CARCASS – Surgical Steel

carcass.surgicalsteelAfter what seems like a lifetime of waiting, the CARCASS comeback album is finally here.  The long and short of it is that Surgical Steel is great; an instant classic.  It is just as exciting as you are hoping it could be.

Usually, bands make a comeback and they are able to be as good as they once were.  Well, CARCASS have done more than that as they are better than ever.  The craftsmanship and artistry is on another level.  Jeff Walker sounds absolutely amazing.  His vocals are so powerful and his lyric writing is as sharp as ever.  Bill Steer has somehow improved as a guitar god.  Sick, I know.

And what of the newcomer, drummer Dan Wilding (guitarist Ben Ash does not play on the album)?  He is a perfect fit.  And it is true what Jeff Walker says about Dan‘s drumming on Surgical Steel.  It definitely sounds like CARCASS.

The band make it no secret that they are not out to reinvent themselves with Surgical Steel.  Rather, it is largely a revisitation and continuation of their greatest release, Heartwork.  Swan Song and Necroticism play a smaller, secondary role in terms of sound and style, mostly the former. But the band have learned new tricks while they were away and you will hear new riffing, melodies, and song structures.  So expect insanely played dual guitars, balls out solos, grinding, blasting, melodies, tons of hooks, and lots of energy.

Diehard CARCASS fans will easily be able to spot familiar riffing, drum patterns, vocal lines, and melodies throughout.  Is that a drawback?  Not when they are this well done.

There’s a difference between merely a comeback and CARCASS‘ comeback.  Surgical Steel is the sound of a hungry and reinvigorated legend.  The band have answered the call to the utmost and we are all better off for that.  (Nuclear Blast Records)

CARCASS Finally Officially Sign to Nuclear Blast Records

CarcassAfter years of courting, CARCASS have signed to Nuclear Blast Records for the world excluding Japan. Surgical Steel, the band’s first studio release since their 1996 LP Swansong,was produced by Colin Richardson and mixed/mastered by Andy Sneap. Joining guitarist Bill Steer and bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker in the band’s current incarnation are new drummer Dan Wilding (ABORTEDTRIGGER THE BLOODSHED) and guitarist Ben Ash (PIG IRONDESOLATIONLIQUEFIED SKELETON). Expect some guest vocals from original sticksman Ken Owen as well, when Surgical Steel is released this Fall world-wide.

CARCASS has released the following statement regarding their new label: “We are pleased to announce that we have found the perfect home for Surgical Steel, the first CARCASS album for, what, eighteen years?! We’ve inked a deal with Nuclear Blast for our new baby.

“We have to thank Markus Staiger for his enthusiasm and belief in what he heard, but mostly his ability to take advantage of Jeff with a bad hangover when he visited the office in Stuttgart to let him be the first to hear the rough mixes. Nuclear Blast has managed to secure this release despite interest from all the main players in what remains of the metal ‘music industry’.

“We’re also looking forward to working with our pals in the US Office, who have done favors for us behind the scenes over the last few years. On a personal note, Jeff  looks forward to his and label manager Gerardo Martinez‘ friendship to come crashing down in flames and tears in a few months.

“As long as we don’t mention ‘The War’ we think we’re going to do just fine with our new Teutonic home!”

North American label manager Gerardo Martinez: “First of all, apologies to the many that were wondering where that signing statement was the other day. Well, we didn’t anticipate the prenuptial agreement to take this long but here we are, and about to release to the world what many people said would never happen: a new CARCASS record!

“All joking aside, this is a dream come true. All I can say is that even the biggest critic, Señor Walker himself included, will find this to be one of the best CARCASS albums. It already sounds like a classic and I can’t wait for people to hear it. ‘Time to die, die in pain’!!!”

End of Disclosure North American Tour: HYPOCRISY, KRISIUN, ABORTED, ARSIS

End of Disclosure TourSwedish death metal legends HYPOCRISY, will return to North America once again this May for a headlining tour in support of their upcoming album, End of Disclosure. Joining them are Brazilian brothers in death KRISIUN, Belgian gore-grinders ABORTED, and ARSIS with AUTUMN’S END and STARKILL will also support them on their metal crusade across the continent on select shows.  Check out tour dates here.

