None or Unknown
Upstate NY's Surmiser are a grunge, hard rock and post punk marriage who play every note with the conviction of lifers who have long since given up the notion of turning back. The band is an excellent power trio and have just released their buzzed about latest effort Hold The Static. Songs about depression, addiction and self assessment pair with focused but inspired soul eruptions that take you on a journey through a wide range of emotions. Surmiser are very much worth checking out, constantly working on ways to expand their impact and body of songs to mirror their experiences into something representative to their values in sonic form.
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Conquerors Of The World brought defiance and skill to NYC’s Gramercy Theater last night, an awesome venue I always try and catch good tours at. The staff is generally really cool, the sound is really consistent and they book a fair amount of good metal shows. Deathstars, Moonspell and Septicflesh are reaching the end of a “long hot” tour (as described by a nonetheless enthusiastic vocalist Fernando Ribiero of Portugal’s darkest sons. There was no sign of road fatigue in the swagger and theatrical bravado of these three great bands, though there were some merch sizes no longer available this late in the tour.
Septicflesh from Athens are perhaps the most consistently ambitious band in metal. I’m listening to Sabbath Assembly’s 18 minute cult hit masterpiece “The Four Horseman” (not a Metallica cover). As the music and chanting about babies and Lucifer with lush and sultry vocals takes me away on this half lit rainy morning, still tired from a long late train ride back home two hours from NYC, I am left in awe and thanks of bands who work their craft to the white-knuckle bone.
Titan on Prosthetic Records has some critics saying it is too similar to the previous release from the band, but really is that a valid complaint? If you are bitching about a huge orchestral arrangement paired with psychotic technique, the utmost heavy speed and nightmare imagery upheaving the soul with important questions of self and the cosmos being too redundant, um…go take out your trash or something. Seth Siro Anton led the Greek demi-gods in a hellraising charge that had the crowd screaming the band’s name and getting down hard, especially ine heavy, somewhat slower bridge riff of new fang bang “Order Of Dracul”. I had to send Androniki Skoula from Chaostar a hyper message to tell her how excited I was to finally be seeing Septicflesh live.
The kick ass top to bottom show was on the same night as the annual Black N Blue Bowl at the old Ritz (Webster Hall) and while it featured my friends in Candiria and Bad Brains this year along with other great bands like 100 Demons and Madball, I still went to Gramercy. I’d been bugging Prosthetic publicist Kelly about this tour since like the split second after it was announced, though I wish they’d been on different weekends.
Read more BELOW.Add to My Radar
At times perhaps the most extreme death metal band in the world (when it comes to speed, insane arrangements and quality), Hate Eternal have announced their inclusion in the Metal Alliance Tour this year. The band recently signed to one of my favorite labels Season Of Mist and have new material pending.
Regarding their forthcoming album, Rutan comments, “The recording process has been fantastic so far. I’ve never felt so focused and determined on a Hate Eternal record, and I know that this will be an album our listeners and supporters will truly appreciate. It represents an important milestone for me personally since 15 years ago both Hate Eternal began recording it’s first album and Mana Recording Studios was born. We have so much more news to share with you over the coming months. We’re super proud of what we’ve accomplished creatively, and excited at the prospect of releasing what we feel is our most powerful Hate Eternal material to date.”
Dates BELOW.Add to My Radar
Noise mongers KEN Mode, a particularly mischievous bunch of merry madmen, have a new single “Blessed”. I’m thinking #blessed has a lot of crossover potential as a life affirming hashtag as well. Perhaps the guys are on to something.
Recorded with Steve Albini (NIRVANA, THE PIXIES, THE JESUS LIZARD and more) and mastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service, Success features art by the band’s longtime artist Randy Ortiz, and feature guest performances by Eugene Robinson (OXBOW) and members of FULL OF HELL. ‘Success’ will be available across multiple CD and LP formats. Pre-orders are available at the Season of Mist E-Shop.
