Polish extreme Metal band Banisher has shared a new music video for their track “Lockdown”, from their Degrees Of Isolation album, released earlier this year via the Selfmadegod label. The low-key supergroup is made of members and ex-members of Decapitated, Belphegor, Vital Remains, Hate, Redemptor, and Shodan, and the music is starkly brutal, and uncompromising. Watch the video for here “Lockdown”
Voice teacher and YouTuber Beth Roars is back reacting to another video breaking down the singing techniques of rock and metal singers. In today’s episode, Beth is watching Alice In Chains live, and their late original frontman and all-time great singer Layne Staley singing “Love, Hate, Love”. Beth does several videos per week and they are all awesome! Check out her channel and subscribe to see all of her awesome videos.Continue reading
My guess is that Altarage just aren’t fans of people in general. Not in the way I claim to dislike people when I’m hungover on an early Monday morning, but in the I-wouldn’t-mind-if-humanity-just-totally-ceased-existing kind of way. One listen to their third LP The Approaching Roar(Season of Mist) is all I needed to feel convinced that Altarage doesn’t care for me or my eardrums.Continue reading
Belphegor unleashed their latest album, Totenritual, last month via Nuclear Blast, and now they’ve announced their first tour dates in support of the brutal new record. Continue reading
Check out all of today’s new releases in the heavy metal world!Continue reading
Polish death metallers, HATE, will be unleashing their highly anticipated new album, Tremendum, on May 5th via Napalm Records. The band promised fans that the new material would be “authentically harsh, yet very powerful,” and judging by the ‘Asuric Being’ and ‘Numinosum’ singles below, they accomplished that feat, and then some. Continue reading
As we dash towards the holidays and the end of the year Ghost Cult is feeling good about this season of giving. So we are giving our fans a chance to get to know our partners, peers, and friends from bands in the world of music. They will chime in with some guest blogs, end of year lists, and whatever else is on their minds as we pull the plug on 2015. Today we have Atli Jarl Martin, promoter and digital go to guy for Eistnaflug Festival, who happily lives with his 19 computers and has a huge affection for his ThinkPads, shared his list of favorite releases of this year with us.
It’s been a strange year for me personally and a bit hard to keep up with as many releases I’ve done in recent years, Nevertheless I managed to build a list of some 70 releases which I have now filtered down to my final Top 10, whereas the top 5 releases could have all ended up in my top slot. I guess that most releases that made the cut won’t come as a surprise to anyone that knows me, but I hope that there are at least a couple that you haven’t listened to yet, and might give it a spin. 2016 is looking tremendously exciting already, first and foremost with the release of Rotting Christ’s new album Rituals early in the year. But for 2015, here goes…
1. Thy Catafalque – Sgúrr (Season Of Mist)
Definitely the most delightful surprise of 2015. Following the incredible 2011 album Rengeteg, I became a huge fan of the talent and musicianship of Tamás Kátai, as this is a one-man project, and his vast and diverse musical wizardry is way above and beyond what most other musicians present. The musical direction Tamás takes on Sgúrr is hugely different than what is presented on Rengeteg and the earlier albums, one might say colder, bleaker and harsher, where ‘f.e. Jura’, a straight forward blisteringly fast black metal track made my jaw drop, as it was wholly unexpected. I can really say the same about pretty much every track on the album, which is a phenomenal roller coaster ride through amazing variety of styles and sounds. Just listen to ‘Oldódó Formák a Halál Titokzatos Birodalmáb’, a 15:21 minute ride through a sublime variety of styles and a showcase track on just how multi-talented Tamás Kátai is. A beautiful work of art.
2. Lost Soul – Atlantis: The New Beginning (Apostasy Records)
Yes, they fucking did it again. These Polish wizards, led by mainman Jacek Grecki, pretty much blew everyone’s mind back in 2009 with their absolutely phenomenal Immerse In Infinity album, which shared the top-slot on my list back then with my favorite, and ever so lovable Finns in Amorphis (more on them later). Lost Soul are finally back after 6 long years, but the wait was so worth it. Atlantis is every bit as fast and brutal, yet Grecki and his merry men have managed to push their music further into the technical and progressive realms, bringing you one, if not THE pinnacle of technical death metal offerings of all-times. Listening to this album leaves me dumb-struck with awe, every-single-time, such is the wizardry performed here. Perfection!
