Heathen Will Release Their Next Album – “Empire Of The Blind” This Year

Heavy Metal and Thrash legends Heathen will release a new album, Empire Of The Blind, later this year via Nuclear Blast Records. A flyer showing the “Empire Of The Blind” artwork can be found at the merchandise table during “The Bay Strikes Back” 2020 European tour featuring Testament, Death Angel, and Exodus, the latter of which includes Heathen guitarist Lee Altus. Continue reading

NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: January 31st New Music Releases

 

Purchase And Stream All The New Music Released Today!

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Heathen Shares New Lyric Video ”Control By Chaos”

Bay Area Thrash and Heavy Metal band Heathen will release the ten year anniversary reissue of The Evolution of Chaos due out 31st January 2020. The album was a comeback album for the band and was a return to form that saw them tour the world on the strength of the album. The new edition of the album, due out via Mascot Records, will be available on CD/DVD, 2LP and digitally with a previously unreleased bonus track ‘Seasons of Purgatory’. The CD/DVD will be accompanied by a 2 hour ‘Making of’ documentary on the album as well as a live performance from 2009s Thrash Domination, Japan. The band has just released a new lyric video for ‘Control By Chaos’. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Exhorder – Mourn The Southern Skies

 

 

Formed in 1985, Louisiana’s Exhorder left a brief but lasting impression on a dying thrash scene with their controversial 1990 debut Slaughter in the Vatican and its more mature, but equally impressive 1992 follow-up, The Law (both Roadrunner). Just as thrash was making way for the unplugged introspection and tatty woolly jumpers of grunge, Exhorder arrived in an attempt to revitalise the scene. Continue reading

Final David Bowie Recordings Streaming From Lazarus Cast Album

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Pre-orders are now live for the Lazarus Cast Album, featuring the cast and band of the original New York production performing their versions of the David Bowie songs from the show, out October 21st  on ISO / Columbia Records. The album also includes three final David Bowie studio recordings, two of which are streaming now. Continue reading

Battle Beast – Unholy Saviour

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Ever since Hammerfall brought Glory To The Brave (via Nuclear Blast) by damn near single-handedly re-establishing traditional metal as a valid concern some 18 years ago, the traditional types of metal have existed in a vacuum. While even the most conservative of genres, thrash, updated itself in several directions via the urbanization and gangsterization of a Machine Head, or branched out into progressive and technical fields of your Voivod’s and Heathen’s, traditional metal (a sub-genre incorporating “HM”, Speed and Power Metal) seems happy to regurgitate the same tropes and styles ad infinitum.

I guess the clue is in the tag “traditional”…

Finland’s Battle Beast on their third album Unholy Saviour (Nuclear Blast) tick many boxes of the Speed Power Metal sub-genre confidently, continuing exactly where their second, self-titled album, finished; post-Stratovarius hard-rocking refrains punctuated with pacy Accept-influenced riffing, and peppered with rapid bursts of Pyry Vikki’s double-bass drum hurtle. Added to those ingredients are Noora Louhimo’s vocals, not a million miles away from Sister Sin’s Liv Jagrell (a band that Battle Beast share several aural similarities with) pitching from punchy mid-range to a powerful throaty higher register that give the band their quasi-distinctiveness and a USP.

As the album unfolds, it’s clear Battle Beast have three song types, the Symphonic Hard Rocker, such as opener ‘Lion Heart’, the ‘Freewheel Burning’ Speed Metal anthem of a ‘Speed And Danger’ and the softer, more delicate power ballad, of which ‘Sea of Dreams’ displays subtlety and grace and a softer tone to Noora’s voice, in a track that, while obvious in its dynamic climb, works despite its’ genericises.

