Sunday, 28 September 2008

Mini-site For Upcoming New Bloodbath Album Launched

The new Bloodbath minisite for latest album The Fathomless Mastery is now unleashed, to coincide with the October 6th (Europe) & October 28th (North America) release of this latest slab of brutality.

The minisite feature album information, downloads and much more. We also give you the chance to check out the world premiere of two complete audio tracks; ‘Slaughtering the Will to Live’ (currently up on the minisite) and the unholy anthem ‘Mock the Cross’ (currently streaming on Bloodbath’s myspace). The streamed song selections will possibly be changed weekly up ’til the release date, so keep checking back in.

Visit the minisite now by clicking HERE and visit Bloodbath’s myspace by clicking HERE.

Taken from

The Katatonia Season

Here is some Katatonia news that may have been over-looked by some of you!


We can hear many question….

"Why is there no new Katatonia album out by now???"

And you might rightfully think so, our 8th album (and the last in the contract with Peaceville) should have been done and put out "ages ago" if things would've gone according to plan… It's crazy how fast time goes by these days and that doesn't help us much when inspiration runs dry. We've been meaning to enter the studio on many occassions already since two years back and I think we ended up cancelling booked sessions twice. Although it worked successfully every time in the past, it just got us stressed out and pushed us into a phase of writer's block. From this we learned we better not book anything in advance as it stands, but focus on completing 100% of the material, be perfectly happy with what we got and first then hit the studio.

It seems we might pull things together for maximum devotion this time as all current and previous distractions are now gone. The Summer festivals are over and the level of live gigs for the next months are put to a minimum and Bloodbath - our Death Metal sideproject's new album is done too (to be released on October 6th, check it out or all our hard work was for nothing hah!).

So what about the music? Bits and pieces have been collected ever since The Great Cold Distance came out. It's just that we've been trying too hard, been thinking too much about the sound and direction. How can we top this and how can we change that. We've been stumbling around offroad looking for the answers and it ended up being a long walk. We don't find it meaningful to trace your own footsteps back from where you came, but we rather find the first nearest exit to the same road up ahead where we're at to get back on the map again.

I wont give away any hints just yet about how it will sound, but we hope to give you more light on the progress of this untitled embryo as we get closer. What's certain is that we've found a good equation to work with now and that my friends is that it's all about the 8th studio album and the autumn. Here comes the Katatonia season…

Taken from

Spineshank Re-unite

This is probably old news to some of you. I had heard rumours that the mighty Spineshank had re-united, but only discovered their Myspace page, and this press release on there, today.

So this is the press release they posted up on their Myspace page the other week:

"After 5 years of silence, The Grammy nominated Spineshank have reunited. Original Members Jonny Santos, Tommy Decker, Mike Sarkisyan, and Rob Garcia, have been working on a new record. The band has completed 5 songs and plan on writing about 15 more before they start recording their new album. "All the bad blood and differences that led to the break up have all been put behind us" says drummer Tommy Decker. "It feels right again, were not being pressured to write a single or look a certain way, were doing it because we want to". Vocalist Jonny Santos continues, "I think splitting when we did might have been a good decision. We were at a high point in our career, we ended it on our owns terms." Spineshank played its last show to a sold out London Astoria at the end of the Roadrage tour in 2003. The band was nominated for a Grammy for the best metal performance that same year."

I saw them on that tour, in Glasgow, and they were absolutely brilliant live! Was sad to hear they had split, so I'm pretty happy to see they've got back together!!!

Make sure you add them to your friends on Myspace, here's the link:

Friday, 26 September 2008

Psycroptic OB(SERVANT)

Australia's own death metal elite, Psycroptic, are set to release their latest album Ob(servant) today in Europe, and October 14th in the USA, and October 18th in their home country. Shortly after the album's release, the band will embark on an extensive Australian (and New Zealand) tour, covering most of the country for 2 months. The dates are as follows:

30 Oct Branningan’s Gold Coast
31 Oct Rosies Brisbane
1 Nov The Sands Tavern Maroochydoore
6 Nov Sodens Albury
7 Nov The Gaelic Club Sydney
8 Nov Freshly Plucked Festival (All Ages) Orange
13 Nov Al’s Bar Christchurch
14 Nov Valve Wellington
15 Nov Oblivion Auckland
20 Nov The Pub Bendigo
21 Nov The Karova Lounge Ballarat
22 Nov The National Hotel Geelong
28 Nov Fowlers (All Ages) Adelaide
29 Nov The Old Jail (All Ages) Mt Gambier
5 Dec Brisbane Hotel Hobart
6 Dec Saloon Bar Launceston
7 Dec Brisbane Hotel (All Ages) Hobart
11 Dec Players Nightclub Mandurah
12 Dec Amplifier Bar Perth
13 Dec Leederville HQ (All Ages) Perth
18 Dec Home Tavern Wagga Wagga
19 Dec The Basement Canberra
20 Dec Hi Fi Bar Melbourne

Following this tour, Psycroptic well then head over to Europe and do a run of shows with Black Dahlia Murder, Cephalic Carnage and Sylosis. Full details on these shows can be found on the band's Myspace page by clicking

Australian Tour Flier
Click to enlarge

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

CD Review: "Shogun" by Trivium

Trivium have been through a hard time since the release of The Crusade, which was in some peoples view a mish mash of James Hetfield vocals and rehashed Metallica riffs. I could argue the pros and cons of that, but let me get straight to the point here. Shogun is not a Metallica Tribute album. Gone is the overuse of the Hetfield vocals - mostly, ranging from crushing metal growl to Ember to Inferno-esque melodies. I would actually go as fat to say Heafy's vocals have inproved and the musicianship is a hell of a lot tighter.

