Archive for December, 2014

Pieni’s Highlights of 2014

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , on 31st December 2014 by Pieni

I’ve been to a lot, but really A LOT of amazing shows this year. But the top-5 wasn’t that hard to choose:

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  1. Sonic Syndicate at Zakk (Düsseldorf)
  2. The End Of Grace at Valand (Gothenburg)
  3. Skid Row at The Underworld (London)
  4. R.A.M.P. at Canecas (Paços de Ferreira)
  5. Equaleft at Metalpoint (Porto)

The downside of attending so many shows is that I lack the time to pay attention to all new releases. Here are the five to which I did pay loads of attention:

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  1. “Sonic Syndicate” by Sonic Syndicate
  2. “Ghost Empire” by Caliban
  3. “Adapt & Survive” by Equaleft
  4. “Vol. 5 – Lost At Home” by More Than A Thousand
  5. “Circle” by Sparzanza

Believe it or not, it was the top videos that gave me a hard time. Despite the lyric video trend, which has also improved graphically (next year I might even come up with a top 5 of those), it’s nice to see that there are still so many videos with such visual impact:

  1. “House Of The Rising Sun” by Five Finger Death Punch
  2. “All The Devil’s Toys” by Deathstars
  3. “Riskbreaker” by BatAAr
  4. “Five Minutes” by The Defiled
  5. “To Hell And Back” by Sabaton

Now the anticipations for this new year that starts tomorrow:

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  1. The End Of Grace – we all know how plans fail, especially when it comes to a new band, so the debut album that they were hoping to release this year was postponed to 2015. So here they are again, topping my expectations.
  2. Through The Cracks – definitely waiting eagerly for this one! And now that singer Tillie Grundel has left, the curiosity is even bigger.
  3. Web – despite my close relationship with this band, it’s all been hush-hushed and I have no idea what’s coming out of there. But I’m sure it will be great.
  4. Hills Have Eyes – it shouldn’t be long until “Antebellum” hits the stores!
  5. Hardcore Superstar – anything that comes from these sleazy bastards is worth it, 10th album or not.

Happy 2015 people!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

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Iza’s highlights of 2014 (part 2: Industrial)

Posted in Industrial with tags , , , , , on 31st December 2014 by izaforestspirit

Best Industrial albums

1. Combichrist – We Love You
Genre: Aggrotech/ Industrial Metal


I remember when Combichrist announced that the new album was going to feature guitars it sparked endless discussions in the industrial scene. Some individuals hated the idea of an electronic band incorporating guitars and a “metal influence” into Aggrotech music. Not me. I’m a fan of both industrial and metal so I was more than happy with this combination. Their previous release, the Devil May Cry sountrack ‘No Redemption’ was a taster of what was to come. ‘We Love You’ still has many of the catchy, dance-floor friendly songs which make Combichrist so good but like ‘No Redemption’ it also has the aggression of a metal album. Best tracks: ‘Can’t Control’ , ‘From My Cold Dead Hands’, ‘Maggots at The Party’,

2. Nitronoise – No Cure For Apocalypse
Genre: Aggrotech

The main thing that I love about this band is the sheer energy and the intensity of their music. Listening to it makes me feel like I’m participating in a competitive sports event. It gives you that rush of adrenaline, making you want to keep fighting or go that extra mile. I have both their albums and each one has a few songs that I frequently listen to when I’m working out. Best tracks: ‘Want Some’, ‘Censorshit’ , ‘We Demand Better (featuring Nachtmahr).

3. Heimataerde – Kaltwærts
Genre: Dark Industrial/ Medieval Electro


The beauty with Heimataerde is that despite their distinctive style, no two albums of theirs sound the same. This one has a lot of atmospheric undertones but it also features some dance-floor friendly club tracks. Oh and there’s a story too: “the dark antagonist Zebaoth has captured friar Andreas and is now setting out to bring fear and horror unto the world. The brotherhood wants to stop this evil force at all costs and embarks into the cold to destroy the demon once and for all times and to rescue the friar.” Best tracks: ‘Bruderschaft’, ‘Schwesterlein’ and ‘Weiß schwarz’.

4. Nachtmahr- Feindbild
Genre: Aggrotech


I was very busy with some personal stuff at the time when this album come out. I remember when this delightful coffee-table CD book arrived, I simply put it on the shelf in hope of finding the time to enjoy it at a later date. When that time came I gave it several listens and all I can say is that it’s a very good album though not quite as memorable as their debut or ‘Veni Vidi Vici’. Best tracks ‘The Torch’ and ‘Die Fahnen Unserer Väter’ .

