D-A-D – “A Prayer For The Loud”

D-A-D – “A Prayer For The Loud” (AFM Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Indeed, it doesn’t sound like Denmark’s most famous hard rock band have quietened down in the 8 years since their last release! Originally called Disneyland After Dark, D-A-D have released 11 albums and are well known on the international touring circuit for their no frills but instantly catchy red blooded rock touched by a hint of punk. From adrenaline soaked rockers to heart grabbing ballads, the strong melodies are present throughout and in abundance be it through the vocals and guitar work, going straight for your heart and soul, whether tenderly or to rock you out into the morning! “A Prayer For The Loud” doesn’t err from this winning formula, and despite the band being formed in 1982, it’s amazing how the 11 songs don’t owe their sound or style to any era, but rather the timeless essence of the band themselves, who remain with the same line up of the Binzer brothers, Stig Pedersen and Laust Sonne. Opening with the aptly titled ‘Burning Star’ the clash of raw riffs, hard back beat and luring twanged melodies instantly hook you through the big, live sound to clap and sing along before the magnetic solo just blows you away – wow. Bringing in the blues on ‘A Prayer For The Loud’, the plucked strings do all the talking before the volume hits into the massive chorus dripping with rock energy and passion – a D-A-D trademark if there ever was one! Mid tempo but ever so kick ass is ‘Nothing Ever Changes’ with its groovy melody gliding along to Jesper Binzer’s vocals, the rock energy building through Pedersen and Sonne’s hard hitting rhythm into…well, you guessed it – another monster singalong chorus that would resonate equally in a club or a stadium thanks to the respected talent of this band. Although lighter, ‘The Sky Is Made Of Blues’ is heart grabbing from the off thanks to the soulful, tender blues tinged guitar wailing occasionally and of course, yet more melodies oozing throughout with undying passion. Then there’s the simple acoustic beauty of ‘A Drug For The Heart’, a guaranteed tear jerker especially after the crooning solo, attesting to D-A-D’s composing brilliance, and then some. Sending you off into the night full of rock n roll dreams is ‘Happy Days In Hell’, a mid tempo rocker harking back to the early days with its heavy twanging guitars, raw vocals heaping in the hooks and constant melodies constantly only eclipsed by another award winning chorus. Yeah, D-A-D are back. B-I-G. T-I-M-E.

Emil Bulls – “Mix Tape”

Emil Bulls – “Mix Tape” (AFM Records)

Battle Helm Rating

Close to 25 Years on and this Bavarian alt nu metal band have come a long way since their beginnings in a covent school! Coming off the back of their 12th release “Kill Your Demons” and 2 sold out tours, Emil Bulls have decided to put together a special mix album for their fans. Usually confined to the studio while blowing off excess energy in between recording songs or compiled for long car journeys, it has long been in the life of these guys to play covers and that’s exactly what “Mix Tape” is – 14 of their most favoured tracks from a list of over 300 songs! Special in their hearts from the days of their youth but more importantly being inspirational in staying true and never surrendering, “Mix Tape” is a massive thank you to the fans of Emil Bulls for supporting them over the years, while beckoning them to continue their journey together! Certainly no roughly cobbled together ‘compilation’ of raw demos or outtakes or re-mixes, each artist’s song writing has been analysed and then re-worked carefully into the style of Emil Bulls without losing the original’s special character. Given the sheer diversity of styles on show here I really take my hat off to these guys for pulling this off exactly how they’ve intended, whether its on ‘Survivor’ by Destinys Child to ‘Jesus He Knows Me’ by Genesis and ‘We Built This City’ by Jefferson Starship. More impressively, whilst the likes of Billy Idol (‘Rebel Yell’) and the Pixies (‘Where Is My Mind’) have long been known to me, less familiar were Bruno Mars’s ‘Grenade’, which has been re-worked brilliantly not just to make it heavier but to bring out its deep chorus and harmonies even more, while Placebo’s ‘Every You Every me’ has been made even more melancholic yet also uplifting in its overall radiance – excellent! Ending with MGMT’s ‘Kids’, which although close to the original thanks to that unforgettable melody, the sound instead here is massive, taken to stadium proportions thanks to the heavy chundering grooves that really add…well, balls to it that work a treat. “Mix Tape” is a whole lot more than what its modest title might suggest, and in many cases the work of Emil Bulls has taken those wimpy originals to more beefy levels befitting my appreciation. Respect!