Although Insurrection has a hint of Metallica to it, it is still Trivium at their best. While the delivery of the line "it is I that sponsers fury, Torches ignite" is classic Hetfield, I'm not gonna hold that against Heafy, it's one of the only places I spotted Hetfield creaping into the vocals again. We see Heafy getting back to what he did on Ascendancy, but with a little more control to his voice.

The solo work and fret massage that takes place on this album is amazing. Standout tracks for this are Insurrection, Of Prometheus And The Crucifix and the title track Shogun. 3 tracks that would have many a metal fan hungry for more. The latter being a little over long at times, but it showcases the bands full use of metal riffs and melody.

He who spawned the furies is another exmaple of classic Trivium. This track would not be out of place on Ascendency. It is such a catchy track that I can see the kids either go mental in the pit or press themsleves against the barrier screaming this one back in Heafy's face.

My main concern is the repetitiveness that appears in places on this album. For example, Throes Of Perdition, Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis & The Calamity have the same sounding intro. A little quick picking fretworked intro. Nice, but no need to overuse it. Still, this does not take away too much from the album as a whole.

Other than that I feel this album may actually win over some Trivium detractors and call some of the wayward old school fans back to the flock. It mixes the best bits from Ascendancy and The Crusade with the end result being a solid album. Almost a full return to form. (8/10)

Shogun is set for release in the UK on September 29th. Check for other release dates.

For a limited time you can hear the whole album for free on the bands Myspace.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Defenders Of The Faith 2

If you loved Defenders Of The Faith, then be prepared, because Metal Hammer have announced a second helping! Yes, next year there will be a Defenders Of The Faith 2!

This time around the co-headliners will be Lamb Of God and Dimmu Borgir! They will joined by Five Finger Death Punch and it appears another act, who will be announced shortly.

The dates for this megatour will be as follows:

11 Feb - Bristol Academy
12 Feb - Birmingham Academy
13 Feb - Manchester Academy
14 Feb - Brixton Academy
15 Feb - Glasgow Academy

First Acts for Wacken 09 Announced!

Next years Wacken will be the 20th Anniversary of the festival, which is pretty exciting in itself, but they have already started announcing some of the bands who will be playing in 2009!

The first two bands announced are:

Machine Head

Excited? I am!

CD Review: "Love and other Disasters" by Sonic Syndicate

Being relative new kids on the block, 2 albums in the space of 2 years after so much touring is a good trick to pull off. The question is, has this speedy output damaged the goods? I would say No, but others may disagree.

Love and other disasters is a prime example of a modern take on the "Gothenborg Sound" (also known as Melodic Death Metal). With bands like In Flames getting mellower with age, the sound they helped create was in no doubt going to get a little shake up. Sonic Syndicate may make the genre more accessible to newcomers, but they in no way dilute its key elements.

Songs like Jack of Diamonds and Power shift are stand out tracks that showcase MDMs classic use of harmony and screaming vocals. With chugging guitar riffs played along side melodic synths. Sing-a-long choruses are always a plus and this album has plenty to choose from. One song that sticks out above all others is the ballad-esque My Escape, with its use of strings and melodic vocals, it wouldn't be out of place on an album by the Used. Not that this is a bad thing. They are merely showing their is more to this genre than repeated riffs and growling vocals.

I do think that, although this is a great album, the songs will only be done proper justice when played live. There is a raw energy to most of these tracks that can only truley be unleashed on stage.

They haven't reinvented the wheel here and some will hold that against them. While others will be comforted by the fact that the winning formula from Only Inhuman is being used with a greater deal of skill and musicianship. All in all this is a solid 3rd album. A perfect addition to a quickly growing discography. It will hopefully go to show the detractors that this band isn't a one trick pony and are here for the long haul. (9/10)

Love and other disasters is out now in Europe and will be released in the US on 23rd September.

Catch them on tour with In Flames and Gojira!!

27 Glasgow Barrowlands Scotland/UK
28 Birmingham Academy UK
29 Manchester Academy UK

01 London Astoria UK
03 Luxembourg Den Atelier LUX
04 Cologne Paladium GER
05 Wiesbaden Schlachthof GER
07 Brussels AB BEL
08 Paris Zenith FRA
09 Tilburg 013 HOL
10 Nancy L’Autre Canal FRA
11 Lyon Tranbordeur FRA
13 Barcelona Razzamatazz 1 ESP
14 Granada La Copera ESP
15 Madrid La Riviera ESP
16 Bilbao Rock Star Live ESP
18 Fribourg Fri-son CHE
19 Munich Zenith GER
20 Vienna Gassometer AT
21 Milano Alcatraz ITA
22 Zurich Volkshaus CHE
24 Dresden Alter Schlacthof GER
25 Berlin Columbiahalle GER
27 Helsinki Cable Factory FIN
29 Stockholm Annexet SWE
30 Stockholm Annexet SWE
31 Oslo Sentrum Scene NOR

November 2008
01 Gothenburg Lisebergshallen SWE
02 Gothenburg Lisebergshallen SWE

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Peter Wichers Rejoins Soilwork!

