Ahead of the unleashing of their debut album, the hotly anticipated Our Father on the relaunched seminal UK label Cacophonous Records on 29th January 2016, Monolithic Metallers The King Is Blind are delighted to team up with Ghost Cult Magazine to premiere the second advance track from the upcoming release.
Entitled ‘Bloodlet Ascension’, the track showcases a snappier side to the band and is further testament to the metal diversity on display throughout the album, while forming an integral part of the story of Our Father. Our Father is a dark and involved concept album discussing the true genesis of man and the origin of our multitude of deficiencies, adapted from various literary sources including Paradise Lost and The Book of Revelation. ‘Bloodlet Ascension’ is a pivotal moment where the story’s protagonist, Satan, forms his plan to subvert and claim mankind and issues a rallying call to his daemons, to ascend through claiming the bloodline of man.
Vocalist Stephen John Tovey added:
“Every track on the album feeds the central narrative, but beyond that, each track also delves into the murkiness of human behaviour and expands outside of the story and lyrically operates on at least three plains. ‘Bloodlet…’ on one hand tells a positive message of overcoming failure, or rising up when you’re knocked down, while on the other exploring vengeance, and the complexities and vagaries of it… even when someone has been rightly dealt with in the first place, often the response is that it isn’t “their” fault, there’s always someone else to blame, and rather than reflect and take responsibility, instead disproportionate responses are planned in rage, anger, even using those flags as justification when the planned act far outweighs the initial event that caused the feeling of wrong doing.
“There is no black and white, everything is grey. It often depends on your point of view, and which side you’re standing with. There are no right answers, only more questions with which to challenge yourself. The point of it all is to ask questions. To push the listener to evaluate who they are, how they’d react and is their response not justified, but right.
“As with each track, the music and the lyrics match the emotion of the narrative, and ‘Bloodlet Ascension’ is a suitable rousing, riling, roiling, cascading call to arms.
“Subjects of The King, prepare to RISE, prepare to ASCEND!”
Our Father is released on Cacophonous Records on 29th January 2016.
The King Is Blind play an exclusive show at Black Heart, London, where they will be playing the concept album in its entirety on Sunday 31st January 2016. Support comes from Obscene Entity and Shrines. Tickets can be purchased here.
Dubbing the show “To Heavy For Halftime”, the concert was the warm up to Super Bowl 50, played at the bands hometown stadium in San Francisco Sunday night.In addition to the sold-out crowd of 41,195, the event live streamed so that hundred’s of thousands of fans around the world could watch the show at either Metallica’s website or on YouTube. Cage The Elephant was the opening act. The band played a mainly old-school set drawing heavily from the 80s, and Load and Reload from the mid-90s, with nothing from an album past the year 1999. At the end of the concert drummer Lars Ulrich promised the band would see you real soon with a new album in 2016. Earlier in the night frontman James Hetfield claimed the album was “almost done”. Metallica’s last album release was 2009’s Death Magnetic.
Intro (The Ecstasy Of Gold)
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Ride The Lightening
Kirk Guitar solo 1 (Bleeding Me into)
The Memory Remains
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Sad But True
Robert Bass Solo
Wherever I May Roam
Master of Puppets
Jam/Kirk solo 2 (w/ Hero Of The Day into)
Fade To Black
Seek And Destroy
Whiskey In The Jar (Thin Lizzy cover)
Nothing Else Matters
Metallica is playing their first show of 2016 Saturday night, and they are headlining CBS Radio’s The Night Before event, in their hometown of San Francisco. They will stream the entire concert live free 1080p FullHD stream live from AT&T Park, available on mobile and desktop devices at http://webcast.livemetallica.com, delivered by nugs.net. The show is the warm up to Super Bowl 50 this Sunday night. Direct support will come from Cage The Elephant. Metallica will take the stage at approximately 8:30 pm PST. Fans can watch the show live for free and pre-order professionally mixed audio recordings of the show as downloads and collectible CDs from the band, as they do with every concert.
Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich commented:
“We can’t wait to play our first show of 2016 and there’s nowhere we’d rather kick off the festivities than in our own backyard. Even though the show has been sold out for months, Metallica fans around the world will be able to join in on the madness.”
