CRADLE OF FILTH – Hammer of the Witches

Cradle of Filth - Hammer of the WitchesLose your longest tenured guitarist?  Lose your other guitarist to serious spine issues?  No problem!  CRADLE OF FILTH soldier on with their best album in recent memory.  Hammer of the Witches catapults them back to sheer greatness.

With two new guitarists, Richard Shaw and Marek “Ashok” Šmerda, in the fold, CRADLE tear through their most aggressive, fist-in-the-face album to date.  Melodramatics and grand symphonic keyboards take a step back to a guitar-driven attack.  The new guitar tandem have not only created an endless array of great riffs but have introduced the element of guitar solos.  To hear CRADLE with such godly lead work, this side of CARCASS, truly rejuvenates their sound.

There are magic moments all over Hammer of the Witches…too numerous to mention.  There are also subtle nods to the band’s extensive back catalogue as well.  CRADLE just have that special “it” factor that most other bands simply don’t have and it’s on full display here.

For fans of the band’s earlier work who haven’t listened to them in a while, it’s time to come back. Hammer of the Witches is the album that will renew your interest in CRADLE.

Hands down one of the best albums of 2015.  Keep reigning.  (Nuclear Blast Records)

Stream FEAR FACTORY’s New Album, Genexus; Watch New Video for “Dielectric”

FEAR FACTORY‘s new album, Genexus, is now available for streaming.  Check it out below:

Genexus was produced by vocalist Burton C. Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares, and co-produced by long-time collaborator Rhys Fulber. The album was mixed by famed British producer and engineer, Andy Sneap (ARCH ENEMYTESTAMENTEXODUSMACHINE HEAD). Artwork was once again handled by artist Anthony Clarkson. Drums on Genexus were performed by Mike Heller (MALIGNANCY).

Additionally, the band’s new video for the song, “Dielectric,” has also been posted:

Finally: KING DIAMOND Announce “Abigail in Concert 2015″ Tour

After years of yearning, KING DIAMOND has finally announced that the band will be performing the classic 1987 album Abigail in its entirety! The tour will begin on October 29th and runs through December 5th with Bay Area legends EXODUS as the opening act. The full list of confirmed dates is below. The general on sale for tickets begins Friday, August 7th at 10am ET.

“Abigail in Concert 2015″ Tour:

10/29 Denver, CO The Fillmore
10/31 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex
11/02 San Francisco, CA The Warfield
11/05 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
11/08 Tucson, AZ The Rialto Theatre
11/09 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues
11/13 San Antonio, TX The Aztec Theatre
11/15 New Orleans, LA The Civic Auditorium
11/16 Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
11/21 New York, NY Best Buy Theatre
11/24 Boston, MA Orpheum
11/25 Philadelphia, PA The Fillmore
11/27 Chicago, IL Aragon Ballroom
11/28 Detroit, MI The Fillmore
11/30 Minneapolis, MN Myth
12/02 Tulsa, OK Club Brady
12/04 Houston, TX House of Blues
12/05 Dallas, TX House of Blues

DIR EN GREY Announces November 2015 North America Tour

DIR EN GREY have announced their first North American tour in support of their latest album, Arche. The band will hit major U.S. cities as well as one show each in Canada and Mexico.

Arche was released back in December 2014 but has yet to be officially released in the U.S.

Tour15 Never Free from the Awakening dates:

11/02 The Showbox : Seattle, WA
11/04 Slim’s : San Francisco, CA
11/05 The Mayan : Los Angeles, CA
11/07 Plaza Condesa : Mexico City, Mexico
11/09 Bottom Lounge : Chicago, IL
11/11 Gramercy Theatre : New York, NY
11/13 The Opera House : Toronto, Canada

KONTINUUM – Kyrr

Kontinuum - KyrrIceland’s KONTINUUM pick up where the excellent Earth Blood Magic left off. Filling the void that bands like GREEN CARNATION and SENTENCED left behind, KONTINUUM forge a sublime, melodic, and memorable album in Kyrr.

The powerful album artwork really sets the tone and expectations of what Kyrr will sound like – emotive, powerful, and atmospheric. The thrash explosions from Earth Blood Magic are not to be found here.

With the new album, KONTINUUM improve as songwriters with more memorable songs. Opening track, “Breathe,” is more or less a radio single. The hooks are huge, especially the massive guitar riff that hits between verses. So good. It should be noted that it is pretty distinct from the rest of the album.

Vocalist/guitar Birgir Thorgeirsson has also become a better singer. Ex-IN THE WOODS… vocalist Jan Transit comes to mind. Thorgeirsson sings in Icelandic for most of Kyrr but his message easily crosses language barriers.

The instrumental song sections are carried by just great riffing. Things never get stagnant as there is always a momentum moving forward. Check out the awesome crescendo that closes out “Hliðargötu-heimsveldi.”

Lone” is a sublime (instrumental) gem that, unfortunately, ends all too soon after 4:29 of pure gold.

The strongest songs occupy the center and end of the album. KONTINUUM are perfect on “Hliðargötu-heimsveldi,” “Kyrr,” and “Undir Þunnu Skinni.” Closer, “Red Stream,” is a true closer bringing in all of Kyrr‘s elements together like an Icelandic volcano.

The only complaint about Kyrr is the fact that it’s too short. It’s cruel in a way…a good way.

If you’re seeking another winner from KONTINUUM that is unique yet shares spaces with the likes of IN THE WOODS…, FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, BLAZING ETERNITY, and AGALLOCH, look no further. (Candlelight Records)

Video of the Day: OPETH Mesmerizes Milwaukee Metalfest 2000 in First Ever U.S. Show

Back in 2000, the, now, juggernaut known as OPETH was only known by the most devotee followers of underground metal.  While the first three albums were released domestically in the U.S. via Century Black (AKA Century Media Records), the newest one at the time, Still Life, was available as an import only.  You had to throw down $20+ dollars for that album but it was well worth it.  The lack of an official U.S. release for Still Life for many years really hurt that album’s exposure to fans.   It was like the final chapter on the early OPETH sound.

Lucky fans got to witness the band’s U.S. debut at Milwaukee Metalfest 2000 (Remember those awesome fests?).  Check out this video of their full set, complete with rental equipment.  So damn cool.

DZSTRKRFT – Disaster Craft

DZSTRKRFT - Disaster CraftFollowing in the footsteps of extreme metallers who went on to explore the electronic-based side of the music universe (i.e. Justin Broadrick with TECHNO ANIMAL, ULVER, Tom G. Warrior with APOLLYON SUN, and Svein Egil Hatlevik (FLEURETY/ex-DODHEIMSGARD) with ZWEISS), roycifer (AKA Royce Hsu) of the defunct Los Angeles black metal band SANCTUS explores these realms with DZSTRKRFT.

Pulling from various electronic dimensions, such as breakbeats and dub, the Disaster Craft EP offers different looks in each song. The backbone is the (programmed) percussion, which fills both channels with the perfect array of ear candy. And of course, the black metal spirit tenet of atmosphere is omnipresent.

The title track sounds like something that would be blasted in a nightclub in the futuristic classic, Bladerunner. Second track, “Machines, Tapes, Electronics/Morrison Dub,” switches to a mellower but no less percussive gear. A sample of Jim Morrison describing the future of music graces the track as the main guitar riffs echoes in and out. “Craft Work (Contra Break)” gets heavy and darker with low end bass rumbling through its cyclical rhythms.

The absolute gem of the EP is closing track, “Audible.” Sleek in its darkness and absolutely emotive, the track glides through the night with a build and flow that is perfect. Have ULVER give it a listen and they’d wish they wrote it. Bloody great song.

With DZSTRKRFT‘s best release to date (three total within one year), the future only holds great things.

P.S. Disaster Craft is available for free download.

(self released)

Dunable Guitars Announces July 15% Off Sale

Premium custom-made guitar and bass company, Dunable Guitars, has announced that all orders this month will receive a 15% discount, your choice of Bare Knuckle Pickups, and a nitro lacquer finish at no additional charge.

Dunable Guitars was founded by Sacha Dunable, vocalist/guitarist of INTRONAUT, who handmakes all the instruments.

Check out why members of DEAFHEAVEN and HIGH ON FIRE play these beautiful guitars.

JAGA JAZZIST – Starfire

Jaga Jazzist - StarfireThe Norwegian supernova known as JAGA JAZZIST have created yet another meisterwerk with the appropriately titled Starfire.  Pulsing with life, pulsing with creativity, the dazzling audial assault is the soundtrack to a vintage movie set in outer space.

Within Starfire‘s five songs is an impressive amount of content.  Intricate layers created by seemingly a gazillion different instruments travel through the galaxy.  JAGA JAZZIST‘s electronic and psychedelic synth influences take hold of much of the album atop their Norwegian jazz foundation.  There is a melancholic thread that runs through it all.

The title track starts things off with a sublime and quiet tone that morphs away from its jazz intro to spaced out psychedelic/prog realms.  “Starfire” creates this feeling of the vastness and futurist feelings of being in space albeit.  The cascading and panning in and out of electronics gives the sensation of comets streaking by.

Big City Music” is decidedly more electronic-based with its plethora of synth work.  The 14+ minute song is built around a massive melody that is the song’s apex at the 7:30 and 12:15 marks.  Keen ears will hear progressive house song influences tucked in there.

Despite being named after Japan’s bullet trains, “Shinkansen” is a mellow track that brings the sensation of floating in the cosmos as comets fly by.

The heart of “Oban” is the wonderfully sublime bass clarinet riff that comes in when during the song’s quiet sections.  The song sound is essentially the soundtrack to how stars are formed amongst molecular clouds.

Prungen” has jazzy bookends and crescendos in the middle with some excellent electronics going off.

A true appreciation of Starfire cannot be had without seeing the band live or watching videos of their live performances of these songs.  The number of moving parts and the intricateness of the compositions is so impressive along with the seemingly gazillion instruments the band play.  Take time to get to know Starfire and it will reward you again and again. (Ninja Tune)

MORBID ANGEL Line-Up Gutted; Steve Tucker Returns

This past week, MORBID ANGEL announced the departures of drummer Tim Yeung, guitarist Destructhor, and today, frontman/bassist David Vincent.  On June 15th, the band announced former frontman/bassist Steve Tucker‘s return even though no official statement on David Vincent‘s status was announced.

Needless to say, this is a complete mess and further dilutes and hurts the legacy of the band.  David Vincent chose to take the high road in his official statement:

“I had good communication with Trey yesterday and we agree that there are incompatibilities with regards to us working together.

Trey and I have accomplished amazing things together over the past 30 years and I wish him the best with his future projects.  Out of respect for the legacy of these accomplishments, I encourage Morbid Angel fans to not take sides because, I am not.

“I look forward to sharing my new endeavors with all of you in the near future. Until then, stay Morbid!  ~David Vincent

MORBID ANGEL haven’t been musically relevant in a very long time.  Let’s see what the future holds.