It’s officially summer now but winter darkness reigns eternal in the heart of the HMOverlord so here’s Winterland by Copenhagen’s Demon Head. Taken from their 2015 album Ride the Wilderness, we’re in firmly retro territory here, harking back to the vintage proto-metal of Pentagram or even the heavier bluesy bands like Fleetwood Mac. The band’s sound is refreshingly clean and warm, the heaviness coming from the doom-laden riffs and delivery. And Ferreira Larsen’s excellent Bobby-Liebling-meets-Glenn-Danzig vocals are cultishly addictive. It’s great stuff from a very promising debut album. If you like this, the bands entire digital discography can be acquired very cheaply via Bandcamp and keep an eye out the follow-up album Thunder On The Fields, due out in April 2017.
Time for me to rake through today’s new releases. Some great stuff out today!
Memoriam – For the Fallen
There’s a justifiable buzz about this one. The band’s pedigree (Memoriam feature former members of Bolt Thrower, Benediction and Sacrilege) and a couple of excellent demo singles mean the expectations are high for the band’s debut full-length. Old-school death metal with crusty attitude, weapon-grade riffing and a conscience. I’ll be surprised if anyone’s disappointed by this.
Pallbearer – Heartless
And speaking of buzz… These Arkansas doom-mongers have been enjoying plenty of critical praise in recent years and, judging by the reviews so far, it looks like their critical cache is only going to increase with this, their third album. Fans of extra tracks will want to check out the Japanese edition as it has an extra disc with three bonus tunes on it.
Me and that Man – Songs of Love and Death
And another biggie! Fresh from blowing everyone away with The Satanist, Behemoth’s Nergal is back but, this time, he’s teaming up with guitarist John Porter for this new project. Dark, rootsy music along the lines of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave, I was prepared for this to just not be my cup of tea but I’ve really enjoyed the few songs I’ve heard so far. Intriguing.
Michael Schenker Group – Michael Schenker Fest Live CD/DVD
I was about to knock this into the “elsewhere” category but, on closer inspection, this looks like good fun. It’s a MSG reunion in Tokyo, the Schenk joined by the wonderful Chris Glen/Ted McKenna rhythm section and the trio of vocalists Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley and Gary Barden along coming along for the ride. Can’t argue with a roster like that! And it’s good to see Michael back on form and enjoying himself.
Samson – The Polydor Years
Samson are mostly known for featuring a pre-Maiden Bruce Bruce on vocals but the talented guitarist Paul Samson kept the band going after the Air Raid Siren’s departure. This new package features the two albums (Before the Storm and Don’t Get Even, Get Mad) they made with replacement vocalist Nicky Moore with tons of bonus tracks. Both albums have been hard, if not impossible, to find on CD so this is a very welcome set.
Blood Divisions – Cardinal One EP
This is an all-star digital-only EP led by Chris Jericho with all proceeds going to Rock and Rescue. They get kudos for choosing two Nasty Savage covers as well as UFO’s awesome Hot N’ Ready (and their single had Scorpions’ Top of the Bill on it too which is another brilliant choice) Two new tracks seal the deal. Fun for fans of Jericho/Fozzy… and it’s all for charidee.
Anthrax – For All Kings (7″ Vinyl Box)
Yet another new edition of Anthrax’s new album, still getting milked to death before people move on. This box has the album divided up into ten singles for… reasons. Does look pretty cool, I suppose.
Elsewhere, Frontiers (who else?) bring out a couple of releases from veteran AOR acts. House of Lords with Saint of the Lost Souls and Night Ranger with Don’t Let Up. There’s another Metal Blade release: Cut Up with their Wherever They May Rot album. It might surprise you to find out that this is a death metal album. Throw in a deluxe, bonus track-strewn 20th Anniversary Edition of Today Is The Day’s Temple of the Morning Star and that’s quite enough for one day! Please note, this isn’t an exhaustive list: just the stuff that stands out for me as being interesting or notable. If there’s anything you are into that’s not covered here then let us all know in the comments. Until next week… happy hunting.
And now you must vote for your FAVOURITE ALBUM COVER OF THE WEEK.
It’s Friday! Apologies for the slightly late posting (just back from holiday) so, without further ado, let’s check out my pick of the new releases… and play the “which album has the best cover” game.
Fen – Winter
Just as we start to feel spring in the air, along come Fen with their new album Winter. Typical, miserable black metallers! I’ll let them off though cause this is one of the more exciting new black metal albums in a wee while. It’s going to be a long one with some epic song lengths, rarely a good sign these days, but the advance word is good and what I’ve heard so far sounded fresh and impressive.
Temptation’s Wings – Skulthor Ebonblade
If that cover, album title and song titles like Lair of the Gorgon Queen don’t sell this to you then nothing will. And the music on this concept album is pretty good too. A sludgy take on true metal, this is one for fans of Grand Magus. And if, like me, you’re finding Grand Magus a bit too mild-mannered these days then this fantasy epic will be well up your cobbled street.
Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora
Darkest Hour are getting a lot of rave coverage for their latest album and it hits the shelves today. I honestly just can’t stick this stuff myself though so can’t tell you if it’s better, worse or indifferent compared to their other albums or albums of its ilk. It’s just not my style. But if it’s yours then, by all accounts, you’re in for a big treat. Lucky you!
Havok – Conformicide
If the recent Nightmare Logic from Power Trip wasn’t enough to satisfy your retro-thrash lust, here’s Havok with their new album. I’m a hard-sell for this kinda stuff but the new song Intention to Deceive sounded decent and had good vocals. If you’ve wore out all your Death Angel albums you could do worse than look into this.
Chickenfoot – Best + Live
No prizes for guessing what’s on this album then? I’ve never been convinced by this “supergroup” and their new track Divine Termination isn’t winning me over. So I’ll pass. It’s all a bit too stodgy and smug for my liking. I’ll take The Waboritas over this lot any day.
In the elsewhere file there’s a new black metal from Cirith Gorgor who follow up their recent album Visions of Exalted Lucifer with a new EP Bi Den Dode Hant. Not a band that’s grabbed me one way or the other though. And there’s Evocation who I’m not that fussed about either, but I’ve quite liked some new songs of theirs so their latest album The Shadow Archetype might be a dark horse. And I wanted to mention the new Weigedood album De Doden Hebben Het Goed II. It looks to me like it’s out today but might also already be out in some places too… not sure… but I like the sound of it at any rate. Reminds me of why I got into black metal in the first place so, regardless of whether it’s out today or out already, it’s getting checked out.
**UPDATE** Thanks to Bop at Boppin’s Blog for the head’s up about this – Voivod have announced a PledgeMusic offer for the upcoming reissues of Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross & Rrröööaaarrr. There are vinyl versions available and you can also get 2CD/DVD editions which will have loads of extra live tracks, footage and demos. And there’s also a 2CD comp from this era as well as all the fancy stuff like test pressings etc… It’s all part of the exciting Noise Lebt! series I posted about a while back. The prices look very reasonable and include shipping too. Get pledging here.
Not a banner week like some we’ve had recently but still some decent and intriguing stuff for genre fans. As always let me know what I’ve missed and, until next week… happy hunting.
Last week was a belter with Immolation and Power Trip putting out the best albums of the year so far. So today’s new releases have a hard act to follow.
The Senseless – The Buried Life
The eclectic solo project of Sam Bean (The Berzerker/Mithras/The Antichrist Imperium) returns for a third album. This actually just came out on the 1st Mar so I’ve already had a couple of listens. It’s a darker and denser effort than the previous album, the joyous TheFloatingWorld, but it’s still got that uplifting “heavy mental” mix of insanity and humanity and there are tons of surprises. The CD, available through the band’s website, will have a bonus track and there are digital downloads offered at the usual places too.
Midnight – Shox of Violence
These masked marauders are one of the most exciting metal acts around at the moment: pure filthy NWOBHM riffery for fans of the ‘heads combined with a black, punky atmosphere for fans of Venom, Bathory and the like. Shox of Violence was released as a vinyl EP last year with four songs and now here’s the CD version with an added… wait for it… 25 bonus tracks! Cover versions, live tracks, tracks from split releases etc… a veritable treasure trove of evil depravity.
Armored Saint – Carpe Noctum
This live album from the “headbangingest band on the planet” has been available already via a PledgeMusic deal but here it is now for everyone else. I’m half intrigued cause the band has a great catalogue and are, by all accounts, great live. But I’m put off by the fact that their last album Win Hands Down was a bit of a duffer. But they picked the good new songs for this so it might not be too bad. Anyone heard this already? Do they deliver?
Dread Sovereign – For Doom the Bell Tolls
You’ve got to love that title. Primordial’s Nemtheanga gets his old-school epic doom on with this side-project. This EP is the follow-up to 2014’s All Hell’s Martyrs album. I didn’t really connect much with that but I didn’t spend nearly enough time with it either so I reckon I’ll give that a revisit first and then see what happens.
Danko Jones – Wild Cat
Like Armored Saint, another band with a good rep as a live act. I’m not all that up on these guys studio output but their last live album was quite good fun. Not especially my cup of tea though so I’d have to read phenomenally good things to drum up enthusiasm.
Slaughter – Strappado and Nocturnal Hell, Surrender or Die
Just realised it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve had any CanCon… am I in trouble? Well, here’s a double dose of primo Canuck thrash metal to get me off the hook. First off, we’ve got High Roller reissuing Slaughter’s classic Strappado with a bonus track and an unedited rough mix of the whole album. And, just to make this week even more exciting for Slaughter fans, Vic Records also release a compilation with an EP and their demos too. You lucky Canucks!
