Dee Snider – “For The Love Of Metal”

Dee Snider – “For The Love Of Metal” (Napalm Records) 
Battle Helm Rating
Dee Snider – up for a challenge!?!? Definitely one of the 80s greatest front men and one of metal’s motormouths, Snider called it quits in 2016 after completing a farewell 40th-anniversary tour with legends Twisted Sister. Or so he thought. Seems that Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, a long time admirer of Snider, didn’t think it was time for Dee to retire his unmistakable voice and sold Snider a wild idea to record this album with a younger generation of contemporary artists. And we’re not talking the up and coming talent pool still in nursery but instead the likes of Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy, Toxic Holocaust and Howard Jones! Produced by Jasta, “For The Love Of Metal” is just that, blending the different styles of metal from the above bands along with the more classic sound of Dee Snider to produce this amazing hybrid across the 12 powering tracks on show here. Incredibly, Snider fits in like a glove and whilst I always captivated by his vocal contributions over the years, I never quite realised just how versatile he was and he has truly impressed me on this album! Right from the ripping title track ‘For The Love Of Metal’ with its stomping metalcore beat and punkish guitar melodies, Snider’s voice shouting out ‘..we are all fucking metal!!!…’ not only resonates the strength and passion of his massive personality, but takes the number (and indeed all the songs) to anthemic levels of stadium shaking proportions. With its thick, dirty guitars aptly driving ‘I Am The Hurricane’, Snider’s bitter vocals and forceful echoing tones match this monstrously brooding number drenched in a melancholic darkness reminiscent of Life Of Agony – just angrier, and a whole lot more so. ‘American Made’ continues the crush, the guitars sounding like Harleys while hardcore shout outs contrasting Dee’s soul give rise to burning rubber guitars and wailing solos as the bottom end on the chorus hits balls deep. Then there’s ‘Mask’ which is more identifiably nu metal with its twisting grooves and Dee adding his power and melodic wails like Ozzy while on ‘Become The Storm’ it’s straight back to the 80s on this stadium rocker harking back to ‘Stay Hungry’. Alissa White-Gluz adds her own feminine touch on the dark rock of ‘Dead Hearts (Love Thy Enemy)’ which oozes passion and sultriness across its alt / nu metal tones as Dee’s powerful passion takes the number to climatic levels, backed commendably throughout by White-Gluz showing just how talented these two are beyond their normally associated styles. “For The Love Of Metal” is an all around success for Jasta’s vision reflecting his own faith and brilliance – and Dee, ya still not done ha ha! 

Epica – “Epica vs Attack on Titan Songs”

Epica – “Epica vs Attack on Titan Songs” EP (Nuclear Blast Records) 

Battle Helm Rating

Oh wow, if Epica impressed me on their last release “The Holographic Principle”, then this branch out into film score metal is nothing short of mind blowing! As you can guess, this 8 track EP is based on the Japanese anime “Attack on Titan”, but get this, the original score which was composed by Revo of Linked Horizon, was actually influenced by the music of Epica themselves!! As such, these adaptations could be no better – in fact, they are perfect!!! I can’t begin to describe how excited I am over the 4 songs here, each in its original form but also presented as ‘instrumentals’ less the astounding vocals of Simone Simons – so you don’t need to guess which ones I prefer ha ha. World renowned as masters of beauty-and-the-beast dual vocal symphonic metal, this Dutch band have really exploded in recent years, and the performances here are nothing short of stellar. As the deep horns and ethereal choirs begin the fast paced bombast of ‘Crimson Bow & Arrow’, Simons angelic soul resonates across chopping riffs, flow pianos and hammering double bass drumming beats – not forgetting growling partner Mark Jansen who forms their crucial bond as the two dance out mesmerising melodies and harmonies to blow your mind! Bursting forth with even more symphony is ‘Wings Of Freedom’ which in no small part features the incredible keyboards of Coen Janssen (who also had a large part to play on the arrangements and production) and is very intense track not just for its tempo, but the sheer range of sounds being compressed into its passion from raw screams to Isaac Delahaye’s virtuoso guitar to spoken words and soft folk passages – man, talk about epic. Thankfully giving my heart a rest on the quieter ballad of ‘If Inside These Walls There Was A House’ with Simons gentle vocals and Coen’s tender keys making for a more genteel moment, before ‘Dedicate Your Heart’ with its massive choirs and Simons’s own soprano highs brings a really majestic feel to the number in all its epic glory and passion, not forgetting Ariën van Weesenbeek’s precision beats, more of Delahaye’s blinding guitars and Coen Janssen’s incredible keys. An unbelievable release previously only available in Japan intended specially for the fans there, I’m really pleased the band have now extended this unforgettable experience to the rest of the planet (and probably the galaxy too) ha ha!