Fleshgod Apocalypse – “Veleno”

Fleshgod Apocalypse – “Veleno” (Nuclear Blast Records)

Battle Helm Rating

The maestros of orchestral death metal have returned! After the bombastic supremacy of “King” comes “Veleno”, meaning ‘venom’ which this 5th album certainly doesn’t lack in whatsoever. If anything, one has to wonder just how these Italians manage to skirt so close to the edge time and again, blending hyper speed death metal with wild, harpsichord pianos, furious string arrangements and massive orchestral effects to achieve their jaw dropping songs reeking of simultaneous savagery and sophistication! Genius or madness, call it what you will, but not even the departure of guitarist/vocalist Cristiano Trionfera and vocalist/guitarist Tommaso Riccardi has dented the silverware of this illustrious band. Up has stepped founder multi instrumentalist Francesco Paoli from drums to now take over the vocals and guitar, joined by drummer David Folchitto (Stormlord) and guitarist Fabio Bartoletti (Deceptionist) – along with a full string quartet, a classical percussionist, a baroque choir and guest musicians in the shape of Maurizio Cardullo (Folkstone) and Daniele Marinelli playing Uilleann Pipes and mandolin respectfully. Together they produce not just a successor to “King” but a masterpiece encompassing the band’s sonic and aesthetic greatness to date! From the opening cannonade of ‘Fury’ with its dense instrumental mix, the nuclear precision propelled drums overdrive the song of multiple vocal styles – including that massively powerful choir – graced by neo classical guitar melodies and of course, the classical instruments themselves adding even more weight to the thunderous sound, or more subtly in their own brilliance. Slowing things down but adding a huge, dark atmosphere on ‘Monnalisa’, quiet in places through evil rasps or unleashing the full symphonic splendour of the choir in all its blissful highs, not to mention some incredibly passionate guitar and a female soprano contrasting with the beastly vocals, few songs could hold my soul transfixed as this did. But the ultimate destroyer for me was ‘Absinthe’, so rocking and raging but equally tender and ever so majestic thanks to its flowing orchestral melodies, the throat raw vocals contrasting superbly with the choir’s baritones, and naturally, those incredible, unrelenting drums. Along with some high speed technical fretboard runs almost bordering on cacophony, yet through a skilfull mix of tempos, the song is fashioned into nothing short of an spectacular concerto. So what more can I say, except bravo and encore!

Sinners Bleed – “Absolution”

Sinners Bleed – “Absolution” (War Anthem Records)

Battle Helm Rating

Hail to the return of Sinners Bleed! Formed in the late 90s, this German death thrash band soon rose to prominence thanks to their acclaimed debut “From Womb To Tomb”, playing Wacken Open Air, Party San Open Air, Inferno Festival, Fuck The Commerce and sharing stages with the likes of Nile, Cryptopsy, Suffocation, Destruction, Dismember, Vader, Malevolent Creation, Sadus, Misery Index and Holy Moses. Sadly, band and personal issues forced Sinners Bleed to go on a lengthy hiatus, however, 16 years later they have returned with a vengeance on “Absolution War”. Still with the original core of Jan Geidner (vocals), Sebastian Ankert (guitar) and Eric Wenzel (drums), along with new members Arne Maneke (guitar) and Henrik Fuchs (bass), one can appreciate what all the fuss was about given they haven’t lost their touch at all – in fact, they’ve actually gotten nastier! With the blistering sound that brings a real menace atmospherically, the 10 tracks also have plenty of technicality dropped in at just the right moments along with dark and heavy metal melodies to ensure the material is catchy and appealing besides its obvious aggression. Comfortably drawing inspiration from both the old days and modern times, songs like ‘Age Of The Crow’ with its powerful technical drumming and hyperspeed riffola inducing plenty of groove to the twisting, catchy melodies set the tone brilliantly thanks to the massive sound – not forgetting Geidner’s grim, guttural drawls. Hammering on in ‘Dawn Of Infinity’ with the guitars chundering while letting out the occasional squeal, Geidner’s hoarse vocals themselves lend to the odd scream but it’s the slow, unhurried passages that allow the menace of the number to soak uncomfortably into your soul even while the solos bring forth neo classical splendour – terrific. Ending with no mercy on ‘Obedience’ as Geidner’s rough roars match the (over) powering drums threatening to smash your eardrums as the dirty guitars whirr and scythe like dark tornadoes before an excellent heavy headbanging passage resplendent with drum rolls and precision beats keeps you on edge for the racing end of frantic fretboard scaling and cymbal decimation. “Absolution” is a fitting return that begs no forgiveness whatsoever!

