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Issue 11 - May 2014

Killgasm

Deathstars

Bloodshot dawn Despot Arkona Gunpower Gray Absolva Emmure Psyclon Nine Sabaton Winter Of Sin Anti Mortem


12 14 20 24 28 30 34 38

04 05 07 09 42 66

- Deathstars - Killgasm - Bloodshot Dawn - Arkona - Gunpowder Gray - Whitechapel - Forgotten Remains - Despot

18 - Amaranthe Live Review 51 - Sabaton - Emmure 52 - Vanhelga - White Miles 53 - Anti-Mortem - Killgasm 54 - Curimus 55 - Etta Zero - SaDoLLs 56 - Psyclon Nine - Waxen 57 - Absolva - PACT

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- DLC - News - Top 5 Videos - Top 5 Album Covers - Games Dungeon - Gig Listing

58 - Morbrand - Frequency 59 - Acid Witch/Nunslaughter - Blood Of Kings 60 - Maintain - Winter Of Sin 61 - Gluttony - Xandria 62 - Lake Of Tears - 12 Gauge 63 - Diabulus In Musica 64 - Arkona - The Ocean

*All content and layout are copyright of Firebrand Magazine. Any attempt to distribute Firebrand Magazine to another site for purposes of download is strictly prohibited. All Firebrand Magazines are property of Firebrand. *

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Meet The Team! Editor In Chief Rick Palin As we officially start hitting BBQ weather there are plenty of changes coming up in Firebrand land over the coming weeks including the launching of the Official Firebrand music chart compiled from the requests that you the public put in to our DJs. Speaking of things radio we are currently looking for dark, black metal and alternative djs so if you have the music, the capabilities and a system suitable to broadcast and would like to join our team and air on Firebrand Rock Radio we want to hear from you. In the first instance please email: heelzofsteel@firebrandrr.co.uk with a short demo and your details, and we'll go from there.

Senior Media Consultant Rachel Whiston Editor Lee Walker Reviews Team Gavin Griffiths Graham Pritchard Joey Lowebins Rob Birtley Stephen Brophy Stoodge McNulty

This month we have a collection of interviews ranging from the Deathstars through to Whitechapel though to those rising whippersnappers Bloodshot Dawn as well as everything in between as well as the usual deluge of reviews. Download Content Team Don’t forget to check out our DLC with a fee tune from the thrastastic Forgotten Remains and with that thought I will leave you to read the rest of the magazine.

Rick Palin Judith Fisher Content Download sales@firebrandrr.co.uk Advertising Enquiries sales@firebrandrr.co.uk Review Requests

afterdark@firebrandrr.co.uk

Contact Telephone +44(0)207 0978556

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Forgotten Remains Forgotten Remains are a metal band from Chesterfield in North Derbyshire. They play blindingly fast thrash metal with a harder edge, ripping solos and growling death metal vocals being influenced by bands like Slayer, The Haunted, At The Gates, Cannibal Corpse and Pantera to name a few. The band was formed nearly ten years ago during their secondary school years under the name of Nylis and since then has gigged extensively throughout the United Kingdom. During 2007 the band supported Cradle of Filth on tour and had dates booked with American death metal bands Kataklysm and Aborted. The current line up has been solid for five years when they resurfaced under the title of Forgotten Remains. The bands aim is to just keep gigging, getting out there in peoples faces and just enjoying playing, writing and recording heavy metal!

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NEWS

Other new additions to the bill are led by Former Ozzy / Badlands Guitarist Jake E Lee’s New modern hardcore heroes Comeback Kid, with Andrew Neufeld eager to check out The Prodigy, Band’s Glasgow & Newcastle June Gigs Cancelled. Due to unforeseen logistical issues, organisers have saying: “Last time I had the opportunity to see the Prodigy was at a festival in Serbia but I missed them been forced to cancel two of Red Dragon Cartel’s because I had to spend the night in jail.” upcoming UK concerts next month, in Glasgow on New Wave Of British Heavy Metal pioneers June 10th and Newcastle on June 11th. Ticket Sweet Savage join the line-up at the request of refunds are available from all points of purchase. Former Ozzy Osbourne and Badlands guitarist Metallica drummer, Lars Ulrich, while October File Jake E Lee has to fly back to the US on June 9th to plan to blend punk, hardcore and industrial metal attend to urgent business matters unrelated to the and then lace it with a political edge. Expect ferocity Eureka Machines make their Sonisphere debut tour, returning on June 12th. Red Dragon Cartel’s describing themselves as: “Imagine if the Beatles and revised UK live schedule is now:the Beach Boys met Motorhead, jammed with the Fri. June 6 London 02 Academy Islington – Cardiacs and created the best band you’ve never o2academyislington.co.uk heard. Until now.” Sat. June 7 Nottingham Rescue Rooms – Then there’s garage punkers, The Bots, rescuerooms.com big-riffing Welsh quartet, Straight Lines, London Sun. June 8 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms – rockers Zico Chain, Black Dogs, who our bookers say wolvescivic.co.uk are about to take the UK metal scene by force, Fri. June 13 Buckley Tivoli – tivolivenue.com infectious power poppers, Love Zombies and Sun. June 15 Download Festival Donington – Stormzone, who’ll be flying the flag for traditional downloadfestival.co.uk metal. Rounding out the latest announcement are http://reddragoncartel.com Math rockers Shrine, New Zealand’s Rival State, who specialise in catchy music with a hard edge, hard rockers, The Wild Lies and melodic metal from The HIM Joins Sonisphere Lineup Love-metallers HIM are flying in from Finland to make Raven Age and Empire Kill. their Knebworth debut at Sonisphere this summer with an exclusive one-off festival performance. Marty Friedman: Live Namm Video Footage “We, the merry men of HIM, will bring our Of New Song 'Undertow' Posted socially dysfunctional selves to Sonisphere UK. We are like a bad tasting, but nutritious grandma biscuit Exclusive track commentary video unveiled; you can dip into your inner worlds. It’ll be fun and 'Inferno' coming May 27 possibly out of control,” claims bass player Mige. "Inferno" -- the highly anticipated new studio “You’ll see. There will be smoke, lights and album from legendary guitarist Marty Friedpsychedelia. Sweat and zealotry. Men will cry. It’s man, featuring his self-proclaimed heaviest and most going to be a FUCKING EMOTIONADO!” intense playing and writing to date will be released on Not content with already performing on the May 27 via Prosthetic Records. Friedman was Apollo stage on the Saturday, thrash legends recently featured at the annual NAMM trade show Anthrax are taking advantage of a day off on the convention in Anaheim, Calif., where in addition to Friday to give those in Bohemia a special treat. The showcasing his new signature series Paul Reed band will stomp their way through their Smith guitar, he performed a short set at the classic Among The Living album in full, in a sweaty, Roland/Boss stage. You can watch his live heaving tent. Think “Among The Living”, “Caught In A performance of "Undertow," a new track from Mosh”, “I Am The Law”, “NFL”, “Indians” – the list "Inferno," on BOSS's website HERE. goes on, the hits don’t stop . Friedman also sat down with Gear Gods to give “We love to play these songs and people love to them an exclusive commentary on the ballad which hear them so we’re really fucking excited to be doing can be found HERE. this special show the day before our main-stage "Inferno" marks Friedman's first album to be performance at Sonisphere Knebworth playing (for released simultaneously worldwide since moving to the first time ever) just the Among The Living record Japan over 10 years ago. The album features for you, our UK faithful!” says guitarist Scott Ian.

Red Dragon Cartel cancel June dates

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collaborations with a number of notable artists, including Rodrigo y Gabriela, Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), Danko Jones, Dave Davidson (Revocation) and Jørgen Munkeby (Shining), in addition to Friedman's first songwriting collaboration with Jason Becker since their time in Cacophony. Pre-order packages including "Inferno" on CD or LP along with an exclusive t-shirt design are currently available at http:// prostheticrecords.com/inferno. You can also receive a download of two tracks ("Steroidhead" and "Inferno") instantly when you pre-order the album digitally from iTunes or Amazon MP3.

Blackwelder began as the long-awaited follow up to Seven Seraphim‘s “Believe in Angels”. Bit by bit, as the songs materialized, it became evident to mainman Andrew Szucs that this music should carry the banner of a new musical entity, emerging from a richer, darker source thus, Blackwelder was born. Andrew began this musical journey alone, however, once he completed the framework for all of the songs, the band members began to fall into place like pieces of a puzzle. Bjorn Englen was the first to climb aboard, expertly adding his bass lines to the songs. Bjorn would later go on tour with Tony MacAlpine alongside drummer Aquiles Priester, after which, it seemed only natural to keep this rhythm section in tact for Blackwelder. Non Serviam Records Sign Deal With Once Andrew‘s guitars were recorded, it Pantheon I became evident that a true powerhouse vocalist was Non Serviam Records is proud to tell you that we needed to carry these songs to completion. Not just have inked a deal with the Norwegian black metal any voice would do. Blackwelder would need the band: Pantheon I. stratospheric vocal stylings characterized by the rich The new album will be released within several tradition of European heavy metal, and who better to weeks! do that than the voice of Primal Fear: Ralf Words from the band about this upcoming Scheepers. Like a dragon with its fire, Ralf‘s voice release. and lyrical themes are a natural fit to the songs “The Songs on this album has a span of 10 years of Blackwelder; blending and contrasting with and it represents both the past and the present of the Marshall-based guitar tones in perfect harmony. Pantheon I. The album starts off with our latest Ep Topping off this powerful lineup is the recording and ends with our very first demo. you will unparalleled drumming of Aquiles Priester. be taken through a vast landscape where the sound Andrew and Aquiles agreed to finish the songs become more raw and unpolished but the spirit still with Aquiles‘ unique pyrotechnic display of potent. A lot of these tracks have lost their original progressive metal drumming techniques and what a tapes so the sound may differ a lot from recording to display it is. recording, but this is our testimony to the world that Blackwelder is a winning formula of raw pantheon I has always been about the extremes.” musical virtuosity that holds the listener’s ears right from the start. This act is surely not one to be missed and cannot be denied! Blackwelder Feat. Primal Fear, Dio www.facebook.com/BlackwelderMetal

Disciples, Ex-Angra Members Stream New Song 'The Night Of New Moon' Blackwelder, the brand new metal experience featuring some of the top names in power prog metal today, streaming the brand new song ‘The Night Of New Moon‘. The band is currently recording and mixing its as-yet-untitled album for a late 2014 release via GoldenCore/ZYX Music. The CD will be mixed by Matt Smith (Theocracy). The song can be streamed below. https://soundcloud.com/blackwelder/blackwelderthe-night-of-new-moon One of the best singers in all of metal, Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, Ex-Gamma Ray) fronts this extraordinary outfit at the top of his game, alongside guitar virtuoso Andrew Szus (Seven Seraphim). Bjorn Englen (Dio Disciples, ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) and Aquiles Priester (Hangar, ex-Angra) round out this unstoppable team of what quite possibly could be one of the greatest lineups metal has ever seen.

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SOiL 2014 UK Tour with American Head Charge & hed p.e SOiL UK Tour w/ American Head Charge & (hed)p.e Due to the overwhelming response to the European leg of the SOiL tour with special guests American Headcharge and (hed)P.E., the line up will continue on in the UK for the following dates. Opener 8 Foot Sativa will be on all dates as well. Tickets will sell fast, so get yours now.

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Metal vids to sink your teeth into

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Klogr Zero Tolerance Hour Of Penance Reforging The Crown Sins The Final Chapter The Brew Skip Pirosaint Tonight ‘Playthrough’ Firebrand After Dark

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One of the things that we at Firebrand After Dark have noticed is that we don’t always give credit where it is due to the artwork which accompanies the albums. We would like to address by bringin to you, what the team feel are the best 5 covers of the material which we have reviewed this month. If you have any comments about them please feel free to tweet us @fbadmag, comment on Facebook /FirebrandAfterDark or email us at afterdark@firebrandrr.co.uk

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Acid Witch/Nunslaughter

Spooky (Split 7�)

Anti-Mortem New Southern

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Sabaton Heroes Xandria Sacrificium

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PACT T.I.H.P.T.T.O.L Firebrand After Dark

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Gavin Griffiths chats with founding member Emil “Nightmare Industries� Nodtveidt from

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With their fourth studio album The Perfect Cult set for release next month, our man Gavin Jonathan Griffiths got speaking to founding member Emil “Nightmare Industries” Nodtveidt. With Deathstars releasing “The Perfect Cult” this Summer; your 4th studio album, what can you tell us about it, and how does it feel writing and recording again for the first time since 2009’s “Night Electric Night”? The Perfect Cult” is an album which was important for us as a band to make, we needed to re-connect to the reasons why we make music and so we tried to stay away for overly lighthearted catchy pop things. This album is extremely dark and heavy with songs that have a meaning and a story to them. You really should read the lyrics when you listen to it to get the full experience. It was great to be creative again and to write music that has a meaning, just like it's supposed to be.