Powerwolf – “The Sacrament Of Sin”

Powerwolf – “The Sacrament Of Sin” (Napalm Records) 
Battle Helm Rating
Returning in time for the next full moon is the 7th album from Germany’s most famous lycanthropes! If you never heard these nutters barking before then get ready for so much catchiness lacquered with cheese you’ll find yourself irresistibly howling along to massive melodies, addictive choruses and possessive singalongs that have taken Powerwolf from a sometimes ridiculed underground band to being a headline festival act across Europe. “The Sacrament Of Sin” continues in the same expected winning formula although this time the band are trying out new things too. On ‘Demon’s Are A Girl’s Best Friend’, Falk Maria Schlegel’s keyboards lead the prominent melody along with some creepy sounds that lend to Lordi especially when Attila Dorn delivers the huge singalong in fine operatic style. Seriously giving Sabaton a run for their money on ‘Incense And Iron’ with stirring warrior choruses and a medieval marching rhythm, Dorn pours in his soul to raise more than a few drops of sweat on the eyebrow of ‎Joakim Brodén‎ as well as probably raising it in keeping to Powerwolf’s occult (if tongue in cheek) theme. Then there’s the ballad. I guess it was almost inevitable given 6 prior releases but I have to say that thanks to Schlegel’s epic keyboards and Dorn’s stellar performance along with the spirited solos from the Greywolf brothers ‘Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone’ doesn’t come across as lame but more of an epic song with an abundance of passion. Heading into darker territory is ‘Stossgebet’, a heavy symphonic piece with prominent German vocals and gothic electronica which once again the band pull off extremely well, clearly showcasing the members’ talents perhaps to answer their early critics. Thankfully old time fans haven’t been forgotten and the rapid fire title track ‘The Sacrament Of Sin’ with its double bass drumming, massive church organs and huge singalong melodies led by Dorn’s soaring vocals has all the glory of the past, cemented by closer ‘Fist By Fist’ which is even more classic Powerwolf with its rhyming lyrics, dramatic melodies and yep, you guessed it, monster chorus made to decimate open air audiences the world over!!! Definitely their most diverse album to date with variations and new elements, but commendably pulled off by still keeping to the band’s core sound, Powerwolf’s 7th album is another red blooded feast that will satiate the hunger when the full moon is arisen.

Graham Bonnet Band – “Meanwhile, Back In The Garage”

Graham Bonnet Band – “Meanwhile, Back In The Garage” CD / DVD (Frontiers Music) 

Battle Helm Rating

You’ve gotta admire the man, aged 70 and still going with a voice that sounds as good as when he was singing for Rainbow and Michael Schenker. In fact, anyone who’s seen Graham Bonnet live on the recent Schenker Fest tours will certainly attest to that and if you actually needed any more proof then “Meanwhile, Back In The Garage” will simply blow your socks off! Rooted heavily in Alcatraz with Jimmy Waldo joining on keyboards, there’s also plenty of Rainbow and Schenker, so it’s 13 tracks of pure hard rock bliss thanks to the superb musicianship of Bonnet’s young band which really allows his own stellar performance to excel. With guitarist Kurt James bringing in the melodic delight of the Scorpions on ‘Incest Outcest USA’ as Bonnet’s own harmonies take it to a higher and higher level, Waldo’s 70s keys excel on ‘Long Island Tea’ in all their pomp glory as the song just pumps and chuggs along to the energetic rhythmic beat of bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone and Mark Benquechea really hitting on those drums. Indeed the energy level remains high throughout the album, even when he slows it down on a cover of Tina Turner’s ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’ from the movie “Mad Max III – Thunderdome”. Best numbers for me though were ‘America…Where Have You Gone’ which was nothing short of 70s majesty, resplendent with crunching hard rock riffs and pomp glory all conspiring to produce superb multiple melodies and needless to say, a magnificently catchy number! Then there was ‘Past Lives’, which was actually melodic metal but balanced by its heavy, brooding passion culminating in yet another grabbing chorus with Kurt James really showing his virtuoso talent but amazingly not upstaging Bonnet who powered out his own screams to match – truly awesome! Definitely the best album Graham Bonnet’s put out in a long time, “Meanwhile, Back In The Garage” is just what classic rock needed right now and mandatory for anyone appreciative of it even in the least.

