Archive for Heavy metal music

The Antiquity w/Support – Scarborough, UK

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 15th December 2013 by Nico Davidson

The Antiquity, Sea Of Giants & More
Vivaz, Scarborough
13th December 2013

Situated on the east coast of North Yorkshire lies Scarborough, a thriving tourist attraction in the summer. And also apparently a town where wide-eyed fourteen year olds offer you a line of coke. But beyond that lies a virtually unknown – and for a while, non-existent – metal and hardcore scene, one that shows potential and promise.

Photo by Nico Davidson

Photo by Nico DavidsonOpening up the show were a new band known as Avalon, a band that were virtually unknown save to a few people who had seen them at their first show (this one was their second show). Described as “girly-fronted metal” by the show’s organiser, it was apparent that most of the crowd were unsure of what to expect. Fronted by the innocent looking Lottie, Avalon kick started their brief but vividly heavy set with a cover of Flyleaf’s I’m So Sick, which eerily sounded almost like the original song.

Following up from the stunning opening track of their, Avalon went onto make a use of some blistering guitar work and a cumbersome bass sound from Emi and James, as well as Jed’s precision drumming. Lottie’s clean vocals proved to be very versatile throughout the set but it was her banshee-like screams that really grabbed the crowd’s attention.

[4/5]

Photo by Nico DavidsonScarboroughian beasts Bharghest were the second band of the night. Lending their name from the old Yorkshire folklore of a demonic black dog that brings death in its wake, the three piece instrumental death metal unit proved to be a powerful force. With no vocalist and a use of programmed drums, their riffs came down faster than the executioner’s blade, leaving no time for escape from the ensuing ferocious carnage. The guitar passages were sharp and cutting, whereas the bass had all the civility of a sledgehammer being swung into a face. Bharghest ended their set with Legion, a piece that was akin to melodic death metal, only with a darker, more bestial nature. Fortunately, there was no death in their wake but there might be some people left deaf after their performance.

[5/5]

Photo by Nico Davidson

The night took a turn from metal and into hardcore punk with local quartet Satanic Malfunctions. The frontman really did open some eyes as he ran around the stage looking like a psychotic murder – minus the axe – whilst unleashing a visceral assault of old school hardcore styled vocals. The music itself was typically aggressive, showing no signs of turning passive or losing the energetic drive, though it was apparently hard for the crowd to get into this as the size of the venue made it hard to whip up an atmosphere. Satanic Malfunctions however did get a rather positive response from the crowd vocally.

[4/5]

Photo by Nico Davidson

The main support of the night was Bridlington’s hardcore behemoths Sea Of Giants who made a strong use of grizzly riffs, harsh vocals and heavy drumming. The use of lights throughout their set helped make their performance more exciting, as the crowd that gathered on the dance floor joined together for some synchronised head banging during in the breakdowns. Guitarist Liam’s clean vocals fit the mood of the music perfectly, opposing Mcgougan’s harsher screams brilliantly and vividly. The guitar passages and bass lines were a highlight of their set, paving a path of brutality for the headlining act of the night: The Antiquity.

[4/5]

Photo by Nico Davidson

No EP launch show would be complete without the band who is releasing the EP headlining the show and in this case, it was Scarborough’s own The Antiquity though Hull’s metal cowboys were originally booked as the headliners but they pulled out a few nights before the show for valid reasons. From the moment The Antiquity launched their colossal live attack, their vocalist Luther started one pit after another in between his devastating vocal assaults while the rest of the band provided the momentum and energy with a series of venomous riffs and drums heavy enough to shattered teeth. Their titanic wall of sound collided with their live performance, creating a carnivorous atmosphere.

[4.5/5]

Photo by Nico Davidson

Scarborough still has a long way to go before its scene is recognised on the national scale but given what this show was like, it will be interesting to see how the scene begins to evolve from here and to see what Scarborough’s bands can bring to the table.

Nico Davidson

 

Hell – The Age of Nefarious

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 3rd November 2013 by Paul

Hell
The Age of Nefarious
Released October 25th 2013
NWOBHM
Released via Nuclear Blast
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Hell are one of the greatest success stories in the recent renaissance of NWOBHM. Of all the bands that have come back from the dead to play the oldest style of Heavy Metal, Hell has been one of the most successful. This EP, The Age of Nefarious offers a new song as well as three live performances from their Human Remains album. Hell have a style that goes beyond the simple punk rock/Motorhead formula that typifies NWOBHM, being more theatrical and epic, like Dante’s Divine Comedy played through a Heavy Metal filter. I managed to catch the end of Hell’s set at Bloodstock 2011, and it was clear that the band are very talented performers, the recordings here sound just about as good as they do in the studio, however the problem is that the audience is very quiet in the mix here, so it doesn’t feel like there is all that much point in listening to these over the album versions from Human Remains. It’s a good release though and a good, though short preview of what is to come on the next album. The Age of Nefarious doesn’t deviate much from the sounds on Human Remains, which is largely a good thing. It sounds like Hell are getting ready to release a great album, and I look forward to hearing it.

