Archive for Black Sabbath

Hannah’s 2013 Highlights

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Misc. with tags , , , , , on 4th January 2014 by Hammi

Well, we are now 4 days into 2014, and it’s that time of year again. Time to look back and reflect on 2013, a year of great highs and lows. Personally, 2013 was a crock of shite. Ill health, family and friends dropping like daisies, rubbish chucked at me academically; I’m well shot of it. Musically, however, it was much better! We had a few absolute curve balls chucked at us, but in general I think it was a splendid year for musical releases within the metal world and beyond. So without further ado, here are my Top 10 metal albums of the year. Strap yourselves in and play the Top of the Pops theme tune as we count them down- but in no particular order. Sorry!

Finntroll- Blodsvept

An absolute corker of an album, Finntroll are once again on shining form. I sometimes wonder if the rollicking band of Finnish folk-stalwarts will get one wrong, but they prove themselves time and time again.

Ghost- Infestissumam

In many ways, 2013 could be seen as the year of Ghost (for copyright purposes, in the ol’ U.S. of A., see: Ghost B.C.). Papa Emeritus II (or should that be 1.2?) and his ghoulish brigade seem absolutely unstoppable and this proggy, weird, almost unsettlingly catchy offering gives more fuel to that fire.

Cathedral- The Last Spire

As we shall see in my ‘Top 5 Highs and Lows of 2013’ shortly, this was also the year I was forced to say goodbye to one of my favourite bands, but Cathedral’s last ever offering did not disappoint. As many observed, this seemed to bring them full circle and back to their simple, crushing doomy roots and it was a bittersweet triumph.

Chthonic- Bú-Tik

The Taiwanese black-symphonic metallers offered us this brutal follow up to 2011’s brilliant Takasago Army this year, and what an album! The troupe from Taipei constantly manage to sound fresh and never lose any of that fury, channelling their rage in their music and fleshing their sound out with that distinctive, symphonic blend of metal and traditional Taiwanese refrains.

Black Sabbath- 13

If you know me, then you know I like grinding, crushing, groovy metal. Then it must come as no surprise that this list includes 13, the phenomenal come back from the legends that are Black Sabbath. Sounding as fresh and vibrant as they did on seminal releases such as Black Sabbath or Paranoid, 13 saw Sabbath at their absolute best, and I for one am so happy to see them back.

Amon Amarth- Deceiver of the Gods

I can’t possibly list my favourite albums of the year without Amon Amarth. Some people say they are samey and don’t offer anything new. I think they know what works and stick to that winning formula. The Swedes once again brought their mythological flavoured metal to us on this stonker and I love it.

Fleshgod Apocalypse- Labyrinth

Italian technical death metal band Fleshgod have been around for a while but they are a relatively new thing for me. Having said that, Labyrinth is a great album and well deserving of a place in my top 10. For one, it’s a concept album based on mythology- the legend of the Labyrinth of Knossos, if you didn’t know, but of course you did- and for two, it does it well. Brilliant, from start to finish.

Tyr- Valkyrja

I’ll keep this short and sweet- Tyr are phenomenal. The two covers that round this album out are almost unrecognisable in their execution. The progression shown by Tyr from The Lay of Thrym to this is fascinating and I can’t wait to see where they go next.

Hell- Curse and Chapter

Really, if I’m being honest, 2013 was the year I fell in love with Hell. I can’t say enough good things about this band- they are blasphemous, outrageous, and ridiculously good fun to boot. They serve up a one-of-a-kind blend of NWOBHM and theatrics and Curse and Chapter is just outstanding. I predicted that they will be Bloodstock headliners within five years in this year’s Bloodstock review. I now make that three years.

Satyricon- Satyricon

A rather controversial choice, maybe? I know how unpopular this record has been with a lot of long-time Satyricon fans, but this long-time Satyricon fan loved their eponymous album. The thing I love about Satyricon is that Satyr is never afraid to go to places that make fans uncomfortable and force them out of that safe zone. Their albums are never formulaic and I really appreciate their bravery and daring, and willingness to shake things up. A great album.

Wasn’t that fun? Now, this next Top 5 may be a little unorthodox, but I’m a music lover. I love all music, even- SHOCK HORROR!- that which is not metal. So here are my 5 Top Non-Metal releases of the year!

HIM- Tears on Tape

HIM are one of my favourite bands- okay, you can shoot me if you want- because they do what they do incredibly well and without apologies. Tears on Tape is one of their best albums to date and it’s surprisingly heavy in parts- you can see that Ville Valo really worships a few gothic and doom metal bands in the songs on this record!

