Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Evergrey – Interview 2016 – “We’re getting stronger and stronger, every day”

interview by Matt Spall, The Man of Much Metal.
Matt writes some of the most in-depth reviews and interviews to be found in 2016. Matt’s particular preference is prog music and that’s what he covers on his blog The Blog of Much Metal. He writes only about music that he enjoys and the adult contemporary metal band Evergrey (Sweden) is music that he loves excessively. Evergrey happens to have a new album coming up, The Storm Within, about which he already wrote up a review. The next project he’s tackling is the interview that he did in London with vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund and drummer Jonas Ekdahl. He has not finished writing the complete interview yet, but he has now posted the first part, which you will find below. If you are interested in reading more of Matt’s work, please see the links given at the end of this interview.
When you have a job and a young family, it can be tough to get out of the house sometimes, even if it is to just nip to the shops briefly. So you can imagine that it is almost impossible to get an entire evening off. However, when you are summoned to London by your favourite band to undertake an interview, you have to try. And you have to succeed. And so, late in the afternoon, I found myself heading towards the capital, in direct contrast to the 4th birthday party that I’d attended earlier as part of my ‘Daddy Daycare’ responsibilities. It’s the way I roll.
Knowing that I was running late, I abandoned the car, got on the tube and headed to Russell Square eventually arriving in a sweaty mess. The unmistakable shapes of Tom Englund and Jonas Ekdahl could be seen through the windows, enjoying a quiet chat on the hotel patio. The greeting is warm from Jonas, but I’m gathered in a bear hug from Tom who, since our last meeting even, has somewhat unbelievably become a closer friend. You ask why I do this writing for no monetary reward? This. This is why.
After the usual pleasantries have been exchanged and beers have been delivered to the table, we get down to business. I begin by asking the guys whether their present outlook is as positive as it was around the release of the highly-lauded ‘Hymns For The Broken’. Tom is first to reply and his response is emphatic.
“Yeah, for sure”, he nods. “Better. Now that we have had the amount of time that we have had in between those albums, our confidence as individual players and as a band has increased. We feel strong, we feel confident and we feel respected too which is an important part of feeling great.”
“[Expletive] no”, Tom fires back with brutal honesty when I enquire as to whether this confidence has always been present within the Evergrey camp. “I would say that it has been 20 years of self-doubt up until the last album. Even then we doubted if we were good enough to come back to do another album. You second guess yourself so much in this business, it wears you down. But it also makes you stronger. When things are going great, then you are the strongest person on Earth. But when things start to fall, then it’s just shit.”
The softly spoken and articulate Jonas adds his first thoughts of the conversation at this point.
“Especially nowadays”, he offers, whilst I silently admit to being jealous of the guy’s hair. “Because it is so easy to get a hold of your stuff on line, with all this social media stuff and people writing about you or your music. It’s like heaven or hell, highs and lows. So you have to be careful what you take in from that. You have to know yourself and that you are good at something, no matter what people say. Even if they think you are the best in the world or the worst in the world.”
“You can read 400 comments”, Tom agrees with his percussionist colleague, “where people say that you are genius, a God , gifted or the best band in the world. But then you get this one comment that says you are [expletive]. For me, it is a matter of me being bullied when I was a kid. These comments stick to me immediately, so I don’t look. When we put the video online the other day, I didn’t look at the comments. I just saw how many views we had. It’s not good for me.”
This is a response that resonates deeply with me. I too suffer with self-confidence and mental fragility, often lacking the self-belief that what I’m doing is either the right thing or any good. Therefore, when I receive any kind of negativity, I tend to take it to heart. To know that I’m not alone in this is more than a little comforting.
“I’m trying to be better at it”, Tom continues. “I don’t care if people say that they don’t like it. That’s fine. But when people are stupid, unintelligent and say things because they want to hurt people, then it makes me want to tear them to pieces in text…but I don’t.”
I remember speaking with Tom and Johan Niemann around the release of ‘Hymns For The Broken’ and the return of Jonas Ekdahl and Henrik Danhage about the effect the feedback had on them. Tom admitted that the positivity almost moved him to tears. It is surprising therefore to note that this time around, a decision was made to consciously not look at the social media feedback. I ask Tom for his reasoning.
“I don’t know”, he shrugs, looking around for inspiration. “I just took the decision that I felt I didn’t want to look. Maybe it’s because I’m super tired right now from doing all this work for such a long time. I didn’t want to know if somebody hated it because we have done exactly the album that we wanted to do in every aspect; everything from the production to the final imagery of the videos. All of it. For us it might be one of…”, Tom pauses, “maybe it is the album. I don’t know.”
“That’s how I look at it”, Jonas agrees with a big smile. “I’m super confident. Usually I am über sensitive about the comments and things. I take in very easily all the bad comments. But here, I felt so confident when we released the video, almost like I didn’t recognise myself…”
“I didn’t” Tom interjects with a broad grin and a good-natured chuckle, emphasising the friendship between the two. Jonas responds with light-hearted laughter of his own before continuing.
“I almost felt arrogant”, he states with wide-eyed disbelief writ large across his face. “The comments don’t matter, because I know what the five of us did and what Patric (Ullaeus – rEvolver) and the five of us did. If you don’t like it, it’s your problem and maybe you should just listen to something else.”
“That’s just it”, Tom responds, bringing this particular topic to something approaching a natural conclusion. “It is weird if you make an effort to tell everyone as much and as loud as you can that you don’t like it. But we have to think about it differently. We have to think that people are caring about us. They care so much that they are pissed off that we don’t sound like we did before, based on their love for the band. If they can’t handle their emotions now that we sound different or can’t follow the evolution of the band, it’s up to them. But it’s not like those albums are gone. You don’t have to miss them, they are there.”
“Yes, they are”, I quip. “They are all in my car.”
“That’s what I’ll say next time”, Tom laughs, “they’re all in Matt’s car”
One of the most noticeable things to a long-term fanboy like me, is that ‘The Storm Within’ offers a number of subtle and not-so-subtle references to the now extensive back catalogue. Hints of ‘Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy’ can be heard as well as a vibe of ‘In Search Of Truth’ here or an echo of ‘Recreation Day’ there. ‘The Storm Within’ is definitely the next stage in the gradual Evergrey evolution but to hear these flashes is strangely comforting and entirely welcome as far as I’m concerned. What I’m keen to identify is if this was a deliberate move from the quintet.
“Some lyric lines were deliberate”, Tom counters referring to the line ‘…in search of truth’ within the song ‘Astray’. “But no, it wasn’t deliberate, we never thought about it like that.”
“We just went with the flow”, Jonas interjects before struggling to elaborate further. “It is hard to explain.”
“But it might be”, considers Tom, helping his friend out, “that we said ‘wouldn’t it be great if we had a ‘Touch of Blessing’ melody run here’ for example, but I don’t really remember that we did on this album. The guitar line melodies were done by Henrik just like that”, he clicks his fingers. “But it is good if we have influences from our old albums.”
And yet, from some of the comments on social media, some people have, after hearing only ‘Distance’, dismissed the new album as ‘Hymns For The Broken’ part two or worse. Having been lucky enough to hear the entirety of ‘The Storm Within’, I disagree vehemently with this point of view and am very keen to know what Tom and Jonas think about these comments as well.
“It’s like judging a four-course meal after the salad”, Tom quips with more than a hint of acidity to his words. “‘I know that the steak will suck because I hate this tomato’. We cook for ourselves. It’s not like we cook, think it tastes like [expletive] and then eat it. We cook and then we’re happy. And if the rest of the customers don’t like it…”
“…Then go to a different restaurant”, finishes Jonas with impeccable timing. “We can’t help it. This is how it sounds and how it is supposed to sound.”
“And we are the ones who decide how it should sound”, adds Tom, now in bullish mood. “This is the right that we have. And this is what I mean by unintelligent comments. It’s like judging a TV show based on the first episode. ‘That sucked’. Yeah, maybe you didn’t get into it with that song, but we are not Britney Spears or Justin Bieber. We’re not writing hit singles. This is not a single; it is the first song to represent the album. A single? What the [expletive] is that? It is a video, the first video to set the tone for the album.”
“In general”, offers Jonas when I ask for the reasoning behind choosing ‘Distance’ as the first song, “it represents the album better, in the sense of the vibe and the atmosphere.”
“We wanted to make it dark”, nods Tom in agreement whilst taking a large glug of his beer. “We wanted to have the slower paced thing and it is one of the first songs that we wrote.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah”, continues Jonas eagerly, clearly engaged with this particular subject. “And it was the song where we realised the vibe for the album. This is it! The video goes well with the story and the concept of the record, so many different factors. It was the most obvious thing to do and we wouldn’t have been true to ourselves to release any other song. We need to follow our hearts with what we do.”
“Everybody said that we should have released ‘Passing Through’ as the first song”, Tom admits candidly, “but we’re not even making a video for that one.”
This isn’t the first time that the ‘vibe’ has been mentioned during this conversation. I ask the gents to elaborate and they duly deliver, in the process offering a brief insight into the songwriting for ‘The Storm Within’. Jonas kicks things off.
“We were sitting in the rehearsal room when me and Tom discovered this vibe”, he explains, smiling at his colleague and friend across the table. “We were thinking that it felt like Iceland where you’re so deserted and lonely. We got so inspired and had visions in our heads and we knew that this is what we had to aim at.”
“We had written stuff for a month or three weeks already before that”, Tom reveals. “All of a sudden, a lot of this stuff didn’t fit into that vibe at all.”
“It still exists for the future”, Jonas clarifies, “but that was hard because there was some really beautiful stuff. One evening we realised that we had to decide what we were doing. There were some songs that didn’t fit into this vibe; they would just clash if we put them on the album.”
