Archive for Machine Head

Narcotic Self – Cut The Chord

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 5th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Narcotic Self
Cut The Chord
Released 6th May 2016
Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal/Groove Metal
Self-Released

‘Cut The Chord’ is the third album from the American heavy metal band Narcotic Self. They have toured with a number of renowned metal bands including Slayer, Exodus and Soulfly. Their music is a mixture of classic thrash metal with other metal genres along with some experimental elements. This album features Björn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork as a guest vocalist on one of the songs.

Kicking off the album is the title track, an aggressive and brutal metal song filled with thrashing guitars, pummeling drums along with abrasive and angry shouting. Then, when you least expect it, they slow down the pace towards the end of the track and treat you to a short but well executed melodic instrumental. It’s just enough for you to take a deep breath and relax before the usual onslaught of guitar, drums and shouting returns, raising hell inside your eardrums. Generation Victim (feat. Björn Strid) is a fairly straightforward piece of aggressive, thrashing groove metal which reminded me of the early works of Machine Head, DevilDriver and to a certain extent Lamb of God.

Hell in My Head caught my attention due to the deceptively melodic guitar intro at the start. There’s some experimentation in the guitar parts and briefly a change to a softer, more melodic vocal style halfway through the song. This time the melodic elements last a little longer than they did in the title track. The problem is that I’m not entirely convinced that the random changes suit the rest of the song. The transition between the two is just not as fluid as it should be. Then it seems that Narcotic Self decided to have another go at the more melodic side of metal/rock so they created Creeper, a song which is predominantly slow and melodic. At least for the most part… Then, all of a sudden, the aggressive shouting and thrashing monster re-emerges. It’s almost like the other half of the song was composed by another band. Luckily the rest of the album marks a return to good old brutal and vicious thrashing groove metal with only occasional bits of clear vocals sprinkled in to soften the blow. For example, Brainslave shows how well executed guitar work can make a song memorable for all the right reasons.

Overall, this album left me feeling a little confused. I’m not entirely sure that I understand what Narcotic Self are trying to achieve here. I would have been perfectly happy had these guys just stuck to a specific style be it thrash or groove metal but the random mid-song experimentation is very off-putting. Those bits aside ‘Cut The Chord’ should appeal to fans of Lamb of God and Machine Head.

3/5

Iza Raittila

Tacit Fury – A Social Berserker

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 12th May 2014 by izaforestspirit

Tacit Fury
A Social Berserker
Released: 18th March 2014
Death Metal
Released via Fono Ltd.

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‘A Social Berserker’ is the fourth album from the Russian death metal band Tacit Fury. It is the follow up to ‘Horrors from Depth’, which was released back in 2012.

First up is Lacerated, Strangled, Impaled, which builds up the pace gradually starting with a deceptively slow intro before the ferocious guitar riffs and pummeling drums enter the frame. The vocals are pretty much your standard growls and, with a track title like that, they fit in well with the majority of the bands in the death metal scene. One thing that makes this particular song stand out is the short, thrash metal style guitar solo towards the end.

The subsequent tracks reveal another distinctive pattern – high-pitched, stop-start guitars akin to the likes of Lamb of God. Release The Lions and Chronology Bleached are good examples of this style. It’s a combination of death metal vocals and drumming paired with groove metal style high-pitched guitars. They remind me of bands like Machine Head and to some extent Grimfist. Other tracks that caught my attention include Overbade, which features some thrash metal style guitar riffs in the middle and War Against The Living, one of the fastest and most aggressive songs on the album. The latter also features a surprisingly melodic, almost melo-death style guitar solos towards the end of the song.

Overall this is a fairly decent sounding death metal album. Whilst Tacit Fury do not offer anything dramatically different than most of more modern death metal bands out there, they are clearly good at what they do. ‘A Social Berserker” may not appeal to old school death metal purists but if you’re a fan of the newer style then this album is for you.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Machine Head return to the UK for five special shows

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 9th April 2014 by Nico Davidson

The Bay Area metal titans Machine Head are set to return to the UK this summer with an unexpected move which will delight their rabid Head Case fan base. The band are set to play a short run of five super-special underplays, in much smaller clubs than they usually play. Frontman Robb Flynnexplains the logic behind this move:

In keeping with the intimate club tour-vibe we are doing in the USA this summer, for our first time ever, we decided to blow off 90% of all Euro summer festivals, and hit the nooks and crannies of the UK and Europe as well.  We will be doing no major cities in any territories throughout Europe and the UK for this first leg of 2014.  No London, no Berlin, etc, and instead focusing on the die-hard Machine Head fans that who don’t often get the chance to see us because the travel is too far or too costly to get the big cities.  I remember when we were out with Metallica doing festivals a few years ago, we played in a small out-of-the-way city in Denmark called Aarhus.  We’d never played there let alone, ever even heard of the fucking place.  We were all a bit grumbly before the show, and you know what?  It ended up being one of the most fun shows we’ve ever done.  Doing shows like this, it creates an energy, it creates a bond, something unbreakable, and it is really fucking fun.  It’s Machine Head without all the big production, the bells and whistles, stripped down and raw.  What will be really cool is that in the UK, we’ve never done a club tour, it happened so fast for us there that other than a handful of epically insane, wildly drunken Ten Ton Hammer club shows, we’ve only played bigger halls, so we are really looking forward to giving our fans something special there. Plus, we’ve been hearing from our Scottish fans for decades that we need to get to Edinburgh!!!  So finally, 21 years into our existence, we’re coming and we’re ready to fucking plunder Scotland!!!!