rather just a musician (with a few minor exceptions) so creatively nothing has really changed, ever since Having listened to “All The Devils Toys”, it’s clear we started the band it has always been me and the distinctive Deathstars sound is still there, but Whiplasher who have been writing the music. And there’s more of a lighter, pop style to the overall as for the live performances we have found that the feel of the music, it’s probably some of the most sound has actually changed for the better. It sounds accessible music you’ve released, was that a bigger wider, more dynamic and powerful with just conscious decision? one really tight guitar. It leaves space for a heavier It's funny that you say that because the purpose of sound. that song was to be an outgoing rock song and a bit more accessible, I wrote it at the very end of the Back to the new album, it’s been scheduled for writing process because the rest of the album is release on Friday, 13th June, given the name of sometimes very introvert and it just felt like we the album, is there any correlation between the needed something to complete the mix of songs. two? Given the fact Friday 13th is regarded as an often unlucky or sinister date on the calendar. The tracks video appears to have the concept of I guess it' just our typical bad luck with that haha. government and corruption, money and power, There was no planning behind it it just turned out how does that tie in with the song in terms of the that way because of the release schedules. ideas and inspiration behind it? The song is a quite catchy rock song and the lyrics From September through November, you’re are about teasing the listener over to the dark side. embarking on a lengthy European tour, starting The video illustrates that and it was also the off in Russia, heading through Finland, Germany, directors interpretation of the lyrics which he tied France and here in the UK, what can fans expect together in the video. It's not really about from the live shows? Are you confident the new government or politics but it's definitely about material will slot into your set alongside classics corruption. About the corruption of us as human such as “Cyanide”? beings and while the last album was trying to find a Definitely, it will be great to hit the road with the new point in all the darkness, this album is more black material. We're bringing in new songs in the mix, than ever. and we might also revive a couple of classics which we haven't played for many years. We'll see which It’s notable too that, you’re now a 4-piece, given ones it might be, we're gonna start rehearsing this the departure of guitarist Cat Casino. Has that summer and then everything will fall into place. had any effect on how you write as a band? Is the We're also looking into upgrading our stage show. long term plan to continue as a 4-piece or will you recruit a guitarist for live shows and touring Finally, just to round things up, what do you think Yes Cat left the band in 2012, he found other things the Devil’s favourite toy actually is? in life that he wanted to focus on. He was never Deathstars, haha. Probably. really a part of the creative energy in the band but

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Stoodge Mc Nulty speaks with Kuntslaughter, vocalist and drummer for Killgasm 14

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This month has the proud honour of harbouring the new release from California's Killgasm. Following up from the brutality endorsing “Bloodbath in Satanic Vengeance” the tripod of terror have summoned yet another incrustation to add to their grindcore sermon. Stoodge speaks to the ever merry Kuntslaughter (vocals & drums) about the new record “A Stab in the Heart of Christ” and....God! Kuntslaughter, How the hell are you doing? Thanks Stoodge, we're doing great You guys have very interesting names, Kuntslaughter, Nekrotis and Corpse-Bukkake. How did these titles come about? Well we always appreciate it when bands use aliases or stage names in their line ups. We like it when there is extra creativity thrown in to every aspect of the band. Bands just don't have the same effect when they play sick, disgusting, violent, blasphemous music and the line up consist of names like: Chris, Tom, Dave, Mike and John or whatever. Just using your plain real name sounds like an artist that your parents would listen to on a classic rock station. But I mean ultimately it is the music that speaks for itself, but it just does something extra for me when bands put in the little extra effort to make the total package more enjoyable and gruesome. As for how we came up with each of our names...It's been so long I can't really remember exactly. I guess the idea of a bunch of dudes circle jerking over a dead body sounded like a good idea at the time!

of your question, sure. If there was physical evidence to prove something contrary to what I previously thought then yes. Any rational person's mind should be changed through evidence. Or else you're just a blind, stubborn idiot (like most religious people). When writing music is the objective for the art and entertainment to overlap and if it comes out ignorant and controversial then so be it? Yes. We don't give a shit about other's opinion of our music. We write to our standards of enjoyment. If people have a problem with our lyrical content, our sound, skill, or style then go listen to something else. Though it is always a huge compliment when bands we were inspired by give us feedback about liking what they heard. So yeah, if it comes off as ignorant, oh well. If it comes off as controversial, good.

Has being from Sacramento had much bearing on the creation of Killgasm and the band's sound? No. We get our sound from trying to copy all the black metal, death metal and grindcore bands from around the world that inspired us. When we need members, if we can't find like minded people in Sacramento who will cut it, we will search for dedicated people from other cities. We won't Your new album Stab in the Heart of Christ compromise and settle for people who are into crap comes out on the 27th May. On a scale of one to poser music just because it's more convenient to "My house has been completely destroyed by toxic bring them in. Our guitarist who we have now lived several hours away from us but had the same Elephant shit", how brutal do you perceive the musical tastes as us and he was willing to commute record? It actually goes higher than your rating scale allows. to practice with us, though not often. But that was better than other people who lived right by us and The appropriate rating would be "The planet were willing to practice multiple times a week that ravaged and raped by Satan's army of Goat had questionable tastes (And I don't mean they like Kommandos and then set completely ablaze to kill good underground shit and also listen to some off any survivors". That is actual subject matter of weird non-metal shit as well, that is fine. I mean several of the songs on this album. people who claim to live for underground metal yet they wear shirts of the most trendy corporate turds There are some groovy song titles on the album too. 'Revenge if the Panzergoat', 'High on Church of the "underground" floating at the top that are Fumes' and 'Fisting your Faith' are the ones that forcefed to everyone by the bigger labels). stick in my mind. It is safe to assume there's an How has the band evolved since the Sodomized anti-theist agenda in Killgasm's lyrics? Yes you are correct in your assumption. We hate all for Satan Ep that came out a decade ago? Skillwise we have evolved 666% since then! I am the religion and want it eradicated from this Earth. only original member from that era and back then I Would your opinions change on the subject if the didn't even play the drums, I just wanted to be the vocalist but we couldn't find a drummer so I just Hubble or Kepler telescopes discover a selfie of bought a drumset, did a few practices with it, then Jesus floating in front of Jupiter? we went and recorded that awful shitty demo. If that happened I'm sure there would be some scientific reason that can explain it. But at the heart Currently we have the best and longest running

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line-up we've ever had and are finally writing our style of blackened death/grind the way I envisioned it all along. If you guys were given one million dollars to write/ produce and direct a movie. What would the cinema audiences find themselves subjected to and corrupted by? I can't speak for the other members, if you gave them one million dollars they would probably squander it on drugs and alcohol. But if it were me I would probably just take the album "God Was Created" by Vehemence (one of my favorite death metal albums ever) and turn that story into a movie. Thanks for chatting Kuntslaugter, I think it's time to go and blast your new album at my neighbours again. Good. Fuck your neighbours!

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Slade Rooms - Wolverhampton, 9 April 2014 Support - Smash Into Pieces and Deals Death Review and Photos by Reg Richardson 18

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A little bit of Scandinavia arrived in Wolverhampton tonight in the form of Amaranthe supported by Smash into Pieces and Deals Death. First on stage was Smash into Pieces, a five-piece heavy rock band from Sweden and within seconds I was blown away by the vocals of Chris AdamHedman Sรถrbye, he is phenomenal! The band took the opportunity of playing half a dozen tracks from heir 2013 album 'Unbreakable'. From start to finish the music was, in turn, heavy, melodic, stinging, exhilarating but always right on key. The six tracks played in the short set were 'Heroes', 'Crash and Burn', 'A Friend Like You', 'Unbreakable', 'Colder' and 'Fading'; all six were brilliant with equal doses of screaming and melodic guitar, moody bass and thumping drums but it was Adams voice that made it. Elements of Tyler Connolly & David Draiman came out but the comparisons have little meaning, it's a fantastic voice and he uses it incredibly well. It was a shame the set was so short, I'd really liked to have heard more and will make a point of seeing them again; the style might not be new or groundbreaking but it's highly addictive and entertaining. A change in tack next as Deals Death danced onto the stage quickly followed by Conan the Barbarian.... hang on, it's not Conan, it's Olle Ekman looking like a cross between Conan and Tarzan. This band delivered a melodic version of death metal in shedloads as they stormed through songs taken from the 2012 album 'Elite' and the 2013 album 'Point Zero Solution'. The title track from the 2013 album came first followed by 'Facing the Echoes' and 'Flatline' before the first of the 'Elite' tracks came along, 'Collapse'. Later in the set came 'Eradicated' and 'Fortified' from 'Elite' mixed in with 'The Separation', 'Beyond

Reason' and 'Passion for Infinity' from 'Point Zero Solution'. Olle's windmill hair and growling vocals were typical of a rather overcrowded genre. Don't get me wrong the band were good, very good in fact, but I think they may find it difficult to differentiate themselves sufficiently to make a bigger impact. Amaranthe are a six piece melodic metal band and stand out for having three vocalists who share, switch and juggle the vocal responsibilities pretty well. As I sat in the press pit I thought I was waiting for the Royal Society Christmas Lecture to start as a recorded track referring to the Large Hadron Collider broke the silence. This was, in fact, the intro to 'Future on Hold' taken from the 2013 album 'The Nexus'! The entire set was taken from 'The Nexus' as well as the 2011 self-titled album 'Amaranthe' and the songs interspersed by chat from Elize & Jake. The band have a 'style' that is quite unique in many ways; some people might see quite a few of the tracks as same-ish, (but there are lots of bands you could say that about), and this may be so on recordings but when playing live the band really come into their own and deliver high quality material. With Elize and Jake supplying the more refined and restrained vocals it was left to Henrik to corner the market in growls and screams. Without doubt the 'style' has evolved from 'Amaranthe' to 'The Nexus', so much so that songs like 'Electroheart' and 'Hunger' were almost outright Europop! This isn't a bad thing, it shows the band has more than one avenue to pursue and without doubt they are developing into an outstanding international band. See them , I insist!

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Stoodge Mc Nulty catches up with

Benjamin Ellis 20

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Very few bands have had such an impact on the metal world in recent years with a debut record like Bloodshot Dawn. Two and a half years have passed since then and the time has come for the bands heavily anticipated second album to explode. With their first release the band breathed a fresh vitality into a scene submerged in groups with an all too familiar sound. Still unsigned, still DIY and still hungry, the world's finest unsigned band have returned. Stoodge caught up with Benjamin Ellis (vocals & guitar) to discuss the band's philosophy and the yet untitled new album. So Benjamin, it's been a busy past few weeks for the band. How have you all been coping? Busy indeed! We’ve been coping ok. It’s been mega stressful, but also very exciting! The production and mixing of the new album has been funded by a kickstarter campaign. You reached your minimal target of £5000 in as early as five days. How many gormless grins were shared when you found out about the great news? We were very excited and humbled when we hit the mark so quickly. We had no idea what to expect with the kickstarter as it was a totally new approach for us, but our fans always blow us away with the level of support they show, so I’m not really sure why we had any doubts now. There's also a few major guest appearances on the record. Can you tell us about those? Yeah, these guest appearances are insane! Sven de Caluwé of Aborted is going to be performing some vocals on the album, and there’ll be a lot of guest solos too! Per Nilsson of Scar Symmetry, Chris Amott (ex - Arch Enemy), Teemu Mäntysaari of Wintersun, and shred guitar master Andy James will all be laying waste to some solo sections! It must be awesome to have musicians and people like that on the team. It is incredible, no doubt! We have been lucky enough to tour with Aborted, Scar Symmetry and Wintersun, so we got to know these guys on the road and they happily agreed to contribute to the second album. Andy James noticed my guitar playing in a few online competitions, so I contacted him about a possible solo just after Per was confirmed. He was on board as soon as I mentioned Per was contributing, haha! And finally, when we contacted Chris Amott as a total shot in the dark, he really enjoyed the music and was happy to contribute too. Safe to say we are stoked to have these guys involved. Does having such people involved add an extra layer to the Bloodshot Dawn sound? Absolutely. These guys are all world class musicians with distinct styles, so they’ll all be bringing their own musical personalities to the mix for something a bit

different and very awesome! In terms of technicality and heaviness, how does the new material sound when put up against the self titled album? Up against the previous album I think we have stepped up our game in all ‘key’ areas of our sound. I think the new material is sounding more intense. More extreme in all respects. I have written some parts on the new album that are more technical than anything on the previous, some parts are heavier and more brutal, and some parts are more epic. There is a darker, more atmospheric vibe to some of this new material too, and it sounds much ‘bigger’ than the previous album… It seems to occupy a larger sonic space somehow. There is still a good deal of epic stuff happening as well of course, with the guitar melodies in particular making for some really anthemic sections. As the music stands right now, it’s very diverse, just as the first album was. But at the same time it feels more focused than our debut. We are more confident in our ability to go from ‘crushing’ to ‘uplifting’ in a split second and knowing it will still make sense, haha! That was the biggest question mark for us after the first album… we weren’t sure if our particular blend of heavy and melodic would be appealing or if it would alienate people. Luckily it seemed to work out, and now we can continue honing that balance. We like to mix things up in each song, and keep the listener on their toes. Another big part in the development of the sound between the first and second album is of course our new drummer Janne. He is incredible, and lightning fast with his feet and blast beats. The tempo has been upped on a lot of the new material and Janne has no problem keeping up with it. I know a lot of people like the shred from the first album and the technicality that comes with it, and I can reassure fans that this is still a very big part of the new album. I’ve heard a few of Josh’s solos and they are sounding rad! For me, the solos are the last parts I write in the album process, but I always have a lot of other lead parts too (for choruses, etc.) which are already done and sounding great. I’m always looking to step up my game and improve and diversify as a player and am very

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pleased with how the leads are coming along for the album. And having all the guests on this album means the shredding is going to be out of this world! Some song arrangements are sounding a little more progressive at this point too, with a few longer songs than on the debut. There are a few other surprises in store which I’m very excited about, and although I am very tempted to talk about them, I will have to hold my tongue for the time being. I’ll be very interested to see how it is all received though.

travel, management, finances, promotion, merchandise, social media, videos, etc. When you are not signed to a label, you obviously have complete freedom and control over your music and image, but you have none of the financial backing and a hell of a lot more work to do. We have had labels show interest in us, but no offers that would have really pushed the band out into the global market without compromising the integrity of the music. That being said, this is exactly why we are a DIY band. We are passionate about the music we Is there any underlying lyrical rhetoric or concept make and know that it requires this kind of work to succeed. If a label that believes in our music wanted on the upcoming record? to work with us and the arrangement made sense to I don’t think we’ll have just one exclusive lyrical both parties, it’s definitely something we are still concept for the album, but there is usually a common thread between our songs. At the moment interested in considering. we have lyrics exploring the history and future of You've got a tour of UK/Ire coming up in October humanity (both real and fictional - see our album artwork for the fictional future!), deception in modern and November with Seprevation. Will this be the society, facing personal demons, and other super first time you'll be playing the majority of the new positive subjects with a happy outlook on life, haha! material? We are planning to play some new material at You guys certainly epitomise the term 'D.I.Y Band'. Bloodstock Open Air festival in August, but the UK/ Knowing that the bands fate is within your own EIRE tour will be the first time we play a lot of new hands, does this philosophy give the band an extra stuff I think. I’m excited to play some different stuff after abusing the first album on the road for so long kick in the balls in the morning. Pretty much, yeah. Because otherwise we would get haha! nowhere haha! Being a DIY band is fucking tough, no Ben, best of luck with the upcoming shows and of question. It requires endless work, dedication and determination if you want to survive, and especially if course the album. Before we go our own ways are you want to try and compete with the countless there any possible titles or release dates currently other (already established) bands out there on an going through the Bloodshot Dawn cranium? international level. We have some awesome friends Thank you! I can’t announce any titles just yet, but and colleagues helping us sometimes, but this help is our intended release date for the album is October still paid for by us, the band. We handle everything 25th 2014! ourselves from writing, performing, booking shows,

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Stoodge Mc Nultyspeaks to Maria “Masha Scream” Arkhipova From the band

On the eve of their new album's release, Stoodge spoke to Maria “Masha Scream” Arkhipova on what we should expect from Arkona's seventh studio album “YAV” and loads more.