Will we see these ideas on a future album?
“They are good enough for sure”, affirms Tom, “but it depends if they’ll fit into a vibe for another album. The thing is, we usually write and write and write and then we find the vibe. We take parts from ideas that didn’t fit previous albums to work on to see if they fit into the new vibe. All of a sudden, you have 30-35 song ideas to work from.”
The words used by Evergrey themselves to describe ‘The Storm Within’ are ‘eerie, desolate and cinematic’. These are powerful words, emotive words and entirely fitting with an album from the kings of dark melodic progressive metal.
“The first image that I had in my head”, reveals Tom fascinatingly, “was a guy standing on top of a planet on his own with his loved one orbiting around him, but orbiting in circles that were so far stretched that it would take light years to reach them. I have all these lines in the album, like in ‘Paradox of the Flame’ where Carina (Englund) sings exactly that, ‘even though there are light years between us’. That’s how we tried to create the vibe, using these interstellar terms as well. It is something that I am very happy with.”
One of the biggest strengths with ‘Hymns For The Broken’ was the intensely personal subject matter, reflecting Tom’s own health problems over the preceding years. Evergrey are at their best when dealing with such things so naturally, I want to find out if the bold and emotive concept on ‘The Storm Within’ has a basis in reality for the band. Tom thinks for a moment before responding in considered fashion.
“I think this album is still personal”, he says, “but it is more based on experiences of close friends over the past years. Of course, being an empathetic person as I think I am, I think I have the know-how of putting myself in a person’s shoes and understanding…well, not understanding them”, he qualifies carefully, “but understanding how I would feel being in the same position. And then writing about that makes it feel sincere and honest. Everybody has been heartbroken sometime, been left by someone or left someone. You can even draw influences from people who have died.”
Jonas and Tom both agree that the concept applies to any relationship with a loved one, not necessarily just a partner. It leads me to make a ridiculous comment that it could therefore even apply to the death of a pet goldfish. I’m rightly ridiculed but I’m glad I said it, as it prompts Tom to offer a humorous aside, one that leads to plenty of laughter around the table.
“I’ve not told you this”, Tom giggles to Jonas before composing himself. “When we were recording the video for ‘The Impossible’, I sing ‘I’ll cross the dark side of the moon’. We find this place in Iceland that we think looks like the moon. Patric and me were like ‘Let’s film!’ We come back after 4 hours of filming and we were so excited. We’re describing the landscape, saying it looks just like the moon, with this cool waterfall over there and…and then Patric’s wife says quietly ‘water? On the moon? Really?’ We were like ‘…oh [expletive]’. She ruined it all in one sentence.”
One story leads to another as both Jonas and Tom cut relaxed and happy figures in the last remnants of the late evening sunshine. It transpires, to more loud laughing that Tom managed to get a speeding ticket in Iceland from the police at around 2am. Apparently, the police car was the only other vehicle Tom had encountered in around two hours!
It genuinely feels by this point less like an interview and more like an evening out with good friends. However, the Dictaphone on the table reminds me otherwise and I pull the conversation round to hone in on one of the descriptive words in particular, namely ‘cinematic’. I want to understand exactly what is meant by this.
“For me, when listening to Evergrey, I get visions”, Tom offers more seriously than anything uttered in the last ten minutes. “Somebody wrote in the very early days that ‘Evergrey is music for the inner eye’. I thought was very well put because when we write, we get all these images.”
“It’s like this”, Tom then offers after a pause for reflection, apparently not satisfied with his previous explanation. “I listen to a band called M83, a French electronic band. I also listen to a girl called Susanne Sundfør from Norway. I listen to them a lot. All of a sudden, I watched this movie called ‘Oblivion’. I loved the music in the movie and I realised that M83 did the whole soundtrack. ‘Fucking great!’, I thought. And then the ending song comes and it’s Susanne Sundfør and M83 together. The coincidences were amazing and it felt like they did that just for me.
‘Ah, the smell of grass in the morning!’, mutters Tom in his best posh English accent, as the unmistakeable waft of cannabis floats in off the breeze, momentarily tearing Tom’s attention from the topic at hand.
“Anyway”, he continues after the brief pause, “I presented M83 to Jonas who started listening to it. When we started writing, he came in with some song ideas and I guess it had that M83 vibe with the synthesizer sounds. So then we started vibing on that. I started watching movies like ‘Oblivion’ again, ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Prometheus’. ‘[expletive], let’s do this, this is the world, let’s do that’, I said. Carlos (Fides – Artside) did the booklet artwork quite early and we were like ‘woah, he’s got it, he understands us exactly’. And then we discover that all of these movies were shot in Iceland. We didn’t know that. So we were like ‘we have to go to Iceland’. Luckily we had the means and the record label pushed us actually to finance it. So that whole build-up thing is great.”
“I remember sitting there with an acoustic guitar and a keyboard”, offers Jonas, taking up the story. “It was just me and you”, he says pointing to Tom, “and we were talking, saying things like ‘imagine this in Iceland’. We thought about shooting a video there, so we got back to work and were so creative.”
“And I can assure you, at that time”, Tom grins wickedly, “the music did not sound that good.” Cue the playing of an air banjo complete with dodgy sound effects.
As the guys are talking, I begin to wonder whether the song ‘Disconnect’ has been influenced by M83 a little, a band with which I have a passing familiarity. After brief internal wrangling, I decide to voice my query.
“That’s the first one we wrote”, cries Jonas animatedly, leading me to throw my arms in the air and couple it with a suitably smug face.
“They are very good at finding the sound or the vibe for the song”, explains Tom. “And that’s what Jonas did with he created that synth sound.”
“And the working title for ‘Disconnect’ was actually ‘M83’, smiles Jonas, allowing my annoying smug face to immediately return.
Changing tack slightly, I move onto the contributions of the female vocalists on ‘The Storm Within’. I’m delighted to hear Tom’s wife Carina involved again on the song ‘The Paradox Of The Flame’ and I’m intrigued by the guest appearance from Nightwish’s Floor Jansen on the song ‘In Orbit’. Both do great jobs but I must be honest. I therefore suggest, perhaps controversially, that I prefer Carina’s voice. Naturally the guys are too polite to either agree or disagree.
“I think you’re painting with a different brush when you use Floor for sure”, Tom suggests. “And Floor definitely does add something.”
Raw power?
“[expletive] Me, yes”, agrees Tom vehemently and without pause, before Jonas takes over.
“Floor adds the perfect spice to the song and the lyrics, to where the story goes. When Floor comes in, it’s perfect and when Carina comes in, it makes sense too.”
With “The Paradox Of the Flame”, Tom reveals, “we wrote the vocal lines in half a day for that. Carina is just a tremendously talented singer, end of story. It’s not technical; it’s just raw talent and a quality voice.”
“She growled on Hymns”, Tom replies when I ask whether his daughter Salina makes an appearance having made such an impact on ‘Drowning Alone’ on ‘The Glorious Collision’. “And yes, she’s on this album too. She is part of the girl choir on ‘Distance’, with her class.”
One of the reasons why Evergrey are so special to me is because they connect with me on an emotional level like very few other bands out there. And I’m not alone. Based on the comments via social media and to the band directly, there are many fans who quote Evergrey as a big source of comfort, support and strength. I’m keen to find out how the band responds to this very positive by-product of their labours.
“It’s overwhelming”, admits Jonas with brutal honesty. “What do I say to this, how do I answer? We just do this for us. It is so weird that we do what we love but we can help other people in their lives too. I can’t get it into my head somehow.”
“We make music and if that aspect at all helps people then”, Tom offers before tailing off, apparently unsure of how to continue. “I get a lot of emails too and I can’t take it all in.”
“Somehow”, Jonas continues, “you need to draw a line because if you take too much of that stuff in and make it personal, when it comes to the next album, it might not be about us anymore.”
“We’re super happy of course”, Tom is eager to clarify, “but I don’t know how to respond when I hear the words. I don’t know how to describe it. It is such a big feeling, it has to be the music for us. If people find comfort in it and it helps them, then that’s an additional thing we’re grateful for.”
The sense of camaraderie and positivity that emanated from the Evergrey camp upon the return of Ekdahl and Danhage was like a breath of fresh air, welcomed by fans the world over. It is now a couple of years on but as the duo explain, the relationships within the band show no signs of diminishing like they did in the past.
“I think it’s even better now”, responds Jonas. “We’re getting stronger and stronger, every day and every week. Where we are now, it’s fantastic.”
“Also”, adds Tom, “we’ve been able to approach the music in the way that we want to. We know how to talk to each other now, which we didn’t before. It is just as easy as that.”
And how do you approach things?
“Everything is on our terms”, is the succinct and immediate answer from Tom. “We don’t have to do gigs just for the sake of it anymore. It needs to be on our terms and we need to look, sound and feel the way it should be to be a proper Evergrey show. Then it doesn’t matter if we play the Underworld or at a festival in front of 60,000 people, as long as we feel confident when we go up there. We play music because we love to play music and we don’t want to do that half-assed.
Tom and Jonas touched briefly on the songwriting of ‘The Storm Within’ earlier. However, I want to explore this a little more and the guys oblige, beginning with Tom.
“We found the format on ‘Hymns…’ where me and Jonas wrote most of it and produced it.”
“The other guys came in”, Jonas states, “with their parts and pitched in with their objective views.”
“They weighed in more than us sometimes”, Tom adds with an agreeing nod. “For example, the piano ending at the end of ‘Distance’ was initially removed but Henrik was really stubborn to keep it. There was no democracy there”, he chuckles. “But when someone thinks so strongly about something, they are usually right. But even though we do a lot of demos, when they come in and put their paint on the canvas, that’s what makes it what it is.”
At this point, I’m advised that Tom and Jonas have a table reserved at their favourite curry house in Camden. What I wasn’t expecting was the invitation to join them and to continue the interview in different surroundings. How could I refuse?
THE END of part 1.

