LOCK UP – Demonization

In grindcore, there is a holy triumvirate: NAPALM DEATH, TERRORIZER, and LOCK UP.  It’s no coincidence that all three bands are related in history and members.  LOCK UP does the most in terms of honoring the legacy of the other two bands while sounding, arguably, the most fresh overall.

So should you care about the fourth album from a band, one that is essentially a side project, in their 18th year of existence?  The answer is a definitive “yes.” Demonization is all about godly riffs, intensity, and most important, excitement.  The feeling of a speeding training flying off the rails is invigorating.  Right from the start, the album starts rolling and never stops until the final note.  It’s unfair to single out songs to be highlighted as they are all of equal quality.  Just listen to the whole thing.

While underground metal super groups have become so common and often fail to live up to their hype, the gang of Shane Embury, Kevin Sharp, Nick Barker, and Anton Reisenegger are unequivocally delivering the goods.  Without a doubt, Demonization is one of 2017’s best releases.

Bow down to LOCK UP or be damned to a life of subpar grindcore.  (Listenable Records)

MORBID ANGEL – Kingdoms Disdained

Six years ago MORBID ANGEL released their most anticipated and ultimately most disappointing album, Illud Divinum Insanus.  Instead of the album being a return to the Domination-era sound or a continuation of the very obscure, Heretic, the band experimented with industrial, hardcore, and even rock influences.  Well, fans should be happy, and perhaps relieved, to know that Kingdoms Disdained is a return to pure death metal.

With the perpetually underrated Steve Tucker back in the fold, MORBID ANGEL have their best album since Formulas Fatal to the Flesh and Gateways to Annihilation.  Former guitarist Erik Rutan handled the production.  New drummer Scott Fuller does a solid job.

With full mastery and power, the band goes into full attack mode from the first note on “Piles of Little Arms.”  The riff that kicks in late at the 2:50 mark is godly.  “D.E.A.D.” is intentionally discordant, schizophrenic and suffocating.

The momentum of Kingdoms Disdained  then falls too much into a plodding pace and tone.  The riffing is overly busy without strong hooks.  There are dynamics but they don’t possess enough charisma and power to excite.  “Garden of Disdain” is essentially a little brother to “Where the Slime Live.”  Things continue to lose a bit of momentum with “The Righteous Voice” as the fast song sections are the only parts that keep it afloat.  Stand out riffs shake the plodding such as the song section that kicks in at the 3:37 mark of “The Pillars Crumbling.”  “Declaring New Law” is essentially a war chant.  It is the simplest and most straight forward track.

The action picks back up with “From the Hand of Kings” as the band focuses on what works well on the album, speed and brutality, as shallow as that may sound.  Closing track, “The Fall of Idols,” is gloriously intense and momentous.  Trey Azagtoth‘s guitar solo at the end is the sound of a behemoth falling to earth.

At the end of the day, Kingdoms Disdained is a good but not great album.  The magic moments are too few and far between for a band of MORBID ANGEL‘s legendary status.  (Silver Lining)

ABYSMAL DAWN Sign to Season of Mist

LA extreme metallers, ABYSMAL DAWN, have signed up with France-based, Season of Mist.  The follow up to the excellent Obsolescence should be another great step forward for the band.

ABYSMAL DAWN comment: “We’re very happy to be signed to such an awesome and respected label like Season of Mist. The people there are all die-hard metalheads and we’re glad to be a part of such an enthusiastic and strong team. We also have a long-standing friendship with US label manager Gordon Conrad, who originally signed us. Working with Gordon, Michael, and the other amazing people at the label was just a no-brainer. We’re very excited about the future of ABYSMAL DAWN these days, and judging by the new material that we’ve been working on, some great things are to come soon enough.”

AMEBIX Classic, Monolith, Receiving North American Re-Release

Monolith is one of those records that many have heard “of” but have never actually “heard.”  Now thirty years old, it’s a record that still remains largely unmasked.  Dissonance Productions looks to change that with the North American re-introduction to one of crust punk’s most prolific albums.

It ultimately would be the last recording by the band for more than 20 years; founder Rob “Baron” Miller with brother Chris “Stig” Miller, and Spider splitting up shortly after the album’s release.

AMEBIX are credited as being the godfathers of crust.  Formed while still in grade school, the band’s “break” came in 1984 when they met DEAD KENNEDY’s vocalist Jello Biafra.  The band became Biafra’s first UK signing to his label, Alternative Tentacles.

Here’s audio of the original release:

New Supergroup EXPULSION (REPULSION, EXHUMED, INTRONAUT) Announce Debut Album Nightmare Future

Relapse Records is proud to announce the official signing of extreme metal act EXPULSION. The newly formed group features members of REPULSION, EXHUMED, PHOBIA, INTRONAUT, GRUESOME and numerous others. The band has shared the full details of their debut album Nightmare Future due out July 14th on CD/LP/Digital. Hear the track “Altar of Slaughter”:

Spawned from the cerebral mind of grind legend Matt Olivo (REPULSION), EXPULSION combines grind, punk and crust into a caustic musical vomit guaranteed to stack the corpses high. Olivo‘s partner-in-grind, Matt Harvey (EXHUMED, GRUESOME), was recruited over beers in a sweaty LA apartment to bring his classic brand of oratory assault. The additions of veterans, drummer Danny Walker (INTRONAUT, EXHUMED, PHOBIA) and bassist Menno Verbaten (LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH), complete the fit-to-burn outfit. Expect nothing but the best of throat-shredding vocals, relentless blast beats, buzzsaw riffs and raw bass tones.

VOMIT REMNANTS Emerges From Slumber with Hyper Groove Brutality

It only took 12 years but Tokyo, Japan’s VOMIT REMNANTS are back.  Their aptly titled new album, Hyper Groove Brutality, is available now worldwide via Unique Leader.  It features guest appearances from vocalist Henrik Cranz of SOILS OF FATE, guitarist Craig Peters of DEEDS OF FLESH/DESTROYING THE DEVOID, and guitarist Paul Masvidal of CYNIC.

Check out “Hi Fi the Art of Rapture“:

Here’s another tasty track, “Wire Rope Strangle“:

 

AT THE GATES Announces Departure of Anders Björler

Swedish gods, AT THE GATES, have the announced the departure of co-founder/guitarist Anders Björler, effective immediately.  Like Martin Henriksson‘s departure from DARK TRANQUILLY, Anders has simply lost the passion for the music.

Here is AT THE GATES‘ statement:

“So, it is now official that Anders Björler is no longer a part of At The Gates. He will always be part of the At The Gates family, of course, but he will no longer write, record or play with us live.

“This is something that we, the rest of the band, have felt was on its way for quite some time, as that special spark was no longer with him the last year.

“We are grateful for all we have experienced together with him, all the records, all the songs, all the gigs, all the laughs and good times.

“The rest of us have in the meantime started the work on the follow up to At War With Reality, we already have three songs written, and the direction is set for an intense, hungry follow-up album.

Jonas has always written a considerable part of the bands’ material and we are fully confident that the new material will live up to the standards set by our previous records. It is ripping.

“The four of us still has the burning urge to create death metal together, and we love playing live in front of our fans, so we will go on, with an even stronger intent.

“While writing the new record, that we intend to record in the beginning of 2018, we are trying out Anders‘ replacement. Some auditions are being held as we speak, and we will get back to you with news on the matter as soon as we know more.

//ATG

Here is Anders‘ statement:

“Just a quick note to let everybody know that I am leaving At The Gates permanently.
The passion is just gone. There might be a more lengthy statement in the future, but at the moment I feel no need to explain further.

“This is a personal decision, and it has 100% to do with the music side of things.

“The reunion in 2008, and the subsequent tours, as well as the comeback album ’AT WAR WITH REALITY’, really helped revisiting our friendship, and it brought us together in a way I will always remember and cherish.

“I would also like to thank all the people that supported us throughout the reunion shows as well as the ’AT WAR WITH REALITY’ album.

Thanks a lot!”

Poland’s AZARATH Return From Six Year Slumber

Polish death/black metal tyrants AZARATH premiere a brand new song from their highly anticipated album In Extremis, set to be released on April 7th via Agonia Records. Available in a form of a lyric video, “At The Gates Of Understanding” is the first single to be released from the album. It arrives six long years after the band’s last installment, Blasphemers’ Maledictions, from 2011.

The band was formed in 1998 by drummer Inferno of  BEHEMOTH fame. He’s accompanied by Bart (ARMAGEDONDAMNATION) on guitars, Necrosodom (ANIMA DAMNATADEUS MORTEM, ex-INFERNAL WAR) on vocals and guitars, as well as Peter (ex-LOST SOUL) on bass.

 

SÓLSTAFIR Release First Song Off of Berdreyminn

SÓLSTAFIR have revealed the first song of their forthcoming sixth full-length, Berdreyminn, which means a “dreamer of forthcoming events” and will be out in stores on May 26th via Season of Mist.

The track “Ísafold” is now online:

SÓLSTAFIR comments: “Our first premiere song ‘Ísafold‘ came very spontaneously to light. It felt like the spirit of THIN LIZZY paid us a visit that day. Adding a classic Phil Rudd beat to that seemed the only right thing to do. This is not the most typical SÓLSTAFIR track but in some odd way it could be taken to represent this album. For such a short song, it offers many different sonic landscapes. And although we are not re-inventing the wheel and you will find many references to ‘classics’ as tributes, I find it quite different from anything that we have done before. That is the way, I like it and to me ‘Ísafold‘ is already an all-time favourite among all our tracks.”

Brilliant Move: Jack Owen Joins SIX FEET UNDER

Legendary death metal guitarist, Jack Owen, will be rejoining ex-CANNIBAL CORPSE bandmate, Chris Barnes, in SIX FEET UNDER as a second guitarist.  Jack was part of the rebirth of DEICIDE as he joined the band in 2004 following his exit from CANNIBAL.

Chris Barnes comments:

“Hello, hello! First of all, I would like to thank all the fans that pre-ordered and purchased our new album ‘Torment‘, and everyone that is enjoying our new work! Thank you very much! Much appreciated!!
“And now, without further ado, it is with great pleasure that I announce and introduce to you our new second guitarist, Jack Owen.
“As you all know, Jack and I started off together helping form one of the greatest Death Metal bands of all time. Jack and I began talking a few months ago, after his departure from his previous band about joining forces.
“From my side of things, it’s going to be amazing to work with Jack again!! We had some intense adventures, to say the least hahaha…and it’s gonna be killer to step on stage with Jack for the first time in over 22 years!!
“Jack will be joining SFU for the entire cycle of touring for the new album and beyond!
“As you can imagine Six Feet Under is planning a very exciting live set list for you all to freak out over!!!
“More info and tour dates coming soon!
“Hang on to your skeleton!!
Barnes

Jack Owen adds: “I’m super excited to work with my metal brother Chris Barnes and the mighty Six Feet Under! We’ve been talking about writing original material for years, and I hope it gets to that point. It would be amazing. For now, I’m looking forward to touring our asses off. I miss Europe, Canada, South America – hell, I just miss touring! It will be an honor jamming with Chris and his current SFU lineup of talented musicians…and performing with Chris will be like reliving our youth. I can’t wait to see all the SFU and old school Cannibal Corpse fans across the globe!”