Archive for August, 2014

Krieg – Transient

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 30th August 2014 by izaforestspirit

Krieg
Transient
Released 6th October 2014
Black Metal
Released via Candlelight Record

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‘Transient’ is the new album from the New Jersey -based, American black metal band Krieg. The band was formed back in 1995 and has changed their style a lot over the years. The latest album, the follow-up to ‘The Isolationist’, has been described as “churning cacophony of modern black metal, crust punk, and experimental noise.“

Just in case the album cover itself wasn’t bleak or eerie enough, the first song The Order of the Solitary Road definitely adds to the grim atmosphere thanks to the haunting, dark ambient -style intro. This is followed by a barrage of equally bleak and nihilistic black metal akin to the likes of Leviathan, Nachtmystium and to some extent Burzum. The pace tends to vary depending on the song ranging from the slow, ponderous and almost doom metal -style grooving guitar riffs; for example the latter half of To Speak with Ghosts to the mid-paced and ferocious, as evident in the guitars at the start of Return Fire and Time.

Vocalist N. Imperial’s screams sound as creepy as ever. When paired with the nihilistic guitars and the additional noise such as the dark ambient intro to Ruin Our Lives and the melancholic experimental noise of Home, each song leaves a bitter taste in the listener’s mouth. The band’s cover of Amebix’s Winter is yet another manifestation of this feeling. The chorus and the agonizing cries of “Winter!” alone are enough to send shivers down my spine. Yet the undisputed highlight of the album is Walk With Them Unnoticed which is also the most complex song on here. The intro is almost catchy at times due to the “rocking” guitar melodies that make even the bleakest screams sound more refined, softening the blow to the eardrums.

Overall ‘Transient’ is everything that one would expect to hear from Krieg. For those unfamiliar with the band, I’d recommend this if you’re a fan of Leviathan, Nachtmystium, Clandestine Blaze, Burzum or any other black metal band that has ever experimented with dark ambient.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

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Through The Cracks introduce complete line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 29th August 2014 by Pieni

When we interviewed Jimmy Bergman last month, he mentioned how he and Tillie Grundel were thinking about turning Through The Cracks into a full band rather than a duo. And indeed, a week ago or so, three other names showed up on their Facebook page. Now we have an official photo to go along with those names:

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From left to right: Jimmy, Emmy, Tillie, Daniel, Niklas

Niklas Aggemyr, who was already helping with the production of the new songs, has now taken the bass duties as well. With Daniel Holmgren on drums and Emmy Åsblom on the keyboards and backing vocals, the line-up is complete.

 photo jbttc_zps6a58557f.jpgWith Through The Cracks growing, some fans wondered if Jimmy was leaving his other band The End Of Grace. So the guitarist issued the following statement: “Many people ask me if I’ve stopped playing in The End Of Grace just because I’m now playing with Through The Cracks. So I’m writing this just to put an end to the rumor! I’m still playing with The End Of Grace, we are currently working on our next album, and it will be awesome! I/we are working at the same time very hard on my new band Through The Cracks and will shortly release an EP, which is also awesome! So give both bands a like!! The End Of Grace & Through The Cracks.

The debut single of Through The Cracks, “Breathless”, is available on iTunes and Spotify.


Through The Cracks official Facebook

Between The Buried And Me to release “live” CD + DVD

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 28th August 2014 by Pieni

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“Future Sequence: Live at Fidelitorium” is the title of the upcoming “live” CD and DVD by progressive act Between The Buried And Me. “Live”, in quotes, as it was recorded in the Fidelitorium Recordings studio and not during a concert. According to drummer Blake Richardson: “We’ve always been fans of dvds where it’s just the band, you don’t have any other distractions”. And vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Rogers adds: “We wanted to give the fans something that made them feel a little closer to us, and made them almost feel like they’re at practice with us.”

The film will show the band performing their most recent album “The Parallax II: Future Sequence” in its entirety. It’s directed and edited by Justin Reich, with director of photography Ismail Abdelkhalek, and audio engineers Jamie King and Kris Hilbert. Audio mixing and mastering was completed by Jamie King. It also features guest musicians Walter Fancourt (tenor saxophone, flute), Julian Hinshaw (Tuba), Will Goodyear (marimba, glockenspiel), Taya Ricker (violin), David Parks (violin), Leigh Dixon (viola), and Socrates Razo (cello).

“Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium” will hit the stores on September 26th via Metal Blade Records. Watch the trailer and click HERE for pre-orders, including bundles.

http://www.facebook.com/BTBAMofficial
http://www.twitter.com/btbamofficial
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Vallenfyre tour dates

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 25th August 2014 by Pieni

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Super-group Vallenfyre – featuring Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost), Scoot (Doom), Hamish Glencross (ex-My Dying Bride) and Adrian Erlandsson (At The Gates, Paradise Lost, The Haunted) – will finally go on a proper tour to promote thier latest album “Splinters”. So far they’ve only played a few selected shows, but this Autumn they’ll start by supporting Bolt Thrower and Morgoth, before headlining their own show. Here are the dates:

Vallenfyre with Bolt Thrower & Morgoth
30.09.2014 Le Trabendo , Paris, France
01.10.2014 Garage, Saarbruecken, Germany
02.10.2014 Hellraiser, Leipzig, Germany
03.10.2014 LKA Longhorn, Stuttgart, Germany
04.10.2014 JUZ, Andernach, Germany
05.10.2014 Muziekodroom, Hasselt, Belgium

Vallenfyre + support
06.10.2014 Merleyn, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
07.10.2014 Baroeg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
09.10.2014 Turock, Essen, Germany
10.10.2014 MTC, Cologne, Germany
11.10.2014 Kranhalle, Muenchen, Germany
12.10.2014 Räucherkammer, Wiesbaden, Germany
13.10.2014 Magnet, Berlin, Germany
15.10.2014 Exchange, Bristol, UK
16.10.2014 Talking Heads, Southampton, UK
18.10.2014 Best Buy Theater, New York, USA (Decibel 10th Anniversary Show w/ Amon Amarth & Sabaton)
20.10.2014 Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, UK
21.10.2014 The Dome, London, UK

Quoting Mackintosh: “The upcoming shows will be something new for us as a band. So far we have only done one club gig in Finland and that was our first ever show. Every other show we have played has been as part of a festival so this will be our first proper club tour together. With equal parts excitement and trepidation we will venture into the unknown and spread some unspeakable filth over Europe.”

Vallenfyre online
www.facebook.com/vallenfyre

Century Media online:
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Century Media Webshop:
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Bloodstock Open Air 2014 Review

Posted in Festival, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 24th August 2014 by Hannah

Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2014 [Down, Emperor, Megadeth & more]

Catton Hall, Derbyshire

8th-10th August, 2014

Bloodstock 2014 came and went like an almighty clap of thunder. Before I even knew it, it was August and that time of the year when the bearded horde descends upon the sleepy Derbyshire countryside for the UK’s most metal weekend. A line up chock full of interesting names that promised to deliver crushing sets, more beer than I could comprehend and a surprising number of costumes and Native American accessories awaited me. As always, I’d coughed up the extra money for a VIP ticket- again, I will say that it is WORTH IT- but this year, let me start by giving a negative review. The VIP toilets were shocking. Usually they are cleaned regularly, supplied with toilet paper and soap and all the mod-cons that help to make the price that much more acceptable. This year, however, it was horrific. I realise that with the weather they were going to get dirty- but I would have been okay with mud. Little brown fishes are not so okay.

Anyway…  After being thoroughly slaughtered by the Thursday night pre-party and starting to pick my way through the VIP bar’s 103 real ales and ciders, I awoke on the Friday morning, blinking with bleary eyes into the blazing sunshine. Fitting that the opener was Bloodshot Dawn, then. A good start to proceedings, followed by the always satisfying Entombed A.D. It’s the second time I’ve had the pleasure of watching these guys and they were just as good as before- even though they’re in a different form from last time. Irish extreme metallers Primordial followed, with an absolutely stellar set. I’d caught a bit of their set the last time they played Bloodstock, and made sure I was able to see the whole thing this time round. It was a good choice, because their particular brand of black-ish metal is excellent live. A smidgeon of thrash was added to the mix by Flotsam & Jetsam, who entertained for the whole of their set and were a good choice, as were industrial metallers Prong. Both bands were received enthusiastically by the crowd and there were few heads still during their slot on the main stage.  

Controversial opinion time- I don’t like Triptykon. I will never forgive Tom G. Warrior for the glam metal Celtic Frost ridiculousness, and even though on paper I should appreciate Triptykon’s doomy line of metal, I just don’t like it. It was all very grim and frosty and plenty of people did like it, but it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea. Hatebreed, however, reminded us exactly why they were one of the best received bands of 2012. Perfectly on form, as always, they were energetic and exciting and definitely one of the best acts of the weekend. The same cannot be said for Dimmu Borgir, and frustratingly it wasn’t their fault. I was looking forward to Dimmu Borgir; they are one of my favourite bands and their 2012 set is still one of the best I have ever seen. But this year they were plagued by technical difficulties and a sound mix so bad keyboardist Gerlioz left the stage. Arriving at least twenty minutes late, and forced to stop and start throughout, when they did play they proved that they could have been great this year. Such a massive disappointment. Friday night headliners Down took the stage to an arena buzzing with anticipation and excitement and baying for blood. And, whatever you may think of him as a person, you have to hand it to Phil Anselmo– he is the perennial frontman. They filled Catton Hall with their groovy brand of metal and crushing riffs, and teased the horde with ten to fifteen seconds of Pantera classic Walk.

