National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2019 Show Report

Greetings and salutations from sunny California!  Once again, another amazing National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention has come and gone!  There were a few surprises along the way, and as always, we had a great time checking out all the gear!

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TERRORIZER – Caustic Attack

The world is always a better place when THE master blaster, Pete Sandoval, is actively playing music.  After overcoming the arduous journey back from back surgery, he teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Lee Harrison (MONSTROSITY) and vocalist Sam Molina (ex-MONSTROSITY) to revive TERRORIZER.

The long and short of it is that Caustic Attack is the band’s best album since their infallible landmark debut, World Downfall. In fact, Caustic Attack is one of the top albums of 2018. All apologies to Lee but shit, we didn’t know he could bust out out such good riffs as he’s built his reputation as a drummer.

Getting back to the Commando, the beauty of Caustic Attack is that it can be thoroughly enjoyed in different ways.  You can enjoy the exciting, heart pumping songs themselves or you can just focus in on Pete‘s drumming and just marvel at how he crushes all.

Caustic Attack starts off with songs that are geared towards being album openers with lots of immediate blasting and catchy, simple riffs that carry more of a punk/grind feel.  Half way through the album with “Trench of Corruption,” things get more ominous and darker.  There is this tangible feeling of urgency and momentum that are undeniable.  And this is where TERRORIZER truly shine and separates itself from the pack.

Don’t deny yourself one of the best extreme metal albums in recent memory.  A new beginning is here for one of the godfathers.  Bow down.  (The End Records)

 

 

 

Video of the Day: VED BUENS ENDE Quietly Reunites for Show

The criminally underrated gods of Norwegian avant garde black metal, VED BUENS ENDE, recently reunited to play a live show this past Saturday, January 26, 2019.  Check out this short clip.

Hopefully, this signals more to come from the band.  Last December, Soulseller Records reissued the long out-of-print masterpiece, Written in Waters, with the original artwork.  Check out the details here.

DISMEMBER: Original Line-Up Announces Return

In glorious news the original line-up of Swedish legends, DISMEMBER, have announced their reunion in order to play the Scandinavian Deathfest this October.  According to their Facebook post, it sounds like there will be, at least, more shows to follow.

Line-up:

Matti Kärki – Vocals
David Blomqvist – Guitar
Robert Sennebäck – Guitar
Richard Cabeza – Bass
Fred Estby – Drums

The band were last active with the release of Dismember in 2008 before calling it quits in 2011.

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2018

What a glorious year in metal we just experienced.  After the sheer amount of quality albums that were released in 2018, there is no question that the genre is as healthy and full of life as ever.  Thus, making our top albums lists harder than usual.

For the APESHIT goons, 2018 was the year where the legends all shined.  JUDAS PRIEST led the charge with their best album since 1990’s Painkiller.  DIMMU BORGIR finally emerged from a long slumber and did not disappoint. VOIVOD remain the gods that the mass metal media won’t acknowledge as such.  We can’t really think of any letdowns.  Can you?

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Video of the Day: Max and Igorr Cavalera Destroy Belarus

Last year Max and Igorr Cavalera celebrated the release of SEPULTURA‘s Roots by playing the album in its entirety on tour.  Currently, they are tour celebrating the two albums that put the band on the map, Beneath the Remains and Arise.  Check out their performance from the Re:public Club in Minsk, Belarus on October 5, 2018.

This is probably the most and best live guitar playing that Max has performed in a long time.  A very welcome return.

THE SPIRIT – Sounds from the Vortex

While THE SPIRIT hail from Saarbrücken, Germany, they sound like they were born in the metal Mecca of Gothenburg, Sweden.  It’s abundantly clear that DISSECTION are, by far, their main influence.  However, a closer ear can hear influences from other Swedish black/death metal bands such as UNANIMATED and SACRAMENTUM.

A handful of bands have tried to carry the torch left by the legendary DISSECTION, such as THULCANDRA, but none of them have come as close as THE SPIRIT.  On their debut album, Sounds from the Vortex, they essentially wrote the album that could’ve followed Storm of the Light’s Bane, and I do not make that statement haphazardly.

