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Maryland Deathfest held their annual festival in the venerable city of Baltimore a few weeks back. The four-day is one of the best-run independent underground metal festivals in the world. As usual Ghost Cult was on hand for the festivities, with Hillarie Jason bringing you her spectacular eye on bands through photos. Continue reading
Check out all of today’s new releases in the music world! Continue reading
Maryland Deathfest has announced their daily lineups for the 2019 festival. Last week they made their “round two” announcement, but “a handful of bands will be announced this week to wrap up the billing”. All ticket options are now on sale at the link below. Continue reading
Maryland Deathfest has added a plethora of new bands to the 2019 festival. Borknagar, Unleashed, and Benediction will all play Exclusive USA shows at the fest and joining them are Voivod, Anaal Nathrakh, Churchburn, Revenge, Primitive Man, Spectral Voice, Neckbeard Deathcamp and many more. Usually, round two is the “final announcement for MDF, but “a handful of bands will be announced next week to wrap up the billing”. All ticket options are now on sale at the link below. Continue reading
Watain and Destroyer 666 are teaming up for a massive North American tour next year, and now we know which bands will be joining them on the trek. 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 José Carlos Santos, who writes a lot about music, being Senior Writer for both Terrorizer and Rock-a-Rolla UK, Chief of staff for LOUD! from Portugal, shared with us his favorite 10 albums of 2015.
1. Solefald – World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud (Indie Recordings)
Pushing the envelope isn’t the half of it. The first song on this truly revolutionary record is called ‘World Music With Black Edges’, and that’s exactly what it is. It should be just about all the guideline you’ll need before embarking on this journey. Black metal, electronics, Frank Zappa and African sounds, among many, many other things, are thrown into a free-flowing, astoundingly cohesive whole. In an age where having two songs that don’t sound like each other is already considered “genre-hopping”, Solefald are one of the few bands worthy of the term avant-garde.
2. Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors (Relapse)
The best pure, true rock album in years, Crooked Doors sees Royal Thunder fulfill the potential they have always shown, and move up to the pantheon of the greats. It feels and sounds timeless – if you hand it to someone and say that it’s a lost 1978 classic, it’ll make the same sense as if you’ll tell them it’s 2024’s album of the year you just brought back from the future in your time machine. A great song is a great song, and they’re all great here.
3. My Dying Bride – Feel The Misery (Peaceville)
My Dying Bride are back to the masterpieces – 14 years after their last truly great record, The Dreadful Hours, Feel The Misery recaptures the tragic sorrow and the decadent grandeur we’ve always loved from them.
4. Revenge – Behold.Total.Rejection (Season Of Mist)
Because fuck you.
5. Dødheimsgard – A Umbra Omega (Peaceville)
The other band alongside Solefald that warrants the proper use of the avant-garde tag, Dødheimsgard have given us a mysterious, shape shifting record, full of dark nuances and details that we’ll still be discovering come the time for the 2016 lists. The best thing Vicotnik’s done since ‘Written In Waters’ – and yes, I’m including ‘666 International’ in that appraisal.
6. Tau Cross – Tau Cross (Relapse)
Amebix are no more, long live Tau Cross. Not only is this the logical successor to the astounding ‘Sonic Mass’, it’s also enriched by the extra talents of Voivod’s Michel “Away” Langevin and crusty guitarists Jon Misery and Andy Lefton, all of them lead to greatness by the might of Rob Miller, who is still one of the most unique songwriters in extreme music.
7. Sigh – Graveward (Candlelight)
Sometimes you’ll have to pause halfway through ‘Graveward’ and wonder how is this possible – roughly five million tracks are all going in a different direction, all at once, and yet everything makes perfect sense, there is order and flow in the middle of the craziness and chaos. Alongside Solefald and Dødheimsgard, you’ve got enough insanity this year to wreck your brain for years to come.
