MANIMALISM – Manimalism

Manimalism - ManimalismMANIMALISM‘s self titled debut is an anachronism of sorts. While the band wrote the album’s material during the span of 1993 to 1999, things did not come together until now. MANIMALISM is never cited as being part of the Norwegian black metal wave that took the world by storm due to their low-key status.  The band’s most well known member is guitarist Kim Solve of Trine + Kim Design Studio, who has designed artwork for ULVER, SOLEFALD, and THE WRETCHED END.

Using VED BUENS ENDEFLEURETY, and recent MAYHEM as reference points, MANIMALISM walk on the strange, eclectic side of Norwegian avant garde metal. The ominous ringing of clean guitars and discordant time signatures meld with heavy, palm muted riffing juxtaposed with crooning vocal stylings. There is a feeling of being dragged away to the twilight zone.

Not only are the individual performances excellent, the live recording-like production make the album a great listening experience. The drumming crashes and bashes with seemingly unexpected yet perfectly timed flurries. The guitar crunch and clean guitar tones are immaculate. For example of great bass playing, check out the awesome basslines on “The Dandified and the Devilfish.”

Ironically, opener “Demons in Tuxedos” may be the weakest song on Manimalism. The vocal lines on the chorus are a tad sour. However, Manimalism gets meatier, weirder and more compelling as the tone gets stranger and more unsettling. Fourth track, “Romance,” may be the best song with the band use the dynamic of pockets of silence to great effect. Everything comes together with its ghostly eeriness.

MANIMALISM is wholly unique and thus, fits perfectly into Norwegian avant garde metal universe.  (Adversum)

THE DEATHTRIP – Deep Drone Master

The Deathtrip - Deep Drone MasterA pure underground gem was released in late 2014 that is mandatory for all Norwegian black metal devotees.  Yup, an all-star cast brings THE DEATHTRIP to light: Host (AKA Paul Groundswell, THINE guitarist and GM of Peaceville Records), the return of Aldrahn (DODHEIMSGARD, THORNS) from a long hiatus, and THORNS mastermind Snorre Ruch as producer.

On their debut full-length, Deep Drone Master, THE DEATHTRIP carry the spirit, sound, and sense of mysterious aura of early 90’s Norwegian black metal.  The influences are apparent yet this is not some retro-rehash job.  Deep Drone Master is not only musically relevant for the present time, it’s better than most of the other extreme metal releases that have come out in recent years.  The album also serves the great purpose of being the next best thing until the next THORNS album is eventually released.

Deep Drone Master is well-rounded while also being direct and catchy.  Whether they blast through blazing melodies or hypnotize with mid-tempos, the dark, cold atmosphere is omnipresent.  Riffs are brilliantly repeated for long periods of time to create this feeling of swirling chaos (i.e. “Cosmic Verdict“).

Longtime fans will find much enjoyment in not only hearing Aldrahn‘s voice again but hearing him at the top of his game.  His distinct vocal style and delivery on Deep Drone Master are simply powerful.

It took years and years for the band to release this, their first full length, so if there’s any justice in life, THE DEATHTRIP will have their second album out soon.  Mandatory. (Svart Records)

CRYPTOPSY Launches Crowdfunding Campaign For New EP

Three years after their self-titled album, CRYPTOPSY will release a series of EPs entitled The Book of Suffering. This approach will allow the band to put out new music more often while remaining true to their standards of quality.

After being on a record label for their entire career, CRYPTOPSY decided to go independent in 2012. Supported by their fans, they distributed and sold thousands of albums across the globe and had the opportunity to tour Japan, Western and Eastern Europe, the UK, South America, Scandinavia and Canada. They are now embarking on a crowd funding campaign that will allow them to give their fans more in terms of videos and enhanced live show production.

As of May 8, 2015, CRYPTOPSY‘s crowdfunding campaign is open with exclusive t-shirts, girly tank tops, hoodies, CDs and vinyls. In addition to the more traditional merchandise, they are offering signed Flo Mounier cymbals, online lessons with each band member, guest performances and a song mix by their guitarist and sound engineer Chris Donaldson. For those who are interested in memorabilia, they are offering stage banners that have been used since 2012. CRYPTOPSY‘s $20,000 goal will fund the recording, mixing and mastering of The Book of Suffering Tome 1, as well as produce artwork, a music video and stage banners. Additional rewards such as a play-through video, a tour documentary and more music will be unlocked for all backers if they surpass their goal.

The band have stated: “We hope that every extreme metal fan will be exposed to The Book of Suffering Tome 1. We are extremely proud of the material; it is some of the most brutal, technical and fresh music we have ever created.”

MAYHEM Comments on Announcement of Lords of Chaos Movie

Former BATHORY drummer turned film and music video director, Jonas Åkerlund, is set to direct the film based on the 1998 book, Lords of Chaos, which covered MAYHEM‘s history and the infamous deaths and church burnings in Norway in the early 90’s.  The book is interesting but is by no means the be all end all of that era of the Norwegian black metal scene.

Rolling Stone spoke with MAYHEM co-founder/bassist Necrobutcher to get his reaction to the announcement:

“This book Lords of Chaos is fucking crap and that some stupid Swedes are gonna make a movie out of it is not OK…I will do everything I can to stop this film…. Tell the Swedes and the Hollywood people to go fuck themselves.”

You gotta love Necrobutcher.

ABYSMAL DAWN – Obsolescence

Abysmal Dawn - ObscolescenceArmed to the teeth with a vast array of weaponry, ABYSMAL DAWN go all out on Obsolescence. With the modus operandi of always pushing forward, the band successfully push its boundaries of musicality and intensity.

Obsolescence has the sophistication and dynamic range of latter era-DEATH balanced with sheer heaviness and brutality. With their chops, it’s too easy to take for granted the plethora of excellent riffing. The agility and precision involved is inspiring to musicians. ABYSMAL DAWN also incorporate a good blend of straight forward, simple riffing/song structures harkening back to old school/classic death metal.

Speaking of songs, they always come first here. The sheer intensity and sense of urgency evoked is something to behold. The track listing also plays a pivotal role in keeping the listening experience varied and compelling. Peaks and valleys in all facets of songwriting are so important.

Vocalist/guitarist Charles Elliot‘s vocals take prominence in each song, commanding a lead presence. It’s clear that his phenomenal performance on BEREFT‘s debut album has carried over to Obsolescence. His long, high screams hit at the most intense parts of songs. Certain vocal lines are accented by dual vocals (ala DEICDE) to nice effect.

The band’s cover of the DISSECTION classic, “Night’s Blood,” will bring a tear to any DISSECTION fan’s eye. It’s not only a flawless tribute but fitting that the first song on Storm of the Light’s Bane serves as the album closer.

As a music listener, a good rule of thumbs is to leave labels behind (i.e. “technical death metal”). Enjoy ABYSMAL DAWN‘s Obsolescence for what it is – fine music. (Relapse Records)

BABYMETAL: Debut Album Getting Official U.S. Release

BABYMETAL–the Japan-based all-girl-fronted “Kawaii Metal” band–has signed with RAL/Sony Music Entertainment for the U.S. release of their 2014 critically acclaimed self-titled debut album. The album’s re-release will feature two bonus tracks (cover art and tracklisting below) and be available digitally on Tuesday, May 12 and physically on Tuesday, June 16.

Since forming in 2010BABYMETAL–the young trio of 17-year-old Su-Metal (vocal, dance) and 15-year-olds Yuimetal (scream, dance) and Moametal (scream, dance), backed by a four-piece band packing a heavy metal arsenal–have already achieved two major debut singles: “Ijime, Dame, Zetta!” and “Megustine,” both of which ranked in the Top 10 Oricon Chart in Japan. Their first studio album BABYMETAL also earned the #1 spot on Japan’s album chart and Billboard’s World Album Chart.

2014 saw BABYMETAL headline numerous sold-out shows from New York to London, including the 20,000 capacity Saitama Super Arena in Japan. They performed at major festivals in multiple countries such as the UK’s massive Sonisphere in front of 65,000 festival-goers and supported LADY GAGA on her “Artrave: The Artpop Ball” tour. The band will gear up for an equally busy 2015 when they kick off their “The Dark Knights Begin” World Tour 2015 on May 9 in Mexico City.

MERCYFUL FATE Guitarists Michael Denner and Hank Shermann Announce New Band

Since the world should no longer wait for any form of new MERCYFUL FATE-related music, guitarists Michael Denner and Hank Shermann have announced their new name simply entitled, DENNER / SHERMANN. Additionally, former MERCYFUL FATE drummer Snowy Shaw is part of the band. Marc Grabowski (DEMONICA) and Sean Peck (CAGE and DEATH DEALER) will be on bass and vocals, respectively.

Their first release will be an EP, Satan’s Tomb. The band state, “These songs were crafted with the Mercyful Fate worldwide legion of fans at the forefront of their collective minds. From the first riff to the last wail, one cannot help but feel the magic newly recaptured once again.”

Hank Shermann comments: “We have been writing and recording with an incredible line up of musicians and the fans are in for a dark, classic, heavy metal treat for sure. We wanted to get back to the essence of what we created back in the early 80s” “The music inevitable sounds like you would hope it to be, fans of our early work should be very excited”.

Say It Isn’t So: IN SOLITUDE Breaks Up

While there seems to be subpar bands popping up every second, it only hurts when the really good ones go.  Sweden’s IN SOLITUDE announced today that they are calling it a day after 13 years.  It was an amicable break up and the band point to bigger priorities in life that have taken precedence.

Here’s the band’s announcement:

“2002 – 2015
“Dear friends. It is with great sadness that we inform you that we have chosen to end In Solitude here.

“This is something that’s been taking shape for a long time and suddenly the day came when we had to evaluate our positions in life and find a solution.

“The reasons for our departure are not hostile in any sense and our love for each other and the music is stronger than ever before. But it is with respect for that music and that love between us that we choose to end it at this point.

“Changes in our personal lives demanded that we treated this as carefully as we could and with our deepest respect and reverence for all personal feelings, and for the aim of our journey.

“This has been one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make and we’ve had to investigate every inch of our beings in order to make this right. In Solitude has been the center of our lives for 13 years and we’ve invested everything we have in this and to make this decision was to rip us up by ours roots and make us re-evaluate our entire lives and our future…[read more]”

At the very least, IN SOLITUDE went out on a high note with the most excellent, Sister.

IMMORTAL: Band Put on Ice (Again); Abbath Announces Solo Band

IMMORTAL vocalist/guitarist Abbath has announced that IMMORTAL will once again go on hiatus because the band members could not come to an agreement regarding their dispute over ownership of the band’s name.  Abbath will move forward with a solo band with new music, and performances, which will include IMMORTAL songs.

Check out the official statement here.

It should be cool to hear what Abbath as well as the other members of IMMORTAL cook up in terms of new music.