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So, your seventh full length album Yav is now out on Napalm Records. How akin to your earlier releases is Yav or do you feel this album makes and takes its own path? YAV is written in completely another way and doesn’t look like our earlier albums. The music is mixed from different styles. It has elements of prog, art rock with addition of shoegaze and electronic elements. All of it takes place inside of the black metal core of the songs. This album has a limited number of folk moments, in comparison to our earlier ones. I want to admit, that pagan metal is first of all based on ideological lyrics and don’t have any genre limitations. Pagan metal can be folk/black/death..etc. You can add folk to our earlier albums, but you can’t do the same with YAV because there is no folk in this album. Our new album is very different from our old style ones which our fans are used to, I think not everyone will understand Yav. But at the same time there will be people who will understand and feel it, and maybe they will attract the lovers of other metal styles.

It's of course also the first album with Andrey Ishchenko on drums. How has Andrey settled into the band and did he have an impact on the writing process of the album? Our new album was recorded by two drummers, the first six songs were recorded with our old drummer Vlad Artist, and the last three were recorded with the help of our new drummer - Andrey Ischenko. Vlad "Artist" left our band because of disagreements within our staff that lasted from the moment of studying the new material and accrued during the album's recording The decision about no longer having Vlad as an active part of our group has been made by all members. I think it is a normal situation when someone becomes tired or uninterested in continuing the work with a band. He leaves and finds himself in something else. Vlad was a big part of our band. We wish him only luck in his life! When the decision about Vlad was made we immediately offered Andrey to take his place in the band. Andrey Ischenko is our old friend. We've known each other for many years, so that was easy to accept him into the circle. Andrey is a very famous Can you tell us about the concept engendered on Russian (and not only) drummer who has dedicated his life to work in different groups. He worked a lot the record? YAV is concept album. Concept not in the sense that with many groups not only as a session musician but each song relates to the previous one and the whole as a constant member of many old Russian groups. album is in the style of history, but that all the songs We are glad to see such a great musician like Anis about our world today and it describes my point of drey in Arkona! view on it. The album’s lyrics are made in a philosophical manner and narrates about the world You're actually on tour right now. You've been around us and the world ad I see it. It also describes presenting the new album to audiences across my feelings and emotions about some of nowadays Europe this month. How has the reaction been to problems and opens the philosophy of my views the new material? about the future of our generations and empathy to Of course everyone reacts in different ways. the changes which have already started. Someone, like myself, considers this album to be the gods creation, given to us from the other world. And Is there a separation between lyric writing and someone vice versa, consider it to be the mix of storytelling, or do they overlap? sounds that are hard to perceive. Everything is very Storytelling can use more fluent speech. But lyrics individual. expressed in verse gives the general beauty to the song. I think that it is the main and the only You'll be hitting the road again later in the year difference. I think that both storytelling and lyrics are with Eluveitie and Skalmord. Would I be right in the way of describing the mind and soul. saying 2014 seems to be the busiest year yet for Arkona? How would you describe the the overall We got used to ride a lot, so its hard to definitely atmosphere on Yav? answer your question. We spend much more time YAV from the beginning to the end, is the cry of my on the road than at home, and it looks like this year soul. Everyone should understand it by oneself. I cant will be just another year in the history of our group. describe the atmosphere of this album, as far as I cant describe the atmosphere of my inner world. Its I've always enjoyed your music videos. There's too difficult to me. always a magical theme that shrouds your vignettes throughout. Will this be any different for When writing an album is there extra motivation any future promos from this record? to create something that outdoes your last We wanted to make a videoclip for the song “Serbia” release or is it more about doing something that but label didn’t share our idea and refused to sounds different? support it financially. That's why I don’t know anything I have no motivation. When I have an urge to create about the future circumstances. I have no ideas – I do it. about a video for any other songs.

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Stoodge Mc Nulty speaks with Nate From

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Signed up to the fast growing Boris Records in Atlanta, Gunpowder Gray have recently released their debuting EP. Stoodge spoke to the band's vocalist Nate about the scene in Atlanta, vulture shit and of course...Gunpowder Gray! So Nate, how does it feel now to have your self titled debut EP out? It feels great. Having a concrete thing to show for all of the work that we put into our music is a great feeling. There's seven tracks included on the release. Was there a reason you didn't go gung-ho by recording a full length album? We had really limited funds to record what we did. Initially, we were gonna record just six, but we figured we’d put another track on there to make it more dynamic. We’d love to work on a full length, but at the time, that’s what we had to work with.

It’s the same in the sense that I’m still performing and making music and really that’s what I love. It’s great because I get to write about different things and deal with a whole different subject matter. Any strange or bemusing facts about any of the band members we should know about? Well Adam is absolutely obsessed with shit jokes. He and some of the guys in Mangled have a conceptual band called PortaParty and it’s entirely shit themed.

If you guys were stranded in a vast desert, which member would find an Oasis and who would be the one to slip on Vulture shit? I feel like Joey would be the one to find an Oasis, or a How far do we have to go back to find the earliest group of stranded hot chicks. Sam would probably origins of Gunpowder Gray? Both band and the EP. use his super powers to find water. Adam would definitely find the vulture shit, but I would be the one Really it all started at the beginning of 2011. Chris and I had talked about starting a death-rock band for to slip in it because I was stumbling around drunk off the liquor that Chris found. a while, but once I found out that he was starting a rock band at the beginning of ‘11 I wanted in. How does your touring schedule look for the summer? The EP has been released through the kind folks over at Boris Records. The label is based in Atlanta We’re working on some dates for up the coast, so look out for that! We also just found out that we’ll be like yourselves. How has your relationship been playing with Black Star Riders, the latest incarnation with them? of Thin Lizzy featuring Scott Gorham and Brian Killer. Sam Leyja’s a salt of the Earth kind of guy. Downey! That’s here in Atlanta on June 8th! Truly great. In a very short time he’s done a lot for the Atlanta metal scene releasing Disfigurement, Mangled, Spewtilator, Death of Kings and Sadistic Ritual. He basically helps get everything organized and releases what the bands get recorded. He gives the bands as much as he can. He’s not trying to make money, he just loves music and loves supporting local bands. He also plays in the Atlanta based TIGER! TIGER! Nate, you and Adam are also members of death metal grinders Disfigurement. How different is plying your trade playing death metal from playing with Gunpowder Gray? For me it’s really only different because it’s a completely different vocal style and attitude.

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Heather Blewitt catches up with Zach Householder

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Prior to the release of their fifth and first US Top 10 album “Our Endless War”, Heather spoke to Zach Householder (guitars) from Whitechapel. Zach talks about the new record, their upcoming tour with Devildriver Firebrand and how After they still Dark“haven't made it yet”.


You guys have achieved success as a band at a pretty young age, at what point did you feel you had 'made it'? And what do you think it is about Whitechapel that has made you so popular with metal fans? Honestly, I still don't feel we've actually "made it" by any means. To admit that is almost like admitting defeat and I think that no matter what this band will continue to aspire. I would say instead that we've come a long way and I'm grateful to be where we're at. We realize we're not changing the face of metal or doing something brand new that no one has ever heard. I think to admit that we'd "made it" would also be somewhat cocky as well. As far as the popularity goes, I think it just had to do with being in the right place at the right time with the right mindset as a band. There's a theme that can be related with our music simply from the name and the idea that is implanted into the listener's mind. What people don't realize is that music is 50% of it and the other 50% is creating something intriguing for them to latch on to.

soon. It came about simply because it was something different and fun for the fans to take part in…or something for them all to gossip and gripe about, haha. The new album 'Our Endless War' is due out on 29th April, what can we expect? Although I'm sure there are tons of metal elitist and stubborn Whitechapel fans who would beg to differ, but I think 'Our Endless War' is us at our finest. It has a mix of tastes from all the previous albums and a different flavor for everyone to enjoy.

How was the writing and recording process, did it come easily? Were there any struggles? Writing and recording is always a struggle. Usually, we're given a bullshit block of time to write and produce an album…which in the past has been about 2 months. This time frame is laughable and insulting. It explains why the self-titled felt so rushed. Luckily Alex, Ben Savage, and myself are constantly writing and recording riffs/songs in our home studios all year round. We share all of these via email or listen to them on the road so when it comes to crunch Is it true the band name is linked to Jack the time, we have a lot of material to start working with. Ripper? The name of the band was obviously taken from the The writing process for this album started the same district in London where Jack the Ripper committed way..rushed and suffocating, but we weren't at all his crimes. Also, the first album was somewhat of a happy with any material at first so we put our foot concept album that involved looking through the eyes down and said we needed more time and the results are in the product. It's amazing what happens when of The Ripper while he had his fun. Even though we you're not rushed and you can take time to sit on haven't done a concept album of that sort since songs and listen to them. Past that, the writing and then, the band name still holds ground when it recording process was pretty fluid. We've done it so comes to sounding strong and dark if you know it's many times now that we're not too stubborn or background. prideful to really put our heads together and have Your Facebook page has over a millions 'Likes' how everyone's input on the album. Working with Mark Lewis for the 3rd time also makes it easier because important do you think social media is in music he's one of our good friends and knows exactly what these days? we want. We live in a different day in age and as much as I hate to say it, social media is how Whitechapel got to where it is today. We never could've gotten our music out there as much as we did without the use of the internet. It's a double edged sword, though. As we all know, the music industry has taken a hit over the years from digital media and they're still finding ways to work around it. Record sales used to matter but honestly, they really don't anymore. Bands make money from touring and merchandise alone and not record sales. We've never seen a dime from record sales due to the fact that the money made from them goes directly back to the record label for producing the hard copies and shipping them. That's just how it works. You've created an online contest for fans with your new single 'Mono' tell us about that and how it came about? Honestly, I didn't even know about it until recently. I think it's more something that Phil was handling. From what I understand, we'll be picking a winner

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You've announced a co-headline tour with Devildriver, are you a fan of the band? We did festivals in Europe during August of last year and we had a few side-shows with Devildriver. We hung out with all those guys and instantly got along with them. Devildriver has a really unique sound that doesn't really sound like anyone else and they're all great musicians. So yeah, I'd have to say I am. Out of all the bands you have shared a stage with who has been your favourite? I think it comes down to 4 bands. Meshuggah, Cannibal Corpse, Slipknot, and Slayer. Every one of those bands absolutely floored me live. They all put on such great shows and not to mention, they're all some amazing bands and sharing the stage with them was an honour. What is the best and worst thing about being on tour? After touring for 8 years now, I can say this: Everything between shows sucks. The shows and the fans are totally worth it, but outside of that, not so much. Travelling gets old after awhile. Of course people counter that with, "But you get to see so much stuff and so many new places!" and that's not true. I'm in a city for one day that I don't know my way around with no means of transportation other than a taxi or a train. The majority of the day I'm setting up for the show and getting shit done, then I have a few hours to kill, eat, and relax before set time. It's even more-so with places overseas. Even the cities I've been to more than once I still don't get to see as much as I'd like to. Days off are when I usually have a lot of free time and the majority of the time we're in a small town in the middle of nowhere. You always see all these other bigger bands treating tour like a vacation‌well, that's because they all have something called "money" haha. Luckily, it's not as bad as it sounds‌I just wish i could see more for the time we put on the road.

There has been some killer festivals in Europe that we've done, but I'd honestly have to say that the Mayhem Festival that we did with Slipknot and Slayer was the best one by far. Getting to watch those bands every night never got old. Will Whitechapel be playing in the UK this year? That remains to be seen‌but if we do, it would probably be in the fall or winter.

What is the best festival you have ever played?

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Forgotten

Remains Stoodge Mc Nulty catches up with Sam Marshall, Blaine Wright, Reece Sanderson, Luke Glossop and Jason Goodban

Check out our 'Hymns from the Darkside' section for a free download of the track 'Bind Torture Kill' from their latest EP of the same title.

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Hey guys, can you tell us a little about the band? Sam - Yeah, we are primarily a thrash band but we put a heavier edge on it. It’s like a blend of lots of different styles. We are influenced by bands such as Slayer, The Haunted, Pantera and Cannibal Corpse. Blaine - We all share the same taste in metal pretty much so we are all on the same page when we are writing our material. Reece - Plus we’ve all been friends for years, so this band is very tight on and off stage. You’ve already released two EP’s, the self-titled one in 2012 and more recently ‘Bind Torture Kill’. Have there been any thought on putting out a full length release in the near future. Sam - We are currently writing new material. Whether it’ll end up as a new album or EP only time will tell. The reason we have only released EP’s so far is that that it’s getting new music out to the fans faster. Blaine - Yeah, it’s quicker and cheaper for the fans too, to get new music from us. For a band that’s up and coming like us we feel that a steady stream of new music in EP format, keeping the fans interested and engaged, is better than maybe spending over a year fitting in writing, recording and producing a full album around playing gigs. Jason - We are looking at releasing an album down the line but at the moment we are leaning towards a new EP.

metal producers, Scott Burns in particular as I believe he made a massive step forward in the sound of metal for me, and who wouldn’t want to work with Rick Rubin. Sam - Yeah Rick Rubin would be the dream; his production on the classic Slayer albums is fucking awesome.

