If you’ve never heard of Primus before then you missed out on a whole world of weirdness ha ha! From the quirky bass slapping persona of founder Les Claypool to ex Possessed Larry LaLonde’s free wheelin’ guitar work, trying to pin a label on the band’s music would be one of the enigmas of the 90s – psychedelic polka rock was just one! “Sailing The Seas Of Cheese” was first released in ’91 and was the band’s major release debut, containing the hits “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” (my personal fave) and “Tommy The Cat” (featuring Tom Waits), both of which received heavy play on MTV with the album itself finally going platinum. Personally supervised by Claypool, this Deluxe re-release has been remixed in Dolby 5.1 Surround and has live bonus tracks of ‘American Life’ and ‘Those Damn Blue Collar Tweekers’ as well as a bass nectar dub remix of ‘Here Come the Bastards’ – still as quirky as ever lol! Comparing it to my original album, the remix hasn’t dramatically added or removed any elements but instead fattened up the sound so you can hear a lot more to tracks like the rippling ‘Is It Luck’ as LaLonde’s guitar licks start to spiral around my mind – dammit, that’s enough weirdness – first time around was band enough! Available in an equally bewildering array of formats from yellow vinyl on randomly selected copies to two six-panel digipak configurations, the audio pack also has four different video streams with trippy looking visualizers, previously unpublished photos and new liner notes. Proof that Primus are still sailing the seas of cheese!
And so the Anvil juggernaut continues….like Frankenstein’s monster resurrected by Sacha Gervasi in their infamous rockumentary, Canada’s never say die 80s metallers soldier on with perhaps their most prophetically titled album. Having ousted longtime bassist Glenn Five, Lips and Robb Reiner are now kicking out the jams with Sal Italiano (ex Cities and longtime Anvil fan friend) – and what can I say, against all the odds, Anvil’s comeback is tighter than ever before! Robb’s drumming is still par excellence – and now with monstrous cowbell – as Lips’s riffs continue to exploit every line in the metal bible of riffola as Sal adds his muscle into making a big bass sound. I’ve always wondered if Anvil were better off as a quartet but this line-up finally answers the question – no! The other thing that jumps out is that “Hope In Hell” is easily the band’s fastest and certainly most energetic album for a while. There’s a new vigor in songs like ‘The Fight Is Never Won’, ‘Call Of Duty’ and ‘Shut The Fuck Up’ – typical Anvil ha ha – but the band’s sound remains timeless and much as critics may find it hard to accept, Lips and Reiner are never gonna change so get over it people. Even more so, “Hope In Hell” is probably the album in recent years closest to those early 80s classics that the band churned out, and this gives us a higher hope that the band are firmly on course to top their legacy.
If you love technical death metal then this will have you in rapture – as one of the original purveyors of this style these New York legends have been going since the mid 80s, having set the blueprint that many would follow in their wake. Deep growing vocals, awesomely fast technical drum work and most of all, Robert Vigna’s outstandingly complex riffs and fearsome technical solos that make him one of death metal’s greatest guitarists define songs like ‘Bound To Order’, ‘God Complex’ and ‘A Spectacle Of Lies’. Despite their ferocity, things have moved on decades later with the band lyrically shifting away from traditional DM concepts to deal with more societal issues ranging from state control to manipulation of the masses by the powerful elites – not to worry, it’s still dark folks ha ha! Likewise the music has also become more palatable, with careful arrangements and subtle melodies here and there skillfully handled by Vigna but in no way detracting from Immolation’s brutality – if anything they enhance it! Like the other technical death metal I rate – Nile – Immolation have masterfully taken their sound to push out the boundaries without weakening their core and “Kingdom Of Conspiracy” is their next outstanding release on their evolutionary journey.
Formed by Type O Negative drummer Sal Abruscato and skillfully aided by Seventh Void guitarist Matt Brown, A Pale Horse Named Death combines the best of 90s Brooklyn from the modern goth of Type O to the melancholy of Life Of Agony adding in the trippy self destruction of Alice In Chains in Abruscato’s vocals. Slow, haunting goth melodies matched by spacey harmonies form the backdrop to Brown’s slithering guitar work although the overall tempo has a fair amount of forward motion, so I wouldn’t call it doom by any means but heading into the dark waters of Danzig or even early White Zombie. There’s a definite swanky NY groove to those bands and A Pale Horse Named Death are no different, swaggering on monster songs like ‘Killer By Night’, ‘Devil Came With A Smile’ and ‘Shallow Grave’, all graced with a blackness that reaches into your soul to blissfully consume it from within.
