December 21 , 2015 (no.3 in December)
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plus: Affliction Gate, Thulnar, Escarnium, Bastard Grave, Rhine, Spinebreaker, Jameson Raid, Nahum, Mandragora Malevola prog paradise: top 30 albums of 2015: 30-21 by The Man of Much Metal concert calendar upcoming concert: January 2, 2016 in Everett: Zafakon, Calamity, Kill Closet + more shows www.fuglymaniacs.com (issues online, videos, â€Ś)
— Metal Bulletin Zine P.O. Box 1339 Lake Stevens WA 98258 Metal Bulletin Zine #1-20: #21-26: (2009-2010): Texas Washington state
(2006-2009): Wisconsin #27(2010)--now;
All album reviews, news, updates below are by MMB, unless stated otherwise. -—
Awe Providentia Pulverised Records Release: 13 November 2015 Dissonant extreme metal like Awe will appeal to the audiences that have a passion for the uncomfortable guitar sound of a band like Deathspell Omega. This music often goes at blasting speeds and it is headbanging metal. There are no long stretches of “ambient” or “drone” or “sludge” sounds, although there are moments of slow, dry, unmelodic guitar. However, the thing is that the recording is as follows: 1.Actus Primus 20:00 2.Actus Secundus 16:34 3.Actus Purus 14:55 total time 51:29 You can see that they seek to discourage the casual listeners, including the extreme metal variety, from entering this door. If a person wants short and simple songs, with a chorus, then this is not it. The guitar work can sometimes come across as math guitar work, in the context of blasting black metal drumming and growled vocals. In that sense, it may appear largely unrecognizable as metal: it may not always sound descended from the obvious heavy/power/thrash/death/black family tree of guitar work. In addition, the effort to maintain the band members’ identities secret
does not sit well with everybody, either, but apparently that’s the situation. At any rate, whether a band succeeds in its quest for greatness will always be up to debate by virtue of judgments, but the more important question may not be that at all. Perhaps it is the quest itself. The idea here could be extreme metal that stands apart from the low IQ, low intelligence bands and their crowds: a vehement animosity towards 99.99% of metal bands and “fans.” For instance, here are some excerpts from the lyrics of the first track: Woe to you, strayed sheep! Still directionless in spite of your consummations. For it is not the ultimate void which is the most monstrous of destinies, but a small light… That is yourself, surrounded by a universe of darkest malice, By shadows, shadows of ignorance, the so called eventuality, The fear of transfiguration, a nescient creature tearing its own flesh. What is the true essence of human desire, but a hopeless conflict with the inescapable? A consciousness that has so gracefully elevated from dust to spirit, should accept no reconciliation, But voraciously consume what only deserves to be experienced, not fathomed or figured. _ _ In my opinion, metal people that would like to hear a further exploration of abstruse extreme metal/black metal art will be the most fit to understand this band from Greece and its Deathspell Omega-inspired work. www.pulverised.bandcamp.com/album/provi dentia www.facebook.com/aweprovidentia
** NEWS: Phrenetix (Lithuania) Fear release date: November 11th, 2015 Inferno Records These thrashers from Lithuania now have their debut ready for the world to hear. For this band, thrash means traditional, 80s-style thrash played by a new generation addicted to big riffs and fast songs. Well, and if you want to mosh, they are not going to object, either. How many bands from Lithuania have you heard? How many thrash bands from Lithuania have thrashers heard? Maybe this is your first, maybe not. Maybe you are new to thrash, maybe you have lots of thrash in your music collection. Either way, this young band has a fever and the only medicine that can help them is to play thrash.
old-school thrash metal, and also incorporates a variety of other music styles, which gives the group a unique, manic sound. Their distinct riffs and odd composition separates them from many thrash metal bands, which, including intensity and aggression in live performances, is the main Phrenetix feature and appeal. 1.Ruined by Ambition 05:24 2.Time to Act 04:45 3.Posera 05:09 4.Piece of Lie 04:08 5.Unconscious Game 03:48 6.Fear 04:44 7.Muddy Tale 03:48 8.Art of Jail 04:57 total time 36:43 www.inferno-records.net/releases/508phrenetix-art-of-jail-cd-digi-cd-mc.html www.facebook.com/Phrenetix/
** NEWS: Crimson Day Order Of The Shadows release: 16th October 2015 Iron Shield Records Here is some information about them and their recording: PHRENETIX is a thrash metal band formed in 2011, Lithuania. Since 2012 August, the four maniacs have been actively playing shows in clubs and festivals throughout the country. After a full year of gigging, Phrenetix have released 5 demo tracks online, which was later distributed by „Symbol of Domination Prod“ in CD. Now the group continues to play concerts and are preparing for recording a full-length album in 2014 summer. PHRENETIX music fully describes the essence of 3
Those looking for traditional heavy metal from new bands will be glad to hear this one from Finland. Unfortunately, not much information is available to pass on to you, but the music shows that they are on the right track and have good objectives. Below is the little bit of information at this point: Crimson Day is a five piece heavy metal band from Tampere, Finland. First release was the CRIMSON DAY EP in 2013. The sound? “High and loud” style singing of vocalist Valtteri Heiskanen, pounding riffs and shredding solos
of guitarists Ari Balzar and Jesse Liukkonen and a tight rhythm section of bassist Jesse Kämäräinen and drummer Tuomas Lesonen combine a formula of honest and “balls to the wall” Heavy Metal.
- Сircling of the Kaaba (Tawaf). The ritual of going against the course of the sun; - Sheela Na Gig, as part of primary magic.
The recording is: 1.The Hajj 5 02:10 2.Seven Ways - Seven Suns 04:49 3.Caste 04:20 4.Great Day of Ashura 04:56 5.A Light 04:35 total time 20:50
This recording is recommended for black metal supporters looking for bands pushing themselves to tackle something a bit different. By the way, just in case people are wondering, the band felt it necessary to declare: “We do not support terrorism, extremism, fascism, ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”
** NEWS: IT (Russia) Islam release: November 23rd, 2015 Very surprising news from this black metal band from Russia: this is a free recording. They explain that for this recording: In this work, we have research the primordial roots of Islam, to wit: - Origins of the worship of the moon god Hubal; - The impact of efreet, gin (spirits) on human in the physical and spiritual planes; - A symbiosis of male and female beginning in the lunar cult; - Historical roots and the confrontation of Babylon, Jerusalem and Arabia; - Black stone. The ritual of kissing the black stone; 4
Also, from 2003 to 2013 this band was called Inferius Torment and changed the name because it seems that there are other bands with the same name. For your information, these are the previous recordings as Inferius Torment:
Prey from Burning Church EP 2003 War Against Christianity Demo 2005 Your God Liar Full-length 2010 ...on Eyes of the Dying God Video 2010 Ceremony of Godslaying Full-length 2012 www.inferiustorment.bandcamp.com/album/i slam www.facebook.com/Inferius-Torment115501021833960/
** NEWS: Affliction Gate Dying Alone release: 5 January 2016 Transcending Obscurity Affliction Gate (France) is traditional, classicstyle death metal in the spirit of the late 80s. They have a brand new EP and you can hear a bit of it at the link below. This recording will be of interest to supporters of the original death metal forms that have memorable songs, and just a tad of melody in the guitar soloing. The band has dedicated time to writing songs that have the death metal heaviness and that also sound like songs, in the traditional sense: hooks and headbanging. It sounds like the band is a bit of gem and if you give them a chance, they might surprise you with their quality and skills. The recording is: 1.Negative Lucidity 03:56 2.Devising Our Own Chains 04:34 3.Dying Alone 04:38 4.Manicheism Inertia 04:12 total time 17:20 AFFLICTION GATE was formed during Spring 2006 taking inspiration from late 80's / early 5
90's Death Metal classics of UNLEASHED, MASSACRE, MANTAS / DEATH, BOLT THROWER, ASPHYX, GRAVE etc... The first EP "severance (dead to this world)" was released in late 2008 through French label FORGOTTEN WISDOM Prod. Then, the band inked a deal with METAL INQUISITION Records from Germany and the debut album "aeon of Nox (from darkness comes liberation) was released in December 2009. Vincent Crowley (ACHERON) is appearing as guest on the first track "after the red moon". The band played their first 3 gigs during winter 2009 in their local area but between 2010 and 2012, AFFLICTION GATE played multiple gigs especially across France but also some in Germany (Festung Open Air), Spain, Holland and Belgium.