Monday, August 22, 2016


The long-running death metal squad from Brazil named Coldblood has a new album this year. As it is the tradition of the band, the new album focuses exclusively on no-nonsense, intense death metal for the devoted crowds. Fortunately, the complete new recording is available for listening at the link below. Those that live for total death metal dedication shall be in perfect company. Speak the name of the death metal and it shall appear endlessly.
Indescribable Physiognomy of the Devil
Release date: released June 16, 2016
Label: Satanath Records
1. Indescribable Physiognomy of the Devil 04:31
2. Tetragrammaton 03:02
3. Darkness Above the Firmament 02:24
4. The Synchrony of the Cursed Star 02:53
5. Cocoon of Neophyte 02:31
6. Demons of Nox 03:54
7. Sulphur 02:56
8. Draco / Pneumatik Phenom 03:17
9. Bury the Universe 03:47
10. Metaphysical Evil 07:21
11. Indescribable Physiognomy of the Devil 04:36 instrumental
12. Draco / Pneumatik Phenom 03:16 instrumental
13. Metaphysical Evil 07:19 instrumental
total time 51:47
OFFICIAL: Band formed in January 1992 practicing a fast and aggressive Death Metal influenced by great names in the style of the 80s and 90s, combined with a profane and anti-christian thematic. In September of that year, was recorded the Demo-Tape "Terror Stench" launching Coldblood to concerts nationwide. After a long break the band returns in 2000 to release the Demo-CD "... And It Comes The Winter" and after a few presentations were given another break. In 2005 the band finally returns to release the demo-CD "Reicarnating a New Black God" bringing a Coldblood more brutal, violent and bestial than ever. In 2007 the band released the highly anticipated debut album "Under The Blade I Die "and went on making presentations throughout Brazil and sometimes sharing the stages with bands as Cannibal Corpse, Master, Onslaught, Mayhem, Gräfenstein among others. Following the release of debut album in 2010 the band performed a South American Tour named "UnderThe South American Tour 2010 I Die." in countries as Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. In 2011 was released a Split-CD Coldblood / Luvart - The First demo's and the band continued working on a new release. In celebration of the 20th birthday of the band was released in 2012 the EP "The Other Gods" wich has 5 new sings and brings as a bonus the first 3 demos. Coldblood follows it´s saga preparing a new release scheduled to June of 2013 willing to destroy the Headbanger´s eardrums wich are avid for a Death Metal made by who is acting with dedication to the underground scene for the two last decades.
Coldblood - The Synchrony Of The Cursed Star

reminder: tonight in Seattle!

August 22 Master, Sacrificial Slaughter, The Black Order, VX36, Xoth at Substation, Seattle, WA
August 22 Belphegor, Origin, Shining, Abigail Williams, Ashen Pyre, guests at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Seattle/Washington concert calendar, updated August 21, 2016

Seattle/Washington concert calendar, updated August 21, 2016. If you have information about shows/updates/cancellations, please get in contact with Metal Bulletin Zine.
August 22 Master, Sacrificial Slaughter, The Black Order, VX36, Xoth at Substation, Seattle, WA
August 22 Belphegor, Origin, Shining, Abigail Williams, Ashen Pyre, guests at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
August 24 Sammy Hagar at The Tulip Amphitheatre, Tulalip, WA
August 27 Power from Hell (Brazil), Crurifragium, Vomicus, Hereticon at Black Zia Cantina, Burien, WA
August 27 Funeral Age, Progenitor, others at McCoy's Tavern, Olympia, WA
August 28 The Devils Of Loudun, A Sense Of Gravity, A World Without, Children Of Seraph, Thieves of Eden, Vesuvian at El Corazon, Seattle, WA
August 29 Power from Hell (Brazil), Sacrament ov Impurity, Sarcalogos at Tony V's Garage, Everett, WA
September 1 Lesbian, Nosretep, Xoth at Chop Suey, Seattle, WA
September 1 Cobalt, Mantar, Into the Storm at Highline, Seattle, WA
September 2 Dissidence, Athamé, Toecutter at Georgetown Liquor Company, Seattle, WA
September 3 Begrime Exemious, Drawn and Quartered, Oxygen Destroyer, Ashen Pyre at Highline, Seattle, WA
September 5 Volbeat, Killswitch Engage, Black Wizard at WAMU Theater, Seattle, WA
September 6 Phobia, Nomads, Wilt, Colombian Necktie at Obsidian, Olympia, WA
September 7 Phobia, Rutah, others at The Big Dipper, Spokane, WA
September 8 Wolves in the Throne Room, Dispirit at Obsidian, Olympia, WA
September 8 Phobia, Nomads, Wilt, Colombian Necktie at Highline, Seattle, WA
September 9 Mortuary Drape, Dispirit at Highline, Seattle, WA
September 9 Ghostblood, others at The Kraken, Seattle, WA
September 11 Body Void (SF), Rhine, Morrow, tbd at Highline, Seattle, WA
September 13 Black Nights Rising at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
September 13 Inanimate Existence at High Dive, Seattle, WA
September 14 Savage Master, Substratum at Funhouse, Seattle, WA
September 15 Hellgoat, Vimur, Vomicus at Substation, Seattle, WA
September 16 Hellgoat, Vimur, Sacrament Ov Impurity, Ashen Pyre at Tony V's Garage, Everett, WA
September 16 Marduk, Rotting Christ, Carach Angren, Necronomicon, Funeral Age, Inquinok at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
September 27 Megadeth, Amon Amarth, Suicidal Tendencies, Metal Church at WAMU Theater, Seattle, WA
September 29 The Devils Of Loudun, Without Mercy at Highline, Seattle, WA
September 30 The Devils Of Loudun, Without Mercy at Obsidian, Olympia, WA
September 30 Kataklysm, Deathmocracy, A Flourishing Scourge at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 1 Def Leppard at Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, WA
October 4 Black Death Resurrected, Christian Mistress, High Spirits, Acid Wash at Highline, Seattle, WA
October 6 Discharge, Eyehategod, Toxic Holocaust, Oxygen Destroyer, Disciples of Dissent at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 10 Black Breath, Hissing, Of Corpse at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 11 Gojira, Tesseract at Showbox SoDo, Seattle, WA
October 12 Brujería, Cattle Decapitation, Piñata Protest at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 13 Leprous (Norway), Earthside, Binary Code, Dissona, A Sense of Gravity at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 13 Ringworm, others at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 14 Between the Buried and Me, Devin Townsend Project, Fallujah at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 15 Saint Vitus, The Skull, Witch Mountain at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 15 Gorguts, Intronaut, Odyssian at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 15 Skeletonwitch, Iron Reagan, Pathbreaker, Homewrecker, Gatecreeper at Highline, Seattle, WA
October 16 Anthrax, Death Angel at Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
October 17 Tony MacAlpine at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 19 Alestorm at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 23 Sleep at Showbox, Seattle, WA
October 25 Opeth at The Moore Theater, Seattle, WA
October 29 Himsa at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
October 29 Soilwork, Unearth, Battlecross, Wovenwar, Darkness Divided, After the Fallout at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
October 31 The Drip at FBK House, Seattle, WA
November 1 Wake, Theories, Vermin Womb at Highline, Seattle, WA
November 5 Ulcerate, Zhrine, Phobocosm at Highline, Seattle, WA
Nevember 10 Vektor, Black Fast, Xoth at Highline, Seattle, WA
November 15 Armored Saint, Queensrÿche, Midnight Eternal at Showbox at the Market, Seattle, WA
November 16 Epica, FleshGod Apocalypse, Arkona, The Agonist, Xandria at Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
November 26 Dark Tranquillity, Swallow the Sun, Enforcer, Star Kill at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
November 26 Castle, Mos Generator at The Shakedown, Bellingham, WA
November 29 Sonata Arctica, Leaves’ Eyes, Omnium Gatherum at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
December 31 Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Key Arena, Seattle, WA
January 18 Udo Dirkschneider "Back To The Roots - Farewell To Accept" at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
January 28 Blue Öyster Cult at Historic Everett Theatre, Everett, WA
February 22 Nile, Overkill at El Corazón, Seattle, WA
April 4 Swallow the Sun at El Corazón, Seattle, WA