Oh yes, some excellent news (in my opinion) on the Soilwork front, with former guitar genius Peter Wichers rejoining the band. (Ok, that sounds very biased doesn't it?)

For full information, head to the Soilwork Myspace page:

As you may have guessed, I am pretty excited about this news. Peter is a fantastic song writer, and after leaving Soilwork, he wrote the Out Of The Dark album as part of Nuclear Blast's 20th anniversary, which starred a number of guest musicians from the label. It's a fantastic album, and highlighted how good a writer he is (and perhaps indicated the reason why Soilwork's latest album lacked compaired to previous releases). I'm glad to see the return of such a fantastic musician to the band!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Sonic Syndicate Stream New Album

Swedish metallers, Sonic Syndicate, have been streaming their latest album through their Myspace page. Love And Other Disasters will be released on Monday (in the UK) through Nuclear Blast. Today might be the last day to hear the full album on their Myspace, as it was posted up last Saturday, so make sure you head on over and check it out!!!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Interview With Warpath

Last month, I headed for a weekend of metal madness at the Bloodstock Open Air Festival. I was only really there to see a few bands, but was open to checking out what else was going on. Little did I know I was about to stumble upon a new gem in British metal!

Heading back to the campsite, to avoid the rain, we were stopped in our tracks and told to check out this new band playing on the Lava Stage… By the drummer’s mum… Un-cool? Nah, her words of persuasion made us check out one of the best acts of the weekend, and that band were Warpath!

The musicianship of this band just totally blew me away, and I knew I just had to ask the lovely lady who persuaded us to watch the band, about doing an interview with the guys, so you lot got to know a bit more about a band that I think have the potential to become HUGE! (And don’t you forget who told you!)

MI: I saw you guys playing at Bloodstock last month, I really enjoyed it from the front of the stage, how was it for you on the stage?

Rich: Thank you! Bloodstock was an awesome experience. We had a great time playing there. The crowd were wicked, I saw three or four pits going which was really fun. Getting there was a lot of hard work but we’re used to that.

Pete: Yeah thank you for the compliment! Getting to Bloodstock felt like the journey that would never end, getting thrown around the back of a smelly old transit van in the dark, but it was worth it. It was a bit rushed on the stage without a sound check and with everything else going on right next to you just off the stage, but the crowd were brilliant and it was a fantastic feeling / experience playing there.

MI: For young guys, you all seem very talented. Tell us a bit more about how and when you started playing and writing music.

Rich: I’ve been trained in classical music since I was five years old, studying sight-reading, theory, performance etc up to Grade Eight. I started playing guitar at the age of fifteen, and began writing music at the age of sixteen, which is actually when I wrote "Life Unworthy of Life", "Face To Face" and "W.M.D" from the "Damnation" album. Pete and I both teach guitar too so there’s a lot of musical experience.

Pete: That’s right, I have been playing since I was 11 and taught private guitar lessons for the past two or so years. Upon joining Warpath, the album was already written so my only contributions were the guitar solos (not including “Hostile Takeover”) and the additional harmonies. But you come up with cool little riffs your whole life when you play guitar. Some are better than others and you will only hear the best from us!

James: I have always been writing music ever since I can remember. I started playing drums and keyboard at 11 years and been hard at it since. I’ve studied music for 7 years and will be continuing onwards with that in good time. I’ve written a lot of stuff during the years. If anyone is interested please check out my side project, Vertex. I also teach drums in my spare time.

MI: When did the band first get together, and how did you all meet?

Rich: I formed Warpath in 2003 in my hometown. Soon after, we started gigging across the UK and building the band’s name and reputation. We recorded our first EP in December 2005 at Bridgerow Studios in Wales, and gigged solidly for a year and a half. Our bassist at the time Gareth Allen decided to leave to pursue his education in university. He’s still quite active with the band though, managing our Website and MySpace and helping to promote us. During this time, James Davenport contacted me about drumming for us, as he’d seen us live a few times and enjoyed the music. We met up and within a few minutes I knew I wanted him to drum for us permanently. I’ve never seen a thrash drummer in the UK so precise and fast with kick drumming, so it was in instant match. We began writing and recording the tracks for the "Damnation" album during the summer of 2007. In August ‘07 we met Pete, and invited him to record on the album and then to join the band as a full-time member. His solos were exactly what we needed to complete the album as I feel they add a lot of harmony to the songs. Soon after, Joel Jordan auditioned, and the line-up was complete. We filmed the "Damnation" music video in London less than a week after Joel joined.

MI: What or who inspired you to get a band together?

Rich: Just watching Megadeth, Metallica, Guns N Roses, bands like that when I was younger inspired me to form a band. I despised school and knew that I wouldn’t be able to stick college or university, plus I’d been playing & performing music since such a young age it was instinctive to want to play music with other like-minded people.

