Accept – “Symphonic Terror – Live At Wacken 2017”

Accept – “Symphonic Terror – Live At Wacken 2017” 2 CD / DVD/ 3 LP / Blu-Ray (Nuclear Blast Records) 
Battle Helm Rating
Oh wow, as if headlining the world famous Wacken Open Air festival wasn’t a lifetime event in itself, but in 2017 Accept chose to include a 50 piece orchestra – onstage!! Ambitiously splitting their 2 hour set into 3 parts, the first being a mixture of new songs like ‘Pandemic’ and older tracks like ‘Restless & Wild’ performed by the band only, the second part featured guitarist Wolf Hoffmann accompanied by the orchestra playing tracks off his “Headbangers Symphony” solo record, while the best was saved till last with the band and orchestra dishing out the classics in fine style! Certainly a gamble, especially for Wolf Hoffmann delivering his classical material, and even more so via a full blown orchestra at metal’s mecca renowned for its slogan of ‘faster, louder, harder’, suffice to say that on home ground and what must also be said, nothing short of a blinding performance by both band and orchestra, it’s remarkably pulled off putting Accept back on the world map via this monumental package that captures the spectacle in all its splendour, gargantuan sound and most of all, atmosphere. As a longtime fan who saw the band throughout the 80s, needless to say it’s that third section that’s salivating me the most. Despite my loyalty to Udo, kudos has to be given to Mark Tornillo (who I also followed in the 80s when he was in TT Quick) who has come a long way, and on certain tracks like the mighty ‘Stalingrad’ comes pretty damn close to actually sounding like Accept’s legendary vocalist. However, in other places like on ‘Shadow Soldiers’ and a truly epic ‘Dying Breed’ he delivers a masterful performance in his own right. The orchestra, for their part, prove their worth in actually enhancing pure metallic tracks like ‘Fast As A Shark’ and ‘Metal Heart’ by carefully adding emotional depth and peripheral dramatics where needed but without interfering with the actual formula of the songs, thus making these versions truly worthy of sitting in any Accept fan’s collection. Long a dream of Hoffmann to combine the two elements of metal and classical, “Symphonic Terror – Live At Wacken 2017” must have gone well beyond a highlight performance in the band’s career to one of tremendous personal gratification and as a fan, the man and his band (along with the orchestra) have done us proud.

Artillery – “The Face Of Fear”

Artillery – “The Face Of Fear” (Metal Blade Records) 
Battle Helm Rating
With their debut “Fear Of Tomorrow” still considered a cult classic, this Danish thrash band have been on a roll since their reformation just over a decade ago. Steadily releasing albums and returning to touring, Artillery are one of the few old school thrash bands that can proudly proclaim to have generations of fans from fathers to sons and even grandchildren who come to their shows! No spring chickens themselves, the core of the band has always been the Stützer brothers – Michael & Morten – whose heavy but catchy riffing has been the defining point of Artillery ‘s popularity. Now with a solid line up including vocalist Michael Bastholm Dahl and Josua Madsen on drums (both of whom joined in 2012), and continuing to work for the fifth time with producer Søren Andersen (Glenn Hughes, Marco Mendoza, Mike Tramp etc), “The Face Of Fear” is the band’s 9th album, and continues Artillery’s tradition of no frills, but catchy old school thrash. Indeed, the inclusion of limited edition re-recorded tracks like ‘Mind Of No Return’ from their 1982 demo “We Are The Dead” only serves to add even more sauce to this generous goose. Opening ferociously on the title track ‘The Face Of Fear’ the shredding tone of the heavy twin guitars accompanied by Madsen’s twacking snare soon lead to the catchy singalong chorus as Bastholm Dahl adds his own stylistic tones to immediately hook you into the album – no time wasting here! Bringing an epic feel to the slower ‘Thirst For The Worst’ allows the newer lads to showcase their talents through plenty of drum rolls and double bass drumming rhythms, along with lots of soulful and high singing before the Stützers come blitzing in with some truly guitar god soloing both melodic and exotic – wow. Giving Bon Jovi a run for his money on ‘Pain’, the initial plucked guitar intro soon erupts into trademark Stützer power riffing and thundering snare that really puts some steam into this thrash ballad, completed by a classic NWOBHM melodic solo – nice! Chundering heavily back on ‘Preaching To The Coverted’ you soon realise where Metallica got their heavy back end thanks to Peter Thorslund rumbling bass lines, along with some very catchy lead breaks and pure heavy metal solos once again from the Stützers, although it’s Bastholm Dahl’s multiple vocal styles that really ensure the hooks sink in deep here. Artillery once again deliver another solid release resplendent with killers, so if you (still) haven’t heard these guys, I can’t think of a better time to check this classic band out!

