The season of the witch is upon us!!!! With Halloween just days away, it seemed more than fitting to check out some new Black Metal. Why not listen to some truly “scary movie” music with my favorite holiday just at hand. With that being said, the new cut from Ghost Bath Is a musical force to be reckoned with.
Gospelheim, Blackened Gothic Rockers from Manchester kick things off with a statement of intent with their debut single – ‘Into Smithereens’. Their self-released debut album will follow later this year. Featuring alumni from variety of respected underground Manchester-based metal bands, the group appeals to tastes ranging from Paradise Lost to Unto Others, and beyond. Continue reading
Clutch has announced a new album for later this summer, Weathermaker Vault Series, named for their own record label imprint. The band has shared a lyric video for their updated cover of Willie Dixon’s classic blues track ‘Evil’. Dixon was the famous and inspirational bluesman whom Led Zeppelin copied and covered a lot early in their career, and ‘Evil’ has that same DNA with Clutch’s fingerprints on it too. Watch it now!Continue reading
With their homeland having become a noticeable entity for black metal at its most experimental, nauseating and evil best, it is no surprise that black/death metallers The Order Of Apollyon hail from the land of France. In fact, The Order… were actually instigated and led by a prime member of influential Asosoth, namely B.S.T, as their debut saw an impressive who’s who of extreme metal, but sadly with fine if uninspiring results. Five years on sees the follow up, The Sword And The Dagger (Listenable), an altered lineup, and a greater sound of purpose.
Surprisingly coming from the scene that they originate, TOOA’s sound is fairly accessible considering it is drawing from both death and black metal; at times simultaneously. Much of this is down to its precise, contemporary sounding production which avoids the sludgey, dissonant feel; sharing more with some of their ‘cleaner’ counterparts. Much can also be pointed towards its more tuneful segments which take their cues from melodic death metal, albeit from the heavier spectrum such as the likes of Hate.
Not that is easy listening by any stretch, as it veers from guttural death metal and piercing black metal with a subtle but definite experimental nature, such as on ‘Al’ankabout’ with its slight Middle Eastern vibes and a grinding, doom like crawling passage. This album has several sides to it, but displays it all with impressive fluidity, and, whilst it may have easy to spot reference points at times, it all comes off in a worthy and formidable manner.
With its extreme metal ranging from several different roots and its bouts of experimentation – combined with its comparatively polished production – The Sword And The Dagger proves not only a vast improvement over its predecessor, but also potential to be a valid entry point for metal fans who are looking for something a little more challenging.
A solid album, and a good grounding, that could be the beginning of something all the more special.
All Hail the King
OR The best metal show I saw in 2014
How King Diamond ruined My life by being so awesome.
I sat down with the intention of talking about all the highlights of the best metal shows I saw in 2014. But I want to be brutally honest here.
It all boils down to: KING DIAMOND
King Motherfucking Diamond.
As fans of King’s know the band inked a deal with Metal Blade records back in 2012, and since then all sorts of awesome new things have been going on. Reissues, boxsets, remastered tracks, new merch and all sorts of stuff that has Me excited. Now, I had never seen King Diamond before and have been a fan for so long, I was extremely excited to say the least. So excited I bought My ticket soon as they went on sale. And I only bought ONE because I didn’t know who I was going with and didn’t care if I went alone, but I was NOT missing the show.
The leg of the tour I got to see was the Worcester, MA show, a pre party for The Rock and Shock festival http://rockandshock.com/ at The Palladium, http://www.thepalladium.net/ which is one of My favorite grungy little venues in New England.
It was RIGHT before Halloween, cold and dreary the leaves had all fallen off of the trees. As I said it was the pre party for Rock and Shock so everybody was appropriately spooked out and ready for horror mayhem and metal!
What a wonderful way to kick off a horror convention. It was the most involved and spectacular stage setup King Diamond had EVER done. Incorporating horror aspects from many of his albums and songs. It was SO intense! The vocals were on point, the lighting and stage was almost overwhelming, I never knew where to look. Like the metal version of a three ring circus in the best way possible. Grandma was there in a coffin, for awhile the show was in a graveyard, huge red lit Baphomet floated over the stage. You really were in King Diamond’s world. The musical aspect alone would have it the best show of 2014 for Me, but with the added theatrics it might just make it the best show of all time.
This show was so good that I was almost sad while it was happening. Because I know that no other show will probably ever come close to being that good…ever, for the rest of My life. King Diamond ruined My life by being so good. It was the best show of 2014 for Me by a long shot.
I have no idea how 2015 is going to measure up!
Goatwhore conjures a musical sound to mind the minute read their name or say it aloud. You know what it stands for, before the words roll off of your tongue. Few modern bands have the grit and the greatness to remain consistently heavy in the face of rising popularity. They are in many ways the Motörhead of their musical generation: without compromise and weakness…. a band that can do no wrong for fans across all of metals fiefdoms and cliques. Certainly there are no Goatwhore haters, only people unaware of them, yet. Maintaining the balance of their message and the quality of their songcraft is the likely secret to their success, beyond some sacred pact with dark forces. Every album is different from the last, yet they never went soft or sold out like some others have. On Constricting Rage of the Merciless (Metal Blade), their sixth album in their 16-year career, Goatwhore rolls up their spiked-sleeves and smashes you in the mouth once again. And you will love it!
