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opethbook_4

http://opethbook.com/

It is hard deciding if the best approach to reviewing such an exhaustive and important milestone  for Opeth as The Book Of Opeth, a super rewarding and fans in mind work of art (would you expect anything less?) from one of metal’s most revered bands, with a more exhaustive or impressionistic approach.

Aesthetically, it is as stunning visually as any of the band’s greatest achievements. The moody respect for the essential mystery of nature and the spirit and cerebral leaning craftsmanship with an emphasis on complexity has carried over, albeit instead of actual riffs we have the stories in the book which allow a hand swiped view through the foggy window of awe; a peak into the inner workings of a group who have earned every inch of respect over the past 25 years and change.

Much like the crucial Decibel anointed Choosing Death or Only Death Is Real from Bazillion Points, this Opeth doozy is fun while chock full of enough respect for sociology and the genre to warrant such an endeavor even if the band wasn’t as important as they ARE. You really get a sense of their development over the course of hundreds of killer photos, lush layout page detailing and fantastic reflections from members. Like Sean Yseult’s recent I’m In The Band or even, say, the massive Emperor 24 vinyl box set which the mere thought of makes me weep and shiver, this is a serious fucking beast of merchandise of the highest order and a celebration of accomplishment with a major sense of adventure and wonder for the entire business of it all. More than a labor of vanity or love, this says pay attention, this is about the collective work of amazing lives.

More below.

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It’s been a good few years for die hard stoner fans, from C.O.C. kicking butt
to Geezer, The Midnight Ghost Train, Tarpit Boogie, Monolord and others
keeping the scene burgeoning like a fat bowl of lettuce. One of the most
solid efforts you’re likely to hear, Greenleaf‘s Rise Above The Meadow is a
hard rock infused crunching mass of bluesy riffs, pounding drums and a
distinctively Swedish sense of melody to vocals that fall between the schools
of Danzig, Wino and Ozzy.

“A Million Fireflys” is a must hear newly forged anthem that anyone into QOTSA, Dozer, Born Again -era Sabbath etc. will be keen to savor or start spreading as the new gospel. The band’s Napalm tenure is sure to stay great.
I’ve been recommending them to everyone lately, ranging from Trevor of Pelican to probably your grandma. It’s such a good single I stopped listening to Future Brown’s “Wanna Party (remix)” for a minute or two to remember rock is really good when it actually exists.

I’m writing this on the anniversary of Van Halen’s 5150 album. Whether you are a Hagar fan or not, those were the days rock and metal ruled the charts. Greenleaf are proof that you can knock back a shot celebrating that rock n’ roll will never die.

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From Celtic Frost’s Into The Pandemonium to Metallica’s S&M to the mind blowing latest from blackened chamber doomers Wolvserpent to the fucking insane Bach shredding of shred dominatrix/violinist The Great Kat, many metal artists have flirted with or amalgamated classical influences into their sound, to drastically varied levels of success. Ontario’s The Visit, comprised of Musk Ox’s very skilled Raphael Weinroth-Browne (cello) and the strikingly talented Heather Sita Black (voice), get it more right than most of the others put together.

Starting in the reverse fashion of four feet and cello planted firmly in classical yet with a deep, romantic and soul pulling fascination with the darker side of the musical world, the pair have managed to make music that could stir esteemed concert halls and gothier types alike. Through Darkness Into Light, a late self-released 2015 triumph, was one of the loveliest and most breathtaking releases of late 2015 (with a stellar Alan Douches mastering job that really makes it feel cinematic). Additionally, this was  one of the most primary of a handful of albums that kept me “sane” last year (along w moody stuff like Tearist, The last temptation of christ, He Whose Ox Is Gored, Vowws, Marriages, etc.)

During a particularly dark time I found The Visit‘s gossamer heartache and striving sounds that float throughout Through Darkness Into Light to be a comforting sort of oxygen that I could trust in, a record I didn’t talk much about because I was holding it rather close. That is, ironically, often the best compliment we can give something…exclusion via the intimacy of overly processing how something powerful makes you feel which you aren’t yet willing to vocalize.