3/5

Paul Gibbins

Hell online:

http://facebook.com/hellofficial

 

Carcass – Surgical Steel

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 6th October 2013 by Contra Mundi

Carcass
Surgical Steel
Released 16 September 2013
Death Metal/Grindcore
Released via Nuclear Blast

I have been a fan of Carcass for quite some time. I inherited a copy of Heartwork on cassette from my sister and I never gave her it back despite her ardent requests. I now have at least 3 different copies of that album and even though it seems ridiculous, such is my obsession. Carcass have always been a band unlike any other. They share influences with other bands and are a product of what was a very exciting time for metal music in the early 90’s, but they have always held their own quietly and without a hint of pretence despite them being one of the most iconic bands in recent history that fans love returning to again and again.

Carcass as far as I’m concerned are on a pedestal and I was quite apprehensive as well as overwhelmingly excited when they revealed they would be making a return with a new album and accompanying live dates. My fear was that they would just regurgitate all that had come before, or that they would have forgotten about the essence of Carcass and their accessible grandeur. Another fear was that they would fall into the ‘faster than thou’ mentality that occupies the death metal genre nowadays; not that it is a problem, it just wouldn’t be Carcass. Everyone I spoke to wanted the new album to remind them why they still maintained their affection for Carcass. They didn’t want that affection to become shameful if the band released something half arsed and conformist; although we need never have been afraid of that.

As soon as the artwork for the new album was released, I knew that Carcass were going to deliver the goods with Surgical Steel. The perfect circle of surgical instruments on the cover was both subtle and shocking; something that Carcass are masters at and it is with that mentality that I approached my listening.

The album begins with the trademark Carcass guitar harmonies and a ringing solo over the top that draws you slowly in only to be thrown back by the aggressive and impressive Thrashers Abbatoir. This song is pure Carcass, but not only that, it is Carcass grown up and this impression shapes the feel of the whole album. It is surgical in its precision and beautifully crafted with all the necessary elements of a Carcass formula, that is enticing vocal hooks, full bodied guitar harmonies and just the right amount of technicality without being silly.

Any self-respecting guitarist would be impressed by the solos in Cadaver Pouch Conveyer System and frankly, they’re enough to make you sick with jealousy. It reminded me a lot in its technicality and youth of Children of Bodom’s Something Wild where the guitars are used as more than accompanying instruments. They are pushed to the foreground and speak as frequently and in the same tone as the growled, hoarse vocals of Jeff Walker. Incidentally, Jeffs vocals have not altered at all over the years and therein lies another boon for the album. It is as if he has stepped out of a time machine, and his growl is one of the most recognised in death metal. He is both perfectly articulated and full of malice and his great appeal for a lot of people is that you can actually follow what he is saying very easily.

The Master Butcher’s Apron with its ringing guitar harmonies, impeccable drumming and thick chugging riffs is one of my favourite on the album and is a display again of Carcass’s maturity, musical ability and incredible talent for song writing. There is variety without being random and a real sense that Carcass as a collective enjoyed making the album and that they don’t need to prove anything to anyone.

The track Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard stampedes away and shows odd extremely impressive guitar work even further and expresses musical prowess that imitators can only dream of. Carcass are undoubtedly a set of formidable musicians and the originality of their music and song writing as progressed as much as they have, although it still retains that remarkable and age defying feel they exposed us all to during the early 90’s and their subsequent releases.

A surprising track on the album and very revealing of Carcass’s talents is the ultimate track on the album: Mount of Execution that makes use of acoustic guitars in its introduction and offers something of a remarkable contrast and display of musical ability. The latter half of the song is intense and full of menace. Jeff’s vocals really add a sense of terror that when coupled with the chugging guitars and ridiculously articulate guitar solos form a sound that we die-hard Carcass fans have been longing for over the years.

Overall, Surgical Steel is extremely impressive and worthy of all the hype it has been given. It is something of a legend and Carcass are a remarkable band for delivering so completely to a legion of fans with such high expectations. It is enjoyable, accessible and doesn’t saddle itself with a crippling narrative or unnecessary embellishment. It is just a representation of all that Carcass are and it displays all of the band’s best qualities in the best possible way. They could have easily taken the formulas of their previous releases and rehashed them, but they didn’t. They improved themselves and injected maturity as well as a compassion for their fan base into their work in order to deliver something that is true to the heart of Carcass and cannot be imitated; no matter how hard we try.

If you haven’t already got yourself a ticket for the Damnation festival in Leeds, I strongly suggest that you do so, or face missing out on an event that all of your friends will be talking about for years to come. Carcass leave a distinct impression when they play live as they articulate their albums perfectly and show off their talents almost to the point of obscenity and only a fool would willingly miss such a display of power. If in doubt, pick up a copy of Surgical Steel and have a taste of what can only be described as a monumental album.

