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Friday, March 27, 2015

REVIEW: UNDEAD - "False Prophecies"

A veil of mystery shrouds Undead as they release their debut album 'False Prophesies' on 20th April this year via Listenable Records. The band has five faceless members with very little information available about them. Their website just has a creepy video describing them being “amongst the dead” yet “among the living” to finally reveal an anonymous hooded band member called Necros on Guitars. Contrary to the self-image they have created, their sound is no mystery whatsoever. Rekindling the lost Death Metal flame is their holy grail, and they make us travel back in time to the formative years of the genre to deliver the same raw old-school Death Metal sound that we fell in love with.

'False Prophesies' is a tribute to bands like Death and Autopsy. It's hard not to be consumed by nostalgia as soon as the pounding double bass and the massively distorted palm muted chugs of “Unborn” devastate your ear drums. It instantly reminded me of Death's track “Forgotten Past” from their phenomenal album 'Leprosy'. The track alternates between supremely aggressive riffage on one end and melodic guitar lines meandering solid groove-laden rhythms on the other. All of this is backed by impressive dynamics behind the drum kit. It’s hard not to bang your head when the aggressive parts kick in or restrict yourself from air drumming (or air-guitar playing) during the slow portions.

The title track “False Prophesies” starts in a similar fashion as its predecessor, marching forth on the trademark Death Metal riffage and mutating into a slightly slower and groovier avatar towards the end. It introduces a lot of variations in the mix, and I found myself lapping up every bit of it.

The band incorporates heady doses of groove amidst the aggression. Tracks like “Praise the Absurd” follow a slightly slower tempo but provide a burly structure to the album. Similarly after the initial sonic assault in “Castrate Humanity”, the band twists the song towards an entirely different direction, integrating melodic guitar lines onto a quivering slab of groove on the rhythms. The intricate drum work and the soulful solos on this track lift it to newer levels of awesomeness. Another example is “Descending Souls”. The track rips your face apart with its razor-sharp riffage initially and pauses slightly midway, before transforming into a heavy-sounding beast. It mutates back again to its speed demon incarnation as it reaches the end. This kind of alternating structure is repeated in most of the tracks, however, there is enough going on in the mix to grab your attention and not sound repetitive. The band blends in the best of both worlds, delivering an album which rides on speed but has a groovy spine. Although it is not overly technical, the album has its fair share of technicality and progressiveness for you to appreciate the band's musicianship.

The vocalist sounds massive throughout the album with his deathly growls and snarling screams. It goes really well with the raw production of the album, and completes the old school Death Metal sound of the album. The album clocks a precise 40 minutes with eight tracks in total. The tracks are not short, and take up a little over 5 minutes on average.


To summarize, Undead deliver an album that's high on nostalgia and rich in texture. Although you would be more than familiar with the sound the band has to offer, it will keep you engrossed throughout.

Recommended Tracks: “Descending Souls”, “Unbound to Eternity”, “Castrate Humanity”


Rating: 8.5/10


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Reviewed By,
Rakesh Pothengil

Thursday, March 26, 2015

REVIEW: STEVE ROTHERY - "The Ghosts Of Pripyat"

Steve Rothery is the guitarist of Marillion, the well-known neo-prog band from England that started in the late 70's, and he is the longest standing member in the band. Rothery was also a part of another project called The Wishing Tree, a prog/folk duo with singer Hannah Stobart. 'The Ghosts of Pripyat' is Rothery's debut solo album, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, and is a continuation of the style of neo-prog he played in Marillion, albeit a more polished version production-wise.

'The Ghosts of Pripyat' is an easygoing instrumental rock record that is built around a calming atmosphere that propagates throughout the length of the album. The progressive aspect of the album is not over-exposed, and the essence of the album is the delicate manner the instruments sound.

"Morpheus" starts off the album with an ambient intro, as the guitars quietly join in for the build-up, where Rothery flaunts his skills with beautiful guitar solos. There is nothing structurally complex here and it seems like every other instrument works around as the background for the guitars. "Kendris" start off decently with some Eastern influences in the guitars, but turns into an uniteresting track that almost sounds like elevator music. "Old Man of the Sea" is the longest song on the album, lasting well over 11 minutes, and features Steven Wilson and Steve Hackett. The initial mellow sections and the guitar solos are beautiful, but the track seems to be a bit monotonous.

"White Pass" brings back the ethereal atmosphere in the first half of the track, and as I was really hoping this would evolve into something enchanting, the track falls flat with simplistic prog-rock riffing. "Yesterday's Hero" and "Summer's End" are similar tracks in structure: starting off in a serene way, while gaining momentum later on with guitar solos. A hint of Steven Wilson influence is evident in these tracks. The title track is also the final track of the album, featuring a gorgeous acoustic passage to begin with, and probably for the first time on the album, all the instruments (synth, drums and organs) have been effectively utilized. This is one of the better tracks on the album.

'The Ghosts of Pripyat' is a Rothery show with principal focus on his guitars, making the other instruments not substantial enough to create a well-knit record. The solos and the overall atmospheres are pleasing, but you feel like it lacks something. There is a fair amount of monotony in the song-writing, something you wouldn't expect out of a prog album.