Metal fans of a certain type may scratch their caveman heads but others will get that heavier stuff like permanence, desire and the magnitude of self in a vast cosmos are at play, a certain naturalist’s existentialism that perhaps is a product of being an avant garde act from Ontario. Or maybe I am just projecting. When the bowing gets heavy enough on “Without This Flesh” I dare you to not be hit by the impact of feel anyway, even if other passages are somehow too floaty for you thrash types.

Personally, I think The Visit are a breath of cold, fresh air and make inventive, soul stirring art of the highest musical caliber.

Raphael and Heather answer my questions below.

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Candace Kucsulain has been an underdog, a hardcore heroine, a mom, a fighter
and much more. Her band Walls Of Jericho are true veterans of the metalcore
scene, trench fighters who have done a lot over the years until a recent near
decade break between albums.

One listen to Napalm Release No One Can Save You From Yourself will not only
knock the dust from your skull but you’ll be really thankful the Detroit
natives are back to shitkick some sense into the current crop. Through and
through this album is a fierce winner, full of engaging topics, inspiring
motivational lyrics, ballistic breakdowns and crowd friendly chants that don’t
suck. Prepare to get very fired up.

It was great to talk to Candace about her career, her beliefs and how this
time it was very cool having everyone in the band contribute something to the
lyrical hardcore cookpot.

Read more BELOW.

Boston: Deep Cuts

Posted by longhairedpoet on Monday, March 14, 2016 at 11:26 AM (PST)

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By Premier Talent Associates (management company) (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

At first I was a little worried that all of Boston’s good songs were singles. For most of their albums they have like three to five singles.

But as I looked in to it, I realized that there were lots of songs that were overlooked, or just simply did not have the time to make it to single status in an album cycle.

Of course, a person really can’t talk about Boston deep cuts without talking about Tom Scholz and Brad Delp.

Delp’s vocal styling is unforgettable. The belting in “More Than A Feeling” are instantly memorable and known by folks of all generations. When the album Boston came out in 1976 I almost wonder if the world of rock ‘n’ roll knew what they were getting themselves into when this kid with a master’s degree from MIT and another toiling in the local music scene got together to record what became known as the 17x platinum, number 3 on the Billboard 200 self-titled, debut album.

This duo reminds me of another favorite musical pair of mine – Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman, though arguably Scholz and Delp had a much better go with the record labels than Meat and Steinman did.

Also worth nothing before we get underway here is that Boston by Boston turns 40 in August! The band will embark on a 40th Anniversary tour from April to August, make sure not to miss it!

Check out the deep cuts here.

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Judas Priest’s ‘Sad Wings of Destiny’ turns 40!

Posted by longhairedpoet on Sunday, March 13, 2016 at 9:55 AM (PST)

Judas Priest

Sad Wings of Destiny turns 40-years-old on March 23 and to celebrate this mammoth fucking album, I present to you a retrospective on it!

Sad Wings of Destiny is Judas Priest’s second album. It is the only album which features drummer Alan Moore. That year Kiss’s Destroyer came out, Rush released 2112, AC/DC released High Voltage internationally and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap in Australia, Black Sabbath released Technical Ecstasy and Deep Purple broke up. But for Judas Priest, things were just taking off. Off the back of Sad Wings of Destiny Judas Priest signed to CBS Records and got 60,000 pounds to record their next album Sin After Sin, which came out the very next year.

Read the full retrospective of the album here.

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Doro Pesch, the German heavy metal Queen, is touring the US with a mini-tour starting tomorrow. It is always such an honor to speak to Doro, not only an incredible survivor, powerful presence and legendary metal beauty but a timeless and unique voice who holds a deeply important place in the history of the evolution of Heavy Metal. Whenever you hear her proud banshee call there is no doubt who is singing.

I’d rather spend my time listening to Doro than do most things in life. Hail, Metal Queen!

Doro is evidence that there is no half assing it, ever.