MI: On your debut, Damnation, you worked with some pretty decent names who have worked with some really big bands, did you find that intimidating?

Rich: I didn’t really find it intimidating, as they’re such cool guys to talk to. It was awesome working with them on the album. I’m a massive fan of James Murphy’s (Testament, Death, Obituary) guitar work so it was a real honour for us when he agreed to master the album. I was talking to James Murphy a while ago actually about him mixing and mastering the next album. Orlando Villasenor is great; he did a fantastic job mixing and was very patient with everything we requested. Pete had a message from Kevin Talley (Daath, Chimaira, Hate Eternal) too saying about the killer mix of the album, which is really cool of him.

Pete: I personally didn’t find it intimidating either, the fact that like you said they have worked with the best of the best in the world of metal and they actually wanted to work on our material means they must think it’s pretty awesome stuff!

MI: You’ve been getting a lot of positive press from various media sources, how do you handle this and manage to keep your feet on the ground?

Rich: It’s great to read that these top magazines and reviewers love the album and are comparing us with our heroes (Megadeth, Testament, etc) but we try not to let it get to our heads too much. I don’t really read anything on forums on the net any more.

Pete: To be honest we are so busy working on the band, once we read a great review or comment someone leaves us, it’s like “Oh cool, that’s fantastic! Right, back to work” ha hah!

MI: You seem to have a huge fan base on Myspace. Have you found Myspace a good source in promoting Warpath and finding new genuine fans, or do you feel there’s a lot of “friend collecting” and that your music is falling on deaf ears?

Rich: I think Myspace is a great tool for exposing music to new fans. A lot of our fans are people that have heard us through the Internet and bought the album afterwards.

James: Myspace is truly one of the best ways for promoting. It takes time and hard work but it definitely pays off.

MI: Like I said earlier, I really enjoyed watching your performance at Bloodstock, are their any plans of a tour in the near future to back the album?

Rich: We’re working on a tour with a booking agency to support the album, with European shows included. When everything’s officially confirmed, we’ll announce the dates.

Pete: We all really enjoyed playing at Bloodstock, I have been going to it since 2004 and the fact we got to play there is amazing!! I’m really glad you enjoyed our set and like Rich said, we are busy arranging bigger gigs to come.

MI: So what is next for Warpath?

Rich: The album’s just gone on sale in all the major UK stores; HMV, Zavvi (the new name for Virgin Megastores), Tesco, Asda,, Amazon and others so we’re working hard to promote it. We’re planning a second music video as well as getting the ‘Damnation’ video played on the other channels. It’s just been added to Scuzz TV’s play list, which is a big step for us. We’re the first of the new UK Thrash bands to have gotten a music video played on a major TV station so we’re very proud of that and are now working to get it played on Kerrang! and MTV2. Also, we’ll continue gigging across the UK! Thanks for the interview and support!

A HUGE thanks to the guys from Warpath for agreeing to the interview! Now you know a bit more about them, please do check them out! And if you get a chance to see them live, get yourselves along! Thrash isn't normally the kind of metal I listen to, but these guys are just superb musicians and very entertaining! This isn't a*s kissing, this is my geniune enthusiasm for an extremely talented young British metal band!


Vertex Myspace:

All pictures in the interview are used with kind permission from the band.

Review: "Prevail" by Anadies

Artist: Anadies
Title: Prevail
Release Date: 9/19/2008

Playing in a female-fronted metal band has to be tough. It seems like it would be a constant uphill battle against the machismo of the genre at large, and a struggle to retain the female identity while simultaneously maintaining credibility with listeners who crave extremity.

And really, the mix is about half and half. Vocalists like Morgan Lander (Kittie) and Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy) growl away like possessed beasts, but often come across as if they are just trying to keep up with the boys. Conversely, there are singers like Simone Simons (Epica) and Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) whose voices simply soar through the air (and often times out of sync with what the rest of their respective bands are playing) in a hyper-feminine, operatic style which can turn off listeners who don't read historical romance. Lacey Mosley (Flyleaf) sounds like a baby choking on a cat. Amy Lee (Evanescence) sounds like a cat choking on a baby. Is there any hope?

Yes. Yes there is. Enter Colorado's Anadies, a five-piece metal act fronted by Christy Lumberg whose sophomore album "Prevail" is a startlingly good middle-ground for listeners who crave the vocal harmonics of Lacuna Coil but who also want the aggressive and catchy melody lines of Killswitch Engage. Recorded and mixed at Flatline Audio by Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, Cobalt, Martriden), "Prevail" is a wonderfully-executed, richly diverse album with something for everybody.

There are influences abound throughout the proceedings, ranging from metal and goth to industrial and classical. The musicianship of the album is superb; the guitars are crunchy as hell with some killer leads, the rhythm section goes off like a machine gun, and the string arrangements and keyboards are subtle and haunting. However, the real treat of the album is Lumberg's vocals; her voice is perfectly suited to the way the songs are structured. She clearly has a wide range, but she displays discipline in that range. She doesn't seem compelled to go off into left field (or come in from out of it as the case may be) in the same self-aggrandizing way others within this genre tend to, which is very refreshing.