3. Melechesh – Enki (Nuclear Blast)
5 years after the release of the fantastic The Epigenesis album, and after a plethora of lineup changes, Melechesh return with Enki, yet another masterpiece of an album. Uncompromising as always, adhering to their sublime Middle Eastern music influenced extreme metal concoction, Melechesh apparently can do no wrong. While The Epigenesis took a tad more progressive turn, with sublimely heavy and thundering songs, Enki returns back to the faster, more intense songwriting as presented on their earlier albums, such as Emissaries and Sphynx. I was fortunate enough to finally see the band on stage last May, and the experience was mind-blowing. Among the best musical entities on the planet. Period.
4. Amorphis – Under the Red Cloud (Nuclear Blast)
As a very, very long time fan of the band, their current lineup, starting with their absolute best album, Eclipse (2006), almost every album since has been a tour-de-force, showcasing the enormous capacity of the bands collective skills in songwriting and musicianship, as well as being one of the hardest working bands out there, as this is their 6th full-length album in only 9 years. Under the Red Cloud very much takes up the thread from the stellar 2013 album, Circle, but the band is in absolute top-form here, as every song on the album is outstanding. Songs like ‘The Four Wise Ones’, ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Dark Path’, and the phenomenal ‘Tree of Ages’, have made the album my most heavily rotated album from the band since 2006, and there is no letting up on how often I spin it. Masterpiece.
5. Clutch – Psychic Warfare (Weathermaker Music)
Yes indeed, here‘s another super-hard working band which has been dishing out release after release of superior quality since, well, forever. Their 2004 album Blast Tyrant is perhaps my favorite rock album of all-time, and their subsequent albums, albeit all having different qualities, none really came close to it in overall groove and fierceness, until now. Psychic Warfare absolutely hits every mark of excellence that Blast Tyrant presented. Every song is superb, the lyrics are fantastic, and the whole album pops and clicks on every beat, every groove, and infuses that good old feeling of strapping on an air-guitar and do a bit of headbanging while singing along to Neil Fallon’s often hysterically funny rants and phrases. As I write this, there are only 2 days until I see the band onstage for the first time, and the anticipation for seeing the tracks from this album presented is making me all giddy. Woohoo!
6. Keep of Kalessin – Epistemology (Indie Recordings)
This is an album I actually had high expectations for, specially after hearing the 2013 EP Introspection, which was the first release from the band following Arnt “Obsidian C.” Grønbech taking over the vocal duties after Thebon‘s departure earlier that year. Their first full-length album in 5 years, I was supremely happy to hear that Keep of Kalessin is very much up to the task as a three-piece outfit, and musically, the album is a healthy blend of the more commercial aspect of 2009‘s Reptilian and the earlier fierce and blazingly fast Armada (2006) and Kolossus (2008). Stand-out tracks and passages on the album are many, but the pinnacle is most certainly ‘The Grand Design’, a track that easily rivals the best of their earlier works, and was absolutely amazing to witness on stage. The band is in top-form at the moment and I can‘t wait for the successor, just hope that I won‘t have to wait 5 years for it.
7. George Kollias – Invictus (Season of Mist)
This master of extreme metal drumming certainly has had a busy schedule in recent years, touring and playing with Nile, as well as releasing drum lesson videos and attending drum clinics, but there were a couple of his own songs available on YouTube, rough mixed and non-vocal demos. Very cool stuff, but nothing that really prepared me for the delicious death metal assault he put together on this first solo album of his. It is a showcase of enormous death metal talent, as Kollias plays every instrument on the album, as well as performing vocals, but the album also features guest performances from many prominent musicians, such as Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade (Nile), George Emmanuel (Rotting Christ) and Efthimis Karadimas (Nightfall), to name but a few. Overall a fantastic death metal trip, modern in technicality, speed, sound and feel, blended with a healthy dose of some old school riffing, but what really amazed me the most is Kollias‘ vocal performance, which ranks among the best I‘ve heard in a long time. Highly recommended.
8. Hate – Crvsade: Zero (Napalm Records)
Being a very early release this year, as it came out in late January, this album has had way more spins than many other albums on my list, but it is definitely to its credit that it ends up on my Top 10 list, as the re-playability of the album is phenomenal. Mainman Adam “ATF Sinner” Buszko and his band mates strengthen the already very impressive legacy of the band and their highly energetic style of death metal getting stronger with each subsequent album. One of my favorite bands for sure.
9. Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed (Nuclear Blast)
Another album I had really high expectations for in 2015, and they were not betrayed. Nile have been on a remarkably consistent roll since the release of Those Whom The Gods Detest in 2009, followed by At the Gate of Sethu (2012) which has since then bulldozed its way to being my second all-time favorite album by the band. The band pulls no left hooks here, plowing onwards and upwards with their instantly recognizable brand of death metal mastery. Super-heavy, blazing fast and tremendously well executed, track after track just thunders through and the confidence and coherence displayed by the band is absolutely why they are one of the biggest extreme metal acts in the world today.
