BRUJERIA’s Pocho Aztlan Coming September 2016

Mexican outlaws, BRUJERIA, make their long awaited return with fourth full-length album, Pocho Aztlan.  It’s set for a September 16, 2016 release via their new label, Nuclear Blast.

The title translates to “Wasted Promised Land,” a combination of Aztlán, the fabled ancestral home of the Aztecs, and the term pocho, which native Mexicans use to refer—not always kindly—to their counterparts born in the States. Vocalist Brujo himself is pocho, a man caught between two worlds. Many pochos are not exactly accepted with open arms in Mexico. Meanwhile, they’re too often regarded as second-class citizens in their adopted US home.

Brujo‘s all-Spanish lyrics are as vivid as they are effective: Bona fide tales from the frontlines of the drug war, the racial divide, and the battle for the border. “A lot of BRUJERIA songs are true stories,” Brujo says. “And if they haven’t happened yet, they will happen.”

The band also includes Jeff Walker (CARCASS) and Shane Embury (NAPALM DEATH).

THE WRETCHED END – In These Woods, From These Mountains

The Wretched End - In these Woods From these MountainsAs the years go by, the original torch bearers of the legendary Norwegian black metal scene travel further down their own unique music journeys.  While the spirit, soul, and creativity will always remain intact, the darkness, extremity, and sheer sonic force has often been left in the past.  However, THE WRETCHED END continue to redefine and progress not just what extreme metal is but also what Norwegian black metal is in 2016.  The Scandinavian super group, featuring Samoth (EMPEROR, ZYKLON, SCUM), Cosmo (MINDGRINDER, SCUM), and Nils Fjellström (DARK FUNERAL, IN BATTLE) have released an ambitious and progressive work that considerably widens the scope of their music.

In These Woods, From These Mountains is arguably the band’s best album to date.  The brutal thrash dimension from debut, Ominous, is minimal, and the death metal dimension found through the first two albums are largely secondary.  It is decidedly their blackest and most atmospheric to date.  There is an emphasis on using just as much clean guitar tone-riffs to create eerie, desolate atmospheres as there are on distorted ones.  Many of the clean guitar-tone riffs could easily fit into a SLOWDIVE or MY BLOODY VALENTINE album.  Samoth and Cosmo have also focused on creating melancholic melodies that come in at the perfect junctions.  In contrast to Ominous and Inroads, the riffing and song structures have more breathing room.  It’s less of a barrage of eighth and sixteenth notes and more about longer notes.  As a result, Dominator‘s drumming becomes more crucial in providing the backbone, which he does to brilliant effect.  Few extreme metal drummers have totally mastered the art of the ride cymbal like he has.

Other interesting aspects of In These Woods, From These Mountains that should not be overlooked are the use of keyboards, samples, and Cosmo‘s clean vocals.  He has done fantastic work with WINDIR contributing clean vocals.  And while his clean vocals here aren’t as prominent, it’s a welcome new dimension.

Every song provides a different look and highlights can be found all over.  And within each song is a full range of dynamics and dimension in play.  The nuances in artistry can fully be appreciated after successive listens.  So much ground is covered.  Comparisons to EMPEROR‘s IX Equilibrium come to mind.

Opener, “Dead Icons,” begins with a cold drum march before bursting into a speeding fireball with unique, eerie guitar riffs.  The lyrics easily apply to current events affecting the world today.  “Primordial Freedom” starts out ominous and doomy before taking flight with blast beats.  “Old Norwegian Soul” may be the “purest” black metal song, complete with the haunting, low end groans of Attila Csihar (MAYHEM, TORMENTOR), keyboards, melodies, and juxtaposed tempos.  “Atheos” is an absolute high point in the band’s career with its galloping, invincible momentum. The riff that comes in at the 3:27 mark lays everything to waste.  Devastating.  THE WRETCHED END closes In These Woods, From These Mountains with a glacier-sized cover of BEL CANTO‘s “Dewy Fields.”  Helping out is Einar Solberg (LEPROUS) on lead vocals and the criminally underrated LRZ (RED HARVEST) providing the epic synth and programming.