The album is rife with gems that stand up well to repeated listenings. The opening track, "Trials" starts out sweet enough but soon the time signature shifts and the claws come out on the chorus with Lumberg's voice soaring amidst a gut-wrenching (in a good way) onslaught of harsh guitars and dry-lung backing vocal roars. "F.T." recalls Pat Benetar and The Cranberries to some extent while "Nothing" is a smooth, bass-driven, Tool-esque prog-metal progression that segues into a truly anthemic piece by the end. And while one might fully expect the album to close with a quiet piano-driven dirge, Anadies surprises yet again with "Remorse," an up-tempo head bobber that ends with a full-speed cacophony of guitars and roars that seek to remind us of the aural beating we've just received.

The overall excellence of the album notwithstanding, the strongest track has to be "Visions." The song begins slow enough, but after an electronics-tinged bridge, the tempo kicks up and gets the head banging in a frenzy. Near the end of the song, the throttle comes back off with Lumberg really putting her voice on display and hitting some of the most hypnotic note progressions ever recorded.

All in all, "Prevail" is an extremely strong release and sure to put Anadies on the collective radar. Anyone who thinks they've heard it all in the world of female-fronted metal must hear Anadies to believe them.

Country: United States
Label: None

CD Review: Order Of Ennead

Order Of Ennead is the resurrection of Council of the fallen, consisting of Kevin Quirion (ex-Council Of The Fallen) on Guitar and vocals, Scott Patrick (ex-Resurrection) on bass, John Li taking care of lead guitars and Steve Asheim (Deicide) on drums. Some will expect this to be as brutal as Deicide, as I did, but you will pleasently surprised.

If you can step aside from the Deicide link here you will find an album that can stand on its two feet. Okay most folk will pick it up due to the drum stool being filled by the legendary Steve Asheim. His brutal skills feature to some degree here, but he shows thats not all he can do.

Playing a perfectly crafted and modern take on Extreme metal (comprising elements of death metal, black metal and a splash of Thrash shredding), Order Of Ennead stand out from the crowd of new bands on the scene. For a start the guitar work would make most young thrash pretenders and old school fretmeisters sit up and pay attention. They also use lyrics that not many death metal bands would use. As they say on their myspace their lyrical content "explores existence, abolishment of negativity and that which makes up the self."; Not standard death metal lyrics. Lyrics which are delivered in a coherent, if a little Dani filth-esqu way.

Standout tracks for me are "Introspection And The Loss Of Denial"; Vocally lead with superb fret work by John Li. At the age of 19, he is showing fretwork here that could have easily been played by some of the guitar greats 20 years his senior. "As If A Rose I Wither" is a perfectly crafted guitar driven track which also showcases Asheims brutal drumming at its best (on this album).

If you are looking at Order Of Ennead as quick fix in between Deicide albums then you will be sadly dissapointed. The vocals are cleaner, the guitars are a lot more melodic and its not ALL brutal blast beats from start to finish.

For a debut this is great.(8/10)

The track Culling can be heard here. Another fine example of that these guys have on offer.

Due for release on Earache In Europe on October 13th and In the US on the 28th.

Order Of Ennead:

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

CD Review: Sword Toward Self - Dissolution Mantras

Sword Toward Self hail from the innards of one of Australia's best cities, Sydney. The band features Dan Nahum (Ironwood, Bleakwood) on drums, Phil Brown (Ironwood) on guitars & vocal duties and Henry Lauer (Ironwood, Intorment Black) on bass. The band takes influences from such artists as Meshuggah, Emperor, Pestilence, Axis of Advance and Suffocation to produce an epic EP titled Dissolution Mantras.

The EP comes in at just under 17 minutes, and is pure metal glory! Full of solid riffs, epic solos and precise drumming, this is a great start for Sword Toward Self. The first track, which is named Sword Toward Self, is a great example of the awesomeness this band is capable of. The first half is a covenant of awesome riffs and melodies, which then takes an unexpected, although not necessarily bad, turn and continues into a nice acoustic section with clean singing vocals and a bass solo, which all fit together quite nicely.
The bass is great to hear, since it's doing more than just play root notes. The inclusions of the mini solo in the self titles track was a great showcase of the talent that Henry possesses. Even on the faster, tremolo picked parts you can hear the bass play every note along with the guitar.

The other two songs, Regress/Regret and Iridescent Wings of the Ungods, continue with the heaviness at more epic levels with more kickarse riffs and awe inspiring fills. This is definitely an great CD to headbang to, and an excellent start for Sword Toward Self. the musicianship on this EP really grabs you to the point where you can tell that these guys have been playing for a long time, and take their music seriously.

Do yourself a favour and give these guys a listen, buy the CD from them, it's definitely worth it. Check them out at these following sites:

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Live Review: Opeth - Sydney 6-9-08

Well, they did it again. Opeth sold out an entire tour across Australia, and, yet again, held their largest headlining show in Sydney, again, with a rumored number of around 3400 tickets sold for this event. A pretty awesome feat for a metal band in a country rarely recognized for it's huge dedication to music.
The day was cold and wet, but that didn't stop people from lining up outside the venue starting at around midday (with doors to open at 7pm). I arrived with my party at around 2:30 and met a few people and had a good ol' chat while waiting for the doors to open at 7pm.