Vanhelgd (review by MMB)

Here is the review of the new Vanheldg album. After the review, you will find some official information that will be very useful. In addition, at the bottom of this feature, there is a link where you can hear the complete album.
Vanhelgd (Sweden)
Temple of Phobos
Dark Descent Records
Release: 22 July 2016
Vanhelgd’s fourth album is a very good one and it is the highlight of the band’s discography so far.
People who have heard the band’s music before this new album noticed that these Swedes’ traditional extreme metal has taken elements of death metal and black metal and they have been laboring at it, refining it and sharpening it up. The production, vocals and heaviness of death metal filled up with an abundance of black metal guitar work, has been one way of explaining the band by some reviewers who have heard the preceding albums.
One thing seemed clear: this was a promising band and it was a good idea to keep an eye on them.
Was something great on the horizon?
Well, something has happened. The band remains as committed as ever to their metal of death, but that’s not the most important thing. You could say that the band has now reached a better level of confidence, coming into their own, now you can hear them take their music in various directions, yet it is very compatible with the previous, traditional values of songwriting. Basically, this is how a band can expand and grow and be greater and sound better than ever before.
It is the feeling that the band’s skills in instrumentation and songwriting are really catching up to their own creativity and imagination and we are now hearing the music that they were hearing in their heads. They can play fast or slow, and it doesn’t matter, it sounds very good, regardless if it seems like death, black or doom.
For instance, they have a pronounced doom element on this album, but they make sure to add melancholy and melody. When the music is going slow, it has melody and makes doom sound good, not just slow. No one will call Vanhelgd a doom band, but listen to this album, there is plenty of doom here, but it’s memorable and done well.
Overall, this band plays fast occult extreme metal and it is their mission. The Nödtveidt-style riffing, speed and spirit is not something that the band shies away from, nor they do reject the best elements of classic death metal from Sweden. What’s different now is the quality of the songs: the various ways that the components have been configured. Perhaps it is the sense of confidence and the sense of freedom that explains it best. They know what they are doing and are gaining the confidence to do many things within the framework and tradition of Vanhelgd and the results are revealing. For example, the melodies are very pronounced, but they are not clichéd, expected, easy tricks. The bringing together of melancholy and melody works well for the band, and there are even a few surprises that show that maybe the band has reached the conclusion that they can do many different things, and that if things are done right, it can work for them.
This is not to say that everything is perfect. The last song is divided into two parts by two minutes of silence and it’s a questionable decision: the first part is a formidable end to the album and it has the feel of a strong doom and melancholy end, with some melodic, operatic, choir-like guest vocals. The album should have ended there. Instead, there are two minutes of silence and then the band launches into fast black metal. The problem is that it seems like an apology, like they are apologizing for having added melancholy and melody to their sound, as if to show that they can still play black metal, but there is no need to apologize to anyone. The two minutes of silence are unnecessary and this last fast song should have gone as the next-to-last track, opening the way for ending the album in an atmospheric doom manner.
The band has balanced out the new elements very well on the album and they do not have to prove anything to anyone. Case in point, even in the old days bands, like Celtic Frost (To Mega Therion), Bathory (Blood Fire Death) and Master’s Hammer (The Jilemnice Occultist) showed that there is a lot of room for creativity in extreme metal. What matters is the way that it is done and the intentions with which it is carried out. The real limits are things like our imagination, skills, and resources, and lack thereof.
Still, this matter of the track order does not cancel or take away from the fact that on this album the band’s previous works have come to fruition in a serious way.
This complete work is available for listening at the link below. It is a worthwhile investment of time to give a listen to the full album and to get to know it.
Below is some additional information about the band.
OFFICIAL: The Swedish masters of aversion and forlorn VANHELGD return with an even darker aspect of Death Metal surpassing what is deemed traditional and into the realms of blackened Doom Metal with Temple Of Phobos. While still firmly locked into that unmistakable VANHELGD sound, it is clear that on Temple Of Phobos they have steered into a much more despondent territory; very reminiscent of the early ‘90s Doom. VANHELGD have managed to capture the essence and vibe with such perfection on Temple Of Phobos that perhaps this will go down in VANHELGD's history as one their heaviest, gloomiest and blackest record ever.
Recorded and mixed at Studio Underjord with Joona Hassinen (Year Of The Goat, Saturnalia Temple, Ocean Chief, etc) , mastered by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio (Watain, Repugnant, Desultory, etc) and once again gracing the ominous artwork by VANHELGD frontman Mattias 'Flesh' Frisk (Ghost, Entrapment, Vampire, etc).
Dark Descent Records will release Temple of Phobos in North America on July 22. The album is scheduled for European release July 1 via Pulverised Records.
1. Lamentation Of The Mortals
2. Rebellion Of The Iniquitous
3. Den Klentrogenes Klagan
4. Temple Of Phobos
5. Gravens Lovsång
6. Rejoice In Apathy
7. Allt Hopp Är Förbi
With the band formed in 2007, VANHELGD very quickly earned their reputation of churning out anguish and hate-filled old-school Death Metal.
VANHELGD have released three full-length albums and one 12-inch MLP to date, with the MLP being released exclusively at the NWN! Fest II.
VANHELGD have performed at several notable festivals such as Kill-Town Death Fest and NWN! Fest, etc.
For fans of early At The Gates, Eucharist, early Paradise Lost, Brutality and Swedish Death Metal!
Bass - Albrektsson, Jonas
Drums - Andersson, Björn
Guitars and Vocals - Frisk, Mattias
Guitars and Vocals - Johansson, Jimmy
BIOGRAPHY: In the end of the year 2007 Vanhelgd was formed by Björn Andersson (drums), Jimmy Johansson(guitars, backup vocals) and Mattias Frisk (guitars/ vocals). The intention was to play dark, blood soaked death metal in the vein of the old masters. Songs were taking form and the need for a bass player became more and more urgent. In the beginning of 2008 the old friend Viktor Gustafsson stepped in to handle the base guitar. A very ruff demo was recorded during a rehearsal and some of the songs where published on the internet. Soon the interest for the band grew and Vanhelgd recorded eight songs in Backbone studios in Mjölby and the first full length album Cult of Lazarus was released by Crematorium Records in November 2008. The band got in contact with the US based Nuclear War Now! Records who decided to release Cult of Lazarus as a 12” LP in 2009. In the summer of 2009 Vanhelgd recorded a couple of new songs as a demo. One of the tracks from that session, “Nec Spe, Nec Metu” was featured on the Invocation of Death compilation, released in June 2010 by Death invocation records. Vanhelgd started to work with the recording for their second full-length album Church of Death in April 2010. Due to various problems they didn’t finish until September the same year. Two of the songs were taken out to be featured on the EP Praise the Serpent which was released on the Nuclear War Now! Fest Part 2 in Berlin where the band also performed. In 2013 Jonas Albrektson replaced Viktor on bass and signed with Pulverised Records.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Satanic Warmaster