“Hi freaks! I’m proud we can finally announce the North American part of the ‘End of Disclosure World Tour’,” commented Peter Tägtgren. “It’s going to be great to come back again! Don’t worry it won’t be any visa problems this time either as I stayed in NYC this Summer. We’re looking forward to bringing our stage set from Europe, plus playing a lot of new songs and old songs that we’ve either never played, or haven’t played for years. Enjoy the new video for now and see you soon!”

Check out this video message from Peter:

 

 

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2012

As another great year for heavy music comes to a close, APESHIT takes a look back at our favorite pieces of music of 2012. This year had some great comebacks in CRYPTOPSY and STRIFE. There were also some nice surprises in the new sheer quality of the new SIX FEET UNDER and brutality of the new SOULFLY.

We want to thank all our readers, friends in the industry, and all the amazing artists, big and small, that we get a chance to work with for a great 10th year of existence. As the music industry as a whole continues to take an economic hit, let us all remember: If you like a band or one of their releases, support it!

Here’s hoping for a great 2013!

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APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2008

We finally got off our asses and did it.  It’s already the year 2009, but we’ve complied a list of our top albums of 2008.  Compiling such a list is never easy, and 2008 was no exception.  Maybe it was a lack of albums that really stood out, or maybe we just weren’t paying enough attention.  Regardless, we took a quick look back on the metal albums we felt were notable in 2008.
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ABORTED – Strychnine.213

Wasting no time on their followup to last year’s impressive Slaughter and Apparatus, the Belgian death machine known as ABORTED are back with perhaps their most melodic, diverse work to date with Strychnine.213. Starting as far back as 2003′s Goremageddon, ABORTED began injecting elements of groove and melody in to their sound, so 2008′s evolution should come as no surprise. Unfortunately, progression and experimentation are often unwelcome ideas when presented to death metal diehards who would prefer to hear a band regurgitate the same tired rehashed CANNIBAL CORPSE rip-off riffs over and over again. Luckily for open-minded extreme music fans, ABORTED doesn’t give a fuck about that, and have forged ahead with complete disregard to detractors. Intro “Carrion” builds in atmospheric intensity with a showcase of new drummer Dan Wilding‘s considerable talents before exploding in to the first proper song “Ophiolatry on a Hemocite Platter.” The speed is fast and the blast beats are a plenty, and Sven De Caluwe delivers the low growls with plenty of conviction. The difference here is the band incorporates several halftime grooves in the choruses as well as unveiling a soaring melodic guitar solo that signals a departure from past efforts. With “Ophiolatry” as a blueprint, Strychnine.213 unfolds with the band alternating tempos, and grooves seemingly at will, slipping in scraps and bits of melody (especially in the guitar work) throughout the proceedings. The epic sounding “A Murmur in Decrepit Wits” for example, alternates between swamp-mired sludge, mid-tempo riffing, and blast beat ridden fury. In less than three minutes, the effective “Hereditary Bane” counters with more flurries of blasting speed, a quick thrash pattern, and a half-tempo hook that borrows heavily from their idols, CARCASS. Closing out the album is “The Obfuscate” which despite a deceptive death n’ roll intro, quickly unleashes a torrent of over-the top speed, interspersing elements of atmosphere behind all the audio carnage. A brave effort from one of the kings of goregrind who have succeeded in taking risks within the context of death metal, pushing what can be done in that frame work with no apologies. A more mature level of death metal has arrived, and if it’s too much for you to take, well United Gutteral should have a new album out to shit your pants to sometime this year. (Century Media Records)

More CARCASS Reunion Shows and Guests Announced

Reunited melodic-death/grind legends CARCASS have announced additional U.S. shows. In addition to support on the entire tour from SUFFOCATION, 1349, ABORTED and ROTTEN SOUND, additional special guests have been noted below on select shows.