5/5

Alex Cook

Carcass online:

http://facebook.com/officialcarcass

 

Witches Mark – Witching Metal Ritual

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 20th August 2013 by izaforestspirit

Witches Mark
Witching Metal Ritual
Released 15th July 2013
Speed Metal/Power Metal/Thrash Metal
Released via Heaven and Hell Records

 photo witchingcover_zps6cc12be8.jpg

‘Witching Metal Ritual’ is the debut album from the Texas-based, American speed/power metal band Witches Mark. It is the follow up to their 2009 EP ‘A Grim Apparition’.

Straight from the start, we’re in for a joyride with the ultra fast and amusingly titled Bringers of Heavy Metal Death taking you on a journey filled with speedy guitar riffage, solos and old-school thrash metal style vocals. Yep, they don’t call the genre “speed metal” for nothing. This music will give you quite the adrenaline rush…

With Swarm we are treated to some of the power metal influences such as the vocals, which change to a more high-pitched, story-telling style akin to the likes of their fellow countrymen Iced Earth. Even the guitar sound more melodic on here compared to the previous tracks. Similar things can be said about the next track Slaves to Their Own Sin though this one has a slightly faster pace and reminds me a little of Mystic Prophecy and..dare I say it… Manowar?

Other noteworthy tracks include: Cauldron Born, which marks a return to thrash metal with the fast and furious guitar riffs and solos giving the track the energy that was absent from some of the slower songs and the short but extremely catchy title track.

Overall this album offers a bit of a mixed bag, full of highs and lows. It’s almost as though the band was still experimenting with which style suits them best. My advice to them would be: stick to the fast and energetic speed thrash metal and leave the power metal ballads to someone else!

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

 

Narcotic Death and Grieve announced for Huddersfield Heavymetalfest

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 27th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Yorkshire death metallers Narcotic Death and Huddersfield/Leeds based metal band Grieve have been announced for the Huddersfield Heavymetalfest which will take place on 12th October at the Parish in Huddersfield. The festival will be headlined by Italian death metal overlords Fleshgod Apocalypse and the line-up also boasts Scottish death metal band Scordadtura, as seen at the North of the Wall Festival in Scotland earlier this year, and Bound By Exile. Limited tickets are available for the event from this location and are priced at £20 (not including booking fees and P&P).

Following recent events, Anaal Nathrakh will not be playing the Huddersfield Heavymetalfest but the organiser has assured that another main support of their calibre will be booked.

The full line-up so far is as follows:

Fleshgod Apocalypse (Headliner)
Bound By Exile
Scordatura
Grieve
Narcotic Death

Huddersfield Heavymetalfest online:

https://www.facebook.com/HuddersfieldHeavymetalfest

 

Epitaph added to Metieval 2013 line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 13th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Hard rocking metal band Epitaph from Sheffield have been added to this year’s Metieval Festival which boasts the likes of opera-goth metal band Aonia, trad. metallers Alice In Thunderland and NWOBHM legends Avenger, amongst others. The all-day event will take place at The Piper Club in Hull on 29th June. Tickets are available for £10 in advance. The festival will also feature the first ever Metieval Aftershow party hosted by DJs Skullcrusher and Paul Brady.

Epitaph online:

https://www.facebook.com/Epitaph2011

 

Italian vampire metal act Lord Vampyr signs to Crank Music and announce new album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 9th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Italian gothic-vampire metal band Lord Vampyr – whom are fronted by former Theatres Des Vampires founding member and vocalist Alessandro Nunziat, better known by his stage name and pseudonym Lord Vampyr – recently signed to the Crank Music Group and are set to release their first album in three years. The album is titled Gothika Vampyrika Heretika and was recorded at KK Digital Recording Studio in Cosenza, Italy. The album art was made by Mathias Rat. Gothika Vampyrika Heretika, which is described as being a mixture of fear and sadness and a return to the first glories of Lord Vampyr’s productions, will be released later this year on 21st September.

Lord Vampyr online:

http://www.lordvampyr.net/
http://www.myspace.com/lvampyr/
http://www.reverbnation.com/lordvampyr

 

Huntress – Starbound Beast

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 7th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Huntress
Starbound Beast
Released 28th June 2013
Traditional Metal/Banshee Metal
Released via Napalm Death

Since the release of Spell Eater in 2012, Huntress have been clawing their way to the top, beating each obstacle that gets in their way. Regarded as one of the hottest new acts of 2012, Huntress have a lot to live up to with Starbound Beast.

