Venom Prison – Samsara

Animus’ reversal of more traditional Death Metal imagery was a breath of fresh air for many and a point of contention for others. Alongside tours with the likes of Trivium and Bloodstock main stage slots, Venom Prison garnered a large support base from fans and journalists alike, but it’s the ‘difficult second album’ that often causes younger bands to be ditched by the mainstream Metal press. There were those who debunked the band’s debut record as not much more than industry hype, but those people should brace themselves because Samsara (Prosthetic Records) will make the naysayers eat their words. Continue reading

Corrupt Moral Altar – Eunoia

Mention the city of Liverpool and most people tend to think of The Beatles and football. Ask a metalhead, and the names of Carcass and Anathema will surely pop up soon after. Although not exactly at the forefront of the UK metal scene, Liverpool has no shortage of underground talent to offer. Scare Tactics have been around since 2010 and have played both Bloodstock and Download festivals. Reaper have been thrashing around since 2011, and Techy Prog types Reperium are steadily building a name for themselves, as are the heavier Oceanis. Continue reading

REVIEWS ROUND-UP: Ghost, Lovebites, Babylon Fire, HammerFall and more…

 

The beauty to last weeks’ beast, the Ghost Cult album round-up is back for your vulgar delectation, and our final compilation of 2017 captures albums most Metal and most Melodic, shining a light on last-minute stocking fillers that St. Anne, rather than St Nick, would approve of… Continue reading

Watch Gojira’s Full Performance From Bloodstock 2016

Gojira will be touring all over this States this Summer with the likes of Kyng, Deafheaven, Code Orange, Opeth and Metallica, and they’ve just shared a new video online to remind us all why we should get our tickets right away. Continue reading

Trivium – Silence In The Snow

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There aren’t many bands to achieve the success levels that Trivium have that have to subsequently prove themselves over with each album. While the shadow of the decade old Ascendancy (Roadrunner) continues to loom over their career, that familiar feeling of deja-vu pervades as the Floridians unveil their seventh album, Silence In The Snow (also Roadrunner), once again to a backdrop of doubters and people gleefully awaiting a failure to show their mettle.

There is often negativity and scepticism attached to bands changing their style, but Trivium’s new music sounds more sophisticated and almost effortless. The introductory track ‘Snofall’, delicately crafted by Ihsahn to reflect the melodies of the upcoming title track, is dark and haunting; intriguing the listener, yet not giving away exactly what direction Trivium are going to take with their new sound, and the beautiful melodies are able to reinforce the themes of loneliness and of course… snow. The snow theme seems to have put off a lot of people, as if snow is only related to Frozen or Christmas. Although it may make a good Christmas present, this album is anything but tacky…

Title track ‘Silence In The Snow’ had its live debut earlier this year on the bands’ summer shows and since then it has been frequently gracing the airwaves and segues from the introduction before duplicating the same chaos as ‘In Waves’ with its melodic stomp. ‘Blind Leading The Blind’ is one of the strongest songs on the album and the guitar work is extremely effective: the simplistic riffs contrast well with the technical guitar solos.

‘Until The World Goes Cold’ opens with a haunting guitar riff, and progresses into a slow yet bass-heavy song. There are no fast-paced or shredding guitars, as the track shows Trivium’s softer side. Matt Heafy’s clean vocals are stronger than ever, and there is more of a focus on the lyrical content, with the heavy vocals of previous albums left by the wayside; exploring themes of legacy and fading away in ‘Dead And Gone’, singing “I feel I will die a forgotten man, just a number.”

Trivium have been criticised in the past for trying too hard to create music that they think everyone will like, however, Silence In The Snow should change perceptions and sets up a future direction. With less of a focus on trying to be the heaviest, it is much easier to enjoy their sound for what it really is: decent metal music which does not need harsh vocals.

Heafy’s improved vocals are the focus throughout, a path which is a continuation of the route travelled on Vengeance Falls (Roadrunner), so if you are looking for an extremely heavy album then you will be disappointed. Allow yourself to enjoy the increased emphasis on song-writing and melodic refrains, however, and Silence In The Snow will resonate with you. 

