TERRORIZER – Hordes of Zombies

World Downfall is by far one of the most devastating and influential grind albums in existence, so it’s a damn shame that Darker Days Ahead was an atrocious flop. Unlike Darker Days’ ugly guitar tone, uninspired songwriting, and lack of enthusiasm, Hordes of Zombies returns to form with a slightly different, but still masterful approach.

It’s impossible to fill the shoes of the late Jesse Pintado, but new guitarist Katina Culture does a great job on the album. The riffing style is much thrashier, opposed to Pintado’s all out grind/groove oriented riffs, but the thrashy riffs fit TERRORIZER nicely, especially having Pete “Commando” Sandoval return behind the kit, with his trademark blasting in tact. The biggest difference on Hordes of Zombies is that the catchy, short surges of groove that was so prevalent in World Downfall is not as noticeable, but the overall feeling of the album is still definitely “TERRORIZER.”

The title track begins the album proper with a midpaced groove and familiar vocal pattern style seen before. Anthony Rezhawk emulates original singer, Oscar Garcia, to perfection with short bursts of lyrics throughout the songs. Tracks like “Subterfuge” and “Evolving Era” have nice blast beats with a spectacle of thrashy, headbanging riffs intermingling throughout.

Ignorance and Apathy” has a KRISIUN-like feel to the beginning, while tracks like “Radiation Syndrome” and “Flesh to Dust” continue the brutality. All tracks within Hordes of Zombies flow nicely, and “Generation Chaos” even has a short melodic passage in between all the blasts and fury. “Forward to Annihilation” never lets up, and the high octane closer, “A Dying Breed” finishes this energetic, fresh sounding album.

It’s a shame that MORBID ANGEL chose to record their new album without Pete Sandoval, but perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, as Hordes of Zombies certainly lays Illud Divinum Insanus to waste. That being said, the only grind bands you need to pay attention to these days are LOCK UP and TERRORIZER. (Season of Mist)

Straight Shooting: Extreme Metal Artists are Good People

Throughout my years of going to shows and meeting extreme metal bands to just say “hello” and “thanks” or to conduct an interview or hang out as colleagues, I have always found these artists to be very humble, down to earth, and hardworking people. Playing extreme metal is often a thankless and perilous endeavor that regularly tests just how much these artist are dedicated to their art.

Specifically, the legendary bands tend to be the most approachable and appreciative. They are more than happy to shake your hand, pose for photos, autograph all your merchandise, thank you for your support, and speak with you for a little bit. They may not have the most time in the world or be in the mood to do so, but they often try their best. Even strong and intimidating personalities such as David Vincent, Trey Azagthoth, Glen Benton, and Chris Barnes are all nice dudes. On the other hand, there are also exceptions to this but they shall remain nameless.

The brothers in KRISIUN are some of the coolest guys you can meet. They are so grateful when you compliment them on their performance or music. And if you’ve been a diehard for a long time, that makes their day. They never brag about their musicianship even though it’s totally insane, especially given the fact that they perform flawlessly every night. Whole notes don’t really exist in their songs. Hell, if you have the opportunity to party with them, they’ll share their whiskey or herb with you without hesitation.

Ross Dolan and Bob Vigna from IMMOLATION are awesome guys. I’ve seen them in various cities across the U.S. and they are always the same. Zero egos. Zero gimmicks. They’ve always been underdogs in terms of popularity despite the fact that they are legends but they never complain about anything ever. They just work hard and try their best.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Andreas Kisser twice throughout the years and he is just as, if not cooler, than what you see in SEPULTURA home videos or elsewhere. He’s just a really cool and friendly person ready to laugh and is always positive. No shit talking from him. Andreas is probably one of the most open-minded people you can meet as well.

If you’ve ever seen SUFFOCATION live, then you’ve seen just how down to earth Frank Mullen is with the crowd. He never tries to act like the toughest guy on earth. He just speaks to the crowd like he would with people that he knows in his personal life. Offstage, the man is the same. Just a cool, honest, and passionate person. Frank appreciates any fans whether they be long time or brand new ones.

At the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of extreme metal bands that tour all over the world don’t really make much money. And yes, many of them have families and day jobs to take care of back home. It can be a meager existence. Thus, you can’t blame them for having tours with VIP packages.