Opening up with Enter the Exosphere, a song that contains doom-and-thrashesque guitars, the album is properly kick started by Blood Sisters, a track that is fierce and unrelenting in the vocal work of frontwoman Jill Janus but feels to be lacking that same fierce energy in the instrumentation, for the most part, until Jill’s beast-like growls come into action. I Want To Fuck You To Death might sound like something a horny teenager might write but it’s more of a proper rock n roll anthem, co-written by the master of rock n roll, Lemmy Kilmister. The track is definitely one of Jill Janus’ stronger vocal pieces, and features some catchy riffs provided by the band’s guitarists Blake and Anthony.

The album contains a lot of catchy numbers fuelled by raw aggression and some by melodic guitar passages such as Destroy Your Life which belts out some very Iron Maiden sounding riffs in the beginning before becoming a heavier, melodic piece of metal whilst the title track Starbound Beast takes up the part of being a heavy hittin’ hard rock-inspired song. The drums, as performed by Carl Wierzbicky, feature prominently and loudly throughout the album, carrying the weight of the guitars with ease and providing a solid platform for the bass work of Ian Alden. Alpha Tauri finishes the album in a majestic manner, from blazing guitar sections to melodic riffs and acutely executed drumming, as well as an advance of Jill’s rapaciously hostile vocals.

Starbound Beast has everything a good metal album needs – good vocals, decent riffs and powerful rhythm sections plus memorable lyrics and a couple of tracks that will go down well at parties.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Jill Janus and the rest of Huntress hit UK shores next week for Download Festival 2013. They’ll be playing on the Red Bull Studio Stage on Sunday 16th June at 1:55PM.

Huntress online:

http://www.HuntressKills.com
http://facebook.com/HuntressKills
http://twitter.com/HuntressKills

 

Deadlock ink new deal with Napalm Records

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 21st March 2013 by Nico Davidson

German metal band Deadlock have signed a new deal with Napalm Records who will release the follow-up to the band’s 2011 release Bizarro World later this year. The band are currently working in the studio and are ready to release what they describe as “the best and most intense record so far.”

Check out photos from the studio at this location.

 

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to release Heavy Metal album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 15th March 2013 by Paul

Surprising news this week as controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whom Salon.com calls “the most influential artist in the world” has announced plans to release a Heavy Metal album. The BBC reports that the album will be entitled Divina Commedia – which is the epic poem Divine Comedy by Dante, a typically heavy metal concept, and is written by musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou. The content however, is said to be political with at least two songs being about Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese activist and friend of Weiwei who recently took refuge in the USA, causing concerns over human rights in China. Weiwei also stated that some of the songs would be “more punkish” and “more pop” so I suppose a blackened funeral doom album is out of the question.

This news follows other strange happenings in the world of Metal in recent years, such as Metal album releases by Christopher Lee, Friar Brother Cesare Bonizzi, as well as the humorous news reports about the granddad who listens to Heavy Metal. This also has implications for Metal on the international stage, with the genre becoming popular in such far-flung and politically turbulent areas as Israel and Baghdad. Is Heavy Metal a useful political tool for activism in countries with oppressive regimes and political strife?

With Heavy Metal now in its fourth decade of existence, showing no signs of slowing down, and having attained a dedicated international cult following; perhaps the time has come in which the genre will be accepted as less of a passing trend but a fully-fledged musical style such as Jazz, Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll (all of which were derided as the Devil’s music in their time). After all the founders and innovators of the original Heavy Metal genre – Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and so on are now well into the third or fourth decades of their careers, or split-up/retired; with the majority of their fans being of older generations and much of their musical style being categorised as “Classic Rock” despite being extremely dissonant, heavy and largely rejected by the mainstream in their prime.

With Heavy Metal occupying an increasing awareness in the public consciousness, is Heavy Metal – at least in its broadest sense and it’s more mainstream, arena-rock style being more accepted by the world at large? And should it be? Perhaps only time will tell, but this announcement certainly adds to the ever increasing recognition of Metal in the world today.

 

Interview with Jan Bünning [Paragon]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 19th November 2012 by izaforestspirit

This year marks the 22nd anniversary since the formation of the German heavy metal powerhouse that is Paragon. Iza caught up with bassist Jan Bünning to discuss their latest album ‘Force of Destruction’ and find out more about the band’s long history.

Iza: Hi there!
Jan: Hello!

Iza. It’s been 22 years since the birth of Paragon. How do you think the band has evolved since the early 90s?
Jan: Before I joined Paragon in 1997 the band almost split up and Martin Christian the founding member hired our singer Buschi and me as new members. About half a year later we already entered the studio and put out two albums in a very short time. To be honest looking back now I consider “Final Command“ and “Chalice Of Steel“ more as demos and would say “Steelbound“ is our debut. “Law Of The Blade” is the album on which we found our style and the next milestone was “Revenge“ where sound and songs are in perfect harmony considering our playing abilities we had at that time. “Forgotten Prophecies“ in my opinion had good songs but they are not arranged very well and the sound is terrible. I didn´t play on “Screenslaves” but the sound is better as on “Forgotten Prophecies”and it had some good songs on it like “Screenslaves” and “Hellgore” but also some average stuff.

