Song of the Day: ZYKLON Pays Tribute to Chuck Shuldiner

Ten years ago today, the metal world lost death metal pioneer, Chuck Shuldiner. I remember hearing the news early in the morning as I started my shift at work. It was a very cold morning and the news of his death made the day a whole lot worse. MTV had posted a video interview they had done with him following his latest round of treatment so I was thinking that maybe he would be able to pull through and beat the odds.

Let’s pay tribute to the metal god and blast DEATH and CONTROL DENIED today in his honor.

Check out ZYKLON‘s supreme cover of the DEATH classic, “Pull the Plug.”

CYNIC – Carbon-Based Anatomy

Like hardcore OPETH fans, CYNIC fanatics will vouch for anything the band releases. Carbon-Based Anatomy is nice material to quench the thirst of said fans, but this release is not quite up to par with their full length releases.

Half of the instrumental “songs” on this EP have some experimentation and provide a full experience to the listener, but let’s get to the facts: there are only 3 new songs here. The vocals are clean and well done, Sean Malone returns to reprise his role as the bass extraordinaire, but something is missing. The CYNIC staples of Paul Masvidal’s “robot” vocoder vocals, mixed with death metal growls are nowhere to be found, and as a result, the disc sounds too light and fluffy.

The title track shows that Masvidal and drummer Sean Reinert have a more free flowing approach to CYNIC’s newer material. An intricate, but structured progressive jam session is the result. Along with his airy vocals which provide the CYNIC touch, Masvidal has improved his already excellent guitar work, and spruces up the title track with his best solo since DEATH’s Human album. Reinert’s masterful drum patterns and skill makes the band who they are.

Box Up My Bones” continues the free flowing fashion with tasteful, controlled, progressive drumming, but the lack of great riffs and seemingly “soft” and flowery parts drag the song a bit, and weighs the mood down. “Elves Beam Out” features all the progressive CYNIC elements, but this small glimpse of songs already shows that Traced in Air was a far better output.

This release is a teaser which leaves their fans clamoring for more, but the power and fresh ideas from Focus are long gone. It seems as if CYNIC are content with this direction, but don’t be surprised if the new full length has minimal expansion, and sounds more like Carbon-Based Anatomy version 1.5. (Season of Mist)

CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED – Charred Walls of the Damned

When Richard Christy finds time away from The Howard Stern Show, Jason Suecof takes a break from his producing jobs, and Tim “Ripper” Owens and Steve DiGiorgio are pried away from playing in their multitude of bands, they pull off a brilliant project like CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED.

Ghost Town” immediately brings back memories of DEATH’s The Sound Of Perseverance as Richard Christy executes a timely drum intro, and starts to blast away with his unique drumming style. Fretless bass master Steve DiGiorgio‘s bass lines immediately draw your attention, and when Ripper‘s first notes hit, the listener knows that this is nice slab of classic heavy metal melted together with great musicianship. So many bands these days forget how to write “songs,” but this all-star group writes a few excellent and memorable tracks, as “From The Abyss” showcases the heavy metal sound with catchy riffs and solos that even extreme metal enthusiasts can enjoy. The entire album is a throwback album paying tribute to traditional heavy metal and reminding youngsters how to write metal songs with catchy hooks, choruses, excellent leads, and superb drumming without resorting to overused blast beats, generic vocals and mindless solos. Christy can out drum any of the so-called “technical” death metal drummers, but he chooses to be clean, basic, and solid, while adding his own technical flair, much like his days with DEATH and ICED EARTH.

Blood On Wood,” as with a large chunk of the album, has a lot of NWOBHM and JUDAS PRIEST influence. And while the songs are on the short side, the length works out well as the tracks range mostly in the 3-4 minute mark. A track like “Manifestations” is one of those heavy metal tracks you can sing along to without feeling cheesy and just have fun belting out a long Ripper scream. “The Darkest Eyes,” the pinnacle of the album, showcases Christy‘s perfect and synchronized drumming, with Suecof‘s melodic solos and breakdowns which compliment Ripper‘s sing-a-long chorus and screams amazingly well.

CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED is finally a “supergroup” that lives up to its name and isn’t just a quick cash grab, like EX-DEO or OV HELL. This project can be comparable to a more traditional heavy metal version of CONTROL DENIED, but CHARRED WALLS definitely holds its own. Fans of any of these amazing musicians should dig this release, as would any heavy metal or metal fan in general. Do not overlook this band just because of the horrible name or cover art, because this album may very well be the surprise album of the year. (Metal Blade Records)

CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED Confirm First Ever Tour

Richard Christy‘s CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED is hitting the road. Tickets are now available on http://www.richardchristy.com and http://www.timripperowens.com.

Richard Christy talked about the tour: “I am Soooooooooooooo pumped to get out on the road and blast some heavy metal with CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED this summer! Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens and I are beyond excited about this tour! The response to our debut album has been so amazing and I think people are going to be blown away when they hear these songs live! I’m sweating my buns off in the rehearsal room every day getting tighter and tighter on our songs so that we will be absolutely blistering when we get out on the road in July! Steve DiGiorgio and Jason Suecof have prior commitments and won’t be able to join us on this tour but we have the incredible musicians John Comprix (BEYOND FEAR, RINGWORM) on guitar, Dennis Hayes (BEYOND FEAR, ex-ICED EARTH) on bass, and Matt Sorg (RINGWORM) on guitar joining CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED for this tour! We’ll be playing our debut album in full and we’ll have plenty more surprises as well! Joining us as host of the tour and also doing stand up at each show will be the hilarious comedian and carrier of the heavy metal torch, Don Jamieson from VH1’s That Metal Show! I’ve known Don for many years and I’m so psyched to have him as part of this tour! Coming soon we’ll have more big announcements about the tour including opening bands in each market and other cool surprises! So get ready to raise your fists and bang your heads with CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED this summer! See you on tour!”

Vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens adds: “Man I really look forward to this short run of shows, just going out with some friends and playing in front of some of the best fans around. And watching Don every night just tops it off!!! See you all on the road!”

Tour dates:

07/01 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
07/02 Detroit, MI Harpo’s
07/03 Montreal, QC Les Foufounes Electrique
07/04 Toronto, ON Opera House
07/06 Cleveland, OH Peabody’s Down Under
07/07 Pittsburgh, PA Diesel
07/08 New York, NY Gramercy Theater
07/09 West Chester, PA The Note
07/10 Worcester, MA Palladium w/ DREAM THEATER

CYNIC – Traced in Air

Bands reforming and reuniting seem to be the trend in underground metal lately (CARCASS, EMPEROR, IMMORTAL, AT THE GATES, etc.) – however most of the bands just cash in for a tour, or play a few exclusive festivals, and that’s the end of it. A few of the bands that have reformed, actually make new albums, and since CYNIC‘s Focus is touted as one of the best progressive death metal masterpieces of all time, Traced in Air has long time CYNIC fans wondering if they could stand the test of time. After all, the band was put to rest and forgotten about. CYNIC is, and always will be a “love them or hate them” band, as there is no in between. If you hated the robot voice and entire Focus album, you will not enjoy Traced in Air at all.

Traced in Air is the ultimate album CYNIC die hards have been asking for, and the band does not disappoint. The album opens with “Nunc Fluens“, and almost instantly you hear Sean Reinert doing what he does best – pounding the drums with technical precision. Although he and Paul Masvidal both played on DEATH‘s Human album, CYNIC was their creative force and really brought their jazz fusion influence out into the open. “The Space For This” and “Evolutionary Sleeper” are bona fide CYNIC tracks, although some vocal parts can get too flowery at times. No need to fret however, as there still death metal growls that accentuate the chorus at the exact perfect points. Newbie OPETH fans may get a kick out of this album, but this album was written for CYNIC fans exclusively. Reinert‘s superb drumming really highlight the entire album, and “Adam’s Murmur” is a track where the band really gels as the drums, technical bass and guitar playing mesh as one cohesive unit. “Nunc Stans” closes the album in CYNIC fashion, with an eerie and mellow outro.