The support act was self acclaimed goth/metal act Virgin Black from Adelaide, who didn't really seem to go down too well with most of the crowd. Like Opeth, they were diverse in style with a heavy/not-so-heavy moments, but they lacked something in between. Their intro needs a bit of working on. The crowd pretty much laughed at the track they had playing as the band entered the stage. They were interesting but couldn't keep my interest for long. Perhaps if I knew their stuff better. For Opeth's one and only support, I think they could have found a better local band.

Opeth were next, of coarse, and it couldn't have come (and gone) any quicker. They were tight as ever, I didn't even notice the lack of Peter! Fredrik did a great job, as did Axe. The whole evening was just an abundance of awesome. They opened with a Watershed track, Heir Apparent, and later they played The Lotus Eater which was flawless, as expected, and it sounded great live.
I'm still unsure if this year's set list was better than the one played in 2006. Both have their strong points. Combined, they'd make the best Opeth show ever, almost. This night's set also included Serenity Painted Death, The Night And The Silent Water, Master's Apprentices, Deliverance, and the one song that got me into Opeth in the first place, The Drapery Falls, amongst many other of coarse. The addition of Demon of The Fall was a highlight for me since we missed out on that song last tour.
During Bleak Mikael's amp decided it had enough, so while the tech crew were sorting that out, the audience got treated to a drum solo (which Axe decided to do to cover Mike's a*s), a bass solo, guitar solo and keyboard solo! A nice little treat despite the abrupt end to the song, which was continued anyway. See below for a video!

The venue, Big Top in Luna Park, was okay, same one as their sold out '06 tour. The sound from where I was (front row to the left of stage) wasn't so good, but I expected that since there was no balance and I was right in front of the bass speakers, but everything was still understandable and it came with a great view all through the show. It's an interesting setting for a metal gig though, right in the heart of an amusement park, but it is a popular choice for a lot of bands that come out these days.

All in all, it was a great night, Opeth were every bit as amazing as I would have expected, and I'm sure most of the crowd would agree with me there.

Here is the set list from my memory. Possibly not entirely correct in order, but close.

Heir Apparent
Master's Apprentices
The Baying Of The Hounds
Serenity Painted Death
To Rid The Disease
The Lotus Eater
Bleak (5 min intermission with solos all around)
The Night And The Silent Water
Demon Of The Fall
The Drapery Falls

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Bloodbath - The Fathomless Mastery


‘Bloodbath have been responsible for some of the finest Swedish death metal of the last decade.’ Metal Hammer

Bloodbath are an extreme metal supergroup from Stockholm, Sweden. Formed in 1998 with a mutual fascination for the glory days of death metal, the band’s line up has changed and evolved throughout the years, featuring the elite of Swedish metal.

The next chapter of this brutal saga arrives on October 6th 2008 with the release of the new studio album, The Fathomless Mastery

The Fathomless Mastery mini-site is now online at . The site features audio samples of two of the tracks (these tracks may change so make sure to keep checking back), info on the album, downloads and more. In addition it also offers a free mp3 of the track ‘Mock The Cross’ to anyone who signs up to the mailing list and also gives you the chance to pre-order the album.

Hints of what The Fathomless Mastery may possess were provided by Unblessing The Purity, the mini-album released earlier this year on Peaceville Records. Described by Metal Hammer as ‘a near-flawless celebration of Swedish brutality’ and by Zero Tolerance as ‘a slab of storming, top-quality death metal’, the mini-album has set the bar high.

‘Unblessing The Purity’ also featured the return of Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt on vocal duties and arrival of Per 'Sodomizer' Eriksson (ex-21 Lucifers, ex-Genocrush Ferox) on guitar, joining Katatonia’s Anders Nyström and Jonas Renkse and Martin “Axe” Axenrot, also from Opeth.

This line-up has once again reunited for The Fathomless Mastery which they have described as representing ‘nothing but hateful brutality.’ Promising their ‘most crushing production yet’ few would dare to argue with the band’s claim that...‘Bloodbath is here to slay, Bloodbath is here to stay!’

The Wacken Carnage, a CD + DVD set featuring the bands rare live performance at the 2005 Wacken Festival is also now available on Peaceville Records.

Article taken from the Peaceville e-mail newsletter.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Are The Boys Back? (Death Magnetic Review)

5 years ago Metallica released the aural abortion that was St.Anger. The album was harsh and uncompromising. You had to respect it for what it was, a statement of the troubles the band had gone through over the preceding 20 or so years. But did you have to like it? No, and that’s a big no. Many people thought that was the end of the band after a less than stellar series of releases in the nineties. So now with their new release, the awfully titled "Death Magnetic", many of Metallica's hardcore fans and the band themselves have said that this album marks a return to old school Metallica, a veritable U-turn away from St.Anger and straight back to the long and epic songs structures that defined them in the eighties. Well this is partly true. The songs are indeed long. The shortest clocking in at 5 minutes and the longest at just under 10. The problem is though the songs are missing something. There is no epicness in them as such. There are no songs that grab you and take you some place like "Master of Puppets" or "And Justice for All".