Tour dates are as follow:

Tue 29th Jul – NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms (www.alt-tickets.co.uk)
Thu 31st Jul – EDINBURGH Liquid Rooms (www.ticketmaster.co.uk)
Sat 2nd Aug – NEWCASTLE University (www.livenation.co.uk)
Sun 3rd Aug – NORWICH Waterfront (www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk)
Mon 4th Aug – BRIGHTON Concorde (http://lout.gigantic.com)

Tickets go on sale 9am on Friday 11th April and will be available from the ticketing links above.

Machine Head’s new album is in the workings and expected to materialise later this year via their brand new label, Nuclear Blast.  However, their loyal fanbase can get a fiery taster of some brand new material on 19th April; otherwise known as Record Store Day. The band are releasing a strictly limited gatefold 10″ vinyl ‘demo version’ of new song, Killers & Kings.  The release will come in two different colours of vinyl; red or blue, and four different sleeves featuring tarot card designs; Death, The High Priestess, The Devil, and Strength.  Side A features their demo version of Killers & Kings, and Side B features covers of Our Darkest Days and Bleeding, two tracks by Southern California hardcore band, Ignite.

Shops participating in Record Store Day can be viewed here, at this location.  The Head Case collectors among you should get out and search for those four different editions!

Machine Head online:

http://machinehead1.com
http://facebook.com/MachineHead

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Bonded By Blood announce headline UK tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 29th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Chaotic Tapestry Management, who are one of the UK’s leading booking and management agencies for extreme metal, are proud to announce that they will be bringing back Southern California’ thrash metal merchants Bonded By Blood for a UK tour in May. The band comments:

We’re very excited to announce that we will be returning to the UK for a short headlining tour. Our fans over seas never disappoint and we want to express our thanks by giving them a new set with a few surprises. This is going to be a tour you won’t want to miss and it’s an exclusive treat to our fans in the UK. See you in the pit!!!

Bonded By Blood will be touring the UK in support of their third studio album The Aftermath, having last made appearances across the UK on Vader’s Back To The Black European Tour which took place January and February 2013.

The Aftermath was released July 2012 via Earache Records and was produced by Logan Mader (Machine Head, Soulfly). The album was also the first to feature new vocalist Mauro Gonzales, who joined the band in 2010 and new bass player, Jessie Sanchez. Joining Bonded By Blood will be the UK’s very own Flayed Disciple who also appeared on part of Vader’s Back To The Black European Tour and Seprevation who have been making waves across the UK and beyond over the last two years.

Bonded By Blood’s UK tour dates are as follow:

18th Boston Music Rooms, London
19th Exchange, Bristol
20th Full Moon, Cardiff
21st Audio, Glasgow
22nd Star & Garter, Manchester
23rd Queens Hall, Nuneaton
24th The Lecturn, Brighton*
*No Flayed Disciple

Bonded By Blood online:

http://facebook.com/officialbondedbyblood

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Machine Head reveal details for Killers & Kings

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 13th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Over twenty years combined with seven critically acclaimed albums and multiple world tours to their credit, very few can deny that Machine Head are one of THE kings of metal (Basically, eat your hearts out, Manowar).

This summer Nuclear Blast will have the enormous privilege of releasing Machine Head’s next full-length album, which is also the band’s debut for the label. In anticipation and to celebrate Record Store Day (19th April 2014), Nuclear Blast will be releasing a limited edition 10” featuring a demo version of a brand new track entitled Killers & Kings. Never heard or released before, Machine Head fans have been waiting for new music from the band for the last 3 years and Killers & Kings will not disappoint. Side B of the release will also feature Machine Head covering two tracks by the southern California hardcore outfit Ignite. Frontman Robb Flynn comments:

I remember growing up in the thrash scene and always wanting to hear the demo version of songs. You searched them out. Thankfully my buddy Jim was a big ‘tape trader,’ and through trading we had both Metallica demos, Exodus demos, bootlegs of songs sometimes ‘years’ before they came out. I knew how to play every note of Pleasure Of The Flesh by Exodus, easily two years before the record was out! My friends and I would debate the merits of each, but we all agreed, It was so much cooler to hear it BEFORE the album is out! So we’re gonna do that for you. I can’t wait for you guys to hear this stuff.

This limited edition 10” will also feature four alternate covers with two specific colours.

Killers & Kings 10” tracking listing:

Side One: “Killers & Kings” (demo version)
Side Two: “Our Darkest Days/Bleeding” (Ignite cover)

Machine Head are currently in the studio recording their eighth album for an early 2014 release, followed by a massive worldwide tour cycle.

Machine Head‘s most recent studio release, 2011’s Unto The Locust, entered The Billboard 200 chart at position No. 22 – putting them in the Top 25 for the first time in the band’s history. The album was the follow-up to the 2007 Grammy nominated metal milestone The Blackening, widely hailed as one of the finest metal albums of the last decade, which led the band to an extensive three-year tour, sharing the stage with such heavy hitters as Slipknot and Metallica.

Machine Head online:

http://machinehead1.com
http://facebook.com/MachineHead
http://youtube.com/machinehead

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Machine Head sign with Nuclear Blast Entertainment

Posted in News with tags , on 3rd October 2013 by Pieni

 photo machinehead_zpsad0058be.jpg

Since their first full-length album, Machine Head have released all their works with Roadrunner Records. 18 years later, they decided it was time to part ways… sort of. The band has spent the last year in search of a new label and has finally decided to settle with Nuclear Blast Entertainment, the recent division of Nuclear Blast Records, founded by the latter’s owner Markus Staiger and former Roadrunner A&R chief and long-time friend of Machine Head, Monte Conner. Quoting Rob Flynn: Monte Conner has believed in Machine Head for 20 years, his belief has never wavered, and we are extremely proud to work alongside him once again.”