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John Hoyles and Spiders actually could “save rock n roll”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 11:36 AM (PST)

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Photo by Peter af Kleen

Maybe it is naive to put the burden of “saving rock n roll” entirely on proto metal/glam/garage punks Spiders from Gothenburg, Sweden, but the vibes and power the band bring are so good and so strong that you want to imagine a better world where their new song “Why Don’t You?” speeds to the top of the charts. So, so good.

The band have been around for a number of years at this point (and have shared the stages with the likes of Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Graveyard and some new band called Metallica), but I had somehow never heard them until recently. Thank God. Not that  I wouldn’t have enjoyed their earlier stuff, far from it…but awareness of the group came along and restored my faith/made me feel good right at a time when I needed a pure rock n roll jolt of lightning. Here is hoping they do the same for you.

It’s a breath of fresh air to have a band cut through the plasticity of pop culture so flawlessly. Shit, “Why Don’t You?” is pretty much a perfect rock song even if they had never done anything else.

John Hoyles checked in for a fun conversation BELOW.

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Premiere: Intercourse’s “True Patriot”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 3:46 AM (PST)

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Intercourse is a noisy hc punk rock 5 piece from New Haven, CT. “True Patriot” is taken from their upcoming Enablers EP.

It is a particularly frenetic track with some sharp words. Don’t be scared by the photo of the Donald.

Check it out HERE.

Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘The Ultimate Sin’ turns 30!

Posted by longhairedpoet on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 11:39 PM (PST)

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One thing that is absolutely true is that Ozzy Osbourne has had a rough go. That may be less true today, but it was absolutely true back in the mid-80s.

Not only was Ozzy dealing with substance abuse, he was having a hard time keeping a cohesive line-up for his solo project. In 1985 when he recorded The Ultimate Sin, he recruited Phil Soussan on bass. Ozzy had been working with Bob Daisley during the Randy Rhoads era, and the first part of the Jake E. Lee era. In fact, Daisley had written most of the material for the album with Jake E. Lee and Ozzy Osbourne, as he had co-written Ozzy’s first three. Daisley went on to play on three Uriah Heep albums, and even on Black Sabbath’s 1987 The Eternal Idol. Daisley would ultimately return for 1988’s No Rest for the Wicked before permanently departing after 1991’s No More Tears.

The Ultimate Sin was Jake E. Lee’s second and last album with Ozzy, after starting with him in 1983 to record Bark at the Moon.

The album was an introduction of Randy Castillo on drums, and he would stick around for two more albums (1988’s No Rest For The Wicked and 1991’s No More Tears). Castillo also performed live duty on 1990’s live EP Just Say Ozzy and 1993’s Live & Loud.

Before The Ultimate Sin Ozzy had done three solo albums in three years. After 1983’s Bark at the Moon it took him three years to release The Ultimate Sin.

Read my full retrospective on the album here.

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Jason Taylor of Canada’s promising newish sludge prog band Sierra checks in to kick off this week with a great interview. Some may know the band from their Kylesa endorsed Retro Futurist release Pslip from a few years ago, a record that lures me back for repeat listens even amidst all the daily promos and other shit on my plate to distract me. It was kind of like I had found a trippier C.O.C. or stoner rock Tool and the music had a certain warm hazy but powerful quality I loved.

Time passes and the band is back with the 72 EP, a unique long form song with a grisly tale behind it. The 72 EP will see self-release by the band on March 4th, on both CD and digital formats and is sure to be more than worth discovering.

Read MORE below.

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Deep Cuts: Hatebreed

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Friday, February 5, 2016 at 12:23 PM (PST)

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Make no mistake, it was truly Hatebreed who broke metalcore open wide to the younger generation. While bands like Biohazard, D.R.I. and most famously Suicidal Tendencies popularized crossover and great bands like Unearth, All Out War and, say, Earth Crisis , Chain Of Strength or even Emmure also went as heavy, only perhaps newer Suicide Silence or KSE has connected to people across the spectrum of metal and hardcore to persevere with such a focused message of “You can pull through.”