Regarding the new track, front-man Jesse Matthewson comments:
The artwork and track list for ‘Success’ can be found below.
See the art BELOW as well as a slew of North American tour dates with the awesome Fight Amp.Add to My Radar
Carach Angren‘s This Is No Fairy Tale is a frightful blend of horror and metal with symphonic elements akin to a Tim Burton score. These hell-forged songs are at times vertigo inducing as well as insane. Definitely a niche band but fans of Septicflesh on a much more horror bent will thrill to it. This is a blackened and death infused updated version of Hansel and Gretel that has heroin abuse and domestic violence (“There’s No Place Like Home”) and a much sicker tone or darker flare than the recent silly, if fun, action movie “Witch Hunters” (give me Monica Bellucci in The Brothers Grimm instead any day).
Anyhow, the Netherlands based band are very tight and complete professionals here, though at times it is usually less about the song than how it feels in relation to the whole story piece. Still, there are way worse things. Many bands can’t come close to the skill of Carach Angren in heavy metal and they obviously don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks. Horns to them for their full embrace of over the edge, dark creativity to shed light on the horrors of the ill nature of deranged psychosis out there. Sickening candy addiction is a metaphor for perhaps shallow culture, the material working on many levels of the psyche. We are lonely in a forest and hunger for blood, convenience or even a deeper, damaged sense of family are all examined.
For more see BELOW.
The sickest Stateside fest I can remember in some time is Psycho California, a wet dream for doom, sludge and weirdo psych metal bands. Saturday is my favorite of the bunch with SubRosa, Anciients, Eagle Twin (!!) , Sleep, Kylesa and Earth among other great acts. Seriously though, this shit is so good you can’t go wrong with any day.
Individual day passes will be on sale Friday, Feb. 13 at Midnight PST and available via Psychoca.com. A very limited number of 3-day passes remain available with VIP passes having already sold out. Single day tickets are $64.50 while 3-day passes are $149.50.
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Ghost Brigade‘s IV: One with the Storm shows a lot of growth for Finland’s somber survivors. I loved aspects of their debut years back but found it far too Nuerosis indebted and not enough differentiation between songs. By album number four there is still post-metal influence for sure, but the band have come into their own with epic flourishes and more impact to the compositions. “Wretched Blues” is a terrific opening number “where shadows call your name”, a just above mid-tempo ground mover that features sweeping guitar lines atop driving percussion.”Departures” explores further the band’s quiet side with excellent melodic vocals and a lonely sorrow to the spare intro that recalls recent Katatonia before a great melodic doom riff takes you away. The band have really hit their stride with this release and it shows in the songwriting.
Like November’s Doom who struck gold with this year’s doom standout Bled White, Ghost Brigade have made good records in the past but just now everything really seems to be coming together like never before. “Disembodied voices” is 5:36 of ethereal awakening like seeing light from beneath the surface, Manne Ikonen sounding more confident with the cleans here than on previous albums (at times even sounding a bit like the ballad side of Chad Gray circa Mudvayne’s “World So Cold”, but not in a nu-metal context). Wille Naukkarinen and Tommi Kiviniemi’s guitar work cement each song with a full architecture of big chords and hypnotic interwoven lines, spellbinding the ear with reasons to keep listening. It is cool to see the band have grown and pushed to be relevant despite having first arrived kind of during the “boom” of the whole Neur-Isis craze a few years back. They have become one with their storm, indeed.
While fans of the post-metal genre in general will find plenty of crushing moments here to furrow their brooding brows with grim pleasure and make their beards itch (see the mighty “Stones and Pillars”) there are also dark proggy, introspective passages that entertain a certain sense of poetry. The production is reasonably clean but the band have amazing tones on this and especially of note are the ghostly and welcome keyboard layers from Joni Vanhanen. Album highlight “Long Way to the Graves” is where they nail it 100%, opening with a mood setting slow drum pattern before watery guitar and lush texture set up the best vocal performance in the band’s history, a study of life cycles that is a calm recognition of the chapters in life, our potentials and the storms we all must traverse to highlight what really matters in life.
