December 4th, 2013 at 10:00am
Beastmilk – ‘Climax’ (Magic Bullet)
Magic Bullet Records
Genre: Rock/Post Punk
Imagine the Misfits, Interpol and Nick Cave somehow gave birth to a post-punk baby. Encased in all the goo and the gunk would be a little band called Beastmilk. Now imagine that glorious band released a record called Climax. Well, they have, and it is easily one of the year’s best—and catchiest—albums to date.
From the beginning of “Death Reflects Us” to the final notes of “Strange Attractors,” the album is a 10-track voyage through reverb-drenched rock ‘n’ roll and punk rock. It took me back in time. Suddenly I was young and sitting on my bedroom floor just…listening. Nothing else mattered. Sublime.
Blood Mortized – ‘The Demon, The Angel..’ (Chaos)
Genre: Death Metal
The retro death metal craze seems to be showing no signs of abating, with most of the heavy hitters (Demonical, Tribulation, Entrails) having released albums this year, and good ones at that. Blood Mortized join the fray with The Demon, The Angel, the Disease, an album that doesn’t deviate from the script but gets the job done.
Ditching the overt filthiness of previous works in favor of a more melodic and doom-encrusted aesthetic, a lot of classic Bolt Thrower and early Katatonia influences are discernible here, with the melancholy vibes of “I Leave with Hate” providing effective counterpoint to the buzzing brutality of something like “In the Black Flames of Desolation.” Not a game-changer, but definitely one of the more measured retro DM albums out there.
Cult Of Fire – ‘????’ (Iron Bonehead)
Iron Bonehead Productions
Genre: Black Metal
At first glance, the album cover art and the album title ’मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान’, written in Sanskrit, would lead one to think that Cult Of Fire are from India. Not so; they are from the Czech Republic with members culled from Death Karma, Maniac Butcher, and a few other acts from the country. Cult Of Fire are light years beyond any of these bands, though, with a pleasing and sophisticated approach to mildly symphonic black metal.
Early Emperor and Dimmu Borgir seem to be influences, as Cult Of Fire employ lots of fast riffs, a high-pitched production, and plenty of bombast into their songwriting. South Asian influences do appear in the form of ritualistic chanting and a sitar in the final track, a woefully underused instrument in metal. Cult Of Fire establish a name for themselves with this release.
Eat the Gun – ‘Stripped to the Bone’ (SPV)
Genre: Hard Rock/Alternative Rock
Aside from the obvious double-entendres, Germany’s Eat the Gun play a very unambiguous brand of alternative rock on their fourth long-player,Stripped to the Bone. The trio have found success on the international stage in the past, and the entirely accessible and radio-friendly rock found on this release should guarantee them even more. Playing hooky anthems and bobbing grooves seem to be their forte.
With that said, stringent metal fans will need to seek elsewhere for their daily dose. This particular rock is pebble smooth, and while its toe-tapping qualities should cater to angsty teenage girls, Stripped to the Bone is more guilty pleasure than metal ass-kicking. With that said, “Apocalyptic Blues” and the single “Loner” are pretty catchy.
December 3rd, 2013 at 8:51am
Angelica - Thrive (Frontiers)
Beastmilk - Climax (Svart)
Benedictum - Obey (Frontiers)
Blood Mortized - The Demon, The Angel, The Disease (Chaos)
Cult of Fire - ??????????????????? (Iron Bonehead)
Day Of Vengeance - Crutchless (Red Cord)
Dragonhammer - The X Experiment (My Kingdom)
Eat The Gun - Stripped To The Bone (SPV)
A Hero For The World - Winter Is Coming (Jacob K)
Human Fortress - Raided Land (AFM)
I Exist - From Darkness (Prosthetic)
Immortal Bird - Akrasia EP (Closed Casket)
In Process - Surgery EP (Inverse)
Indoctrine - Unto The Fall (Inverse)
Integrity - Systems Overload Re-Release (Magic Bullet)
Iron Dogs - Free and Wild (Iron Bonehead)
J.J. Hrubovcak - Death Metal Christmas – Hellish Renditions Of Christmas Classics (Self)
Kuolemanlaakso - Musta aurinko nousee EP (Svart)
Mutoid Man - Helium Head (Magic Bullet)
Persekutor - Power Frost (Magic Bullet)
Rabbits - SOS (Eolian Empire)
Rhapsody of Fire - Dark Wings of Steel (AFM)
Ringbearer - The Way Is Shut (Tridroid)
Royal Hunt - A Life To Die For (Frontiers)
Silent Voices - Reveal The Change (Inner Wound)
Sol Negro - Dawn Of A New Sun (Chaos)
Starsoup - Bazaar of Wondersv(Sublimity)
Truth Corroded - The Saviours Slain (AFM)
November 28th, 2013 at 9:26am
November 28th, 2013 at 9:24am
All that Black Friday / Cyber Monday nonsense is upon us again, and for those of a metal persuasion who are so inclined, you too can get some great deals on music.