With In These Woods, From These Mountains,  THE WRETCHED END only seek to create an immediate classic album.  There is so much greatness to behold.  Hail.  (Indie Recordings)

Title Track from DARK FUNERAL’s Upcoming Where Shadows Forever Reign Released

The excellent title track from DARK FUNERAL‘s upcoming album, Where Shadows Forever Reign, has been posted online:

Where Shadows Forever Reign” sounds like pure classic DARK FUNERAL and new vocalist Heljarmadr sounds very good.  He enunciates each word very clearly ala David Vincent.

Band leader/guitarist Lord Ahriman comments: “I’ve said it before, but in case you missed it, I will say it again. WE ARE BACK!!! And to prove that we’re really back to reclaim the throne once and for all, we now have the privilege to let you all get a taste of what is to come in the form of the epic title track of our long awaited new masterpiece! Sit back, put your speakers on max and enjoy the ride through ancient realms so forlorn and cold, the majestic realm where shadows forever reign.”

Vocalist Heljarmadr further adds: “The lyrics to ‘Where Shadows Forever Reign‘ deal with self sacrifice. To reach further on my spiritual path I must give something from myself. Be it material or a piece of my heart and soul, as long as it’s something that deeply matters. To truly reach the world of shadows I must summon my inner shadows, my inner darkness and allow no light.”

Six years after the release of their last album, DARK FUNERAL will finally release their new album on June 3rd, 2016 via Century Media Records.  Album cover artwork was done by Necrolord and looks like a masterpiece.

Founding DARK TRANQUILLITY Member Martin Henriksson Announces Departure

Photo credit: Sinners ArtFounding DARK TRANQUILLITY member, Martin Henriksson, has announced his departure from the band.  Whether it was through his bass playing in the earlier years to his guitar playing, he helped start a revolutionary new style of metal and put Gothenberg, Sweden on the map for the past 26 years.  Here is the official statement:

“While putting the finishing touches on the material for our next album, we have to inform you that guitarist and original member Martin Henriksson sadly but amicably left the band a couple of months ago. Here is his statement:

“Dear Dark Tranquillity fans,

“I recently quit the band. I feel I have lost the passion for playing music, and Dark Tranquillity deserves to have members that are 100% committed to the art. Therefore I decided it’s in everyone’s best interest to step aside and leave the band with the best possible ability to grow and get even stronger. I’ve had 26 years filled with wonderful memories and we made a lot of great music together, and for that I’m forever grateful. Thanks to all the fans, crew and other people involved that supported Dark Tranquillity through the years!
“Yours,
Martin Henriksson

RIP Friend and Comrade, Brandon Stratton (aka Rawknrollchef13)

Brandon StrattonIt is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of our friend and brother in music, Brandon Stratton (Rawknrollchef13).  He passed away this past Friday after a sudden and shocking illness.

We first met Brandon back in the late 90’s as an awesome guy with great taste in music.  He had a particular affinity for Scandinavian rock ‘n roll (i.e. HELLACOPTERS, GLUECIFER) and stoner rock before those bands and scenes became widespread knowledge.  Like some of us music lifers, he graduated from working in record stores to working behind the scenes at record labels.  Brandon started out in the retail/distribution sides of things at Century Media Records and moved up to helping to run sub-label, Liquor and Poker Music, which focused on rock ‘n roll.  You can thank him for bringing you great albums by the HELLACOPTERS, CRASH KELLY, HANOI ROCKS, and SCOTT REEDER.

He was always great to work with and had the kind of passion for the music that brought you energy each day at the office.  You didn’t have to spend much time with Brandon to know that he was a straight shooter, trustworthy, and someone who would make sure you knew he respected you and your passion for music.  When he called you “brother,” you knew it to be true.