AFI- Burials

I was thoroughly mortified by Crash Love. Like, irrevocably mortified. AFI are a band I have loved since I was 12 and whilst Burials is definitely no closer to what they used to be than Crash Love or even Decemberunderground, it manages to make up for it in atmosphere and a healthy dose of gloom. Davey Havok’s voice hasn’t sounded this good in a long time, and neither has Jade Puget’s playing. Welcome back, boys!

David Bowie- The Next Day

David Bowie is the king and I worship him. Seriously, though, The Next Day is a welcome return by the Thin White Duke, 10 years after his last release, and it is an unusual, almost-awkward slice of musical bliss. This album shows more energy and enthusiasm for making beautiful music- to get pretentious, for making auditory art- than bands half his age.

Little Mix- Salute

I love Little Mix, I don’t even care. They were put together on that Christmas-number-one machine that is The X Factor, sure, but they actually work ridiculously well together as a group and they contribute to the writing of their songs to boot. Their second album, Salute, is indeed a salute to the sassy, R’n’B flavoured pop of the nineties. It works, it’s ludicrously catchy, and I love it.

Lorde- Pure Heroine

I hated Lorde the first time I heard her. Her lyrics are stupid and non-sensical (see: Tennis Court), the kind of faux-intellectualism loved by the stylish hipster crews that are the current ‘in’ crowd. She’s a clever girl with some fierce ideas, though, and by GOD did this album get under my skin after a while and now I can’t get enough of it and I’m sorry.

Okay, I’ll get back to the metal now. Rounding up my 2013 retrospective is a look at five of the most important events of the year. These are my Top 5 Highs and Lows of 2013.

Randy Blythe is acquitted

Of course, the story most people will remember this year is that Randy Blythe was acquitted of all charges on the 5th of March this year. Blythe had been facing jail after 19 year old Daniel Nosek died after being pushed from the stage at a Lamb of God show in Prague in 2010. Whilst the courts agreed that Blythe was morally responsible for Nosek’s death, they did not find him guilty of any criminal liability.

Emperor Reform for 2014 Festival Season

Yes, my friends. Legendary black metal outfit Emperor officially announced a reunion for a series of special performances, including Wacken’s 25th anniversary, BOA 2014 and Hellfest 2014. I have my ticket to Bloodstock and I can’t fucking wait, because Emperor are the bee’s proverbial knees. Oh yes.

Cathedral Call it Quits

30th April 2013 was a sad, sad day in the world of doom metal, as protectors of the groove Cathedral called it a day on the release of their tenth studio album, The Last Spire. After waving the flag for crushing, gloomy, often psychedelic doom for twenty-one years, Lee Dorrian, Brian Dixon, Gaz Jennings and Scott Carlson took their final bows. Their legacy lives on.

Joey Jordison Slipknot Shock

In a rather bizarre turn of events, the 12th of December saw the shock announcement of Joey Jordison’s departure from his ‘main’ band of 18 years for ‘personal reasons’. The plot however thickens as it has been revealed in the last 24 hours that Jordison himself had no idea of his apparent departure. Will we ever know what’s going on? Will this cause a duel to the death between Corey Taylor and Joey Jordison before Mick Thompson steps in and holds them apart by the scruff of their necks whilst the rest of the band talks sense into them? Who knows?

Black Sabbath Top Charts

Yeah, if producing an album as impressive as 13 wasn’t enough, Black Sabbath also went and topped the UK Album Charts with it. Their first offering in 18 years managed the rare feat of placing top in the mainstream charts, and how often does a bunch of hairy, lairy old metalheads do something like that? Keep going, boys.

So that was 2013. There’s a lot I’m looking forward to in 2014, but my highlight will most certainly be Bloodstock 2014. I shall see you there! To all Valkyrian readers- I wish you a Happy New Year and have a good one!

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The Vintage Caravan confirm UK dates

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 10th December 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Iceland’s answer to the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeplin, The Vintage Caravan, are finally making their way across the oceans to introduce the UK to their own brand of riffs. And bunny-licking. The three Icelandic youngsters, who are aged 19, 19 and 20, will be touring as support to Grand Magus, in March next year. Their debut album Voyage will be released via Nuclear Blast in January 2014. Bassist Alex comments:

We are so incredibly excited to finally be touring the UK with a great band like Grand Magus, meeting British people, drinking British ales. This is going to be one hell of a trip!

There has been a huge resurgence of ‘retro rock’ over the last few years, but these boys have explored a path that no one else has found yet. Youth is on their side, they have drawn musical influences from the greats of our generation and added to them their acid laced, trippy lyrics, relatable to the silly side that’s hopefully still in all of us. If not, these guys will certainly help you find it!