I would’ve loved to see a more experimental approach towards writing and a better blending of instruments in the final product, because Rothery’s parts were fantastically done, but everything else kept me wanting. While the album has its moments of excellence in glimpses, it hardly held my attention for long, and this is coming from someone who listens to long-drawn prog albums.


Rating: 5/10


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Reviewed By,
Prateek Kulkarni

REVIEW: KAMELOT - "Haven"

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when I mention metal from Tampa, Florida? I bet it’s not epic symphonic power metal. During the early 90’s when everyone was trying to create the most brutal-sounding music, one band emerged with a completely different view: to create the most epic-sounding music. And so Kamelot was born, and with the power of their music and their dedicated fans have reached the pinnacle of power metal music today. With their new album ‘Haven’, they are looking to cement their position as one of the best symphonic power metal bands this side of the universe.

I’m not going to waste my time on introductions with this band. These guys are a blueprint on how to make good symphonic power metal. What you get to hear on ‘Haven’ is classic Kamelot; a signature blend of epic soundscapes and catchy riffs, all enveloped in a beautiful vocal performance. If they were a whisky, I’d probably be an alcoholic. But it begs the question: after all these years, does the same old formula still work? You bet it does!

The whole album is one feel-good ride. You can listen to it anytime, anywhere and be assured that it will leave you feeling rejuvenated and fresh. I know this sounds like a commercial for a drug, but that is absolutely how I felt every time I heard the album. Every song, even the darker ones, makes you want to get up and do something. Tommy Karevik’s voice only adds fuel to the fire of optimism; he has a way of making everything sound so uplifting.

As beautiful as the album is, I still did feel like it didn’t quite cover all the bases. There are hardly any keyboard solos in the songs; with so much melody and energy flowing through the songs, I was really looking for a ripping fast keyboard and guitar solo battle. The bass level was a tad too low as well, as I had to strain my ears to try and hear what Sean Tibbetts was playing in some of the songs. The songs aren’t all that memorable either. After 2-3 listens, I could easily recall only two songs at most, while the others just didn’t stick. This doesn’t mean the songs are bad; in fact, I enjoyed all the songs when I was listening to them, but when I was done, they would just fade away from memory.

Nevertheless, the production on this album is really good. All the songs sound crisp and clean with each instrument ringing through. The only exception to this, as I mentioned earlier, is the bass guitar which seems lost among the guitars and drums. Casey Grillo on drums just kills it on every song. I love his double bass spells in the songs, sounding so precise and giving what I can only describe as an express-train-feeling to the songs. Oliver Palotai on keyboards fills every song with atmosphere and emotion, with his calming keyboard passages in the slower ballads being just a treat to listen to, like a mini-concerto in your ears. Thomas Youngblood carries each song with his heavy-yet-melodious guitar work, infusing the songs with drama and emotion with his leads which complement Tommy’s vocals and Oliver’s keyboard.


In short, Kamelot are doing what they do best on ‘Haven’, so one should not expect anything out of the ordinary or experimental here. You just need to sit back, relax and let them take you away with their music. Almost every song makes you feel like you’re flying in the air, and the high doesn’t stop till the music does. ‘Haven’ might not have staying power, but it will keep the fans satisfied till the band comes out with their next offering.


Rating: 8/10



--
Reviewed By,
Bharat Gudihal

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

REVIEW: THEORIES - "Regression"

Coming from the grim north of America, these Seattle lads are raging forth and will become a force to be reckoned with. Theories are a new ensemble that will bring hatred and despair from the metal abyss. These four musicians have created a top notch debut album which will be sure to please any superlative metal head.

‘Regression’ will give your ears a good seeing to, amalgamating the extremes of music together, incorporating aspects of death metal and grind to create a noise-laden fury; a cross between Anaal Nathrakh’s obscure extremity and the hardcore tinged hooks of Hardships, creating a dynamic layout that allows for varied musical ability to be dominant.   

With track names such as “First World's Last Breath”, “Bathing in Pigs Blood” and “Cycle of Decay”, one can easily figure the mind frame of this band to be somewhere around the outskirts of societal normality, even in the confines of the metal world. Metal Blade Records seems to have taken an interest in this up-and-coming band and signed them, implying that Theories shall be pushed to further degrees quickly to the joys of their fanbase.      

From the beginning of the album, you are subject to the grind element straight away, kicking in with a concoction of all sorts of heavy that barely leaves room for anything else. Continuing throughout the album, this aggression never lets up except for the odd few bars of cymbal flourishes every now and again. The musicianship is of a high standard and with it comes a lot of technicalities, leaving your mind fully engaged and attempting to isolate distinct rhythmical patterns.

“Revenge Rewild” and “Landfill” will lead you on a path of destruction with their fast aggressive fretwork and constant battery of drums, which may just leave your ears a bloody mess. They’re the more basic songs on the CD, mind, but still have the pure power to make it, especially with the underlying screams of vocalist Rick Powell keeping the emotion deep and in the correct space. “Hell in Her Eyes” is the longest and most atmospheric piece on the album, switching between a thrashier attack and a more melodic section. The vocal line really stands out due to the dissonant guitar melody, which makes for depressive notions and includes the switch-overs between the pulse blasting away from the snare to the bass, making it a rather interesting track which encapsulates me.