And I reckon that’s about it! Another very strong week. The Senseless album is my pick of the week and the Midnight and Slaughter albums are must-buys too. And I’m sure I’ll get to Dread Sovereign eventually (probably via Bandcamp). Let me know what you’re after today. Anything I’ve missed? Until next time… happy hunting!
Candlemass bassist/songwriter Leif Edling has dubbed his latest project “music from the catacombs” as it was a visit to Paris’ bone-ridden underworld that inspired its creation. It’s an apt description. With The Doomsday Kingdom’s debut EP Never Machine, Leif’s music goes deeper and darker than it has for some time. The opening title-track and The Sceptre stick fairly close to Candlemass’ modern style but Niklas Stalvind’s grave and gravelly vocals and Marcus Jidell’s excellent, vintage soloing give the songs a fresh, grittier edge. But it might just have been a decent, unremarkable release if it wasn’t for the more interesting and engaging second-half. Zodiac City is a coiled and creepy serial killer yarn with a great chorus hook and the EP ends on a high with Edling taking the mic for The Whispering, a haunting and ghostly string-laden ballad. Never Machine doesn’t quite reach the inspired heights of Leif’s classic output but it’s a real grower and a definite improvement on last year’s half-(Candlem)assed EP Death Thy Lover. Candlemass might have fallen out of favour but these demos show promising signs that Edling still has what it takes to reign again as a king of doom.
(Here’s my copy. It’s the new edition released by Nuclear Blast. With new artwork, lyric sheet and red vinyl)
Another Friday is upon us and that means… new stuff!
Cynic – Uroboric Forms: The Complete Demo Collection
Cynic’s 1993 debut album Focus is the stuff of giddy prog tech wonderfulness. But there has always been grumblings of discontent among death metal fans who feel that the debut album was a disappointment compared to the band’s earlier demos. I’ll be able to make my own mind up now, as the pre-Focus demos get this official release. The CD version looks great but the vinyl edition is particularly snazzy, and has the CD and a 7″ with it too, so that’s the one I’ve pre-ordered.
Overkill – The Grinding Wheel
Following the return of Kreator last week, the thrash good-times continue with the return of New Jersey veterans Overkill. Actually, of the classic thrash acts, Overkill are one of the few that just never caught on with me. So I’ll probably pass on this myself… I’d rather try some older albums again than hop on here. But if you’re up for buying this, the limited edition CD and vinyl versions have a bonus track, Emerald… I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that’s a Lizzy cover?
Nidingr – The High Heat Licks Against Heaven
I’ve never heard these Norwegian black metallers but I know the name through (their guitarist) Teloch’s involvement with Mayhem and their last album Estoteric Warfare. He was the main writer for that impressive album so if you enjoyed his work with Mayhem, this should be worth looking into. And I love that title.
Mayhem – Live in Zeitz
Speaking of Mayhem! This old live recording was recently featured as a bonus disc with the Live in Leipzig reissue. But then a version taken from a better source was released very soon afterwards as a standalone vinyl edition with new liner notes and packaging. I was more than a little annoyed at this so I didn’t buy the vinyl. But now this cheaper CD version is hitting the shops so I think I might finally upgrade. No doubt, they’ll find an even better version down the back of the couch next week.
Sleep – The Clarity
Not strictly a “new” Sleep song as it was available as a free download a couple of years ago on the Adult Swim site. But here it is on 12″ vinyl. I’ve never been a big Sleep fan but this is a great track and it’s well worth getting if you don’t have the song already and/or love vinyl. Just the one side of music here but the B-Side will have a, no doubt suitably cosmic, etching.
Def Leppard – And There Will Be a Next Time: Live from Detroit
And finally, we’ve got Def Leppard’s new live DVD/BR/CD combo And There Will Be a Next Time: Live from Detroit. I’d normally be a sucker for some live Lep but after Mirrorball and Viva! Hysteria made little impact, not to mention their dicey self-titled album, I can’t work up any enthusiasm for this. Arm no geddon it.
And that’s quite enough for one week, thank you very much! Happy hunting.
Here’s a rousing track from Primordial’s new live album Gods to the Godless (Live at Bang Your Head Festival Germany 2015). I always feel like live shows are defined by the inclusion of new tracks. My memories of live performances usually revolve around the new songs that were played. For better or worse, bands seem to put extra welly into the new stuff: meaning that brilliant new songs make for an unforgettable show but weak ones will likely mar my recollections, no matter how classics-laden the show might have been. The former is definitely the case with Primordial. Four of the eleven songs here are taken from their last album Where Greater Men Have Fallen and here’s an amazing version of the title track: a burly and martial take that surpasses the studio version. Alan Nemtheanga proves himself, once again, the consummate metal frontman, and the band’s chemistry and the skill of their arrangements are even more evident in the live setting: every instrument occupying a unique space to create a massive wall of sound. Primordial, over twenty years into their career, sound like they’re determined to remain impassioned and vital until the bitter end.
[To hear the Song of the Week, click track three on the YouTube screen below. And then listen to the whole thing, you won’t regret it]