How do other commitments such as jobs etc. get in the way of the band? Will the new record consist of completely new Blaine - It can be hard work making time for the material or will you be delving into the already band sometimes but we try and play every gig we released tracks. I know a few bands become very can. At the end of the day we love what we do as a attached to their earlier output and don’t give it up band and want to push on. More gigs, more lightly. exposure, the further we go. Luke - Not anymore. We put an already released Sam - Yeah it’s always an ongoing issue, but we are track, ‘Forgotten Remains’ on ‘Bind Torture Kill’ as committed to the band from a young age so we we felt as it is our signature track we wanted it make it work. It’s ingrained in us, regardless of updated with our new music, but now we’re commitments we always find a way as it’s an concentrating on new material. important part of our lives. Reece - Yeah we’re all excited about getting new stuff out there as people having been asking for it for The band is based in Chesterfield, North a while now. Derbyshire. Have you all grown up together playing Blaine - To be fair dude, when we release a full length music? album I’d like to put ‘Bind Torture Kill’ on it. I love Reece - Yeah we all went to the same school, so playing that song Live’ we’ve all known each other for a very long time. The Sam - Yeah I think when we release an album we band was formed in 2004 so its ten years this year. might do, but for the next EP its all going to be new. We’ve had a couple of name changes and this and that but the core of the band is the same as it ever What about your dream studio and producer for was. the record? Sam - We have gone through several incarnations Reece - Andy Sneap would be awesome at but with the exception of Jason we’ve all been Backstage Productions. He’s worked with some together since day one. massive bands and produced some awesome Jason - I am the newest to the band but I’ve known albums, some of my favourite actually, and he’s only everyone since we were kids so it was an easy down the road from us. transition when I joined back in 2011. Blaine - Working with Andy would be sick, also I’d love to work with some of the early thrash and death

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How is the current scene in the East Midlands? Sam - It’s strong. There are some great bands in our area at the moment, bands like Incinery, Line of Fire, Corrupted Fate and loads more. It shows that we’ve got a lot to offer up here. Blaine - There’s a great mix of styles up here too. All genres of metal you can find around here. Reece - Also there is a big following up here too. There is always a busy room at gigs up here whether it’s a big band on tour or local bands. It’s an awesome time for Metal.

get on Bloodstock’s line-up that would be the dream. Sam - It would be the dream, and it feels great to get through to the final, knowing that when we played to heats, it was in a town that we’d not really played that often so didn’t really have a fanbase so to speak, yet still got the support and the votes from the crowd. It was a good night. Hopefully we’ll have another good night at the final. Also thank you to Rob Bannister and everyone else involved in our areas competition and giving us this awesome opportunity. It means a lot to us.

Guys thanks for speaking to us here at Firebrand After Dark. Have you anything to tell the readers of the magazine? Sam - Just a big thank you for supporting us. Fans are what keep small bands going and I think we all need to take a positive approach to new bands. Without support, they’ll never become big bands in the future and Metal needs that future. Metal has such a rich vein of history and it has the most passionate fans from all over the world. It’s more that just music, it’s a lifestyle, and we are proud to be You’re through to the final of this year’s Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses competition. How a part of that. So keep supporting local metal!! Reece - We are looking forward to getting out and does that feel? playing a gig near you so come and see us and bang Jason - It’s a good year for the band. Reece - It’s a fantastic opportunity for small bands to your head! Keep looking out for us and supporting us get on a festival the size of Bloodstock. It was great because you guys make it all worthwhile. to meet the other bands and share the experience, Blaine - Yeah man, playing gigs is where it’s at for us. Seeing kids kick off pits and loving our music shows and it really opens you eyes to the passion people us we are doing it right and that’s all we need really have for metal. so thank you to everyone! Blaine - Playing with the other bands in this years competition was awesome dude and yeah, if we can You’re the proud hosts of Bloodstock Open Air up there also right. Blaine - Yeah that’s it, Bloodstock is a massive festival and we are lucky that it’s on our doorstep with big bands like Slayer last year, Megadeth and Down this year and it’s only round the corner from us. Jason - It’d be awesome to get on the bill this year. Luke - Yeah that would be a great highlight for us.

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Marcelo Murrer speaks with Stoodge Mc Nulty

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Being all components in an outfit isn't an easy task. But, with hardship comes gratification. Marcelo Murrer of Brazilian black entity Despot speaks to Stoodge about the tribulations and satisfactions of doing it alone. Marcelo also talks about the eagerly anticipated upcoming trilogy of EP's “The War Poems�.

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Hey Marcelo, can you tell us a little about your Despot project? Hello! Despot started back in 2008 after a long break from playing music. It's a one-man-band and I use it as a catalyst for the music that haunts my thoughts. I play Black Metal but in a very unconventional and experimental way, and I try to really push the boundaries of genre and style.

But that's not always how I write music. For instance, the first section of "Matriarch", with the blast beats, was an experiment I did with playing the same riff in several different time signatures, 4/4, 5/4, 3/4 and 6/4. Then I changed it melodically to give a sense of direction to the music. Sometimes I think of the structure of the tune before I write any music. This is something I did in "Egregious", for example. This tune has a bunch of different sections and I thought of its entire You were of course a member of Necrocult and Unholy Massacre in the late 90's. How does being structure before I wrote a single riff. This is a cool the solitary unit of a band compare to playing with approach because it allows you to think of the dynamics of tension and release of the music in full line ups? Yes, I was. The dynamics are very different indeed. I advance. It allows the music to breathe. Most of my songs go through several used to write pretty much all the music for Unholy deconstructions and reconstructions before I Massacre and Necrocult back in the day, so that consider them final though. I record demo versions didn't change much. But now I have to write and practice all the parts. The music I play in Despot is a of the songs several times and there's always something I change. lot more complex and Sometimes it's a physically demanding small detail, than what I'd done before something nigh so it takes a lot more imperceptible to time and work to build everyone except me; the chops to play the other times I ditch, songs tightly. change or add entire Also, I don't have to sections. Since I play deal with the all the instruments I expectations, limitations need to keep and musical vision of recording the tracks other people, which, for over and over - it's better of for worse, the only way for me makes the music of to hear the music Despot very personal. On without actually the other hand, my own playing any of it. limitations become painfully evident. There What are the pros are ideas/riffs/licks that and cons of being I create that require a lot part of a one man of focused, conscious project? practice before I'm able Let's start with the to play them, so I have to good stuff! I'd say the evaluate if they're worth biggest pros are the uncompromised artistic vision the time or if I'd be better off moving on to something and the ability to work on your own pace. I have a else. busy life outside of Despot and I would have a hard Finally, I have to finance pretty much everything time committing to a band with several other people. Despot on my own. Software, computers, musical instruments, electronic gear, guitar and bass gear, Playing solo allows me to work when I can and still produce good results. artwork, studio time, marketing... everything is paid The cons are many, but I'll get to the ones that for with my hard earned money. bother me the most. The worst part of being in a How about creating music now. Do you get an idea one-man-band, for me, is the lack of credibility of the for a riff or beat then go about recording that or is format. Black Metal in particular is flooded with one-man-bands and most of them are complete it a case of locking yourself in a room for a few crap. It's easy enough to put a bunch of days until you've got material? underdeveloped ideas together, record them with It's a bit of both. Sometimes I build entire songs around a single good riff. Then I just find ways to build the mic of an Xbox headset and upload them to the drama around that riff. This is what I did in "Purified internet. The results are terrible most of the time, naturally. So, when people hear your band is a solo by Fire", for example. I had the idea for the hooks in act they instantly associate it with that kind of the chorus and then built the whole song around amateurish, unambitious crap. And I perfectly them. understand them.

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Secondly, if you want to do things right it's a lot of work. Like I said before, I need to write and learn all the parts and practicing takes a lot of time. I need to practice at least two guitar parts and the bass parts for any given riff. Quite often though there are more voices than just twin guitars and bass. I use a lot of background synth and guitar effects and while I improvise some of these, most of them are written during composition and I need to practice them too. Then there's also the money. It's expensive as tits to do everything on your own. I bought a lot of gear for Despot over the years, from musical instruments to software and computer parts. Musical instruments and gear also require maintenance, upgrades, etc. I also paid for the artwork of the last album and for the promotion. There's no one I can share the expenses with, so the bill is huge. And I have to make a living too - I've got a lot of bills to pay - so sometimes I simply can't move on with Despot. Sometimes it just has to wait. Being a one man band do you think your aspirations and horizons suffer from limitations? Definitely. Sometimes I can't stand my music because there's so much "me" in it.

experimentation will allow me to keep the core of Despot's music untouched. The full lengths are still going to feature the angrier, more frantic pace of "Satan in the Death Row". Was the Judas Priest-esque artwork on Satan in the Death Row intentional? While I'm a huge Priest fan I didn't really tell the artist to do it. But when I saw his first sketches (he had several versions) I told him: "We're going to move on with the Priest version!". I instantly fell in love with that artwork. What about your current listening habits. Is there anything we should be keeping our ears out for? I'm currently listening to a mix of old and new stuff. Some of the bands I'm listening to a lot are Deathspell Omega, Mercyful Fate, Triptykon, Death, Ghost, Portal, Antediluvian, Gorguts, Carcass, Gojira, good ol' Maiden, and the classics by Bathory, Sodom, Celtic Frost, Sarcofago and Sepultura also get a lot of spins from me. I'm a huge prog rock and jazz fusion fan, too.

Any plans on getting a line up together to do a tour sometime? Maybe. It will all depend on how things go in the next couple of years, both with Despot and with my personal life. Tell us about the trilogy of EP's you're currently working on. Oh, yes! These EP's are titled "The War Poems". The idea is to release them in between full-length albums. This will keep the band alive so to speak. Since I don't tour and don't have massive promotion working for me the only way I have to keep people interested in Despot is to keep releasing new music. The lyrical themes will be based on poems written by soldiers who fought in WWI. This won't be a War Metal release (eg., won't be anything like Krieg, Conqueror, Bestial Warlust, etc), it will be very emotional lyrically and the music is going to be melodic and dramatic. I commissioned artwork from the same guy who worked with me on "Satan in the Death Row" and it's turning out amazing. When the 3 EP's are done I'll release a compilation with all 3 and some extras. Any ideas on when these will be released? The plan is to release the first EP in late 2014. I don't have an exact date yet. How estranged from your debut full length Satan in the Death Row will the EP's sound? They will have my signature style but will be a lot more experimental. Using these EP's for

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Rome supports 10x the terrain detail over previous installments and features a diverse and immersive landscape to explore. Check out the brand new trailer celebrating the Build an empire – The construction system allows success of the Early Access players to build forts, walls, and bridges at thousands Kasedo Games is pleased to announce that of sites across the map to cement Roman control Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar has left Early over the barbarian kingdoms. Access and is now available as a full version of the Promote your legions – Players can train officers to game via digital download. All campaign chapters and the sandbox mode have now been added to the augment their unit’s skills as well as appoint governors and construct buildings to expand and game; along with many tweaks, fixes and improve their cities. improvements. Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar is a historical strategy game that focuses on Starve your enemies – Supply camps and logistics the intricate tactics and methods of grand warfare. system makes sieges and supply lines more intuitive and more important than ever. The Early Access period has allowed developer For more information on Hegemony Rome: The Rise Longbow Games to work with the community to of Caesar please visit www.kasedogames.com ensure the different mechanics of the game have been implemented effectively and achieve their vision for the title. In celebration of the launch of the full Seven New Pokémon Online Competitions version, there’s a brand new trailer now available Announced! from Longbow Games thanking everyone for their support in crafting the final game of Hegemony There are even more opportunities for Pokémon Rome: The Rise of Caesar. video game players to battle others around the world Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar is available to in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. Seven new Online play now via Steam – while a boxed retail version will Competitions were just announced by The Pokémon be released on 30th of May. For more information Company International, in addition to the 2014 on the game head over to the Steam page here. International Challenge May, currently in progress. View the brand new Longbow Games trailer The worldwide tournament series provides below numerous opportunities for new and experienced Pokémon competitors to battle others online. Some events even reward top players with Championship Points, which count toward invitations to the 2014 Pokémon World Championships taking place August 16–17 in Washington, DC. Here’s the upcoming Pokémon video game Online Competitions schedule: June 6–8: Think Fast Competition: Single Battle. Late June: 2014 International Challenge June. July: Eevee Friendly Match [Name TBD]. July: All Star Battle [Name TBD]. August: Think Fast Competition: Double Battle. Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar takes you to Autumn: Fairy-type Cup [Name TBD]. the plains and forests of ancient Gaul where Julius Autumn: Halloween Party [Name TBD]. Caesar wages a decade long war to subjugate the · Players have the opportunity to earn barbarian hordes. It will immerse you in history like Championship Points toward a possible invitation to no other real time strategy game ever before, the 2014 Pokémon World Championships by forcing you to pay close attention to the changing participating in the 2014 International Challenge seasons and rapidly changing military situations. May or June tournaments. Final Features of Hegemony Rome: The Rise of · The Think Fast Competition: Single Battle will Caesar. test players’ quick thinking. Each round is limited to Direct from the hand of Caesar – Four one 10-minute Single Battle, with a 30-second campaigns follow the conquests of Julius Caesar as preview of the opponent’s Pokémon and 15 seconds he wrote them in Commentarii de Bello Gallico. to choose a move each turn. Bridge the Rhine, invade Britannia and conquer the · Only Eevee and its many evolved forms can Gauls in over 100 objectives or choose from over 20 participate in the Eevee Friendly Match [Name factions in the epic sandbox mode. TBD]. The Rotation Battle format adds a fun component to this competition. All new map – Explore over one million square · The July All Star Battle [Name TBD] will use kilometers that are seamlessly zoomable, from the the Double Battle format. Up to two Legendary and Mediterranean coast to the shores of Britannia. Mythical Pokémon can be included on a team, a rare Improved graphics engine – Hegemony occurrence in Pokémon Online Competitions!

Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar Final Version Available Now Via Digital

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· In August, the Think Fast Competition: Double Battle will require players to go into battle without seeing a preview of their opponent’s Pokémon team, and each player can have only one Pokémon in reserve, for a total of three Pokémon per side in each battle. · Look forward to the Fairy-type Cup [Name TBD] this fall, a competition where entry will be limited to Fairy -type Pokémon. The battle format is to be determined. · In a special competition for the Halloween season, the Halloween Party [Name TBD] will have a special Single Battle competition for Ghost-type Pokémon only. Also, every contestant’s Battle Box must include Gourgeist!

Dark Scavenger, a bizarre Point-and-Click RPG Adventure is hitting Steam today!

Psydra Games is proud to announce that Dark Scavenger was released on Steam on Friday, May16th, 2014. The normal price is $4.99, but we will be running a 20% discount at launch. About Dark Scavenger Brief Description: Dark Scavenger is a bizarre point-and-click RPG adventure with a focus on exploration, gaining loot, and meaningful choices. Filling the role of a powerful space traveler, you find yourself stranded on a mysterious alien planet. Will you save the world or just yourself? Key Features: - Unique Dark Comedy Sci-Fi Narrative driven entirely Panzer Tactics HD: Intelligence Report #4 and by your choices. Each encounter has multiple outcomes! pre-order discount on Steam - Earn Tons of Loot and convert it into bizarre equipment! bitComposer Games and Sproing proudly present the fourth Intelligence Report for Panzer Tactics HD. This - Deep Turn Based Combat which utilizes equipment Intelligence Report covers tactical advancement on dif- combinations to exploit enemy weaknesses! ferent types of terrains and under different weather pat- - Epic Boss Battles with multiple forms. terns. Cunning tacticians will be able to make a - New Game Plus Mode lets you see what you missed clever move before the release of Panzer Tactics HD. the first time around! Starting today until the 22nd of May hardcore - Tons of Secrets that you will probably never find. strategists can pre-order the game and get a 20% Review Quotes: "Dark Scavenger is one of the most genuinely funny, well discount on the full price of € 29,99 / $ 29,99 / £ written games I've ever played and stand side-by-side 22,99. with titles like Grim Fandango and Monkey Island. It is The PC version of Panzer Tactics HD will be THAT good. " available on STEAM (PC) as well as Gamersgate and - IndieStatik Uplay on the 22nd of May for 29.99 € / 29.99 $ / “Dark Scavenger features more silliness and oddity than 22.99 £. any other game I’ve played this year.” – Rock Paper At the same time the iPad version of Panzer Shotgun Tactics HD will be released on the iTunes Store. The basic version contains the first of three campaigns and “Dark Scavenger takes an iteration of the RPG genre that is generally thought of as obsolete and breathes will be available for 7,99 € / 8,99 $ /5,99 £. The fresh life into it.” – Strategy Informer second and third campaign can be added through In-App purchases. Each additional expansion is available for 3,59 € / 3,99 $ / 2,49 £ or bundled for 5,99 € / Ground Forces Expansion Rolls Into “War 6, 99 $ / 4, 99 £. Thunder” Today On Pc Key Features - Three exciting single-player campaigns on the sides of Ground Forces Expansion has launched - meet the real tanks! the German Army, the Soviet Red Army and the Today, Gaijin Entertainment announced that they Western Allied Forces. have unleashed a full-scale video game invasion with the - More than 30 nerve-wracking missions, including launch of the Ground Forces Expansion in 1.41 update. covert operations behind enemy lines. - Over 150 different units at sea, on land and in the air. The Ground Forces Expansion joins Gaijin - Thrilling tactical battles: Turn-based battles with great Entertainment’s blockbuster military World War II MMO game War Thunder on PC, providing war hungry players depth. the ability to unleash furious battles from either air or - More than 30 heroic officers that help motivate your land, all within the same play experience. units. “Our goal from the beginning with War Thunder - Use different terrain, weather and the seasons to your was to create a game that allows players to safely advantage. experience the perils of a full scale world war. The - Challenging battles: Each turn must be carefully rumble you hear in the distance, is the sound of many of considered and can be the deciding factor between our six million players launching their earth shaking victory and defeat. attacks using heavily armored ground forces. Players - High replay value: Fight exciting battles in scenarios who prefer aerial battles better keep one eye in the air against the AI. and one eye on the ground because Ground Forces Expansion has launched!”, – said Anton Yudintsev, CEO

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of Gaijin Entertainment.. Ground Forces Expansion joins the ranks of War Thunder, allowing players to now create their own military force made up of aircrafts as well as tanks. With improved player progression, fans can build their arsenal to match their style of play, whether that be with lightning quick strike abilities or with earth rattling shock and awe! Players can now decide how best to build up and unleash their military might upon others in War Thunder’s ever-growing next generation experience. Currently, players can access Soviet and German vehicles in Ground Forces with other nations rolling out later. There are dozens of light, medium and heavy tanks, as well as self-propelled artillery and anti-air guns. The latter will become useful in Combined Arms battles, available in Realistic and Simulation game modes where player-controlled ground vehicles are fighting alongside player-controlled planes (and AI-allies in some cases). Combined Arms will be enabled later once enough players reach high levels with their ground forces, but anyone can try this mode in Custom Battles already. Gaijin Entertainment will add additional ground vehicles and new maps in future updates, but developers have not forgotten pilots and their needs. In update 1.41 all of the existing aerial game modes have stayed intact with some tweaks and improvements and 10 new aircrafts, including the powerful US Navy bomber PBJ-1H, armed with a mighty 75-mm cannon, have entered the fray. The Ground Forces Expansion release date on PS4 will be announced soon.

Square Enix Celebrates 12th Anniversary Of Final Fantasy Xi Company Continues Support of Long-Running MMORPG with New Updates Square Enix, Inc. is proud to announce the 12th Anniversary of Final Fantasy XI. To celebrate yet another major milestone for the franchise favorite, Square Enix continues its ongoing support for the game and its dedicated player community through new content releases. New game updates coinciding with the Final Fantasy XI 12th Anniversary include: - New Seekers of Adoulin® missions to continue the ever-evolving storyline along with new areas to explore - The debut of the “Mog Wardrobe” – a new equipment storage feature that allows even greater storage for the adventurer on the go - The introduction of “Ergon Weapons” for the rune fencer and geomancer jobs - The release of two new high-tier mission battlefields that allow players to challenge previous conquests at a higher difficulty for new spoils

The addition of Maat and Gessho to the ever-growing list of alter egos that will fight by your side.

Ubisoft Takes Players To New Heights With Far Cry 4 Sequel To The #1 Rated Shooter of 2012 Ubisoft announced Far Cry 4, an open-world, first-person shooter that delivers the most expansive and immersive Far Cry experience ever. Far Cry 4 will be available November 21 in the UK for PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC. Development on Far Cry 4 is being led by Ubisoft Montreal in collaboration with Ubisoft’s Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft Shanghai, and Ubisoft Kiev. In Far Cry 4, players find themselves in Kyrat, a breathtaking, perilous and wild region of the Himalayas struggling under the regime of a despotic self-appointed king. Using a vast array of weapons, vehicles, and animals, players will write their own story across an exotic open-world landscape. “Following the success of Far Cry 3, we wanted to take the franchise to the next level and create a game that will surprise players and exceed fans’ expectations,” said Dan Hay, Executive Producer. “Given the unique setting, we feel Far Cry 4 will stand out as a top first-person shooter and we’re eager to reveal more about the game in the coming months.” Customers who pre-order Far Cry 4 will receive the Limited Edition which includes Hurk’s Redemption, a series of three action-packed single-player missions featuring the popular character Hurk from Far Cry 3’s DLC. The Limited Edition also includes Hurk’s signature harpoon gun called “The Impaler”. The pre-order is now available at all major retailers.

Hyperx Signs On As The First Headline Sponsor For Insomnia52 - The Biggest Insomnia Gaming Festival Ever Multiplay, organiser of the UK’s biggest gaming festivals, is pleased to announce HyperX as its first headline sponsor for Insomnia52, which is set to be the biggest Insomnia festival ever. Building on the largest spring festival in its history, which showcased the latest games, the best indie talent and the biggest eSports competitions in the UK to over 20,000 consumers, Multiplay is pulling no punches as it prepares for its greatest event to-date. For this year’s epic summer event, Multiplay is going all out, utilising more areas than ever before,

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including the pitch to assemble a huge marquee that Maia – which captured people’s imagination when allows even more dedicated zones. New zones and it raised £140,000 on Kickstarter last year – is a features for Insomnia52 include the YouTuber Live zone, passionately detailed game. Every aspect of new the Just Dance zone and much, much more. interstellar life is hyper-simulated, from weather conditions to colonists’ vital signs, creating a truly emergent world to discover. Lego The Hobbit Adds Three New Dlc Packs Key features include: Embark on the next stage of your Lego The Hobbit,  Over 2km2 x 2km2 of a procedural world adventure with three new content packs now available for download on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network!  Complex colonist AI With two new character packs and an awesome new  Rich, detailed simulation including high-quality item pack, players going through Middle-earth will have graphics from Roth’s proprietary engine access to more recognizable characters, cool new  Simple, minimalist UI weapons and tons of new side quests.  Open data for modders Dark humour and bi-polar androids throughout

Space colonisation simulator Maia gets groundbreaking new build

- Comprehensive new build is really really comprehensive - Assets galore - brand new trailer and a plethora of screenshots - Steam keys available ‘Dungeon Keeper meets Dwarf Fortress on a primordial alien world’, says creator Simon Roth What’s the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything? Just ask Simon Roth, whose dynamic sci-fi simulator Maia is entering its 42nd build next month. We can also reveal (one hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional being to another) that Maia is now exactly 42% complete, so there’s obviously something spooky going on. Maia is a space colonisation simulator where humans strive to conquer the final frontier, discovering along the way that their new Eden’s animal, mineral and vegetable population all totally want them to die. It’s sold over 40,000 units to date, even though it’s still currently in alpha, and is heavily influenced by these early players’ feedback. The dev team are delighted to announce, for instance, that the new build includes toilet facilities due to popular demand for colony commodes. Space is nothing if not hygienic. The 42nd build also introduces the game’s first AI as well as Maia’s first indigenous creature – a mighty SPACE BEAR-LION (species due to be classified ASAP) – as well as new customisation options so you can now tailor your world in the menu. As it’s spring, there’s a number of Easter eggs embedded around the place, too… As Roth puts it, ‘The game that was ridiculously deep just got deeper’. What is Maia? In 2113, humanity began its first extra-solar colonisation programme. One of the target worlds was a distant blue planet named ‘Maia’. Inspired heavily by a ’70s sci-fi aesthetic and hard-science future fiction, Maia is a colony management simulator where you must keep your colonists safe, fed and happy while battling ever-changing environmental conditions. You also have to contend with psychological, physiological and technical issues that could and will plague humanity’s first interstellar colonisation.

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War of the Vikings Adds Fearsome Female Warriors with Shieldmaiden Mini-Expansion History’s Toughest Women Added to Close-combat Game; Customization Options Available via DLC Paradox Interactive today announced the addition of female characters to War of the Vikings, the close quarter combat game developed by Fatshark. The “Shieldmaiden” mini-expansion adds the highly anticipated option to play as female combatants in a new pre-defined class for both the Viking and Saxon factions, with designs inspired by history and real-world accounts of brave warrior women, and comes at no cost to all players. This update launches alongside a new DLC package that adds a wealth of customization options to the new female warriors – absurd and nonsensical ‘boob armor’ not included. Owners of the of the Blood Eagle and Valhalla editions of the game will have this customization DLC already included, base game owners can purchase the customization DLC for $4.99. The Shieldmaiden mini-expansion for War of the Vikings also gives all players access to new maps, new weapons, and the ability to use a female face for all existing classes. “Out of all of the research and study that went into designing War of the Vikings, the history surrounding shieldmaidens was some of the most fascinating and controversial,” said Gordon Van Dyke, Executive Producer for Paradox’s War series. “Our design reflects the preparations that any warrior, male or female, would have made for battle: practical protection, not sexualized fantasy. We’ve saved the physics for the combat, where it belongs.” Developed by Fatshark, War of The Vikings brings the next generation of close-quarter combat games to Viking Age England, allowing players to conquest across the British shores as fierce Vikings – or defend them as stalwart Saxons. With skill-based combat, authentic historical weaponry and environments, and a variety of game modes, War of the Vikings will test players’ mettle and determine who is worthy of entry to Valhalla. War of the Vikings is available now: http://warofthevikings.com/buy

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For any review requests please contact the Firebrand After Dark team at afterdark@firebrandrr.co.uk

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Sabaton - Heroes Label: Nuclear Blast Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Website: http://www.sabaton.net/

Released: 19 May 2014 Highlight: Resist and Bite

In giving yet another production credit to Peter Tagtgren the Sabaton rhetoric, despite also reinforcing the band's (Hypocrisy, Pain), the new reshuffled line up of Sweden's acumen for producing a varied inventory. honourable longstanding service men Sabaton has commenced its worldwide incursion. Yes there's the inclusion of typical lyrics you'd expect from the band, ‘Auschwitz’, ‘Foreign Soils’ and ‘The Blood The first advancement of this vanguard is the quick-fire of your Heroes’ all get a mention. And there's nothing fulmination of ‘Night Witches’, an incisive prelude which wrong with that. No one would anticipate an Amon thrives on an unforgettable arm raising hook that we Amarth album in the same way had it no mention of know only Sabaton can deliver so well. Second up is the semi naked bearded men comparing weapons would salvo of 'No Bullets Fly', with an opening riff akin to they? classic Judas Priest it's a perfect resumption of the record's initiatory surge. Sabaton posses the natural ability and unique power of managing to fit into an area that fails and brings With only yet being a couple of minutes into this latest receptive upheaval to so many other bands. They nestle barrage from the Swedes, it's hugely apparent with its perfectly in the goldilock region, between the overly familiar progressions and Dryckesvisor-esque chanting, sentimental and pragmatic heavy metal planets. And that with Heroes the Sabaton trademark sound is loud, they happened to be stationed within the circumstellar clear and like you would expect, it proudly and bravely habitual zone of reputability and sincerity. marches into battle with its head held high. Heroes is a routine yet accomplished return by these The triple fusillade of ‘To Hell and Back’, ‘The Ballad of troopers, and again they've made a record that's Bull’ and ‘Resist and Bite’ all do their job in epitomising compulsive listening for any history classes out there.