We are stoked for The Concrete Confessional and wanted to give the guys some love.

Now that Pantera is perhaps irredeemably stained for some and other people, as much as they like Slipknot, can’t get over the grown men in jumpsuits and masks thing (I personally love Slipknot), who is still here that can unite the tribes with such force? Five Finger Death Punch are too goofy or conservative for many people, despite great big riffs and groove. Thrash is cool and probably the overall most popular style of metal ever yet some people want even heavier than the Lamb Of God style hybrid. Well, guess what? We still have mighty Hatebreed. This band went from Satisfaction… days to fucking opening for KISS (at least I think Frank told me they did when I interviewed him in Poughkeepsie once for Crusher).

Anyway, Hatebreed are always powerful live. I have never been let down by one of their shows, ever. Not to mention Matt Byrne is one of the friendliest dudes and the whole band genuinely live to spread a good message and get the Led out, so to speak. Unity above the bullshit.

Fuckin’ represent with these 3 Hatebreed DEEP CUTS bangers! Remain Steadfast!

More BELOW.

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As soon as you hear “Murdock” from Boston area extreme hardcore band Ascend/Descend you will likely be rocked the fuck out but also sort of checking your metal and punk data banks to see what it reminded you of, in a good way. I discovered the band via a feature over at Nefarious Realm a few weeks back and have since become pretty enamored of their fierce and fiery sound. Vocalist Michelle Dugan sounds almost like a female version of Black Tusk’s members various howls sometimes, charged up with a punk edge over music that roams between Nausea-esque crusty battery to more streamlines Converge/Coalesce/Deadguy “Pins and Needles” territory to cool twists and turns all the band’s own.

I knew I had to pick the band’s brains about new release Murdock Street and get situated in their world a little bit. It is more exciting for me to cover a newer band with heart like this than some jaded old rockstar farts or scene kids who bought amps on trust fund money and will be out of the picture in a year. This band is def one of the bright new underground lights to follow in 2016! The incredible record sounds hungry, lean and mean. Fans of everything from Immortal Bird to Kylesa to Starkweather can find something here to love. But don’t just take my word for it!

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Deep Cuts : Iced Earth

Posted by Andrew Johann Datoush on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 12:47 PM (PST)

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The funny thing about metal music is that we have extremely passionate fans. You typically don’t get our type of fans with other genres. I’ve never heard of anyone coming out of a concert hall yelling “,I got so fucked up in the pit tonight! Best CELINE DION show ever!!!” (Morgan’s note: “I would.”)

That being said, while most metal bands have these rabid fans, there are certain bands who seem to have an even more passionate type of fan. Bands like IRON MAIDEN, MANOWAR, and even ICED EARTH have these fans. Fans who love absolutely everything the band puts out. Fans who, when asked, cannot tell you a single song they don’t like, but can rattle off 200 song titles when you ask them for their top favorite song. They have the logos, lyrics, and album covers tattooed on their bodies. They are like Juggalos, except they’re actually human, and you don’t necessarily have to cross the street when you see them walking towards you.

When I was asked to do a Deep Cuts on ICED EARTH, I felt two giant waves hit me. The first was “Well, this is awesome! I don’t get to talk about ICED EARTH enough.” The second wave that hit me was more like a “well, I pretty much love everything they’ve put out, as do their fans. What the fuck am I gonna write about”? After much consideration, writing, editing, rewriting, and reconsidering, I decided to just say screw it and write about my top favorite ICED EARTH songs, regardless if they were the band’s big hits or if they went under the radar. It seemed like the obvious choice.

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Metal Riot Interviews FROM ASHES TO NEW Re: “Day One”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Friday, January 29, 2016 at 11:53 AM (PST)

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Q+A answered by: Chris Musser (vocals)

 

Day One from From Ashes To New will turn some heads this year, for those who can hang with commercially capable yet strong hard rock infused with rap, hooks and riffs tailor made for big venues. Better Noise Records is doing the honors and the vocalist Chris checked in to give us the low down info.

 

More BELOW.

 

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