Kamelot – “I Am The Empire – Live From The 013”

Kamelot – “I Am The Empire – Live From The 013” CD / LP / DVD / Blu-Ray / Deluxe Boxset (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Wow, just how mental is the crowd here at the 013 in the Netherlands?! Clearly keen to be rocked, they couldn’t have picked a better gig than this, because Kamelot, keen to celebrate the success of “The Shadow Theory” in 2018, chose to put on a very special show indeed, inviting the crème de la crème of the symphonic metal scene including Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Charlotte Wessels (Delain), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) and Lauren Hart (Once Human) – just to name a few – to make this an unforgettable night to remember for every fan and musician in attendance. Featuring 21 hand-picked classics from across the band’s discography, drum and keyboard solos, a children’s choir including Thomas Youngblood’s son on ‘Burns To Embrace’ and rounded off by stunning production, mixing and mastering by Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Epica and more), “I Am The Empire – Live From The 013” is 100 minutes of live excitement, exclusive extras and most of all, an audience to rival any on earth! Roaring at times louder than the band themselves, ‘My Confession’, featuring the lush classical crossover string quartet Eklipse, is greeted by generous en masse clapping before the crowd, clearly mad for Kamelot, explodes to the pumping folk melody while contrasted by the stupendously soulful vocals of Tommy Karevik – not forgetting Thomas Youngblood’s made-in-heaven solo – to make this song nothing short of musical perfection. With Alex Landenburg pistoning his double bass drums on ‘Veil Of Elysium’, the flowing, knockout melody has everyone in the 013 with their arms aloft, clapping and singing the thoroughly moving chorus lines of ‘…One day I know we will meet again…In shade of a life to die for…Watching the world through the eyes of a child…In Elysium…’, and thanks to Paeth’s excellent sound, you too are there in the electric atmosphere. Indeed, as the 013 roars to the symphonic majesty on ‘Amnesiac’ with its slick melodies and utterly captivating beats, Landenburg’s vocals, topped off by the guest femme touch, are nothing short of mesmerising prompting a massive crowd chant of the band’s name – and why not, with the sheer range of hit songs on show here proving how this elite level band have consistently delivered over their career, it’s no wonder why their fans are rabid over them! As such, it definitely justifies an extended 14 minute version of ‘Forever’, allowing the band to show their appreciation of this incredible crowd’s undying love with plenty of audience participation as they gallop through the power and passion of chorus lines of ‘…Will you be there…Waiting by the gates of dawn…When I close my eyes forever…’ and indeed, I’m sure that night will stay with those who attended for the rest of their lives. “I Am The Empire – Live From The 013” is a landmark release that will definitely go down as a pinnacle in Kamelot’s history, and without a doubt, a very strong contender for live album of the year!

Brüder4Brothers – “Brotherhood”

Brüder4Brothers – “Brotherhood” (Rookies And Kings/Soulfood)
Battle Helm Rating
What happens when you put together world renowned custom motorcycle manufacturer OCC (Orange County Choppers) as featured on reality TV’s “American Chopper”, with Frei.Wild, the Echo Award winning South Tyrolese / Italian band whose gold and platinum chart-topping albums make them one of Germany’s most successful rock bands? Simple – Brüder4Brothers!! Yes folks, take the vocals of Paul Teutul Sr., Mikey Teutul and Alex Franco, along with a strong distinct American biker rock sound backed by Cowrock soul into the catchy, melodic staple that is Frei.Wild, along with their vocalist / guitarist Philipp Burger’s Germanic singing, and all you gotta do is hit the gas pedal and head off down that road to freedom. Brought together by a deep friendship over the years, as well as sharing events and trips, combined with memories of fun times in the United States and southern Europe is what has resulted in the 10 spirited tracks on this debut album. Going beyond the music, it’s pretty clear that the personalities have a lot to play in pulling off songs like ‘Pussy Or Man’ with its western geetar twang and Teutul Sr.’s bulldawg drawl, although the huge singalong chorus is as catchily melodic as you might expect from Frei.Wild, although the lines of ‘..are you a pussy or a man, or the little bitch in your biker gang, c’mon over and take a pass, shuddup muthafucka or I’ll kick your ass..’ are something else ha ha! Slowing it down with moving country sunset geetars and mixing American and German vocals, the title ‘Freundschaft Brotherhood’ speaks for itself and will resonate deeply among the worldwide biker fraternity through stirring lines like ‘..it’s more than a nation’s flag, because we are united…brothers we will always be, to eternity…’, and completed by a wailing western solo that will long stay in your heart and mind. With the engine motor running, ‘A Man And His Honor’ rolls in ‘…forthright in his desire..’ as a massive, red blooded stadium rocker with Mikey’s vocals backed by musclebound chorus shout outs and pumped harmonies, with the geetars flexing even more soul through their wails and croons – awesome. Through an irresistibly teasing riff, ‘You, Me And The Night’ blends American and German vocals along with subtle orchestrals to hit home on another monster chorus, resplendent with acoustic and electric melodies both subtle and overt, but always capturing your heart. Indeed, thanks to the masterful composing and excellent collaboration of mechanics and musicians, “Brotherhood” goes the whole way along the highway to being more than just a trendy statement!