8. Therapy? – Disquiet (Amazing Record Company)
Most of you might only know Therapy?’s most popular phase, but the true essence of the band has been in their last four or five fiery, adventurous and energetic records. ‘Disquiet’ is the best of them all, a mix between instant punk-ish gratification and deep, deceptively simple songwriting that’ll allow for multiple repeat plays without a hint of exhaustion. Also, closer ‘Deathstimate’ is a serious contender for song of the year, or decade, or whatever.
9. Goatsnake – Black Age Blues (Southern Lord)
It’s been a 15 year wait, but for each year of absence there’s a kickass bluesy riff that’ll stay in your head forever. Goatsnake just picked up where they left off, literally – the first song is called ‘Another River To Cross’, a nod to ‘Flower Of Disease’s closer ‘The River’.
10. Steve Von Till – A Life Unto Itself (Neurot)
Rarely has such a subtle and generally quiet record packed such a thunderous emotional punch – the Neurosis guitarist/vocalist might present himself in the sparser, most minimalist fashion, just one man lost in the woods with an acoustic guitar, some effects and his coarse, haunting voice, but these songs will reach down into your heart and squeeze it with the force of a thousand men.
Behold Total Rejection (Season Of Mist). Until now, Revenge’s three word album titles have always read like the results of a free association exercise at a Fascist support group – Victory Intolerance Mastery, Scum Collapse Eradication, Triumph Genocide Antichrist (all Osmose). Their new release breaks the pattern by not only being an actual sentence, but sounding like it might have more to do with getting dumped than watching a legion of Demon Nazis drown the earth in hatred. Does this represent a subtle shift in the style for the band, then? Er… no.
A dissonant, ugly chord drenched in distortion repeats two or three times before giving way to guitar playing so crude and primitive that even “riff” seems too sophisticated a concept. The drummer appears to be trying to hit every drum as many times as he can simultaneously, and doesn’t really care what anyone else is doing. Solos that are seemingly unrelated to the rest of the music howl out of nowhere like masturbating ponies and then vanish as quickly. The vocals jump from throat-ripping yelps and what sounds like someone gargling cough-medicine, often at the same time – at least once, he will go “Oooh!” and effects will make it echo mechanically for a few seconds like Tom G. Warrior’s cyborg ghost. At some point they’ll attempt to lock into a groove or Doom passage, then give up after a few seconds as the music collapses back into roaring chaos as if nothing happened. There’ll be a moment where the music seems to wobble for a moment, as if about to collapse under the weight of its own completely ridiculous fury.
Every song on every album that Revenge have ever written sounds exactly like that. They are brilliant.
There’s something very distinctive, even unique, about Revenge. They’re normally considered alongside bands like Black Witchery or Diocletian, but they have as much in common with sloppy Grind or Watchmaker as their more conventionally Black Metal peers, and their composition and delivery is frequently related more to harsh Noise than anything in Rock or Metal. Like Noise, there’s something compelling or even addictive about them – when you’re in the mood for it nothing else will hit the spot. Even the nastiest and rawest of Black Metal sounds far too structured and melodic in comparison.
Evaluating a Revenge album is, ultimately, pointless. People who think they might enjoy the musical equivalent of rolling downhill in a washing machine full of rocks will find Behold Total Rejection as good a place to get on board as any other album. Established fans will find exactly what they’re looking for. Everyone else… well… it’s not for them. They’ll find something else, don’t worry.
On January 11th, the Royale Boston, known for their dance club nights, was transformed into the command center of 2015’s “Black Metal Warfare” tour. Revenge, Mayhem, and Watain put together a great first show in the New England area for this year. For me, this was an obvious show to attend as I had never heard of Revenge prior, never saw Mayhem live, and have enjoyed Watain live shows twice prior and was itching for more. After waiting out in the cold winter air, I made my way inside, up front, and ready for whatever was to come out on stage.
First up was the opening band from Canada, Revenge. Having heard quite a bit of hype over this band, and with all of their fans decked out in their merchandise, I was expecting to be wowed. Unfortunately, unlike many other opening bands I was not aware of the past few years, Revenge did not really tickle my fancy as some would say. The music itself seemed very repetitive across the entire set and I was not sure exactly how many songs they actually played. Having said that, most of the crowd was very much enjoying the show which I can respect. It’s one thing to create enjoyable music, but it’s even more important to have an engaging and an enjoyable live show. I look forward to possibly seeing Revenge again, maybe the second time is a charm.