5. Ad Inferna – Opus 7:Elevation
Genre: Industrial/EBM with black metal elements


This band is hugely underrated in my opinion. Their style is a mixture of EBM, industrial with a atmospheric elements. They originally started out as a black metal band. If you’re interested in learning more about them, check out my interview with VoA (https://valkyrianmusic.com/2014/06/17/interview-with-voa-from-ad-inferna/). ‘Opus 7: Elevation’ is their strongest and most complex release to date. There’s a bit of everything here, from aggression, dance tracks, atmospheric, movie soundtrack style elements to operatic vocals and black metal shrieks. Best tracks: ‘Non- Existance’, ‘Soumission’ and ‘InVisible’ (featuring Morpheus from Limbonic Art).

6. KMFDM – Our Time Will Come
Genre: Electro-Industrial/ Industrial Rock


This is actually my very first KMFDM album. After several years of ignoring the recommendations from various friends, I finally decided to give them a try. I took a few listens but in the end I’m pleased with my discovery. I like their combination of tongue n’ cheek humour with catchy, heavy beats and powerful vocals. Best tracks: ‘Genau’, ‘Respekt’.

Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

Apocalyptica – Shadowmaker (release date: 15th April 2015)

New albums by Cradle of Filth, Suicide Commando, Alien Vampires and Unter Null.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza’s Highlights of 2014 (part 1: Metal)

Posted in Metal, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , on 30th December 2014 by izaforestspirit

It’s been an eventful year for alternative music. Not only were there lots of great new albums and shows but also some old bands like At The Gates coming back after a long break. For this year’s summary I’ve decided to focus on the albums that caught my attention:

Best Metal albums

1. Behemoth – The Satanist
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

This is without doubt my favourite release of 2014 and the metal album which I’ve listened to the most this year. I simply can’t get enough it. It’s been five years since ‘Evangelion’ but it was definitely worth the wait. ‘The Satanist’ is multi-faceted and very complex as an album but that’s why I like it so much. It combines the brutality old Behemoth with the atmosphere and the “epic” feel of their newer work. Best tracks: ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’, ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ and ‘O Father O Satan O Sun’.

2. Vader – Tibi et Igni
Genre: Death Metal

The Polish death metal titans are back. I’ve been a fan of their music for over a decade. While I enjoyed their previous effort ‘Welcome to the Morbid Reich’ it’s no much for this. In my opinion ‘Tibi et Igni’ is their best album after my all time favourite ‘ Black To The Blind’. If you’re a Vader like me then you probably know what to expect: aggressive and brutal death metal with thrash metal guitar mixed in. Best tracks: ”Go To Hell’, Hexenkessel’, ‘Triumph of Death’.

3. Kampfar – Djevelmakt
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

It’s been twenty years since Kampfar was formed and there’s no better way to celebrate the anniversary than with a new album. And what an album it is! ‘Djevelmakt’ is every bit as haunting and atmospheric as its predecessor ‘Mare’. Best tracks: ‘Mylder’ , ‘Swarm Norvegicus’, ‘Our Hounds, Our Legion’.

4. Sabaton – Heroes
Genre: Power Metal


Sabaton is one of the very few power metal bands I listen to. ‘Heroes’ might be a follow up to ‘Carolus Rex’ but it is very different both in terms of the themes and the overall structure. Here each song tells a story, of an individual or small group whose actions left their mark on history. Best tracks: ‘Nightwitches’, ‘To Hell and Back’ and ‘Resist and Bite’.

5. At The Gates – At War Reality
Genre: Melodic Death Metal


It’s been a while…These guys haven’t released an album since ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ back in 1995. What ever their reasons were for such a long break, I’m just glad that they’re back. The new album ‘At War With Reality’ combines the older style with their more experimental phase ‘Slaughter of the Soul’. Best tracks ‘Heroes and Tombs’ and ‘The Night Eternal’.

6. Metsatöll – Karjajuht
Genre: Folk Metal


The Estonian wolf-pack have returned. Like it’s predecessor ‘Ulg’, this album follows their tried and tested formula of catchy heavy metal with traditional Estonian folk instruments. Best tracks: ‘Külmking’ and ‘Lööme mesti’ (featuring Jonne Järvelä from Korpiklaani).

7. Vallenfyre – Splinters
Genre: Death/ Doom Metal


This band first got my attention due to the impressive line-up; it features members of both Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride as well as Adrian Erlandsson on drums. In many ways it reminds me of old Entombed, Celtic Frost as well as as the early works of Paradise Lost. Best tracks: ‘Bereft’ and ‘Splinters’.

Stay tuned for part 2: Industrial edition coming soon.