Terra Atlantica – “Age Of Steam”

Terra Atlantica – “Age Of Steam” (Pride & Joy Music)
Battle Helm Rating
Following up on their 2017 debut “A City Once Divine” comes “Age Of Steam”, continuing the saga of Atlantis, which has risen again in the 19th century to create an industrial revolution that threatens the British Empire, who go to war with it! Notwithstanding the concept, Terra Atlantica’s music is something else altogether, being an excellent brand of German power metal laced with stylish symphonic aspects that make this sophomore well worth a listen. Inspired by the likes of Gamma Ray, Avantasia and Freedom Call, the band was formed in 2014 by singer Tristan Harders and drummer Nico Hauschildt to combine memorable choruses, catchy polyphone vocals and epic orchestrations, which they’ve pretty much succeeded in on the 11 excellent tracks here. Touring with Majesty, Stormwarrior, Grailknights and Victorius, “Age Of Steam” features a range of guests from guitarist / singer Alex Hunzinger (Aeternitas), who once again is arranging the orchestral elements, while singer Oleg Rudych (Magistarium) and Gabriel Tuxen (Seven Thorns) appear as contributors. Mixing and mastering was handled by Marc Wüstenhagen (guitars, Thunder And Lightning) and the cover artwork was created by Dusan Marcovic (Dragony, Symphonity). As a gentle piano introduces ‘Mermaids Isle’, Frederik Akkermann’s clean guitar brings forth its classy melodic riffs to accompany Harders’ flowing vocals in building to the hugely soulful chorus, followed by exquisite soloing and all to a slick rhythm too – wow! Increasing the speed and epic guitar melodies on ‘Age Of Steam’, Harders’ soul, backed by vocal shout outs from the band along the lines of old school Riot, is really given some finesse by Akkermann’s neo-classical work as Hauschildt rolls in his double bass drums to cap off superbly. Rocking back and forth as if on a stormy sea is ‘Forces Of The Oceans Unite’, basking in epic glory through its stirring riffs, passionate orchestrals and rhyming lyrics all leading up to another massively catchy singalong chorus that will simply go down a treat live, complete with a sea of swaying arms aloft! Not forgetting a ballad, here with acoustic guitars and violin driving the emotion on ‘Believe In The Dawn’, Harders’ singing really shows its measure along with the rest of the instruments adding just the right balance into this truly moving song. In contrast is the fast and furious power metal symphony of ‘Rage Of The Atlantic War’ with its glorious chorus lines of ‘…across the skies came an army of demonic knights…’, neo classical breaks and then a cool vocal mix of clean and gruff vocals as the riffs and drums battle it out – although the melodies remain as beautiful as ever. Ending this impressive release with ‘Until The Morning Sun Appears’, it’s all the winning elements brought together in a finale reminiscent of Freedom Call from Harders’ heart calling vocals to the deep, flowing soul of the riffs and melodies, all backed by Hauschildt’s ceaseless double bass drumming that soars with uplift and an abundance of feelgood energy. Truly an enjoyable album with so many good songs, the name Terra Atlantica will long stay with me, even if the British Empire feels menaced by it all ha ha!

Terminal Nation – “Holocene Extinction”