With sprinkles of keyboards and dual guitars driving duelling descants, make no mistake the term derivate isn’t always a negative thing as Battle Beast do exactly what they set out to do, and this is a collection of well-crafted Hard Rocking Power Metal songs. The fact that there is nothing novel or innovative doesn’t have to put you off, it’s just a matter of whether you have room in your collection for an album that does exactly what you expect it to, that will share characteristics with several of its bed-fellows and is, ultimately, the very definition of “if you liked this band before, you’ll like this, if you didn’t there’s nothing on here that’ll change your mind”.

 

7.0 / 10

Battle Beast on Facebook

 

STEVE TOVEY

Josh Middleton (SYLOSIS): My Top 5 (Non “Big 4”) Thrash Albums

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To celebrate the upcoming release of dark, progressive thrash opus Dormant Heart (Nuclear Blast) Josh Middleton of Sylosis spoke of his love of Thrash, including his Top 5 (non-Big 4) Thrash albums…

In no particular order (except the first one, apparently):

 

SEPULTURA ‘Arise’ (Roadrunner)

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After upping the ante in a serious way with the seminal Beneath The Remains Max Cavalera and crew cemented their place in the annals with one of the heaviest and one of the best slabs of thrash known to man, beast or beyond. Produced by the legendary Scott Burns at Morrisound, Brazil’s greatest musical export refined their delivery while maintaining the aggression, with an album chock full of anthems from ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’ and its neck-snapping groove, to the epic ‘Desperate Cry’ and the crunching pace of closer ‘Infected Voice’, while the opening title track boasts one of the greatest heavy riffs of the last forty years and is a bone-fide extreme anthem. A genuine Death/Thrash classic.

 

VIO-LENCE ‘Oppressing The Masses’ (Megaforce)

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There’s a certain writing team currently topping the metal charts (and coming in third in Ghost Cult‘s Albums of the Year 2014), a writing team that includes Messrs Philip Demmell and Robert Flynn. Back in 1990, Machine Head‘s creative force were cutting not just their teeth, but an album of jagged thrash intent with no lack of cerebral content, from stomping tour-de-force ‘I, Profit’ to closing title-track, more of a traditional thrasher operating in the Overkill ball park, replete with Sean Killian‘s Blitz-deranged vocals.

 

FORBIDDEN ‘Twisted Into Form’ (Combat/Relativity)

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Another band that operated as a stepping stone for some of its’ members, with drummer Paul Bostaph to move on to Slayer and Testament and highly-regarded guitar-wizard Tim Calvert to later join Nevermore for their defining album Dreaming Neon Black (Century Media). Twisted Into Form was the San Franciscan’s second opus, and with Calvert joining (at the expense of Glen Alvelias, who himself was later to also join Testament), saw a more melodic, technical and progressive approach to the debut.

 

 

HEATHEN ‘Victim of Deception’ (Roadrunner)

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Another early 90’s great, “This is pretty much …And Justice For All Part 2!” states Middleton. Along with the Vio-lence and Forbidden selections, this is another sophomore album that saw a band at the top of its game really define their sound second time around. Widely regarded as one of the most technical thrash albums, Victim… is renowned for its many complex structures, time changes and guitar work, retaining little of the NWOBHM influence exhibited on their debut. Coming in at over an hour, with the majority of its tracks over six minutes in length, Heathen made a statement that thrash could be complicated and could be progressive.

 

TESTAMENT ‘First Strike Still Deadly’ (Spitfire)

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“I haven’t had any Testament yet… and, you know what, I know it’s a cop out, but I really enjoy First Strike Still Deadly. I know it’s effectively a best of, but I like it.”