The songs are full of riff after relentless riff but they seem almost disjointed. It's as if the band decided to throw in every riff they could think of. On the other hand this makes it a very interesting listening experience. On first hearing the opening track, "That Was Just Your Life" I thought to myself, "The boys are back!", and on the first few listens this is the overall feeling one gets from the album. Songs like "Broken, Beat and Scarred", "All Nightmare Long", "The Judas Kiss" and the band's new single "The Day That Never Comes" all have that classic metal formula but they fall painfully short of the epic proportions that they are trying to reach for. The song that fails the most in this respect is "The Unforgiven 3". Even with the strings and piano accompaniments in the track the song goes nowhere fast. The instrumental track "Suicide and Redemption" is a worthy try at past glories but it pales in comparison to the likes of "Orion" and "To Live Is To Die".

To these ears there were 2 particular major shortcomings on the album. First among them are Kirk Hammett's solo's. There is no style or form to the majority of his solos. He just lets rip. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not and this time, it doesn't. The man sounds like Kerry King on a bad day. Secondly Mr. Ulrich's snare is ridiculously loud in the mix which makes you wonder was Rick Rubin anywhere to be seen during the mixing of the album. If so I hope he receives a substantial cut in his pay cheque.

All in all this is a solid release from Metallica. It shows that they still have the energy to put out a more than decent metal album and that James Hetfield still has some of that infamous growl of the early nineties left in his now middle aged voice. The boys are indeed back but they still have a distance to go.


SCAR SYMMETRY parts ways with vocalist

The following information is taken from the Scar Symmetry's Myspace page:

"Dear friends.

A few months ago we decided to part ways with Christian. The reasons are mainly the clichéd "business and creative differences" and lack of interpersonal chemistry. We came to a point where the band's existence was in jeopardy because of these differences, and the only way for us to continue with an inspired state of mind was to go through with this change in the line-up.

This should come as a total surprise to most of you, though you might have wondered why no gigs/tours have been announced since the release of "Holographic Universe". The truth is, we have been offered several tours and one-off shows that everyone in the band wanted to do except for Christian. In a situation like that you get a lot of frustration and it was in everyone's best interest to go separate ways.

We started Scar Symmetry just for the fun of it, never with the idea of becoming hugely successful or whatever. Now, three albums into our career, we've toured both Europe and North America, our latest CD made it to Billboard's Top Heatseekers' chart and we've enjoyed success way beyond our expectations. Needless to say, the situation for us as a band has changed since we started playing together in 2004 and the band is bigger than ever. We had the choice to either take a step back with Christian in the band or a step forward without him... We choose to go forward.

There comes a time to let go and move on, and that time is now. Scar Symmetry wishes Christian the best of luck with his future endeavors and salutes the good times we had with him in the band. We will announce the identity of Christian's replacement shortly.

Comments former singer Christian Älvestam:

"Hi all!

After discussions between us in the band, I'm sad to say we've decided to part ways! Mainly for reasons of different outlooks on musical production and touring. Of course it's sad to see that Scar Symmetry will not continue in its present form, but unfortunately these things happen.

I hope Scar Symmetry will go on being successful, while I myself will for sure keep on singing, playing, writing and performing my own music, in various shapes and forms, for a very long time. My musical journey has just begun!

Unfortunate as it is, I'd nevertheless like to thank all the bands I've come to meet and play with during my years in the band; all the organizers we've worked with since the start, Nuclear Blast and all its street-teams for believing and supporting (band-wise and personally); all the magazines, TV- and radio-stations giving us the attention, helping us spreading the name; all the crews that have helped us out during the tours.

Last, but not least, I'd like to thank all the fantastic fans I've come to meet and know while being on the road with the band. All you friends out there who have bought our albums and merchandice, supported us live, partied with us back stage, off stage, on stage, under stage, anywhere and everywhere! All you who have stood by our side through thick and thin! You guys make all the difference! Thank you for a wonderful time!

This is Christian Älvestam signing off!""

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Review: "Cycles" by Rotten Sound

Artist: Rotten Sound
Title: Cycles
Release Date: 8/26/2008

Ahhh, grindcore. Is there any sweeter sound? Nothing gets the heart racing and the adrenaline pumping like an aural pummeling in the form of short bursts of organized chaos. Bands like Napalm Death, Pig Destroyer, and Agoraphobic Nosebleed have come to define the genre, while new blood like Antigama and Gadget are turning it on its ear and making it their own. However, of all of the new-school grind bands out there today, one would be hard pressed (or ignorant) not to immediately name Rotten Sound as one of the foremost acts in modern grindcore.

After a three-year hiatus (if you don't count EP's) "Cycles" is the band's follow up to 2005's superb "Exit." Anyone familiar with the band's previous work might purchase "Cycles" expecting more of the same. And to some extent they would be correct. All of the quintessential grindcore elements are present; short, to the point songs, vitriolic tirades against greed, religion, and the government delivered with dry-lung roars, thundering drums, and insane guitar riffs. However, said listener will be surprised and or shocked that the band has re-written their own rule book, and the results are quite refreshing.