Saturday morning started with, in my opinion, the performance of the weekend. Evil Scarecrow. I need to take a moment to dedicate this whole review- and, at the very least, an entire paragraph- to Evil Scarecrow. Eleven o’clock in the morning and the arena was absolutely rammed. We’re talking Special Guest to Headliner amounts of people. Very much a story of success against the odds, Evil Scarecrow are something special. They manage to be simultaneously funny and extremely clever, and also just extremely fucking good. They turned Bloodstock into a heavy metal ballroom, filled with waltzing Cyclopes (cyclopi? Just what is the correct plural term here?), they commanded first an army of (totally in sync) shuffling Crab(ulon)s, then an army of Robot(atron)s, and finally managed to get almost every lucky bastard assembled there to war-march around the sound desk. We are talking an arena wide march. Even if we only moved about ten foot forward, that’s still an impressive feat. Every single person there had a huge grin on their face. If you weren’t watching, you missed out on history.

Shining had a bit of a hard act to follow, unfortunately, and it was a shame to see such a reduced crowd watching them. Their somewhat bizarre jazz-extreme metal fusion was quite refreshing, however, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a saxophone on the RJD stage before- or will again. Decapitated were as expected- brutal- and Israel’s Orphaned Land were a nice surprise. I’d never really heard any of their music before, but their progressive tinged metal was much better than I thought it would be. Crowbar were awesome, with bass lines so shuddering and crushing that I could feel my liver shaking. Following their set with Italian pseudo-goths Lacuna Coil seemed a bit of an odd choice- in fact, in general I felt that the line up could have been re-arranged across all three days- but Cristina Scabbia and her cohort were on fine form. There was a nice selection of new and old, including some of the better tracks from latest album Broken Crown Halo. I know a lot of people criticize Children of Bodom for being one-trick-ponies. In my opinion, that just shows that they know what the winning formula is and stick to it. Alexi Laiho and Janne Wirman deliver guitar and keyboard solos with sickening ease that almost borders on laziness, but Laiho was his usual ball of boundless energy. An unexpected setlist including fan favourites such as Hatecrew Deathroll and Lake Bodom, they were fantastic as always.

Controversial opinion time the second- I think Carcass are past it- or at least, Jeff Walker is at any rate. It almost seemed like they were going through the motions, tearing through a set filled with classics with an almost clinical, sterile precision. Apt for a band whose latest release is called Surgical Steel, true, but it seemed like they lacked heart. Saturday evening was all about one band, anyway. Emperor took to the stage to celebrate 20 years since the release of their seminal album, In The Nightside Eclipse. They were flawless. There was an almost reverent atmosphere in the arena as they turned the temperature frosty and filled the venue with their chilly, eerie brand of black metal and reminded us all why they are and will always be one of the best in the business. Plus- when are we ever going to see Ihsahn, Samoth and Faust playing together ever again? It was an incredible moment, something I will never forget.

I will admit something now- I only saw four bands on Sunday. The celebrations from Emperor nearly killed me, and I slept through both Arthemis and Aborted. However, I have it on good authority that Arthemis put on a valiant performance, and that Aborted were savage. I managed to rouse myself from the darkness in order to make it down to watch Valkyrian favourites ReVamp perform in an absolute downpour. Floor Jansen is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s easy to see why she has been nabbed by Nightwish. She had those assembled to watch in the palm of her hand and did well despite the odds. I then returned to my tent to recover some more, only to discover that a veritable tempest was beginning to blow. The first tent to fall victim to the wind was- ironically- the Tangerine Dreams tent-hire company’s reception tent, followed swiftly by a gazebo that took to the skies with captivating elegance before landing with one leg impaled in another thankfully empty tent. A quick conversation led to the decision to pull up camp and leave later that evening, so by the time we had cleared up and packed everything in the car, we’d missed both Biohazard and last-minute stage-switchers Avatar. Obituary, however, were worth catching for some decent, straightforward and relentless death metal.

Saxon were everything I expected them to be- cheesy, fist-pumping and glorious. Good old Biff was on fine form, and they were well received by a crowd of an incredibly diverse age range. By the time they played Denim and Leather, the whole arena had been brought together and it was easy to see why so many people got on board with Saxon’s campaign to have Heavy Metal recognised as a religion in the last UK census. Amon Amarth were absolutely outstanding. Fire-breathing dragonheads, upon which guitar solos were performed,  filled the stage and Johan Hegg led the Viking hordes through a set that perfectly represented their catalogue of greats. They reminded me why they are one of my favourite bands and why I will always throw my horns up in the air when I hear any of their songs. Unfortunately, this is where my Bloodstock experience ended as we made a run for it as the weather worsened and the storm moved in. This does mean that I missed MegaDave- sorry, I mean Megadeth– but controversial opinion the last? I wasn’t particularly bothered. Had I been more in the spirit of things and had imbibed a fair bit of cider I’m sure I would have enjoyed them, but being sober and eager to leave before the wind picked up again it wasn’t much of a loss.

Bloodstock 2014 was a rollercoaster ride of technical problems, triumphant performances and crazy weather. But I would not have missed it for the world. The performance of the weekend, as I feel I have already clearly shown, was definitely Evil Scarecrow, and I will give them less than five years until they are special guests, if not headliners. Even though we’re still waiting for any announcements, there’s nowhere I’d rather be from the 6th to the 9th of August next year. I will see you then.

 

Hannah O’Flanagan

Tartarus – Of Grimness and Atrocity

Posted in CD, Metal, Uncategorized with tags , , on 24th August 2014 by izaforestspirit

Tartarus
Of Grimness and Atrocity EP
Released 31st July 2014
Black Metal
Released via Haarbn Productions

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‘Of Grimness and Atrocity’ is the debut EP from the Dubai based black metal band Tartarus.
There are many things that spring to my mind when I hear the words “Dubai” or “United Arab Emirates” but black metal isn’t one of them. Then again, music knows no boundaries and based on a quick search on the Metal Archives, Tartarus are not the only band from that region and there is a small metal scene in there.

After the eerie, dark ambient style intro featuring some unintelligible shrieks, comes the first real song ‘Axes (of Hatred)‘ which sounds like a homage to the Nordic black metal bands. I can detect two very distinctive influences in the song: Immortal for the vocal style and Gorgoroth for the ferocity and speed of music. The title track is true to its namesake thanks to the haunting howl-vocals which remind me of early Mayhem. The pace tends to vary a lot during the course of the track, ranging from ferocious pummeling of the guitars and drums to a slower, more melodic style of black metal. Last but not least is their cover of Emperor’s I am The Black Wizards – a very good interpretation of the song which is very close to the original in terms of style.

Overall this is a very promising black metal EP. I’m looking forward to hearing more from these guys in the future.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Vagos Open Air 2014 – 3rd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23rd August 2014 by Pieni

Gojira, Paradise Lost, Vita Imana, The Quartet Of Woah!, MURK, Opus Diabolicum
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
10th August 2014

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Third and last day of Vagos Open Air 2014. It had rained a bit in the morning, so the dust had settled down. On the other hand, the water mixed with sour beer and other spilt liquids was starting to stink…

First band was Opus Diabolicum. The die-hard Moonspell fans will recognize this name from one of their early songs (from the 20-year-old EP “Under The Moonspell”, in case you’re not familiar with it). The name isn’t a coincidence, since Opus Diabolicum did with Moonspell the same that Apocalyptica did with Metallica – instrumental covers in cellos.
The gig didn’t kick off very well. After just a couple of minutes they had to interrupt due to a problem in the cello on the right (I wish I could tell you the name of the musician, but their Facebook page doesn’t mention names). And since none of the other two addressed to the audience, the silence became a little awkward. But when the cello was back in order, they attacked those strings with “Opium” and the crowd soon forgot the incident, singing the lyrics strongly. I confess I wasn’t expecting such a great feedback and I’m happy I was wrong about it. Of course they played some Moonspell key-hits, and that might have helped – “Vampiria”, “Nocturna”, “Scorpion Flower” – and such any Moonspell gig, they wrapped it up with “Alma Mater” and “Fullmoon Madness”. Neat! (4/5)

Opus Diabolicum official Facebook

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MURK – the “alternative death metal” Portuguese band, not the black metal Italian one – were up next. Never had heard of them before, not even when they were going by the name Sattor, and that started back in 2005. Apart from the EP “Tyrants Of Decay” they’ve released early this year, it seems that they’ve only released another EP (“Seeds Of Perseverance”) as Sattor. One must wonder why a band with just two extended plays out in a less than 10-year-old career was chosen for such a big event as Vagos Open Air. It’s commendable, of course, that Prime Artists support the national underground, but we have so many bands with a bigger discography and a larger fan base (there were some MURK fans present, truth be told) that it just seems unfair the promoters chose this band. it wasn’t a bad concert – the highlight on “Footprint Of God”, apparently – but it wasn’t a spectacular one either, despite their ritualistic gear and makeup. (3/5)