Personally, I am unable to find any fault within ‘Regression’. It works really well as a debut album and marks a milestone for musical tenacity within extreme music. The hostility has the perfect edge to it, marking a great balance between musical innovation and ferocity from the differentiating rhythmical patterns to the melodic riffs and guttural vocal styles. The production is standard, keeping focus on the important aspects of heavier music whilst not allowing for the texture to fall flat or peak out of proportion. There is always room for improvement and for boundaries to be pushed, so I look forward to see what this band can do in the future now that they seem to have a foundation set firmly in stone.


Rating: 9/10


--
Reviewed By,
James Dean

REVIEW: SORCERER - "In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross"

Originally formed in 1988 in Stockholm, Sweden, Sorcerer are one of the pioneers of the exclusive musical style of doom known as ‘epic doom metal’. Before disintegrating in 1992, the band delivered some self-financed demos and a compilation which were well-acclaimed in the underground as some of the masterly works in the genre. When Socerer reunited in 2010 to play two major gigs in Germany and Greece, thoughts emerged of writing a new album. Sorcerer proceeded steadily, taking more than two years to compose, produce and record the album ‘In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross’, which is an outstanding work of epic doom metal.

The album is comprised of eight superlative doom anthems skilfully upholding the glory of the genre set by legends like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus. The overall sound of the album establishes a steady thought process with slow, often repetitive riffs and remarkable precision at the same time. The album incorporates just the right amount of monotony required to assert the one-of-a-kind majesty and mood of the genre.

The first three songs of the album, “The Dark Tower of the Sorcerer”, “Sumerian Script” and “Lake of the Lost Souls” adequately establish the character of the rest of the album with a slew of classic doom elements, often reminiscent of the grandeur of bands like Candlemass. “Lake of The Lost Souls” adopts a slow and laid-back approach and unfolds into an engaging song with a really memorable solo.  The album, for a good part of it, maintains the perfect deal of melancholy in its sombre essence evident in the gloomy passages of the album, often showing glimpses of a few power metal elements, like the unique execution of the vocals.  It also explores a rather bold dimension in songs like “Exorcise the Demon” and “The Gates of Hell” which highlight the up-tempo aggressive and hard-hitting aspect of the album. 

One of the most remarkable facets of ‘In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross’ is the epic splendour and somewhat unconventional approach established in details like the underlying synth in “Prayers For A King” and the vivid metallic edge in the title song. In this album, Sorcerer has pushed the dimensions of the genre in exploring a plethora of atypical factors like some power metal-like elements. All of this is accomplished with masterly command on the sound evident in the beautiful guitar leads, the melancholic mood as well as the ferocious riffing at places.

What really stands out in the album is the diverse vocal performance that showcases Anders Engberg’s musical prowess in his unique delivery of many different styles in one album. His awe-inspiring vocal range accomplishes everything from the soaring higher tones in “The Gates Of Hell” to the rather quiet parts in “Prayers For The King” with fantastic acumen. Some doom metal bands fail miserably while running the risk of sounding like one homogenous blob in their attempt to uphold melancholy. Sorcerer takes care of this problem in the top-notch production which puts to the forefront the clarity in individual instruments and precision despite being intense and melancholic.  The leads are abundantly highlighted which adds further to the magnificence of the record.

In a nutshell, ‘In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross’ speaks volumes of Sorcerer’s incredible musical ingenuity in their unique rendition of the genre. With stunning guitar leads, memorable songwriting, a diverse  vocal performance, and the transitions from somber to aggressive, the skilful fusing of all these aspects is a must-listen for all doom metal enthusiasts.


Track Listing:

01. The Dark Tower of the Sorcerer
02. Sumerian Script
03. Lake of the Lost Souls
04. Exorcise the Demon
05. In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross
06. Prayers for a King
07. The Gates of Hell
08. Pagans Dance


Rating: 10/10



--

Reviewed By,
Debarati Das

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

PREMIERE: Stream GEORGE KOLLIAS' New Single 'Shall Rise/Shall Be Dead' From Upcoming Solo Album "Invictus"

GEORGE KOLLIAS has firmly established a well earned reputation as a world-class drummer. His exceptional work with death metal legends NILE as well as heavily frequented percussion clinics around the globe and guest-contributions have cemented George's status as a rare progeny with the sticks. Yet there is far more to the Greek musician than "just" drumming. 'Invictus', his album debut as a solo artist proves that GEORGE KOLLIAS also exceeds on performing with all other instruments from the rock and metal spectrum. Tracks such as "Shall Rise, Shall Be Dead", "The Passage", and "Treasures of Nemesis" unleash a crushing death metal assault. His own exceptional work across all instruments is enriched by guest spots from members of established genre titans such as NILE, ROTTING CHRIST, FIREWIND and others. Far more than just a solo-album vanity piece, 'Invictus' delivers classic, timeless death metal. "This solo project

contains exactly what the word 'solo' describes: one musician writing all music and lyrics as well as performing all the instruments", states GEORGE KOLLIAS. "I can honestly say, the only reason I have recorded this album is the fans asked for this to happen. I am happy that I did it and more excited than ever for the future of this project! I enjoyed recording it more than anything. I also had to pleasure to have some really important guests, which made this album even more special to me."