Sodom – “Partisan”

Sodom – “Partisan” EP (Steamhammer / SPV) 

Battle Helm Rating

All fired up on the eve of the extensive “TV Headbangers Ball Tour 2018” alongside Exodus, Death Angel and Suicidal Angels, Sodom’s founder frontman Tom Angelripper is equally gleeful at his new line up – and totally killer it is too made up of returning longtime guitarist Frank Blackfire (Sodom, Kreator, Assassin), along with new bloods guitarist Yorck Segatz (Beyondition) and drummer Stefan ‘Husky’ Hüskens (Asphyx, Desaster). Needless to say, little incentive was needed to dish out this napalm 3 tracker EP and given how old school it sounds – not to mention how the band look with bullet belts, denim n leather – this will be lapped up by even those who started with the band in 1981 like me ha ha!!! Fighting out uncompromisingly with the title track ‘Partisan’ there’s a massive rear end from the pounding speed of Hüskens and Angelripper’s own heavy, grunting bass while the power of two guitarists immediately shows in being able to shred, while dishing out catchy licks and neat hooks, and when in unison as a band, massive headbanging grooves. ‘Conflagration’, the EP’s 2nd track matches its apocalyptic theme with razor riffing, stampeding drums, evil screeching vocals and even a dirty punk element but intelligently arranged and using smart tempo changes, powering grooves and catches that not just keep up the intensity, but also interest. Closing with a ripping but ultra tight performance of ‘Tired & Red’ recorded live at this year’s Rock Hard Festival, and intended to welcome the return of Blackfire, who left Sodom in 1989 following the band’s commercial breakthrough on the “Agent Orange” that he played on, this new line-up could hardly present itself in a more impressive manner!

Alunah – “Amber & Gold”

Alunah – “Amber & Gold” EP (www.alunah.co.uk) 
Battle Helm Rating
It’s been a year since the departure of founder vocalist guitarist Sophie Day, who fronted Alunah across 4 albums, including “Solennial” which was released earlier this year. Few actually wondered how and if these Brummie earth muthas could return but hey, they have – and in fine style too! However, as Sophie’s departure was for life choice reasons and given she is still working with the band behind the scenes, hubby guitarist Dave Day wasted no time in finding a replacement in Siân Greenaway – and what a catch she is too! Although not axe wielding like Sophie, Siân’s vocals are more powerful, resonating deeper sultry tones along with a goth touch that is an absolute winner. If you’re wondering if that’s detracted in anyway from the band’s heaviness, then don’t, cos “Amber & Gold” is heavier thanks to Dave cranking his axe up (or down) to an even more fuzzed tone that errs the band more towards Windhand, which is no bad thing! This 4 track self released EP is everything that it might suggest from its lush, suave cover, although it’s hardly commercial, opening with a short psych doom instrumental ‘Mangata’ led by Dave’s lead and Greenaway providing her ethereal harmonies in the wind. Then the title track rolls in on a massive down tuned groove and man, you are just whisked off to never never land as the addictive fuzz tones merge with Greenaway’s utterly possessing vocals and genteel wails – a true siren if there ever was one! Even heavier and more down tuned is ‘Awn’, where Greenaway’s soul contrasts beautifully with the fuzz axe demons of Dave and bassist Daniel Burchmore, before the incredible chorus of her sultry tones mixed with tender background harmonies makes for an ever so deadly mix. The EP ends somewhat bizarrely with a cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’, which although well done and doesn’t lessen the heaviness whatsoever, is somewhat ironic as this is the closest Greenaway actually comes to sounding like her predecessor! Still, if “Amber & Gold” is a foretaste of the splendour to come, then the new Alunah are set for big things, very big things indeed….

