Crossover Kings IRON REAGAN Sign to Relapse Records

Relapse Records has announced the signing of Richmond, VA hardcore thrash supergroup, IRON REAGAN. Consisting of current and former members of MUNICIPAL WASTE, CANNABIS CORPSE, DARKEST HOUR, MAMMOTH GRINDER, SUPPRESION and more, IRON REAGAN formed in 2012 and consists of Tony Foresta – vocals, Phil Hall (AKA Landphil) - guitar, Mark Bronzino – guitar, Rob Skotis – bass, and Ryan Parrish – drums.

The group is currently in the midst of recording their highly anticipated sophomore full-length with guitarist Phil Hall at Blaze of Torment Studios in Richmond, VA and will be self-producing the record before sending it off for mixing with CONVERGE’s Kurt Ballou.  A fall release is expected via Relapse Records.  Vocalist Tony Foresta commented on the signing and the new material:

“I’ve always wanted to work with Relapse for years. Their reputaion of releasing so much great underground music speaks for itself. We are all extremely excited about signing with Relapse and putting out this rager of an upcoming record. Having Kurt Ballou on board mixing is just the icing on he cake. We are about 75% done tracking the record here with Phil in Richmond and between this and the rad tours we have coming up its looking to be a very exciting year. I couldnt think of a better label to put this record out on and am really looking forward to a long future with Relapse.”

Additionally, the band is currently on a seven week run that will take them to SXSW and back and includes dates with OCCULTIST and GHOUL.  A complete list of tour dates can be found here.

Death Metal Supergroup VALLENFYRE Jumps into the Studio


VALLENFYRE has officially entered the studio to record their second full-length album and follow-up to 2011′s A Fragile King entitled Splinters.

Gregor Mackintosh (vocals and lead guitars) comments: “We have now arrived in a very cold Salem, MA and are currently holed up in Godcity Studio with producer Kurt Ballou tracking drums for our second album, ‘Splinters‘. We are really digging Kurt‘s honest, old-fashioned approach to recording. No triggers or samples. Just a good drum kit, good mics and a good drummer.”

In 2011, Gregor Mackintosh (PARADISE LOST) announced that he would go back to his death metal roots with his new band, VALLENFYRE. The level of expectation was set high with a line-up consisting of Hamish Glencross (guitar – MY DYING BRIDE), Scoot (bass – DOOM, EXTINCTION OF MANKIND), Adrian Erlandsson (drums – AT THE GATES, PARADISE LOST, THE HAUNTED) – and of course, Gregor on vocals (for the first time in his career!). Their debut, A Fragile King, was a reference to Gregor‘s father’s (lost) battle with cancer.

Check out the music video for “Cathedrals of Dread” from their debut:

DOOMRIDERS – Grand Blood

Doomriders - Grand BloodDOOMRIDERS is back with their third album, Grand Blood, and another collection of diverse, cool songs. We could include the other bands that the members play in but that’s irrelevant as DOOMRIDERS should be judged by what they do alone.

The band continue to explore new sounds with their unique style, which can very loosely be described as noise rock, sludge, and hardcore.  Vocalist/guitarist Nate Newton does a solid job in the vocal department with his strong bellows and clean vocals.  Much of the material on Grand Blood sounds like they were born from jam sessions as the song parts sound natural and flow easily together.  The band predominantly play in a stomping mid-tempo with dynamic changes to instrumental song sections.  Highlights include the catchy “Mankind” and “Bad Vibes.”

Kurt Ballou‘s production work rules again here with the thick bass and drums coming through so perfectly in the mix.

The bottom line is that while Grand Blood will most certainly not explode your mind, it is a cool album and solid for what it is – a fun side project for these busy gentlemen.  (Deathwish Inc.)

MODERN LIFE IS WAR – Fever Hunting

Modern Life is War - Fever HuntingA five year hiatus is all it took for one of hardcore’s best to make a comeback.  Simply put, Fever Hunting is a damn good album and one that sees the original line up of MODERN LIFE IS WAR doing what they do best – making music that matters.

As we’ve come to expect from the band, their music is all about wearing their hearts on their sleeves and the passion and emotion exude from every note and shout.  After stretching out and briefly warming up with “Old Fears, New Frontiers,” the band get right into it with their driving riffs, melodies, and impassioned singing. The song range from the slower, more “dramatic” “Chasing My Tail” and “Blind are Bleeding” to the uptempo melodics of “Media Cunt” to the tension filled title track.  The production is immaculate from the immaculate Kurt Ballou (CONVERGE).

