Metal Bulletin Zine #48
Washington state, U.S.
www.facebook.com/pages/The-Metal-Bulletin-paper-zine www.twitter.com/MetalBulletinZn two bands from the state of Washington: Valhalla
Giant of the Mountain
2014 old heavy metal is new again Johnny Touch, Convent Guilt, Axe Crazy, Osmium Guillotine, Mausoleum Gate, Brimstone Coven favorite metal sounds of 2014 by Void Ritual free metal music Decay Crawler, Negativvm, Faeton
www.fuglymaniacs.com history of Metal Bulletin Zine #1-20: (2006-2009): Wisconsin
(issues online, concert videos, interviews, reviews)
#21-26: (2009-2010): Texas
#27(2010)-- now; Washington state
metal on the radio/internet (Pacific Time) Metal Shop (Seattle, WA): Saturday 11pm3am KISW 99.9fm www.kisw.com Sweet Nightmares (Houston, TX): Thursday night 9pm-12am KPFT 90.1 fm www.kpft.org Excuse All the Blood (Olympia, WA): Friday night 11pm-1am www.kaosradio.org — Decibel Metal Archives says that Decibel is a oneperson project from the state of Washington, but there is not much information yet. Trevor Brown apparently has three albums in 2014 and this music is available for free/name your price. The album “Plague,” for instance, sounds like really heavy stoner doom with growled vocals. If you like the heavy, plodding sounds of one-person projects, look into this Castle Rock, Washington band. www.trevorbrown.bandcamp.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Vanguard! Metal Bulletin Zine is late to the party of these barbarian heavy metal punks who stalk the gutters, backstreets and sewers of the postapocalyptic desert mountain forests of the city of Olympia, Washington. Vanguard! sounds like it was recorded with a tape deck in a garage no later than 1987, although it is actually from 2012, it seems. This band hates the modern robot metal music and wants to return to the ages of the mutant motorcycle gang rock n’ roll metal punk of the future epoch. www.realvanguard.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/pages/VanguardOlympia/145002718938658 Valhalla (Brazil): Evil Fills Me Valhalla is blasting, guttural death metal from
Brazil whose origins date back to 1988. Currently the band is made up three sisters and their most recent work is the 2014 EP “Evil Fills Me.” Valhalla believes in playing direct death metal, the same way that a band like Cannibal Corpse is not trying to fool anyone by pretending to be anything other than death metal. You can tell Valhalla takes pride in their music. They sound like professionals. When can we get this band to play in the U.S.? People like death metal in the U.S., right? I think Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Suffocation and Malevolent Creation aficionados would love to get injured in a mosh pit during songs by Valhalla. www.facebook.com/pages/Valhalla-FemaleDeath-Metal/194092070603675 Encoffination (U.S.): III - Hear Me, O' Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs) (Selfmadegod Records) The musicians behind Encoffination—Justin Blake Stubbs and Wayne Sarantopoulos— have in mind the heaviest, slowest funeral death doom that you could ever imagine, like Incantation’s doom parts slowed down even more, and never sped up for any reason under any circumstances. Encoffination makes Black Sabbath sound like The Beatles or The Ramones. I don’t know how other people get to understand a band like this one, except through spending time with the album and waiting for it to make sense at some point. This demands patience. If a listener wants something fun, something that rocks, that listener would find this music to be a waste of time. Only by giving yourself time for this album would it be possible to hear it in a real sense. It is always very slow, the vocals are but a low murmur-growl and the drummer sounds like he is nodding off. All the songs are slow, all the time. Encoffination is an atmosphere of crawling doom. You can fall asleep to it, you can meditate to it or any such activity. No headbanging, no moshing, no happy. This is not music for jocks or for exercising. If anything, this is music that is