These Finns literally burst onto the scene a few years back – not in the least courtesy of the steroided shrieks of femme vocalist Nitte Valo, who unbelievably left the band last year despite their triumphal march! Since then they have found Noora Louhimo so the obvious question on this follow up album is – is it “Steel” part 2…? Answer – No! Firstly the music itself has shifted away from Accept style anthemic metal that Nitte was so suited to a more melodic commercial rock metal very close in fact to the latest Lordi (who incidentally have gotten heavier themselves). As such Noora’s vocals are perfect for this, bringing her feminine cat purr vox to songs like ‘Out Of Control’ and ‘Into The Heart Of Danger’. Don’t get me wrong, she can certainly hit the high notes too, judging by the Manowar like ‘Fight Kill Die’ or the piercing ‘Black Ninja’ but I just don’t think Battle Beast need a constant air raid siren right now and in that respect, Noora’s tones fit more into the rest of the band than her predecessor’s. That aside, the central theme of catchy choruses, crunching riffs and blistering solos remains and the renewed line-up on this album has proved that it is still strong, wild and hungry as ever!
America has Marilyn Manson, Norway has Bjørn Alexander Brem – lawyer by day, Gothminister by nite! Tortured by the insanity of eventually being unable to separate this dark reality from imagination, “Utopia” is a concept album along with a feature length horror concert film reflecting the dark wave / goth music Brem composes, along with a hefty amount of theatrics. Laugh you may, but Gothminister have already released 4 albums and played Wave Gotik Treffen, M`Era Luna and the Schattenreich Festival in front of 10,000 people! Highly atmospheric to almost cinematic proportions, songs like ‘Someone Is After Me’, ‘All Alone’ and ‘Helldemon’ feature heaps of samples amidst a strong dance beat – with occasional blast beat flurries – atop of which Brem lays his goth vocals. Strangely no keyboardist is mentioned in the undead line up although they feature both prominently and throughout the album. Still, it’s a small question when what really impresses about Gothminister is that they are probably one of the few bands in their genre who concentrate as much on their music as they do on their make up.
Despite being around for over a decade, this Norwegian modern prog outfit are still only in their early twenties! But such is the lure of leprous that it has seen them being used as Ihsahn’s backing band, as well as touring with Opeth and Therion. Strangely enough, I wouldn’t say that Leprous resemble any of these groups, but highly talented musicians they are, and beautiful their music certainly is! From Einar Solberg’s superb angelic vocals (not to mention his keyboard talents) songs like ‘The Valley’, ‘Salt’ and the epic ‘Contaminate Me’ (with Ihsahn guesting on screams) possess an ambient, almost trance like feel on the one hand whilst at others are dark and melancholic. This is definitely not for those who like their music superficial as Leprous penetrate the layers of your subconscious with crunching bass lines, loads of splash cymbals, hypnotic vocals and amazing, far out melodies – including some cheeky Queen like fiddle work – to create moments of intensity balanced with the magnificence of tranquility.
Gotta admit, when I first saw the cover to “Black Future” I actually thought it was something from Voi Vod, but it is in fact a re-issue of Vektor’s 2009 debut on Heavy Artillery Records. Still, the Voi Vod comparisons are valid given some of the experimental breaks that Vektor undertake – fueled by classic post-apocalyptic films like ‘THX 1138′ and ‘Blade Runner’ – amidst their Teutonic inspired 80s thrash! Throat strained, spat vocals and even more shredding guitar played at break neck speed with dull, thudding drums courtesy of biscuit tin production immediately bring to my mind Kreator’s “Endless Pain”. Yet, some of the melodies are reminiscent of early Rush whilst the dual solos are almost Scandinavian so clearly there’s a lot more to this young Arizonian band whose name was inspired by a biology class. The other thing that’s noteworthy is that despite their obvious speed the actual length of the songs is pretty long (well at least by thrash stakes) which when coupled with the occasional use of space age sounds take Vektor well beyond your run of the mill garden thrashers to space galloping speedsters!
Darkfall are a death / thrash band that have been going since the mid 90s when they were formed by vocalist Thomas Spiwak, who remains the sole founder over successive line up changes too numerous to mention. Well known in their native Austria as well as surrounding countries like Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic where they’ve toured over the years Darkfall are veritable road dogs, having played just about festival and venue you’d care to imagine – clearly they’re one of these bands that will play anywhere if you give ‘em the chance. Musically they reflect their live show, meat n potatoes death / thrash with hoarse vocals a la Kreator, massive power riffs a la Testament and an even more aggressive rhythm a la Behemoth. Songs like ‘War Has Come’, ‘The Gods Await’ and ‘Never Ending Hate’ are clearly made for fist banging, crowd shout outs, and neck snapping headbanging. It’s not Metallica but it’s definitely music for muthas!