9/05-Worcester, MA @ The Palladium w/ NECROPHAGIST, DYING FETUS
9/06-New York, NY @ Nokia Theatre w/ NECROPHAGIST
9/07-Montreal, QC @ Medley
9/08-Toronto, ON @ Opera House
9/09-Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom w/ NECROPHAGIST, DYING FETUS
9/10-Baltimore, MD @ Sonar w/ PIG DESTROYER, MISERY INDEX
9/11-Raleigh, NC @ Volume 11
9/12-Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
9/13-St. Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Landing
9/15-Austin, TX @ Emo’s
9/18-Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues
9/19-San Francisco, CA @ The Grand Ballroom
9/21-Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
9/22-Vancouver, WA @ Commodore Ballroom

CARCASS Schedule New York Show; More U.S. Shows Coming

Reactivated British extreme metal pioneers CARCASS have announced their first U.S. show since reuniting for a slew of festival performances around the globe. CARCASS will play the Nokia Theatre in New York City on Saturday, September 6 with support to come from NECROPHAGIST, ABORTED, and three soon-to-be-announced special guests.

Vocalist/bassist, Jeff Walker, also assured fans that additional U.S. shows will happen: “Well, we waited and waited (just to make you sweat), but it doesn’t look like Bush and Blair‘s phony war has any end in sight. The dollar ain’t gonna get any stronger, gas ain’t gonna get any cheaper, so it’s now or never! I guess you ex-colonists need cheering up and the only thing we can think of is some old-school grind and death metal (laughs)! Joking aside, we KNOW damn well we HAVE to play the U.S. if only to either shut you all up or completely disappoint you and shatter your illusions about this band! Either way, it’s gonna be a ‘blast,’ as you say out there. We’re looking to recreate the road trip of the summer of ’90 with DEATH, which was one of the best times of our lives (Christ, I sound old)! To quote Herchell Gordon Lewis as on Necroticism, ‘PREPARE TO DIE!’”

Check out fan-filmed footage from the band’s last performance on June 20th at the Tuska Festival in Helsinki, Finland: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5waji_carcass-heartwork-hellfest-2008_music

ABORTED: New Album Posted for Streaming; Prep for U.S. Tour

Belgian death metal band, ABORTED, have posted their forthcoming, sixth new album up for streaming.  The album, Strychnine:213, is set for a June 24th release through Century Media.  Listen here: http://www.myspace.com/abortedmetal

The band are also set to embark on the Summer Slaughter tour through the U.S., alongside THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, KATAKLYSM, VADER, CRYPTOPSY, and more.  Vocalist, Sven De Caluwe, comments on the tour:

“The last paperwork and arrangements are being made here for our departure to the U.S. in a few days, all I can say is that the band is extremely excited to get out there and crush everything together with all these killer bands on this year’s Summer Slaughter tour. This is not only one of the coolest tours with very diverse bands, it’s also a great opportunity for us to party with our good friends for over a month. To all the fans out there: bring your helmets because it’s fuckin’ hammer time! See you all soon.”

Check the official Summer Slaughter tour site for the tour dates and info: http://www.myspace.com/summerslaughtertour

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2007

It’s been a grossly successful 2007 for APESHIT, and though we find it hard pressed to make that same general claim for metal in 2007, a handful of albums did manage to leave a strong impression on us. We here at APESHIT individually compiled our own top 10 metal albums of 2007 lists for a new “blog” category that we look forward to experimenting with in 2008. Let us know what you think and post your own top 10 metal albums of 2007 in the comments section below. Cheers!

dr.park’s top 10

1. MANES - How the World Came to an End

This album really just came out of nowhere and turned out to be one of the best albums in recent years. The album is so deep in its scope, ambition, and execution and is a winner in every facet. Ideally, this should be an underground/indie hit. [Read our full review]

2. ULVER - Shadows of the Sun

It’s sounds tired to say but ULVER have done it yet again. Shadows of the Sun is another creative gem. The strong melancholic, subdued atmospheres make for some of the best mood music you can find. [Read our full review]

3. TURBONEGRO - Retox

Retox is far better and more solid than their recent efforts. Finally, fans have been given an album that comes as close to their zenith, Apocalypse Dudes, as the band can get. Retox is also prime party music. [Read our full review]

4. MAYHEM - Ordo Ad Chao

Just when you thought Norwegian black metal had grown too safe, accessible, and popular, MAYHEM makes an essential album that crushes all. Ordo Ad Chao is a powerful statement of true Norwegian black metal the way it used to be: pure, dark, raw, and evil. [Read our full review]

