Tag Archives: EPs

New Releases – 21st October 2016

New music is happening. Today! Here’s my selection of the highlights… mostly metal but with some other HMO-approved stuff thrown in for good measure too.

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The leopard enjoyed one last walk before being made into an outrageous pair of trousers.

Hanoi Rocks – Strange Boys Box

Five classic Hanoi Rocks albums lovingly reckapaged and reboxed in a CD (or vinyl) set. Not sure whether these are remastered or not and there aren’t any bonus tracks, which would have been nice. Still, looks like a cheap way of getting a batch of the Finns’ albums for a decent price. I’ve got all these albums on vinyl but I would like CD editions so I’m pretty into this. It’s got all the albums from Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes… through to Back to Mystery City and the live album All Those Wasted Years. It’s missing Two Steps From the Move but Rock Candy did a great 2CD set of that recently anyway (with actual bonus tracks!) But basically, anyone that doesn’t have these albums must get involved and get involved NOW.

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Hold up! I think I’ve left the oven on.

Khemmis – Hunted

This US doom outfit made a big splash last year with their debut album Absolution. I thought it had real promise (and outrageously good artwork) but I was put off by their inappropriate penchant for shouty “core” vocals. Here they are again with album number two, another awesome album cover and another heap of critical praise. Reckon I’ll give this a listen and just hope they’ve cut out all the drill sergeant stuff.

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Now I’m going to jam my thumb up his arse and that’ll REALLY piss him off!

Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill (20th Anniversary Edition)

20 years, eh? Feel old yet? The Pantera anniversary editions keep coming. This album doesn’t enjoy quite the same reverence as the previous three but it should. A great album with classic tracks like Floods and Drag the Waters and there’s a darker, sludgier edge to this album that I love. Bonus disc comes with a mix of mixes, new mixes, early mixes and Mixy McMixface. Oh, and there’s a couple of live tracks too.

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Regular Bob Ross viewers saw it as a cry for help.

Dead Congregation – Sombre Doom EP

For all it’s obsessed with kicking the bucket, death metal has been enjoying rude health in recent years. And these Greeks have been a big part of that with 2014’s excellent Promulgation of the Fall. Their latest release Sombre Doom is out on the band’s own Martyrdoom Productions and, to be honest, I don’t really know much about it or have much to say about it other than “yes please”. It’s certainly not been getting the coverage it deserves. Possibly because EPs aren’t as sexy as albums but then you can’t beat a good death metal EP! Just ask Autopsy.

Stranded in reality. Saddled with debt.
Stranded in reality. Saddled with debt.

Ian Hunter – Stranded in Reality

I read that Ian Hunter’s new box set is not a music industry creation: it was created by fans. That means his fans created a 28CD/2DVD box set that will include about 19 CDs of studio albums and live albums that they probably already own. Because they’re fans. That leaves them 9 CDs and 2 DVDs that they don’t already own, and a nice book. This will cost them £250. Daft buggers! Come back music industry, all is forgiven!

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Sulu. Open hailing frequ… fuck it. Fire proton torpedoes!

Mithras – On Strange Loops

Another notable death metal release, from England this time. I’m totally unfamiliar with this band (maybe because this is their first new album in 10 years) but there’s quite a buzz about On Strange Loops so I’ll definitely be checking it out. I say “death metal” but, supposedly, this is genre-defying stuff. Like Morbid Angel in space or something. And I noticed there’s a nice download bundle of their albums (including this one) available on their bandcamp page too.

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Yog-Sothoth’s hot temper and unwieldy claws ruined yet another matchstick Church model

Demoncy – Faustian Dawn

Demoncy were one of the original US black metal acts in the early-to-mid nineties, along with the likes of Von. Here’s a reissue of their first album from the label Nuclear War Now! Productions. By all accounts, this album hasn’t been served very well by previous editions so this new one will offer the best sound to date. Remixed and remastered by Ixithra himself. Surely not!

