Thursday, September 29, 2016

NEWS: Lectern

NEWS:
Lectern
Precept of Delator
Via Nocturna
Are you obsessed with classic death metal? Well, you just found your match right here. They are from Italy and they are called Lectern. Just listen to the track "Diptych of Perked Oblation" from the album at the link below.
OFFICIAL: Via Nocturna are pleased to announce that they will release Precept of Delator by Italian death metal band LECTERN on September 30 2016. The band's approach to death metal is strictly old-school, with a sound straight out of the 90s Florida death metal scene. LECTERN was initially formed in 1999 and since that time the band has released several critically acclaimed albums. With the release of Precept of Delator on the highly regarded Via Nocturna label, the band is set to rise to the forefront of extreme metal.
Biography: Lectern was formed in 1999 with the intent of playing, old school brutal death metal with Satanic lyrics. The inspiration came, within all the bands from United States, especially based in Tampa, Florida. As the 90's were ending, and with the them the interest in death metal, Lectern tried since the very beginning of composing the music its member were up to listen to. The first studio effort came out in a bunch of months, with different musicians from many bands involved to that project. Gigs were made, but the interest in labels and promoters, was focused on other genres, and no more on death metal. Fabio Bava remained in the band, trying to recruit new musicians or sessionmen. Only in 2008 and then in 2009 the interest in Lectern grew up once again, also with a good live activity. So, in March 2010 the band entered Temple Of Noise studio, for recording Salvific Of Perhaps Lambent printed in Czech Republic by Gz Media. As three members left, in 2010 a new line up was built up again, also for the songwriting of new tracks. One year later, at the end of 2011 all crushed down again, but many concerts were made with other players, to face the duties with venues for commitments already agreed. Enrico Romano joined permanently the band in February 2012, actively participating in the reconstruction, which became effective in 2013 with the recruting of Marco Valentine on the drums, and of Pietro Sabato on the second guitar. After rehearsing, in January 2014 a new self entitled ep of three songs, was issued, and released with a concert in Finland at Helsinki at Prkl Club in February. The songwriting process of songs for a new album is in act, within the live activity. In October the band entered The Outer Sound Studios, produced by Giuseppe Orlando for the new album Fratricidal Concelebration printed by Sliptrick Records, and distributed worldwide. At the beginning of January 2015 Enrico Romano and Lectern went parting of the ways, the second guitarist Fabio Mariantoni entered the band in March. In July, Lectern opened for Angra and Sepultura. Fabio Mariantoni left the band in January 2016. In April, the band opened for Incantation at Riga, in Latvia, for their European tour. In April, the band opened for Incantation at Riga, in Latvia, for their European tour. In June was time for a new record, so Lectern hit The Outer Sound Studios. Giuseppe Orlando produced the new album Precept Of Delator which features nine songs of brutal death metal. September was the month that Gabriele Cruz joined the band on the other guitar role, and Lectern returned as a four elements band.
discography:
Bisbetical (1999)
Salvific Of Perhaps Lambent (2010)
Lectern (2014)
Fratricidal Concelebration (2015)
Precept Of Delator (2016)
www.vianocturna.bandcamp.com/album/precept-of-delator
www.facebook.com/lectern666

NEWS: Almah - E.V.O. Full Album (2016)

OFFICIAL: Brazilian metallers ALMAH led by ex-Angra singer Edu Falaschi are now streaming their latest album 'E.V.O' in full. 'E.V.O' was released on September 23rd in North America (US/MX/CA) via Test Your Metal Records. 'E.V.O' is also available through Pride & Joy Music (EU) and King Records (Japan). 'E.V.O' is the 5th studio album from ALMAH and was recorded in São Paulo, Brazil at IMF studios by Tito Falaschi plus mixed and mastered by Damien Rainaud (Fear Factory, Dragonforce, Baby Metal, etc) at Mix Unlimited in Los Angeles, California. The release is a concept album based on the evolution of people’s mind and soul during the so-called AGE OF AQUARIUS - the new era that the world is about to live. The author of the concept, Edu Falaschi, touches different subjects connected to the main idea, creating very positive lyrics for the album’s atmosphere. Musically 'E.V.O' brings a fresh and powerful sound with the typical modern and heavy ALMAH touch, but this time one will be able to realize that it also has a direct connection with the Angra’s “Rebirth” (the first Angra album with Edu Falaschi's voice). The compositions are a pleasant travel between contemporary rock, modern power and prog metal. The vocal lines on 'E.V.O' are very powerful, classic and the vocals have a higher pitch compared to previous ALMAH’s records. It’s very melodic, clean and into the bel canto style.
1 - Age of Aquarius (7:13)
2 - Speranza (4:55)
3 - The Brotherhood (4:41)
4 - Innocence (4:35)
5 - Higher (5:09)
6 - Infatuated (4:05)
7 - Pleased To Meet You (4:24)
8 - Final Warning (4:13)
9 - Indigo (3:46)
10 - Corporate War (4:19)
11 - Capital Punishment (4:00)
album length: 51:26
Almah is:
Edu Falaschi – Vocals
Marcelo Barbosa – Guitars
Raphael Dafras – Bass
Diogo Mafra – Guitars
Pedro Tinello - Drums
Almah - E.V.O. Full Album (2016)
For further information: www.facebook.com/official.almah
www.twitter.com/officialalmah

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

NEWS: Lady Beast new song now

NEWS:
Lady Beast
Metal Immortal
Release date: October 15th, 2016
Label: Infernö Records
Traditional heavy metal band Lady Beast (U.S.) has a new EP coming up and you can hear a new song right now. Check out the song below and find out more about the band.
track list:
1.Metal Martyr
2.The Devil's Due
3.Lady of the Battle
4.Not This Time
OFFICIAL: Lady Beast is a Heavy Metal band from Pittsburgh PA. Now in its 7th year, the band has played hundreds of shows, played festivals, done tours, and sold thousands of albums. Upon hearing a recording of the band, itís easy for the listener to pick out the bandís musical influences such as NWOBHM, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motˆrhead, Dio, etc., but that isnít the only influence, as the band draws heavily on the DIY ethos of the punk scene, and Lady Beast has always done everything on its own: booking tours, doing band photos, printing t-shirts, setting up shows at home, writing songs, putting out albums (released on bassist Greg Colaizziís label, Cobra Cabana Records), and driving the van. Anyone that has seen the band live can attest to the bandís energy, and singer Deborah Levineís vocal ability, charisma, and love for what she is doing.
Lady Beast is getting ready to release a new EP titled "Metal Immortal" with 4 new Metal songs in the style that the band is known for. The EP, which will be available as a vinyl, CD and download release, is also a debut for the bandís new lead guitarist, Andy Ramage. Andy is a familiar face, as he is the older brother of drummer Adam Ramage, and the two also played together in Oh Shit Theyíre Going To Kill Us. Andyís style fits perfectly with the songs that rhythm guitarist Christopher "Twiz" Tritschler has been writing for the band. In addition to the EP, Twiz and Andy are writing songs for a full length, hopefully to be recorded next year. October is looking to be a busy month for Lady Beast. The band plans on releasing the EP and doing a tour with Seax.
Discography :
Lady Beast I - Full-length 2013
Lady beast II - Full-length 2015
Metal Immortal - EP 2016
LADY BEAST - 'The Devil's Due' (OFFICIAL)
www.facebook.com/ladybeastofficial/

NEWS: Leather and David T. Chastain in concert October 8th in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.