Tracklisting:

01. Echoes of Divinity
02. Invictus
03. The Passage
04. Aeons of Burning Galaxies
05. Shall Rise/Shall Be Dead
06. Voices
07. Treasures of Nemesis
08. Apocalypse
09. Epitaph
10. Through Empty Eyes of Light
11. Buried under the Flames

Bonus Tracks:

12. Aeons of Burning Galaxies (R.Cooley Shred Version)
13. Voices (E. Karadimas Vox Version)
14. Epitaph (Drum Track)
15. Apocalypse (A. Trapalis Violin Version)

Line-up:

George Kollias: all instruments

More Links:

www.georgekollias.com
www.facebook.com/georgekolliasofficial
http://smarturl.it/KolliasShop

NEWS: SHAWN 'CLOWN' CRAHAN - Don't Be Surprised To See SLIPKNOT One Day Carry On With All New Members

Slipknot are now the subject of an hour-long BBC Radio 1 documentary, titled 'Hellbound'. Hosted by DJ Daniel P. Carter - the guitarist of Krokodil, whose bassist Allesandro Venturella tours with Slipknot - the show also features a behind-the-scenes look at the band's 'Prepare For Hell' U.K tour. You can stream it here.

Speaking about Slipknot's future, the band's mastermind/percussionist, Shawn "Clown" Crahan, said, "I'm always trying to figure out how to let it be forever, kind of like a Van Gogh painting. They're not just gonna take one of my album covers and stick it in the Louvre [museum in Paris]. But if we can keep it going, if we can keep the philosophy and the culture going, there's no reason why kings and queens can't take it over."

He continued, "Don't be surprised one day, you know, nobody in the band will be in the band. It'll all just be new people. I'll be eighty and there'll be a whole Slipknot thing moving. I mean, we've got two new guys now, man. You never know — my son might take over. You never know."

Monday, March 23, 2015

NEWS: MEGADETH's DAVID ELLEFSON Explains Why Reunion of 'Rust In Peace' Era Lineup Wouldn't Work

Megadeth bassist David Ellefson was interviewed on a recent edition of Australia's "Blood, Sweat and Metal" show. You can listen to the chat below.

When asked about a possible reunion of Megadeth's 'Rust In Peace' lineup, Ellefson said (as transcribed by Blabbermouth.net), "Here's the thing about reunions... Everybody wants to try to relive this glory day, because of what that period represented to them through that music. But you have to realize that it's greater than the sum of its parts; it isn't just the four people that recorded those songs. It is the darkness we were in, and then the clarity that we had getting sober and the people who were around us.

"That 'Rust In Peace' record is a story of a journey; it's really what you're hearing. That's why every record that we did with that lineup in particular told a different story, because we were in a different phase of our lives, [both] as individuals and together. And then came this point where that lineup just stopped making music together. There was no more harmony, there was no more melody, there was no more music together. And that's why that lineup split up. So to think that somehow that's just gonna all come back together… If it stopped working once, why would it ever work again? You know what I mean?!

"Life moves forward, man. Life is a verb, and it’s always in action. And music is just a reflection of life, you know. That's why I would say that the next Megadeth record — whoever is gonna be on it — has to be able to tell the story of Megadeth today, in 2015. Whoever that may be. Okay? And that… someone from the past, someone of the current day, that person has to be able to tell that story, and that's why…

"I know fans want to go see… Believe me, me and [former Megadeth guitarist] Marty Friedman were second row to the KISS reunion in 1996 when they played in Phoenix, Arizona. Me and Marty were there together, as friends, as bandmates, watching our favorite band put the makeup back on and present to us the 1996 version of KISS 'Alive II' that came out in, like, 1978. So I know. And there's a part of me that said, 'Just lose yourself in the fantasy of being 14 years old all over again,' you know what I mean?! And I did. And then there's the other part of me that I looked at them and I went, 'Yeah, but now they're all, like, in the forties, and this is sort of just a recreation… There is nothing new being created here; this is just a recreation of past stuff.' So, believe me, I had that personal experience. There was the teenage fantasy and then there was the reality. And it's the same with Megadeth. There's this teenage fantasy of [going] back to recreate some glory day versus the reality.

"Megadeth in 2015, we can either go back and just recreate past glory days, which would probably sell a lot of tickets and we would probably make a lot of money. But Megadeth has never been about just going out and making a bunch of money; it has never been about that — ever. So, to us, it's about creatively the next chapter of our story, and that's what you get when you go in the studio together — you get to write and create your next chapter. That is where Megadeth is right now. That really is the page turner right now."

REVIEW: MORGOTH - "Ungod"

Morgoth originally formed in Meschede, Germany in 1985 during death metal's most formative years. In 1989, their 'Pits Of Utomno' demo garnered attention from the then just formed Century Media. Over the next nine years, Morgoth released three albums and a collection of EP's to moderate success, performing with bands such as Kreator, Obituary and Immolation along the way. Eventually in 1998, Morgoth disbanded after a brief and blundered venture into the then popular industrial style, until 2010 saw a ferocious return to form for them with festival slots around Europe.