The first release under the new label should happen in early 2014, as Machine Head are about to enter the studio and give shape to the successor of “Unto The Locust”. Also a massive worldwide tour should follow suit, in order to promote the band’s eighth studio album.

Machine Head online:
www.machinehead1.com
www.facebook.com/MachineHead
http://youtube.com/machinehead

Battlecross stream new album for limited time

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

Battlecross have begun streaming their brand new album War of Will at their official Metal Blade landing page. This stream will be up for a limited time only, from now until 8pm GMT tonight. Additionally, the brand new music video for Never Coming Back was recently finished and can be viewed below.

Battlecross triumphantly return as one of the true champions of American Heavy Metal with their devastating sophomore release, War of Will. Co-produced at Audio Hammer Studios by famed producers Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi, the sophomore effort from Detroit’s newest soldiers of steel will soon prove as one of the most impressive follow-up releases, destined to become a heavy metal classic for fans of all sub-genres.

War of Will is now in stores and on-line. The band is on tour now as part of the Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Tour with Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, Machine Head, Mastodon and more. For tickets and details, head to this location.

Battlecross online:

http://www.battlecrossmetal.com
http://www.facebook.com/battlecrossmetal
http://twitter.com/battlecross
http://www.youtube.com/battlecrossmetal

 

Former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo to feature on upcoming Sepultura album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 19th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Dave Lombardo, former drummer for thrash legends Slayer will be featured on the upcoming album by Brazilian–American thrashers Sepultura. In his newest update on Brazilian newspaper Pernambuco.com, guitarist Andreas Kisser tells the entire story about how Lombardo got be featured on his band’s new album by ‘accident’.

Lombardo, who was having some quality time with his kids and dog by the beach near to the studio where Sepulutrua are recording the new album together with sound guru Ross Robinson (Machine Head, Slipknot, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Fear Factory), told Robinson about his whereabouts which lead Ross to ask him if he wanted to guest on the recording. Guitarist Kisser comments:

He came and it was so nice, so special, so awesome! He is one of the nicest guys in business and he enjoyed the idea a lot. Ross and Mike prepared two drum sets on the living room, facing each other, no cymbals, just tribal drums! When the mics were all ready and running Eloy and Dave started playing and the magic was on, so great! The part they recorded will be a special part on the middle of one of the songs, it came out crazy!

Sepultura online:

http://sepultura.com.br
http://facebook.com/sepultura

 

Behemoth forced to cancel Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival appearance

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 6th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth have been forced to cancel their upcoming appearance on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival due to their drummer Inferno taking ill and requiring surgery. The band’s frontman Nergal comments:

This must have been the most difficult decision we were forced to make in recent years. Behemoth is known for not cancelling any shows or tours. But this is not something we can do when we are missing our driving force, the man behind the drums – Inferno. Unfortunately, he was hospitalised due to appendix surgery and it’s gonna take him few months to fully recover and get back to shape. We are trying to save selected European Festivals with a fill in drummer [Krimh, ex-Decapitated], but we won’t be risking doing a full-on prestigious tour like the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival without Inferno. Behemoth is a solid unit and any part of this unit missing makes us weaker, and that is not how we want to present our new material to our fans. Please, accept our apologies and be patient, we shall return to Europe (this fall) and the US (early 2014) empowered and motivated as never before!

The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival is set to kick off on Saturday 29th June in San Bernardino, CA and features bands such as Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, Amon Amarth, Machine Head, Job For a Cowboy, Battlecross, Children of Bodom, and many more. For tickets, dates, contests, and more, head to the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Official Site and follow the tour on Facebook and Twitter.
Behemoth’s recently announced forthcoming full-length album, The Satanist, is scheduled for a fall 2013 release.

Behemoth online:

http://www.behemoth.pl
http://www.facebook.com/behemoth
http://www.metalblade.com/behemoth
http://twitter.com/behemothband

Babylon Fire – Dark Horizons

Posted in Review 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

 

Shannon Lucas releases statement regarding his departure from The Black Dahlia Murder

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 7th November 2012 by Nico Davidson

Shannon Lucas had been sitting out of the current Black Dahlia Murder tour with Alan Cassidy (Abigail Williams) standing in for him (or in this case, sitting in for him). Shannon released a video statement saying that he’s departing from drum duties in The Black Dahlia Murder to focus on other things in life. The video statement can be viewed below. The short version of the statement is that Shannon is leaving the band, he helped BDM pick Alan Cassidy as the replacement and that Cassidy is not a permanent replacement.

This is the second time this year that The Black Dahlia Murder have had a new member on tour with them without any prior announcements – The first being Max Lavelle who made his debut with the band back in January, three months prior to it being announced that Ryab “Bart” Williams would remain in the band as a collaborator for writing and recording.

 

Bloodstock Open Air 2012 Review

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 21st August 2012 by Hannah

Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2012 [Behemoth, Machine Head, Alice Cooper & more]
Catton Hall, Derbyshire
9th-12th August, 2012

So, another year, another Bloodstock. This year was probably one of the most controversial for a good number of years; mainly based around line up. Not only was there a massive furore over the choice of Machine Head as Saturday’s headliners, there was also much discussion of the line up, in general, being poor. Swathes of apparent regulars made it clear that the line up meant they were not purchasing tickets. This didn’t affect Bloodstock in any way, mind. There were over 11,000 people in attendance- the biggest number to date- and the organisers were able to enjoy the fact that their VIP packages totally sold out, and there were not many regular passes left by the time the weekend came around. This year’s Bloodstock was also notable for another, more special reason. Over the course of the weekend, many of the live performances were streamed world wide for the first time ever, and this decision proved to be a resounding success; over 200,000 people across the globe tuned in to watch live footage of the festival throughout the duration of the weekend. In terms of ticket sales, bums on seats and world domination, Bloodstock outdid themselves this year. But what of the festival itself?

