What a glorious year in metal we just experienced. After the sheer amount of quality albums that were released in 2018, there is no question that the genre is as healthy and full of life as ever. Thus, making our top albums lists harder than usual.
For the APESHIT goons, 2018 was the year where the legends all shined. JUDAS PRIEST led the charge with their best album since 1990’s Painkiller. DIMMU BORGIR finally emerged from a long slumber and did not disappoint. VOIVOD remain the gods that the mass metal media won’t acknowledge as such. We can’t really think of any letdowns. Can you?
Greetings from the 2018 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Convention AKA the NAMM Show, where things have been changed up a bit from years past. For starters, all the booths were in different locations, including some booths that were outside the normal convention center area. While there was still an insane amount of people, it felt a bit less crowded due to the new format and wider areas between booths. Let’s not delay any further and get to some of the products we particularly enjoyed!
Sonor displayed the beast of a kit, the SQ2 “The Book of Souls,” made specifically for Nicko McBrain (IRON MAIDEN). Witnessing it up close and personal was truly astonishing. Crafted in Germany, the shells were made to Nicko’s specific specifications, complete with Eddie inlays. Beautiful stuff.
Paiste had a 90” giant gong on display. Yes, a 90” gong. Not sure how practical that would be, but that’s a whole lot of gong going on.
While not exactly metal related, some of you may remember the old Roland TR-808 or TR-909 drum machines, and now they have been officially reintroduced as virtual plug-ins. Note that you’ll have to use the Roland cloud, however, this is extremely cool and a great throwback for those nostalgic drum sounds. Continue reading →
Polish death/black metal tyrants AZARATH premiere a brand new song from their highly anticipated album In Extremis, set to be released on April 7th via Agonia Records. Available in a form of a lyric video, “At The Gates Of Understanding” is the first single to be released from the album. It arrives six long years after the band’s last installment, Blasphemers’ Maledictions, from 2011.
The band was formed in 1998 by drummer Inferno of BEHEMOTH fame. He’s accompanied byBart (ARMAGEDON, DAMNATION) on guitars, Necrosodom (ANIMA DAMNATA, DEUS MORTEM, ex-INFERNAL WAR) on vocals and guitars, as well as Peter (ex-LOST SOUL) on bass.
The 490-page hardcover book, Behemoth: Devil’s Conquistadors, by Lukasz Dunaj is the definitive and official BEHEMOTH biography. It includes quotes and anecdotes from current and former members that provide context and details in addition to the author’s narrative, plus interviews with Tomas Krajewski, Rob Darken, Graal, Havok, and more. The artistically presented pages are filled with old photos of the band, flyers, lyric sheets etc.
Preorders are available now at metalblade.com/behemoth, and include a bundle with an exclusive shirt available ONLY with this preorder. Behemoth: Devil’s Conquistadors is available February 24, 2015.
In the book, Nergal discusses the acquisition of his first electric guitar: “The first communion was a very important moment for me. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Of course, not as a religion experience – I didn’t understand anything and couldn’t care less. Same as all the other kids. We all stood there with our votive candles and waited for one thing. Cash. The first communion must be one moment when you get the most money you’re ever going to get as a child. And for this money, I bought myself my first electric guitar. Not a bike, no Legos – a guitar.”
Unlike everyone else, we waited until 2014 was actually over to recount our favorite albums. It’s been a great year for extreme music with a healthy amount of excellent releases. We saw the return of legends in GODFLESH and AT THE GATES as well as welcome returns from long recording breaks in BEHEMOTH and MAYHEM. And who can deny the GHOST B.C.-like popularity explosion of Japan’s BABYMETAL? Crazy shit. Metal is certainly a diverse genre.
For 2014, the APESHIT goons did not have any unanimous or semi-unanimous album of the year (i.e. 2013’s CARCASS‘ Surgical Steel). But MAYHEM, BLOODBATH, GODFLESH, and TRYPTIKON were near consensus picks. Sorry, ENTOMBED A.D. didn’t make it here.
VESANIA, the Polish symphonic black metal act that features current and former members of BEHEMOTH, DIMMU BORGIR, VADER, and DECAPITATED, have been toiling for over a decade. The band’s fourth full-length album, and first since 2007, Deus Ex Machina, is finally scheduled for release on October 28, 2014 via Metal Blade Records. The brand new track, “Innocence,” can be heard below.