‘Ungod’ is the band's first studio album for nineteen years, albeit without original vocalist Marc Grewe. ‘Ungod’ is very old-school in its approach and is a stern reminder of how far death metal has come since those original grind tapes of the mid 80's. The album adopts a mid-tempo chug-fest of grating riffs and uneasy atmospherics reminiscent of early Carcass and Death. As the new vocalist as of December 2014, Karsten Jäger reinforces this influence with vocals that are incredibly reminiscent of Death's ‘Leprosy’ and ‘Spiritual Healing’ era; so much so that it would not feel out of place in the current Death To All lineup. 

This could be a dividing factor of ‘Ungod’; they are not pushing any areas of musicality or technicality that haven’t been heard before. Their songwriting and performance stay on a very narrow blueprint that rarely ventures into anything reminiscent of death metal on this side of the century. Their saving grace is the intent and authenticity to death metal's roots that will win fans of the 90's sound over. People may note the lack of range and sustained screams heard previously by Marc Grewe, but overall, Karsten's vocals add something new and more sinister to the band.

The first single of the album “God Is Evil” was released last year, and with such a title, very much laid down the groundwork for the intent of ‘Ungod’. The lyrics are dark and evil, personified by the mid-paced dirge of guitar riffs that morph and change and never relent. The guitar interplay between Harald Busse and Sebastian Swart is notable; they utilise the twin guitar attack with uneasy atmospherics that pop out of the framework to again reinforce the malevolent nature of the album. The album opener “House of Blood” is another mid-paced stomper, and a great way to begin a set and not just an album. Other highlights include “The Dark Sleep”, which begins with a church bell ringing; perhaps it’s a nod to “Black Sabbath”, but either way, it’s a brutal and dark masterpiece. The rest of the album, albeit of similar quality begins to wain after a few listens. Without a distinct character and voice of their own there is little framework for new fans to really sink their teeth into.


In short, ‘Ungod’ does act as a successful comeback album for a band who have long been on their knees. With 1996's critically panned 'Feel Sorry For The Fanatic', Morgoth must have felt a sense of unfinished business for all the time they were disbanded. Having been away for so long, a whole new generation of metal fans are ready for the taking, most of who are likely to have never heard the band before. Fans from the first time around will be pleased to hear Morgoth venturing back down the path that led to their most successful music. But just how successful Morgoth will be at dividing and rising above their new adversaries, only time will tell.


Rating: 7/10


--
Reviewed By,
David Tobin

Saturday, March 21, 2015

REVIEW: ALKALOID - "The Malkuth Grimoire"

When Hannes Grossmann and Christian Muenzner left Obscura last year, they formed Alkaloid, roping in Linus Klausenitzer (Noneuclid, Obscura), Danny Tunker (Aborted), and Morean (Dark Fortress, Noneuclid). Somehow, Alkaloid got the label “The World’s Most Extreme Prog Metal Band”, and drummer/songwriter Hannes Grossmann later clarified that they had labelled themselves intentionally so that people don’t classify them under a different specific genre, like “technical death metal”, or “progressive death metal”, for example.

The band then proceeded to launch a crowd-funding campaign to finance their debut album, and the campaign’s overwhelming success resulted in Alkaloid releasing ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’. The band and its members had made their musical intentions quite clear through a series of videos they uploaded online, and it’s safe to say that they’ve delivered on that front. Morean - who does vocals, guitars, and also writes the lyrics - had said that everything in death metal and progressive metal had been done already, so they aimed to explore connections between these subgenres instead. There is strong evidence of that in the album, because all the tracks use influences and styles from various other genres that are not limited to only the metal world.

The opening track, “Carbon Phrases”, is a nine-and-a-half-minute epic that lets you know exactly what Alkaloid is going to deliver in the album - odd-time scales, crushing guitars and quick yet melodious solos are interspersed with some ambient hooks and mesmerising clean vocals. The berserk riff around the five-minute mark in the song is sure to make many jaws drop. “From a Hadron Machinist” is up next, and can be compared to Obscura’s song “Septuagint” from ‘Omnivium’. It begins with an acoustic intro and descends into furious riffing and even has that tiny yet memorable drum fill before the last chorus. Actually, Hannes had said he’d intended this to be on the new Obscura album, so the similarities we see may be justified.

One thing that is immediately noticed is the guitar interplay, or rather, the four seven-stringed guitars letting loose on the ears of the listener. Christian Muenzner seems to have left his focal dystonia in the dust, and when he moves into a lead section, his guitar tone and playing is instantly recognizable. His impressive neo-classical chops are complemented by Danny Tunker, who also plays a considerable number of solos on the record. Morean also plays a lot of guitar parts despite having to sing, and the three guitarists put together jaw-dropping, dynamic and dexterous polyrhythmic patterns. Linus also wields a seven-stringed weapon for most part of the songs, and his bass guitar parts lust after the patterns of the other guitarists while stabilising the rhythm section of the sound with Hannes at the same time.