Apocalyptica release new video for ‘Shadowmaker’

Posted in CD, Metal, Misc., News with tags , on 22nd December 2014 by izaforestspirit

Finnish symphonic metallers Apocalyptica have just released a new video for the track ‘Shadowmaker’. Check out here:

The video was made using clips from the silent movies Genuine (1920) by Robert Wiene and Svengali (1931) by Archie Mayo. The song features Franky Perez on vocals and is available now as a digital single via Sony Music Entertainment. ‘Shadowmaker’ is the title track from the upcoming album which will out on April 15th 2015.

http://www.apocalyptica.com/en/
https://www.facebook.com/Apocalyptica

Enslaved reveal details about thirteenth studio release

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 15th December 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Norwegian progressive black metal horde Enslaved have finally revealed details about their thirteenth studio album, In Times, which will be released in the UK on 9th March 2015 via Nuclear Blast. Hand-painted artwork is by long-time collaborating artist and “sixth Enslaved member” Truls Espedal.

Enslaved guitarist & composer Ivar Bjørnson shares the following about the band’s latest creation:

I was so deep into the songs and ideas for such a long time (or have my head so far up my own ass, if you prefer more direct language) that it is hard to have any ‘opinions’ about them that is anything else than the high-flying mumbo-jumbo of the introvert song-smith.  The songs are extensions of my inner and outer life, the thoughts I am aware of having, as well as those that lie too deep to register in everyday consciousness.  The songs are the resounds of grandiose altered states and mundane tiny micro-events.  In addition, they are, of course, also the result of inspiration from other music and art.  I do think this new album is the most consistent body of work we have so far: It incorporates our ‘blacker’ past with our influences from prog rock, our present sense of absolute freedom, and the joy of being in this band, if that makes any sense… Ha, ha, ha.  It is higher in energy, more aggressive, yet more beautiful and subtle.  It simply sounds inspired.

The track list for In Times is as follows:

01 – Thurisaz Dreaming
02 – Building With Fire
03 – One Thousand Years Of Rain
04 – Nauthir Bleeding
05 – In Times
06 – Daylight

The new album’s total running time is fifty-three minutes.

Main recordings for In Times took place at Duper Studios to Solslottet Studio in Bergen, Norway with additional recordings sessions at Conclave & Earshot Studios (presided over by Enslaved members Larsen and Ice Dale), and Ivar Bjørnson’s Personal Sound Studios.  Additional experimentation and sonic exploration was conducted deep in the woods of Valevåg south of Bergen where a mobile studio recorded additional sounds.

In Times was produced by band members Ivar Bjørnson, Grutle Kjellson and Herbrand Larsen together with Iver Sandøy.  Mixing was completed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden.

Enslaved will play Bloodstock Open Air next Summer held in Catton Park, 6th-9th August.

Enslaved online:

http://enslaved.no
http://facebook.com/enslaved

Phal:Angst release new haunting clip for Hardwire

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 15th December 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Austria’s premier industrial mobsters Phal:Angst have recently unveiled the new clip for their upcoming single Hardwire. The track is taken from the band’s new album Black Country. Having worked tirelessly to make a name for themselves in their homeland of Austria, Phal:Angst are now setting their sights on bigger game.

A stark and frightening clip, the band had this to say regarding the clip, which can be viewed down below:
The first video to the new Phal:Angst album Black Country is to the song Hardwire and it was shot in the legendary Viennese café/bar Café Stadtbahn which enjoys a perfect reputation with local bohemians, (sub)cultural people & heavy drinkers. So, a perfect ambience for Phal:Angst.
Also note the sign for "Kat’s Caravan" which was a regular event there and refers to the legendary radio show by Jim Lowe & John Peel. The "story" of the video is social alienation, boredom, voicelessness but also a glorification of slowness. It might not be a coincidence that this one comes out of the city of Vienna, well known for it’s morbidity, leisureliness and psychoanalysis.
It took the viewers of the test screenings usually about 5 minutes to start asking themselves "what the fuck?!”
At the end all questions should be answered.
Phal:Angst is an Industrial/Post-Rock-Band from Vienna, Austria. Formed in 2006, they sit between Industrial, EBM, Post-Rock and Doom; taking influence from bands like Earth, Mogwai, Coil, Front 242 and Neurosis.

Phal:Angst online:

http://facebook.com/phalangst

Hrizg reveal new line-up and begin work on next album

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 15th December 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Hrizg have returned with fresh news. Following ten years of solitude, Hrizg’s main man, Erun Dagoth, has conscripted three wandering souls into the band’s ranks: Enserune (Enserune, Neverendinghate, ex-Lucifuego) on bass guitar, Kaornekan (ex-Bittencross, ex-Fatal Portrait) on guitar, and Varkhen (ex-Bittencross, ex-Forestdome, ex-Fatal Portrait) on drums.

Individualism, the third album of Hrizg, released this summer by Moribund Records, has set an end to an era. As Erun Dagoth stated:

This album marks an epoch, an unholy trinity with Oaken Path of Grief [2007] and Anthems to Decrepitude [2011]. Now begins another age. I think the music and essence will go to the next level.

Hrizg online:

http://facebook.com/hrizgofficial