/ballads, just headbanging heavy metal, song after song. The guitars rage, some melody added in selected places, and the drumming keeps the pounding going for the hour that comprises the album. The singer, one Gerrit P. Mutz, has a gritty vocal style, with a thrash energy, some growling and screaming, with plenty of melodic singing, too. In that sense, Mutz’s performance is a varied effort, and done well in all counts. Sacred Steel, by the way, seems to be hated by the critics. Rarely do you see a metal band that gets ridiculed as much as Sacred Steel. The crime? Playing heavy metal unashamedly, with a vocalist that is not afraid to scream, belt it out and rage. The complaining is pretty stupid, actually. Listen to this album, if you want something along the lines of thrashy, no-nonsense heavy metal, with songs for headbanging. They really do just about everything that there is to be done in heavy metal: play fast, loud, energetically, melodically, shred, have hooks, good solos, play uptempo, and do it all with great enthusiasm. This is without a doubt, a high quality heavy metal album. I have no idea what the complaining is about. I have enjoyed this album a lot. This one is worthy of coming back to again and again. www.sacredsteel.eu Satan. Of course, this is the Satan of the New Wave of British
Heavy Metal. Brian Ross, also of Blitzkrieg, screams and sings his way through 10 songs of uptempo metal with lots of guitar melodies and rocking and/or semi-thrashy riffs, too. Metal dorks will know that bassist Graeme English and guitarist Steve Ramsey are known for their work with folk metal founders Skyclad. They are back with Satan. Anyway, songs like “Testimony” and “Life Sentence” recall the faster side of their music. On the other hand, it’s not all about speed. Satan has made music that stands up well to their back catalogue. Not a masterpiece, but a good album nevertheless. Perhaps the 80s metalheads (as well as Darkhrone) will be happy now that Satan has returned and the 80s metal party never has to end. www.satanmusic.com Saxon–-legends from New Wave of British Heavy Metal—has 20 studio albums, from the debut “Saxon” (1979) to “Sacrifice” (2013). As of May 2013, Priest has 16, Maiden 15 and Motorhead 21. Saxon has more than a handful of total classic must-haves. Unlike some longstanding bands, Saxon has a remarkable history of consistency because Biff Byford (vocals) and Paul Quinn (guitars) have been at their respective posts since 1977. By now, the other members— Nigel Glockler (drums), Nibbs Carter (bass) and Doug Scarratt (guitar)—have been in Saxon a long, long time, too, decades, actually. Probably their best since the 1997 classic “Unleash the Beast,” this one is very enjoyable all the way through. As a Saxon lunatic fanatic, I smile at the excellence, high quality and headbangingness of this album. Nine songs: 8 uptempo rockers, 1 midtempo track. Great rocking vibe. Saxon is very good at heavy metal, always has been. In addition, Saxon here offers fun, new versions (reworked, classical or acoustic) of 5 classics, all good stuff. www.saxon747.com
power metal Aphelium (Venezuela): demo Stratovarius (Finland): “Nemesis” These two songs are very impressive, due to Aphelium’s knack for assembling all the elements of power metal so well. The songs work at a speedy rate, with air-raid-siren singing, and build up and up to the catchy chorus, with bit of a symphonic feel, and lots of sing-along moments. “Cleopatra” is in Spanish and “Fate of a Promise” is in English, but the band does well in both. I prefer the Spanish because the Spanish just sounds better, but the English song rocks, too. If you don’t speak Spanish, it’s ok, the song “Cleopatra” is so catchy, you’ll be singing in Spanish and you won’t even know it. www.reverbnation.com/aphelium Happy, uplifting, super melodic songs characterize this album. Lyrically, the message stays optimistic, a can-do attitude about believing in yourself. Fundamentally, Stratovarius desires to help the listener be a happier, more positive person. You’re alive, stand up for yourself, and face the world with enthusiasm, that’s the band’s objective. Power metal is very much associated with Stratovarius, who are conscious that they have a reputation to uphold, and fans to please. They give the Stratovarius legions exactly what they want. The album is their declaration of purpose, to convince power
metal fans the band is very much alive, in view of past controversies with former members. Given this album’s festival of melodies and catchy hooks, if you have ever enjoyed a song by Stratovarius, it’s worth your time to look into “Nemesis.” Very much recommended for Stratovarius fans, as well as aficionados of very melodic happy/poppy power metal. www.stratovarius.com
The bands in this section have in common the melodic segments (guitar and/or singing) and heavier, growling parts. Sometimes it’s a back and forth switching, like Soilwork or Killswitch Engage. Sometimes it’s not a change between harsh/melodic, but rather an amalgamation/layering of heaviness with melody rolled into a single, consistent bundle, like Be’lakor.
