How to best describe what Armed for Apocalypse’s Ritual Violence (Candlelight Records) sounds like? While I’ve never had the pleasure, I imagine it’s much like jamming a knife into an electrical outlet. Not sure if that analogy will work for everyone. Well, it’s like witnessing the centerpiece car wreck from Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. Shit, barely anyone saw that movie. Just know that it’s abrasive and the average listener should approach with upmost caution.
In 2010 following the death of his father, Paradise Lost’sfounding guitar player and principle songwriter Gregor Mackintosh formed Vallenfyre with Hamish Glencross (ex-My Dying Bride). The aim was to provide an outlet for his grief by recording the heavier black / death metal-influenced music he had been writing, with Gregoralso on vocal duties, a role he had never performed in Paradise Lost. In 2018 after three albums Gregor announced the project had come to a close, but from the ashes rose Strigoi, formed with Vallenfyrebassist Chris Casket (Devilment, exExtreme Noise Terror), which would continue in a similar veinwith 2019’s debut album Abandon All Faith.
Yes, I think I’ve figured it out. What’s that? Well, I’m listening to Gaerea’s Mirage (Season of Mist) and for whatever reason, my brain keeps bringing up modern-day Lorna Shore. How does that make any sense, you ask? The former is clearly a black metal outfit, while the latter traffics in the death metal – deathcore, whatever – side of things. Sure, but as stylistically distinct as they are, boy do both bands enjoy being self-indulgent.
Released some twenty-five years into a career that saw them burst out of the east-coast hardcore scene in the mid nineties, Heavy Pendulum (Relapse Records) is Cave In’s seventh album, and is a landmark release for the band who sadly lost their bass player Caleb Schofield to a car accident in 2018. Schofield also provided many of Cave In’s heavier vocals, and his role in the band is assumed by close friend Nate Newton (Converge, Deathriders), and who also has a mean voice himself.
After the four-year gap since their last studio album, Massachusetts hardcore/metalcore act Converge return with something quite different. A collaborative effort, Bloodmoon: I (Epitaph Records) sees the band joining forces with Chelsea Wolfe, Ben Chisholm plus Cave In singer/guitarist Stephen Brodsky, the seven individuals all contributing to something a little out of their usual comfort zones.
Following the news that former Entombed and current Entombed AD vocalist Lars-Goran Petrov was diagnosed with incurable cancer, Converge announced they would be donating 100% of the earnings from their 2013 guest-filled Entombed covers EP to Petrov’s GoFundMe. The EP includes five covers of Entombed’s “Wolverine Blues” with a different vocalist on each one. The covers were originally recorded to be spliced together as one track on Converge’s 2012 split with Napalm Death, but the following year, Converge released each vocalist’s take as its own track on this EP. In addition to Converge’s own Jacob Bannon, Nate Newton, and Kurt Ballou, the vocalists include Aaron Turner (Isis, Sumac, Old Man Gloom), Kevin Baker (All Pigs Must Die, The Hope Conspiracy), and Tomas “Tompa” Lindberg (At The Gates, Disfear).Continue reading →
Converge has shared a brand new track to help us get through this dark time! ‘Endless Arrow’ is a a new, over 30-minute version of their song ‘Aimless Arrow’, from their 2012 album All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph Records). The song was shared as a “pay what you want” option on Bandcamp, so feel free to help this band, who have indicated they are working on new music for a future release.
The band commented:
To keep people entertained in these challenging times, Converge present “Endless Arrow”; A over 30 minute ambient/experimental version of our song “Aimless Arrow” created by Kurt Ballou. This ambient/experimental track is offered as a “Pay What You Want” download.
I’ll let you in on a little secret when it comes to reviewing metal and hardcore. If Converge’s Kurt Ballou produced or recorded an album, chances are that the getting is going to be pretty good. Two songs into Crowhurst’s III (Prophecy Productions) I found myself wondering who manned the boards and – lo and behold – the aforementioned Ballou handled the affair at the now legendary GodCity Studios. Praise the maker.Continue reading →
For many people a live album is hardly worth bothering with. The performances can vary from being exact replicas of the studio recordings to blandly and barely played. However, a great live album is a thing of beauty, and any naysayers of the format are hard pressed to deny the electricity that jumps out of one’s speakers or headphones. Think of how enthralling Slipknot’s live material sounds, or how well crafted an Iron Maiden set-list can be and you’ll find the value in live recordings.Continue reading →
I don’t know how Matt Pike does it. Six months since Sleep dropped The Sciences (which is still ace and you should totally buy if you haven’t already) seemingly out of nowhere, the man who has forgotten more brilliant riffs than most of us will ever know has effortlessly created another world-beater. I admit that might be a case of me showing my hand a bit too soon – saying a High On Fire record is great is about as predictable as the sun rising in the morning, but both are positive reminders that good things are always on the horizon.Continue reading →