When looking back at 2015, the only thing that seems to matter is the passing of Lemmy Kilmister. Of course losing Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor in November was sad but Lemmy was on another level – one of the pillars of the entire rock ‘n roll universe. Thankfully, he left a voluminous legacy for us to enjoy for eternity, including some of music’s best interviews and quotes possible. Cheers, Lemmy.
Other than that, 2015 was a remarkably strong year for the pioneering, long-running bands in the metal scene. Everyone from KILLING JOKE, MY DYING BRIDE, FEAR FACTORY to AMORPHIS put out fantastic records. This past year also saw some very good super groups in TAU CROSS and FIRESPAWN make their debuts. You’ll find that many of them made it to our respective lists.
Additionally, we’ve recruited some fresh blood in Charles Elliott, Andrew Sample, and Jeff Wagner. These industry vets have been in the trenches with us for years and years, and have helped bring you many of the greatest records ever released for the past 20+ years. Continue reading →
Following in the footsteps of extreme metallers who went on to explore the electronic-based side of the music universe (i.e. Justin Broadrick with TECHNO ANIMAL, ULVER, Tom G. Warrior with APOLLYON SUN, and Svein Egil Hatlevik (FLEURETY/ex-DODHEIMSGARD) with ZWEISS), roycifer (AKA Royce Hsu) of the defunct Los Angeles black metal band SANCTUS explores these realms with DZSTRKRFT.
Pulling from various electronic dimensions, such as breakbeats and dub, the Disaster Craft EP offers different looks in each song. The backbone is the (programmed) percussion, which fills both channels with the perfect array of ear candy. And of course, the black metal spirit tenet of atmosphere is omnipresent.
The title track sounds like something that would be blasted in a nightclub in the futuristic classic, Bladerunner. Second track, “Machines, Tapes, Electronics/Morrison Dub,” switches to a mellower but no less percussive gear. A sample of Jim Morrison describing the future of music graces the track as the main guitar riffs echoes in and out. “Craft Work (Contra Break)” gets heavy and darker with low end bass rumbling through its cyclical rhythms.
The absolute gem of the EP is closing track, “Audible.” Sleek in its darkness and absolutely emotive, the track glides through the night with a build and flow that is perfect. Have ULVER give it a listen and they’d wish they wrote it. Bloody great song.
With DZSTRKRFT‘s best release to date (three total within one year), the future only holds great things.
A pure underground gem was released in late 2014 that is mandatory for all Norwegian black metal devotees. Yup, an all-star cast brings THE DEATHTRIP to light: Host (AKA Paul Groundswell, THINE guitarist and GM of Peaceville Records), the return of Aldrahn (DODHEIMSGARD, THORNS) from a long hiatus, and THORNS mastermind Snorre Ruch as producer.
On their debut full-length, Deep Drone Master, THE DEATHTRIP carry the spirit, sound, and sense of mysterious aura of early 90’s Norwegian black metal. The influences are apparent yet this is not some retro-rehash job. Deep Drone Master is not only musically relevant for the present time, it’s better than most of the other extreme metal releases that have come out in recent years. The album also serves the great purpose of being the next best thing until the next THORNS album is eventually released.
Deep Drone Master is well-rounded while also being direct and catchy. Whether they blast through blazing melodies or hypnotize with mid-tempos, the dark, cold atmosphere is omnipresent. Riffs are brilliantly repeated for long periods of time to create this feeling of swirling chaos (i.e. “Cosmic Verdict“).
Longtime fans will find much enjoyment in not only hearing Aldrahn‘s voice again but hearing him at the top of his game. His distinct vocal style and delivery on Deep Drone Master are simply powerful.
It took years and years for the band to release this, their first full length, so if there’s any justice in life, THE DEATHTRIP will have their second album out soon. Mandatory. (Svart Records)
Finland’s BEASTMILK have been extremely busy these days. First, they have parted ways with co-founding guitarist Johan “goatspeed” Snell. Thus, the remaining members felt the need to change the band’s name to GRAVE PLEASURES moving forward.
ORANSSI PAZUZU guitarist Juho Vanhanen also joins the ranks for live/studio purposes. The band will have two guitarists now, including Linnea Olsson (THE OATH, SONIC RITUAL).
Additionally, GRAVE PLEASURES are working on their major label deal debut.
Norwegian black metal pioneers, DØDHEIMSGARD, has completed work on its fifth album, titled A Umbra Omega, which is set for release on March 17 via Peaceville Records.
The most exciting news surrounding the album is that original co-founding member, Aldrahn (THORNS, THE DEATHTRIP) has returned to the band.