highly elitist in nature. The metal masses would run away from this album because it subverts the idea of why people listen to metal. You want to rock? No, Encoffination does not. Encoffination is the end of the line. FYI: Encoffination is not a stoner or drone band. Like already stated, just imagine the slow segments by Incantation turned into full songs, and imagine a whole album of music at that pace. Since 2008, Encoffination has been making EPs and albums, a total of 8 titles. This total misery of sound is the first album by the band that I really have been exploring. It will take a while to unfold. www.facebook.com/templeofencoffinment www.selfmadegod.com www.selfmadegod.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/selfmadegod TNT (Norway): 30th Anniversary 1982-2012 Live In Concert with Trondheim Symphony Orchestra (Indie Recordings) I figured that this recording was going to be an awesome, grandiose work. It’s not complicated to hear why this is true: TNT is about three fundamental things: magnificent singing, memorable hooks and good songwriting. In this live recording, TNT went all out for its 30-year anniversary, supporters of the band in Trondheim came out for this, and with the symphony behind the band, it is all about quality music. This album was recorded on June 2nd, 2012 in Trondheim, Norway, the city where TNT started out all those years ago with the game plan of conquering the world. Traditional, melodic heavy metal veterans TNT started in 1982. If you appreciate traditional metal, and you have never given TNT a chance, this would be a wonderful chance to begin. You missed the first 30 years, so here is a musical summary. At the time of the concert, the singer was the very capable and talented Tony Mills, but the band also invited Dag DD Dynamite, the singer from the first album “TNT” from 1982 for tracks like 3
“Harley Davidson” and “USA.” In addition, the band showcases as guest vocalist the band’s iconic voice Tony Harnell on its greatest hits such as “Intuition.” Incidentally, Tony Harnell has now returned to TNT, so we’re on the verge of hearing a new album with the band’s historical singer sometime soon. This “greatest hits live” recording works really well as an introduction to the band for a younger audience, and a trip down memory lane for the longtime TNT followers. There’s no way to please every TNT supporter, considering the long history of the band and the changes that have happened over the years, as with any veteran band. Still, this album is a very good representation of the band’s strengths and its songwriting. I’m not going to do a track-by-track review of the album, but just know that the band closes this album with a bang: the three-pronged hit attack of “Everyone’s a Star,” “10, 000 Lovers in One,” and of course, what else?!, “Seven Seas.” Alright, kids, grandma has to go now because it’s time to dust off TNT’s 1984 vinyl “Knights of the New Thunder.” Now, that’s what this grandma calls singing. You think you have heard great singing? Yeah, right! You have no idea. No idea. www.facebook.com/TNTtheband www.tnttheband.com www.indierecordings.no www.merchnow.com/catalogs/indierecordings Giant of the Mountain (U.S.): Moon Worship Giant of the Mountain comes from Texas and was formed in 2008, and from 2009 until 2014, the band has two EPs and three full-length albums, the third of which is this 2014 title “Moon Worship,” a six-song work that lasts about 38 minutes. Very surprisingly, Metal Archives categorizes Giant of the Mountain as “technical death metal.” That categorization seems so strange in the case of Giant of the
Mountain. It’s very likely that the band members will look at each other with eyebrows raised and exclaim, “What? We had no idea we were ‘technical death metal’!” and bust out laughing. It also appears that Giant of the Mountain has suffered for being from Plano, Texas. All the band’s recordings are independent, according to Metal Archives. Maybe the metal companies are just not ready for an ambitious and brainiac metal band from Texas. I guess that’s what you get for being from Texas and not being a low-IQ macho-posturing thug with a mouth for war, demanding respect and telling people to walk. Here’s the deal: Giant of the Mountain is one of “those metal bands” that does it all: from abhorrent blasting death metal to mellow, peaceful pieces with melodic singing. At first it sounds like a big bowl of clutter of metal racket, as in “Is this a compilation album? How many bands are on this compilation?” Yet, no, it is all Giant of the Mountain, but if you listen to this work as an album, something else will happen: everything will come into focus and the landscape will be visible as a complete entity. The first song “Moon Worship” is a fast death-ish track, but the guitar work stands out for being prog guitar played fast, backed by fast drumming. The growling seems to have various shades of “brutality” that are something like growling by monsters, by witches and by gremlins, low and high, so on and so forth. The appearance of melodic vocals later on in this same song, at that high speed is both surprising and pleasant. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the band’s guitarist/vocalist Cody Daniels holds in high regard Opeth’s “My Arms, Your Hearse.” Giant of the Mountain’s music is way too aggressive and fast for the classic Opeth influence to be easily detected, but make no mistake, the guitar tone, the riffs and the soloing have a fundamental debt to the 4
