One of the more leftfield collaborations of 2022 so far, see’s French electro maestro Perturbator (aka James Kent) purveyor of heavily eighties-influenced dark-wave join forces with Johannes Persson, vocalist/guitarist and principle songwriter for Swedish post-metal innovators Cult Of Luna. The collaboration first bared fruit early in 2020 as Holland’s Roadburn Festival, the legendary celebration of heavy and experimental music offered Perturbator and Johannes the opportunity to collaborate with a specially commissioned live performance.
There’s a line in 1982 science fiction movie Blade Runner which goes: “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long”. While this might be true, every rule has its exception and Bay Area thrashers Exodus are exactly that. Since dishing out their first full-length lesson in violence way back in 1985, the San Franciscan legends have seen off opposition from virtually everywhere. Even with an extended hiatus during the nineties the band’s absence never felt terminal, more like they were simply lying in wait to strike again.
Replacing axe-wielding lions and scantily clad, big-haired warrior maidens with vivid, futuristic imagery, it only takes a quick glance at the cover art of Dark Connection (Nuclear Blast), the new album by multinational power metal act Beast in Black, to see that science fiction and anime have played an integral role in its, er… inception.
With the world lurching from one crisis to another on an almost hourly basis, it’s a relief to know that music can still offer some form of escapism. If you’re exhausted by politics or worried about global pandemics, then you could do a lot worse than embarking on a magical quest with symphonic metal act Dark Sarah.Continue reading
Many times in music journalism, we writers are given to hyperbole, often because it is the low hanging fruit of the field to gush about the classics with a torrent of compliments. You often read words like genre-defying, and frankly, a lot of the time they don’t land as they are meant to. However, in the case of the entire career of Fear Factory and certainty of the album Demanufacture (Roadrunner Records), the words can never do proper justice to the music. Simply stated, Deamnfacture is one of the most important, unique, and unapologetically brutal albums in heavy metal history. Continue reading
Swedish theatrical metallers Avatar has set Hunter Gatherer as the title of their new album, due on August 7th via eOne Music. The band revealed the name of the new disc in a one-and-a-half-minute video teaser, inspired by The Matrix films and Blade Runner, which was uploaded to their official YouTube channel. Songs set to appear on the LP include ‘Colossus’, ‘Child’, ‘Scream Into The Void’, ‘Silence In The Age Of Apes’, and ‘Secret Door’, the latter of which featuring a whistling spot by Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor.Continue reading
For many, the nineties would prove to be the end of heavy metal as we knew it. Bands who rose to greatness in the preceding decade suddenly found themselves either retreading old ground, out of their depth trying to explore new territories, or simply grinding to an unceremonious halt. Within just a couple of years, denim, leather and even the term “heavy metal” itself, were out.Continue reading
Black Orchid Empire’s Yugen (Long Branch/SVT) is a slick new spin on the sounds Heavy Metal people love. The opening song, ‘My Favorite Stranger’ is a headbanging gem, evokes shades of NIN, Tool, and Primal Rock Rebellion. The guitars have a heavy soulful tone to them one moment and a classic rock sound to them the next, all of this is accentuated by clean vocals. The trio is Paul Visser on vocals and guitars, Dave Ferguson on bass and vocals, and Billy Freedom on drums, bringing the thunder.
When a band that formed in 2006 have already recorded ten full-length albums and so many EPs and splits that I can’t be bothered counting them, it’s fair to assume that they’ve (I know, it’s only one person, but you use a band-name you get called by a plural – science) nailed their sound down by now. With Metal/Noise pioneers Gnaw Their Tongues, however, it’s a bit more complicated than that – they’ve somehow managed to develop a style that is instantly recognisable but changes subtly across each album, to the extent that you’re never sure exactly what you’re going to get when a new one is announced, and how heavily it will lean towards their disparate sides.Continue reading
Reviewing a new Fear Factory album in 2015 is like purchasing the Blu-Ray edition of a film you already own on DVD. It’s a good movie and it’s all shiny and high-definition like, but overall there’s no substantial surprises. A new commentary track and special features (or in this analogy, lyrics) are nice perks.
Long story short, there’s not a whole lot of deviation. In that regard Fear Factory’s Genexus (Nuclear Blast) is similar enough to the last review I penned, Kataklysm’s Of Ghosts and Gods. Sure, they’re both new albums, but do you really expect (or want) a dramatic stylistic change from these extreme metal institutions?
All the core Fear Factory components that made 2010s Mechanize and 2012s The Industrialist memorable are back. Vocalist Burton C. Bell and guitarist/bassist Dino Cazares are still playing nice while under the guidance of longtime collaborator and producer Rhys Fulber. Two of the songs feature Blade Runner samples so yeah, the man grappling against artificial intelligence theme is present again. Really, the biggest or only variations to be found here are a return to live drumming (a strong performance from Mike Heller) and the record label.
If you’ve had the pleasure of listening to Demanufacture or Obsolete you’re gonna hit the ground running on this outing. Seriously, like those two landmarks we open with some industrial samples/noises that lead into a jack hammer of a song and 40 minutes or so later the album is bookended by a sweeping and melodic closer (this time in the form of the excellent ‘Expiration Date’).
And that’s a good thing. Very good if you’re into this sort of metallic business. But wait, there’s more. In between the covers you also get slabs of brutal groove like ‘Anodized’ and ‘Soul Hacker.’ It’s all the downtuned 7-string chug coupled with machine-gun fire kick drums your little mechanical heart desires. And despite being in this racket for 25+ years, Bell still can do the bark and croon thing better than most.
Although if they’re going to keep moving forward with the “cybermetal” sound (or whatever Fear Factory refer to themselves these days) I’d like to see it with the full classic lineup. That means bringing bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and skinsman Raymond Herrera out of exile. They were there for the Demanufacture and Obsolete days, they should be here for the resurgence.