From ‘War Pigs’ to the present day, metal and politics have gone hand in hand and Sacred Reich has never shied away from the subject. As far back as their Draining You of Life demo in 1986, the Arizona thrashers made it abundantly clear that fascism is bullshit, Nazis are the enemy, and that oppression in any form should not be tolerated. This steadfast opposition to dictatorship, corruption, and social injustice has served them well for over thirty years, but recently the band has found themselves in the unbelievable position of actually having to defend those views. Swamping their social media pages with insults and demands to “stop making everything political”, some of their so-called “fans” really seem to have missed the entire fucking point of Sacred Reich.
Relative newcomers to the scene, Detroit’s Plague Years follow up their independently released 2018 debut EP with their first full-length offering, Circle of Darkness (eOne Music). Continue reading
Prosthetic Records has signed Irish modern thrashers, Gama Bomb, who are currently preparing to record an album for release in the fall. They dropped a new standalone single,’Living For The Lockdown’, that will benefit homelessness charity, Dublin Simon Community. Produced by guitarist Domo Dixon with additional drum production by the band’s long-term producer Scott Atkins (Cradle Of Filth, Sylosis), and featuring the band’s former drummer Paul Caffrey, ‘Living For The Lockdown’ is available to stream everywhere from today. Watch the video below! Continue reading
Neo-Thrash leaders Warbringer will see their new album, Weapons of Tomorrow, releasing out April 24, 2020.via Napalm Records. The album is the highly anticipated full-length follow up to 2017’s acclaimed Woe To The Vanquished and has already seen a share of new singles. Weapons of Tomorrow was recorded with acclaimed producer Mike Plotnikoff – producer on Woe To The Vanquished and for artists such as In Flames and Fear Factory – and mixed by Zack Ohren, who is credited for the mix on sophomore album, Waking Into Nightmares, as well as his work with artists like Machine Head and Immolation. The album artwork was created by Andreas Marschall (Sodom, Blind Guardian, Kreator). Jam out to their latest single and video for ‘Glorious End’ right now!Continue reading
Josh Pappe, Punk rock bassist who played on two crucial albums of Crossover Thrash for Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (D.R.I.) has died. He was 53. As of press time, no cause of death has been revealed. Pappe who was in D.R.I. from different periods from 1983 -1984, and 1985 -1998 and played on both Crossover and 4 of A Kind contributed to both legendary albums for the genre. Josh had performed most of his life in bands in and out of D.R.I. We send our condolences out to Josh’s family and friends at this time. Continue reading
Diminished twin lead guitars fade in above a filthy, distorted bass line. It segues into the intro of the title track, and Death Becomes My Voice (Relapse Records) begins in ill-conceived circumstances. This intro segment is a slow crawl through power chords and crashing cymbals, and completely unrepresentative of the album as a whole. When the main bulk of the title track begins it’s clear that the slow introduction was a calm before a storm, but perhaps an unnecessary breather to kick things off. It may have worked better somewhere in the middle of this unrelenting album as something of a palate cleanser, but more on that later.Continue reading
My first album review with Ghost Cult Mag, and I’m quickly reminded of the great perk when it comes to this line of work. Finding enjoyable bands you may not of found otherwise. Example being the new LP, Crush the Sublime Gods(Century Media), by Sweden’s Dr. Living Dead. Crush The Sublime Godsis very reminiscent of early work by such acts as Stormtroopers of Death, Anthrax, and Suicidal Tendencies. Dr. Living Dead prove classic Crossover Thrash is as strong as ever, and shows no sign of slowing down. This is by no means anything original or ground-breaking, but don’t take it as I am belittling the band. As the saying goes, you can’t fix what isn’t broken.
With a new vocalist and drummer joining Dr. Living Dead in the past couple years,Crush the Sublime Godsproves they’ve clearly had chemistry from the start. From fast riffs to a slow stomp, gang chants galore, and one track even being a Thrash power ballad (‘Salvation’), this album is a complete package. The lyrical content is a bit tongue-in-cheek as it pays homage to classic 80’s horror films. Most obvious one being the track ‘Scanners’, Inspired by the 1981 filmScanners. One of my personal favorites off the album. The lyrics tell the story of those with incredibly strong telekinetic powers known asScanners, who use their powers to deadly effects. All during fast riffs and a familiar thrash beat. Being a fan of the movie the lyrics “We’ll f**k your brain dry” during a break down was far too enjoyable for me. ‘No Way Out’ slows down a bit with a more melodic groove with clear vocals, overall feel of classic Suicidal Tendencies.
Overall I enjoyed Crush the Sublime Gods, and am now inclined to check out the rest of the discography from Dr. Living Dead. As they only formed in 2007, they easily join modern bands such as Municipal Waste as bands that are keeping Thrash a true force in the metal community. I feel like if this album was released twenty years ago, everyone would of heard of it. It would be surprising to me if anyone that is a fan of Thrash did not enjoy this band or album, so I give a strong recommendation.
WORDS BY DEREK RIX
It was the dream lineup you didn’t know you wanted.
You can say it was tailor made for fans of moshing, polyrhythms and just very loud noises. On this frigid snow caked Saturday many made the expedition to get some maximum volume. Some coming as far as from a God forsaken land known as Maine.
The destination was the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts. The event was the “Through Space and Grind” tour co-headlined by Napalm Death and Voivod. This odd bedfellows lineup seemingly straight from 1991 may have been the best unexpected pairing since chicken and waffles. I don’t know who hatched the idea, but I owe him some beer.