5. SHINING - V: Halmstad

SHINING are one of the best underground Swedish death/black bands that many underground fans have yet to hear. Great riffs, flow, balance and strong vocal presence from band leader and raging maniac, Niclas Kvarforth. V: Halmstad is some of the best (Swedish) metal not coming from Gothenburg. [Read our full review]

6. DIR EN GREYThe Marrow of a Bone

Though most of their U.S. fans are teenage girls with Japanese pop culture fever, don’t let that subtract and detract from this quality album. The Marrow of a Bone is ugly, dark, and has the right balance of hooks and brutality that has allowed it to be another worldwide hit for the band. [Read our full review]

7. WATAIN - Sworn to the Dark

To steal a thought from shady rajah: This is the album that DISSECTION should’ve written as their final album. WATAIN keep the flame of classic Swedish black/death metal burning with no peers in sight. [Read our full review]

8. PRIMORDIAL - To the Nameless Dead

Ireland’s premier metal band, PRIMORDIAL, have written yet another excellent album of folk/black metal that is so much grander, powerful, and spirited than so much else out there. [Read our full review]

9. MELECHESH - Emissaries

If you haven’t heard this band or this album, you are missing out on a lot. There’s nothing like MELECHESH‘s Mesopotamian metal and Emissaries is easily their best album. NILE is good and all but MELECHESH are better at conjuring the ancient rhythms, spirits, and mythology of the gods. [Read our full review]

10. PARADISE LOSTIn Requiem

It’s always a great thing when underground legends can continue to make high quality music so deep into their careers. In Requiem is not your flavor of the month underground metal but who cares…it’s timeless stuff. [Read our full review]

shady rajah’s top 10

1. WATAIN - Sworn to the Dark

As the only worthy successor to the departed DISSECTION, WATAIN has carved their own bloody path to black metal glory. Sworn to the Dark is an album filled seething aggression and evil atmosphere that is complex in details, but undeniable in song craft. WAITAIN are a band that’s made black metal dangerous again. [Read our full review]

2. DOWNIII: Over the Under

DOWN‘s third album couldn’t have had a more fitting title, as the band overcame a mountain of adversity. Over the Under successfully captures all the pain, sweat and struggle with all the heat and density of an Louisiana swamp, resulting in 2007′s most heartfelt, honest and real album. [Read our full review]

3. EXODUSThe Atrocity Exhibition Exhibit A

A recent thrash metal trend has surfaced ushering hordes imitators still trying capture that classic 80′s sound. EXODUS isn’t it making it any easier for these wannabes as The Atrocity Exhibition drove shards of razor sharp thrash in to the jugular of pretenders everywhere. Nearly thirty years later, these Bay-area bruisers just seem to keep getting heavier, and are keeping true thrash alive and killing. [Read our full review]

4. SHININGV: Halmstad

Niklas Kvarforth has kept the flame of darkness and hatred burning for a decade now, with each album becoming increasingly more complex and intricate while retaining the feeling dread and despair that has existed since the band’s beginning. V: Halmstad is the band’s masterwork, engulfing the listener in darkness. Suicide has never sounded better. [Read our full review]

5. MIDDIANAge Eternal

Formed from the ashes of YOB, MIDDIAN was the vision that continued Mike Scheidt‘s path of doom metal mastery, laying the foundation for the future of sludge. Age Eternal brought the power of slow and the strength of the riff. Unfortunately the band was dropped and forced to change their name, but in their brief moment time, MIDDIAN created a small piece of doom metal history. [Read our full review]

6. DIMMU BORGIRIn Sorte Diaboli

Norway’s premier black metal(ish) super group, DIMMU BORGIR delivered yet another powerful entry in their already considerable catalog, with a driving guitar heavy album that was catchy as it was complex. Having Hellhammer on board didn’t hurt either, as Jan Axel carved layer of intricate drum patterns to enhance the band’s already ambitious anti-Christian concept album. A successful anti-Christian concept album…how awesome is that? [Read our full review]