 

7.5/10

 

JULIA CONOPO

Eater Of Worlds – Dennie Grondelaers And Reinier Schenk Of Saille

Saille Dries Gaerdelen

Saille at Bloodstock 2015. Photo credit – Dries Gaerdelen

While roaming the green green grass of Bloodstock Festival earlier this year, Ghost Cult caught up with Saille to discuss their first appearance at the legendary festival, and how work on their next opus is coming along…

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If there was something special about Bloodstock Festival in 2015, aside from the bands and the people of course, it was the constant sunshine and heat; something we always hope for at UK festivals but we rarely get (anyone who has encountered Download Festival at its worst will testify to). However, while this is great for the fans it does not necessarily prove to be so for those bands on the main stage who strive for dark and haunting atmospherics. The likes of Agalloch and 1349 across the weekend made due effort and came out well; for poor Belphegor the presence of butterflies clearly visible to the stage proved too comical to take them seriously.

With their debut Bloodstock appearance on the Sophie Tent instead of the main stage, Belgian black metallers Saille luckily benefited from the tent atmosphere, able to showcase their tone and visuals unaffected, and as a result proved one of the weekends highlights.  Speaking to vocalist Dennie Grondelaers and guitarist Reinier Schenk before their Sunday set, they both understand their stage positioning, and are very positive about their setting.

“We have to accept the fact that we are a growing band; if we are on the main stage we would just vanish into nothing” begins Grondelaers, philosophically.

Schenk “I prefer to play inside because we can bring our own light show”

Grondelaers “Its certainly interesting for black metal bands to play in the sunlight.”

 

With a very strong release ethic which has seen 3 albums in the last 4 years, Saille have, unsurprisingly reached UK shores more frequently as of late, but Bloodstock represents their first festival appearance, at least in the UK. With so many festivals across Europe now, competition is as fierce as ever. Grondelaers muses “I don’t think it’s actually well known (outside of the UK), but people who know Bloodstock are really excited about it, but I also think the main audience is people on the mainland.”

Schenk: “There is a lot of competition on the continent, a lot of small countries and huge festivals, if you can’t see a band there then maybe come here, like Emperor last year.”

Grondelaers “Plus it’s the same weekend for Party San in Germany and Brutal Assault in the Czech Republic.”

Despite the competitive nature of the festival season however, Saille are very positive about Bloodstock and say there is a big plus on its side. Grondelaers explains: “It’s a small festival, there are very big bands but on a smaller scale, compared to say Graspop which is nice but its huge, about 50,000 people. Here it’s half (that) and much more laidback, more relaxed and you don’t have to walk around. You don’t have to walk 4 hours on some sandy trail to get to your camping spot.”

 

With the festival season still in full swing even after Bloodstock, Saille have a busy schedule of more European festivals before returning to regular venues, and the writing of the follow up to last years Eldritch(Aural Music). With a very fast paced release schedule before, this time around they want to take things differently. On the subject of new music, Grondelaers adds “We want to take a little more time for the next album, we are not putting any deadlines on it this time.”

Reiner Schenk continues in blunt fashion. “Deadlines always destroy something, if it’s the artwork or the production, it sucks.”

Grondelaers “It’s a bit too early to talk about it but we have pretty much worked out the concept will be about pain and suffering.”

“We tried butterflies and love but that was taken already” Schenk deadpans.

 

WORDS BY CHRIS TIPPELL

Bloodstock Festival: Day Three – Catton Hall, UK

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As the final day of Bloodstock 2015 begins, it is once again with the shock of no sign of rain once again. Someone, somewhere must have made some kind of sacrifice to some form of deity to ward off the rain and giving perfect sunshine for the entire weekend. No doubt the usual washout day will rear its head again next year, but for today, there is plenty of heavy metal to enjoy.

Kicking off proceedings for the day is one very annoying clash between atmospheric black metaller’s Agalloch on the main stage and British heavy metal masters Triaxis, who reward the rammed Sophie Tent by assuredly knocking the cobwebs of people’s hangovers away with a spectacular showcase of straightforward but massively enjoyable metal. New cuts like ‘Liberty’ and ‘Death Machine’ prove just as immediate and strong as fan-favourites like ‘Black Trinity’ as they show just why they one of the brightest lights on the British metal scene today, as today’s set feels hugely triumphant. The same can’t quite be said for the following The Izuna Drop who’s electronica bass drop tinged sounds are interesting in principle but doesn’t translate well today as a thin, curious crowd quickly empties even further.