Elsewhere, Gillan’s stellar output from Mr. Universe through to Magic gets a loving vinyl box release in The Vinyl Collection 1979-1982. I’m happy with my CD copies but if you’re a vinyl buff and are new to the band, this is a brilliant run of albums. The great man in peak form with musicians to match. Continuing a good week for death metal fans, there’s also Obituary’s Ten Thousand Ways to Die. Seems like one of those titles that must have been done before: if not by a death metal band then surely by Steven Seagal? This EP has a couple of new tunes and a big batch of live tracks too so plenty for fans to enjoy here. There’s also a big release from Korn today with The Serenity of Suffering and retro glammers can enjoy Kix’s Can’t Stop the Show: The Return of Kix on CD/DVD too. I’ll avoid that because cause I’m worried Body Talk is on it. Last time I heard that tune, it took weeks to get it out my head. Maybe months. “She talks body talk, music I can see. She talks body talk… body talk” Aarrghhh it’s happening again!

And that’s the lot this week. A good, and possibly extremely expensive, day for lovers of box sets and/or death metal. Let me know if I’ve missed anything incredibly awesome and, until next Friday… happy hunting!

New Releases Update

Can I help you at all? Are you local?
Can I help you at all? Are you local?

I’d normally be posting my list of October’s upcoming New Releases around this time so I thought I better announce that the New Releases posts will now be a weekly fixture instead of monthly.

New albums come out on a Friday in the UK now and that’ll be the day I’ll post on each week. So the first of the new-style posts will be up on October 7th. Hope you’ll join me then! The more frequent posts will hopefully mean I can go a bit wider and deeper with my coverage, including more underground releases, more non-metal stuff, more reissues, more vinyl and more releases that I think might interest you. Even if think they’re mince. I’m hoping it’ll give me more room for chat and ranting too. Just more of everything. Cause more is more! I’m definitely with Yngwie on that.

In the meantime, here’s some stuff I received yesterday. I got the new limited edition of Saint Vitus’ Live Vol. 2 from the Season of Mist Webshop which, in addition to the main album, comes with a bonus digipak CD of Marbles in the Moshpit: a live recording from 1984 with original (and fantastic) vocalist Scott Reagers.

I also had a package arrive from UKEM Records. Containing the impressive new Winterfylleth album The Dark Hereafter and also the recent Tribulation EP Melancholia for a decent price too. And, as if that wasn’t enough goodness, the UKEM loyalty scheme meant I earned a free CD! So Cradle of Filth’s unreleased “Original Sin” version of the Dusk and Her Embrace album is now mine too. So looks like I’ve got a full weekend of proper metal ahead of me.

See you on Friday for my bang-up-to-date coverage of the latest new shit.

New Releases – September 2016

We’re getting into that pre-Christmas zone now where the release schedules start clogging up. As a result, there’s a veritable shit-ton of stuff coming out in September. So I’m going to be ruthless: this is just the stuff that interests me here. If there’s anything coming out that you’re excited about, tell us all in the comments. First person to mention Opeth wins a biscuit!

Sarcófago – Rotting (CD/DVD – 2nd Sep 2016)

Greyhaze Records’ reissue of the Brazilian’s 1989 mini-album. Rotting is great stuff, Sarcófago starting to get into a thrashier, more complex style here. This reissue comes with fancy packaging and a tasty bonus DVD of their set supporting Morbid Angel in 1991. Not something I’ll be running out to buy but certainly one for the wishlist. I’d request it as a Christmas present but… fuck you Jesus! I hate you!

Faith No More – King For a Day… Fool For a Lifetime (2CD and 2LP – 9th Sep)

Faith No More – Album of the Year (2CD and 2LP – 9th Sep)

More deluxe editions from Faith No More. The other recent FNM reissues have all been excellent so these are a no-brainer. You’re going to buy these. Don’t say you’re not because you are.

Warfather – The Grey Eminence (CD – 16th Sep)

Another Greyhaze release. The second album from Steve Tucker’s  Warfather. Was chuffed to get a digital promo of this, they’ve built up a right head of steam on this one. It’s produced by Tucker’s old Morbid Angel buddy Erik Rutan and it’s state-of-the-art death metal ferocity with depth and atmosphere. Highly recommended. Steve is now back in Morbid Angel so anyone still freaking out about  Illud Divinum Insanus will find this immensely reassuring.

Led Zeppelin – Complete BBC Sessions (3CD and 5LP and Box Set – 16th Sep)

Didn’t expect this to be included as part of Zep’s reissue campaign but here it is. Now with an extra disc including unreleased BBC recordings including a “lost” session and rare track Sunshine Woman. No idea why it was a lost session. Did they forget to broadcast it? Was no-one listening? Did it sound too much like Spirit? Answers on a postcard please.

In the Woods – Pure (CD and 2LP – 16th Sep)

The highly-anticipated return of the Norwegian dark-metallers. I’ve been enjoying discovering their back-catalogue recently so this is welcome and timely. Recent years have seen lots of great comeback albums like Surgical Steel and, from what I’m hearing and reading, this could be in that class. It’s pure gettin’ bought.

Enslaved – Vikingligr Veldi (LP – 23rd Sep)

A very beautiful-looking vinyl reissue of Enslaved’s debut album, released to kick off the band’s 25th Anniversary celebrations. I’ll take all of this that they’ve got. I’d love albums like this and Eld on vinyl. Love love love.

David Bowie – Who Can I Be Now? [1974 – 1976] (CD and LP Box Sets – 23rd Sep)

I properly enjoyed the last Bowie box set Five Years [1969 – 1973] so been looking forward to this. Apart from Diamond Dogs I’m not really as familiar with this era of Bowie though so it’s quite intriguing if a little less tempting. Hard to see me shelling out £100 for this though when there’s so much other stuff coming out. But I’m sure I’ll pick it up at some point.

Coroner – Autopsy (3DVD/1CD and 3BR/1LP Box – 23rd Sep)

Holy crap. THIS. Documentary, interviews, live footage, compilation album. YES. This band are big favourites round these parts and this set looks magnificent. Neck-snapping prog thrash genius.

Charred Walls of the Damned – Creatures Watching Over the Dead (CD and LP – 23rd Sep)

I wasn’t expecting this one at all. It’s been five years since their last album Cold Winds on Timeless Days and I had assumed they’d packed it in. But maybe they were just taking ages to think up another title with a C.W.O.T.D. acronym? Genuine talent in this band (Ripper Owens, Richard Christy, Steve DiGiorgio and Jason Suecof) so I hope they won’t take so long to release another album. Just call it Crazy Wombats on the Dancefloor and get on with it guys.

Winterfylleth – The Dark Hereafter (CD and LP – 30 Sep)

Saved the most exciting for last. I denied Winterfylleth’s last album The Divination of Antiquity entry into my hallowed Top Albums of 2014… but then it went and grew on me didn’t it? Still gets regular plays and I still enjoy it more every bloody time. My bad. Feel like there’s greatness brewing with this one. Just a hunch. But it’s an HMO hunch and that’s a hunch you can trust.

And that’s the lot. Thanks for reading and… happy hunting!

Candlemass – Death Thy Lover EP (Review)

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The Death Thy Lover Cover!

Candlemass’ last album, 2012’s Psalms for the Dead, was mooted to be their last. But now, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the release of their debut album, the doom legends have returned with a new EP: Death Thy Lover.

As celebrations go, this EP is a bit like that time the Oban Community Firework Display accidentally set off all their fireworks at once. But not as exciting.

Once you’ve heard the excellent opening track Death Thy Lover you might as well pack up and go home cause there’s nothing happening here. Sleeping Giant is woefully dull nursery-rhyme doom. Sinister and Sweet is livened up only by a superb guitar solo from Lars Johansson and The Goose is a bland instrumental. New vocalist Mats Levén performs well but can only do so much with such unengaging material.

I had high hopes for Death Thy Lover but this mediocre EP fails to recall any of the band’s tremendous former glories or offer a way forward. Candlemass’ 30th Anniversary celebration has misfired. Move along, nothing to see here.

HMO Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Veteris – Wolf Dawn

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I’m guessing this is the Necropolis but not 100% sure…

Veteris is a one-man thrash metal project hailing from Glasgow. I say thrash but it’s thrash of the blackest sort: shades of Venom, early Slayer and Bathory. Right up my street, in other words. 2015’s Wolf Dawn is Veteris’ only release and the two tracks here are very impressive. It’s proper old-school primitivism and if you’ve ever wondered if the worlds of surf rock and black metal would collide… check out these guitar solos! Veteris is currently working on a full-length album to be released some time this year so I’ll be looking out for that. Lots of potential here. In the meantime, you can check out Wolf Dawn as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp.

Skyclad – Tracks From the Wilderness (Review)

SKYTRAWILD

What makes a great cover version? There’s only one question you have to ask: does the band covering the song make it their own? Skyclad’s cover of Thin Lizzy’s Emerald is excellent. It’s faithful to the original song but the more metallic, aggressive and threatening delivery along with the clever use of violin to handle the chorus riff and bridge ensures the song fits perfectly in Skyclad’s folk metal oeuvre. Extra points awarded for guest guitar from Lizzy’s ‘Robbo’ Robertson and the fact that this version is responsible for me getting into Thin Lizzy in the first place! Even if I (and probably you) ultimately prefer the original there is no denying this is an inspired and enjoyable cover version.

Emerald opens their 1992 EP Tracks From the Wilderness and is followed by two studio cuts that sadly don’t keep up the standard it sets. A Room Next Door is a decent ballad with beautiful, rustic acoustic guitars but When All Else Fails is forgettable thrash. Neither are in the same league as the Lizzy cover or up to the quality of the tracks on the band’s previous two albums. The lack of Fritha Jenkins’ violin on these suggests they were probably off-cuts from the band’s debut album. The EP closes out with three energetic and endearing live tracks from the Dynamo festival. The band are tight and Martin Walkyier delivers each song with zeal. These excellent performances round out a worthwhile stop-gap release but there’s no denying this is mainly worth buying for Emerald. For fans only.

HMO Rating: 3.5 out of 5

[Skyclad – Emerald]

Avatarium – All I Want EP (Review)

Avatarium - All I Want EP (2014)
Avatarium – All I Want EP (2014)

Their self-titled album Avatarium was one of 2013’s surprise delights and one of the strongest debuts of recent years. What I really want is a proper follow-up album but, in the meantime, All I Want will do nicely. With just two new songs and three live recordings, it’s essentially a stop-gap until the next full album. But this 2014 EP is well worth hearing in its own right, offering evidence of their evolving and gelling sound as the band hit a new richness of depth following their first live shows.

Vexed by the typical variable Scottish weather, the band hedged their bets.
Vexed by the typically variable Scottish weather, the band hedged their bets.

Formed by Candlemass’ Leif Edling, Avatarium hadn’t performed any live shows when they recorded their debut album so it’s interesting to hear how they deliver live. Taken from their spot at the Roadburn Festival, the three live tracks are all excellent. It’s especially impressive to hear Jennie-Ann Smith’s vocals in the live setting. She’s an incredible discovery: delicately soulful, ominously powerful and one of the best singers around today. The band ably replicates the studio versions, the crushing Dehumanizer-grade weight of Marcus Jidell’s riffs are just as potent live but the psychedelic side of the music is more apparent as Carl Westholm’s keyboard textures are allowed more room to breathe. And Jidell’s lead guitar is looser, more confident. His outstanding Blackmore-esque solo on Pandora’s Egg draws appreciative cheers and he takes the Tides of Telepathy solo into a Hendrix-inspired section that lifts the song to new classic heights.

But the main event is the two new songs. They continue in the same vein as the debut but the more expansive chemisty, evinced by the live tracks, feeds into both: they sound richer and more colourful than the tracks on Avatarium. All I Want is a groovy rocker, graced with Edling’s seemingly infinite supply of golden hooks and drenched with Hammond organ and a percussive passage right out of Zeppelin. Fittingly, Deep Well is a deeper, darker experience. The swampy vamp and soulful vocals lifts into a chilling chorus. The dread of the thick, heaving chords graced with the subtle, rising power of Wilson’s vocals is monumental in the way only the best Doom can be and one of Avatarium’s greatest triumphs to date.

So, while it is a stop-gap release, All I Want is a satisfying and enlightening listen in its own right. Existing fans will welcome the new songs and new flavour the live tracks add to the older material. And given that the new songs rank among the very best the band has yet recorded it serves as a potent introduction for newcomers. The EP deserves to draw new fans into Avatarium’s increasingly deep, dark well.

HMO Rating: 4 out of 5