Jungle Rot – “Jungle Rot”

Jungle Rot – “Jungle Rot” (Victory Records) 

Battle Helm Rating

Mid west legends since the early 90s, Jungle Rot have become a name synonymous with US death metal. That said, this is a veteran band that also skillfully mixes in thrash elements, along with Dave Matrises vocals that combine those styles, even sounding hardcore at times. This self titled 10th release showcases their talents earned over the years through countless tours as well as being a recognisable name, this time working with renowned Dan Swanö (Dark Funeral, Marduk etc) which is definitely reflected in the massive but ultra clear sound across the 10 tracks here, one of which features the guest talents of Destruction’s Schmier no less! With plenty of colossal chundering grooves and malevolent melodies clearly exhibiting the talents of the band in composing brutal but catchy material, it’s equally the intelligent arrangements that allows the songs to be appreciated as top grade death metal, honed over the years into this near perfect mix. Likewise, the lyrics don’t just follow the usual blood n guts formula (although there’s plenty here) with ‘Pumped Full Of Lead’ written by bassist James Genenz in remembrance over the murder of his friend last year and reflected by the barrage of bombastic, double bass driven ferocity of Jesse Beahler and the bitterness and anger inherent in Matrises’s voice. ‘Fearmonger’ is a meat chopper no less, interladen with plenty of whirring diddly dee guitars as Schmier overlays his screech on Matrises’s roars adding even more menace to the track if it wasn’t already so from the music itself with its massive cymbal crashes and wailing guitars – yeah!!! Closing with a cover of Kreator’s ‘Terrible Certainty’ it’s definitely well placed while fulfilling a longtime ambition of Matrise given its inspiration to him forming this band, so needless to say, it’s pulled off masterly while being still identifiable with the band’s signature sound. While returning with what must be their most dynamic and diverse album to date, in the 20 or so years of Jungle Rot they have always stayed true to their course – which is to continue ripping up shit ha ha!

Beyond Carnage – “Profane Sounds Of The Flesh”

Beyond Carnage – “Profane Sounds Of The Flesh” EP (Firecum Records) 

Battle Helm Rating

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot about this Portuguese death metal band – but after the release of this impressive EP, that may be about to change! Playing death very much in the old school style of Death, Six Feet Under and Bolt Thrower, the focus is on massive grim riffs played at crushing pace but equally subject to some speed runs. While that may be the story for thousands of bands over, Beyond Carnage have got it right on the 5 songs here, each and everyone reeking of foreboding but equally class to hit the senses just where it matters. Apparently they have gone through numerous line ups but here seem to have found their feet with this present 5 piece, with all the members delivering the goods be it through the tasty twin guitars of Luís Correia (My Deception) and Joao Amado (Gennoma) that shake and bake your soul through their quality riffing and nasty wailing solos, or João Colosso’s predatory vocals that lock into you and keep you mesmerised. As such, the material flows effortlessly, making for a great listen for anyone wanting to bask in the brilliant brutality of ‘R’lyeh, Mother of All Abominations’, ‘Infectious Parasitic Fungal God’ and ‘Curse Of The Burning Rain’. From composing to arrangements and execution, there’s clearly a fine job that’s been done here, making “Profane Sounds Of The Flesh” EP of the month! Definitely a band to watch out for, let’s hope we keeping hearing more from Beyond Carnage. 

DEE SNIDER – Become The Storm

Hard rock legend DEE SNIDER just released the official music video for the new track “Become The Storm”off his upcoming album For The Love Of Metal.

DEE SNIDER about “Become The Storm”: “It can be a dark world out there for people being bullied, and I know it. With “Become the Storm” I’m hoping to lift them up and help them find the power within to defeat their adversaries. Sound serious? It is.”

For The Love Of Metal was produced by Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta and features contributions from Howard Jones (ex-Killswitch Engage), Mark Morton (Lamb Of God), Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Joel Grind and Nick Bellmore (Toxic Holocaust) and Charlie Bellmore (Kingdom Of Sorrow). The album will be released on July 27th via Napalm Records.