Nugs.net founder and CEO Brad Sterling also commented on the event:
“We’ve released audio recordings of every Metallica show for the past 12 years at LiveMetallica.com, so naturally we’re excited to deliver the band’s first live HD stream from their hometown on their own web site.”
Ghost Cult kicked off 2016 “Vacationing Harder” on the Norwegian Pearl with the amazing ShipRocked Cruise. Departing out of the Port of Miami, the four-day concert experience on the ocean drew nearly 3000 cruisers on the sold-out ship with the a huge waiting list left wanting. The seventh edition of the trip was stacked with hit-making rock and metal bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Halestorm and Seether performing multiple sets on different days. Sailing to lovely Costa Maya Mexico, everyone was all smiles for miles! Forty bands jamming over four days, on four stages raged while the beer and liquor flowed with fans. The best part of the rock cruise experience is the up close and personal experience of sailing with the bands, and the first class experience of the ship, its crew and staff. Covering the first two days of the cruise, bands such as FFDP, Halestorm, and Seether headlined the main-stages, frequent ShipRocked band 10 Years (three times on ShipRocked) delighted returning trip veterans, while up a coming bands like We Are Harlot (led by Danny Worsnop, ex-Asking Alexandria), Glorious Sons, and scene stealers in Doll Skin minted new fans. It’s great to see young talent represented and not out classed, like they might be as some of the larger festivals. Rick Triana for RIPT Media Productions captured all the action tirelessly on deck, on shore, and on all the stages for Ghost Cult Magazine.
Once again Ghost Cult, along with the entire music industry it seems, invaded Anaheim, CA for The National Association of Music Merchants, a.k.a. THE NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention center. Taking over the town and part of greater Los Angeles at Night, NAMM is becoming more and more of a yearly pilgrimage for brands, gear heads and artists. Autograph and selfie-seeking fans are also starting to dip in to part of the main weekend, with really only the first two days being “industry only types”. That dynamic is expected to change in 2017 when fans have free range for the entire event. In the mean time the name of the game is networking and wheeler dealer action between manufacturers, merchants and artist reps. The main action is at the booths where the big name gear companies show their new wares, and artists from the up and coming to the legendary vie for attention and props. All day long it’s a schmooze fest and a meeting of the minds in terms of gear mavens, and artists jamming. At night it is the special events such as this years’ NAMM Jam, Tribute to Randy Rhodes, and other events, many held for charity that pack the clubs at a more-exclusive-than-usual for L.A., clip. Whatever your motivation for attending, THE NAMM Show, and its summer-time counterpart can’t be beat for an awesome industry experience and eye-popping star power all in one place. Thanks to Melina Dellamarggio of Melina D Photography or covering it for us this years and bringing us there with her amazing photo set!
Over the years, I have heard people mention that the earliest forms of heavy metal came from what is now known as classical music. With that in mind, Fleshgod Apocalypse have once again put together an album with equal elements of death metal and symphonic elements. King (Nuclear Blast) builds off of previous releases from the Italian metal outfit and certainly went for it all on this album. From the instrumental ‘March Royale’ to the closing piano outro of the title track, Fleshgod Apocalypse will have you head banging and then picking your jaw up off the ground.
King was a hard album to try and narrow down on favorites. I liked the tracks that were overly death metal, but also loved the overly symphonic songs with epic choruses. ‘Healing Through War’ is a great mix of both. The syncopation of all of the elements throughout the song give you that death metal feel but keep you grounded with the piano and over the top symphony orchestration. For the fans who love the slow, heavy tracks, ‘Cold As Perfection’ absolutely slays. The chugging guitars (and accompanying orchestration) over the consistent double bass attack will certainly get your neck cranking. ‘And The Vulture Beholds’ may be the best track on the whole album as it blends in more death metal elements with over the top orchestration which culminates to some of the most epic passages I have heard in quite awhile. Around the three minute mark is where most fans will collectively shit themselves if this song makes the cut for a live set.
