New AMORPHIS DVD, CD Companion Coming this Summer

Finnish progressive metallers, AMORPHIS, have revealed the cover artwork and tracklisting of their forthcoming DVD package entitled Forging the Land of Thousand Lakes. The DVD will be released on June 25 (Europe) and June 23 (Finland) and not on June 4th, as announced earlier. A July/August release is expected in North America. The tracklisting can be found here.

AMORPHIS’ latest effort Skyforger was certified gold in Finland for sales in excess of 15k. Their previous albums, Eclipse and Silent Waters, were also certified gold.

BARREN EARTH Reveal Tracklist for Debut Album, Curse of the Red River

New Finnish prog/death metal band, BARREN EARTH, featuring former members of AMORPHIS, and current members of SWALLOW THE SUN, MOONSORROW, and KREATOR, will be releasing their debut album, Curse of the Red River, on April 6th in the U.S. via Peaceville. Tracklisting is as follows:

1. “The Curse Of The Red River” (7:52)
2. “Our Twilight” (5:27)
3. “Forlorn Waves” (4:39)
4. “Flicker” (6:42)
5. “The Leer” (4:56)
6. “The Ritual Of Dawn” (6:34)
7. “Ere All Perish” (5:54)
8. “Cold Earth Chamber” (5:34)
9. “Deserted Morrows” (6:50)

The album was recorded at Seawolf Studios, Helsinki, in Summer 2009 with mixing carried out by the prolific Dan Swanö at Unisound in Sweden (KATATONIA, OPETH).

Visit the band on the web for more info:
http://www.barrenearth.com/
http://www.myspace.com/officialbarrenearth

APESHIT’s Top Albums of 2009

It’s that time where we take a look back on the year as 2009 comes to a close. So we, the APESHIT goons, asked ourselves, what albums moved us, kicked our asses, and reminded us of why we love metal (and music)? Read on for our top albums of 2009…
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AMORPHIS – Skyforger

So as a studious and true underground metal warrior you probably loved AMORPHIS’ masterpiece, Silent Waters. The big question surrounding Skyforger is if it was as good as its predecessor. Well, Skyforger is essentially part two of Silent Waters in basically every way. Opting not to change stylistically, as was AMORPHIS’ modus operandi in the past, they’ve written a record that is yet another excellent album. Those fantastic vocal lines, sweeping sweet melodic riffs, AMORPHIS-style progressive influences, Finnish folk influences, and simply compelling songs are all back. Listening to Skyforger is a truly enjoyable and invigorating experience. You can sit back and relax as AMORPHIS flawlessly and masterfully glides through ten perfect songs. Yes, perfect. Vocalist Tomi Joutsen further shows why he is the best vocalist the band has ever had, and is simply one of the best vocalists in metal. That may seem like a big claim to the ignorant but AMORPHIS fans know this to be true. Skyforger’s quality is not an issue up for debate. Do yourself a favor and purchase (yes, I said purchase) a copy of AMORPHIS’ latest masterpiece. (Nuclear Blast Records)

Peaceville Records Signs Finnish All-Star Band BARREN EARTH

Peaceville Records is proud to announce the signing of Finnish prog death metallers, BARREN EARTH. With a line-up consisting of former members of prog/folk metal legends AMORPHIS, as well as current members of SWALLOW THE SUN, MOONSORROW and KREATOR, the band has been busy recording their debut album at the renowned Seawolf Studios in Helsinki, with the tracks currently being mixed by Dan Swanö (EDGE OF SANITY) who has described it as, “One of the best albums I have ever had the privilege to mix. The perfect blend of light and darkness. A new level of amazing has been reached!!”

An EP is due November 2009, with the album currently scheduled for an early 2010 release.

The music of BARREN EARTH combines elements of modern and traditional death metal, with 70’s prog rock and folk. Among the band’s influences are artists such as PARADISE LOST, OPETH, PINK FLOYD, JETHRO TULL and also some pioneers of Finnish prog.

Line-up:
Mikko Kotamäki – Vocals (SWALLOW THE SUN)
Olli-Pekka Laine – Bass (Ex-AMORPHIS, MANNHAI)
Kasper Mårtenson –Keyboards (Ex-AMORPHIS, BEN GRANFELT BAND)
Janne Perttilä – Guitar (RYTMIHÄIRIÖ)
Marko Tarvonen – Drums (MOONSORROW)
Sami Ylisirniö – Guitar (KREATOR, WALTARI)

On signing to Peaceville:

“Getting signed by Peaceville Records is a great honour, as they are one of the very few metal labels left who have a passion and feeling for the music they release. To us, it also feels like coming home, because in a way they carry a big responsibility for BARREN EARTH‘s existence by having released the most important albums from pioneers such as AUTOPSY and PARADISE LOST. Those albums played a huge role, when we sucked our musical mother’s milk in the late 80’s and early 90’s. This is a fact that should be noticeably evident in BARREN EARTH‘s sound and music. Hopefully BARREN EARTH will also be able to add a fresh spin to Peaceville‘s already impressive roster.” – Olli-Pekka Laine

For more details on BARREN EARTH go to: www.myspace.com/officialbarrenearth

Listen to a New AMORPHIS Track, “Silver Bride”

Check out AMORPHIS‘ MySpace page to listen to the song “Silver Bride” off their forthcoming new album, Skyforger.  The track will be released as a single in Finland on April 22nd.  Skyforger drops May 29th in Europe and June 16th in the U.S. through Nuclear Blast Records.

Go here for more info on Skyforger: http://www.apeshit.org/news/amorphis-to-unleash-skyforger-this-summer/

AMORPHIS to Unleash Skyforger This Summer

AMORPHIS have set Skyforger as the title of their ninth full-length album, tentatively due out this Summer in North America (and May 29th in Europe) through Nuclear Blast Records. The follow-up to the Eclipse and Silent Waters LPs, both of which were certified gold in the band’s native Finland, was recorded at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki.

Skyforger tracklist:
01. “Sampo
02. “Silver Bride
03. “From The Heaven Of My Heart
04. “Sky Is Mine
05. “Majestic Beast
06. “My Sun
07. “Highest Star
08. “Skyforger
09. “Course Of Fate
10. “From Earth I Rose

AMORPHIS, SAMAEL, LEAVES EYES, VIRGIN BLACK to Tour This Fall

SAMAEL is proud to announce their first US tour in nearly five years in support of their latest Solar Soul release! The band will be making the trek with headliners/labelmates AMORPHIS as well as LEAVES EYES and VIRGIN BLACK. Co-founder, Xy, had this to say about SAMAEL’s return to US shores:

“We haven’t played in the US since our last tour for ‘Eternal’ back in 2003. It has been far too long and the wait is over! We are happy to announce we’ll be back in September to present material from not one but two albums, namely ‘Reign Of Light’ and ‘Solar Soul,’ as well as songs off our other records. We’re excited about this tour and are looking forward to connecting with our American audience once again!”

The complete schedule is as follows:
Sep. 27 – Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall
Sep. 28 – West Springfield, VA @ Jaxx
Sep. 29 – New York City, NY @ BB Kings
Sep. 30 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero Theater
Oct. 01 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance Theater
Oct. 02 – Worcester, MA @ Palladium
Oct. 03 – Montreal, QC @ Foufounes Electriques
Oct. 04 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House
Oct. 05 – Cleveland, OH @ Peabody’s
Oct. 06 – Mokena, IL @ The Pearl Room
Oct. 07 – St Paul, MN @ Station 4
Oct. 09 – Spokane, WA @ Big Easy Concert House
Oct. 10 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
Oct. 11 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
Oct. 12 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
Oct. 13 – West Hollywood, Ca @ House of Blues
Oct. 14 – Phoenix, AZ @ Brickhouse
Oct. 16 – Ft Worth, TX @ Ridglea Theater
Oct. 17 – San Antonio, TX @ Scout Bar
Oct. 18 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar

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]

AMORPHIS – Silent Waters

Finnish’s AMORPHIS have produced their finest album since 1996’s excellent Elegy with their latest album, Silent Waters. Similar to last year’s delightful Eclipse, Silent Waters is a solid collection of heavy rock/metal tunes awash with effective and lasting melodies. AMORPHIS pull no surprises in adopting an episode from Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala, as the theme for Silent Waters, though musically, the songs are less folksy, more straight ahead rock, and retain none of the psychedelics they experimented with on albums past. The addition of singer, Tomi Joutsen (SINISTHRA), who replaced former vocalist, Pasi Koskinen, on Eclipse, brings about an added versatility in the vocal department. His delivery is far beefier, and he can sing clean or growl with the best. Musically, AMORPHIS remain very simple in their songwriting approach (as they’ve been for the past 10 years). Basic verse-chorus-verse can be pretty un-exciting, but AMORPHIS succeed in composing beautiful and powerful melodies through distorted and acoustic guitars, keyboard accompaniments, and vocal parts. Since the band’s songwriting isn’t as adventurous as it once was, Joutsen‘s vocal versatility becomes a key proponent of AMORPHIS‘s music. And with Silent Waters, Joutsen and AMORPHIS truly deliver an album that validates a band’s continued existence nearly two decades after their formation. (Nuclear Blast Records)