Sounds from the Vortex has the perfect balance of pure ferocity, melody, and, most importantly, that mysterious atmosphere of the classic albums that came out of Sweden in the mid to late 90’s.

Having said all of that, THE SPIRIT should also be praised for the endless prime riffing, instrumental prowess, and tight songwriting. Check out the barrage of ice that hits on the 4:09 mark on “The Clouds of Damnation.” “Cross the Bridge to Eternity” has unique riffing patterns reminiscent of something off of DARK TRANQUILLITY‘s The Mind’s I.

The album’s finishes out as strongly a possible in its final three songs.  Powerful and confident, these songs close out what is one of the best debuts in years.  If THE SPIRIT can replicate this level of excellence on album number two, their ascension is guaranteed. (Nuclear Blast Records)

MONO Announces Landmark 10th Album, Premieres First Single and Short Film

Tokyo gods, MONO, have announced album number 10, Nowhere Now Here.  The album sees the band add electronics to their repertoire – perhaps inspired by guitarist/composer Takaakira “Taka” Goto’s recent collaboration with John McEntire, the beguiling BEHIND THE SHADOW DROPS.

 Nowhere Now Here also sees MONO’s first-ever lineup change, adding new drummer Dahm Majuri Cipolla (THE PHANTOM FAMILY HALO) to the core trio of Goto, Tamaki, and Yoda. Tamaki also makes her vocal debut here on the poetically hazy “Breathe.”

The new album is scheduled to be released on January 25, 2019 via Temporary Residence Ltd. (North America) and Pelagic Records (Europe).

Check out the first single, “After You Comes the Flood.”

The band have also released the short film, After You Comes the Flood, directed by French director Julien Levy. It was inspired by the band’s single of the same name.

Japan’s ENVY Return with New Single, Alnair in August

Following the most successful North American tour of their career – with DEAFHEAVEN in 2015, in support of their acclaimed album, Atheist’s Cornea – ENVY returned home a deeply fractured group. The following two years were filled with both personal and creative struggles that often seemed insurmountable.

After reuniting with briefly estranged singer Tetsuya Fukagawa, ENVY severely shook up their lineup for the first time in their three-decade career, and now return with Alnair in August, the new two-song single that adds yet another ring to the band’s rich history of dynamic and melodic exploration.

Hinting at what will come on their next full-length album, due later in 2019, the two songs here are vintage ENVY, evolved: “Dawn and gaze” is a 7-minute triumph of ebb and flow that rivals the band’s strongest work, while “Marginalized thread” is a concise slice of cinematic thrash that recalls their landmark album, A Dead Sinking Story, with the increased focus on melodic resonance that has marked their later output.

Check out Alnair in August here.

LIK – Carnage

The glorious buzzsaw guitars that rip forth in the opening riff of album opener, “To Kill,” immediately bring to mind all of those sentimental, warm and fuzzy feelings you had jamming to DISMEMBER and ENTOMBED back in the day.  And it’s no coincidence that LIK (“corpse” in Swedish) are from Stockholm, Sweden.

On their second album, Carnage, LIK easily establish themselves as a true force to be reckoned with.  Like the instant classic that it is, the ten songs are consistently infectious and memorable.  Each successive listen will make you realize that this is one of the best death metal albums to come out in years.

The best part of Carnage is the instantaneous enjoyment that it brings.  It’s not a rehash or a ripoff of the legends but simultaneously a great homage and continuation of the Stockholm Swedish death metal legacy.

It should noted that the production, courtesy of Lawrence Mackrory (DARKANE, F.K.Ü) at Dugout Studios, is a thing of beauty.  The Boss Metal Zone guitar/bass tons are thick and ripping while the drums are natural and powerful in the mix.  Everything literally sounds loud (in a good way) without being abrasive.

While extreme metal vocalists can often blur into each other, Tomas Åkvik (vocals, guitar) has the deep roar but also the clear enunciation that David Vincent is famous for.

I know upon first listen, you may think LIK is merely a DISMEMBER-worship band but with successive listens, you’ll find that there is more that distinguishes them from their main influence.  (Metal Blade Records)