Coming Soon: Interview With Raven, Korpiklaani, Leprous, Kamelot, Paradise Lost and much more
Coming Soon: Reviews Of Raven, Leprous, Korpiklaani, Heidevolk, Paradise Lost and much more
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Friday, April 17, 2015

REVIEW: UNLEASHED - "Dawn Of The Nine"

Ever since Bathory's iconic 'Blood Fire Death' album paved the way for bands to explore Viking culture in Metal, there have been many following their footsteps, creating passionate renditions of Norse mythology and forging epic Viking sagas. While bands like Bathory and Enslaved incorporated a more Black Metal-oriented sound, others like Amon Amarth and Dismember gravitated more towards the Death Metal end of the spectrum. Then there are also bands like Tyr who amalgamate distinct melodic elements in the form of folksy riffs and powerful anthem-like choruses to provide yet another twist to the sub-genre. Although many metal heads argue about the repetitive nature of the theme these bands follow, the passion for their age old traditions and rich cultural values outshines everything else. One such band which stood the test of time and is considered to be the epitome of Viking Death Metal is Sweden’s Unleashed.

Unleashed were formed way back in 1989 during the formative years of the sub-genre itself, and are now set to release their 12th studio album titled 'Dawn Of The Nine' on April 24th this year via Nuclear Blast records. The album promises to be a classic Viking Death Metal offering and continues the story line of their previous releases ‘As Yggdrasil Trembles’ and ‘Odalheim’.

'Dawn Of The Nine' does not waste any time in teasing the listener through a melodic instrumental opener; instead, it assaults the listener's ear drums right from the get-go. The opener “A New Day Will Rise” hits the listener hard with its heavy gallops and pounding drums. The track has a distinct melodic undercurrent that will cement itself in your brain. Frontman Johnny Hedlund hisses and growls away, spewing venom all over the punchy rhythm sections. However, at the same time, he is surprisingly audible throughout the album; you can easily make out the lyrics without focusing too hard.

The band turns up the groove in “They Came To Die”, using a nice thrashy hook to follow the melody-laden tremolo flutters. Anders Schultz delivers an unrelenting performance behind the kit, keeping it nice and intense with his pummeling blast beats. His drum work peaks on “Where Is Your God Now”. He single handedly elevates the intensity levels of that song to manic levels. The thrashy rhythms coupled with Hedlund's massive growl to challenge White Christ to come out of his hiding made me raise those metal horns up (and also scared me a little).

The songs are not overly chaotic in terms of structure. The songwriting clearly takes a more groove-laden, melodic approach rather than being progressive and providing a lot of twists and turns or tempo changes. Fredrik Folkare creates impressive melodic solos on almost every track and teams up well with Tomas Masgard to give us killer harmonies and some lightning-fast thrashy rhythm sections. “Welcome The Son Of Thor!” is one such classic example.

Although the album has its fair share of speed, some tracks do provide a breather of sorts by slowing things down. The title track “Dawn Of The Nine” sheds the manic intensity of its predecessors and turns towards a slower and more sinister direction. However, midway, it surprises you by mutating into a groove monster for the solo before transforming back to its evil avatar. Similarly, “Defenders of Midgard” too trades away speed for groove and dark and atmospheric elements.

Like all Unleashed albums, 'Dawn Of The Nine' has an elaborate plot which is worth mentioning. The story takes place after the great battle of Odalheim at the Uppsala fields. In the aftermath of the epic battle, the warriors of Midgard must rise again to take back much of what was lost in Svithiod. They seek vengeance from White Christ who has now fled to higher ground. Each song in the album is one chapter in this story describing how the warriors of Midgard reclaim their cities back one by one and welcome a new dawn.


To summarize, Unleashed deliver what they promise: 'Dawn Of The Nine' is a pure, undiluted Viking Death Metal offering. It will keep you hooked as the band narrates its epic saga of vengeance and bloodshed.

Recommended Tracks: “Where Is Your God Now”, “The Bolt Thrower”, “Dawn Of The Nine”, Welcome The Son Of Thor”


Rating: 9/10


--
Reviewed By,
Rakesh Pothengil

NEWS: SLAYER: New Song 'When The Stillness Comes' Available For Streaming

"When The Stillness Comes", the first new song from SLAYER in nearly a year, can be streamed below. The track, accompanied by a live recording of "Black Magic", from the band's 1983 album "Show No Mercy" and recorded live at the 2014 Wacken Open Air festival, will be made available as part of Record Store Day on April 18. It will be released as a limited-edition (only 5000 copies worldwide), seven-inch vinyl picture disc exclusively at all participating independent record stores worldwide.

Regarding the lyrical inspiration for "When The Stillness Comes", SLAYER guitarist Kerry King tells RollingStone.com: "We were touring Europe and we had a three-hour ride in some fucking minivan, and I'm just miserable in the backseat, not into anything. So I just started jotting down hateful thoughts. It's about a dude who wakes up at a crime scene and realizes he's killed everybody. It's really cool."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ALBUM PREMIERE: Stream DRUDKH New Album "A Furrow Cut Short"

With 'A Furrow Cut Short', DRUDKH are continuing on the course charted with their previous release 'Eternal Turn of the Wheel' (2012), where the black and bleak sound of the band's roots seemed to overshadow the progressive and lighter tone of 'Handful of Stars' (2010). This continuity is a rather rare occurrence in the history of the Ukrainians. In an ever evolving metamorphosis, DRUDKH have at times returned to their early legacy from the Nordic Black Metal inspired debut ‘Forgotten Legends’ (2003). Yet they also came back to the cinematic soundscapes of ‘Autumn Aurora’ (2004) and traditional influences that had risen on ‘The Swan Road’ (2005). The Ukrainians took more turns in their impressive career. On ‘Blood in Our Wells’ (2006), progressive elements surfaced, while after the instrumental and partly acoustic ‘Songs of Grief and Solitude’ (2006) a sharp contrast was delivered by the harshly black ‘Estrangement’ (2007). Their 2009 masterpiece ‘Microcosmos’ seemed to tie up the different strands of DRUDKH's previous works, before embarking on a quest to more outlying realms with ‘Handful of Stars’ that led to Roman Sayenko to found OLD SILVER KEY, in which he was joined by ALCEST vocalist Neige. The band's mastermind has often penned his own lyrics, but also continuously rediscovered forgotten poets of his home country. On 'A Furrow Cut Short', Roman is heavily drawing inspiration from 20th century Ukrainian poetry once more, which often deal with the bloody struggle of this old country to build a nation from foreign oppression. DRUDKH still refuse any kind of interview or promotion and demand to be understood through their music alone. This album equally represents the blood soaked sound of black despair and full hearted resistance to vile treachery and evil as well as the beauty of landscapes and culture. Listen carefully to hearts breaking.