Sunflower Dead – “Coma”

Sunflower Dead – “Coma” (Combat Records) 
Battle Helm Rating
Crystallised in 2012 when Michael Del Pizzo (Two Hit Creeper – Vocals, Accordion, Piano), Anthony ‘Jaboo’ Amen (Two Hit Creeper – Lead Guitar) and Jamie Teissere (Droid – Guitar) had the idea of starting a new band, Sunflower Dead have returned with their 3rd album – and a new line up including Christian Olde Wolbers (Fear Factory, Poweflo) on bass and Brian “Brett” Weir (Downplay, Starset) on drums! Playing an alt rock metal style that reflects their name in being able to sooth and touch with heart rendering melodies and croons, while at the flick of a switch turn on massive power grooves along with bark blast roars, Sunflower Dead also exhibit grunge melancholy at times, while the guitar of Amen is nothing short of virtuosic, spewing neo classical solos more akin to a symphonic metal band. Equally, the top notch production from Dave Frontman (Slipknot, Evanescence) delivers nothing short of a huge, arena filling sound which complements the range of the bands Sunflower Dead have toured with from Korn to Avatar to Hell Yeah and Snot. Indeed, it is precisely this reach that attests to the wide appeal of the band, opening with a heavy rhythm on ‘Let Me In’ with its brilliant alt melodies melding superbly with grungy harmonies as Pizzo’s vocals effortless shift from melancholic soul, to rock passion and nu metal roars of ‘….see what the world f—kin made me…’ – awesome. Bringing in a weird but catchy nu metal guitar melody on ‘Victim’, Amen’s soulful guitar couldn’t be more contrasted by Wolbers heavy bass as Pizzo continues the brilliant vocal contrast of tender singing to dark beastly drawls as it all culminates superbly on the singalong chorus. Slowing it down on ‘The Biggest Mistake’, the guitars add their own touch of heavy, dirty riffs complemented by shimmering melodies as the irresistible multiple vocal styles including hardcore shout outs of ‘…f–k you…do what I told you..and be the real you…’  add more layers to the song and indeed define the thick sound of Sunflower Dead’s material across the 9 tracks here. Stripped down to reflect the back-to-basics image of the band, gone are the make up and costumes instead to be replaced by a raw, slavering beast of modern alt metal, and man, does it rock…

Organic – “Carved In Flesh”

Organic – “Carved In Flesh” (Testimony Records) 
Battle Helm Rating
Wow, these guys might be from the Italian province of South Tyrol, but they play old school Boss HM-2 Swe-deth that would cause an avalanche! Formed in 2013, the band released their first EP “Death Battalion” in 2014 and constantly performed live over the years, which certainly shows on the 11 sterling tracks delivered with excellent precision tightness and lashings of brutality!! A four piece who deliver a massive sound comparable to larger bands, expect full marks on the trademark sound of predatory growls, dirty syrup thick riffs along with nasty solos, distorted bass, and needless to say, hammering double bass drums. ‘Der Fotzenknecht’ is nothing short of sandpaper being rubbed in your face, that is, before the nuclear drums from Lukas Hofer drives this short song relentlessly to a catchy beat in all its bloody glory. ‘I, Soulless’ contrasts by starting off eerily through creepy Benni Leiter’s darkly atmospheric guitar, but then the shredding starts…and the chopping rhythms soon have you grooving in bliss as Maxi Careri’s bestial roars build the song with the slow distortion resonating all around before ending as grimly as it started. Hammering in with massive bass ballast from Markus Walder on ‘Macabre Rites’, Hofer is literally smashing the shit out’ve his kit before this epic song slows into full on death n roll and an even slower headbanging passage completed with warbling guitar work. The way this track ebbs and flows is awesome, as controlled by the really tight musicianship that can only be attained through live experience which this young band appear to have amassed. An excellent debut as beautiful as the Alps themselves.