Tour dates are as follow:

March 12th – Manchester, Sound Control - www.seetickets.com
March 13th – Dublin, Voodoo Lounge - www.ticketmaster.ie
March 15th – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms – www.tickets.com
March 16th – London, The Underworld – www.seetickets.com

The Vintage Caravan online:

http://www.facebook.com/vintagecaravan

In Solitude announce new album and stream title track; Sister

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 19th August 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Swedish metallers In Solitude have announced their third studio album, Sister, which will be release in the UK on 30th September via Metal Blade Records. The title track, Sister, is now streaming at this location. Vocalist Pelle Åhman speaks on behalf of In Solitude:

It’s time to release our third album, and things have never felt this clear and pervasive before. This is a feeling that has permeated our whole lives during the latest year of writing and recording this album, as well as digesting and dealing with its consequences. And it has been wonderful, overwhelming and utterly devastating. Which, in the world of In Solitude, are very positive things, and exactly what was required.

It is a very special album for us, and I am very thankful and proud of my brothers (including our great friend, and producer, Martin Konie Ehrencrona), for this is truly the most visceral music we’ve ever made, and we can’t wait for you to experience it too.

You come without. And all falls within. There is a light in the world. There is a stone to the head.

Sister was recorded at Studio Cobra in Stockholm, Sweden during March 2013. The album was produced and mixed by MartinKonieEhrencrona and stands as a logical next step above and beyond its predecessor, The World.The Flesh.The DevilIn Solitude‘s strength resides in their ability to craft dark and oppressive atmospheres within the auditory realm of classic heavy metal.Sister compounds this trademark sound further, beginning with the acoustic intro, He Comes and saturates the record in an aura of uniqueness; see: Lavender and the title track.

The album concludes with an 8-minute, driving, near trance-like opus that features guest guitarist Pelle Forsberg (Watain). Additionally, Jarboe of Swans fame can be heard on Horses in the Ground. Moods range from Mercyful Fate-esque guitar flavors, shadows of Black Sabbath, the heavy dissonance of Swans, to straight-forward, ear worm riffs. In any case, one thing can be said for certain: their delivery is as genuine as it is impressive.

North American fans will have an opportunity to see In Solitude live this Fall. The band will be supporting Watain on their Wild Hunt tour beginning on October 8th in New York City. The tour also features support from Tribulation.

In Solitude online:

http://facebook.com/insolitudeofficial

Huddersfield Heavy Metal Festival completes line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 8th August 2013 by Contra Mundi

The Huddersfield Heavy Metal festival now boasts a wholesome and intimidating line-up, headlined by symphonic death metal legends Fleshgod Apocalypse and Polish extreme death metal icons Hate. Within the diseased ranks as support acts are a selection of bands that are a true showcase of talent. First of all Scottish Death Metallers Scordatura, whose bludgeoning sound showcase all of death metal’s finer qualities and creates a symphony of madness. Joining them are Southerners Bound By Evile who will unleash their destructive brand of death metal upon the already tainted public and make them run for cover.  Grieve, with their groovy and heavy riffs encourage headbanging in the most seasoned of metal fans and hearken back to the likes of Black Sabbath.  Londoners Hades Lab offer blackened Grind and a suffocating cacophony of impressive technicality . Also featured are Yorkshire Old school Death metal plague Narcotic Death whose embodiment of possession and misery will make fans wish they’d never graced the good earth. Scouse Black Metal artists Ninkharsag also grace the line-up and offer the early 90’s Black metal scene nostalgia with a modern twist in their unique brand of frozen metal. As an ode to Thrash Yorkshire-men Redmist Destruction will bring down the walls with their furious music and fellow Grim Northerners Wort will serve to provide a melancholy and sludgy form of doom for the audience to be slowly murdered by. Huddersfield Heavy metal Festival, although still in its infancy, is already a pioneering festival and will undoubtedly attract a legion of a crowd to Huddersfield’s most impressive venue; The Parish.

The festival organiser Luke Diesektor, had this to say:

We only wish we could make this bigger, were looking at possibly taking this outside next year, if not, well be having it at another location. Works are already underway in terms of getting licensing and looking at sites but if we don’t have enough PR time well be doing another indoor event next year but at a much bigger venue and the open air in 2015. We’re hopeful to make this one of the premier metal festivals in Yorkshire and the quality of bands we have on is fantastic. Tickets are selling really well so folk need to get in quick to avoid disappointment. Everyone including the bands has been working really hard to make this a success so we predict it’s going to be a great day. People can check us out and the bands via our Facebook, Twitter and the usual places.