Terminal Nation – “Holocene Extinction” (20 Buck Spin)
Battle Helm Rating
Forever famed in American history as being the town where forced desegregation was ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court, Little Rock, Arkansas is also home to Terminal Nation, a heavy grindcore band who aren’t shy of voicing their own political views into the tinderbox of today’s America. As much influenced by the metallic hardcore of Integrity, Bolt Thrower’s death metal and the powerviolence of Nails, Terminal Nation have issued several EPs prior to the release of debut full length assault. “Holocene Extinction” pulls no punches in its voiced outrage and musical angst captured by a huge, ominous sound thanks to the mastering of Brad Boatright (From Ashes Rise, Integrity, Noisem) of Audiosiege! From the roars of Stan Liszewski to the titanic, crushing guitars of Tommy Robinson and Dalton Rai, the brutal rhythm of Chase Turner and drum destruction of Chase Davis cannot be understated in its demolition capacity, although equally to be acknowledged are the intelligent arrangements, catchy grooves and hardcore melodies that gel the blood savagery with the anarchy on hand. Blasting in on ‘Masterplan’, frenzied double bass drums and cement mixer guitars are excellently contrasted by evil melodies along with plenty of tempo changes, almost erratic at times, but all working to great effect to create an intimidating atmosphere into which Liszewski pours his aggression. Steaming with powerviolence and death metal, ‘Thirst To Burn’ is only 30 seconds long, but its tidal wave effect is felt no less through its dirty distorted guitars, pounding drums and Liszewski’s dry roars in a very old school sound that has been commendably recreated here. In total contrast are the slow, reverb soaked riffs and doom warbles to ‘Orange Bottle Prison’, where Chase Davis’ massive drums and Liszewski’s shouts compete to out power each other as the tremolo guitars wail insanely as if everything is going up in smoke – well, it is if you’re Terminal Nation! Offering a mild (?) respite in the grim, atmospheric instrumental of ‘Expired Utopia’, with its slow, crushing riffs chimed off exquisitely by funeral doom melodies, closer ‘Death For Profit’ continues with a slight ray of sunshine in cleaning up the guitars before blasting for the bleachers in its expletive ridden heavy hardcore of thick menacing riffs, stomping beats, wailing tremolos and band shout outs in an ultimate declaration of dissent. With a near apocalyptic vision of society’s dominoes falling and the hour of reckoning almost at hand, “Holocene Extinction” does little to comfort, indeed, it actually acknowledges a fate for a world that refuses to be saved….

SEPULTURA – welcomes Phil Campbell and Ney Matogrosso to this week’s SepulQuarta session

On this week’s ‘SEPULQUARTA’ session SEPULTURA welcomes legendary Brazilian singer Ney Matogrosso for a live Q&A session in Portuguese, and will also undertake a live quarantine performance of ‘Orgasmatron’ with Phil Campbell (MOTÖRHEAD). Andreas Kisser comments “This next SepulQuarta will be amazing. I’m so happy to announce that we will have a live Q&A with a living legend, the amazing Ney Matogrosso. One of the pioneers of rock music in Brazil with his band Secos & Molhados, he is the most recognisable voice in Brazilian music, we are truly honoured! Plus we will have another living legend jamming with us, our master and brother Phil Campbell from the almighty Motörhead! We will render a beautiful and historical performance of Orgasmatron! Do not miss this! See you all on Wednesday!”

SEPULTURA released their latest album Quadra through Nuclear Blast on February 7th, 2020. The band recently announced their re-scheduled North America tour with SACRED REICH, CROWBAR and ART OF SHOCK for Spring 2021.

Quadra North American tour  with SACRED REICH, CROWBAR and ART OF SHOCK.

06/3//2021 Ace Of Spades – Sacramento, CA United States
07/3//2021 The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT United States NEW!
08/3/2021 Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO United States
10/3/2021 Rave II – Milwaukee, WI United States
11/3/2021 Wildwood – Iowa City, IA United States
12/3/2021 Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN United States
13/3/2021 Harpo’s – Detroit, MI United States
14/3/2021 House of Blues – Chicago, IL United States
15/3/2021 Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA United States
17/3/2021 Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY United States
18/3/2021 Opera House – Toronto, ON Canada
19/3/2021 Corona Theater – Montreal, QC Canada
20/3/2021 Big Night Live – Boston, MA United States
21/3/2021 Theatre Of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA United States
22/3/2021 Soundstage – Baltimore, MD United States
23/3/2021 House of Blues – Cleveland, OH United States
25/3/2021 Underground @ The Fillmore – Charlotte, NC United States
26/3/2021 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA United States
27/3/2021 Culture Room – Ft Lauderdale, FL United States
28/3/2021 The Ritz – Tampa, FL United States
30/3/2021 House of Blues – New Orleans, LA United States
31/3/2021 Parish – Austin, TX United States
01/4/2021 Gas Monkey Live – Dallas, TX United States
02/4/2021 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK United States
03/4/2021 Warehouse Live – Houston, TX United States
05/4/2021 Rockhouse – El Paso, TX United States NEW!
06/4/2021 Van Buren – Phoenix, AZ United States
07/4/2021 House of Blues – San Diego, CA United States
08/4/2021 Ventura Theatre – Ventura, CA United States
09/4/2021 Belasco Theater – Los Angeles, CA United States
10/4/2021 UC Theatre – Berkeley, CA United States

Tickets and VIP bundles are on sale now from: www.sepultura.com.br/tour-dates

Subway To Sally – Königin der Käfer

Chart-breaking, cult-followed German band SUBWAY TO SALLY, featuring remarkable singer Eric Fish and exceptional violinist Ally Storch, have now signed a worldwide record deal with Austrian metal institution NAPALM RECORDS.