Slash ft Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators – “Mind Your Manners”

Last month, Slash ft. Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators–Slash (guitars), Myles Kennedy (lead vocals), Todd Kerns (bass), Brent Fitz (drums) and Frank Sidoris (rhythm guitar) called out to fans to help create their new live music video at the band’s electrifying two-hour show on the final date of their sold-out fall U.S. headlining tour at the Palladium in Hollywood. Fans shot live footage of the concert via the Cinebody app which was assembled by director and editor Clifton Collins to create the final video.

Slash commented on the video, “It was great to involve the fans to make this video. They did an awesome job! & having Clifton shoot as well as edit it all together was just perfect.”

Slash ft. Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators will continue touring worldwide in support of their acclaimed new album LIVING THE DREAM which spawned the first single, “Driving Rain,” and is officially a Top 5 hit at Rock Radio. In January 2019, the group head to Japan and will continue tours through New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the U.K. including performances high profile festivals such as Rock Am Ring and Download Festival. Expect more tours for 2019 to be announced soon, all current shows are listed below.

LIVING THE DREAM (Snakepit Records/RoadRunner Records) is the third full-length offering from Slash ft. Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators. The Los Angeles Times described the album as, “his best work since the demise of Velvet Revolver. …full of “unexpected funk, boogie, blues and garage rock influences.” While Rolling Stone declared the album, “a biting blues filigree at the end of a riff, weeping solos full of long notes, boogie-woogie riffs.” Elsewhere, Classic Rock hailed, “the bands third and Best Album,‘The Great Pretender’ is the album’s masterpiece and one of the best things Slash has ever done.”  Fuelled by the Top 5rock song“Driving Rain,”its live-action, animated video as well as the best critical acclaim of their career, LIVING THE DREAM debuted with 10, Top 10 chart placements around the world. The first single “Driving Rain”which jumped to#5 this week and climbing– marks the band’s 6th consecutive, Top 10 single at radio and Slash’s fastest-rising single ever in his solo career.

DATE CITY VENUE
Tues 15th Jan Osaka, Japan Hatch
Thurs 17th Jan Tokyo, Japan Studiocast
Sun 20th Jan Beijing, China Beijing Exhibition Hall
Tues 22nd Jan Shanghai, China Modernsky Lab
Fri 25th Jan Tauranga, New Zealand Baypark Arena
Sat 26th Jan Auckland, New Zealand Spark Arena
Mon 28th Jan Sydney Olympic Park, Australia Quodos Bank Arena
Wed 30th Jan Brisbane, Australia Brisbane Convention Centre
Fri 1st Feb Melbourne, Australia Margaret Court Arena
Sun 3rd Feb Perth, Australia RAC Arena

EUROPEAN TOUR
Thurs 7th Feb Offenbach, Germany Stadhalle
Sat 9th Feb Prague, Czech Republic O2 Arena
Sun 10th Feb Vienna, Austria Gasometer-SOLD OUT
Tues 12th Feb Lodz, Poland Atlas Arena
Sat 16th Feb Manchester, UK 02 Apollo-SOLD OUT
Sun 17th Feb Glasgow, UK SEC Hall 3
Tues 19th Feb Doncaster, UK The Dome-SOLD OUT
Wed 20th Feb London, UK Eventim Apollo-SOLD OUT
Fri 22nd Feb Paris, France Zenith
Sat 23rd Feb Brussels, Belgium The Cirque Royal-SOLD OUT
Sun 24th Feb Amsterdam, Netherlands AFAS Live-SOLD OUT
Wed 27th Feb Oslo, Norway Sentrum Scene-SOLD OUT
Thurs 28th Feb Stockholm, Sweden Annext
Sun 3rd Mar Hamburg, Germany Sporthalle
Mon 4th Mar Berlin, Germany Verti Music Hall
Thurs 7th Mar Zurich, Switzerland Samsung Hall
Fri 8th Mar Milan, Italy Fabrique-SOLD OUT
Sun 10th Mar Toulouse, France Zenith
Tues 12th Mar Barcelona, Spain St Jordi Club
Wed 13th Mar Madrid, Spain Wizink Centre
Fri 15th Mar Lisbon, Portugal Lisbon Campo Pequeno