Entrapment – “Imminent Violent Death”

Entrapment – “Imminent Violent Death” (Dawnbreed Records)

Battle Helm Rating

Soul tearing Swe-deth metal from Holland! Yes boys and girls, Entrapment started off as a one man project in 2010 under the auspices of multi instrumentalist Michel Jonker (Inhumanised, ex-Absorbed, ex-Makiladoras, Suffering Quota, ex-Massive Assault, ex-Descent to Hell, ex-Venders of Smut). Since then he has released 3 full length albums, expanded into a full line up and shared the stage with acts such as Obituary, Sadistic Intent, Sonne Adam, Coffins, Asphyx and Master over the years! The reason for his success is simple: sticking to the classic winning Swe-deth formula while tantalisingly lacing his material with hints of US death metal like Autopsy and equally some evil Slayer influences here and there. Sadly though, it is believed that Entrapment will cease to be an active project after this final album, although I have to say that Jonker has gone out in fine style given the impressive, catchy material here! Screaming in on ‘Sanctifying Putrescent’, the visceral Schuldiner roars work brilliantly in unison with the Slayer guitar wails and diddly dee frenzy backed by hammering drums, while the slow passage of soulful guitar and distorted bass adds an interesting contrast before blast beating back to the end. In tribute to death n roll comes the excellent ‘Sacrilegious Congregation’ with its ultra heavy bass really making for a foreboding beginning before the chopping frenzy is unleashed along with some sickly drawls before a colossal groove does some serious nervous system damage – just what the doctor ordered eh Michel heh heh! Heading to the tropics for the insane Sepu-holocausto of ‘Morbid Habitation’, it’s the speedy punk thrash blitz complete with rock n roll trimmings and droning Sabbath doom soaked riffs that really make you appreciate Jonker’s vision of taking what he likes best and putting it all together. I mean, fuck the rules – prepare for the final blood battle!

DESTRUCTION – Making Of The ‘BORN TO PERISH’ Cover Artwork

Legendary German thrashers, DESTRUCTION, have revealed the cover artwork to their upcoming 17th studio album, »Born To Perish«.   This stunning visualization was created by acclaimed artist Gyula from Hungary, who has also created artwork for ANNIHLATOR, GRAVE DIGGER, STRATOVARIUS, TANKARD and many more.

The album will be released on August 9th, 2019 via Nuclear Blast.

Gyula states”Schmier wanted to get a simple and different image than my previous DESTRUCTION covers. When we discussed the new concept, I was happy with this approach because I had the chance to use a different tool, no painting but ink-drawing style. When the band mentioned the album title, I got the idea of a crest composition without the typical brave lion or eagle but vultures with two heads and we filled the image with several symbols. I love this DESTRUCTION cover – maybe my fave I did for them so far!”

Mastermind Schmier adds:„We wanted something basic this time. I had something like an emblem in mind, a stamp, a DESTRUCTION coat of arms. We had so many great colorful graphical covers in the past, this dark album title needed something different. This record marks the debut of the four piece DESTRUCTION again, I am very happy with the result and that the great Gyula understood right away what direction we wanna go – the album is vicious, dark and hard hitting, the cover-art is the perfect prelude for that!“

»Born To Perish« was recorded in January & February 2019 with VO Pulver (PRO-PAIN, BURNING WITCHES, NERVOSA etc.)  at Little Creek Studios in Switzerland and is the first DESTRUCTION album featuring Randy Black on the drums and new 2nd guitar shredder Damir Eskic!

Tour dates:

21.06.              D         Duisburg – Rage Against Racism
06.07.              HR       Pula – GoatHell Metal Fest
07. – 10.08.     CZ        Jaroměř – Brutal Assault
08. – 10.08.     D         Schlotheim – Party.San Open Air
16.08.              BG       Varna – Rock Fest
31.08.              A          Breitenstein – Metal Escalation Festival

»Killfest 2019 – Part II«
w/ OVERKILL, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM
12.09.              P          Porto – Hard Club
13.09.              E          Madrid – La Riviera
14.09.              E          Barcelona – Salamandra
17.09.              D         Saarbrücken – Garage
18.09.              D         Nuremberg – Hirsch
19.09.              D         Oberhausen – Turbinenhalle
22.09.              D         Herford – X
23.09.              D         Wiesbaden – Schlachthof
24.09.              B          Antwerp – Trix

08./09.11.        D         Weissenhäusser Strand/Ostsee – Metal Hammer Paradise
07.12.              D         Balingen – Crazy X-Mas

Death SS – WHERE HAVE YOU GONE?