MURK official Facebook

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Now The Quartet Of Woah!, despite being formed just 4 years ago, they’ve been playing non-stop recently and making their name known. Well-known, actually, as their live shows are pretty… lively! I wasn’t expecting that, since I was told they were a stoner band. But unlike most stoner rock bands, they don’t focus on the bluesy and depressive doom side of the genre but on the heavy metal and psychedelic rock instead – hence the high voltage of their shows. It’s all there, though, in a classy mix, but it’s the heaviest and fastest elements they bring to life the most. Gonçalo Kotowicz was unmistakably happy, giving a quick (the time was short) but heartfelt thank you to Vagos. Songs like “U Turn”, “Balance” and the latest “BackwardsFirstliners” brought a sixties/seventies 5-star vibe to the festival. (5/5)

The Quartet Of Woah! official Facebook

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Spanish Vita Imana was another surprise – one that so far gets my gold medal in the category “Top surprises of 2014”. Whoever told me they were a thrash metal band forgot to mention they were also tribal and ‘core, otherwise I’d be more or less warned of the adrenaline discharge I was about to witness. A big emphasis on “more or less”, as I wouldn’t have expected that anyway. Here’s a band who knows what live gigs are all about! Their sound is mosher-friendly by nature, true, but if it wasn’t for Vita Imana’s tornado-wise attitude – especially singer’s Javier Cardoso, whose jumps were quite epic – the response of the crowd wouldn’t have been so explosive. “Gondwana”, “Quizás No Sea Nadie” or “Paranoia” were just a few of the songs that made the circles go crazy. (5/5)

Vita Imana official Facebook

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I guess everybody knows by now that a Paradise Lost gig is either very good or sucks dish water, there’s no middle term. It all depends on Nick Holmes’ mood. Holmes not only was in a great mood, his voice was in the strongest shape ever – this being my 9th Paradise Lost concert in 17 years, trust me, I know what I’m saying.
With a very serious face, Holmes said Paradise Lost have been around since the fifties/forties (told you he was in a good mood) while introducing “Gothic” – the oldest track of that night’s setlist, released in 1991 and not, obviously, in the ‘40s. Don’t know if he’s going through some midlife crisis, but he would later hint on the band’s “antiquity” again by saying that the following song was a hit that had been playing for decades and he expected to continue so. If you’re a hardcore fan of Paradise Lost, you know he meant “As I Die”.
They left the stage after “True Belief” – my all-time favorite, I confess – and someone started screaming for them. Soon a massive “PARADISE LOST, PARADISE LOST!” echoed. They would return for a 3-song encore, Holmes thanking once again (I lost count on how many times he said thank you). After the very last “Say Just Words”, the band took a selfie with a delighted crowd, all horns-up, in the back. Don’t worry about your age, Mr. Holmes. At 43, you’re still able to pull off amazing performances that many 20-year-olds can only achieve in their dreams. (5/5)

Paradise Lost official Facebook

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However, this was Gojira’s night. I believe the Portuguese fans have been asking for the French band since the very first Vagos edition. As for them, they claimed they’d been expecting to play in Portugal for 18 years – meaning since they first were founded, still as Godzilla. Yeah, yeah, I know they all say nice things about the countries/cities they’re visiting for the first time, or haven’t visited in a long while, but in this case I believe, as the Duplantier brothers have Portuguese roots (grandmother) and they’ve visited the country many times before, as tourists. Now that they made it as a band and had such a thunderous reception, I’m pretty sure they’ll do their best to return soon.
The security guys had their hands full – literally – from the very first seconds (yeah, seconds) of “Explosia” to the last ones of “Where Dragons Dwell”. A high-five to all of them for the excellent job they did, not only at helping the kids on the “landing” but also in guiding them into the best path of hands and heads.
Peak moments? All of them! But I can’t stop mentioning the inflatable dolphin that bounced back and forth over the crowd on “Flying Whales”. Cute!
It was hard to accept the gig had come to an end. Joe said what must have been all the pleasantries he knew in Portuguese while everybody screamed “GOJIRA, GOJIRA!” at the top of their lungs. But it was over. And unforgettable. (5/5)

Gojira official Facebook

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Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

More pics in our Facebook page HERE.