classic period of the Swedes. It’s just that Giant of the Mountain has ratcheted up the intensity, speed, “brutality,” and vibe so that this music turns into a different sound. In contrast, “Cult of the Moon” is a mellow song with audible acoustic or acoustic-like sounds, and now that element of classic Opeth jumps out and says, “How do you like them apples, now? Did you know that Giant of the Mountain writes songs this eclectic?” At any rate, this review is getting too long. As you can imagine, Giant of the Mountain does not have a big budget with which to work, and just the fact that they have lasted this long on their own is a credit to them. If they had more money, I’m sure they would like to give the recording a better quality, as the drumming appears to be drum programming, even though they do have a real human drummer named Randi Matejowsky. In terms of the songs themselves, however, this album is very satisfying. FYI: The band calls its music "blackened progressive sludge metal." These kids today, they think up of all sorts of genres. "Sludge"? Really? Check out the music and argue with your friends about the genre later. www.facebook.com/giantofthemountain?ref =ts www.giantofthemountain.bandcamp.com www.reverbnation.com/giantofthemountain Nivlhel (Sweden): Nivlhel (Einheit Produktionen) Can the necro and the melody coexist or are they each other’s mortal nemesis? Should the quest be dictated by the restraints of an applied orthodoxy rendered abstruse by the self-appointed guardians of the regulations governing a praxis? More specifically, the meaning of melody, as with meaning of many things, springs from the enunciating sources, and not from a list of terms out of context. Who speaks? Who is Nivlhel? By far and away, Nivlhel sounds like traditional, old
Scandinavian black metal. The tremolo forms the axis upon which everything rotates within Nivlhel, which embodies a sound of knowledge, and for this reason, the atmosphere of the album labors under the mark of a black metal conscious of itself and its tradition, and not some newly found theory about supposedly transcending the so-called limitation viewed as inherent. It is often the case that it is not “what” a band does that matters, but rather “how” they do it. That is certainly true for Nivlhel. The fast, grim black metal is lined with a spirit of melancholy and obscurity. Regardless of the fact that the songs travel at blazing speed, the melody is carefully composed to pronounce the specialized call for the audience that understands, upon hearing Nivlhel, what this music is. Consider that Nivlhel even has a bit of melodic singing, yet the “how” is where the tale is found: it is profoundly melancholic or somber, away from the mass-appeal objectives associated with endeavors taken upon as a method to obtain more listeners through expected conventions. Two last things: (1) Nivlhel does not sound like a demo necro band, but it is still a traditional black metal that guides; (2) all the songs are titled “Vrede” and numbered, although not in chronological order. The language, one would think, is Swedish. As to the lyrical themes, someone who speaks Swedish would know, although the two members of the band—“Fjalar and “Isar”—are in bands like Istapp, Nepharitus and Mörkersinnad, and those bands are black metal of an antireligious nature. Strong album, memorable album, worth taking seriously if you support the style. www.facebook.com/nivlhel www.nivlhel.se www.soundcloud.com/nivlhel www/einheit-produktionen.de Iron Command (Colombia): Play it Loud 5
Iron Command is a young, classic-style, fast heavy metal band from Colombia. “Play it Loud” is the band’s debut album in 2014, preceded by a demo in 2013. The band started in 2011. The sound is traditional, screaming, riff-centered heavy metal. More specifically, Iron Command lives for the fire of cult heavy metal. Stubborn, confident, and self-aware, Iron Command often displays the speed and the grit of early, fast Saxon, as well as the spirit of bands likes Blitzkrieg and Angel Witch. Iron Command is 100% committed to playing cult heavy metal and to sounding like classic cult heavy metal because it sure seems like the band has recorded the album to sound like a genuine classic-style band, which means that the drums sound like real drums, not like plastic bottles or drum programming. When listening to this album, the band gives the listener control of the volume.