Tracklist

1. Cursed Sons I
2. Cursed Sons II
3. To the Epoch of Unbowed Poets
4. Embers
5. Dishonour I
6. Dishonour II
7. Till Foreign Ground Shall Cover Eyes

Line-up

Roman Sayenko: guitars
Thurios: guitar, vocals
Krechet: bass
Vlad: drums, keyboards

Links:

www.facebook.com/Drudkh.Official
www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial 

Pre-order here:

http://shop.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=93

REVIEW: CHON - "Grow"

Ever since the days of their demo release, San Diego’s Chon have been surprising their fans record after record. While continually becoming more and more experimental, they have also managed to mature in terms of songwriting.  Although most bands today lack an emotional connection to the music they write, Chon has made it a point to remain on the same wavelength as their music instead of putting out music just because. With this comes ‘Grow’, a mature and refined approach to Chon’s already unique brand of music.

Along with a host of new tracks, a bunch of re-recorded ones have made it to the track list.  In the older tracks, the composition of the songs remain the same, but the production style on this record adds a dimension to these songs,  turning them into something pleasantly fresh yet so familiar.

Two tracks on ‘Grow’ include vocals. While the vocals are great when looked at individually, including them in a track that already has intricate vibes makes the song sound saturated. At best, “Can’t Wait” is the track that’s an exception to this.

“Fall” is a notable track whose beginning consists of seemingly alien up-tempo riffs. It requires time to fully appreciate the true beauty of this unique track, since it is a lot different from the overall vibe of the record. Virtuoso Matt Gartska (of Animals As Leaders) is also featured on two albums.

The production on ‘Grow’ is different, as it is on every Chon record. Only this time, the production brings out the absolute best in the album and adds a much-needed depth to the abstract imagery of this record along with the complex modern jazz that the band is known to produce so well. Chon have taken the recording aspect of this album very seriously, as the guitar, bass and drum tones are carefully handpicked for each section of each track throughout the album. It’s not the same thing all the way through, and it’s something a lot of bands tend to do these days. Chon gives each track the attention it deserves with the recording process, going the extra mile to make sure the production complements their hard work.

Chon seemingly appreciates the pureness of an organic guitar tone, being careful not to make it sound over compressed or saturated. Each instrument is able to shine in the mix. A special kudos to engineer Shaun Lopez of ††† (Crosses) on a job well done.


In conclusion, ‘Grow’ is a great effort by a talented bunch of musicians who are only putting out better, tasteful music with time. Chon is not just another progressive band in the cut-throat scene we see today; they have the technical capacity and the mental strength that most other bands criminally lack. I eagerly look forward to their next venture, but until then, this 35 minute work of art will be more than sufficient.


Rating: 8.5/10


--
Reviewed By,
Nehal Shastri

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

REVIEW: HEIDEVOLK - "Velua"

People may think that singing in Dutch is preventing Heidevolk from achieving mainstream commercial success, but they prove once again that they simple don’t care, and this time, it’s through their latest album ‘Velua’. This is their fifth studio album, and a follow-up effort to 2012’s ‘Batavi’.

‘Heidevolk’ loosely translates to “pagan folk” or “heather folk” in Dutch, and the band sings about everything a folk band would: Nature, battles, demons, and the like. The band sings only in Dutch, and the lyrics in ‘Velua’ are especially inspired by the Veluwe landscape of the Gelderland region in the Netherlands.

Just because they sing about folklore doesn’t mean there is any shortage of metal here - from start to finish, the album has a solid backbone of heavy riffing and loud drumming. Folk-infused guitar solos and harmonies are strewn everywhere and complement the clean vocals well, without taking anything away from the melodies the vocals create by themselves.

The more upbeat and happier songs are interspersed with well-placed darker and moodier ones, providing some element of variation that could be considered missing from the instrumentation itself. There are many tracks on the album (12 in the regular LP and 15 in the limited edition one) and so, the role of each instrument becomes repetitive after a point.

However, each track is quite excellent in its own right. “Het Dwalende Licth”, for example, makes good use of a violin to add depth to Heidevolk’s sound. The song “Urth” also uses a violin in some lead sections, and these are the only songs that offer something refreshing and new. Still, the band sounds very cohesive on the whole.  Joost Westdijk on the drums holds the band together with some traditional double bass grooves and gives the songs a peppy feel – a prerequisite to most happy folk songs. Reamon Bloem and Kevin Vruchtbaert make good use of their heavy-sounding guitars, and the guitar solos and melodies have that classical and folk tinge to them. Rowan Middelwijk, handling the bass, isn’t as audible at some would like the bass to be, but he still manages to deliver some perfectly-timed galloping runs that spur the songs on.

Mark Bockting and Lars Vogel sing on a slightly lower end, like in most traditional folk metal, and the Dutch accents they inevitably bring to the songs make each track an interesting listen. The vibe and imagery that the title track “Velua” hints at is quite enchanting (despite being in Dutch), and this is brought out through the vocals.


Again, the major issue with the album is that it sounds like Heidevolk use the same formula in all of the songs. The tracks on the album have only minor differences, so only some of them are mentioned here. In contrast, the limited edition version of Velua has some covers of artists like Billy Idol and Led Zeppelin that break away from this monotony. Perhaps Heidevolk can look at putting their instruments to different and varied uses next time around, but one can’t deny that ‘Velua’ is a solid effort.