Without their dedication and immense talents, there wouldn’t be much of a scene. So next time you’re at a show and you see a band member walking around or just hanging out, it will never hurt to just say “hello” and show appreciation for their hard work. Trust me, they will appreciate it.

Straight Shooting: TERRORIZER’s World Downfall is the Holy Grail of Grindcore

Sometimes being the first band to do something doesn’t necessarily guarantee that first always means best – case in point, TERRORIZER‘s 1989 debut, World Downfall. Sure, one can point to NAPALM DEATH‘s Scum as the birth of grindcore but let’s be honest, the album isn’t very listenable.

Simply put TERRORIZER‘s World Downfall is absolute perfection.

The influence of the legendary World Downfall can be heard in virtually every grindcore, death metal, or extreme metal album that came afterwards. Often times, you can put on an album by a band that came afterwards and hear direct ripoffs. The generations of bands that this record has directly or indirectly influenced is readily apparent in everything from the vocals, riffs, drumming, song structures, and style. Just take the drumming for example. Who in the world was drumming with these kinds of archetypal fills, blast beats, sped up d-beats, and with this kind of complete mastery in 1989 other than Pete Sandoval?

Let us enjoy some selections:

After World Obliteration“:

Fear of Napalm“:

Dead Shall Rise“:

What happens when you gather together a young and hungry Pete Sandoval, David Vincent, Jesse Pintado, and Oscar Garcia? Perfection.

New TERRORIZER Album to Feature Pete Sandoval and David Vincent

Grindcore legends TERRORIZER have announced that they will be releasing a new album via Season of Mist Records.

The band’s line-up features MORBID ANGEL‘s David Vincent on bass, who played on the landmark debut, World Downfall, as well as Pete Sandoval on drums. Wolf, aka Anthony Rezhawk, the vocalist on the previous album release Darker Days Ahead and guitarist Katina Culture round out the line up.

The band issued the following statement: “We are happy to team up with SoM for the worldwide release of the next TERRORIZER album! We are currently finishing the recordings and expect to mix down the record by the summer! We are also determined to finally bring TERRORIZER on tour all over the globe to support the album’s release.”

MORBID ANGEL – Illud Divinum Insanus

With the welcome return of original frontman David Vincent and subsequent years of reunion shows, the stage has been set for one of the most anticipated albums in extreme metal history. Well, some ground rules/warnings need to be set before we get into Illud Divinum Insanus.

Are you a longtime fan that views MORBID ANGEL as the first name in death metal?

Are you expecting to be blown away by a death metal masterpiece that is a worthy successor to Domination?

Do you dislike hardcore (the electronic genre of music) and industrial?

Do you expect a 100% pure death metal album from MORBID ANGEL?

If you answered “yes” to every question, then stay away from this album. You will be utterly disappointed, upset, and just resentful towards the band. Yes, this will be another Load moment.

Illud Divinum Insanus starts off with a grandiose synthesizer intro with chants akin to something from Domination. As it draws to an end, you anticipate an intense death metal track. Instead, the band kicks into a fusion of pounding hardcore, industrial, and death metal. The vocal lines are catchy and David Vincent‘s voice is as good as it ever was. However, it’s easy to envision legions of death metal/MORBID ANGEL purists vomiting in disgust. The following track, “Existo Vulgore,” kicks things to “normalcy.” The rest of the album alternates between mixes of pure death metal, hardcore/industrial, and rock (yes, rock).

First the good and easy to digest point, about half of the album is 100% MORBID ANGEL death metal. There are the scorchers, “Existo Vulgore,” “Blades for Baal,” and “Nevermore.” And man, does the band sound great on these songs – intense, razor sharp, and catchy. “10 More Dead” and “Beauty Meets Beast” are good slithering, energetic songs.

I am Morbid” introduces the band’s first incorporation of a straight up rock feel to their music. “Radikult” kicks the bouncy rock influence to a new level. The song is an anthem to the band’s longevity and success but with lyrics that are significantly more “living free and wild rock ‘n roll” than Necronomicon. “Destructos VS the Earth / Attack” sounds more appropriate for a GENITORTURERS album.