The latest release "shattered ante mortem illusions" is out since August 2012 still through METAL INQUISITION Records. This time, Eric Daniels (former ASPHYX guitarist, GRAND SUPREME BLOODCOURT) and Rogga Johansson (ex-EDGE OF SANITY, PAGANIZER...) contributed to it. The vynil version will be out in Summer 2014 via GOSPEL OF DEATH Prod (France).
Beside playing more live shows in Spring 2013 (France, Belgium & Germany), the band is also working on some new tracks for their upcoming release "dying alone" to be recorded in 2014. In the meanwhile, AFFLICTION GATE the band hit the road again on early 2014 with 4 gigs (including DeathFest France and Une Nuit En Enfer Fest) in France and 2 more in Germany (including a PARTY SAN Warm Up gig). AFFLICTION GATE shared bills with bands like PENTACLE, NECROWRETCH, MERCYLESS, SVART CROWN, LOUDBLAST, BENIGHTED, PROCLAMATION, BELENOS, WITHDRAWN, NECROBLOOD, KETZER, IMAGO MORTIS, UNAUSSPRECHLICHEN KULTEN, CADAVERIC FUMES, MALHKEBRE, GOSPEL OF THE HORNS etc... Conceptually, AFFLICTION GATE deals with Darkness through its various shapes and manifestations. The one which can bring freedom, strength, wisdom... but also the one which can lead to downfall and chaos. Still for the better or for the worse. Lyrics are therefore the mirror of the negativity and the darkside that someone can behold or witness. Themes refer to death, despair, solitude, irreligion, war, destruction & self destruction... www.transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/ album/dying-alone-death-metal www.facebook.com/afflictiongate/
** NEWS: Thulnar (Italy) Nightfall in Theros January 13th, 2015 independent
The band calls itself "extreme fantasy metal" and it's a type of uptempo power/symphonic sound with growling, more or less. You could say that it brings power metal and extreme metal into one sound. There have been demos before, but this is the debut EP from earlier this year. It is true that it is three songs only and that it's not a whole lot of material, but maybe this is the beginning for them. If the idea of "extreme power metal" sounds attractive to you, consider listening to the EP, as it is available to hear at the link below. You will find that it is a promising recording. Below you will also find all the relevant information.
Nightfall In Theros: 1.Wise Men of Hope 05:33 2.Nightfall in Theros 05:08 3.City of the Golden Halls 05:15 total time 15:56 It has been a real adventure to create such of a project like Thulnar. I remember I began to think seriously about it during a hot summer, year 2002, talking with my dear friend Luca (Elric Blackcrow). He told me he would have played trumpet in the underground Italian metal band Mors Tua (www.morstua.com), lead by Judge Weir (Simone Lanzoni). At those times, I was listening to various kinds of
metal – from symphonic power to black – and I wanted to be able, a day, to create something like that; but I didn’t own enough technical skills. Anyway, I didn’t give up at all, but I began to ask Luca some precious advice – and he, studying at the Conservatory in Bologna, knows pretty well how to compose–.. From that moment I searched for a balance between my different influences, even if the whole process revealed itself longer than I had expected. And unluckily, on September 2003, I was forced to leave for the military service and so the composition stopped for an year; but in my mind many ideas continued to develop. It was in the autumn of 2004 when, back home again, I resurrected the old works and suddenly I realized the need to add something new to the entire composition process… I mean, I had always liked symphonic metal – and I love it even now –, but I felt the necessity to merge it with my aggressive side. So I imagined classical instruments, acoustic, united with vocal lines sung in screaming, but I wanted orchestra to be a whole with the metal quartet, or quintet, sounding like they were playing in a concert hall at the same time. My goal was – and is – to treat orchestra’s magnificence not as a mere keyboard, but use its majestic impact. In the end, my first work, named Thulnar Demo, was recorded for personal use, a rehearsal for the future projects; it has been a project with various influences, a way to improve my skills about the different softwares I use. Then I spent some months to relax and think about the new stuff. I knew I had gained experience, so every tune was taking shape day after day. The making of The End of the Blissful Days was less chaotic than before, so from November ‘til springtime 2006 I completed everything. The only trouble was recording the vocal parts, ‘cause Luca was very busy with his studies; so we were able to 7
record his performance after four months, July 2006. At first, I was satisfied of the final result after the mix – done by myself –. But after having heard many professional products, I decided to recruit Simone Lanzoni (Judge Weir) for the pre-mastering and thanks to his skill he gave to the entire record a power in the mix I had been unable to achieve. 2007 has been a very hard year. Talaborn Skies composition process began during a cold December 2006 and went on for the following year 'till December 2007. I usually plan every work since the beginning, working on the concept so every tunes will exactly have the feeling I want them to. The matter is Talaborn Skies is a long album, almost one hour of music, and its songs owns different approaches to the concept itself; they've not a plain structure, 'cause I like tempo changes and dynamic variations, and of course these changes must fit with the story behind. It took me time to merge the concept with the music, but in the end I think I made a good work... or I hope, at least. DARKEN Direct Contact & MSN Messenger: email@example.com www.thulnar.bandcamp.com/ www.facebook.com/thulnar **
NEWS: Escarnium (Brazil) Godless Shrine of Decay (compilation) release: November 20th, 2015 Redefining Darkness Records The death metal crowds into the darker and blasphemous forms of the arts would be the ones to find the most pleasure in this longrunning band from Brazil. This year they have a compilation of their works for an overall representation of the band's past and the direction that the future will take. The death metal of the early 90s was definitely an
inspiration for them, but as time has passed they have found more ways to get at the extreme metal that they seek, while also remembering that traditional death metal is indispensable for them. Below you will find information about the band and also a link to hear the album.
Enter the rotten crypt of Brazilâ€™s Escarnium, a diabolical blackened shrine of decadent death worshipping mayhem! Brutal in its approach and uncompromisingly viscous in its savagery, this is the sound of true death fucking metal!! Taking cues from legendary acts like Vital Remains, Incantation, and Immolation, Escarnium wish to drag you on a most unfortunate tour through the depravity of their never-ending death metal nightmare. Welcome to hellâ€Ś. "Godless Shrine Of Decay" is a definitive collection of Escarnium's work from 2009 2015. Not only does "Godless Shrine Of Decay" include Escarnium's heralded demo "Covered in Decadence" in it's entirety, but also features a new unreleased track entitled "Human Waste". Up to this point, Escarnium have remained a well kept secret in the shadowed 8
corners of South America and Europe "Godless Shrine Of Decay" acts as the bands introduction to the Northwest Hemisphere. REDEFINING DARKNESS RECORDS are proud to introduce ESCARNIUM to North America with a definitive collection of the bands previous efforts put together all on one disc with a new unreleased track giving a glimpse of what is to come from the band in the next year! BIO ESCARNIUM was conceived in 2007 in Salvador, Brazil, with the sole mission to make simple classic Death Metal in the vein of Old School Death Metal of the 80's & 90's. In 2009, ESCARNIUM recorded and released the debut demo entitled "Covered in Decadence," which yielded good results and opened doors with Distros, Labels and Zines in Brazil and other countries. One of these was Polish Distro, Fukking Till You Bleed, which released the 2010 Split Tape "Celebrating the World of Decadence" with the band INSIDE HATRED. In 2011, ESCARNIUM recorded the EP called "Rex Verminorum" which was released by Polish label Hellthrasher. In May 2012 their first full length CD " Excrucianting Existence" was released supported by a European Tour. Two other splits would follow in 2012 & 2014 on Imperial Doom and Misanthropic Records. www.redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.c om/album/godless-shrine-of-decay www.facebook.com/escarniumdm
** NEWS: Bastard Grave (Sweden) What Lies Beyond release: 30 October 2015 Pulverised Records Not much information here. In 2014 they had a demo. This is now the debut album. The band loves the old Swedish death metal and that’s what they do. That’s all they do. All day. Every day. Is it 2015, 2016 or 1990? It doesn’t matter, it’s all the same. You know how some bands say that they have a little bit of something for everyone? Not this band. They have a whole lot of one thing exclusively for the die-hards obsessed with the Entombed/HM-2 sound that put Swedish extreme metal on the map. The band formed in 2012, so they are just getting warmed up.
www.pulverised.bandcamp.com/album/wha t-lies-beyond www.facebook.com/BastardGrave
** Rhine An Outsider release: 5 February 2016 independent 9
Facebook says: "Rhine is a progressive metal band from Seattle that started as a solo project in 2011 by singer/guitarist Gabe Tachell. Now joined by Alex Smolin on guitar, Carlos Delgado on drums, and James Porter on bass." Metal Bulletin Zine had previously observed that Rhine is kind of making up its own rules on this album, pushing for idiosyncrasies in the sound. They don’t sound really, really absurdly strange now, just loud, abrasive and somewhat experimental. They sound like extreme metal, but their followers could be in for a shock next album because this band will likely increase the maverick factor by ten …” and also: “Once a band starts down the misty mountain high sierra hop, there’s usually no going back to ‘regular’ or ‘normal’ metal.” That is 2014’s album “Duality.”
Welcome to the circus 2016: “An Outsider.” Rhine has become more unpredictable and the listening experience is rather unstable: one moment it’s kumbaya mellow yellow soothing vocals and clean guitar and then it all comes to a screeching halt with animal growling and obnoxious extreme sounds. Exactly how many personalities does this music have? It’s strange, it’s heavy, it’s light, it’s prog, it’s
extreme, it’s pleasant, it’s jarring, it’s all of that. It’s experimental, multi-genre music for listeners that seek a disturbing experience, not easy listening music. On the other hand, if you enjoy a band like Arcturus or Sigh—you know, the crazy stuff—then this would be a band to check out. Come and get it, if you want a challenging listening again. www.facebook.com/rhinemetal
** NEWS: Spinebreaker Ice Grave Creator-Destructor Records release: 15 January 2016 This young death/hardcore band worships at the altar of early Entombed and the early 90s bands from Sweden with the famous guitar tone. They definitely sound inspired by that guitar sound. This is the band’s debut and the fanatic enthusiasts of that particular guitar tone are the prime targets of this album. Below is the official press release if you are interested in finding out more this new album of total HM-2/hardcore worship.
From the depths of San Jose, California crawls forth a crushing new outfit displaying a shocking blend of disgustingly heavy oldschool death metal, by the name of SPINEBREAKER. The band’s debut offering and 10
upcoming Creator-Destructor 12" LP, Ice Grave, provides a soundtrack of raw, sonic death-metal annihilation in a world of human filth, greed, and corruption. Formed in late 2013, SPINEBREAKER has been slowly slithering and making waves in the Bay Area Hardcore and Metal community with their crushing and explosive blend of European-Inspired death metal. Make no mistake, while Ice Grave is by all means a pure death metal record, SPINEBREAKER's sound and tendency for intense-as-fuck live performances has arisen out of love for an array of d-beat, punk, hardcore, and death metal alike. The band unloads pure audio destruction: not overly calculated, lightningfast or technical, but reliably menacing and tremendously heavy. If you love the sound of old-school death metal combined with the hardcore fury and a unique, blood-pumping urgency, look no further. Through the twelve tracks that form Ice Grave, SPINEBREAKER reminds the listener of the glory days of 1990s Scandinavian, Swedish and American Death Metal in a way that is refreshing and punishing, without falling victim to the trend of 21st Century EntombedWorship HM-2 clones. While the band varies in tempo throughout their debut release, sometimes grooving into Heartwork-era downtuned riffage, and other times blasting their way through an onslaught of tremolo and thrash, the songs never cease to impress in their ability to maintain brutally heavy, while diverse and violent in their own way. Songs like "Internal Bleeding" and "River Of Pain" pay homage to and reflect the musical range of mid-tempo death metal influences such as Obituary and Bolt Thrower, while vocalist Alex Herrera completely dominates the songs in a way that would make Matt Kärki and Jeff Walker proud. Guitarists Cole Kakimoto and Elliot Morrow never cease to turn down the
intensity of their down-tuned twin axe assault of sludge and punishment, which helps mould SPINEBREAKER's sound into one of complete devastation. Creator-Destructor will issue SPINEBREAKER's Ice Grave debut on 12” vinyl and through all digital outlets on January 15th, 2016, the album’s appropriately forbidding cover art courtesy of Vrugarth. www.facebook.com/Spinebreaker498370493544343 www.spinebreaker.bandcamp.com www.creator-destructor.com www.facebook.com/pages/CreatorDestructor-Records/281868423801 www.twitter.com/CD_Records www.creator-destructor.bandcamp.com
** NEWS: Jameson Raid Uninvited Guests release: 1st July 2015 independent Are there any more old New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands that people have not heard yet? Well, here’s Jameson Raid, just in case you have not. This is traditional heavy metal. Find out more by reading the history of the band. Jameson Raid is a band with a historic name taken from an incident in the Transvaal at the turn of 1895/96, the band can originally be dated back to 1975, with Terry Dark joining a year later & Pete Green shortly after that. Jameson Raid released their first record, the “Seven Days of Splendour” EP in February 1979. “The combination of influences which had given birth to the band’s overall sound 11
was quite difficult to pin down (“Seven Days Of Splendour”, “It’s A Crime” and “Catcher In The Rye”) said Macmillan faced with a conundrum in terms of an inability to categorise the band’s sound. Described in The International Encyclopaedia of Hard Rock & Heavy Metal as, “Cult heroes for the Midland rock circuit… Their music is a poppy form of heavy metal…”The EP was well received and, as Martin Popoff pointed out, showcased, “a masterful bit of song writing throughout these three tracks…”
This was affirmed when Classic Rock added Catcher in the Rye to their cover-mount CD of Festival Anthems in The USA in 2011, and again when Germany’s ‘RockHard’ magazine voted 7 Days of Splendour into its top 250 Best Metal songs of all time in 2012. Today the band’s unique sound still stands out from the rest. The Raid supported Judas Priest & Def Leppard at West Midland venues & built up a healthy reputation as a great live act; a reputation which continues today with the new line-up. After the bands reunion in 2010, John Ace, Ian Smith & Phil Kimberely returned to their day jobs. JR played the Download festival in June 2011 with a stand in bass player before Peter Green, their bass player from 1980 to 1983, re-joined in June 2011. Kalli
Kaldschmidt and Andreas ‘Neudi’ Neuderth from the band Roxxcaliber joined the band but In August 2013 drummer Lars Wickett was recruited due to Neudi’s live gig commitments with Manilla Road, and Dave Rothan replaced Kalli K on lead guitar……. All four guys in the new line-up, Dave, Lars, Pete & Terry, have been working on songs for, amazingly, Jameson Raid’s first full length CD with all new songs, which is due at the end of 2014. Jameson Raid remains active particularly at European festivals. As well as Download they have more recently played the Keep it True Festival in Germany & Hard Rock Hell in the UK. Plus headlining Meesterlijk Metal festivals in Holland. The new line-up has had heartwarming reviews for its new music & performances, reviewers, journalists and CEO’s reaching for superlatives, like, “Immense”….”The best Jameson Raid I’ve ever heard,”…”This IS metal,” “Very sellable,”etc… Looks like Jameson Raid is coming around again…….. www.facebook.com/JamesonRaid99
** NEWS: Nahum And the Chaos Has Begun release date: November 1st, 2015 independent This is a death/thrash band from the Czech Republic. They recently contacted Metal Bulletin Zine. It turns out that they have a brand new album that showcases their serious approach to their music. Below you can read the history of the band and you can hear the album at the link below, too. 12
Nahum formation of the band dates back to the beginning of 2004, when Tomash and Pavel already rehearsing the first song "Screaming Worldwide". There has been playing drums Pavel. The founding pair joined Stiv (bass), who with Tom played in the band Dread. This trio during the year also added Roman (guitar), who initially only hosts as they fully engaged in their power metal band Ignis Fatuus. This loan, however, later grows into full membership and long-term cooperation. Two guitars offers better possibilities of arranging so rehearsed more songs. In this period there is also the original name of the band unhuman. Time when the band only tested material finally breaks the arrival of more experienced drummer Jonathan, with the talent then the band just enough for a couple of tests to complete a successful premiere before an audience in Ostrava at the end of 2004. Paul and procured lead vocal and went to the frontman position. Titled unhuman band undergoes a few gigs. In the course of 2005, but the band is confronted with existing Canadian band of the same name. Therefore, in the same year, the band decided to change the name. Nahum is the result of efforts to find a simple one-word catchy phrase, sound related to the
original name. This is the name of the prophet, which translates to "please revenge", abbreviated as "satisfaction" and "satisfaction" ... Nahum take place a series of concerts in clubs and festivals in the report: Paul (vocals), Tomash (guitar), Roman (guitar), Stiv (bass) and Jonathan (drums). The band in this period has not released any CDs. Still there is a band for his own use or for presentation of music clubs, something like a demo called "unhuman". It contains seven songs. In 2006, the band suspended its activities because of the departure of Paul and Roman abroad. Also Jonathan and Stiv left the band because she can no longer devote the fullest. After returning Paul Romano from abroad in 2009, the band resumed activity. Paul, a Roman Tomash looking for a new assembly and test. The band soon adds Hanis (bass) and begins to try again. During 2010 the band rotates two drummers. In late but finally post percussion occupy Michal. In 2010 Nahum stabilize the report Pavel Balcar (vocals), Tomash (guitar), Sevcik Roman (guitar), Hanis Balcar (bass) and Michal Blaha (drums). In early 2011, the band begins to perform new material at concerts. The band is also preparing to record a CD, which will contain new material. At the turn of 2011 and 2012, Nahum recorded his first album named "The Gates Are Open". At his own expense band is released March 13, 2012, three hundred CD pressings. In late December 2012, it also published the official video for the song "The Vision Of Apocalypse". 13
During the whole of 2013 the band actively touring in support of their debut album. Among other things, organizes tour called "Four Horsemen". At concerts and festivals performs poboku big names both domestic and foreign scenes. In August, based on the song "Worldwide Screaming" on a metal compilation "Musick Attak ', a magazine published by Talon. In 2014, the band is preparing a new album, the successor of the successful debut. In early 2015, the band in the studio uploaded Barn demo recording new material. Also during the spring summer 2015 occurs with Nahum personnel changes. Guitarist Roman is replaced by Michal drop. Also on drums there is a change, Michael replaces Tom Revenge of the Brighter Division. In the autumn of 2015, inflated returns in the new report back to the studio, tentokรกt to GM studies in Jablunkov. 1 November 2015 based second studio album "And The Chaos Has Begun" in an edition of 1,000 pieces. The publisher became Attack Musick production. At the same time, the album is supported by a new clip to the pilot song album "Raging Chaos". The whole musical production bands Nahum mingle especially death, thrash, with occasional elements of black metal. www.nahumofficial.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/nahummetal/
Mandragora Malevola Black Flame ov Illumination release: October 31, 2015 independent FREE RECORDING.
the center of the universe. Mandragora Malevola has not the purpose of unloading energy or exorcising demons, but to know them and accept them as essential part of the human nature. Mandragora Malevola is the acceptance of the mundane decadent human, that whom does not seek god but to be god itself. Mandragora Malevola is the abolition of any religious or mandatory submission. The seed of Mandragora Malevola germinated in Ereira, Coimbra, in the Autumn of 2013. Formed only by Kaos (ex. Triba) on vocals and Igniferum (Everto Signum, Carma) on the instrumental, Mandragora Malevola celebrates the independence of expression without restrictions. Grasping the meaning and secular history of the mandrake plant, the identity of the band comes from the roots of something evil that grows and takes over their music.
Mandragora Malevola is a two-person entity from Portugal that plays extreme metal that they call "blackened death metal." The recording is surprisingly memorable, not just a bunch of fast noise; it shows attention to detail and to quality. Given that it is two people only, from the sounds of it, it appears that it is drum programming. The purpose of the recording is mostly likely to put the name out there and for the name to start making the rounds. It is not yet at the level of professional quality recording, but there is much to look forward to. The following are the project's statements: Mandragora Malevola is a manifest of moral freedom, the left path of spiritual independence, the place where men rise in 14
The EP is called "Black Flame ov Illumination": 1.Mandragora Malevola 01:44 2.Arkangelvs Satanis (The Red Moon Wolves) 06:01 3.Apotheosis (Hvmana Manifestvs) 07:13 www.mandragoramalevola.bandcamp.com/ releases www.facebook.com/mandragora.malevola
prog paradise: top 30 albums of 2015: 30-21 by The Man of Much Metal The Man Of Much Metal—a friend of Metal Bulletin Zine—is currently doing a countdown. Below you will find more information about his blog. Read on especially if you support prog. by The Man of Much Metal. Here we are again, at year’s end. I can’t believe that another 12 months has passed since I began my countdown for 2014, it doesn’t seem that long ago. And yet, in the intervening period, a lot has happened. My eldest daughter has started nursery whilst my youngest has changed from a new born baby into a cheeky, happy one-year-old. I have also moved house, relocating about 15-20 miles but remaining in the beautiful county of Suffolk. I therefore have a new ‘Mansion of Much Metal’ to use as the Blog Of Much Metal HQ.
increase the countdown to 25. However, when it came to compiling the list, this was still impossible. The aim of this blog is to get as much exposure for great music as possible. It feels unfair therefore to limit the countdown to 25 bands/artists when there are bands that miss out that are equally worthy of the plaudits they deserve. As a result, I have expanded the annual countdown to 30. I hope this doesn’t put too many of you off, but I honestly believe every entry in this year’s list deserves their place. I shall spend the next month trying to prove it to you. Whilst I number each release and will count down from 30, the spots from 30-16 are more arbitrary and each can be considered to be as equal as each other, with the final 15 in a solid order according to my personal and very subjective tastes. I’m sure there will be some debate about who I’ve missed or who shouldn’t have made the final cut, but I’m keen to hear all views – bring it on!
Number 30 Subversion ‘Animi’ Rogue Records America
Then there’s my decision to leave Powerplay Magazine after ten great years. The reasons are numerous but the result is that I get more time to focus on the Blog, my labour of love. But, most importantly of all, the last year has blessed us with some amazing music. 2015 has been unbelievable in terms of the sheer quality of music but moreover, the depth of the quality is staggering. I have spent weeks mulling over my Top 20 of 2015 but it has proved impossible. On the advice of many of my kind and loyal followers, I decided to 15
I’m not the biggest fan of the whole djent/tech metal subgenre and it’s a style of music that I don’t automatically gravitate towards. However, sometimes you just have to
doff your cap and say to a band ‘well done, you’ve proved me wrong’. On this occasion, it’s Subversion with their sophomore release, ‘Animi’. Subversion hail from Kent in the UK and their music has been dubbed as ‘symphonic tech metal’ which, I have to say is an accurate description because the music is huge, rich and powerful. There are plenty of those archetypal chugging riffs that helped to coin the ‘djent’ tag as well as those Meshuggahlike gruff vocals which lay the foundations of a heavy and complex, progressive sonic output. However, for me, it’s the other side of the Subversion sound that gives me the biggest buzz and enjoyment. Almost every composition on this 10 track album relents on the all-out spiky, tech aggression at some point and, in genuine contrast, allows something altogether more majestic to come to the fore. ‘Born Of The Sun’, for example, is an absolute monster that benefits from some truly sumptuous melodies that are enhanced by synths and programming to create a wall of sound that is epic, spine-tingling and almost euphoric. ‘Imperfect’ delivers some great post-rock atmosphere, ‘Pariah’ is a simple yet effective palette-cleanser whilst ‘Novation’ is nothing short of anthemic. The synths and huge riffs combine to great effect, creating an almost cinematic experience whereas the melodies are immediate and Kai Giritli’s vocals are some of the best on the entire record, full of passion and energy. In spite of myself, I find a hell of a lot to enjoy about ‘Animi’. Sure it taps in to many of the aspects of modern heavy music that I generally don’t overly enjoy but such is the band’s enthusiasm, on-point musicianship and innate understanding of strong song-writing, I can’t find much to fault about it at all. 16
Subversion have set the benchmark for me in 2015 for this kind of music & I’m excited to hear what they come up with next. A very worthy inclusion in my end-of-year ‘best of’.
Number 29 District 97 ‘In Vaults’ Laser’s Edge Longer-term readers of my blog will know that I reviewed this album in full earlier in the year. If you’re interested in reading the full review, it can be accessed here. To put it bluntly, this album took an awful lot of time to sink in and work its magic on me. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, on a first listen, I didn’t like it at all. It was too quirky, too disjointed, too all-over-the-place and it lacked enough by way of hooks or immediate melodies to grab my attention. However, as a prog fan, I know that it’s important not to dismiss something immediately and I’m glad that I didn’t because after several spins, my opinion is vastly different from that initial dislike. To quote my review, “District 97 do not sound like anyone else. There are hints of others here and there, most notably Madder Mortem in terms of Leslie Hunt’s vocal delivery and perhaps prog newcomers Maschine or ToMera in some of the wider song structures. I even hear occasional fleeting echoes of Haken which is nice. But essentially, District 97 have cultivated their own sound, for which they should rightly be applauded. Their brand of progressive rock/metal blends a myriad of styles into a cohesive whole, including rock, pop, jazz, fusion, even a smattering of classical and more extreme metal.”
When I initially thought that this record lacked enough melody and those hooks to draw the listener in, I was wrong. The opening track ‘Snow Country’ initially comes across as scitzophrenic and even a little discordant but eventually blossoms into a sophisticated composition that contains a real ear-worm of a chorus. And, as bonkers at it feels to begin with, I love the smoothness between the transitions that allows the Chicago-based proggers to really get away with what could otherwise be a real mess of a song. This smoothness and surprising subtleness permeates the entire record in actual fact so that the oddball moments, jazzy segments or weird time signatures blend in more than they perhaps should and make a lot more sense. Unlike many other artists out there, District 97 also manage to make each individual song sound unique whilst keeping them all loosely within the District 97 sound. Be it a 70sinfluenced keyboard sound, a dash of thrash metal or anything in between, this unique and highly talented act can pull it off and pull it off with really sophisticated aplomb. Interested? You should be, because ‘In Vaults’ comes with a huge recommendation for open-minded fans of original and professionally-executed progressive music.