After he left the music biz, Brandon moved onto his passion for the culinary arts and most of all, being a proud husband and father of two boys.  Man, was he proud of being a family man.  He worked the only way he knew how, as hard as possible, to provide for them.  When we initially spoke to him about joining the APESHIT goons, he was super stoked about contributing in a myriad of ways but alas, his obligations to his family took precedent.

During this difficult time for his family, we would greatly appreciate it if you could donate to assist his family: https://www.gofundme.com/52vpeuqs

Brandon Stratton, you touched a lot of lives and we’ll always remember the brotherhood that we shared.  RIP.

THE WRETCHED END Return with New Album, In These Woods, From These Mountains

After four long years, Scandinavian supergroup THE WRETCHED END, featuring Samoth (EMPEROR, ZYKLON, SCUM), Cosmo (MINDGRINDER, SCUM, SOURCE OF TIDE), and Nils Fjellström (DARK FUNERAL, IN BATTLE), have announced the April 22, 2016 release of In These Woods, From These Mountains.  The album was recorded by the band themselves and mixed with producer Marius Strand in Norway.  Mastered at Fascination Street in Sweden, it is without doubt the strongest and most varied of the extreme metal band’s growing sonic portfolio.  Artwork was handled by Trine + Kim Design Studio.

Old friend Attila Csihar (MAYHEM, TORMENTOR) lends a hand on “Old Norwegian Soul” while LEPROUS vocalist/keyboardist Einar Solberg and RED HARVEST’s LRZ contribute on the band’s unexpected adaptation of BEL CANTO’s “Dewy Fields” for the album’s epic closer.

Samoth comments: “It’s great to finally have this album ready for release. It took us some years for various reasons; different things in our every day and professional lives that took a lot of focus on our parts. We never felt any great pressure.  Looking back, I think the whole process affected the album in a positive way. I personally feel I’ve almost come full circle with this new album, bringing more elements rooted in the darkness of black metal.”

Check out the opening song, “Dead Icons“:

CANNIBAL CORPSE, OBITUARY, CRYPTOPSY, ABYSMAL DAWN @ The Mayan Theater, Los Angeles (3/8/16)

Cryptopsy live 01The Mayan Theater in Los Angeles certainly looks like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, but on this night, pure death metal was held at this venue.

ABYSMAL DAWN returned home to butter up the crowd with their technical brand of death metal.  Emphasizing a few tracks off their latest album, Obsolescence, Charles Elliott and company delivered an enthusiastic set that kicked off this wonderful show.

Cryptopsy live 02A buzz was in the air as fans were awaiting CRYPTOPSY’s return to Los Angeles, and the Canadian death metal quartet did not disappoint.  Despite their short set, the band blasted  through some brutal classics, notably fan favorites such as “Slit Your Guts” and “Phobophile.”  Vocalist Matt McGachy pleased old Lord Worm-era fans with his guttural delivery, and bassist Olivier Pinard showcased his fantastic skill on bass.  Of course, the highlight of the band is to watch Flo Mounier’s precise delivery on destroying the drum kit with his intricate fills and sheer bad ass mastery of the kit.  Wish they played longer – maybe next time.

Obituary liveThose who are familiar with the swamp groove masters, OBITUARY, know that the band always delivers live.  They punished the crowd with old classics, which only sound heavier in the live setting.  Guitarist Trevor Peres’ one-of-a-kind distortion is always great to hear, and the band was firing on all cylinders.  Glad to see these classic bands are still on top of their game.  “Chopped in Half/Dying” and “Slowly We Rot” brought the crowd into a frenzied, bloodied mess…leading the way to the headliners…

Cannibal Corpse liveThe crowd was getting anxious for CANNIBAL CORPSE, and while some songs sounded a bit slower than normal, they ripped through their gems from all eras of the band, from “Born in a Casket,” “Covered With Sores,” the love ballad “I Cum Blood,” to “Unleashing the Bloodthirsty,” and tracks like “Kill or Become” from the latest album, A Skeletal Domain.

CANNIBAL, while a bit older and slower, still deliver the goods, and the boys are still going strong.  Kudos to Rob Barrett for wearing MONSTROSITY’s Imperial Doom shirt, which was Corpsegrinder’s first band (for the uninitiated).