FESTIVAL SHOWS
Fri 7th June Nord, Germany Rock IM Park
Sun 7th June Nürburg, Germany Rock AM Ring
Fri 14th June Castle Donington, UK Download Festival
Sun 16th June Kleylehof, Austria Nova Rock
*Wed 19th June Hannover, Germany Swiss Life Hall
Sat 22nd June Dessel, Belgium Grasspop Metal Meeting
Fri 28th June Piešťany, Slovakia TOPFEST

ACCEPT – Symphonic Terror – Live At Wacken 2017

German heavy metal legends ACCEPT are set to release their new live album Symphonic Terror – Live at Wacken 2017 on November 23rd via Nuclear Blast. Today the band has unleashed a trailer giving fans a taster of what to expect on the stunning live release, which can be seen here

Symphonic Terror – Live at Wacken 2017 will be available in the following formats:
BluRay+2CD Digibook
DVD+2CD Digibook
2CD Digipak
3LP Box (black) incl. booklet, poster
Limited Edition 3LP Box Set (gold) incl. booklet, poster
BluRay+DVD+2CD Earbook
Limited Edition Earbook inc. BluRay+DVD+2CD + signed photo card

PRE-ORDER HERE: nblast.de/AcceptSymphonicTerror

Pre-order the album on iTunes to receive ‘Balls To The Wall’, ‘Symphony No.40’ and ‘Breaker’instantly: nblast.de/AcceptSymphonicIT

Fans can expect a unique, two hour ACCEPT show, shot on August 3rd, 2017 at the legendary Wacken Open Air, where the band played the biggest and most extraordinary show of their career in front of 80,000 fans live at the festival, on top of thousands more fans watching via the live stream! The show was divided into three parts, showing the full creative power of ACCEPT: The first part hosted the premiere of new tracks ‘Die By The Sword’ and ‘Koolaid’, as well as some of their most popular songs, such as’Restless And Wild’ and ‘Pandemic’.

The middle part hosted guitarist Wolf Hoffmann accompanied by a symphony orchestra, presenting a best-of from his recent solo album Headbangers Symphony, which includes metal versions of some of the world’s biggest classical compositions (e.g. Beethoven, Mozart,Vivaldi…). And last but not least, in the final part fans were able to bang their heads to ACCEPT anthems (also accompanied by the orchestra), such as ‘Princess Of The Dawn’, ‘Breaker’, ‘Fast As A Shark’ and’Metal Heart’, as well as to new songs like ‘Stalingrad’, ‘Shadow Soldiers’ and ‘Teutonic Terror’. The finale could be nothing less than an 8 minute version of their eminent hit ‘Balls To The Walls’!

“This was a mash-up of intensity and precision,” Wolf Hoffmann says about the fusion of heavy metal and classical music. “The fans are extremely open-minded,” continues Wolf happy, “but I was nervous ’til the last minute before the show anyway. After all it’s still a metal festival! But I think that, after many years of ACCEPT combining both worlds, fans have started to really accept this concept.”

What started as a world premiere in Wacken and caused quite a stir worldwide (thanks to the live streams) will be continued in early 2019. This means that ACCEPT are planning to tour across Europe with an orchestra in spring 2019! “I really hope we will be able to fulfill our dream – we are working hard on it!” tells Wolf Hoffmann with eager anticipation. “What I can already say now is that there will be lots of optical and musical surprises, that fans of ACCEPT have never experienced before. We want to multiply what we have achieved in Wacken and are happy about every bit of support we get. One thing is for sure: 2019 will be exciting!”

SOILWORK – About The Album Title & Artwork

Swedish visionary metallers SOILWORK have released a brand new video trailer in which singer Björn “Speed” Strid and drummer Bastian Thusgaard talk about choosing a Swedish album title and the artwork of their impatiently awaited 11th album, ‘Verkligheten’, which marks their first in more than three years and also the first to feature Thusgaard on drums, who replaced Dirk Verbeuren in 2016.

Get/listen to the song here: http://nblast.de/SoilworkFullMoonShoals

‘Verkligheten’ is set to be released on January 11, 2019 via Nuclear Blast. The first edition digipack, as well as the vinyl versions, will also contain the exclusive ‘Underworld’ EP, containing 4 more songs (see tracklist below).

The digipack version will also feature special artwork with lavish foil print. The album as well as accompanying merchandise is now available for pre-order in various formats (Digipack + T-Shirt, Digipack, black/orange/purple vinyl as well as digital download/stream).