10. Malevolent Creation – Dead Man‘s Path (Century Media)
Aaaah, like a warm blanket, listening to a new Malevolent Creation, one of my all-time favorite bands, is always a very pleasant experience. I’ve been following these old masters almost since the beginning of their career, and despite the very turbulent history of band members, they always manage to land on their feet, providing me with that deliciously violent old-school death metal that I love so much. Dead Man‘s Path is pure Malevolence, and the band and the music sound better than they have done since the magnificent Envenomed came out in 2000. No-one can destroy this Malevolent Creation.
2016 will be the 20th anniversary of Polish technical death metallers Decapitated’s formation. The band was formed by guitarist Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka and his younger brother and drummer Witold “Vittek” Kieltyka, back when they were teenagers.
“I was 14 or 15 years old. My brother was 12,” said Vogg, recalling that time.
Looking back at the history of the band, he recalled forming the band with a then-16 years old vocalist Wojciech “Sauron” Wąsowicz and a then-13 years old bassist Marcin “Martin” Rygiel, and this lineup were featured on the band’s first three albums (2000’s Winds of Creation, 2002’s Nihility and 2004’s The Negation).
Recalling 20 years of the band and the obstacles he faced over the years made him realize how much he has accomplished and appreciate what he has done to help shape Polish technical death metal.
“This kind of question reminds me where I can from, who I am and how it was almost ten years ago when we just started. It was four kids trying to play as hard as we can, without any professional gear or anything, but with passion and heart. I never imagined that I would ever have the opportunity to do all of those things, to see all of those countries, meet all of those people, or play with Fear Factory or any of my heroes. No never,” he said.
“I think about this today. What we have right now is an opportunity to travel all over the world and make money doing music, to get the best equipment in the world and meet bands like Meshuggah and Lamb of God and doing tours together. Well that’s awesome.”
“If someone back in the day 20 years ago would have told me this, I would shit in my pants. I wouldn’t believe that. That’s [what’s] cool about doing what you love and trying to realize your dreams.”
He talked about his thoughts about what makes Polish death metal its own brand of brutality like no other. Vogg has his theories behind what makes it so heavy.
“I’m not sure 100 percent. That’s what I was thinking about today. Polish metal seems something special in the sound – bands like Vader, Behemoth, Decapitated or Hate, or some other bands. We have something similar. I don’t know.”
“Yes indeed it only was Vader back in the day when you had to cross the border to get outside of the country. Probably Vader showed the way how to do it for the other bands, or Behemoth before Decapitated.”
“For sure we were fans of Vader and we toured with them and learned from them a lot. [It was the] same with Behemoth, and actually for every band in this country. They were an example for younger bands from this country.”
“To answer the question [about why there are so many Polish bands], I mean the Polish mentality is like that. The people are pissed off all the time. If you asked Polish people ‘how are you?’ – they would answer ‘ummm…same shit. Nothing special going on.’ It’s not like they knew what you’re asking. It’s like asking ‘how are you?’’ Oh I’m great man! Awesome.’ “
He talks about the history of Poland, from its communist history times to its ultra religious rule within the country, and how that factor into how its metal can get so heavy. Now after the changes within the country, people are still letting their feelings out.
“In Poland it’s different. I don’t know why. We’re still in the second World War? We had the communism and the really shitty years in our history. We’re free since maybe 20 years now. So it’s not a long time. Maybe that’s why, and also Poland is a really religious country. Catholics rule in this country and you have to learn religion in school and bullshit like that. You have churches everywhere and on every corner. People are blindly into their religion and 90 percent of the people here are going to church every Sunday.”
“Maybe heavy metal came from the west and showed the new generation of people something different and something cool. Heavy metal music gives them some kind of freedom and different opportunity to a way of life. I’m really happy that I’m a metalhead and I took this kind of way, so my mind is more open from what I can see from the people around me. It’s going to change.”
“To come back to the question, I think when you listen to Vader or Behemoth or Decapitated, you can feel this aggressive energy and it’s against something. It sounds like you’re trying to fight with something – the system, with religion, with something that blocks your life and your freedom. It’s like fighting for your freedom. That’s why we’re pushing so much. That’s why we have such a nice metal match.”
If you’re looking for a prime example of hard graft getting results and the deserved attention that follows then Aussie deathcore kingpins Thy Art Is Murder a definite contender. Near relentless touring following the, at the time, low key release of second full length Hate slowly generated the hype machine ever faster and faster, bringing with it fans, and of course, haters alike. Thankfully, unlike many who have become the latest trend, these guys have more than earned those accolades- and their latest album Holy War (both UNFD/Nuclear Blast) lives up to the ever higher expectations.