Featuring guest appearances from original vocalist/Exodus screamer Steve “Zetro” Sousa and Joey Tempesta, who had sat on the drum stool at various points in Testament’s career, as well as Alex Skolnick returning for the first time since 1992’s The Ritual, this compilation of re-recordings was Steve Di Giorgio‘s last with the band. Comprising of tracks from their classic first two albums, The Legacy and The New Order (Atlantic/Megaforce) and old demo track ‘Reign of Terror’, this was the start of the re-recording trend and has been widely panned by critics, which seems harsh as the tracks are, still, incredible. Besides, at least one person (Mr Middleton) likes it… Here at Ghost Cult we support First Strike… but would recommend getting hold of the first two Testament albums, if you don’t already own them. You can pick up pretty much every Testament release while you’re at it, too…

 

 

Words by STEVE TOVEY

 

 

 

 

The Official Ghost Cult Writers Albums of the Year Top 50: 30-21

The countdown to the Official Ghost Cult Magazine Album of the Year for 2014 continues. Please consume and enjoy the results of our 2014 Writers’ Poll. We hope it will introduce you to some of the incredible works of art you may have missed that we have had the immense pleasure of listening to and writing about this year.

In our third installment we bring you albums 30 through to 21

 

Casualties_of_Cool-400x40030. CASUALTIES OF COOL – Casualties Of Cool (Pledge/HevyDevy)

“Casualties of Cool is an intriguing experiment from a man who excels in making left-field music. Go in expecting massive a prog-metal exercise will only lead to disappointment, but having an open mind will result in a rewarding experience” DAN SWINHOE 8/10 Full review here

 

 

 

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29. ANATHEMA – Distant Satellites (KScope)

“One of our world’s most understated bands, despite the plaudits they get, Anathema have once again showcased their knack for penning both forward thinking and emotionally driven music which oozes real human character and sentimentality”. CHRIS TIPPELL 9/10 Full review here

 

 

Down-IV-part-2-album-cover-400x40028. DOWN – IV (Part II) (Down Records)

“When we look back on this part of their career, we will likely understand that these are less like regular EPs that other bands release, and much more like a mini-opus, in pieces. Down clearly realizes their collective vision, no matter who is in the lineup, every time”. KEITH ‘KEEFY’ CHACHKES 9.5/10 Full review here

 

 

 

Vallenfyre-Splinters-400x40027. VALLENFYRE – Splinters (Century Media)

“Sadistic and aggressive with endless moments of bleak reflection Splinters is a leviathan unleashed upon unsuspecting listeners and a release surely destined to grace many year end lists” ROSS BAKER 9/10 Full review here

 

 

 

agalloch-album-cover-400x40026. AGALLOCH – “The Serpent and the Sphere” (Profound Lore)

Like a massive-antlered stag glimpsed amidst a wintry landscape, breathtaking, elusive and hard to pin down, The Serpent and the Sphere looks set to continue their elegant and ever-evolving legacy JAMES CONWAY 9/10 Full review here

 

 

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25. THOU – Heathen (Gilead Media)

“A storm manifest as a piece of music, as devastating as it is awe-inspiring, Heathen is varied and compelling for the entire runtime”. TOM SAUNDERS 9/10 Full review here

 

 

Cover_1500X1500_RGB-16bit-400x40024. septicflesh – Titan (Season of Mist)

“Sharp, buzzing riffs and symphonic keys, strength and brutality amongst moments of pomp and beauty, bloody entertaining and another show of form” PAUL QUINN 8.5/10 Full review here

 

 

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23. PYRRHON – The Mother of Virtues (Relapse)

The Mother Of Virtues doesn’t just challenge what is “extreme”, but calls into question whether some of what is produced is actually even music. Completely and utterly impenetrable, and exceptional with it”. STEVE TOVEY 9.5/10 Full review here

 

 

Eyehategod-album-cover-400x40022. EYEHATEGOD – EyeHateGod (Housecore/Century Media)

“Eyehategod continue to age like a good whiskey, seeming to improve as time goes by, but by no means losing their sting”. CHRIS TIPPELL 9/10 Full review here

 

 

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21. ALCEST – Shelter (Prophecy)

“Shedding the last vestiges of metal, let-alone any lingering black metal leanings, a captivating and stunning piece of music poured straight from the heart”. JAMES CONWAY 9/10 Full review here

 

 

Ghost Cult Magazine Albums of the Year: 50-41

Ghost Cult Magazine Albums of the Year: 40-31