SOILWORK will embark on an extensive European co-headlining run with label mates AMORPHIS and NAILED TO OBSCURITY as well as JINJER from January 11 through to February 16.

SOILWORK / AMORPHIS + JINJER + NAILED TO OBSCURITY

11.01. D Oberhausen – Turbinenhalle 2
12.01. NL Nijmegen – Doornroosje
13.01. D Hamburg – Markthalle
14.01. DK Copenhagen – Amager Bio
15.01. S Stockholm – Fryshuset
16.01. N Oslo – Rockefeller Music Hall
18.01. D Hanover – Capitol
19.01. D Leipzig – Hellraiser
20.01. PL Krakow – Klub Kwadrat
22.01. RO Bucharest – Arenele Romane
23.01. BG Sofia – Universiada Hall
25.01. H Budapest – Barba Negra Music Club
26.01. A Vienna – Ottakringer Brauerei
27.01. CZ Zlín – Masters of Rock Café
28.01. SK Bratislava – Majestic Music Club
29.01. D Berlin – Kesselhaus
30.01. D Munich – Backstage (Werk)
01.02. D Geiselwind – MusicHall
02.02. D Cologne – Essigfabrik
03.02. B Antwerp – Trix Muziekcentrum
04.02. UK London – Electric Ballroom
06.02. F Paris – Cabaret Sauvage
07.02. F Toulouse – Le Bikini
08.02. E Madrid – Mon
09.02. E Barcelona – Salamandra
10.02. F Lyon – Le Transbordeur
12.02. I Trezzo sull’Adda (MI) – Live Music Club
13.02. D Wiesbaden – Schlachthof
14.02. D Saarbrücken – Garage
15.02. D Stuttgart – LKA Longhorn
16.02. CH Pratteln – Z7

MYRKUR – Juniper

Today, Danish composer, vocalist and classically trained multi-instrumentalist, Myrkur, unveils her powerful new ballad and video, “Juniper”. Director Philippe de Grenade, gorgeously captures her ethereal performance on 16mm film as she stuns listeners with an infectious chorus and lush string arrangements.

Myrkur is Amalie Bruun. For her forthcoming Juniper EP, she’s joined forces with Jaime Gomez Arellano (Ghost, Paradise Lost, Solstafir, Cathedral) at Orgone Studios in Bedfordshire, England. The album’s B-Side, “Bonden og Kragen”, is a solo reinterpretation of a traditional Danish folk song from the 1600s. Together, both tracks exquisitely display Myrkur’s eclectic sound and captivating personality. A limited edition of the 7″ will coincide with the digital release, December 7th on Relapse Records. Pre-order via Relapse.com and on all streaming services .

Myrkur’s 2017 sophomore album ‘Mareridt’, was released to soaring, worldwide critical acclaim from NPR, Rolling Stone, FACT, The Guardian, Revolver, Paste, Decibel and many more. Since then, she’s toured the globe, including direct support slots for The Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, Enslaved and more. Myrkur is currently on her first headlining European run and has confirmed a performance at Roadburn 2019. Check below for a full list of dates.

MYRKUR LIVE DATES:

12/03: SE Stockholm, Vasateatern 04/12 – NO Oslo, John Dee #
12/05: SE Gothenburg, Pustervik #
12/07: DK Aarhus, Voxhall #
12/08: DK Copenhagen, Pumpehuset (Sold Out) #
12/10: PL Poznan, U Bazyla #
12/11: PL Krakow, Kwadrat #
12/13: HU Budapest, Durer Kert #
12/14: AT Vienna, Arena #
12/16: NL Tilburg, 013 KZ #
12/18: UK London, The Dome #
12/19: UK Bristol, The Fleece #
12/20: UK Nottingham, Rescue Rooms #
12/21: UK Glasgow, CCA #
12/22: UK Manchester, Gorilla #
04/11: NL Tilburg – Roadburn Festival ^
07/14: PL Bolkow Castle, Castle Party
08/09 – 08/10: CZ Jaromer, Brutal Assault
# – Jo Quail supporting
^ – Myrkur: Folkesange