A live-streamed event in support of their latest album Ωmega (Nuclear Blast), Dutch sextet Epica pull out the stops for an explosive return to the stage, their first since the Coronavirus crisis began last year. Presented by Danny Wimmer presents and filmed at AED Studios in Belgium, the band are given a generous performance area to strut their symphonic stuff and they utilise every bit of space in typically bombastic style.
It’s been well documented that the road to Aggression Continuum (Nuclear Blast Records), the latest album from Californian cyber-metallers Fear Factory, has been strewn with obstacles, challenges, and all manner of highly publicised internal disputes. Since its recording, the band has endured a lengthy legal battle which concluded with the departure of vocalist Burton C Bell, and saw guitarist, songwriter, and current studio bassist Dino Cazares winning the rights to the Fear Factory name via auction.
While all things toxic (waste; holocausts; um, waltzing) have long been a regular bedfellow for the lyric writers and album cover artists that inhibit the pungent worlds of Thrash and Death Metal, it also lurks in another sense; behind the scenes and pervading the environment of many bands relationships. Escaping the cryptic realms of one such biohazard of a relationship was a necessity for legendary bassist Terry Butler (Obituary, Death, Six Feet Under), guitarist Taylor Nordberg (Wombath, Ribspreader), and vocalist/drummer Jeramie Kling (Venom-Inc, Goregang, The Absence). Continue reading
The last of a groundbreaking run of undisputed classics, Sabotage (Vertigo/BMG), often gets overlooked during debates about the studio legacy of legendary metal pioneers Black Sabbath. Considering the seismic impact of the band’s previous five releases, this isn’t entirely surprising but Sabotage has always deserved more time in those conversations.
It’s been a long time coming but Flotsam and Jetsam finally look to have reasserted themselves among the top of the speed metal elite. After arriving on the scene with two undisputed classics back in the late ’80s, the Arizona thrashers fortunes dipped and for a while it seemed that they would only be remembered for those releases and supplying Metallica with bassist Jason Newsted.
Following up a breakthrough album, such as Boss Keloid’s last opus Melted On The Inch (Holy Roar) which finished at #4 in Ghost Cult’s Album of the Year poll in 2018, is a challenging proposition. Stray too far from the magic formula and you risk undoing that giant stride taken forwards (even without being a band that has always taken efforts to ensure development and evolution of their sound is a given); repeat the previous approach and accusations of diminishing returns, or playing it safe, abound along with an invariably inferior product. Continue reading
Southern Rock maestros Blackberry Smoke are back with their seventh album You Hear Georgia (3 Legged Records/Thirty Tiger). The Georgian septet are deep in their groove by now and as the title suggests this new record pays homage to their home state, with Dave Cobb (Rival Sons, Europe) on production duties.
It lies deep within the cold vastness of space. A distant, inhospitable land that exists at the farthest reaches of an unforgiving, lonely planet. Cast adrift and surrounded by an ocean of venomous, fanged, and tentacled monstrosities lies an island of such unimaginable manifestations of horror that madness and fear await every nervous footstep with eager, slurping lust. Crawling, slithering, scuttling, swimming, hiding. It waits.
The general conceit within black metal is that the rawer and more under-produced the album the more authentic and trve it sounds. Therefore remastering and remixing records of that particular genre is a venture never likely to be met with universal praise. Not that a little fact like that has deterred Satyricon in any way, the Norwegian act even going so far as to completely change the artwork on their first two albums for these updated releases courtesy of Napalm Records.
Everyone’s perspective of what they enjoy while watching a live performance is subjective. Some like to have that big splash of energy being thrown at them, others simply like to watch a well-played performance by their favorite musicians. In rare cases, you get to have both moods in the same set, particularly when we talk about instrumental music and that is precisely what The Aristocrats bring in their latest live album Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. The trio composed of Marco Minnemann on drums, Guthrie Govan on guitars, and Bryan Beller on bass released a live album that showcases perfectly what is “The Aristocrats live experience” is. The combination of comical glimpses in their jamming sessions, lots of musical influences, and the extreme dexterity of each of the musicians in their instruments is the order of the day in their live performances and you can listen to all of this in this album.