David T. Chastain and Leather Leone will perform together live for the first time in over 25 years on October 8th at Bogart's in Cincinnati, Ohio. This special performance will be part of the CJSS 'Last Show on Planet Earth 2' concert.
Leather says: "To be on stage with David T at Bogarts where it all began for me ...there are no words...just incredible anticipation. It will be like coming home. To share music with all of those fans again is of the utmost importance to me"
David adds: "Last year was suppose to be CJSS's 'Last Show on Planet Earth' but the fans and Bogart's convinced us to do one more 'Last Show.' As far as I know this will be the last CJSS show. Once the date was confirmed I asked Leather to come and play a set as I wanted her to experience the Bogart's environment one more time. Leather will be singing all of the CHASTAIN 'hits' such as Ruler of the Wasteland, Angel of Mercy, For Those Who Dare and The Voice of the Cult just to name a few. We will also play at least one of the newer songs off the recent CHASTAIN albums Surrender To No One and We Bleed Metal. Our last cross country tour together was in support for the 'For Those Who Dare' album. That tour seems like centuries ago but then again it feels like it was just last year. The passage of time is quite perplexing!"
For fans of Leather Leone, CHASTAIN and CJSS this will be the last time you can ever see them in concert together on one stage. Solo guitarist Chris Dunnett will open the show.
www.facebook.com/DavidTChastain2

NEWS: Canadian Death Masters NECRONOMICON Announce More US Dates

Wrapping up their September USA tour with label mates Greece's extreme metal titans ROTTING CHRIST and Dutch symphonic black metal trio CARACH ANGREN, Canadian death metal masters NECRONOMICON announce they will be performing the following headlining US show dates.
Necronomicon US Dates:
9/28 - Biloxi, MS - Zeppelin's Pizzeria & Bar
9/29 - Raleigh, NC - Slim's Downtown
9/30 - Chesapeake, VA - RiffHouse Pub
10/1 - Trenton, NJ - Championship Bar
10/2 - Rochester, NY - The Montage Music Hall
NECRONOMICON unleashed their new album 'Advent of The Human God' this past March via Season of Mist.
About: NECRNOMICON have a well-earned reputation for quality by releasing material only when ready and satisfied with the outcome ever since their demo entitled "Morbid Ritual" (1992) firmly established their name within the underground. "The Silver Key" EP (1996) led to mainstream recognition on a national level, but their debut album "Pharaoh Of Gods" (1999) and the sophomore "The Sacred Medicines" (2003) did even more to establish the band as a household name in Canada. "Return Of The Witch" (2010) marked the international break-through for NECRONOMICON, and saw them performing at prestigious festivals such as Inferno (Norway), Ragnarok (Germany), and the Barge To Hell metal cruise among others, while sharing stages with acts such as CRADLE OF FILTH, DIMMU BORGIR, BEHEMOTH, and MORBID ANGEL, to name but a few. Their steady advance around the globe grew considerably in impact by their next full-length "Rise Of The Elder Ones" (2013). Now NECRONOMICON are more than ready for the next step with 'Advent Of The Human God', their latest brutal assaulting soundtrack now available via Season of Mist for Europe as of March 18th and North America as of March 25th.
Delivering a lethal dose of symphonic, blackened death at a new height in their long lasting career, which began as early as 1988 with the founding of the band by guitarist and singer Rob "The Witch" in the deep northern part of Quebec, Canada known as the "Fjord of Saguenay"
The Canadian veterans keep their tracks on 'Advent Of The Human God' as gloriously epic as furiously massive and harsh. Songs like "The Golden Gods", "Unification Of The Four Pillars", "Crown Of Thorns" and "I Bringer Of Light" tell of experienced songwriting and an eclectic wide range of influences that flow into the sound of NECRONOMICON. Nodding to DIMMU BORGIR and BEHEMOTH to DEICIDE and SUFFOCATION, these extreme metal addicts carve their own sound out of the much cherished ingredients of brutal dark music.
www.facebook.com/NecronomiconMetal

Ghoul

Ghoul
Dungeon Bastards
Tankcrimes
Release: 29 July 2016
People with no sense of humor should stay away from this band. Call it moronic or stupid or whatever, but they don't care, they just keep thrashing about monsters and goblins and death and whatever else strikes their fancy as funny topic for lyrics.
Do you know what is not funny? The music. This is music for banging your head or moshing or for tapping along or nodding along or whatever you like to do. They have a reputation of being a joke band, and sometimes they have sounded like it, but in 2016 the music is tight and these old fogies make no secret of their favorite sounds: classic Exodus and classic Carcass. Big thrashing riffs and Gary Holt-approved gang shouted vocals, growling in the low Bill Steer and high Jeff Walker styles from the grind/death metal era of Carcass. They say that they like hardcore and punk, but they are too talented and come across as a perfect band at the intersection of 80s thrash and late 80s/early 90s death metal.
It is impossible to dislike these sounds if you are into both thrash and death metal, and you don't mind or you do enjoy ridiculous gore/horror lyrics.
*
*
(by MMB)
*
*
OFFICIAL: Creepsylvania’s favorite hooded, cannibal splatterthrashers, GHOUL, recently unleashed their fifth studio album this. Fittingly titled Dungeon Bastards, the eleven-track audio abduction was recorded and mixed by Scott Evans (Kowloon Walled City) at Antisleep Studios in Oakland, California, mastered by Dan Randall (Impaled, Annihilation Time, Fucked Up, Necrot) at Mammoth Sound in San Francisco, California, and comes adorned in the ghoulightful graphics of Mark W. Richards of Heavy Hand Illustration (Pig Destroyer, The Black Dahlia Murder, Toke, Black Fast). With Dungeon Bastards, the metal punk maniaxe in GHOUL will rip your flesh with speed and riffs… before eating it.
Utters Mass Movement of GHOUL’s latest masterwork, “Infused with the savage technicality of thrash behemoths and legendary crossover beasts such as Blind Illusion and Attitude, the energy and power of early Death and Sodom and the morbid humours of GWAR, GHOUL’s lifelong mission has taken another crucial step toward world domination. Thrashing time is here…“ In a 5/5 score Skulls ‘N’ Bones points out, “Yes, GHOUL has a humorous appearance and slant on their music, but don’t let that fool you. These guys write some seriously good metal and can back everything up with solid musicianship to boot.” Metal Reviews concurs in an 85/100 rating, “With so many gimmicks, it would seem surprising at first glance that GHOUL has continued for this long, but those gimmicks, and the not-so-secret identities of the band members, are just window dressing that covers music that can stand on its own merits. Dungeon Bastards continues GHOUL‘s policy of high quality with a blast of noise that will leave fans wishing for more than ten tracks.” Ave Noctum crowns Dungeon Bastards, “the best thing GHOUL has put out to date.” In Decibel’s For Those About to Squawk column, Waldo awards the record, “7 Fucking Pecks,” noting, “The production here is crisp and choppy and adds to the fun of this release… add in the sing-a-long choruses and you have a pretty beaking cool release.” Concludes Riot Nerd, “GHOUL’s live antics and theatrical presentation may get kids through the door and asses in the seats (hell, it certainly got my attention), but on Dungeon Bastards they prove themselves the best of the best of the red food coloring and corn syrup set, with the deft musicianship and songwriting chops to take on anyone, masked, facepainted, or otherwise. Stalwart Creepsylvanians take heed, there’s about to be a population boom. Haters, doubters, trolls, and lurkers won’t be able to deny the ‘naked, merciless force’ of Dungeon Bastards, and GHOUL have earned every single new blood soaked fist in the air.” GHOUL’s Dungeon Bastards reared its mutinous head from the subterranean bowls of Creepsylvania on July 29th, 2016 on CD, vinyl, and digital formats courtesy of the sound assassins at Tankcrimes Records.
www.facebook.com/GhoulunaticsAsylum