Due up second was the first of two co-headliners, the infamous Mayhem. Surprising to me, Mayhem actually kept the majority of the setlist to their first two big releases, Deathcrush and De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Such tracks included: ‘Buried by Time and Dust,’ ‘Freezing Moon’, ‘Chainsaw Gutsfuck’, and ‘Pure Fucking Armageddon’ as the closer. We also got a couple from Chimera as well as one track each from Grand Declaration of War and Wolf’s Lair Abyss. You read that right, there were zero tracks from the new release, Esoteric Warfare. Bold move, Mayhem. As for the presence on stage, and the great lighting, I was mostly delighted with Mayhem’s live show even though I would not consider myself a big fan of Mayhem. Seeing Hellhammer in general brought a smile to my face as he is easily in my Top 10 favorite heavy metal drummers. Not to take anything away from Necrobutcher either, a true living legend. Attila, on the other hand, seemed more comedic to me than grim, or kvlt if you will. With the shaggy mohawk, corny corpse paint with silly looking satanic symbols, and of course the skull he continued to sing to, I could barely hold in my laughter at times. Not trying to down play Mayhem at all although! If I had to rate Mayhem’s performance out of 10, I would say they made a solid 8 performance which was much higher than my expectations were set.
Last but not least is the mysterious Swedish tribe known as Watain. Always being big on theatrics and stage show, this time around I was even farther impressed with the stage set. Watain flags, the typical upside down iron crosses, and the altar where Erik performs his strange rituals were already eye-catching. However, the two skeletons locked up in torture chambers and nailed to crosses pushed the envelope even closer to the edge that the looks of horror from the unsuspecting venue security were priceless! The Uppsala natives did a great job at spreading out their setlist across all five full length releases (3 from Lawless Darkness, Sworn to the Dark, The Wild Hunt; 2 from Casus Luciferi; 1 from Rabid Death’s Curse). Personally I was happy to hear some of my favorites such as ‘Death’s Cold Dark’, ‘Total Funeral’, ‘The Wild Hunt’, and ‘Malfeitor’. As if that was enough, I finally got to see ‘I Am the Earth’ live which is arguably my favorite song. One of the best moments of the night was when Erik came out from the backstage area, holding what appeared to be a goat skull above his head. He came right up to the front of the stage, and in one quick motion, swung the skull from left to right which spewed some sort of animal blood across the front row of fans. After now seeing Watain twice as headline and once as a co-headline, I am more than happy to say this black metal band is for real, regardless of what other black metal elitists may say about them.
Overall, a great show to kickoff the 2015 year! It is not every day that a strong Black Metal line up comes strolling through New England so I knew getting to this show was a must. Outside of seeing Watain, I was able to see the legendary Mayhem and also catch a new up and coming black metal band in Revenge. The question now is did Watain and Mayhem set the bar high enough to maintain a top spot in Show of the Year considerations by December. We have a long way to go this year with a numerous amount of shows in between. Even if in the big picture this show is forgotten due to its early appearance in the year, it will certainly be one of if not the best black metal show of this year.
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
Watain and Mayhem are on a co-headlining tour of North America with Revenge. Confirmed dates are below:
Jan 08: Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
Jan 09: Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
Jan 10: Webster Hall – New York, NY
Jan 11: Royale – Boston, MA
Jan 12: Club Soda – Montreal, QC
Jan 13: Opera House – Toronto, ON
Jan 15: Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
Jan 16: Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
Jan 17: Mill City Nights – Minneapolis, MN
Jan 18:Granada Theater – Lawrence, KS
Jan 20: Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO
Jan 23: Republik – Calgary, AB
Jan 24: Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB
Jan 26: Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC
Jan 27: El Corazon – Seattle, WA
Jan 28: Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
Jan 30: DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA
Jan 31: Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA