November 22nd, 2013 at 10:16am
Hardcore Sweet Custom Cupcakes, winner of the recent “Cupcake Wars” on the Food Network, has just made a spicy FEAR FACTORY cupcake. A red velvet and jalapeño cake with cream cheese frosting topped with a chocolate jalapeño candy dusted with cayenne, it is available now at www.hardcoresweetcupcakes.com.
FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares personally sampled the new FEAR FACTORY cupcake when the “Cupcake Wars” winning recipe (not the FEAR FACTORY cupcake) was featured at the grand opening of the month-long haunted music attraction Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare. Rob Zombie himself, who served as a judge on the program, wanted the cupcakes to be vegan and contain extremely spicy ingredients.
November 20th, 2013 at 10:07am
Coven 13 – ‘Destiny of the Gods’ (Shadow Kingdom)
As discovered by brief discussions with peers, Destiny of the Gods, the newest from old school doomsters Coven 13, can be a polarizing record. At least in the vocal department. None can deny however, that their first new album since 1987 is loaded with slick, classic doom riffs.
Those dark and brooding riffs call to mind such acts as Black Sabbath and Cathedral. Lyrically beholden to history and fantasy, the vocals are delivered with passion and drama. Their variation of style (and pitch) from moment to moment may be off-putting for some. Time may change opinions, but this return is definitely worth checking out.
Funeral Circle – ‘Funeral Circle’ (Shadow Kingdom)
Genre: Doom Metal
Funeral Circle take their doom pretty seriously. And their debut self-titled is seriously doomy. This Canadian quintet channels atmosphere from the ethereal realms of darkness, creating spectral riffs and haunting vocals.
Slow-motion groove and howling solos collide with sweeping and epic cleanly sung vocals. A distinct air of mystery pervades Funeral Circle in its entirety, spreading the shadow of the occult across its 50 minute span. Huge riffs and monstrous tone ring with the sound of true doom. Funeral Circle sound far more ancient and reverent than you’d expect from a band not spawned in an archaic European burial ground.
Harsh Toke – ‘Light Up and Live’ (Tee Pee)
Genre: Psychedelic Metal/Stoner Metal
With a name like Harsh Toke and a label like Tee Pee Records, you should know exactly what Light Up and Live sounds like without even hearing its first wah-drenched, fuzzed-out notes. These four songs practically reek of spilled bong water and the jam freak outs are extensive. “Weight of the Sun” clocks in at well over 14 minutes, and it wears out its running time a quarter of the way through.
There’s just nothing on Light Up and Live that labelmates Earthless didn’t do far better earlier this year on From the Ages, their own four-song stoner jam album. You might cough and sputter after taking a hit off of Harsh Toke, but this stuff certainly isn’t getting you high.
Heart of A Coward – ‘Severance’ (Century Media )
New doesn’t mean different; the same old thing comes in new packages every day. On Severance, Great Britain’s Heart of A Coward perform brave new heart surgery on metalcore’s tired elements. Jamie Graham (Sylosis) leaves behind the tattooed demands of his old band and sounds laser sharp. Striking guitars annihilate all tonality.
They’re mathematically precise enough to free the drums from carrying all of the beat. TesseracT champion this technique, but HOAC are their own masters. “Monstro, “Nauseum” and “Psychophant” are genetically mutated organisms of metalcore might. Heart Of A Coward are a cruise missile blasting out the crypts of earlier bands who couldn’t find the target. HOAC vaporize it.
November 19th, 2013 at 9:01am
’77 - Maximum Rock ‘n Roll (Listenable)
Agony Face - CLX Stormy Quibblings (My Kingdom)
Apocalyptica - Wagner Reloaded: Live In Leipzig (BMG)
Bones - Sons Of Sleaze (Planet Metal)
Carne - Ville Morgue (Solar Flare)
Chastain - Surrender To No One (Leviathan)
Coven 13 - Destiny Of The Gods (Shadow Kingdom)
Day Of Execution - Pointless Cause (Mulligore)
Exhale - When Worlds Collide (Pulverised)
Face All Fears - The Breaking Point (Autumn + Color)
Five Finger Death Punch - The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell: Volume 2 (Prospect Park)
Funeral Circle - Funeral Circle (Shadow Kingdom)
Ghost B.C. - If You Have Ghost EP (Loma Vista)
Goresoerd - Asülum (Inverse)
Hanging Garden - I Was A Soldier EP (Lifeforce)
Harsh Toke - Light Up And Live (Tee Pee)
Insomnium - Ephemeral (Century Media)
Iron Mask - Fifth Son Of Winterdoom (AFM)
Kick - Memoirs (Escape)
Lord Fist - Wordless Wisdom of Lord Fist EP (Ektro)
A Perfect Circle - Three Sixty (Universal)
Possession (Belgium) - His Best Deceit (Iron Bonehead)
Psalm Zero - Force My Hand (Last Things)
Sandrider - Godhead (Good To Die)
Saxon - Unplugged and Strung Up (UDR)
Signum Regis - Exodus (Ulterium)
So Many Ways - Seer EP (Staple)
Sons Of Huns - Banishment Ritual (Easy Rider)
Sun and Sail Club - Mannequins (Satin)
Tad Morose - Revenant (Deepsotz)
Theocracy - Theocracy Re-Release (Ulterium)
Tothem - Beyond The Sea (Maple Metal)
Tombstoned - Tombstoned (Svart)
Varga - Enter The Metal (Vargantuan)
Wombbath - Internal Caustic Torments (Pulverised)
November 13th, 2013 at 9:12am
Brutal Truth / Bastard Noise – ‘Axiom of Post Inhumanity’ Split (Relapse)
Genre: Experimental Grindcore/Powerviolence
For their latest split record Axiom of Post Inhumanity, experimental grindcore group Brutal Truth and ambient noisecore/power violence pioneers Bastard Noise are releasing completely different records under the same title. With a 4-track LP and a 6-track CD available, only via digital release can fans hear all seven tracks by Bastard Noise and three from Brutal Truth.
Bastard Noise’s contributions are defined by overwhelming walls of sound, squalling tsunamis of electro-acoustic violence that ripple and smother. The grittier, sharper and more punctuated pieces from Brutal Truth come as almost a relief. Their eerie and half-heard sounds, suffused with strange buzzing and shot through with wriggling feedback and discord, had a great sense of tension to them, but even this crawling dread is gentler that what comes before.
Chronos Zero – ‘A Prelude Into Emptiness…’ (Bakerrteam)
Genre: Progressive Metal
A Prelude Into Emptiness… is an ambitious debut from the Italian bandChronos Zero. It’s epic in scope and sound, a concept record that features several guest appearances.
The prog is augmented by symphonic elements. The arrangements are complex and there’s also a lot of atmosphere. Jan Manenti from Love Must Kill is the vocalist, with female vocals provided by Claudia Saponi (Absynth Aura). The musicianship is excellent, although some of the instrumentals could be trimmed or cut to make things more streamlined.
Cronian – ‘Erathems’ (Season of Mist)
Season Of Mist
Genre: Progressive Black Metal
For the last 18 years Borknagar have been a huge influence on the underground progressive black metal scene. Their guitarist Oystein Brun and vocalist Vintersorg are also working together in the side projectCronian and have recorded their third release Erathems. Containing a lot of the same elements as their main band, one would be hard pressed to hear a major difference.
Where Borknagar are more riff oriented, the songwriting on Erathems is centered around Vintersorg’s wonderful vocal melodies and huge musical soundscapes. The band does an excellent job of balancing aggression and melody throughout the release. An improvement over their last release, Erathems is a fine accompaniment to Borknagar’s stunning 2012 release Urd.
Demonical – ‘Darkness Unbound’ (Cyclone Empire)
Cyclone Empire Records
Genre: Death Metal
Spawned out of the shadows of Centinex, Demonical were formed to return to the roots of death metal. Their fourth full-length releaseDarkness Unbound is a straightforward assault of brutality. Buzzsaw guitars blended with guttural vocals and detuned riffs are straight out of early Swedish death metal icons Dismember and Unleashed.
A new drummer and two new guitarists have joined the band since their last release and their contributions are essential to the release. Demonical do an excellent job of varying their tempos, as “The Healing Control” is a nonstop juggernaut and “King of All” is a doom tinged battering. Another solid record from a band that wears their influences on their sleeve and don’t deviate from a proven formula.
November 12th, 2013 at 8:58am
Artical - Illusion X (Pitch Black)
Brutal Truth/Bastard Noise - Axiom of Post Inhumanity Split (Relapse)
Chronos Zero - A Prelude Into Emptiness (Bakerteam)
Cokegoat - Vessel (Economy Of Motion)
Crawling Chaos - Repellent Gastronomy (Memorial)
Cronian - Erathems (Season Of Mist)
Dark Funeral - In The Sign… Re-Release (Century Media)
Dark Funeral - The Secrets Of The Black Arts Re-Release (Century Media)
Dark Funeral - Vobiscum Satanas Re-Release (Century Media)
Darkmoon Warrior - Nuke ‘Em All (WTC)
Demonical - Darkness Unbound (Metal Blade)
Drugs Of Faith - Architectural Failures (Malokul)
Endstille - Kapitulation 2013 (Season Of Mist)
Epica - Retrospect DVD/CD (Nuclear Blast)
Exivious - Liminal (Season of Mist)
Glorior Belli - Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls (Agonia)
Hammer Fight - Chug Of War (Horror Gore Pain Death)
Handful Of Hate - To Perdition (Code666)
Heart Of A Coward - Severance (Century Media)
Heretics In The Lab - Suture (Sacrifice)
Index For Potential Suicide - The Newest Youth Rebellion Re-Release (Foreign Sounds)
Inner Shrine - Pulsar (Bakerteam)
It’s Casual - The New Los Angeles II (Stoked)
Lamb Of God - As The Palaces Burn Re-Release (Razor & Tie)
Malevolence - Reign Of Suffering (Siege Of Amida)
Man Must Die - Peace Was Never An Option (Lifeforce)
Nocturnal Graves - From The Bloodline Of Cain (Hells Headbangers)
Obliteration - Black Death Horizon (Relapse)
Pentagram Chile - The Malefice (Cyclone Empire)
Pestilence - Obsideo (Candlelight)
Psyclon Nine - Order Of The Shadow: Act I (Metropolis)
The Saddest Landscape & My Fictions - When You Are Close, I Am Gone (Topshelf)
Satan’s Wrath - Aeons Of Satan’s Reign (Metal Blade)
Slave Zero - Disambiguated Visonary EP (Double Standard)
Solstafir - Í Blóði og Anda (In Blood and Spirit) (Season Of Mist)
State Faults - Resonate/Desperate (No Sleep)
Stonecast - Heroikos (Pitch Black)
Thaclthi - Erat Ante Oculos (Avantgarde)
Valkyrja - The Antagonist’s Fire (WTC)
Vastum - Patricidal Lust (20 Buck Spin)
Weekend Nachos - Still (Relapse)
YOB - Catharsis Re-Release (Profound Lore)
November 6th, 2013 at 10:22am
Black Queen – ‘March of the Obsidian Triumvirate’ (Self)
Genre: Death Metal
With an album name like March of the Obsidian Triumvirate, it’s no surprise that the first full-length record from San Francisco’s Black Queen is getting re-released, and once more, it’s being fittingly dispersed right around Halloween. Self-described as ‘witch metal,’ Black Queen’s death metal style bleeds Floridian ala Death or Atheist, and the band’s affinity for horror samples and evil tones makes this quite the All Saints Eve affair.
While the ambient finale, an ode to Lars von Trier’s terrific Antichrist, is a bit fruitless, the early ‘90s aesthetic mixed with the band’s ability to fashion some equally creepy and elaborate compositions makes March of the Obsidian Triumvirate a worthy spin. The keys by Brandon Fitzsimons and the guitar work by Pete Jay, in particular, are scary good.
Convulse – ‘Evil Prevails’ (Svart)
Genre: Death Metal
Finland’s Convulse have achieved a semi-legendary status with a well regarded, old school death metal album in their debut, World Without God, originally released way back in 1991. Since then, Convulse have faltered in fits and starts, but seemed to be on the verge of a triumphant return with a great appearance at last year’s MDF.
Unfortunately, the return falls flat with Evil Prevails, a lifeless death metal album mostly loaded with clichés and not much else. The production is sterile with a decided lack of heaviness and weight, and one definitely gets the impression that the songwriting was mailed in. A few good songs do appear, enough to indicate that there may be some life left in Convulse, but Evil Prevails will be quickly forgotten.
Czar – ‘No One is Alone If No One is Alive’ (Cracknation)
Genre: Progressive Sludge Metal
Even if its atmosphere is decidedly unfriendly, there’s still a whole lot to love about Czar’s sophomore effort No One is Alone If No One is Alive. Playing some type of bastardized progressive and industrial sludge metal in the vein of bands like A Storm of Light or Batillus, Czar’s latest is a heavy-handed dose of mood and stifling rhythm that enjoys wallowing in the shadows.
For a trio, this Chicago act has plenty of variety and sonic weight. At any given time one may hear bands like Mastodon, Amebix, or French madmen Trepalium, but only in semblance. Czar have a hugely atmospheric sound that constantly rewards itself by tackling pathways some may deem too murky. Temperamental and proud of it, No One is Alone If No One is Alive is one affectively glum backhand.
Dagoba – ‘Post Mortem Nihil Est’ (eOne)
Genre: Death Metal
French death industrialists Dagoba, featuring drum colossus Frankie Costanza, continue to evolve their sound after a mid-course correction on 2010’s Poseidon. Less cage-rattling, the album is tightly focused on the strengths of their musical presentation. New guitarist, Z Terzibachian, takes over from Dagoba’s original stringman, Izakar, and brings a fresh polish to tracks “The Realm Black” and “The Great Wonder.”
The sound now has more in common with Gojira than Fear Factory with melody shoving through the bleak groove instead of standing back from the chaotic frenzy that filled Dagoba’s former efforts. It’s a mature milestone for the band.