But luckily you don’t have to get trampled at Walmart to get killer metal at reduced prices, because many labels and distros are offering their deals online.
THE OMEGA ORDER is offering 25% off all vinyl using the promo code “Fire.”
COMATOSE MUSIC is offering a buy 3 get 1 free sale on all CDs that builds up (buy 6 get 2 or buy 9 get 3).
ROXX RECORDS is offering 25% off everything in the webstore Friday, Saturday, and Sunday using the “XMASROXX2013” coupon code.
METAL BLADE RECORDS is hosting a holiday sale giving up to 40% off select vinyl releases.
BLOOD AND INK RECORDS has a deal giving 20% off any item with the code “TY2013” that runs through December 6th, 2013.
The FACEDOWN RECORDS Thanksgiving sale features a variety of albums for $1 – $5 each along with reduced price merch.
CENTURY MEDIA has a variety of delightfully evil winter sweaters and Christmas ornaments for freaking out your family this holidy season.
VICTORY RECORDS will be offering 25% off the entire webstore Black Friday through Cyber Monday, and the label has also released a line of ridiculous holiday band sweaters.
November 27th, 2013 at 9:53am
Almah – ‘Unfold’ (Scarlet)
Genre: Melodic Power Metal
Originally established as a side project for then current Angra singer Edu Falaschi, Almah have now become a full-fledged permanent band with the release of their fourth album Unfold. Falaschi left Angra in 2012 to concentrate fully on Almah, and the extra attention has paid dividends in the songwriting. Following a similar style to his previous band, Almah create memorable melodies with larger than life vocals.
The band doesn’t just stick with power metal influences, as their style builds more from emotion and atmosphere. Unfold is a concept album that is structured around oriental philosophies and the belief of transforming negative events into positive. The guitar playing is out of this world, as the solos are equally tasteful and played with feeling. The release is a surprisingly diverse affair that firmly establishes Almah’s reputation.
Artillery – ‘Legions’ (Metal Blade)
Metal Blade Records
Genre: Thrash Metal
Responsible for 1990′s legendary By Inheritance, Artillery are back with a new vocalist for their seventh full-length release Legions. Their breakthrough album was released at the tail end of the thrash explosion; it has taken time for the band to gain the respect it deserves. The new material incorporates some power metal leanings to go along with their thrash roots.
New vocalist Michael Bastholm Dahl has a melodic vocal approach, which gives the material an added depth. Opener “Chill My Bones (Burn My Flesh)” builds off a middle-eastern motif and explodes into a crushing anthem with an excellent riff and chorus. It’s not as memorable as their late ’80s and early ’90s material, but a nice improvement over recent outings.
Avatarium – ‘Avatarium’ (Nuclear Blast)
Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Doom Metal
After the dissolution of Sweden’s doom legends Candlemass, primary songwriter and bassist Leif Edling has formed a new group Avatariumthat keeps the same spirit as his original outfit. Their self-titled debut is addictive and heavy as an anvil and includes members from iconic bands Tiamat and Evergrey. Unknown female singer Jennie-Ann Smith handles the vocals. Her huge range blends perfectly with the downtrodden and melancholy spirit of the music.
Guitarist Marcus Jidell is a standout. Throughout each song his solos are technical and filled with an amazing amount of feeling. The outro of album closer “Lady in the Lamp” features a breathtaking solo. To have an incredible doom release, the songwriting must have memorable guitar riffs, and Avatarium have loads of them that fill up each song with a funeral dirge spirit.
