APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2012

As another great year for heavy music comes to a close, APESHIT takes a look back at our favorite pieces of music of 2012. This year had some great comebacks in CRYPTOPSY and STRIFE. There were also some nice surprises in the new sheer quality of the new SIX FEET UNDER and brutality of the new SOULFLY.

We want to thank all our readers, friends in the industry, and all the amazing artists, big and small, that we get a chance to work with for a great 10th year of existence. As the music industry as a whole continues to take an economic hit, let us all remember: If you like a band or one of their releases, support it!

Here’s hoping for a great 2013!

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MARDUK – Serpent Sermon

If you were pleased with last year’s three song EP, Iron Dawn, then Serpent Sermon will put a huge smile on your face.

MARDUK‘s twelfth record, Serpent Sermon, is indisputable evidence that the snarling upper lip of the band is as ferocious as ever.  While it’s unmistakably MARDUK, these black metal veterans continue to hone their sound with excellent results. The strength of Serpent Sermon is really in the details. Great transitions within songs, big riffs, effective uses of tempo changes, touches of dissonance, tension building, and great pacing throughout. The best example is centerpiece, “M.A.M.M.O.N.” The album stays compelling throughout with zero lapses.

What also contributes to the quality of Serpent Sermon is the fact that all four members hold their own. MARDUK has got one of the best rhythm sections in extreme metal. Unlike 99% of metal bassists, Magnus “Devo” Andersson‘s basslines are distinct, comes through in the mix, and add a great counterpoint to Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson‘s guitar playing. Vocalist Mortuus is simply one of the best vocalists out there. His charisma and mastery of bringing the darkness ranks as one of metal’s best. Last but not least, blastmaster Lars Broddesson has got the perfect chops that make drumming come alive.

Serpent Sermon is a must for all devotees of extreme metal. Easily one of 2012’s best albums. Hail! (Blooddawn Productions/Century Media Records)

MARDUK, 1349, WITHERED, WEAPON June 2012 Tour in Progress

MARDUK, 1349, WITHERED, and WEAPON are currently on a North American tour throughout the month.  Tour dates can be found at MARDUK‘s official website.

MARDUK will be releasing their 12th studio album, Serpent Sermon, today in North America.

In related news, the band’s new video for “Souls For Belial” below:

 

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2011

2011 was a very productive and enjoyable year for extreme music, perhaps the best in years. Thus, it was not an easy task choosing what we enjoyed best since they were just so many. 2011 also gave us unforgettably bad albums by LOU REED and METALLICA, flops by THE HAUNTED as well as controversial ones by MORBID ANGEL.

We look forward to another strong year in 2012 in which we will celebrate our 10 years online. Cheers for all of your support in 2011! Radikult!!
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MARDUK – Iron Dawn

Before going into the studio to record a full length album, MARDUK has decided to tease the world with a short EP, and they offer an excellent glimpse of what’s to come.

Warschau II: Headhunter Halfmoon” brutalizes immediately, with an old Panzer Division Marduk vibe to it, as Mortuus delivers his usual twisted and amazing vocals. The riffs are coherent, drums are blasting, and everything that’s expected of MARDUK in terms of quality and speed are in check so far. “Wacht am Rhein: Drumbeats of Death” continues the onslaught of mortar shell assaults on the eardrums, and “Evil” Morgan has gone back to writing catchier MARDUK riffs again. To mix things up, the band slows everything down with “Prochorovka: Blood and Sunflowers,” which unfortunately derails the flow of the EP and kills all previous momentum. “Prochorovka” is slow and unnecessary, as slower songs were never MARDUK’s strong points, and it seems as if another fast track would have rounded this EP out perfectly. Nevertheless, Iron Dawn is short, direct, punishing, and to the point.

Aside from VADER, MARDUK probably has the most EP releases of any metal band, but as long as they continue releasing excellent material on these EPs, all is fine in the world. Whether consumers will pay their hard earned cash on a 3 song mini album remains to be seen, but don’t let the bland cover fool you, Iron Dawn is classic MARDUK material, and delivers a mean punch to the groin. (Blooddawn Productions/Regain Records)

WITCHERY – Witchkrieg

After taking a breather in their respective other bands, namely THE HAUNTED, OPETH, and ARCH ENEMY, the members of WITCHERY offer Witchkrieg, the first album with vocalist Legion (ex-MARDUK) on board. Upon first glance, Legion’s vocals are much more varied than when he had the monotone screech in MARDUK – unfortunately, most of his vocals are masked by too many effects, which cheapens the excitement of the new vocalist.

Witchkrieg” opens with the crunchy, old school WITCHERY sound, with nice, crisp production, as the album starts off with a lot of promise. Kerry King’s trademark solo fits the opening track perfectly, and sounds completely in tune with the music. But the album is quite bi-polar, as a song like “The God Who Fell From Earth” opens with a bland nu-metal riff, and even guitar master Hank Shermann cannot save this blunder. “Conqueror’s Return” has a few headbanging riffs, but the layers of effects on the vocals make the song almost unbearable. Witchkrieg thrashes away with “The Reaver,” and the trade off solos from EXODUSGary Holt and Lee Altus show that this album has glimpses of brilliance.