Much of extreme music is gimmick centric and often does not reach fans on a profound level.  Not the case here.  One listen and you’ll quickly feel that Fever Hunting is something very special, something that is overwhelmingly positive.  Gentleman, Welcome back, MODERN LIFE IS WAR!  (Deathwish Inc.)

KVELERTAK – Meir

Kvelertak - MeirAfter being totally immersed in music for a decade or two (or three), it’s easy to grow desensitized to the untainted joy and fresh excitement that music can bring. Thankfully, there is Norway’s KVELERTAK that easily remind us all why we became music freaks in the first place.  With their second album, Meir, the band easily meet the lofty expectations set by their explosive debut.

KVELERTAK have matured as songwriters and have taken their fun and exciting hybrid of Norwegian black metal, rock ‘n roll, and punk to fresh places.  The trademarks of the 8th note downstroked riffing, blast beats, bluesy solos, and gang vocals are still intact.  The band effectively use melodic guitar leads, acoustic guitars, and soulful rock ‘n roll riffing with their black metal dimension.  Meir can sound equally happy and fun as well as ugly, mean, and black.  Arguably, the highlight of the album is the blazing “Nekrokosmos.”  The song starts off in a fairly standard way before it ends with a long instrumental bridge that is beautifully reminiscent of EMPEROR‘s “With Strength I Burn” and “The Wanderer.”

CONVERGE guitarist Kurt Ballou has done a perfect job with the production side of the album.  Meir is perfectly balanced, warm, and has natural tones.

Meir generates the kind of emotions that excite a person to (re)dedicate their lives to music.  Fresh, fun, exciting, and just so fucking good.  Buy or die. (Roadrunner Records)

KVELERTAK Release First Studio Video Update

Acclaimed Norwegian black/death punkers KVELERTAK have released the first video from their recording session at Godcity Studios in Salem, Massachusetts with CONVERGE‘s Kurt Ballou. The band recently commented on what’s in store for the next album with the following: “All I can say is, this album is going to fuck the first album in the ass. Hard.”

The band will be headed on their first extensive U.S. tour this October alongside CONVERGE and TORCHE.

Stream TRAP THEM’s New “Darker Handcraft” Album

TRAP THEM‘s new album Darker Handcraft, which was recorded with Kurt Ballou (CONVERGE, DISFEAR, BLACK BREATH) at Godcity Studio, drops on March 15th in CD and digital formats (preorder).

Listen to the album in its entirety over at NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/07/134088291/first-listen-trap-them-darker-handcraft

The band are touring in support of the album, beginning today, which includes a stop South by Southwest. Go here for tour dates: http://www.myspace.com/trapthem

RISE AND FALL Provide Recording Update, Announce Tour Dates

From the RISE AND FALL camp:

“We’re in the process of writing a new record and contrary to past writing experiences where, unfortunately, the comparison with “some kind of monster” came to mind more than once, this time around the experience is actually an inspiring and really creative one. Together with our new drummer Wim, who is now a full time member of RISE AND FALL, we have written a great deal of songs and the record is slowly coming together in our heads. Early March we are doing preproduction and early May we will enter the infamous Godcity studio in Salem, MA (USA) with Kurt Ballou to record our 4th full length album.”

The recording session will be followed by a short tour of the North-East of the USA in May with Southern Lord recording artists MASAKARI. Go here for tour dates.

CONVERGE: New Album, Axe to Fall, Drops October 20th

Lambgoat has revealed that CONVERGE‘s new album will carry the title Axe to Fall, and is scheduled for release on October 20th through Epitaph Records (with vinyl to come via Deathwish Inc.).

Axe to Fall, which was recorded at guitarist Kurt Ballou’s Godcity studio in Salem, MA, features a flurry of guest contributions from Steve Brodsky (CAVE IN), Adam McGrath (CAVE IN), J.R. Connors (CAVE IN, DOOMRIDERS), Uffe Cederlund (DISFEAR, ex-ENTOMBED), John Pettibone (THE VOWS, HIMSA), Steve Von Till (NEUROSIS), and Mookie Singerman (GENGHIS TRON). Artwork was, once again, crafted by singer Jacob Bannon.

Here’s the full album track list:
01. “Dark Horse
02. “Reap What You Sow
03. “Axe To Fall
04. “Effigy
05. “Worms Will Feed
06. “Wishing Well
07. “Damages
08. “Losing Battle
09. “Dead Beat
10. “Cutter
11. “Slave Driver
12. “Cruel Bloom
13. “Wretched World

The band will be touring extensively in support of the new album with a slot on the MASTODON and DETHKLOK tour.  CONVERGE will also be playing off-tour dates and making festival appearances including this year’s F Yeah Fest and Maryland Deathfest.