DEE SNIDER on the release:
“I am beyond excited to be working with one of the world’s leading labels for heavy music, it’s a perfect home for this album! I believe there’s something for every hard rock and metal fan on this record and I cannot wait to unleash it on the world July 27th!”

Jamey Jasta comments:
“I’m so happy and proud to have been a part of this project, Dee Snider is an American original, there is no other voice like his on earth, his power and passion really shine through on this album. Metal brings us all together and with Dee still at the forefront, it’s a great time to be a fan of heavy music!”

Howard Jones states:
“To be given the chance to write for AND sing with Dee Snider, one of the men responsible for shaping heavy music as it is today, is an absolute honor. The voice, the mind, the swagger…the man is one of a kind.”

Alissa White-Gluz comments:
“I am honored and humbled to sing alongside such a truly unique and talented soul. I love that Dee Snider has continued to shock people for decades just by being himself. I can’t wait for everyone to hear our duet! It was no easy task matching up to Dee’s level of vocal prowess but I was happy to accept the challenge and I’m in love with the results!”

Touring:

12.07.18 US – Cadott, WI / Rock Fest Grounds
13.07.18 US – Antioch, CA / Contra Costa County Fair Grounds
04.08.18 US – Barbaroo, WI / Ho-Chunk Gaming-WI-Dells
25.08.18 US – Huber Heights, OH / The Rose Music Center
26.08.18 US – Warrendale, PA / Jergels
07.12.18 FI – Oulu / Areena Oulu
08.12.18 FI – Lahti / Jahti Halli
More Dates Coming Soon!

Six Feet Under – Gore Hungry Maniac

Today (July 6th), Six Feet Under has released a new album of previously unreleased material, entitled Unburied, via Metal Blade Records. Produced by Six Feet Under’s Chris Barnes and mixed/mastered by Chaz Najjar at Badlands Recording (Denver, CO), the collection features 9 tracks from the Undead (2012), Unborn (2013) and Torment (2017) sessions; Unburied is only available digitally now at: metalblade.com/sixfeetunder

For a preview of Unburied, a lyric video featuring hand-painted art (created by by Septian Devenom) for the track “Gore Hungry Maniac” can be viewed here

Front-man Chris Barnes comments: “I feel ‘Unburied’ is something special and interesting to release, that is different, being that this is our first digital-only release and the songs are all in their rawest and earliest form. It was also a shame for the songs to just sit there and go to waste – I knew the fans would dig them, and also everyone involved worked so hard writing and putting them together. I always felt like the tracks were excellent Six Feet Under material, and wanted to finish and release them at the time of each release – but there was just so much material that was put together for the ‘Undead’ and ‘Unborn’ sessions, that eight songs were basically left over in the demo stages. Also one song from the ‘Torment’ session that Jeff Hughell wrote – ‘As the Dying Scream’ – was left over in its demo stage as well. Hopefully you enjoy these tracks and it holds you over ’til the next full-length album!”

Unburied track-listing
1. Violent Blood Eruption (Savage/Barnes)
2. Midnight in Hell (Laine/Barnes)
3. Gore Hungry Maniac (Englund/Barnes)
4. Re-Animated (Englund/Barnes)
5. Intent to Kill (Englund/Barnes)
6. The Perverse (Arnold/Barnes)
7. Possessed (Arnold/Barnes)
8. As the Dying Scream (Hughell/Barnes)
9. Skin (Savage/Barnes)

POWERWOLF – Incense & Iron

The Sacrament Of Sin is coming! Next week sees the release of the new POWERWOLF masterpiece The Sacrament Of Sin! As the July 20 release of The Sacrament of Sin approaches, Powerwolf have dropped another new song. Enjoy “Incense & Iron” via a very special lyric video HERE:

POWERWOLF ON TOUR:

Metal Masses 2018
14.07.18 DE – Balingen / Bang Your Head Festival
03.08.18 RO – Rasnov / Rockstad Extreme Fest
05.08.18 FR – Colmar / Foire Aux Vins
10.08.18 ES – Villena / Leyendas Del Rock
16.08.18 DE – Dinkelsbühl / Summer Breeze Open Air
17.08.18 AT – Graz / Metal On The Hill
18.08.18 SE – Falun / Sabaton Open Air