Friday started off with a ridiculous heat wave. The fields of Catton Hall overflowed with sweaty, melting metal heads, most of them sweltering in the commonly worn uniform of black band shirt and jeans or camouflage trousers. But this sudden appearance by the sun did not stop them from turning out in multitudes to check out all three stages (four, if we count the Jagermeister Truck acoustic stage). With a cold one in my hand (one of 60+ real cask ales and ciders on sale in the Serpent’s Lair; the extra £100 odd was worth it just for that selection) I trudged to the main stage to enjoy the first few bands. Reading’s Malefice started proceedings with a valiant performance, filled with power and energy and determined to make a name for themselves. These newcomers pulled in a respectable crowd for the first slot of the day, and in my opinion started the festival off well. Followers Freedom Call kept up the energy with forty minutes of pure, cheesy German power metal, and I’m not ashamed to report that it was glorious. Their set was certainly a ‘happy metal party’ and they got the crowd jumping along to most of their songs. With their upbeat melodies and cheerful yet clumsy, Olympics centred banter, almost everyone watching their set had a stupid grin on their faces by their closer. Grand Magus were predictably epic, and the freshness of their material and stage presence makes it easy to forgot how long they have been around for. The Swedish stalwarts showed how thumping heavy metal is meant to be done.

Unfortunately for myself, I was unable to see most of the second half of Moonsorrow’s set as I quickly fell ill with what I now recognise as heatstroke, but the first half I did see was fantastic. They played a good selection of their material, and managed to put on a great performance, despite the fact that much of the crowd was flagging in the somewhat unexpected heat by this point. Their set was also far too short, especially considering most of their songs hit the nine minute mark, and it can only be hoped that they don’t leave it too long til they tour the UK as headliners. I have it on good authority, thanks to my temporary co-correspondent Joe (my brother) that Iced Earth absolutely slayed it. In three words, they were pounding, soaring and epic. The screams of ‘Iced Fucking Earth’ that echoed around the arena barely needed any encouragement from the band themselves, and they left the crowds begging for more. In complete contrast, and in a somewhat controversial claim, Joe felt that Sepultura were a massive disappointment. Clumsy and clunky, they played a set that didn’t contain enough new stuff to be purely Derrick Green era-stuff, nor enough classics to be a ‘classic Sepultura’ show, even despite the inclusion of songs such as ‘Refuse/Resist’ and ‘Roots’. I was back to the arena in time for Dio’s Disciples, the special tribute set up in memory of the late, great Ronnie James Dio, metal legend and namesake of Bloodstock’s main stage. And what a tribute it was. Each and every member of the band put their heart and soul into the performance, and it showed. Nearly every member of the band was almost in tears during their set, and they gave rousing renditions of some of Dio’s best known songs, including ‘Holy Diver’, ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Rainbow in the Dark’. We still love you, Ronnie. Whilst Dio’s Disciples got all emotional on the main stage, mention must be made of Hull’s Infernal Creation, who tore up the New Blood stage in the same slot. Bastard, Neiphrobous and Sin were joined by Cryptic Age’s Tom Keeley for the performance, due to bassist Beleth’s recent ill health (swift recovery, dude!) and they laid down their black metal credentials for all to see. Neiphrobous had the disappointingly small crowd in the palm of his outstretched claw, and whilst they deserved to pull a far greater number of people, those that were in attendance were treated to a thirty minute long aural assault of the highest calibre. A fantastic performance by a brutal underground band, deserving of greater success.

The atmosphere in the main arena grew noticeably chillier during the set up for Watain, and it wasn’t just the onset of the evening. There was almost as much of a buzz for these guys as there was for Friday headliners Behemoth. When asked about who they were here to see, countless people answered ‘Fucking Watain!’. All inverted crosses, flaming sigils and fire, Watain were truly a spectacle. Frontman Erik Danielsson (E) soaked the crowd- and pre-prepared, poncho and cagoule wearing security- with blood from a silver chalice, as ominous red lights zoomed over the crowd. They delivered their special blend of hauntingly beautiful and brutal black metal to the masses assembled in the fields of Catton Hall. Their stage show was uncompromising, being the masters of the theatrical and experts in creating an atmosphere both electric and somewhat unsettling. I managed to grab E for a quick chat on Saturday evening, and he summed their performance up in a concise way:

            I think it was very beautiful, it was during the sunset, and the sun came down in a very fitting way I would say. As far as Bloodstock goes, it’s another one of those places where two-leggers gather in the same place. I have an extremely hard time dealing with that, and it’s getting to the point of nausea, but at the same time it’s a good place.

All hail the black priests of metal!

After being suitably roused into a black, unholy frenzy, headliners Behemoth materialised on the stage in a flash of blue light and fog like a furious quartet of Cenobites. It is so, SO good to be finally writing a review of a performance by Behemoth at Bloodstock, and just as good to see Nergal, victorious in his battle with leukaemia, absolutely ripping Bloodstock a new one. The truck full of pyro they commissioned to trek across Europe from Poland meant that they were fully able to flex their blackened muscles and deliver a full Behemoth show to the baying crowds. Ferocious and uncompromising, they delivered a spectacle that will stay in the minds of all those assembled for a long time to come. On the visual front, they did not disappoint. Burning crosses, hooded monks, and a brilliantly clever use of fog and lighting to create a massive, Ronnie James Dio stage sized Polish flag, they looked spectacular. They sounded spectacular, too. With a set list that included fearsome renditions of songs old and new, including my personal highlights ‘Christians to the Lions’ and ‘Slaves to Serve’, Nergal, Orion, Inferno and Seth were the masters of the hordes as Friday evening closed in an infernal frenzy of blackened death metal. Behemoth fucking ruled.

On to Saturday, then, and after catching the end of what proved to be an energetic set by Benediction, on came ZP Theart of ex-Dragonforce fame, and his new band IamI. Theart had a lot to prove today, and even though his distinctive vocals strained a little at times, their raw sort of power metal worked quite well. He obviously loved being on the stage, and whilst it has to be said that their material bordered on repetitive, they gave a commendable performance. Following the power metal was Taiwan’s ChthoniC, who were, in a word, brilliant. They brought their folk-inspired, mythologically-powered black metal to the assembled crowds and performed beautifully. Freddy Lim, erhu in hand, made firm friends with the crowd and inspired an anti-Chinese roar of ‘Taiwan! Taiwan!’ to erupt among the arena. Even though many of them may not have understood the significance of Lim’s impassioned tirade against the Chinese occupation of Taiwan, they sympathised with ‘Chinese Taipei’ and were intensely receptive to the band’s atmospheric sound. The less said about Mayhem, the better. I was intensely disappointed with their lack of performance and the overall sloppy state of their set. Even Attila was boring. They came onto the stage and seemed to leave again soon after, without much fuss. So very anti-climactic. In contrast, the newly reformed Sanctuary were a surprising success. Even though their reformation will probably be at the expense of the fantastic Nevermore, it’s good to see Sanctuary back together. They really entertained the crowd with an energetic and upbeat set, satisfying both old and new fans. One band that personally surprised me were Hatebreed. I did not expect to enjoy the Connecticut hardcore maniacs, but I really did. They gave a performance full of energy and proved themselves to be very proficient at what they do. With Hatebreed, circle pits were always guaranteed but what was good to see was that the pits, orchestrated by frontman Jamey Jasta with safety on his mind, were instructed to help anyone that fell back up to their feet. Hatebreed are a brotherhood, and no one gets left behind or forgotten, as was evident with their touching dedication to the recently fallen, including the Rev, Dimebag, Dio and Paul Gray. Due to other commitments, I wasn’t able to catch much of Testament’s set, but the view from Joe was that they were sick. They played a good selection of old and new and more than satisfied the crowds.

Saturday’s controversial headliners Machine Head came onstage will everything bared and a mentality of proving to everyone present that they deserved to be there. They were there for their fans, but also for every single person who would have rather seen someone else take their place. In my opinion, they more than deserved that headline slot, and proved so with a visceral, rib shaking performance. Clearly humbled and in awe of Bloodstock as a whole, Machine Head plunged into their set with no holds barred. They spattered their set with a good selection of tunes, including fan favourites ‘Imperium’ and ‘Darkness Within’. As had been advertised since their announcement, they also played the 5 ‘Burn My Eyes’ tracks that had been voted for by the fans, in honour of the 20th anniversary of the first live show they ever played, in Mike Scum’s house, for a ‘destroy the house’ kegger party. Fantastic. The tracks chosen- ‘Death Church’, ‘A Thousand Lies’, ‘Blood for Blood’, ‘Block’ and ‘Davidian’– were received with an almost rabid response; a personal highlight was definitely ‘Block’, a track that absolutely slayed the crowd with its chugging intensity. Robb Flynn also proved that his reputation as one of the ‘nice guys’ of metal is more than apt, with a touchingly heartfelt speech about the true, accepting spirit of metal and how stoked he was to be playing on the stage with so many of his metal brothers in attendance. He also showed how much of an expert he is at creating a rapport with the crowd, and even instigated some sort of epic battle between Wolverine and Banana-man. Machine Head’s headliner slot will go down in history as one of the most divisive but brutal sets in Bloodstock history.

There were a number of fantastic performances on both the S.O.P.H.I.E. and New Blood stages on Saturday as well. Witch Sorrow and Winterfylleth both put on fantastic performances; Witch Sorrow’s sludgey, droney doom metal shaking the bowels of all those cooped up in the sweaty, beer soaked S.O.P.H.I.E. tent, and Winterfylleth delivered a set full of competent, slick black metal. But the day has to be given to the mighty Orange Goblin. The fact that the crowd literally spilled out of the tent and created lines at least seven men deep as a huge number of people struggled to watch them can probably attest to the Goblin’s strength on Saturday night. Sludgey, sleazy and soaked in booze and weed, the Goblin were on form and should have been on the main stage. However, the underdog status of the second stage suited them well. Their performance was painfully effortless, and they delivered a strong, sublime set, filling the S.O.P.H.I.E. tent to the rafters with stoner madness. There were also strong performances over at the New Blood stage. Newcastle’s Reflection in Exile were brilliant, and better than many of the bands on the main and S.O.P.H.I.E. stages. Dare I say that they were better than Mayhem? Regardless, they gave their all in the performance and were rewarded with the total attention of a sizeable crowd, pulled into the New Blood stage and away from main stagers Hatebreed. Reflection in Exile are worth watching out for. Saturday’s New Blood headliners, Manchester’s Gone Til Winter, served up a slice of brilliant, dark power metal. Stealing a good size crowd in from Testament– though they deserved many, many more- they performed with their hearts on their sleeves. Vocalist  Talena is a fantastic front woman, with an easy and likeable demeanour and a good amount of stage presence. Their set list included a number of tasters from their upcoming debut LP, Hiding From The Sun. I wish them every success in the future; and good luck to Talena on the forthcoming birth of her baby!