Hannes, meanwhile, is bursting with creativity and variation, and does the task of following separate guitar tracks and adding his own flavour to the song quite immaculately. The drums sound very organic and realistic, like he’d said he wanted them to, and neither completely sampled nor triggered. One can appreciate the different volume levels, accents, and nuances in his drumming because of this, but this does not mean that Hannes holds back and plays gingerly. He often breaks loose and plays some impossible drum patterns that would give almost every drummer a run for their money.

“Cthulhu” is third, and is based on a sludgy Morbid Angel-esque riff written by Hannes. Okay, now all five of them play seven strings here. It lurches forward, much like the mythical monster the song is about, and is highlighted by some harmonic guitar work and pounding double bass. “Alter Magnitudes”, also meant to be for Obscura, is a straightforward track that veers more into “tech-death” territory than the other songs. “Orgonism”, almost a hard-hitting ballad, is probably the “moment of the album”, since it shows just how much variation and influence Alkaloid are channelling into the music. It features some emotion-soaked guitar lines, and we realise that Morean is now singing in a way that it sounds like he is growling and singing clean at the same time. Throughout the album, his growled vocals are intelligently complemented by his robot-like clean vocals, and in some places, his regular cleans just take the limelight.

The four-part “Dyson Sphere” written by Morean is next, showing some interesting technical aspects and combining many effects. The title track “The Malkuth Grimoire” is hard-hitting and brutal, and it too combines elements that Alkaloid have already introduced in the previous songs. The shred-movement in “C-Value Enigma” seems like the only thing out of place here, but that it quickly forgotten as the twelve-minute closer “Funeral for a Continent” kicks in. This song is about the possibility of ancient life in Antarctica, and we see the track conclude the album on a positive vibe with some high-intensity guitar work towards the end.


One can really appreciate this record if they give it a couple of listens. People expecting straight-forward technical death metal won’t be amused, and the extensive length of the album is something worth noting. At 73 minutes, ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ is certainly not a one-shot listen. Most songs cross the seven-minute mark, but one can’t really take too much away from Alkaloid because hey, they’re “The World’s Most Extreme Prog Metal Band”.


Rating: 9/10


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Reviewed By,
Rishabh P Mansur

INTERVIEW: ENFORCER's Olof Wikstrand On 'From Beyond' - "It's The Ultimate Metal Release Of The New Century"

Hailing from Arvika, Sweden, Enforcer play a brand of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal with an injection of punk; as if the last forty years of music haven't happened. Some may call it “old school”, but more cynical metal aficionados may even go as far as to call it devoid of any creativity or individual spark. From every pentatonic riff from the thrash lick library to the cycles of Hetfield-meets-Halford vocal wails, it becomes impossible to decipher just where Enforcer begin and the most influential of heavy metal's prodigies end. Founded in 2004, Enforcer describe themselves as being devotees of “real metal”. They've since gathered four albums under their belt, with their new album 'From Beyond' continuing down the path created by 2013's 'Death By Fire'. With the writing having began in March last year during a brief period of down-time from touring, the band only a short window of time to forge the content in 'From Beyond'; which perhaps casts understanding over the weak content littered across the album's performance.

Metal Wani's Editor In Chief Owais 'Vitek' Nabi had a chat with Enforcer frontman/guitarist Olof Wikstrand. He discusses new album "From Beyond", songwriting, vocals, 80's speed metal scene, upcoming tours and much more.

Stream The Entire Interview Here:

INTERVIEW: SAXON's Biff Byford On Upcoming New Album - "It's A Perfect Mixture Of Rock 'n' Roll & Heavy Metal"

Saxon are nothing short of an influential institution in the realm of heavy metal, and one of the forerunners of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which simultaneously emerged with the decline of punk rock, while in fact borrowing elements of its aggression and speed, combined with the virtuosity and ear for melody that classic heavy metal acts that preceded them brought to fore. The band, which has been around in precursory forms of various sorts since 1970 was initially known as Blue Condition, and then SOB, and finally Son of a Bitch, before being renamed to Saxon in 1977. Known for their propulsive song structuring, catchy song-writing ideas and crunchy, candor-driven and inspired riffs, the integrity Saxon has displayed across their prolific career, reinventing themselves while never straying too far from the classic sound we've come to love is admirable, as is their longevity. Their influence across the waves of heavy metal bands that would come after them is immense, with heavyweights which came to fore with the 80's thrash metal wave, such as Metallica and Megadeth having cited them as among their primary influences. Far from calling it quits, the band continues to strive and surge forward, continuously churning out fantastic releases.

Gearing up for a US Tour In May, Metal Wani's Editor In Chief Owais 'Vitek' Nabi had a chat with Legendary Biff Byford of Saxon. He discusses Upcoming new album, songwriting, his majestic vocals, upcoming US Tour with Judas Priest, 80's heavy metal scene and much more.