Rating: 6.5/10


--
Reviewed By,
Rishabh P Mansur

GIG REVIEW: CULTFEST 2015 (featuring CANNIBAL CORPSE & SUICIDE SILENCE)

Very rarely has the first edition of a metal music festival put all their cards on the table as that of CultFest 2015. Inexplicably emerging on the Indian music scene last year and steadily gaining momentum (both monetary, structurally and through word-of-mouth) over the past few months, CultFest promised us two big-name metal superstars as part of the line-up of their maiden effort. And they sure as shit didn't disappoint on the day of April 11, 2015, as the concert saw the debut performances of American deathcore stalwarts Suicide Silence and almighty death metal legends Cannibal Corpse.

First off, let it be said that CultFest was planned, placed and organised extraordinarily well for a first edition. With the Manpho Convention Grounds on the northern edge of the city as its sanctum sanctorum, the festival featured all the usual trappings of a large-scale metal gig: merch stands, well-supplied (if not slightly overpriced) food stalls, and even an X-Box booth of all things. While the start of the festival's performances in the late afternoon was slightly unusual timing for a metal gig, the CultCrew managed each of the bands' timeslots with great precision and nary a delay.

Though I had the misfortune of missing Delhi-based metallers Pyramids' set, I did manage to catch the performances of Pune's Abraxas and Shillong's Plague Throat. CultFest's tight live sound worked to Abraxas' advantage as they brought their breakdown-infused fury down on the masses. With frontman Karan Pote's long locks of hair entering a state of perpetual motion, the band blazed through their setlist without any pause for a breather, successfully pumping up the audience for what was to come later that evening. Their performance almost made us wonder when the bloody hell that "long-awaited" debut album of theirs would come out.

Iaidon of Plague Throat (Pic by Sairaj R Kamath)
Meanwhile, Plague Throat were that evening's perfect example of "doing more with less". In spite of being restricted to three members with one rhythm guitar between them, the band belted out riff after groovy death metal riff, evoking an especially passionate response from some of their homegrown fans in the crowd. Nangsan's guitar solos were the high point of their performance, and anyone in the crowd at that point could've been forgiven for thinking that despite being a death metal band, these Shillong-based metallers perhaps held a candle to the groove metal majesty and shred-tastic solo guitar of Pantera and Dimebag Darrell. Or at the very least, 'The Great Southern Trendkill' era Pantera.

With Plague Throat’s set ending at around 6:15pm, there was a slightly relaxed but still tantalising half-hour wait for Suicide Silence to come on at 6:45. This afforded a breather for the audience to grab a bite to eat, have a smoke, and recharge their batteries for the main event. Finally, at around 7, Suicide Silence hit the stage.

Eddie Hermida of Suicide Silence (Pic by Sairaj R Kamath)
From older favourites like “No Pity for a Coward” and “Unanswered” to newer hits like “You Can’t Stop Me” and “O.C.D” (their “party-jam”, as the band called it), Suicide Silence ripped through their setlist in a blaze of breakdowns and wind-milling. Eddie Hermida and co. were an emotive and frenetic bunch, constantly headbanging and gurning at the audience and making them sing along to the choruses of tracks like “Fuck Everything”. The moshpits kicked up huge dust clouds at that point, further fuelled by Hermida’s pig squeals and Mark Heylmun’s and Chris Garza’s slamming riffs. It was almost like the space pigs from the ‘Duke Nukem’ games had suddenly landed on Earth with fuck-off loud instruments and a wall of amps.

Ultimately, it was Suicide Silence’s swansong of “You Only Live Once” that kicked up the most frenzy in the crowd, even though the drums slightly overpowered the guitars in the live mix. One down, one to go.

George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher of Cannibal Corpse (Pic by Sairaj R Kamath)
Even as Suicide Silence left the stage, a downpour of rain started bringing itself down on CultFest, threatening to put a damper on the final hour of the concert. However, it was with still-high spirits that the crowd welcomed Cannibal Corpse on to the stage. Preferring not to mince words, the ‘Corpse immediately got down to business and unleashed “Scourge of Iron” in a wave of old-school death metal riffage and monstrous growls. Where Suicide Silence had brewed up a sandstorm in the audience, Cannibal Corpse made their fans mosh and headbang in a messy pit of mud and slush in the midst of the ongoing rains. Their setlist acknowledged almost all the eras of their 25-plus year career, right from older fare like “I Cum Blood” and “Sentenced to Burn” to their most recent head-splitters like “Demented Aggression” and “Kill or Become”. It got to the point where the bouncers and even some of the pit crew had to manually hold the barricades steady to hold back the wave of rabid metalheads.

Unfortunately, the heavy rains just made things too unsafe for CultFest, forcing the ‘Corpse to end their set about 20 minutes early with their seminal hit “Hammer Smashed Face” and an encore of “Make Them Suffer”. While this certainly pleased the entire crowd, it took some doing by the CultCrew to convince some of the fans at the barricades screaming “one more song!” that the concert had actually ended; even after the band had packed everything in, funnily enough.

All in all, even though Bangalore’s weather played spoilsport at the last hour, CultFest’s first edition was a definite success. The team brought down talent that we could only hope to see at least once or twice in our lifetimes, while two giants in American heavy metal were introduced to whole new legion of fans to perhaps visit one more time in the future. Corpsegrinder’s Neck be praised; it was a blast.


--
Reviewed By,
Sairaj R Kamath

ALBUM PREMIERE: Stream SHINING New Album "IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends"