Season of Mist is proud to announce the signing of legendary death metal band HATE ETERNAL. Helmed by founder, guitarist/vocalist, primary songwriter and acclaimed producer Erik Rutan, HATE ETERNAL has been one of the leading bands in the worldwide death metal scene for over eighteen years. The band’s five full-length albums are considered crucial genre touchstones, and the band is a proven headliner across five continents.
HATE ETERNAL (Rutan [guitar, vocals] and J.J. Hrubovcak [bass/vocals]) are currently holed up in Rutan’s Mana Recording studio (CANNIBAL CORPSE, MOUNTAIN GOATS, GOATWHORE) recording a new album that will be released in early 2015.
Regarding the recording Rutan comments, “We are ecstatic about how the recording for our new album has been coming out so far, and our new label and home Season Of Mist. We’ve worked very hard on crafting these songs to reflect our path, from our past to the present, and the journey of Hate Eternal and its members. Writing this album was a long and arduous process. It took a tremendous amount of determination, blood, and sweat to bring this all to fruition. We’re super proud of what we’ve accomplished creatively, and excited at the prospect of releasing what we feel is our most powerful Hate Eternal material to date.”Add to My Radar
Norwegian black metal tyrants 1349 have premiered their new video for “Slaves”. “Slaves” is the lead track from the bands forthcoming new album Massive Cauldron of Chaos.
Massive Cauldron of Chaos will be released in North America on September 30, and will be available across multiple CD, vinyl, and cassette formats. Pre-orders are available here.
Click HERE if you can handle being dropped head first into the cauldron. The thundering intro, subterranean imagery and ferocious drumming ritually wed to dire vocals and near perfect guitar tones is one of the undisputed best black metal voyages of 2014. This WILL tear your soul out of your face holes. of particular note is the 2:06 mark, a stirring and gloomy onslaught into dark osmosis.Add to My Radar
Word to your fuckin’ mom, came to drop bombs…er, bongs?
Cape Fear’s own WEEDEATER are like no other heavy band. With a style and presence that is unfiltered, unrefined, and unruly, the notorious North Carolina trio have burned through the heavy rock underground for over fifteen years. Now, WEEDEATER and Season of Mist bring you ‘…And Justice For Y’All’, a reissue of their classic first album on cd and – for the very first time – on vinyl.
WEEDEATER …And Justice for Y’all Release date: North America September 2, 2014Add to My Radar
CYNIC mastermind Paul Masvidal has launched a line of his signature guitar pedals. The ProTone signature chorus pedal was designed to replicate the guitar tones heard on CYNIC’s groundbreaking albums Traced in Air and Focus. The ProTone are available in two different models, bearing the artwork of ‘Traced in Air’ and ‘Focus’ respectively. More information about the pedals can be found here.
Regarding the new pedal line, Paul Masvidal comments: “To work with ProTone on a signature chorus pedal is an absolute honor and a dream come true. I’m reinventing my effects rig with foot pedals and couldn’t be more thrilled about the lush beauty this pedal adds to my clean tones. The pedal has an analog design with a rare limited chipset, which sounds fuller than typical modern chorus pedals. I love the purity of this classic piece. There’s nothing like it out there!”Add to My Radar
CYNIC – EAST COAST DATES with Lesser Key and Reign Of Kindo have been announced – Come join the party and support progressive music!
Kindly Bent To Free Us is pretty much a masterpiece
(with a few weaker tracks here and there) and features maybe the catchiest prog song of the year, “The Lion’s Roar”, a real work out of songwriting chops and musical talent.
Click HERE for dates.Add to My Radar
The Oslo Public Library, Norway’s oldest and largest literary institution, has recognized and praised Jon “Metalion” Kristiansen‘s monumental METALION: The Slayer Mag Diaries (ISBN 978-0979616341, Bazillion Points Books) as a “unique and important” book in Norwegian history and culture.