Since 1998 the black metal from Satanic Warmaster from Finland has established itself as one not to disappoint its supporters. There is no ambivalence in this music; it's black metal or nothing, as been recognized for years. Below is a link where you can gorge on a whole lot of music from Satanic Warmaster. There is so much music there that you won't be able to get through it in a day, but if black metal is your calling, you'll now have a brand new mission: to meet the black metal of Satanic Warmaster.
OFFICIAL: When the Carelian woods rustled in thepassing of ancient shadows and the full moon shone its dismal Glare upon the kneeling worshipper, the demons whispered their horrid decree. By the binding rites of darkness and witchcraft, Werwolf bestowed life upon Satanic Warmaster in the year of infamy 1998, in order to finally realize his true expression in art, prepared for by years of battles in crafting unholy Finnish Black Metal in other hordes. Though men and their minds never cease to evolve, the core principles of Satanic Warmaster that were laid out in the brief ritualistic exhortations of the cult demo "Bloody Ritual" recorded in 1999 A.S. have never changed in essence. While forgotten and dreaded because of its unforgiving nature, this release laid out the symbols and signs of initiation to the pact with Satan, which remains the original source of revelation for Satanic Warmaster. Around the same time, Werwolf explored a more triumphant, militant and Germanic musical style with demo "Marsch Zu Neuen Zeitaltern" 1999 A.S. and while the concept of this demo would have only a little resemblance with Satanic Warmaster's intentions, it was important in forging the pattern of melodies used in the hymns that Satanic Warmaster composes in the name of Satan.
During the next years Werwolf devised and recorded in darkness and solitude, perfecting his sombre art with unreleased demos, untainted by social commentary and human morality. Some of these recordings were later released to the benefit of the Satanic Black Metal underground, which has always been a vital element of contact, collaboration and criminal partnership for the personal, extreme projects and actions of Werwolf, the ultimate mastermind of Satanic Warmaster. By far the most famous and influential release of the Finnish Black Metal underground of the 21st century, the album "Strength & Honour" 2001 A.S. revolutionized the composition and thought of a whole generation of young bands, spawning a series of imitators and causing more discussion (both positive and negative) than almost any other Finnish release of the decade. Harkening back to the spirit of ancient times, occult war, bestial vampirism and satanic lust, "Strength & Honour" boldly and arrogantly recalled the history of Black Metal from Nordic and European regions, shooting a rune engraved bolt to the back of the head of everyone who thought that Black Metal should have progressed beyond the radical beliefs of early Norwegian, Polish or French Black Metal innovators.
Satanic Warmaster was not destined to be hypocritical and experimental pseudo-progressive mental masturbation, but brutal, honest and dangerous as a bloodthirsty wolven hunt, a nocturnal trip into His realm... the majestic, feral moods of "Strength & Honour" gained an even more sublime and tormented soul in the mini-album "Black Katharsis" 2002 A.S. which expressed profound sadness for lost glories and the vanquished fallen. In addition, it explained the ritual sufferings of the devotee to Satan in his passage towards understanding the mysteries of the master.
The third storm of Satanic Warmaster, the "Opferblut" album 2003 A.S. saw the beginning of a long line of releases for No Colours Records, the infamous German Black Metal label who had originally discovered such diverse bands as Dimmu Borgir and Graveland for public release. The music continued as intricate, spirited and raw, as in the follow-up mini-album "...Of the Night" 2004 A.S., firmly placing Satanic Warmaster as one of the more reliable and consistent bands in the underground Black Metal of the new millennium.
The first live rituals of the warmaster happened in 2004, commencing with great success in Turku, Finland and continuing to devastate that year's Under the Black Sun festival in Germany. The provocative and powerful performances have never since ceased, as the Legion Werwolf has continued to share the stage with diverse acts from Isvind to Krieg, deeply memorable because the atmosphere is in keeping with the true intentions of the music.
All this was somewhat only preparation for the masterwork that is "Carelian Satanist Madness" 2005 A.S., a solitary, maniacal woodland procession, which united the archaic heritage of Carelian folklore with Luciferian mythology and viciously hateful Black Metal.
For many bands this would have been more than enough, yet embraced by the demons of victory and the sorceries of sun and hellfire, Satanic Warmaster devastated the audiences in 2007 with a new mini-album of melodic, aristocratic, yet horrific Black Metal, in the name of "Revelation" 2007 A.S.
And the blood-drenched, fiery and despondent summer of 2010 A.S. saw Satanic Warmaster commit the most heinous crime of its existence. No one could have predicted the cruel manifestation of "Nachzehrer", besides a glimmer of prophecy in the form of "W.A.T.W.T.C.O.T.B.W.O.A.A." ("We are the worms that crawl on the broken wings of an angel), an advance compilation of old and new tracks released earlier in 2010 A.S.
The monument of "Nachzehrer" 2010 A.S. sees Satanic Warmaster to return to its oldest battlegrounds, the mythology of European vampiric nightbeings which carried through years of torment the shades of witchcraft embedded in the deepest layer of the human subconscious. Even though christ had abolished the pagan temple, the beast was growing stronger with each drop of consumed blood. And as apocalypse bides nearer and the cold mist descends on the depths of the woodland, the warmaster rides out with vengeance once again. By the power of Lucifer, those who do not wear the mark shall suffer and perish...

NEWS: Feanor

Feanor is a very proud true heavy metal band from Argentina. Their 2016 album is called We Are Heavy Metal and they made a video for the title track and below you can watch the video. Learn more about the band below.
We Are Heavy Metal
Release date: 2016
OFFICIAL: BLESSED by the secret of steel and fury called Heavy Metal, FEANOR was formed in early July 1996. After some rehearsals the songs "On Wings of Storm", "North Star" and "Your Suffering Is Very Slow "they were born. However, due to the difficulty of finding musicians with enough balls FEANOR recently debuted live at the Marquee on November 26, 1998, a great show full of power!
After presenting numerous recitals in Buenos Aires and the rest of the country, the band enters the studio for the recording of which was his first demo On Wings Of Tempest including 5 songs which received very good reviews both nationally and in the Foreign. During this period, more lineup changes occurred. With these reinforcements, the group continued performing live on their land and sharing the stage with numerous bands from the local scene and generating links of steel with international groups such as Virgin Steele, Wizard, Steel Warrior, Sacred Steel, Twisted Tower Dire, Anorimori, Battleroar, Wotan among many others.
Then, duty calls, the time comes to enter the studio again! The name of your second demo album is This Is For You, which is edited "OFFICIALLY" and is dedicated to the public the True Metal City Bahia Blanca, who supported the bellicose band during the toughest moments of his career. This recording also represents a gift of extra power with the collaboration of Sven D'Anna, the German band Wizard, as the leading voice on "Houses of Fire" -Casas del Fuego (the voice for this track was recorded on well known and respectable "Youngblood Professional Studio in Germany". Thanks to this work the band manages to enter the European market, breaking the sales record of the Greek label PORT SECRET RECORDS (www.secretport.com), and starting in this way the bond with the seal. It is at this time when FEANOR includes "This is for you" song in "Metallic Brotherhood Vol. 1" edited by Metal Fanzine of Argentina, then continue this tradition in all previous editions of this prestigious publication. (Www.metalicazine.com.ar).
More concerts came, and once again, Gustavo and his Brothers of Metal demonstrated their incredible skill with weapons instrumental forcing a lot of fake running like rats !!
The controversial FEANOR attitude earned them a lot of enemies but the pure and true heart of this young institution obtained the alliance of the Community of True Metal, and that was when all the traitors and false were a little worried.
Without denying its Epic Metal style that characterizes a band like FEANOR, the group continued performing and spreading his second demo CD This is for you all Bs. As. E interior. Not important contemporary movements or musical fashions, distanced from any commercial interest ... Just for the sake of Metal, just for the sake of Steel.
In 2003 a new battle shone on the horizon. A new Test Steel and the opportunity to dethrone the infidels rising to a higher level occurs again !!!. The turbulent fury of FEANOR began preparing the material of what was their great debut album. However after 3 nights of frantic recording a sequence of events that would fail to ordinary mortal bands is merciless with FEANOR, it is how after recording the foundation of 13 Hymns steel father guitarist Flavio Bianchi dies thereupon said musician left the band, supported by drummer Emiliano Wach, who moves away from music for purely personal reasons, immediately the inevitability of the death of the father Gustavo Feanor Acosta, as well as that of the studio owner Jerry Guiardino adds . After such shocks, long tapes remain captive in the recording studio until much effort are taken from the site for restoration and completion.
In this way 12 tracks of more roaring steel saw the light, with the participation this time the leader of the German band MAJESTY "Tarek Magharty" playing the guitar solo in the song "Too slow is your suffering" and Facundo Coral (Paul Gillman) taking over the heavy task of guitar solos work is completed in the study "the Oseberg ship."
Released in Europe and distributed worldwide through Secret Port Records, properly the name of this album is "INVINCIBLE" including the clip of the song "North Star" as bonus CD. The album devastates in Europe and the first edition sells out quickly, excellent reviews raining down from all over the globe !.
Again steel prevails once more the conviction is stronger than fate, once again defeat mediocrity determination.
FEANOR is here to prove it every day, are ready to fight on our side ???.
FEANOR - We Are Heavy Metal Videoclip