A Umbra Omega is DHG‘s first album since 2007’s Supervillain Outcast, and undoubtedly marks the band’s most challenging work to date; twisted, technical, sprawling epics and an inverted outlook on existence from the depths of band mastermind/writer/producer, Vicotnik, with similarities drawn to previous classic DHG works such as 666 International and Satanic Art. A raw and organic production permeates the album courtesy of Vicotnik himself, with the album mastered at Strype Audio in Oslo by Tom Kvålsvoll.
To further prove that Norwegian black metal is far from dead, NIDINGR take a big leap in progress with their sophomore record, Greatest of Deceivers. The band’s last one, Wolf-Father, was undoubtedly very good but it did not necessarily break new ground.
With Greatest of Deceivers, NIDINGR take a more avant garde Norwegian black metal approach. There are plenty of tempo changes, eerie atmospheres, unsettling shifts, and plenty of dissonance. The band never allow the listener to get too comfortable or complacent as the songs constantly shift around. Naturally, recent DODHEIMSGARD and MAYHEM releases may be points of reference for this record. Additionally, a good comparison to NIDINGR‘s progression is SATYRICON‘s Rebel Extravaganza as nothing is straight forward and simple.
The guitar/bass duo of Teloch (MAYHEM, UMORAL) and Blargh (DODHEIMSGARD) offer their most ambitious riffing yet. Refreshingly, NIDINGR break new ground in this department as the record crawls, blasts, charges, and stomps about. It should also be mentioned that bass plays a role in the record.
Clean guitars ring out alongside raging guitars/bass as vocalist El.Cpt.Estrella Grasa conjures the spells. Drumgod Hellhammer is not part of the record but Øyvind Myrvoll does more than a good job. Øyvind‘s drums are mixed to give it a very natural sound. Fans will be happy to know that ULVER‘s Trickster G AKA Garm AKA Kris Rygg makes another excellent appearance.
There is more than enough to digest and understand about Greatest of Deceivers, and that’s precisely its biggest strength. Props to NIDINGR for taking a big leap forward and expanding their world. No formulas, no gimmicks. Just Norwegian black metal for 2012. (Indie Recordings)
Norwegian black metal conjurers NIDINGR have posted the second single, “Vim Patior,” from their new full-length, Greatest of Deceivers.
Notes guitarist Teloch of the new tune: “‘Vim Patior’ contains all the elements you all love about NIDINGR: blastbeats, shredding guitars, sweet ass bass lines, guttural vocals, catchy riffing without turning your ears to cheese… But at the same time we introduce some of the new elements we are doing all over the new album: riffs that will make you puke blood and cry.”
NIDINGR’s Greatest of Deceivers is scheduled to detonate in North America on November 20, 2012.
Norwegian black metal band, NIDINGR, will unleash their new full-length, Greatest of Deceivers, in North America on November 20th. The follow up to Wolf Father features present and past members of bands such as MAYHEM, GORGOROTH, DHG (DØDHEIMSGARD), 1349 and GOD SEED, among others.
NIDINGR recorded G.O.D. in Crystal Canyon Studios in Oslo, home to a host of prominent Norwegian acts including cult experimentalists ULVER, to accomplish a unique ‘70s, vintage style production. The sound they’ve created is a wholly organic, warm, unedited and un-triggered production that further emphasizes the great musicianship caught on tape. Greatest Of Deceivers was produced by guitarist Teloch, mixed by Anders Møller (KITCHIE KITCHIE KI ME O, EUROBOYS, 120 DAYS, TURBONEGRO, etc.) and mastered by Jaime Gomez Arellano at Orgone Studios.
It was back in the late 90’s when I was discovering Norwegian black metal alongside roycifer and big johnson and we got to OLD MAN’S CHILD. In the U.S., we got the Century Black (aka Century Media Records) digipak/new artwork version of OLD MAN’S CHILD debut album, Born of the Flickering. The original version was released on Shagrath‘s Hot Records.
While it wasn’t a monumental album, it was still really cool. DODHEIMSGARD‘s Aldrahn shared vocal duties with mainman Galder (aka Grusom in those days). The album had that mysterious, mystical, and exciting vibe to it and still does to this day. Check out the album if you haven’t already done so. After Born of the Flickering, the band went on to be more thrashy and then morph into a DIMMU BORGIR wannabe.
The final list of bands confirmed to play next year’s Maryland Death Fest X has been announced. Headliner acts include GODFLESH, MORBID ANGEL, ELECTRIC WIZARD, NAPALM DEATH, AUTOPSY, and SAINT VITUS. The full roster can be viewed here.
The event will take place May 24-27, 2012 at Club Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland. Tickets go on sale Monday, September 26, 2011. They can be purchased here: http://www.marylanddeathfest.com/.