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Death Angel

Death Angel
The Evil Divide
Nuclear Blast
Formed in 1982 and having made a favorable impression on the metal world as a young thrash band with the album The Ultra-Violence (1987), this long-running act has gone through its share of identity crisis, break-up, reunion, membership changes and all the other normal issues. I had not had a chance to listen to this new album until recently. It turns out that they are currently on tour in support of this new 2016 album. Below you will find some official information about the tour that has been going on now and about the band in general.
This new album has gotten the nod from reviewers. People seem to like the basic thrash crossover sound. This album is definitely for the love-it-all thrash supporters. At times the band sounds very energetic with to-the-point songs, and in some cases they come across a bit more on the old hardcore/punk sound with basic/no-frills guitar sound and vibe to the songs. There are also times where they seek to be more melodic within their genre, with a bit of classic rock and old hardcore punk vibes, but done within the context of the 2016 thrash album. While those looking for old bands sticking to their sound will consider the album a success for being basic thrash, those hoping for more creativity in the guitar work and songwriting will discover very little, if anything, to entertain them.
by MMB
OFFICIAL: DEATH ANGEL will be touring in support of their newest full-length The Evil Divide, released earlier this Spring via Nuclear Blast Records. The Evil Divide was once again recorded at AudioHammer studios in Sanford, Florida with producer Jason Suecof (Trivium, Deicide), who previously worked on 2010’s Relentless Retribution and 2013’s The Dream Calls For Blood. Mastering duties were handled by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound in New York City.
Three decades into their celebrated career, DEATH ANGEL remains as hungry as ever. As a result, uncompromising urgency and unpredictability drive The Evil Divide. The group — vocalist Mark Osegueda, lead guitarist Rob Cavestany, guitarist Ted Aguilar, drummer Will Carroll, and bassist Damien Sisson — satiate the appetite for buzzsaw speed riffs, double bass mayhem, and scorching vocals over the course of ten new anthems.
The Evil Divide stands out as the culmination of thirty-plus years of music for DEATH ANGEL. It kicked off with legendary debut, The Ultra-Violence, in 1987. The classic Frolic Through The Park began to cement their legacy and even earned the distinction of landing on Loudwire’s list of the “Top Ten Thrash Albums NOT Released By The Big 4.” The group broke up following 1990’s Act III only to reunite in 2004 on Art Of Dying for the next generation.
In 2008, DEATH ANGEL teamed with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains, Rush, Mastodon) for Killing Season recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606. In 2010, Relentless Retribution boasted a cameo from virtuosos Rodrigo y Gabriela, while 2013’s The Dream Calls For Blood bowed at #72 on the Billboard Top 200, selling 5,400 copies first-week and earning the group’s first-ever entry onto that respective chart.
REMAINING DATES
9/28/2016 Fillmore – Miami, FL
9/29/2016 Club LA – Destin FL #
9/30/2016 Horseshoe Casino Tunica – Tunica, MS
10/01/2016 The Warehouse – Clarksville, TN **
10/03/2016 Norva – Norfolk, VA
10/04/2016 The Orange Peel – Danville, VA (Anthrax, DEATH ANGEL, Avatar)
10/05/2016 Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA
10/06/2016 Varsity Theater – Baton Rouge, LA **
10/07/2016 Gas Monkey Live – Dallas, TX
10/08/2016 ACL at the Moody Theatre – Austin, TX
10/10/2016 Fillmore – Denver, CO
10/11/2016 The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT
10/13/2016 The Wilma Theatre – Missoula, MT
10/14/2016 Hitt Event Center – Idaho Falls, ID #
10/15/2016 Revolution Concert House – Garden City, ID #
10/16/2016 Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA #
10/17/2016 ENMAX Center – Lethbridge, AB
10/19/2016 South Okanagan Events Centre – Penticton, BC
10/20/2016 Abbotsford Centre – Abbotsford, BC
10/21/2016 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR #
10/22/2016 Gibson Ranch/Aftershock – Elverta, CA **
10/23/2016 Reno Events Center – Reno, NV
10/24/2016 LVCS – Las Vegas, NB **
10/25/2016 Orpheum Theater – Flagstaff, AZ #
10/26/2016 Top Deck – Farmington, NM #
10/27/2016 El Paso County Coliseum – El Paso, TX
10/28/2016 Club Red – Mesa, AZ **
10/29/2016 Whiskey A Go Go – Hollywood, CA **
10/30/2016 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA **
** DEATH ANGEL only
# Anthrax, DEATH ANGEL only

Bloodshed Rituals European Tour 2016 Inquisition/Rotting Christ/Mystifier/Schammasch

Seattle-based black metal band Inquisition has announced the dates for the European tour. Below is some official information about the band, the tour dates and a link to hear the brand new album called Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith.
OFFICIAL: The band Inquisition was formed in 1988 in Cali, Colombia by Dagon. The band started as a thrash metal act, and in 1994 evolved into raw black metal.
In 1996, Dagon left Colombia and moved back to the United States to continue Inquisition and search for a new drummer. That same year Dagon met Incubus, who joined the band on drums and the creation of their debut full length album began. This line-up has remained stable for more than fifteen years and is now seen as the classic Inquisition line-up.
INQUISITION style of black metal involves slow, deep and dark riffing combined with sudden tempo changes to faster sections based around blast beats and high-speed riffing; at times adding melodic solos. The classic Inquisition sound incorporates a combination of early era thrash metal-influenced riffing with darker and more chaotic black metal, primarily involving fast, tremolo picked minor-key guitar riffs, thus creating the trademark "Inquisition sound".
Bloodshed Rituals European Tour 2016
Inquisition/Rotting Christ/Mystifier/Schammasch
These are the final confirmed dates:
19 October 2016 Hamburg (DE) Markthalle
20 October 2016 Copenhagen (DK) Beta
21 October 2016 Berlin (DE) Nuke Club
22 October 2016 Warsaw (PL) Progresja
23 October 2016 Katowice (PL) Mega Club
24 October 2016 Prague (CZ) Storm
25 October 2016 Budapest (HU) Barba Negra
26 October 2016 Ljubljana (Sl) Gala Hala
27 October 2016 Salzburg (AT) Rockhouse
28 October 2016 Munchen (DE) Backstage
29 October 2016 Brescia (IT) Circolo Colony
30 October 2016 Lausanne (CH) Les Docks
31 October 2016 Lyon (FR) Cco
01 November 2016 Luynes (FR) Le Korigan
02 November 2016 Barcelona (SP) Apolo 2
03 November 2016 Madrid (SP) Caracol
04 November 2016 Toulouse (FR) Metronum
05 November 2016 Rennes (FR) Ubu
06 November 2016 Paris (FR) Petit Bain
07 November 2016 London(UK) Islington Assembly Hall
08 November 2016 Dublin (IR) Voodoo Lounge
09 November 2016 Manchester (UK) Sound Control
10 November 2016 Esch-sur -Alzette (LU) Kultur Fabrik
11 November 2016 Bochum (DE) Matrix
12 November 2016 Nijmegen (NL) Doornroosje
13 November 2016 Vosselaar (BE) Biebob
14 November 2016 Weinheim (DE) Kafe Zentraal
www.inquisitionbm.bandcamp.com/album/bloodshed-across-the-empyrean-altar-beyond-the-celestial-zenith www.facebook.com/inquisition.official

contact Metal Bulletin Zine

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20 years of Excuse All the Blood

In case you missed the live on-air version of this past Friday night's Excuse All the Blood's 20th anniversary show, check out the link below. For a metal music show to be on air for 20 years and for Seamus O'Reilly to do it for all that time, that is dedication!
"Excuse All the Blood is a heavy metal radio show based out of Olympia, WA. On it you can hear the most brutal death metal, blasphemous black metal and even some oldschool thrash metal mixed in." The DJ is Seamus O'Reilly at KAOS Radio 89.3 FM in Olympia, WA.
www.radiofreeamerica.com/dj/seamus-o-reilly
Seamus is on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/EATBRadio?lang=en

Monday, September 26, 2016

Evergrey – Interview 2016 Part 2 – ‘We’d make fools of ourselves if we tried to write ‘Hymns For The Broken 2’