Since their foundation in the early 1990s, SUBWAY TO SALLY have established themselves as an integral part of the scene and convince with their unerring symbiosis of folk, heavy metal and rock.  The band’s earlier full-lengths were mainly characterized by bagpipes, flutes and harmonizing acoustic guitar lines. Throughout their successful career, they have increasingly added harsh metal fragments to their music – thus SUBWAY TO SALLY have shaped their expressive trademark sound and have taken the charts by storm. With 13 successful studio albums (DE #4, AT #17 and many more), eight explosive live records and countless impressive live gigs – SUBWAY TO SALLY are now ready to enter a new chapter with NAPALM RECORDS.

SUBWAY TO SALLY on the signing: “We are very much looking forward to working with NAPALM RECORDS and especially to our new album, which will be released in 2021. Especially in the current times it is important to have a reliable partner at your side. That’s why we deliberately chose NAPALM and signed our first, classic record deal after almost ten years of independence!“

Thomas Caser, Managing Director NAPALM RECORDS, states: “We are very happy to welcome SUBWAY TO SALLY – one of the most influential German bands and pioneers of a whole genre – to the NAPALM RECORDS family! With the full extent of our NAPALM RECORDS-power we will do everything to continue the band’s story of success.“

INCANTATION – Entrails of the Hag Queen

Death metal pioneers INCANTATION share the third single and official “Entrails of the Hag Queen” music video from their highly anticipated new album, Sect of Vile Divinities, coming August 21st. Watch the Nader Sadek (Morbid Angel) directed video. Sect of Vile Divinities is out August 21st on CD/LP/Digital via Relapse Records. Physical Pre-Orders are available and Digital Downloads/Streaming .

Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment

On October 2nd, Anaal Nathrakh will release their 11th full-length, Endarkenment, via Metal Blade Records. For a first preview of the album, the title track can be heard now at: metalblade.com/anaalnathrakh – where the record can also be pre-ordered on a number of exclusive formats

Extremity has been Anaal Nathrakh’s stock in trade for more than two decades, and with Endarkenment, they maintain their legacy of aural devastation. However, for all the furor they stir up, the duo have never been a two-dimensional entity, with a great deal of depth involved in everything that they do, and on many levels the new record is distinguished from its predecessors. “I think in terms of feel, it’s brighter, more open and direct than maybe we’ve been in the past,” states vocalist Dave Hunt. “Obviously I don’t mean it’s happy-go-lucky sounding, or suggestive of a sunny disposition. I mean something more like it burns with light rather than glowers with darkness. It’s coruscating.” The evolution since 2018’s towering A New Kind Of Horror has been personal and profound, and is very much in line with that experienced by many of their listeners. “Personally, I feel more cynical, more bitter, with a greater sense that the world is fucked, and is continually re-fucked by people who have no idea what they are doing. Musically, I think we’re more mature – not less frenetic, but better able to channel our energies where they’ll be most effective. That’s an ongoing process, you never finish growing into what you’re doing and being better able to push at the edges of what you can do. But we aren’t interested in evolving what we do, only how we do it. We remain unlike the vast majority of other bands in our sound, and we’re proud of what we do.”

With laying out a plan and then executing it not conducive to the kind of energetic, chaotic vigor Hunt and multi-instrumentalist Mick Kenney look for, the band follow ideas where they are taken by them and work spontaneously. Coining the phrase “riding a dragon” when recording – “making music with a sense that all you can do is hang on” – this very much embodies the tumultuous racket thrown up by Endarkenment, with its storms of blastbeat driven violence, frenzied riffing and panoramic choruses that suddenly change the direction of tracks. “We only really know what an album is like after we’ve finished it. Doing it any other way just wouldn’t be right for us.” One thing that was very clear to the band was the album’s title and how prescient it is in current times, standing as the opposite of the Enlightenment, a movement that went against superstition and ignorance. Writing in the album’s liner notes, Hunt says: “There has been, and continues to be, increasingly widespread rejection of Enlightenment-style values such as rationalism, skepticism, the rejection of faith in favour of judgements dependent on empirically verifiable phenomena and so on. There are local versions in many places, but in our native UK, this was summed up by politician/sinister gnome Michael Gove’s famous claim that we’ve ‘had enough of experts’. Thus we enter the age of endarkenment.” With this as an overarching theme, Hunt, one of the more intellectual lyricists in contemporary metal, penned the lyrics to the record, exploring a diverse range of subject areas and looking in often uncomfortable directions.