Stream The Entire Interview Below:



Catch SAXON Live On WARRIORS OF THE ROAD WORLD TOUR:

5/12 - New York, NY @ BB Kings - w/ Armored Saint

5/13 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium - w/ Armored Saint

5/16 - Columbus, OH @ Mapfre Stadium (formerly Crew Stadium) - Rock on the Range

5/17 - Cincinnati, OH @ The Shoe - w/ Judas Priest

5/19 - St. Charles, MO @ Family Area - w/ Judas Priest

5/20 - Council Bluffs, IA @ Harrah’s Casino-Stir Cove - w/ Judas Priest

5/21 - Rosemont, IL @ Rosemont Theater - w/ Judas Priest

5/23 - San Antonio, TX @ 210 Kapone’s Live - w/ Armored Saint

5/24 - Dallas,TX @ Gas Monkey Live - w/ Armored Saint

5/26 - Mesa, AZ @ Club Red

5/27 - Las Vegas, NV @ Vinyl @ Hard Rock

5/29 - San Jose, CA @ Rock Bar - w/ Armored Saint

5/30 - Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues - w/ Armored Saint


Thanks Natalie Camillo Of Adrenaline PR for the support \m/

NEWS: DAVE LOMBARDO: 'I Was Looking To Join MEGADETH' In 1986

Former Slayer and current Philm drummer Dave Lombardo was interviewed by Metal Ireland and was asked if there is any truth to the rumor that he was being considered as a possible replacement for Lars Ulrich when Metallica was allegedly contemplating making a drummer change in 1986.

"That's news to me," he responded. "I never heard about that. I never heard they were gonna get rid of Lars."

He continued: "In '86, I was looking to join Megadeth, to replace Gar Samuelson. I met all of them sometime in '86, but they were heavily into drugs and I really wasn't into that. They really didn't look to healthy either; they looked pretty bad."

Asked if he could see himself joining a band like Megadeth today following the group's recent split with Shawn Drover, Lombardo said: "Megadeth has its own style.

"I'm really busy with my own music and new band.

"I've been getting phone calls, like, 'Are you gonna join this band? Are you joint this band?' No, no. I refuse to be someone's employee. I want to work on something I'm a part of, not just a guy that receives a paycheck. I want to be part of the artist development… an artist, not just a hired gun. I've had enough of that. I need that freedom."

Drover quit Megadeth on November 25, 2014 "to pursue [his] own musical interests." His statement can be found at this location. Guitarist Chris Broderick announced his departure from Megadeth a few hours later, saying that he was exiting the group "due to artistic and musical differences."

Lombardo was effectively fired from Slayer after sitting out the band's Australian tour in February/March 2013 due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group. He has since been replaced by Paul Bostaph, who was previously Slayer's drummer from 1992 until 2001 and recorded four albums with the band.

Friday, March 20, 2015

NEWS: TWISTED SISTER Drummer A.J. PERO Dies At 55

Twisted Sister has released the following statement:

"The members of Twisted Sister are profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of our brother, A.J. Pero [drums].

"The band, crew and most importantly the family of A.J. Pero thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time."

In addition to Twisted SisterPero, who was 55 years old, was a member of Adrenaline Mob.

Pero joined Twisted Sister in 1982, after he left Cities, a local New York City band. Upon his departure from Twisted Sister in 1986, he rejoined Cities. He participated in the Twisted Sister reunion and continued to perform with the group until his death. Pero was also a member of the Ozzy Osbourne cover band No More Tears which is well known around Staten Island, New York.

While continuing to tour and record, A.J. has been hosting drum clinics with Tama drums, holding classes and seminars, and completing an instructional DVD. A.J. was also said to be in the beginning stages of writing a book on his life's journeys and lessons.

A.J. studied with maestro Larry Laurenzano, whom he considered not only a great teacher and mentor, but "a great friend who had more confidence in me, than I did in myself"; Mike Sqroi, "a great drummer who started me and taught me well"; and Nino Morreale who "made me realize who and what I was as a musician/drummer." And, of course, "my Dad who in his own right was a great sax player who never pursued it, but saw in me his dream."

NEWS: AMON AMARTH Parts Ways With Drummer FREDRIK ANDERSSON

Swedish death metallers Amon Amarth have parted ways with drummer Fredrik Andersson after 17 years. The band says in a statement: "Fredrik has been an important part of Amon Amarth's development since he joined the band in 1998 and we wish him all the best for the future. We are currently in the process of writing the new album, but at the moment there is no replacement for him."

Added Andersson: "I am no longer the drummer in Amon Amarth. We have decided to part ways and I wish them all the best in the future.

"I will not answer any questions about why or how, simply because it's private.

"I'm finalizing the last details with the new THIS ENDING CD, and we will look into releasing that somehow during this year. Stay tuned. I will also evaluate any future opportunities.

"I want to thank everyone that I've met, both fans and business related, through Amon Amarth. It's been my pleasure. It's been a long sweet ride but now it's time for something new."

In a 2014 interview with Loudwire, Andersson stated about his approach on Amon Amarth's latest album, "Deceiver Of The Gods": "I have a much more relaxed and laid back attitude in general. I let go of a lot of personal pressure that I usually have going into album recording. For me, as a drummer, in the past I always wrote every part 100 percent and made sure that was exactly what ended up on the album. On this album, I actually winged 50 percent of the stuff and just did a couple of different takes and improvised a lot more in the studio. It made me a little bit on edge when I played but it was more relaxed, not as strict and I didn't get pissed off every time I didn't nail it. I think improvising makes the album a little bit more edgy and aggressive."