Be’lakor (Australia): “Of Breath and Bone” Kalmah (Finland): “Seventh Swamphony” Killswitch Engage (U.S.): “Disarm the Descent” Soilwork (Sweden): “The Living Infinite” Judging by the music on here, Be’Lakor enjoys classic 90s In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. The vocals go for a low, gruff growl (not scream/sing vocals). The identity of Be’lakor comes from the foundation of rhythms, on a guitar tone close to death metal, with a second layering of dominant and constant guitar melodies. Meaning, Be’lakor layers the melodies on top of the heavy riffing throughout the duration of the songs, maintaining the dual nature of the guitar work. Be’lakor in 2013 swims against the stream by playing longer, mid/uptempo (no blasting) songs for almost an hour of music: 3 songs are 9 minutes, 3 tracks over 6 min., and 1 song that’s 8 min. They take their time, and appear oblivious to commercial pressure or trends. Recommended for fans of classic 90s Gothenburg sounds, and also more current, for fans of Insomnium. www.belakorband.com June 18, 2013 is the official release date for the new Kalmah album. Very reliably on their 7th title, Kalmah continues on the path of a band that never wants to disappoint nor freak out its followers. Once again, Kalmah comes up with guitar work that sounds like black metal and power metal, with thrashy and tremolo riffs, and hooks at every turn. Kalmah underlines riffs, taking the double road that has marked their trajectory: melodies layered above heavy riffs. Some moments are melodic, others are very melodic, some are fast, and others, blazing speed. The vocal style seems to have stabilized for the band: mostly gruff growling, with some snarls peppered in places. Seven albums in, and Kalmah sounds as confident, stable, predictable, and strong as ever. www.kalmah.com Killswitch Engage put their best, most commercially viable foot forward. The songs are very memorable, have thrashing moments, shredding, moshing parts, energetic/blasting segments, melodic (poppy, even) moments and growling and screams, and a huge emphasis on the scream/sing switching back and forth. Very commercially sensible and business savvy: the 12 songs (about 3:30 minutes on average)
have a basic formula of thrashy riffs over growling, and melodic singing over memorable hooks. Killswitch Engage has put a serious effort into establishing themselves again with their new, returning vocalist Jesse Leach. Their fans should be pretty glad, and some very happy that JL is back. www.killswitchengage.com This 84-minute, double title “The Living Infinite” by Soilwork is the most exciting music since 2002’s “Natural Born Chaos,” which made them a brand within the style of melodic growl metal. If you like Soilwork, this will be an enormously pleasant surprise. When a band does a very long album, sometimes I fear that the band will bore me with non-song timeconsumers (pompous or “complex,” maybe to fulfill some contract obligation). Sometimes bands do long songs with much filler (keyboard solos, bass solos, movie samples, spoken parts, interludes, more interludes, so on and so forth). Unexpectedly, Soilwork sticks to doing what they do best: songs that are not too long, that are memorable, poppy in places, with blasting speed or bursts of energy, and thrashy riffs. They simply rolled up their sleeves and got down to work. I believe that they worked very hard to put together a strong album, and it really shows. If you have liked any Soilwork in the past, you should seriously consider supporting the band on this endeavor because it is a remarkable effort that maintains a high standard. www.soilwork.org