All in all, King is a solid album that could see its way onto my Top 20 come year end depending on how the rest of this year pans out (yes it is still early, but believe the hype!) The downside of the album was the track ‘Paramour (Die Leidenshaft Bringt Leiden)’ based on its placement in the middle of the album. Perhaps it would have been suited at the tail end of the album in place of ‘King’. The song itself is actually quite enjoyable, but it just brings the flow of the album to a screeching halt for almost four minutes and then picks back up. Regardless, Fleshgod fans will certainly enjoy this record even if only for the improvement of the mix/production from the last album.
Modern thrash is a tricky genre to pinpoint. It could mean a band falls into the oft-maligned retro-thrash scene, or it could mean that they’re more akin to bands such as Lamb of God or The Haunted. Wisconsin’s Product of Hate falls somewhere in between those two. On their debut album Buried in Violence (Napalm Records), Product of Hate display a punishing blend of modern groove and classic thrash that is both awesome and frustrating. The opening track, ‘Kill. You. Now.’ begins with a flashy riff reminiscent of early Testament, which becomes a recurring treat that is sprinkled lightly throughout the album. The rest of the song follows the same kind of punishing groove/thrash that Exodus perfected during their Rob Dukes era. This can be said for nearly every song on Buried in Violence, really, save for the instrumental interlude ‘Vindicare,’ which displays a melodicism that is absent from the other ten tracks.
The sibling guitar duo of Gene and Cody Rathbone is Product of Hate’s most impressive and obvious strength. While they stick with relatively standard riffing for most of the album, the flashes of finesse and their excellent soloing prove that these are talented musicians. The clean and punchy audio mix, done by death metal legend James Murphy, adds a sharpness to the audio beatdown that Product of Hate inflicts upon its listeners. The most frustrating characteristic of this album lies mostly with the vocals, as they are the typical, generic “tough guy” vocals that are often found in groove metal and metalcore. The aforementioned Rob Dukes is a decent comparison, actually. Although, admittedly, Adam Gilley’s vocal range is much more varied than that of Dukes’, ranging from an effective death metal growl to an impressive thrash scream. One extreme or the other would give this album, and the band, much more of a singular identity. Instead, it’s difficult to differentiate the vocals here from any other metalcore vocalist. Another frustrating aspect is that a couple of songs, namely ‘Kill. You. Now’ and ‘Blood Coated Concrete’ lose steam near their end due to unnecessary deathcore-esque breakdowns. Going from thrash riff/guitar solo to brutal breakdown is quite jarring, and it immediately takes you out of the song.
Product of Hate’s tight musicianship and youthful exuberance proves that they should be a killer live act. While their debut lacks a bit in songwriting and originality, the band shows a ton of promise for the future.
Giving me a copy of Brimstone Coven’s Black Magic (Metal Blade) is liking giving an alcoholic a free handle. I was in. Let’s cut through the bull, I was digging this album within the first few seconds of listen. It’s got that spooky, fuzzy sound that turns me into a giddy child.
‘Black Magic’ and its bass line get things started on a groovy note, a throw back to the jams of the 60s and 70s when everything seemed to be enveloped in a haze and movement was just a touch slower. I keep playing this song over and over again and just can’t get enough of Andrew D’cagna’s bass playing. Give me, please. Don’t be surprised if you come across me dancing to this in the woods with some friends from beyond the veil.
Songs like ‘Slow Death’ make KISS to mind. They’re higher energy with a little less fuzz and prevent the album from getting monotonous. You also have that classic 70s guitar riffs and even John Williams’ vocals are similar to a slightly more subdued Starchild. It’s like a five minute trip back in time.
The second half of the album or so steers the listener away from the light and back on the road towards Spookyville with ‘The Seers’ and ‘The Plague’. The solo about three minutes in on ‘The Plague’ is spectacular and I am mildly in love with it despite my usual fascination with the bass side of things.
I’m calling it now; Black Magic will be one of my favorite albums of 2016. Give it a listen and discover something beautiful.
ALEIDA LA LLAVE
World Be Free occupies a very particular space in the in today’s musical landscape. A sort of hardcore supergroup featuring members of Terror (vocalist Scott Vogel), Judge (drummer Sammy Siegler), Strife (guitarist Andrew Kline) and Gorilla Biscuits (bassist Arthur Smilios), World Be Free is not the sum of its parts or a reflection of hardcore in 2016. Full length début, The Ant-Circle (Revelation), is more of a simulacrum of the New York and DC hardcore sounds of yesteryear with the occasional dash of pop-punk hooks.