The festival takes place on sat 12th October at the Parish Huddersfield and is £20 advance or £25 OTD.  For any enquiries or more information please email: huddersfieldheavymetalfest@gmail.co.uk

Huddersfield Heavy Metal Festival online:

http://www.facebook.com/huddersfieldheavymetalfest2013
http://www.facebook.com/HuddersfieldHeavymetalfest
http://twitter.com/HH6662013

 

Iron Man announce details for fifth studio album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 19th July 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Doom legends Iron Man have recently announced details for, as well as the completion of, their fifth studio album which is to be titled South of the Earth. The album is scheduled for release on 30th September via Rise Above.

Recording and mixing took place at Hudson Street Sound in Annapolis, Maryland with producer/engineer Frank Marchand III. The band’s guitarist, Al Morris, commented on the band’s creative process:

Every time Iron Man goes into the studio, we treat it like a blank canvas. As things progress, the art form takes shape. We wrote this album in about 2 months. Then we practiced our asses off to perfect the performance of the songs. This CD was done with Frank Marchand, an engineer/producer with a head full of ideas! He enhanced every element of this CD. We have great trust in Frank and followed his ideas. This is what came out!

Rising out of the same Maryland/DC mean streets as fellow US doom pioneers Pentagram and The Obsessed, Iron Man formed in 1988 as a Black Sabbath tribute band by guitarist Alfred Morris III, whose musical career began in 1977 with mysterious proto-doom cult Force. Al’s legendarily heavy, unearthly guitar tone was already much in evidence on Force‘s ultra-rare 1981 debut EP – and it has only deepened, hardened, improved and refined in the ensuing 32 years.

Iron Man online:

http://www.ironmanband.com/

 

Babylon Fire – Dark Horizons

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , on 10th January 2013 by hammersmashedlauren

Babylon Fire
Dark Horizons
Released: 12th November, 2012
Heavy Metal
Released via Rocksector Records

Babylon Fire is a band who says they are influenced by older metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath and also by the newer bands like Stone Sour, Machine Head, and Five Finger Death Punch. This blend of older heaviness with a new, clean vocal style has created a unique sound that goes beyond standard metal to create something with a bit more groove and rhythm to it. Although they’ve been a band for five years now, their first full length album Dark Horizons depicts their influences very well.

Every song on this album had a medium to fast tempo that kept it diverse and exciting to listen to. The first song on this 12 track album, The Clarion Call, wasted no time in drawing you in with fast paced riffs and that made you instantly hooked into the song. However, I found it hard to enjoy the music itself because of the vocals. While I am not opposed to mixing clean vocals with fast and melodic riffs, I felt that the vocals were too overpowering in every song. Also, the mix of clean vocals with growling vocals made it confusing at first, in my opinion, as to what kind of band they were trying to be.

In modern metal and heavy music, there seems to be this pattern now where bands want to incorporate so many different influences into their music. I feel that Babylon Fire shows each of their influences throughout this album but with the newer influences definitely being the more dominant sound. I would recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of Five Finger Death Punch, Stone Sour, or any other band that sounds like them. While I could hear subtle influences of older heavy metal throughout Dark Horizons, I feel that they are definitely a newer sounding band.

3.8/5

Lauren Gowdy

 

Graveyard – Lights Out

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , on 19th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

Graveyard
Lights Out
Released: October 2012
Hard Rock/Blues Rock
Released via Nuclear Blast

‘Lights Out’ is the third album from the Swedish hard rock band Graveyard. It is the follow up to last year’s award-winning ‘Hisingen Blues’.

The opening track ‘An Industry of Murder’ takes a while to get going. Once the vocals kick in it’s pretty evident where the Black Sabbath comparisons stem from. Everything from the riffs to the vocal style sounds similar, though this has the additional blues rock feel to it. ‘Slow Motion Countdown’ is true to its name, as a slow and melancholic ballad. By contrast ‘Seven Seven’ is far more energetic, and dare I say it…a ‘happy’ rock song with some catchy riffs.

Other noteworthy tracks include: the blues rock style ‘The Suits, The Law & The Uniforms’ where the groove guitars complement the hard rock vocals, the catchy riff infused ‘Endless Night’, which features some progressive elements in the middle and ‘Goliath’ which has the most original lyrics and some catchy guitar tunes to match.

Overall, I must admit that this type of music isn’t really my specialty and I really did step out of my comfort zone whilst reviewing this. My personal preference leans more towards the catchy, rocking tracks on this album rather than the ballads. Having said that it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with this album.

3/5 – It’s not my style, but if you’re a fan of bluesy hard rock then I would strongly recommend this.

Iza Raittila

 

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