The final day of Bloodstock 2012 dawned with a brilliant performance from epic Canadian metallers Kobra And The Lotus. I think it’s safe to say that Kobra Paige and her troupe of heavy metal warriors won over a new legion of fans on Sunday. And holy hell, can Kobra Paige sing! KATL were a fantastic way to start the final day of BOA, and served up a delightful portion of soaring, traditional heavy metal. Corrosion of Conformity were much better than I thought they would be. I didn’t expect their groovy, sludge metal to be as good as it was, but I was pleasantly surprised. Good set, despite the need for a bass amp half way through! All that can really be said about Nile is that they were fucking brutal. They played a good mix of their stuff, from older material to brand new tracks. My personal highlights were the brutal Sacrifice Unto Sobek, Execration Text and Lashed To The Slave Stick. Their mystical, Egyptological, brutal death metal crushed the arena, and their show was so intensely amazing that it didn’t even matter that the heavens opened part way through. It would be hard for any band to follow such a flawless set, but it could have proven disastrous for Black Dahlia Murder. So many people didn’t want them to be here, and so BDM had an awful lot to prove. But prove it they did. By the end, the crowd had grown into a respectable size and enjoyed their unapologetic brand of death metal mayhem. There were two people in the crowd who certainly enjoyed their set, as their doggy style adventures proved. I think BDM proved many of the haters wrong, and showed that they deserve their place on the line up as much as anyone else. I also dearly hope that Brian Eschbach got his cheesy chips with gravy. As was expected, Bloodstock favourites Evile played to an incredibly enthusiastic crowd and did not disappoint. Even though they seemed endearingly puzzled at the fact that this year saw their fourth year on the line up, they clearly loved being back on the main stage, as did the crowd. The Huddersfield troupe performed a really strong set, including the rabidly received ‘Cult’. Metal underdogs Anvil gave a roaringly successful, and somewhat poignant, performance. They were clearly enthused to just still be performing, and were well received. The success of their story was evident by the number of Anvil patches that could be seen on denim and leather jackets throughout the arena, standing side by side with big names such as Judas Priest, Megadeth and Iron Maiden. Well done, Anvil!

Goth/doom veterans Paradise Lost seemed to delight the crowds with a competent set that entertained whilst being slightly sloppy. Their set list spanned their whole career fairly well, so there was guaranteed to be something there for everyone. From a selection that included game changing album Draconian Times, Nick Holmes and his gloomy troupe played reasonably well, and finished with crowd pleaser Say Just Words. Paradise Lost could have been so much better, but with all said and done they were more than satisfactory. A band that did not disappoint was 2008 headliners and ‘special guests’ Dimmu Borgir. I’m not ashamed to say that Dimmu were probably one of the bands I was looking forward to the most all weekend, and they were astounding. They returned to the main stage with a triumphant performance, full of characteristic bombast and malignantly beautiful orchestrations, and oozing with dark charisma. They had the crowd lapping up every single note and ravenously devouring each morsel proffered, from ‘Gateways’ and ‘Dimmu Borgir’ to ‘Puritania’ and ‘Progenies of the Great Apocalypse’, with surprise appearances from ‘Vredesbyrd’ and closer ‘Mourning Palace’. It’s good to see that they have not lost any of the atmosphere brought by ICS Vortex’s clean vocals; in fact, the majestic choral recording created sweeping, epic atmosphere that melted with the brutal nature of the rest of the performance perfectly. A darkly beautiful, flawless set from one of the most professional and well-oiled bands in the industry.

What can I say about Sunday night headliner Alice Cooper? It’s been just over a week since I returned from BOA and I’m still getting over the spectacle of it all. Alice is 64 years old, and he wiped the floor with most of the other people who had been up on that stage before him. He has still got exactly what it is that made everyone fall in love with him back in the seventies, and I hope he never loses it, because he is fantastic. The anticipation started to build from the moment the vast, opaque banner was pulled up in front of the stage, obscuring the set up and preparations underway behind it, and the time it took to get the stage ready to be Coop’d seemed to fly by. The atmosphere in the arena, as Vincent Price boomed out from the speakers, was electrifying with excitement. Everyone was shoulder to shoulder as people squeezed in, trying to get the best view possible of what was to come. And what did come? A performance that showed everyone exactly how it is done. Starting with ‘Black Widow’, the man himself appeared atop a vast, cobwebbed lectern, resplendent in his spider suit, every single audience member dancing on his hands like puppets. A showman to the very end, Alice proceeded to entertain and beguile for an hour and a half that was stuffed with hits, favourites and rare titbits. I can honestly say that Cooper’s set was the best thing I have ever seen. Unlike the normal, pared down festival performances many bands deliver, Alice Cooper put on a full show, complete with guillotine, skewered paparazzo, pyrotechnics, dead dolls and a giant, guitarist chasing Frankenstein’s monster. I don’t think it would be possible for me to choose a favourite track, but the moment Alice donned a white lab coat and red, elbow length gloves during the opening chords of ‘Feed My Frankenstein’, I knew that Bloodstock 2012 had turned into an ‘I was there’ event. I was there to see Alice Cooper conquer, and prove that he is at the absolute pinnacle of rock showmanship. Almost every single band on the line up, from Watain and Dimmu Borgir to Machine Head and Black Dahlia Murder owe something to Cooper. Without Cooper, the rock concert as we know it would not exist. Theatricality and performance in concert would not exist. Without Cooper, the metal world would be a much less colourful place. Catton Hall turned into a cacophony of noise as every person present hoarsely shouted along with ‘Poison’, ‘Hey Stoopid’ and ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’, and whooped with delight as the unmistakable opening riff for ‘School’s Out’ rang out through the arena. Alice finished his set by striding onto the stage, Union Jack in hand, for a fittingly ferocious ‘(I wanna be) Elected’. Alice Cooper was absolutely phenomenal, and I will remember the feeling I got when I was watching him, a man I have looked up to and admired since I was seven years old and first heard ‘Poison’, for the rest of my life.