SHINING is more than just a band. In fact each release, every concert and interview becomes a bloody battleground, on which Niklas Kvarforth struggles with his inner demons. The frontman and only remaining original member has never been shy to let the world know about his mental afflictions, which seem to complement or even spark his outstanding talent as a composer and musician. His ninth album, 'IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends' is another excellent example of Niklas' genius. Reaching back to their black metal roots, SHINING simultaneously melt eclectic influences from progressive rock, jazz, even pop and more into deeply emotional laments from the dark side of the soul. Niklas’ vocals come in an even greater variety of expressions which few would suspect in a singer coming from the extreme metal scene. Moments of pain and confusion turn into insane outbursts of anger. Despair shifts into melancholy and an eerie sense of timeless beauty permeates all. Lacking any tolerance for false tuning, technical flaws and lack of ambition, Niklas has literally beaten any weakness out of his band, which demonstrates its remarkable prowess far beyond any average on this record. Founded in 1996 by Kvarforth, SHINING self-released 'Submit to Self-Destruction' in 1998 and spawned the term "suicidal black metal" with this debut 7". A couple years after first full-length 'I - Within Deep Dark Chambers' (2000) and sophomore album 'II - Livets Ändhållplats' (2001) had cut deep marks into the underground scene, Niklas replaced his whole crew and started a continuous cycle of changing his line-up. With MAYHEM drummer Hellhammer on board, 'III - Angst' (2003) and 'IV - The Eerie Cold' (2005) began to gather major metal press attention. SHINING then focused on bringing their vision and often controversially received live performances to Europe. Yet Kvarforth's mental health led to cancelled tours, physical and psychological fights within the band, and finally a break-up. Not content to let things rest after the breakdown, the restless singer returned with new members and the massively successful album 'V – Halmstad' (2007). SHINING had reached headliner status and toured with big acts such as SATYRICON and MAYHEM. Several line-up changes later, the Swede once again entered studio and recorded two albums in one session. 'VI – Klagopsalmer' was released in 2009 and two years later 'VII - Född Förlorare' darkened the light of day. The band also received their first gold disc for the single 'Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel' in Sweden. After rotating more musicians in and out, SHINING returned with ‘Redefining Darkness’ (2012) and a less aggressive, yet more sinister sound. Before signing to Season of Mist, the band released the project '8 ½ – Feberdrömmar I Vaket Tillstånd', which featured six of Kvarforth's favourite vocalists. In August 2014, SHINING entered Andy LaRocque's Sonic Train Studios to record their ninth album. 'IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends' is the sum of Niklas Kvarforth's musical evolution and experience so far. And while nobody expects the Swede to deliver a record to booze and sing along to, the charged word "art" enters the mind unbidden. This masterpiece should interest lovers of music far beyond the narrow confines of extreme metal. Plug your headphones in and find out for yourself!



Tracklisting:

1. Den Påtvingade Tvåsamheten
2. Vilja & Dröm
3. Framtidsutsikter
4. Människotankens Vägglösa Rum
5. Inga Broar Kvar Att Bränna
6. Besök Från I(ho)nom
7. Ohne Dich [bonus - Rammstein]
8. Black Industrial Eleven [bonus]

Line-up:

Niklas Kvarforth - vocals
Peter Huss - guitars
Euge Valovirta - guitars
Christian Larsson - bass
Rainer Tuomikanto – drums

Buy Here:

www.shiningasylum.com
www.facebook.com/shiningofficial
http://smarturl.it/ShiningShop

Monday, April 13, 2015

NEWS: EVERLIT Releases Lyric Video For New Single "A Phoenix Will Rise" From Upcoming EP

Philadelphia based Hard Rock band Everlit has released the lryic video for their new single "A Phoenix Will Rise", off of their upcoming EP, due out on June 20th. The band will be playing their EP release show at Bull Shooters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the full band lineup for the show will be announced soon.

Check out Everlit's "A Phoenix Will Rise" official lyric video below.

We're excited that A Phoenix Will Rise was the first song we got to share with everyone. It's a story about where we came from but it's also intended for our fans who have or need to overcome things in their own lives. - Ryan Panfil (Everlit)

Purchase Everlit's "A Phoenix Will Rise" HERE!

NEWS: Finnish Heavy Metal Goes To University

As heavy metal music and the subculture related to it is particularly strong in Finland, and Finnish heavy metal is recognized worldwide as a key manifestation of this musical style, it is only natural that Finland's leading university, the University Of Helsinki, offers this summer a three-week academic course about the history of heavy metal music and its importance in contemporary western society.

The course is led by PhD candidate Paolo Ribaldini, heavy metal musician and singer himself, whose research at the University Of Helsinki is focused on varied sociological, semiotic, and philosophical aspects of heavy metal musical practices and recent development of heavy music singing.

Ribaldini's educational background involves classical and popular music practice, musicology, philosophy, and philosophy of music and he is particularly interested and enthusiast about the classic heavy metal bands from the seventies and the eighties. His musical talent was also present in this year's "The Voice Of Finland", where he successfully progressed under the guidance of former NIGHTWISH singer Tarja Turunen.

According to Ribaldini, the research about heavy metal is a developing field which needs interested and enthusiastic researchers. However, it still lacks multidisciplinarity, which is what he wants to foster through his multidisciplinary course that encourages collaboration between students from different academic backgrounds. Ribaldini is hoping to gather in Helsinki a group of advanced Bachelor's or Master's students of musical practice, humanities, social sciences, psychology and pedagogy who have a common passion for heavy metal music and who are willing to share they own expertise with the others.

Ribaldini's aim is to spotlight the importance of heavy metal music in western musical culture, its historical development and the characteristics of the subculture related to it. He wants the students to achieve competences in music critique, musical theory, the sociology of music, music semiotics and cultural studies to better understand and appreciate heavy metal. Furthermore, he also wants to give the participants a solid basis to critically understand popular music genres other than heavy metal.

Ribaldini promises that an important part of the course is about listening to a lot of good music and going to gigs where the participants will get to know the local heavy metal scene.

The world certainly needs more heavy metal doctors like Ribaldini!

More information about the summer course is available at www.helsinkisummerschool.fi.


NEWS: Video Footage Of AC/DC Playing First Full North American Show In Over Five Years;

AC/DC played its first full North American show in over five years on Friday (April 10) when the band headlined the first of two shows at the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival in Indio, California. Aside from two songs performed at the Grammy Awards in February, this also marked the first full appearance by the new AC/DC lineup, in which guitarist Stevie Young has replaced Malcolm Young and drummer Chris Slade has stepped in for Phil Rudd.

AC/DC's 20-song set kicked off with "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be", featured three songs from the band's latest album, "Rock Or Bust" album (the title track, first single "Play Ball", and "Baptism By Fire"), and ended with the band's staple show closer, "For Those About To Rock".