7. ABORTEDSlaughter and Apparatus: A Methodical Overture

Sven De Caluwe may have lost all his original members, but nothing detered the growling machine. He simply assembled a new death squad and delivered another precise, surgical slaughter of bludgeoning death metal. Relentless and furious yet containing some of the catchiest songs about mutilation written in recent memory, Slaughter and Apparatus continues the band’s excellent carnage. [Read our full review]

8. MACHINE HEADThe Blackening

After dabbling in bland nu-metal for a spell, MACHINE HEAD came roaring back with their return to form, Through Ashes of Empires. But that was just the warm up. The Blackening is the main course, with the band firing on all levels, encompassing MACHINE HEAD‘s most challenging work to date. The Blackening serves as both a defining moment in the band’s history as well as one of 2007′s finest albums. [Read our full review]

9. IMMOLATIONShadows in the Light

These death metal veterans helped shape and form death metal in it’s earliest stages, but the Yonker’s natives still show they have plenty of tricks up their sleeve. IMMOLATION deliver an intricate maze of riffs, complex drum patterns, and heapings of sinister atmosphere…not to mention an ample amount of guitar shredding. Their legacy of death continues to grow. [Read our full review]

10. SOILWORKSworn to a Great Divide

Despite losing a pivotal member with the departure of Peter Wichers, the band nonetheless stepped up to the plate, dove in to their considerable arsenal of hooks, and soldiered on with one of the year’s catchiest records. Balancing song craft and drummer Dirk Verbeuren‘s well thought out drum patterns, Sworn to a Great Divide is full of hooks that stick in your head. [Read our full review]

roycifer’s top 10

1. HIM - Venus Doom

These Finns have always been top-notch songwriters, and they succeed again while under the delicious influence of doom. Ville Valo‘s singing and songwriting don’t miss a step, and the band sound at home with the heavier vibe. “Sleepwalking Past Hope” is a magnificent epic of “November Rain” proportions.

2. MAYHEM - Ordo Ad Chao

With Ordo Ad Chao, MAYHEM made black metal sound exciting and totally fucking evil again! The album trembles with such unnerving, nihilistic ferocity not heard since the inception of black metal. Hellhammer‘s best performance. [Read our full review]

3. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGEEra Vulgaris

Josh Homme is a music making beast with such a distinct style and vision. Everything he touches, turns into gold. Their best album since Rated R. [Read our full review]

4. SCARVE - The Undercurrent

Guitar music hasn’t been this exciting since SOILWORK emerged onto the scene. But SCARVE are not merely a guitar band. Drummer Dirk Verburen really helps shapes the band’s sound and provides a necessary dynamic with his drumming. [Read our full review]

5. CHIMAIRA - Resurrection

This was the album that should have followed The Impossibility of Reason. CHIMAIRA have always had a lot of potential and are continuing to show their steady growth as musicians and songwriters. Move over LAMB OF GOD, CHIMAIRA are the true heir to PANTERA‘s throne. [Read our full review]

6. SHINING - V: Halmstad

V: Halmstad is uniquely black metal in that it draws a lot of influence from rock and classical music but is pieced together in a very progressive manner. The excellent songwriting is topped by the tortured vocals of Niclas Kvarforth. Suicide never sounded so damn inviting. [Read our full review]

7. MANES - How the World Came to an End

How the World Came to an End is an eclectic album for the ages that spans rock, electronic, and hip-hop while still feeling every bit metal. ULVER, eat your heart out. [Read our full review]

8. AMORPHIS - Silent Waters

Silent waters was where the band was treading about for a few releases. But their latest album is solid collection of timeless listening. Singer Tomi Joutsen has breathed new life into a group of vets making waves once again. [Read our full review]

9. MARDUK - Rom 5:12

Black metal’s ever-black sons of Swedish blackness keep getting better (and blacker) with age. New singer Mortuus‘ is ferocious and has a voice all his own. To quote dr.park, “it sounds like he’s gurgling blood.” Rom 5:12 also marks a newfound reach to diversify and expand their style…and those risks certainly pay off. [Read our full review]

10. ION DISSONANCEMinus the Herd

While the bees were busy buzzing about JOB FOR A COWBOY, ION DISSONANCE were having a ho down of their own. Minus the Herd tops JOB FOR A COWBOY‘s Genesis on technicality, dynamics, and lasting interestingness. [Read our full review]