This was definitely one of the more killer packages with four great bands, so be sure to check this tour out if you haven’t already!

Video of the Day: Jello Biafra Shares Some Thoughts on Donald Trump

With the whirlwind of publicity that U.S. presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has been receiving, Jello Biafra (JELLO BIAFRA AND THE GUANTANAMO SCHOOL OF MEDICINE) shares additional thoughts on Mr. Trump on his latest edition of What Would Jello Do?

Jello reveals some new examples of ridiculousness and racism that may not necessary be widespread public knowledge.  And speaking of racism, here is an image that sums up how BRUJERIA feel about the presidential candidate.

 

National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2016 Show Report

namm shirtThis year at NAMM 2016, (an industry-only global music product trade show) everything seemed to be scaled down a bit, but the show still had plenty of new items on hand that were related to the Metal genre and community.  Let’s dive into some of the exciting products that were on display!

On the drumming front, Tama had the new Iron Cobra (HP900PN) and Speed Cobra (HP910LWN) pedals with new features such as a new Super Stabilizer Design and Para-Clamp II Pro, which in essence, the lighter weight allows you to increase velocity with minimal work to pound on those bass drums.

yamaha drumsAs always, Yamaha had a myriad of new drums on display, but as technology moves forward, digital drums have become the norm, and one of those products like the DTX-760, delivers an exceptional sounding drum kit that can be fully utilized for recording or music production.

Paiste introduced the Big Beat cymbals which sounded quite crisp and you have to experience these cymbals first hand.  Pictures won’t do them justice, so check them out if you get a chance.

Sonor once again welcomes Nicko McBrain from IRON MAIDEN back to the fold and his kit looks awesome.  The toms and bass drums all come in a beautiful black finish, which really accentuates the aesthetically pleasing look of the kit.  Can’t wait to see this kit in action at upcoming MAIDEN shows!

Guitars have always been a huge part of the show, and there have been some awesome axes announced in 2016!

kirk hammett esp guitarESP guitars showcased their amazing custom shaped guitars (most of which aren’t for sale, unfortunately), and some new signature models.  METALLICA’s Kirk Hammett had his Nosferatu (LTD KH-Nosferatu) axe on display and James Hetfield’s Vulture was also a sight to see.  Other notable signature LTD models were introduced from Mille Petrozza (KREATOR) and Max Cavalera (SOULFLY).  However, the most impressive and unique item unveiled was the brand new Gary Holt (SLAYER/EXODUS) guitar with the body painted from his own blood!  The “wow” factor for this piece was simply incredible.

jeff loomis schechter guitarSchecter guitars brought out a few new Jeff Loomis (ARCH ENEMY) signature models including the JL-7 and CYGNUS JLX-1.  The huge unveiling however, was for the brand new signature Zakk Wylde models, including the Viking V FR and Odin models.  Taking the design from his older Gibson models, the new Wylde models look more updated and sleeker on the Schecter versions.

Ibanez introduced  Nina Strauss (ALICE COOPER) signature models such as the S5521QDPB, which may impress some of the badass female guitar players in the world, and new Paul Stanley (KISS) and Steve Vai models were updated as well.

Not completely new news, but recently Praxis Musical Instruments took over the B.C. Rich line and the brand was set for a complete reboot for the 2016 year.  Hopefully the quality does not suffer and the B.C. Rich continues to make sweet looking axes for Metal players worldwide (Kerry King, Lord Ahriman, etc.)

Coinciding with MEGADETH’s new album Dystopia, both Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson had announcements of their new signature models.  Mustaine introduced his Dean “Zero Dystopia” model, complete with cover art of the new album, and Ellefson introduced a few of his new Jackson CBX IV and V models.  Great looking guitars and basses on the Mega-front!

The goons here at APESHIT will continue to provide annual NAMM product updates related to the Metal world, and once again thank the great people at NAMM for letting us cover the show!