VESANIA is: Orion – guitars and voices Daray – drums Siegmar – synths and samples Heinrich – bass Valeo – guitars
There’s no singular unifying lyrical concept on Deus Ex Machina, but there’s a main theme, a coherent and deliberate thread running from the title through the music. The title of the album is a term from ancient Greek tragedy and translates to “god from the machine”. The idea for the concept was that a machine, typically a rudimentary crane, would lower a thespian playing god onto the stage to solve the seemingly unsolvable conflict in the plot. In modern entertainment, the term has evolved to primarily refer to a cheap solution in a poorly written script or novel. Alternatively, VESANIA‘s Deus Ex Machina is a call for any kind of help or intervention because all of the lyrics on the album are hopeless and show characters in situations that leaves them powerless.
As demonstrated by TESTAMENT‘s Chuck Billy, it is possible to make a strong comeback from cancer and resume a successful career. Thankfully, BEHEMOTH‘s Nergal has followed suit and returned to form. The Satanist is the sound of a band ready to resume their upward trajectory in the metal world.
The album takes a new approach to that of the fist-in-the-face attack of albums past. This one is about “feel” and atmosphere rather than simply pummeling the listener. But it still sounds 100% like BEHEMOTH. They call more upon their black metal beginnings than ever in sound and style. The Satanist is perhaps the band’s most dynamically rich work to date because of all the various song parts. Horns, synthesizers, and choirs help to add flavor. Most of the songs have a mid-tempo foundation with plenty of clean electric guitars, and fast parts here and there. However, the action never feels slow per se. Thematically, there are tons of references to the bible as well as, you guessed it, Satan.
Opener, “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel,” sets the tone with its blackened ritualistic atmospheres and predominantly mid-tempo pace. Second track, “Furor Divinus,” starts out like the MAYHEM classic, “Funeral Fog.” “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” is The Satanist‘s catchiest track with its simple, straight forward structure that just glides forward. A song like “Amen” demonstrates their growth as there is a quiet, dark interlude in the middle of the blasting fury. The same could be said of “In the Absence ov Light.” “O Father O Satan O Sun!” is one hell of a closer and is the album’s most powerful track.
All in all, The Satanist is a good album. Does it break barriers or is a game changer? No, but it is a step forward in growth for BEHEMOTH. And moving forward is paramount. (Metal Blade Records/Nuclear Blast Records)
Poland’s BEHEMOTH have a great new video for the song, “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel,” from their anticipated album, The Satanist. Great visuals and atmosphere.
BEHEMOTH frontman Nergal described the video: “Yes, we took all the time in the world to complete this project. And we did everything that was humanely possible to accurately express our vision. We crossed the Rubicon. ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’ is an ecstatic manifest of our unrestrained artistic will, where we dare to reach out beyond the limitations of the heavy metal genre. And it’s only the beginning…Enjoy!”
The Satanist will be unleashed on February 3rd in the UK, February 4th in North America and Poland, February 5th in Japan, and February 7th in Europe and the rest of the world.
One of the coolest death metal debut albums in recent years, gets the live treatment with Living Flesh. Band mastermind Nader Sadek gathered together his core recording line up of Steve Tucker (ex-MORBID ANGEL), Rune Eriksen (AVA INFERI, ex-MAYHEM), and Flo Mounier (CRYPTOPSY) along with Novy (ex-VADER, BEHEMOTH, DIES IRAE), Sean Frey, and Carmen Simoes. Do not mistake this for being just another live recording. Living Flesh is a special CD & DVD/Blu-ray live recording with a presentation and execution unlike any other live metal album.
Visually, Nader Sadek did a great job in creating a unique, artistic stage set up, complete with a throne, emaciated branches over the monitors, and Flo Mounier‘s drumkit in the audience facing the stage.
Soundwise, the production is immaculate. Warm tones, crystal clear drums, and great balance bring the performance to life. The whole band is on top of the game and one just help but wonder what this line-up could do on another NADER SADEK studio album. Lead guitarist Sean Frey does a great job in shredding every which way throughout the set.
Taken all the together, the eerie, melancholic, and slithering death metal of NADER SADEK comes to life and sounds infinitely better than In the Flesh. In many ways, Living Flesh demonstrates that NADER SADEK embodies what makes death metal so unique and special. Don’t miss out on one of the best new bands to emerge in years. Highly recommended. (self-released)