Neuro Attack

Neuro Attack (Brazil)
Thrash Returns
Release date: May 2016
Label: independent
Don’t you appreciate a band telling it like it is? Don’t make promises you can’t keep! If you promise thrash, you best give it good, fast, lean. They promise thrash and that's what they deliver. The riffs just keep going, one on top of the next, as fast they can get them out, piling them, pushing them together, and with the foot on the gas pedal. They do not know the meaning of the word slow and they have no plans to look it up in the dictionary any time soon, either. The drummer plays as if he had a personal vendetta against his kit, like the kit has done something to him and he wants nothing than corporal punishment for his kit. This is the band's first recording, according to Metal Archives, so it is a raw recording and it's dirty, and the vocals are furious, in a style close to black metal. It’s a promising start for the band. Let’s hope that this is just the beginning and that things will only get better and better for them!
track list:
1. The Real Government 05:14
2. Chaos 04:03
3. Psychopath 02:36
4. Thrash Returns 04:07
total time 16:00

Al Joseph

Al Joseph is a prog/shred guitarist from the United States. Al's music is unapologetically guitar-oriented with emphasis on melody within the framework of prog instrumental songs. He has recorded an album called Out in the Open and has worked with various musicians, in addition to doing guitar instruction videos. The first link listed below has several songs that you can hear and get a good idea of Al's work. This artist is for those into serious guitar virtuoso playing, prog and shredding.
OFFICIAL: Al Joseph was born in 1987 on Highland Park, IL and was raised in Scranton, PA. His musical journey started young, playing drums from 10 years old. However, his passion for the guitar soon took over and a year or so later he laid down his sticks and started his guitar-led journey! ​
After earning a prestigious spot on "Jam Track Central's" artist roster in 2013, Al has proven to be one of the worlds most exciting new virtuosos to hit the scene to date. Now a proud Alumni of Berklee College Of Music, Al presses on to an already promising career as guitar player, composer, songwriter, and producer. Expect to see more exciting things over the coming years.
You can expect to hear the lyrical texture of legendary artists such as Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Andy Timmons, and Greg Howe. As far as songwriting goes Al has a never- ending list of influences in his arsenal. From bands like Creed, Rage Against The Machine, P.O.D, to Pillar, Pantera, Sevendust, and many more. If you can dig on any of the above, then get ready to add another artist to your list. ​
"Out In The Open” is Al's debut solo instrumental record which was re-released through JTC Records in 2015. It's a story of emotion, new beginnings, unknowns, and all the new challenges Al has faced throughout his life. Let's not forget about an hour’s worth of world class shredding as well. If you enjoy the workings of guitar legends Joe Satriani and Andy Timmons, look no further. This record has it all wrapped up in a nice basket for you with some jazz-fusion elements as well. “Out In the Open” is a wild ride for sure!
The Al Joseph Group
After earning a prestigious spot on "Jam Track Central's" artist roster in 2013, Al Joseph released his debut solo record "Out In The Open". This EP has proven to be a hit with fans all over the globe and now The Al Joseph Group plans to go into the studio and track this record together!
The AGJ group plans to release "Out In The Open - Reprise" by the end of the year, just in time for the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA.
Al Joseph has already recorded an entire album with many other successful artists such as Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats), Marco Sfogli (James LeBrie), Andy James, Martin Miller, and Jack Thammarat to name a few. If AJG's goals are met, you will also put them on the road with these world renown virtuosos as well.
Al Joseph 'The Shores Of Cybertron' at Jamtrackcentral.com

Friday, August 19, 2016

Anna Pest

Anna Pest
release date: August 4th, 2016
label: independent
Anna Pest is the name of the extreme metal project by April Hutchins, the guitarist and the main songwriter for the melodic extreme metal band Mellevon(Canada), which has two albums: Chaos Reigns (2013) and Solace (2014). Both albums are available for listening at the band's Bandcamp page, for which the link is provided below.
Of course, in addition to Mellevon, April has Anna Pest, which is music most closely aligned with modern, melodic, blasting black metal. April apparently takes care of the instrumentation and vocals, in addition to other things like cover art, recording, producer, mastering, editing, artwork model and editing. In 2016 there are two Anna Pest recordings: the EP called Transmission and the album called Forlorn, for which the track list is given below. April, as already stated, plays guitars and on Anna Pest she does vocals, too. We assume she plays bass, and that she does the drum programming, given that it sounds like drum programming, not like live drums.
On the topic of Anna Pest, April has stated: "Drawing influence from the works of artists such as Silencer, Bethlehem, Dark Fortress, and Agalloch, Forlorn is an eclectic release which explores various branches of black metal, from the atmospheric to the vicious, the melodic to the depressive.
Those familiar with the 'pop-metal' style exhibited by my earlier work on Transmission and my repertoire of covers on YouTube will probably be taken aback by this comparably dark release, but an open-minded listener will, I believe, find it to contain some of my best compositions."
On Forlorn the sound brings together black metal with some metalcore influences. The pace of the album is fast, often blasting, with a melodic postrock feel to it. The recording, to clarify, is not experimental and it is not metalcore nor postrock, it is meant to be an upfront, loud and proud fast metal recording and it sounds as such. Anna Pest is headbanging metal, pure and simple.
track list for Forlorn:
1.Countenance 03:48
2.Asmodeus 04:06
3.Nyctophobic 06:02
4.Golgotha 04:05
5.Only 04:43
6.Samuelle 05:31
7.Euthanize 04:49
8.Forevermore 04:44
total time 37:48

Friday night: Excuse All the Blood metal music show

Right now, Friday night, 11pm to 1am Pacific Time (Seattle), listen to Excuse All the Blood metal music, out of Olympia, Washington state, U.S.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Burning Black: melodic/traditional heavy metal from Italy

Active for more than a decade, Italy's Burning Black has at least six recordings, including three albums and 1 EP. Those looking for a more melodic and catchy form of metal that is ear-friendly might be interested in this band. Below is some official information about the band and also a track for hear.
OFFICIAL: 2004, BURNING BLACK were born. They begin to draw the attention of the worldwide Metal underground, after the release of their two demo CDs "Smell The Fire" and "Fight To Dream". The demos are the perfect door openers: very soon, the band has a record contract for their first album titled "Prisoners Of Steel", an epitome of uncompromising Heavy Metal.
Every day they receive great and positive reviews. They are honored to tour with national and international acts, playing with Volbeat, U.D.O., Primal Fear, Bonfire, Rage, Circle To Circle, etc (just to name a few).
Besides all these gigs, they record some demos for the second album proving their skills in songwriting and arrangements. In their new work they include fresh elements with more rough & tough sounds than before.
For this album called “Mechanic Hell”, they sign with the German Label “Limb Music” and, as soon as it is released, immediately doubles the sales of his predecessor. A big reward arrives when the legendary American producer Beau Hill (B. Dylan, E. Clapton, A. Cooper, Europe, Warrant etc.), after hearing the song “Purgatory Child”, contacts the band to do a remix. It becomes the first single taken from the album.
BURNING BLACK start to spread their name in the Usa: the song “Secrets To Hide” receives a nomination for “Best Metal Song 2010” at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, moreover, Rockgamer Studios remixes the song and includes it in the expansions of the “Rock Band” videogame. “Purgatory Child” gets nominated at the Usa Indie Music Fest and then again as “Best Metal Song 2011” at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.
BURNING BLACK, after a headliner tour in Italy, Austria, Slowakia and Hungary, are confirmed as the opening band for the European tour of the Finnish monster rockers Lordi.
The tour hits Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Spain, and it gives to the band the chance to play in bigger venues than ever in front of sold out crowds.
Their third album titled "Remission Of Sin" will be released within the end of Spring 2014 and the band is now scheduling a worldwide tour, including European and Usa gigs.
BURNING BLACK - Flag Of Rock - official video

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NEWS: Tony MacAlpine: his health and the upcoming West Coast shows