The setlist was as follows:

01. Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be
02. Shot Down In Flames
03. Back In Black
04. Rock Or Bust
05. Shoot To Thrill
06. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
07. Thunderstuck
08. Play Ball
09. The Jack
10. Hells Bells
11. Baptism Of Fire
12. You Shook Me All Night Long
13. Have A Drink On Me
14. Sin City
15. T.N.T.
16. Rock 'N' Roll Train
17. Whole Lotta Rosie
18. Let There Be Rock

Encore:

19. Highway To Hell
20. For Those About To Rock


NEWS: SLAYER Completes Work On Eleventh Album, Sets Six Songs Aside For Follow-Up Album

Even though SLAYER has only just completed work on its eleventh studio album, the band has already set aside several tracks for the follow-up CD, which is not expected for the next several years.

During an appearance on this week's edition of VH1 Classic's "That Metal Show", SLAYER guitarist Kerry King revealed: "What people don't know [is that] beyond [the new SLAYER album], there's six more [songs] towards the next one that are already recorded. So we did a lot."
SLAYER's forthcoming album will feature one song which was written by the band's late guitar Jeff Hanneman and originally laid down during the sessions for 2009's "World Painted Blood".

"When Jeff got injured, I started making up boatloads of stuff, because I didn't know, if Jeff contributed at all, how much he was gonna contribute," Kerry said. "So I just took it upon myself to say, 'Hey, man, if I get too much stuff, good for me.' It turns out Jeff didn't contribute anymore."

He continued: "[Jeff's song] on this record is 'Piano Wire', from the ['World Painted Blood'] recording session. We had [Paul] Bostaph play drums to the existing track. Tom [Araya] re-sang it. So that's Jeff's contribution to this record. And then on the follow-up — assuming there is as a follow-up — we have another one that we don't have lyrics for yet."


Asked about the initial reports which erroneously suggested that Jeff's playing was actually going to be included on the next SLAYER album, Kerry said: "It's his writing [and] I think the assumption was, [since] it's Jeff's song, [and] we recorded it for the 'World Painted Blood' tracks, [people] assumed Jeff played on it, but as everybody knows, I've done Jeff's rhythm tracks [on SLAYER albums] since the '90s. And he has no lead on it, so it's only me."

Regarding how it felt to record a SLAYER album for the first time without Hanneman involved in the process, King said: "The weirdest thing for me was just the lack of [his] presence. Because if I played all the stuff, which I had been doing, that part was the same, but having the guy that I wrote all the records with all those years not be there, that was really weird. And then it was just me and Tom, pretty much."

Kerry also spoke about the contributions to the songwriting sessions by current SLAYER touring members Gary Holt (guitar, also of EXODUS) and Paul Bostaph (drums). He said: "Paul, you know, I would show him the songs I'd bring in. A lot of times I'd just turn him loose, 'cause he's got good ideas. Then Holt, we had Holt play on seven, eight songs, guitar-lead wise. I figured… Personally, I thought that's how the fans would accept Gary being on any part of a SLAYER record to start with. So I wanted to start there."

King was full of praise for Holt, who began filling in for Hanneman at live shows in 2011, and became the band's full-time co-guitarist as of 2013, while remaining a member of EXODUS.

"The scenario, as lousy as it is, is the best scenario it could have been, I think," Kerry said. "[Gary has] been playing with us almost five years now. And everybody knows Holt, because EXODUS has been around as long as we have. I've known him thirty years. I can't think of a better replacement that's ever happened, except maybe Brian Johnson and AC/DC."

According to King, Hanneman was a fan of Holt's playing and approved of having Gary filling in for him on tour when he first got sick. "Absolutely," Kerry said. "We were friends from Day One. I remember destroying hotel rooms with EXODUS when we were, like, twenty. Our history goes way, way back, and Holt, to me, is probably the best player in the genre that didn't get the respect he deserved. So I'm glad to have been able to help that get to more people."

King also touched upon SLAYER's latest split with drummer Dave Lombardo and return of Paul Bostaph, who was previously SLAYER's drummer from 1992 until 2001 and recorded four albums with the band.

"It is funny… We were flying to Australia [in February 2013] when Dave [put out] his big 'press release' [announcing that he was not going to be doing the tour with us], so to speak," Kerry said. "And I land in Australia and my phone's just blowing up with texts. I'm, like, 'What happened?' 'Cause I've been here fourteen hours, and I have no idea. And the first [message] was from Paul Bostaph, saying, 'Hey, man, if you need anything, I'm ready to go.'"

He continued: "People have mentioned to me, and I didn't know, that Paul has his little group of SLAYER fans that are just Bostaph fans [that] actually like him better than Dave. I never knew that."

NEWS: WARREL DANE: 'NEVERMORE Is Not Dead'

Iza Rodrigues of Menina Headbanger has produced a documentary about NEVERMORE/SANCTUARY singer Warrel Dane's recent Brazilian tour. The report on the "Dead Heart In A Dead World" 15th-anniversary Brazilian trek was recorded in São Paulo and São José dos Campos:

On the difficulty of performing some of SANCTUARY's early material live:

Warrel: "Sometimes 'Battle Angels' from the first SANCTUARY record, sometimes…. I love that song, but sometimes I know if I'm having a bad day, and maybe I won't sing it good enough for the people. So sometimes I hate singing that song when I know my voice feels bad. And then, every time I sing it bad, there's a YouTube video, right up there, or it gets on Blabbermouth — right away. Right away. Never the good ones, never the good performances — it's always the bad ones. People have to realize that singers are human beings. It's a flesh instrument. Sometimes you have bad nights. Sometimes you have perfect nights. The perfect nights never make it onto any kind of social media form ever."

On the recent departure of SANCTUARY guitarist Brad Hull:

Warrel: "The Brad Hull thing… I've known him for many, many, many, many years, and it's kind of a personal thing that I probably should not discuss in public. He's still my friend — I still will always be his friend — but there were just some things that happened that it's probably better not to discuss. [New SANCTUARY guitarist] Nick [Cordle, ex-ARCH ENEMY] was recommended by Zeuss [a.k.a. Chris Harris], the producer that did [the latest SANCTUARY album] 'The Year The Sun Died'. Because we were, like… At the last minute, after Brad said, 'I can't do the tour,' we had already bought his plane ticket and we lost a lot of money on that. And we freaked out; we didn't know what to do. Because we couldn't cancel the tour… SANCTUARY just did a tour in Europe with OVERKILL, and we couldn't cancel it, so we had to find someone very quickly when we found out that Brad couldn't do the tour. I still love that guy so much; I just wanna make that clear. And so, Zeuss found Nick for us. And it is… I'm guessing maybe one of your next questions is, 'Isn't it ironic, because of Jeff Loomis [former NEVERMORE guitarist] being in ARCH ENEMY now, and Nick being [in SANCTUARY]…?' It is kind of strange, but… Hey, Nick is a great guy — a great guy and a really, really good guitar player. I have no idea why he's not in ARCH ENEMY anymore, and I don't care. All I know, with my experience with him, he was great on tour, and he's a really good live performer and a nice guy. And, yeah, I'm pretty happy that we found him. I mean, Zeuss called up and said, 'Hey, I found the guy for you.'"