Wolfsnächte 2018
w/ Amaranthe, Kissin Dynamite
26.10.18 DE – Wiesbaden / Schlachthof
27.10.18 DE – Oberhausen / Turbinenhalle
28.10.18 DE – Brussels / AB Main Hall
29.10.18 DE – Hamburg / Mehr! Theater
31.10.18 DE – Berlin / Huxleys
01.11.18 PL – Warsaw / Progresja
02.11.18 DE – Leipzig / Haus Auensee
04.11.18 HU – Budapest / Barba Negra
06.11.18 AT – Vienna / Arena
07.11.18 IT – Milan / Live Club
09.11.18 DE – Munich / Zenith
10.11.18 DE – Ludwigsburg / MHP Arena
11.11.18 NL – Eindhoven / Effenaar
12.11.18 UK – London / Koko
14.11.18 CH – Lausanne / Les Docks
15.11.18 CH – Zurich / Komplex 457
16.11.18 DE – Geiselwind / Music Hall
17.11.18 DE – Saarbrücken / Saarlandhalle

METAL ALLEGIANCE – The Guests on Volume II

METAL ALLEGIANCE began as a celebration of heavy metal, powered by the almost tribal bond shared between the extreme music community’s most revered trailblazers, armed with a list of contributors onstage (and off) that read like a Wikipedia entry on the genre itself.

The band recently announced the release of their sophomore album Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty via Nuclear Blast Entertainment on September 7th, 2018. Today, the second album trailer breaking down the list of special guests is released. Watch as the core four discuss the long list of all-stars that came together on the record as well as the back stories of the collaborations, here

“With this album, we are stretching out to some new places”, comments Mike Portnoy.

Dave Ellefson states, “We kinda have our big, long wish list and that starts to get narrowed down, largely as the tunes come together sometimes with peoples schedules and availability.”

Alex Skolnick adds, “Any time we’re doing one of these albums we put out fillers to see who might be interested including some pretty a-list people. We don’t expect to hear back, that’s fine, but Joe Satriani came back to us.”

Mark Menghi comments, “Trevor (BLACK DAHLIA MURDER) vocals on this record is not what you would think of, of a typical BLACK DAHLIA song. He goes into his early Tom Araya, SLAYER thrash singing voice.”

Pre-order Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty, here:
All formats:  nuclearblast.com/metalallegiance2-pdm
CD:  nblast.de/MetalAllegiance2PDMAZ
Black Vinyl:  nblast.de/MetalAllegianceVinyl
Digital album:  nblast.de/MetalAllegiance2PDMIT

The thrash worshiping new album merges old-school legends with the modern metallers of the scene to produce groove driven, adrenaline soaked anthems while tackling the frustrating state of the world. The list of musicians for Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty include Trevor Strnad (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER), John Bush (ARMORED SAINT), Bobby “BLITZ” Ellsworth (OVERKILL), Mark Tornillo (ACCEPT), Max Cavalera (SOULFLY), Floor Jansen (NIGHTWISH) and Johan Hegg (AMON). It also marks the return of Mark Oseguesda (DEATH ANGEL) and Troy Sanders (MASTODON).

Listen to the first single ‘Mother of Sin’ featuring Bobby ‘BLITZ’ Ellsworth (OVERKILL): https://youtu.be/sxDy11uRxNc

Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty was produced by Mark Menghi and Alex Skolnick while Mark Lewis of MRL Studios handled the mixing and mastering. The cover artwork was created by renowned artist Marcelo Vasco (SLAYER, MACHINE HEAD, SOULFLY, HATEBREED) and Rafael Tavares.

The track list racks up as follows:

1. The Accuser (feat. Trevor Strnad)
2. Bound by Silence (feat. John Bush)
3. Mother of Sin (feat. Bobby Blitz)
4. Terminal Illusion (feat. Mark Tornillo)
5. King with a Paper Crown (feat. Johan Hegg)
6. Voodoo of the Godsend (feat. Max Cavalera)
7. Liars & Thieves (feat. Troy Sanders)
8. Impulse Control (feat. Mark Osegueda)
9. Power Drunk Majesty (Part I) (feat. Mark Osegueda)
10. Power Drunk Majesty (Part II) (feat. Floor Jansen)