Holy War doesn’t deviate from their sound by any means, and nor has any of their material as such, but these aren’t guys that you expect mind-bending Prog oddities or revolutionary steps from; just straight forward but exciting deathcore done to its best. That being said this is certainly the most intense that they have sounded in their career, and there is an added sense of atmosphere which creates a noticeable but not overpowering, brooding aura.
Vocalist Chris “CJ” McMahon especially has stepped up a gear, sounding convincingly venomous and irate, combined with quite simply the strongest set of songs the band has written to date. Despite their formulaic nature of sheer pace coupled with breakdowns; which plenty have done countless times before, these are very memorable from the start and are so powerful, and tailor made for the live scenario more than anything.
There will be plenty of naysayers who dismiss this album purely because of the deathcore tagline (because deathcore is clearly “not metal”). Others may argue that it is fairly predictable in nature which is perhaps a just argument, but Thy Art Is Murder aren’t here to reinvent the wheel, only to make fun-but-in-your-face metal, and in that sense they have once again hit the bullseye.
Adam Buszko is also known as ATF Sinner, leader and founding member of Polish wrecking crew Hate, and he disarms from the outset with his charm, sincerity and good humour, discussing with Ghost Cult new album Crvsade:Zero (Napalm), their lyrical concepts and their place in the respected Polish scene.
“The title, Crvsade:Zero, is about the condition of humanity and its road to self-annihilation. The collective effort of humanity is going to be annulled due to the human inability to collaborate and live in peace, an inability to learn from past generations, past experiences. Humanity has just made the same mistakes over and over again, and it’s going to lead this race to its ruin. That’s how I look at it.”
“It’s not a positive message.”
“We have a tendency for conflict that results in wars (and) we have a seeming inability to live without war. Religion, meanwhile, is just a comfortable illusion. It too brings a lot of horror, a lot of conflict. Bizarrely the première of the video for ‘Valley of Darkness’ occurred on the very day of the Paris massacres – here I had a video with religious icons and symbols burning, whilst on the TV I’m watching this shit in Paris unfold. It was weird, very strange, and sent chills down my spine.”
The Polish scene is so healthy at present, seeming to breed bands full of hostile sounds and built for longevity: Behemoth, Vader, Trauma, Azerath, Decapitated, as well as Hate themselves. The possible reasons for this are complex and yet, Adam believes, rooted in the nation’s past.
“It’s a difficult one to answer, but I’ve tried to analyse it. It’s a cultural phenomenon for sure, and one for the sociologists really, but my own interpretation is that Poland has a really nasty history. The nation’s new generation bears the wounds of previous generations – we still talk about the fucking war all the time, with many modern Polish films featuring the war and its atrocities.”
“There’s subsequently a seriousness, a darkness, in Polish music, so that when rebellious teenagers begin to play metal it must be ferocious, it must be aggressive, twisted in a way. I think Vader started that avalanche, being the first band from behind the Iron Curtain that made their name in the West. When they signed to Earache in the 80s they showed that you could make it abroad, and it was really inspiring for us and many other bands.”
It’s this passion and emotion that still burns bright in Adam’s heart, and the desire to innovate is never far away.
“We’re going to be trying hard to develop the band as much as possible in the future. I have a refreshed energy, and artistically we’re finding common language so I think we’ll be working on our next album very soon.”
“This time, however, it should be something more revolutionary and adventurous. This is what I’d like to do with this line-up of grown-up musicians who are determined, focused on what they do.”
“I can’t wait to be back on tour again. We first accompany Vader around Europe, with four shows in the UK and one in Ireland. Then we travel around with the Hatefest festival, whose name I really like, around Switzerland, Germany and Austria. We hope to do Scandinavia, Greece and Turkey later in the year, so we’re pretty busy. It’s high time to get out there and play this new music to the crowds.”
“I actually see big potential now, and what we’ll be trying to do is push it further beyond the limits. Personally I would like to try and get inspiration from traditional Polish music, poems and lyrics, using the old village, tribal style and rhythms rather than the more well-known material (which is) something that no-one in the metal bands here has really done.”
“I have some clear ideas and have actually recorded some material. It’ll be a good direction to follow.”
For someone who has been creating music for so long, and who has suffered such pain, such desire to re-create and the lack of fear in crossing boundaries is nothing short of inspiring in itself. The new chapter of Hate promises to be an intriguing, enthralling one, but for now, we revel in the evil misery of the present.
AS TOLD TO PAUL QUINN