While parts of the album feel too empty and lacking intensity, that was the purpose of Traced in Air – getting away from the whole death metal genre and instead into the progressive rock/metal arena. More progressive rock than metal is showcased on the album, so if you miss the aggression but still want the progressive death metal, you’ll have to put in DEATH‘s Human or PESTILENCE‘s Testimony of the Ancients. CYNIC will always have ties with PESTILENCE and ATHEIST as progressive death metal kings, and hopefully those two bands can also match this excellent “reunion” album as well. (Season of Mist)

Former MORBID ANGEL/HATE ETERNAL Bassist Dead at 30

According to Cincinnati.com, former MORBID ANGEL/HATE ETERNAL bassist/vocalist Jared Anderson passed away on Saturday, October 14.  The cause of death has not yet been released.

Anderson recently revealed through his MySpace page that he was working on a project known as AS ONE…:  “AS ONE… is a revision of my INTERNECINE writings, or shall I say ‘written in the vein of.’ The INTERNECINE record itself was all ‘old’ material from the early to mid 90’s that I was given the offer to record, so obviously I opted to do so. Highly technical, obscure death metal was purely the intent of INTERNECINE. Although most of the material was written many years prior to recording it, there were a couple of songs that were more recent. The 2 songs were ‘The Elder Gods‘ and ‘The Calling Of The Hordes‘. This is where AS ONE… comes in, kind of continuing where I left off so to speak, with a much more matured sound.”

Former NAPALM DEATH Guitarist Jesse Pintado Dies

Century Media Records has reported that TERRORIZER and ex-NAPALM DEATH guitarist, Jesse Pintado, died over the weekend in a hospital in Holland.  Jesse was an integral part of NAPALM DEATH up until 2004 when he parted ways with the band.  His final release was the long-awaited TERRORIZER reunion album, Darker Days Ahead, which was just released last week through Century Media.  An official announcement will come later this week.

DISSECTION Frontman Commits Suicide

DISSECTION frontman Jon Nödtveidt, 31, was found dead from an apparent ritual suicide on Wednesday, August 16th at his apartment in Hässelby, Sweden.

Reports stated that he was surrounded by a ring of lit candles, and had shot himself in the head. Nödtveidt was also said to have sent farewell letters to his father and girlfriend and explained to a friend, “I’m going away for a long, long time. I’m going to Transylvania.”

The surviving members of DISSECTION issued the following statement:

“As rumours have started to spread we feel obliged to confirm Jon Nödtveidt‘s death. Jon Nödtveidt was a man who lived his life according to his convictions and True Will. A couple of days ago he chose to end his life by his own hands. As a true Satanist he led his life in the way he wanted and ended it when he felt that he had fulfilled his self-created destiny. Not everyone will have understanding or acceptance for his personal path in this life and beyond, but all must respect his choice.

“Those of us who have met him in his last days can assure that he was more focussed, happier and stronger than ever. It is our full conviction that he left this world of lies with a scornful laughter, knowing that he had fulfilled everything that he had set up for himself to accomplish. The empty space that he leaves behind will be filled with the dark essence that he manifested through his life and black-magical work. His legacy and Luciferian Fire will live on through those few who truly knew him and appreciated his work for what it really was and still is. As our brother’s goal in life and death never was to ‘Rest in Peace’, we will instead wish him victories in all battles to come, until the Acosmic Destiny has been fulfilled.”

The band recently announced their official disbandment following a small round of farewell shows, and had just released their final album, Reinkaos. Prior to that, Nödveidt served seven years for accessory to murder and possession of an illegal firearm.

More information on his suicide can be found via Swedish media reports:

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