And as an homage to those reverential 1980s bands, The Anti-Circle seems to check all the boxes. There’s an economical approach as 14 tracks come and go in less than half an hour and with only one clocking in at over three minutes. ‘Shake the Ghost’ and ‘Never Slip’ are fantastic examples of making the most with just the necessary musical ingredients.
However, while World Be Free’s riffs and lyrics were designed with the intention of channeling the vitality of their musical heroes, The Anti-Circle feels likes its spinning wheels. When Vogel bellows “You’ll never be a part of my world,” or “The times have changed” it doesn’t come across as empowering or intriguing as it isn’t saying anything Black Flag didn’t already say in 1981 (albeit in a much more satirical tone). And since its treading such familiar creative waters it, songs like ‘World Be Free,’ ‘All These Colors’ and ‘Breakout or Busted’ fail to distinguish themselves from one another.
That’s not to say that there aren’t successful moments of musical reverence to be found on The Anti-Circle. While probably the most tuneful song of the bunch, ‘Empty Things’ impresses with Kline’s melodic guitar lines. Also when World Be Free decides to shift gears and speed up they can generate some worthy slam dancing like in ‘I’m Done.’
World Be Free has a great album within them. It’s all a matter of them addressing the line between impression and homage.
Deftones are streaming their new single in full, after teasing a snippet yesterday. The track premiered by Zane Lowe on his Beats1 Radio show comes off of their upcoming album Gore, due our on April 8th from Warner Brothers Records. You can hear the track at this link on iTunes/Apple Music or below:
Tommy Victor has been a busy boy recently. Since Prong returned from their self-prescribed hiatus in 2012 with Carved Into Stone (Long Branch/SPV), Victor has recorded two more albums with the band, played on Danzig‘s covers album Skeletons (Evilive/Nuclear Blast) and toured with both acts. Now, less than a year after the release of their own covers record Songs From the Black Hole (Steamhammer/SPV), Prong are back with X – No Absolutes (Steamhammer/SPV), their third full length in four years. Or fourth if you include the covers album. (Editor’s note: They also have a self-released live album on Bandcamp they are not counting either!)
Although previous record Ruining Lives (Steamhammer/SPV) was generally well received, it felt a little like the band were trying too hard to make sure they pleased everybody by writing songs which sat nicely inside their own safe little pigeon holes. Hardcore song – check. Thrash song – check. Industrial song – check. This time out, there’s a slightly more organic feel to the record in the respect that although there are songs which clearly fit into each of those little boxes, there are some which cross over into others or have a different sound entirely. It appears that recording a covers album has had a positive creative effect on the band.
The opening trio of songs are all about hitting you hard and fast though. ‘Ultimate Authority’ is a mid-paced stomper with a hardcore chorus and a Pantera vibe to its opening riff. ‘Sense of Ease’ is full-on shouty and aggressive hardcore thrashing with a nice breakdown towards the end, and “Without Words” simply punches its way unceremoniously into your ears.
Things fall into standard territory (in a good way) with the next few songs. The title track stands out with its more laid back, but still purposeful approach, and ‘Do Nothing’ is possibly the closest the band have ever come to writing a ballad. There’s a hint of Ministry during ‘Belief System’, the pacy ‘In Spite of Hindrances’ features an all too brief guitar solo which sounds distinctly similar to old school Metallica, and one of the album’s highlights ‘Ice Runs Through My Veins’ begins with a pulsing bassline and a tickly little riff followed by a chorus not a million miles away from The Sisters of Mercy. Victor’s love of pinch harmonics has been noticeably restrained until we get to ‘Worth Pursuing’ when he suddenly throws caution to the wind and hurls a load of them into the mix just for the hell of it. Closer ‘With Dignity’ although actually pretty catchy, is probably the weakest track on the album, sounding more like Linkin Park than it probably should, the bonus track ‘Universal Law’ saving the album from ending on its lowest point.