Bloodstock 2012 was an incredible achievement, crushing records and paying homage to some of the greatest names in modern metal. I’ll see you in 2013.

Hannah O’Flanagan, 2012

Iron Monkey’s Our Problem to be released on vinyl for the first time

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

Our Problem, the classic 1998 album from UK aggro-doomsters Iron Monkey, is due to be released on limited edition vinyl for the first time ever on September 10th.

Our Problem was produced by Andy Sneap (Megadeth, Machine Head, Cradle of Filth, Testament, Exodus, Nevermore) and, along with the band’s self-titled debut album, single-handedly brought the US sludgecore sound to the UK underground.

The release is part of the First Time On Vinyl campaign, which plugs the gaps in the Earache catalogue that have never before been released on LP.

Our Problem will be released on double vinyl housed in a deluxe gatefold sleeve, and includes three bonus tracks taken from the deleted We’ve Learned Nothing split with Church Of Misery.  All profits will be donated to the UK National Kidney Federation in memory of the band’s late frontman, Johhny Morrow.  For more information, click here.

Our Problem is available to pre-order now in these strictly limited colours:

100 – Skol Super Gold (SOLD OUT!)
200 – Weed Green (ALMOST GONE!)
300 – Primate Brown
800 – Black

Pre-order the OUR PROBLEM vinyl now in Europe here or in North America here.

The full track listing for the OUR PROBLEM vinyl is as follows:

SIDE A:
01. Bad Year
02. Supagorgonizer
03. Boss Keloid
04. IRMS

SIDE B:
05. House Anxiety
06. 2 Golden Rules
07. 9 Joint Spiritual Whip

SIDE C:
08. Omi Bozu (Wisdom of Choking)
09. Sleep to Win *

SIDE D:
10. Arsonaut *
11. Kiss of Death *

* Bonus tracks

Iron Monkey‘s self-titled debut album is also available now on limited edition coloured vinyl from the Earache Webstore.

Gypsyhawk premier “Hedgeking” gutar and bass demo vid

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 7th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Gypsyhawk have launched a brand new guitar and bass demonstration video exclusively via GuitarWorld.com. In the video, fans can see exactly how Eric Harris, Andrew Packer, and Erik “Ron Houser” Kluiber perform the song Hedgeking, which is the first single from their sophomore album, Revelry & Resilience. Each instrument is simultaneously visible throughout as Packer and Kluiber trade solos and Harris rips through the song’s catchy melodic bass lines. The Hedgeking demonstration is streaming now here.

In other news, Gypsyhawk will be celebrating the release of their second album, Revelry & Resilience, with an in-store performance at Vacation Vinyl in Los Angeles, Calif. The album release party/performance is FREE and will be held on August 24th at 8:00pm. Additionally, ‘The Great Food Truck Race’-winning Grill ‘Em All truck will be serving their critically-acclaimed, metal-themed burgers before the show from 6:00pm-8:00pm. Gypsyhawk and Metal Blade invite all fans from the greater-LA area to help celebrate the release of Revelry & Resilience and crush some burgers!


Revisiting the electrifying sounds of bullshit-free 70s rock, Gypsyhawk are a breath of fresh air compared to the endless onslaught of breakdown-obsessed bands cluttering up heavy music. Marinating their wares in whiskey and weed, they hurl out blistering riffs and irresistible hooks and grooves, doing their damnedest to ensure that everyone at their shows is having as much fun as they are. With Revelry & Resilience, their second full-length and Metal Blade debut, this vibe bleeds from the speakers from start to finish, determinedly putting a smile on your face and compelling you to throw your hair around, no matter how much or how little you might have. “It’s music for girls to shake their asses to and dudes to bang their heads,” states vocalist/bassist Eric Harris. “It’s good-time rock and roll, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but at the same time we’re not one-dimensional ‘yeah-dude-let’s-party-all-the-fucking-time!’ guys, and I like to think there’s something for everyone in our music.”

Revelry & Resilience will be in stores on August 27th, 2012. Fans can pre-order the album and listen to the first single, Hedgeking, now at metalblade.com/Gypsyhawk.

Gypsyhawk will be performing as part of the Mayhem Festival Cruise alongside Lamb of God, Anthrax, Machine Head, Hatebreed, and their label mates Battlecross, plus many more from December 7th-December 10th. For the complete line up, information, and to book a room, visit mayhemcruise.com.

Bloodstock and the Perils of Mainstream Metal

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , on 12th June 2012 by Hannah

In two months, thousands of hairy, bearded, black- and camo-clad metalheads will make their way across the country, by train, coach, motorbike or car, and descend upon a picturesque part of Derbyshire for the eleventh Bloodstock Festival. After a soggy Download this weekend past, they’ll be hoping for dry weather and clear skies under which to enjoy gallons of beer and three days of non-stop metal. Taking place this year from the 9th-12th of August, Bloodstock promises to be four nights of memorable performances, spanning (as usual) three stages and including acts from unsigned upstarts Infernal Creation right through to legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper. I’ll be going, and I’m personally looking forward to most of the bands on offer, but there are a few I’m not particularly keen on. One act is dividing the fans, however, and in my opinion have been one of the most controversial bookings in Bloodstock’s 11 year history.