DEATH SS, the Italian pioneers of Horror Rock / Metal, teamed up with Skol Records, and will reissue their classic early recordings in the form of four double CD albums. The limited edition series will include the following releases: “The Story Of Death SS 1977-1984” coupled with “The Horned God Of The Witches” (both recorded by the first line up of the band), “In Death Of Steve Sylvester” coupled with “Black Mass” (both recorded by the second line up of the band), and “Heavy Demons” coupled with “The Cursed Concert” (both recorded by the third line up of the band).

Fourth in the series will be a double disc collection of all the original single and EP releases that DEATH SS published in the ’80s and in the ’90s. All the recordings will be mastered from the original sources by Bart Gabriel (CIRITH UNGOL, PAGAN ALTAR, SORTILEGE).

DEATH SS was founded in 1977 by Steve Sylvester, with the aim of forming a group that encompasses all its particular interests for occultism, horror films, erotic comics and rock music, in an original way. The singer, then just a teenager, decided to apply the concept of “glamor” with a strong visual characterization to five characters inspired by stories of terror: the Vampire (the singer), the Mummy (the bass player), the Werewolf (the drummer) , the Zombie (the guitar player) and the Phantom Of The Opera (the keyboard player). DEATH SS literally means “in DEATH of Steve Sylvester” – name chosen to mean the symbolic “DEATH” of the human state of Steve Sylvester (SS) and its rebirth from the beginning under the light of the Occult, without any political reference. Immediately considered a cult band for their shocking and theatrical live shows, they have influenced generations of other bands all over the world, being in fact to be considered as the progenitors of Black Metal, even if musically their formula has always been marked from a constant stylistic evolution record after record.

Their most recent studio album entitled “Rock ‘N’ Roll Armageddon” was released in 2018. Last year Italian label Black Widow Records released a triple CD compilation entitled “Terror Tales – A Tribute To Death SS”, that includes DEATH SS classics performed by bands such as WATAIN, SIGH or BULLDOZER.

MEMORIAM – Karl and Frank discuss the vocals on the new album

Old school metal veterans MEMORIAM are set to unleash their third album, Requiem For Mankind, on June 21st, 2019 via Nuclear Blast Records. In a new album trailer released today, Frank and Karl discuss the vocal style and lyrics on the new record.

Pre-order Requiem For Mankind: http://nblast.de/Memoriam-RFM

The four piece recently announced their debut London show set to take place next month, which will also act as the release show for their upcoming album. On top of this, the band have performances scheduled for Manorfest this coming weekend and at Amplified Festival in July, as one of the Sunday headliners.

Memoriam’s full current UK show dates read as follows:

18 May – Keighley, Victoria Hall (Manorfest)
22 Jun – London, The Underworld
21 Jul –  Gloucestershire, Eastington (Amplified Festival)
18 Oct – Manchester, Rebellion
19 Oct – Glasgow, Slay

The album’s impressive artwork was created again by Dan Seagrave (BENEDICTION, DISMEMBER,HYPOCRISY, SUFFOCATION,…). The colossal songwriting and the first-class recordings have been immortalised through the sublime production work of Russ Russell (NAPALM DEATH, DIMMU BORGIR, AT THE GATES, AMORPHIS, etc.) at Parlour Studios, giving the record raw production values, whilst providing the perfect scenario to showcase the musicianship so beautifully displayed on the album.

HATE – “Sovereign Sanctity”

On June 14th, Hate will release their 11th full-length, Auric Gates of Veles, via Metal Blade Records. For a preview of Auric Gates of Veles, the band has now launched a video for the first single, “Sovereign Sanctity”. Produced by 9LITER FILMY (https://www.9literfilmy.pl) and filmed by Błażej Jankowiak, the clip can be viewed here

Hate’s front-man ATF Sinner comments: “Well here it is, the first visual to our new album – ‘The Auric Gates of Veles’ – for the song, ‘Sovereign Sanctity.’ We feel the video and the song together pass a story that at once conveys our message universally and yet is full of details and symbolism that tell a deeper story. So instead of me telling you about it, I’ll present it to you all with no preface. Just a quick thanks before we start to Błażej Jankowiak and 9LITERFILMY for the massive work done bringing our united vision to life.”

Auric Gates of Veles can be pre-ordered at: metalblade.com/hate – where the record is available in the following formats:
-jewelcase-CD
-limited edition digipak-CD (EU exclusive – includes 2 bonus tracks)
-180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
-slate blue marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
-white / black marbled vinyl (Napalm exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
-black / white splatter vinyl (EMP exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
-black / white split vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
-grey / black marbled vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
* exclusive bundles with shirts, plus digital options are also available!