All of the Palladium regulars were present. These including corpse paint guy, blonde ponytail dude, the YouTube review types who feel everyone in metal is overrated, the four Latino fans (myself included), older drunk gentleman still stuck in the 80s and 700 kids wearing denim vests (once again, me included). All here for a bill that also featured Exhumed, Iron Reagan, Ringworm and Black Crown Initiate. Virtually ensuring a good night of political dissent, onstage decapitation, blast beats, circle pits, cover songs and a hint of prog. And cheap beer. You can’t go to the Palladium and not get ripped on Narragansett. Or at least have some poured on you by a drunk in the pit.
I was unable to catch the local talent Blacktrip who opened the main stage due to an interview with Exhumed’s Matt Harvey. However I was able to run inside and catch Black Crown Initiate. One of eOne’s latest and most promising signees, Black Crown Initiate hail from Reading Pennsylvania. The same stomping grounds as fellow death metal prospects, Rivers of Nihil. And much like their neighbors, Black Crown Initiate excel at delivering crushing death metal with a bellowing low-end crunch driven forward by endless double kick drumming. However unlike their sometimes counterparts, they also have melodic streak to them and will not hesitate to throw in a Between the Buried and Me style chorus like the one in opening salvo ‘A Great Mistake.’ All of which translated beautifully in terms of live sound. So much so that it was disappointing to only have them play four tracks all from last year’s ripping The Wreckage of Stars. While I wish they had more time they’ll likely roll back into town sooner rather than later. Since the release of The Wreckage of Stars they seem to be on any tour they can get their hands on.
Ringworm stormed the stage to demonstrate their metallic hardcore style. These gentlemen were an aural throwback to the days when splicing metal and hardcore conjured images of Burnt by the Sun and Coalesce, not Falling in Reverse. Thrash tempos collided with concrete with breakdowns as thick as concrete walls on songs like ‘Hellbound’ and ‘Justice Replaced by Revenge.’ And for those in attendance who like to spend most of their time at the second stage during Metal and Hardcore fest, Ringworm made sure pull up some Birth is Pain favorites such as ‘Dollar Whore’ and ‘Madness of War.’ It’s unfortunate that they ran out of time with two songs still left to be played and were hampered by a muddy sound mix. The pits were just beginning to churn.
Keeping affairs fast and loose was (and probably the best band name ever) Iron Reagan. The awesome Richmond Virginia supergroup of sorts (featuring members of Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse and Darkest Hour) seemed hell-bent in finding out how many songs they could cram into their set. They even found some time for a nice Boston treat as they covered SS Decontrol’s hardcore classic ‘Glue’ with none other than Barney Greenway on the mic. With regards to Iron Reagan, come for the slashing crossover thrash, but stay for one of the best frontmen in extreme music, Tony Foresta. Foresta with his witty banter and one stage move (awkwardly jumping over Ryan Parrish’s drum kit) kept the momentum going when they weren’t tearing into pit-starters like ‘Miserable Failure’ and ‘Your Kid’s an Asshole.’ One of the more entertaining mouthpieces in a genre that has been known to take itself too seriously.
Exhumed came on right after with a bloody (in more ways than one) fun set. Any death metal act that finishes up with a decapitated head being placed in a microwave is doing God’s work. It is worth noting that Exhumed’s set only featured close to no music from later albums. The focus was placed on Gore Metal, the 1998 Exhumed classic that has been re-recorded and is being reissued. From opening (‘Necromaniac’) to close (‘Open the Abscess’) it was a Gore Metal showcase. If the live energy and response is any indicator then I am liking this re-recording business. Foresta came onstage again for a raucous cover of Negative Approach’s ‘Ready to Fight.’
Not to be outgunned, the elder statesmen of the tour, Voivod, got right after it. Starting with ‘Kluskap O’Kom’ from their 2013 return to form, Target Earth followed up with one of the most underappreciated metal songs ever, ‘Tribal Convictions.’ With vocalist Denis “Snake” Belanger and drummer Michel “Away” Langevin being 49 and 51 respectively I wondered if they could perform with the younger and aggressive bands on the bill. But if I learned one thing that night it’s that Voivod’s album art is consistently ugly and they can thrash with the best of them. By feeling the energy and those odd riffs it becomes clear why they are such a respected albeit obscure institution in metal with the likes of Opeth and Neurosis citing them as an influence. Before I could collect my thoughts properly, they were already in the midst of their haunting rendition of ‘Astronomy Domine.’ Voivod’s lack of success wasn’t because they were too weird or Canadian. They were just too ahead of their time.
Wasting little time following up Voivod’s avant-garde assault, Napalm Death didn’t even bother with a stage banner. The lights went dark and we were treated to ominous and punishing combination of ‘Discordance’ and ‘I Abstain’ off of 1992s Utopia Banished. Napalm Death led by the angriest sounding man in the world, Greenway was backed by drummer Danny Herrera, bassist Shane Embury and filling in for guitarist Mitch Harris was Erik Burke of Brutal Truth fame. When they weren’t blasting out tracks from their new and excellent Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media), Napalm Death dished out punishment in the form of ‘Vision Conquest,’ ‘From Enslavement to Obliteration,” and ‘Suffer the Children.” I’ve seen a lot death, thrash and hardcore bands, but nothing was quite like watching Napalm Death. How they just sounded faster, harsher and angrier than any band I’ve been in the presence of. It was less concert and more like religious experience. I felt like I wanted to call my parent’s and let them know I had found direction and purpose. “Mom. Dad. I’m going to start a grindcore band. I need it. It makes the edge go away.” While it may sound cliché to some, Greenway went into explanations for many of the night’s songs. Whether they be about not letting institutions dictate your sexuality, capitalism, free market economics or religion, it became clear that he’s not just sloganeering; Greenway believes in his art and convictions. This machine kills ignorance.
What started out as a great night of music was elevated to unforgettable. Without a doubt in my mind, Napalm Death is the most important force in extreme music.
WORDS BY HANSEL LOPEZ