On the musical similarities between SANCTUARY and NEVERMORE:

Warrel: "People associate my voice with NEVERMORE. I think the music sounds absolutely nothing like NEVERMORE. The vocals, probably yes. And I think that's what it is. But the music is completely different than NEVERMORE. It's a lot more simple, it's a lot more song driven, it's not so progressive and all that stuff that made NEVERMORE what NEVERMORE is [and] was. So I completely understand the comparison, and I'm okay with that, but there's other people that kind of got a little annoyed when everyone started saying it sounded like NEVERMORE. It doesn't bother me."

On whether NEVERMORE is completely done:

Warrel: "No, NEVERMORE is not dead. I have secret plans. I had all the lyrics written for a new NEVERMORE record right after… When Jeff and Van [Williams, drums] both decided to leave the band… The band didn't break up. They left the band. I had all the lyrics written for the next [album] — all of them. [It was] kind of a conceptual thing and continuing with the tradition of all the NEVERMORE lyrics that were evolving and turning into a perpetual story. And there's a possibility that, yeah, there will be another [album]. There's support there from the record company, probably. There's support from other people involved in the business that would mean maybe it would be a good idea to do another one. So don't be surprised if there is a new NEVERMORE record within the next two years. But I don't know who will be in the band. All I can say is that I will be, Jim Sheppard [bass] will definitely be… I would love for Jeff Loomis to do it, but he's in ARCH ENEMY now, so I don't know if that's possible. Because we're not enemies. We don't talk much, but we're definitely not enemies. We didn't part on bad terms, so… We'll see."

GIG REVIEW: ENSIFERUM "One Man Army" Tour Live @ O2 Academy Islington, London

When I rave about how Scandinavia is the metal hub of the world I’m not exaggerating even in the slightest. It is without the doubt, the best region for a heavy music enthusiast with its melancholic atmosphere, rich folk culture and abundance of history. When I found out about this tour, I knew that I had to be there even if it cost me a kidney. I’ve loved Insomnium for the longest time, it’s always impossible for me to describe what that band makes me feel and seeing the other two was indeed a massive bonus. Heading to the famous O2 Angel Islington in London, I spotted that familiar line of black-covered, bootlegged creatures awaiting the melodeath madness.

The venue was spacious, and the stage set up was already getting me excited, anticipating the night ahead. First band to grace the O2 crowd were Finnish melodeath metallers Omnium Gatherum. This band and their music have the ability to mesmerize you with their otherworldly sounds interwoven with bludgeoning riffs. Jukka greeted the crowd, before the charming intro of ‘Luoto’ began and everything took off from there. The energy was contagious as the whole audience cheered the Finns, headbanging and air-guitaring to their heart’s content. With tracks like ‘New Dynamic’, ‘The Unknowing’ and ‘New World Shadows’, they played a brilliant set of songs from their most recent albums ‘Beyond’ and ‘New World Shadows’, albums that consolidate the band’s reputation as among the best melodeath metal bands. Jukka had a tremendous amount of energy as did guitarists Markus Vanhala and ‘Jope’ guided by the pummelling of drummer Jarmo on his kit. It certainly was a great way to start the night, and Omnium Gatherum killed it!

Following Omnium’s amazing set, was a band I had been waiting half my life to see. Insomnium are more than just a band to me - they’re a group of absolutely stunning, inspiring people and it was such an honour to watch them live. As I saw them come on stage, I could feel the biggest grin take over my face, anticipating what was going to be a show I’d never forget. As luck would have it, Ville Friman, the band’s guitarist was sitting out the European tour due to other committments but considering that he lives in London, something I completely forgot, it’s natural that he’d want to come and jam with his boys. Hearing the familiar and heavy opening of ‘The Killjoy’, a track from the first ever Insomnium album ( Above The Weeping World) I heard, my happiness couldn’t be contained any longer as the wind-milling kicked in and lasted throughout Insomnium’s absolutely perfect set. Elegant brutality at its finest, the haunting melodies of each track set in time with the beautiful, thought-provoking lyrics and Niilo’s positively intense growls. The band released their latest album ‘Shadows Of The Dying Sun’ early last year another masterpiece if I may, and tracks like ‘Black Heart Rebellion’, ‘While We Sleep’ and the scintillating ‘Ephemeral’ resonated through the air of the venue, fans like me singing along and losing all sensation in our necks. There were also some old favourites like ‘Daughter Of The Moon’, ‘Every Hour Wounds’ and ‘Where The Last Wave Broke’ moments of nostalgia rushing through my head. Niilo Sevanen is one of the most charismatic yet brutal vocalists I’ve seen/ heard and the chemistry that there is among these four musicians is unmatched. Mad props to Markus who is quite literally an unstoppable force doing full tours with both his bands on the same line-up, there was no sign of tiredness but only big, lovely smiles for my camera along with a few poses. Markus Hirvonen effortlessly played his kit, it’s such a delight to watch him drumming as the band performed ‘Weighed Down With Sorrow’ bringing their flawless, awe-inspiring set to an end I didn't want. To be honest, I could write pages and pages about this one band and my first time seeing them live but I do have a word limit to stick to so I’ll just say this: If you ever get a chance to see them live? Please do. It’ll be the best decision you ever made.