Since 1991, Hate have lived up to their name, responsible for some of the angriest and most ruthless death metal unleashed upon the world. With 2017’s Tremendum, they took a step toward a darker, more atmospheric, black metal-oriented style and began exploring Slavonic mysticism, and new album Auric Gates Of Veles boldly continues in that direction. “We wanted to go deeper into the subject, both musically and lyrically,” asserts vocalist/guitarist ATF Sinner. “We also wanted to record a sharper and better defined rhythm section, a more death metal-oriented one. When it comes to guitar sound, it was meant to be a wall of sonic destruction with dark ambient elements in the background.” To say that they achieved that which they set out to create is an understatement, for Auric Gates Of Veles is a titanic record that is both more organic and dynamic sounding, and may well be the finest of their storied career.

With the ominous rumble that heralds the commencement of opener “Seventh Manvantara” giving way to a squall of guitars and blastbeats, it is clear that Hate are playing at the top of their game. Progressing through the rampant thrashing and wide open spaces of “The Volga’s Veins”, the haunting, crushing grooves of the title track, the equally sinister and tragic sounds of “Salve Ignis” and concluding with the raw black metal of closer “Generation Sulphur”, it is a diverse record, not content to rehash the same idea eight times. The centerpiece of the album is arguably the six and a half minute epic thunder of “Sovereign Sanctity”, which demands the full attention of the listener from start to finish. “We wanted the songs to sound like anthems, and ‘Sovereign Sanctity’ is a perfect example of such a song. I think it’s also one of the best we have written in years,” Sinner states.

Starting next week, Hate will be touring across North America with Belphegor, Dark Funeral, and Incantation as part of the annual “Devastation on the Nation” trek, before appearing at various European festivals this summer. See below for all dates!

“Devastation on the Nation” tour dates
w/ Hate, Belphegor, Dark Funeral, Incantation
May 17 – San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick
May 18 – Oakland, CA – Oakland Metro
May 19 – Portland, OR – Bossanova Ballroom
May 20 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
May 21 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
May 23 – Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall
May 24 – Denver, CO – Roxy Theatre
May 25 – Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
May 26 – Chicago, IL – Concord Music Hall
May 28 – Cleveland, OH – The Phantasy
May 29 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Place
May 30 – Ottawa, ON – Maverick’s
May 31 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell
June 1 – Boston, MA – Middle East
June 2 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bazaar
June 4 – Baltimore, MD – Soundstage
June 5 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
June 6 – Atlanta, GA – The Loft at Center Stage
June 7 – Tampa, FL – The Orpheum
June 8 – Birmingham, AL – Zydeco
June 9 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
June 10 – Austin, TX – Come and Take it Live
June 11 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar and Grill
June 13 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
June 14 – Mesa, AZ – Club Red
June 15 – Los Angeles, CA – 1720

Hate live
July 19 – Nova Bana, Slovakia – Gothoom Open Air Fest
Aug. 3 – Saint-maurice-de-gourdans, France – Sylak Open Air
Aug. 15 – Barther, Germany – Barther Open Air Fest
Aug. 18 – Saint Nolff, France – Motocultor Fest
Aug. 24 – Susice, Czech Republic – Metal Madness
Aug. 31 – Leipzig, Germany – Torture the Masses Fest

EINHERJER – Mine Våpen Mine Ord

Welcome back to the family, EINHERJER! Napalm Records is proud to announce that the Norwegian Viking Metal legends return after 23 years and the release of Dragons Of The North in 1996!

Napalm Records A&R Sebastian Muench comments:”In 1996 Napalm Records released what today can clearly be described as one of the best Viking / Pagan Metal albums ever written, Dragons of the North. 23 years later it is a pleasure to announce the re-signing of EINHERJER. Welcome back to the Napalm Records family and together we can create yet another masterpiece!“

Frode “Grimar“ Glesnes on the signing: “We’re thrilled to announce that we have signed a worldwide deal with Napalm Records. We’re currently writing the follow-up to 2018’s Norrøne Spor and I can’t wait to see what a powerful entity such as Napalm Records can make out of our Norse Heavy Metal.”

Einherjer was formed by Frode Glesnes and Gerhard Storesund in 1993 and became one of the leading Viking/Pagan metal bands by releasing genre classics as Dragons Of The North, Blot and Norrøne Spor. After 23 years the reunion has finally come and EINHERJER re-signs to Napalm Records with both founding members, Frode “Grimar“ Glesnes and Gerhard “Ulvar“ Storesund. Aksel Herløe and lead guitarist Ole Sønstabø complete the band.