Asked what the secret was to Amon Amarth's longevity as friends and as bandmates, Fredrik said: "We kind of hit the bump already, that three-year bump or whatever it is. We have a very good working relationship and I think the key is that we went into this never expecting to come this far. I mean, we were just playing together as friends, and that's where we started off. Having no expectations when gradual success happens, we've just taken it on the same level all the time. Early on, we decided there are no egos in the band. We share everything equally; everyone has equal say on everything. We have a democracy working, [so] there's no reason for anyone to argue. Songwriting as well, even though Johan [Hegg] and Olavi [Mikkonen] write more than 90 percent of the music — when someone else in the band has ideas, if they are good then they will be in the song. There's no egos in that either; the best music always ends up on the record no matter who wrote it. Even on the albums we put 'written by Amon Amarth,' not the person who wrote that."

GIG REVIEW: WHITECHAPEL Live @ Sokol Underground

Not far from Downtown Omaha lies a small, legendary venue. The Sokol Underground has been a mainstay in Omaha’s music scene, specifically the metal scene. I’ve been playing and going to shows regularly at the Underground for the last six years and have grown very fond of the venue. It’s nothing fancy as far as venues go, but there is a sense of home and community there that is hard to find at many of the venues around town. It was here that Whitechapel brought mayhem and chaos to the otherwise boring neighbourhood. Since Whitechapel are touring solo this time, there were three great local bands to fill the void. They all deserve a shout out for putting on quality performances and representing the local talent pool well. Blessed are the Merciless, Soselo, and The Matador are all great up-and-coming bands from Omaha that deserve a quick search on Facebook and YouTube for a listen.

You could feel the anticipation radiating off the kids in the crowd in waves. The crowd was pretty consistently made up with angsty teens, all trying to “out-metal” each other, a phenomenon seen all over the animal kingdom as young males try and puff up to impress the females. It made for some quality entertainment to listen to the conversations that were going on around me between sets, and the constant one-upping and elitism that I’ve come to know and enjoy mocking for all these years. I’ve been to quite a few metal shows in my time - and by quite a few I mean a shit-ton - and I tend to avoid these types of shows because of the crowd they draw. Everything went smoothly as the locals all ran through, the pit was fairly active, the crowd was engaged, and everyone was behaving like decent human beings. The moment the lights dimmed for Whitechapel however, all of that went out the window.

Like I said, I’ve been to a lot of metal shows, and I understand that there is a certain etiquette to be maintained at such events; such as not punching people in the face because you’re incapable of controlling yourself, not stage-diving off a stage with expensive lights hanging two feet above it, or not attacking the cameramen trying to work the show. It was a strange bout of emotion that I felt during the whole set, and as a band, Whitechapel put on an incredible show. They had someone manning the lighting system who did his/her job down remarkably well, coordinating the strobes and lighting changes perfectly with each change in tempo. The guys in the band are clearly well-polished musicians who have a very commanding presence that you can’t take your eyes off. The syncopated movement back and forth into fits of manic headbanging were absolutely fantastic to watch. I absolutely love shows where the band is that tight as a unit, acting fluidly as one well-oiled machine. What ruined it for me was the crowd.

Whitechapel [pic by Adam Elmakias]
I and a few others that were tasked with photographing the show were subjected to kids swatting at, swinging at, or just trying to grab our cameras for some inane reason. I’ve honestly never worked a show and been flat-out attacked like I was at this one. I’ve worked everything from Deicide to Origin, Periphery to Agalloch and In Flames, and not once had a kid actually try and grab a camera from my hands then start swinging at me. I love working metal shows because the crowd is almost always incredibly welcoming, and they actually look out for me while I pop in and out, trying to get all the cool shots I can get. Yet, this show was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The stage-diving was another big issue for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with stage-diving in the least and have participated in plenty of it myself. The issues here were that half the time anyone dove into the crowd, they’d kick the lighting system hanging above. Sokol isn’t a particularly large venue (it is literally in the basement of the building), so there isn’t much overhead room for things. Yet these kids showed a blatant disregard for Sokol’s property and kept kicking at the lights anyways. The other issue I had here was how a few of these kids thought it was okay to push into band members to get to the front of the stage. You read that right, several times I watched kids shove into Ben Harclerode and Zach Householder on stage left, to dive into the crowd that was not expecting it at all.

Long story short, all of the bands did a phenomenal job. It was a high-energy show from the beginning and they maintained it all the way through. Whitechapel was a pleasure to watch, and they are well worth seeing. Unfortunately, they seemed to have drawn in one of the worst crowds I’ve ever seen in my life. I was genuinely disappointed with how these kids acted and how a handful of them ruined the show for so many other people. There is an easily discernable difference between getting into the music and just blatantly assaulting people at a show, and it’s shit like this that gives the rest of us metalheads a bad name. I love the camaraderie you find at metal shows - how everyone immediately bonds over the mutual love of all things brutal - yet there was none of that at this show. Again, this is not to take away from the fact that Whitechapel puts on an absolutely commanding performance that everyone should see once. The band was fantastic, but I doubt I’ll be seeing them again after this experience.


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Reviewed By,
Dallas Luckey