Finally it was time for the headliners and Finland’s very own folk metallers. Ensiferum’s music has always appealed to me with the strong traditional folk influence, powerful riffs and lyrics. But added to that, these guys are also fun yet brutal at the same time. Following a changeover that seemed like an eternity, one by one, Sami Hinkka and co were on stage at the speed of light and erupted into the ‘March of War’ a track from their insane new album ‘One Man Army’. There were war-painted faces everywhere, screaming along, swords and shields, Viking hats all worn with pride as the band continued on with more new tracks like ‘Axe Of Judgement’, ‘Heathen Horde’, Warrior Without A War’ and ‘Two Of Spades’. It was exciting to see Netta (ex-Turisas) on stage along with the band playing her accordion making these cute animated expressions while she was at it. We were also witness to a fun, Finnish ‘hummpa’ that psyched out the audience even more! Pete Lindroos who takes on simultaneous vocal and guitar duties, had the crowd under his complete control, his comrades Sami, clad proudly in his traditional kilt and Markus fooling around and exchanging cheeky banter with London. A kinky black bra was thrown on stage in honour of Sami who happily hung it on his mic stand and continued shredding his guitar with an even bigger smile on his face. Netta took over Petri’s mic and again bringing out the cheeky side of the band asked the crowd if they wanted to hear more. Course we did! And more we got! Introducing the ‘new’ members of the band , we saw Janne on guitar, Sami on accordion, Markus on drums, Petri on bass and the diva herself on vocals doing a solid rendition of Priest’s ‘Break The Law’ in sunnies and all. Needless to say that whole set had me off my feet and I don’t even know how to dance!

The night as always came to an end with the perfect encore of ‘From Afar’ and ‘Iron’ ending Ensiferum’s set and one of the most brilliant shows I’ve ever been to. Melodeath metal is at the top for me, and this was a dream come true to see all three bands play the same gig. Insomnium were without a doubt my highlight, definitely of the show and of possibly my whole year but each one played an absolutely spectacular set, reminding people why they’re among some of the best melodeath bands in the world. London was beautiful that night.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

REVIEW: AGNOSTIC FRONT - "The American Dream Died"

Active since the 80s, Hardcore/Crossover Thrash band Agnostic Front is still up and notorious after almost 30 years. Releasing ‘The American Dream Died’ via Nuclear Blast records, Agnostic Front is still angry as ever. The band comprises of five members, two of whom have been around since the early days of the band, namely Roger Miret (vocals) and Vinnie Stigma (guitar). Mike Gallo and Pokey Mo are on bass guitar and drum duties respectively, with the band having just hired Craig Silverman as guitarist in 2014.

It’s hard to understand why Hardcore and Metal have such a rivalry when the inclusion of speed in metal actually came from all these hardcore bands. And what of the Crossover bands? Where do they stand in this war? Mediators?  Whatever the case may be, Agnostic front are credited for creating the Crossover sound as and when they released ‘Cause for Alarm’ in ’86. This album divided fans and created new ones, and also a wonderful genre.

The “Intro” gives a picture of police sirens, safety, corruption, opinions on the government; finally building up to the second track. “Social System – Degradation, Multinational Corporation, Military – World Domination, Nuclear Power- Contamination!” is what AF screams in the second track “The American Dream Died”.  Most of the songs here may not have a stand-out effect, but they are easy to get into. The vocals by Miret might not be for everyone, but they do a good damn job for sure. The band does slip in some technical guitar work at times, showing off their metal side of the deal.

With the saying, “The American dream - You have to be asleep to be in it”, AF claim that there is no American dream and there never was. This might be understandable, given the fact that Miret is a Cuban immigrant, and surely “the American dream” used to mean something to him. Back to the album, “Police Violence” says a lot in 58 seconds. “FTP” - that’s the statement right there. To figure out what FTP means, let your imagination run wild (or better yet, listen to the album that popularised it). “Only in America” criticizes how badly the American government treats the country’s veterans, with soldiers being left to die and being dismissed as statistics in the end. Coming to the music, the riffs are fun, but they might not stay with you or in your head. The songs might get monotonous for the average hardcore/punk listener, but they do have the energy and passion in them that will keep them from fading away. Thenthemic “Never Walk Alone” for example has that old punk vibe, reminding me of the Misfits. “Enough is Enough” shows intensity and chaos and how the band is so much done with all this shit that doesn’t make sense.


The album then takes an interesting turn, with heavier and faster songs. “I Can’t Relate” is a 50 second rant that just might be the most impactful thing about the album. That is, until “Old New York” pulls a quote right out of Martin Scorcese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ in its intro! This song sounds hostile and has a chorus that will embed itself in your mind. You can feel the nostalgia and melancholy of the band with lines like "the greatest city of the world, but it just don't feel the same" and "the tallest buildings of the world, but they don’t look the same". I can imagine this song being used in a wide variety of visual media, because it already shows you a collage of memories and experiences, and the old days that were a golden time for the Hardcore movement. “Reasonable Doubt” leaves no doubt that the band wants change, and they almost have a “modern heavy metal” sound here. It is no doubt that the shorter tracks prove to be more fun and intense than their longer counterparts (with “Old New York” being the one exception). “No War Fuck You” and “Attack!” is some in-your-face ferocious Hardcore, while “Just Like Yesterday” and most of the “slower” songs are perfect to chant along with.



‘The American Dream Died’ has many intense moments along with some fast ones which give a feeling of balance to the album. Agnostic Front sound better than their other hardcore punk counterparts here, but do they match up with their old selves? Honestly, it’s a little hard to say yes. But that doesn’t mean the New York Hardcore sound isn’t alive. It’s alive and kicking, and Agnostic Front gives an invigorating 27-minute hardcore fest to enjoy as well as think about what all is wrong with this world. Thirty years and counting, and Agnostic Front still strong as ever!


Rating: 7.5/10


--
Reviewed By,
Sarthak Khanna

Friday, April 10, 2015

INTERVIEW: APOCALYPTICA Perttu Kivilaakso On 'Shadowmaker' - "It Reflects The Evolution Of The Band"

'Shadowmaker' is the eighth studio release by Finnish cello metallers Apocalyptica. Since their 'Plays Metallica By Four Cellos' release in 1996, Apocalyptica established a novelty factor in a similar fashion to what early Rodrigo y Gabriela did with their famous metal covers. Apocalyptica have developed and perfected their style over the years, adding distortion and drums to their original material and thus earning the attention from their heroes. With tours under their belts with high profile acts such as Metallica and guests including Dave Lombardo and Ville Valo on their albums, Apocalyptica have stepped out from obscurity, sold 4 million albums and created a medium in which they truly stand alone. Apocalyptica aren't very likely to be your favourite band. With "Shadowmaker", they tie an interesting string of correlation between Metal and Classical music in a way that only Yngwie Malmsteen could dream of. Metal lends a lot of its melodic structure to baroque and classical music, and listening to cellos perform in the same vein as our beloved guitar is a treat. Not many bands can survive as far as eight albums into their career, but Apocalyptica have managed to build upon their initial sideshow promotion and create something unique.