Witchkrieg falls into the cliché of cheesy songwriting, as “From Dead to Worse” has a great opening, but the chorus is so bland that it sounds like Nathan Explosion of DETHKLOK is singing; fortunately, the solos from Andy LaRocque adds a nice flair to the end. “Devil Rides Out” is classic WITCHERY material, and “Hellhound” is a fast, brutal, and all out thrash attack.

Witchkrieg is an average effort, as there are good riffs scattered around here and there, but is mostly mediocre and somewhat disappointing. The band should always be looked upon as just a side project, as guitarist Jensen has used up all his good riffs in THE HAUNTED. While the plethora of guest musicians add a nice touch to the album, it’s safe to say that people have given this band more credit than they deserve. (Century Media Records)

APESHIT’s Top Albums of 2009

It’s that time where we take a look back on the year as 2009 comes to a close. So we, the APESHIT goons, asked ourselves, what albums moved us, kicked our asses, and reminded us of why we love metal (and music)? Read on for our top albums of 2009…
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Los Angeles MARDUK Show Moved to New Venue

As we tweeted a couple weeks ago, the Los Angeles area U.S. Plague Tour with MARDUK, NACHTMYSTIUM, BLACK ANVIL, MANTIC RITUAL, and MERRIMACK has been moved from the Key Club in West Hollywood to Salon Royal (Royal Hall) in downtown. The show is still scheduled for Friday, December 4th. Here’s an official statement from promoter, Church of the 8th Day‘s spokesperson, Jordan:

“Since everyone has been asking, what and where the Royal Hall is, I wanted to explain, and send something out to clear things up. The Key Club canceled the show, about two weeks ago, leaving us just a few weeks to move it. Since we had two stages worth of bands booked, it was near impossible to move the show to anywhere in Hollywood, at a reputable club, as everything was already booked. We found a place in downtown, which is a banquet hall, and we are going to build it into a venue from the ground up, with two full stages and great sound, full bar, and a BBQ. There have been numerous events held there, including the Bestial Legion Fest. If you purchased tickets through one of the local bands, your tickets will still be valid at the new venue. If you purchased your tickets through TicketMaster, you should be receiving your refund any day. The Key Club said they will be issuing refunds, but they haven’t been responding to us about the progress of it, so if you’d like to call and find out, go ahead. You can now purchase tickets exclusively through our new ticketing website, 8thDayTix.com. We’re sorry about the confusion, and hope to see everyone there. More information can be found at www.churchofthe8thday.com.”

The new location for the show, is the Salon Royal (Royal Hall) in downtown, located at 8637 South Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90002 (Google maps). Parking is provided, with an entrance through the “Steel and Lube” entrance.

MARDUK: Updated Itinerary for Upcoming North American Tour

Following three very special U.S. appearances this summer in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York (effectively breaking their streak of visa issues), Swedish black metal monsters MARDUK will return for a full headlining North American tour this November. The band will be joined by NACHTMYSTIUM, MANTIC RITUAL, MERRIMACK and BLACK ANVIL (on select dates). Here is an updated list of tour dates:

11/19/2009 The Sterling Hotel w/ BLACK ANVIL
11/20/2009 The Palladium – Worcester, MA w/ BLACK ANVIL
11/21/2009 Les Foufounes Electriques – Montreal, QC w/ BLACK ANVIL
11/22/2009 Wreck Room – Toronto, ON w/ BLACK ANVIL
11/23/2009 Sonar – Baltimore, MD
11/24/2009 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
11/25/2009 Brass Mug – Tampa, FL
11/27/2009 The Bar – New Orleans, LA
11/28/2009 Red 7 – Austin, TX
11/29/2009 Ridglea Theater – Ft Worth, TX
11/30/2009 The Marquee – Tulsa, OK
12/02/2009 Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM
12/03/2009 The Clubhouse – Tempe, AZ
12/04/2009 The Key Club – Hollywood, CA w/ BLACK ANVIL
12/05/2009 Ramona Mainstage – Ramona, CA w/ BLACK ANVIL
12/06/2009 DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA w/ BLACK ANVIL
12/07/2009 Satyricon – Portland, OR
12/08/2009 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
12/09/2009 Clug Vegas – Salt Lake City, UT
12/10/2009 Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom – Denver, CO
12/11/2009 Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
12/12/2009 Reggie’s Rock Club – Chicago, IL
12/13/2009 Station 4 – St Paul, MN
12/14/2009 Blondie’s – Detroit, MI
12/15/2009 Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH
12/16/2009 Gramercy Theater – New York, NY w/ BLACK ANVIL

MARDUK‘s eleventh studio album, Wormwood, was released on October 13th.  Visit MARDUK on the web for more info: www.marduk.nu