Chastain – ‘Surrender To No One’ (Leviathan)
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Chastain’s first album in almost a decade also marks the return of vocalist Leather Leone. Surrender To No One is her first Chastain album since 1990′s For Those Who Dare. Original bassist Mike Skimmerhorn also returns after a 20 plus year absence.
Leone’s return is a welcome one. Her distinctive voice along with David T. Chastain’s shredding solos takes the band back to their ’80s glory days. The songs have plenty of heft, but also hooks and memorable melodies. The album has a classic sound, but a modern production and drummer Stian Kristoffersen (Firewind) ensure it’s not just a nostalgia trip.
Circle – ‘Incarnation’ (Ektro)
Genre: Death Metal/Psychedelic Metal
While the members of long-running avant-rock experimentalists Circleare off being Falcon (ex-Circle), they’re loaned out their name to a group of fellow Finns. The resulting album, Incarnation was not what I was expecting.
It starts as a death metal album. Once the title track gets going, it’s brutal death, all growling vocals and anger, but as the track and the album progress, the expected experimentation and well, weirdness becomes more the focus. By the time the driving hypnotic repetition and spacey guitar insanity of “Burden” fades away, this Incarnation has come full Circle. (See what I did there?)
November 26th, 2013 at 8:58am
Aevangelist - Omen Ex Simulacra (Debemur Morti)
Alestorm - Live At The End Of The World DVD/CD (Napalm)
Almah - Unfold (Scarlet)
Angelus Apatrida - Evil Unleashed / Give ‘Em War Re-Release (Century Media)
Artillery - Legions (Metal Blade)
Avatarium - Avatarium (Nuclear Blast)
Black Sabbath - Live…Gathered In Their MassesDVD/CD (Vertigo)
Cemetery Dance - Poser Zombies (Soundflakes)
Circle - Incarnation (Ektro)
Code - Auger Nox (Agonia)
Dark Funeral - Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus Re-Release (Century Media)
Dark Funeral - Attera Totus Sanctus Re-Release (Century Media)
Dark Funeral - Diabolis Interium Re-Release (Century Media)
A Day To Remember - Common Courtesy (Self)
Dead End Finland - Season Of Withering (Inverse)
Deicide - In The Minds Of Evil (Century Media)
Epica - Retrospect DVD/CD (Nuclear Blast)
Ephel Duath - Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness(Agonia)
Eye Of Solitude - Canto III (Kaotoxin)
Falcon - Frontier (Ektro)
Feared - Vinter (Self)
Generation Kill - We’re All Gonna Die (Nuclear Blast)
Hell - Curse And Chapter (Nuclear Blast)
Leaves Eyes - Symphonies Of The Night (Napalm)
Lovijatar - Pimeän Tuoja (Inverse)
Lumbar - The First And Last Days Of Unwelcome (Southern Lord)
Lunar Explosion - Lunar Explosion (Scarlet)
Mad Hatter’s Den - Welcome To The Den (Inverse)
Malthusian - MMXIII (Invictus)
Mortal Decay - The Blueprint for Blood Spatter (Comatose)
Noothgrush/Coffins - Split (Southern Lord)
The Obsessed - The Church Within Re-Release (Real Gone)
Occultist - Death Sigils (Primitive Ways)
A Perfect Circle - Emotive Live (Self)
A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms Live (Self)
A Perfect Circle - Stone and Echo DVD/CD (Self)
A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step Live (Self)
Poison Idea - Kings Of Punk Re-Release (Southern Lord)
Profanatica - Thy Kingdom Come (Hells Headbangers)
Rot In Hell/Psywarfare - Split (Magic Bullet)
Sapiency - Tomorrow (Eclipse)
Split Heaven - The Devil’s Bandit (Pure Steel)
Tidal Arms - Tidal Arms (Black Numbers)
Various Artists - Thrashmageddon Volume 1 (Roxx)
Wolves In The Throne Room - BBC Session 2011 Anno Domini (Southern Lord)
Year Of No Light - Tocsin (Debemur Morti)