We worked a lot on “Force Of Destruction” e.g. Wolle had riffs for about 25 songs and I then collected the most fitting and arranged them for Buschi to write lyrics and vocal lines. So we had a full pre-production, something we have never done before. We also evolved as players so we were well prepared when we entered the studio and we need less time for the recordings of “FoD” than for other albums. I would say “FoD“ has everything a Paragon album should have and also some new influences from our new guitar players Wolfgang Tewes and Jan Bertram.

I. What have been the biggest highlights of your career to date?
J: There are many highlights like playing the main stage in Wacken 2004 in front of 40000 Metalheads, opening for Gamma Ray on their tour and of course the very good reviews we get for “Force of Destruction“.

I. Where do you see yourselves in the world of power metal? Which bands would you compare yourselves to?
J: I would not say we are Power Metal. When we started with Paragon, Power Metal was something like Overkill – a cross between classic Heavy Metal/Speed & Thrash Metal. Today stuff like Sonata Arctica are called Power Metal and that is something totally different.

I: Your style is an interesting mix of power and speed metal. I can also detect elements of thrash metal in some of your songs. Which of these genres, would you say is the most applicable to Paragon? How would you describe your sound?
J: I would say we play Heavy Metal with some Thrash & Speed Influences. We try not to have the same song over and over on our albums so we have fast stuff like “Iron Will” & “Rising From The Black“, doom songs like “Blood & Iron“, stompers like “Gods Of Thunder” and even ballads like “Demon´s Lair”. So in the end it´s all Heavy Metal only that one song is more Thrash Metal like “Rising From The Black” and the other Song is more Heavy Metal like “Gods Of Thunder“.

I: Have your influences changed since the formation of the band or are they still the same as they were all those years ago?
J: Our Influences are still bands like: Judas Priest, Accept, (old) Iron Maiden, Overkill, Metal Church, Mercyful Fate, Vicious Rumors, Candlemass, Agent Steel and even some Slayer. They have not changed too much and I guess we will even try to get more back to the roots on our next album.

I: If you were to pick one song from the new album ‘Force of Destruction’ to act as a teaser for all those new to Paragon, which one would it be & why?
J: Really hard to say because it´s our first album where I like each and every song. But if I had to chose it would be “Iron Will“. It´s the last song we wrote just before we entered the studio and we did not have time to do a vocal demo with it but when I heard it for the first time I knew it´s already a Paragon classic. When you hear it for the first time you can sing along the chorus when we play it the second time and that how a good song should be. In the lead section you hear first Wolle´s more melodic leads and after that Jan Bertram´s more technical lead guitars.

I: In the past you have paid tribute to other German metal bands such as Tankard and Helloween. Have these bands had any influence on your music?
J: No. the only German band which has influenced us is Accept.

I: Are there any plans to compile a ‘Best of Paragon’ album to celebrate your long career?
J: That would be a question for our old record company Remedy Records because they have the rights for our older stuff. But the only thing I know that they will re-release “Steelbound” very soon with a bonus disc full of all our tribute songs because I made the new layout for the re-release.

I: What are your plans for the future?
J: Getting tighter as a band, writing and recording another killer album and doing a lot of shows.
I: Ok. That’s great. Thanks!
J: Thank you!

 

Deiphago stream new album on Zero Tolerance magazine’s website

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 24th September 2012 by Nico Davidson

Today, Deiphago offer an exclusive stream of their brand-new album, Satan Alpha Omega, at Zero Tolerancemagazine’s website! A highly exclusive stream from England’s premiere extreme music authority, Deiphago‘s Satan Alpha Omegais out now through Hells Headbangers, and can be heard in its entirety for a limited time here.

Once a cult name in the darkest metal underground but now rising to dominance as arguably the most violent ‘n’ extreme band around, Deiphago recently received a 5.5/6 rating in the new issue of Zero Tolerancefor their latest Satan Alpha Omega, winning that issue’s coveted “Release of the Issue” – with the review stating that Satan Alpha Omega“raises the bar and sets a new standard for the genre.” And so far, the international press is agreement about Deiphago‘s latest ‘n’ greatest Satan Alpha Omega.

 

Zero Toleranceis England’s most tastemaking metal magazine around – the first (and final) word on all things extreme and underground. Read it as you channel Satan Alpha Omega!