One of the most knowledgeable writers on Evergrey is Matt Spall, who has interviewed the band at length several occasions. Matt has maintained for a long time that Evergrey is his favorite band and this position has not changed in any way this year with the band's new album The Storm Within. Matt recently did a new interview in the U.K. and interview was so long that he divided it into two parts. This publication shared the first part already, and it's now time for the second part. Read on and see how the interview concludes. --MMB
It is a relatively uneventful journey to Camden and the restaurant of choice of Tom and Jonas, albeit frequently punctuated by the loud and amusing strains of ‘oooh, it’s gorgeous’, the latest quote from UK comedy show ‘Little Britain’ to tickle the Swedes.
“We’re one minute early, we’d better not go in”, smiles Jonas wickedly as we arrive at our culinary destination, “we don’t want to appear rude.”
And yet, despite our concerns about propriety, we enter and are shown to our table towards the back of the restaurant. The ubiquitous beers are ordered, although not for me sadly because I’m driving and working – the sacrifices I make to bring you all the best interview I can, eh?
Menus are perused for a while before the Dictaphone makes a return to the table and I press play to capture the next insights and pearls of wisdom from the Scandinavian duo.
Back at the hotel, we touched on the vibe and the general subject matter of ‘The Storm Within’. I’m eager to expand on this and delve a little deeper. Around the crunch of a poppadum, Tom duly obliges.
“It is pretty much the same as the last album but it is from another starting context. This is about losing your loved one I guess and finding yourself again, piecing things back together and becoming a new identity again. Going from a two-person identity, to a one-person identity and finding strength and hope in that. It’s about the anger and the violent thoughts, the immoral thoughts you have. Of course, the feelings of frustration and helplessness and about being lonely, the loneliest in the world”
But for all this, I do detect a hint of positivity and vague optimism at times within the oppressive darkness of the record. Am I hearing things?
“No”, Tom offers, “you’re not. I think that feeling is always present as in life, even though the percentage is low in the first couple of songs. ‘Passing Through’ is more about ‘what the [expletive] are we arguing about? We’re only here for a short time, we should live to the fullest’. It’s about gaining control over your feelings. It is also a celebration of what you had, not just mourning. Ok, this was a period of my life. I had this, it was great but let’s move on.”
I remember listening to ‘The Storm Within’ for the first time. Mind you, it’s not hard to forget. When I alert Tom to the fact that I am in possession of a promo copy, he replies, saying that he will stay with me whilst I listen to all of it. Thus begins a thoroughly memorable and special first listening experience, as we fire comments to each other for the next hour or so. As the album draws to a close, Tom remarks to me that the final song – the title track – is possibly one of his favourite tracks ever. Naturally, I ask Tom whether he still thinks the same way.
“For me, yes absolutely. I just love it, that bittersweet feel to it. That celebration and sorrow in the same context. I honestly like how I sing that song and the lyrics. It takes me places. All songs do, but some do it more than others. It is one of those songs that features one of the aspects of Evergrey that I have come to enjoy more. I mean I think Evergrey in general is enjoying the mid-tempo more and sometimes I see us as a metal Coldplay in a way.”
We’ll not dwell on the swear word that is Coldplay shall we? Instead, let’s focus on that ‘mid-tempo’ phrase again. There’s no getting away from it. It is clearly something that Tom and Jonas are keen to tackle and, to a greater or lesser extent, put the record straight.
“What I’m curious about”, Tom muses aloud after an extended pause to munch on more food, “is where did people get the idea that Evergrey is a speedy band? Because they heard ‘The Great Deceiver’ once or what? ‘The Masterplan’, ‘Blinded’ or ‘Watching the skies?’ They are faster songs maybe, but we have over 100 songs.
“The song ‘The Dark Discovery’ is a mid-tempo song too”, Tom adds as he suddenly thinks of another track to help make his forceful point, before Jonas chips in.
“’Solitude Within’ is also a mid-tempo song but nobody will say that it’s a mid-tempo song because it starts off fast.”
“’Broken Wings’, ‘A Touch of Blessing’ and ‘Monday Morning Apocalypse’, Tom rattles off, in danger of naming the entire discography in one breath. “The whole of ‘The Inner Circle’ is mid-tempo. So people don’t really know what they are talking about when they say ‘mid-tempo’. I think what people mean maybe is that they want the feeling of speed. When you talk about speed, do you mean the bpm or the feeling of the bpm? What are you talking about?”
Cue several minutes of Evergrey instrumental karaoke, as a number of songs within the discography are sung to prove that they are not as fast as perhaps people think that they are. It is fascinating because I’ve clearly touched a nerve with this line of questioning and it has led to an extended justification and defence of the band’s music by the band themselves.
“I think I like it because it gives space for everything”, Jonas responds when I ask them to explain exactly what it is that they like about this particular song speed. “And as well, it brings the groove and the heaviness out. When it’s fast, it’s aggressive. But if you want to go heavy, then you’ve got to slow down. That’s what I think. You can do a lot playing with and in, mid tempos. And it has always been a tempo that suits Evergrey. Always.”
But I hasten to add that not all of the songs on ‘The Storm Within’ are built around a mid-tempo. There are a number of tracks that up the ante somewhat, although none as much as ‘My Allied Ocean’. It gallops along aggressively but with an almost power metal vibe thanks to memorable melodies and a raucous rhythm section. In fact, there’s barely any let-up in pace for Jonas on the drums. Was it tough to execute?
“It was”, he answers with a theatrical puff of the cheeks.
“He only did it once”, Tom chips in with a smirk and a wink in Jonas’ direction.
“I wish”, Jonas fires back good-naturedly. “It was insane. We didn’t have time to practice on this album. We were so focussed on writing that there was no time to rehearse the songs. So I was out of shape when we ended up playing it. You can hear it, I’m definitely out of shape.”
“I have to mention ‘Paradox Of The Flame’”, Jonas continues, changing the subject slightly, “which is my favourite song on the album for a bunch of reasons. But me and Johan (Niemann – bass) were in the studio one night. We were done for the day but it was maybe 1am and we were not tired and didn’t want to go to bed. So we decided to rehearse the next song to be fresh for the next day. We chose ‘Paradox…’ and we did all those cliché things. We dimmed the lights, poured up a glass of wine…”
“Poured up?”, interjects Tom humorously. “It was already poured – don’t lie to me boy”
“Ok, we poured another glass of wine”, he grins broadly before continuing where he left off. “We just sat down and played it. We kept it simple. It doesn’t need anything else because that’s not the song. It was difficult because once you get into the song, you get inspired and you get creative. So you want to do things. We really had to control ourselves. We kept a steady beat and did five takes. The fifth one we kept and that’s actually what you hear on the album. That’s one of my favourite memories from recording this album.”
For all the talk of tempos and the like, it should be mentioned at this point that there is definitely a more progressive vibe to some of the material on ‘The Storm Within’, something that I’m very happy to hear. But was it deliberate?
“I don’t think we ever do anything deliberately”, Tom considers. “But at the same time, we weren’t afraid to let ourselves go. ‘Let’s try this’ or ‘let’s develop that and keep going’.”
“I love ‘Disconnect’”, Tom states, referring to one of the most overtly progressive-sounding tracks on ‘The Storm Within’. “Personally it has maybe the best solo that I have ever done in my life, sound wise and how I play it. It’s my ‘Comfortably Numb’ solo. But I like the whole song because it sums up the album before it, and contains all the things that we have been dealing with during the previous nine songs. This is it, boom.”
Evergrey are renowned for delivering wonderfully memorable hooks and melodies. On ‘The Storm Within’, the final four songs are currently my favourites, beginning with ’The lonely Monarch’ which I remark has a huge chorus. I get grins and chuckles in reply.
“He’s been trying to convince me since day one”, Tom hooks a thumb at Jonas, “that it is a huge chorus but I don’t agree. I don’t even know how it goes now”
That last comment is the catalyst for more Evergrey karaoke as Jonas sings the chorus melody to remind Tom. And then Tom joins in as the penny drops. I still think it’s huge and completely agree with Jonas on this subject.
The conversation somehow returns to ‘In Orbit’ and I take the opportunity to probe the guys a little more on the decision to invite Floor Jansen to sing on the record. Enquiring whether they had one eye on commercial success with the decision, the response is immediate and emphatic.
“No”, Tom states firmly and then, after a pause, elaborates. “I have full confidence in our plan. And our plan is to release ‘Distance’, then ‘Paradox Of The Flame’. If we don’t succeed with our plan then…”
“We need to come up with another plan”, laughs Jonas.
“Yeah”, nods Tom with a broad smile, “we need a ‘plan B’. We don’t have a plan B though.”
At this point in proceedings, our food arrives. As a fan of spicy food, we’ve all chosen pretty fiery dishes and not wanting to interrupt our gorging, I stop the interview temporarily. The drink continues to flow and, with tingling lips courtesy of a superb Madras, we settle down for what turns out to be the final part of this thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable interview. I regain focus from the surprisingly sober and articulate Swedes by asking about the upcoming tour with Delain. After several headlining tours, I’m intrigued to find out the reasoning behind accepting a support slot for Dutch melodic metallers Delain.
“We agreed two years ago that we would stop being a support band”, offers Jonas, taking up the explanation eagerly. “We can stand on our own two legs. But when Delain approached us, it felt really good and personally made me hungry in a way. I love headline tours, they are the best thing in the world because you can do whatever you want. But I also like that competitive feeling you get when you’re an opener. It has a spark to it. It is complicated because we’ll be playing to their audience and we want to gain as many new fans as we can. This is a great opportunity, so we have to be smart and promote ourselves as best we can.”
As I’ve mentioned before, I did lose a bit of my Evergrey mojo during the ‘Monday Morning Apocalypse’ and ‘Torn’ period. It is not something I shy away from and Tom and Jonas nod politely as I make no effort to conceal this personal opinion. However, ‘Hymns For The Broken’ built strongly on the foundations of ‘The Glorious Collision’ and brought me fully back into the fold. Given the impact of that release, I enquire to whether the guys had any nerves when it came to the follow-up.