While the band's other albums seem to be centered on a need to create the fastest, most violent music ever recorded, "Cycles" sees the band pulling back the throttle just a tad, and producing some more groove-oriented songs which recall Grave as much as Extreme Noise Terror. Slower, low-end buzzing on songs like "Alternews" entice us to nod our heads slowly, but the euphoria is soon disrupted by the breakneck speed of songs like "Deceit" and "Simplicity."

Overall, this is a excellent, ferocious release that stands up well to repeated listenings and shows us the kind of positive results that often come about by challenging convention and expectations.

Country: Finland
Label: Fontana Universal

Friday, 5 September 2008

What does your music say about you?

A university in the UK are doing research into how your musical tastes reflect your personality. Heriot Watt University have been surveying a large number of people to see whether the music you listen to gives an indication on what you are like.

For example, people who listen to classical music are creative, confident but may be introverted, and that people who listen to metal are very similar.

I found the concept very interesting, and took part in their survey, and thought I would post up the link so you can take part. Lets see what us metallers are REALLY like!

Note: You can take part no matter where you are in the world, but you must be over 16 to take part in the survey.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Review: Resurrection of Reason by Try Redemption

Artist: Try Redemption
Title: Resurrection of Reason
Release Date: 3/15/2008

One of the more prevalent criticisms levied against death metal in the music press at large seems to be that there's nothing really new under the sun. It's all been done before and if a band isn't pushing the limits of extremity by cramming in as many blast beats and arpeggios as they possibly can, they are given short shrift for not "bringing anything new to the table."

However, unbridled, obnoxious brutality does not a decent death metal album make. Sometimes the best death metal isn't the most technical or littered with the most pig squeals or sweep picks. Sometimes, the best death metal simply has to be one thing: Memorable.

And if there's one thing that Try Redemption does well, it's write a memorable death metal song. Nay, MANY memorable death metal songs and then record and distribute them for us to enjoy. Hailing from Colorado Springs, CO USA, a city considered by many to be the last bastion of American Christian Conservativism (i.e: the last f'ing place you'd expect to find a death metal band this sick), this five-piece cadre of childhood friends not only knows how to write a memorable hook, but manages to pummel the listener into utter submission while doing so.

"Resurrection of Reason," the group's third self-released LP, was recorded and produced at Flatline Audio by Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, Cobalt) and whatever they paid him was well worth it. The production perfectly complements the two-guitar barrage of Jon Daigle and John Peterson, James Peterson's thundering drums, Chris "Tucker" Walter's intricate basslines, and vocalist Chris "Hammer" Walker's tortured, guttural screams. The man does good work.

The strongest aspect of this album is that each song has a life of its own; there's no "filler tracks." From the aural assault of the opening tracks "Soaked in Blood" (which has what is undoubtedly the sickest mid-tempo breakdown EVER) and "Blind Faith," (where a militaristic, chopping march gives way to a killer jazz groove) to the Enslaved meets Amon Amarth "Resurrection" (affectionately referred to by the band as "the viking song") and the enticingly (and unexpectedly) melodic "Black Skies," there's plenty of substance here to keep perked the ears of even the most discerning death metal aficionado.

Try Redemption have by no means reinvented the death metal wheel, but they have made the wheel a hell of a lot catchier than 90% of the acts out there today.

Country: United States
Label: None

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Review: A Fragile Hope by Devil Sold His Soul

Artist: Devil Sold His Soul
Title: A Fragile Hope
Release Date: August 5, 2008

One of the more unique aspects of the metal genre is all of the subgenres therein. It never stops with just "metal." There's Black Metal, Death Metal, Power Metal, and of the myriad "-core's." It's also interesting to see the lines that sometimes get drawn in the sand between fans of the different genres, and it's not often you see many arms reaching across the aisles.

But sometimes, a band comes along and creates a sound that infuses all of the right elements at all of the right times while breaking boundaries and blurring lines and turns out something so unique and powerful that it will send chills up the spine of the most rabid of Anathema and Opeth's fans as it will devotees of Converge and Mouth of the Architect.

Devil Sold His Soul have done just that.

"A Fragile Hope" is a thick, heady, epic exercise in thoughtful ferocity that incites rage inasmuch as it tugs at our softer nature. At times, the sound can be harsh enough to start one's head banging in a frenzy, while at others it maintains its expressiveness without venturing too far into "emo" territory.

The dry-lung screams wrap themselves around a barrage of crashing guitars and thudding basslines while higher-end (but not too high....Iced Earth fans, I'm talking to you) clean vocal and softer guitar interludes move in and out amongst the organized chaos. The interplay of the two styles is so in-tune with the music and the emotions expressed that it's almost "too good."

"The Starting" is the album's most popular track (they have a video available for it, anyway) and perfectly encapsulates DSHS's overall sound, while "At The End of the Tunnel" probably has the sharpest teeth.

But the high point of the album is "Dawn of the First Day," a groovy, emotionally-charged, crushing song that basically eludes every adjective in my vocabulary. Let us just say that the song is best enjoyed at a volume just below "bleeding ears."

"A Fragile Hope" is an amazing album, and even as I listen to it now, I find myself wondering how I even managed to put into words my adulation of this achievement when I could have summed it all up in one word:

Country: United Kingdom
Label: Eyes of Sound Records