Gearing up for the release, Metal Wani's Editor In Chief Owais 'Vitek' Nabi had a chat with founding member Perttu Kivilaakso. He discusses new album "Shadowmaker", songwriting, new vocalist, instrumental parts, touring plans and much more.

Stream The Interview below:


Complete Setlist Of SUICIDE SILENCE & CANNIBAL CORPSE At CULTFEST

Earlier this year, Bengaluru based live entertainment firm "Bohemian Live", the company behind the new multi genre experiential music festival CultFest, had announced the headliners for their April 2015 edition. The inaugural edition, featuring the Metal music genre will be headlined by the legendary Death Metal band – Cannibal Corpse and Deathcore stalwarts Suicide Silence.

Everyone is more than aware of who Cannibal Corpse is and what kind of high caliber death metal they put out. Like them or not, they’re easily the most successful death metal band in the history of the genre. Now thirteen studio full lengths deep, Cannibal shows no sign of slowing down. Cannibal Corpse have really cornered the market on their particular sound and the band deserves a lot of credit for being able to consistently put out heavier and heavier material, with ‘A Skeletal Domain’ being the heaviest effort yet. They always find a way to add some extra meat to the guitar tone and more brutality to the vocals. On the other hand, Suicide Silence, one of the leaders of the extreme modern metal movement needs no introduction. With a new album ‘You Can’t Stop Me’, their first release since Mitch Lucker’s tragic death in 2012, the band will play in India for the first time.

Here's the Official Setlist of CANNIBAL CORPSE:

Scourge of Iron
Demented Aggression
Evisceration Plague
Stripped, Raped and Strangled
Disposal of the Body
Sentenced to Burn
Kill or Become
Sadistic Embodiment
Icepick Lobotomy
Addicted to Vaginal Skin
The Wretched Spawn
Dormant Bodies Bursting
I Cum Blood
Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
Make Them Suffer
A Skull Full of Maggots
Hammer Smashed Face
Devoured by Vermin


Official Setlist of SUICIDE SILENCE:

No Pity for a Coward
Inherit the Crown
Wake Up
Slaves to Substance
Cease to Exist
Revelations
Unanswered
Fuck Everything
Bludgeoned to Death
O.C.D.
Medley (Disengage / Girl of Glass / The Price of Beauty / Smoke)
Sacred Words
You Can't Stop Me
 
Encore:
You Only Live Once

 
Don't miss this opportunity,  BOOK Your Tickets Now: in.bookmyshow.com/events/Cult-Fest/ET00027495

NEWS: DEE SNIDER Says A.J. PERO's 'Irresponsible Behavior' Led To His Death

Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider says that the band's drummer, A.J. Pero, exhibited "irresponsible behavior" by not having himself "checked out" for cardiovascular disease before his tragic death last month.

Pero died at the age of 55 while on tour with the band Adrenaline Mob. After members of that group failed to rouse him on their tour bus on March 20, he was taken to a Poughkeepsie, New York hospital and pronounced dead of an apparent heart attack.

"People ask me how I feel about A.J.'s passing, and, quite honestly, I'm going through a real period of anger right now about it," Snider told TMZ.com (see video below). "He was a great guy, and I loved him dearly. But he had a history of heart disease — his family did; his father died in his early 60s of heart disease — and A.J. never had himself checked out. And when they did the autopsy, he had 95 percent blockage, advanced heart disease. And he didn't have to die. And I feel it's, basically, irresponsible behavior on his part. He had two ex-wives and an ex-girlfriend of 19 years, four kids he left behind. And you have a responsibility, as a parent, as an adult, to get yourself checked out.'

He continued: "So, people, please, get yourself checked out. There's no reason for people to die of heart disease in this day and age."

In a statement to "The House Of Hair", Snider reiterated the same sentiment. He said: "This is the unfortunate reality of irresponsible adult behavior. Not only did A.J. Pero have a family history of heart disease, which he allowed to go unchecked, but he did not have a will, left behind two ex-wives, a longtime girlfriend, four children between the three of them, and a mess of an estate to be sorted out. Now, there is infighting, mistrust and dissension amongst the family members about how to handle life after A.J. What a mess. While the legalities of the situation are being sorted out, Twisted Sister is doing a show to raise some money to help the family out in the short term. This unfortunate situation should be a life lesson to all to take responsibility for the world we create and will leave behind when we are gone."

As previously reported, Pero's longtime girlfriend, Michele Agnello, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help defray the financial stress that she and Pero's daughter now face, but the campaign has since been discontinued without an explanation.

Twisted Sister will embark on its final tour, dubbed "Forty and F**k It", in 2016, the band's publicist has confirmed.

To honor the memory of A.J. Pero, two shows will take place this spring on the East Coast and West Coast. The first, on May 30 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, will be filmed for broadcast, DVD, and CD. The second, for the A.J. Pero family, is scheduled on Saturday, June 13 at The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey.

Additionally, fulfilling all concert obligations that have been made for the remainder of 2015 (in several different countries), Twisted Sister wants its fans to know all festival dates that they have been advertised as playing will happen.

All Twisted Sister shows this year will feature the core lineup of Dee Snider (vocals), Jay Jay French (guitar), Mark Mendoza (bass) and Eddie Ojeda (guitar), along with Mike Portnoy on drums.

Twisted Sister rose to prominence from the New York club scene in the early 1980s. Their biggest album, 1984's "Stay Hungry", contained the hits "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock".

In addition to touring with Twisted Sister and Adrenaline MobPero also recently played with former and current members of Iron Maiden and Disturbed in a band called The Foundry. He also hosted drum clinics and seminars.