The album is not set to sound all compressed, high tech and annoyingly loud, which means that you can set it to the volume you want in order to hear the different instruments. This album needs to be found by enthusiasts of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal; by people into early 80s U.S. metal bands like Jag Panzer, Omen, Savatage and similar bands; and by supporters of modern neo-classic heavy metal like Kaine, Osmium Guillotine, Johnny Touch, Convent Guilt and similar sounds. Expect high energy and street heavy metal. www.facebook.com/ironcommandheavy
Scourge (Brazil): Hate Metal (Greyhaze Records) Respecting the tradition of classic death metal and playing music that looks to that heritage informs greatly the aesthetics of Scourge, a band that sounds like metal veterans, experienced and confident on their second album (the band started in 2007). While they maintain the songs at an uptempo and sometimes blasting pace, speed is not a gimmick for this band. They can play at midtempo or fast, and make smooth transitions in between. Most of all, Scourge sounds content to play “old school death metal” in the style of the late 80s and early 90s. They are not trying to be something they are not, not attempting to keep up with whatever is the latest fashion in the fickleminded world of metal music.
Death metal, according to Scourge, should be about hard-hitting drumming, upfront riffing and growling that monstrously, spitefully enunciates. The guitar work emphasizes physical movement: bang your head, mosh, lift weights or punch a wall, as long as you do not stand there with your arms crossed as if Scourge does not impress you much or as if you are too cool for death metal school. Plus, if you do not like organized religion, that is a positive for Scourge because from the sounds of this album, the Vatican will not be inviting these Brazilians any time soon to the Sistine Chapel. Scourge is proud to play “old school death metal,” and they have worked on the classic-style riffs until they sound perfect, in the opinion of guitarists Pretho Souto and Mauricio Conçalves. Moreover, whatever it is that 6
makes Mr. Juarez “Tibanha” Távora growl this way, we can all hope the inspiration never stops because Tibanha does not hide behind microphone cupping or low-murmur growling. Bottom line, Scourge believes that death metal should sound ugly, and the beauty lies within the ugliness of blasphemy and death metal. Get ugly now. www.facebook.com/scourgehate www.greyhazerecords.com In Aevum Agere (Italy): Limbus Animae (Pure Steel Records) This four-song EP is my first encounter with In Aevum Agere, a classic-style doom band that with its music declares an everlasting love for early Candlemass. The band are the inheritors and continuers of the glory of perfect and classic doom, namely “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” (1986) and “Nightfall” (1987), both masterpieces by Candlemass. In Aevum Agere, of course, does not have the stoner/sludge guitar sound so popular today; just a heavy, clean guitar tone that says it is doom metal.
The singing is melodic-melancholic, with a singer that feels the spirit of perfect doom. The drums sound full; definitely a good thing. The band decided to pay tribute to perfect doom by covering the master of all miserablemelancholic songs, namely, “Solitude” by Candlemass. People into traditional and classic-style doom, you now have new a band for a new year. It’s so nice to hear a band play doom the way that the father of
classic doom Leif Endling himself insists. Very recommended. www.facebook.com/pages/IN-AEVUMAGERE/35718522561 www.puresteel-records.com Murderline (Mexico) Murderline has three songs of straightforward, no-nonsense death metal on its Facebook page. They appear to have only a demo so far, but it’s promising, serious death metal. The current members of the band are Alejandra, Pishi and Skwisgaar. Look this band up if you like upfront, proud death metal. https://www.facebook.com/pages/MURDERLI NE/504059236389372
Malpractice (Finland): Turning Tides (Sensory Records) I have tried, tried and tried to find one good thing to say about Malpractice. Over and over again I have listened to the songs, the instrumentation, the singing and the sound quality so that I can say one good thing about Malpractice, but it’s no use. I cannot find one good thing to say about 7
Malpractice. I have been able to find only many, many excellent things, and nothing that is “only good.” Despite the fact that the band started 20 years ago and now has some eight works, this is my first time hearing its music. On this album one of the initial things that sounded appealing was the drum sound, the fullness of the drum sound. This detail alone shows that the band spent time on the details. Or, if you are partial to quality guitar playing, this band should provide a pleasant and interesting listening experience. Malpractice is prog, but it is very ear-friendly because the singer Aleksi Parviainen has one of the most unique, melodic and smooth singing voices that I have heard all year. He is not a “metal screamer,” and he makes it sound so effortless. The tone of the voice is also melodic and easy for the listener to assimilate. Some metal singers want to “scream it out” and shatter windows, but Aleksi has a soulful voice, he sounds a lot more confident of his skills; no need to show off. Of course, this style of singing is not irritating, like some metal screaming can be. This is just smooth, memorable singing, with an appeal far beyond metal music.
