GALLHAMMER – Ill Innocence

GALLHAMMER is a most unique musical entity consisting of a trio of Japanese girls with only death and hopelessness on their mind. Dressed like crusty, black metal vixens, these unsuspecting ladies serve up an unfiltered blend of only the most primitive, HELLHAMMER-inspired nastiness on their second album, Ill Innocence. GALLHAMMER summons the nihilistic, punkified, black metal grimness of Norwegian black metallers, DARKTHRONE (who themselves can be traced back to HELLHAMMER), on tracks “Killed by the Queen” and the awesome “Speed of Blood.” They capture the authentic cold and stale black metal sound with blast beats, grinding riffs, suicidal screams, and raw production. Elsewhere, they perfect the doom and gloom of Swiss purveyors, HELLHAMMER (obviously their main musical influence). Song ideas are very, very simple, but Tokyo’s GALLHAMMER steer clear of sounding like high-school beginners. Quite interestingly, in fact, is that their songs draw influences from various “indie” or post-punk musical nebulas. “Delirium Daydream” could resemble the early, unpolished works of anyone from JOY DIVISION to PJ Harvey. Of course that may be hard to envision given the band’s (black) metal roots. More appropriately relative would be Justin K. Broadrick (JESU/GODFLESH), in which the dreamy epic, “Slog,” is very reminiscent of (save for the blasting interlude). Though GALLHAMMER are clearly very singular in their musical approach, they succeed by assembling basic ideas effectively and unexpectedly. If you tire of dense, over-the-top ridiculousness, invert your diet with a sampling of Ill Innocence. (Peaceville)

DIMMU BORGIR Drummer to Sit Out Rest of Festival Season Due to Injury

Due to a recently diagnosed injury, DIMMU BORGIR drummer Hellhammer will be unable to play drums for the band on the remaining festival dates this summer and the upcoming European tour with AMON AMARTH and HATESPHERE.

Hellhammer‘s x-ray confirmed a severe neck prolapse causing numbness in his right arm. He will be going into treatment soon and could – quite possibly – undergo corrective surgery.

Taking over drum duties for the upcoming shows will be Tony Laureano, who played for DIMMU BORGIR during the band’s North American stint on Ozzfest in 2004 and during festival performances throughout 2005.

MAYHEM: Hellhammer Breaks Arm; Band Cancels U.S. Tour

Norwegian black metallers MAYHEM have been forced to cancel their Desconsecrate the States U.S. Tour after drummer Hellhammer suffered a broken arm during his stint with DIMMU BORGIR on their recent U.S. tour.

The band issued the following statement: “The power of MAYHEM must come at full force and without Hellhammer, it is impossible for us to accomplish this feat. We deeply regret having to cancel the tour but we feel that there truly was no other option. We shall however return stronger than ever to deconsecrate your shores as soon as humanly possible!”

The tour was originally scheduled to take place in July.

DIMMU BORGIR – In Sorte Diaboli

While the anticipation for In Sorte Diaboli has no doubt been huge, the anxiety of what would become of the band following their split with drummer Nicholas Barker back in 2004 was perhaps far greater. Would DIMMU BORGIR slump back into their CRADLE OF FILTH-junior days? In fact, how would DIMMU BORGIR top the excellent yet over-the-top Death Cult Armageddon? Even with the mighty Hellhammer atop the drum throne (in place of the departed Barker) wasn’t going to guarantee a three-peat, especially after almost a four-year vacation. Fortunately however, In Sorte Diaboli doesn’t fail. With their big pompous sound intact, DIMMU continues to cut with razor-sharp, tremolo-picked guitars fluffed with epic, Hollywood-worthy synths. Hellhammer steps up for the band with a solid performance considering the more restricted framework compared to his main band MAYHEM. Despite all the key elements being in place, the usually over-the-top band actually scale things back half a notch (arrangements are relatively less complex and synths take a lesser role). Whether intentional or not, it does harm the overall bite of the band, leaving In Sorte Diaboli just not quite up to par as its predecessors, Death Cult Armageddon and Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. There is one shining spot, however, in vocalist Shagrath, who makes a grand-yet-subtle improvement in his parts and delivery. The lyrics though are another story. Billed as a “concept” album, its typical black metal fare (i.e. it has something or a lot to do with Satan), and is not anything to write home about. The last track, “The Foreshadowing Furnace,” does possibly hint at a sequel. But for now, the planet’s biggest black metal band have succeeded in not losing any momentum. (Nuclear Blast Records)

FLEURETY Re-Record Two Early Tracks for 7″ Release

Norway’s FLEURETY have re-record two early songs, “Descent into Darkness” (from the 1993 demo, Black Snow) and “Absence” (originally released on the 1995 compilation album, Blackend). Runhild Gammelsæter (KHLYST, THOR’S HAMMER, SUNN 0)))) will be laying down vocals for the former track.

The line up for “Descent into Darkness” is:
Runhild Gammelsæter – vocals
Alexander Nordgaren – guitars
Necrobutcher – bass
Hellhammer – drums
Svein Egil Hatlevik – bypasser

The line up for “Absence” is:
Alexander Nordgaren – guitars
Svein Egil Hatlevik – vocals
Bjørge Eide Martinsen – drums
Plenum – bass

The 7″ will be released through Duplicate Records.

CELTIC FROST: The Emperor’s Return

The evolution and development of extreme music would not be where it is today without the revolutionary, forward thinking of Switzerland’s CELTIC FROST. Not only did they help shape death and black metal in its earliest stages as well as provide a profound influence on hardcore, they arguably created the blueprints for which all avant-garde metal would follow years later. After a decade plus in perpetual slumber, CELTIC FROST made a mighty return in their darkest album yet, Monotheist. However, the return of the band was a very tough and hard fought road as APESHIT learned after meeting up with vocalist/guitarist Tom Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom G. Warrior) before one of their shows during the first half of their U.S. tour.

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