Tag Archives: EPs

New Releases – 3rd March 2017

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.

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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 The Floating World, 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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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!

The Doomsday Kingdom – Never Machine Demo EP

Never Machine Demo EP – Original Cover

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)

New Releases – 20th January 2017

Here’s my personal pick of the new metal releases coming out today. There’s only a few that stand out but we are starting to get into the first properly tempting releases of the year now.

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Memoriam – The Hellfire Demos II

Following the sad death of their drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, the legendary Bolt Thrower called it a day in 2016. But their vocalist Karl Willetts has formed Memoriam along with old BT pal Andy Whale and members of Benediction and Sacrilege for added supergroupness. Their debut single The Hellfire Demos was one of 2016’s best singles and now they’re back with the follow-up: one unheard track Drone Strike and Surrounded (By Death) which was previously only available on a Decibel mag flexi. This will be available on vinyl (through Nuclear Blast’s webshop) and you can download it from the usual places. It’s the first real must-buy of the year so get involved!

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Emptiness – Not For Music

Time flies. I was meaning to check out Emptiness’ Nothing But the Whole since it was released in 2014 and I still haven’t got round it. Now they’re back with a new album! I had a listen to a new song Your Skin Won’t Hide You and was thoroughly impressed by its black, unsettling atmosphere. It’s an exciting track, I’ve been reading good things and I love the cover too so this is looking like another must-buy. And as an added bonus, they’re Belgian. I can finally add some Belgian metal to the HMO Vault!

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Ashenspire – Speak Not Of The Laudanum Quandary

Here’s a promising debut from a Glaswegian avant-garde metal band. It’s an intriguing concept album about the dark realities of British imperialism: something Glasgwegians should know plenty about, with its history of tobacco lords, slave trade and all that. It’s an interesting topic, I like the atmosphere, deranged vocals and the violin but the songs I’ve heard have went a bit over my head. More listens required to see if it connects with me but if you like the weirder strains of metal you should definitely give this a go.

And that’s the lot for this week. To play us out, I thought you might enjoy a wee visual jaunt around Glasgow (it is HMO’s neck of the woods, after all) so here’s the lyric video for Ashenspire’s Restless Giants.

New Releases- 13th January 2017

Time for us to take a look at today’s new metal offerings.

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He’s not the messiah, he’s just a very naughty… thing

Sepultura – Machine Messiah

Sepultura crack on with their fourteenth album. This’ll be good news for the dedicated fans that love the current band in it’s own right. Not so big a deal for people like me that lost interest after Roots (new track Phantom Self isn’t winning me over either). But if you’re one of the dedicated this is a big release. Top tip: the CD/DVD edition and the vinyl editions have bonus tracks. The standalone CD doesn’t.

I'll wait for the follow-up: Balls to the Concert Hall
I’ll wait for the follow-up: Balls to the Concert Hall

Accept – Restless and Live

2014’s Blind Rage was a disappointingly patchy affair so… time to whip out the classics with a live album and video! The band can certainly deliver live and has a glorious catalogue to draw from so this is bound to be fun. That said, I can’t help feeling that I’d probably listen to/watch this once and then forget all about it.

Go right
Go right

Emperor – Various Reissues

In the Nightside Eclipse, IX Equilibrium, Emperial Live Ceremony, Prometheus – The Discipline of Fire & Demise, Live Inferno and Live at Wacken Open Air 2016 all get new CD and vinyl reissues today. Doesn’t seem like much here to warrant buying them all over again but vinyl collectors and anyone new to this legendary band will want to check these out. I had hoped for more reissues along the lines of the expanded In the Nightside Eclipse 20th Anniversary Edition that was released a couple of years back. Ah well.

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Skeletor: evil genius, shit electrician

Grave Digger – Healed by Metal

I’m going to have to confess to being fairly ignorant of this band. I checked out the new track Call for Arms and it sounded pretty stock to me: trad metal with a bit of the old beer-tent singing for the power metallers. I know this band has a long history though, so if I’m missing out feel free to point me in the right direction.

Bubbling away in the underground, we’ve got some Norwegian blackened death from Shaarimoth and their new album Temple of the Adversarial Fire. Getting some great reviews that one. And from Italy, there’s a new EP Rite of Inverse Incarnation from Fides Inversa. That sounds pretty decent too: I like the crazed Jason Medonca-like vocals.

Not a bad roster of releases today but nothing particularly standing out for me. Them’s the breaks! Let me know if there’s anything here that floats your boat or if there’s anything awesome that I’ve missed.

New Releases – 6th January 2017

Happy New Year! Understandably, there wasn’t a whole lot happening over the festive period but we’re getting back to normality now. Let’s see what the first new release day of the year has to offer.

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When Jack Vettriano and futuristic fairgrounds collide

Magnum – Valley of Tears: the Ballads

Get your year off to a positive start with… err… Valley of Tears. Thanks Magnum! I do love a bit of Magnum but I’m not a huge fan of their recent stuff, which seems to be the focus here. And I gather the few older tracks are live or new versions. But if you like current Magnum and can’t get enough of ballads, fill yer boots.

Anvil, Angra and Freedom Call – 5 Original Albums in One Box

A trio of Original Albums boxes here. There’s some primo CanCon from Anvil: covering their career from Strength of Steel (1987) through to Absolutely No Alternative (1997). Don’t have any of those but I reckon the albums I’ve got are sufficient to scratch that itch. Angra are Brazilian power metallers who are probably most famous now for supplying Megadeth with guitarist Kiko Loureiro. Their set covers their first five albums, starting off with Angels Cry. And finally there’s Freedom Call. Their set covers the four albums that preceded their latest Master of Light. Now, one of those is the 2CD Live in Hellvetia so… that’s really just four albums right? Too pedantic? Pfftthbbtt.

The minimalist packaging of these sets is off-putting but they are pretty good selections from well-regarded bands so if you don’t mind that, and must have a physical copy, then these are good value collection-builders.

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I call this piece “Anguish Caused by Pish Whitesnake Cover”

Halestorm – ReAnImate 3.0: The Covers EP

Can’t be arsed doing any research so I’m going to guess this is Halestorm’s third covers EP? This time round they take on Whitesnake, Sophie B. Hawkins, Soundgarden, Joan Jett and Metallica. Lzzy Hale does have a decent voice but I just don’t get the appeal of this band at all.

In other news, there are two good European black metal albums getting US releases today. You probably don’t know who Uprising are because… no-one does! Wow. Such mystique. Their 2016 debut album Uprising gets released via Tridroid. It’s good, nasty stuff whoever they are. And Derhead’s Via gets a US release too: accomplished and memorable avant-garde BM from Italy. It’s just an EP but the CD version has their entire demo discography on it as a neat added bonus. Both these are worth checking out if you like black metal.

Not a particularly noteworthy selection today but the year is only young. Onwards and upwards! Happy hunting and… see you next week.

Dead Congregation – Sombre Doom EP

Dead Congregation - Sombre Doom (2016)
Dead Congregation – Sombre Doom (2016)

Fans of 2014’s excellent Promulgation of the Fall would have been hoping for more than just two tracks from these Greek death metallers this year but their new EP Sombre Doom satisfies with quality over quantity. Opening with a howling dead wind of feedback, the first track Redemptive Immolation is grave and doom-laden with a thick, dark atmosphere. After the oppressive opener, the up-tempo battering of Wind’s Bane comes as a relief but is still rich in ghostly gloom and haunting guitar. The songs and riffs aren’t the most original but Sombre Doom is all about the vibe and the execution: this reeks of rain, death, evil and graveyards. Proper death metal if you ask me, and one of the best EPs of the year.

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New Releases – Black Friday 2016

This Friday, 25th November, will be Black Friday and that means special Record Store Day releases! There will be rare albums and singles released, some new and some reissued. There will be limited editions, fancy gatefolds and vinyl that comes in all ranges of exciting colours like “red”, “clear”, “gold”, “green”, “jobby”, “cherry trifle” and “the colour out of space”.

This is all a much bigger deal in the US where Black Friday is more of a “thing”. It hasn’t quite caught on as much over here in the UK so our list of titles is considerably smaller. Boo. However, the RSD high heid yins promise us that many of the US titles will be released in the UK at some point in the future.

There’s still some good stuff coming out in the UK though, so here’s a selection of the stuff I reckon is the most tempting. But make sure and check out the rest of the available titles for yourself. The UK list here and the much bigger US list here.

Alice Cooper – Live from the Astroturf

Automatically the release of the day as it includes the surviving members of the classic original band. A 7″ single with live versions of I’m Eighteen and Is It My Body: that’s two unfuckwithable classics right there. It’s a gatefold with art prints too. If I was buying one Black Friday release today, it would be this one.

Faith No More – Cone of Shame

The fourth single to come off their excellent Sol Invictus album. This is released everywhere on Friday but only seems to be classed as an RSD-exclusive release in the UK. Just in case you get confused and think it’s only a UK release. It isn’t. The B-Side is just a remix of Motherfucker so I can probably live without this.

Alice in Chains – Live Facelift

The six concert tracks from Alice in Chains live video get their first (I think?) audio-only release. It’s definitely the first vinyl release at any rate. You can’t beat a bit of AIC, especially with Layne Staley, so this is fairly tantalizing. Don’t think I’d want it enough to queue up or get in a fight though…

Jethro Tull – Ring Out, Solstice Bells

The Tull’s Christmas EP given a 40th Anniversary reissue. These tracks are probably available elsewhere and almost certainly remixed by Steven Wilson. Cause what isn’t these days? I do like the idea of this one though… a wee Christmassy bit of Tull.

Napalm Death/Melt Banana – Split

Split 7″ with the UK grind legends and the Japanese noisemakers Melt Banana. Not sure about Metal Banana but Napalm are in great form these days and this looks pretty tempting. Cool cover too.

And that’s about it for me. There’s other stuff like the recent Extreme live album on vinyl, more Hendrix archive-raking, a totally pointless Mötley Crüe disc and on and on and on. But let’s not get carried away here. I don’t go mad for RSD stuff and can’t even really see myself buying most of the stuff I’ve selected here. I would like a copy of the Coop single but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it if I miss out either.

If there’s anything you particularly have your sights on please chip in below and… good luck! I’ll back on Friday with a look at the day’s normal releases. And I tell you, there are a couple of “normal” releases out on Friday that blow this lot right out the water. See you then!