Lustre – They Awoke to The Scent of Spring

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 11th September 2012 by Paul

Lustre
They Awoke to the Scent of Spring
Released September 1st 2012
Atmospheric Black Metal
Released via De Tenebrarum Principio

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This album by the Swedish one man band Lustre falls under the subgenre known as “Atmospheric Black Metal”. If that phrase has you thinking of bands such as “In The Woods…, Walknut”, “From The Sunset, Forest and Grief”, “Wongraven” and “Drudkh” then it’s probably a term that is familiar to you. From what I have gathered from other fans of the Black Metal genre, this is either loved or loathed. If you don’t like it, it’s easy to describe as boring or even pretentious. If like me, you are a fan, then it’s a genre that is similar to Funeral Doom, in that it is fairly difficult to do wrong. You know the deal: 9+ minute songs about forests and winter and stuff, echoey, haunting vocals, minimalist drumming (if featured at all), stretched out, melancholy riffs that repeat ad nauseum and perhaps some spooky keyboard sounds. Slap on a grayscale photograph of a forest and you’re good to go. And that perfectly describes this album.

Another common genre trait of this release is its concise format, with only four songs, each around the ten minute mark, slightly diminishing in length with each successive track, producing a kind of “fading away” effect on the listener. This leads me to draw mental comparisons to Nocturnal Depression’s Four Seasons to a Depression and numerous Wolves in The Throne Room albums, which are also around four songs in length, containing enthralling ten minute songs mostly based around natural landscapes, the changing of the seasons and mysticism. The music here is similarly minimalist, but does make use of keyboards, albeit very little: a few sparse melodies resonate in the backdrop of the music, whilst the melancholic riffs lead the way (though admittedly, at times they lead nowhere). The production is predictably murky and cold and the final track is entirely ambient; played over the gentle sound of falling rain. This kind of music is far less dynamic than the frenetic riffing found in most other genres of Metal, but instead the music rises and falls like the slow rolling of ocean waves. Whilst mainstream Heavy Metal projects itself in a bombastic manner akin to Arena Rock – a sort of cacophonic grand symphony of guitars; this kind of music echoes around the listener as if projected in a church or a dark Scandinavian forest. The effect is simultaneously more intimate with the listener, and also more distant and less immediate; producing a kind of dark romantic projection of wild landscapes. It is best listened to in the dark, just before attempting sleep.

It’s difficult to call this album “depressing” in the conventional way but it is certainly gloomy and obscure in its atmosphere. It’s sometimes a difficult musical style to describe when compared with more straightforward Metal, but words such as meditative, mystical and most obviously atmospheric come to mind, and occasionally words like beautiful and haunting. I’m a long term listener to this peculiar subset of Black Metal, and an album rarely catches my attention so easily on the first few listens. “Lustre” is very appropriate moniker for the sound that Nachtzeit has created and this album does as good a job of any at evoking a sense of longing for forests and dark, primeval Swedish landscapes. This is a cold windswept journey through ancient lands that man has long since forgotten, and in that it is a very successful album.

4.2/5

By Paul Gibbins

Enforcer confirm UK tour with British metal legends Angel Witch

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 11th September 2012 by Nico Davidson

Swedish heavy metallers Enforcer have confirmed a UK tour with British heavy metal legends Angel Witch.

The five-date Into the Dark tour kicks off on Wednesday, 7th November at The World Headquarters in Newcastle, and also features UK metallers Age of Taurus.

Enforcer frontman Olof Wikstrand comments: “After the very successful Scandinavian dates this spring, we now take this tour package to Britain, bringing you the best of the past and present.  This will, as well, definitely mark the end of our ‘Diamonds on the Road World Tour’ and is also the last chance for all of you to see this era of Enforcer.

See Enforcer on tour at the following shows:

ENFORCER w/ ANGEL WITCH, AGE OF TAURUS
Nov. 07 – Newcastle, UK – The World Headquarters
Nov. 08 – Manchester, UK – Academy 3
Nov. 09 – Birmingham, UK – Temple
Nov. 10 – London, UK – The Victoria
Nov. 11 – Bristol, UK – The Fleece

Rumahoy–Yarr Demo

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 27th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Rumahoy
Yarr Demo
Released: 15th August
Trve Scottish Pirate Metal/Heritagecore
Self-Released

Rumahoy - Yarr Demo 2012 Cover

Hailing from the apparent ancient fishing village Auchtermuchty (which is shown as being inland on Google Maps), come Scotland’s finest (and probably only) heritagecore outfit Rumahoy. Dubbing themselves as the first and original Scottish pirate metal band, the quartet formed in 2010 and released a song entitled Blackbeard’s Mighty Treasure which when down well in Scotland’s underground metals scene, as I’m told. With very little information about the floating around on the seven seas of the internet, I couldn’t help but think this was some sort of elaborate hoax but the demo was passed onto me by a trusted contact and the demo does indeed contain four genuine, if somewhat, tongue in cheek tracks.

Oceans of Treasures begins with the alluring sound of the tides coming back and forth before a soothing use of acoustic guitars and drums sail onwards before the track takes a turn down the heavier tides of the track. The riffs are genuinely and intelligently performed while the vocals (and lyrics) seem to bring about the tongue-in-cheek sound, mixing cheesily deep clean vocals with screams. The use of folk instrumentation sallies forth a folky and pirate sound, making it almost Celtic.

Digging For Rum rushes in with a strong thrash sound, which is soon found sailing alongside a more folk orientated sound however the clean, deep vocals really do put me off from wanting to listen to this track again. Questing Upon the High Seas makes up for the previous track, to an extent, bring some really epic passages and poignant lyrics though the vocals are pretty much like marmite. The samples (which I’m assuming are taken from different pirate films) really add a unique sound to the song. The keyboards add some truly dark sounding voyages to the song, especially when the harsher vocals make a proper appearance after a sample taken from Pirates of the Caribbean.

The demo ends with the black metalesque piece that is Ahoy, Wenches! To be honest, I expected it sound more folky and like a drinking song but the dark, almost evil screams of the guitars work well. The vocals ring in a similar vein to early 90s Bathory, adding a slight but distinct epic part to the track.

I’m really in two minds about this release; the overall musicianship screams out with a serious metal vibe while the vocals and lyrics make it almost… Like a joke. If you’re not too fussed about lyrics that are bursting with cheese then Yarr Demo is definitely something to get your hands on to place in your treasure trove of metal. The release is enjoyable enough though it is let down in areas by the vocals.

3/5

Nico Davidson

First bands for Wacken 2013 announced

Posted in News with tags , , , on 4th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Wacken Open Air, which is considered the biggest metal party of the year, is still in full swing but like last year, the pre-sales proved to be such a success that the organisers have decided to announce the first lot of bands for next year.

Confirmed acts so far include Anthrax, Nightwish, Sabaton and Arch Enemy. Pre-sales of the X-Mas Wacken 2013 package begin at midnight on Monday 6th August.

Source: MetalMouth.net

Grave Digger – Home At Last [EP]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 3rd August 2012 by Pieni

Grave Digger
Home At Last [EP]
Released: 27th July 2012
Heavy Metal
via Napalm Records

Photobucket

Just as the UK had NWOBHM, Germany had its own metal movement a few years later, even though there’s no fancy name for it. It consisted of mixing speed metal with the traditional heavy metal, making it rawer, stronger, meaner. And that’s why the new songs in this EP are quite disappointing – they’re heavy metal alright, but they lack speed!

The guitars in “Home At Last” are old school heavy metal and there’s nothing wrong with that. But one would expect a rhythm section a bit more aggressive. The chorus has a few voices backing up Chris Boltendahl’s, making it pretty catchy and a candidate to the live setlist. Still some power is missing.

With “Rage Of The Savage Beast” happens more or less the same, and despite the message of “Metal Will Never Die”, whose one of the main riffs reminds me the beginning of Iron Maiden’s “From Here To Eternity”, I believe they could have made something better.

The best part is definitely the three live tracks, recorded in Wacken 2010 – “Ballad Of A Hangman”, “Exacalibur” and “Heavy Metal Breakdown”. Three classics that show the greatness of Grave Digger on stage. They sound heavier and faster live, which is no surprise, so maybe there’s some hope for the studio tracks here, if played live. Maybe.

On the other hand, this is an EP released barely a month before the album “Clash Of The Gods”, due in late August. And only “Home At Last” made it to the album. So I believe that both “Rage Of The Savage Beast” and “Metal Will Never Die” are that kind of song that bands compose a little differently, and despite being good, they’re not good enough. So they become B-sides.

As for “Home At Last”, it will be the last track of the album – maybe that’s the reason why is not as speedy. Coming to think of it, the title has a somewhat “ending” feeling to it, the “at last” giving the notion of something that’s been complete. Good for the final track. Just not sure about making an EP after it.

3.5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Earache acquires US metal label

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 17th July 2012 by Nico Davidson

British extreme metal record label Earache Records has acquired US label Heavy Artillery Records, combining two of the premier forces in metal music.

Currently celebrating 25 years in the business, Earache Records has been the home to some of the biggest names in metal, and continues to push forwards with some of the best new and up-and-coming talents.

Heavy Artillery was founded in New York and has consistently stood for quality thrash and heavy metal, with releases from the likes of MERCILESS DEATH, ENFORCER, EXMORTUS, VEKTOR, SPELLCASTER and more.

Earache Records Label Manager Dan Tobin comments: “Heavy Artillery’s policy of signing and supporting fresh new talent was something I personally bought into very early on – raw, energetic, passionate early releases like Merciless Death, Enforcer and Exmortus really stood out as genuinely exciting new bands pursuing their visions of what heavy metal should be, not just jumping on a bandwagon and hoping for a quick route to success.  The label’s roster stood out as the work of people with music in mind, and with bands like Vektor creating serious buzz, it seemed that Heavy Artillery would enjoy the success its early creativity and chance-taking deserved.  Now that Earache is charged with upholding an impressive legacy of releases, as well as embracing the future output of these fantastic bands, I feel like it’s a really exciting time to be involved with young, hungry bands who have the potential to become the leading lights of the next few years.  We aim to ensure that the seeds sown by Heavy Artillery grow and produce fertile metal music for years to come.

Earache intends to continue Heavy Artillery’s vision, beginning with re-issues of Swedish heavy metallers ENFORCER’s 2008 debut album, INTO THE NIGHT, followed by the two studio albums from Arizona thrashers VEKTOR – 2009’s BLACK FUTURE and 2011’s OUTER ISOLATION.  Earache will also re-issue ENFORCER’s 2010 album, DIAMONDS, in the USA.

For a taste of what’s to come, listen to Vektor‘s “Tetrastructural Minds” from Outer Isolation below.

More releases from the Heavy Artillery catalogue will be announced in the near future.

Leo Stivala to feature on the next Arkham Witch release

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 8th July 2012 by Nico Davidson

Leo Stivala, the vocalist of the Maltese doom metal veterans Forsaken, has recently recorded additional vocals for the title track of the upcoming Arkham Witch album Legions Of The Deep (to be released on October 1st on Metal On Metal Records). The recording took place in the home studio of Chris Grech (guitarist of Nomad Son) in Mellieha, Malta. Present at this event were also Simon, Emily and Aldo of Arkham Witch, as well as Jowita and Simone of Metal On Metal Records.

Leo Stivala commented: "After the awesome time passed last year at the third edition of the Malta Doom Metal fest, I was contacted by Aldo from Arkham Witch to see if I was interested in performing in one of their songs for their new album. My answer was an immediate YES… taking into consideration the great sense of friendship I have with band and the fact that I like their music so much. So after a few months we talked again, agreed about the song "Legions of the Deep", and that the recordings will be done at Chris Grech’s studio in Mellieha, Malta. We met in Mellieha a day after I got back from Hellfest and went straight to the studio… Bammm, there we go… first take was already awesome!!! I really had a great time singing this song, as I felt that I really gave it a live feeling… we were all headbanging and having a good time… things sounded so great!!! Simon also gave a very solid performance re-recording his vocal parts. Some touches from Chris on the desk to get everything together and it was ready. It is an honor for me to be part of this album from Arkham Witch and I want to thank the band, Jowita and Simone from Metal on Metal Records for showing trust in my vocal capabilities and for showing such a great sense of friendship for so many years and through this recording!!! YOU RULE!!! Metal till the End!!!"

Simon Iff?, Arkham Witch vocalist, added: "We just wanted Leo to sing on our album because he is a true doom metal legend! Aldo "Dodo" Doom has a long history and friendship with Forsaken and Leo, and it is an honour for us that a vocalist from a band that has been a big inspiration to Arkham Witch, both in terms of their music and the passion with which they go about delivering it, should consent to sharing a mic with us! Singing with Leo was a blast and I really hope that someday we get to perform this song together live! The man’s molecular structure is composed from particles of pure heavy metal!"

Burning Shadows – Gather, Darkness!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 15th May 2012 by izaforestspirit

Band: Burning Shadows
Album: Gather, Darkness!
Release date: June 2012
Genre: Heavy Metal / Power Metal
Label: Self-released

‘Gather, Darkness!’ is the second full-length release from the American power metal band Burning Darkness. It is the follow up to the 2010 EP ‘Oathbreaker’ and it is a concept album inspired by the science fiction novel of the same name by Fritz Leiber.

The symphonic, orchestral intro to the instrumental ‘Overture: Hymn to Sathanas’ reminds me of the opening credits to a movie. It’s only when the guitars kick in at the start of ‘A Thousand Lies: A New Dark Age’ that you’re reminded of the fact that this is still a metal album. The singer sounds he’s reciting a story rather than singing; then again this is based on a book afterall so maybe this was the idea…

The guitar work is good and combined with the Iron Maiden / Iced Earth-style vocals it produces some pleasant sounding results, such as the catchy chorus and guitar solos in ‘A Thousand Lies: Onward’. Now I’m guessing, based on the names of the tracks, that several of them are connected to each other – for instance ‘To Ruin & Divide: The Witchmark’ sounds like the start of a four-part chapter which ends with the power metal ballad ‘To Ruin & Divide: Kingdoms Fall’. In this particular sequence ‘To Ruin & Divide: Man From Myth’ is the most memorable due to its skillfully executed guitar riffs and atmospheric moments.

Other noteworthy tracks include the slow, acoustic-sounding ‘Breaking the Sanctuary: Abandonment’ which proves that the band know how to maintain the right balance between fast, catchy power metal and epic power ballads and the catchy finale that is ‘Breaking the Sanctuary: The Infamous Dawn’.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila