BOTANIST Announce Album Number Six, VI: Flora

One of the Bay Area’s most interesting bands, BOTANIST, is excited to announce its sixth chronological release.  Titled VI: Flora, this 11-song full-length album is a progression from the misanthropic masterplans of the destruction of mankind at the hands of plants as detailed on the project’s last two albums: 2012′s III: Doom In Bloom  and 2013′s IV: Mandragora.  Now, VI: Flora focuses on the wondrous beauty of the plants themselves through a gauzy haze of dream-like sound with the voice of The Botanist acting as spectral underpinning to the reverie.

BOTANIST is an avant-garde musical project that is the world’s first band to use distorted hammered dulcimers as its primary instrumentation. The experimental music further delves into esoterica with a harmonium and a 12-string bass guitar, propelled by unusual drumming that  often features highly atypical time signatures and rhythm shifts.  The albums tell the story of a botanist gone mad at witnessing the destruction of the natural environment at the hands of man. He retreats into a hermitage, surrounding himself with the natural world. In this Verdant Realm, he awaits for the day when humanity will eradicate itself,  which will allow for the utopia of flora and fauna to eventually reclaim the earth.  The content of BOTANIST’s songs are a combination of scientific botanical empiricism and the poetic, romantic perception of someone who is deeply moved by the forms of the primordial, mysterious aspect of the natural world. In the world of BOTANIST, nature is the most tangible representation of the divine, and is treated as such.  While Botanist’s story is negative and misanthropic on the surface, it is an allegory of warning to a world out of balance: respect the natural world and all living things, or else the natural world will wipe you out and move on. The element of hope lies in the possibility of a changing of worldview, or at the very least the ideal that the world will right itself eventually, whether that includes humanity or not.

Here is a track from their recent EP:

EMPEROR Kicks Off Nightside Eclipse Anniversary Shows at Sweden Rock 2014

Black metal kings, EMPEROR, played their first show performing In the Nightside Eclipse as part of the album’s 20th anniversary at the Sweden Rock Festival this past Saturday. Hopefully, you were one of the lucky ones at the show.

Let’s pray for a full, official band reunion as we enjoy these clips from the show. Cheers to Niclas Johansson for the footage.

Devin Townsend’s CASUALTIES OF COOL Post First Music Video

Devin Townsend‘s crowdfunded side project, CASUALTIES OF COOL, have posted their first music video for the song, “Mountaintop.” Here is how he describes it:

“Here is the official video for Mountaintop from our Casualties of Cool album. I have been a fan of Jessica Cope‘s work for a while now, and the opportunity to work with her rose for this album and we are thrilled with the result.

“Although the concept of the video is loosely based on the concept of the record, we found it worked better as a stand alone piece. Che and I therefore decided not to have the characters in the video portray us personally.

“I hope you enjoy this, I’m so happy to have an opportunity to work with brilliant artists in my career. I’m very proud of this album and video!

Devin Townsend

OPETH’s Pale Communion is Sounding Pretty Damn Good

OPETH‘s new record, Pale Communion, hits stores on August 25, 2014.  Judging by the lead single that has been released, “Cusp of Eternity,” the record sounds like it’ll be damn good.

“Cusp of Eternity” sounds less exploratory than Heritage and more in line with the vintage prog that the band have become known for.  Let’s see how the rest of the record turns out.

Video of the Day: ARMAGEDDON is Playing Death Metal Again

Do you remember the first time you heard ARMAGEDDON‘s Crossing the Rubicon?  So awesome and it still holds up to this date.  Then do you remember listening to the band after band leader/guitarist Chris Amott took over on vocals and they went on the prog rock/metal path?  So after a long hiatus and his exit from ARCH ENEMY, Chris Amott has resurrected ARMAGEDDON and now, they’re playing death metal again.

Check out their lyric video for the song “Captivity & Devourment“:

Pretty damn good!

MARTY FRIEDMAN – Inferno

Marty Friedman - InfernoAs a fan of metal, you love Marty Friedman by default.  But since his move to Japan 10 years ago, can we all say that we’ve kept up with what he’s been up to?  Thankfully for everyone Marty has come to us with his best solo record to date.  Inferno is full on metal or said in another way, full on Marty Friedman.

The title track starts things off and he wastes no time in blowing up your mind with a roller coaster of guitar wizardry.  The song quickly re-reminds you that Marty can smoke any guitarist on the planet.  Inferno is about diversity of flavors as many of the songs are co-written with some of today’s most well-known artists.

Wicked Panacea” features RODRIGO Y GABRIELA doing what they do best mixed in with Marty‘s frenetic playing.  It makes for a very unique and excellent hybrid.  “Meathook” with SHINING (NO)’s Jorgen Munkeby on vocals and saxophone is a balls out, off the wall number not unlike SHINING‘s work.  Hearing Marty and Jorgen trade leads is a thing of beauty.  “Hyperdoom” is a mere 1:55 and takes a little less than a minute to build up before Marty just goes off (pun intended).  While the vast majority of Inferno is pretty damn heavy, REVOCATION‘s Dave Davidson and Marty take it more extreme places with “Sociopaths.”

The beauty of the album lies in not only its diversity but also running order.  Just the listener may need a change up from all the full-out metal, the slower, mellower “Undertow” comes in.  Huge, melting melodies say so much with way less notes than are found on the previous songs.

The biggest deal surrounding Inferno has to be “Horrors,” which was co-written with still guitar god, Jason Becker.  This epic has it all – the peaks and valleys, acoustic guitars, and mind bending leads.  Simply awesome.

Inferno is an immediate and overwhelmingly clear reminder that we have indeed been pining to hear from Marty Friedman.  (Prosthetic Records)

SÓLSTAFIR’s Next Religious Experience Arriving this June

Icelandic heathens SÓLSTAFIR are back with a new album. The highly anticipated follow-up to 2011’s much praised Svartir Sandar is entitled Ótta and has been scheduled for an August 29th release (September 2nd in North America).

As the name suggests, Ótta will include eight songs, which titles will be unveiled later in June. Pre-orders will start on Season of Mist‘s e-shop on June 10th.

Two-disc reissue of SÓLSTAFIR’s debut album Í Blóði Og Anda is also available on Season of Mist‘s e-shop.

EMPYRIUM’s First Album in Twelve Years Set for July 2014 Release

The German masters of dark folk metal, EMPYRIUM, have their comeback album, The Turn of the Tides, set for a July 18, 2014 release. Notwithstanding their creative break, The Turn of the Tides is an EMPYRIUM-album par excellence, although it bears strong testimony to the artistic and personal growth Schwadorf and Helm have undergone since 2002.

More info can be found here. Check out the song, “Dead Winter Ways,” below. Pretty damn good.

CRUCIFIED BARBARA Take on Heavy Topic of Rape in New Video

Stockholm, Sweden’s CRUCIFIED BARBARA has launched a music video for the new track, “To Kill a Man,” on YouTube:

To Kill a Man” is the first single from the band’s upcoming fourth studio album, In the Red, to be released on August 20 via Despotz Records.

“One fifth of all the world’s women have been raped or assaulted in their lifetime,” commented the band. “The dark statistics became the basis for the song ‘To Kill a Man‘ and our most important message of the video. The production company 11Frames has captured our vision perfectly, and we are proud that we take the opportunity lifting heavy topics such as violence and sexism with a really heavy hard rock video.”