I have different categories for albums. Some albums are category 4: these I keep and listen to, but if I lose these albums I would be upset only, but not furious or in a deep depression. Category 3: These albums have lots of good songs and are solid works. Category 2: These ones are very good, but may have a song or two that I think are filler or below the overall
quality. Category 1: Nearly perfect albums and they always sound great. Right now I am thinking that this Malpractice album will go straight to category 1. It won’t spend any probation time in the other categories because it is instant excellence. Who is Malpractice? Well, according to Metal Archives, just about everyone is in other bands. Drummer Toni Paananen works with Hevein, Mystic Opera, Omnium Gatherum, amongst others. Guitarist Joonas Koto works with Omnium Gatherum and used to be in To/Die/For, while guitarist Markus Vanhala is from Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum, both renowned band names for those into metal from Finland. Singer Aleksi Parviainen has been in a bunch of bands and currently sings in melodic prog metal band Soulcage, too. As you can see, in Malpractice the skills are abundant. That explains a lot about this album. www.malpracticeband.com www.facebook.com/pages/Malpractice/124 420308087 Skinflint (Botswana): Nyemba (Pure Steel Records) Skinflint is a traditional heavy metal band from Botswana, a band that records its music in such a way that, as much as possible, what the listener hears, is what the band recorded. The band’s philosophy, more or less, is to play the music so that the listener can hear the drums, the bass, the guitar and vocals clearly. It is a type of rebellion against the perfectionist/clicky sounds of so much metal music. Skinflint is critical of drummers that do not actually play the parts heard on the recording, critical of programmed/modified/repaired drums with sampled drums; critical of bands with highly processed vocals, vocal effects, vocal corrections, so on and so forth. Skinflint does not want to be like those bands that sound perfect on the recording, then you see them 8
live and you feel disappointed because it sounds like a different band altogether due to “the studio magic.”
Skinflint’s approach has not been understood well in some quarters. Some people have said some condescending things about Skinflint, that this African band needs to be educated in a so-called proper studio in Europe or the U.S.; some people have also made racist comments about the band, so the level of ignorance can go rather high in some cases. Yet, Skinflint is not some young or insecure or confused band. Skinflint was formed about 2006. Including this 2014 album called “Nyemba,” the band now has at least four full-length albums, plus a couple of EPs, and some singles, and possibly other recordings that have not yet been published. I have not heard all of Skinflint’s recorded output, but I do have the 2010 album “Iklwa,” the 2011 EP “Gauna,” the 2012 album “Dipoko,” and this new one. The band has consistently followed its principles about recording metal music. Each album sounds fresh, genuine, transparent, and clear in sound, with certain
values that at times recall the direct, less-tricks production of “No Prayer for the Dying”-era Iron Maiden (but, for instance, not the more glossy “Somewhere in Time”/“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”); at other times, you might think of late 70s/early 80s heavy metal recordings; still, at some moments, you might detect early Led Zeppelin/Deep Purple/Black Sabbath aesthetic values of not overcrowding the song with outside distractions, a bit more upfront, and that don’t-overdo-it-in-the-studio sound. Unfortunately for Skinflint, some people have strongly disliked the band’s traditional recording values for heavy metal and have gone out of their way to insult the band, but the band makes highly interesting music. Every time a new album is published I am reminded of what a gem the band is. It seems to me that the band’s songwriting has expanded a bit, like the band is letting the songs breathe even more now. They sound further along into the Skinflint style of metal, of recording and of writing songs. The vocalist/guitarist Giuseppe “Juice” has semigrowled vocals but in an intelligible way, while the guitars explore melody, upbeat riffs, a bit of doom, even tiny bits of the Zep/Purple/Sabbath blues in selected spots. The bassist Kebonye “Raskebo” always finds creative ways to make himself heard, working in unison with Sandra “Fire” and her steady, heartbeat-of-the-band sound and her feel for keeping a song in vibe. In short, Skinflint has done it again. Remember that the first time listening to the band might require you to adjust your mind to a band playing metal that sounds more honest. Who knows, you might start to hear metal in a new way, too, maybe. www.puresteel-records.com www.facebook.com/SKINFLINTMETAL www.skinflintmetal.com
2014 old heavy metal is new 9
again Johnny Touch (Australia): Inner City Wolves Convent Guilt (Australia): Guns for Hire Maybe the bands Johnny Touch and Convent Guilt know each very well and have for years held conversations about the need for bands to play heavy metal in the classic style. Or, perhaps that is not the case at all and they just happen to be from the same country. Whatever the case may be, if you are a diehard lunatic for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal AND the sounds of the neo-NWOBHM, then don’t forget to put these two bands on your search list.