Hailing outta England’s cider county of Somerset comes Death By Ki, who mix Metallica with metalcore on this strong armed EP. Mighty rebounding Metalli riffs and Kirk Hammett inspired solos go rocket insane as the band shift into overdrive on songs like ‘Like Oxygen To Fire’, ‘TAO’ and ‘Lights Out’. Vocally, Josh Ayerst effortlessly interchanges between a more soulful James Hetfield and hardcore barks along with some hoarse shout outs from the rest of the band. Formed under two years ago, Death By Ki are formulaic, however, they competently straddle both old and new worlds and that has seen them already touring as far as Eastern Europe, picking up a legion of fans as they spread the word and power of their Sumerian goddess, Ki.
The video was directed by Ioanna Lampropoulou and comes off the band´s tenth studio album “The Scarred People”, out now on Napalm Records
AMBERIAN DAWN’s new music video KOKKO-Eagle of Fire is now online. Video is produced by Routafilmi and directed by Markus Nieminen. Routafilmi also produced our previous ARCTICA video, which has reached about 600.000 views in Youtube already.
French death metal is like Swiss chocolate. Once you’ve tasted it you can’t give it up. So give AFFLICTION GATE a taste and I’ll promise you that you will be happy for a long time. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
BRUTE FORCZ might be new to most people but the people behind the name sure aren’t new to the game. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
Ireland might be known for a lot of things but metal isn’t exactly the first thing you come to think of. Is it because they get lumped in with the British? Or is it because there are no bands. Read thjis interview with CHOSEN’s Paul Shields to find out the answer. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
Dutch CONTROL HUMAN DELETE might seem like a strange entity on paper but once you get to experience it in real life you start to understand its inner mechanics. Anders Ekdahl © 2013
DOLL is in all its simplicity a rather catchy word. You will for sure remember it once you’ve seen it in the context of hardrock/metal/alt. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
With all the bands in the world there is bound to be one or two with the same name. This FEN are from Canada. Interview responses by vocalist/guitarist Doug Harrison. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
If you like your metal Swedish you should check out OCTOBER TIDE if you haven’t already. Interview answered by Emil. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
I don’t get to listen to too much instrumental music but every once in a while along comes a band like SHAKHTYOR that have no vocals and shake about my world. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
When you live on an island in the Mediterranean you might fell cut off but that doesn’t stop VICTIMS OF CREATION from being heavy as hell. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
”The Fifth Season”
Yes, once again this is a band that I know absolutely nothing about. I’ve come upon them before and given on what label they release this album this could be anything from the grandest pagan/folk metal to some of the weirdest sludge to the doomiest to the most freaked out psychedelia.
“Death Of A Hero”
For those of us living in the Öresund region (Sweden and Denmark) we know BAKKEN pretty well. It is an amusement park just north of Copenhagen. I’ve been there as a kid.
I really hope that this band lives up to its name. That this will be one hell of a BURIAL VAULT that will leave me so scarred that I hardly want to visit again.
“Strange Conflicts Of The Past”
Doom metal from Finland, the land of a thousand lakes and probably as many vodka induced suicides. I loved The Reverend Bizarre. They were a damn cool doom metal band that I discovered too late.
“Ghosts Of Proxima Centauri”
I liked CORSAIR the first time I heard them. There was something a bit extra to them that caught my liking. Now that I get to hear even more from them I do it with great anticipation.
(Temple Of Torturous)
When I got into metal back in the 80s black metal was Venom and Witchfynde and Mercyful Fate and the likes. You pretty much knew what to expect.
This EP by Columbian HORDE THOR is actually the B-side to an album called “Roots & Fire”. Yeah I know it sounds strange but that’s the way it is. The A-side has already been released making this a sort of double album.
“Satanae Tenebris Infinita”
Now this is a blast from the past. I don’t think I’ve heard anything by IMPRECATION since the 90s. Can’t say that I remember too much of what they sounded like back then other than it was some sort of American death metal.
If Pulverised from Singapore are the specialist of Swedish metal then American Dark Descent gotta be the expert of all metal Finnish. LANTERN is yet another Finnish band to make its appearance on Dark Descent.
This album might not be the freshest out there but in fair honesty, how many of you have heard of OMEGA REIGN? I thought so. I get an old school metal feel about this lot. Don’t know why but for some reason I picture bands like Oliver Magnum and Gammacide
“Death From Above”
With a band name like that this gotta be some really miserable thrash metal. Or perhaps it is some sort of German joke. I’ll know afterwards if I laugh all the way to the record store to pick this one up or if I’ll leave it in the trash bin.