Announced only a week ago, Machine Head’s booking as the Saturday night headliner has caused a lot of controversy. Shrouded in ‘secrecy’, but leaked in an interview with Terrorizer magazine, Bloodstock’s organisers have been calling Machine Head one of the most ‘prestigous’ acts they’ve ever managed to acquire, and even though many people have been complaining about this and questioning Machine Head’s Bloodstock pedigree, it’s actually quite accurate to call Machine Head prestigous. For their particular, Bay-Area thrash influenced brand of heavy metal, and out of the number of bands that formed in the early 90’s, they are definitely one of the most successful and long-standing. Machine Head have been producing music for over 20 years. It’s no fluke that they have sold almost two and a half million albums since their debut, Burn My Eyes, in 1994. They have even been given a nod by those over at the Grammy awards. This, I guess, is why many people are complaining. Machine Head are mainstream, you know? They’re the kind of band that 13 year-old wannabes listen to when they’re just getting into metal. They’re heavy enough to feel exciting and dangerous to a young kid, but nowhere near as extreme as a number of the bands on this year’s line up. I mean, Watain, Mayhem, Deicide and Behemoth sharing a stage with Machine Fucking Head?

What I think is important to remember is this: Bloodstock is the main metal festival in the UK. The way that it stays alive, in what is still in many ways a niche market, is by attracting a large and diverse number of people. This means catering to a mass market, and booking some more well known and widely popular bands is one of the ways they will do this. Machine Head are incredibly commercially successful, and with the cancellation of this year’s Sonisphere still looming over festival organisers everywhere, the Bloodstock people will have been feeling quite pressured to deliver the goods. Not only that, but they have the chance to nick a few of the people who would only have been going to Sonisphere- which, by the way, is a rock festival, not a purely metal fest. If that means they have to book someone a bit more radio friendly, then so be it. I’d rather Bloodstock book Machine Head and keep going, than make every single booking elite and super kvlt and run out of money in two years time.

I’m not going to lie; even I will get bored if every single band at Bloodstock is an extreme, super-evil death/black metal band, or a cheesy-yet-epic Euro power metal band. I need variety. And by the time Saturday evening rolls around, I will be incredibly drunk, and definitely in the mood for a little nostalgia. I’ll dance with the best of them and hope against hope that Robb Flynn and his merry men blast out Davidian and Imperium into the hazy summer night sky. If nothing else, Robb isn’t going to take a gobstopper to the head lightly. Whilst Cradle of Filth rightly stopped their set for fear of Paul Allender’s welfare, I’m pretty sure the gobstopper would come off worse in that fight.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m off to get my fork throwing arm in shape for the extreme sport that is Forky Forky. Where did I put that courgette?

Hannah O’Flanagan, 2012

Resurgency – False Enlightenment

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 1st June 2012 by izaforestspirit

Resurgency
False Enlightenment
Due for release: June 2012
Death Metal
Released via: Hellthrasher Productions

‘False Enlightenment’ is the debut album from the Greek death metal band Resurgency.

The storms are brewing… at least that’s what you can hear from the intro to the opening track ‘Craniums of Slain Disciples. It’s just over a minute from that until you actually hear some death metal. By death metal I’m referring to the thrash metal -infused variety akin to the likes of Vader, the growly vocals are definitely similar. There’s also elements of the slower, Morbid Angel-esque death metal evident in the guitar and drum parts of ‘Ending The Beginning’ and ‘Hideous Premonition’.

Other noteworthy tracks include: the Vader-esque ‘Where Despair Dominates’ which features some thrash metal style guitar riffage; ‘Mouth of Hades’ which succeeds in maintaining the ferocity of the music despite the occasional change in pace thanks to the efficiency of the drums and growls. The only disappointment here is ‘Psychosis’ which features some badly executed, high-pitched, Machine Head -style guitar riffs spoiling the overall effect.

4/5 – Pretty good for a debut album. I recommend this to fans of Vader and old Morbid Angel.

Iza Raittila

Lazarus Syndrome – Flatline EP

Posted in Review with tags , , on 10th May 2012 by izaforestspirit

Band: Lazarus Syndrome
Album: Flatline EP
Release date: March 2011
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Label: Self-released

‘Flatline’ is the debut EP from the British melodic death metal band Lazarus Syndrome.

The intro to ‘Forsaken’ features some good guitar riffs. There’s definitely a Machine Head influence in here particularly in the guitar style. As for the vocals, let’s just say that the semi-growls are better suited to the music than the clear wailing, bad ‘radio indie rock imitation’-style vocals. Same goes for the next track ‘Devoured By Conflict’. Then ‘A path Less Travelled’ sees the singer ditch the growls in favor of the aforementioned mellow, clear indie rock style up until the second half of the track when they make a brief reappearance. What a shame!

Luckily the final track ‘Blameless Creator’ has precious few of these indie rock moments as it is focused on the melodic death metal growls and decent guitar riffs making it one of the better tracks on the EP.

2.5/5

Iza Raittila

Avarice – No Mercy Will Be Shown

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 14th January 2012 by Demolithia

Band: Avarice
Album: No Mercy Will be Shown
Release year: 2011
Genre: Metal

Avarice is a recently formed band hailing in the wintercold metaltown Östersund, Sweden. The young terrorizers, which not yet seems to be quite housebroken are between 17 and 19 years of age.Despite the somehow lack of experience, the guys showing of a will of steel, delivering a massive explosion on the three track demo “No Mercy Will Be Shown”, which was recorded int Metalfabriken at Empire Studios, Frösön, Sweden.

Thus some strains of the band´s influences such as Pantera, Lamb of God, Machine Head, Slayer, etc shines through it is still their own merciless sound that dominates through it all.. The demo contains not quite pure fucking thrash or extreme hardcore/deathcore..It is more like psychometal or so to speak. Nevertheless it is extremely qualitive variety metalsamples that is to be heard on this hardknocking fierceful demo!

And as the bands name, Avarice indicates, the guys are hungry to deliver extreme metal, eventhough it somehow leaves something more to wish for, listening to the demo. And I bet that in a couple of years, when they got more experience, this promising band deliver more punch in the face metal to die for..

3.5/5