Emmure - Eternal Enemies Label: Victory Records Reviewer: Gavin Griffiths Website: https://www.facebook.com/emmure

When you combine metalcore, with a name inspired by a form of prolonged execution, through dehydration and starvation (immurement, look it up), it’s safe to conclude that New York’s Emmure pull absolutely no punches musically. With their latest album; ‘Eternal Enemies’ dropping recently, it’s hard to see it gaining them any new friends… Controversial from the word go, opening track ‘(Untitled)’ had to be changed from ‘Bring A Gun To School’. Given American gun culture and tragic shootings making news in recent years, it was considered distasteful, and rightly so. Leading single ‘Nemesis’ displays front man Frankie Palmeri’s vocals as brutal and unforgiving as humanly possible, full of anger, hatred and disgust, over heavy breakdowns and crunching guitars. ‘The Hang Up’ has a slight nu-metal vibe to it, sounding like early Korn in places musically… the vocals rarely divert from their pitiless path of ruin.

Released: 15 April 2014 Highlight: We Were Just Kids

‘Most Hated’ can’t help but sound, well, childish in a sense. Lyrically that is. Sure it’s heavy and full of attitude but, you don’t really want to listen to a frontman ramble on about how tough he is (or thinks he is at least), it’s far from impressive or even intimidating for that matter, quite laughable really. The rest of the album plods along with the same blend of furious vocals and pummelling metal but ultimately, with fifteen tracks in total, it lasts much longer than it needs to. Emmure may live by a ‘kill or be killed’ code of conduct, but that doesn’t necessarily transfer well into their music. With such a bludgeoning sound, sometimes it’s safe to admit less is more..

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Vanhelga - Langtan Label: Art Of Propaganda Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Website: http://www.vanhelga.com/

It has been an absolute pleasure to palpate such a unique piece of work. What Vanhelga have achieved with Langtan isn't such a burning fire, even smouldering ash goes out. It's more akin to an athanor. It's a result of ceaseless transmutations and multi-faceted propagation that has brought Langtan here. Impossible to categorise and distinguish yet this incomparable fusion is somewhat familiar. This is to black metal what alchemy is to modern science.

Released: 28 April 2014 Highlight: Med Mina Andetag

evidence that he's heavily inebriated on the stuff. If things are really as tenebrous whilst under the influence, then the hangover is going to be sheer life absorbing. Langtan is the black metal album Mike Patton would make. Vanhelga is a band entwined by visionaries holding the same indiscernible torch.

Instead of selling their soul to Satan at the crossroads, it appears the covert capers proved of the evil beast's mortality with a shovel, and then used the blooded implement to dig a hole for a one way ticket straight into another dimension. This quantum leap partaken by Sweden's Vanhelga has landed them deep into a realm of dejected ambiance, padded cells and delirium juice. And it's that fine drink that vocalist J. Ottosson (aka 145188) enjoys all to well. Babbling, shrieking and disgorging his way around the white room is sure fire

White Miles - Job: Genius, Diagnose: Madness Label: Self Release Reviewer: Gavin Griffiths Website: www.white-miles.com

This apparently Madagascan duo, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Medina Rekic, and drummer/vocalist Hansjörg Loferer (Lofi), aren’t ones for your run of the mill rock ‘n’ roll. No. They describe themselves as ‘dirty pole-dance stoner blues rock’, which maybe a bit of a mouthful, but sounds equal parts exciting and intriguing musically and visually. After quitting their day jobs to pursue a dream, releasing only four live videos, they’re ambitious to say the least, but with a penchant for doing things differently, how has their debut album turned out? Is it more genius or madness? ‘Fake Smile’ gets us underway with a distorted, indie-rock vibe to it, it’s simplistic but a real foot-tapper, with Medina’s vocals delivered not too dissimilar to the likes of Karen-O from the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s; a pleasant introduction. ‘Bitter Hands’ is a real gentle piece, quaintly plucked acoustic guitar, with some husky yet soft vocals giving the song a real sombre feeling, while ‘Feinripp’ has more of The Pretty Reckless at its core, a

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Released: 12 May 2014 Highlight: A Little Older A Little Harder

little attitude but not as rocking. Where it’s safe to say that, even though the bands self-described style is a tad over the top, having listened to the album, its understandable where they’re coming from. There are moments on ‘J.G.D.M.’ that you can quite easily picture yourself in the type of seedy, run down bar this type of music would be playing, where you’d find drugs, exotic dancers etc., but in essence all they are, are a gritty blues band with a bit of bite. The album as a whole is an enjoyable listen but it doesn’t really fall into the category of genius OR madness. Still, worth a listen.

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Anti-Mortem - New Southern Label: Nuclear Blast Records Released: 29 April 2014 Reviewer: Joey Lowebins Highlight: I Get Along With The Devil Website: https://www.facebook.com/AntiMortemUSA

Formed in 2008 and consisting of vocalist Larado Romo, older brother-guitarist Nevada Romo, guitarist Zain Smith, bassist Corey Henderson and drummer Levi Dickerson the five piece from Oklahoma have released their debut album, New Southern.

Larado is excellent, his range stretches from melodic to metal growls similar to Phil Anselmo. The influences of the band are clearly Heavy metal with a flavour of Southern rock and blues (presumably an inspiration for the albums name) which can be heard throughout the album. Produced by Bob Marlette who also produced fellow Southern groovers Black Stone Cherry this album is a great listen.

Guitarist Smith is quoted as saying "We want to inspire people to pick up guitars". This is clearly evident from the opening track ‘Words of Wisdom’ and throughout the remaining twelve tracks, catchy riffs and belting guitar solos really do make you want to wrap a tie round One thing is for sure, they sound great on record but I your head, pick up the nearest mop and air guitar to have a feeling live, these guys will kick ass! And your hearts content. fortunately for this reviewer I will have the pleasure of seeing them at this years Download 2014! I shall most It’s hard to believe that the band themselves are only certainly rock out with my…. Well, you know the rest. between 18 -22. On first listen you would swear they are seasoned veterans. The whole bands are extremely tight and the songs are wonderfully crafted with each member of the band having their say on the album (the whole band are involved in the writing process). Vocally

Killgasm - A Stab In The Heart Of Christ Label: Moribund Records Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Website: http://www.killgasm.blogspot.co.uk/

Stampeding in with their second myriad of crude, harsh and brutal grind/death metal is the menacing Killgasm. Hailing out of Sacramento, CA the line up of Kuntslaughter (vocals & drums), Corpse-Bukkake (bass) and Nekrotis (guitar) sure know how to create a muse of acidic vomiting discharge......with marshmallows on top.

Released: 28 May 2014 Highlight: Revenge Of The Panzergoat

that the malevolent Killgasm triphammer gets put into gear to crush everything in its path. Besides the three aforementioned chaos bearing lullabies, a mixture of horror flick intros, noxious riffage and blastbeats at 666bpm all ensure the album remains a frenetic sonic fusion straight from Satan's Ass.

This is an ultimate crust ejaculating grind consummation. Not only does the anarchist anti-theist lyrical motive help drive the Killgasm rebellion, conforming to any conventional element within the vast metal spectrum is insurmountable. To put it pleasantly, 'A Stab.....' is a powerful display of vulgarity. You can't go wrong when you release a repertoire of rancid anomalies such as 'Revenge of the Panzergoat', 'The Smell of Stolen Innocence' and 'Fisting Your Faith'. This trio of tracks reek of a putrid decomposing corpse at every turn. And it's at every turn

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Curimus - Artificial Revolution Label: Freezing Penguine/Svart Records Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Website: http://www.curimus.net/

Released: 25 April 2014 Highlight: Free-Standing Nation

Crowning a decade of ear splitting pestilence with their second full length album is Finland's Curmius. Released on their own label Freezing Penguin and distributed by Svart Records, Artificial Revolution is an asterism of aggressive and authoritarian hardcore stained thrash. Like a bulldozer on Viagra, each of the eleven slabs of ferrous muscle are delivered with an offensive and devastating demeanour. Sadly the side effects of ingesting Viagra can lead to procuring a one track mind. And that's the consequence here also. As commanding as the record is, the more you keep punching unguarded at the head the more likely you are to receive a kick in the balls. The album reaches it's peak around the 4th or 5th track, and after that the stiffness truly sets in. Not that the latter tracks are any weaker but the rhetoric simply becomes a too tedious.

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Etta Zero - The Last Of all Sunsets Label: Dr.Music Records (Membran) Reviewer: Rob Birtley Website: http://www.ettazero.com/html/

Geography has never been one of my strong points. To tell you the truth bad days I struggle telling right from left as I’m Dyslexic so don’t ask me were the Principality of Liechtenstein is but I can tell you Etta Zero is made up of 4 of its 30,000 inhabitants. ‘Last of all Sunsets’ is their first studio album. Take a groovy rock beet, deep metal guitars with a touch of grinding Prog and combine the whole thing with modern, electronic sounds and a striking voice and you have an idea what they sound like. Sometimes a vibe that reminds you of later Queensryche with that Prog touches whilst the vocal is more akin to Pretty Maid’s Ronnie Atkins with a dash of Marc Storace of Krokus. The Question is does this mix work? The album opens with the a piano and electronic intro then a spoken word piece setting the scene a device often used in Prog and once again echoing Queensryche, then crashes into the title track ‘The Last Of All Sunsets’ with the aid of some heavy guitars and solid drums. The vocal is gruff and growling and full of attack and emotion something which carries on right through the album. ‘All That I see’ is the ballad of doomed relationships and self-despair with the dark

Released: 30 May 2014 Highlight: The All That I See

mood set in three dimensions with driving drum and chunky guitar riffage and the chorus has a hefty hook with supplemented with some fine keyboard playing and gently finale gentle fading into the distance. Aptly this is followed by ‘From The Ashes’ where the fierce guitar riffs leap out like a fighter once knocked down announcing his comeback it’s a song to pick you off the canvas knowing you’ll take the title in the end. ‘Anymore’ is another track looking back on a failed relationship. It’s full of musical angst headed out by the thudding guitar and drum combo attack. The vocal is a gravel filled plea from the heart being almost barked out. I have to say this album is compulsive as each track rolls on into the next if a bit dark at times. I can only assume the guys had just come through an emotional chasm at the time of writing and used the album to exercise their demons. Needless to say it’s not an album to listen to when you are feeling down. As to the original question does this eclectic mix of styles work? I’d have to say a big Yes to that one and I would thoroughly recommend ‘The Last Of All Sunsets’.

SadDoLLs - Grave Party Label: Inverse Records Reviewer: Gavin Griffiths Website: www.saddolls.net

Whether you classify it as darkwave, gothic rock, goth-pop, whatever, there are certain boxes that generally get ticked without fail. You’ve got the deep, melancholic vocals, sprinklings of piano and/or synthesizers, simple yet surging riffs and, most songs have the ability to make you want to bop your head, equally as much as making you want to top yourself. It’s quite a sadomasochistic genre, offering listening pleasure from apparently dark or often depressing song writing, and nothing sums that idea up more so than the new album by Greece’s SadDolls; ‘Grave Party’.

Released: 2 May 2014 Highlight: Bleed Sister Bleed

this instead, it would have been better off. Great driving guitars, the deep drawl of vocalist George Downloved reminiscent of bands like Charon; it’s promising. ‘Terminate Me’ and ‘Bleed Sister Bleed’ are, as far as the genre goes, perfect, with the band in full swing delivering some genuine quality. ‘The Last Valentine’ and ‘Angels Making Love’ keep the album plodding along, until eventually ‘On The Road 66’ finishes up with a slow, bleak finale.

Fans of this genre are bound to take a categorical liking to SadDolls. They’ve kept it relatively simple here, and Opening with ‘Rave To The Grave’, a somewhat corny although gothic rock isn’t the in-thing at this moment in title for this type of band it has to be said, it’s a brief time with regards to musical trends or scenes, they’ve intro track, a basic drum beat with some keyboards, still managed to attract the attention of the likes of supposedly meant to sound atmospheric but it achieves Deathstars and The 69 Eyes with only their second full little, as first track proper, ‘Lady Cry’ is a complete length album. These dolls want to be played with, give change of sound and direction that doesn’t blend well at them a chance; there are bigger and better things to all. It’s a decent track and had the album opened with come from this lot.

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Psyclon Nine - Disorder: The Shadow Sessions Label: Metropolis Records Released: 11 March 2014 Reviewer: Joey Lowebins Highlight: Afferte Mihi Mortem (Version: Modern weapons) Website: http://www.metropolis-records.com/artist/psyclon-nine

Following the release of Order of the Shadow : Act I, Psyclon Nine have now released Disorder : The Shadow Sessions. Featuring remixes by Alien Vampires, Dismantled, Life Cried, and more.

for, it does however still retain the old heaviness of the original album and the remix makes it very impressive. The drums are ferocious and the vocals are Dani Flith-esque..

The Industrialists, who have now split up due to founding member Nero Bellum attending therapy for unknown reasons, have remixed Order of the Shadow :Act 1. Now, this album has something for every Metal fan, with Death Metal influences on Afferte Mihi Mortem (Version: Modern Weapons) and Ministry-esque vibes on Shadows Unveiled, this is an album not to miss. This reviewer was on first listen of the opening track, slightly dubious as to how the remaining album would unfold. But let me tell you, it is awesome! With blast beats, double bass, lung bursting vocals and synth to boot, I will be purchasing this album for my own pleasure (something I have never done before).

Long term fans of the band (if there are any remaining due to the non-receivership of paid merchandise on e-bay) will still find this remix of pleasure. One thing that is unfortunate for fans is that the band are unlikely (never say never) to play live again. This album however is a brilliant farewell to the band and (particularly for fans of NIN) I would recommend picking this bad boy up immediately.

As it is a remix it is hard to point out new areas to listen

Waxen - Agios Holokauston Label: Moribund Records Released: 27 May 2014 Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Highlight: Destined For Division Website: http://www.moribundcult.com/2013main.html

Made up of the solitary unit and multi-genre virtuoso that is Toby Knapp (Onward, Toby Knapp band, Godless Rising), what's presented here is a sombre conception of radioactive rip soaring vocals, ever changing musical paths and morose soundscapes that crash in with blizzard force. Almost a decade since his last transition into Waxen, 2014 calls time for this sleeping beast to finally be summoned from it's dank subsurface.

heard. From the seven fiendish insertions on Agios Holokauston, the tempestuous omission levels are at a high reading. The riotous trio of 'Suicidium', 'Destined for Division' and 'With Hatred be Destroyed' lay sprawled out and proud at the apex of this latest Waxen mountain.

Dripping of a bombastic venom that hasn't always been conjoined to Toby's musical output over the years, Agios Holokauston is yet another noteworthy addition to an ever strengthening armament from the guy from Big Horn, Wyoming. With acidic vocal malice that would melt the mandible of any defenceless creature, Toby's Waxen project is an infusing black metal cacophony that deserves to be

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Absolva - Anthems To The Dead Label: Rocksector Records Released: 5 May 2014 Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Highlight: Live For The Fight Website: http://www.mwaweb.com/absolva_home.htm

Following up from their splendid “Beyond Live” CD/DVD package, Manchester's heavy metal stalwarts Absolva are back with the supposed difficult second album. And truth be told, the album does consummate in one hell of a problematic situation. The perplexing plight comes in the form of repeatedly having to listen to this beauty of a release. After having been exposed to the fifty minutes of unceasing energy and brawn, putting anything else on your player would effectively be like a caffeine addict expecting stimulation from sucking their thumb.

Track by track this Mancunian trio provide evidence of a band that not only pride themselves on a premature inveteracy but they also have the ability to beget faultless upstanding heavy metal anthems. Whilst their debuting “Flames of Justice” is certainly well-nigh the brow of recent British metal releases, Absolva have reached the meridian of creativity and fecundity with Anthems to the Dead.

With diverging bass hooks furnished by Dan Bate, intuitive drumming patterns from Martin McNee, and soaring guitar riffs accompanied by an ever increasing octave range purveyed by Chris Appleton, the Absolva method is one of dedication and hardship. It's also an approach that's systematically organic to the trio, there'll be no meeting at a crossroads for these men.

PACT - The Infernal Hierarchies Penetrating The Threshold Of Light Label: Moribund Records Released: 15 April 2014 Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Highlight: Firelord Andramelch Website: http://www.moribundcult.com/2013main.html

Following up from their otherworldly debut combustion The Dragon Lineage of Satan, the trio of terror that is Pact is back with a massive bang. This contentious trio have awoken a diabolical beast and he's well and truly ripping shit up.

This fiendish creation has as much momentum as an asteroid hurtling towards planetary destruction. It also has the same impact.

The immediate detonation of 'The Hell of Supernal's' ushers in a dark cloud. It's a grim and hellish nebula that descends over all and deadens any possible vitalities. For the near fifty minutes that this grotesque organism blasts out, any visions of El Dorado are as distant as a time of when trilobites ruled the Earth. Yes the majority of the tracks on 'The Infernal...' sound like they've been left over from the recording sessions of their debut back in 2012. And yes, it could be said that there's a lack of imagination on the latest offering. The thing is, these negatives would be damaging to a band that were out to portray something they're not. Pact does things its way.

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Mordbrand - Imago Label: Deathgasm Records Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Website: http://mordbrand.bandcamp.com/

Released: 26 May 2014 Highlight: Bastion Of Blood

Charging in with a phalanx of pulverising riffs escorted with vocal shockwaves that would detonate any near by C4, these gore whoring Swede's have delivered us a very tasty debuting expulsion.

The band go slightly off the beaten path with the album's title track. With a sound similar to playing acid jazz in a bomb shelter on the day of reckoning, this is indeed a bizarre addition to an otherwise hard hitting constituent.

The three man militia that is Mordbrand come across as veterans in their field. After having released a few highly regarded EP's and splits, it's time for the lid to come off the brooding cesspool. Don't worry, the repercussions of such an audacious move are totally worth it.

There are also a few guest appearances on the record, most notably from Eric Cutler (Autopsy) and CC DeKill (Gravehill), both men get their shredding fingers stuck into ‘Their Name Are Myriads’.

Tracks including the slaughtering ‘That Which Crawls’ and the ruthless ‘Bastion of Blood’ are enough to get your nipples in a twist. Even if you're not of the mamilla persuasion. This is pretty much a straight forward death metal record. It retains all the facets celebrated within the genre. It's got guts, muscle, balls and oh yeah, there's enough decorous music enclosed to throw an axe at.

The choleric ‘Severe the Limbs That Grace’ concludes the album. The piano encumbered outro may signal the end of Imago, but in terms of the Mordbrand agendum it's just the beginning.

Frequency - The Flow Label: Self Release Released: February 2014 Reviewer: Joey Lowebins Highlight: Rebellion Website: https://www.facebook.com/frequencymetal

Three years have passed since Spain’s Frequency released ‘Rotten Empire’ and they have now released ‘The Flow’.

of the band, and realistically they have a real shot of making a go of it through hard work and some good luck, Hopefully they are picked up by a label soon and can start touring Europe showing their talents live.

I’m going to throw this out there, sometimes when you are a melodic Death Metal band you don’t have to put Time will tell on this one, two albums in I just hope they melodic singing in every song. Take for example the get the lucky break that they are after as they certainly track ‘Conjunction of Sense’s’, the song starts off with deserve it. heavy guitars and crushing drums which really gets the blood pumping. As the song continues the heavy singing kicks in and then as the song reaches the peak the melodic singing comes in and dampens it. Now, that is not to say that the rest of the album is the same, as the third track on the album ‘Other Beings’ is a perfect fit for the impressive vocal range (somewhere in between In Flames and Killswitch) and fits the song to perfection. In fact the rest of the album is excellent. As the band are releasing this album independently you can only take your hat off to their beliefs in the longevity

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Acid Witch/Nunslaughter - Spooky (Split 7”) Label: Hells Headbangers Released: 24 March 2014 Reviewer: Lee Walker Highlight: Friends Of Old Website: http://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/nunslaughter-acid-witch-spooky-vinyl.asp

7” splits are great ways to discover new bands and to annoy the neighbours in the process. ‘Spooky’ what more can I say fantastic artwork and fantastic tunes by two fantastic bands.

leaving you feeling like you are an acid trip while listening to early Type O Negative as there songs slowly crush you with their heaviness.

As a split 7” ‘Spooky’ excels your wildest expectations Nunslaughter need no introduction having been and annoys the Hell out of the neighbours at the same spawned way back in 1987 and have been inflicting time especially if you play it at the recommended volume their thrash infused death metal to the world ever since. of fucking loud. Contributing to brand new tracks to this split 7” they waste no time crushing you under the pure unadulterated riffage of ‘Spooky Tails’ or the thrashtastic ‘A Sordid Past’. So that leaves Acid Witch’s contribution. Who are Acid Witch? Good question musically their use of Hammer horror style sound clips and organ playing merging well with the slabs of doom ridden, punk infused metal

Blood Of Kings - Starvation Label: Tridroid Records Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Website: http://bloodofkings1.bandcamp.com/

Like the new bully arriving on the School playground making his inaugural mark, Blood Of Kings present their brattish debut offering. Although released last year, now thanks to Tridoid Records, Starvation sees itself getting released on limited edition vinyl this month.

Released: 22 May 2014 Highlight: Shakes

Amongst the endless rubble created by the unceasing fulmination of the seven tracks included on the album, you'll find the debris of Metal Church, Megadeth, Exodus and even Thin Lizzy. It's not all imitation though. There'll also be a unique sediment of fresh impetus found whilst scouring the wreckage.

The band's very own brand of speed metal lunacy will grow hairs on your sack, and burn them off just as quick. Wave after wave, thrust after thrust, Starvation never finds rest. Forcing itself onto the unsuspecting listener like a Polar Bear down a bobsled, the album is a menacing forty two minute fusion of speed, thrash and nwobhm magic. With vocals that are both unmannerly and pugnacious set in alignment with thumping drum patterns and riffs that would make an onion cry, the Blood of Kings formula is one of eminence in conveyance for their high magnitude musical fragmentation.

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Maintain - The Path Label: AFM Records Reviewer: Joey Lowebins Website: https://www.maintain-hc.de

2007 was the last full length album from Metal core mob, ‘Maintain’, their latest release ‘’The Path’’ is now available for your listening pleasure.

Released: 17 February 2014 Highlight: New Shores

verses that would serve as a good sing along live. Overall there is little wrong with the album and it will stay strong for years to come and no doubt will be a big part of their set list going forward.

With the album coming in at just under 40 minutes it is filled with 11 tracks of quite frankly, brilliant drumming, The band are currently on tour in Europe and from their clever guitar work and vocals that, when all missed Facebook page (Maintainmetal) look like they are a band together make one kick ass record! who work hard and play hard. All in all, the album is a very strong dose of metal, and if you are a person of the The band who have shared the stage with Killswitch opinion of ‘I don’t like this genre of metal’, then give it a Engage, As I Lay Dying and most recently filling in as last listen, this may change it. minute support for Napalm Death, are not out of place amongst these high profile names. Musically, if you are a metal core fan you will love this album, the songs are little over 3.30 secs long , but my word they fit a lot into each track. The opening track ‘New Shores’ has heavy breakdowns and this reviewers favourite, lots of double bass! The third track on the album ‘The Farewell’ has a Parkway Drive feel to it with

Winter Of Sin - Violence Reigns Supreme Label: Cyclone Empire Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Website: http://www.winterofsin.com/

Unlike the majority of today's death metal records, Violence Reigns Supreme elegantly possesses a legion of illustrious traits. Thus setting Groningen's Winter of Sin asunder, even from some of the genre's revolutionaries whom are still trying to replicate craters once engendered. There is an abundance of memorable moments on this the band's third studio outpouring. The fervour in which Henri Sattler's (ex-God Dethroned) vocals soar leave an immediate mark on proceedings. Then there's the glorious yet haunting chorus of “I decide when you will die and I will take your life” on 'Maelstrom'. 'Eternal Winter' continues in a similar vein. Emitting a serrated chorus that would open the Gates of Hades. It seems that Winter of Sin are on top of their game here.

Released: 28 March 2014 Highlight: Inheritors Of Pain

'Biomechanoid' are the inclusions that are especially diverging of potency and resplendence. Harvesting a cluster of relentless and vivid arrangements also ensures the band's tool wielders don't go without a mention. Drumming dynamo Michiel van der Plicht tirelessly keeps the turbogenerator at full steam. Layered in melodic idiosyncrasy and tarred with abrasive delivery, this faultless album is a perfect companion for any riotous environment. Yes, they're are a different band musically now from their previous releases. They've become more of a robust unit than before, a dynamic and forceful machine of war. If this was an army tank then Sodom would be the turret and Dissection the caterpillar tracks.

Along with the record's title track, 'Infection of Infinity', 'Inheritors of Pain' and the closing salvo of

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Gluttony - Beyond The Veil Of Flesh Label: VIC Records Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty Website: http://gluttony.se/

Featuring members of My Own Grave, Setherial and Diabolical this necropolis crawling zombie horde have brought us their debuting bloodstained emanation. This is Swedish death metal at its most obscene and brutal. Although being advocates of the old-school death metal hyperbole, Gluttony come infused with neoteric traits. Think of At The Gates put through a meat grinder and used as fertiliser. The consequence isn't just having to fend off zombie cows either. There's a bigger problem

Released: 26 May 2014 Highlight: Coffinborn

that needs to be dealt with. The intractable dilemma is an expeditious spasm cacophony of death metal brutality and cannibalistic carnalities. Like flesh to a flame, there's a scorching stench from “Beyond the Veil...”, an aroma that would kill the living and wake the dead. The soundtrack to a zombie séance.

Xandria - Sacrificium Label: Napalm Records Reviewer: Stephen Brophy Website: http://xandria.de/

Xandria have been around the German Symphonic Metal scene for 20 years now, but only 11 as recording artists. During this time they have been both prolific and successful, especially in their home market with each of the four albums released after their debut in 2003 breaking the Top 50 Album Chart. All of this despite numerous line-up changes over the years, the main one I guess being the change of vocalists, most albums were recorded with Lisa Middlehauve, a member of the band from 2000-2008, and briefly again in 2010, quite often with bands in this genre it's the vocalist that fans hold most highly, so it's a sign of a good band that can come through these sort of changes and function and release high quality material on the other side. The new album Sacrificium sees the recording debut of Steven Wussow (Bass) and Dianne van Giersbergen (Vocals), and wow what a voice,

Released: 2 May 2014 Highlight: The Undiscovered Land

Tracks such as ‘Stardust’ and the beautifully haunting ‘The Undiscovered Land’ which clearly has a lot of Celtic influence (not the only place on that album that this is displayed), but it is exquisitely put together, with great playing throughout. All involved with the making of this album should be very proud, it is a beast that moves along gracefully, but also has the ability to bare it's teeth on tracks like "Betrayer" which have a heavier feel and drive. This is not a slow meandering one paced piece, each track has it's own merit and feel to it, the underlying music is punchy with some great riffs all the way through.

The album also ends on a high note with another very classy "Sweet Atonement" which once again showcases Dianne's wonderful voice and control, it's not a guitar oriented track but it really is very good, really well written an made music should be appreciated by us all, From the opening title track "‘Sacrificium’ the quality of this is an album full of it and even if this isn't normally Dianne's Vocals and the band as a whole is quite the kind of music you listen to, check it out and maybe obvious, you can tell that a lot of work has gone into not your mind will be changed, and don't stick it on when you just releasing a new album to introduce a new singer only have a half hour to listen to it, take your time get but to create something special. Without leaving the the room to yourself and just let the music take you to title track, we have everything you want in music of this another place. genre, soaring vocals, a blend of guitar styles, a thumping and so solid rythym section and all of this interspersed with choral/orchestral accompaniment, it really is excellent and exciting, there's a freshness to this album that you don't get with a lot of releases by artists that are their peers.

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Lake Of Tears - By The Black Sea Label: AFM Records Reviewer: Lee Walker Website: www.facebook.com/thelakeoftears

Released: 3 February 2014 Highlight: Illwill

Having never really heard of Swedish band Lake Of first time or while making an excellent addition for the Tears I was somewhat surprised and impressed by their seasoned Lake Of Tears followers. latest offering. Titled ‘By The Black Sea’ the album weighs in at a whopping sixteen tracks and is a live recording of a full concert of the band that was recorded in Bucharest in 2013 and features both an audio and dvd version of this concert. Trying to nail down the ‘Lake Of Tears’ sound is a tricky affair with it having an almost Shoegaze/gothic feel to it similar to early Paradise Lost while places remind me of Metalicas ‘Black’ phase either way its deceptively catchy as it washes over you leaving you wanting more. As live recordings go the result is flawless and captures the gigs atmosphere perfectly providing a great introduction to people discovering the band for their

12 Gauge - All In Label: Flicknife Records Released: 7 April 2014 Reviewer: Stephen Brophy Highlight: All My Lovin’ Website: https://www.facebook.com/TwelveGaugeUK

12 Gauge are a band from Liverpool with a brand new album recently released. They play Heavy Rock/Metal as it should be played, there's nothing overly complicated about their style, but that's not to say that it's not played well and that the songs aren't of a high standard.

the mix ‘From The Ashes’ which provides a nice break in the second half of the proceedings. Tracks like ‘Lose Control’ and my personal favourite ‘All My Lovin’, which to me at least lends a bit towards a Velvet Revolver Style in places are probably the standouts here, but this is definitely a worthwhile album to check out and take a note of these guys.

There is a touch of bands like Black Stone Cherry, Nickelback, Alter Bridge and even Velvet Revolver here and there, but that's not to say that these guys don't have their own sound, and it's a really good sound, a bit gritty in places but that's often the way I want to hear my Rock. This to me is a prime example of why you should never make a snap judgement of any album, upon first listen it really didn't do anything for me at all, but now that I've spent a bit of time with it I can say I really like what they've produced here, and for a debut album it's excellent. Pretty much rocks from start to finish with one ballad in

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Diabulus In Musica - Argia Label: Napalm Records Reviewer: Rob Birtley Website: http: http://diabulusinmusica.com/

Diabulus in Music is a Female fronted Symphonic Metal band hailing not from the usual stomping grounds of this genre namely Italy and Holland and the Scandinavian countries but from Spain. The band was formed in Pamplona, Navarre in 2006. Argia, meaning ‘light or clear’ in Basque, is the band’s third studio album. Just to stop by saying ‘Argia’ is Symphonic Metal would be overlooking the fact of the meld of classical influences that Diabulus in Musica weave into their sound. Sure there are strings, lush orchestration and huge choral moments. Listen out for the evocative strains of Gregorian Chants, Medieval religious and Renaissance themed Classical music being blended seamlessly with driving Metal guitar, pounding drumming and quicksilver keyboards. All this woven into a captivating musical spell with the voice of Zuberoa holding court over the centre of proceedings like an Empress on her throne. The vocal complexity of this work is aptly illustrated in the fact that lyrics are sung in a number of languages apart from English including Basque and yet it remains totally musical.

Released: 14 April 2014 Highlight: Encounter At Chrono’s Maze

story telling songs of Ten at their best. The sound is full with impressive use of the backing choir to act as a counterpoint to the main soulful vocal. ‘Eternal Breeze’ is almost a classic metal ballad, featuring beautiful vocals and a great solo of new guitarist Alexey Kolygi and acts as a fine counterpoint. The band are obviously weary of being stereotyped and hence this albums eclectic nature and variation of content. To some up Zuberoa Aznárez and Gorka Elso have set out to create an album that is almost like a film soundtrack to take the listener on a journey through different realms of feelings and emotions at times straying into a dark dreamscape and in this regards they have most certainly succeeded. There is a variety and eclecticism of content that is not often found in this genre and it can only leave you guessing what path the band will tread on its next album outing.

The album opens with the atmospheric scene setter ‘Et Resurrexit (Libera Me)’; the haunting vocal seems to echo out of a dark cloister of an ancient and long forgotten cathedral. Then the drums start and then the tranquillity is shattered. A Dark and Light or is it Good and Evil duet ensues as Zuberoa is answered by the menacing growls of Gorka Elso. Next comes ‘From The Embers’ which is sung in English. This reminds me of the

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Arkona - Yav Label: Napalm Records Reviewer: Stephen Brophy Website: www.arkona-russia.com/en/

Released: 25 April 2014 Highlight: Ved’ma

Hailing from Russia, Arkona are a Pagan Metal band formed in 2002. ‘Yav’ is their 7th studio album and oddly for most bands these days in any genre 2014 has seen their first change in personnel in more than 10 years, with Drummer Andrey Ischenko joining the band this year. The band are fronted by Maria ‘Masha Scream’ Arkhipova who was one of the founders and she provides a range of vocals from Black Metal growling all the way through to almost Spoken Word on "Chado Indigo".

their music, which I think always adds something a little bit extra to a bands output. The work here is clearly of a band that has been working hard at what they do, Maria's vocals are excellent throughout and there are very few female vocalists that pull off this style as it should be.

So what do Arkona do, well as with the majority of Pagan Metal bands they are heavily influenced by national folklore and mythology, and they also incorporate the use of various Russian Instruments in

Arkona will be out on the road in the UK and Ireland in November with the excellent Eluveitie and Skálmöld, now that should be a very interesting and excellent bill to check out for a night of folk metal.

For me the stand out tracks here are ‘Gorod Snow’, the beast of a title track "Yav" and my the one that hits me hardest ‘Ved'ma’.

The Ocean - Pelagial Label: Metal Blade Records Released: 30 April 2014 Reviewer: Stephen Brophy Highlight: Abyssopelagic: Boundless Vasts Website: http://theoceancollective.com/pelagial/

Formed in 2001 by German guitarist Robin Staps The Ocean have always been a bit of an enigma of a band for me, although there's no doubting they have a lot of quality, you never really know what's coming next from them. Of course that's not generally a bad thing, they are not a boring band to follow, but sometimes the messages that come from the camp are not even close to what comes along as output from the band. Over recent years the intention has always appeared to be to released double albums of light and shade, either in the form of one album being heavy, the other being light or one containing a vocalist and the second being an instrumental.

The Ocean are attempting to portray? Here we are looking at the album version with vocals and well to my ears this is an excellent release, after a few listens you can almost feel empathy with the band or the characters as each track brings you to a deeper level, pressure building, momentum slowing and darkness closing in around you. each piece of music is excellently played, with the band being accompanied by additional instrumentation at times where the individual pieces need it, not just thrown in there for effect, we have keyboards, piano, string sections all blended in perfectly with the music and more importantly the concept, adding at times to a sense of despair. the music ebbs and flows through each track and the vocals really push this well above the level of an Take Pelagial for example, it was announced from the band average release. This album is nothing short of Epic in many that it was going to be an Instrumental release (mainly due to senses, and is one of the best pieces of work I've heard over some problems caused by a disorder that Loic Rossetti, which the last couple of years. In places I'm reminded a little of the he has now recovered from), however they released the mighty Voivod, and it's clear to see why The Ocean are album in both forms, one with vocals and one purely thought of so highly in many circles, it would be a real shame if instrumental.There would appear to still be some concern this album has been passed over by many since its release, within the band that Rossetti's problems could resurface at a and if you haven't had the opportunity to take it for a spin, later date, which would be a huge shame as he adds tonnes please do, or you will be missing out on something we are of power to their sound, and if this were to happen they would presented with all too rarely these days, a true concept return to an instrumental band. album, thought out and developed piece by piece and threaded together carefully with layer upon layer of quality. So what about Pelagial itself, well this is a concept album based around a journey to the depths of the Ocean's floor, Do yourself a favour and grab this album, if you are a fan of getting ever deeper and darker, pressure building and the more progressive side of metal it's a must, but I think this growing claustrophobia as the vessel comes under more and album has something to offer everyone, how they can pull this more pressure the further it dives, a second part of the off and give it the justice it deserves live I just don't know, but concept is the exploration of human psyche, with the same I'd like to seem them trying. pressures on the mind. So just how well do they achieve what

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Absolva May 23 Grimsby Yardbirds 24 Selby Riverside 28 Bristol Gryphon 29 Southampton Joiners 30 Ebbw Vale Odin's 31 Manchester Sound Control September 05 FR Arras, Blue Devil's Bar 06 DE Waldbronn Soundcheck One 12 DE Berlin Blackland 13 PL Bielsko-Biala Rude Boy Club 14 CZ Litvinov Attic Rock Club 19 NL Amsterdam The Cave 21 NL Emmen, Blanko 26 BE Namur Magick 27 BE Aalter Wizz's Autumn Festival October 02 DE Muhlhausen Kulturfabrik 03 DE Herdorf Rattenloch 04 FR Fismes Underground Investigation Festival 11 FR Bartenheim Caf Conc 18 NL, Nijmegen Rockcafe Backstage 19 BE Roeselare De Verlichte Geest

SOS Festival 19 - 20 July Absolva, Savage Messiah, Monument, Exit State, Wizz Wizzard, Fantasist, Blaze Bayley (With Chris Appleton) and many more

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Adjenda May 23 Belfast Voodoo Arkona November 11London O2 Academy Islington 12 Manchester Sound Control 13 Glasgow Audio 14 Belfast Mandela Hall 15 Dublin The Button Factory 16 Bristol Bierkeller Eagles May 28 Birmingham LG Arena 29 Birmingham LG Arena 31 Glasgow The Hydro June 02 June Glasgow The Hydro 04 Dublin O2 06 Dublin O2 16 London O2 18 London O2 23 Leeds first direct arena 25 Manchester Phones 4u Arena Edens Curse May 19 Glasgow Ivory Blacks 20 Bolton Railway 21 Wakefield Snooty Fox 22 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms 23 Grimsby Yardbirds 24 Sawnsea Static 25 London Underworld Extreme ‘Pornograffitti Live’ Tour July 04 Manchester Academy 05 O2 Academy Glasgow 07 Birmingham Institute 08 London Forum FISH September 19 Durham Gala Theatre 30 Preston 53 Degrees October 01 Southampton Brook December 06 Exeter Phoenix 07 Bristol Fleece 08 Bilston Robin 2 09 Cardiff Globe 11 Norwich Waterfront 12 London Islington Assembly Hall 13 Northampton Roadmender

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Bloodstock 7-10 August Down, Emperor, Megadeth, Dimmu Borgir, Carcass, Amon Amarth, Children Of Bobom and many more

Download Festival 13 – 15 June Avenged Sevenfold, Linkin Park, Aerosmith, Rob Zombie, Alter Bridge and many more


15 Reading Sub 89 16 Brighton Concorde 2 18 Holmfirth Picturedrome 19 Liverpool O2 Academy 20 Sheffield Ballroom 21 Glasgow ABC FM August 09 Cambridge Rock Festival Furyon with Mordred August 22 Dublin The Voodoo 23 Belfast The Limelight2 25 London O2 Academy 26 Birmingham O2 Academy 27 Glasgow O2 Academy 28 Newcastle O2 Academy 29 Sheffield O2 Academy 30 Liverpool O2 Academy 31 Bristol O2 Academy September 01 Brighton Concorde 2 H.E.A.T May 19 Manchester Academy 3 Iron Knights May 25 S.O.P.H.I.E Fest Tamworth Rock-ItBar Onslaught July 13 Dublin Voodoo Lounge 14 Belfast Limelight 2 16 Newcastle 02 Academy 2 17 Glasgow ABC 2 18 Sheffield 02 Academy 2 19 Bristol Academy 20 London Islington 02 Academy 21 Birmingham 02 Academy 2 Primal Fear September 17 London 2 Academy Islington 19 Glasgow O2 ABC 21 Sheffield O2 Academy 24 Newcastle O2 Academy 25 Liverpool O2 Academy 27 Leicester O2 Academy

Saxon November 30 Bristol Academy December 01 Bournemouth Academy 02 Nottingham Rock City 04 Manchester Ritz 05 Dublin Academy 06 Belfast Limelight/ Mandela Hall 07 Glasgow ABC 09 Newcastle Academy 10 Leeds Academy 11 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall 12 Oxford Academy 13 London Shepherd's Bush Empire SOiL October 19 Southampton 1865 21 London Electric Ballroom 22 York Fibbers 23 Glasgow The Garage 24 Sheffield Corporation 25 Manchester Club Academy 26 Chester Live Rooms 28 Weymouth Pavillion 29 Bristol Bierkeller 30 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms 31 Reading Sub 89 November 01 Nottingham Rescue Rooms Status Quo June 13 Cheshire Cholmondeley Castle 14 Cheshire Cholmondeley Castle December 06 Liverpool Exho Arena 16 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena The Osiris Club July 08 London Shacklewell Arms 09 Brighton Green Door Store 10 Manchester Sacred Trinity Church 12 Bristol St John The Baptist Crypt Winger June 15 Download Festival 17 Glasgow O2 Academy 18 Newcastle O2 Academy 20 Bristol O2 Academy 21 London O2 Academy Islington

Red Dragon Cartel June 06 London 02 Academy Islington 07 Nottingham Rescue Rooms 08 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms 13 Buckley Tivoli 15 Download Festival Donington

Firebrand After Dark

Sonisphere 2014 4 - 6 of July The Prodigy, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Alice in Chains, Airbourne, Anthrax and many more

For a free listing please email your gig or festival information to: sales@firebrandrr.co.uk

Cambridge Rock Festival 7 - 10 August FM, Wishbone Ash, Snakecharmer, The Ultimate Eagles, Chantel McGregor and many more

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Firebrand After Dark


Firebrand After Dark

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Firebrand After Dark


Firebrand After Dark

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Firebrand After Dark Issue 11 - May  

Issue 11 of Firebrand After Dark is out now featuring interviews with the likes of Bloodshot Dawn, Deathstars, Whitechapel, Gunpowder Gray...

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