“No, I don’t think so”, Tom responds thoughtfully. What I love about Evergrey is that there are no hidden meanings, no empty rhetoric. Everything they say is honest and from the heart as Tom’s next comment proves once again.
“No, we don’t try to follow something up, because we know that we have already written that album. That’s it. We’d make fools of ourselves if we tried to write ‘Hymns For The Broken Part 2’.
“The only thing I’ve discovered”, Jonas offers from a slightly different angle, “is that we always say ‘the last album was great, we really need to bring our A game to this one. ‘Hymns’ was a home run, a huge success, but we weren’t worried or panicking. In fact, it was more like the opposite. We were almost like ‘[expletive] yeah, let’s show them’. We just want to do our best every time.”
Earlier in the conversation, Tom mentioned that he was 100% happy with ‘The Storm Within’. Jonas is of the same opinion as I discover when Tom sidles off to powder his nose momentarily, albeit his response is slightly more reticent.
“I’ve never reflected on it up until now actually,” he answers after a moment of deep thought. “There are always things on a record that bother you, but on this album, we captured everything that we wanted to capture in all aspects and beyond.”
There’s nothing you’d want to change?
“No…” Jonas replies unconvincingly before correcting himself. “Well, ok, maybe one hit. I won’t tell you which one though.”
“What? On this album?” asks Tom of Jonas as he returns to the table and the conversation. “[expletive] no. Why did you make it if you were going to regret it?”
“Ah, you can’t make a perfect album”, Jonas retorts to the semi-serious question from his colleague. “But it feels really good to accomplish everything that we wanted to accomplish.”
“I really can’t think of anything right now”, Tom adds. “I haven’t listened to it a lot recently because I decided to rest from it.”
“I’ve heard it a lot”, Jonas reveals in direct contrast. “I listen to it like a maniac. From day to day, when we were in the mixing process, I would listen to it like an obsessive, listening to the frequencies, levels and sounds. But the strange thing is that two hours later, I could listen to it like a fan and I’d be like ‘[expletive], these guys can play, who are these guys?!’ But seriously, when we were in the studio, we were so focused. We had the songs but we went into a bubble when we recorded it. Firstly, it was a drum and bass bubble. Once that was done, we went into a rhythm guitar bubble. And on and on. In a sense, at that time, we lost the objectivity over the music. But we knew the songs before we went into the studio so we were able to focus on one instrument at a time. When we got the first mix, it was ridiculous.”
Tom then takes over, leading the conversation into mixing territory in the process.
“Jacob (Hansen) wrote to me and said, ‘I just mixed ‘Passing Through’ today. What a [expletive] great song’. I was doing the vocals for other songs so I said ‘thank you’, but I had no idea what song he was talking about, no idea at all. And then I received ‘Distance’ first. I was like ‘what the hell?’ it was so far back in my mind that I had sung that song, even though it was only eight days ago. And the music? Don’t even get me started, that felt like light years ago. Me and Henrik went to Denmark in the car and played ‘Passing Through’ on the journey. We were like ‘what song is this?’ I had no idea which one it was.”
“I remember”, adds Jonas eagerly with a big smile, “that I had to download it at work, sneak up to the loft away from everyone and listen to it. ‘What the fuck it this? Wow’, I thought. It was like a sucker punch.”
“And it was like that for every song”, Tom emphasises. “It also shows the talent of Jacob, to make it sound like it does.”
Speaking of talent, I feel it’s time to put the spotlight on the remaining members of Evergrey. We discuss the recent solo album from keyboardist and the guys are very complimentary, confirming in the process just how important and integral the keys from Zander are for the overall Evergrey sound. And what of bassist Johan Niemann?
“I would put Johan in the top five in the world”, Tom offers without hesitation. “He is such a great musician that it’s an honour to play with him. He’s ridiculous and he pretends that the stuff we play is hard”, chuckles. “He did most of the recordings in two takes.”
That just leaves guitarist Henrik Danhage. I made the mistake of commenting to Tom when I first heard ‘The Storm Within’ that I thought Henrik was on fire with his solos. “What about me?” was the immediate tongue-in-cheek message back from Tom. Tonight, he responds more seriously about his six-string partner-in-crime.
“I think we sound very different from each other but we do complement each other. I like to give Henrik more space solo wise because I think he is a better guitar player.”
“When you listen to the album”, Jonas adds talking directly to Tom, “it sounds to me like you are hungry to play guitar solos again, which I really like.”
“Now Henrik has learned that I understand what sounds best, whilst he knows how to play it best”, Tom continues, deflecting the complement expertly. “So he is totally relaxed and comfortable with this situation, which helps. Last time out, we did all the solos in about two hours. This time, we spent about two days together. I do my solos on my own though. I like that, to have more space.”
Any interview with Evergrey would not be the same without a comment on the vocals, even if the man himself is sitting opposite me. Rather than ask Tom to offer a difficult and potentially uncomfortable self-appraisal, I approach Jonas for his thoughts on someone I consider to be one of the very best vocalists in heavy metal.
“The lyrics are great of course, but it is everything”, he shrugs, finding it problematic to voice his thoughts eloquently. “The soul, the tone, the melodies…it’s just everything. His voice just makes Evergrey complete.”
“It is his best performance I think, yes”, Jonas continues. “Especially when you consider the situation that we were in with the time pressure and everything. We had two weeks to write lyrics, melodies and record the vocals. Not just the lead vocals, but the backing vocals, the harmonies and everything. And there are six or eight channels of backing vocals for each song, so this takes a lot of time.”
It was only the other day that UK Metal Hammer counted Evergrey in the top 10 Swedish bands of all time. It is a lofty and totally deserved accolade, perhaps showcasing just how far Evergrey have come over the past decade or so. I remark to the guys that I remember attending an indoor Bloodstock festival in 2004 just because Evergrey were playing at a time when only a handful of others really knew their name.
Tom laughs at the memory of a photo that I had taken at that very event with him where I was practically sitting on his lap. It is a moment of warm levity and a chance to reminisce before I get serious again and ask Tom and Jonas why they think they’ve never gone stratospheric in terms of success when others around them have.
“I don’t even reflect on it”, Tom dismisses casually. “When I was younger, I used to think that it was unfair and things like that but now, not so much. I don’t know.”
Ever the optimist, Jonas has a different perspective on this line of questioning.
“We get to do what we love doing and have done for years. We’re still going. It’s not about being the biggest band or whatever. It’s about doing what we love doing with four other guys in the band that I love. I kind of realised this and it was a good feeling for me. I don’t think like that anymore”
“Neither do I”, Tom concurs, “which is why I can’t formulate a better response to this question”.
“I’m just so super grateful and thankful that people are paying to see us play a live show”, Jonas adds with total wide-eyed sincerity.
“We are happy where we are”, continues Tom, apparently inspired by his friend’s take on the subject before offering an even more insightful and honest appraisal on the entire situation.
“I don’t know if we would be happier playing to 1,000 people or 20,000 people every night. Better to play a packed Underworld than not playing at all. At the same time, of course we want to get bigger. But it is also about us being content with what we are doing. I think we have also regrouped in our attitude towards musicianship and our place in the world. I have come to realise that we are grateful for where we are and extremely privileged. Sitting here talking to you, it a privilege. We are happy.”
“Every interview we have done over here, people are in awe”, Tom continues almost incredulously. “You can hear it in the tone of their voice that they have so much respect for us. That is more important to us than playing the biggest arenas in the world. I say that now of course…” he tails off laughing heartily.
Looking around the restaurant, we suddenly realise that we are the last ones sat at a table. With this in mind, I reluctantly begin to wrap up the interview. Tom recently went on record to say that ‘The Storm Within’ was the fulfilment of a personal dream being the tenth Evergrey studio album. With trepidation, I ask about the future, hoping that Tom doesn’t say that this is the last one.
“It feels like we will carry on for sure”, he responds to the sounds of me breathing a heavy sigh of relief. “We were talking yesterday about some of the music we have left over from this album. I would like to try to write a song a month or something; we’ve talked about this but we’ll see if it happens.”
During the social media build-up to this album, Tom used the hashtag ‘#makesomething’. As it turns out, it wasn’t the personal mantra of a musician struggling for inspiration as I first feared.
“To me”, Tom explains, “it was to tell people to make something. Make a difference, make a song, make a painting, make a baby, make a move, do something. Motion is progress, music is progress.”
“I have a hard job seeing Evergrey going past 50, I must say that”, Tom then reveals rather nonchalantly. It is the bombshell that I didn’t expect or want to hear, I must admit. With a slight catch in my voice, I enquire how long that gives us fans.
“Eight…seven….”
“Six”, they both state and laugh in unison.
“No, seven”, Tom giggles. “So, if we work on the fact that we try to do an album every other year, that means we have three albums left. Lucky thirteen! Maybe when we’re older, we might change our minds. What I mean is that maybe in five years we will have progressed and developed into something else that is worthy of our age and which is contemporary. Then we might go on until we die. But we don’t need to look that far. Here right now, we are happy and we are releasing contemporary music that sounds fresh and hungry.”
I certainly hope that Evergrey are around for many years to come, particularly when they are producing music of the quality as found on the utterly majestic ‘The Storm Within’.
For now though, that’s it. The meal is finished and so is the interview. The three of us step out into a bustling late night in Camden, off to find the ludicrously tall Swedes a taxi to take them back to the hotel. I thank them for their hospitality and after warm hugs all round, they disappear into the night. Me? I make my way to the tube, only to discover that the station is closed. And so are many of the others nearby due to planned engineering works. Oh well, I’m still on a high, so the three-mile walk that ensues passes quickly and eventually I’m on my way back to my family in the middle of nowhere, with a completely new set of wonderful memories from a great night.
THE END.
To read more of Matt Spall's writings, please see: www.manofmuchmetal.wordpress.com

Sunday, September 25, 2016

METAL BULLETIN ZINE #105

Read the issue online at the link below:
Number 105 features:
Dracena (Sweden)
Tony MacAlpine (U.S.)
Night Viper (Sweden)
black metal tour in Washington state
Hellgoat (U.S)
Vimur (U.S.) with local Washington support from: Vomicus
Sacrament ov Impurity
Ashen Pyre
www.fuglymaniacs.com

Insomnium – Winter’s Gate – Album Review

Below you will find Matt Spall's review of the new Insomnium. Matt makes no mystery of the fact that he loves the genre called "melodic death metal" and Insomnium is definitely seen as a band in that category. Read on and see what Matt has to say.--MMB
Artist: Insomnium
Album Title: Winter’s Gate
Label: Century Media Records
Date Of Release: 23 September 2016
I am a big fan of melodic death metal, a genre normally considered to be the preserve of the Swedes who helped to create the very movement. However, over the past few years, Finland have muscled onto the scene and produced some melodeath big hitters of their own. The likes of Omnium Gatherum, Mors Principium Est and Before The Dawn spring to mind to name just a few alongside the subject of this review, Insomnium.
In the case of Insomnium, I have always felt that their own brand of melodic death metal was a little different to others in that it is not afraid to incorporate different influences into the mix, including a slight black metal feel, strong melodic metal overtones and more epic, doom influences, occasionally drawing fleeting comparisons to the likes of their compatriots Swallow The Sun.
I, for one, was not surprised then when I heard that the new Insomnium album, ‘Winter’s Gate’ would be a 40-minute one-track concept piece, based around a short story composed by the vocalist & bassist Niilo Sevänen and inspired, in part, by Edge Of Sanity’s ‘Crimson’ record. I wasn’t sure in all honesty how it might end up sounding, but I was certainly intrigued and knew that if anyone could attempt such a feat and pull it off, Insomnium were, in theory, one of the bands capable of succeeding. Their flair for the dramatic and their ability to imbue their previous albums with rich atmospheres, bold aural soundscapes and a sense of the epic meant that they had a solid base from which to build.
As it turns out though, ‘Winter’s Gate’ is better than I ever really dared to imagine. It contains everything that I like in my extreme metal, namely strong melodic sensibilities, drama, intensity, frequent changes in tempo, texture and mood and an overall feeling that the band believe 100% in this work, that it is as honest as it is undeniably pretentious. And I don’t mean this last comment negatively either, because damn it, I love pretentious music if it has the substance to back it up.
If it isn’t executed in the right manner, longer pieces of music can easily become boring and akin to wading through treacle. With ‘Winter’s Gate’, the 2400 seconds just fly by. I have listened to the song several times now, each time approaching it with excitement rather than trepidation and not once have I found my mind wandering or descending into clock-watching for any other purpose than referencing the sections and movements that make up this composition.
In suitably fitting fashion, ‘Winters Gate’ opens to the cold and strangely melancholy sound of a buffeting wind out in the unforgiving wilds immediately communicating a sense of isolation and desolation. Before long, a quiet, haunting melody drifts in on the lonely stiff breeze. A sense of what is to come is crafted beautifully and then, after around 90 seconds, the composition explodes with serious intent. A blast beat from drummer Markus Hirvonen, imposing rhythm section rounded out by bassist Niilo Sevänen and frenetic black metal-esque picked riffing courtesy of Ville Friman and Markus Vanhala sit at the centre of the proceedings before things calm to a more measured tempo. All the while however, the melodic sensibilities are never far away, adding a layer of immediacy and accessibility to the music, albeit with undeniably harsh and sombre overtones. As opens go, this is genuinely epic-sounding, portraying a sense of drama and huge scope on which to build and develop.
A more groove-oriented melodic death metal vibe is evident in spades at around the five-minute mark, before ploughing back into frenetic territory, complete with enormous keys from Swallow The Sun’s very own Aleksi Munter that layer the music with a multitude of textures as well as lashings of atmosphere. It even sounds like there is a choir buried deep in the background, as the grandiosity builds to new heights.
As we near seven minutes, a heavily-affected spoken word vocal can be heard above a momentary lull in the aggression where acoustic guitars are audible for the first time. The acoustic guitars make a return a couple of minutes later after another blast of groove-laden and melodic riffing.
The vocals take a different turn as we near the 10-minute mark, being clean-sung and emotive. However, the song quickly reverts back to that central riff, those choral sounds and the explosive blastbeats that continue to weave in and out of the composition with devastating effect.
After the preceding tumult, the song falls away into minimalist, almost ambient territory at the 12 minute mark. It creates a welcome juxtaposition and a nice respite before slowly rebuilding, led by some bold bass and drum work slightly Tool-esque in delivery. The keys are once again central, as the drama is slowly and deliberately increased, via delicate spoken word vocals as well as a soulful and melodic lead guitar embellishment.
The ensuing riff is ponderous but full of sinister intent, joined by gruff vocals full of malevolence. The Dissection-like lead guitar melody is brilliant, as the darkness is lifted marginally by more of those epic and rich synths that bathe this section in a grand cinematic glow.
Another acoustic section at the 19-minute mark, really reminds me of Swallow The Sun. The clean vocals offer a folk feel which then segues into a beautiful lead guitar-led melody, with a strangely upbeat feel, underpinned by yet more of those almost choral-sounding effects.
More superb clean vocals make an appearance and there’s another flamboyant and expressive lead guitar solo to usher in another heavy and melodic riff atop more of the hugely symphonic sounds and textures.
As good as ‘Winter’s Gate’ is up until now, at the 24-minute point, all I can say is ‘wow!’ Everything falls away to be replaced by a lone piano that plays a desperately sombre melody, the aural soundtrack to misery, despair and loneliness. Synths gently increase around the piano as there’s the palpable feeling that something is about to happen. And it does. Ushered in by a rumble of thunder, a crushing doom-like riff enters the fray along with some of the harshest vocals anywhere on the record. Swallow The Sun parallels are again drawn whilst I pick my jaw off the floor, set my face in some kind of hideous grin and allow goosebumps to appear everywhere. And yet, for all this, the music remains melodic and grandiose in scope, gently easing into a melody that shifts almost insidiously into something a little more positive, almost hopeful in tone.
We’re nearing the three-quarter mark at this point, but I’ve almost lost track of the twists and turns already offered from this gargantuan piece of music. It doesn’t end there either, and the band certainly don’t rest on their laurels. More aggressive riffs underpinned by bludgeoning and incessant blastbeats feature heavily as the composition nears its conclusion.
Earlier strong melodic refrains are reprised in the latter stages of the song, as well as an increase in the speed and intensity, with the keys coming back prominently. It’s hard to imagine such an epic track offering anything more epic to conclude but it very briefly delivers, as everything in the band’s armoury comes to the fore one glorious, final time. After that, it is up to the acoustic guitars, piano and calming synths to see the album out, leaving the final moments of the story to be told by the sounds of nature and those buffeting winds on the shores of a bleak and unforgiving expanse.
‘Epic’ is a word used far too often in music reviews. However, ‘Winter’s Gate’ deserves this adjective. With it, Insomnium have arguably created their masterpiece, their tour-de-force. People will be talking about this record for years to come and rightly so. ‘Winter’s Gate’ has been created by a band at the top of their game and thus stands at the pinnacle of melodic death metal and what this terrific genre can produce.
The Score Of Much Metal: 9.5
Read more of Matt's writings at: www.manofmuchmetal.wordpress.com