Johnny Touch Johnny Touch means catchy choruses and lots of guitar hooks with a street heavy metal that is rough around the edges, maybe like the first Iron Maiden album or like old Angel Witch, but still melodic. Like Johnny Touch, Convent Guilt sounds in the style of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, late 70s-early 80s heavy metal. This traditional heavy metal is uptempo with giant metal riffs that seek to be remembered quickly and choruses that sound like classic metal instantly. These bands do not play mid-late 80s polished, glossy, stadium metal of Priest, Dio and Maiden, but rather the tougher, more street, less fancy sounds of early Saxon, Di’Anno-era Maiden, and young bands of the late 70s breaking through in the early 80s.
The fundamental thing about both bands is that they write songs that sound like classic metal songs.
Convent Guilt The reason is that they have studied classic metal and they are reclaiming the legacy and the heritage of those classic albums. This is why supporters of the style—especially the fanatical NWOBHM listeners—will welcome this band immediately. Yes, these bands sound like NWOBHM bands, and this cannot be an accident. They take possession of the classic sound with pride. www.shadowkingdomrecords.com www.facebook.com/conventguilt www.facebook.com/JohnnyTouchAus Axe Crazy (Poland): Angry Machines Axe Crazy’s 2014 four-song EP celebrates old heavy metal in the classic NWOBHM style. Of course, they got their name from the NWOBHM band Jaguar’s song called “Axe Crazy.” This is sing-along heavy metal. This is the band’s first recording, but it’s definitely a good beginning for this band. The band lives up to the name! www.facebook.com/axecrazyband www.pureunderground-records.com Osmium Guillotine (U.K.): Osmium Guillotine Osmium Guillotine has been around since 2009 and has a total of some eight works in 10
total. This is the band’s full-length album from 2014; it is almost an hour long. This band plays at an uptempo/midpace and retains a grit, toughness in the sound and vocals. This band has studied classic heavy metal a lot and you can hear the devotion. This album sounds like a serious proposition by a band that means business. Look into this band if you like the street style of early Saxon, early Maiden or if you also like the current sounds of Kaine, another British band with a somewhat similar attitude. www.osmiumguillotine.com Mausoleum Gate (Finland): Mausoleum Gate This 40-minute album is from 2014, but don’t be surprised if it sounds perfect to go with all those New Wave of British Heavy Metal albums in your collection. Obscure, cult traditional heavy metal that will go straight to your memory is what Mausoleum Gate practices and preaches. What band influences you hear will depend on your frame of reference for late 70s and early 80s metal. At times Mausoleum Gate might recall the faster riffing of Raven, at other times the obscurantist feel of Witchfynde, and other times the band’s sound goes back even further with the Hammond organ to Uriah Heep and Deep Purple and similar organ sounds. By far and away the most important information to note is that this album sounds great, the songs are memorable from the first listen, the band’s hard work is readily obvious, the skill is undeniable, and the album is tons, tons of fun. The neo-NWOBHM sounds in 2014 seem to be getting better and better. Considering the style and the vibe the band wants, this is a very good album, and I can’t think of a single thing that is not enjoyable about it. If you are old and old at heart, old in the sense of late 70s and early 80s metal and you have more than a passing interest in this music, you should consider this band. They sound like veterans of their style, way beyond
good beginners. They have been doing this since 2009, and a huge reason why this band sounds like pros is their love and dedication to this heavy metal. For instance, the bass player named Wicked Ischanius is credited with bass, Hammond organ, Mellotron and synthesizer. Or for example, the singer V-P Parpula sings in this melodic-obscurantist old-time heavy metal that instantly sounds classic. This result can only happen with practice and more practice. www.facebook.com/MausoleumGate www.cruzdelsurmusic.com Brimstone Coven (U.S.): Brimstone Coven (Metal Blade Records) This album is recommended if you are at all interested in the following musical proposition: Are you curious to hear a band from today play music like the