The music was tracked entirely in Kenney’s studio in southern California while the vocals were laid down in an industrial estate in Birmingham, UK, in a unit just down the corridor from where an S&M porn was being filmed. “It occurred to me not long ago that we haven’t recorded together at the same place twice for ten years or more, and I think part of the reason for that is that is that the place itself doesn’t really affect us. It changes the experience of actually doing it in terms of being there in person, obviously, but it doesn’t really make any difference to the way we work together. Dedicated studios, expensive gear, acoustically isolated live rooms and so on – they’re all great, I’m sure, but give us a quiet room with a lightbulb, a laptop and a shitty mic and we’ll still do basically the same thing. The music and the atmosphere and the inspiration are in us, not in places or pieces of equipment.”

PRIMITIVE MAN – Entity

PRIMITIVE MAN return after 3 years with the extreme, terrifying and confrontational new album, Immersion; out in less than two weeks on August 14th. Watch PRIMITIVE MAN’s “Entity” music video, directed by Neil C. Barrett.

PRIMITIVE MAN frontman Ethan McCarthy comments: “The inspiration for this video/song is a part personal experience, part Robert Johnson acknowledgment as the originator of taking the left-hand path of music,  and part from a story out of Malachi Martin’s book “Hostage to the Devil” called “The Smiler.”  On tour back in 2014, we stayed with a guy we met named Matt in Baltimore.  He had the book and I read through half of it in an evening.  The story of “The Smiler” really stood out to me and I never forgot it.  Years later when dealing with mental health issues, I kept thinking about the Smiler and how I was feeling as though I was entering “A marriage with nothingness”, embracing the “Naked LIght” and had a “Kingdom Inside of me that they could not destroy.”   The lyrical content of the song places emphasis on mania and depression and how when mixed they can feel as though they are an Entity that lives inside of you, influencing your decisions and you are forced to watch.  When you lose control and are unable to reel it back in, so you reluctantly lean into the chaos.  Self-harm, chaos and isolation.  The cocoon in the video represents the feelings of isolation that come along with these extreme feelings of helplessness, pandemonium, shame, and an irrational and morbid desire to let everything go to shit.   Mix this in with being a touring musician and you get  The old “hellhound on my trail” nod.  But for us, it’s “Demon is catching up.”

Immersion is out August 14th on CD/LP/CS/Digital via Relapse Records. Physical pre-orders are available and Digital Downloads/Streaming .

LIK – Decay

On September 25th, Stockholm’s Lik will unleash their third full-length, Misanthropic Breed, via Metal Blade Records. For a preview of Misanthropic Breed, the video for the first single, “Decay” (directed by Mathias Blom), can be viewed at: metalblade.com/lik – where the record can also be pre-ordered in multiple formats.

Sweden has long been held in high regard as one of the hotbeds of global death metal. With Misanthropic Breed – produced, mixed and mastered by Lawrence Mackrory (Obey Mastering) – Lik only add fuel to this fire. “The title of the record is ‘Misanthropic Breed’, because it describes the world today and the generations that are emerging,” states vocalist/guitarist Tomas Åkvik. “In a way, it’s more applicable than ever with the quote ‘It’s every man for himself’ being so suitable, and it’s also a ‘hidden’ homage to both Dismember and Entombed.”

Far darker in tone and with fewer jokes than included on their previous releases, when it came to lyrical subject matter, the band were influenced partially by movies and books, but most of their inspiration came from looking back at their own catalogue. “The songs are inspired by older Lik songs, and where we could take a new direction from that. Of course there are other bands that we love involved as well, but for example, ‘Female Fatal to the Flesh’ is an evolved take on ‘The Deranged’ from Carnage mixed with ‘Skin Necrosis’ from ‘Mass Funeral Evocation’ (2015) while ‘The Weird’ is an even more brutal ‘Ghoul’ from the same record. Then there’s ‘Corrosive Survival’, which was inspired by the disaster of Chernobyl, and ‘Morbid Fascination’ is like a Metallica/Entombed/Dismember track which turned out really cool. I think the main inspiration is still drawn from old school death metal, which we think is how death metal should be played.”