thrash Hatriot (U.S.): “Heroes of Origin” Rectified Spirit (India): “Rectified Spirit” With former Exodus screamer Zetro fronting this band, there is a huge Exodusian vocals quality to Hatriot. Here are some more concrete reasons why Hatriot rocks: The use of blasting adds a really good shot of energy to the sound, and makes the music more vibrant. Nice, nice overall energy here. The guitar work is surprisingly good and fitting. “Surprisingly” because this band has the heavy burden of being compared to the Exodus/Gary Holt guitar standards. Those are huge expectations to fulfill, but considering that Hatriot is made up of younger instrumentalists, this works well with the music. Thirdly, the songs are headbanging-worthy. That’s the question of questions: Do the songs sound enjoyable, fun and thrashing? Yes, they most certainly do. So go ahead, give this a chance, and you may find yourself in a pit faster than expected. For Zetro fans. www.hatriotmetal.com Melodic thrash with a vocalist that sings, and a bit of a progmelodic touch. For the most part, Rectified Spirit goes for thrashing and headbanging, with a melodic edge, with some overtones/moments that suggest metalcore elements, like the screamed vocals and traditional singing in combination. All in all, the sound is melodic thrash, and definitely not hardcore, amply demonstrated by the Maidenesque guitar melodies and the Priestesque wailing. Tracks like “There Is No Tomorrow” and “Rectified Spirit” are good examples of these traits. “Paradigm Lost,” on the other hand, sounds a bit like Killswitch Engage and Exodus together. The prog parts, in general, are separated in the form of two longer songs that are 8-minute plus. This shows a characteristic of metal bands
from India: they do not care to be boxed in a particular category; they play metal, mix and match, cut and paste, in a free-thinking way, seemingly unfettered by the rules found in certain other countries and their scenes. Good potential here. www.facebook.com/Rectified.Spirit.Official
These three entities are heavy, in a metal way. The target audience is very much metal, given that this is black and death metal in fundamental ways, but with added elements of adventure. It’s impossible to confuse the albums with someone else’s because each one is pretty unique.
Azure Emote (U.S.): “The Gravity of Impermanence” Rotting Christ (Greece): “KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY” Sigh (Japan): “In Somniphobia” The basis of Azure Emote consists of “brutal death metal,” in the sense of Montrosity and Vile, where Azure Emote mastermind Mike Hrubovcak growls. What is really, really distinct is the variety of instrumentation, moods and components that make this album a complete other ball game. The result? Depending on which moment we are talking about, it’s atmospheric death metal, really heavy “brutal” classical music, death metal opera, trippy sounds, amongst other things. Highly recommended if you want to hear death metal taken to places that few have imagined. That’s something, isn’t? www.azureemote.com Rotting Christ just keeps taking journeys, dragging any willing listener on field trips into the band’s fearless minds. So, how do they make weirdness sound so catchy? Snake-charming music, freaky chanting, and music that sounds like the band wanted to create the atmosphere of an “evil convent” in the mountains, by the caves. Compared to Azure Emote above, Rotting Christ sounds a bit more “normal.” Of course, Rotting Christ is also very experienced at the art of composing memorable songs. That’s definitely an achievement. www.rotting-christ.com Sigh embraces weirdness. See “L’excommunication a Minuit” for an illustration. Imagine, if you will, that the international man of mystery Austin Powers (it’s going to get downright strange when a sentence begins with “Imagine Austin Powers…”) with a bunch of hippy friends and funny sounding guitars and organs, from the 60s. Add Lisa Simpson and her jazz. You will also hear monkey screams, maniacal laughter, bird or mosquito-like sounds, and insane asylum sounds. That’s one song. There are 11 tracks. Yikes! I’m going to need a double dose of my medication today. www.facebook.com/pages/SIGH-official-page/227550909275 May 29, 2013