foundational bands of heavy metal did in the early days of the genre? If your answer is “yes,” then buckle up and hold on tight because Brimstone Coven will shock you with their time-machine retro doom. Seriously, what in the universe gets into the minds of this band to play music this way?! Brimstone Coven should do a world tour in the 1970s with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. They should do more tours back in the 70s with Sir Lord Baltimore, Thin Lizzy, Blue Oyster Cult, Blue Cheer, Steppenwolf, Alice Cooper, Foghat, Bad Company, Pentagram and Mountain? Brimstone Coven should tour with …ok, never mind, I think you understand: 70s heavy metal, 70s classic rock, 70s heavy rock. They positively sound like a 70s band, but to be more accurate, Brimstone Coven, you could say, in general plays midtempo/uptempo 70s doom with smooth, musical singing, an early-friendly style closer to a band like Bad Company, for instance. There are small passages that the band quotes in tribute to Sabbath, but it is an insult to dismiss this band as a Sabbath clone because, for 11
instance, there’s no way that you will ever find Sabbath vocals sounding as harmonious (listen to a song like “Behold, the Anunnaki” for evidence). The singing on this album is one of the highlights, actually. It’s not like some street stoner dude yelling like Ozzy; this is real singing, melodic, harmonious, a bit psychedelic singing, which also shows an earlier influence, like from the 1960s. The guitars definitely show a certain harmony, too, by the way (could be from Thin Lizzy, a major source for guitar harmonies). This self-titled debut is the band’s first full-length album, with the band’s first EP tagged on as bonus tracks. Apparently the band was formed in 2011. These doomsters are from West Virginia, U.S. The time machine dropped them off at this decade, but their spirit really originates from the early 1970s. Don’t dismiss this band as “another stoner rock” band! The music is quality. www.facebook.com/brimstonecoven www.metalblade.com/brimstonecoven
favorite metal in 2014, by Void Ritual Daniel Jackson is the person behind black metal entity VOID RITUAL from New Mexico, U.S. Metal Bulletin Zine asked Daniel about his favorite metal in 2014, and this was his response, but before his response, this is Metal Bulletin Zine’s views on Void Ritual’s 2014 EP. Void Ritual (U.S.): Holodomor (Tridroid Records) The grim, necro black metal of Void Ritual is fast, intense worship of “Transylvanian Hunger” and “Pure Holocaust.” The throat-destroying screaming and tremolo-is-king guitar playing is surprisingly catchy cave art and is the work of one “Daniel Jackson,” the person behind other entities like Ancestral Oath and Daemonus, according to Metal Archives. Even after hearing this three-song EP about a
million times, the charm does not wear off, a good sign if you can’t get enough black metal. (By the way, “Daniel” has told this zine that he does/play everything, except the drumming, which is programmed). www.voidritual.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/voidritual Here is Daniel’s answer. Perhaps because I released an EP myself this year, I’m a bit more prone to enjoying or wanting to highlight metal releases from this year that are shorter in length. Perhaps it’s a self-serving point of view, but I find that especially in this digital-centric chapter in music history, the EP as a format makes more sense than ever. It’s a great way to avoid filler and you can maintain a more consistent stream of releases rather than having longer releases with longer gaps in between. There have been a number of great EPs this year, and while these are my five favorites, they’re by no means the only worthwhile EPs released in 2014. Bölzer - Soma A lot of folks are talking about Bölzer, and understandably so. They’re forging a unique musical path in a death metal scene that either seems obsessed with nostalgia or hypertechnicality and note-heavy noodling. You can read up on the non-musical issues that people have brought up about the band and come to your own decisions on that, but focusing on Bölzer’s music, it’s some of the most interesting extreme metal happening right now. Purchase Bölzer Soma https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.co m/album/soma Castle Freak - Still Rotting I mentioned death metal’s obsession with nostalgia when writing about Bölzer, but that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily opposed to 12