Monte Pittman

Monte Pittman
Inverted Grasp of Balance
Metal Blade Records
Release: 23 September 2016
I will not be recommending this album to anyone.
The album has an upbeat energy, a good sound quality and it is undoubtedly a professional recording. The melodic singing--kind of a 90s U.S. rock style--is ok, not bad.
The problem is the songs. There is a satisfaction with basic riffs, play-on riffs, supposedly because that's enough for metal music and enough for heavy music. Nevertheless, there is no getting around the matter that these are basic riffs. These riffs seems to come from 90s U.S. rock, and alternative-rock-era Metallica, and the usual Creed/Pantera low-intelligence, low-effort riffs that try to get by on loudness or crunch alone. This will not do. It provides nothing interesting for metal listeners who want to rock out to guitar playing offers more imagination, power, skill and headbanging energy.
For your information, here is a bit of official information: "To assert that Pittman has had a storied career is something of an understatement. His resumé includes an ongoing and fruitful collaboration with multi-platinum selling artist Madonna, having recorded and toured with her extensively over a period of more than fifteen years. Then there's his first band, Myra Mains, his stint in the metallic behemoth that is Prong, and collaborations with a broad spectrum of international artists. If his time with Prong did not fully communicate just how much metal flowed through his veins, with 2014's Flemming Rasmussen-produced The Power Of Three - his first release with Metal Blade Records - he compellingly blended killer riffs, blistering leads and gigantic hooks to deliver an album that was equal parts anthemic grandeur and in-your-face attitude, making metalheads around the world sit up and take note."
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review by MMB

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Inanimate Existence

Inanimate Existence
Calling From A Dream
Unique Leader
Release: 16 September 2016
Inanimate Existence's style is chugging groove with an experimental side of melodic singing and mellow segments. The band has said: “After the release of our last album, we decided to take our sound to a new place while incorporating our roots. Expect deep compositions with many emotional ups and downs. Inspiration was drawn from music theorists and composers dating back thousands of years. Within Calling From A Dream, listeners will encounter a wide array of musical elements blended to form a rich contrast of sonic textures that result in a dynamic aural experience.”
They aim for an ambitious combination of hardcore, deathcore, djent, death metal and melody. I have listened to this music and even though they seek to create a great album, I'm afraid that the songs sound disjointed and they do not successfully pull off the contrasts that they want. For instance, it is questionable that the vocalist throughout the whole album pretty much does deathcore growls and then, like clockwork, for the melodic vocals they have the guest Adrianna Tentori, whose appearance is much more than guest work, as she is all over it, not just a song or two. The combination of growls and melodic postrock singing does not work well, in my opinion, because it sounds formulaic, predictable and even forced as a way to show different sides of the sound. In addition, the guitar, while it does have some good moments, is dominated by the chugging deathcore and hardcore and djent sounds which are perfect for those that love the basic groove rhythms, but it falls below the standard and objective of a "dynamic aural experience," as the band seeks. I have higher standards when a band says that they have something really great in mind.
This band gets good reviews and they will most likely be very successful because they have a niche sound and people seem to like it a lot. As for me, I think the guitar work needs to be reconsidered in some ways. The constant chugging shows a lack of imagination. When the riffs, the creative riffs should be kicking in for headbanging, instead we get grooves and breakdowns. "But that's how the band wants it!," some might say. That's fine, but chugging and grooves do not say creativity, they reveal basic and low-standard ways of thinking. Should the band bring in a new member who can do melodic vocals, someone who sounds in tune with the songs? It could be the same person as the guest on this album, but the point would be to have everyone on the same page, as opposed to having "esoteric" and "atmospheric" elements appear tacked on.
The album simply sounds too artificial and contrived, to my ears. Repeated listens have not made the listening experience better. It is easy to see that the band has potential and that they have skills. The issue is not that, despite the residues of hardcore that one can hear. The bigger question is devoting time to thinking about how to make the songs sounds whole and complete. It may not be necessary to force a melodic segment in each song. It may be that some songs will be melodic all the way through. The point is to avoid a predictable formula. It would be nice to have more riffs that sound more metal, too.
I cannot recommend this album at this moment.
www.facebook.com/TheInanimateExistence
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by MMB

Thought Vomit

Thought Vomit
Punks Brutal Retaliation/Sync the Skies
Self-Released
Release: 28 October 2016
Unfortunately I cannot recommend this U.S. band right now to most metal listeners for the simple reason that the band is too much of the basic hardcore/punk sound. The guitar work, while it does have a good, rocking energy, it's too repetitive and too elemental for most seriously dedicated metal listeners. The drumming is uptempo and has a good vibe, but the music does not fit it. It's possible that the rest of the band is a bit behind in skills or thinking. The drumming is at a good, intermediate level. The vocals are totally street hardcore, and maybe lots of punks like it, but it would be better to go all in and dedicate more effort towards having a distinctive vocal style, as opposed to being content the normal shouting of hardcore/punk music. Things can only get better from here, especially if the band decides to be more confident and begin aiming higher, for more skill, more serious sounds. The title track already shows that they are interested in writing better, more serious, more metal songs. This song easily stands out as better. Once they decide that they have to break the punk/hardcore rules that some scene self-appointed authorities come up with for bands, this band has the potential to be better musicians and to have better songs. It's not a crime to learn to do guitar solos, to add melodies, to learn to do better vocals, or even sing. It might only be a crime to some hardcore/punks jealous people who dislike to see people better themselves. Hey, if the punk/hardcore scene authorities reject you, the metal people will be happy to embrace you if you play headbanging metal. It's good to leave hardcore behind.
www.facebook.com/thoughtvomit/
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by MMB

Friday, September 23, 2016

NEWS: Chapel of Astaroth issues statement after Hellgoat shows

Recently, black metal bands Hellgoat and Vimur played some shows in the U.S. West Coast, including Washington state. The Chapel of Astaroth was instrumental in getting the bands to come to the Northwest. Unfortunately, the thought control self-appointed authorities tried to get the shows shut down and in some cases the venue was changed on short notice. For instance, the show in Portland was cancelled by the thought control groups/individuals on the basis of anonymous rumors. The show did take place, but in Vancouver, Washington.
In view of these actions against the bands, The Chapel of Astaroth has issued a statement that shows their perspective on these events.
"We at the Chapel would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who helped with the recent northwest Hellgoat / Vimur tour. The venues Hifi Lounge, Malibu's, Substation, Tony V's and Make.Shift and the bands Smütek, Sarcalogos, Vomicus and Ashen Pyre and Sacrament Ov Impurity.
A huge thank you to both Hellgoat and Vimur for coming to the northwest. Despite some setbacks you guys killed it every night! ..."
To read the complete statement see:
www.facebook.com/Chapelofastaroth88