Where 2012’s Blood for the Master was a little more nuanced and throwback focused, Constricting Rage of the Merciless kicks you with jackbooted foot and maintains the savagery all the way through. The new album has more than a pointed step towards their blackened death metal history, but also carries with it the continued evolution of the sound of recent releases. Opening track ‘Poisonous Existence in Reawakening’ will crush your ear holes with extreme prejudice. Unrelenting blastbeats, deathly sick riffs and the masterful vocals of Rev. L. Ben Falgoust III will make you smile, unless you are dead. In typical fashion for this act, most of the tracks are tight, average under four-minutes each, and have zero B.S. about them. The majestically brutal ‘Unraveling Paradise’ has no less than four different riffs in the song, all of them amazing. Sammy Duet doesn’t rely as much on thrashy pedaling this time around, coming up with some inventive licks and whirling motifs, all that would shame some of the best tech death bands by the way.
As was the case on the last album, drummer Zack Simmons demolishes expectations and his kit on every song, inspiring much headbanging and fist-banging. If you have seen the band live, you know Zack is a machine who plays equally well on wax. Tracks such as ‘Baring Teeth for Revolt’ and ‘Reanimated Sacrifice’ are a drum fanatics wet dream. ‘Reanimated…’ as on several tracks herein, sees Rev. Ben switch up his style and make use of different parts of his register vocally. Impressive stuff. Also chipping in with a great chopping riff and a slick, short solo is Duet once again, who continues to enthrall listeners year after year.
The bleak and harsh ‘Heaven’s Crumbling Walls of Pity’ flexes the bands black metal muscles again, with a little extra something grim on top. It’s almost like a proggy black metal song you might expect from Ihsahn’s solo work. The ending stanzas are full of cool chords and grooving beats. ‘Cold Earth In Dying Flesh’ is another in a litany of standout, mid-album cuts. It has an eerie intro to set the mood. Not unlike a horror movie soundtrack theme, this slow to simmer beast machine of a song is a great change of pace. Falgoust again just bellows with some of the best vocals he’s ever done. It’s also the longest track on the album; not an epic in length, but with high quality grooves more associated with their other swampy NOLA brethren. When it finally launches into breakneck death thrash territory mid-song, it takes the track to another level without losing the story.
‘FBS’ was first played live on the Behemoth tour this spring and is a typical, circle-pit inducing song if there is one on this album. Full of rawness, with two more sweet solos from Sammy. It’s almost punk without being punk, or punk without too much crust. ‘Nocturnal Conjuration of the Accursed’ continues the trend of heady lyrics, and heavy on the evil sounds that is the bands trademark. There is even a little classic metal fun of galloping riffs and thematic soloing. ‘Schadenfreude’ is another gruesome masterpiece. Black metal, death metal and thrash all come together, but in a sensible way you could almost call it American Blackened Thrash. As a style, this would be a worthy counterpart to the Death `n Roll of Scandinavian bands, but much, much more brutal. ‘Schadenfreude’ is also a lyrical masterpiece, with the title defined as enjoying the suffering of others, in this case those whom most deserve it. The album closes with the fitting ‘Externalize this Hidden Savagery’ and sums up the entire album’s intent quite well before its final notes ring out.
Goatwhore has made an album nearly worthy of the best work of their career, even though it’s on the short side at under 40 minutes. I doubt you will find a more righteously hostile, fun, and well made album from another heavy band in 2014.
KEITH (KEEFY) CHACHKES
Metal legend King Diamond has announced his comeback headline tour of the USA, this fall. The full US tour, with full production promises to be the proper King Diamond live presentation fans stateside have been clamoring for. Joining him will be longtime band members Andy LaRocque, Mike Wead, Hal Patino, and Matt Thompson, making this a must see tour.
For the uninitiated (or just the un-metal) King Diamond was a legend before he ever went solo, leaving Mercyful Fate in 1985. Building on Don’t Break the Oath’s success, King has put out countless amazing albums, especially his first four: Fatal Portrait, Abigail, Them and Conspiracy; which still hold up well today despite being 25-30 years old.
King Diamond is an inspiration musically and aesthetically for two generations of metal bands, as well as being a pop culture figure as well (Clerks II, Dethklok). Best by injury and illness, save for an occasional festival appearance, this is the first full-scale tour KD has done in nearly a decade. Surely this announcement will stoke the fires for his long in the works new album, and eventually a Mercyful Fate reunion tour in the future.
The pre-sale started today here and the full sale is this Friday, 6/27. The tour includes stops at the annual Rock & Shock Festival and the Fun Fun Fun Fest.
KING DIAMOND North American Tour 2014:
10/11/2014 Center Stage – Atlanta, GA
10/13/2014 The Fillmore – Silver Spring, MD
10/14/2014 Best Buy Theatre – New York, NY
10/16/2014 The Palladium – Worcester, MA (as part of Rock & Shock)
10/17/2014 Olympia – Montreal, QC
10/18/2014 The Sound Academy – Toronto, ON
10/19/2014 Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA
10/21/2014 The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
10/22/2014 The Pageant – St. Louis, MO
10/24/2014 Paramount Theatre – Denver, CO
10/26/2014 The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT
10/28/2014 The Moose Theatre – Seattle, WA
10/30/2014 The Warfield – San Francisco, CA
10/31/2014 The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA
11/01/2014 House Of Blues – Las Vegas, NV
11/03/2014 Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ
11/05/2014 House Of Blues – Houston, TX
11/06/2014 House Of Blues – Dallas, TX
Fun Fun Fun Fest
11/08/2014 Auditorium Shores – Austin, TX