nostalgia minded bands. Castle Freak is a great example of a band that’s stuck in the past in the best way possible. There’s no reason you shouldn’t listen to these guys if you’re a fan of Repulsion’s Horrified. As far as old school death metal goes, it looks back further than most for its influences in that it’s like a blend of that Repulsion/Autopsy style stuff along with riffs that would feel at home on later era Darkthrone stuff, meaning the more punk/crust side of things rather than the 90s black metal material. Purchase Castle Freak - Still Rotting https://tridroid.bandcamp.com/album/stillrotting Chainbreaker - Constant Graving This is just infectious, catchy heavy metal. It’s got a nice layer of filth on top of it, so if you’re into what Midnight has been doing with their Venom/Motörhead blending; you should enjoy the hell out of this. For someone like me who spends a lot of time listening to the more extreme end of things, it’s good to crack open a beer or six and remember that metal used to be and still can be a lot of fun. Purchase Chainbreaker - Constant Graving https://chainbreakercan.bandcamp.com/alb um/constant-graving Predatory Light - MMXIV Perhaps I’m partial to them because they’re based out of Santa Fe, near my hometown here in Albuquerque, NM, but I think the music speaks for itself. It’s an interesting blend eastern melodies, doom, and warped, disorienting tremolo black metal riffing. I saw these guys live with Thou and Cloud Rat earlier this year and they were excellent in a live environment as well. They’re exploring some interesting territory, so this is a group to look out for in the future. Purchase Predatory Light MMXIV https://predatorylight.bandcamp.com
Yellow Eyes - Stillicide This is a very late entry as it’s only just coming out on November 28th, but it’s definitely worth going out of your way to hear. This is black metal that fluctuates between both 90s second wave black metal atmosphere and the twisting longer form riffs that have become more common in black metal in 2014. If you’re someone like me who loves the newest Blut Aus Nord album, this should absolutely be in your wheelhouse. Purchase Yellow Eyes - Stillicide (Available 28/11/2014) https://yelloweyes.bandcamp.com/album/stil licide
FREE METAL MUSIC Decay Crawler (U.S): Black Dream This album is actually from 2013, but it is worthwhile looking into, if you like black metal because this band has strong opinions about modern metal. The band says that they play “rock n’ roll for the dark ear. Features real drums, real amps, vocals without effects. What we played is what you’re hearing. No gimmicks or robot instruments.”
If you hate dishonesty in metal music, you probably will find Decay Crawler to be your kind of black metal, raw black metal. Decay Crawler is from Missouri, U.S., and has been active since 2011. www.decaycrawler.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/decaycrawler
Negativvm (Germany) Negativvm is a red-leaning, anti-consumer society, anti-sexism/racism German-language black metal band from Germany that has its music available for free. They have three albums at the link below. The first album is from 2011, the second one is a live album from 2012 and the third one is called “Hvngerkvnst” from 2013, an album that’s about 50 minutes of rather serious black metal that’s looking for listeners of an intellectual mind. www.negativvm.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/Negativvm Faeton (Russia): На небе и на земле (2014) This is upbeat, rocking heavy metal EP in Russian, played in an old school way. The singing is in Russian, but it’s the language of heavy metal all the way. In mythology Phaeton is the son of solar deities and he seeks to drive the sun chariot for a day; he tries but is unable to do it, and there’s a whole story myth about Phaeton. The band’s lyrics deal with these mythological aspects. Faeton is sing-along heavy metal music and it sounds promising. Let’s hope this is not the last we hear from them. The band’s name in Russian is “Фаэтон,” but if you type “Faeton” in Metal Archives the band will come up for sure. This is a free EP. www.faeton.bandcamp.com/releases
December 23, 2014
metal music zine: Decibel, Vanguard!, Valhalla, TNT, Encoffination, Giant of the Mountain, Nivlhel, Murderline, Scourge, In Aevum Agere, Mal...
Published on Dec 25, 2014
metal music zine: Decibel, Vanguard!, Valhalla, TNT, Encoffination, Giant of the Mountain, Nivlhel, Murderline, Scourge, In Aevum Agere, Mal...