Guitarist Destructhor (ZYKLON, MYRKSKOG) is the perfect successor to Erik Rutan as his songwriting and guitar solo contributions are seamless. Drummer Tim Yeung does a great job taking the place of beloved drum god, Pete Sandoval.

It’s a no brainer that the band are expecting a large backlash over Illud Divinum Insanus. From a purely commercial point of view, this is not the album that will catapult them back to the commercial success they enjoyed during the Domination era. However, the album is far from being objectively bad. What it really boils down to is the phenomenon that many legendary bands go through: They pioneer and conquer a genre of music. They then decide to incorporate their personal favorite genres into their sound. Results tend to be mixed and fan feedback tends to be negative.

In the case of Illud Divinum Insanus, it really comes down to individual tastes and tolerance. But the bottom line is that this is not the comeback album that the metal world, at large, expected or wholeheartedly wanted. (Season of Mist)

MORBID ANGEL Commence Recording New Album

Death metal veterans MORBID ANGEL entered the studio to begin recording their ninth full-length album and first with original bassist/vocalist, David Vincent, since 1995′s Domination. This album also happens to feature drummer, Tim Yeung (DIVINE HERESY, VITAL REMAINS, HATE ETERNAL), who is filling in for longtime drummer Pete Sandoval who recently underwent back surgery.

Recording is taking place at Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida with engineer and one-time MORBID ANGEL guitarist, Erik Rutan. A late 2010/early 2011 release is expected via Season of Mist.

MORBID ANGEL Schedule First U.S. Show in Three Years

MORBID ANGEL are set to play their first U.S. show since 2006. The band will be playing the Key Club in Los Angeles on May 26th as a warm-up for their Australian tour. It is, at present, the only U.S. show planned for 2009. Tickets are on sale through www.ticketmaster.com, www.enterthevault.com, and through the Key Club itself.

The band, who recently reunited with original singer/bassist David Vincent, continue to work on a new album slated for a possible late 2009 release.

SOULFLY – Conquer

If Dark Ages was Max Cavalera’s return to true extreme metal/punk, then Conquer is a definitive statement that nü-SOULFLY won’t be around any time soon. Conquer just might be SOULFLY’s heaviest album to date. While much of Conquer conjures up sounds and feelings of old SEPULTURA, there are plenty of (subtle) sounds and styles that we’ve never heard from Max Cavalera before. The war anthem of “Blood Fire War Hate” sets the brutal tone of the album. MORBID ANGEL’s David Vincent lays down some of his great vocals and really helps the song to reach a new level. “Warmageddon” has a great sludgy, doomy MORBID ANGEL-like intro before launching into an urgent, charging tempo that recalls Beneath the Remains and Arise. The song only gets faster and more intense and easily scorches most of today’s popular metal bands in a matter of minutes. “Enemy Ghost” sees Max bringing back the theme and mantra of rising up as evidenced by his lyrics, “Rise above and rise within.” The next song, “Rough,” is a bruiser with prime hardcore riffs that any contemporary hardcore band would sell their souls for. At this point in Conquer, you might wonder whether the intensity will take a break but the band are out to destroy and the grinding main riff of “Fall of the Sycophants” is unrelenting. The middle section of the song is also highly reminiscent of latter era DEATH complete with Chuck Schuldiner-style guitar solos. SOULFLY busts out a cool dub jam to end “Doom.” “For Those About to Rot” burns out with a cascading doom riff before turning into a meditative Middle Eastern/Indian-style interlude. “Touching the Void” is undoubtedly an homage to BLACK SABBATH with its sludgy riffs and song title (i.e. SABBATH’s “Into the Void”) that could’ve come from Master of Reality. The comparatively mellow instrumental, “Soulfly IV,” may be the best instrumental in the band’s collection thus far. It’s very impressive to hear the high quality and power of Conquer considering the fact that Max also wrote the CAVALERA CONSPIRACY album at adjacent periods of time. The rest of the band are in peak form with top-notch performances. And despite what all the magazines may say or omit to say, lead guitarist Marc Rizzo is a true guitar hero and easily negates most of the media’s most touted guitar stars. Conquer effortlessly and unquestionably communicates its message through urgent, heart pounding relevant music. (Roadrunner Records)