Legendary guitar maestro Tony MacAlpine, who is known for his shred, neoclassical and progressive virtuoso playing, will be doing a show in Seattle on October 17 at Studio Seven, Seattle, Washington.
Today Tony posted an update about his health and the upcoming shows:
Hello Friends and music family!
I hope all is well for everyone reading this.
It’s been a while since I have reached out to you, but now the good fortune of health and timing is allowing me to do so. I have been feeling back to normal and tests indicate that all is well in medical land. Deep and sincere thanks to you all for your wonderful support through this very difficult last 12 months. I will be playing a run of US West Coast shows in October with my trio: Aquiles Priester (drums) and Bjorn Englen (bass). There will be some solo/headline shows, and some very cool shows supporting Steve Vai! We are looking forward to seeing you at the shows! I will be playing some carefully selected material from my repertoire. The band and I are very anxious to play for even more of you around the world in the next 12 months.
Have a great summer… play loud and listen proud!
Tony MacAlpine
Tour Dates:
Oct 7: Studio City, CA - The Baked Potato
Oct 8: Riverside, CA - Fox Performing Arts Center*
Oct 9: Las Vegas, NV - House Of Blues*
Oct 11: San Diego, CA - House Of Blues*
Oct 12: Ventura, CA - Ventura Theater*
Oct 13: San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore*
Oct 14: Sacramento, CA - Ace Of Spades*
Oct 16: Portland, OR - Revolution Hall*
Oct 17: Seattle, WA - Studio Seven
Oct 20: San Diego, CA - Brick By Brick
Oct 28: San Pedro, CA - Alvas Showroom
* supporting Steve Vai’s Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Tour.
Below is some official information about Tony MacAlpine and his work. Below you will also find a couple videos for your listening pleasure.
OFFICIAL: The name Tony MacAlpine is synonymous with modern musical virtuosity. Whether performing as a solo artist, band member, session player, touring hired-gun, or as a producer, Tony MacAlpine continues to prove that he truly is one of rock’s most amazing and versatile musicians. He incorporates classical, jazz and fusion influences into the hard rock/metal genre on both guitar and keyboards.
In his 25 year career he has produced, written and arranged eleven solo instrumental studio albums. Tony has also released four albums with his jazz-fusion band CAB, three albums with his progressive rock band Planet X, and a number of other band projects. In addition, MacAlpine has contributed both guitar and keyboards to a long list of records by other artists.
Tony was born and raised in Springfield Massachusetts, and in his early years was a classically trained pianist and violinist. He began his musical education at age 5 as a piano major at the Springfield Conservatory of Music, where he studied under the direction of Marion Jensen for twelve years. Tony furthered his studies at HARTT College under the tutelage of Professor Raymond Hanson at the University of Hartford, Connecticut.
At age 12, Tony picked up the guitar. He was later “discovered” in the pages of Guitar Player magazine by Mike Varney in 1984, and became a leader in the neoclassical guitar virtuoso movement of the mid to late 80s. MacAlpine was possibly the first new rock guitar instrumental artist of the 80s to break 100,000 units in the USA. His debut album Edge Of Insanity (1986) and sophomore release Maximum Security (1987) are cited by countless guitarists as major influences. Tony performed guitar and keyboards on Edge Of Insanity (with Billy Sheehan on bass and Steve Smith on drums), and all instruments (with the exception of drums by Deen Castronovo and Atma Anur) on Maximum Security, highlighting his musical dexterity.
MacAlpine continued his extraordinary output into the 90s, with critically acclaimed releases Freedom to Fly (1992), Madness (1993), Premonition (1994) and Evolution (1995), which all remain among his discography’s best sellers.
In the late 90s, Tony joined forces with Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Billy Idol) and Virgil Donati (Steve Vai, Scott Henderson) to form progressive rock band Planet X, regularly touring Europe and South America. In 1999, bassist Bunny Brunel (Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock) tapped MacAlpine to join his jazz-fusion band CAB, along with drummer Dennis Chambers (John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana) and keyboardist Brian Auger (Tony Williams, Jimi Hendrix). This lead to the release of their self-titled album in 2000, and their GRAMMY-nominated CAB2 album in 2001. Two further CAB albums followed and the band toured the world, including Europe, Asia and Russia.
Shortly after, Tony was invited to join the band of fellow guitar virtuoso Steve Vai (along with Billy Sheehan on bass) where he played both guitar and keyboards, often doubling Vai’s formidable leads on both instruments. Tony performed and toured the world with Vai for seven years, playing to hundreds of thousands of people, and appearing on the certified double-platinum DVD Live At The Astoria, London, along with the G3’03 Live In Denver and G3 Live In Tokyo DVDs.
In 2006, Shrapnel Records celebrated Tony’s 20 year career with “Collection – The Shrapnel Years” – an album containing some of his hottest musical moments — comprised of aggressive rock and fusion compositions which highlight Tony’s incredible technique and melodic flair. These tracks contain standout performances by some of the greatest musicians in progressive music, including drummers Steve Smith and Deen Castronovo as well as bassists Billy Sheehan and Tony Franklin and other world class players.
In 2007, Tony was the featured guitarist for French pop legend Michel Polnareff’s highly successful comeback tour in France, playing to over half a million people during the tour’s three month run. A special performance of this event was televised across France. He also appeared in the 2008 award-winning motion picture Crazy: The Hank Garland Story making a cameo as Wes Montgomery.
His new self-titled album is due out on June 21, 2011 and marks a highly anticipated return to solo work. It features 12 blistering tracks of MacAlpine on 7 and 8-stringed guitars, keyboards, bass and programming, along with appearances from drum legends Virgil Donati and Marco Minnemann. Described by MacAlpine as his best work to date, the album is destined to again set the bar for guitarists everywhere.
Tony endorses Ibanez guitars, Hughes & Kettner amplifiers, EMG pickups, Ernie Ball strings, Source Audio pedals, and Toontrack software.
Tony likes motorcycles. He lives in Pasadena, CA.
Tony MacAlpine and Jeff Loomis play "Square Circles" live on EMGtv
Tony Macalpine - Autumn Lords, Live in New York 2014
tony macalpine - key to the city

NEWS: Blood Incantation

NEWS: Blood Incantation
Dark Descent Records
Release: 18 August 2016
Death metal squad Blood Incantation (U.S.) has a new album that you can hear in its entirety at the link below. The official information says that the album is analog, which, of course, means that the band is not pleased with the weak sound of modern extreme metal drums and in general with the clinical sound of modern metal. Not everyone is happy with having drums that sound like kids' toys or with robotic music, and Blood Incantation appears to be one of those rebellious bands. Also, if you play death metal and you choose to have the word incantation in your name, that's not an accident, correct? That's a statement. Thick, claustrophobic death metal is a huge element here, but also there is a sideways energy going on, but you'll have to hear it for yourself to decide what exactly it is. It's not weirdo stuff, but it's a bit atmospheric. The best part of it all? You don't to take anyone's word for it! Check it for yourself and see if you hear the difference with this band.
OFFICIAL: Colorado Death Metal band BLOOD INCANTATION will release its debut full-length album this summer on Dark Descent Records. After signing with the label just prior to the August 2015 release of the Interdimensional Extinction EP, BLOOD INCANTATION returns with a 30-minute cerebral whirlwind of powerful Atmospheric Death Metal. Produced entirely in analog, the energy and magnetism of live BLOOD INCANTATION is tangibly melting through the speakers, and the songwriting, production and performance constellations have all fully aligned. The intense and otherworldly technical/ambient/funeral death metal of Starspawn leaves the listener feeling transcendentally disembodied at the end of an unknown dimension. With appearances at California Death Fest and Covenant Festival (Canada) already on the horizon, and an even more extensive US tour this September, the worldwide spread of the BLOOD INCANTATION tentacles into all orbits is as inevitable as your own death and this galaxy’s violent collapse.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

POWER FROM HELL coming to the Northwest

Chapel of Astaroth has posted this reminder:
In just over one week we at the Chapel bring you Brazilian black thrash attack POWER FROM HELL! This is their first ever northwest appearance and they only have three dates so don't miss out!
8/26-Portland at Rose City Strip w/ Nekro Drunkz (CD release!) www.facebook.com/events/792403867526661/
8/27-Seattle at Black Zia w/ Crurifragium, Vomicus, Hereticon www.facebook.com/events/608808509281074/
8/29-Everett at Tony V's w Sacrament Ov Impurity, Sarcalogos www.facebook.com/events/266877163694080/