Number 28 Avatarium ‘The Girl In The Raven Mask’ Nuclear Blast Records
Those that know me and my music tastes will know that I’m not the biggest fan of doom per se. I love the symphonic melodic death/doom but when it comes to classic, down and dirty classic doom rock/metal, I’m not always so keen. Today’s pick is, therefore, another early surprise in this year’s list. Avatarium could be referred to as a ‘supergroup’ of sorts given that the band is comprised of bassist Leif Edling (Candlemass), guitarist Marcus Jidell (ex-Royal Hunt/exEvergrey) and drummer Lars Sköld (Tiamat) as well as vocalist Jennie-Ann Smith and keyboardist Carl Westholm. It’s a mouthwatering line-up for sure and they have well and truly delivered the goods with their sophomore release, ‘The Girl In The Raven Mask’. The core of the Avatarium sound is very much doom rock/metal with a rich and organic 70s vibe, where the synths and keyboards pay homage to a bygone era of music. But not content to leave things there, the quintet have added their own stamp to the eight compositions on the record. The result is something that feels both familiar and unique. Progressive flourishes blend in with dash of psychedelia and a harsher edge at times to create drama, whilst a soulful edge is injected via both Smith’s charismatic vocals and Marcus Jidell’s guitar playing. The title track is a heady opening to the
album, featuring some great riffs and a tempo that’s utterly infectious. It’s Avatarium in full flow and the result is truly glorious. Other favourites include the more ominously ponderous and sprawling ‘The Master Thief’ which features some beautifully subtle lead guitar work, full of expression. Then there’s ‘January Sea’ with its melodic chorus and great vocals, whilst ‘Run Killer Run’ is a groovy beast that lodges itself instantly into my brain and won’t let go. As classic-inspired doom goes, there’s nothing to match Avatarium in 2015. ‘The Girl In The Raven Mask’ is, as far as I’m concerned, the absolute pinnacle of this style of music and has to be heard by as wide an audience as possible.
Number 27 Revolution Saints ‘Revolution Saints’ Frontiers Records Despite my moniker of the Man of Much Metal, I do enjoy the lighter, fluffier side of music occasionally and today’s choice just proves it. Despite the abundance of quality elsewhere, the melodic hard rock genre has not been front and centre of my radar this year. This is partly because I have been inundated with music and haven’t had the chance to explore this genre. It’s also because I’ve not been overly inspired by the output that I have listened to – very little has pressed my buttons. Revolution Saints are the exception to this particular rule however and, despite being released very early in 2015, it has remained my personal favourite throughout the year. Revolution Saints is comprised of Doug Aldritch (Whitesnake, Dio, Burning Rain), Deen 18
Castronovo (Journey, Ozzy Osbourne) and Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) with Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Edge Of Forever) also. Whether or not you approve of the term ‘supergroup’, it has some merit here. Given an unfortunate turn of events surrounding Castronovo’s private life that has seen him fired from the Journey drum stool, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Revolution Saints. I hope it doesn’t spell the end because together on ‘Revolution Saints’, this talented bunch of musicians bring us their vision of AOR-laced melodic hard rock which is very palatable indeed. My full review of this record can be viewed here, but to quote it briefly: “Given the clientele involved, it is hardly surprising that there are more than a few stylistic nods towards Journey and their particular ilk throughout the album’s 12 tracks. There’s a definite 80s/90s feel to a lot of the content but let’s be honest, that’s no bad thing. But all that being said, Revolution Saints have a definite identity of their own and are in no way a clone or a copycat band, far from it. This is slick, well-executed and confidentsounding music of the highest order.” For the most part, Revolution Saints deliver a bright and breezy set of up-tempo rock songs with huge choruses, positive attitude and a swagger that’s hard to ignore. The decision to include no less than four ballads might raise a few eyebrows but they are all well-crafted tracks that avoid any cheesiness thanks to more strong song writing and a clarity of purpose, not to mention great vocals across the board. No other melodic hard rock/AOR record has plastered as big a smile on my face in 2015 as this has and for that reason alone, Revolution Saints deserve their spot within this end-of-year
list. Imagine a summers day with the windows down in the car and think about the music you’d want on the stereo to sing along with…yup, it’s this one without a doubt.
Number 26 Teramaze ‘Her Halo’ Mascot Label Group
If this album had been released earlier in the year, it would probably have been a lot higher on my list. I say this with confidence because since I wrote a full review of it a couple of months ago, my admiration of this record has already grown stronger. The fact that my three-year-old enjoys listening to it with Daddy in the car has to add extra kudos but what really grants it a place in this list is the sheer quality of the music on offer. ‘Her Halo’ is the fifth album from Australian quartet, Teramaze and, coming from a position of knowing very little about them, I have found myself blown sideways by this record. And that’s always nice as far as I’m concerned. My full review can be read here, but to quote one small passage: “Theirs is a melodic metal framework around which they then experiment with symphonic, progressive and even thrash metal themes and ideas. Where Teramaze really excel though is in terms of the compositional nous, the innate sense of melody and an acute comprehension of 19
what makes a powerful piece of music that will have the listener returning for frequent repeat spins. The keys add to the richness and depth of the songs and, whilst they never get in the way or sound cheesy, they’re there throughout the album to add another dimension and a sense of the dramatic.” Some of the tracks on the album have significant lengths and, having initially questioned whether the compositions demanded such treatment, I have now seen the error of my ways. They don’t feel bloated or lacking in direction at all; instead, the compositions bound along with energy and purpose injecting a sense of the dramatic along the way. The forays into progressive or symphonic territories simply add another level of enjoyment to the album. To underline this point, the album opener ‘An Ordinary Dream (Enla Momento)’, is an epic monster. It clocks in at over 12 minutes but once it gets under your skin, it flies by in a blaze of glory. From fast-paced riffs to dramatic theatrics, from hook-laden melodies to more progressive themes, this track has it all. The spoken word segment that then leads into a poignant lead guitar solo is magical and raises the hairs on the back of my neck. Crucially, the quality does not end there and the remaining seven tracks are all great in their own right. Personal favourites include the utterly stunning ballad ‘Broken’, ‘For The Innocent’ which features some cracking melodies and the wonderfully dramatic closer ‘Delusions Of Grandeur’. On that note, there are no delusions of grandeur with ‘Her Halo’; if you are a fan of melodic metal with symphonic and progressive overtones, this is a no-brainer, worthy of your full attention.
Number 25 The Gentle Storm ‘The Diary’ Inside Out Records There are two primary reasons why this release features in my Top 30 list this year. Firstly, the compositional and song writing brilliance of Mr Arjen Lucassen. The second is the vocals of ex-The Gathering’s Anneke van Giersbergen. Put these two together and it is a recipe destined for magical things. And, as appetising at it sounded on paper ahead of the release, the result is wonderful, the musical equivalent of a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant if you’ll forgive the continuation of my food-based theme. Arjen Lucassen is the reclusive workaholic genius behind the Ayreon, Star One and Guilt Machine monikers and so this album should be on the radar of anyone who enjoys any of the aforementioned projects. From a musical perspective, there are many familiar ingredients that instantly marks it out as a Lucassen effort; the song structures, the melodies, the instrumental tones, a whole range of different things.
‘storm’ disc. I find the whole idea thoroughly fascinating.’ Folk-inspired melodies, Middle-Eastern influences and authentic instrumentation, coupled with the inclusion of a number of guest musicians throughout make this lyrical and musical concept album a really fresh and invigorating listen. The ‘gentle’ disc is subtle and beautiful throughout, enhanced by the truly angelic vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen, a singer that I could listen to all day; this is most definitely one of her very best performances committed to disc, I am convinced of this. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that the ‘storm’ disc is my personal favourite. We’re not dealing with anything approaching extreme metal and indeed, much of the heavier material remains subtle enough to let the heart of the compositions shine. However, I do enjoy the beefier guitar tones and the added sense of drama that the ‘storm’ versions create.
And yet, The Gentle Storm, being a collaborative affair with Anneke van Giersbergen, is quite a different venture indeed. My full review can be read here, but to quote a small passage:
I loved this album upon its release earlier in the year and now at year’s end, I can say that my love has not waned. I frequently dip in and out of the release and every single time, I find something new to like or I change my mind about which is my favourite track. Importantly therefore, I’m still engaged with it and in truth, I suspect I will be for the foreseeable future.
‘The Gentle Storm is, to put it mildly, an intelligent and multi-faceted beast. It’s a double album that features eleven tracks recorded twice in two different guises. Disc one features ‘calm’ versions of the eleven compositions whilst disc two revisits the songs and in the process dials up the metal. No suprise then that disc two is referred to as the
To conclude, as I stated in my full review, ‘one day, Arjen Lucassen will be involved with a less-than-stellar album, but it isn’t now. The partnership between Arjen and his leading lady, Anneke van Giersbergen has proved to be an inspiring one, one that has delivered a double album which is epic and ambitious but ultimately a magnificent triumph. It might not
all be to everyone’s taste, but I love it. Absolutely superb.’
Number 24 Native Construct ‘Quiet World’ Metal Blade Records Native Construct is comprised of vocalist Robert Edens, guitarist Myles Yang and bassist Max Harchik. All three individuals study at Berklee College of Music, the same breeding ground as the progressive metal juggernaut that is Dream Theater. So, they must be talented musicians. But, more than that, they also appear to have big aims and ambitions judging by their brief internet biography. It talks of a group of musicians who were ‘fueled by a desire to breathe new life into the modern metal genre…’ So, they’re talented musicians and ambitious. But does this translate into a strong end product? Oh yes. ‘Quiet World’ is the trio’s debut album under the moniker of Native Construct. Since the release, one further appointment has taken place, namely in the form of guitarist Kee Poh Hock. I am sure that he, alongside an eventual full-time drummer, will add another dimension to Native Construct both in the live arena and on future recordings. But, to focus on ‘Quiet World’, where does one begin? I admit to being completely daunted by this album on a first listen. Even as a long-term prog fan, I was blown sideways by the sheer audacity and abundance of ideas being thrown at me as the listener. To get a fuller insight into the album, check out my full review here. however, to paraphrase it just a little: ‘just about every genre of music is explored within the seven tracks on offer; jazz, rock, metal, prog, folk, 21
classical, funk and a whole lot more collide in a smorgasbord of musical ideas that masterfully manages to dodge the bullet of being messy, incoherent and lacking in structure. I get the feeling as I listen that this could quite easily be the soundtrack to accompany a stage musical in the West End or on Broadway; instead of the dreaded mess, ‘Quiet World’ is, instead, an uplifting, lifeaffirming album that revels in its many idiosyncrasies rather than shy away from them apologetically.’ During an intriguing chat with Myles Yang (read the full interview here), it was revealed that the basic foundations of this record are quite simple and are based around just a handful of notes, scales and melodies. It’s hard to believe but, if you listen carefully as I have done since faced with this revelation, it can begin to sound like the truth. Recurring themes and motifs are used throughout; they may be altered or tinkered with or embellished significantly but they are there, acting as anchors or moments of clarity to help guide the listener along the testing journey. I love things like that! This is a real, proper, bona fide progressive record. It sounds like no-one else for a start and it refuses to settle down into any kind of predictable pattern; instead, it is a challenge from start to finish. However, it is a wonderfully enjoyable challenge. The lyrical concept displays real depth, the production is full of clarity and warmth and when they hit, the melodies offer up a surprising number of earworms that do get under the skin if you let them. It’s all the more impressive to think that this is a debut record – the mind boggles at what is to come in the future. But for the here and now, sit back, relax and enter the jawdropping ‘Quiet World’.
Number 23 Enslaved ‘In Times’ Nuclear Blast Records
Times’ is as warm and inviting as it is cold, extreme and challenging. There are accessible moments on this record and strong passages that stick in the mind long after the record has stopped playing, more so than on any previous release by the Norwegians. I may be shot down by that last statement, but it is certainly how I perceive things. ‘Thuriasz Dreaming’ may begin in a spiky and confrontational manner, much more aligned with their black metal roots, but as the track develops, more in the way of experimentation comes to the fore including quieter passages, almost discordant sounds and those clean vocals that juxtapose the more guttural delivery excellently.
Enslaved are one of those bands that, if I’m being entirely honest, I’ve only really admired from afar. There is no disputing the fact that they are a highly accomplished band but up until now, their output has never truly resonated with me. That has changed with ‘In Times’, hence their inclusion within this list despite it being the strongest year to date since I started these mammoth countdowns. The word ‘unique’ gets thrown about far too often when describing the output of heavy metal bands. However, Enslaved have become truly unique. A constant evolution over the years still sees their extreme metal roots intact but as the albums pass, the roots have become ever-more intrinsically linked to, and entwined with, other elements. Progressive rock and metal, ambient, postrock, jazz and a whole host of other ideas collide in what can only be described as some of the most fascinating and rewarding heavy metal currently being created anywhere in the world. But more than that, to these ears at least, ‘In 22
By contrast, ‘Build With Fire’ is a much more catchy and up-tempo track that bounds along and even introduces a lead guitar solo in the latter stages. ‘One Thousand Years Of Rain’ injects a touch of folk metal into proceedings whilst ‘Nauthir Bleeding’ changes the pace yet again. It is more symphonic and epic in nature but features a great riff at the midway point as well as yet another guitar solo to hammer home the almost euphoric nature of this track. Containing just six tracks, it is fundamental that each of the compositions adds weight to the overall album and that there are no weak moments. That’s exactly the case here as Enslaved, assisted by a great in-house production and mastering job by Fascination Street Studios, are seemingly incapable of delivering anything short of superb. I love the increased black metal elements and coupled with an increased sense of experimentation and drama throughout, ‘In Times’ is arguably the best that Enslaved have ever sounded.
Number 22 Agent Fresco ‘Destrier’ Long Branch Records / SPV
journey throughout. That journey is comforting, scary, beautiful, sad, thought-provoking and often quite sombre. However, it is a journey that is never dull, always captivating and calls you inexorably back for more.”
Formed in Reykjavik in 2008, Agent Fresco are a quartet that is comprised of vocalist and composer Arnór Dan Arnarson, drummer Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson, bassist Vignir Rafn Hilmarsson and guitarist/pianist Þórarinn Guðnason. My love of all things Icelandic is no secret but Agent Fresco have given me another reason for taking this wonderful country to my heart.
What I want to focus on, having lived with this record for several months since I wrote the review is its atmosphere and the feelings that it conjures up within me as I listen. Yes, ‘Destrier’ is a ‘progressive’ album in that it toys with several different and juxtaposing ideas throughout. But more than that, it possesses real depth and that journey that I mentioned previously, it’s one hell of an emotional rollercoaster.
Many bands use real life experiences as inspiration for their music but with Agent Fresco, it’s a little more than that. Composer Arnór Dan Arnarson was savagely attacked one night leaving both physical and mental scars for a significant period. ‘Destrier’ is the album that channelled all those thoughts, feelings and experiences into something cathartic for the creator and something wonderfully magical for the listener. The vibe of the album is naturally quite dark but a sense of positivity and strength permeates throughout. Musically, the album is a varied, multi-faceted affair where elements of math rock, prog, alternative rock, ambient, post-rock, pop and electronica all collide in a heady mix of ambition and a steely attitude that absolutely nothing is off-limits. I penned a review of ‘Destrier’ on this blog earlier in the year. If you want to read it in full including a more in-depth exploration of individual tracks, click here. However, to quote a small passage, “the biggest thing that strikes me with Agent Fresco and ‘Destrier’ is the way that the album flows from start to finish really beautifully, taking the listener on a 23
In the moments of calm, I am transported to the wilds of Iceland where there’s literally nothing to keep you company other than the stunningly rugged vistas and an occasional wild pony. I feel comforted, warm and strangely calm. But then, around the corner comes a spiky riff or a moment of musical confrontation that takes on a much more sinister and dark edge. Then there are the moments of utter sadness where you’re left feeling almost bereft. Few albums this year have touched me in such a powerful way and that is credit to Agent Fresco. Back to the music itself again and I really can’t speak more highly of it. Tracks like ‘Howls’ and ‘Let Them See Us’ are hook-laden and demonstrate an immediacy that will no doubt please many. However, ‘Destrier’ also boasts the likes of the pop-inspired title track, the moody and introspective ambient majesty of ‘Death Rattle’ and the stunningly sensitive ‘Bemoan’. Put as simply as possible, if you don’t allow ‘Destrier’ into your life, you will miss out on a very special and magical aural experience
that gloriously classification.
Number 21 Moonspell ‘Extinct’ Napalm Records I first discovered Moonspell as a teenager around the time when 1996’s ‘Irreligious’ was released. I knew nothing about the Portuguese band but I took a punt whilst standing wild-eyed in one of the large central London record stores. Coming from a sleepy town like Ipswich, I wasn’t used to a specific metal section, let alone one that was nearly the same size as the entire store back home. I remember loving the album almost from the very beginning and it has held a place in my heart ever since. In fact, I’d state without hesitation that ‘Irreligious’ is my favourite album by Moonspell. Until now that is because ‘Extinct’ pushes it mighty close. The past few albums have seen Moonspell experiment with more a aggressive and extreme sound with, to my mind, differing levels of success. However, coming from an ‘Irreligious’ background, it is with sheer delight and an abundance of newfound enthusiasm that I can say that ‘Extinct’ has reverted to more of a mid-90’s approach. By that, I mean that the album returns to what I personally believe are the key Moonspell strengths: creating music with plenty of groove, an overt Gothic atmosphere and lots of melody. This album has all three and plenty of each.
If I’m being honest and genuinely not falling foul of unwanted gushing hyperbole, ‘Extinct’ features a collection of compositions that border on anthems, such is their strength, power and immediacy. Whilst it was love at first liten to this record, I was also worried about the fact that it may be lacking in the longevity stakes. However, listening as I type this review, I needn’t have been concerned. The songs sound as vibrant and enjoyable now as they did on the first spin, much to my delight. ‘Extinct’ brings all the tunes. Opener ‘Breathe (Until We Are No More)’ is an enormous statement of intent. It is heavy, has a great chorus and benefits from some really sumptuous, some might say over-the-top symphonics. Whether or not it is intentional, the focal point of Moonspell is their talismanic vocalist Fernando Ribeiro – with a deep melodic croon such as his, how could he not be the focal point? And on this record, Ribeiro is on top form, barking, snarling and crooning all over the track with his exotically-accented smooth, deep voice. Elsewhere, ‘Medusalem’ calls to mind Orphaned Land thanks to traditional Middle
Eastern instrumentation and melodies. It’d stick my neck on the line and suggest it’s the best track on the album too, thanks to a scintillating and addictive chorus. ‘The Last Of Us’ is a more up-tempo no-nonsense Gothic track that strangely calls to mind something that The 69 Eyes might have penned had they been of a slightly heavier persuasion ‘Funeral Bloom’ includes a few The Cure-esque Gothpop influences whilst ‘The Future Is Dark’ which has yet another superbly catchy chorus and an irresistible lead guitar solo to truly rival ‘Full Moon Madness’, my very favourite Moonspell track of all-time. I could go on, but I won’t. Instead I’ll end by concluding that ‘Extinct’ really is a monster of a Gothic metal album that showcases Moonspell at their beguiling best.
concert calendar Seattle region concert calendar by Metal Bulletin Zine (Washington state). If you know of other metal concerts in the area, please get in contact with Metal Bulletin Zine. January 2 at Flight's Pub in Everett: Death Metal from San Juan Puerto Rico ZAFAKON, CALAMITY, W/ Local Talent, KILL CLOSET January 30 Nile at El Corazon January 31 at Studio Seven: Warbringer, 25
Enforcer, Exmortus, Cauldron, Oxygen Destroyer February 6 Black Sabbath at Tacoma Dome February 19 Fleshed Apocalypse at Studio Seven - Seattle, WA February 20 Skelator at Funhouse - Seattle, WA February 21 Coffins at Highline in Seattle March 5 Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Cryptopsy, Abysmal Dawn at El Corazón Seattle, WA March 6 Helloween at The Showbox March 7 Delain, Sonata Arctica, Nightwish at Showbox SoDo March 19 Slayer, Testament, Carcass at Paramount Theater - Seattle March 24 Y & T at Studio Seven Seattle April 1 Decibel Magazinel Tour ABBATH, High On Fire, Tribulation, Skeletonwitch at El Corazon - Seattle, WA April 11 Iron Maiden at Tacoma Dome April 23 D.R.I. at El Corazón May 1 Napalm Death at The Showbox Seattle, WA May 08 Primal Fear, Luca Turilli's Rhapsody at El Corazon - Seattle, WA — metal programs (these are Pacific Times) Mosh Pit (Madison, WI): Monday night 9:30pm12am WORT 89.9 fm www.wortfm.org 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 Metal Shop (Seattle, WA): Saturday 11pm3am KISW 99.9fm www.kisw.com — This zine is available at: www.issuu.com/metalbulletinzine
Awe Phrenetix Crimson Day IT plus: Affliction Gate, Thulnar, Escarnium, Bastard Grave, Rhine, Spinebreaker, Jameson R...
Published on Dec 22, 2015
Awe Phrenetix Crimson Day IT plus: Affliction Gate, Thulnar, Escarnium, Bastard Grave, Rhine, Spinebreaker, Jameson R...