In The Woods

review by Matt Spall
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Artist: In The Woods
Album Title: Pure
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Date Of Release: 16th September 2016
A mere 17 years since their last studio effort, ‘Strange In Stereo’, enigmatic Norwegian band In The Woods have emerged from their slumber and, to the great delight of aficionados and fans of extreme metal in general, have served up their fourth full-length studio album, ‘Pure’. Ever since it was revealed that In The Woods were back and were recording new material, a sense of barely controlled excitement and anticipation has been evident in many quarters. As someone who discovered In The Woods many moons ago on a black metal compilation entitled ‘Blackened Volume II’ and who owns all three previous efforts, I was one of the excited horde.
For many reasons, ‘Pure’ is a very apt title for this record, not least because it is an album that offers pure escapism and pure entertainment from start to finish, across ten compositions and an hour’s playing time. But moreover, there is a definite pureness to the musical output, a palpable sense that ‘Pure’ represents the completely honest vision and distilled essence of an older, wiser and more experienced In The Woods.
Since the release of ‘Strange In Stereo’ back in 1999, guitarist Oddvar A.M has sadly passed away and vocalist Jan Kenneth Transeth no longer stands behind the microphone. It means that In the Woods is now comprised of bassist C:M. Botteri, guitarists X. Botteri and Kåre “Corey” Sletteberg, drummer Anders Kobro with James ‘Mr Fog’ Fogarty (Meads Of Asphodel, Ewigkeit) now handling both the vocals, guitars and keys. In addition, ‘Pure’ no longer features some of the other aspects for which they were renowned, namely additional string instruments and female vocals. It is almost as if the band wanted to make a clean split with the past and reflect more purely where they are as a group of musicians the better part of two decades later. Further justification and explanation of the simple album title perhaps?
By now, you’ll hopefully realise that I really hate pigeon-holing bands into arbitrary genres or sub-genres. Unfortunately, as a music reviewer, such exercises can be a necessary evil to help define the music that I am listening to. However, it can also lead to inaccuracies as one person’s ‘black metal’ is another person’s ‘dark’, ‘doom’ or ‘avant-garde’.
Gratifyingly, In the Woods have made the job of classification pretty damn difficult and pointless thanks to their output here. I have used the aforementioned genres deliberately because these are some of the descriptions that could be hurled in the direction of ‘Pure’. Equally however, I could also legitimately mention ‘progressive metal’, ‘classic metal’ or even ‘ambient’ because these influences also crop up to a greater or lesser extent as the album develops.
Whilst on the subject of descriptions, let me throw out the names of Arcturus, Green Carnation and latter day Enslaved in order to give some kind of vague reference points about what to expect from ‘Pure’. However, aside from the occasional stylistic nod here and there, In The Woods don’t really sound like anyone else and they certainly don’t stick to one loose style of music, blinkered against everything else around them. And that, above all else, is the strength of this record and of In The Woods in general.
And whilst there’s an undeniable distillation of the band’s core sound, there’s no shortage of experimentation along the way. Each and every track is a multi-layered and multi-faceted affair which takes the listener on a journey through light and shade, changes in tempo and a myriad of different sounds and aural textures all the while remaining thought-provoking and enthralling.
What I particularly like about ‘Pure’ is indeed that depth within the music. With a free reign over the keyboards and synths, Fogarty has gone to town and made this record a genuinely atmospheric and deep-sounding affair, more keyboard-heavy and symphonic than arguably ever before. And whilst the song titles might suggest a lyrical content based around more earthly topics, there is a rich vein of celestial atmosphere within much of the material that drew my vague Arcturus comparison.
Those ‘otherworldly’ overtones are also enhanced by Fogarty’s vocals which are melodious but delivered with a beautiful simplicity. There are moments within the album when more extreme gruff vocals make an appearance but for the most part, the voice that accompanies the music is clean and full of melodic nuance. Take the opener ‘Pure’ for example, which ends by repeating a subtle melody, gradually deconstructed to the point where it is delivered by just a piano. That melody is gorgeous but is enhanced by the smooth, haunting delivery of the central lyric:
“A shining future waiting,
A promise of the pure”
‘Transmission KRS’ is both an instrumental piece and interestingly, the longest track on the album. It also happens to be one of my favourites. I love the way that it builds throughout from humble and serene beginnings carried by a simple yet effective melody, to something altogether more flamboyant and emotive, dominated by an extended guitar solo that weaves itself in and out of the composition with superb results. It’s a contender for one of the stand-out tracks of the year.
Then again, I also find the wonderfully-monikered ‘The Recalcitrant Protagonist’ is a complete joy thanks to its elegance and deceivingly complex nature. And ‘Towards The Black Surreal’ contains faint echoes of the very early days of the band whilst also delivering one of the most anthemic sections on the record which, to my mind at least, harks back to those melodic breakdowns that so littered much of the symphonic black metal of the 90s.
By contrast, ‘Blue Oceans Wake (Like A War)’ begins in synth-drenched brooding fashion full of beauty but also dripping with menace before unfolding into a heavy stomping finale, whereas ‘Cult Of Shining Stars’ represents In The Woods at perhaps their most instantly catchy thanks to the blend of excellent vocals and striking melodic intent.
I have tried to find it, believe me, but there is absolutely no filler on ‘Pure’. I don’t dislike any of the compositions and the consistent quality is very impressive indeed. It is an album that begins at a very high level and continues until the bitter end. As comeback albums go, this is very definitely one of the best I have heard. Highly recommended.
The Score Of Much Metal: 9.0
If you would like to read more of Matt Spall's music writings see:
www.manofmuchmetal.wordpress.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

NEWS: Almah

NEWS:
Almah
E.V.O
Test Your Metal Records
Release: 23 September 2016
Almah is an adult contemporary metal band from Brazil. The sound goes from fast rockers to uptempo tracks and midtempo songs and also ballads. There is quite bit of variety, but melody and big choruses is a main characteristic of the band's style and this, their fifth studio album.
OFFICIAL: Brazilian metallers ALMAH led by ex-Angra singer Edu Falaschi are proud to announce they will be releasing their new album entitled 'E.V.O' on September 23rd worldwide via Pride & Joy Music (EU), Test Your Metal (US/MX/CA) and King Records (Japan).
'E.V.O' is the 5th studio album from ALMAH and was recorded in São Paulo, Brazil at IMF studios by Tito Falaschi plus mixed and mastered by Damien Rainaud (Fear Factory, Dragonforce, Baby Metal, etc) at Mix Unlimited in Los Angeles, California. The release is a concept album based on the evolution of people’s mind and soul during the so-called AGE OF AQUARIUS - the new era that the world is about to live. The author of the concept, Edu Falaschi, touches different subjects connected to the main idea, creating very positive lyrics for the album’s atmosphere.
Musically 'E.V.O' brings a fresh and powerful sound with the typical modern and heavy ALMAH touch, but this time one will be able to realize that it also has a direct connection with the Angra’s “Rebirth” (the first Angra album with Edu Falaschi's voice). The compositions are a pleasant travel between contemporary rock, modern power and prog metal. The vocal lines on 'E.V.O' are very powerful, classic and the vocals have a higher pitch compared to previous ALMAH’s records. It’s very melodic, clean and into the bel canto style.
BIO: Almah Brings all the experience and versatility of the singer, songwriter and producer Edu Falaschi, former lead singer of Angra, which has sold more than one million records worldwide in his career of 25 years. The group was created in 2006 and launched 4 studio albums and the band won several awards both in Brazil and abroad, it's: ALMAH by Edu Falaschi (2006), Fragile Equality (2008), MOTION (2011) and UNFOLD (2013). Between 2006 and 2015 Almah worked hard promoting worldwide their music. The style of the band goes beyond the metal frontiers, the band always seeks the evolution and artistic freedom, this is the mark of the quintet. The band has touring through several countries of Europe, Brazil, Japan and US. They also played at ROCK IN RIO 2013 one of the most important festivals in the world, where already played Metallica, Queen, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, etc. The band also played at one of the biggest North American metal festivals, ProgPower. The band released worldwide in September 2016 their 5th album, called E.V.O . As a consequence of a constant success the band signed a worldwide deal with the biggest management agency in Latin America. Top Link, who works today with bands like Scorpions, Twisted Sister, etc.
Almah - Age Of Aquarius (LYRIC VIDEO)
www.facebook.com/official.almah

NEWS: Dawn of Demise

NEWS:
Dawn of Demise
The Suffering
Unique Leader
Release: 26 August 2016
Are you ready for "U.S. brutal death metal" from ... Denmark?! That's right, it's music, not a monopoly, just ask this band! Not every band from Scandinavia wants to play "melodic death metal." That's what this band is all about. U.S. or Denmark, it does't matter: it's brutal death metal and that's all there is to it. Listen at the link below.
OFFICIAL: Danish death metal dealers DAWN OF DEMISE will release their fourth full-length via brutality powerhouse, Unique Leader Records late this Summer.
Appropriately titled The Suffering, the eleven-track punisher was engineered mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Behemoth, Aborted, Leng Tch’e, Moonspell et al) at his own Antfarm Studios and will see release on August 26th.
“We are so pleased with the new album,” issues the band in a collective statement. “Every time we finish an album, we always have a few things we aren’t too thrilled with — this time around though we got it right! With The Suffering, we chose to be more open-minded in our approach to writing songs and it’s much more of a band effort. We are still fond of our previous albums, but this time so many elements came together to create a more ‘varied’ ride. [Bassist/backing vocalist] Bjørn [Jensen] wrote so much of the Rejoice In Vengeance album, but on this one he and [lead/rhythm guitarist] Martin [K. Sørensen] chose to go riff crazy together. A new drummer, Bastian Thusgaard (live Soilwork), has also been added to the fold, and his approach to drumming has also given these new songs a fresh gush of brutality. Expect a no holds barred, brutal, groovy, and heavy as **** US style death metal record with lots of inspiration from the American East Coast. Hope you guys dig it.”
DAWN OF DEMISE was forged in Silkeborg, Denmark in 2003 with a singular purpose – to play heavy, crushing death metal. Thirteen years later, that goal hasn’t changed. The band differs a great deal from many of death metal’s modern practitioners due in no small fact that the collective cares little about acts about speed or technicality, their focus set exclusively on heaviness, groove, good songs, and the catchy riff. Inspired by the likes of Suffocation, Pyrexia, Internal Bleeding, Abominable Putridity, Obituary, and Inveracity, the band’s savage, slam-laden output should be of little surprise.
www.uniqueleaderrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-suffering
www.facebook.com/dawnofdemise