Serpentspire (Spokane, WA) need your help

Technical death metal band Serpentspire, from Spokane, Washington state, posted this announcement on August 12.
We have some unfortunate news in the Serpentspire camp... Tonight our guitarist Zach's truck was broken into and his white Ibanez RG7420 as well as both the guitar heads, one guitar cab, and the bass head and cab were stolen. At this point we really don't know what we are going to do. But we should inform you all about this awful event.
Here's a list of everything in case any of you might have any sort of leads:
Ibanez RG7420 Guitar White in Soft Case
All guitar/bass amplifiers have a black sticker with a white logo (may have been removed)
Peavey VK100 Guitar Head
B52 4x12 Guitar Cab
Line 6 Vetta HD Guitar Head
Behringer BX4000H Bass Head
Behringer BB 410 Bass Cab (White staining in the carpet)
Sennheiser Microphone
Various Power Cables and Instrument Cables

help Black Crown Initiate get back on their feet

The information below is from the prog band Black Crown Initiate (U.S.). They need help and this information is what has been posted by the band and below that, by someone on their behalf. See the first link to learn more about the campaign. Below you will also find official information about the band to learn more about them.
To all of our dear friends,
unfortunately were just robbed in St Louis Missouri. We were in a restaurant for 40 minutes and all of our belongings and money were stolen out of our van in a well lit parking lot. Priceless items were taken including laptops, passports, laminates and personal effects. Worst of all, five thousand dollars that we made on this tour is gone. We have to go to Europe in 3 weeks and need as much help as we can get. We undoubtedly worked our selves to the bone on one of the best tours we've ever done, only to have it swept out from under us. Any single thing you can contribute helps us. All of our cash from the tour is completely gone. We're working our way home out of our own pocket. Thank you in advance.
-All the guys in Black Crown Initiate
Help Black Crown Initiate get back on their feet
I am setting up this fundraiser for my friends in the band Black Crown Initiate. I have literally just walked in the door to my home in Australia after 22 hours of transit, to get an inbox from the guys they have been robbed during their 3,000 miles + journey back home from tour with us (they are still not even home as I type this). We have known these guys for just over a month, and we have already became very good friends. We are all heartbroken and devastated.
They have lost many personal belongings, including their laptops. They have also had CASH stolen that they made on this grueling tour with us. One of the big problems is their passports have been stolen too. They are headed to Europe in 3 weeks. This is a disaster for any touring band. Please help the guys out in any way you can to help them get back on their feet. It will be incredibly expensive to replace passports on such notice, not to mention all the earnings they lost on tour. No amount of cash can replace your own laptop with tabs, photos, spreadheets and tour info etc, but we can certainly try.
ABOUT THE BAND: Every year, an "it" band or the "buzz" band emerges in the hard rock and metal scene. It's the band that has everyone talking, from fans engaging in discussions deep in the digital space and on the viral online level to the industry insiders that are tracking the band's every move and charting its growth.
Progressive death metal Black Crown Initiate have proven themselves to be that band in 2014.
But it's not a fleeting status nor are they a "here today, gone tomorrow" product of hype. Black Crown Initiate have the metallic chops, the surgically precise skills, and a firm grasp of mind-blowing dynamics, all of which come together to cement their status as a band to watch for years to come, not just in 2014.
Armed with the independently released, four-track and 22-minute Song of the Crippled Bull EP and a coveted spot on the Metal Alliance Tour, Black Crown Initiate steadily built a name for themselves with a DIY ethos throughout 2013. While many bands pay lip service to that concept, Pennsylvania's Black Crown Initiate, who craft thinking man's hard rock that's heavier than granite and that is smart without being esoteric, were too busy doing it instead of saying it. They caught the attention of several labels with their potent and unforgettable extended play release, eventually signing with eOne in 2014.
Their label debut The Wreckage of Stars is the next step for Black Crown Initiate and one that will further put them on the metal map. It's a sonically thrilling, 10-song opus, drafted by musicians who embrace the darkness and who masterfully craft mini-epics; most songs exceed the five-minute mark. From the opening salvo of "Great Mistake," with its heavy artillery riffing and torrent of thunderous percussion, which sound like detonated bombs, to the dirgey hymn that is the title track, to the nightmarishly fast and fierce "Shapes Collapse," The Wreckage of Stars will establish Black Crown Initiate as one of metal's finest up-and-comers.
Guitarist/clean vocalist/lyricist Andy Thomas reveals that his band, which formed in February 2013 and experienced minor lineup changes before solidifying into the unit it is today, chose to put their debut EP out via Bandcamp and iTunes, letting it marinate and find an audience and industry buzz organically, as opposed to pounding the pavement to secure a deal. That approach allowed Black Crown Initiate to retain their artistic integrity.
"We were going to make the album we wanted to make," Thomas said. "We paid for it out of our own pockets, to say that we did. Through that, some important people started reaching out to us."
Now, with a new label deal in hand, Black Crown Initiate continued on the path that got them where they are and that's making the kind of music they want to make. Aesthetically, their foundation is heavy metal, but they seek to expand on that sound with increased attention to dynamics and other provocative elements, like posing poignant lyrical questions that will make the listener think, re-think and think it over some more.
"Musically, we listen to many different types of music, but our music reflects life," Thomas said. "We seek to be dynamic. Like life. People are born. People die. There is sadness, happiness, despair and everything in between. We want our music to be like that. We want our music to have dynamics like life does. To ebb and to flow, like life does. We all grew up with heavy music and that is in my DNA, as it is with everyone else in the band. But we try to be as adult about it as we can. We are grown men screaming at the top of our lungs, as Devin Townsend says!"
Being adult about their musical approach means having the courage to explore things in the space of the songs and to not be afraid to go where they are least expected to go.
The members of Black Crown Initiate have been in different projects, both separately and together. But they have an understanding which unifies them and that's the Friedrich Nietzsche theme of eternal recurrence, which theorizes that the universe is recurring and that it recurs an infinite amount of times. The Wreckage of Stars explores other topics, but there is a consistent thematic thread and lyrical connective tissue. So the band is maintaining continuity while expanding and branching out.
Thomas admits he takes inspiration from philosopher Nietzsche and The Nihilist and that he embraces his views about liberation. While the EP explored Hindu symbolism, with the title being a reference to the last age before the universe summarily destroys then restores itself, there is also some Buddhist symbolism on the new album. But Black Crown Initiate don't merely offer a mild or careless interpretation of these concepts. They admit to trying to figure them out in the confines of their music.
"It is all largely perverted, since I am from the West, and I don't fully understand things, and I don't necessarily believe all of it. I am a negative person, admittedly so. I'm not afraid to say, 'This isn't working and it's not alright,'" Thomas said. He effectively explores and tries to make sense of these ideas in his lyrics which is, as he mentioned earlier, a lot like life.
"The conclusion is there no sense to be made, since you are human," he said. "It's an illusory reality to begin with. Your senses help you filter reality, and narrow down your perception so your brain can function."
Clearly, Black Crown Initiate are making intelligent metal that will take the listener places they never expect and force them to ask a lot of tough questions.
One song that evidences this fact is the blustery, herculean "Withering Waves," the music of which was written two years ago and was based on recurring dream that Thomas had where he was drowning. It also comes with unexpected and unpredictable lyrical patterns.
"I couldn't play it due to the speed and the guitar techniques," Thomas admitted. "A lot of it utilizes economy picking. I had to work on being relaxed enough to play at that speed over and over again. But what is interesting is that the song, when I wrote it musically, it sounds like a death metal song, like [Swedish band] Spawn of Possession. When I wrote words and vocal melodies, the majority of the vocals are clean. It ended up being a tech death metal song with catchy clean vocals over most it. I did not intend for that to happen but I guess I don't intend for anything. That's when you realize you really don't have that kind of control over your music."
Thomas admits that he sometimes hears music in his dreams and the song "Withering Waves" is one such case. He said, "I told myself the next time I hear it in a dream, I will do my best to wake up and get it down somehow, record it or something, so I could remember it. When I woke up with this dream. I knew how to play it and picked up a guitar and it was there. It's the only time it ever happened. but that is how I figured out the lyrics."
Vocalist James Dorton, who has a commanding speaking voice and is quite an unforgettable vocal presence on the album, is a military brat who cut his teeth in bands in Oklahoma and Delaware as he moved around. He has a singular goal as a frontman, one that he appears to have achieved on The Wreckage of Stars.
"I am never happy or satisfied," he confessed. "I want to do better each time. I want [them] to be as inhuman, monstrous and old God-sounding as possible. But [the vocals] also have variety and are intended to invoke other things."
As the lyrical and vocal tandem, Thomas and Dorton had plenty of intense discussions about the words to the songs. "Personal relationship issues influenced the album," Dorton admitted, so the album is not all about questions and higher philosophical thought. "That is a major theme, but also the theme of eternal recurrence, and the concept of how the universe works and how we dilute ourselves."
Dorton points to the title track as a vocally direct song. "The lyrics are almost totally audible, and enunciated and with good reason," he said. "It's not a happy message. It's not necessarily unhappy, either. From my personal standpoint, a lot of lyrics are written to be interpreted by the listener and to affect your personally"
Then there is the album closer "Linear," which features more unexpected and atypical elements, like a cello and a Nick Drake influence. "We end the album with a different turn," Dorton said, suggesting that fans listen closely since "it is a different way of relaying the same message in the rest of the album."
Essentially, Black Crown Initiate are building on their EP in a multi-dimensional way, fusing progressive, death and doom in a seamless way. Listeners can expect their senses to tingle, thanks the complex and complicated music, and to have their brains stimulated as well with The Wreckage of Stars.
That's precisely why Black Crown Initiate are one of, if not, the band to watch in 2014 and beyond.