Get the book HERE.
Oslo librarian Terje Haugsgjerd writes: “Which is the heaviest book published in Norway the past few years? No, it’s not [Karl Ove] Knausgård’s My Struggle even if the title would be a fitting one for this book too. The book in question is Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries. The period is depicted from the point-of-view of the author and paints a personal, but certainly non romanticizing, picture of an astonishingly creative period in Norwegian metal, a period that was also dangerous and controversial with its murders, suicides and church burnings.”
“In short, this is, for me, a unique Norwegian book, both physically with all its kilos, but especially for its content. In one hundred years, this will be a book about what once was.”
Comments Jon Kristiansen: “From the start, I made Slayer Mag as honestly and as well as I could. I never knew any other way. I hope that I have produced something that will stand the test of time.”
In 756 pages, METALION unravels thirty years of underground metal history, centered on the unique Norwegian black metal music scene of which author Kristiansen was a central figure. The book includes reproduction pages from every issue of the Slayer Mag metal fanzine, spanning from the early 1980s through 2010. In addition, Kristiansen recounts his personal experiences in tumultuous “diary” section.Add to My Radar
I have been listening to Esoteric Warfare quite a bit, trying to let it sink into my brain, to let it confuse me.Other than the “MILAB” track’s great structural twists and out of body drift through chaos clouds, it is a more straight forward fair than I expected, though still incredibly engaging. While it may not be their violently rawest or most idiosyncratic/experimental release, it is in some ways the most ambitious Mayhem release of all. Whether that ambition is realized is up to the listener.
A more triumphant album marrying raw rage and esoteric philosophy with moments of inspired weirdness would be Inquisition’s masterful Obscure Verses For The Multiverse (yet now, much like most of Mayhem’s career, tragically overshadowed by recent controversy the band seemingly brought on themselves). Mayhem have spent the better part of their career being known for a relatively brief, yet massively infamous period. People can’t listen to them without thinking of it (much like how Nachtmystium’s amazing music takes a back seat to debates about if it is ok to like Blake or who really wrote what on which Nachtmystium album, for another sad example).
Mayhem should not be punished for having more self-awareness as writers and people these days than the early days of their raw as fuck, shoot from the hip, hack and slash approach (an unintentionally horrible metaphor since former members actually killed themselves or others). Esoteric Warfare doesn’t feature my favorite line-up (blasphemer/rune is the best guitarist for Mayhem ever), but it nonetheless is a killer album that seems to attempt to unify various parts of the band’s career into a palatable whole. The “fuck you” spirit remains, but it is a fairly cohesive record. The question is, is that enough?
My answer is yes.
Click HERE for more of the review.
The evolution of our music to Sofia is natural for us. We must take into account the emotional background where the loss of a loved one allows a whole entity to forgather and compose an album. We didn’t intend to adapt our composition to a specific musical style. It was rather a question of writing a love letter, both sad, poignant and sincere. Everyone of us has experienced this tragedy in his own way, and like many things, an event that affects one of us, affects us all. Sofia is a reflection of our state of mind today. As Salam represented our concerns of the moment. – Foued Moukid
Arkan caught my ear a few years back with their debut full length Hilal, an adventurous journey into metal with an Oriental influence. Foued (drums) was once a member of The Old Dead Tree, of whom I am still a big fan to this day, so when ARkan was getting off the ground I had to know more. As it was, a few years passed and I hadn’t heard much from the group, though admittedly they were very busy. It is my own fault due to helping raise a child, being crazy busy all the time and other factors in no way related to the quality of Arkan’s music. Shit, I wish I had kept closer tabs on them but it was a nice surprise to be floored with a new promo of their latest effort Sofia, an album of tight arrangements, melancholy sentiment and attention to finest details.
Somehow Arkan’s shifting music can manage to hold a light up to the world and illuminate hope, sorrow and personal growth amidst the yawning void of time. Click HERE to learn more about this always evolving, superb metal act.Add to My Radar