For all the critics of the modern day incarnation of Sepultura (WAH! THERES NO MAX CAVALERA ITS NOT SEPULTURA!) they’re overlooking three important factors: Firstly Derrick Green has been a part of the band by now longer than Max ever was. Secondly the band that they are today is a very different beast to the Max incarnation; yes they play the hits like ‘Roots Bloody Root’ and ‘Refuse/Resist’ but with a somewhat different tone to those days. And thirdly, they still pack a hell of a punch, giving a strong, somewhat safe set with very few surprises (other than a brand new song aired) but one that is never less exciting than before, as the main stage crowd gives a huge response, especially to those aforementioned hits.

The likes of Agalloch and Belphegor may have suffered some of their atmospherics due to the sunshine on the main stage, so its fortunate for Saille that they perform to a darker, more intense Sophie tent, where their brooding, melodic brand of black metal is allowed its full impact. Mostly static but full of intensity, their vivid tales inspired but the likes of H.P. Lovecraft proof menacing but so captivating, and they have surely made a tonne of new friends in this instance.

You always know what you’re going to get with Cannibal Corpse, from the bludgeoning barrage of their music to the recognisable stage introductions (“This song is about shooting blood from your cock”) but it never withers in intensity, and today they are as strong and reliant as ever. The staggering amount of crowd surfers during this set tells you how well they have gone down today, and why they are such a firm live favourite.

It may be hot outside, it may be the evening of the last day, but people still want to have a bloody good time, and apparently a bit of a boogie. Good job French swing/death metal oddballs Trepalium are at hand with perhaps the surprise set of the entire weekend. Not a huge name by any means on these shores but they pack out the Sophie tent, and after a confusing sound-check, absolutely explode. Volatile death metal meets catchy, jazz like passages with stunning effect as the what could possibly be the biggest moshpit the tent has seen all weekend is surrounded by people dancing like loons to four sharply dressed musicians and a shirt-less, voodoo mask like painted nutter of a vocalist. An unexpected highlight as they prove one of the bands of the weekend.

Zakk  Wylde

Zakk Wylde

All three headliners this year were subject to vitriolic responses on the internet forums at their announcement, but today’s headliner Rob Zombie probably received the most flak. Coupled with the memory of recent, stripped back festival appearances not gaining plaudits and there is a swell of anticipation amongst excited fans and those who seem to be there simply wishing for a car crash performance. Not to mention the catastrophic stage problems that plagued Trivium and Within Temptation, there is a feeling that anything could happen; fortunately for the excited throng, all goes well this time around.

 

 

 

Rob Zombie, photo credit  Fiaz Farrelly

Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

 Rob Zombie, photo credit  Fiaz Farrelly

Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Opening with a storming ‘Teenage Nosferatu Pussy’, Rob Zombie’s part b-movie horror flick, part cartoon brand of industrial metal proves an excellent festival closer which oozes fun. Zombie himself proves very charismatic (if at times forced) whilst the excellent pair of John 5 and Piggy D jostle and challenge for attention on stage, both giving show stealing, virtuoso performances and their own unique visuals. Coupled with such a strong arsenal of songs and it seems silly to think how it could have failed; although there seems to be reliance on a couple of famous covers to gather some momentum: an awkward rendition of James Brown’s ‘Get Up…’ and note perfect, nothing special renditions of ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and ‘Schools Ou’” which surely take time away from songs people may have wanted to hear. That being said the likes of ‘Superbeast’, ‘More Human Than Human’ and a rarely aired ‘Pussy Liquor’ hit the spot, bringing the festivities to a euphoric close on the main stage (for those who still have energy and urging for a more claustrophobic disposition, Godflesh pack out the tent later on in the night).

 Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Over the weekend some issues reared their heads again, from the stage show suffering of black metal bands in broad daylight to the near comical amount of main stage difficulties which nearly derail many a set, but none of this can detract from a tremendous weekend that gave fantastic weather and even better bands.

See you in a year Catton Hall.

 

CHRIS TIPPELL and SARAH WORSLEY